Sagem Orga & Sheltering Ink Distribution Agreement

To market its smart card solutions, Sagem Orga has signed distribution agreements with Sheltering ICT Security Solutions to focus on banks in Italy and larger issuers with operations in the country. The two companies plan to accomplish this through the implementation of contact EMV cards adhering to the latest CPS standards, online authentication solutions (CAP), contactless
smart cards (Paypass, VISA contactless) and will offer a comprehensive
personalization package, consultancy, training and professional project
management underpinning the technology. This agreement will also deliver a combined European service infrastructure for EMV banking cards to service the banking market in Italy. Sheltering is prominent in the EMV cards market and supplies solutions and services to Italian companies and financial institutions with integrated electronic security for payment transactions and identification.

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Givex Cards Integrate with Sweda POS Systems

Givex has announced the integration of their gift card
programs with Sweda POS systems. This will allow Givex users
real time transactions and Sweda POS customers round-the-clock
support services. Because of the increasing popularity of gift
cards, the integration is predicted to be beneficial to both
companies. Sweda Corp. provides open architecture point-of-sale
systems and support services to more than three thousand
supermarket and restaurant sites throughout the world.

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Gemalto Solution To Assist EMV Implementation

Gemalto has introduced a digital security solution to assist in the
implementation of the international EMV standards established by Europay, Mastercard and Visa. The “EMV Pilot Package” will assist
financial institutions in complete EMV migration and includes microprocessor-based smart card technology to provide cardholders with digital security, personalization services and consultation. Gemalto offers external support and will also train internal card-issuing teams on EMV. Also offered by the “Pilot Package” solution is data preparation,personalization and fulfillment of the cards. Gemalto had 2006 annual revenues of 1.7 billion euro, operations in about 100 countries and over 10,000 employees including 1,500 R&D engineers.

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Synovate Study Shows Parents Urge Children To Save

Synovate has conducted a study of 172 Canadian parents and 1,424 parents
around the world of children aged 5-17 years. The study shows that 82% of Canadian parents surveyed teach their children how to save money and 72%
teach children how to compare prices for the best deal. The study also
demonstrates that 25% of parents around the world give their children a set
allowance on a regular basis, led by S. Africa at 34% and Canada at 32%.
Furthermore, although nearly 50% of Canadian parents surveyed provide their children with some type of allowance, 74% require that they have at
least some input as to how the money is spent. The sharpest contrast, however, was
seen in perspectives on saving for education; 60% of Chinese and 55% of Cypriot parents parents involve their children in saving for their education, while 69% of Canadian parents say that their children play no part in saving for their education.

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Altair Financial Acquires Symmetrex

Altair Financial has acquired U.S.-based international payment
processor, Symmetrex Inc. This acquisition allows Altair increased
availability and financial applications, decreasing processing
rates and improving customer service. Symmetrex also provides
expertise in the pre-paid card market. Altair is a global
provider of Prepaid Card solutions offering compatibility with
both open and closed loop programs.

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FEB CARD DEBT

Credit card outstandings grew during February by GBP 200 million.
However, the GBP 54.5 billion figure remains well below last December
2005’s peak of GBP 59.0 billion. Year-on-year credit card outstandings
(not seasonally adjusted) are running about 5% lower than one-year ago.
According to the The Bank of England, the increase in total net lending
to individuals in February was higher than the increase in January and
the previous six-month average. The twelve-month growth rate stayed
level at 10.5%. While net consumer credit including credit cards and
other loans and advances rose in February, it was at a slower pace than
January. The annual growth rate of consumer credit fell to 5.5% in
February and the three-month annualized growth rate fell to 5.6%.

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Spira de Mexico Renews TSYS Contract

TSYS has announced it has signed agreements with
Spira de Mexico to continue processing their consumer
credit portfolio. This agreement, according to experts,
is essential to the success of Spira and is a cornerstone
to the TSYS commitment to the Mexican market. TSYS offers
outsourced payment services with a broad range of issuer- and
acquirer-processing technologies supporting consumer-finance
and other services for financial and retail institutions.
Spira de México was formed in 2004 as a joint-venture company of Grupo
Financiero Uno and Invex Grupo Financiero.

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QNB Upgrades Service For Cardholders

As a part of the company’s effort’s to enhance its credit card
offerings, Qatar National Bank has introduced “Value Added Services” for their premier cardholders. These new services include personal accident travel insurance and credit card purchase protection cover and are automatically applied, free of charge. The travel insurance covers up to USD $1 million for the primary card holder and for spouse and children at no additional cost, while the purchase protection
insures against theft, loss or damage for up to 90 days after purchase.

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AirPlus International Launches FlexEbill

AirPlus International has launched “FlexEbill,” a new tool that enables companies to create and modify the format of their billing information at any time through the “AirPlus Business Travel Portal” Corporations can select, arrange and combine any invoice field information using FlexEbill. They can delete, add to or change existing fields in their invoice sequence, changing the format of the electronic invoice at any time. Another advantage is that no internal interfaces have to be changed, thus avoiding the normal cost of adapting downstream systems. AirPlus International is a global leader in business travel payment solutions, offering central payment accounts, corporate cards and online management information tools. AirPlus is the preferred payment partner of airlines around the world.

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Consumers Want M-Payments on Card Networks

A new survey has found that by a ratio of five to one, consumers would prefer mobile purchases to pass through a credit or debit card network and appear on their card statement instead of appearing on their wireless bill. The new study from Fabrizio McLaughlin & Associates for VISA also found that 57% of those surveyed expressed interest in getting a phone with a payment application when shown what a payment-enabled phone might look like. Nearly 90% of those who were interested in mobile payment said they would pay extra for a phone with this feature. Nearly two-thirds of consumers in the survey aged 18-42 said they would consider switching mobile carriers from one that does not offer mobile payment capabilities to one that does, assuming they could keep their phone number. More than half of the same age group said they would consider switching financial institutions to gain access to mobile payment services.

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Firethorn Teams with Verizon for M-Banking

Atlanta-based Firethorn is working with Verizon Wireless introduce its mobile banking and payments solution. The Firethorn solution is a single, secure application, authorized by the wireless carrier and controlled by the consumer. The application, which is designed to work for any institution on virtually any mobile device, enables comprehensive banking and payments capabilities. Consumers can view account balances and history, transfer funds, receive and pay bills, and quickly clear contents if their mobile device is ever lost or stolen. Consumers can perform functions on any supported wireless handset, even when their device is offline.

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