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February 18, 2005

Overdraft Protection Programs

The federal bank and credit union regulatory agencies have announced final joint guidance to assist institutions in the disclosure and administration of overdraft protection programs.

In response to concerns about the marketing, disclosure, and implementation of these programs, the agencies published for comment proposed interagency guidance on overdraft protection programs in June 2004. The final joint guidance responds to comments received by consumer and community groups, individual consumers, depository institutions, trade associations, vendors offering overdraft protection products, other industry representatives, and state agencies. The final joint guidance contains three primary sections: Safety and Soundness Considerations; Legal Risks; and Best Practices.
The text of the Federal Register notice (PDF) is available online.

February 17, 2005

Citibank iPod Mini Promotion

Apple iPod Mini[Update: This offer has ended. This article remains posted for historical archive purposes.]

Citibank has reintroduced its Apple iPod Mini promotion for opening and funding a new Citibank checking account.


Discover Sees Debit, Overseas Growth

Reuters reports on Discover's growth strategies including entering new international markets, partnering with banks to issue Discover cards, and debit following its recent purchase of the Pulse EFT network.

ExxonMobil, GE Consumer Finance Launch New Proprietary Credit Cards

ExxonMobilCard.jpgExxonMobil and GE Consumer Finance have announced the launch of new ExxonMobil Consumer and Business Credit Cards. The announced says the cards will incorporate new and enhanced fraud deterrent technology but provides no details.


Wells Fargo Introduces "My Spending Report"

Wells Fargo has announced the introduction of "My Spending Report", a consolidated report of a consumer's personal spending across all of the consumer's payment activities with the bank.


February 16, 2005

Nova Acquires SouthTrust Bank Merchant Portfolio

Nova Information Systems has announced that it has acquired SouthTrust's merchant portfolio from Wachovia Bank and has also renewed and extended a long-term marketing alliance agreement for Wachovia's merchant referral business.

Wachovia has been pleased with NOVA's continued strong performance in delivering payment processing services and support to our customers," said Terry Terbrueggen, Senior Vice President, Wachovia Bank. "NOVA's robust product portfolio and powerful network infrastructure allow SouthTrust's merchant customers to take advantage of enhanced service levels and new value-added applications."

"NOVA's success stems from our strong commitment to provide the best possible service to our customers," said Pamela Joseph, president, chairman and chief executive officer, NOVA Information Systems. "We're pleased that a financial institution of Wachovia's caliber continues to turn to NOVA as a true merchant processing partner. SouthTrust's merchant customers will benefit from the speed and reliability of the NOVA Network, and will have access to a robust portfolio of solutions, fitting the needs of a wide variety of merchant businesses."

Marriott to Participate in MasterCard Enhanced Hotel Folio Data Program

MasterCard has announced that Marriott will begin participating in April in its enhanced hotel folio data program. With the MasterCard enhanced hotel folio data program, corporations have access to room, tax, meal, telephone and business center fees, among other itemized expense details. The transactions are presented back to the corporation electronically and on its monthly invoice, streamlining expense analysis, management reporting and the accounts payable process.


MasterCard Launches Enhanced World MasterCard Card Program

MasterCard has announced an enhanced World MasterCard card program that allows card issuers to offer a uniquely customizable array of incentives to their cardholders.

"The enhanced World MasterCard program is a living demonstration of taking a winning approach and making it even better," said Ruth Ann Marshall, president of the Americas, MasterCard International.

"The new World MasterCard program underscores MasterCard's commitment to the affluent segment as we work with our issuers to provide cardholders with rewards and incentives specifically tailored to their needs and interests."

Card acceptance pricing for merchants of this new card program was not discussed in the announcement.


Starbucks Duetto Comes to Canada

RBC Royal Bank and Starbucks Coffee have announced the Starbucks Duetto Visa Card for Canadians.


VeriSign Analyzes Valentine's Day Online Shopping Activity

VeriSign has released ecommerce data analyzing online shopping activity in the period leading up to Valentine's Day earlier this week that showed a 30 percent increase in online spending this year vs. last.

