Net Auction to Offer Vana Blue’s smsComet

AZ-based Vana Blue payment provider has signed agreements with Net Auction Plus auction site to provide online, flexible payment services. The newly developed auction site has over 200 power sellers from eBay, will be available to consumers by May of 2008 and will be deploying Vana Blue’s “smsComet” payment system. Driven by its targeted customer base, Net Auction Plus provides users with low cost, multi-stage/multi-product suite of products/services under the umbrella of the TMS Corporation with the “The Compass Pre Paid Card”, “The SMS Comet Mobile Wallet/Card System” and “The eWallet Plus On-line Payment Portal.” Additionally, to promote the new website, the first 5,000 shoppers will be eligible to receive a free “smsComet” card.

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The OCC and Wachovia Reach a Consumer Settlement

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has ordered Wachovia Bank pay restitution to all consumers effected by its relations with telemarketing organizations and payment processors, to contribute $8.9 million to consumer education programs and to pay $10 million in civil money penalties to the U.S. Treasury. Having profited through fees collected on remotely created checks(RCC) by telemarketers and payment processors for questionable products and services such as grant writing kits, identity theft certificates, medical discount plans and vouchers for discount travel/groceries, Wachovia is to forfeit the generated revenue, plus $5 million to fund elderly consumer education programs, is required to develop new RCC policies and make restitution to consumers who file claims certifying funds were withdrawn without their authorization.

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First Data to Acquire Prepaid Specialist InComm

First Data has reached an agreement to acquire InComm. The Company is one of the U.S.’s largest distributors of gift cards, prepaid wireless products, reloadable debit cards, digital music downloads, content, games, software and bill payment solutions. InComm had over $300 million in 2007 net revenues and almost $8 billion in retail sales transactions processed in 2007. InComm partners with consumer brand leaders around the world to provide more than 145,000 retail locations the products and services their customers demand. Specific terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to be accretive to First Data.

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E-Banking Services Set to Take-Off in the USA

Of the 80 largest U.S. financial institutions, 23 have disclosed a growing demand among customers for electronic banking services throughout 1Q/08. These services, all of which are expected to grow before 2010, include alerts, online personal finance management tools, the ability to pay bills using payments cards, mobile banking and bill presentment. Mobile banking adoption alone is projected to increase to 13% in 2009, compared to 4% in 2007. Demonstrating how U.S. financial institutions expect these electronic finance management tools to be the fastest growing electronic banking services, Aite Group has released its report reviewing consumer adoption trends for key online and mobile banking services.

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RadioShack Offers the Vision Silver Prepaid MC

With most taxpayers receiving stimulus checks ranging from $600 to $1,200, consumers using at least $50 of the funds from their IRS refund checks of up to $2,500 for payment at 4,500 RadioShack store locations between May 4 and July 12, 2008 will be offered a 10% discount . Any unused remainder of the refund will be distributed on a “Vision Silver” Prepaid MasterCard. The “Vision Silver” Prepaid MasterCard can then be used at any POS/ATM MasterCard is accepted with applicable charges, RadioShack will not assess a card activation fee upon activation, will impose no product exclusions and gives the card user the option to keep the card as a permanent MasterCard. Rules for RadioShack’s federal stimulus and IRS refund offer will be available in participating stores starting May 4.

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LendingTools.com to Support New NACHA ACH Rules

Applications service provider LendingTools.com will now support NACHA’s International ACH Transaction rules amendment to become effective in March of 2009. The rules change will allow ACH participants to easily identify international payments using the new IAT Standard Entry Class code. The amendment will also require IAT transactions to include addenda information that complies with the Bank Secrecy Act’s “Travel Rule” and programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. LendingTools.com receives information directly from NACHA’s ACH Rules publications for rule and standard entry class code changes. All changes to services affected by NACHA rules are overseen by LendingTools.com’s Accredited ACH Professionals, the regulatory and procedural compliance officer, and a management review committee. LendingTools.com, Inc. specializes in the design and delivery of web-based applications for the financial services industry and delivers them through correspondent processing organizations.

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Small Biz Economic Confidence Continues to Slide

During the month of April, 55% of small business owners can confidently say the U.S. economy is “poor”, up 2% from the month prior, while 16% feel the economy is strong. Additionally, 44% have experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days, 27% of owners plan to increase spending on business development in April, 44% plan to decrease spending and 75% have seen effects on profitability, of which 86% have seen adverse effects. Among consumers, 58% notice businesses charge more when gas prices are up, 39% are willing to pay higher prices to small business that use “green” energy practices and 63% doubt the economy will improve in the next six months. The Discover “Small Business Watch: Small Business Economic Confidence” monthly index measures the relative economic confidence of 22 million U.S. small business owners who employ less than five employees and collectively produce over a trillion dollars in annual receipts.

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BEST CARDS

Premier Card Solutions has been recognized with the ICMA “Elan Awards” for advancements and achievements in plastic card design. These recognitions include “Best Gift Card Design” for its “Spiderman” gift card, which was designed for Blockbuster, as a finalist in the Best “Free Form” Card with “Tag and Ribbon” designed for Target and as a finalist for “Best Gift Card Design” with the “Gator Gift Card”, also designed for Target. Over the past 3 years, Premier Card Solutions has received 8 awards at the ICMA Elan Awards.

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AmEx U.S. Card Profits Sink 19% Y/Y

American Express reported that its U.S. Card Services division posted a first quarter net income of $523 million, compared to $644 million for 1Q/07 due to higher loan loss provisions that rose 52% year-on-year. U.S. gross dollar volume rose 9% and the AmEx cardbase expanded by 7% during the first quarter, compared to the quarter one year-ago. Total net revenues for the first quarter increased 11% to $3.7 billion. Total U.S. card loans rose 15% to $38.1 billion. Delinquency on U.S. card loans (30+ days) rose to 4.1% versus 3.5% in the prior quarter and 2.9% for 1Q/07. Charge-offs on total U.S. card loans rose to 5.5%, compared to 4.3% for 4Q/07 and 3.7% for 1Q/07. Card volume in the U.S. hit $114.6 billion, up 9% from the year-ago quarter. The total number of domestic cards-in-force grew to 52.9 million cards, compared to 49.3 million for 1Q/07. For complete details on American Express’ first quarter results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
1Q/08 4Q/07 3Q/07 2Q/07 1Q/07
Volume $114.6B 123.0 115.2 115.7 105.4
Cards 52.9MM 52.3 51.7 50.5 49.3
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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WINASUGO & UKASH

WinAsUGo Mobile Casino has partnered with Ukash to distribute branded
prepaid card vouchers. The new prepaid vouchers can be purchased with
values of any amount between GBP5 and GBP499 and provide a secure,
readily available alternative to using a credit card to provide real
money with which users can gamble. WinAsUGo UK mobile casino provides
users with 9 different mobile casino games which include Mobile Slots,
Blackjack, Roulette, HiLo, Poker, Baccarat, Lottery and Sports betting
while Ukash e-commerce cash payment allows online purchases with cash
focal on reducing card and ID fraud.

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IDENTITA OTP & TETRA PLUS

Identita has announced the receipt of its most recent order of 4 million
unit display card, OTP (One Time Pass) devices. The display cards will
be distributed through the organization’s Asian distributor, Tetra Plus,
to provide its security solution on RFID tags, advanced smart cards,
biometric access control cards, electronic passports, loyalty cards and
OTP display cards across the authentication market. Operating on its
“EchoSystem” platform, Identita identity management implements protocols
to counter phishing, man-in-the-middle and man-in-the-browser attacks
with PKI and digital certificates.

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