Online Advertised Job Vacancies Rise

There are some indications that the employment situation is improving slightly. This is good news for credit card issuers who historically finds that charge-offs and unemployment rise in tandem.
The Conference Board “Help-Wanted Online Data Series” reveals online advertised vacancies rose 250,000 to 3,367,000 in May, however, even with this month’s increase, online advertised vacancies remained down or 25%. Nevertheless, the May gain was the first since the modest gain of 21,000 in October 2008, and the largest since October 2006. Online advertised vacancies were up in 43 of the 50 States in May. Over the past four months New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and Hawaii among states where drops in labor demand have either leveled off or shown small increases. Among the 20 most populous states, the number of unemployed persons outnumber advertised vacancies (Supply/Demand) and range from a low of 2 to 1 (Maryland) to about 9 to 1 (Michigan). The number of advertised vacancies rose in May in all four regions of the country (Northeast, South, Midwest and West), reflecting gains in 43 states across the nation. For many states, May marked the first increase following months of steady decline in labor demand.

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APR ABS

Delinquency and charge-offs among credit card-backed securities hit record highs again in April. The 30 basis point sequential increase in 60 to 180 day delinquency and the 60 basis point sequential leap in charge-offs are both significant. The Fitch “Charge-off Index” increased for the third straight month in April to 9.0%, compared to 8.4% in the prior month and 6.5% one-year ago. Fitch says it is particularly concerned that the increase in charge-offs is a result of the increased roll-through of delinquencies, with the stress on consumer payments brought about by the deterioration in the UK economy expected to continue throughout 2009. In April, the Fitch “Delinquency Index” increased for the eighth month in a row, moving to 5.3% from 5.0% in March and 3.6% in April 2008. On an individual trust basis, six of the eight trusts included in the “Index” reported new historical high delinquency levels in April. Fitch also reports that its “Monthly Payment Rate Index” fell 150 basis points in April to 15.8%. The Fitch “Yield Index” declined to 19.5% in April, compared to 21.1% in March.

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MARCH LEI

The Conference Board “Leading Economic Index” (LEI) for Mexico increased
1.3% and The Conference Board “Coincident Economic Index” (CEI) decreased
.8% in March. The positive contributors to the index includes US
refiners’ acquisition cost of domestic and imported crude oil, stock
prices, and the (inverted) federal funds rate. Negative contributors
include industrial production construction component, net insufficient
inventories, and inverted real exchange rate decrease. With the 1.3%
increase in March, The Conference Board “LEI” for Mexico now stands at
100.8 (2004=100), which declined 0.6% in February, 1.6% in January and
decreased 14.1% between September and March.

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IBQ CARDS

IBQ has launched its new range of premium credit cards offering holders
5% Cash Back available instantly at the time of purchase for both retail
and online purchases. These new credit cards include the IBQ “Gold
MasterCard”, “IBQ Platinum Visa” and “IBQ Infinite Visa”, all of which
are Chip and Pin-enabled to provide customers security, flexibility and
convenience. The new cards additionally offer users free Travel
Insurance, Purchase Protection, free supplementary cards, no annual fees
for the first year, SMS notification for every transaction, online
account access, access to 24-hour customer service and worldwide
acceptance.

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CANADIAN TIRE 1Q/09

Canadian Tire Corporation released its 1Q09 results reflecting an
adjusted consolidated net earnings down 10.9% compared to the year ago
period. This is mostly thanks to higher distribution and operating
expenses at Canadian Tire Retail and increased write-offs and
bankruptcies at Financial Services. The Canadian Tire Financial Services
posted a total managed portfolio of CAD$3,979.1 MIL, compared with
CAD$3,783.9 MIL for 1Q08 for a 5.2% increase, while gross operating
revenue was CAD$217.3 MIL, compared with CAD$208.7 MIL for a 4.1%
increase. Meanwhile, Financial Services’ credit card sales were up 4.5%
for the quarter encouraging Financial Services’ goal of portfolio growth
in average balances, new account acquisition and the introduction of new
credit cards. Financial Services also reported an average household
account balance CAD$2,120, a 5.8% increase largely due to marketing
programs designed to do so. Canadian Tire Financial Services markets a
range of Canadian Tire-branded credit cards, including the “Canadian Tire Options MasterCard” and “Gas Advantage MasterCard.”

