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« January 5, 2003 - January 11, 2003 | Main | January 19, 2003 - January 25, 2003 »

January 17, 2003

IFX releases version 1.4 specification for public review

The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum released for public review today the latest version of the IFX specification, Version 1.4, which incorporates new features to support ATM, POS and other financial channels.
This new version builds on IFX's multi-channel capabilities, such as enabling customers to deposit, withdraw and transfer funds, and allows financial institutions to exchange essential information with their customers, their service providers, and other financial institutions. "IFX is a well-designed specification developed by both the financial industry and its technology providers - a productive collaboration that produced an extensible and interoperable standard for all the industry to use," said IFX Forum Chairman Mark Tiggas of Wells Fargo Services Co.

January 16, 2003

Seattle Times: Washington Mutual puts growth on the fast track

Bradley Meacham reports on Washington Mutual's plans to open nearly 10 percent more branches nationwide this year.
The Seattle lender plans to open 250 branches, mostly in new markets such as Chicago and Denver, Chief Executive Kerry Killinger said yesterday at a University of Washington Business School Dean's Breakfast.

New York Times: George Waters

The New York Times highlights the contributions of George Waters to the success of American Express.
American Express hired Mr. Waters as general manager of its credit card division in 1961. At the time, credit cards were accepted primarily by restaurants, and Visa and MasterCard did not yet exist. Diners Club was the card that had the most members. Mr. Waters gave the American Express card a significant lift by persuading American Airlines to drop its credit card and begin accepting the American Express card. Other airlines soon followed. To strengthen the credit card division, Mr. Waters significantly increased its annual fee, reduced the number of delinquent accounts and improved its accounting system. Under his leadership in the 1960's and 1970's, the American Express card became a global brand and the flagship product of the American Express Company. Diebold tests biometric hand geometry recognition

Diebold is testing biometric hand geometry recognition as part of its campus card system.
"WVU has partnered successfully with Diebold since 1995 with the use of the Mountaineer Card system, which allows our students to do a variety of things from purchasing meals at campus restaurants and items at the bookstore, to riding the Personal Rapid Transit System (PRT) and gaining entry to athletic contests," Hardesty said. "This innovative electronic security system for the residence hall and campus recreation center is just another example of how this company is changing the way we do things to make life more secure, convenient and accessible for our students."

January 15, 2003

Wells Fargo extends support for online statement delivery

Wells Fargo has announced that it is extending its support for online statement delivery to include eligible savings, checking, Portfolio Management Account (consumer or business) and brokerage accounts. The bank also described its "OneLook" account aggregation service as a differentiator.
"Wells Fargo's OneLook service helps customers manage financial resources across Internet sites," continued Modjtabai. "Instead of visiting multiple sites with separate sign-on procedures, customers can save time and view a consolidated financial picture of all their accounts -- even those outside of Wells Fargo. Customers now have one-stop service integrated through a single sign-on to all of Wells Fargo's banking; bill pay; mortgage; student and personal loans; home equity loans; auto loans; full-service and discount brokerage; credit card accounts as well as access to customers' personal e-mail and reward accounts." Forbes praised Wells Fargo's single sign-on service, saying that it, "allows access to all of your accounts everywhere." Leading technology analysts have said Wells Fargo's single sign-on service is the largest in terms of number of services available through a single sign-on. By integrating OneLook with its leading single sign-on service Wells Fargo is providing customers with a more seamless experience.

January 14, 2003

Card Forum: National Merchants Revisited

Charles Marc Abbey of First Annapolis reports on the economic implications for merchant bankcard acquirers supporting national merchants.
For the early 1990s, First Annapolis estimates that national merchant net spread (gross revenue less interchange and assessments divided by sales volume) averaged about 30 basis points (0.3%), which dropped to 17 basis points by mid-decade and then dropped again to 13 basis points by early this decade. (There is no good industry data, but our educated guess is that the price competition in the national market˜the decline in net spreads˜is twice the rate of the rest of the industry.) This 13-basis-point net spread compares to an average for the rest of the industry in the 55- to 65-basis-point range. So though national merchants generate over half the volume in the industry, they account for less than 20% of revenue.

FDIC: Basel and the Evolution of Capital Regulation: Moving Forward, Looking Back

The FDIC has released a paper on Basel II.
This paper, the first in an FDIC series exploring Basel II, traces the broad history of post World War II views of bank capital adequacy, and places the new accord against that historical context. Our purpose in placing the accord in historical context is to give an appreciation of how and why the current regulatory capital regime came into being, and an understanding of the changes in bank risk profiles and banking market structure that are providing the momentum for Basel II. This review also demonstrates the significant ways the proposed capital framework represents a philosophical departure from past practice.

