POSTILION & FOSCHINI

Transaction processor eCentric Switch has taken The Foschini Group live
on a Postilion active/active high-availability payments platform.
The Group needed a reliable, scalable, and cost-effective retail
payments platform that could be integrated with their Electronic Point
of Sale (EPOS) terminals and provide value-added service capability.
Such a solution would ideally support their business objectives of
operational excellence, cost reduction, and profitable growth. This
payments solution also had to meet the requirements for an EMV-compliant
card payments system, as well as the criteria laid out by the PCI DSS
standard. eCentric Switch proposed the active/active, high-availability
Postilion solution for retailers, to which The Foschini Group agreed.
The Postilion architecture deployed for The Foschini Group aims to
achieve as close to 100% uptime as possible, ensuring that any single
point of failure in the system would have minimal impact on the Group’s
customers at the checkout points. The Foschini Group consists of 13
trading divisions dealing in lifestyle products ranging from fashion,
jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics, to outdoor apparel, sporting
equipment, and homeware.

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INTERAC & UIC

Electronic commerce solution provider UIC’s “PP790se” series has
received the Interac Association Chip PED Device Certification for use
within the Interac Direct Payment (IDP) network. The “PP790se” series
has also received PCI PED approval for secure PIN entry, and EMV Level 1
& 2 certifications for worldwide merchant markets. The “PP790se”
supports 6 different languages for global markets. UIC’s “PP790SE” is a
versatile payment PIN pad offering an integrated magnetic stripe and
smart card readers. A field upgrade for contactless payments is
available. The new certification from Canada’s leading electronic
payment exchange standards organization covers all “PP790se” models.

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Fujitsu Transaction Unveils GlobalSTORE v4

Fujitsu Transaction Solutions has released the newest version of
“GlobalSTORE 4.0” modular point-of-sale (POS) software. The updated
platform includes enhanced back-office capabilities that
leverage Microsoft’s Windows Communication Foundation and Windows
Presentation Foundation technologies, allowing retailers to easily add
and customize features like back-office and cash-management functions.
Additional features include enhanced training with The GlobalSTORE
Interactive Training System that allows users to view instructions and
interact with the back-office screens at the same time; GlobalSTORE’s
back-office interfaces are
fully touchable and don’t require the use of pointing devices to perform
complex administrative actions; a foreign language translation tool that
enables retailers to reduce the time and effort needed to meet multiple
language requirements for their operations and robust reporting
capabilities to create more than 55 standard reports, as well as
customized documents.

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NOV INDEX

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index declined 3.5% and The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index declined 1.7% in November. The leading economic index fell sharply again in November, the
largest monthly decline in more than ten years. All seven negative contributors were real exports
FOB, the (inverted) index of inventories to shipments, value of
machinery orders, letter of credit arrivals, private construction
orders, stock prices, and the (inverted) yield of government public bonds
The six-month growth rate for LEI fell to -10.0%
(about a -19.0% annual rate), well below the 6.3% decrease in the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses
among the leading indicators were very widespread as none of the
components made positive net contributions during the last six months.
The coincident economic index also fell sharply in November, due
to large declines in industrial production and the wholesale and retail
sales components. With November’s decline, this index of current
economic activity has fallen by 3.0% (a -5.9% annual rate)
from May to November, a sharp reversal from the 1.1% increase from November 2007 to May 2008. Moreover, the weaknesses
among the CEI components continued to be very widespread during the last
six months. At the same time, real GDP growth has slowed to a 2.1% annual rate in the third quarter of 2008, down from the 3.3%
average annual rate during the first half of 2008. the leading index now stands
at 103.7 (2004=100).

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NOV INDEX

The Conference Board Leading Economic
Index declined 1%, and The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index (CEI) remained unchanged in November.
The leading economic index has now fallen for more than a year,
as order book volume and the volume of expected output continued to make
very large negative contributions in November. Since May 2008, the LEI
has decreased 6.3%, about a -12.3% annual rate, well
below the 2.7% decline between
November 2007 and May 2008. In addition, the weaknesses among the
leading indicators continue to be very widespread. Three of the seven
components that make up the
leading economic index increased in November. The positive contributors
were yield spread, productivity for the whole economy and operating
surplus of corporations. The negative contributors were order book
volume, volume of expected output, consumer confidence, and stock
prices. The leading economic index has been declining since October of
2007, and in recent months the pace of this decline has picked up
sharply and its six month growth rate has reached its lowest point since
1980. The coincident economic index has declined slightly since May. The
accelerating and widespread decline in LEI suggests that the economy
will remain weak in the near term, and that the contraction in economic
activity is likely to become deeper. The leading economic index
now stands at 94.4 (2004=100)

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ZERO LIABILITY

Visa has expanded its “Zero Liability”
program to include Visa Business cards issued by Canadian
financial institutions. Visa’s “Zero Liability” policy protects business
cardholders against fraud exactly the same way as it protects personal
cardholders. “Zero Liability” means that business cardholders who have
been victims of credit card
fraud, including unauthorized transactions made via telephone or on the
internet, do not pay for fraudulent transactions. “Zero Liability” does
not apply to transactions with Visa Corporate or Visa Purchasing cards.
Personal Visa cardholders, including those who have been issued a Visa
chip and PIN card, from Canadian-issued financial institutions will
continue to be protected by the “Zero Liability” policy.

