Chase Boosts Financial Literacy Grants

Chase Card Services is donating an additional $1.3 million through its Financial Literacy Grant Program. Chase’s Financial Literacy Grant Program, now in its third year, gives consumers greater access to information, credit counseling services and the support resources that they need to take control of their finances and improve their financial health and stability. With its donation this year, Chase has provided $3.9 million in the past three years to more than 90 organizations. The nationwide program is part of the ongoing commitment by Chase to support financial education and literacy for people of all ages.

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CHASE IRELAND

Chase Paymentech has officially opened the doors to its Dublin
headquarters.
The payment services provider held inaugural ceremonies in honor of the
development, which is part of the company’s recent expansion efforts and is
projected to support a 100-person marketing/customer support team
across Europe. Moreover, the Organization anticipates the facility to
support
surging European ecommerce in the coming years, which is expected to surge
to EUR263 billion by 2011. Chase Paymentech supports transactions in 140
different currencies, processed nearly 19.7 billion transactions and
over $719
billion in bankcard/debit volume throughout 2007. Furthermore, the bank
serves 600,000 merchants in over 1 million locations worldwide.

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Wells Fargo Introduces Merchant Checking

Wells Fargo’s “Merchant Checking” is the recipient of Barlow Research Monarch Innovation “Most Innovative Product” award. “Merchant Checking” allows small business owners to accept credit and debit card payments and have access to funds as soon as the next business day in the associated business checking account. It combines the convenience of a business checking account with the ability to accept credit and debit card payments at a flat, low, discounted rate. The Monarch Innovation Awards recognize financial institutions that provide the most innovative products to business customers. Merchant Checking was selected based on its uniqueness, value and ease of use as determined by the judging panel.

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SODEXO & GRUPO VR

Sodexo has announced the completion of its acquisition of the
Grupo VR voucher & card supplier for EUR405 million, affording
additional resources for the expansion of its card offering. This
development compliment’s Sodexo’s card division expansion rate of
10% over each of the past 2 years and is projected to generate issue
volumes worth EUR2.4 billion to over 50,000 clients, reaching 5
million beneficiaries. SODEXO currently employs more than 342,000
individuals across 80 countries, had a 2007 revenue of EUR13.4 billion
and a market capitalization of EUR5.9 billion.

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EDebitPay and ConveniaLoad Partner

Prepaid card provider EDebitPay has partnered with ConveniaLoad to bring more card loading options to underbanked customers with prepaid debit cards. EDebitPay cardholders will be provided with access to register for this new feature and order a deposit booklet to their favorite bank. They will be able to use this booklet to go into the bank of their choice and load their prepaid debit card with cash allowing them to use their card at millions of locations around the world. This new feature will allow its customers to add value to their prepaid debit cards at over 10,000 bank locations including Wells Fargo, Bank One, U.S. Bank and Wachovia. ConveniaLoad is managed by Western Financial.

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BUY & GIFT PRODUCTS

Points International and Amtrak Guest Rewards have partnered to offer
loyalty program members the benefits of the “Buy and Gift Points
Program,” which allows users to purchase additional miles/points online.
This development is part the Points International recent growth with
worldwide partners, whom recognize the value-adding features of the
Organization’s website. This website is fully hosted and maintained by
Points.com, linked to the Amtrakguestrewards.com domain and provides
users with convenient access to “Buy and Gift Points”. Amtrak serves over
70,000 passengers, on up to 300 trains, on a daily basis across the U.S.
while Points International Ltd allows consumers to manage their miles and
points through more than 25 reward programs.

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BPC SMARTVISTA SUITE

Diners Club International has decided to deploy the BPC Banking
Technologies’ “SmartVista” card issuing/acquiring suite based on its
capability of supporting credit products and transaction accounting.
BPC’s “SmartVista” solution provides open modern architecture and
comprehensive functionality to support the Diners Club card business in
New Zealand, subsequently affording an increase in speed to market of
multi-channel delivery. Namely, BPC will be providing the SmartVista
“Front-End” for online processing of financial transactions and local
switch
providers of ATM and POS networks, the SmartVista “Back-Office” for
clearing and settlement, and the SmartVista “CardGen” subsystem for the
preparation of data and personalization of cards.

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DEVELOPMENT CREDIT & ICICI BANK

Through recent agreements with ICICI Bank, Development Credit Bank
has embarked on the credit card industry with its new “DCB Advantage
Credit Card”. Moreover, ICICI Bank will oversee the management of the
newly established card offering, which is targeting India’s rapidly
developing, under-penetrated market. DCB is projecting, of its 4.5 lakh
customers, 50,000 customers will eventually sign up for the “Advantage
Card.”

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Sharper Image Gift Cards Reemerge

Bankrupt retailer Sharper Image will allow redemption of its gift cards for their full value. Per the Bankruptcy Court’s approved new policy, all Gift Cards will be honored for their full value with two conditions: they must be redeemed in full in one transaction (no partial redemptions permitted) and customers must purchase an item that costs double the value of the gift card or merchandise certificate.

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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

According to MonetExpert.com, The Nationwide Building Society
“Consumer Confidence Index” has reflected significant loss for
February of 2008, having fallen 3 points. Currently at 78, the index is
reflective of consumers’ spending, their confidence in the economy, and
has been nosediving, consistently, since November of 2007. Additional
findings conclude that consumers’ willingness to spend fell 4 points to 64
on the index and a mere 11% of consumers feel the time is now to make
purchases. The only index not to show loss is that which reflects
consumers’ confidence in the job market.

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