ASIAPAY & CHINAPAY

Payment solution provider AsiaPay Limited has entered
cooperation agreement with ChinaPay to enable AsiaPay’s merchants in
Asia to readily collect online real-time payment from Chinese consumers.
Merchants can
readily enjoy real-time payment authorisation service of the CUP card,
as well as the local payment settlement and various integrated reporting
as well as fraud monitoring facilities. And. the service supports 4
processing settlement currencies, i.e. HKD, USD, EURO and JPY. This
cooperation also facilitates online consumers in China to
enjoy the convenient online purchase of goods and services of merchants
in Asia in their own currency using their payment accounts in China.
ChinaPay, the online payment subsidiary of China
UnionPay, is a government-backed, cross-bank bankcard information switch
network and professional internet payment service provider.

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SMART CARD FORECAST

Research and Markets is now offering the “Smart Card Market Forecast to
2012” report which studies the global smart card industry by segmenting
it into Americas, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific.
It helps in analyzing the current performance and future outlook of the
smart card industry. The countries covered in the report are decided on
the basis of existing
opportunities that could lead to the growth for smart cards. Country
level profiling provides prudent analysis of the smart card projects
which are under consideration in a particular country across various
application sectors.

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JAN LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.1% and The
Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) decreased 0.2% in
January. Two of the seven components that make up the LEI increased in
January. The positive
contributors are industrial new orders and the yield spread. The
negative contributors are the (inverted) new unemployment claims,
building permits (residential), the stock price index, and the ratio of
the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for
manufacturing. Production expectations remained unchanged in January.
Between July 2008 and January 2009, The Conference Board LEI
for France declined 4.9% (a -9.6% annual rate), well below
the 2.1% decline (a -4.2% annual rate) during the previous
six-month period. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading
indicators remained widespread in recent months.
The Conference Board LEI for France now stands at 101.0 (2004=100).

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ELAN & VISA

Elan Financial Services has contracted with the Government of Canada to
provide Visa acquisition cards. Visa acquisition cards offer a variety
of features to cardholders. Accepted everywhere Visa credit cards are
accepted, Visa acquisition cards can
help prevent fraud and misuse as well as streamline the purchase and
accounting process by reducing purchase orders, invoices, and cheques;
improve management reporting, including grouping and analyzing spending
in multiple views, through data consolidation; use spending data for
strategic sourcing to negotiate supplier and volume discounts; and gain
access to state-of-the-art management reports to assist with tax
reporting requirements. Elan is a division of U.S. Bank National
Association and a Schedule 3
bank and manages more than 1,800
commercial card relationships spending in excess of CDN $2.2 billion
annually.

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GBC & HYPERCOM

Hypercom Corporation announced that payment provider GIRO Bankkártya Zr,
and a
subsidiary of SIA-SSB, has selected Hypercom’s “Optimum T4200” card
payment terminals to expand electronic payments in Hungary and other
Central and Eastern European countries including Romania, Croatia,
Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. GBC and the SIA-SSB Group is
the leading provider of payment and processing
systems in Hungary, offering multibank services for bankcard issuing and
acquirer banks, savings co-operatives, health care funds, electronic
voucher issuers and other enterprises. Currently managing a network of
1,550 ATM terminals and 17,000 point of sale terminals, and performing
authorization services for 2 million bankcards, GBC processes
approximately 96 million transactions annually.

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Mint.com Signs its One Millionth User

Personal finance service Mint has welcomed its one millionth user. This
milestone coincides with Mint.com’s participation in
the innovative South by Southwest Interactive conference (SXSW).
Mint.com is the nation’s leading online personal finance service,
providing 1 million users a fresh, easy and intelligent approach to
money management. And it’s free. Mint is tracking over $50 billion in
transactions, $15 billion in assets and has identified more than $100
million in potential savings for its users. Designed to be effortless,
Mint.com takes less than five minutes to set
up. Users register anonymously using only a valid email address. Mint
then does the rest, securely downloading transaction data from more than
7,500 bank, credit card and investment accounts on a daily basis. Users
never need to import or synch their data. Mint applies patent-pending
technology and proprietary algorithms to categorize transactions;
provide a unified view of all account activity; alert users to low
balances, bank fees, upcoming bills, and even potentially suspicious
account activity; and give users personalized suggestions for
significant savings opportunities. Mint is tracking over $50 billion in
transactions, $15 billion in assets
and has already identified more than $100 million in potential savings
for its users. Each user can monitor their total net worth, virtually
real time at www.mint.com, from any mobile phone (by texting shortcode
MyMint [696468]), or by using Mint.com’s iPhone application – rated #1
in the Finance category in iTunes on the day of its launch.

