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« April 16, 2006 - April 22, 2006 | Main | April 30, 2006 - May 6, 2006 »

April 29, 2006

Have Merchants Lost Their Lust For Cards?

In an article titled 'Get merchants to lust after credit and debit card acceptance!", Aneace Haddad writes on his blog about how merchants feel about credit and debit card acceptance - and "why merchants and regulators are fighting interchange fees so fiercely." His "worst case scenario" is pretty dark for the card industry: "merchants win their antitrust lawsuit, banks lose $100 billion, interchange revenue is eliminated and banks have to pay merchants to accept cards."

Another point of view might be that all of those credit losses that card issuers suffer consist of sales actually made by merchants. One can argue that US card accepting merchants' top line sales revenues are about five percent higher than they otherwise might be - after all, that's roughly the level of credit losses currently being absorbed by credit card issuers.

Banks Offer Rewards For Debit Cards

Connie Mabin writes for the Associated Press about bank debit card reward programs being put in place at a growing number of banks.

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April 28, 2006

Visa USA Names Independent Directors

Visa USA has announced the election of its first four independent members of its board of directors: Philip D. DeFeo, Linda Baker Keene, Jon C. Madonna and John A. Swainson.

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PIN Debit's Online Opportunity

Mercator Advisory Group has released a new report titled "The Online Opportunity for PIN-Based and "PIN-Less" Debit" that discusses market opportunities to expand usage of PIN-based debit cards in the online environment.

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First Impressions Of "eBeX" - eBay Express

David Steiner writes for AuctionBytes about his first impressions as a shopper on eBay's new eBay Express fixed price shopping portal - he calls it "eBeX". HIs big learning - watch out for shipping costs from eBeX sellers - especially when comparing prices before checkout to those on Amazon.com where shipping on orders over $25 is free.

UK: The Most Evil And Disturbing Card Trick

Cliff D'Arcy writes for Motley Fool UK about how some card issuers, notably MBNA, have introduced a new approach to reducing the minimum payment amount due on outstanding balances - which he calls "the most evil and disturbing card trick that I've ever seen in almost two decades in financial services." Credit card issuers in the US were recently nudged to address the minimum payment amount due issue by federal regulators.

A Mail Glut From Credit Card Issuers

Andrea Coombes writes for MarketWatch about the record number of mailed credit card solicitations - over 6 billion - mailed by US credit card issuers in 2005, up 16 percent over 2004 according to a new report by Synovate. That works out to an average of six offers per household per month.

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Korean Telcos To Roll Out Contactless Payment

Card Technology reports on plans by South Korea’s major mobile operators - led by SK Telecom and KTF - to roll out contactless payment to their subscribers.

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DoCoMo Dreams Big

Yukako Ono writes for Japan's Asahi.com about NTT DoCoMo's new DCMX contactless mobile payment service phones containing Sony Corp.'s Felica contactless IC chip.

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Moneymakers: John Chaney And PreCash

David Kaplan profiles PreCash CEO John Chaney for the Houston Chronicle. PreCash is a Houston-based company that offers a variety of payment options serving immigrants and other consumers who do not have bank accounts.

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April 27, 2006

MasterCard Names Walter M. Macnee President of the Americas

MasterCard International has announced that it has named Walter M. Macnee President of the Americas, effective May 15, succeeding Ruth Ann Marshall.

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Canadian Consumers Upset About Pre-Authorized Debit Error Rate

The Toronto Star reports on increasing concerns by consumer groups in Canada about the error rate associated with pre-authorized debits against consumer checking accounts - citing more than 1,000 erroneous postings each day to consumer accounts.

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Card Processors Like TSYS Rush Into Medical Niche

Peralte Paul reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about a recent deal between card processor TSYS and Exante Financial Serfvices, the banking unit of United Health Group.

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American Express Introduces New Healthcare Benefits Plus Card

American Express has announced the American Express Benefits Plus Card, a new healthcare payment product that provides access to cardholder healthcare flexible spending accounts (FSA). In addition, American Express announced separate agreements with PayFlex and WageWorks, leading consumer-driven tax-advantaged spending account administrators, to offer the Benefits Plus Card to corporations and their employees.

