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May 31, 2006

Coming Attractions: PayPal Radio

No, not PayPal Mobile - PayPal Radio. Jason Miner, a long-time PayPal employee, is starting a new streaming radio show premiering live at eBay Live 2006 on Tuesday June 13th.

A friend writes: "Does this mean we can look forward to Bill Me Later Radio? Why not Visa Radio with individual shows devoted to the various card products? Maybe they can even get issuers to act as sponsors?" How about MasterCard TV? Now, wouldn't that be priceless?

Falcon One for Online Access

Fair Isaac has announced the release of Falcon One for Online Access, a real-time, multi-factor authentication solution that the company says "uses industry-leading fraud analytics to provide maximum online fraud detection with minimal customer impact."

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Fed Adjusts To Declining Check Volumes

The Federal Reserve Banks have announced changes to their check operations as consumers and businesses continue the shift from using paper checks toward electronic payments.

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Obopay Developing BREW Extension to Enable Mobile Payments

Obopay has announced that it will enable a new phone payment option for online retailers and BREW mobile application providers that provides merchants an easy and low-cost way to process mobile payment transactions and enables consumers to easily initiate purchases from their mobile phones with a simple touch of the keypad.

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Metavante's MBI Benefits Card Enhanced

Metavante has announced that its healthcare benefit debit card, the MBI Benefits Card, is the first and only card and authorization system in the payments industry to authorize healthcare purchases against a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) maximum in real time at the individual and family level.

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Underbanked Financial Services Market Exceeds $10 Billion

The "unbanked" and financially underserved population is making its mark in the economy in a market segment that now exceeds $10 billion, according to data compiled by Phoenix ESP Payments Research Group. Phoenix reports that although this below-the-radar group may not be using credit cards to make purchases, many are turning to pre-paid cards instead, fueling an opportunity for financial services firms and retailers.

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UK: HMV, Digital Rum Launch Txt2Buy Mobile Payments

In the UK, HMV and Digital Rum have announced a new mobile service that enables music, film fans and gamers to Txt2Buy CDs, DVDs and Games directly from their mobile phones. "The new Txt2Buy service allows consumers to respond immediately to HMV adverts appearing in the national and lifestyle press, using their credit/debit cards to buy products 'on the move' in a simple three step process over the mobile internet."

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Discounts For Cash Payments For Gas - A New Trend?

Barbara Hagenbaugh reports for USA TODAY on why some gasoline retailers are again offering discounts for payment in cash vs. cards.

FSTC Concludes Phase I of Better Mutual Authentication Project

The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) has announced the conclusion of phase I of its Better Mutual Authentication (BMA) Project, part of an on-going effort to secure access to customer accounts and combat fraud across the financial services industry.

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Visa Spotlights Payment Card Incentive Programs

Visa International is showcasing how its government partnerships have significantly contributed to the realization of economic development goals for emerging and industrialized nations around the world at the 8th annual Visa International Government Services Conference in Buenos Aires.

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May 30, 2006

GE Consumer Finance's New PayPal Plus MasterCard

As mentioned in an American Banker story last week, GE Consumer Finance has announced a relationship with eBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. to launch the new PayPal Plus MasterCard, a credit card offering both rewards and extended purchase protection for purchases made via the PayPal Web site.

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Visa USA Adds Credit Union Representation to Board Of Directors

Visa USA has announced the appointment of Robert Hackney to its board of directors. Hackney is president of Card Services For Credit Unions, Inc. (CSCU), the largest credit union card processing association in the United States, serving 3,500 members. In addition to his general board responsibilities, Hackney will also serve on the board's Audit and Risk Committee.

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Lightweight Mobile Payments: Gift and Beg on Helio

Helio, a new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) launched earlier this month by SK Telecom and Earthlink, includes new "gifting" and "begging" features for its subscribers to gift a purchased music video, game or other content from their Helio handset to another Helio subscriber. Begging does the opposite, allowing a subscriber to request a gift from another subscriber. Helio's got a blog called Helio Mag where the company talks about its service and what's cool.

Assessing SEPA - Unintended Consequences?

Edgar, Dunn & Company's May Insight newsletter features an article by Tanya Martin and Manika Aggarwal titled "Assessing SEPA: Understanding the Strategic Implications for Key Stakeholders in the Cards Business" (PDF). In the article, they question whether the EU/EPC might be "paving the way" for larger payments players (including non-European players such as First Data or Citibank) to dominate the market by "leveling the playing field" with the SEPA principles.

