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« May 8, 2005 - May 14, 2005 | Main | May 22, 2005 - May 28, 2005 »

May 21, 2005

May 20, 2005

Banking Perks Are Getting Better

Aleksandra Todorova reports for SmartMoney.com on some of the new incentives that banks are offering to new customers such as Citibanks Apple iPod Shuffle promotion and PNC Bank's Blackberry promotion.Better than toasters!

UK: Credit Card Debt Starts to Fall

The BBC reports that the amount of credit card debt outstanding in the UK has fallen for the first time since May 1994. During April, cardholders paid £40m more off their credit card than they spent and over the past six months the rise in new card debt has slowed.

May 19, 2005

More on Chase's "blink" Contactless Cards

blink_logo.jpgJP Morgan Chase has announced more details of its new contactless card initiative.

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7-Eleven to Accept Visa Contactless Payments

7-Eleven announced this morning that it will be installing contactless card readers at all of its 5,300 US stores.

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PayPal Looks to Evolve Beyond Its Auction Roots

Leslie Walker writes in today's Washington Post about PayPal's expansion to serve more merchants off of parent company eBay's auction sites.

"No one at my company could get access to those credit card numbers'' " Schuler said. "It is a huge relief to be able to tell customers, 'Your information is secure.' "

While PayPal has its share of problems with fraud and is a huge target for phishers -- crooks who send fake e-mails enticing people to reveal their personal data -- security has turned out to be one of its selling points. Buyers like not having to reveal their credit card numbers to unfamiliar sellers; some also enjoy the convenience of not having to reenter credit card numbers at different Web sites.

UK: Credit Cards with "Stealth Charges"

The Daily Mail (UK) reports on new credit cards being introduced by some UK issuers that, in exchange for lower interest rates, charge interest on the value of purchases from the date of purchase.

BJ's Reports on Credit Card Litigation

In its quarterly earnings announcement on Tuesday morning, BJ's Wholesale Club announced it was increasing its reserve for claims against it by various credit card banks. The total amount BJ's has reserved is now $10 million.

The charge to increase the company's credit card reserve was driven primarily by an increase in the company's estimate of legal expenses to be incurred. BJ's is vigorously contesting all claims and will continue to explore all possible defenses and all possible claims against others.

May 18, 2005

"blink" - JP Morgan Chase to Launch Millions of Contactless Credit Cards

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal on plans by JP Morgan Chase to issue millions of new credit cards based upon contactless chip technology.

"It's our intent to create this market by issuing millions of cards," says Tom O'Donnell, a senior vice president in J.P. Morgan's credit-card division.

Sidel reports that Chase's announcement of this new card program is scheduled for tomorrow.

"Life of the Balance" Card Deals

Terri Cullen reports for the Wall St. Journal on fixed rate for the life of the loan balance transfer deals being offered by some credit card issuers.

With a typical balance-transfer offer, card issuers allow new customers to transfer balances and pay 0% on the balance for an introductory period, typically six to nine months. But for a "life of the balance" financing deal, cardholders can transfer outstanding balances from high-interest credit cards to a new card and pay a fixed low-rate finance charge until the transferred balance is paid off.

Fed Plans Update of Credit Card Disclosure Rules

Joseph Rebello and Michael Schroeder report for the Wall St. Journal on comments made to Congress by Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich in which he said that the Fed expects to propose new rules next year for how credit card issuers must disclose financial information to borrowers. Gramlich's testimony is available online.

Regulation Z and its staff commentary have been reviewed and updated almost continuously, but not comprehensively since 1980. In December 2004, the Board began a comprehensive review of Regulation Z, starting with the publication of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on the rules for open-end credit that is not home-secured, such as general-purpose credit cards.

The goal of the review is to improve the effectiveness and usefulness of open-end disclosures and substantive protections. The public comment period recently closed, and the Board's staff will be carefully reviewing the comment letters as they consider possible changes to the regulations. We also believe that consumer testing should be used to test the effectiveness of any proposed revisions, and anticipate publishing proposed revisions to Regulation Z in 2006.

Looking at Alliance Data Systems

Jesse Eisinger reports for the Wall St. Journal on how Alliance Data Systems financially reports the transaction processing vs. credit portions of its business.

May 17, 2005

Visa USA Completes Direct Exchange Rollout

Visa USA has announced the final implementation of Visa Direct Exchange.

"In effect, we have completely re-designed the way financial institutions and merchants access Visa services and have created an extremely flexible payment platform," said John Partridge, CEO of Inovant, Visa's technology organization responsible for global processing and technology development.

"Instead of our Members having to conform to our system, we are now flexible enough to conform to their needs, and as a result have drastically reduced implementation time and cost for new payment products and services."

New Identity Theft Survey Reveals Latest Count of Victims

First Data Corp. has released the results of an independent nationwide survey of consumers that found that 6.8 percent of adults have been victimized by identity theft and 43.4 percent of adults have received a phishing contact.

"This new survey confirms that identity theft and phishing are national threats, and that consumers need help to fight back," said Debra Janssen, president, First Data Debit Services.

"Close to 5 percent of phishing attempts are successful, despite significant efforts by the financial community to raise awareness and educate consumers about phishing. It's clear that more remains to be done," Janssen said.

'Evil Twins' and 'Pharming'

Kevin Delaney reports for the Wall St. Journal on the newest forms of attacks on online consumers to steal their online identities.

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Will That Be Cash Or Wallet Phone?

Catherine McLean writes for Canada's Globe and Mail about Canadian mobile carriers interest in adding a payment wallet to their phones.

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Credit Card Companies Mull Security Crackdown on Merchants

Pete Barlas writes for Investor's Business Daily about Visa and MasterCard efforts to require e-tailers to upgrade their data security.

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May 16, 2005

U.S. Warns Lenders To Elevate Home Equity Lending Standards

Kirsten Downey writes for the Washington Post on new guidelines from federal banking regulators regarding home equity lending.

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iPayment Chairman and CEO Offers to Acquire Company

iPayment announced this morning that Chairman and CEO Greg Daily has offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares of iPayment for $38 per share.

May 15, 2005

Bill Would Alter Money-Transfer Business

Scot Paltrow reports for the Wall St. Journal on plans that could enable credit unions to offer international money transfer and remittance services.

Credit unions are bound like other financial institutions to obey anti-money-laundering laws, and to report suspicious activity. But the task may be easier for them. Banks say the federal laws are burdensome because they mean the banks have to keep a close eye on the independent money-transfer firms that hold accounts with them. But credit unions have no such burden because they are the money-transfer agents themselves.

UK: GE Moves From Store Cards To Take On Banks

Sarah Ryle reports for Guardian Online about moves that GE is making in the UK to become a direct consumer provider of multiple financial services products.

'Once we have customers in through the credit and store cards we want them to use us for their other financial services,' said UK GE Capital boss Brad Cooper. 'We have been providing finances to those customers via retailers and other intermediaries and now we will rebrand as GE Money and become a direct provider.'

Quick Credit Cards Coming

Bob Keefe of Cox News Service writes about RFID-equipped proximity payment cards.

Bruce Cundiff, an analyst at technology research company Jupiter Research, doesn't give the new contactless cards a much better chance than those chip-embedded cards in the United States.

The biggest problem, Cundiff said, is convincing merchants to shell out millions to add new payment terminals to their stores. So far, he said, the card companies have typically helped pay for new equipment at partner merchants. "It's just going to take a lot of money, and it's not going to come from the merchants, because they don't really need this," Cundiff said.

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