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« June 26, 2005 - July 2, 2005 | Main | July 10, 2005 - July 16, 2005 »

July 09, 2005

Usabililty Flaws of Financial Services Web Sites

Forrester's Bruce Temkin reviews 40 consumer financial web sites -- and flunks 85% of them with the top problems being the lack of contextual help, illegible text, and inconsistent interface elements..

Will Wal-Mart Someday Own a Bank?

Anita Weier reports for The Capital Times (Madison, WI) about Wal-Mart's efforts to own a bank.

"Financial services is important, but it is a very small portion of our overall business. We don't break it out. We do see it as an emerging opportunity. Our strategy on banks is we invite third parties into our stores. Anything we may or may not do in the future, we do not comment on."

More on PayPal China

The Standard reports from Hong Kong on the launch of PayPal China.

The long-awaited mainland launch of eBay's online payment subsidiary comes as the company prepares to hold a press conference in Shanghai Monday, with global chief executive Meg Whitman rumored to be attending.

Alibaba In-Depth

InformIT has published an in-depth article from Knowledge@Wharton on China's Alibaba.com.

Faculty members at Wharton and other researchers and analysts around the world who follow Alibaba say the company has done an exemplary job at using its knowledge of China to grow its businesses there.

The question is whether Ma, in the months and years to come, can expand his business in other countries while at the same time increasing his share of the intra-China B2B market being fueled by exploding domestic economic growth.

Ma and his management team also are engaged in a showdown with global online auction leader eBay for preeminence in the large and growing C2C space in China, where there are an estimated 100 million Internet users.

Inside Information

Craig Offman writes for FT.com about Verichip, a RFID-identification chip for human identification.

Data Theft: How to Fix the Mess

Joe Nocera writes for the New York Times about data theft-- looking back at the actions twenty years ago led by Sen. William Proxmire that changed the way credit card issuers had to deal with consumers and why Bruce Schneier is recommending similar changes today to deal with data theft or data loss.

What we need right now is someone in power who can put the burden for this problem right where it belongs: on the financial and other institutions who collect this data. Let's face it: by the time even the most vigilant consumer discovers his information has been used fraudulently, it's already too late.

"When people ask me what can the average person do to stop identity theft, I say, 'nothing,' " said Bruce Schneier, the chief technology officer of Counterpane Internet Security. "This data is held by third parties and they have no impetus to fix it."

July 08, 2005

PayPal China

PayPal has a new Chinese language website up at www.paypal.com/cn. One of the pages explains the difference between paypal.com.cn and paypal.com with paypal.com.cn to be used only for domestic payments within China.

READ MORE »

July 07, 2005

MasterCard Reports Growth in Online Debit in First Quarter of 2005

MasterCard International today reported some statistics regarding online card debit growth in the first quarter -- however, its press release didn't include statistics on overall debit payment volume growth. It did provide some specifics on regional growth in various regions including reporting an 8.3 percent increase in debit cards issued worldwide.

Chicago Fed: Implementing the Check 21 Act: Potential risks facing banks

The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has released an issue of its monthly Chicago Fed Letter addressing bank implementation of Check 21 (PDF).

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (the Check 21 Act) was designed to facilitate technological innovation by accelerating the transition to electronic check processing. Yet, in adopting Check 21-related processing, banks must also appropriately identify and mitigate potential risks associated with this new federal law.

Visa Enhances TravelMoney

Visa USA has announced an enhancement to its Visa TravelMoney product adding reimbursement coverage for lost or damaged luggage.

"Visa continually looks for ways to offer cardholders added value in their payment choices," said Todd Brockman, senior vice president, prepaid products, Visa USA.

"When consumers hit the road, they want to travel with confidence and peace of mind. Not only do Visa TravelMoney cardholders have a payment product that can be used at millions of merchant and ATM locations worldwide, they also know that their belongings will be protected during the journey."

Visa TravelMoney is a prepaid, reloadable card that offers cardholders a better alternative to travelers cheques and cash. Travelers can load funds to the card in person, by phone or online, through a checking account, credit card or debit card, and use the card to make purchases at millions of travel, entertainment and retail merchants worldwide - anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Visa TravelMoney cards can also be used to withdraw local currency at Visa/PLUS ATMs.

Credit Cards Are Raising Minimum Payments

Eileen Alt Powell reports for the AP on increases in the minimum monthly amount due on credit card bills.

Under pressure from federal regulators, credit card issuers are raising the minimum payments consumers must make on their monthly bills. In the long run, it's good for consumers because it means they'll pay down their balances faster, so they'll pay less in interest. But in the short run, consumers already struggling to keep up with minimum payments on several cards could feel squeezed.

July 06, 2005

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's 2005 Payments Conference Presentations

Most of the presentations from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's recent 2005 Payments Conference are now available online.

Visa CMEA Claims World's Largest Mobile Commerce Deployment

Visa International's CMEA region has announced that mobile operators in Jordan, Serbia, and Morocco have signed up to Visa's new mobile commerce service that uses technology provided by Upaid.

