Citi’s ThankYou Net Adds Sony Music Downloads

Citi’s “ThankYou Network” and Sony Music Entertainment have teamed to
offer ThankYou Members special artist promotions on an on-going basis, including early access to select new album releases. Beginning October 6th, members will be able to download Bob Dylan’s first-ever Christmas album during a special one week period in advance of the October 13th release date. Members can get the entire 15 track album for 1,000 ThankYou Points. All of Bob Dylan’s U.S. royalties from sales of “Christmas In The Heart” will be donated to Feeding America. Through Citi’s ThankYou Network’s newly expanded rewards collection, members can download music from Sony Music Entertainment for 100 points per song from a roster of current artists.
Citi’s “ThankYou Network: was launched in 2004 and has 300 participating retailers.

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Visa Unveils IntelliLink Spend Management Platform

A new global information tool that provides extensive reporting and expense management capabilities for organizations of all sizes on a single scalable platform has been released the world’s leading infrastructure payments network. Visa’s new “IntelliLink Spend Management” platform integrates with the entire suite of Visa B2B payment products and is available to commercial card issuers around the globe immediately. The new platform offers expense management capabilities, including compliance triggers, receipt imaging, multi-level transaction data and direct ERP integration; enhanced data capture, matching and delivery; integration of non-card spend to support sourcing analytics across the entire accounts payable function; multiple branding options for issuers, including tools that can be customized to support differentiation strategies; dashboard management and flexible reporting tools, and alerts for cardholders and commercial program managers; and options for extending capabilities beyond payment, including travel booking integration. Visa “IntelliLink Spend Management” is provided through an alliance with Spendvision.

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ABA Defends Bank Fees and Vigorously Fights CFPA

A new survey from the American Bankers Association finds that 70% of
consumers spend $3 or less in monthly bank fees for services such as
checking account maintenance and ATM access. Fifty-six percent pay
nothing, up from 52% in 2008. The ABA says that “while some consumer
groups focus on avoidable fees at the highest end of the spectrum, the
survey clearly shows that the vast majority of bank customers manages
their accounts well and keeps service charges low. The ABA also
continued to raise concerns about the proposed “Consumer Financial
Protection Agency.” Testifying before the House Financial Services
Committee, ABA President and CEO Edward Yingling said that ABA supports
broad financial regulatory reform that contains, among other things,
creation of a systemic risk oversight agency, creation of strong
resolution mechanism for addressing the too-big-to-fail concept, filling
of regulatory gaps, and creating additional authority for the Federal
Reserve to regulate the payments system. Yingling also voiced support
for enhanced consumer protection, noting that the debate over the
proposed CFPA has helped to more clearly identify problem areas. But,
Yingling also said that significant problems with the discussion draft
still remain. Specifically, he stressed that ABA still has concerns with
the removal of federal preemption, noting that without preemption the
result will be a patchwork of state and local laws that will confuse
consumers and increase the cost of financial services.

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ENETS & SINO

Sino Payments has concluded a reseller agreement for credit and debit
card ecommerce processing with eNETS. eNETS is to process ecommerce
transactions from its customers in Asia in multiple currencies,
including US dollar. NV-based Sino Payments has offices in Hong Kong and
Macau. Its proprietary IP transaction processing system (Sino Pay GPP)
was designed to convert transaction processing systems from old type
dial up point of sale systems connected to sophisticated check out
terminals to a modern seamless IP transaction process to reduce credit
and debit card transaction processing times by half. eNETS Pte wholly
owned subsidiary of NETS is owned by Singapore’s local banks and enables
online payment services for banks, merchants and other payment gateways.

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BlingTag Fires Up Debit Card Customers

Mobile payment provider Bling Nation reports that La Junta, Colo.-based The State Bank has seen more than 80%
of the bank’s active debit card customers activate
a “BlingTag” since its May adoption. It took almost a decade for the bank to see similar adoption
of standard credit and debit card networks among its customers. The
State Bank has also experienced more than 50 percent penetration among
its target merchants. Since the implementation of Redi Pay Bling, The State Bank has not
received any reports of fraud or lost BlingTags. Through its
mobile payments network, Bling Nation enables financial institutions to
more profitably support payments between their local demand deposit
account (DDA) customers and their merchant customers by bypassing the
current global debit payment model with an efficient, cost-effective and
local payment network.

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AUG DEBT

Credit card outstandings were flat in August, declining slightly from the prior month. Year-on-year growth was down 14 basis points, compared to 55 basis points in July. According to the The Bank of England, net credit card debt was GBP 53.9 billion in August. Total net lending to individuals rose by GBP 700 million in August. The twelve-month growth rate continued to fall by 10 basis points to 80 basis points and the three-month annualized growth rate remained at 20 basis points. Consumer credit fell by a net GBP 300 million, below the previous six-month average. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued to fall, to 70 basis points.

