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« October 23, 2005 - October 29, 2005 | Main | November 6, 2005 - November 12, 2005 »

November 05, 2005

Christopher Rodrigues: Visa Is Far More Than Just A Card

Christian Sylt profiles for the UK's The Independent Visa International CEO Christopher Rodrigues.

Rodrigues is clear about what is driving Visa's growth: "It's growing at such a rapid rate because what was originally thought of as a credit card is now seen as an electronic payment system," he says.


Paypal Names Names As IRS Chases Tax Evaders

Paul Lashmar reports for the UK's The Independent on PayPal's plans to disclose the identity of customers who use the service to evade paying US taxes.

According to the IRS, PayPal's services have proved very attractive to tax evaders and the problem is growing. Customers can buy goods from eBay and many other shopping websites, pay for them from untaxed income held offshore and get the goods sent to their home address.


Investor's Business Daily profiles VeriFone in an article in Monday's edition titled "Supplier Of Electronic Payment Gear Cashes In On Cashless Trend".

November 04, 2005

Pay By Touch Launches With Bigg's in Ohio

Pay By Touch has announced it will launch its biometric payment service with Bigg's at two of its stores in Cincinnati. Pay By Touch's service allows consumers to pay with their finger using their checking or Discover card accounts.


November 03, 2005

Wachovia To Re-Enter Credit Card Business

Wachovia has announced that it will re-enter the credit card market as a direct issuer beginning in January 2006 and terminate its existing joint marketing agreement with MBNA which had been issuing credit cards on behalf of Wachovia.

Wachovia conducted an in-depth analysis of its credit card business after the public announcement of the MBNA acquisition by Bank of America. As a result, Wachovia will formally conclude its joint marketing agreement with MBNA nine months after the proposed Bank of America/MBNA merger, which is expected to occur in January 2006. Upon consummation of that merger, MBNA is required to pay Wachovia a $100 million termination fee, which will offset Wachovia's cost to re-enter the business.

Visa USA To Transform Board of Directors

Visa USA announced this morning plans to change the composition of its board of directors by having a majority of the board made up of independent directors. Of 17 Visa USA board seats, eight will be held by independent directors, seven by financial institution directors, and two non-voting Visa management directors. Visa said the change requires member approval and is expected to take nine to twelve months to implement.

Visa"In light of the dynamic changes taking place in the payments industry, the Visa USA board of directors and Visa's management team believe the time is right to add independent directors to the board," said John Philip Coghlan, President and CEO of Visa USA.

"Visa and our stakeholders will benefit from the wider range of talent and diverse experience that independent directors will bring to the boardroom as they help shape the association's growth strategies. Independent directors will generate added confidence in the organization's decision-making and will ultimately strengthen Visa's position with regard to legal issues concerning the impartiality and autonomy of directors.


MasterCard Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

MasterCard has announced third quarter financial results with revenue for the third quarter of 2005 growing 18.6% to $792 million with its net income growing 8.2% to $106 million as compared to the same period in 2004. Details are available in a MasterCard 10-Q report filed today with the SEC.

MasterCard"We are achieving success by implementing our customer-focused strategy globally and delivering innovative products and value-added processing, information and related services," said Robert W. Selander, president and chief executive officer.

"We believe the trend within the global payments industry of moving away from paper-based forms of payment such as cash and checks toward electronic forms of payment creates opportunities for continued growth in our business."


How One Little Fob Could Foil A Cyber Bank Robber

Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz report for USA Today on the use of hardware tokens and other strong authentication techniques for online banking by consumers.

fob180.jpgBig banks, for the most part, remain on the fence. Of the eight largest U.S. banks offering online services, only Bank of America has announced plans to beef up authentication. Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual and U.S. Bancorp have remained silent.

November 02, 2005

MasterCard Reports Third Quarter Volumes

MasterCard has reported results for the third quarter with gross dollar volume on MasterCard-branded cards up 12.5 percent from the same quarter last year to 4.9 billion transactions and $424.4 billion.

MasterCard“The strength of the MasterCard brand, and our portfolio of innovative payment solutions, continue to resonate around the globe, as illustrated by our operating performance this quarter,” said Alan Heuer, MasterCard's chief operating officer.
Details are provided in MasterCard's latest 8-K filing with the SEC.

GE Finance Unit To Start Bank Card Outsourcing

Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters on plans by GE's consumer finance unit to provide outsourced credit card services to banks.

"The agent bank space has always been considered a logical next step," said Scott Young, a senior vice president in GE's consumer finance unit, in an interview. "About a year ago, we started thinking more seriously about it once we had our retail co-branding relationships in place. Now that a number of those launches are behind us, we felt we were ready."

