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September 30, 2005

Some States Push To Collect Sales Tax From Internet Stores

Robert Guy Matthews reports for the Wall St. Journal on efforts by 18 states to begin collecting sales taxes on online purchases.

The issue is increasingly important to cash-hungry states as online sales skyrocket. A recent study by William Fox, an economist at the University of Tennessee, estimates that states and local governments will lose $18 billion in online sales tax in 2005. To ensure that they get their share, 18 states have banded together to simplify their myriad tax rules, regulations and quirks.

Innovation Calls

Clint Swett reports for the Sacramento Bee on mobile commerce applications.

So you're stuck in a meeting, but outside where your car is parked, the meter is ticking and a city parking enforcer is cruising like a shark. No problem. Just feed the meter from your cell phone.

September 29, 2005

American Express Launches the IN:LA Card

American Express has announced the IN:LA Card, a fee-free credit card that is the latest in its suite of "city cards". See the IN:LA website for more details.

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Amazon to Accept Electronic-Funds Payments for Orders

Ina Steiner reports for AuctionBytes this morning on plans by Amazon.com to enable buyers to pay for their purchases through their bank accounts rather than using credit or debit cards.

Amazon.com will create an electronic funds transfer or bank draft, which will be presented to the buyer's bank or financial institution for payment from their bank account. Bank accounts must be valid automated clearing house ("ACH")-enabled at a U.S.-based financial institution, and transactions must be payable in U.S. dollars.

Call for Participation: An Online Mobile Payments Workshop

Online Mobile Payments WorkshopJust a reminder that we'll be holding an online workshop on mobile payments as announced earlier.

We'll be kicking things off next Monday. If you've already contacted me to participate, great. If you haven't and would like to join the group, please email me right away and tell me more about your interest and why you'd like to participate. No charge to participate. It should be fun and a learning experience for all of us!

Credit Cards Do an Airline Tango

Robin Sidel and Evan Perez report for the Wall St. Journal on the role some credit card issuers and acquirers are having to play as airlines with co-branded cards struggle financially to recover.

In another example of the maneuvering between card companies and airlines, Atlanta-based Delta yesterday finally signed a new two-year card-processing agreement with U.S. Bancorp, which handles the airline's Visa and MasterCard transactions. The deal ended a months-long dispute in which the bank was demanding a protective cash cushion -- now estimated by Delta to be between $600 million and $800 million -- in case Delta went out of business.

September 28, 2005

Credit-Card Delinquencies Hit Record

CNN reports on the ABA's second quarter analysis of credit card delinquency rates which hit an all-time record at 4.81 percent of credit card accounts.

"The last two quarters have not been pretty. Gas prices are taking huge chunks out of wallets, leaving some individuals with little left to meet their financial obligations," said ABA chief economist James Chessen in a statement.

Bank of America Announces Free Nationwide Remittance to Mexico

Bank of America today announced a free nationwide remittance service for sending money to Mexico that eliminates transfer fees.

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Glenbrook Authentication Boot Camp - October 13

Glenbrook's newest partner, Linda Elliott, an identity (and payments industry) "insider", will be joining Carol Coye Benson as one of the instructors at our upcoming Glenbrook Authentication Boot Camp being held on October 13th in Mountain View, California.

The Authentication Boot Camp is meant both for financial institutions and for technology vendors and service providers who want to better understand current thinking - and plans within the financial services community - regarding online banking access and eCommerce payment security.

More information, including registration details, is available at the Glenbrook Authentication Boot Camp Course Overview.

MBNA Buyout's Merits Debated

Ted Griffith reports for the Wilmington (DE) News Journal on a public hearing yesterday by the Delaware bank commissioner looking into Bank of America's proposed acquisition of MBNA.

At the hearing, Bank of America executive Henry Fulton repeated that the bank has not made decisions on the location of job losses. MBNA is the state's largest private employer with about 10,500 employees; Bank of America employs about 1,300 here in credit card call centers in Dover and near Christiana.

September 27, 2005

Visa Check Card Marks 10th Anniversary

03_check_118x75.jpgVisa USA announced today the "10-year anniversary of the integrated marketing campaign that enabled an innovative, ground-breaking product to transform the way people pay for goods and services throughout the country - the Visa check card."

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Bank of America Introduces Free Money Transfer Service to Mexico

The Wall St. Journal reports this morning on Bank of America's national rollout of a free money transfer service to Mexico tied to the bank's checking accounts. More information on the bank's SafeSend program is available on the bank's web site.

