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« June 4, 2006 - June 10, 2006 | Main | June 18, 2006 - June 24, 2006 »

June 17, 2006

MasterCard Paid CEO Selander $13.2 Million In 2005

Reuters reports that MasterCard paid its chief executive Robert Selander $13.2 million in compensation for 2005 comprised of a salary of $891,667, a bonus of $2.7 million, $8.1 million under a long term incentive plan, and $1.3 million in "other" compensation including options tied to a portfolio of bank stocks. Details on executive compensation are in the proxy statement MasterCard filed yesterday with the SEC.

June 16, 2006

MasterCard's Legal Woes Persist

Shaheen Pasha reports for CNNMoney.com on the range of MasterCard's litigation issues - focusing particularly on merchant litigation over MasterCard's interchange fees and on damages lawsuits pending with American Express and Discover filed following the US government's anti-trust victory over Visa and MasterCard over bylaws banning member banks from issuing Amex and Discover.

MasterCard Announces Annual Meeting

MasterCard filed a proxy statement with the SEC today announcing its 2006 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of MasterCard Incorporated to be held on Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. (local time) at the MasterCard Incorporated Headquarters, 2000 Purchase Street, Purchase, New York. The proxy also includes details on the board of directors and on executive compensation for MasterCard's senior management team.

Google Checkout Preparing To Launch?

ZDNet blogger Garrett Rogers posts about Google Checkout - what he says the press is calling GBuy - and speculates, because of some domain name update activity earlier this afternoon, that it must be getting pretty close to launch.

A Look At Steering - By Both Issuers And Merchants

Mercator Advisory Group's latest report explores the topic of "cardholder steering", the process by which card issuers and merchants seek to influence consumers' choice of payment vehicles.

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OTS Federal Preemption of State Gift Card Restrictions

The law firm Schwartz and Ballen has posted a memorandum (PDF) regarding a recent letter by the Office of Thrift Supervision Chief Counsel concluding that "certain state law restrictions on gift cards are preempted for
federal savings associations and their operating subsidiaries."

Visa, MasterCard Feud Over World Cup Rights

Gregory Viscusi of Bloomberg reports on the feud between Visa and MasterCard over future rights to be the official financial services company sponsor of the World Cup and related events.

Prepare for Disaster: Stash Cash - Cards Won't Work

Karyn McCormack's "Five for the Money" in Business Week discusses "Preparing Your Finances for Disaster". First on her list of things to do to prepare for when things go wrong: Stash Cash. She cites one financial planner's recommendation: "I tell all my clients to keep between $500 and $3,000 (depending on their net worth) in cash hidden in their house to guard against any disaster," says Jorie B. Johnson, a certified financial planner at Financial Futures in Manasquan, N.J., pointing out that an electrical failure or attack on computer systems of financial institutions will freeze access to debit and credit cards. "Small bills will go far in a frozen ATM economy," Johnson says.

UK's OFT Still Probing MasterCard Fees

Reuters reports on the UK's Office of Fair Trading and its on-going "six-year probe into the fees charged by credit card association MasterCard." The agency is investigating MasterCard's interchange fees in the UK.

Google CEO: "GBuy" Unlike PayPal

Reuters reports on comments made yesterday at a conference in New York by Google CEO Eric Schmidt in which he said Google's plans aren't like PayPal at all - adding "It makes no sense for us to go into businesses that are occupied by existing leaders. We want to solve new problems in the payments space."

Merchants Welcome Investigation Into Interchange Fees

The Merchants Payments Coalition has announced that it "welcomes the decision of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R- Pa., to investigate credit card companies and their anti-competitive fee- setting practices in a hearing to be held later this month."

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Be Careful Choosing Your Company's Credit Card Provider

Richard May reports for the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations about a merchant's perspective when selecting a merchant card acquirer - commenting "rent-to-own dealers must be diligent in looking for hidden fees and charges that credit cards apply with every transaction. For example, if a rent-to-own customer uses a debit card instead of a credit card, it affects the dealer's interchange fee."

You Are Now Entering CardSpace

Esther Schindler writes about Microsoft's CardSpace (formerly InfoCard) - that will provide what Microsoft calls an identity layer for the Internet that's an inclusive, standards-based model built on the "laws of identity." According to Schindler, "for CardSafe to succeed, it will need buy-in from more than site developers. The company is exhorting financial firms and other such organizations — pleading might be a better word — to participate in the managed card program as Identity Providers."

Credit Card Fees Show No Mercy

Convenience Store News reports that "credit card fees are the biggest issue in the convenience store industry right now. It's the fastest-growing expense behind labor and rent," according to Jeff Lenard, director of communications for the National Association of Convenience Stores. Last fall, the NACS was one of four major merchant associations that filed an antitrust lawsuit over credit card interchange fees.

