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May 20, 2006

Tricks Of The Credit Card Trade

Freelancer Linda Stern writes for Reuters suggesting "here's something that might get all those puzzled people on the hit TV dramas "Lost" and "24" really scratching their heads: Make them decipher the mail that credit card companies send out." She also reminds us about comments made by then-comptroller of the currency John Hawke, Jr. two years ago warning banks about potential supervisory action if they engaged in deceptive practices- she reports that no actions have been taken.

MasterCard and Florida Team Up for Hurricane Preparedness

Jenny Holland reports for BrandWeek about a public-private partnership with Florida announced by MasterCard on Friday that will allow the "storm-tossed state to use MasterCard’s signature tagline as part of a print campaign that encourages Floridians to be prepared for hurricanes."


Use a Pen, Not Your PIN?

Kristin Davis writes for Kiplinger Magazine about the "dual personality" of debit cards - how they can be used either as signature-based or PIN-based. "Signature-based purchases are far more profitable for banks, which get a slice of the 1.5%-to-1.9% interchange fee that merchants pay to process transactions over the Visa and MasterCard networks."

Headline News - May 20, 2006

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

May 19, 2006

The Nilson Report - Issue 856

The latest Nilson Report has arrived featuring an in-depth look at the PIN and signature-based debit card brand, issuer, and shared EFT network market shares (subscription only). Among other feature articles, this issue also has an interesting article discussing American Express' healthcare cards.

MasterCard IPO Set To Charge

The mainstream press headline writers are having a ball writing titles for their stories about MasterCard's upcoming IPO. This time, the story's from Justin Grant writing for Reuters. The offering is scheduled to launch next Wednesday, May 24th and it couldn't come soon enough -- given these corny headlines!

Corporate Guide to Card Payments and the Role of Interchange

The Association for Financial Professionals has published a new guide titled "A Corporate Guide to Card Payments and the Role of Interchange" designed to "educate organizations about the card acceptance process and help them proactively manage and reduce transaction processing expenses."


Exploring: A Payments "Summer Camp"

There's been some interest expressed by some of our Glenbrook Payments Boot Camp alumni for an update, in particular, on many of the things happening in the emerging payments space - especially around mobile payments, prepaid/stored value, and contactless/Near Field Communications, etc. In addition, we've had requests wanting to get an updated perspective on what's happening with the world of payment security as well.


American Express' Spend-Centric Model

Earlier this week, American Express CEO Ken Chenault spoke at the UBS Global Financial Services Conference in New York - along with a number of other bank and financial services company CEO's. Chenault's presentation (PDF) and prepared remarks (PDF) are available online on the American Express web site.


Visa Quarterly Spotlights Commercial Payments

A new issue of the Visa Quarterly has been published by Visa International spotlighting Visa's efforts in the commercial payments arena. Included is an interview with Aliza Knox, senior vice president of Visa Commercial who says "the commercial solutions division is the fastest growing area within Visa, surpassing debit in annual growth rates, with continuous growth of over 25 percent for the last five years."

MasterCard: How Priceless Is This IPO?

Liz Moyer writes for Forbes IPO Outlook about MasterCard's upcoming initial public offering. She says that "investors need to consider what they're getting into" because of the planned use of proceeds to buy out a portion of member bank shareholders and the costs likely to be associated with on-going litigation. She also speculates about MasterCard eventually (after the litigation issues are sorted out) being an "ideal takeover candidate".

A Visa USA Perspective

Earlier this week, Visa USA CEO John Philip Coghlan spoke at the UBS Global Financial Services Conference in New York - along with a number of other bank and financial services company CEO's. Coghlan's presentation (PDF) and prepared remarks (PDF) are available online on the Visa USA web site.


Visa USA First Quarter Performance Data

Visa USA has posted its summary of performance data for the first quarter 2006 (PDF) detailing year over year growth rates across its various card products. Net fraud as a percentage of total volume increased from 6 to 7 basis points during the quarter.

ZKA Pilots Pan-European Debit Card Interoperation

The associations of the German banking industry represented in the Zentraler Kreditausschuss (ZKA) have announced they have signed letters of intent with other European partners for the launch of a pilot project for the mutual acceptance of debit cards between countries with direct bilateral processing of these transactions. The effort will be coordinated by a new Euro Alliance of Payment Schemes without the involvement of the MasterCard or Visa international systems.


