MAR CARD LENDING

New borrowing on credit cards contracted for the eighth time over the past year, dipping by GBP 84 million in March. For the past six months credit card lending has declined by an average of GBP 169 million per month. The British Bankers Association reports that total net lending rose by an underlying GBP 4.927 billion in March, compared to GBP 4.887 billion in February and GBP 5.474 billion in March 2006. Of the total rise, mortgage lending accounted for an underlying GBP 5.084 billion. Consumer credit fell by GBP 164 million overall and personal loans/overdrafts fell by GBP 47 million compared to February’s fall of GBP 236 million. The BBA collects data from Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Bradford & Bingley, HBOS, HSBC Bank, Lloyds TSB, Northern Rock and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Citi Releases a Money Guide

Citi has introduced a personal finance guide, “The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People” The Citi Commonsense Guide for Real People shows readers how to achieve financial health by tackling the various aspects of money management through a series of simple yet effective steps. The guide is divided into three easy- to-follow sections, which together teach consumers how to avoid the financial pitfalls that life can present. In section one, “Get Back on Track,” Citi takes a look at several situations where people find themselves in turmoil, such as running out of money before the next payday, keeping credit in check, falling behind on a mortgage payment or covering college costs. Once a plan is set in motion, section two, entitled “Basic Training,” addresses the fundamental building blocks of financial responsibility. The final section addresses potential “Curveballs” such as losing a job unexpectedly, or becoming a victim of identity theft. This section goes back to the basics of education as the most efficient and effective method of making the right choices and getting back on track. Citigroup will donate all profits from book sales to not-for-profit organizations and programs that support and teach financial education.

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Lightbridge Inks With Payment Services Interactive

Lightbridge Inc. and Payment Services Interactive Gateway Corp
(PSiGate) have signed a non-binding letter of intent(LOI) stipulating that
Lightbridge will acquire PSiGate’s outstanding shares, currently at
10,554,469 common shares. Also in the agreement is the transaction will
be all cash and valued at approximately C$1.55 per share with maximum
consideration of C$17.825 million and is subject to customary closing terms
and conditions. PSiGate will provide e-commerce solutions allowing
Lightbridge the means of expanding transaction processing beyond U.S.
borders. Total revenue for PSiGate was approximately C$4.2 million in
2006.

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PayPass Vending Adds 6 Major Players

Six top vending companies are installing USA Technologies’ “e-Port” cashless payment technology on their vending machines to accept MasterCard “PayPass” cards and devices. North County Vending, Five Star Food Service, A & B Vending, First Class Vending, Mid-Atlantic Vending, and PGI Services are participating. These machines are part of the deployment of 5,000 “PayPass”- and cashless- enabled vending machines announced late last year. The latest rollouts follow “e-Port G6” deployments by Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Great-Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. There are nearly 13 million “PayPass” cards and devices issued globally, and “PayPass” is currently accepted globally at 46,000 merchant locations.

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Meta Financial Hires Top Card Exec

Meta Financial Group has named Scott Galit, formally a SVP of Global Prepaid Products, as EVP of Meta Payment Systems. Prior to joining MasterCard, Galit was SVP and GM of First Data Prepaid Solutions. Meta is a provider of payment products and services to the emerging prepaid card industry and to business clients nationwide and works with banks, card processors, and third party marketers to develop and issue card programs carrying the brands of MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and various regional debit networks.

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VISA Brands its Contactless Pay Feature

VISA has developed a new global name for its contactless payment feature after conducting extensive, global consumer research and drawing on marketing intelligence from its Asia Pacific region. The new “VISA payWave” name replaces “VISA Contactless” and “VISA Wave.” VISA says it is planning an integrated marketing campaign to highlight the speed and convenience of the “VISA payWave” feature, help consumers recognize the universal acceptance symbol for contactless payments at the point of sale, and illustrate the simplicity of making a “VISA payWave” transaction. To-date, ten VISA issuers have begun to issue cards with the “VISA payWave” feature. Chase was the first issuer to broadly launch contactless cards, offering VISA cards with “blink.” Chase has issued more than 7 million cards with blink to U.S. consumers. Wells Fargo, which issues contactless “VISA Platinum” and “VISA Signature” credit cards, has plans to re-brand the contactless feature to “VISA payWave” over the next few months. In its Asia Pacific region VISA successfully introduced the contactless feature as “VISA Wave” in Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.

