AmEx Launches AIR MILES in Canada

Amex Bank of Canada and the “AIR MILES Reward Program” have launched the “AmEx AIR MILES Platinum” card. Under the new program, MILES” reward mile for every $10 in purchases charged to the card, plus, they can earn one “AIR MILES” reward mile for every $15 in purchases charged to the card everywhere else. The annual fee for the new card is $50. New cardholders will receive 250 bonus reward miles the first time they use the card. Existing “American Express AIR MILES” cardholders can choose to upgrade to the “Platinum” card for a 250 reward miles reward. The new “AmEx AIR MILES Platinum” card will be supported with an extensive national marketing campaign, including television and print advertisements, direct mail and online media.

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Ingenico Makes a Solid Move on Hypercom

Ingenico has offered to buy Hypercom for $332 million and it looks like a deal could be forthcoming. The Ingenico proposal reflects a premium of 52% over the current share price, as well as a 83% premium over Hypercom’s current enterprise value. Last week Ingenico said Hypercom has been uncooperative with regards to a reasonable path forward. However, Hypercom says its Board has always considered any and all credible offers for our Company, both to maximize shareholder value and as part of its fiduciary responsibility. Accordingly, Hypercom have opened discussions with Ingenico to more fully determine their ability to promptly make a credible, firm and fully financed offer, with certainty of closing, as well as to determine the complete terms of their proposal. The Company intends to conduct these discussions outside of the public arena, arrive at an informed conclusion, and announce a conclusion as expeditiously as possible.

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CEE CREDIT CONSUMER RECEPTION

According to a recent Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report, consumers are
not given suitable resources with which to make informed decisions when
comparing credit cards and features. In response, the organization is
recommending the Financial Services Authority (FSA) launches an
independent credit card price comparison website, the standardization of
terminology used in credit card product literature and improvements made
to consumer education regarding benefits of shopping around for a card.
The OFT, however, does not place blame entirely on the lack of resources,
rather, holds that the ultimate decision is in the hands of the
consumers and it
is up them to conduct some research of their own. Supporting this, figures
show that 68% of card holders did not shop around before selecting their
current card. Furthermore, the APACS organization, with an interest in how
consumers spend cash, use payment cards and other means of transactions,
is offering its full support to the OFT proposal in the hopes it will
convince
consumers to make more informed decisions. Additionally, APACS will
be working with the OFT and FSA to ensure these recommendations come
to fruition.

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Consumer Confidence Hits an 18-Month Low

Consumer confidence has hit new lows after tumbling to an 18-month low in December. In fact, consumer sentiment as measured by the latest “RBC CASH” (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index has dropped to the lowest levels since the “CASH Index” was created six years ago. The overall “RBC CASH Index,” released by RBC, stands at 48.5 for February 2008, almost eight points below January’s 56.3 level. The “RBC Current Conditions Index” plunged more than 15 points in February, down to 63.6, compared to 78.9 in January. Attitudes toward the current state of the economy remained statistically unchanged, with 35% of consumers rating the local economy as weak, compared to 32% rating it weak in January. Most of February’s steep decline is due to a significant weakening in people’s evaluations of their own finances and reduced confidence in making household purchases. Currently, one in three American consumers (31%) rate their personal finances as weak (up from 27% in January).

RBC INDEX HISTORICAL
Nov 06: 92.4
Dec 06: 86.9
Jan 07: 95.3
Feb 07: 103.0
Mar 07: 92.3
Apr 07: 85.4
May 07: 87.1
Jun 07: 81.4
Jul 07: 76.1
Aug 07: 89.3
Sep 07: 71.1
Oct 07: 80.6
Nov 07: 56.3
Dec 07: 48.5
Source: RBC Financial Group

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CALYPSO & INTERAC

Calypso ATM Processor has been invited to join the Interac Association
Board of Directors allowing Calypso GM Doug Epp to serve among
the 14 other board members effective February 19,2008. The Interac
Association was established in 1984 as a non-profit organization to
develop a national network of electronic financial services, which includes
the Interac “Direct Payment” debit card service and Interac “Shared Cash
Dispensing.” Calypso ATM transaction processing, reporting and settlement
services was established in 1999 and has operations across Canada and
in the UK.