Peppercoin Announces $10 Million Second Round Financing

Peppercoin has announced the completion of a $10 million second institutional round of funding with an additional $2 million investment from Total Technology Ventures. PeppercoinThe round was led by venture capital firm Wall Street Technology Partners and includes previous investor Pod Holding and a large, Boston-based institutional investment adviser and several private individuals.


eBay Promoting PayPal Buyer Credit

AuctionBytes reports on eBay's promotion of PayPal Buyer Credit.

eBay said when buyers use PayPal Buyer Credit for purchases of more than $50, they will "make no payments for 3 to 12 months and pay no interest if paid in 3 to 12 months"
More details about the promotion are available on the eBay PayPal Buyer Credit Promotion page. PayPal offers Buyer Credit in partnership with GE Money Bank.
Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

November 01, 2005

Visa Enhances Pursuit of Small Ticket Card Payments

Visa USA has announced a new strategy to accelerate Visa card acceptance and consumer usage at traditionally cash-heavy, smaller ticket businesses.

Visa"Consumers clearly expect more from their payments. From coffee to movies, consumers choose their cards over cash because of the ease, security, and rewards they offer," explains Elizabeth Buse, executive vice president, Product Development and Management, Visa USA.

"Our initiative will grow preference for Visa payments over paper by making checkout faster, offering consumers an undisputed convenience and delivering bottom-line value to merchants."


UK: Web Shoppers Demand “Security” Dividend From Banks

Fujitsu Services in the UK has published the results of a recent survey of online web shoppers in which 44% of them said that banks should reward them for being careful with their personal security online.

“If you are buying house insurance you expect a better rate if you have taken precautions like fitting window locks or an alarm,” explains Ann Hosford, marketing manager, Financial Services business unit, Fujitsu Services. “But responsible web shoppers effectively carry the can for those who don’t take sensible steps to protect themselves from online fraud.”

New Tricks In The Gift Card Business

Parija Bhatnagar reports for CNN/Money on what's happening this year in gift cards.

On the horizon from SVS are CD gift cards, which the company expects to launch early next year. "These are content gift cards on which you can put your favorite music, recipes or anything else and play it on your computer or take it into stores and use them like regular gift cards," Stored Value Systems (SVS) EVP Bob Skiba said.

Chicago Fed's Profitwise Newsletter

The October issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Profitwise newsletter is now available online -- and it includes two articles on the remittance market and its implications for moving immigrants towards mainstream financial products:

Next BayPay Meeting: Monday, November 7, San Francisco

Are you a payments professional living in the San Francisco Bay Area? The next meeting of BayPay, BayPay-small.jpgthe payments professionals' networking group for the San Francisco area is being held next Monday, November 7, at 6 PM in San Francisco. If you're not already a BayPay member and are interested in attending next week's meeting, please contact us for more information.

Credit Card Firms Go For Small Payments

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal on how credit card issuers are now pursuing the market for smaller payments less than $5.

Many small transactions still are cash-based, making card companies salivate at the prospect of turning those payments into plastic. The market for transactions valued at less than $5 accounted for $1.32 trillion in consumer spending in 2003, representing more than 400 billion transactions, according to research by TowerGroup, a unit of MasterCard International Inc. By comparison, Visa processes a total of about $2 trillion of global transactions each year.

October 31, 2005

BBC: Mobile Wallets Take Off In Japan

RIchard Taylor reports for the BBC on the growth in the use in Japan of mobile phones as wallets.

In a society where two out of three people own a mobile, and there is always one eye on the future, they have figured: why not take things one step further?

Yes, it is time to say sayonara to your wallet.

Here Comes The Wallet Phone

John Boyd writes for the IEEE Spectrum Online about NTT DoCoMo's mobile payments activities in Japan.

The critical element in DoCoMo's Osaifu-Keitai, or mobile wallet, is a wireless smart card chip, FeliCa (from the English word "felicity"), which was developed by Sony Corp. and Royal Philips Electronics for close proximity, low-data-rate transactions. The wallet phones can be used to make electronic purchases at stores or vending machines equipped with FeliCa readers; can act as boarding passes on certain domestic air flights; and can authorize entry through corporate security doors—all with a wave of the handset.

China: Rules on Online Payments Tightened

Zhu Shenshen reports for the Shanghai Daily on action by the People's Bank of China to impose limits on online payment amounts in an effort to manage the potential risk.

October 30, 2005

Interview: Visa International's Terry Milholland

Terry Milholland was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Visa International in May 2005. The current edition of The Visa Quarterly includes an interview with Milholland.

Q. Why did you choose to join Visa International?

Terry Milholland - Visa InternationalAt its core, Visa is a technology company. Everything Visa does, everything that is conveyed through its name, relies on the VisaNet processing system operating flawlessly and securely. Merchants, cardholders and even government agencies have come to rely on the 99.999% uptime of VisaNet–our processing network. That is an amazing accomplishment–every minute of every day, in nearly every corner of the world. And, I think it’s an incredible opportunity to help lead the teams that make it possible.


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