SPENDINGPULSE

MasterCard Advisors has recently launched its “SpendingPulse” retail data
provider in the UK. The Mastercard data will be released nearly a week
ahead
of government data, on a monthly basis, concerning retail sales
performance and
trends collected through the company’s network. The fundamental benefit
of the
alternative data source to government agencies, namely the Office of
National
Statistics (ONS), is that the data available will be just as accurate
and accessible
much sooner. “SpendingPulse” is a macro-economic indicator provided by
MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide,
that provides payment consulting and information for organizations
worldwide.
MasterCard Worldwide processes nearly 16 billion transactions annually in
more
than 210 countries and territories.

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Gift Cards Top Holiday Purchases Again

Deloitte’s 22nd Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends indicates that gift cards are expected to be the top gift purchase, with 69% of consumers surveyed nationwide planning to buy them, compared with 66% nationally last year. Holiday shoppers are planning to buy an average of 5.5 cards, with 16% planning to buy 10 or more cards, compared with 11% last year. Consumers are also spending more in total on gift cards and more per card: $36.25 per card on average compared with $30.22 last year. Gift cards continue to grow in acceptance, 39% would rather get a gift card than merchandise, an increase from last year’s 35 percent. Consumers said that the cards are popular gifts for adults, teens and children alike, and 46% intend to buy them for immediate family; however, they are hesitant to buy them for spouses or significant others, with only 14 percent saying they plan to buy them for those recipients.

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BMO HARRIS ALLIANCES

BMO Harris Bank has announced its alliance with 5 new banks around the
world to provide card customers with global service. Included in the
alliance is China’s China Merchant Bank, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank,
Japan’s Credit Saison, Malaysia’s United Overseas Bank and France’s
Credit Mutuel Bank. With these banks, BMO customers are now allowed to
conduct business in their respective countries and have the ability to
review
spending by both individual and country with a worldwide rollup in a single
currency. This results in expense oversight clarity, streamlined
activities, and
provides better cash flow for all transactions. BMO Harris ePurchasing
Solutions
provides commercial card solutions and more than 87,000 companies with a
single-source option for commercial card programs.

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OneBridge Converts its First CU to SME

IN-based card processor OneBridge converted the first credit union to a real-time interface with Open Solutions’ “TCCUS-sme” system also referred to as “SME” or the “Standard Market Edition”. RTP Federal Credit Union in Durham, North Carolina with branches in Raleigh and Cary, went live with the interface on October 8, 2007. The credit union is utilizing the interface for their in-house VISA credit and debit cards. OneBridge provides financial institutions with complete, one-stop card processing solutions to help them maximize the value of their in-house credit, debit and ATM programs.

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RAHAXI & SYSOPENDIGIA

FreeStar subsidiary Rahaxi has signed agreements for the distribution of
SYSOPENDIGIA POS solutions. With these agreements for distribution,
the flexible Rahaxi “OTI” will be integrated with SYSOPENDIGIA ICT
products and services. In addition to distribution, the agreement calls for
referral arrangements between the two companies. SYSOPENDIGIA
provides IT products, services and mobile software, employs over
1,100 professionals, has a nearly 9.8 % profitability rating with
earnings per
share at EUR 0.25. FreeStar provides merchants and acquirers with card
processing in over 20 countries.

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Comdata to Offer Serious DVD Gift Cards

Comdata Stored Value Solutions has a strategic alliance with digital publisher and marketer Serious to offer DVD gift cards. The cards work like traditional gift cards, with payment magnetic stripes on one side and DVD content housed on the flip side. The gift cards will provide interactive multimedia content, such as music downloads, movie clips, product descriptions, educational information, catalogs, games, and more. Comdata’s platforms support both its proprietary and branded card networks, as well as card processing for all card types.

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COMMERCIAL BANK FEES

As a means of redeeming capital spent on ATMs, Vietnamese commercial
banks have implemented a procedure to generate capital from ATMs.
Following an extended hiatus of no-fee ATMs, the banks have realized newly
implemented teller machines must be redeemed by the consumer. Many
banks across the country have recently invested in off-site and on-site
ATMs
to attract new customers and provide convenience. With this, came expenses
many banks did not account for and subsequently are now forced to pass on
to the consumer. Asia Commercial Bank, for example, automatically deducts
VND10,000 monthly from each customer’s account. VIB Bank charges
VND20,000 monthly from customers with bank accounts only (not from those
whom have loan accounts). Some banks, however, are holding off on
introducing
the fee-charging as a means of attracting new customers.

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Gemalto Q3 Secure Transactions Up 7%

Smart card specialist Gemalto reports that overall third quarter revenue rose 6% to $588 million, marking the return to year-on-year growth. Revenues for the “Secure Transactions” unit, which includes smart payment cards, rose 7% to $148 million compared to 3Q/06. The Company says the growth in “Secure Transactions” was driven mainly by strong growth in personalization activities. However, some related production and labor difficulties were encountered during the quarter which adversely affected card deliveries. Gemalto is banking on its new “CardLikeMe” solution that enables customers to customize and order new credit cards via secure access to an online design portal. SEB Germany recently signed to offer “CardLikeMe” to its five million customers. In the “POS Terminals” unit revenues also increased 7% year-on-year to $17.3 million. During the quarter Gemalto’s “Java Card” implementation received “EAL4 Common Criteria Certification” and “EAL7” assurance. ensuring the secure isolation of applications. For complete details on Gemalto’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

GEMALTO REVENUE HISTORICAL
3Q/06: $535.1 million
4Q/06: $631.6 million
1Q/07: $495.9 million
2Q/07: $544.8 million
3Q/07: $588.0 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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GLOBAL UPLINK TAKEOVER

Cardtrend Intl has completed its acquisition of Global Uplink HK for
HK$500,000 and added 4 new executives. Global Uplink Founder,
Chen Yu Hua, is to assume the role of Chief Officer while the additional
executive appointees will oversee business development, operations and
financial control, all under 5-year contracts. Cardtrend International
operations are focused on payments and loyalty-rewards throughout Asia
with the operation of their Cards Business, Prepaid Business and
Processing Business.

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Citi Cards Snags an AmEx Veteran

Citi Cards has hired a 23-year American Express veteran as EVP of New Business Development. Mark Webb served as Head of Establishment Services, EMEA, Head of Global Business Partnerships and Head of the Global Client Group at AmEx. Webb will be responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the Citi Cards North America New Business Development teams, establishing the business development strategy and direction the leaders to identify, develop, negotiate and secure new “Partner Programs.”

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TNS to Deploy OpenService’s NerveCenter

Event and information management provider OpenService has announced that Transaction Network Services, Inc. is planning to use “NerveCenter” to monitor networks and services worldwide. TNS plans to implement another NerveCenter installation at their International NOC located in Sheffield, England, where it will also handle customer and service specific correlations. Transaction Network Services is an international communications company that enables payments, money and voices to move globally.

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