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August 31, 2004

PayPal's $2,000 Spending Limit

InfoWorld's Ed Foster reports on recent complaints from readers about PayPal's $2,000 spending limit.
How should an online financial services company treat its loyal and reliable customers? Well, it could refuse to have anything more to do with them unless they provide additional personal financial information to "verify" who they are. That seems to be PayPal's approach, anyway.

August 29, 2004

Fleecing Card Users

Boston Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant writes about the political activities of the personal finance industry.
Of all the business tycoons assembling for their favorite party's convention this week, none will get a warmer, perk-filled welcome than the personal finance crowd that has figured out how to imprison tens of millions of ordinary Americans with interest charges and other fees worthy of loan sharks.

August 28, 2004

Goodbye to Check Float

Getahn Ward writes in the about reductions in check float that will result from the upcoming implementation of Check 21.

August 27, 2004

The Lowdown on Gift Cards

Lucy Lazarony writes on about everything you want to know about gift cards.

August 26, 2004

PayPal Enhances Merchant Referral Bonus Program

PayPal has increased the PayPal merchant referral bonus paid for bringing new businesses to PayPal. It's now possible to earn up to $1,000 per merchant referred as compared to $100 previously. READ MORE »

American DreamCard Launches

A subsidiary of Metris, Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, has announced the launch of the American DreamCard Platinum MasterCard.
The American DreamCard gives the cardholder the opportunity to win a monthly cash jackpot every time they spend $1.00 on everyday purchases. The American DreamCard is not a lottery; it is a MasterCard, so there is no need to stand in line, buy tickets or pick numbers. Simply use the card for everyday purchases and get an entry for every net $1.00 spent on the American DreamCard (up to 1,000 entries per a $1,000 transaction). The monthly jackpot will grow with the amount of money spent on the American DreamCard by all American DreamCard cardholders.

Bank of America Names Barbara Desoer Payments Head

Information Week reports on the appointment by Bank of America of Barbara Desoer as chief technology, service and fulfillment executive.
She will lead strategy development and execution for the bank's technology platforms and fulfillment capabilities, which include ATMs, call centers, consumer-risk operations, and its Latin American business. She'll also lead development and implementation of the company's payments strategy.

August 25, 2004

Counterfeit Card Losses

Datamonitor has published a new report on credit card counterfeiting, estimating that losses from counterfeiting have grown 30% in the last year.

The Usher Card - Prepaid Debit

The Boston Globe's Ann Chin reports on the Usher card, a prepaid MasterCard debit card. READ MORE »

Smart Cards for Strong Authentication

Bank Systems and Technology has an article by the Tower Group's John Gould on the use of smart cards to provide strong authentication over insecure public networks.

August 24, 2004

Phishing: What's Your Responsibility?

Larry Ponemon writes an opinion piece in ComputerWorld that asks the question about what exactly is the responsibility of financial institutions in dealing with a phishing attack?

Financial Institutions Warned of Threats from Within

Gary Fields of the Wall St. Journal this morning reports on the results of a recent first of a kind survey by the Secret Service exploring threats to financial institutions from insiders. The report, "Insider Threat Study: Illicit Cyber Activity in the Banking and Finance Sector" (PDF), was conducted with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. READ MORE »

Experian Acquires Americas Software Corporation

Experian has announced the acquisition of Americas Software Corporation, a developer and marketer of regulatory compliance software systems which provides anti-money laundering solutions for banks and other financial institutions worldwide. READ MORE »

Paymentech to Deliver eFund's SCAN Check Authorizations

eFunds has announced a new relationship with Paymentech to deliver its SCAN check authorization database to Paymentech's merchant customers.

GE Consumer Finance Plans Emerging Markets Expansion

Reuters reports on a Wall St. Journal story this morning about the growth plans of GE Consumer Finance for emerging European and Asian markets -- in a strategy similar to that of Citibank's.

Encryption Flaws Present No Immediate Security Risk

Gartner has posted a briefing on potential vulnerabilities in the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) as discussed at the recent Crypto 2004 conference in Santa Barbara.

August 23, 2004

Dealing with Credit Card Debt

Stacy Teicher writes about how American consumers are attempting to deal with big credit card balances in a two-part series in the Christian Science Monitor. The second part profiles four American consumers and how they are dealing with their credit card debit.

Separately, Reuters reports that US credit card delinquencies fell to a four-year low in June.

Moody's credit card delinquency index, which measures credit card bills 30 days or more past due, fell to 4.37 percent in June from 5.12 percent a year earlier. June marked the 11th consecutive month of declines in delinquencies and was the lowest since June 2000, the rating agency said.

Hong Kong Banks Promoting Credit Card Usage

Brian Kelleher reports for Reuters on new advertising campaigns being launched by Hong Kong banks to promote credit card usage.

The Lure of Phishing

Jonathan Sidener writes in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the lure of phishing and the anti-phishing activities of San Diego-based WebSense.

Meanwhile, ComputerWorld reports on phishing attacks against two of Germany's biggest banks: Postbank and Deutsche Bank.

August 21, 2004

US Ecommerce Sales Grow 23%

The US Department of Commerce announced yesterday that US ecommerce sales increased 23.1% in the second quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. Sales totaled $15.7 billion, representing 1.7% of total retail sales in the US.

August 19, 2004

UK Competition Commission Inquiry into Store Card Credit Services

The UK Competition Commission has an active inquiry underway looking at store card credit services. On the Commission's web site there are some interesting responses from store card providers (e.g., GE Consumer Finance) as well as the notes of an open meeting (PDF) held on July 21 that includes the text of presentations from various parties.

August 18, 2004

Barclays Buys Juniper Financial

Barclays has announced it is entering the US consumer credit card market by buying Juniper Financial from CIBC for $293 million. READ MORE »

MasterCard Gets Ready to Rollout PayPass in Canada

Shane Shick reports on plans by MasterCard to rollout PayPass in Canada.
Nagesh Devata, MasterCard Canada's vice-president of commercialization, said the company would likely bring PayPass to Canada sometime in the next 12 to 18 months, after the technology has picked up more converts south of the border.

McDonald's to Accept MasterCard PayPass

McDonald's announced today an agreement to begin accepting MasterCard's PayPass contactless payment product. Participating McDonald's restaurants in Dallas and the New York metropolitan area will implement MasterCard PayPass later this year, with additional locations to be added in 2005. READ MORE »

Prepaid Card Conference Summary

The Payments Card Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has posted the conference summary for the June 2004 conference "Prepaid Cards: How Do They Function? How Are They Regulated?" (PDF).

Debit the Small Stuff

Sasha Talcott writes in the Boston Globe about the convenience and speed of no signature card transactions.
Having penetrated high price tag and high volume locations such as department stores and grocery chains, credit card companies are targeting cash businesses such as fast-food restaurants and movie theaters by allowing customers to skip the step of signing receipts for small purchases.


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