Bill Payment: Killer App On A Kiosk

Kiosk Marketplace links to a white paper from Source Technologies (PDF) about in-person bill payments using kiosks.

GE Announces $250 Million Infrastructure Investment in India

General Electric Company Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has announced a US$250 million investment in infrastructure and healthcare projects in India and said that GE intends to dramatically expand its industrial and financial presence in the country.

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Canada: Trends in Retail Payments

Varya Taylor writes for the Bank of Canada Review's Spring 2006 issue about the trends in retail payments (PDF) in Canada based upon a survey commissioned by the Bank of Canada. The article particularly focuses on cash and consumer attitudes towards the use and holdings of cash by the public. There's a wonderful graphic (Chart 11) on page 32 of the article that shows Canadian consumer preferences for payment methods (cash, debit, credit) for various transaction amounts.

Notes From PayPal's Town Hall Meeting

A couple of weeks ago, PayPal's Jeff Jordan hosted an online Town Hall meeting, one of a series that eBay holds monthly. The transcript (PDF) and audio from that meeting are now available on the eBay web site. Here's an interesting quote from the transcript by PayPal's Dana Stalder in response to a question about PayPal's merchant pricing: "PayPal is 100% committed to being the lowest cost solution for eBay sellers and for any online merchant, period." Read the transcript - it's interesting and fun!

Travelocity Accepts MasterCard SecureCode

MasterCard has announced that Travelocity has made MasterCard SecureCode available on its consumer website, Travelocity.com.

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Online Sales to Surpass $200 Billion This Year

CRM Today reports on The 2006 State of Retailing Online, the ninth annual Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research of 174 retailers. According to the report 2006 online sales (including travel) are expected to rise 20 percent to $211.4 billion while sales excluding travel will reach $138 billion. Last year, online sales reportedly rose 25 percent to $176.4 billion (including travel) and, excluding travel, online retail sales rose 28 percent to $113.6 billion.

A Look At Bank Card Currency Conversion Fees

Sandra Block writes for USA Today on what consumers can do to manage the costs of currency conversion when traveling overseas and using bank cards.

Technology and Easy Credit Give Identity Thieves an Edge

As part of a series on identity theft titled "Stolen Lives - A Breeding Groud", New York Times writers John Leland and Tom Zeller Jr. report on a wave of identity theft in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area - reporting that big part of the problem is that "In recent years banks have campaigned energetically to extend more credit to more people with fewer hassles, and retailers and consumers have embraced instant, near-anonymous access to credit."

MasterCard IPO Shifts Risk from Banks to Investors

Martin H. Bosworth writes for ConsumerAffairs.com about MasterCard's recent IPO with a perspective about how it has shifted risk from MasterCard's original bank owners to the public investors who now own shares in the company.

Headline News - May 30, 2006

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated.

May 29, 2006

Where Oyster Clammed Up, sQuid Is Ready To Cash In

Don't blame us for that headline! It comes from The Telegraph in the UK where Edward Simkins reports on a new cash replacement contactless card called sQuid scheduled to be launched early next year.

Annals of Online Economics: Bill Payment

Bob Tedeschi writes for the New York Times about how online bill payment is booming - with online payments (currently 35 percent of bills are paid online) expected to pass those paid by check (currently 37 percent) in the next year according to a Harris poll commissioned by CheckFree.

Australia's NAB Raises Credit Card Interest Rates

George Lekakis and Bruce Brammall report for Australia's The Advertiser about credit card interest rate increases following an increase in the official rate by the Reserve Bank of Australia - and questions why the National Australia Bank chose to raise rates more that three times the official rate rise. "This behaviour suggests that some banks are using credit card customers to claw back revenue they lost as a result of the RBA's recent clampdown on bank interchange fees."

India's NGPay: Merchandising On Mobiles

The Financial Express reports on NGPay, a GPRS-based mobile payments application developed by Jigrahak Mobility Solutions.

May 28, 2006

Credit Card Issuer Makes Rules, Can Change Them

Jim Flynn writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette about the cardholder agreement between card issuers and cardholders - and some recent changes to the cardholder agreement for one of his cards from MBNA America Bank, N.A. Despite the changes, "MBNA has assured me that I am still a valued customer, and that this is reflected in the terms of my amended cardholder agreement."

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