Online Purchasing to Peak This Afternoon

Online purchasing activity is predicted to peak today for major retailers between 2:00PM and 3:00PM EST. Retail Decisions says it is expecting to identify and stop greater volumes of attempted fraud this year. On a like for like basis, ReD saw volumes increase by 109% on “Black Friday” for its U.S. clients. The top categories of products purchased fraudulently this year were gift cards, electronics, tools, jewelry and apparel. ReD says attempted fraudulent transactions for one online mass merchant in November included 930 tool sets (valued at total $32,836), 738 gift cards (valued at total $26,895), 70 home theatres (valued at total $22,986) and 58 LCD widescreens at $59,983 total value. 89% of attempted fraudulent purchases were below $1000. ReD’s clients include, Federated Department Stores, Walmart.com, Travelocity, and The Finish Line.

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Feds Likely to Pause Again This Week on Rates

The Federal Reserve will likely tomorrow takes its fourth straight pause this year. LendingTree says with the cross-currents of core inflation on the one hand and the housing and auto sectors in a downdraft on the other, they will likely want to collect more data points before making a move in either direction. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates 17 straight times from June 2004 to June 2006. Meetings from August to October 2006 have resulted in a halt in rate moves, allowing previous hikes to work into the system and take affect. The current prime rate is 8.25%.

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Chase and Marriott Launch the Marriott Rewards VISA

Chase and Marriott have launched the “Marriott Rewards Platinum
VISA” in Canada. Cardholders can use their card for their daily
purchases and earn three “Marriott Rewards” points for every Canadian
dollar spent at Marriott locations worldwide and earn one point per
Canadian dollar for all other daily card purchases. In addition to earning “Marriott Rewards” points by using the card, cardholders receive 5,000 bonus points after their first card purchase. Cardholders will also be automatically upgraded to “Silver Elite” membership in the Marriott Rewards program. Cardholders can redeem points for more than 250 rewards options including free stays at more than 2,600 Marriott hotels worldwide, theme parks, cruises, airline miles, electronics and more.

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VeriFone Q3 Revenue Rises 20% Year-on-Year

VeriFone reported that its revenues rose 20% year-on-year to $156.6 million for the three months ending October 31st. Profits for the quarter were up 15% to $13.9 million compared to one-year ago. The increase was driven by a 30% increase in net revenues from VeriFone’s International business and a 14% increase in net revenues from VeriFone’s North America business. During the quarter VeriFone said its multi-lane retail business was up, driven by the “MX870,” the only large screen solution currently in the market for customers seeking to meet upcoming PCI deadlines. VeriFone also benefited in Mexico from strong FIMPE activity. In the U.K., the Company continued to make good progress in the UK market with its competitive win of CardNet, a joint venture between Lloyds and First Data. CardNet chose VeriFone as its primary supplier for desktop and mobile payment systems, offering an end-to-end service. For complete details on VeriFone’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

REVENUE HISTORICAL
3Q/04: $108.6 million
4Q/04: $111.3 million
1Q/05: $117.9 million
2Q/05: $125.7 million
3Q/05: $130.5 million
4Q/05: $134.6 million
1Q/06: $142.2 million
2Q/06: $147.6 million
3Q/06: $156.6 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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NBPCA Names a Government Relations Advisor

MA-based The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association has added Dan McDermott, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and government relations specialist, as the Association’s Government Relations Advisor. McDermott has led an accomplished career in the field of government relations. After practicing law, with a specialty in federal litigation, he became Legislative Counsel to the Financial Services Council in 1987. In 1990, McDermott joined Capital Holding Corporation, later Providian Financial, as Director of Federal Government Relations. For the next two decades, as Vice President and Senior Vice President, he was responsible for overseeing Federal and State government relations programs. Beginning in 2006, McDermott became associated with The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness as Executive Vice President. The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a nonprofit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards and represents the common interests of the many players in this new and rapidly growing payments category.

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Teen Spirit is Major Online Shopping Influence

A new survey has found that even though teens account for only three percent of online sales right now, they can be very influential on overall household buying. JupiterResearch found that one in four teens say their parents always take into account their opinion about household purchases. Of teens who make purchases online, 83% still make purchases with their parents present, via their parents’ credit or debit card. However, alternative methods of payment, such as PayPal and gift certificates, have grown in popularity and allow teens to make purchases by themselves. The JupiterResearch report concludes that teenagers are Internet-savvy and retailers must understand their characteristics and behaviors to catch them as them as they begin making their first independent online purchases.

