Ted Griffith reports for The Wilmington News Journal about ING Direct's "audacious" expansion plans - including its plans to introduce checking accounts dubbed "Electric Orange" on Feb. 1 of next year following a limited introduction to existing customers next month. Griffith reports the ING Direct plans to pay about 3 percent in interest on funds in the accounts - significantly higher than the average interest rates currently paid by other retail banks. Customers won't get checkbooks but will get an ING Direct debit card as well as be able to print checks as required on their home computers.
NACHA has announced it is accepting nominations for the 2007 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award and the 2007 Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award. The Call for Nominations with instructions and additional information is available on NACHA's web site. Nominations are due February 2, 2007.
Wal-Mart Stores has announced it has experienced nearly a 60 percent increase in traffic this holiday season over last year on its Web site, Walmart.com.
Gemma Simpson reports for the UK's Silicon.com about a mobile payments trial recently conducted by the London club Minstry of Sound using PayPal Mobile to provide end-to-end mobile ticketing with "clubbers able to buy, receive and redeem tickets on their [mobile] phones."
Cards&Payments, SourceMedia's monthly publication covering credit cards, debit cards, electronic and mobile commerce, and other forms of electronic payment, has announced it is launching a new industry awards initiative in 2007.
Interfax has posted an interview with Guan Guoguang, CEO and founder of 99Bill (www.99bill.com), an online payment platform for e-commerce operators, Internet content providers and individual users. "With an email address or a mobile phone number in China, registered users can send and receive money through the Internet or via mobile phone."
Intuit and Digital Insight have announced signing a definitive agreement for Intuit to acquire Digital Insight. According to the two companies, "the acquisition will bring together Digital Insight, a leading provider of online banking services, and Intuit, the leading provider of financial management software, to millions of small businesses and consumers."
SVPCO - Electronic Clearing Services, the electronic check and check image exchange business of The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C., has announced that U.S. Bank is now exchanging check images via the SVPCO Image Payments Network.
InComm says that, while many companies can provide gift cards for incentive programs, it "enables its partners to differentiate their offerings with exclusive features that have proven extremely popular among consumers."
ING DIRECT President and CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann will be honored by the editors of American Banker with the Innovator Award on November 30th at the Pierre Hotel in New York. According to ING DIRECT, Kuhlmann has been the face behind ING DIRECT since its inception. Unlike most banks that had high overhead costs, high balance requirements and monthly fees, ING DIRECT’s business model enabled it to pass savings to customers in the form of consumer-friendly, simple products. “This award is a tribute to the energy, creativity and innovation of our employees,” Kuhlmann said. “Most financial companies are telling consumers to spend more. We’re showing Americans how to save more. Our innovation comes from finding new ways to empower everyday people to improve their lives.”
Visa USA has announced that consumer spending in electronics, home furnishings, grocery and drug stores helped boost overall sales during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend supporting Visa’s original projection of 7.5 percent growth (including gas and restaurant purchases) in overall retail sales for the 2006 holiday season.
comScore Networks has released data on consumer online non-travel (retail) spending at U.S. sites for Cyber Monday and the 2006 holiday season to date. Cyber Monday, which marks the first major spike in online holiday spending as people returned to work after the Thanksgiving weekend, saw slightly higher than expected gains. Cyber Monday sales totaled $608 million, up 26 percent versus the same day last year. During the first 27 days of November this year, total online retail spending reached $9.48 billion, marking a 24-percent increase versus the corresponding days in 2005.
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce has announced that the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2006, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, was $27.5 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent (±1.5%) from the second quarter of 2006. Total retail sales for the third quarter of 2006 were estimated at $991.7 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent (±0.3%) from the second quarter of 2006. The third quarter 2006 e commerce estimate increased 20.9 percent (±5.3%) from the third quarter of 2005 while total retail sales increased 5.1 percent (±0.3%) in the same period. E-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2006 accounted for 2.8 percent of total sales.
The Washington Post reports on a decision yesterday by U.S. District Judge James Robertson who said that "by keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money." He ordered the government to develop ways for the blind to tell bills apart - saying that many other countries "vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired." The text of the judge's order is available online (PDF).
Elena Malykhina writes for InformationWeek via Bank Systems & Technology about mobile banking - and suggests that 2007 is shaping up as the year that it just might finally maybe get started. She notes Firethorn's recent announcements (CheckFree, Cingular, Synovus), PayPal Mobile's announcement earlier this year, and another service called ClairMail. She suggests banks shouldn't take too long to figure this all out - suggesting that consumers will expect their banks to support their increasingly mobile lifestyles sooner rather than later.
The New Zealand Retailers Association has announced that seven New Zealand retailers have "launched legal action against a number of credit card institutions, seeking damages from breaches of the Commerce Act. The move follows the recent decision by the Commerce Commission to bring its own court proceedings over the alleged price fixing of interchange fees by these institutions."
JupiterResearch - in a new research report titled "US Contactless Payments; Primed for Supply, But Industry Must Coordinate to Reach Non-Users" - has announced that it is forecasting the total value of transactions conducted using contactless payment tokens will grow from $500 million in 2006 to $79 billion in 2010 - even though only 12 percent of US online consumers have tried contactless payments to date.
Boulder, Colorado-based FEED Tribes has announced that "Noodles & Company has become the first national chain to adopt a new mobile commerce and marketing system that allows customers to pay with their cell phones."
We have received news of the following recent management changes:
If yesterday was Cyber Monday, today must be Gift Card Tuesday - based on all of the news about them issued today. In the latest, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued a reminder to consumers "that it is important to check carefully the terms and conditions that apply to gift cards they buy or receive. As we enter the holiday season, it is especially important that consumers be alert to the wide variety of terms and conditions available in the gift card market,” said Comptroller John C. Dugan. “By asking a few questions based on the information provided in our Advisory, holiday shoppers will be able to select the gift card that best meets their requirements for this popular product.”
More than 67 million Americans have used a credit or debit card for a purchase of less than $5 in the past 30 days according to the fourth annual comprehensive, quantitative survey on the small payments market released today at the 2006 Micro and Small Payments Conference in New York City.
Peppercoin has announced a strategic alliance with Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. that "extends Peppercoin's reach in the merchant community and makes its solutions available to the more than 130,000 businesses that rely on Heartland for payment processing."
NOVA Information Systems has announced that it has enhanced its Electronic Check Service (ECS) product to meet the needs of multi-lane retailers by eliminating the investment in check imaging technology at the point of sale (POS). ECS now combines the benefits of real-time check authorization and risk mitigation services with back-office image uploads, resulting in improved cash flow and reduced risk.
According to a recent study commissioned by First Data Corp., today's diverse gift card products are fitting nicely into the wallets, gift boxes and lifestyles of most American consumers. The survey examines both the purchase and use of single-merchant gift cards, those that can only be used at one retailer, as well as multi-merchant gift cards, those that can be used at multiple retailers.