Blackhawk Inks the MYPLASH Visa Prepaid Card

Blackhawk Network announced its exclusive partnership with Plastic Cash
International to distribute its “MYPLASH Visa Prepaid Card.” “MYPLASH”
joins over 300 retailers including the open-loop Visa prepaid cards on
Blackhawk’s “Gift Card Mall.” “MYPLASH” is currently available for
purchase at more than 1,550 Safeway stores in the United States under
the banners; Safeway, Vons, Pavillions, Dominicks, Randall’s, Tom Thumb,
and Genuardi’s & Carrs. MYPLASH cards can be reloaded at any of these
retail locations and online via direct deposit at www.myplash.com.
MYPLASH Visa Prepaid Cards can be used to make purchases where Visa
debit cards are accepted worldwide. The Blackhawk Network includes more
than 80,000 storefronts and reaches more than 165 million consumers each
week.

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JAN LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index declined 1.4% while the Coincident Economic Index increased 0.1% in January. The LEI for Korea fell sharply again in January, but its
monthly rate of declines in January and December were somewhat less
negative than that the previous two months. Three of the seven components that make up TCB’s LEI
increased in January. The positive contributors were the (inverted)
yield of government public bonds, value of machinery orders, and stock
prices. Negative contributors were real exports FOB, letter of credit arrivals, private construction orders, and the (inverted) index of inventories to
shipments. The six-month growth rate for the LEI has fallen
to -12.7% (about a -23.7% annual rate) from July 2008 to
January 2009, the lowest point since 1998 during the Asian financial
crises. In addition, the weaknesses among the LEI components have
remained widespread during the last six months. Despite the small gain, the CEI
continued to fall in the last six months, by 4.5% (a -8.7%
annual rate) from July 2008 to January 2009, well below the 2.8 percent
increase between January and July 2008. At the same time, real GDP
registered its sharpest decrease since 1998 — a 20.8% annual
rate of decline in the fourth quarter of 2008, resulting in a 3.0% average annual rate of decline for 2008.
Taken together, the
persistent and widespread deterioration in both composite economic
indexes suggest that the contraction in economic activity in Korea is
likely to continue through the first half of 2009. The LEI for Korea now stands
at 99.9 (2004=100).

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JAN CB

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.K. declined 0.4% percent in January to 93.1,
following a 0.7% fall in December and a 1.2% drop
in November. Consumer confidence, volume of expected output and order
book volume continued to make negative contributions to the index, more
than offsetting a positive contribution from the yield spread. The LEI has been declining for a year and
a half. The combination of the duration, depth and diffusion of the
decline has not been this severe since the recession in the early 1980s.
At the same time, The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
for the U.K., a measure of current economic activity, declined 0.1% in January, following a 0.1%
increase in December and a
0.2% decline in November. The CEI now stands at 103.7 (2004 = 100).

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PayPal is Revenue Expected to Hit $5B by 2011

eBay says PayPal is expected to significantly increase revenue to $4
billion to $5 billion, in 2011, up from $2.4 billion in 2008, driven by
continued penetration on eBay, strong growth off eBay through its
merchant services business and expansion into mobile and non-retail
payments. The company’s eBay “Marketplaces” business is expected to
achieve revenues of $5 billion to $7 billion, in 2011, with a continued
shift toward more fixed price sales, a smaller online auction business,
and more growth in other ecommerce formats such as classifieds and
advertising. To drive long-term incremental growth, eBay Marketplaces
also is more aggressively targeting the $500 billion global “secondary”
market, which includes liquidation, out of season, excess and off-price
inventory.

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wGiftCard Product Suite is Introduced

CA-based Transaction Wireless has released the “wGiftCard mobile platform.
Transaction Wireless’ mobile suite of products allow retailers to extend
their current gift card, loyalty, promotional and marketing programs to
the mobile phone, while creating new features and capabilities.
Consumers can now conveniently manage, track, buy and deliver gift cards
using virtually any carrier or handset and the mobile cards can be
customized and branded. The “wGiftCard” platform
provides a simple, easy solution for gift card activations, balance
inquiries, gifting among consumers, replacing stolen or lost cards,
redemption, reloading cards, storing, tracking and monitoring.
Transaction Wireless’ “wGiftCard” suite includes solutions for gift cards,
calling cards, coupons, loyalty programs, merchandise returns,
notification/reminders, and targeted promotions.

