SMB PERSPECTIVES

A new study on Latin American micro, small and medium business has found that that 40% of those surveyed continue to use their personal credit card for business purposes. According to the research, in the last year, there has also been an increased diversification in the types of financing sources that SMBs rely on. Their primary sources of financing identified by respondents are bank loans (54%), followed by credit cards (31%), provider credit (25%) and family and friends (6%). The study, commissioned by Visa and developed by The Nielsen Company, found 76% of SMBs surveyed still pay for their expenses with inefficient payment methods such as cash or checks. The majority of SMBs surveyed are registered as individuals and not as legal entities reflecting a key characteristic of this segment: the lack of separation between the owner as an individual and the company, and the tendency to take a personal approach to business matters. Additionally, half of the SMB owners surveyed reported growth from the previous year.

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Fake Antivirus Leads November’s Major E-Threats

The antivirus is among us as variants of the “FakeAntivirus Trojan”
ranked the first three positions of November’s top e-threats.
BitDefender discovered that the “FakeAntivirus Trojan” is run from a
malicious webpage, a “scan process” begins which takes about 10 seconds.
During this time the “scanner” detects an enormous amount of infections
— thousands of malicious files. The names of the “found” viruses are
taken off lists from antivirus companies. The fake antivirus then
demands money to remove the “malware” it found. The other dominant
e-threat of the month was the “Wimad Trojan” downloader that claims to
be an mp3 player when the actual file it downloads is an adware called
“Adware.PlayMP3z.” Another notable threat of the month is “Clicker.CM,”
an ad-serving Trojan that is coded to bypass the “Norton Internet
Security” pop-up blocker.

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WELCOME & MARITZ

Welcome Real-time and US-based Maritz have teamed to offer “Maritz Real-Time
Rewards” loyalty program that will allow customers to redeem
points to make purchases and enable card issuers to deliver personalized
POS offers to increase brand loyalty as well as capture customer
information and preferences. Maritz Loyalty Marketing is a provider of
full-service loyalty marketing solutions, including rewards-based
loyalty programs. Welcome Real-time helps leading banks and retailers
increase their profitability by designing, delivering and supporting
real-time payment cards marketing programs that attract and retain
customers.

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LifeLock Makes Executive Team Changes

Identity protection service LifeLock has appointed Andy Corbin to serve
as President/COO and hired Rich Rzasa, previously with TD Waterhouse as
CIO and co-founder Todd Davis assumes the role of Chairman. Corbin
will oversee the cross functional departments of
the organization, planning for the organization’s future operational and
financial goals. As former Vice Chairman and Chief Information Officer
for TD Waterhouse, Rzasa contributed to the overall strategy of the
firm and led a large, multi-disciplined team of technology professionals
to deliver systems capable of multi-channel high-volume,
high-availability transaction processing and multi-faceted customer
support. Davis will maintain his role as CEO
while also serving as Chairman of the Board that has already helped
propel the organization to exponential growth and its current
industry-leading position.

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MOBICLEAR PIV

mobiclear is entering the testing phase its Personal
Identification Verification (PIV) solutions system designed to eliminate
card fraud. According to CEO Stephen Cutler, “mobiclear has invented
and developed a process to allow customers
worldwide to either confirm a card transaction using
their cell phone, or to switch off their credit and debit cards, which
will thwart anyone trying to commit fraud”.

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Wells Fargo Launches Debt Reduction Initiatives

Wells Fargo has rolled-out three new programs to assist consumers with
debt reduction and savings. The products include: “Debt Pay Down
Solution,” “Cash Back Cards,” and “Smarter Credit.” The “Debt Pay Down
Solution” enables customers to consolidate high-interest debt and lower
monthly payments through a Wells Fargo personal loan. Customers use the
new Wells Fargo “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” to find
opportunities each month to spend less and then transfer the extra money
to the principal of the new loan. The “Cash Back Card” and the new “Cash
Back College Card” offers a full 1% in cash back. Once customers have
earned $25, they can apply the reward toward a personal loan or line of
credit or to decrease their card balances, add the cash to their
savings/checking accounts or get it in a check. Customers also can add
their “Check Cards” to the “Cash Back” program at no cost to earn 0.25%
on their signature debit card purchases. The “Smarter Credit” program
assists customers to establish or rebuild credit, including information
on how to order free credit reports and learn money skills for life
through Wells Fargo’s “Hands on Banking/El futuro en tus manos” program.
Highlighted throughout is “3 Steps to Smarter Credit Choices.”