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AEROMEXICO VISA

U.S. Bank has unveiled the “AeroMexico Visa” and “AeroMexico
Visa Signature”. Customers can earn “AeroMexico Club Premier Miles”
for all their purchases. Miles can be redeemed for travel from 16 U.S.
airports served by AeroMexico to more than 40 destinations in Mexico as
well as other popular international destinations, including Buenos
Aires, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Shanghai, in the
airline’s global flight network. Additionally, AeroMexico’s
participation in the SkyTeam global airline alliance facilitates travel
to hundreds of other destinations around the world. New “AeroMexico Visa” cardholders can get on the fast track to award travel with up to 20,000 bonus miles (for “AeroMexico Visa Signature” cardholders) and a “Complimentary Companion Ticket” upon enrollment as well as discounted Web airfare purchases and double miles on AeroMexico ticket purchases using the card.

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Value Payment Systems Offers a Tax Option

TN-based Value Payment Systems has released the “BullseyeTax e-file and e-pay service”
that allows taxpayers to pay their federal taxes with a
credit card, debit card or Bill Me Later account. Taxpayers can pay the
IRS using a “Visa”,
“STAR” or “Pulse” debit card for a convenience fee of only $3.89 or with a
“Visa”, “MasterCard” or “Discover” credit card or “Bill Me Later” account
for only 2.25%. Value Payment Systems’ is the only organization that is an Authorized
E-File Provider, a Registered IRS E-File and E-Pay Service Provider and
owns and manages its own proprietary payment gateway for federal and
state tax payment processing. In an effort to continue to lower costs to the taxpayer and reduce the
expense required to manually process tax returns for the government,
BullseyeTax also allows taxpayers to prepare and e-file their 1040EZ tax
return and Form 4868 tax extension for free when they pay their federal
taxes with a credit card, debit card or Bill Me Later account. As an
added benefit, taxpayers who pay and e-file their tax extension through
BullseyeTax will automatically be eligible for a 6-month extension to
file their federal tax returns.

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February Retail Sales Pick-Up Surprisingly

Beating analysts’ expectations for a second straight month, February
retail sales showed surprising growth. According to the National Retail
Federation, retail industry sales for February (which exclude
automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 60 basis points
seasonally adjusted from January and decreased 5.0% unadjusted over last
year. Retail industry sales for January were revised up from 50 basis
points to 1.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month. While year-over-year
comparisons look grim, month-to-month sales growth was a nice surprise
for retailers. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores grew 0.7%
seasonally adjusted from January but decreased 14.8% unadjusted over
last year. Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 1.2%
seasonally adjusted month-to-month but decreased 4.9% unadjusted
year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales rose a
solid 2.8% seasonally adjusted from last month but decreased 6.5%
unadjusted from 2008.

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Alliance Data Systems Charge-Offs Moderate

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems reports that total managed credit
losses in the Private Label Credit segment averaged 8.5% for the $4.3
billion portfolio in February, an decrease of 40 basis points from
January. The Company previously reported that delinquencies were in the
mid-6% range. Alliance Data also noted that the traditional lower Master
Trust to total managed loss spread no longer holds. Therefore, the
Company will provide a more relevant total managed loss rate each month
until the traditional relationship returns. Specifically, the Master
Trust tended to post loss rates 40-50 basis points below the Company’s
total managed loss rate. The loss rate for January averaged 9.3% in the
Master Trust, covering $3.4 billion in receivables, thus reversing its
historical relationship to the total managed file. For complete details
on Alliance Data Systems’ fourth quarter performance, visit CardData
(www.carddata.com).

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Granite Payment Alliance Offers Cause Marketing

GA-based merchant processor Granite Payment Alliance has launched a “Cause
Marketing” product designed to collect unused gift card balances.
This program allows community banks to support local charities or fund
raising organizations of their choice by raising funds without investing
any money. In 2007 gift card sales topped $100 billion of which $9
billion was left unspent. GPA gives community banks and their charities
the opportunity to collect the unused portion on those cards for a good
cause. GPA will provide the patented NBA-E collection program as a turnkey
solution, complete with marketing collateral, mailers, posters, tent
cards and statement inserts. A marketing representative will work with
the bank and the charities of choice to develop a targeted marketing
program that will allow them to maximize the collection effort.
Once the program is implemented, collection of the “partially used” gift
cards is accomplished through drop boxes in the branches, at the charity
sites or at local retailers who wish to participate. In addition GPA
co-ordinates with the bank to establish a landing web-page on the NBA-E
web-site, with their name, logo and their customized introduction that
will allow donors to make on-line donations in less than 5 minutes.

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