Biz Owner Economic Confidence Erodes Again

Economic confidence among small business owners slipped again in October as 64% rate the economy as poor and and most do not see an end to the current global financial crisis. Also, about 57% of small business owners say the $700 billion economic rescue plan that was approved by the Congress and signed by the president earlier this month
does not bring much benefit to their business. The “Discover Small Business Watch” fell to 71.4 in October from 74.6 in September, the lowest confidence rating since the “Watch” was established in August 2006. However, the Discover research did find that 38% of small business owners say they have experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days, down from 42% in the prior month. Also, 77% say that economic conditions have not forced them to borrow money to pay their bills. But, among those who are seeking loans, 70% say it is harder to borrow money right now. Additionally, 23% plan to increase spending on business development over the next six months, down from 28% in September and equaling an all-time low in the Watch.

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Retailers More Confident with Cyber Security

A recent survey found that 47% of retailers report that they do not
maintain customer credit card information. Of those who do keep credit
card information, 61% conduct periodic reviews of inactive accounts in
order to remove inactive card holder data. About 96% who do review
inactive accounts do so annually. According to the annual study
performed by BDO Seidman, 44% of CFOs at top U.S. retailers stated that
they have increased their level of investment in cyber security to
combat potential data breaches, down from 61% in 2007, indicating a
growing comfort with the protective systems in place.

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Citi Launches a Thanks-A-Million Promotion

Citibank has launched the “Thanks-A-Million” sweepstakes and will give away
5 million points to 16 lucky winners. Citibank will reward 16 winners with a total of 5 million Thank You
Points that includes two Grand Prizes: 1 million points each, four Second Prizes: 500,000 points each and
10 Third Prizes: 100,000 points each. New checking account holders
enrolled in the rewards program will be automatically entered for a
chance to win up to 1 million rewards points and new and existing checking
customers get an additional chance to win 1 million rewards points every time they use a
qualifying debit card and sign for purchases. New checking customers who enroll in
ThankYou Network can also get 10,000 bonus points when they perform qualifying
banking activities.

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VASCO 3Q/08

VASCO Data Security reports that it experienced an increase in the third quarter of 32% to $39.7 million
compared to $30.0 million for the third quarter of 2007, and for the first nine months of
2008, increased 17% to $104.0 million from $88.8 million for the first nine
months of 2007. Gross profit was $27.8 million, or 70% of revenue, for the third
quarter of 2008 and $73.3 million, or 70% of revenue, for the first nine months
of 2008. Gross profit was $20.0 million, or 67% of revenue for the third quarter
of 2007 and $58.2 million, or 66% of revenue, for the first nine months of 2007.
Net income for the third quarter of 2008 was $9.1 million, or $0.24 per
diluted share, an increase of $3.2 million, or 55%, from $5.9 million, or $0.15
per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2007. Net income for the first nine
months of 2008 was $21.5 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, an increase of $3.8
million, or 21%, from $17.7 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the comparable
period in 2007.
For complete details on VASCO’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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New Mexico Unemployment Ins to Test a Card

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solution in partnership with Bank
of America is
implementing a pilot project with 400 claimants to test the Unemployment
Insurance Prepaid
Debit Card program for eligible unemployment insurance benefit claimants.
The new program will enable NMDWS to offer direct deposit to a wider
range of benefits recipients. In addition to the Unemployment
Insurance Prepaid Card, the department will launch a direct
deposit payment component before the end of the year. The universal
electronification of
benefit payments will help reduce New Mexican’s exposure to check fraud
and NMDWS estimates it will save up to $1.5 million
annually by implementing this improved payment process.

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LEADING INDEX DROP

The Conference Board announced
that the leading index for Mexico decreased 0.9 percent and the coincident
index decreased 0.2 percent in August. The leading index declined substantially in August as the oil
price, the construction component of industrial production and the stock price
index components all made very large negative contributions. As a
result, since February, the six-month growth rate of the leading index
has slowed to 2.0 percent (about a 4.1 percent annual rate), which is
below the 5.3 percent annual rate that prevailed between August 2007 and
February 2008. The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, also
declined in August, the fourth decline in the past six months. In
August, employment, as measured by total IMSS beneficiaries, was the
largest negative contributor. The six-month growth rate of the
coincident index fell to -0.8 percent (about a -1.5 percent annual
rate), down sharply from the 5.0 percent annual rate of growth that
prevailed for the previous six-month period ending in February. However,
the strengths among the coincident indicators have remained slightly
more widespread than weaknesses over the last six months.

