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« July 23, 2006 - July 29, 2006 | Main | August 6, 2006 - August 12, 2006 »

August 05, 2006

Some Insights Into Google Checkout

Alan Rimm-Kaufman blogs about an interview he had earlier this week with Benjamin Ling, Product Lead for Google Checkout. According to Rimm-Kaufman, "Ben was quick to point out that (in his view) Google Checkout isn’t a payment type, but rather a checkout process. It wraps actual payment types (Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Discover); more payment types are possible. PayPal and BillMeLater were mentioned in this regard."

Touch And Go At Petco Park

Jennifer Davies writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune about the installation of new contactless card readers in the concession stands at Petco Park. “I've been wondering what the real motivation for this is,” said Bruce Cundiff, research analyst with Javelin Strategy & Research, of the contactless credit card. “Maybe this is a Trojan horse. It's the idea of moving the market beyond the magnetic strip.”

Credit Card Lawyer Aids Home Depot's Bank Plan

Andy Peters writes for the Fulton County Daily Report that The Home Depot Inc. has hired the lead outside counsel for Visa USA, Morrison & Foerster partner L. Richard Fischer, to help it win federal approval for its proposed acquisition of EnerBank USA of Salt Lake City.

August 04, 2006

Gift Cards For Teachers

The AP reports from Atlanta on a teacher gift card program by State of Georgia that provided a $100 gift card to Georgia teachers to use for purchasing office and school-supplies. The release of the cards coincided with Georgia's four-day sales tax holiday, when the state's tax is waived on clothing, school supplies and some other items.

The Nilson Report - Issue 861

The latest Nilson Report has arrived featuring an in-depth look at general purpose cards in the Latin America market (subscription only). This issue also has articles discussing store cards in the US and part 2 of an article on US commercial bank cards.

Requirements For Securing Cardholder Information

The Merchant Account Blog from MerchantEquip.com reports on a joint news release that was issued just a few days ago from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB and Discover outlining what businesses need to do to secure cardholder data.

A Look At Identity Based Encryption

Paul Korzeniowski writes for Investor's Business Daily about "identity-based encryption" - a new approach that simplifies the management of encryption keys by using something like an email address (an identity) as the basis for a public encryption key. Korzeniowski reports that Ferris Research did a cost comparison between the IBE and PKI approaches and found that an IBE system costs one-fourth as much to operate as a traditional PKI-based approach.

Annals Of Authentication

Glen Fest writes for Bank Technology News about the efforts of one financial institution, San Antonio-based Frost Bank, to implement stronger online authentication for both its consumer and business customers. "We developed a fraud framework, and recognized that each channel had channel-specific anti-fraud systems," says Uday Shetgero, Frost Bank's svp of Internet security. Fest writes that "looking at fraud as an enterprise problem helped Frost determine the levels of risk each area and transaction level represented, which provided a guide to adopting varied authentication strategies across retail, commercial and telephone banking."

A Look At Australia's Strategy Payments Services

Australia's newest payments processing business, Strategic Payments Services Pty Limited (SPS) has appointed Mr Adrian Cosenza, former Group Executive and Head of Group Strategic Development at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as its Chief Executive Officer. SPS is Australia~s newest payments processing business focused on delivering innovative and cost effective payment processing services to the Australian and regional market. SPS is a joint venture between Bendigo Bank Limited (40%), Customers Limited (40%) and MasterCard Asia/Pacific (Australia) Pty Limited (20%).

A Cautionary Tale About Credit Card Debt

Scott Burns writes about Tricia, a blogger who lives on the Michigan peninsula, who is 29, married, the mother of a 4-year-old son, a college graduate and a homeowner - and who, with her husband, have a negative net worth of $48,477. She writes regularly about her story on her weblog: www.bloggingawaydebt.com. Burns says "she writes, step by step, about what she is doing to reduce expenses. She's shy, but when it comes to true grit, she's at the top of the scale. It's all there."

August 03, 2006

Sizing Up Security: Are U.S. Banks Trailing U.K. Banks?

From Bank Technology News: "If best practices are indeed what the U.S. banking industry seeks with regard to online security, they'll likely find some of the answers across the pond. The irony is that U.K. banks, whose cultures are inherently more formal and ultra-conservative, are taking a much more open approach to online security and the challenges that they face than U.S. banks."

Card Processing - A Look At First Data Corp.

Michael Sisk writes for US Banker about First Data Corporation's strategy to spin off Western Union and focus on card processing. "The question is, can refocusing on the core processing business yield more growth for First Data than simply hanging on to Western Union?"

Banks Open New Front In War On Cash

Nick Godt reports for MarketWatch.com on "the last battle line in the war waged on cash by banks and credit-card companies: contactless payments. "There was roughly $8.57 trillion of personal consumption purchases in the U.S. in 2005, about $3.6 trillion of which was in cash, check and money orders," Denis Moroney, director of bank card research for the consultancy TowerGroup, said. "That cash market has become a real target for those banks and credit-card companies."

Fiserv Launches Paytraxx Online Bill Payment Service

Fiserv has announced the launch of Paytraxx, "a new online bill payment solution designed to help financial institutions capture and retain the high-profit and next-generation customers that are driving demand in the growing market for bill payment service."