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Desert Schools FCU Names a PR Manager

AZ-based Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has named Jason Meyers as its first Public Relations Manager. A graduate of San Diego State University, Meyers’ career includes posts as director of marketing communications at the Heard Museum as well as senior copy editor of marketing and creative services at The Arizona Republic. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade in the radio industry in Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego as a brand strategist, advertising production director and on-air personality. Desert Schools is Arizona’s largest and fastest-growing credit union with more than $2.7 billion in assets, over 325,000 members and nearly 60 locations.

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Rahaxi Processing Inks a Deal with BasWare

Rahaxi Processing has inked an a distribution and referral
agreement with BasWare. BasWare provides purchase-to-pay and
financial management solutions for large enterprises. Its software products are used by enterprises to automate back-office financial operations to enhance efficiency, gain process control and transparency, and meet compliance requirements. BasWare’s products are also widely used in shared service centers. BasWare has eight subsidiaries in Europe and more than 450,000 end- users in more than 20 countries. In Finland alone, BasWare has approximately 4,000 clients that generate a combined 9 million transactions annually. Under the terms of the agreement, BasWare’s “Cashier Desk-solution” will be migrated to meet the requirements of the EMV and PCI-standards in Finland using “Rahaxi-OTI” card payments processing software and Hypercom “Optimum” Point-of Sale products. Moreover, Rahaxi Processing will enable all BasWare POS clients to be EMV compliant before the summer of 2007.

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Alliance & Leicester to Launch Mobile Phone Banking

Alliance & Leicester is planning to launch mobile
phone banking in 2007. The new service, which complements its
award-winning Internet banking, will be run via the “MONILINK” network
allowing customers secure access to their current accounts on their
mobile phone. A&L intends to extend the range of services available using “MONILINK.” These could include the ability to access other accounts, the ability to transfer money or even to pay a bill directly from a handset. According to www.banksafeonline.com, about 15 million U.K. adults now bank online.

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MASTERCARD & FIFA

MasterCard Worldwide has won the rights to continue sponsorship of the “World Cup” soccer tournament for at least the next two “World Cups” despite a deal VISA signed with FIFA calling for it to receive the rights on Jan. 1st. About six months ago VISA was awarded the sponsorship by the Federation Internationale de Football Association for the next eight years. MasterCard, a long-time FIFA sponsor quickly filed a lawsuit claiming FIFA broke its contract giving MasterCard the right of first refusal on an extension of its 16-year sponsorship of the “World Cup.” The ruling was handed down this morning by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York City. Preska ordered that FIFA proceed with the “2007-2014 MasterCard Agreement” that the parties agreed to. She also noted that FIFA’s negotiating team misled MasterCard about an extension period while FIFA was simultaneously and aggressively negotiating with VISA.

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KBC & SERVERSIDE

Enabling customers to personally customize their payment cards online
looks like a new hot button for consumers, especially in Europe. Belgian
Bank KBC reported that 120,000 of its customers have uploaded a favorite
picture onto their payment cards in the four months after it began
offering the service. KBC says 20% of this figure is made up of new
cards and 80% replacements of existing cards. The new KBC
personalization program is powered by London-based Serverside Graphics
which serves 33 major issuers worldwide including Advanta and First
National Bank of Omaha in the USA. KBC says it abandoned the traditional
direct mail channel altogether opting for online marketing for the new
program. KBC has not charged a fee for the new service but has recently
begun testing a fee of about $13.

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CITIBANK SHELL CARD

Hungarian drivers now have access to the new “Shell MasterCard” from Citibank. To encourage customer applications, Shell and Citibank are doubling the card’s regular 3% rebate on Shell fuel purchases in Hungary and 1% rebate on all other purchases as part of an introductory promotion. The introductory program applies for all cards issued before January 31st, it refers to transactions made within the first 60 days of the card’s issuing date. After the 60-day period, the rebate reverts back to the 3% on Shell fuel purchases in Hungary and 1% on all other retail purchases wherever the card is used in the country and abroad.
Supplementary cards are also included in the rebate program, however,
rebates may only be redeemed by the main cardholders.

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