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June 30, 2004

California Financial Privacy Law to Take Effect

Jennifer Coleman of the AP reports in the San Francisco Chronicle on a US District Court decision today that threw out a challenge by several banking associations to a new California financial privacy law scheduled to take effect tomorrow. READ MORE »

US Navy Deploys Navy/Marine Cash, Cashless ATMs

The US Navy has announced initial deployment of Navy/Marine Cash™ on 175 Navy ships. Combining a debit card with a smart card-based electronic purse, the system uses on-board cashless ATMs to transfer funds from bank accounts to the on-card electronic purse. READ MORE »

UK Banks Criticized for Slow Clearing Times

Freelance UK reports on criticism of UK banks for their slow clearing times.
The Daily Telegraph reports the Office of Fair Trading is investigating the problem of slow electronic payments that can often take five days for businesses to complete, compared to just a few hours in Sweden.

June 29, 2004

Visa USA Reports Increases in Ecommerce Volumes

Visa USA has announced that, during the first quarter of 2004, e-commerce spending in the United States on Visa branded credit and debit cards reached $22.3 billion. Through May 31st, Visa USA's year-to-date e-commerce dollar volume increased 59 percent over the same period in 2003. READ MORE »

The March Toward Micropayments

Slashdot picks up the discussion on Peppercoin 2.0.

June 28, 2004

Consumers Happy to Use Internet for Planning Travel

The Conference Board has released the results of a survey of 10,000 consumers that indicates that two-thirds of consumers are now using the Internet to make travel arrangements. However, consumer concerns about the security of credit card information remains the primary reason consumers don't actually book their travel online. READ MORE »

LowerMyBills.com Introduces Yodlee-powered Online Bill Payment

Yodlee has announced that LowerMyBills.com has selected Yodlee's BillDirect to power its BillPay Plus electronic bill presentment and payment service. READ MORE »

Phones as All-Purpose Payment Devices

DesignTechnica.com reports on some Gartner research exploring the use of mobile phones as all-purpose payment devices -- highlighting the importance of the acceptance infrastructure being in place.
Gartner says that a contactless credit facility is the most interesting part of the offering. How many retailers' point-of-sale terminals will be able to process contactless credit payments is unclear. Acceptance at the point of sale will be critical to the success of contactless payment schemes. If few retailers accept contactless payments, customers will tire of trying to use them and revert to traditional payment methods.

Peppercoin Introduces 2.0

Micropayment provider Peppercoin has announced version 2.0 of its small payment service including support for small value transactions at the physical point of sale.

Saving Email

Thomas Claburn reports in Information Week on activity focused on restoring trust in email.

Separately, eWeek reports on plans by VeriSign to introduce an anti-phishing service this week.

The service allows VeriSign to monitor the Internet for signs of new phishing schemes, such as phony looking e-mail messages and new malicious Web sites that play off a customer's brand. VeriSign will then work with ISPs to have those sites removed, and it can help with the forensic investigations.

The full text of the announcement of VeriSign's Email Security Services is now available.

Steps Out of Credit Card Debt

MSN Money's Terry Savage has some advice for consumers on how to deal with consumer debt.
Americans are now carrying $683 billion in revolving credit card debt. That’s not the amount we charge every month; it’s the outstanding unpaid balances on which people pay interest. And, according to a report by Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, 47% of the people who paid less than the full amount on their credit card bills in a recent month, made only the minimum payment due. In fact, only 13% of Americans with an outstanding balance could afford to pay more than half the balance.

June 27, 2004

Washington State Bans Gift Card Expiration

Peter Lewis reports in the Seattle Times on a new law in Washington state taking effect July 1st that modifies a number of gift card characteristics.

[Update: Slashdot has picked up a discussion on this topic.] READ MORE »

JP Morgan Chase - Bank One Merger

Landon Thomas Jr. writes in the New York Times on the Yin, the Yang and the Deal, exploring the personalities of William Harrison and Jamie Dimon. "William Harrison may be the acquirer in the J. P. Morgan-Bank One merger, but it is becoming clear that James Dimon and his posse will call many of the shots."

June 26, 2004

PayPal Hacks

O'Reilly is preparing to publish a new book on PayPal titled PayPal Hacks. A full description of the book is available online.

Credit Cards for eGovernment Authentication

DMeurope.com's eGov Monitor reports that the UK Cabinet Office is exploring the use of verified credit cards as a means of authenticating eGovernment transactions. READ MORE »

Wachovia Moves Call Center to Oregon

Wachovia has announced plans to consolidate two east coast call center operations into a new 500 person call center being built in Salem, Oregon.

Protection Rackets Hit Online Gambling

Hiawatha Bray reports in the Boston Globe on how some online gambling sites are being attacked by network vandals who then demand payments to stop the attacks. READ MORE »

Fighting a Sub-Prime Lender

E. Scott Reckard and Susan Anasagasti report in the Los Angeles Times on litigation against Wells Fargo regarding terms of a debt consolidation loan. READ MORE »

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued an advisory letter to US national banks regarding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that was signed into law last December. Among other things, the Act caps interest rates that can be charged by creditors to servicemembers at six per cent. READ MORE »

RBS to Lend through Coffee Shops in Germany

The Financial Times reports on plans by the Royal Bank of Scotland's Comfort Cards division to expand its consumer lending presence in Germany through a partnership with Tchibo.

Library System Adds Stored Value Feature

Checkpoint Systems has introduced CheckPASS, a new resource management system for libraries that includes stored value features. READ MORE »

The Conman is Alive and Well

The Scotsman reports from the UK on the seemingly endless ways conmen are taking advantage of consumers and their financial services partners.

An earlier story explores the introduction of chip cards and PINs to the UK market.

So how does it work? There are two elements involved in making card transactions secure. The first is to ensure that the card is genuine; the second that the person presenting the card is the true owner. The chip does the former and PIN does the latter. The chip protects your card from the counterfeit, skimming or cloning fraudster, whilst the PIN prevents someone using your card if it’s lost, stolen or intercepted in the post.

Overdraft Protection Can Be Expensive For Consumers

Eileen Alt Powell of the AP reports on the costs some consumers are charged for overdraft protection. A few weeks ago, Federal regulators issued proposed new guidance to financial institutions regarding these kinds of overdraft protection programs. READ MORE »

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