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Most Online Transactors Avoid Late Payment Fees

A new study shows that more than half of consumers who transact
online never pay late fees. The report found that more than 31% of
those who transact online are “Baby Boomers,” and more than 58% are
over the age of 45. Also, more than 56% of those who transact online
have attended college with more than half acquiring a graduate degree.
In terms of credit cards, 90% have credit cards and 47% carry no debt on
their cards. The research by Billeo says 75% of those who pay bills and
shop online save electronic receipts of their transactions and
identified ease of “tracking online purchases and payments” as a top
motivator. More than two-thirds of online consumers currently pay at
least one of their monthly bills with a credit or debit card. In other
research, Billeo found that credit card bills are the most popular bill
paid online by consumers in terms of number of bills paid.

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MEGA MONDAY 2008

The busiest day for online holiday shopping is expected to reap GBP320m.
Internet retail trade body IMRG said it expected the peak time for
shopping to be between 1pm and 2pm, as consumers who had done their
research over the weekend logged on to order their gifts. Card issuer
Retail Decisions (ReD) has forecast that the
busiest minute of the day will be 1.31pm and predicts GBP980,865 will be
spent in what has been dubbed a “mega
minute”. Last year’s busiest minute online was 1:09pm on December 10
when UK shoppers spent an estimated GBP767,500.

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Archway Ships 450MM Gift Cards in 08

Gift card distributor Archway will have shipped 450 million cards for
2008. The volume of gift cards handled by the company is 10 million more
than predicted earlier in the year and double the volume handled in
2007. In fact, for the second year in a row, the volume of gift cards
handled by the company has doubled — 220 million in 2007 and 110 million
in 2006. Archway distributes secure financial cards such as VISA,
MasterCard, Discover and American Express in addition to brand specific
loaded and non-loaded cards for retailers and restaurants.

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Equifax and IXI Team to Drill Deeper

Equifax and financial data collector IXI Corporation have formed a
partnership to provide a comprehensive view of a household’s financial
position. Through the Equifax and IXI partnership, financial
institutions can determine a customer’s likelihood to pay. Financial
institutions will gain access to a range of superior data and
tools that further help them make better decisions. The new solutions
will link measures of a household’s credit with IXI’s proven ZIP+4 based
average assets and investment tendency measures in order to enable firms
to achieve a better understanding of their customers’ financial position.

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Transcard Cardholders Get Free Reports

Prepaid card provider Transcard is offering cardholders free access to
their credit scores. Along with receiving their credit score,
cardholders can also view their scores in relation to national averages
with color-coded, detailed graphs; monitor their scores to ensure they
improve; access credit-building tools and advice and receive articles
that help them make better choices and educate them about occurrences in
the credit industry. TransCard is a stored-value processor and a
global provider of transaction-based processing services.

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AmEx Pumps $2B into its Delta Co-Brand Extension

Delta Air Lines has picked up more than $2 billion in combined
incremental liquidity and contract enhancements under a deal with
American Express. Both firms extended their multi-year contract for an
exclusive co-brand credit card partnership. Under terms of the
agreement, Delta will receive an immediate $1 billion boost to its
liquidity from a purchase of “SkyMiles.” Delta expects to receive an
additional $1 billion from contract improvements through 2010. In
return, AmEx will be able to grow the value of its co-brand cards and
the “Membership Rewards” program by offering AmEx cardholders expanded
options for booking travel. In addition, AmEx will have the opportunity
to increase merchant acceptance in more places in the Midwest region.
In late 2009, Delta plans to merge “Northwest WorldPerks” with
“SkyMiles.” Additionally, Delta plans to continue its longstanding
partnership with U.S. Bank through their existing corporate
relationships including merchant acquiring, an expanded debit card
program and corporate lending. AmEx and Delta have had a co-branded
credit card relationship since 1996.

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