"The growth in online sales for jewelry is a key indicator of increased consumer confidence in spending more money online," said Trevor Healy, vice president, payment services, VeriSign.

"With diamonds showing the highest increase in online revenue during the Valentine's Day shopping season, we not only see that consumers are comfortable making big-ticket purchases online, but also buying sentimental and significant items through secured e-commerce sites. This proves that online shopping has progressed past basic items, such as books and CDs, thus opening new sales opportunities for merchants from all categories."

JP Morgan Chase to Discuss Card Business

Robin Sidel reports in the Wall St. Journal that JP Morgan Chase will be meeting with investors next week to discuss its credit and debit card business. At the meeting the bank is expect to announced how it will split up the card business between Visa USA and MasterCard.

Chase has posted the details for the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 23. This presentation will be hosted by William Campbell, Card Services' Chairman, and Richard Srednicki, Card Services' Chief Executive Officer.

February 15, 2005

Smart Card Alliance Studies RFID Tags, Contactless Smart Cards

The Smart Card Alliance has announced a white paper that contrasts RFID tags and contactless smart cards for ePassport and payment applications. A PDF version of the paper is available online.


RSA Envisions Centralized Consumer Authentication Service

RSA Security has announced the RSA Authentication Service, a consumer-focused offering that sets up RSA as the central authenticator between consumers (suitably equipped with RSA hardware or software tokens) and their online services.

Until now, users and businesses have been forced to work with a variety of disparate authentication methods of varying strength – resulting in confusion, a lack of adoption, and inadequate levels of security that have left consumers vulnerable to identity theft and other scams. RSA Security believes that, by enabling the use of a single credential that is available in a wide range of form-factors and accepted at a potentially unlimited number of sites, many existing problems can be removed.

RSA Security Online Consumer Study Results

RSA Security has announced the results of a consumer study that concludes that consumers are increasingly reluctant to conduct personal business online due to security concerns.

The study also asked for opinions relating to traditional user ID/password security schemes, with more than half of all respondents (53 percent) believing that these do not provide enough protection for online information. According to the survey, poor management of PINs and passwords for access to online services, desktop computer systems, ATMs and other electronic accounts is a major vulnerability. More than two in three respondents (65 percent) use fewer than five passwords for all electronic information access, and 15 percent use a single password for everything.

VeriFone and Biometric Access Company Partner to Streamline Electronic Payments

Biometric Access Company has announced that a new development alliance with VeriFone to certify its biometric identity verification solutions with VeriFone's electronic payment solutions for the multi-lane retail industry.


Billeo Launches Next Generation Bill Pay Service

Billeo has announced the launch of a new bill pay service that uses toolbar technology coupled with back-end web services technologies to make consumer use of biller-direct websites much more convenient.


February 14, 2005

Chicago Fed's 2005 Payments Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has announced that its fifth payments conference, "Innovations, Incentives and Regulation: Forces Shaping the Payments Environment", will be held May 18-19 in Chicago.

Mashbox Selects Peppercoin

Peppercoin has announced that it has been selected by Mashbox to enable the sale of low-priced music profitably.


WholeSecurity Launches Phish Report Network

WholeSecurity has announced the launch of the Phish Report Network, a global anti-phishing aggregation service. Initial participants in the new business service include Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, and Visa.

February 13, 2005

Rewards May Not Be So Rewarding

Paul Wenske writes in the Kansas City Star about rewards cards.

Youth Debt Explosion

Scotland's Sunday Herald reports on concerns in Scotland about credit card debt in people under age 30.

Jackson blamed our materialistic and increasingly consumer-driven society. He said: “Lifestyle expectations have soared. The ‘buy now, pay later’ ethos has been readily adopted by the younger generations, perhaps as a result of targeted advertising. Regardless of whether they can afford it, many people are enhancing their lifestyle and funding their purchases by means of credit.”


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