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GOLDFISH SALE

Discover Financial Services has inked a deal to sell its $4 billion “Goldfish” credit card business based in the United Kingdom to Barclays Bank. The sale price of the business is approximately $70 million in cash. The card portfolio consists of 1.7 million “Goldfish” and affinity card accounts. Discover expects it will record after-tax charges of between $190 million and $210 million. In December Discover concluded that continued disruption in the U.K. financial markets, higher interest rates and its decision to reduce loan exposure to the U.K. market have negatively affected the book value of its “Goldfish” business. Two years ago Morgan Stanley/Discover agreed to purchase Lloyds TSB “Goldfish” credit card program for $1.76 billion for a 22% premium. That deal included 800,000 credit card accounts. The new transaction is expected to close by the end of Discover’s second quarter.

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SPOTLIGHT FINANCIAL PLATFORM

ACI Worldwide will be deploying mFoundry’s “Spotlight Financial
Platform” for its electronic payment solution. Moreover, with this
development, the platform will integrate with ACI’s “Enterprise Banker”
to provide mobile banking capabilities, such as real-time account
information, to its online banking software users. A key legacy of this
agreement is allowing banks to extend their brand with more exposure
and the eventual provision of mobile remittance solutions. mFoundry
mobile application platform provider offers mobile banking and payments
to consumers across the U.S. while ACI Worldwide provides electronic
payment processing, risk management and automating systems to over
800 customer clients in 86 countries.

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MICROREAD NFC CHIP

INSIDE Contactless has introduced a third version of its “MicroRead”
NFC chip, emphasizing easy integration and compatibility. The new
chip has been designed for integration with consumer electronic devices
and phones, allowing for use in payment transactions at retail terminals.
In addition to these features, “MicroRead” is both SIM-/SE- friendly,
can be used with access control, logistics, tracking, and a range of RFID
applications. Additionally, the chip can be used in its “battery-off” mode,
allowing it to function when the host device is turned off or the
battery is
drained. INSIDE Contactless holds over 55 patents and has issued more
than 35 million MicroPass devices since 2005 to nearly 20 bank card
issuers around the world.

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nFinanSe Signs Card Deal with Behlen Mfg

nFinanSe and NE-steel manufacturer Behlen have signed an agreement for nFinanSe to provide pay cards to Behlen employees. Behlen plans to offer the nFinanSe Pay Card as an alternative to traditional paper checks, thereby providing their employees with the cost savings, convenience, flexibility and security of a card-based program. The new program will offer Behlen employees the option of having their payroll electronically deposited onto an “nFinanSe Discover Network Pay Card”.

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ALTAIR, BRIGHTERION & MASTERCARD

Altair Financial Services International has launched the MasterCard “Expert
Monitoring System” (“EMS”) product suite using the Brighterion’s iPrevent
fraud prevention engine. This solution is intended to prevent fraud and
enhance card security for the browser-based EMS technologies platform.
Overall, with this development, Altair will be able to enhance fraud
detection,
profiling, data mining, and management information reporting. Moreover,
these new measures can collectively detect fraud almost immediately with
Brighterion’s “iPrevent”. The “iPrevent” software provides a real-time
online
scoring platform to allow the company’s fraud manager to refer or decline
suspicious transactions.

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Fiserv Revenues Climb 19% in the Fourth Quarter

Fiserv reported that revenues increased 19% to $1.11 billion for the fourth quarter. GAAP earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $0.58 per share, including $0.54 from continuing operations, compared with $0.52 in 2006. Fiserv EFT completed 46 new sales in the quarter with 90% made within the Fiserv core processing client base and added 90 clients for its branch capture product and 142 clients for its merchant capture product. Also, the company signed 97 new clients for its electronic bill payment services and now has nearly 3,300 electronic bill pay clients. CheckFree’s Electronic Biller Services added significant content by implementing e-Bills for American Express’s 20 million U.S. consumer cardholders, and for more than 17 million U.S. policyholders of Allstate Insurance. Fotr complete detail on Feiserv’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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ADS & AIR MILES

CENTURY 21 Canada has renewed agreements to sponsor the Alliance Data
Systems Corporation “Canadian AIR MILES Reward Program,” renewing
a relationship first established in 1992. Nearly 60% of Canadian households
participate in the The “AIR MILES Reward Program” for discount rewards
on over 800 items available with over 100 sponsor retail and service
locations
across Canada. Alliance Data oversees loyalty programs for nearly 120
million client/consumer relationships across North America and employs over
9,000 at more than 60 locations worldwide while Century 21 real estate
franchisor is composed of over 8,400 broker offices in 58 countries and is
represented by 142,000 sales representatives.

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