READ MORE »

TradeCard Launches First Automated Early Payment Program

TradeCard has announced the launch of its automated Early Payment Program that allows suppliers to receive payment as early as two days after the buyer submits an electronic payment approval document. The program offers better rates to suppliers because the discount rate is based upon the buyer's credit rather than the suppliers.

Says Kurt Cavano, chairman and CEO, TradeCard Inc. "Because we connect buyers and sellers online, we can provide unique and differentiated financial services that are not possible if all processes are paper-based. Through making use of the buyer's own cash and in cooperation with our financial institution partners, we have opened up opportunities for viable alternatives to traditional factoring and financing arrangements."

eBay plans PayPal launch in China

Doug Young reports for Reuters on eBay's plans to launch its PayPal payment service in China by the end of this year.

"It will happen within this year, but no date has been announced," an eBay spokesman told Reuters. "We will have an announcement event when there are more details."

Today's Headline News - Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Note: This posting is updated regularly throughout the day.

July 05, 2005

French Banking Card Group Warns Of Risks From Contactless Payments

Card Technology is reporting that Groupement des Cartes Bancaires in France is warning that contactless payment technology is not yet secure.

“The contactless interface leaves the door open to unauthorized access to the chip and without the cardholder knowing,” René Beltrando, head of Cartes Bancaires’ new technologies unit, tells Card Technology. “These frauds could be carried out using available and simple RF devices and could jeopardize the credibility of the card system.”

Diebold Sells Campus Card Business to CBORD

Diebold has announced the sale of its campus card systems business to The CBORD Group for approximately $38 million.

Founded in 1975, CBORD is one of the world's leading suppliers of campus card, housing, and foodservice management systems for the college and university market. The company works with more than 700 colleges and universities, corporations, and healthcare institutions with its cashless and ID card privilege control systems, housing management systems, and Webfood online ordering service.

READ MORE »

Busy Bank of America Loads Up on Challenges

Valerie Bauerle, Robin Sidel and Ann Carrns report for the Wall St. Journal on analyst and shareholder concerns that Bank of America has "a lot on its plate."

Lehman Brothers analyst Jason Goldberg was lukewarm on the MBNA deal because Bank of America is taking a big stake in a slowing market -- and MBNA's performance has slowed even more than the industry average.

World's E-business Giant Favors China's Banking Card Market

China's People's Daily Online reports on a recent visit to Shanghai by First Data's Pam Patsley.

Pamela pointed out that though the average consumption volume and total banking card holders are still small, and most Chinese are still accustomed to using cash, Chinese customers will become adapted to e-consumption with the opening up of China's banking industry as 2007 approaches. She is optimistic about the market potential in China, which has a population of 1.3 billion.

July 04, 2005

MBNA's Hammonds To Collect $125 Million On Sale to Bank of America

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal on the more than $125 million in proceeds that MBNA CEO Bruce Hammonds is expected to receive as a result of the sale of MBNA to Bank of America for $35 billion in cash and stock.

Last year, he collected total cash compensation of $3.54 million, including $2.46 million in salary and a $1.08 million bonus. That was down from $4.6 million in 2003.

Mexican Banks Invest In POS To Encourage Electronic Payments

Business News Americas reports that an electronic payments infrastructure fund sponsored by fifteen of Mexico's banks plan to spent US$150 MM to buy and install 475,000 new credit-debit card POS terminals over the next five years.

"We will install the terminals in businesses at no cost," said Marcos Martínez, chairman of Mexico's banking association ABM which was responsible for setting up the fund. The fund, called FIMPE, aims to triple the number of card terminals currently in use as banks cash in on a boom in credit card lending.

China: War of the Internet giants

Paul Waide reports for MarketWatch.com from Beijing on happenings in China.

Alibaba's Taobao is popular with buyers and sellers largely because it doesn't charge for transactions during the first three years of membership, though that's not revenue-generating. EBay Eachnet, with its yet-to-be widely adopted PayPal, and Taobao, with its parent company's payment tool, Alipay, are both eyeing online payments as a way to cash in on China auctions. Tencent has given no indication of how users will transact on its site, but its virtual currency, QQ coins, could be used as a stopgap to solve the payments issue.

July 03, 2005

Wachovia - Outfoxed or Foxy?

The Miami Heralds' Rick Rothacker explores the Wachovia side of the story that resulted in Bank of America's acquisition of MBNA.

Sources familiar with Wachovia's analysis of MBNA say some of Bank of America's projections seem overly optimistic. For example, a PowerPoint presentation Thursday showed MBNA's estimated earnings increasing 10 percent from 2006 to 2007, despite slowing growth in the card industry.

Insider Jobs Pose Real Threat For Nation's Banking Giants

Paul Nowell reports for the Associated Press about the risks of data loss from bank insiders.

"About 70 [percent] to 80 percent of the risk is from insiders, although not all of them are as malicious as the case in New Jersey," said Steve Roop, vice president of marketing at San Francisco-based Vontu, a firm specializing in data-loss prevention.

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