REALIZE THE POTENTIAL

American Express is launching its first major brand advertising
campaign, exploring a new perspective to ‘Realize The Potential’.
Inviting consumers to reassess perspective of the brand and the role
that American Express plays in supporting and enhancing people’s lives,
‘Realize the Potential’ refers both to the potential that people have to
enjoy rich and rewarding lives and considers potential in providing a
range of services to enhance lifestyles. Through a completely animated
45 second TV spot seen in Mexico, the UK, Australia and Canada, the new
campaign is based on simple illustrations against a dramatic black
background and bold, colourful graphics. ‘Realize the Potential’ marks a
major brand investment for American Express in Canada in support of the
company’s growth strategy for the business locally.

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BofA Suspends Credit Card Re-Pricing

In a major decision, Bank of America announced it will not implement
any change in terms (risk or economic based) re-pricing of consumer
credit card accounts between now and the effective date of the “CARD
Act” early next year. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd
called on credit card companies to follow BofA’s commitment to not raise
interest rates or change terms on customers until consumer protections
included in the “Credit CARD Act” go into effect. In April Chairman Dodd
and Sen. Charles Schumer wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke calling on him to use emergency authority to freeze interest
rate increases on existing balances for consumer credit cards.

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Mall Networks Lands a Discover Exec

CPI Card Group has released “Card Designer v2.5” for customers to expedite custom cards.
“Card Designer” now has an updated online tool, enabling customers to get
their cards to market faster. These upgraded features include a design
checklist, pre-set templates and the ability to design not only the
front but also the back of a card. Selecting a card background, placing
graphical logos, text and network bugs will complete the design and make
an image that is truly worth a thousand words. “Card Designer”
also features the ability to upload
high resolution artwork for card production. Colorado-based CPI Card Group
produces high-quality, general-purpose, magnetic stripe and smart cards
for many applications.

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Health Savings Account Spike in Q2

Average individual Health Investment Account Balances (HIA) have
increased 28% while family Health Investment Account Balances have
increased 21% Q/Q. Additionally, average individual HSA balances
increased 6% and family HSA balances increased 8% since 1Q/09. These
findings, according to Canopy Financial healthcare banking technology
solutions and its 2Q/09 “Health Savings Account (HSA) Market Report,”
also showed individual HIA accountholders age 25-40 and family HIA
accountholders age 41-50 realized the greatest amount of growth in their
HIA balances for the quarter; the majority of spend in Q2 continued to
come from Reimbursements; and new account growth and employer
enrollments were both up in for the quarter.

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Mobile Banking Trends Webinar Slated

Tower Group is set to present the “Celling Banking to Your Customers:
Latest Trends in Mobile Banking” webinar
Thursday, October 8. Mobile financial services continues to garner
significant attention
from the industry, vendor community, press, and public. Although still
in its infancy, consumer mobile banking and payments will revolutionize
how consumers interact with their financial providers, manage their
finances, and make payments. This TowerGroup Live will provide
TowerGroup’s most recent research findings on the following topics:
how US mobile banking evolved, including projected adoption and
transaction estimates; how TowerGroup views the evolution
of the four primary mobile payment modalities and what are the
value-added services required to propel mobile payments into the
mainstream.

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WESTJET & GUESTLOGIX

WestJet has made available the “GuestLogix Mobile Virtual Store”
on-board POS system allowing guests to purchase buy-on-board items with
their payment cards, offered on all WestJet flights. Passengers are
given the convenience to pay in either Canadian or U.S. currency or to
use their Visa, MasterCard or American Express cards. WestJet’s complete
buy-on-board offerings can be found at westjet.com, The Experience,
Inflight Experience, Buy-on-board. WestJet provides scheduled service
throughout its 66-city North American and Caribbean network, has been
named one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures in 2005, 2006,
2007 and 2008 and specializes in low-cost flying.

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Average U.S. Consumer Credit Score Sinks to 672

The latest monthly tracking shows that credit scores are on the upswing. About 39% of consumer credit scores have increased, 29% have decreased, and 32% remained the same during September. The current average U.S. consumer credit score is 672, which is down two points since June and four points since the beginning of the year. San Francisco-based Credit Karma says from June to September credit card debt decreased by 4% nationally. In September, the average consumer with an open account had: $6,641 in credit card debt; $190,096 in home mortgage loans; $50,812 in home equity; $14,402 in auto loans; and $26,295 in student loans. Louisiana had the highest increase in credit card debt from June to September. Texas had the highest percentage of increasing credit scores.

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CPI Card Designer v2.5 is Available

CPI Card Group has released “Card Designer v2.5” for customers to expedite custom cards.
“Card Designer” now has an updated online tool, enabling customers to get
their cards to market faster. These upgraded features include a design
checklist, pre-set templates and the ability to design not only the
front but also the back of a card. Selecting a card background, placing
graphical logos, text and network bugs will complete the design and make
an image that is truly worth a thousand words. “Card Designer”
also features the ability to upload
high resolution artwork for card production. Colorado-based CPI Card Group
produces high-quality, general-purpose, magnetic stripe and smart cards
for many applications.

Details

CFSI Congregates to Discuss the Proposed CFPA

The Center for Financial Services Innovation is set to welcome more than 30 senior execs for a joint meeting of its “Innovators and Responsible Credit Roundtables” in Chicago. Hoping to provide insight and actionable ideas for companies, individual efforts in developing new projects and business models, and identify opportunities for industry-wide action, the meeting will focus on credit needs and opportunities in this new environment. This new environment concerns the links between savings/deposit behaviors and the need for credit, the implications of impending regulatory changes and the proposed “Consumer Finance Protection Agency” and the financial needs of young adults and students. Industry leaders come from Bank of America, Citi, Fidelity National Information Services, Experian, GE Money, H&R Block, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Meta Payment Systems, US Bank, Visa, and Wells Fargo.

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RELATIONSHIP CARDS

In an effort to manage credit card risk, Royal Bank of Scotland has retreated from the national marketplace to limit new credit cards to existing customers only. The move by RBS mirrors a similar move by HSBC earlier this year to contain losses in the wake of the recession. Consumers applying for an RBS or NatWest credit card must have a current checking account with one of the banks as of October 1st. A mortgage or savings account does not qualify. RBS has about seven million credit card accounts. Bank of England data show the average credit card rate is currently 18.13% in the UK.

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GEMALTO & OPENTRUST

Digital security provider Gemalto is working alongside OpenTrust secure
electronic transaction infrastructures to provide an integrated turnkey
enterprise security solution. OpenTrust has incorporated Gemalto’s
secure identity management solutions, such as the “Gemalto Protiva .NET”
& “Strong Authentication Solutions,” into its “Smart Card Manager.” The
combined solution enables users to authenticate themselves and securely
access their sensitive data through fixed or wireless networks.
OpenTrust’s “Smart Card Manager” ensures flexible management of smart
cards and certificates and when combined with Gemalto authentication,
enables organizations to implement one-time password and
certificate-based programs in a smooth manner. The joint solution is
already being deployed at joint customers of the two companies.

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