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June 11, 2005

Visa International to Promote Payments Markets in China, Japan

Xinhuanet reports on actions taken by Visa International's Asia Pacific Board of Directors to increase investment in market development in China and Japan.


Retailers Testing Biometric Payments

Ryan Holeywell reports for UPI on recent deployments of biometric payment systems by Pay by Touch and BioPay.

Charlotte Culpepper, customer service manager of a Piggly Wiggly in Charleston, S.C., said many customers sign up for the program without linking to a payment method simply to take advantage of the store's loyalty program -- although customers often consider the decision whether to join Pay By Touch for a while before taking the plunge.

When Will EMV Hit the US?

Tracy Kitten writes for ATM on EMV smart cards being deployed in many markets outside the US and speculates on what the effect will be on the US market.

EMV is a standard for chip-embedded cards, often referred to as smart cards. Instead of using a mag-stripe to store account information, the cards use chips. At the moment, however, the cards are equipped with both chips and stripes. And MasterCard and Visa have not said when the stripes will permanently fall from the cards.

June 10, 2005

What's Metris Worth?

Zach Maxfield speculates on how a potential acquirer might value Metris.

Members Reject NACHA's Return-Fee Proposal, But NACHA Still Backs Idea

Digital Transactions reports on NACHA's return item fee proposal which was not adopted based upon a vote of the NACHA voting members. While a majority of the members voted in favor of imposing the new fee, the proposal required a 2/3'rds majority to pass and only achieved 57% approval.

The NREF proposal would have required banks that originate ACH debits for client retailers and other businesses to compensate consumers' banks—the so-called receiving banks—each time they send through a transaction that must be returned because the consumer didn’t authorize it.

UK: Voca Launches Digital Payments with Retail Decisions and Mi-Pay

Voca, the ACH processor for the UK formerly known as BACS, has announced the formation with Retail Decisions and Mi-Pay of a new joint venture company, Digital Payments.

Digital Payments will be a first - enabling retailers to manage consumer payments on digital sales channels including digital television, the internet and mobile phones. Consumers will be able to pay by Direct Debit across these channels for the first time in the same way as they use a credit card. By using Direct Debit consumers can organise direct withdrawals from their bank securely and with ease.
Ian Price has been appointed Managing Director of Digital Payments. Ian, 40, comes from BT Group where he was founding CEO of BT click&buy.

Pay by Phone Fees "Keep On Coming"

David Lazarus reports for the San Francisco Chronicle on increases in fees for paying bills by phone.

Pay-by-phone fees have indeed become the norm in the banking business -- yet another way that institutions reach into customers' pockets for what were once considered routine services.

"They're using these fees as revenue enhancers," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America. "They don't even try to justify these charges as being based on the true cost of the service.

China Building Its Own Bankcard Brand

People's Daily Online reports on China's China UnionPay and the establishment of China's own bankcard brand.

"When China fully opens its financial market at the end of 2006, China's bankcard industry will face heated competition with foreign brands, so the establishment of China's own bankcard brand is really important for the domestic industry to become more competitive," the CUP Board Chairman Liu Tinghuan told the Beijing- based Financial News on Thursday.

The three years following the CUP company's creation on March 26, 2002, have been the key for the development of China's bankcard services, Liu said. "Facts have proved that the establishment of the CUP as China's own brand laid a solid foundation for the country's bankcard development, and expanded the market for commercial banks through improving financial service qualities," he said.

June 09, 2005

Stored Value Systems and Coinstar Open New Gift Card Distribution Channels

Stored Value Systems has announced an agreement with Coinstar to enable consumers to redeem coins for retail gift cards ("Coin to Card") at Coinstar Centers at selected merchant locations along with a "gift card mall" program that makes multiple retail gift cards available at a single merchant's point of sale.


First Data to Acquire EuroProcessing International

First Data Corp. has announced that it has agreed to acquire EuroProcessing International, a card processor in central and eastern Europe.


eFunds Acquires WildCard Systems

eFunds has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire prepaid and stored value provider WildCard Systems, Inc. for an upfront payment of $228.8 million plus an earnout of up to $58.8 million.


