VISA & TOURISM

Last year, international visitors to Canada spent more than $9 billion
on their Visa-branded payment cards, contributing to Canada’s tourism
economy, which represents approximately two percent of Canada’s overall
GDP. Visa card spending by international visitors in Canada increased
from US$8.7 billion in 2007, with U.S. cardholders contributing more
than half of the total. Visitors from Western Europe, Asia and Australia
accounted for an additional 23% of Visa card spending. Visitors from
the United States continue to be the largest contributors
to tourism revenues. According to the Visa tourism survey, 60% of
U.S. respondents have visited Canada at least once, compared to 19% of
all respondents. In 2008, U.S. visitors spent $5.47 billion
on Visa cards while visiting Canada. Other top contributors to Canada
inbound tourism spending in 2008 include: United Kingdom ($603 million);
France ($351 million); Australia ($223 million); and Japan ($204
million). General retail purchases, such as clothing and food,
represented 41% of Visa transactions by international travelers visiting
Canada
in 2008, totaling more than $3.7 billion, an increase of more than 7%
from the previous year. Other major segments include lodging
($1.1 billion), airlines ($628 million) and restaurants ($467 million).

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Chase Q1 Credit Card Charge-Offs Near 8%

Chase’s Card Services unit posted a net loss of $547 million in the
first quarter, compared to $371 million in the prior quarter and down
$1.2 billion from 1Q/08. The managed net charge-off rate for the first
quarter hit 7.72%, up from 4.37% in the prior year and 5.56% in the
prior quarter. The 30-day managed delinquency rate was 6.16%, up from
3.66% in the prior year and 4.97% in the prior quarter. Managed credit
card loans dropped 7% sequentially and 17% from the prior year to $176.1
billion. Chase says the managed provision for credit losses was $4.7
billion, an increase of $3.0 billion, or 179%, from the prior year. The
provision reflected a higher level of charge-offs and an increase of
$1.2 billion in the allowance for loan losses, due to a weakening credit
environment. Charge volume was $76.0 billion, a decrease of 11% from the
prior year. Merchant processing volume was $94.4 billion on 4.1 billion
in total transactions processed. For complete details on Chase’s first
quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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ELECTRASWITCH & FTB

E-payment provider ElectraCard Services has launched “electraSWITCH” for
Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), Cambodia. “electraSWITCH” will drive biometric
ATMs in Cambodia,the first of its kind in the country. The bank has
deployed ATMs with fingerprint recognition technology,
voice instruction and simple screen graphics to help customers get the
most out of a new way of banking. The system also saves them the trouble
of remembering their ATM PIN as they can use their fingerprint to
withdraw money through ATMs. FTB is Cambodia’s first bank, a joint
private/Government venture
and has been providing customers with safe and reliable banking services
for more than 29 years. The Bank was created under the former regime of
the State of Cambodia. In 2000, the Bank was separated from the direct
management of the National Bank of Cambodia (the Central Bank) in order
to transform its permanent identity into a State-owned commercial bank
with the features of a Public Economic Enterprise and an aim to conduct
autonomous business operations.

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Fiserv Promotes the PayItGreen Initiative

More than 25 financial institutions across the country will encourage their account holders to make the switch to online bill payment by planting a tree in a national forest for each bill paid online during April and May. This is the third year in a row that Fiserv has partnered with financial institutions and the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees. According to the PayItGreen Alliance, a coalition of financial services companies that includes Fiserv as a founding member, each U.S. household that switches to electronic bills, statements and payments could save 6.6 pounds of paper and conserve 4.5 gallons of gasoline used to transport these documents each year. If every household chose paperless bills and statements it could save an estimated 18.5 million trees and eliminate the production of 2.1 million tons of greenhouse gases. The Arbor Day Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization of nearly one million members with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

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PLANET PAYMENT

Cardwork’s affiliate Integrated Card Exchange (ICE)and Peoples Trust,
will launch a comprehensive processing solution powered by payment
processor Planet Payment. The turnkey solution will provide Canadian
merchants with a
comprehensive suite of business-building tools designed to improve
merchant efficiency and profitability. The solution includes full
domestic processing support for Visa and MasterCard including chip
and pin, American Express, JCB, and Interac debit card
transactions. Additionally, merchants will have access to Planet
Payment’s Pay in Your Currency(TM) and Multi-Currency Pricing services,
driving additional sales opportunities and improving profitability by
enabling customers to view pricing and pay in their home currencies.
ICE will offer the solution directly to Canadian
merchants and Independent Sales Organizations as well as through
US-based ISOs that are interested in processing solutions for merchants
located in Canada.