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MasterCard Aims to Dispel Interchange Myths

MasterCard has released a paper entitled “Benefits of Open Payment Systems and the Role of Interchange.” The network says few people ever stop to consider the complex and sophisticated
system that allows transactions to occur within seconds, almost anywhere in the world. If electronic payments came to a sudden halt, many
facets of commerce would face dire consequences. The MasterCard paper is aimed at dispelling misperceptions about payment systems and explains the tremendous economic value that electronic payments bring to the
economy as a whole and their role in advancing commerce. Available online MasterCard also offers documents such as “Interchange Backgrounder”; “Interchange Facts and Myths;”; “Interchange Rates”; plus much more.

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HYPERCOM EXEC

Hypercom has appointed Ulf Honick as Vice President, Healthcare. He will be
responsible for driving sales and extending globally the Company’s
footprint in the fast growing healthcare sector. Honick has more than 10 years of international experience in the
healthcare and IT sectors and joins Hypercom from Siemens AG’s Healthcare Sector, where he
served for the past four years as Director of Business Management and
Sales. Honick developed and implemented country specific solution
strategies and sales within the company’s Medical Solutions and other
Siemens divisions and Siemens affiliates and served as Executive Director for global Key Account
Management with Guardeonic Solutions AG and Steering Board Member with
MediaSec Technologies. Honick holds a Master of Engineering in Computer Science from the
University of Paderborn in Germany.

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CardPartner Offers the Hale House Visa

Affinity card marketer CardPartner has teamed with NY-based Hale House
to offer the “Hale House Visa” that earns $50 each time a card is
activated. Hale House also receives an ongoing share of the monthly
charge volume. Funds help Hale House operate an early childhood learning
center and a transitional housing program. The launch of the Hale House
card follows the recent New York debut of
the Gilda’s Club NYC Visa card. More than 115 other nonprofits and small
groups have launched a CardPartner Visa credit card program since early
2008. Nonprofit Hale House Center delivers child-centered,
family-focused programs, including a learning center for children ages
six weeks to five years and a transitional housing program for single
parent families. New York-based CardPartner is a unit of the privately
held Serverside Group. CardPartner affinity credit cards are issued by
UMB Financial Corporation.

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Retail Cards Stagnate and Face Higher Losses

A new study has found that the U.S. private-label credit card market
contracted by four percent last year and is likely to grow outstandings
a mere 50 basis points in 2009. At the same time, issuers of store and
gas credit cards are facing rapidly deteriorating cardholder performance
as charge-offs have soared by more than 40% and delinquency by nearly
24%. An annual report issued by market researcher Packaged Facts
estimates that receivables for the private-label credit card market
declined to $109 billion in 2008, compared to $114 billion for 2007. In
2007, only 11 private-label credit card issuers had receivables greater
than $100 million, down from 17 in 2004 and 27 in 2001. Further, only
three banks had receivables of more than $10 billion in 2007. Packaged
Facts says this massive concentration at the top of the list is the
result of years of ongoing acquisitions and consolidation in the
industry, leaving the top three private-label credit card issuers in
control of roughly three-quarters of total private-label receivables.
Meanwhile, the latest ABS “Credit Card Index” results from Fitch Ratings
shows 60+ day delinquencies hit 4.5% and charge-offs hit 9.1% at
mid-year 2008 for retail or private label credit cards. Fitch expects
charge-offs to exceed 12% in first half 2009. Contributing to the
performance erosion is that private-label portfolios have a greater
proportion of lower quality borrowers and higher base interest rates.
(CF Library 12/12/08)

RETAIL CARDS OUTSTANDINGS
2005: $104 billion
2006: $111 billion
2007: $114 billion
2008: $109 billion
2009: $110 billion
Source: Packaged Facts & CardData.com

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Card Acceptance Spreads to Boston Taxis

Credit card acceptance among U.S. taxi companies is gaining traction.
Creative Mobile Technologies has signed a deal with Boston Cab Dispatch to
install a self-swipe credit card payment system as well as
multi-channel, interactive media screens and additional technologies.
Boston Cab Dispatch has about 500 member taxis comprising over 25% of
the Boston taxi industry. The City of Boston has mandated rear-seat
credit card acceptance by April. This is the second major American taxi
company in less than three months to announce the implementation of
CMT’s state-of-the-art taxi technology. In October 2008, CMT struck a
similar deal with Chicago’s “Yellow,” “Checker” and “Blue Diamond”
family of 2,600 taxicabs. CMT is currently operating in more than 5,500
New York City taxicabs.

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Givex Prepaid SAP Business One Certified

Closed loop giftcard provider Givex has been certified with “SAP
Business One” through Navigator. With this integration,
merchants using Navigator’s Retail One Solution for SAP Business One
will now have the ability to operate their own gift card programs using
Givex and run customer retention programs as well.
Designed specifically to integrate all aspects of customer and vendor
management for small and medium-sized businesses, SAP Business One is an
enterprise solution that benefits over 20,000 companies worldwide. In
addition to gift cards, Givex also provides other solutions for all
aspects of a merchant’s business including: loyalty cards, e-gift
certificates, frequency cards, returns cards, employee incentives,
expense accounts, promotional cards and coupons.

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