Sony and NXP Form a JV to Drive Contactless Payments

NXP Semiconductors and Sony Corporation have signed a MOU to establish by mid-year 2007 a joint venture that will drive global adoption of contactless smart card applications in mobile phones. The anticipated JV will plan, develop, produce and market a secure chip that will include both “MIFARE” and “FeliCa” operating systems and applications, as well as other contactless card operating systems and applications. “MIFARE” is the most widely installed contactless smart card technology in the world with about 1.2 billion smart card chips and more than seven million reader modules sold. Current shipments of “FeliCa” ICs stand at 170 million units and of these 30 million are mobile “FeliCa” chips for use in mobile phones in Japan.

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Leigh Mardon Taiwan Acquired by Gemalto

Gemalto has entered into an agreement with Leigh Mardon Group Pty to acquire Leigh Mardon Taiwan. Leigh Mardon is an established supplier of secure transaction products and services with its headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. The company is a market leader in financial cards in Taiwan and Australia. Leigh Mardon is security accredited by VISA, MasterCard, Europay, Bankcard, Diners Club and American Express and holds International Quality Standards Organization “9002” series certification. The deal is expected to close on November 30th.

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Oki and Nautilus Hyosung Partner to Manufacture ATMs

Oki Electric Industry Co. and Nautilus Hyosung, the top ATM manufacturer in Korea, have signed a partnership for the global deployment of financial systems. OKI and Nautilus Hyosung
will develop and manufacture financial systems including ATMs and cash
processing equipment, which will be sold in Korea, China and other
overseas markets. Nautilus Hyosung is a financial systems integrator from the Hyosung Group. In addition to being the top ATM vendor in Korea, it also provides over 80,000 cash dispensers to the U.S. market. OKI is the top ATM vendor in Japan. As the Japanese ATM market matures, OKI who has been providing ATMs to overseas market including China since the fiscal year ending March 2004, is planning for further expansion overseas.

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Citibank Launches the Swipe & Drive Program

Citibank has launched a new product that will enable Citibank
credit card holders to get instant approvals for auto loans. Citibank is rapidly expanding its auto lending business across the country. With the “Swipe & Drive” product, customers can pay their 10% down payment through their credit card and get an instant auto loan for up to 90% of the value of the car. Citibank has also recently reduced its interest rates and has extended loan tenors up to six years.

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FreeStar Technology Revenues Fall 24% in 3Q/06

Dublin-based FreeStar Technology reports that third quarter revenue decreased by approximately 24% to $461,860, due to decreased
consulting and development fees at the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary
Rahaxi Processing Oy. However, the Company’s core transaction processing business generated a 12% increase in activity for the quarter, as the total number of transactions processed rose to approximately 4,917,000 transactions during the quarter. The Company’s net loss was $2,470,221, an increase of $1,533,191 or approximately 164% compared to a net loss of $937,030 for the comparable period of the prior year. For complete details on Freestar’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Labrador Liquor and Ernex Launch the NLC Gift Card

Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor have launched a new gift card
program. Technology for the program is provided by Ernex, which is a division of Canada’s largest payment processor, Moneris Solutions. “NLC Gift Cards” can be purchased and redeemed at any of the 24 NLC Liquor Stores throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and are also redeemable at all of our 112 Liquor Express Stores. The cards are available in $10, $25 and $50 denominations. They are activated and processed through a combined debit/credit/gift card payment processing terminal provided by Moneris. Data from Ernex finds gift card redemption amounts in the last week of December through the end of January are almost 300% higher than the redemption amounts in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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CSU CardSystem Signs Card Deal with Banco Panamericano

CSU CardSystem reported two developments with material impact on its businesses in the area of the implementation of the “Caixa” project in February and the signing of Banco Panamericano. The total migration process of the card base of Caixa Economica Federal to CSU foresees the installation and management of card-processing applications in CAIXA’s technological environment, followed by the provision of CSU’s full service model (card processing, call center, credit analysis and collection). Banco Panamericano contracted CSU for the implementation of a new project connected to Bau Crediario, the return of Grupo Silvio Santos to the retail sector. The product issued by Banco Panamericano, a co-branded credit card with the VISA logo, may be used in the Group’s 40 points of sale, as well as in establishments in the VISA network.

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Gen X and Boomers Show a Lack of Store Loyalty

New research shows that “Gen X” and “Boomers” don’t have any clear store preferences or loyalty when it comes to holiday shopping. The only store where “Gen X” say they plan to shop at a significantly higher level than “Boomer” and “Silent/GI” generations was Apple/iTunes. When compared to “Gen Y” and “Gen X,” no stores stood out among “Boomers” choices of where they planned to shop. The study, by Maritz, also found that 42% of “Silent/GIs” say they will not give gift cards, compared to a higher percentage of “Gen X” and “Boomers.” Maritz says based on buying behaviors “Gen Y” is typically a prime target for retailers because of their affinity for fashion and impulse buying.

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OTI Revenues Slip in Q3 Due to U.S. Contactless Market

Rosh Pina-based On Track Innovations posted revenues for the third quarter of $8.0 million, a 34% decline over the same period of last year. The Company says the decrease in revenues represents the effects of the protracted evaluation and validation period in the U.S. contactless payment cards market. During the quarter, OTI acquired most of SuperCom’s Assets; demonstrated a contactless reader solution with veriFone at Cartes; provided USA Technologies next generation contactless payment readers with initial orders for 10,000 readers; signed ‘Yellow’ Convenience Stores to distribute and add loading infrastructure for “EasyPark.” Also, Chevron selected OTI’s “EasyFuel” as its petroleum payment and automated fuel management solution and Garanti Bank of Turkey picked OTI for contactless card solutions. For complete details on OTI’s third quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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State Governments Slow to Move to Debit Cards

The EFTA has released a white paper and survey on the use of debit cards by state governments which shows that most states have yet to convert such likely payments as unemployment compensation or employee payroll to debit cards. The survey of over 1,000 government agency managers shows that the use of debit cards is prevalent in a few types of payments, but that states and local governments continue to use checks for many other disbursements. By surveying current payment practices and focusing on the legal and regulatory issues facing card adopters, “Debit and Stored Value Cards for Government” identifies areas for growth in this emerging payment segment, said Helwig. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association (www.efta.org) is a 29-year-old professional association of organizations dedicated to the advancement of electronic payment systems and commerce.

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AssetExchange Facilitates Six CU Card Sales

OR-based AssetExchange has represented six credit unions in the sale of credit card portfolios and the establishment of card issuing partnerships including Heritage CU of Madison, WI; Focus One Community CU of Monrovia, CA; HealthAmerica CU of Jacksonville, FL; Trona Valley Community FCU of Green River, WY; Tri-Co FCU of Randolph, NJ; and, Eastern New York FCU of Napanoch, NY. AssetExchange conducted performance assessments for each credit card portfolio and provided counsel to each credit union in determining whether a portfolio sale was the best strategic option. AssetExchange represented each credit union’s interests in obtaining, reviewing, and negotiating offers to ensure that each received fair compensation and favorable partnership terms. AssetExchange is a leading credit card advisory and brokerage firm for financial institutions. Services include credit card portfolio brokerage, performance assessments, and market valuations.

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