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Card Issuers to Make DMPs More Affordable

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says the nation’s top 10 credit card issuers have agreed to provide additional relief to consumers struggling to repay their debts. The NFCC says fewer consumers have sufficient income to be eligible for, or the ability to maintain, a traditional “debt management plan”, often leaving bankruptcy as the only
option. The NFCC issued its “Call to Action” last fall, calling on more
creditors to take additional steps to make DMPs more affordable. As of March 31, the top 10 credit card issuers have agreed to implement the changes necessary to provide both a more affordable “Standard” DMP and a “Hardship” DMP. The key elements of these two new DMPs will allow consumers to maintain a reasonable monthly budget, establish a savings account for economic emergencies, make fixed monthly payments more affordable, and be out of debt within 60 months. Those creditors supporting the “Call to Action” are American Express, Bank of
America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, GE Money, HSBC Card Services, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

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Hypercom to Demo HyperSafe Secure at the ETA

Hypercom is demonstrating the “HyperSafe Secure” encryption solution at the
Electronic Transaction Association’s annual meeting and exposition in
Las Vegas. “HyperSafe Secure” incorporates state-of-the-art security
technology that
encrypts sensitive cardholder data before it leaves the terminal so the
data is never in the clear until it is securely decrypted at a trusted
point for authorization. “HyperSafe Secure” also uses the proven industry
standard “Triple DES” algorithm and offers clear advantages over
competitive products because data is decrypted without having to
purchase custom equipment and become locked into a proprietary solution.
“HyperSafe Secure” also leverages “MagnePrint” dynamic digital
authentication to detect counterfeit credit, debit, gift and ATM cards
at the point-of-sale and stop crime in real time.

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Xerox and Equitrac Partner for AutoPay

Xerox and Equitrac have created “AutoPay”, a self-payment solution for
Office Depot’s print customers. “AutoPay” allows customers to purchase
their prints directly from a Xerox
multifunction printer with the swipe of a credit card, store
purchasing card or gift card. The solution automatically estimates the
cost of the job, verifies there are sufficient funds on the card,
applies Office Depot Worklife Rewards loyalty points, and prints a
receipt when the job is complete. “AutoPay” works on Office Depot’s fleet
of Xerox WorkCentre 5655 and 7655 color MFPs across more than 1,100
stores in the U.S. The customized solution was made possible by
integrating “Xerox Secure Access Unified ID” system card readers and
Equitrac software for secure payments from the device.

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Card Powered Vending Machines to be Showcased

The National Automatic Merchandising Association is showcasing vending
machines that accept debit and credit cards during the annual Vending
Expo in Las Vegas. NAMA is the national trade association of the food
and refreshment vending, coffee
service and foodservice management industries including on-site,
commissary,catering, & mobile. Its membership is comprised of service
companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers of products and
services to operating service companies.

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WAY Systems and TNS Team for PIN Debit

MA-based WAY Systems has partnered with Transaction Network Services to
offer PIN debit via TNS’ “Synapse” wireless payment gateway.Synapse is
a wireless gateway and management solution providing services
for ISOs, acquirers, and processors to manage their wireless terminal
portfolios. Using a PCI DSS certified processing environment, it offers
a broad range of end-to-end services. The solution includes wireless
network access, account activation, fast, reliable, and secure
transaction delivery to most major processors, web-based merchant and
terminal management, customizable online reporting, and live 24×7
customer service. Since 2005,WAY Systems has utilized the Synapse
solution by TNS to
process credit card transactions over TNS’ secure global network. Once
implementation is complete, Synapse customers utilizing WAY terminal
devices will be able to process both debit and credit transactions over
the TNS payment gateway.

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Australian Card Debt Picks Up Slightly

CardFlash International reports that growth in credit card debt picked
up in February, adding A$800 million. Credit card volume also picked up
but remains 2.3% lower than one-year ago. Year-on-year credit card debt
growth has slowed to 4.8%, compared to 5% in the prior month and 10%
one-year ago. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia credit card
balances hit A$45.4 billion in February versus A$43.3 billion one-year
ago. Credit limits now stand at A$124.2 billion, compared to A$116.1
billion in February 2008. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia
there are currently 14.4 million credit card and charge card accounts in
Australia, compared to 14.0 million one-year ago.

CREDIT CARD HISTORICAL
(A$ billions)
MONTH BALANCES VOLUME
Jan 08: 42.3 17.1
Feb 08: 43.3 17.5
Mar 08: 43.0 17.1
Apr 08: 43.6 17.7
May 08: 44.0 18.3
Jun 08: 44.5 18.3
Jul 08: 44.4 19.0
Aug 08: 44.6 17.8
Sep 08: 44.6 19.2
Oct 08: 44.7 19.4
Nov 08: 45.3 17.6
Dec 08: 45.3 21.5
Jan 09: 44.6 16.6
Feb 09: 45.4 17.1
Source: Reserve Bank of Australia

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Bling Nation Community Payments Service Tested

CA-based Bling Nation has completed the beta test of its “Community
Payments Service” for a social networking client. Thirty-two employees
of the social networking organization were provided
with $50 prepaid “BlingTags” for use at participating merchants over a
10-day period. Of those 32 employees, the average number of
transactions completed per person was 3.9, with the average transaction
amount being $11.99. A survey Bling Nation conducted of the beta group
indicated that 100% of participants found both the activation
process and the first transaction to be easy with an additional 96% who
said they would continue to transact using the BlingTag if given the
opportunity. Through its “Community Payments Service”, Bling Nation
enables financial
institutions to more profitably support payments between their local
demand deposit account (DDA) customers and their merchant customers by
bypassing the current global debit payment model with an efficient,
cost-effective and local payment network.

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