Goozex Cards Access Video Game Library

MD-based Goozex has released new gift cards for the video gamer. Goozex
Gift Cards are sold in several different Goozex points and tradecredit
combinations. Goozex points are the virtual currency used on the game
trading site
and trade credits are the fees paid to receive games. The cards are
given to
recipients either electronically via email or can be printed. Gift card
values range from $5.00 to $270.00. Goozex.com is the leading video
game trading service
based on an automated point system. Games are assigned a point value
based on several
factors including supply and demand, and users earn points when trading
their games with other users. Points can then be redeemed for other
video games. The
system offers its users a fair market value for their games and
guarantees all
trades. On average, members can save $16.50 per game trade as compared to
traditional used game retail stores.

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Lower Gas Prices Offset Higher Food Prices

Survey results from retail analytics frim Precima indicate that 48% of
respondents are spending gas savings on groceries,
42% are saving and 37% are buying holiday gifts. Another 30% is using
the lowered gas prices toward the pay down of credit cards.
Among those survey respondents who said they’ve suffered a direct financial
loss during the recession, 55% said they’re spending gas savings on
groceries, and for those whose annual income is under $35,000 the number
is 59%. Conversely, 34% of retirees said they’re spending gas savings on
groceries. The number fell to 29% for those whose annual income exceeds
$100,000. In another significant finding from the survey, nearly
two-thirds of
respondents said the recession is changing the way they plan their
grocery trips, particularly in regards to pantry-loading, with
27% of consumers stating they can no longer afford to stock up on food and
now buy only what they need week to week and another 35% said they stock up
more than they used to, but only when items are on sale. Of the 65% of
respondents who said their stocking habits have changed,
5% said they stock up more, 54% said they stock up only when items are
on sale, and 41% no longer stock up at all.

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CyberMonday.com Supports the Greenly Fund

Shop.org.’s website CyberMonday.com has raised $400,000 for the “Ray
M.Greenly Scholarship Fund”. The Scholarship Fund was established to provide
financial support to students pursuing careers in the e-commerce
industry and commemorates the life of Ray Greenly, a valued online
retail industry veteran who passed away in 2005. Ray served as the Vice
President of Research and Member Services of Shop.org for almost seven
years and was responsible for the management of The State of Retailing
Online, and Shop.org’s membership. According to Mall Networks, which powers the website, shoppers have
spent more than $12 million through CyberMonday.com this holiday season
and more than $23 million since the website was launched in November
2006. The website had 2.4 million unique visitors on Cyber Monday alone,
up from 1.5 million on Cyber Monday 2007.
Shop.org’s 700 members include the 10 largest retailers in the U.S. and
more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers.

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HOLIDAY SPENDING

Payment processor Paymark reports that New Zealanders have spent a
total of $1.76 billion across the network in the first two weeks of the
month, up just 1.7 percent compared to the same fortnight in 2007.
Paymark has processed more than 33 million transactions during the month
to date, which is up 6.7% on last year. Paymark processes more than
three quarters of all in store electronic
transactions in New Zealand. Last year Kiwis spent more than $4 billion
through the Paymark network in the weeks before Christmas. Paymark will
be working hard to ensure these transactions are processed as smoothly
and efficiently as possible.

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SAGEM ORGA & ORANGE

Smart card expert Sagem Orga and telecomm provider Orange have developed
a NFC Single Wire Protocol
enabled SIM card. The card can be used for any application in
transport, payment or
loyalty programs. For transportation the solution is based on Calypso
technology, which includes interoperability through a Java applet, and
can be administered completely through GlobalPlatform mechanisms such as
Secure Channel Protocol and a major global payment application
has been successfully loaded and tested for payment.
The Single Wire Protocol is a new interface that defines the
communication of a Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) with a Near
Field Communication chip in the handset.