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ADT Unveils Anti-Skim ATM Security Solution

ADT Security Services has introduced the “ADT Anti-Skim ATM Security
Solution”.
ADT’s anti-skim solution is installed inside an ATM near the card
reader, making it invisible from the outside. The solution detects the
presence of foreign devices placed over or near an ATM card entry slot,
without disrupting the customer transaction or operation of most ATMs.
Also, the technology helps prevent card-skimming attempts by
interrupting the operation of an illegal card reader.The ADT Anti-Skim
ATM Security Solution helps protect the integrity of cardholders’
personal financial
information during ATM transactions and can trigger a silent alarm for
command center response and coordinate
video surveillance of all skimming activities. It requires no software
adjustments to the ATM, does not connect to
or affect the ATM communications network and has more than 40,000
successful ATM applications worldwide.
Prior to its North American introduction, the “ADT Anti-Skim ATM Security
Solution” was successfully field tested on dozens of ATMs of four major
U.S. financial institutions in controlled pilot programs. Testing pilots
yielded positive results, with no known skimming compromises occurring.

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Tranzact Information Service Rolls-Out 3-Screen

NJ-based customer acquisition solution provider Tranzact Information
Services has released the “3-Screen” credit pre-screening tool.
Tranzact Information Services houses prescreen information on over 200
million United States
consumers as an agent of all three major credit bureaus. Combined with
additional sources from demographic, property
and public record data, Tranzact Information Services provides one of
the nation’s largest repositories of U.S. consumer data with over 1,100
data points per consumer. Tranzact Information Services provides
information and insight to
clients and partners to help support their acquisition, cross-sell, and
retention marketing programs. Its data management platform provides the
tools necessary to enhance and deliver marketing data and scales to meet
any program requirement.

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INDENTITA & CARDXX

Cross platform access provider Identita and CardXX have been
engaged in extended negotiations to consummate an acquisition of CardXX
by Identita. Although current extraordinary economic conditions have
delayed negotiations, both companies are pleased to report that the
completion of the acquisition is now expected to occur very soon.
Identita is the worldwide leader in the high-volume production of
advanced smart cards and other embedded electronics devices, having
scaled and perfected CardXX’s patented Reaction Assisted Molded Process
(RAMP) technology, and look forward to continued growth and development.

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JCB PARTNER FORUM

JCB and JCB International (JCBI) will hold a “JCB Partner Forum” in
Beijing on March 12 and Shanghai on March 13 and have invited
approximately 200 representatives from 20 JCB partner financial
institutions and corporations across China to participate in the event.
At the forum JCB and JCBI will be sharing the expertise they have built
over more than 40 years
of experience in the payment industry to support partners in China in
enhancing their credit card
business, as well as creating a common understanding of the JCB brand
direction and strategy for
the future, further strengthening the partnership with JCB and JCBI.
In addition to detailing strategies for the credit card business in
China, sessions will be held in
three specific areas requested by JCB partners, including case studies
in Japan and the chance for
exchange of information and opinion between JCB and JCB partner
representatives. The outline of JCB Partner Forum includes:
JCB Brand Strategy/promotional strategy; guest speaker Feng Qingzhu of
CTR Market Research will discuss”Chinese Women’s Consumption Psychology
and Trends”; and area sessions that include card use promotions (point
programs, cardmember online shopping malls); making JCB the customer’s
main card (cardmember premiums and benefits) and credit management
(initial credit line, subsequent credit increases).

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NFC Mobile Transactions are Now Minimal

A new study has found that the value of mobile commerce transacted via
non-NFC (non-Near Field Communication) methods will total $1.6 billion
this year, while mobile commerce conducted via NFC will be minimal. ABI
Research says that the development of the NFC market has not met early
expectations. Demand for these services and related mobile money
services, such as banking, domestic person-to-person payments, and
international remittances is undeniable, although its drivers differ
around the world. Industrialized regions’ customers are becoming
comfortable with using their mobile phones for more than just
traditional communications. In the developing world, mobile money
services have promise as an alternative to scarce financial institutions
for money transfers, and as ways to reach the previously “unbanked.”

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NON-NFC

A new study has found that the value of mobile commerce transacted via non-NFC (non-Near Field Communication) methods will total $1.6 billion this year, while mobile commerce conducted via NFC will be minimal. ABI Research says that the development of the NFC market has not met early expectations. Demand for these services and related mobile money services, such as banking, domestic person-to-person payments, and international remittances is undeniable, although its drivers differ around the world. Industrialized regions’ customers are becoming comfortable with using their mobile phones for more than just traditional communications. In the developing world, mobile money services have promise as an alternative to scarce financial institutions for money transfers, and as ways to reach the previously “unbanked.”

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