ACCC Investigates Debt Settlement Business

Americans for Consumer Credit Choice (ACCC) has announced plans to
conduct a public study examining the debt settlement industry. Focusing
on results-oriented data and trade practices, the ACCC study will survey
other industry and interested groups to gage an independent objective
assessment of the consumer benefits provided by debt settlement
companies, such as consumer completion of debt settlement programs;
up-front fees; the quality of settlement officers; and consumer benefit.
These companies focus on negotiating down unsecured consumer debt while
the ACCC membership organization
is comprised of providers of consumer financial products and services
offering consumers free market financial choices.

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Revolving Credit Drops $56B Post Lehman Bankruptcy

Consumer revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, has been declining at a much faster pace in 2009 than previously reported and continued its rapid downward spiral in June. Posting its tenth consecutive monthly decline, U.S. consumer revolving credit dipped to $917.0 billion in June. Since peaking at a revised $973.5 billion in the third quarter of last year, Americans have chopped-off about $56.5 billion in revolving credit to-date. According to new and revised data released by the Federal Reserve, revolving credit declined at an annual rate of 6.8% in June, following a revised 6.3% decline in May and an 11.7% drop in April. In May revolving credit declined to a revised $922.3 billion and to a revised $927.9 billion in April. February posted the largest contraction over the past eight months, dropping nearly $13 billion, declining at an annual rate of nearly 14%. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the first quarter was about $780 billion or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). Store and gas credit cards had about $105 billion in outstandings at year-end 2008. At the end of June, Americans were $2503 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Jun 09 May 09 Apr 09 Mar 09 Feb 09 Jan 09
GRWTH: -6.8% -6.3 -11.7 -8.9 -13.9 -0.7
$OWED: $917.0 922.3 927.9 936.2 948.4 961.0
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 8/7/09;
For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Former AmEx CEO to Chair the AIG Board

Director Harvey Golub has been elected Non-Executive Chairman of the
Board for American International Group (AIG). Originally elected to the
AIG Board of Directors in May 2009, Golub was Chairman and CEO of AmEx
from 1993 to 2001, where he was hired in 1984 from McKinsey & Co. as a
partner. Harvey is also a member of the Board for Non-Executive Chairman
of Ripplewood Holdings, Campbell Soup Company, a Non-Executive Chairman
of the Board of Directors of The Reader’s Digest Association and a
director of RHJ International public investment company. AIG insurance
and financial services runs operations in more than 130 countries and
jurisdictions.

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OKI AMERICAS CEO

OKI Data has promoted Takabumi Asahi to President and CEO of OKI Data Americas. Asahi has been EVP and COO of North America at OKI Data Americas. Former President and CEO, Stewart Krentzman, will continue with OKI Data Americas as Advisor/Executive Management. OKI Data Americas is headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, and a subsidiary of OKI Data of Japan, markets PC peripheral equipment and customized document management solutions under the OKI Printing Solutions brand, including digital color and monochrome printers, color and monochrome multifunction products, serial impact dot matrix printers and thermal label and POS printers, as well as a full line of options, accessories and consumables.

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JUNE LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Japan increased
1.0% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.1% in June. With this increase, the Conference Board LEI for
Japan now stands at stands at 67.8 (2004=100), which increased 0.9% in
May and decreased 3.1% in April, following a 16.4% drop. Meanwhile the
CEI now stands at 91.9 (2004=100), which decreased 0.2% in May and
increased 0.3% in April. Leading LEI indicators include gains in the
six-month growth rate of productivity and business failures while the
Tankan business conditions index more than offset declines in operating
profits and new orders for machinery and construction.

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FTC Slams Another Prepaid Calling Card Scam

The FTC has charged Diamond Phone Card, a NY-based distributor of
prepaid calling cards with advertising that the calling cards they
sold provided more minutes than they actually delivered. For
example, the FTC says a calling card claiming to deliver 400 calling
minutes to Mexico provided only 106 minutes of calling time, and one
claiming to deliver 50 minutes of calling time to Honduras actually
delivered only 20 minutes. The Diamond complaint follows two recent FTC
actions against distributors of prepaid calling cards. In February,
Alternatel, Voice Prepaid, and Mystic Prepaid agreed to pay $2.25
million to resolve FTC allegations that they had deceived consumers. In
June, another distributor of prepaid cards, Clifton Telecard Alliance,
agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle similar FTC charges. The
FTC notes it has established a joint federal-state task force to address
deceptive advertising and marketing practices in the prepaid calling
card industry.