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BP to Expands VISA payWave Acceptance

VISA announced that BP has joined the list of merchants nationwide to upgrade point-of-sale infrastructure and accept VISA products with the contactless feature. Already, consumers can take advantage of the no-swipe technology at 1,100 BP branded sites and BP plans to roll-out this technology to 10,500 of its retail locations nationwide. In total, approximately 31,000 merchant locations in the U.S. accept contactless payments. Last month Taco Bell, ShopRite, Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores and Clearview Cinemas signed deals to accept “VISA payWave” contactless cards. Also in March, SunTrust Banks became the first issuer in the U.S. to incorporate VISA’s contactless payment technology across its entire consumer credit card portfolio. (CF Library 3/5/07; 3/21/07)

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TriCipher Expands CA SiteMinder

TriCipher has integrated its “Armored Identity Management” solution with “CA SiteMinder” identity and access management product that protects critical IT systems and services with user authentication and authorization. “CA SiteMinder” provides broad support for web access management and “Single Sign-On”, providing users with access to resources across networks of websites. TriCipher’s “Armored Identity Management”, combined with CA SiteMinder, makes it virtually impossible for attackers to steal the user’s credentials, misappropriate valuable resources, or compromise critical business applications. The “Armored Identity Management” integrates into “CA SiteMinder” without requiring any changes to customer applications and offers a variety of authentication methods that easily integrate with CA SiteMinder. TriCipher provides a unified authentication infrastructure to protect the B2B and B2C online channel against fraud and identity theft.

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First VISA Infinite Card Enters the UAE

Emirates Islamic Bank has launched a “VISA Infinite” credit card. The new card for the United Arab Emirates offers a much higher credit limit plus worldwide priority access to VIP airport lounges, complimentary Concierge services across the globe, special global travel, dining and retail offers, complimentary travel insurance, and complimentary purchase protection. Emirates Islamic Bank also says the new “VISA Infinite” includes free online access. The “VISA Infinite” card, originally announced by VISA in Oct 1998, features no preset spending limit, a high minimum credit limit, a customized reward system and a premium concierge service.(CF Library 10/30/98; 10/4/00; 4/10/01)

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Millionaire U.S. Households Top 9MM

The American Affluence Research Center latest report indicates 80% of the affluent respondents in the sample reported a net worth of $1 million or more and 37% reported investable assets of $1 million or more. With this survey representing the 11.2 million affluent households classified as the wealthiest 10% of US households in the latest Federal Reserve Board research, AARC calculates that 9.1 million US households can be considered millionaires (with a net worth of $1 million or more) and 4.2 million of these millionaires have investable assets of $1 million or more. The survey also profiles these millionaires as having an average income of $356,000, a primary residence with an average value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.5 million, and an average of $1.7 million in investable assets. The millionaires are more positive in their economic outlook and spending plans than the less affluent in the survey. AARC provides marketing research and consulting services that focus on the lifestyles, attitudes, and purchasing behavior of the affluent.

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WaMu to Pilot PayPass and payWave in June

WaMu says it will begin testing contactless payment cards across both credit and debit card platforms in partnership with “Visa payWave” and “MasterCard PayPass.” WaMu will begin issuing VISA credit cards with the contactless payment feature to its account holders in a pilot test starting in June. With the addition of WaMu, four of the nation’s top ten VISA issuers have now adopted the technology, and have made contactless payment technology available to consumers in U.S. WaMu is the nation’s sixth largest bank card issuer, according to CardData with more than $23.5 billion in managed receivables as of year-end 2006. WaMu serves almost 11 million credit card customer accounts.

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