Cash, Charge or Fingerprint?

Ellen McCarthy reports for the Washington Post on the use of biometric fingerprint identification for payment at the point of sale and some concerns among privacy rights advocates. The vendors of the technology, BioPay and Pay By Touch, cite speed as one of the primary benefits from using fingerprint biometrics.


June 08, 2005

Yodlee and PassMark Security Form Strategic Alliance

Yodlee and PassMark Security have announced a strategic alliance to enable PassMark's two-factor/two-way authentication to operate with all of Yodlee's aggregation services.

"Millions of consumers have come to rely on Yodlee's aggregation technology to manage their finances online," said Louie Gasparini, CTO at PassMark Security.

"By working together, PassMark and Yodlee can ensure that consumers, and the financial providers who offer these services, can enjoy their use with renewed confidence that the strengthened security will guard against phishing and other forms of online fraud."

Chase Picks Colorado to Roll Out 'blink' Contactless Credit Cards

blink_logo.jpgChase announced this morning that has selected Colorado as its second market for the launch of its new 'blink' contactless credit cards.

Chase said it will start shortly delivering new cards with blink to over 500,000 Colorado cardholders who will be able to use them at an initial base of more than 400 merchant locations in 63 cities across Colorado, including Arby's, 7-Eleven, Regal Cinema's and Walgreen's.


Credit Card Only Issuers - Days May Be Numbered

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal's "Heard on the Street" column saying that the nation's independent "monoline" credit card companies may not be independent much longer.

Although their lack of diversification was considered a boon when the credit-card industry was growing, the mono-line card issuers that are left have few places to turn as the card market becomes saturated and growth slows. They are essentially shut out of the fastest-growing section of the payments business -- debit cards -- because they don't handle bank accounts.

Ingenico and OTI Form Partnership for Contactless Payments

On Track Innovations (OTI) has announced a partnership with Ingenico North America to provide secure contactless solutions for the payment and identification markets.


June 07, 2005

Revolving Credit Falls Again in April

The Federal Reserve has announced that revolving consumer debt outstanding fell again in April, down about $500 million from March, while non-revolving consumer debt outstanding rose $1.7 billion.

Does Web Site Design Matter?

Change Sciences Group reports on research scoring 26 credit card web sites on their ability to meet the goals of consumers shopping for a card.

"The vast majority of card sites currently throw up obstacles right where they shouldn't -- just as they are attempting to start a relationship with a new customer. Not telling prospects directly how rewards can be redeemed, or making it hard to compare card offers, are common" said Steve Ellis, a Change Sciences partner.
According to their research, the top 5 ranked sites are: National City, Fifth Third Bank, Capital One, Bank of America and Wachovia.

Canada's Interac Moves To ECommerce

Moneris Solutions has announced that it has processed the first Interac Online transaction in Canada. Interac Online is a new service that allows Canadians to pay for goods and services purchased on the Internet directly from their bank account.


June 06, 2005

U.S. Bank Introduces Internet Bill Pay Enhancements

US Bank has announced new enhancements to its Internet banking and bill payment service including the ability to make same day payments to many billers.


American Express Begins Issuing Contactless Payment Cards Nationwide

American Express announced this morning that it has begun issuing Blue cards with its ExpressPay contactless feature in all 50 states.

Amex also announced 7-Eleven as the latest national merchant partner to accept ExpressPay. 7-Eleven currently has ExpressPay-enabled readers in 170 stores in a test market and plans a full roll out to its more than 5,300 U.S. stores by early 2006.


Washington Mutual Buys Providian

[Update: As part of their investor call this morning, Washington Mutual and Providian have made available a presentation (PDF) on the acquisition.]


7-Eleven to Accept MasterCard PayPass

7-Eleven has announced that it will accept MasterCard PayPass in its 5,300 US locations with implementation completion targeted for early 2006.


June 05, 2005

A Look at Visa Buxx

Rob Walker reports for the New York Times Sunday Magazine on Visa Buxx, a prepaid card aimed at teens.


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