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OTI 1Q/09

Contactless specialist On Track Innovations reports that revenues were flat for the first quarter at $9.3 million. The non-GAAP net loss for the quarter was $2.6 million, a 46% decrease compared to 1Q/08. The GAAP net loss for the first quarter was $3.8 million, a 44% decrease, compared to the year ago quarter. The Company says it is focusing on reducing operating expenses, specifically in R&D and G&A while boosting marketing and sales. OTI’s target is to further reduce operating expenses on a non-GAAP basis to reach $25 million annually. Applications developed by OTI include product solutions for petroleum payment systems, homeland security solutions, electronic passports and IDs, payments, mass transit ticketing, parking, loyalty programs and secure campuses. For complete details on OTI’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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AA Goes Cashless for All In-Flight Purchases

American Airlines is set to go “cashless” for in-flight purchases.
American will accept American Express Cards and other major
credit or debit cards only for purchases such as headsets, fresh meals,
snacks and alcoholic
beverages. Flight attendants utilize a hand-held Onboard Sales Recorder
to charge credit and debit cards, eliminating the need to search for
small bills or change. American has used these hand-held devices since
May 2006. Receipts will
be provided to passengers upon request. Cashless cabins will not be
implemented onboard American Eagle and
AmericanConnection flights cash will continue to be accepted
onboard those flights.

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FIRST DATA & CO-OPERATIVE

Payment processor First Data and The Co-operative Financial
Services have announced an eight year extension of their
card issuing and processing agreement. Under the terms of the
agreement, First Data will continue to provide
support across the entire payments value chain, handling processing for
approximately 1.7 million debit cards and one million credit cards per
annum. In addition, the agreement encompasses a range of surround
services for CFS including the provision of First Data’s commercial card
management suite, D.Cal. First Data will also manage the migration of
CFS’s credit and debit card portfolios to “FirstVision”, its global
issuing solution. “FirstVision” is the new name for First Data’s
strategic processing
service and builds on the proven strengths of “VisionPLUS”, the platform
of choice for many of the world’s leading issuers. The company’s scale
and strength has enabled First Data to continue to invest through the
current economic downturn, focusing on the development of a single
solution that delivers consistent functionality and technology in
support of banks and major retailers around the world.

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M-PAYMENTS FORECAST

The mobile payment industry will grow at a 35% CAGR for the next five years. A new research report has found that the number of mobile payment users worldwide will total 73.4 million in 2009, up 70% from 2008’s 43.1 million users. Gartner predicts that the number of mobile payment users will reach more than 190 million in 2012, representing more than 3% of total mobile users worldwide. The research firm expects Asia/Pacific and Japan to maintain a larger share of the market
through 2012. While mobile payment penetration in Western Europe is
expected to rise from 0.9% in 2009 to 2.5% percent in 2012, and
from 1.7% to 3% in North America; penetration in Asia/Pacific and Japan will rise from 2% in 2009 to 3.8% in 2012. Mobile payment penetration in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America is also expected to exceed 3% by 2012. Gartner defines a mobile payment as paying for a product or service using mobile technology such as a short message service (SMS), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and NFC.

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Credit Card ABS Charge-Offs Near Double Digits

Charge-offs among prime and sub-prime credit card-backed securities set
a new record in April coming in just shy of double digits. ABS 30-day+
delinquency continues to hover at record levels, but did edge down
slightly in April thanks to tax-refund season. According to Moody’s
“Credit Card Index” the charge-off rate was 9.97% for April, almost 60%
higher than a year ago. After a steady rise from the 4.45%
level in June of 2008, to last month’s 6.40% level, the delinquency rate
actually declined to 6.34%. The payment rate for April decreased to
16.18%, the result of lower purchase volumes among convenience users as
well as the diminished ability of revolvers to make payments. The yield
index went in a negative direction during April, dropping to 16.18%.
Moody’s noted that the magnitude of the pull-back in yield for April was
unexpected and bears close watching in the months ahead. The combined
rise in charge-offs and slide in yield drove the monthly excess spread
index below 5%, with practically every issuer experiencing substantial
declines. With the April decline, the three-month average for the index
is now 5.32%.

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INSIDE & HID

Secure identity provider HID Global has combined with INSIDE Contactless
MicroPass
contactless payment platform featuring Visa payWave capability to enable
the industry’s first converged payment card solution that
incorporates identity and access control. In the pilot,
users were able to make purchases using the U.S. Bank’s “AccelaPay
Visa Card”, a prepaid payroll account, then turn around and present the
same card for physical access to their building or facility. Drawing
upon HID’s 13.56 MHz iCLASS technology, the converged
card offers a unique value proposition to campus and enterprise
environments by enabling them to do more with a single card solution.
Not only do systems managers within these campuses benefit from the
greater utilization or display of student or corporate ID’s, users can
appreciate the convenience of carrying a single card.

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