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« December 28, 2003 - January 3, 2004 | Main | January 11, 2004 - January 17, 2004 »

January 10, 2004

Combatting Casual Counterfeiting

Adobe and other makers of image-manipulation programs have, at the behest of a little-known group of national banks, inserted secret technology into their programs to foil counterfeiting, the companies acknowledged this week.
The code to detect such images came from the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, a low-profile association representing the national banks from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
While this step might seem extreme to some -- asking generic software to enforce social policy -- casual counterfeiting is a big problem these days given the advances in desktop scanning, image manipulation, and low-cost color printing. Wired Magazine profiled p-notes phenomenon a couple of years ago.

Green Sheet on Micropayments

The Green Sheet reports on micropayments.
The concept of online 'micropayments' for small-amount online purchases is not new, but is once again gaining a real foothold in the world of e-commerce. The difference now is that a handful of micropayment providers are using the existing payment infrastructure (i.e. debit and credit cards) to process the tiny transactions.

January 09, 2004

E4X Raises $14 Million in Financing Round

Israel-based GLOBES [online] reports on the latest financing round by E4X, a provider of multi-currency services to online merchants and partners. The company's press release provides more details.

Visa EU Introduces Fraud Detection System

Finextra reports on Visa EU's new fraud detection system - Visor.
Visor combines Fair Isaac's Falcon Fraud Manager system and Fraud Predictor with Merchant Profiles product with the VisaNet processing system. The system analyses card transactions to deliver a risk score by monitoring the spending behaviour of each cardholder along with the profile of each merchant.

Casino Chips with RFID Tags

The Ferret from Australia reports on the upcoming use of RFID tags in casino chips.
Counterfeit chips have long been a problem for casinos, and houses routinely mark their chips with inks visible only in infrared or ultraviolet light. Embedded RFID tags should make the chips much harder to counterfeit, and placing tag readers at staff exits could cut down on theft by employees.

The tags could also help casinos manage large-scale theft. If a large stash of chips goes missing after a table is overturned during an argument, for example casinos sometimes have to change their entire stock. This is unpopular with gamblers, since any chips that they have not cashed become worthless. RFID tags would allow the casinos to identify stolen chips without the expensive process of restocking.

Aside from improving security, the tags could also be used to track how people play in a casino, John Kendall, president of Chipco International in Raymond, Maine, which is making and selling tagged casino chips, said.

Money Transfer in the Middle East

The Lebanese Daily Star reports on electronic money transfer programs in the Middle East.
The remarkable success of money exchanges has prompted banks to shed their adversarial role and turn themselves into collaborators. Similarly, with the remittance business growing by an estimated 20 percent annually, the electronic payments companies such as Visa and MasterCard are also keen to join the bandwagon. The value of the Middle East personal money transfer market is estimated to be over $30 billion annually.

January 08, 2004

Visa International and Philips Demo New Technologies

Visa International and Philips are showcasing new technologies at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. READ MORE »

Checkout Concerns Slow Merchants` Use of Online Buyer Authentication

Internet Retailer reports on a recent Jupiter Research report on online buyer authenticaiton:
Visa’s Verified by Visa and MasterCard’s more recent SecureCode program aim to reduce online payment fraud and boost transactions, but merchant adoption of the programs has a way to go. A recent report by Jupiter Research indicates that overall, merchant participation in the programs is somewhere between 2% to 20%.
While 2-20% is a pretty big range, it is fair to characterize merchant uptake as slow. But that's to be expected as the card associations work through and respond to early adoption problems. Based on the changes we've seen, adoption should improve.

Tiny Transactions

Anne Eisenberg reports in the New York Times on micropayments.
Todd Pearson, the managing director for merchant services at PayPal, an eBay subsidiary in Mountain View, Calif., that is the principal peer-to-peer system for paying online, said the time for micropayments had finally arrived. "We think the stars are coming into alignment on this at last," he said.

Meanwhile, the staff of the Boston Globe goes shopping using BitPass, Peppercoin, and PayLoadz.

From Paycheck to Plastic

Caroline Meyer reports in the Washington Post on the growth in usage of payroll cards.
Currently, about 2.2 million payroll cards are in use, double the number in circulation a year ago, according to Aaron F. McPherson, research manager at Financial Insights, a Massachusetts market research firm. By next year, McPherson estimates, there will be 3.5 million cards in use, and he expects that number to double by 2006.

The list of companies offering payroll cards includes such well-known corporate names as United Parcel Service Inc.; Blockbuster Inc.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Coca-Cola Co.; McDonald's Corp.; and Domino's Inc.

January 07, 2004

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Keynote NACHA's Payments 2004 Conference

eBay CEO Meg Whitman is the keynote speaker at NACHA's Payments 2004 Conference coming up in March in Seattle.

January 06, 2004

First Data Ready to Roll

That's the title of another Business Week story on First Data and its prospects now that the merger with Concord EFS has been approved.

Contopronto Offers Mobile Payment Service

Norway-based Contopronto has announced that it has received the first-ever European E-banking license allowing for payments and money transfers to any bank, credit card, business or individual through mobile phones from Europe.
 "The Contopronto independent payment system makes it possible to send money instantly to anyone in the world with a mobile phone" says Mr. Knut Brundtland, Chairman of Contopronto. "We have clients now who pay their employees salaries directly into their mobiles, using Contopronto."

"Rather than buying the technology for their own subscribers mobile carriers now have available an open technology that can be used with other carriers, effectively eliminating one of the barriers to the full adoption of e-banking." Mr. Brundtland maintained. Contopronto provides a high level of security for the e-wallet customer.

Ruth Ann Marshall: Golfer

Golf Digest profiles MasterCard North America President Ruth Ann Marshall and her love for golf.
Marshall may be the best example of a new breed of female executive who knows that having a handicap is almost as important as having an MBA. As women rise higher in corporations and as they network more, they are learning what men have known for years: The golf course is a valuable place to do business and advance careers.
READ MORE »

January 05, 2004

New Netcraft Service for Banks

In an effort to assist in reducing the incidence of phishing attacks, Netcraft has introduced a service that enables organizations to track occurrences of their name, brands, trademarks and slogs on the Internet.
The service helps companies identify sites which may be trying to construct frauds, identity theft and phishing attacks by pretending to be the bank, or are implying that the site has a relationship with the bank when in fact there is none.

Common attacks on banks through Internet content creation include phishing (attempts to trick account holders to give their account authentication details away), fraudulent association with the bank as part of investment scams, and trademark violation.

Economist: Meg Whitman

This week's Economist has an article about eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
As for PayPal, even though it is increasingly being used as a currency across the internet, she says she does not want it to become a bank, especially with all the onerous regulation that would involve.

Business Week: First Data

Business Week reports on First Data Corp. and discusses the merger with Concord EFS.
While the merger between the two relatively low-profile payment-processing companies got scant attention outside banking circles, industry experts believe First Data now can make inroads where those other rivals couldn't. The reason: First Data's ownership of vast electronic- payment networks will provide it with a flow of fees the other rivals to MasterCard and Visa never had.
Meanwhile, First Data's Western Union unit has announced a deal with Continental Airlines enabling purchasers to pay with cash rather than credit cards.
Starting immediately, Continental Airlines' customers traveling in the domestic U.S. and Canada can make use of a new, easy-to-use cash payment alternative when using continental.com to book flights online. The collaborative service offering, provided by Western Union and Continental Airlines, will broaden consumer payment options and convenience for those who choose to send cash payments. Cash payment options allow consumers to send their payment for electronic airline tickets at any of nearly 45,000 Western Union Agent locations nationwide after reserving a ticket online.

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