Delta Joins AmEx’s Intl Airline Program

American Express has added Delta Air Lines as its 18th partner to its International Airline Program (IAP), available exclusively to Platinum Card and Centurion Card members. The International Airline Program is available when booking through Platinum Travel Services and Centurion Travel Services. It enables Card members to receive a complimentary companion ticket on qualifying international flights with the purchase of a first or business class ticket, depending on the carrier. The addition of Delta brings new non-stop destinations to the program including Istanbul, Kiev, Budapest, Bucharest and certain destinations within the Caribbean and Mexico. U.S. Cardmembers may use IAP as often as they like and enjoy the flexibility of a refundable ticket with no blackout dates.

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Consumers Plot & Plan Online in January

Consumers typically use January as a planning time and this year Web traffic shows a big uptick in visitation to tax, travel, careers and real estate Web sites. comScore Media Metrix reports that IRS.gov had 13.3 million visitors, a 205% increase over December, making it the top gaining property for the month. The Hotels/Resorts category experienced a 29% boost in visitation, led by Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online with 6 million visitors. The top “Career Services” site in January was CareerBuilder with 21.1 million visitors. In the Real Estate category Move Network led with 8.5 million visitors. Overall, Advertising.com retained the number one position for the 33rd consecutive month, reaching 85% of the U.S. online population. Within the top ten, Google moved up two positions to number seven, reaching 61% of Americans online.

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GE Money to Issue the KIOTI Credit Card

Tractor manufacturer Daedong-USA has selected GE Money’s Sales Finance unit as its new consumer finance partner for the KIOTI tractor brand. Under the five-year agreement, GE Money will support the new KIOTI Finance program through more than 300 dealers nationwide. Approved customers can finance a new KIOTI tractor using the KIOTI private label credit card or with an installment loan backed by GE Money. Daedong-USA is the North American subsidiary of Daedong Industrial Company, Ltd., based in Daegu, South Korea. Daedong Industrial Company has been manufacturing tractors and equipment for 50 years. GE Money is a provider of credit services with $163 billion in assets.

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China Unicom & Smartpay Introduce Payment Service

In conjunction with SmartPay Jieyin, China Unicom has introduced a
new mobile phone payment service called “China Unicom Mobile Wallet”.
Registration for this product allows consumers access of mobile top-up,
payment of utility bills, insurance and highlights the ability to
purchase lottery tickets. SmartPay has established an extensive network
of banks for mobile, telephone and Internet based payments, including 8
headquarters and over 35 branches of China’s key banks.

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Trycera Intros an OEM Prepaid Card Program

Trycera Financial has launched a new OEM private label card program. The OEM program provides a cost effective, turnkey solution from end-to-end, avoids costly contract alternatives and guaranteed minimums required by processor, bank and association agreements. A company can tailor the look and feel of a branded card product to meet the needs of their targeted customer base. Prices for the new OEM private label card program range from $25K – $75K per OEM program depending on the complexity underlying the platform selected. The first OEM customer for the new Trycera OEM card platform is ?So You Want to be a Model?? contest administrators ESB Productions and CosmoGIRL Magazine via the Model Prepaid MasterCard. Other OEM customers will be announced in the coming weeks and months ahead as they are individually launched. Trycera Financial specializes in the delivery of prepaid card programs, prepaid card program management and private label catalog shopping cards.

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GSMA Launches a Pay-Buy Mobile Initiative

GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade organization for mobile
operators, has announced a pay-by-phone initiative by combining payment
card technology with Near-Field-Communication(NFC) in a cell phone.
Participating in the initiative are fourteen mobile operators with the
collective intention of facilitating payments through cell phones and
offering secure, transparent mobile payments for both customers and
financial institutions. These payments are to be made using a SIM
Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) card in mobile phones plus
contactless/NFC technology.

