American Express Anywhere is Introduced

American Express has launched a new mobile service that enables corporate customers to manage travel details and business through their BlackBerry smartphones. The new “American Express Anywhere” service is the results of a collaboration with Rearden Commerce. With a single click of the AmEx icon on their BlackBerry home screen, users can access their personalized travel itinerary, receive real-time travel alerts, scan destination weather information and even click-to-call their travel provider for further assistance. Future phases of “AmEx Anywhere” will let users view their airport parking and car service reservations, share itinerary details with others, find restaurants nearby, place reservations and much more. “AmEx Anywhere” will also be offered to “AmEx Express Business Travel” clients in other market segments as a mobile companion to its “Intelligent Online Marketplace.”

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C-Store Sheetz Unveils the Pump First Card

Innovative PA-based convenience store chain, Sheetz has launched a new card to combat gas station drive-offs while giving its loyal and honest cash customers a more convenient way to pay. The new “Pump First” card is being introduced in selected markets in Maryland and West Virgina. The new card is linked to the driver’s license to provide a method of identification, giving cash paying customers the freedom to start the pumps themselves, even if paying with cash or check for gasoline. To consumers with a valid driver’s license, the “Pump First” card is available free of charge and is being introduced in conjunction with revisions to the organization’s payment policy. Sheetz operates 350 c-stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

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Wireless ATM/POS Terminals Set to Take-Off

A new study predicts that cellular embedded modules used to connect ATM/POS terminals to financial institutions will increase approximately fivefold over the next five years. Global shipments of POS and ATM terminals are expected to increase by about 50% over the same period. According to ABI Research, Hypercom, VeriFone, and Ingenico now account for some 70% of the market and all three are solidly committed to the introduction of wireless technology, which gives a tremendous boost to cellular’s penetration of this market. ABI says the clear advantages of cellular connectivity are proving persuasive. It allows greater flexibility in deployment and better functionality with faster service and better management. In emerging markets, it can overcome a lack of wired infrastructure.

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SoftLayer and McAfee Team for PCI Compliance

SoftLayer and McAfee have partnered to provide customers with McAfee’s comprehensive Payment Card Industry (PCI) security compliance scanning service at no cost- a $319 annual value- to help SoftLayer customers meet the requirements of PCI DSS version 1.1. The PCI standards are required by credit card companies and banks of merchants worldwide, which McAfee provides in addition to a host of additional service features. These additional features include scheduled quarterly/unlimited manual scans, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) vulnerability remediation support, online self-assessment questionnaire assistance, online assistance for preparing a required PCI security policy, telephone technical support and a full-service program starting at 6 IP addresses. McAfee dedicated security technology company delivers proactive solutions and services that secure systems and networks around the world while Softlayer delivers next-generation web hosting and on-demand data center services.

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Card ABS Can Withstand High Unemployment

U.S. credit card ABS could withstand significant increases in unemployment from current levels before ‘BBB’ or ‘AAA’ bonds default, but downgrade risk persists, particularly at the subordinate level as unemployment levels have increase substantially over the past 12 months, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report. The study, which focused primarily on the level of unemployment that would cause first dollar defaults in credit card ABS transactions, determined that typical ‘AAA’ rated transactions could withstand an increase in the unemployment rate of up to 20%, all other factors being equal. In addition, Fitch determined that typical ‘BBB’ rated transactions could withstand an increase in the unemployment rate of up to 10%, again with all other factors being equal.

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Consumer Confidence Index Slides in June

A monthly benchmark has found that consumer confidence declined again in June. The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index”, now stands at 50.4, down from 58.1 in May. Consumers’ assessment of present conditions grew dimmer for the month as well. Those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 32.5% from 29.7%, while those claiming business conditions are “good” declined to 11.5% from 13.0% last month. The outlook for the labor market was also more pessimistic. The percent of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 35.5% from 32.3%, while those anticipating more jobs declined to 8.0% from 9.0%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 12.3% from 14.1%.

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Marriott Rewards Card Offers Luggage Options

Marriott Rewards, the Marriott’s loyalty program, has partnered with The Luggage Club to provide members options to redeem points for door to door luggage shipment. Marriott Rewards members can earn 10 Marriott Rewards points per dollar on services and redeem points for gift cards in increments of $50, $100, $250 and $500 while The Luggage Club has no limits on size, weight or number of pieces that can be shipped allowing patrons to avoid long baggage check lines or fight the crowds at the baggage carousel. Marriott Rewards points can be earned and redeemed at the more than 2,800 participating Marriott International hotels around the world.

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Hypercom Relocates Headquarters to Scottsdale

AZ-based Hypercom Corporation has relocated headquarters from its Phoenix facility to a newly designed 45,000 square foot office at 8888 East Raintree Drive in Scottsdale. The property is owned by RCC South LLC and is managed by Cavan Management Services. Hypercom Corporation global payment technology provides high security, end-to-end electronic payment products and services to businesses in more than 100 countries.

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RBS Lynk Signs a Processing Deal with Sizzler

CA-based Sizzler USA has signed long-term electronic payment processing agreements with RBS Lynk. RBS Lynk is a single-source provider of electronic payment processing services for credit, debit, EBT, checks, gift cards, e-commerce, customer loyalty cards, fleet cards, prepaid cards, ATM processing and cash management services while its U.S. payment processing division is a non-bank subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group. Sizzler USA owns or franchises more than 220 restaurants in 17 U.S. states and Puerto Rico and was founded in suburban Los Angeles in January 1958.

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Sedgwick Launches Credit Card Claims Services

Brenda Lott has joined Sedgwick’s newly launched claims administration unit as VP and Director of Financial Sector Specialty Services. Designed as a dedicated business facility to provide claims administration and related risk management services for credit card-related programs, consumer warranty plans and warranty claims services, the claims administration unit service targets bank, credit card and affinity group patrons. Lott has over fifteen years of experience in the design, delivery and supervision of risk services for credit card programs and comes to Sedgwick CMS from Cambridge Integrated Services Group.

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CARD PROFITS

PA-based Turner Investment Partners’ “Sector Focus” Commentary, entitled
“MasterCard and Visa: profitable toll takers,” has conducted research
demonstrating transaction processing has remained lucrative for
MasterCard and Visa thanks to little competition and relative freedom in
determining fee rates. The commentary examines why the profit margins of
both companies exceed 30%, estimating both organizations have potential
to increase earnings per share by at least 20% annually over the next
two years, especially in developing countries. This especially concerns
Brazil and China. Turner investment firm publishes “Sector Focus”
commentaries monthly as part of the continuing efforts to monitor the
market sectors for its growth-stock portfolios.

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Multimedia Credit Card Unveiled in Korea

South Korea’s KB Card has introduced the world’s first multimedia credit card, enabling users to listen to music and watch video clips and digital multimedia broadcasting. The new “&d MasterCard” combines a large memory chip with display functions. The card has a 2.4-inch screen to play videos and listen to tunes. A two-gigabyte memory chip is installed in the credit card, and a four-gigabyte memory chip is in the terminal, allowing the product to store up to six gigabytes of data. Including the terminal, the product costs W230,000.

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