EU Ministers Agrees on a SEPA Directive

The Payment Services Directive necessary for the creation of SEPA and
SEPA products will be agreed upon by the 27 EU Finance Ministers in
April. Following approval by European Parliament, the Directive will
create security to providers of payment services and create equal legal
conditions for payments in the European Union. With this, every
cross-border payment can be treated as a domestic payment providing
customer benefits. The Directive creates equal legal conditions for
payments in the European Union.

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APEX Analytix Offers Vendor Risk Tools

APEX Analytix has introduced “FirstStrike Fraud Detect” software and “Vendor Risk Analysis” services. The software was developed to identify payments to fictitious companies, conflict of interest vendors, kickback vendors, prohibited vendors associated with the U.S. Patriot Act, and other potentially fraudulent vendors and transactions. APEX Analytix’s new systems work by monitoring data that is already in company financial systems. In addition, the company’s accounts payable system may be continuously monitored or reviewed on a regular basis to detect new cases of high-risk activity. Some of the attributes for vendor flagging include use of initials in vendor name, private mail service address, appearance on a Government Watch List, benfords (mathematical distribution), even dollar amounts and consecutive invoice numbering. APEX Analytix provides a software solution for the identification and prevention of A/P errors.

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Economic Growth Likely to Outperform the USA

TD Economics has projected that the Canadian economy will grow 2.4% in
2007. This is a rate only slightly slower than 2006, unlike that of the
U.S. economy which will see significantly less growth than the previous
year. Slow American growth is mostly because of a sluggish real estate
market and low consumer confidence. Mortgage lenders whom did not
diversify their portfolio when real estate was booming are now feeling
the pressure because of the present slow down. In Canada, however,
housing will slow only in the West, but will average high activity
across the entire country. The Canadian economy is slowing at an average
pace and the only significantly vulnerable areas are those with exposure
to external demand. An improvement in U.S. demand in late-2007 and 2008
is expected to generate productivity in Canadian manufacturing.

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IXI Hires a Credit Card Services Exec

VA-based IXI Corporation announced that Hugh Lloyd-Thomas, previously with eFunds, has joined the firm as Senior Vice President of its Credit Services Practice. In this new role, Hugh will be responsible for developing relationships with credit card clients, leveraging IXI’s proprietary data to identify relevant credit solutions, and partnering with credit industry leaders to test and analyze IXI’s proprietary data. At eFunds, Lloyd-Thomas was Director of Major Accounts with responsibility for domestic and international business development for the company’s CitiGroup and American Express relationships. Previously, he was an account executive with Fair Isaac. IXI provides information for strategic and tactical marketing decisions, customer analytics, prospect targeting solutions, and market-share tracking systems.

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Value Retail & Alphyra to Issue Village Cards

Alphyra, in conjunction with Mastercard, has developed a prepaid gift
card program for Value Retail’s Bicester Village. The program will first
introduce the “Bicester Village Gift Card,” then, in May, ones for Kildare
Village in Ireland and Maasmechelen Village in Belgium. Cards for the
other Villages in France, Spain, Italy, Germany will follow later in the
year. These gift cards can be used just like a Mastercard and uses the
same processing terminals. Alphyra works with networks in over twenty
countries and this is the first of the companies projects with
Mastercard. With over nine shopping outlets, Bicester Village has 3 1/2
million domestic and international visitors a year.

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Monitise M-Pay Platform Heads to the U.S.

Milwaukee-based Metavante and London-based Monitise have signed a deal to form a joint venture to operate a mobile payments system in the USA. The system will be built like the “Monilink” platform in the U.K. which is a joint venture between Monitise and ATM network operator LINK. Monitise solutions feature multi-layer security measures, including a two-factor authentication system that enables mobile phones to securely generate one-time pass codes. Metavante will provide hosting services for the Monitise mobile payments platform in the U.S. As part of the hosting services, the “NYCE Network” will connect the Monitise platform to its switch. In addition to mobile payments, the Metavante-Monitise joint venture makes low-cost, two-factor authentication services available to U.S. and Canadian financial institutions through Monitise’s “ACCODE” service.

