Profit Technologies Adds Two Execs

Profit Technologies has hired Larry Pruss, previously with BoA, as
Managing Director for the Loans and Credit Card practice, and Gautam
Bose, previously with Wachovia, as Managing Director for Analytics.
Pruss served as Card Services Portfolio Analytics and Testing Executive
at Bank of America and his executive leadership
experience includes analytic, portfolio acquisition, and loyalty
marketing organizations. He has a proven track record of working across
functional silos; driving growth, reducing risk, improving operating
efficiencies, and increasing profitability. Bose served as the Business
Insight Executive at Wachovia Card and Payments Group. He also has
leadership experience in Marketing and Risk analytics and in Predictive
Model Development and Implementation. His initial role with Profit
Technologies will be to develop innovative analytical engagements with
clients globally. Profit Technologies provides specialized
profitability and performance improvement solutions to enterprises
worldwide, producing
over $12 billion in enhanced revenue and cost reduction benefits for its
clients.

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VENTURE INFOTEK & RBNQ

Transaction management company Venture Infotek has been
declared the winner of the prestigious IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National
Quality (RBNQ) Award Program ’08 in the Small Business category. Venture Infotek manages payment card and other transactions emanating from over 140,000 merchant locations in India, and managed card issuing programs for over 5,000,000 cards. Last year Venture Infotek processed 150 Mn transactions and commerce of Rs. 35,000 Cr.

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Socialwise Prepaid Debit Card Coming

Prepaid card solution provider TransCard has teamed with CA-based
Socialwise to offer a prepaid debit card to be used for online gift
giving. TransCard has developed a turnkey card program for Socialwise,
complete with total platform integration with their internal systems.
Along with using TransCard’s technology to perform back-end functions,
Socialwise and TransCard will offer a Socialwise-branded prepaid debit
card. Socialwise is changing the face of the gift-giving industry with
unique online applications such as “BillMyParents”, which allows parents
to safeguard their children’s purchases, and “Gimme!”, a way to organize
group gifting through donating to select gift cards. With the
Socialwise Group Gifting Platform, multiple people can contribute to
online purchases. TransCard handles nearly $2 billion in
electronic transactions annually.

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MOBICLEAR PIVOT

mobiclear has introduced a personal identification verification
technology branded under the name “PIVOT” to emphasize that it provides
“Personal Identification Verification On – Time.” The enhanced
technology is intended for use in relatively small local functions as
well as major, international applications. “PIVOT” significantly enhances the security of transactions since it provides “out of channel authentication,” or “ooca,” otherwise known as “out of band authentication,” or “ooba” using two independent communication channels. “OOCA/OOBA” is more secure than the traditional “two factor authentication” using a simple token, that still traverses the single channel of the personal computer.

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Next Gen Embedded Thermal Printers Debuted

New low-voltage direct thermal printer mechanisms for mobile POS
devices have been introduced by Seiko Instruments USA. The new “LTPD”
and “CAPD” embedded printers are 2″ and 3″ and offer accelerated
transaction performance, lower end-user downtime and operating
costs. All mechanisms benefit from a new angled paper guide that
shortens the distance between the printer and the paper roll,
effectively reducing overall design depth. The flexible print circuit,
connecting the mechanism to the PCB, is also redesigned with a smaller,
0.5mm pitch and a framed ground line that protects against electrostatic
discharge, without extra wiring. Fixing points are now housed
within the footprint of each printer, enabling mechanisms to mount flush
with the chassis of the OEM device. The 2″ print width mechanisms now
delivers 100 mm/sec print speeds and 3″ print width models offer 80
mm/sec. Printer drivers are available for Microsoft “Windows XP,”
Microsoft “Windows Vista,” “OPOS,” and “Linux” operating systems.

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MOBILE VIRTUAL STORE

Airline on-board retailer GuestLogix has upgraded its “Mobile
Virtual Store” POS software and met PCI DSS mandates. Now running on the Microsoft “Windows CE” platform, the software features a “I-phone” type of user interface to enable flight attendants to service transactions with a touch interface. The “Mobile Virtual Store” POS Software offers multiple interface layers that can be configured in any language to the type of operation and business environment. For example, the POS features can be configured for short or long flights, cashless or multiple payment environments. The “Payment” functions can be configured to support any forms of payment and currency, including Chip & PIN or electronic signature linked to amount thresholds per currency to minimize risk. The “Data Transmission” function encrypts sensitive data as per PCI DSS methods and uses secure transmission protocols for packet data distribution over cellular and WiFi networks. The POS software is linked to web-based applications: the “POS Manager” which handles the POS software administration and updates, configuration, security, transmission and integration functions; and, the “Asset Manager” which provides device and parts management and tracking along with repairs.