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First Data To Process Payment Transactions For Microsoft

First Data Corp. has announced a multi-year agreement to provide global merchant processing to Microsoft for global online consumer and business clients of Microsoft.

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Visa USA Board Changes With New Directors

David Breitkopf and Isabelle Lindenmayer report in this morning's American Banker on proposed changes to the Visa USA board of directors - to be voted on tomorrow - including the addition of four independent non-bank board members. Last November, Visa USA had announced it would be adding eight independent directors and today's article says Visa continues to interview candidates for the four remaining director seats.

A Look At Home Equity Loans

Ruth Simon of the Wall St. Journal takes a comprehensive look at the current state of home equity lending and what some banks are doing to keep their home equity lending business growing with promotions, special deals, etc. in the face of higher interest rates. This has become a big business for banks as "balances on home-equity lines of credit have climbed 71% to $543.2 billion over the last two years."

Visa Launches Mobile Visa Wave Payment Pilot In Malaysia

Visa International, in collaboration with Maybank, Maxis Communications Berhad (Maxis) and Nokia, has launched its first Mobile Visa Wave Payment Pilot in Malaysia. Two hundred participants who are both Maybankard Visa cardholders and Maxis mobile phone subscribers will participate in the four-month trial beginning today.

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Whatever Happened To Account Aggregation?

Robert Scott, Editor, Accounting Technology, reflects back on the heyday of account aggregation and wonders whether enough time has passed that it's beginning to come around again. He notes that Intuit is looking for a Vice President & Business Leader for its Financial Institution Group - "whose responsibilities will include Customer Central, the former TekPortal, a data aggregation technology that Intuit acquired in August."

Australia's Reserve Bank Finalizes Debit Interchange Reforms

The Reserve Bank of Australia has finalized new reforms it will be imposing on the debit card systems in Australia, significantly reducing fees paid by banks to merchants for EFTPOS transactions (Australia has "reverse interchange" in that scheme), significantly reducing interchange paid to bank issuers on Visa Debit transactions, forcing Visa to amend its rules for Visa Debit acceptance to allow merchants to accept Visa Credit cards but not Visa Debit cards and allowing merchants to surcharge Visa Debit transactions.

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Card Issuers Have Sneaky Ways To Catch Consumers

Katy Matlock reports for Baylor's Lariat Online on college students and credit cards. According to Matlock, Dr. Franklin Potts, associate professor of finance at Baylor, describes credit card issuers as having "several sneaky ways to catch consumers".

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April 26, 2006

Bank of America Ponders Leaving Visa

Mark Calvey writes for the San Francisco Business Times about Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis' repeated recent comments that the bank is considering the possibility of leaving Visa and creating its own credit card network.

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Annals of Financial Crime: Supernotes and North Korea

Michael Merritt, Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Investigations for the United States Secret Service testified yesterday before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in the US Senate. Merritt's prepared testimony (PDF) described the history of the so-called "Supernotes", high-quality counterfeit U.S. currency (Federal Reserve Notes) and the connections the Secret Service has made between the production and distribution of these counterfeit notes and the government of North Korea.

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MyTango.com Launches Remote Order and Pay Service

The Palo Alto Weekly's Bill D'Agostino reports on Menlo Park-based MyTango.com's new remote order and pay service that has recently gone live in several Midpeninsula restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

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Recommendation: Evolution of a Prototype Financial Privacy Notice

Glenbrook's Russ Jones comments on the release a few weeks ago by six federal agencies (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Trade Commission, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission) of a new report titled "Evolution of a Prototype Financial Privacy Notice" (pdf).

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First Data Launches Strategic Communications Solution

First Data Corp. has announced its Strategic Communications Solution (SCS), a suite of products designed to help card issuers increase loyalty and usage among their cardholder database.

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You've Got Money: Paying via Mobile Text Message

Mylene Mangalindan and Jessica E. Vascellaro of the Wall St. Journal review the new mobile payment services from PayPal Mobile, Obopay, and TextPayMe. Earlier this month, we posted the Payments News US Mobile Payments Players - Comparisons chart that also outlines the most important similarities and differences between these three mobile payments services.

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