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Credit Card Issuers Face a Perfect Storm

As Target indicated yesterday it is tightening its credit card terms
and may become even more stringent if credit conditions keep
deteriorating. Mercator Advisory Group released a new report that says
the weak economy and turmoil in the financial industry are making it
harder for issuers to deal with the soaring costs of their reward
programs. Plus, issuers face consumer demands for more incentives while
merchants want more regulation on interchange fees. Mercator says the
credit card industry needs to think about rewards programs in a new way.
The report also noted that data analytics offer a new level of targeted
marketing and promotions but their full potential will not be realized
until combined with merchants’ involvement, likely in the format of a
merchant-funded discount network. Additionally, new innovative rewards
programs such as non-transactional rewards and programs combined with
non-traditional rewards components are emerging.

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RECYCLED GIFT CARDS

Gift card solution provider Givex has partnered with
Allcard to establish a recycling program for old gift cards.
Most gift cards are made of non-biodegradable plastics such as PVC and
end up in landfills when their value is depleted. Givex and Allcard will be
diverting these cards from the dumpster and grinding them down to
manufacture brand new gift cards that contain up to 50% recycled PVC.
Clients can show their support by arranging
for the recycling of their depleted cards and/or ordering cards made from
up to 50% recycled PVC.

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Oberthur Card Systems’ Q3 Sales Jump 29%

Los Angeles and Paris-based Oberthur Technologies reported third
quarter sales of $287.7 million, a 24% increase over 3Q/07. The Card
Systems business, which became a completely separate division at the
start of the quarter, posted a sharp 29% increase of $229.2 million in
sales, compared to the year-ago quarter, driven by the integration of
XPonCard. Payment card sales gained 18% in the third quarter to $46.8
million. Oberthur says the EMEA region and in particular Europe,
suffered the joint effect of a drop in volumes, especially in the UK, and in
the average sales price, with stability in the personalization services
segment activity. In the USA, the magnetic stripe card market is
depressed, affected by both the deterioration in economic conditions in
the banking sector and price pressure. For complete details on
Oberthur’s third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

OBERTHUR REVENUE HISTORICAL
(at current exchange rates)
3Q/07: $231.7 million
4Q/07: $256.1 million
1Q/08: $235.4 million
2Q/08: $277.4 million
3Q/08: $287.7 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Wells Fargo Educates One Million Students

Wells Fargo & Company’s “Practical Money Skills for Life” has educated more than 1 million college
students over the last five years. Wells Fargo invites every new College Credit Card customer to take the
10-minute online Practical Money Skills for Life lessons at
wellsfargo.practicalmoneyskills.com and provides college student customers “The Student Guide to Good Credit brochure”;
“The Wells Fargo Student Credit Education website”; “The What You Need to Know brochure is included with every credit
card Welcome Kit to reinforce using credit responsibly.
Additionally, all new College Credit Card customers receive the first statement
regardless of whether or not the account has a balance. This provides an
opportunity to deliver two key messages via the Statement Ad Page:
Things to Know About Your Statement – highlighting major sections of their statement; and
Managing Your Credit – tips on how to start a good credit record and every monthly statement
includes a “College Credit Card Tip of the
Month” that is relevant for that time of year. Wells Fargo College Credit Card customers receive a Credit Education
Newsletter every quarter that features topics such as “Budgeting Basics”,
“Saving Money During the Holidays” and “Avoiding Fees”.

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U.S. Bank’s Payment Plus Poised for Growth

U.S. Bank’s B2B payment network “Access Online Payment Plus”, continues
to
fuel growth for U.S. Bank. Payment Plus automates procure-to-pay
processes by enabling
organizations to submit payment instructions electronically, in batches
or on-demand. The buyer
determines the timing of the disbursement while maintaining visibility
and control from
beginning to end. Clients find the increased control and visibility to
spend across all
departments to be a critical benefit as a result of implementing Payment
Plus.
During the first year Payment Plus was available, U.S. Bank saw B2B
payment growth of approximately 15%.

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TSYS OKINAWA CENTER

TSYS has signed three new clients and has added a new data center. The clients
include: AZ Card, OCS and Nagasaki Kenmin Shinyo Kumiai. The data center, which will
be called the TSYS Okinawa Data Center (TODC), is located in Nago City, Okinawa.
The TODC will be initially used as a data center for Japan, but may
eventually serve as an Asian hub within the TSYS global network, linking the
existing data centers in North America and Europe.

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