NOTE: Chart does not include about GBP10 billion from specialist lenders, retailers, and insurance companies. SOURCE: Bank of England

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Debit Card Overdraft Fees Outrage is Searing

The national outrage regarding overdraft fees, triggered by check
writing and debit cards, is reaching a fever pitch as British-owned
Bankrate throws more fuel on the fire. A study released by Bankrate
shows overdraft/NSF fees increased 2.1% from last year to a record high
of $29.58. Bankrate began tracking bounced check fees in 1998, reporting
that such fees grew 25% from 1998 to $27.04 in 2006. The latest survey
also shows tiered structure fees for overdrafts are becoming more
popular with 26% of banks now charging higher fees after the 2nd
overdraft during a rolling 12-month period. The average cost for the 2nd
through 4th overdrafts under the tiered fee structure is $33.88 while
the average cost for banks that have a third tier, which typically kicks
in after the 5th overdraft, came in at $36.19. ATM surcharges rose 12.6%
from last year to an average of $2.22. Banks increasing the fee
outnumbered those reducing the fee by more than a 7-to-1 ratio. ATM
surcharges have increased at a 7% annual clip over the past decade.
Additionally, with interest bearing accounts, monthly service fees hit a
new high at an average of $12.55, up nearly 5% from last year.

NSF FEES
2005: $26.55
2006: $27.04
2007: $28.32
2008: $28.95
2009: $29.58
Source: Bankrate

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JULY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Australia
increased by 0.7% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index
(CEI) remained unchanged in July. With the 0.7% increase in July, the
Conference Board LEI for Australia now stands at 113.4 (2004=100), which
increased 0.6% in June, declined 0.6% in May and increased a total of
1.3% during the six-month prior to July with five of the seven
components having increased. The Conference Board CEI now stands at
113.4 (2004=100), which increased 0.1% in June, increased 0.5% in May
and increased 1.1% during the six-month period through July with two of
the four components making positive contributions. Results are thanks to
positive contributions from employed persons, household gross disposable
income, and industrial production while negative contribution came from
retail trade.

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ADS Inks PDS for Private Label Cards

Alliance Data Systems Corporation loyalty and marketing solutions has
signed a multi-year agreement with CA-based Pacific Dental Services
(PDS) business support services provider to provide patient financing
and marketing services through a private label credit card program.
Terms of the agreement stipulate Alliance Data is to provide integrated
private label credit card services for receivables funding; credit
authorization; statement generation; remittance processing; customer
service functions; and marketing services in support of the private
label credit card program. ADS is also to integrate account acquisition,
authorization and settlement services into Pacific Dental’s practice
management system to allow for seamless account acquisition and patient
financing. PDS provides comprehensive business support services to
dental and orthodontic practices throughout California, Nevada, Arizona,
Colorado and Texas with recorded 2008 revenues in excess of $270 million.

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NEOVIA & PAYPAL

NEOVIA Financial and PayPal have partnered to allow NEOVIA’s “NETBANX”
merchants to offer the PayPal payment method to customers and provide
merchants the ability to drive incremental sales. The NETBANX Payment
Gateway allows merchants to accept payment through VISA, Maestro,
Diners, American Express, Carte Bleue, Carta Si and JCB debit or credit
cards in virtually any currency worldwide. PayPal allows consumers to
shop online without sharing their financial details, which more than
150,000 merchants across Europe already accept. NEOVIA Financial is
trusted by consumers and merchants in over 160 countries to move and
manage billions of dollars each year.

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Alaska Option Joins Acculynk PaySecure

Alliance Data Systems Corporation loyalty and marketing solutions has
signed a multi-year agreement with CA-based Pacific Dental Services
(PDS) business support services provider to provide patient financing
and marketing services through a private label credit card program.
Terms of the agreement stipulate Alliance Data is to provide integrated
private label credit card services for receivables funding; credit
authorization; statement generation; remittance processing; customer
service functions; and marketing services in support of the private
label credit card program. ADS is also to integrate account acquisition,
authorization and settlement services into Pacific Dental’s practice
management system to allow for seamless account acquisition and patient
financing. PDS provides comprehensive business support services to
dental and orthodontic practices throughout California, Nevada, Arizona,
Colorado and Texas with recorded 2008 revenues in excess of $270 million.

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SECURITY RESILIENCE

The 1,500 delegates and 500 companies expected at the CARTES &
IDentification trade show for digital security and intelligent
technologies on November 17-19 will be addressing the minimal impact the
struggling economy has on secure identity card use. The smart card
industry’s three major markets, including mobile telephony, payment and
identity, are experiencing collateral and marginal effects from the
financial crisis. With 7 billion smart cards currently in use, key
players demonstrate a strong resilience to the slowdown in activity
along with sustained potential for growth. The “Smart Security” industry
is tackling the crisis after having completed its cost reduction,
rationalization and internationalization programs; has achieved a
critical mass giving it an independence which it did not have in the
last crisis with much less dependence on other business sectors; and its
markets are influenced more by a long-term and profound change in
lifestyles and fashions than by investment policies.

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