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RSA Reports 20 Million Online Banking Customers Protected

RSA Security has announced that its technology currently protects more than 20 million registered users with its live online banking authentication technology and that it has signed agreements with -- and begun implementations at -- major financial institutions representing approximately an additional 40 million online bankers. RSA also announced the launch of the RSA Adaptive Authentication 5.8 solution integrating RSA Security and legacy Cyota and PassMark technologies. According to RSA, "the new version also comprises a wide range of deployment plans, including a rapid deployment option that is designed to enable the implementation of a fully-operational account protection system in less than 30 days -- with no integration work or code changes required."

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FTC Faults Darden On Gift Cards

Mark Chediak reports for the Orlando Sentinel on action taken by the Federal Trade Commission against Darden Restaurants regarding "unfair and deceptive acts and practices" in its marketing of gift cards. The action was disclosed last Friday in the filing of its annual report with the SEC. In the filing, the company says that it believes that its gift card marketing practices comply with applicable laws.

Debit Card Use For Back-to-School Spending Doubles

MasterCard reports survey results finding that nearly three out of four parents (74 percent) are expected to rely on the convenience and flexibility of payment cards for back-to-school shopping. The annual MasterCard Back to School Spending Index found that 58 percent of parents of U.S. students college age or younger plan to use debit cards for back-to-school purchases, increasing from 26 percent in 2005. [Editor's note: Given MasterCard's smaller share of the US debit card market, such an increase in preferences for debit card-based purchasing would appear to primarily advantage Visa - although "a rising tide does lift all boats."]

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Concern Mounts Over Debit Card Fraud Case

KCRA Channel 3 reports from Sacramento that "hundreds of Sacramento and Modesto consumers who shopped at Dollar Tree stores said they later had money stolen from their bank accounts." This story is a follow-up on other stories reported earlier this week. The Sacramento Bee also reported this story yesterday

What's The Gripe With Wal-Mart Going Into Banking?

Bill VIrgin writes an opinion piece for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer asking just what's the problem with Wal-Mart chartering a bank - saying that "Wal-Mart is merely a latecomer to this game, but as it's a villain everyone knows and understands, the banking industry gets to score points by beating up on the retailer and pretending that keeping it out of retail banking makes the slightest difference to the dynamics of its business."

Mobile Commerce Coming Of Age In India

Puneet Mehrota writes for India's Hindustan Times about mobile commerce in that country. "A small text message has changed it all. When mobile was introduced, not even the biggest telecom expert had predicted the impact of SMS on Indian life. Relationship to reporting to just about every small communication is textual. Now even payments and transactions are done through the SMS. The future is here."

New Ways to Prove You Are Who You Say You Are Online

Jessica E. Vascellaro writes for the Wall St. Journal about online identity verification - and how it's becoming increasingly important. According to Vascellaro, "companies are developing a slew of new tools to help people confirm their identities. The new services allow consumers to create and share verified personal profiles with people they meet or do business with online."

A Bill Payer Falls Behind, Like Clients

Floyd Norris writes for the New York Times about what happened at CheckFree - reporting disappointing earnings on Tuesday resulting in its stock price falling 14 percent yesterday.

August 02, 2006

Wal-Mart de Mexico Plans To Launch Bank

MarketWatch reports that Wal-Mart de Mexico has announced that it has filed for a Mexican banking license with local regulators.

Safeway's Blackhawk Network To Enter UK Gift Card Business

Safeway has announced that its Blackhawk Network subsidiary will expand its gift card business to the United Kingdom this year and has opened an office in Peterborough, England. Blackhawk Network was established as a separate business unit in 2001 to capitalize on store traffic at Safeway and other retailers, and is now the largest provider of third-party gift cards in the United States and Canada.

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TransUnion to Acquire Qsent

TransUnion has announced it is acquiring Qsent, a Beaverton, Ore.-based provider of contact and identity management services that support customer acquisition and retention, collections and recovery and identity resolution applications.

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Barclays Moving To Two-Factor Online Banking Authentication

Tom Young reports for Computing from the UK that Barclays plans to issue new hand-held card readers to all of its online banking customers for use in authenticating their logon access to Barclays' online banking sites. According to the article, the readers will read the chips on Barclays debit cards and generate a unique one-time password that must then be used to successfully complete the logon. The devices are based upon standards developed by APACS.

Robert Perkins - The Future Of Mobile Payments

TechDigest interviews Robert Perkins of mobile payments provider LUUP. “We actually see PayPal Mobile as good news for us and the industry,” says Perkins. “The challenge is to change people’s perceptions about using their mobile to buy things. If a big brand like PayPal is offering this, then smaller brands coming into the market like ourselves will have time to grow. There’s plenty of room.”

Mobile Payment - A Successful Model For The Middle East

Booz Allen Hamilton has found that in countries where most retail sales are conducted on a cash rather than card basis, but have high mobile phone usage, phone-based payment systems have a strong possibility of success. 'The Middle East has a high mobile phone usage rate,' said Karim Sabbagh, a Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton. 'A phone based payment system that simply replace paying by cash and other electronic means could be popular in this region.'

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