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« April 3, 2005 - April 9, 2005 | Main | April 17, 2005 - April 23, 2005 »

April 16, 2005

Morgan Stanley Could Get $15 Billion for Discover

CNN Money carries a Reuters story about the potential value of Discover.

Morgan Stanley's Discover credit card unit could sell for $10 billion to $15 billion, depending on how the Wall Street company divests the business, industry experts said Friday.

April 15, 2005

Bankrupt and Swamped with Credit Offers

Caroline Mayer reports in the Washington Post on how quickly following emerging from bankruptcy consumers begin receiving new credit card offers.

Citigroup's Card Business Results

Citigroup announced first quarter financial results this morning including reporting a revenue decline of 3 percent year over year in the Cards segment of its Global Consumer group. Net income from Cards increased 11% year over year with nearly all of that increase coming from a reduction in credit losses. Average assets increased 1 percent year over year.

In its investor presentation (PDF) accompanying its earnings release, Citi described its North American Cards business as a "challenge", listing increased cost of funds and high payment rates as issues.

GE Announces First Quarter Results

GE this morning announced first quarter financial results (PDF) and featured the following highlights from its Consumer Finance business unit:

  • Launched the Wal-Mart Dual Card, which offers cash back, gasoline discounts and low rates to Wal-Mart shoppers, and which is accepted at more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations on the Discover Network.
  • Launched GE Money Care Credit in Australia to finance discretionary procedures for dental care, laser eye surgery and veterinary care, a $6 billion segment not covered by government programs or insurance.
  • Signed a seven-year extension of its private-label credit card agreement with SAM'S CLUB and launched SAM'S CLUB Dual Cards for consumers and businesses, with the business card being the first such card ever offered on the Discover Network.
  • Brought the Dual Card to Thailand by teaming up with Central Retail Group to launch the Central MasterCard.
  • Launched an unsecured personal loan product in Singapore called "ezyCash" through a co-operation agreement with the Singapore Post Office, one of the first of its kind in Asia, which makes full use of the Post Office's extensive network in Singapore.

Retailers Rush to Secure Data Against Theft

David Bank reports in Friday's Wall St. Journal on steps retailers are taking to secure their web sites and databases.

The combined Visa-MasterCard rules make merchants' banks responsible for the security of everybody that handles credit-card information, which includes payment processors and other intermediaries as well as retailers themselves.

Breaches must be reported to Visa. If Visa's investigators find that the handler was out of compliance with the security requirements, the card association can fine the bank as much as $500,000. The banks, in turn, may pass the penalty along to the merchant.

April 14, 2005

Home Depot Self-Checkout Boosts Sales, Satisfaction

Larry Dignan writes for Baseline about Home Depot's success with self-checkout.

Home Depot's passion is checkout tweaking. Liebert says Home Depot is experimenting with new checkout formats including belts to move products, eight-lane self-checkouts, and redesigned checkout stands with improved ergonomics.

Home Depot is convinced fast checkouts matter. As Leibert puts it: "Checkout continues to be one of our customers' most important drivers of satisfaction."

Battling Fraud on eBay

Frank Fortunato writes for about battling fraud from a seller's perspective.

Angry Retailers Count Cost of Internet Fraud

Maija Pesola reports for the Financial Times about Internet retailers becoming increasingly concerned about their exposure to web-based crime.

Security Breach Hits HSBC MasterCard Cards

CNN Money reports on HSBC's notification to at least 180,000 MasterCard card holders that their cards may have been compromised at a merchant (Polo Ralph Lauren) and will need to be replaced. The story was originally reported in a Wall St. Journal report by Robin Sidel and Christopher Conkey in this morning's edition.

PayPal's Growing Pains

Peter Kang writes for Forbes about eBay's PayPal.

Perhaps more critical than potential competition, Kessler said, is the firm's push for small- and medium-sized businesses outside of eBay.

Visa Launches Currency Conversion Website

Visa has announced the launch of a new currency conversion website to help cardholders prepare for international travel.


First Data Corp. Reports Earnings

First Data has reported first quarter financial results with revenues growing 10 percent year over year but earnings per share of $0.47 vs. $0.61 a year ago.


