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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Urban Trust Success Visa is Introduced

FL-based Urban Trust Bank and Visa have signed a multi-year agreement to offer the Urban Trust Success prepaid
debit card. The Urban Trust Success prepaid debit card provides flexibility,
security and a low cost alternative for consumers who now rely on cash or those who face
challenges with obtaining traditional bank or credit products. Additionally, Urban
Trust Bank will offer an optional “Elastic” line of credit to this product offering.
“Elastic”, offered through “ThinkCash” allows customers to use small
lines of credit for emergency cash or to increase their buying power. Cardholders will be able to add funds to their “Urban Trust
Successcards” through Visa ReadyLink prepaid load network at nearly
50,000 participating merchant locations nationwide. Urban Trust Bank is
successfully executing an innovative business model that provides
value-oriented, common-sense banking and mortgage services.

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OPENCARD & CARDSWITCH

Bogata-based OpenCard and London-based CardSwitch Technology have teamed to fight payment card fraud. The CardSwitch technology enables cardholders to put an electronic lock and key on their card accounts, making it futile for hackers and fraudsters to skim cards. When a cardholder decides that his card will not be used for any ATM transaction abroad, he can lock his card account, making it impossible for fraudulent out of country ATM transactions to occur. The same control can be applied to card-not-present transactions, out of country card payments and local ATM transactions. OpenCard’s solutions control 58% of the total active cards in Columbia. The Company has customers in Colombia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and the U.S.

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POSTFINANCE CARDS

Swiss Post awarded its international RFP for manufacturing, developing
chip technology, card personalization, the lettershop process and
sending PIN numbers to customers of PostFinance EMV debit cards to Trub.
As the Country’s leading EMV credit card manufacturer, Trub demonstrates
Swiss technology prevails in a globalized, competitive market and, with
this RFP, is on track to be the number one debit card vendor. The Trub
Group was founded in 1859, providing bank, customer, access, personal
ID, driver’s licenses, and passport data cards for UBS, Cornèr Bank, the
Switzerland cantonal banks, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, Deutscher
Sparkassenverlag and numerous banks in the United Arab Emirates, earned
consolidated revenue of CHF 135 million 2008 and had approximately 500
employees.

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moneyStrands Expands to Smaller Banks/CU

CA-based online personal finance service moneyStrands has launched a
manual upload to enable users to import financial data through .QIF,
.QFX, or .CSV data formats.
The new functionality will enable moneyStrands to support consumers who
bank
with smaller community banks, credit unions and other financial services
providers not already supported through its network of nearly 7,000
financial institutions.Ten new global currencies, in addition to the
U.S. dollar, will also be
supported with the new manual capability including the Mexican Peso,
British Pound, European Euro, Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, Australian
Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen and Swiss Frank. This enables
users from across the globe to also take advantage of moneyStrands’
comprehensive set of money management features. Manual uploading also
appeals to many consumers who prefer not to store
account access information required to use the automated aggregation
features.

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U.S. Bank Renews PULSE PIN Debit Contract

PULSE has extended its relationship with U.S. Bank in a long-term
agreement to provide customers with PIN debit point-of-sale (POS) and
ATM services. PULSE ATM/debit network serves over 4,500 banks, credit
unions and savings institutions across the country, is owned by Discover
Financial Services and links cardholders with more than 289,000 ATM/POS
terminals at retail locations nationwide. U.S. Bancorp has $264 billion
in assets, operates 2,847 banking offices and 5,183 ATMs in 24 states
and provides a comprehensive banking, brokerage, insurance, investment,
mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses
and institutions.

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