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EPAY EXECS

E-payment provider Euronet Worldwide announced the appointment of Tony Westlake as COO
of the Prepaid segment and the addition of Nicholas
L.A. Kennett as managing director of e-pay, Euronet’s prepaid subsidiary.
As chief operating officer for the Company’s Prepaid segment, Westlake
will retain his current financial responsibilities and will also assume
responsibility for the operational activities of Euronet’s global
prepaid operations. Westlake is a member of the Securities Institute, a fellow of the ICAEW and holds a
Master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University. Kennett will be
responsible for managing the growth and profitability of e-pay U.K.
prepaid operations. Prior to joining Euronet, Kennett was general manager and senior vice
president of strategic business development at Visa Asia-Pacific. He was
responsible for developing the corporate and regional strategy for Visa
Asia-Pacific, which included playing a key role in the inter-regional
negotiations that established Visa Inc. He was also accountable for
developing Visa’s strategy for key Asian markets as well as being
accountable for processing, acceptance, interchange and consulting
support. Also, Kennett held a director position on the MasterCard
International Asia-Pacific and the MasterCard Global Debit/Maestro
Boards from 2000-2003. Kennett holds a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in economics, history and politics and
a Master of Business Administration in international business and
finance from CASS Business School, London.
Euronet’s prepaid processing network is
approximately 409,000 point-of-sale terminals across approximately
212,000 retailer locations in 14 countries.

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LAKS & ABNOTE

Mellon Poland has partnered with Citi Handlowy to offer contact center
services and telemarketing support.
Mellon Poland will support the bank to reach potential clients with the
offer of new affinity credit card and the
technologically advanced contact-centre infrastructure, highly skilled
personnel and best practices, create a powerful promotional tool that
will allow for the same high acceptance rates until the end of the campaign.
Bank Handlowy w Warszawie S.A. is one of the major financial
institutions in Poland and offers under the Citi Handlowy brand a broad
range of state-of-the-art products in corporate, investment and consumer
banking. Through its modern distribution channels and a network of over
200 branches, Bank Handlowy services 20,000 corporate customers and
800,000 individual ones.

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CRFA & PM

The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA) strongly supports Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s
recommendation to the Prime Minister to limit credit and debit processing
fees and called on the government to provide oversight of the fees
that credit card companies are charging merchants. Every time a restaurant
operator accepts payment via credit card, the banks and credit card
companies charge the restaurant a processing fee. While other countries
have taken measures to regulate these fees,
Canada has yet to do so and merchants pay among the highest
interchange fees in the world. Government intervention would provide
much-needed benefit
to all sectors of the economy that accept payment by credit card.

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DISNEY JCB

The first naira denominated internationally functional Visa cards have been introduced. Lagos-based Diamond Bank has launched a “Classic,” “Gold” and “Platinum” Visa card that employs the EMV application and will soon offer “Verified by Visa.” The credit cards are also linked to the bank’s “Diamond Gems Reward” program. The bank’s first partner under the rewards program is Virgin Nigeria, the flag carrying Nigerian airline. “Diamond Gem Reward” points can also be converted to “Virgin Nigeria Eagle Flier” points on a one for one basis.
The new cards also feature a 5% monthly minimum payment and free SMNS alerts for all transactions. The cards carry a range of fees including monthly service fees of 500 naira for the “Classic Visa,” 750 naira for the “Gold Visa,” and naira 1000 for the “Platinum Visa.” Interest rates vary from 2.5% per month for the “Platinum” card to 3.00% per month for the “Classic” card.

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New Starbucks RED Prepaid Card Takes-Off

Starbucks and RED have expanded their stored value loyalty card program. Through 2009, every time a customer uses the “Starbucks RED Card” to make a purchase at Starbucks, five cents will go directly to a global fund to help save lives in Africa. Additionally, customers who register their card online receive free refills on brewed coffee; free select syrups and milk options like soy milk or whip cream; and up to two consecutive hours of complimentary Wi-Fi daily at participating Starbucks in the USA. The new card was launched on November 27th with the introduction of the “STARBUCKS RED EXCLUSIVE Beverages” and has since generated contributions equal to more than 1.4 million daily doses of antiretroviral medicine. Other RED partners include: American Express (U.K. only), Apple, Converse, Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark, Dell, and Windows.

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