April 13, 2005

MBNA to Acquire Nexstar

MBNA announced this morning that is has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nexstar Financial.

Founded in 1999, Nexstar is a leading business process outsourcer in the home finance market. Nexstar's highly scaleable platform for originating and processing home finance products will enable MBNA to offer private label and co-branded home equity loans through its more than 5,000 affinity partners. Nexstar's state-of-the-art technology also will enable MBNA to significantly reduce its costs to originate home equity loans and enhance the Customer experience in this rapidly growing industry.


Best Practices: Emails from Banks

Sam Varghese writes in the Sydney Morning Herald about a recent email campaign launched by Westpac -- and questions whether the bank knew what it was doing.

Concerns Over ID Theft Mount

Bruce Mohl reports in the Boston Globe on increasing concerns about identity theft based upon the LexisNexis incident and new news about potentially compromised credit card accounts by GM MasterCard.


Credit Card Use, and Debt, Growing

Tim Pennington reports for the Cincinnati Enquirer on credit card use and consumer debt.

April 12, 2005

Wachovia Introduces New Foreign Remittance Card

Wachovia has announced the Wachovia Dinero Directo Card that customers can use to send money to friends and family in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Customers with a Wachovia checking or savings account can fund the Dinero Directo foreign remittance card with money from their Wachovia accounts. The recipient then may use the card at any ATM in the Visa/PLUS network, which consists of more than 950,000 ATMs in 160 countries. The funds are available immediately, and the sender may add money to the card at any time using several funding methods.


Visa USA and PropertyBridge Collaborate on Online Rent Payment Acceptance Program

PropertyBridge and Visa USA have announced a strategic alliance to market online rent payment services for residential properties.

"PropertyBridge's combination of technology and financial expertise has created a new level of data integration that is enormously attractive and productive for property managers," added Jim Eitler, VP, Merchant Relations, Visa USA.

"Through this relationship, we hope to continue to grow the opportunity within the property management space, offer property managers the benefits of card acceptance, and extend added convenience to Visa cardholders."

Merchants Balk At Higher Credit Card Fees

Gwendolyn Bounds and Robin Sidel report for the Wall St. Journal on merchant reactions to the recent fee increases imposed on card-accepting merchants by Visa and MasterCard.


Today's Other News - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Note: This posting is updated continuously throughout the business day.

April 11, 2005

Glenbrook Announces Executive Workshops on Payments

Glenbrook will be holding two executive workshop "boot camps" during May near our headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

The first workshop, a two-day "deep dive" into the US payments industry, will be held May 19-20 and taught by Carol Coye Benson and Scott Loftesness.

The second workshop, a one day intensive session examining payments from the merchant perspective, will be held May 26 and taught by Jay DeWitt and Allen Weinberg.

Both of the May workshops will be held at The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

NACHA Reports Record Wave of ACH Payments

NACHA today reported that more than 12 billion ACH payments were made in 2004, a 20 percent increase over 2003. The growth was largely driven by the rapid expansion of ARC -- the accounts receivable check conversion application -- which experienced a nearly six-fold increase in volume to more than 1.25 billion payments.

Internet-initiated ACH payments also grew significantly with 967 million ACH debit payments worth over $300 billion initiated over the Internet, a growth rate of over of 40 percent from 2003.


The Online Underworld

Carrie Kirby reports for the San Francisco Chronicle on the online underworld where private personal information is quickly and easily sold over the Internet.

The credit card numbers, bank account numbers, eBay accounts and other data sold there are stolen in corporate security breaches like the one at ChoicePoint, through offline crime like old-fashioned pickpocketing, and through scams known as "phishing" attacks, in which criminals trick people into revealing account information with slick-looking fake e-mails.

In a related story, Kirby reports on the latest kinds of phishing attacks.

Visa Upgrades Global Payment Network

Visa has announced the implementation of a semi-annual software update to VisaNet.


Expedited E-Payments

Fort Knox National Company has announced the results of a recent survey completed by Edgar Dunn & Company examining the key consumer drivers and motivations for their use of electronic payment services.



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