VeriSign: Online sales soar despite worst retail season in 30 years

VeriSign announced this morning their analysis of online sales during the holiday season.
The post-holiday season analysis revealed that VeriSign merchants' total online payments transactions increased more than 75% in 2002. Overall for 2002, consumers spent nearly $13.7 billion on the Internet, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. High-volume VeriSign merchants also saw substantial increases in transactions processed. The average dollar amount per transaction for the top 50 VeriSign online merchants nearly tripled in 2002 increasing from $43.91 in December 2001 to $123.85 in December 2002.

January 13, 2003

First Data Presents Retail Merchants With Combined Processing Solutions

First Data Corp. has announced a suite of comprehensive merchant payment solutions.
First Data currently offers, directly and through its partners, multi-lane and specialty retailers, convenience stores, grocery stores and hypermarkets a breadth of services including debit, loyalty card, gift card, e-check conversion, electronic benefits transfers (EBT), fleet card, smart card and credit card processing services. First Data processes virtually any payment while leveraging the existing synergies between its services and subsidiaries, such as PayPoint, ValueLink and TeleCheck. These relationships enable First Data to launch the only comprehensive suite of point-of-sale (POS) solutions tailored to meet the specific payment requirements of retail merchants. RFID tags - Big brother in small packages?

Declan McCullagh writes about his concerns with privacy involving RFID tags.
Don't get me wrong. RFID tags are, on the whole, a useful development and a compelling technology. They permit retailers to slim inventory levels and reduce theft, which one industry group estimates at $50 billion a year. With RFID tags providing economic efficiencies for businesses, consumers likely will end up with more choices and lower prices. Besides, wouldn't it be handy to grab a few items from store shelves and simply walk out, with the purchase automatically debited from your (hopefully secure) RFID'd credit card? The privacy threat comes when RFID tags remain active once you leave a store. That's the scenario that should raise alarms--and currently the RFID industry seems to be giving mixed signals about whether the tags will be disabled or left enabled by default.

Giant Eagle selects BillingZone for outsourced accounts payable

Supermarket retailer Giant Eagle, Inc. and BillingZone, LP today announced that Giant Eagle is utilizing BillingZone's apConnect˙ service to receive, review and pay its invoices. BillingZone, an operating company of eONE Global, is a leading provider of business-to-business (B2B) electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) services and offers companies the convenience of receiving and paying their invoices through one convenient service.

Dell enters POS market

Dell announced this morning that it is entering the retail point-of-sale systems market.
We're following our retail customers' requests to bring their stores the same high performance and low cost of ownership we've already brought to their corporate office and datacenters," ssaid Joe Marengi, senior vice president, Dell Americas. "Dell's POS offering is an illustration of how Dell's direct model, which provides customers with customized products and services, works well in retail, a market that requires a seamless integration of technology, software and services across multiple locations."
CNET reports on Dell's POS announcement. More information is available on Dell's website:

Visa Canada holds conference for top online retailers

Visa Canada held a conference in Toronto this morning for top online retailers. In a press release, Visa Canada reported online sales using Visa during the 2002 holiday season increased 103 percent. Also announced were survey results indicating that consumers are still concerned about security when purchasing over the Internet -- and would welcome the increased security of a password registered with their bank tied to their account.
Retailers who want to fully take advantage of the growth of online sales and fuel future growth need to adopt new Internet technology that will increase consumer confidence and reduce fraud," Internet authority Jim Carroll told the conference. "Systems like Verified by Visa(C) will make merchants more competitive and help them unlock the 85 percent of Canadian credit card holders who are avoiding holiday Internet shopping, many because of security concerns." "While holiday online sales showed a solid increase," Carroll said, "we cannot take for granted year-to-year growth without a breakthrough in online security; Verified by Visa(C) is that breakthrough and 2003 is the year."

Simon gift card sales soar

Simon Property Group announced this morning that sales of its new gift cards in 47 trial malls were up 30 per cent over gift certificate sales in 2001 during the month of December.
Simon partnered with Visa to pioneer the Simon Gift Card as part of its commitment to provide shoppers with new innovative products and offerings that further enhance the shopping experience. The new gift cards provide customers with the convenience of a payment card that utilizes the Visa processing network and is used with the ease of a check card. Shoppers can use the Simon Gift Card, a prepaid card, anywhere Visa is accepted, like the many stores and restaurants within Simon malls nationwide.


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