HSBC ATMS

HSBC bank has signed ATM agreements with both Seven Bank and Japan
Post Bank allowing its “Premier” customers access to a total of 39,000
additional machines across Japan. The ATMs customers will now
be able to use feature biometric security implementations and 24-7
availability.
Contracts are projected to be finalized by January of next year and in
addition to granting wider ATM access, will provide the HSBC “Premier”
customers with a “Premier International ATM Card”, which charges limited
withdrawal fees.

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Magnum Comm to Distribute FICO Expansion

Fair Isaac Corporation and Magnum Communications announced that Magnum will distribute Fair Isaac’s FICO “Expansion” credit risk score to financial institutions. Under the agreement, lenders will use Magnum’s robust credit data acquisition system, CREDICHECK IV, and a secure web interface to access the FICO Expansion score. The scoring data has been pre-mapped to Magnum’s RapUp data analysis tool enabling Magnum to bring the score online quickly for easy client implementation. FICO “Expansion” score aligns with Fair Isaac’s industry-standard for quicker adoption by l enders and combined coverage of nearly 50 million more American consumers over most credit risk models. Lenders nationwide are using FICO Expansion scores today to better control their risk when extending credit opportunities to new consumers while Magnum is a provider of credit data access, analysis and decision management.

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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

According to a recent MasterCard Worldwide survey, overall
Australian consumer confidence has risen 51% since 2006. The
survey also gaged the positive increases with income optimism,
which has risen by 17%, the quality of life, more than doubling from
25.5 to 60.8 on the index since the year prior, employment optimism,
which increased by 54%, and impressions of economic performance,
up 71%. Overall, throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region, 10 of the
13 markets reflect increases in consumer confidence with the Vietnam
market reflecting a score of 94.3, Hong Kong scoring an 85.9, China
with 85.5 and Singapore with 83.6. The survey was completed using
data collected from 5,411 consumers throughout Asia-Pacific and has
been conducted over the past 14 years to project 6-month consumer
sentiments.

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Experian Interactive Media is Created

Experian Interactive has formed Experian Interactive Media to help consumers make critical decisions that impact their financial situations with free online services. Experian Interactive Media consists of the following brands: LowerMyBills.com, which connects interested consumers with service providers that can offer competitive rates and terms; ClassesUSA.com, one of the Web’s leading higher-education portals, connects prospective students with schools offering online and traditional degree and certificate programs; ExpertsOnCredit.com provides informational content regarding credit-related topics; InstantApprovals.com, which matches consumers with the credit cards that fit their lives and Affiliate Fuel which provides Experian brands, and other external advertisers, with pay-for-performance marketing services.

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Banks Ignore the Unbanked Prepaid Market

A new study has found that prepaid cards for the unbanked has been conspicuously absent among general purpose reloadable cards. NY-based Celent notes that payment network-branded prepaid cards are set to go big in areas such as healthcare, government benefits, and incentive card programs with an unbanked 36 million people and an aggregate income of $260 billion. Extrapolating out the current average load amounts on these cards, there is a $31 billion market to be captured. Should average load amounts rise as this population shifts from the early adoption stage to mainstream acceptance, the market size will be even more immense, with the potential for card spending at $192 billion. Celent says banks have left the door wide open for nontraditional and nonbank competitors to freely pursue this massive market. Rushing into this void are Wal-Mart and Home Depot, which harbor dreams of becoming banks, Capital One charging into the banking space, and H&R Block, which just recently actually acquired a bank license.

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XMAS CASH VOLUME

Brits have been hitting ATMs heavily this holiday season as cash withdrawals are running about 7% higher than one-year ago. Through December 10th more than GBP 3.2 billion in cash has been withdrawn from LINK cash machines during December, an increase of GBP 140 million compared with the same period in 2006. LINK Data for December show that cash withdrawals since Friday, December 7th have been particularly high, suggesting that mortgage holders may have been encouraged to spend more freely following the recent rate cut. On December 6th the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to reduce the official “Bank Rate” paid on commercial bank reserves by 0.25 percentage points to 5.5%. LINK also noted that ATM cash withdrawals in previous years grew about 5.00% to 5.50% per year, however this year there was a significant jump. LINK data covers cash withdrawals from more than 64,000 cash machines in the UK.

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Aveso Lands a Former Gemalto Executive

Minneapolis-based Aveso has hired Dino Ferrari, previously VP of the secure transactions business unit at Gemalto, as VP of business development. Ferrari will be responsible for developing relationships with end customers of electronic display cards featuring Aveso’s flexible display technology. Ferrari brings to Aveso over 25 years of industry experience in the payment card industry. At Gemalto, he oversaw business development and sales for conventional, contactless and contact smart cards for the company’s Financial Services business unit in North America. Prior to Gemalto, Ferrari held sales, marketing, business development and technical management positions with Atlantic Zeiser and Gilles Leroux US, as well as DataCard, the leading global manufacturer of card personalization, embedding equipment and software services. Aveso is a provider of flexible display components suitable for high-volume, cost-sensitive, mass-consumer applications.

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VOLARIS & UATP

Volaris Airlines will now be a UATP merchant, accepting the
organization’s
cards for payment through UATP Settlement Services (USS). USS reconciles
payment transactions with a low-cost system on a weekly cycle for its
merchants. Regarding the airline’s punctuality, Volaris has take off and
landing
indexes of 95% and with this development as a company, is reflecting
expansion
for market share in corporate travel. Furthermore, the airline offers
air travel
to over 16 destinations while UATP cards are accepted for payment around
the world and are issued by many different airlines.

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Fair Isaac Rules the Business Rules Market

Fair Isaac Corporation has been recognized by analyst firm IDC as the worldwide revenue leader in the Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) software market for the second consecutive year. The new IDC report “Worldwide Business Rules Management Systems 2007-2011 Forecast and 2006 Vendor Shares” ranks Fair Isaac as the worldwide BRMS market leader in 2006 with revenues of $53.5 million, compared with revenues of $45.1 million in 2005. IDC credits Fair Isaac’s 18.7 percent growth and 23.6 percent market share to the company’s continuing success with its “Blaze Advisor” business rules management system in the North American market. Fair Isaac’s revenue in North America was $45.1 million, compared to $24.4 million for the closest competitor.

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FUNDSTECH PLATFORM

FundsTech has launched its prepaid platform in South Africa
which is currently in the process of receiving certification. With
this new platform, FundsTech will be issuing prepaid cards throughout
various African countries and following the completion of its
platform certification, intends to deploy 1.5 million cards. FundsTech
financial services provides prepaid debit cards to the over 1 billion people around the world.

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Comdata SVS Debuts American Idol Gift Cards

San Diego-based IdeaEdge and Comdata’s Stored Value Solutions have teamed to launched the first “American Idol” gift cards. The new gift cards provides access to music from past “American Idol” contestants and can be used to purchase Karaoke CDs of songs sung on the show by favorite “Idols,” exclusive “American Idol” apparel and accessories, a “Playstation 2” video game, and even an “American Idol”-ized monopoly game. Cards can be purchased in $25 or $50 denominations online or at select retail stores nationwide. In addition to exclusive “Idol” merchandise, each time a user redeems an “American Idol” gift card, the user will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes to win a grand prize trip for four to Los Angeles to attend the season seven “American Idol Finale” in 2008. The card is available 10,000 retail locations nationwide. There are an estimated 40 million “American Idol” fans in the USA.

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