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Capital One UK Caught in FSA PPI Crackdown

The Financial Services Authority fined Capital One Bank (Europe) about $350,000 for alleged unfairness and misrepresentation in marketing “Payment Protection Insurance” to its credit cardholders. The issuer has undertaken a full remedial program at a cost of around $6 million. The FSA’s investigation focused purely on credit card PPI sales. During 2005 Capital One sold approximately 335,000 U.K. credit card PPI policies. The FSA says Capital One failed to send a policy document to more than 50,000 PPI customers between January 2005 and April 2006, although they did receive a policy summary. Also, two out of four script options used by its sales associates did not ask the customer for consent explicitly to receive only limited information over the telephone; the scripts did not ensure adequate disclosure in enough cases of policy features and benefits and policy exclusions and limitations; failure to provide customers who purchased PPI other than by telephone with the policy document prior to the conclusion of the contract; and compliance monitoring of telephone sales of PPI was not sufficiently effective. The FSA is currently investigating over 200 PPI firms.

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Discover Certifies INSIDE Contacless Hardware

The Discover Network has certified “MicroPass L4” intelligent hardware
from INSIDE Contactless. The “MicroPass L4” hardware consists of a
contactless chip to be used in fobs, cards and other devices in
Discover’s contactless payment network. The hardware is to be used for
quick retail transactions with the wave of a card, offering customer
convenience and the merchant benefit of moving more customers through
check-out lines in less time. Discover operations serves over 4,200
financial institutions and includes almost 250,000 ATMs and
approximately 3.4 million POS terminals. INSIDE Contactless has been
expanding over the past two years with more than 12M chips delivered for
contactless payment cards in the US market.

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TUV SUD to Offer Galitt’s KaNest Tools

Tokyo-based TUV SUD has inked a deal to market Paris-based GALITT’s
“KaNest” and “KaNest-ICC” testing and certification tools in Japan.
GALITT’s simulation tools facilitate certifiable testing of smart card
and transactional systems. The “KaNest” simulators provide a
customizable test tool to validate exchanges between transactional
systems, including card processing systems and stock exchanges. The
“KaNest-ICC” simulators aim at testing smart card and accepting devices,
including all EMV-related components. TUV SUD Japan started the testing
of terminal devices for IC cards in 1998. KaSYS merged with COGESYS and
CARD.dev to create GALITT in 2004.

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H&R Block Canada Launches a Debit Card

In conjunction with Direct Cash, H&R Block will be offering “Instant
Cash Back” clients debit cards across Canada. With the debit card option,
clients will be allowed safe & secure access to their annual tax refund.
The card is immediately loaded and distributed with the customer’s tax
refund, including a secure PIN number, and is accepted at all Interac ATMs.
Because it is the client’s own money on the debit card, it is not
necessary for them to have a bank account or undergo a credit check to
qualify. H&R Block Canada is a subsidiary of H&R Block and prepares
nearly two million tax returns annually. H&R Block Canada has more than
1,000 offices throughout Canada.

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Nomad Expands Prepaid Card Operations

Nomad reports it had introduced 40 new prepaid programs in 2006 as a
result of its rapidly increasing customer base. The new programs are in
addition to the company’s already established services throughout
Europe. The company’s prepaid customer base increased by 50 percent last
year. The rapid expansion of this division of the company demonstrates
that Nomad’s tailor-made solution meets this market’s demands. Research
indicates that the open prepaid market is set to grow at 32% per annum
reaching a total in 2009 of over $43 billion.

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Advantex Finally Delivers an Operating Profit

Thanks to the growth of Advantex’ Advance Purchase Marketing Programs,
the fourth calendar quarter was the first quarter in recent history that the company
delivered an operating profit. Net revenue for the quarter was $3.4
million, an increase of 31.5% over the corresponding quarter in the
previous year. This growth reflects the positive impact of the increase
in assets deployed ($4.1 million compared to December 2005) in the
Company’s Advance Purchase Marketing Programs. Also, as a result of the
purchase programs, Advantex gross profit for the quarter was 2.2
million. Advantex is a marketing services company.

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