The New York Times has an editorial in its Sunday edition speaking out about a lack of consumer protection in the recently enacted Check 21 legislation.
Banks do not have to gouge their customers just because the law permits it.
CardWeb reports on the increasing inclination of US consumers to pay down their credit card debt and the impact its having on the growth in receivables.
There are approximately 185 million bank credit cardholders in the USA. Of these about 70 million pay-off in full each month, 71 million make more than the minimum required payment, and 44 million make minimum required payments.
Steven Marlin in Information Week reports on the Financial Services Technology Consortium's (FSTC) counterphishing effort.
The Chicago Tribune carries a Bloomberg story on the potential financial benefits banks will receive as a result of Check 21.
"We'll be able to save a lot of money," said Kennedy Thompson, chief executive of Wachovia Corp., the nation's fourth-biggest bank. "It will eliminate a lot of paper, reduce the huge infrastructure of check processing and all of the transportation of checks."
The US Department of Justice has announced the the arrests of nineteen individuals "who are alleged to have founded, moderated and operated one of the largest illegal online centers for trafficking in stolen identity information and documents, as well as stolen credit and debit card numbers."
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has released guidance to US financial institutions regarding their use of free and open source software.
The InfoBase contains a training presentation that provides a concise overview of the Act and its implementing regulation, an example of check processing under Check 21, information on consumer compliance and other requirements, and an explanation of the examination concepts for consumer compliance issues.The InfoBase was put together by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).
eWeek reports that PayPal will credit its premier and business account members for all transaction fees they pay this Thursday for transactions posted between midnight and 11:59 PM PDT as an apology for the recent outages they've experienced.
Details on the "thank you day" are available on the PayPal site.
Deluxe Financial Services announced today the DeluxeCard Visa Gift Card, "an open-system prepaid card that allows financial institutions to meet growing consumer demand for a versatile payment tool and universal gift solution."
DeluxeCard prepaid cards can be purchased in dollar amounts from $25 to $500. In addition, there is a processing fee of $5.95 for dollar amounts from $25 to $250, and $7.95 for dollar amounts from $251 to $500.
For more information, go to the DeluxeCard web site.
The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) has released the results of its 2004 Electronic Payments Survey (pdf) covering business to business payments.
Financial professionals identified barriers that obstruct progress toward wider adoption of electronic payments in B2B transactions.
In the survey respondents gave nearly equal weight to four major barriers: accounting systems that are not integrated with electronic payment systems; shortage of IT resources; lack of a single standard format for remittance information; and trading partners who cannot send or receive electronic payments with sufficient remittance information.
This is London reports on a hearing by the UK's Treasury Select Committee that questioned credit card issuers about their practices of mailing unsolicited cheques to customers.
Visa International has announced that it has formed a two year strategic alliance partnership with database security vendor Application Security, Inc. that includes making a minority investment in the firm.
Thomas Pack writes in Business First about stored value cards.
Like credit or debit cards, they can be used to get money from an ATM or buy something at a store. Like prepaid phone cards or store gift cards, they aren't tied to a person's bank account, and they're preloaded with a specific amount of money. Some can be reloaded when the initial amount runs out.
Businesses like them, bankers say, because they help reduce payroll-processing costs. Consumers like them because they're easy to use. Banks like them because they provide another product to sell and help bring in new customers.
Scott McCartney reports in the Wall St. Journal (subs. reqd.) about lobbying by credit card companies for new legislation that would protect them from potential liability if an airline shuts down.
Former US national security advisor Richard Clarke spoke to the Smart Card Alliance's fall conference in San Francisco last week.
In its third quarter financial results reported this afternoon, American Express reported a 16% increase in Amex cardmember spending over the same quarter last year and a 14% increase in discount revenue paid by card accepting merchants. Amex's average discount rate declined 3 basis points from 2.60% to 2.57% as compared to the same quarter last year.
Kenneth Harney reports in today's San Francisco Chronicle on a recent Federal Reserve staff research report that discussed how some credit card issuers may be withholding certain information from the national credit bureaus and, as a result, affecting consumers credit scores.
The Fed researchers did not identify the credit card issuers that intentionally withhold customers' limits. But for 46 percent of the consumers in a random sample of 301,000 credit files to be affected by this score-depressing policy, the creditors involved must be numerous, big or both.
The full study is available for downloading online (PDF).
This Sunday several writers chose to write a cluster of stories about how you should be careful using credit cards.
Humberto Cruz writes about how credit card rewards can have a downside. He talks about how he uses several different rewards cards to optimize his rebates -- the Chase Freedom card for gas because it's offering the biggest rebate on gasoline purchases, his MBNA World Points card at the local supermarket because of its 5% rebate on purchases of groceries between now and the end of the year, etc.
Writing from Rochester, NY, Frank Bilovsky says that the convenience of using credit cards can "bite". He quotes a local book author:
"The ultimate bottom line is if you use a credit card, you are going to buy more than if you don't have a credit card," said Robert Manning, the Rochester Institute of Technology professor and author of the book Credit Card Nation: The Consequences of America's Addiction to Credit. "That ultimately was the selling point to get it into grocery stores."
Finally, Michelle Singletary says to be sure to be careful when paying routine household bills with credit cards.
David Vise reports in the Washington Post on Francis Vitagliano and his 401(k) card. Vitagliano worked with an MIT professor, the late Franco Modigliani to patent the idea over ten years ago.
Vitagliano's and Modigliani's patent (5,206,803 - System for enhanced management of pension-backed credit
) has been licensed by ING and is scheduled to be introduced at a conference tomorrow.
The credit card industry is not opposing the card's introduction, in part because the first 401(k) card will be a Visa card. In addition, ING is willing to sub-license the rights to the product to other financial services firms, which means that eventually there may be 401(k) American Express and MasterCards too.