Frustrated With Slow Pace Of PCI Adoption

Digital Transactions reports on frustrations by some payment software suppliers about the slow pace of merchants achieving compliance with the Payment Card Industry data-security standard (PCI) who say there's been a distinct lack of visible examples of merchants being fined for non-compliance by the card associations.

New Digital Identity Forum Blog

Our friends at Consult Hyperion have just launched a new Digital Identity Forum blog to complement their great Digital Money Forum blog.

June 15, 2006

Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina

The member agencies of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors have announced the release of LESSONS LEARNED FROM HURRICANE KATRINA: Preparing Your Institution for a Catastrophic Event (PDF). The booklet relays financial institutions' experiences and lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that other institutions may find helpful in considering their readiness for a catastrophic event.

The TaxPayer ID Mortgage

Carolyn Said writes for the San Francisco Chronicle about the growth in "taxpayer ID mortgage loans" being granted on the basis of the applicant's taxpayer ID, not Social Security Numbers. So called "undocumented immigrants" often have taxpayer ID's - issued by the IRS to both resident and non-resident aliens - but not SSNs. Said reports that "in California, Wells Fargo and Citibank both offer taxpayer ID mortgage loans, albeit in small programs."

TransUnion's RentBridge Rental Payment Database

TransUnion has announced RentBridge, a new patent-pending rental payment database that will gather and maintain rental payment history information to help apartment owners, property managers and other types of credit grantors make more informed risk, fraud and identity management, collections and marketing decisions.

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Open Sesame: Signature RFID by VingCard

VingCard has introduced “Signature RFID by VingCard,” a contact-less electronic-locking system for hotels that uses an open-platform RFID lock that is compatible with all the main RFID ISO standards (ISO 14.443 A-MIFARE, ISO 14.443 B, ISO 15.693) and also with the new Near Field Communication (NFC) cell phone technology platform.

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PayPal CEO: Ready To Compete With Google

Desiree J. Hanford of Dow Jones Newswires reports on an interview with PayPal CEO Jeff Jordan earlier this week at eBay Live in which he comments on speculation that Google is preparing to launch an online payment service similar to PayPal.

June 14, 2006

New Report: Banking At The Checkout

On the tenth anniversary of Tesco’s move into banking in the UK, Steve Worthington, professor and marketing specialist at Monash University in Melbourne, and independent banking consultant Peter Welch have authored a new report titled "Banking at the Checkout" that examines the the impact (or lack thereof) of the retailers on the financial services market.

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New American Express Rewards Card From Real Estate Company

William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services, the largest family owned real estate firm in New England, has announced the William Raveis Rewards Card, a no-annual-fee American Express Card from MBNA.

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The Hartford to Offer 'Emergency Claim Cards' for Customers

The Hartford Financial Services Group has announced that it will be offering its property insurance policyholders who sustain losses from a natural or man-made disaster the option of receiving money for certain covered expenses with an Emergency Claim Card from The Hartford, a debit card issued by
JPMorgan Chase.

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Surfing to the Bank

Susannah Fox and Jean Beier of the Pew Internet & American Life Project examine consumer usage of online banking usage and make a number of observations including noting a "trust gap" that may be slowing adoption of online banking by new users and a skew in terms of adoption of online banking in favor of those with more disposable income.

"Cash Push" Into Prepaid Accounts Via ConveniaLoad

At Glenbrook, we've recently heard about ConveniaLoad from a couple of our industry colleagues involved in various prepaid card programs. Based upon a quick look at the company's web site, here's a brief overview of what's interesting to us about ConveniaLoad.

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Discover Network Announces New Merchant Advisory Council

Discover Network has announced the establishment of a Merchant Advisory Council intended to "provide a forum for Discover Network and member merchants to identify and address relevant issues and trends in the payments industry, such as security and fraud protection, merchant support, and new payment technologies."

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Dispute Charges At Your Peril: Chargeback Bureau

David Lazarus writes for the San Francisco Chronicle about Panama-based named Goldwell Corp. and an online service it runs called ChargeBack Bureau (chargebackbureau.org). According to Lazarus, the service, which has some consumer advocates upset, enables online retailers to report consumer chargebacks and then allows them to evaluate potentially risky customers by sharing across the group from the combined database of reported chargebacks.

eBay Adds Alerts For Mobile Consumers

eBay has introduced eBay Alerts, an extension of eBay Wireless which "enables users to win more listings on eBay even while on the go." eBay Alerts notify users with eBay listing updates through phone calls, text messages and instant messages, and allow users to bid on auction-style listings from their wireless devices. Unlike the alerts currently provided by most financial institutions, eBays Alerts appear to be "actionable" in that, once they've been received, users can act on them by, for example, re-bidding on an auction by replying with a text message.

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