GIFT CARD PROJECTION

Growth in the popularity of gift cards in the United States is expected
to soon duplicate around the world. The emerging gift card markets
around the world, along with the maturing North American market, is due
to a number of factors. Among these factors are the range of different
businesses that benefit from card production, including printers,
plastics decorators and card manufacturers. Additional advantages to
companies introducing gift card programs include a low capital
investment needed and improving capability of meeting market demand for
flexibility. For the 2005 holiday season, 76% of adults had purchased an
average of 4.7 gift cards valued at US$38+, reflecting the
aforementioned popularity across North America. Furthermore, for every
US$1.00 gift card value, retailers see an average upsale of between
US$1.20 – $3.00. With modest investment in additional equipment,
retailers around the world are now realizing these advantages and are
seizing the conditions in their respective markets.

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MasterCard to Sponsor 08 PBS Soundstage Series

Mastercard is a new sponsor of the public television series “Soundstage” for the 2008 season. The season kicks off with a two-part Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 30th Anniversary Concert airing Jan. 10 and Jan. 17. Other upcoming concerts for the 2008 season include Lifehouse, Daughtry, John Fogerty and Matchbox Twenty. “Soundstage” is distributed nationally by PBS to more than 250 public television stations.

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AGILYSYS & PLANET PAYMENT

Agilysys and Planet Payment have introduced their solution for the
integration of payment systems designed for merchants in the retail and
service industries. Agilysys property management systems, such as “The
Lodging Management System”(LMS), automate many operations for this
type of management, including reservations, card processing and
accounting. Planet Payment’s expanding operations for integrated
payment solutions to the Asia Pacific region served as an opportunity for
the fruition of this partnership. Planet Payment’s intention with its
expansion
to this region is to provide point-of-sale technology providers with
card transaction switching to simplify the delivery of integrated support.
With the organization’s Agilysys partnership, this allows card transactions
received from various terminals routing to a single system using “LMS”.

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Electronic Merchant Systems Hires a New CEO

Merchant processor Electronic Merchant Systems has named Dan Neistadt, previously with KeyBank, as CEO/President. Neistadt comes to EMS with over 25 years in the payment industry including serving as Executive Vice President and Manager of the Business Management Group within Key Electronic Services at KeyBank USA. In addition to his experience with KeyBank, Neistadt has served on MasterCard’s National and International Debit Access Committee. He has also been active and served several terms as a board member of the Electronic Transaction Association including a term as the President of the ETA. Electronic Merchant Systems offers an array of merchant processing services including credit/debit card processing, eCommerce, gift and loyalty cards.

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OBERTHUR SMARTCARDS

Oberthur Card Systems is predicting that, for 2008, the popularity of
smart cards in the United States will be explosive. First implemented in
France during the early-1980’s, then throughout the rest of Europe
by the end of the 20th century, experts have been predicting that
acquirers in the United States would be soon to follow. Based on current
figures, projections include nearly 75 million American customers will be
using smart card solutions before 2009 and 128 million by 2010. Oberthur
Card provides card-based solutions, software and smart card applications,
had sales of EUR524 million in 2006, with payments & services accounting
for 47% of revenues and mobile communications accounting for 37% of the
revenue.

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Dimon to Chair The Clearing House Board

Payment systems provider The Clearing House announced that Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has been appointed to Chairman of the Board of Directors and Richard Davis, Chairman, President and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, has also been appointed to the Board. Dimon has served on The Clearing House’s Board for four years, initially as CEO of Bank One Corporation and more recently as Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase for four years. As Chairman of The Clearing House Board, he will assume a leadership role in a payments organization that continues to play a central role in the progress of the banking industry. The Clearing House Payments Company is a private-sector, global payment systems infrastructure that clears and settles 40 million payments for more than $2.4 trillion per day.

