Card Delinquency Exceeds 4% in the U.K.

Delinquency among credit card-backed securities in the U.K. for
November hit it highest level since April 2007, however charge-offs fell
slightly. Following pressure from the government, credit card companies
in the U.K. have recently agreed to not increase interest rates in the
first 12 months of a card holder’s contract and also not to do so more
frequently than every six months after this initial period. On January
8th, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to cut the
bank base rate to 1.5%; a 50 basis point fall from the previous base
rate value of 2.0%, set on December 4th, and an all time low since the
bank was founded. The “Fitch Delinquency Index” (60 to 180 days)
increased 20 basis points for November to 4.1%. Only the Cumbernauld
trust reported a month-on-month fall in delinquencies. Having increased
by 30 basis points from August through October, the “Fitch Chargeoff
Index” declined 20 basis points in November to 6.4%. However, three of
the trusts included in the “Index” registered an uptick in charge-offs
from October. Fitch noted that the increasing delinquencies are a
reflection of the more difficult economic environment and expects this
to filter through to increases in charge-offs through 2009.

U.K. CREDIT CARD ABS
Delinquency Charge-Offs
Nov 07: 3.3% 6.3%
Dec 07: 3.4% 6.2%
Jan 08: 3.4% 6.2%
Feb 08: 3.5% 5.6%
Mar 08: 3.6% 6.6%
Apr 08: 3.6% 6.5%
May 08: 3.7% 6.4%
Jun 08: 3.7% 6.9%
Jul 08: 3.7% 6.5%
Aug 08: 3.7% 6.3%
Sep 08: 3.8% 6.6%
Oct 08: 3.9% 6.6%
Nov 08: 4.1% 6.4%
Source: FitchRatings

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Wireless Payment Awards Go Green

International CTIA WIRELESS 2009 is accepting submissions for the 4th
Annual “E-Tech” awards with a new “Green” category. The E-Tech Awards
will be judged online based on their innovation,
functionality, creativity, and vision. The judging process will be
handled by a panel of industry analysts, journalists and technology
experts. Categories for the 4th Annual E-Tech Awards include: 4G;
Enterprise & Vertical Market Solutions; Green; Mobile Applications &
Widgets; Mobile Consumer Electronics; Network Infrastructure;
In-Building/Local Area Network Solution and Wide Area Network. The
application deadline is February 20. Winners will be announced onsite
at the International CTIA WIRELESS at the Las Vegas Convention Center
on April 2, 2009.

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NXP & VDV

Semiconductor producer NXP’s SmartMX, a secure contactless
microcontroller chip has been selected by
the VDV-Kernapplikations GmbH & Co. KG to partner with card and
inlay-manufacturer Cardag to produce eight
million contactless cards to be issued throughout Germany by 2012.
NXP’s contactless microcontroller technology will be integrated in smart
cards created and personalized by Cardag, and is fully compliant with
the VDV-Kernapplikation (Core Application), the national data and
interface standard defined for contactless ticketing and automatic fare
collection in Germany. The development of the standard was driven by the
German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs to
ensure standardized electronic tickets in a range of formats such as
smart cards, bank cards and mobile devices would be fully interoperable
for use within public transport schemes throughout the country and
internationally. The SmartMX-powered electronic ticketing platform will
now be deployed
by transport companies throughout the country. The
aim of the scheme is to provide a single ticketing solution that will be
used across all nationwide transport networks.

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Mobile E-Wallets Get Waterproofed

Identity solution provider AuthenTec and partner NTT DOCOMO has released
the “Fujitsu F-01A” a fingerprint-enabled waterproof cell phone.
AuthenTec’s TouchStone is a durable, thin profile fingerprint sensor
packaging technology which expands aesthetic and product integration
options for makers of cell phones, laptop computers, and other consumer
electronics. “The F-01A” is based on a
Symbian operating system and features a 3.5-inch widescreen VGA
touchscreen display, 5.2 megapixel camera with Autofocus, built-in GPS
using Mobile Google Maps with Street View, e-Wallet mobile payment
capability, and a 1Seg mobile TV tuner. More than 9 million mobile
phones today include an AuthenTec sensor to enhance privacy by securing
the device’s personal and corporate data such as email and provide
advanced navigation and personalization functions and
support secure m-commerce.

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Sinking Economy Drives Malware Threats

New research points to continued exploitation of the financial crisis to scam users with fake financial transactions services. However, McAfee says spam traffic took a tremendous dive in volume last year when ISPs pulled the plug on spam host McColo, the source of up to 60% of worldwide spam. This year McAfee sees a continued shift in organizations, from passive support of law enforcement to an active role of working collaboratively with ISPs and global Internet entities such as ICANN. McAfee also says threats will continue to take evasive action against security measures. One example is the existence of single-use binary files, which are an attacker’s equivalent of a single-use credit card number used by consumers when shopping online. These binaries help to create a vast sea of threats, which will make it harder for victims to describe their assailants, and make it harder for defenders to catch them. Additionally, McAfee expects to see the continued expansion of malware in languages other than English.

