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May 15, 2003

Growth forecast for online sales

CNET reports on a new study by Shop.org and Forrester which forecasts online sales in the US could reach $96 billion this year, a 26 per cent growth over last year. At that level, online sales would represent 4.5 per cent of total retail sales.
Last year, online retail sales in seven out of 15 product categories accounted for 5 percent or more of the $2.07 trillion in total retail spending. And this year, that figure is expected to increase to 9 categories out of 15, Silverman said. It is estimated that retail sales this year could reach $2.13 trillion. In the computer hardware and software category, 34 percent is expected to come from online transactions. Sales of all online tickets, including travel, events and movies, are expected to capture 20 percent of all ticket sales, while 15 percent of all book sales are anticipated to be online, according to the study.

May 14, 2003

Princeton student devises new smart card attack

CNET reports on a new attack on certain types of smart cards developed by a Princeton student.
The attack requires physical access to the computer, so the technique poses little threat to virtual machines running on PCs and servers. But it could be used to steal data from smart cards, said Sudhakar Govindavajhala, a computer-science graduate student at Princeton who demonstrated the procedure Tuesday. "There are smart cards that use Java that you could shine a light on, flip a bit and get access to the card's data," he said. The technique relies on the ability of energy to "flip bits" in memory. While cosmic rays can very occasionally cause a random bit in memory to change value, from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 0, Govindavajhala decided not to wait. He used a lamp to heat up the chips inside a computer and cause one or more bits of memory to change. By doing so, the researcher broke the security model that virtual machine's rely on--that the computer faithfully executes its instruction set.

May 13, 2003

Nokia turns phones into credit cards

CNET reports on a trial by Nokia and MasterCard of MasterCard's new PayPass technology.
In the Irving, Texas, trial, which is scheduled to last six to eight months, consumers can wave their SmartCover Nokia phones in front of the reader instead using a card. Both PayPass cards and SmartCover phones come with hidden computer chips and radio frequency circuits, which transmit payment details through the air rather than via a magnetic stripe.

Wells Fargo tops Gomez survey

Chris Musto from Gomez reports on Wells Fargo topping its most recent survey of online banks.
Always high ranked since the Scorecard's 1998 debut, Wells Fargo takes the top spot during a review period in which it launched an online deposit statement archive and more extensive bill presentment services, among other enhancements. On the surface, the pioneering Web bank appears to have left elements of its eight-year-old online offering untouched. But in actuality, the breadth of products supported with education, applications, account look-up and money movement is industry-leading. Meanwhile, additional attention is paid to how customers use the offering; the bank exquisitely pre-fills applications and delivers extensive help, online banking demos and reliability guarantees. Wells Fargo, moreover, has jumped to the front car of the online document delivery bandwagon, joining other large retail banks -- Bank of America, Wachovia, Wells Fargo and Bank One -- which all offer either online check images or online statement copies to most retail deposit customers. Wells Fargo's offering, however, goes one step further: it makes available seven years worth of online statements.

MasterCard updates progress on PayPass

MasterCard has provided an update on the progress of its "PayPass" trial.
Now in its fourth month, the Orlando, Florida MasterCard PayPass market trial has 16,000 cardholders and nearly 60 merchant locations participating. Additionally, MasterCard recently began working with Nokia to incorporate MasterCard PayPass into mobile phones. A Nokia market trial currently taking place with retailers in the Dallas, Texas area allows consumers to tap or wave their phone to make payments simpler. "MasterCard is pleased with how PayPass has grown since we launched our market test four months ago. We're already evolving PayPass to meet growing consumer needs that have resulted from the Orlando pilot," said Art Kranzley, EVP and chief e-Business officer, MasterCard International. "Over the next few months, MasterCard will continue to lead the industry in introducing additional PayPass-related innovations, delivering to consumers more convenient payment solutions to make their everyday purchases."

Datacard introduces system that fights skimming

Datacard Group has announced a new module for its family of card issuance systems which uses MagTek's Magneprint technology to capture a unique fingerprint or noise signature from the magnetic stripe of newly issued cards.
Datacard is collaborating with MagTek, Inc., a leading card reading solutions supplier and provider of Magneprint(R) technology. MagTek's Magneprint technology is based on the fact that every magnetic stripe has a unique particle "noise signature" pattern that is intrinsic to that stripe. Credit card "skimmers" typically run cards through a terminal that captures data recorded on a magnetic stripe. While the data can be transferred from an authentic card to another stripe of another card, the intrinsic fingerprint pattern of an authentic card is impossible to transfer.

May 12, 2003

iPayment Completes Initial Public Offering

"iPayment" (NASDAQ: IPMT) completed its initial public offering today. iPayment's IPO was the first US IPO in two months. READ MORE »

May 11, 2003

Debit card settlement to cost Bank One $60 MM in lost revenue

Reuters reports that Bank One disclosed in an SEC filing last week that the recent debit card settlement with retailers would cost the bank about $60 million in revenue.

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