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ID WORLD 2007

Wise Media’s 2007 “ID World automatic identification summit” grew by over
50% from the previous year with 2,419 individual visitors
and 112 exhibitors. The conference provided vendors with an ideal
environment in which to establish business contacts and integrators to
discover new technology applications. Additionally, the ID World summit
was inaugurated by 4 CEOs, whom are fundamental to the ID Revolution
community, and featured the launch of applications for state-of-the-art
identification technologies illustrated by other top executives, for a
total of
over 140 speakers’ contributions. This summit was endorsed by such
organizations as the European Commission, the Italian Ministry of Interior
and the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers. With these
endorsements, the conference’s primary focus is on identification
technologies
comprising of RFID, biometrics and smart cards.

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Webster Bank to Brand ATMs in Walgreens

CT-based Webster Bank and Walgreens have entered into an agreement to place its brand on 158 ATMs in select Walgreens’ pharmacy stores. Webster will not charge withdrawal fees to customers who use their Webster debit or ATM cards in these new ATMs. Approximately 150 of the new ATMs will be in Webster’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island market regions. The project is scheduled to begin and reach completion in the first quarter of 2008. Webster expects to have more than 500 ATMs operating in its footprint by the second quarter of 2008. Webster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association and Webster Insurance, with $16.8 billion in assets.

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G-CARD

Farmers have been issued 3,500 bar-coded Ginger Commodity
Credit Cards throughout the Indian countryside. The cards double
as a tamper-proof identity card to ensure against fraud and theft.
Additionally, smaller farmers will be now be able to conduct cashless
purchases and avoid “revolutionary” taxes that would, otherwise, be
imposed upon them for cash purchases. Other benefits afforded
“G-Card” holders is an opportunity to penetrate mainstream banking
and the option to take out a loan for up to Rs. 10,000.

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Cardtronics IPO Produces Lackluster Interest

Cardtronics shares closed down 50 cents per share yesterday, its first day of trading, from the IPO price of $10 per share. The day before trading began the Houston-based ATM specialist reduced the size of its offering and cut the price to the low range of what was expected. The shares are trading on “The NASDAQ Global Market” under the ticker symbol “CATM”. Cardtronics expects to receive net proceeds of approximately $110.1 million from the offering and intends to use the net proceeds to pay down existing debt. Cardtronics posted third quarter revenues of $110.6 million, a 45% leap over the year-ago quarter and up 43% sequentially. The increase was primarily driven by the July acquisition of the financial services business of 7-Eleven, which added $30.1 million of revenues in the third quarter. However, the Company recorded a net loss for the quarter of $10.7 million, compared to a net loss of $0.3 million for the same period in 2006. The Company has a nationwide U.S. network of more than 28,600 ATMs operating in every major market and all 50 states, as well as over 1,900 ATMs throughout the U.K. and over 1,000 ATMs in Mexico. (CF Library 11/15/07)

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ATM FEES

The RBI subsidiary, The Institute for Development and Research in
Banking Technology
(IDRBT), has thrown out policies that require customers to pay Rs 2
for transaction switching when using ATMs. In place of this fee, banks
will only charge
mutual interchange transaction fees while some may waive the fee entirely.
All banks involved support this amendment and look forward to providing
a more user-friendly ATM service. A Nationwide Financial Switch (NFS)
was originally established to provide banks with a network of 16,891
ATMs under 27 member banks. ATM usage accounts for nearly 70% of
banking transaction in India with around 75,000 transactions on a daily
basis. With this development, however, experts project that ATM usage is
soon to account for closer to 90% of all banking transactions. The member
banks concerning this development include ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis
Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of Baroda and Punjab
National Bank, among others.

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JALCARD BIDDING

Japan Airlines has reopened bidding on its JALCARD credit card division
to a shortlisted group of organizations, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group Inc., Credit Saison Co., Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp.,
U.S. investment fund TPG and an unnamed investment fund. Sources say
that rather than Japan Airlines’ original intention to sell a minority
share,
the company may auction a majority holding to buyer as predicted by
March of 2008. JALCARD currently has around 1.9 million cardholders,
for whom its processed 1,650.5 billion yen for the 2006 fiscal year.

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