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INSIDE & Infineon Develop Interoperable NFC Solutions

INSIDE Contactless and Infineon Technologies have announced a joint
effort in the development of interoperable NFC solutions, combining
resources and strengths including INSIDE’s NFC capacity and Infineon’s
secure connectivity technology. This convergence of the two companies’
technologies will also create a capacity in which to develop new banking
and telecommunications services. This will allow interoperability with
the Mifare protocol opening new markets for the NFC product, such as the
public transportation sector and secure payment using mobile devices.

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Paper-Based MasterCard PayPass is Coming

MasterCard has inked a development agreement with France-based ASK to create paper-based contactless payment solutions utilizing “PayPass” for deployment in transit and other payment environments. More than 50 million ASK contactless paper tickets are already being used globally in mass transit automatic fare collection systems. MasterCard is currently participating in a contactless trial in the New York City subway system and on the Ohio Turnpike, while “PayPass” is now accepted in many Philadelphia and NYC taxi cabs and Utah buses. MasterCard is also leading the effort to develop new “PayPass”-enabled devices, such as key fobs, mobile phones, wristwatches and wristbands. There are nearly 13 million MasterCard “PayPass” cards in use at more than 46,000 merchant locations worldwide. ASK provides contactless cards, tickets, RFID tags, e-passport inlays and readers addressing the mass transit, access control, banking, e-identity and supply chain markets.

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Arcadia Renews Contract With PrePay

The Arcadia Group has renewed its contract with PrePay technologies for
the production of the company’s gift cards because of their proven
performance in the market. The Arcadia Group includes retail clothing
brands such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit,
Topshop, Topman, & Wallis brand names and has used PrePay service since
2004. PrePay also develops gift cards for Rugby Football Union (RFU),
Ticketmaster, Comet, Laura Ashley, LOVEFiLM, Gift Days Out and Debenhams
and has issued over 10 million cards.

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e-Commerce Patents Go On the Auction Block

Chicago-based Ocean Tomo Auctions is holding an auction next month to sell groups of patents related to various aspects of e-Commerce and online privacy protection. The patents range from online protection of private consumer information, to centralized online management of personal information, online ordering of goods and services, online consumer feedback and ratings applications, and management of credit card accounts for online purchases. Three years ago, Ocean Tomo auctioned-off a portfolio of e-commerce patents for $15.5 million. The patents were held by bankrupt dot-com company Commerce One and covered “Web services,” an early e-commerce mechanism that facilitates communication between online marketplaces.

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CORP PAYMENTS SURVEY

A new global survey has found a reasonably wide disparity in the adoption and perception of corporate payment cards as a means of making and receiving business payments. However, the research also found that in the U.S. and Europe, more than one in three companies, and in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa CEMEA, more than one in four companies, plan to increase their use of corporate payment cards in the next 12 to 18 months. The “VISA Global Cash Management Survey” reveals that in the U. S., 53% of those surveyed use corporate cards to make payments and 44% use cards to receive payments. EU is second with 45% of companies using corporate cards to make payments and 33% to receive payments. The other regions trail EU and the U.S. with 20% of companies in AP using cards to make payments and 13% using cards to receive payments, and LAC where 33% of respondents said they use corporate cards to make payments and 13% to receive payments. In CEMEA, 25% use corporate cards to send and 20% use them to receive payments. VISA noted that in general, 75% of companies recognize that the most important capability of electronic payment methods is to provide easier access to more transparent financial data.

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Ciporin Becomes a Canaan Partner

CA-based venture capital firm Canaan Partners announced that Dan Ciporin, the former chairman and CEO of Shopping.com, has joined the firm as a venture partner. Ciporin will work with Canaan’s global teams to identify technology trends and pursue investment opportunities, particularly in the Internet and digital media sectors. At Shopping.com, Ciporin transformed the company into the global leader in online comparison shopping Shopping.com went from start-up to public company with more than $100 million in sales, eventually being acquired by eBay in 2005 for approximately $620 million. Previously, Ciporin was head of MasterCard’s global debit services business, where his extensive product insight, management and marketing skills were instrumental in establishing the company’s leadership in the global electronic debit market. Canaan Partners is a global venture capital firm specializing in early-stage information technology and life sciences investments with $2.4 billion capital under management.

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