Retailer Loyalty Offerings Pay-Off in Spades

A new study shows that “Best-in-Class’ loyalty offerings both increase revenues and create optimal customer buying behavior. Vesdia and Aberdeen jointly conducted research on creating customer loyalty in retail, the findings of which have been disclosed in the report “Responsive Customer Loyalty: Creating Customer Commitment in Retail.” The report highlights the use of loyalty offerings to increase revenues and create optimal customer buying behavior with findings demonstrating retailers report average year-over-year same store sales increase of 7.4%, retailers report improved repeat customer orders by an average of 21.8% and retailers without a loyalty program have poor sales/customer retention compared with retailers that operate a loyalty program. Providing merchant-funded reward programs, Vesdia brings together more than 30 million consumers in multiple loyalty programs with a network of over 750 participating online retailers, more than 60 national brick-and-mortar brands and thousands of regional merchants.

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LIC & GE MONEY

GE Money has recently proposed a 30% stake in a credit card venture with
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). Due to a huge loss posted by GE Money,
as reported by SBI Cards & Payment Services Private Ltd, LIC has elected to terminate the prospect of this venture. In conjunction with
this development, it has also been reported SBI was not comfortable with
the prospect of GE Money partnering with LIC due to conflicting
interest. Although many institutions have jumped at the opportunity to
take GE’s place to partner with LIC, the insurance firm will have a 70%
holding in the card venture if it were not to choose a partner.

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Dover Puts Triton ATM on the Sales Block

Dover Corp. reported a 21% second quarter profit loss thanks in part to discontinued operations at the MS-based Triton ATM manufacturing business. Additional findings show revenue was up 10% to $2 billion as a result of sales in all segments, net income for the company fell to $135.3 million from the year ago figure of $172.2 million with a 2Q/08 loss from discontinued operations of $51.6 million and earnings from continuing operations up 7% to $186.9 million. The Triton ATM manufacturing location is currently for sale. For more details on Triton’s current performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

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INSIDE EXECUTIVE

INSIDE Contactless has hired Kim Madore to the position of VP/Sales and Business Development/Canada. She spent four years in Toronto as VP/Emerging Technologies for Giesecke & Devrient and was also previously senior consultant for Smart Cards/Visa USA. INSIDE Contactless has already delivered more than five million of its
intelligent “MicroPass” contactless payment chips for “MasterCard
PayPass” deployments in Canada since the end of 2007, and has quickly
established itself as the leading provider of contactless payment
technology to the Canadian market. According to Advanced Card Technologies Canada, chip and pin payment cards will be deployed in significant numbers over the next five years as credit and debit cards are converted to EMV standards, creating opportunities in a variety of markets, including transit, retail and access.

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AmEx Set to Launch BusinessTravelConnexion

American Express Business Travel will launch “BusinessTravelConnexion.com”
a business-to-business online networking community for the corporate
travel industry. “BusinessTravelConnexion.com” will draw together the combined expertise
and wide variety of perspectives of American Express Business Travel,
NBTA, industry publications, suppliers and editors. In addition to
these affiliations, users will be empowered and encouraged to
participate in online discussion boards, editorial reviews, hot topic
polls, product development councils and provide feedback on what they
want to hear about from the industry. American Express
Business Travel is accepting suggestions for content and features at
www.BusinessTravelConnexion.com.

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Bon-Ton Stores Juices-Up its Retail Credit Card

The Bon-Ton Stores has announced its
“YOUR REWARDS” proprietary credit card
loyalty program that gives customers more rewards with fewer
restrictions. “YOUR REWARDS” is a point-based program that offers the customer special
benefits including advance notice of sales and events, exclusive
cardholder savings, opportunities to receive double or triple points and
more. The program provides four levels of participation to encourage
incremental spend and migration from lower to higher levels of spend.
The Bon-Ton Stores operates 281 stores in 23 states.

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MINT SETTLEMENT

Mint Technology has resolved pending lawsuits with parties concerned for
having incorrectly included them in a January 2008 press release. The
resolved lawsuit was settled without costs under undisclosed terms,
aside from the disclosure of an apology from the organization. Toronto-based Mint
payment solutions provides its
payment platform and prepaid credit card programs with cobranding
programs, loyalty programs and wireless payment alternatives.

