SCA to Address a FTC Contactless Town Hall

Smart Card Alliance Executive Director Randy Vanderhoof will participate in the FTC “Town Hall Meeting” focused on “Pay on the Go: Consumers and Contactless Payment,” July 24, 2008 in Seattle. Today nearly ten percent of Americans have used or own a contactless payment card, according to new research conducted for the Smart Card Alliance by Javelin Strategy and Research in April 2008. According to JupiterResearch, there are 35 million contactless payment cards in the United States. The Alliance study that 63% of contactless users believe contactless is faster than paying with traditional magnetic stripe cards, and 57% believe contactless payment is easier to use. Awareness of contactless payment has grown too, to 25% of the U.S. population in 2008, up from 15 percent just two years ago.

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Identita Technologies to Acquire CardXX

Smart card component manufacturer CardXX will have its capital stock acquired by Identica Technologies International SRL. Identita has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of the Company, which will give Identita ownership rights to all patented and patent-pending intellectual property of CardXX relating to CardXX’s RAMP molding technology. CardXX provides secure encapsulation of advanced electronics with its proprietary, patented encapsulation process known as the “Reaction Assisted Molded Process” for the production of advanced powered smart cards.

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BofA Guarantees FSU $10MM for a Card Deal

A report released by The Consumer Warning Network reveals secret details of a secret credit card marketing agreement between Florida State University and Bank of America. The report alleges while Florida State University is warning students via video to avoid the “credit card monster,” the university forwards names and addresses to Bank of America which then uses that information to market credit cards to FSU students as part of an “exclusive” deal allowing the bank to use FSU’s official colors and symbols. Under the agreement, FSU receives a guarantee form BoA of more than $10 million over 7 years.

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Deloitte’s Monthly Index Declines Again

The Deloitte Research “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” fell in July, continuing the decline the “Index” has experienced since October 2007. The “Index,” comprising four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 1.46%, from a revised gain of 1.64% a month ago. The tax burden fell sharply this month as the U.S. Treasury sent out the first round of rebate checks. The sharp rise in the savings rate to 5% shows that the bulk of the rebate money was not spent, but rather was put into savings or used to pay off debt. Unemployment claims continue to rise and are up more than 20% percent from a year ago. Real wage growth is being hit by a weak labor market and sharply higher prices for food and energy. Also, house prices fell by 10% in May compared with May of last year. Home mortgage refinancing has all but disappeared, reducing household cash flow.

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CPI Card Group Lands an Industry Veteran

Card manufacture CPI has hired Gerry Blight as Director of Customer Relations and Services and will be managing all Customer Service functions and the Card Personalization Services areas across the entire company. Blight is started his own marketing consulting business in the late 1980s, which spawned several satellite businesses in the years that followed. By 1991, he co-founded a Direct Mail shop to support the local printing trade. It was around this time that he learned of the emerging “phone-card” business. venture. He holds a masters degree from Utah State University.

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Asyacard DIT Joins the PayPass Drive

Turkey’s Bank Asya has implemented MasterCard’s “OneSmart” chip-based value application for the launch of its versatile “Asyacard DIT” chip and PIN card with “PayPass” technology. This partnership allows Bank Asya customers in Turkey to use a single, multi-application chip card for traditional payments, contactless payments and secure remote transactions at 109,000 merchant locations worldwide. Cardholders can even pay bridge tolls through the integrated municipal toll and transit application. The MasterCard Chip Authentication Program (CAP) secure two-factor authentication technology also allows “Asyacard DIT” customers to securely access online account information. The “OneSmart” Chip program provides transactional and security expertise to MasterCard cardholders and issuing banks while Bank Asya is a Turkish bank which serves over 1,000,000 individual card members through 124 Bank Asya branches located across the country.

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US Bancorp Invests in MPayy M-Commerce

Chicago-based MPayy has closed on its second round of financing. Financing was led by US Bancorp and included a number of private investors. Mpayy will use the financing to continue its merchant and personal account growth and to enrich its ecommerce, mobile commerce and widget-based payment services. Mpayy’s “Retailer Pro” account offers the lower price of any merchant processing account serving the internet retail space. Mpayy eliminates fraud liability for the retailer, meets PCI standards and integrates in less than a day. Also, Mpayy’s multi-channel electronic donation platform enables fundraisers to reach donors wherever they are and to make donating fast, simple and secure.

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BB&T Picks Pendum for Special ATM Needs

NC-based BB&T has selected ATM maintenance provider Pendum to provided cash replenishment services for BB&T mobile and portable ATM events such as state/county fairs, golf tournaments, auto races, festivals, and conventions. Pendum has provided armored transport and maintenance services for BB&T since 1997. Pendum is an independent provider of cash automation solutions, including sales and service of ATMs, kiosks, cash dispensers and recyclers, and armored cash transport servicing more than 60,000 ATMs, 65,000 desktops and peripherals and 500 teller cash dispensers and recyclers in 42 states.

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Discover IT Dubbed the Best Place to Work

Discover Financial Services has been selected by IDG’s Computerworld as one of the “Best Places to Work in IT” for 2008 for the sixth year. Computerworld’s annual list has ranked the top 100 work environments for technology professionals, based on a comprehensive questionnaire regarding company offerings in categories such as benefits, diversity, career development, training and retention. In addition, this year Computerworld surveyed more than 276 technology workers for the list, and their responses factored heavily in determining the rankings.

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PayPal Mobile Goes on New Apple iPhone

PayPal announced that its “PayPal Mobile” application for iPhone and iPod Touch will be available from the Apple App Store launching this week. The free download will enable iPhone and iPod Touch users to send money to friends and family quickly via their PayPal accounts. This week Apple introduced the new “iPhone 3G” featuring fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like “Microsoft Exchange,” and the new App Store. More than 500 native applications will be available on the new App Store – including more than 125 free applications.

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DATACARD & ACONITE

In return for an equity stake in Aconite and future royalties, the
Datacard Group has transfered its “Affina” enterprise platform software
to the smart card software solutions company. Under this acquisition,
Aconite becomes the authorized distributor for the issuance of the
“Affina” solutions while Datacard Group becomes the global non-exclusive
reseller for Aconite solutions. These solutions include “EMV Transaction
Enabler”, “EMV Script Processor”, “Contactless PrePaid” solutions and
the “Affina Enterprise Platform” software. Aconite has a local presence
in many markets, providing smart card payment solutions and consulting
expertise to card issuers and processors around the world, while the
Datacard Group provides secure ID and card personalization solutions to
its clients in over 120 countries.

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ECONOMICS MAY

The Spain leading index decreased .7% while the coincident
index increased .1% for the month of May 2008 according to the
Conference Board. The leading index’ decline for the fourth consecutive
month is consistent with a 1.2% decline over the past 6 months and a
the largest decline over the past 3 years since the recession of 1992-93.
Meanwhile, the coincident index increases for the month were more
widespread
this time around than in previous months and has been steadily growing
over the past year. Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is a
business membership and research network to help executives build
professional relationships, expand business knowledge and find solutions
to business challenges.

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