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NFC Forum Announces New Implementer Level

The NFC Forum has
announced a new membership level called “Implementer” designed to
further the NFC ecosystem. “Implementer” membership is targeted at companies directly implementing
NFC solutions in the field worldwide. It complements existing NFC Forum
membership levels which are primarily targeted at technical
specification development. As more commercial NFC applications are
developed and deployed, “Implementer” membership provides a platform for
companies that work with NFC on a daily basis.
Available at an annual cost of US$5000, the “Implementer” level entitles
members to an array of benefits, including participation in NFC Forum
marketing events and “Plugfests,” access to member resources, discounts
and input to Forum marketing efforts. “Implementer” membership is the most affordable level of NFC Forum membership available to for-profit companies.

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HYPERCOM 2Q/09

ACI Worldwide reported revenue of $87 million in the quarter ended June 30th, a 20% decline over 2Q/08. Net loss for the quarter was $3.6 million, compared to net income of $0.8 million during the same period last year. ACI says the reduced revenue was largely attributable to initial license fee and service fee contributions of $15 million due to the impact of “Faster Payments” and the Middle East switch “go live” in the prior-year quarter as well as negative foreign currency exchange which dropped revenue by $4 million for 2Q/09. During the quarter there were strong money transfer system bookings in the U.S.; the Americas booked four key Latin American multi-product bank transactions; sales bookings in the EMEA included a large term renewal and add-on for a Dutch bank and a “BASE24-eps/Proactive Risk Manager/Payments Manager” deal signed in France; and in Asia a new customer in Vietnam for “BASE24-eps” as well as a risk management system sale in New Zealand. ACI predicts fiscal year sales of $450 million to $460 million. For complete details on ACI’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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ETHICAL HACKING

Working with the University of Abertay Dundee of Scotland, NCR has been
focusing on stopping ATM criminal hacking before it happens. Rather than
reacting to threats, the partnership is developing an ‘Ethical Hacking’
program designed to stop hackers and viruses to focus currently on
protecting personal authentication measures required to gain access to
ATMs. Approved and partially-funded through the United Kingdom’s
Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the “Ethical Hacking” program is
available in a ‘Bachelor of Science’ and ‘Masters of Science’ degree.
NCR has sold more than 50,000 licenses of Solidcore for its “APTRA” ATM
malware security; its “SelfServ” ATMs are the first to self containedUSB
protection; offers a Fraudulent Device Inhibitor, external illuminated
hardware inhibiting foreign device attachment on or around an NCR card
reader; and offers Intelligent Fraud Detection (IFD) to countering ATM
fraud, which detects fraudulent devices and alerts the deployer.

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RBC CASH Index Reveals an August Bounce

A monthly consumer tracking poll found a strong bounce in overall
consumer confidence over the economy. The “RBC CASH” (Consumer
Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index saw improvement in all four
of its sub-indices. The “Index” for August stands at 37.5, a 15.1 point
increase from July’s 22.4 reading. The “Expectations Index” for August
rose to 29.1, up 24.3 points from July. The “Expectations Index” for
August surged to 29.1, up 24.3 points from July. The “Investment Index”
increased to 43.9, a 13-point increase from July’s level. The “Jobs
Index” for August rose to 53.2, up 2.7 points from July. However,
despite the uptick, the “Jobs Index” remains well below the 85.8 level
recorded a year ago. RBC noted that 64% of American consumers continue
to say they or someone in their close circle have lost a job in the last
half-year, the same rate observed over the last five months.

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Commerce Online and 561 Media Join Forces

Commerce Online has announced a joint venture agreement with 561 Media
international web development firm to provide merchant card services and
web marketing for all 561 Media clients. The card services will be made
available through Commerce Online and its alliance partner network,
which includes FL-based Direct Technology Innovations (“DTI”). Commerce
Online and DTI have recently signed merchant processing and ISO
agreements to support the venture. The venture will offer website
development for new business, search engine marketing, social networking
and merchant card services for all
561 clients, including fee-based traffic and advertising through the
“www.800Commerce.com” social B2B portal.

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