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TranZfinity Hires a New Tech Chief

CA-based transaction solution provider TranZfinity has hired Senthil
Kanagaratnam, previously with Symbol, as its CTO. Kanagaratnam has had
progressive responsibility
managing engineering teams at companies such as Symbol, Motorola and
Hypercom, where he was the VP of Technology Architecture. At Symbol, he
managed the technical marketing group for Symbol’s POS and Kiosk
division, and was instrumental in growing the division’s revenue from
US$ 10 million to over US$ 35 million in one year. Most recently,
Kanagaratnam served in an engineering leadership role at Yahoo, where he
was responsible for managing advertising platforms. He holds a Bachelors
degree in Computer Science from the University of London.

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PASS MASTERCARD

Societe des Paiements PASS has inked a partnership to issue a MasterCard on February 11th. The new “PASS MasterCard” offers both debit and credit functionality as well as new contactless technology. Cardholders will also have an enhanced insurance package that extends guarantees up to five years for electrical-product purchases. Societe des Paiements PASS, which is Carrefour’s financial services’ subsidiary, will also offer a loyalty program with the new card. Existing Carrefour and PASS advantages include the doubling of some discount benefits for cardholders making at least one monthly purchase in a non-
Carrefour group merchant. The new “PASS MasterCard” is also one of the first in France to offer the MasterCard “PayPass” technology. Carrefour has 11 million customers in its current loyalty program. La Societe des Paiements PASS, which currently offers a Visa card, has 2.8 million cardholders, generating a total of 360 million transactions annually.

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ARM M&A Activity Tops $2 Billion in 08

Mergers and acquisitions in the debt collection and accounts receivable
management industry rose 18% last year, topping $2 billion.
According to Kaulkin Ginsberg, there were 36 deals that closed in 2008,
compared to 50 transactions in 2007. The year’s five major transactions
included NCO’s acquisition of Outsourcing Solutions for $325 million;
Investor AB purchase of 50% of Norwegian debt collection company
Lindorff Group, for $558 million; UK-based Exponent Private Equity
acquisition of Lowell Holdings, a British debt purchasing company, for
an estimated $394 million; and mortgage insurer MGIC Investment selling
its remaining stake in the largest U.S. debt purchasing firm, Sherman
Financial Group, to management for $209 million. Late in the fourth
quarter, United Recovery Systems, a credit card debt collection
specialist, was recapitalized by private equity company Audax
Group. For 2009 Kaulkin Ginsberg projects greater deal volume from
larger ARM companies acquiring smaller ones, and distressed ARM
companies being forced to sell or recapitalize their businesses.

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WINCOR NIXDORF Q4

Banking IT and POS solution provider Wincor Nixdorf AG experienced 7%
growth in net sales and an 8% increase in operating profit (EBITA). Net
sales generated by the company rose to 646
million euros in the first three months of the fiscal year (602 million
euros). Adjusted for the effects of exchange rates, net sales growth
amounted to 5% with EBITA climbing to EUR56 million euros.
The EBITA margin improved by 0.1 percentage points to 8.7%, while profit
for the period rose by 9% to 35 million euros. As in the past, growth
at Group level was driven mainly by the extremely
solid performance of its Banking segment, which expanded by 12%. Within
this area, net sales rose to 456 million from 406 million euros.
Retailing generated net sales of 190 million euros in the first three
months down 3% from 196 million euros.

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Obopay Introduces Donation Widgets

CA-based mobile payment provider Obopay has introduced three widgets to
help users donate and pay money quickly. Obopay’s cash gift widget is
ideal for those who prefer cash gifts for
weddings, birthdays or any gift-worthy event. For charitable and
community organizations, the
Obopay donation widget facilitates receipt of desperately needed
dollars. With Obopay’s payment widget, individuals selling items online
can accept payment for items with no hassle. Each of Obopay’s widgets
can be customized with specific amounts and
text and easily added to social networking profiles, blogs, or online
listings of any type.

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CAIXA GALICIA & DIGIPASS

VASCO Data Security International announced that the sixth largest
Spanish savings bank Caixa Galicia is securing its corporate customers
with VASCO’s “DIGIPASS” strong authentication solution together with the
“VACMAN Controller” core authentication platform. “VACMAN Controller” is
integrated in the online
platform of CECA, the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks. Caixa
Galicia is the first Spanish savings bank
that made the use of “DIGIPASS” 2-factor authentication obligatory for its corporate clients. Caixa Galicia
offers financial products and services to corporate customers through
their online banking application: Caixa Gestión and the savings bank
currently has 55,000 corporate customers who use Caixa Gestión for
advanced payments of invoices, financial transactions and credit card &
investment information.

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