HYPERWALLET

hyperWALLET announced the expansion of their global payment network into Israel. With the addition of Israel, hyperWALLET’s global financial network now reaches 40 countries worldwide and provides in-country clearing and settlement capabilities across North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central America and Africa. With the addition of Israeli shekels, hyperWALLET now supports transaction processing and payment distribution in 20 currencies. And with support for localization of website and application interfaces, hyperWALLET’s payment services can be readily launched in any of 7 languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Hebrew and Chinese.

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Credit Card ABS Faces Spread Compression

Among credit card-backed ABS the three-month average excess spread
increased to 5.80% in February from 5.43% for the prior month. The
improvement was largely driven by the exclusion this month of the low
reading from October, when the effect of last fall’s LIBOR dislocation
was realized. Excess spread would have been further compressed by a drop
in gross yield had it not been partially offset by lower trust funding
costs, driven by one-month LIBOR rates. Fitch expects an additional
100-200 basis points of compression in excess spread in the coming
months as charge-offs mount. Fitch also notes that on March 6th,
Citibank filed an 8-K specifying an additional 375 basis points of
credit enhancement and a variable discount option. The credit
enhancement could be either a subordinated note from the master trust or
the issuance trust that will take the first loss position or the
subordination of the seller’s interest in the master trust. A dynamic
discount option is effective March 1; it will be set at 1% initially and
will vary from month to month based on the levels of excess spread.
Citibank expects to put the credit enhancement into place by May 1, 2009.

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Gen Y Marketing Study is Released

Javelin Research has released a report that focuses on Marketing to Gen
Y. Gen Y is a digital generation that expects to
participate and lead conversations, not just be passive recipients.
Within ten short years, this group will be generating $2.77 trillion
dollars per annum. An examination of successful financial marketing
collateral rounds out this report. Marketing needs to meet Gen Y on
their own turf, via targeted online messaging, social networking, and
personalized mobile offerings.

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Gen Xers Stressed Over Card Debt

A new survey has found that “Generation Xers” (ages 27 to 42) are the most financially stressed generation for the second year in a row. The study commissioned by Scottrade also found that 52% of this group are “extremely” or “very” concerned about paying off credit card balances. Additionally, “Gen X” is the most worried that Social Security will run out (62%). The dual stresses of smaller savings and lack of confidence in Social Security are drivers of Gen X’s top financial concern: 64% are worried about not having enough money for retirement.

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Food City Deploys ACI’s Card Solutions

K-VA-T Food Stores, which runs the Food City chain, has implemented ACI “Retail Commerce Server” and the “Value Card Management” module for its gift card program. K-VA-T currently operates 102 retail food outlets in the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. In addition to its own branded cards, the new system enables Food City to offer third party cards through the Blackhawk prepaid and payments network. “Retail Commerce Server” and the “Value Card Management” module enables Food City to issue and manage its own pre-paid gift cards, as well as managing third-party cards. The system manages fixed or variable-value cards, and handles elements of card management, such as simply checking and changing balances, through order management of bulk purchases of cards for charitable organizations, to supporting loyalty programs or managing card end-of-life.

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Nokia Takes a $70MM Stake in Obopay

Nokia has decided to make a $70 million minority investment in Redwood City, CA-based Obopay. The service works on any phone and any carrier to empower consumers and businesses with the convenience of mobile payments. Obopay has also named Teppo Paavola, vice president and head of Corporate Business Development at Nokia, to its board of directors. Obopay says it will use the investment to aggressively extend its product suite and enhance its global presence. Obopay charges 25 cents to send any amount up to $1,000.

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BUSINESS PLATINUM

Amex Bank of Canada has launched the “Business Platinum Card from
American Express” which offers some of the most flexible rewards and
premium services for business owners including access to over 600
airport lounges worldwide; the “Companion Ticket” 2-for-1 travel
benefit; airport security priority through the Pearson Priority Lane;
personalized travel booking services through American Express
Travel Services, access to the American Express Business Travel
Management Program Accelerated earn rate of 1.25 points for every $1 in
purchases with the ability to instantly transfer points to Aeroplan at 1
point = 1 Aeroplan Mile and the annual fee of $399 can be tax-deductible.

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ICBC & AMEX

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and American Express Company have reaffirmed their strategic cooperative relationship and addressed plans for the potential sale of ICBC shares held by American Express. AmEx says that depending on market conditions the company may sell its ICBC shareholding at some point after the lock-up period, and will explore all potential methods of sale that would maximize value and minimize market impact, with a preference for a private sale to investors. Through a network partnership agreement, ICBC has been issuing AmEx branded consumer and commercial cards in China since 2004. By the end of 2008, the number of co-brand cards issued exceeded 600,000, and the total consumption amount exceeded RMB 10 billion. The companies plan to expand their cooperation in various areas including credit card products development, marketing, risk management, customer service, and staff training. ICBC is the largest wholesale and retail bank in China.

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GEMALTO E-ID

Gemalto has rolled out its “eID” solution that consists of a
dedicated eID card for children aged under 12 with specific features
intended to increase their security in emergency situations.
The size of a credit card, the new “Kids-ID” card features three main
functionalities. It acts as an electronic national ID
credential for Belgian children and also serves as an official travel
document in most European countries. It contains all necessary ID
information as well as the child’s photograph. This data is printed on
the card body and also securely stored in the microprocessor, protecting
the child in emergency situations. The “Kids-ID” card can be used on the
Internet for safer access to
online chat and for use of services that require identification.

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AmEx and ICBC Reaffirm Chinese Card Deal

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and American Express Company have reaffirmed their strategic cooperative relationship and addressed plans for the potential sale of ICBC shares held by American Express. AmEx says that depending on market conditions the company may sell its ICBC shareholding at some point after the lock-up period, and will explore all potential methods of sale that would maximize value and minimize market impact, with a preference for a private sale to investors. Through a network partnership agreement, ICBC has been issuing AmEx branded consumer and commercial cards in China since 2004. By the end of 2008, the number of co-brand cards issued exceeded 600,000, and the total consumption amount exceeded RMB 10 billion. The companies plan to expand their cooperation in various areas including credit card products development, marketing, risk management, customer service, and staff training. ICBC is the largest wholesale and retail bank in China.

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MOBICLEAR & NUCSOFT

Fraud prevention provider mobiclear has teamed with IT firm NUCSOFT to
offer the “Personal Identification Verification On-Time” (PIVOT) to
NUCSOFT’s clients. NUCSOFT will provide mobiclear’s “PIVOT”
security system to clients to ensure that its customers’ card
transactions are secure. There is also an agreement that mobiclear will
continue to develop and expand other ways of ensuring that the
electronic commerce products of NUCSOFT clients are free from
fraud or abuse.

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BEA PHASE II

Banking IT services provider Yucheng Technologies has announced “Phase
II” that expands the Bank of East Asia’s (BEA) personal e-banking
services. “Phase II” offers online bill
pay,scheduled fund transfers and fixed-term savings options, similar to
CDs, allow users to actively manage their use of savings products to
maximize
returns while meeting financial commitments and a preliminary mobile
payment system enabling users to send payments and
fund transfers to other BEA customers via text message. Yucheng is also
a leading
third-party provider of POS merchant acquiring services in partnership
with banks in China.

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