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Discover’s PULSE Inks Two WI Clients

ATM and debit network Pulse has entered into participation agreements
with WI-based Park Bank and Altra FCU. Park Bank, with PULSE since
2002, will continue to use PULSE
for ATM and PIN debit network services, as well as for PULSE Debit
Solutions® signature debit processing. Park Bank is an $800 million bank
with 11 branch locations in the Madison area. Altra Federal Credit
Union, with PULSE since 2005, will use
PULSE exclusively for PIN debit transactions. Altra is a $625 million
credit union with 14 branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas,
Kentucky, Arkansas, Colorado and New Jersey.

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M-BANKING

A new report from Pyramid Research, “Mobile Financial Services in
Africa: The Business Case for Operators and Banks” reviews and analyzes mobile financial services offerings in African markets, looks at drivers and obstacles to mobile financial services, breaks down business models to assess their true bottom-line impact, and provides market projections based on intrinsic market dynamics. Historically, mobile financial services in Africa have been driven by banks providing additional services and convenience to their client base, which tend to be urban and with a certain income level. This leaves a significant opportunity to provide financial services to the “unbanked” across the continent, which typically make up between 75% and 95% of the population, and mobile operators have the infrastructure and distribution networks to reach such segments efficiently. The report includes analysis and forecasts for the three primary segments within mobile finance which include payments, transfers, and banking services.

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Wells Fargo Charge-Offs and Delinquency Up

Driven by its recent Wachovia acquisition, Wells Fargo credit card outstandings rose 26% to $23.56 billion, compared to the year ago quarter. Wells Fargo also reports that credit card charge-offs increased $90 million in the fourth quarter to $451 million. Card fees income was flat year-on-year at $589 million and down from Q3’s $601 million. Fourth quarter credit card charge-offs, as a percentage of average credit card loans card, hit 8.69%, compared to 7.20% for 4Q/07. Delinquency (90+days), based on average credit card loans, rose to 3.3% for 4Q/08, compared to 2.5% in the prior quarter and 2.3% for 4Q/07. Wells says the increases in delinquency and loss levels in the consumer unsecured loan portfolios were directly impacted by employment levels. At the end of the fourth quarter outstandings were $23.56 billion, compared to $20.36 billion in the third quarter and $18.76 billion in the year ago fourth quarter. For complete details on Wells Fargo’s latest performance visit CardData [www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com).

WELLS FARGO CARD LOANS
4Q/07: $18,762,000,000
1Q/08: $18,677,000,000
2Q/08: $19,429,000,000
3Q/08: $20,358,000,000
4Q/08: $23,555,000,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Heartland Payment Enlists Elefant for Security

Following a recent security breach, NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems
has formed an internal department dedicated exclusively to the
development of end-to-end encryption to protect merchant and consumer
data used in financial transactions. The new department will be headed
by Steven Elefant, co-founder and former chief executive officer of
ICVerify and a member of the US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task
Force and Infragard. Last week, Heartland confirmed it was the victim of
a security breach within its processing system last year. The intrusion
was discovered this month, but the processor believes it is contained.
No merchant data or cardholder SSNs, unencrypted PIN, addresses or
telephone numbers were involved in the breach. Nor were any of
Heartland’s check management systems; Canadian, payroll, campus
solutions or micropayments operations; “Give Something Back Network”; or
the recently acquired Network Services and Chockstone processing
platforms. (CF Library 1/21/09)

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NACHA Board Names a New Chairperson

The Board of Directors of NACHA — The Electronic
Payments Association has elected Marcie J. Haitema, currently EVP of
correspondent services at U.S. Central, as the chairperson of NACHA’s
Board of Directors; Steve Ellis, EVP at Wells Fargo as vice chairperson
and Michael A. Bilski, EVP, North American Banking Company as
secretary/treasurer. With 22 years of diverse financial services
experience, Haitema’s credentials
include service on numerous NACHA committees, including the finance and
strategy committees. At U.S. Central, Haitema oversees the
correspondent services division, which includes payment and technology
services, member support and related
operations and manages several key areas, including ACH,
securities safekeeping, automated settlement, international services and
core financial data processing. Ellis is executive vice president and
head of the wholesale services group at Wells Fargo with
responsibility for enterprise payment strategies, health benefit
services, technology services, and treasury management products and
services. Bilski is a founder, director and president of N.A.
Corporation, a bank holding company, and
serves as director and executive vice president of North American
Banking Company, a Minnesota-based community bank.

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Consumer Confidence Remains at Historic Lows

The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index” inched lower in
January and continues to be at a historic low. The “Index” now stands at
37.7, down from 38.6 in December. It appears that consumers have begun
2009 with the same degree of pessimism that they exhibited in the
fourth quarter. Consumers saying business conditions are “bad” increased
to 47.9% from 45.8%, while those saying business conditions are “good”
declined to 6.4% from 7.7% last month. Those expecting business
conditions to worsen over the next six months decreased slightly to
31.1% from 32.9%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market, however,
was slightly more positive. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged
down to 41.1% from 41.5% in December, while those stating jobs are
“plentiful” edged up to 7.2% from 6.5%.

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