Bank of America's Ken Lewis Comments On China Construction Bank Investment

In remarks yesterday, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis provided some background on the bank's recent decision to invest $3 billion in China Construction Bank.

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September 26, 2005

Four Major Retail Groups File Lawsuit Over Credit Card Fees

Marketwatch is reporting that four major merchant associations have filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging that some banks and credit card companies are engaging in collusive practices by setting credit-card interchange fees at high levels.

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ViVOtech Unveils First End-to-End NFC Phone Payment Solution

ViVOtech has announced the industry's first end-to-end Near Field Communication (NFC) payment solution.

The new ViVOnfc solution provides a secure infrastructure that will accelerate the adoption and usage of NFC enabled mobile phones. With ViVOnfc, users with NFC phones will be able to "carry their credit and debit cards virtually" and make Contactless payments at merchant locations.

NFC technology provides short-range wireless connectivity -- over a typical distance of just 2-4 inches. Since NFC devices do not operate over a carrier's radio spectrum, they can be used anywhere.

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September 25, 2005

Credit Card Minimum Payments

Michelle Singletary writes a great column for the Washington Post clearing up the distinction between changes to the US bankruptcy law about to take effect and unrelated changes to credit card minimum payments resulting from pressures on credit card issuers from financial regulators.

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Just Wave And Pay

Jonathan Epstein reports for the Buffalo News on contactless payments.

Such "contactless" payments are the newest effort by banks, credit card companies and merchants to extend the reach of plastic payments and reduce Americans' reliance on cash. The goal is to make it possible to pay for small-dollar purchases by using credit or debit cards where they haven't been used before, but without tying up the consumer and merchant.

Stealing Your ID Can Be As Easy As ABC

Joe Light reports for the Boston Globe on how easy it is to get personal information.

If I chose, not only could I drain her bank account and rack up charges on the Visa, but with her Social Security number, I could probably open new credit cards -- maybe even a mortgage -- long before she discovered a problem. Ultimately, she would likely not be responsible for the charges, but it might take days -- or months -- to rectify her credit.

Card Companies Are Filling Up At the Station

Margaret Webb Pressier reports for the Washington Post on how credit card companies are benefiting from the increased price of gasoline.

So a year ago, when gas prices averaged $1.87, banks involved in credit card processing made about $12.5 million a day on fees. Now, with prices averaging $2.75 nationally, the credit card companies are raking in $18.4 million a day. That is $183 million more a month, or nearly $2.2 billion dollars on an annual basis in extra money paid to the nation's banking giants just because of rising gasoline prices.

Wireless World of Mobile Commerce

Katherine Heine reports for the Cox News Service on the evolution and future of mobile commerce and mobile payments.

The benefits are obvious: being able to make quick transactions from anywhere and customizing repeat purchases. But the number of businesses and banks equipped to deal with mobile wireless transactions is limited because of the relative newness of the technology in the States. And the technology used to convert Internet pages into user-friendly images on a cell phone screen is still being worked on.

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September 24, 2005

Visa, MasterCard Win Battle Over Security Breach

A California judge ruled Friday that Visa USA and MasterCard don't have to send individual warnings to thousands of consumers whose personal account information was stolen during the breach at CardSystems earlier this year.

"I don't see the emergency," San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said in rejecting a request for an order against the nation's two largest credit card associations. "I don't think there is an immediate threat of irreparable injury" to consumers.

September 23, 2005

Debitman Closes $3.6 Million Financing

Debitman has announced the closing of a $3.6 million equity financing led by Cardinal Venture Capital with participation by Selby Venture Partners. Eric Dunn, General Partner of Cardinal and Jim Marshall, General Partner of Selby have joined the company's board of directors. Dunn will also be chairman of the board.

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CyberSource Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Assets of CardSystems Solutions

CyberSource this morning announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire the assets of CardSystems Solutions.

"We are excited about this acquisition," said Bill McKiernan, chairman and CEO of CyberSource. "It will mean a strategic expansion of CyberSource's payment platform, and allow current CardSystems customers and partners to continue processing without interruption. The addition of the CardSystems technology extends CyberSource's capability to offer innovative, end-to-end payment solutions to its customers."

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September 22, 2005

CyberSource May Acquire CardSystems?

Eric Dash reports for the New York Times on rumors that CyberSource is close to submitting a letter of intent to buy CardSystems.

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