Canadian Retailers Attack Credit Card Fees

Taking a call from U.S. retailers, the Retail Council of Canada announced it is jumping on the political bandwagon to challenge the payment card industry over merchant credit card fees. Last week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business warned that credit card companies and big banks plan to launch a huge cash grab on merchants throughout Canada. Also, last week the RCC and a coalition of “like-minded” associations launched “www.StopStickingItToUs.com,” a national campaign against “Big Credit Card” companies and the banks that issue their cards that have been imposing hidden credit card fees on all Canadians. The RCC says that over the next few weeks, politicians will be calling our homes and knocking on Canadians’ doors asking for support. RCC is asking Canadians to stand and ask these politicians what their plan is to address the issue.

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ACI Names a New Technology Board Member

Banking solution provider ACI Worldwide has appointed Dr. James C. McGroddy to the Board of Directors to serve as chairman of the board’s
newly established technology committee. McGroddy, a self-employed consultant, was employed by IBM from 1965
through 1996 in various capacities, including seven years as senior vice
president of research. He is chairman of the board of MIQS, a
Colorado-based healthcare information technology company; chairman of
the board of Advanced Networks and Services, Inc; and a member of the
board of directors of Forth Dimension Displays Limited. McGroddy
also served as a member of the board of directors of Paxar Corporation,
a provider of merchandising systems for the retail and apparel industry.
He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

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Wall Street Forces Card Stock Prices Down

At mid-day, stock prices for American Express were down 7%, Discover was down about 5%, MasterCard dipped nearly 4% and Visa was off by about 2%. The macroeconomic impact of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch’s forced sale to Bank of America is spooking financial services investors worldwide. Visa, the largest payment system, dropped to $70 today, while MasterCard sank to $215. American Express took a hard hit, dropping to $36, while Discover hovered at $17 per share. Even though the credit card networks are impacted by the U.S. mortgage credit meltdown, transaction levels remain strong, driven by strong growth in debit card and charge card sales.

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mFoundry Introduces an iPhone Product

Mobile financial services provider mFoundry announced the availability
of its “iPhone” mobile banking product and is offering its iPhone mobile banking solution as both a
stand-alone
or supplement to other supported devices. The company has configured
iPhone mobile banking applications for existing customers with the first
application launching in the App Store in the next few weeks. Financial
institutions interested in reaching iPhone users will be able to deploy
mFoundry’s iPhone mobile banking applications in as little as 60 days.

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Visa and National City Expand Card Deal

Visa and OH-based National City have renewed and expanded a brand agreement through which National City will continue to provide its customers with Visa consumer and commercial credit and check card products, while adding “Visa Interlink” and “PLUS” as the bank’s primary PIN debit and ATM networks. National City will also transition to Visa
Debit Processing Service, which provides single-point access to global
Visa payment products and services, and real time risk analysis on every
online transaction including purchases and ATM transactions. National City operates through an extensive banking network primarily in Ohio,
Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania
and Wisconsin, and also serves customers in selected markets nationally.

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New Triton/Nautilus Hyosung ATM is Coming

MS-based Triton Systems announced plans to produce a new affordable, low-end off-premise model ATM, to be unveiled next month. The new ATM is made possible by Nautilus Hyosung’s proposed acquisition of Triton. The new ATM will be modeled after Triton’s popular “RL” line of off-premise ATMs, to include a 5.7″ color display, 60mm printer, business hour cabinet and 1,000 note CDU with removable lock box cassette. It will run on Microsoft “Windows CE 5.0” with Triton’s “X2”-based technology. South Korean-based Nautilus Hyosung recently inked a deal to acquire Triton from Dover Corporation. The transaction is expected to be closed during the third quarter. Production of new ATM is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2009.

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GuestLogix’s MVS Continues to Take-Off

GuestLogix on-board retail systems for airlines has signed agreements to integrate its “Mobile Virtual Store” with the Thales “TopSeries Inflight Entertainment System.” Now users can conduct on-board redemption for Thales entertainment services, such as movies and video games, through the GuestLogix “Concierge” secure identification which uses codes to minimize fraud with out a POS. Travelers can pre-pay for on-board entertainment services online, for which they are issued a “Concierge” code to input through using the virtual keypad on the touch screen. The entertainment transactions also allow for refunds in the event of partial/non-fulfillment of service.
In August, GuestLogix partnered with Spirit Airlines to deploy GuestLogix’ “Mobile Virtual Store” on its domestic and international flights. Earlier this month, US Airways selected the GuestLogix “Mobile Virtual Store” solution to grow a la carte sales on-board its domestic and international flights. (CF Library 8/21/08; 9/12/08)

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Planet Merchant Processing and EVO Team

Payment processor Planet Merchant Processing has announced a technology partnership
agreement with NY-based non-bank acquirer EVO
Merchant Services. EVO offers a single source for a full range of electronic payment
services. The agreement will position EVO to leverage Planet’s advanced technical
expertise in the payment processing industry.
The company’s annual credit card transaction volume exceeds
USD$17 billion, representing more than 275 million transactions and over
175,000 merchants. EVO is a full service acquirer with a proprietary
authorization system, and is on the short list of acquirers that
performs all back office functions in-house.

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Underbanked Developer MPOWER Goes Global

TX-based socially responsible venture fund MPOWER has announced it has established the
“MPOWER Foundation” to further its mission of empowering more than 2 billion underserved
consumers around the world. The new foundation extends the work of the
MPOWER group of companies to support mission-critical programs that cannot
realistically achieve sustainable financial returns. MPOWER Foundation is founded on the belief
that entrepreneurship and collaboration are the keys to unlocking
innovation that leads to lasting social change. The foundation will
identify and select program investments employing a venture investment
model that mirrors the core principles of MPOWER Ventures. The MPOWER
Foundation deploys patient capital with longer-term investment horizons
that encourage social returns, and its investment guidelines heavily
emphasize quantitative impact measures.

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TRM Adds a Lampe Conway Exec to its Board

ATM supplier TRM Corporation has announced that its Chairman of the Board of Directors
Jeffrey Brotman has resigned and Michael E. Venezia has been
appointed to serve on the Board.
Brotman’s resignation is based solely on personal considerations
unrelated to TRM and did not result from any disagreement with the Company
concerning any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or
practices. Venezia has been a Credit Analyst for Lampe, Conway
& Co. LLC since June 15, 2005. Before joining Lampe, Conway & Co. LLC., he
served as a Vice President in the High Yield Group of Weiss, Peck &
Greer from August 2004 to June 2005. Prior to joining Weiss, Peck & Greer,
Venezia was a Vice President within Citigroup.

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U.S. Credit Card ABS Continues to Weaken

A monthly monitor suggests the credit card industry is in the midst of a challenging period and collateral performance will get worse before it gets better. Performance of the U.S. credit card loan ABS continued to weaken across several broad measures throughout the first half of 2008, according to Moody’s “Credit Card Credit Indices.” With an expectation of worsening collateral performance in the months to come, Moody’s expects liquidity and funding to become an increasingly important dimension to its credit analysis, especially for those issuers with limited alternative funding resources. To date, Moody’s has taken a limited number of rating actions on securities backed by credit card receivables; however, for some issuers a further weakening of the collateral performance or a worsening of their liquidity profile may put downward pressure on the related outstanding credit card ABS ratings.

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