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Visa Gears-Up Kiosks for Beijing Olympics

Visa has installed 55 blue and white porcelain tourist information
kiosks throughout Beijing to provide multilingual information services
to cardholders and international visitors traveling
to China for the “Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.” The kiosks are found at
the Beijing Capital International Airport, Olympic venues and key
tourist and shopping areas and coordinate with Olympic-themed Visa ATMs
found in the City. Upon arrival at BCIA’s newly-constructed Terminal 3,
a Visa kiosk will greet international visitors with information related
to Olympic events and venues, tourist attractions and Beijing’s public
transportation facilities during the Games. In addition to the kiosk
found at Terminal 3, Visa has installed kiosks throughout BCIA offering
information about on-site emergency services should they lose their Visa
card or need medical assistance. Visa also created the “Visa
Olympic Games Passport,” an easy-reference travel guide. The passport
includes tips and recommendations to help cardholders get the most out
of their journey to Beijing.

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Card ABS Excess Spread Remains Strong

A further weakening of the collateral performance of $457 billion of
U.S. bank credit card loans backing securities happened in May.
Nonetheless, from an historical perspective excess spread, which is
essentially the difference between the revenues and expenses in a
securitized transaction, remains on average relatively high. In the
credit card securitization market, excess spread is a keenly watched
indicator of the relative strength of a given credit card trust. That’s
because when the three-month average excess spread falls below zero, the
related bonds typically begin to amortize ahead of schedule. According
to Moody’s “Credit Card Indices” for May the charge-off rate rose to
6.41%, up from 4.68% for May 2007. The rise marks the seventeenth
consecutive month of year-over-year increase and the eighth consecutive
month of month-over-month increase. The May delinquency rate rose to
4.47% from 3.68% a year ago. However, the delinquency rate index fell
month to month for the second consecutive month. In May,
cardholders paid back on average 18.60% of their credit
card debts — about 4.9% lower than last year’s May rate of 19.55%.
Yield (the annualized percentage of income, primarily finance charges
and fees, collected during the month as a percent of total loans) fell
to 18.16% from 19.15% a year ago. The drop in May marks the third
consecutive month of year-over-year decrease.

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GET Names New Senior Executives

Kevin Hoehn was promoted to president from COO and elected to the board
of Global Electronic Technology (GET), a technology provider of payment
processing solutions. Having held the position of COO at GET since 2003,
Hoehn previously held several executive level positions with such
financial institutions as Imperial Bank and Comerica Merchant Services.
His advanced education includes his undergraduate degree from the
University of California Riverside and an MBA from Pepperdine
University. GET also appointed Joe Bennett national sales director, who joins the company as a 25 year veteran in the sales/marketing industry. Organizations to which he has previously belonged include Patriot Merchant Services, American Bancard and will now oversee designing and implementation of training programs with GET.

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ACCEL/Exchange Names a New GM

Fiserv’s ACCEL/Exchange Network has named
Michael J. Kelly, previously with ePayments, as General Manager. While
with ePayments Consulting Group, Kelly devised and implemented
innovative strategies to help financial institutions
capitalize on their debit portfolios to grow their non-interest income.
Prior to starting the company ePayments Consulting, Kelly worked for
Fiserv EFT as the director of Business Development for ACCEL/Exchange.
Kelly will direct Network rules management and operations by working
with the ACCEL/Exchange Advisory
Council and a staff of network specialists. In addition, he will have
sales oversight responsibility for merchant
(acceptance) processors and manage direct and indirect sales channel
development.

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International ACH Transactions Reviewed

A new report has reviewed the challenges of implementing
international ACH transactions. Aite Group has released its report,
“International ACH
Transactions: United States Goes Global,” demonstrating the challenges
of implementing NACHA’s latest standard entry class code for the U.S.
automated clearing house (ACH) network, international ACH transaction
(IAT). Set for introduction on March 20, 2009 as the new standard entry
class code, IAT was designed to reduce exception processing and
eliminate the need for separate batches of international payment from
domestic payments. After having interviewed executives at 24 banks, one
credit union, four ACH system providers and the two ACH operators in
order to gauge preparedness for IAT, Aite Group discloses that 24% of
survey respondents lack confidence in their ability to process IATs by
NACHA’s deadline.

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