Nearly Half of Americans Expect Worse

A new survey reveals that 45% of Americans thinks the economy has not yet hit bottom and will worsen. VA-based STEWART and PARTNERS also found that only 27% expect their own financial situation to
be better off one year from now. Also, 54% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, and just as many “strongly” disapprove of his performance on the economy (26%) versus those who “strongly” approve (24%). Other survey findings reveal that the public is split on whether the President is on the right track (47%) or wrong track (42%) in expanding the role of government. In addition, solidifying the country’s credit rating and strengthening the dollar (32%) was cited as the most important issue for the President and Congress to address.

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EGG MASTERCARD

Egg is launching a new credit card that combines cash-back, discounts, protection and a low life of balance transfer rate. The new “Egg Money World MasterCard” offers 1% cash-back on all purchases from a minimum of GBP 5 to a maximum of GBP 200 annually and carries a monthly membership fee of GBP 1. Other primary features include an 8.9% APR on the life of a balance transfer with no balance transfer fee; “Egg Rewards” for up to 25% off deals and discounts on 15 selected online retailers; and “Price Promise” for items of more than GBP 50, providing consumers who find the item cheaper in the next 30 days, the monetary price difference. Additional benefits include “Purchase Protection” on items of more than GBP 75; “Event Cover,” that insures event tickets of over GBP 20 if the holder cannot attend; “Extended Warranty” on any manufacturer’s warranty for any electrical item costing more than GBP 50; personal travel accident insurance; online spend tracker; and the Egg “Money Manager”, allowing users to view all online accounts from any bank on one page. Egg offers banking, credit cards, insurance and investments through its Internet site and other distribution channels.

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TNB Card Inks XCEL Federal Credit Union

NJ-based XCEL Federal Credit Union of has switched its card processing
to TNB Card Services.
XCEL is in the process of changing over its 2,500 credit card accounts
to TNB.
As the credit union moves its program to TNB, it will take advantage of
TNB’s
portfolio consulting expertise, so it can determine the best approach to
its rates, rewards and marketing. XCEL Federal Credit Union, with
assets of more than $105 million and 15,000 members serves
primarily employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as
well as a
number of federal government agencies. It has offices in Manhattan and
in Jersey City.

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Doc Popcorn and Mocapay Offer Pop-In Card

Mobile loyalty and gift card provider Mocapay and CO-based Doc Popcorn have teamed to offer the “Pop’ ‘In” card program.
Doc Popcorn mobile “Pop’ ‘In” account holders will be able to transact
at the point-of-sale, access their account balance and transaction
history, find the nearest Doc Popcorn location accepting mobile gift,
and reload their “Pop’ ‘In” account, all from their mobile phone.
Doc Popcorn mobile account holders can also take advantage of Mocapay’s
recently launched “Gift-A-Friend” application, which is the first of its
kind in the payments industry. Gift-A-Friend enables consumers to send
mobile “Pop’ ‘In” cards to their friends and family directly to their
mobile phone from the Mocapay website.

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Card Number Tokenization Webinar Planned

End to end payment processor Electronic Payment Exchange and the PCI Knowledge Base
will present “How Credit Card Number Tokenization Can Reduce PCI Scope…and Data Protection Costs” webinar on July 22. Issues addressed will include: why is encryption not always a total solution, especially for
larger organizations,; how can merchants operate without cardholder data in their
environments; what is true “end-to-end” tokenization…and what are the
different ways to implement it; what types and sizes of organizations will benefit most from
tokenization; what are the different approaches to creating secure replacement
value reference algorithms; should replacement values be created and managed internally, or
by a payment processor; ow is tokenization priced, and why it can dramatically reduce
the cost of card data protection? The PCI Knowledge Base is the largest independent research community of
organizations focused on the Payment Card Industry (PCI.

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Spending Index Shows Slight Uptick in June

After falling four consecutive months a spending index reversed course in June. The “Deloitte Consumer Spending Index,” which is comprised of four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims,
real wages and real home prices — rose to 1.83%, from an upwardly revised gain of 1.4% a month ago. The tax burden continues to fall with the weakening of the economy and with tax cuts embedded in the stimulus plan taking effect. Initial unemployment claims remain at a historically high level, but are showing signs of bottoming out. Real wages have flattened over the past several months due in large part to weakness in the job market. The decline in real home prices appears to be ending.

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Pricing Holds Back P-Card Penetration

A new research report finds that card networks and issuers should make
card payments for higher-ticket items more palatable to suppliers,
awakening the dormant procurement card opportunity. Aite Group says
procurement cards comprise only a small percentage of the U.S. B2B
payments landscape. The limited penetration is driven by the structuring
of the product rather than a limited market demand. Because p-card
transactions are priced as a percentage of the transaction’s dollar
amount, fixed-fee electronic payment vehicles such as ACH and Fedwire
are more competitively positioned for larger-dollar transactions. By
changing the pricing Aite Group conservatively forecasts that
incremental revenue to card issuers from new supplier acceptance of
large-ticket items could reach $1 billion per year.

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T-Gate Payment Gateway is Opened

TN-based transaction provider T-Gate has launched the “T-Gate Payment
Gateway” designed to support all credit card processors and payment
types. The T-Gate Payment Gateway offers a single connection with
endless choices and maximum flexibility by allowing merchants to process
through any payment channel
whether it is online, by phone, by mail or POS terminal. A unique
relationship with all the major processing platforms gives T-Gate the
ability to offer some of the lowest pricing in the industry while
maintaining the highest level of technology and service. T-Gate
Payments was established
with the mission of being a trusted provider of merchant payment
solutions, third-party payment software options, and gateway services.

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Verifi Lands a Former Visa Exec for Sales

Los Angeles- based transaction risk management service Verifi has hired
Joe Little, previously with Visa, as VP of Sales.
Little spent 10 years at Visa as a Senior
Business Leader. While there, he held leadership positions including
managing a team responsible for revenue generation, new business
development and launching new initiatives into the payment industry. In
addition to those responsibilities, Little worked closely with
multi-national accounts to establish payment solutions for the
underserved and also launch new cobranded opportunities.
Verifi is a leading provider of electronic payment and risk management
solutions for card-not-present merchants.

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Retail Store Sales Decline in June

According to government data, sales at U.S. retailers rose in June by 0.6%, driven by car dealer incentives and higher gasoline prices.
However, NRF data (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) shows retail sales posted another contraction in June with a 3.8% unadjusted decline over last year. However, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales as well as electronics and appliance stores posted a 0.9% increase in June sales. According to the National Retail Federation, health and personal care stores sales decreased 0.3% adjusted from last month but increased a solid 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales were flat adjusted month-to-month and decreased 6.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported today that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from the previous month and decreased 7.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

UNADJUSTED RETAIL SALES
Jan 09: -2.1%
Feb 09: +1.4%
Mar 09: -3.7%
Apr 09: -1.7%
May 09: -4.7%
Jun 09: -3.8%
Source: National Retail Federation

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Hypercom Artema Modular in German Pilot

IBM Germany has selected Hypercom’s “Artema Modular” as part of its self checkout system in five test sales outlets in Bavaria. The test is for one of Germany’s top retailers with more than 10,000 retail outlets. The first phase of deployment comprises of 20 self checkout systems, after which the IBM/”Artema Modular” solution will be rolled out to several larger stores in Southern Bavaria. “Artema Modular” unattended card payment solution was first introduced at the end of 2005 and can now be found in self-service machines across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America.

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