MasterCard's Maestro Wins In Belgium

Febelfin, the Belgian Finance Federation, and Banksys, operator of the entire Belgian debit card system, have announced that the Belgian banks have decided that the national Bancontact/Mister Cash (BC/MC) system for domestic card payments and money withdrawals will be replaced by 2008 with the issuance of Maestro cards, MasterCard's debit card mark.


Meet The Hackers

Business Week takes an in-depth look at some of the "cybercrooks" it says are responsible for "stealing billions" in an article by Spencer E. Ante, Brian Grow, and Roman Olearchyk.

May 18, 2006

MasterCard's IPO - Priceless?

The mainstream and personal finance press are starting to write about MasterCard's upcoming initial public offering. Just this afternoon we've seen stories on the MasterCard IPO from Ryan Batchelor for and Grace Wong for

Batchelor says he thinks that MasterCard is a "bargain" at the estimated price range of $40-43. He has an $80 fair value estimate on the stock which would result in a market cap of about $10.8 billion for MasterCard.

Chen's report is much less sanguine, saying that "the company's future appears less certain "given that "MasterCard faces mounting lawsuits, and long-term investors could end up footing the company's legal bills."

Either way, it sounds like it won't be long now before we'll know the financial market's reaction to MasterCard. We'll all be watching.

NFC From Pilot To Commercial Rollout in Germany

Andy Williams reports for SecureIDNews on the rollout of NFC technology for bus passengers in Hanau, Germany - project of Nokia, Philips, Vodafone and the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV).

Optimizing Patents and IP in Financial Products & Services

The American Conference Institute has announced an upcoming conference being held in New York City on June 6-7 titled "The National Forum on Optimizing Patents and IP in Financial Products & Services".

PayPal Town Hall Meeting Today

PayPal CEO Jeff Jordan will be hosting an eBay Town Hall meeting to answer questions about PayPal later this afternoon beginning at 4 PM Pacific time.

[Editor's question: Is anyone aware of any other financial services CEO ever holding an online Q&A meeting with living, breathing customers and merchants?]

Coinstar Expands Gift Card Mall Program Into UK

Coinstar has announced the expansion of its gift card mall program into the United Kingdom. Coinstar says its gift card mall consists of a display rack of leading dining, clothing, entertainment, book, home and service gift cards strategically placed in-store for shopper convenience.


Visa Cardholders Spend US$23.7 Billion in Asia Pacific in 2005

Visa Asia Pacific has announced that visitors to its regional market spent US$23.7 billion on their Visa cards during 2005, a 17 percent increase over 2004. According to a new Visa Asia Pacific tourism spending report, the biggest increase in tourist spending was in China, where Visa cardholders spent $636 million more last year than they did in 2004.


ChipIn Launches "Social eCommerce" Service

ChipIn, a Hawaii-based "Web 2.0" startup, has just come out of stealth mode and launched its new "social eCommerce" service designed to help individuals connect with people in their social network for collection of money for a personal cause, to purchase a gift, or for community fundraising. Read more about them in this article from Hawaii Business magazine and on the Chipin blog.

Banking Fees in Australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its annual survey of the fee income commercial banks earn from their domestic banking operations reporting that total domestic fee income of participant banks grew by 4 per cent in 2005, to A$ 9.2 billion. The Australian Banking Association has published a separate report on the subject prepared by Dr Kim Hawtrey of Macquarie University, Sydney.

Fast Phil's To Offer Finger Scan Payments

Pay By Touch has announced that Fast Phil's, operator of 11 convenience stores in Spartanburg, Union and Chester counties in upstate South Carolina can now pay using a finger scan. Among the benefits of convenience of this form of payment, Pay By Touch is also highlighting that the consumer's payment information is protected from disclosure to even the store's employees.


Wal-Mart Responds To ILC Concerns

Digital Transactions reports on Wal-Mart's response to may of the concerns raised by critics of its pending ILC application. Wal-Mart's complete response dated May 12, 2006, is also available online on the FDIC's web site.

A Look At Citi

In an article titled 'Where's Citi?", Liz Moyer writes for Forbes about Citigroup's US strategy - saying that while "Citibank never sleeps, but as far as American consumers are concerned, it might as well be sleepwalking."

May 17, 2006

Latest Consumer Billing and Payment Trends

CheckFree has announced the results of its most recent survey, "The Latest Consumer Billing and Payment Trends," conducted every nine months by CheckFree Research Services with The Marketing Workshop, Inc. and Harris Interactive.



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