PNB PPC

PNB Remittance Centers (PNBRCI) subsidiary of Philippine National Bank
and AccountNow prepaid card marketer have signed agreements to launch a
new Visa-branded prepaid card. Available at
PNBRCI US locations by October, the PNB branded “AccountNow Prepaid
Visa” will participate in the Visa ReadyLink, Interlink, and Plus
networks to provide a new financial tool for PNBRCI customers. PNBRCI
will additionally convert 20,000 existing loyalty card membership
customers to the new VISA prepaid card, which will offer special
benefits and discounts to members. The new card is FDIC insured, offers
free direct deposit for payroll and benefit payments, free bill payment
with credit builder, high balance limits, easy to use online and SMS
account management tools and prepaid mobile refill minutes.

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MON E-GUICHET

Paris-based RATP transport has selected Gemalto digital security to
supply card readers with top up of Navigo passes online with “Mon
e-guichet” service as part of its pilot program. Gemalto is working with
RATP to manage the purchase and delivery of PC Twin Readers to end users
through its Internet-based sales tool, which allows users to connect the
Gemalto PC Twin Reader to their PC to buy tickets from home. “Mon
e-guichet” aims to offer commuters in Ile-de-France greater comfort and
a considerable time saving, who can top up their Navigo pass from their
own PC from home and whenever they want. Users have been chosen among
the RATP customers who have indicated they are interested in receiving
promotional offers.

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AccountNow Introduces PNB Prepaid Visa

PNB Remittance Centers and CA-based prepaid card marketer AccountNow
have partnered to offer the “PNB branded AccountNow Prepaid Visa card”
The AccountNow Prepaid Visa card, which will participate in
the Visa ReadyLink, Interlink, and Plus networks provides a powerful new
financial tool for PNBRCI customers. Additionally, PNBRCI will convert
20,000 existing loyalty card membership customers to the new VISA
prepaid card that will
offer special benefits and discounts to card members.
The PNB branded AccountNow Prepaid Visa Card is issued by Palm Desert
National Bank
pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

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AmEx Unveils a Personal Savings Account

American Express has introduced “Personal Savings” that offers a
FDIC-insured certificates of deposit and high-yield savings
accounts. The Personal Savings deposit
accounts feature competitive rates, no monthly fees, no minimum balances
and 24/7 account access via web or phone, making it easy for consumers
to manage their accounts whenever they want, wherever they are. The
high-yield savings accounts have an Annual Percentage Yield of 1.85% and
certificates of deposit are
available in a range of maturities from three months to five years
Personal Savings deposit accounts are available to both American Express
Cardmembers and to consumers who do not currently have an American
Express Card. Consumers can also rely on the security of a Personal
Savings account
from American Express, because all deposits are FDIC insured up to
$250,000 per depositor.

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SAS & AMEX

SAS Scandinavian Airlines and American Express have signed an exclusive
partnership to launch co-branded cards for both companies and consumers.
The agreements also encompass co-operation between SAS’ “EuroBonus”
frequent flyer program and American Express’ “Membership Rewards” global
loyalty program. The partnership stipulate the launch of two SAS
American Express cards, the SAS American Express “Corporate Card” for
companies in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and the SAS “EuroBonus” American
Express Card for consumers in Sweden. The SAS American Express Corporate
Card provides Scandinavian companies visibility and control of their
total travel and entertainment expenditure, rewarding them with SAS
Credits towards new flights. Meanwhile, the SAS “EuroBonus” American
Express Card is designed to meet the needs of a group of customers that
appreciate benefits of a premium card and the advantages of American
Express.

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VERIFYSMART

In response to US credit card fraud reaching nearly US$50 million a day
(US$18.25 billion annually), VerifySmart payment processing services is
launching its enhanced transaction authentication solutions. Offering
next Generation, near real-time identity fraud protection, the
VerifySmart debit and credit card security and fraud detection
technology allows the cardholder to be aware and authorize any payment
transaction to act as an active guard to their own payment card
transactions. The technology, card transactions and internet
transactions application can all be verified without requiring the banks
and merchants to invest in new equipment or major modifications.
VerifySmart Corp designed and developed its Proprietary
Hardware/Software Solution to prevent Credit/Debit Card fraud with two
Factor Authentication.

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Retailers Feel a Glimmer of Hope in August

Retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and
restaurants) saw their first gain in six months during August, with
sales rising 0.7% from July, though dipping 4.3% year-over-year. The
National Retail Federation says sales at electronics and appliance
stores increased 1.1% seasonally adjusted over July and decreased 10.7%
unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales
increased 2.4% adjusted from the previous month and decreased 5.9%
unadjusted from last year. August retail sales released today by the
U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include
non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and
restaurants) increased a solid 2.7% seasonally adjusted from the
previous month but declined 5.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

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EQUENS & VOCALINK

At the Sibos global event for the financial sector, Equens and VocaLink
signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to extend their bilateral agreement to
include SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) payment processing, in addition to the
SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT). The agreement helps create a more
competitive payments market as banks will be able to choose which
processor they want to use for SDDs and SCTs. The interoperability
agreement is based on Interoperability Framework version 4.1 of the
European Automated Clearing House Association (EACHA). Version 4.1
elaborates on the improved process for exchanging and sharing of reach.
It also provides details on all the interoperability provisions for SEPA
Direct Debit (SDD) messages for both Core and Business-to-Business (B2B).

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JULY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Spain increased
0.9% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
decreased 0.2% in July. With the 0.9% increase in July, the Conference
Board LEI for Spain now stands at 107.1 (2004=100), which increased 0.2%
in June and declined 0.1% in May, while the CEI now stands at 100.9
(2004=100) which decreased 0.2% in June and decreased 0.6% in May.
During the six-month span through July, the LEI remained unchanged, and
five of the six components advanced (diffusion index, six-month span
equals 83.3 percent) while the CEI decreased 3.2% and none of its five
components advanced. LEI results for the month were attributed to
positive gains in Spanish order books survey, stock prices, and the
Spanish contribution to Euro money supply while negative contribution
came from the capital equipment component of industrial production.

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SEPA INTEGRATION SUITE

Fundtech and Microsoft have introduced the “SEPA Integration Suite”
service-oriented architecture services. Adding complete SEPA transaction
processing to a bank’s existing payments infrastructure with minimal
disruption and risk by leveraging their existing payments
infrastructure, the “SEPA Integration Suite” saves banks time thanks to
its transaction processing capabilities. With the introduction, banks
can process SEPA Credit Transfers (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debits (SDD).
Corporate clients will benefit by being able to send a single stream of
payments to a centralized payment service, streamlining accounts payable
operations and improving multi-country cash management visibility. SEPA
Direct Debit and Credit Transfers are a key issue in the development of
payment systems in Europe, and the SEPA Integration Suite will be the
first SEPA payments solution built entirely on the Microsoft platform.

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Unos Renews Fifth Third Processing

Fifth Third Processing Solutions has signed contract
extensions for merchant processing services with the MA-based Uno Restaurant Holdings and
OH-based Damon’s International.
Uno has signed a contract extension with
Fifth Third Processing Solutions for its credit and debit card processing.
Damon’s has renewed its credit card processing
agreement. Fifth Third is a premier full service payment solutions provider that offers
servicing solutions and product engineering for financial institutions’ and
retailers’ credit card, debit card, merchant and private label programs
processing over 28.4 billion ATM and point of sale transactions and over $292
billion in debit
and credit card sales volume annually.

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