Marisa Torrieri writes for Contactless News about thin, flexible displays that are being developed for use on credit cards.
Mei Fong reports for the Wall St. Journal about today's expected launch of a new credit card in China by Wal-Mart and China's Bank of Communications. According to Fong, "Wal-Mart officials in China confirmed the coming announcement, adding that the card is a regular credit card that can be used anywhere, but that will provide users special discounts at its stores. It will be a dual-currency card that can also be used anywhere outside China."
We have received news of the following recent management changes:
Global Payments has announced that as of September 26, 2006, Ruth Ann Marshall will join its Board of Directors. Most recently, Marshall served as President, Americas for MasterCard International responsible for all major banking and retail relationships, as well as governance, business development, global acceptance, product management, finance, planning, and human resources.
Bank of America has announced that its BA Merchant Services unit has entered into an agreement to sell its independent sales organization business of National Processing Company to Iron Triangle Payment Systems, a payments processing business financed by GTCR Golder Rauner. BofA says it's doing so "In order to pursue its aggressive growth goals and better integrate its sales efforts with existing in-house capabilities."
RSA Security has announced that it is teaming with Verid in order to further expand the range of strong authentication technologies included in its comprehensive RSA Adaptive Authentication solution. RSA Security will integrate Verid's knowledge-based authentication (KBA) technology into the RSA Adaptive Authentication platform.
Mercator Advisory Group has announced a new report titled "The Small Business Credit Card Challenge: Capturing The Large, Messy Opportunity" that explores "the challenges of small business credit card issuing, a key strategic segment for card issuers seeking to grow payment volume at rates above overall industry averages and to add to their portfolio outstandings."
Visa USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have announced their assessment of the five leading causes of data security breaches and offered immediate, specific prevention strategies for each.
Umpqua Bank has announced it has begun construction on its first neighborhood store in Portland, Oregon's Beaumont neighborhood. According to the bank, this location is the first example of Umpqua's new neighborhood store strategy. "Like cafes and other gathering places, Umpqua's neighborhood stores embed into established neighborhoods, providing residents and visitors with an engaging space to browse local merchandise, shop online, enjoy a cup of coffee, and learn about community events and resources -- in addition to banking."
This week, the Lehman Brothers 2006 Financial Services Conference was held in New York. A number of banks and financial services companies presented their latest updates at this first major industry conference of the fall season. Here are some links to these presentations (all PDF): American Express, Bank of America, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo.
NCR and Ready Credit Corporation have announced a new self-service kiosk that issues instant prepaid MasterCard cards. Utilizing the NCR EasyPoint Xpress kiosk platform, Ready Credit’s ReadySTATION provides consumers a convenient way to purchase an immediately-usable ReadyCARD Prepaid MasterCard.
MasterCard has announced that Richard Haythornthwaite, a member of the MasterCard Board of Directors, has been elected as the non-executive chairman of its board, effective immediately. Mr. Haythornthwaite is a managing director of UK-based Star Capital Partners. In addition, Steven J. Freiberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup's Global Consumer Group NA, and co-chair of Citigroup's Global Consumer Group, has been elected a director of the MasterCard Board of Directors.
MasterCard has announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend to holders of shares of its Class A common stock and Class B common stock, the first dividend to be declared by the company since its initial public offering earlier this year. The company said an initial cash dividend of nine cents per share will be paid on November 10, 2006 to holders of record of its Class A common stock and Class B common stock as of October 10, 2006. Based upon MasterCard's approximately 135 million shares reported to be outstanding, the total dividend amount being paid would be a bit over $12 million.
APACS, the UK payments association, has published a new report titled "The Way We Pay: UK Cash and Cash Machines" reporting that the number of UK cash machines has more than doubled in the past six years (from 27,379 in 1999 to 58,286 in 2005) and that Britons make the largest number of cash machine withdrawals of any country in the EU, some 2.7 billion transactions in 2005, or more than 42 per person.
Washington Mutual and ESPN have launched the ESPN Total Access Visa Card and they're calling it "the most comprehensive affinity credit card for sports fans ever." The card allows fans to earn rewards tied to their enthusiasm for sports, and "provides unique access to a wide range of sporting events and VIP experiences that only ESPN can provide."
Intuit and Google have announced a strategic alliance "designed to help millions of small businesses promote themselves online using a variety of popular Google services built into most QuickBooks 2007 products." Separately, Intuit announced that it has acquired StepUp Commerce, a San Francisco-based provider of services that "enable local businesses to convert online shoppers into in-store customers", and that StepUp's technology platform will power the new QuickBooks Product Listing Service that is part of its Google alliance.
Jane Kim reports for the Wall St. Journal on an expected announcement by American Express today that it is working with New York real-estate firm Moinian Group to allow condominium buyers to pay for their down payments using their American Express cards. Talk about a big ticket purchase!
Constantine von Hoffman writes for BrandWeek how some marketers are discovering the "underbanked" - pointing out that the "fastest growing product in the financial services sector is prepaid debit cards, most of which are being bought and used by people who don't have a bank account. Similarly, prepaid is currently the hottest segment of the wireless category."
Digital Insight and Metavante have announced agreements that expand their strategic relationship. Under the terms of one new agreement, the partnership will now include NYCE Network real-time payments technology that gives online banking users of Digital Insight client financial institutions the ability to securely conduct inter-institution account-to-account (A2A) funds transfers. A second agreement provides Digital Insight client financial institutions the ability to resell or directly issue stored-value gift cards to their customers through Digital Insight's online banking interface or at their branch.
First Data Corp. has announced that Susan Henricks has returned to First Data as president of First Data Resources. Henricks was a key member of the First Data leadership team in 1998 and 1999, serving as president of First Data Enterprises within First Data Resources. She was responsible for Client Services and was appointed to the position of President, Donnelley Marketing when it was sold by First Data to Info USA in late 1999. For the last six years Henricks has been with RR Donnelley, an $8 billion dollar global print leader and the largest printer of telephone directories in the world. For the last five years she has been President, Directories, responsible for the business of printing Yellow Pages Directories and telephone directories.
The HealthPay Group based in San Francisco has announced its formation saying that it intends to "focus on the convergence of the healthcare and financial services industries that has been triggered by the rapid expansion of consumer directed healthcare accounts and the popularity of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)."
Catwalk Distribution in partnership with Trycera Financial, has announced the Model Prepaid MasterCard, a "full service financial tool designed to help professional and aspiring models and actors manage their finances smarter, faster and safer than ever before."
Visa International has announced that the sales volume of Visa Business cards worldwide, represented by global small business spend, has reached US$190 billion over a 12-month period, as Visa says small businesses continue to adopt payment solutions that are more convenient and secure than cash and checks.
In a lengthy article, Walter V. Robinson and Beth Healy report for the Boston Globe about how sometimes debt collectors end up targeting the wrong individuals in their debt collection efforts - saying that they had heard from hundreds of consumers where "many said they had been pursued for debts owed by others with identical or similar names; or asked to pay debts for ill or deceased relatives; or besieged by debt collectors for the misfortune of having phone numbers once held by people who defaulted on their debts."
Compliance with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) project is driving significant challenges in Europe, with payments industry executives at many of the largest financial institutions reporting much higher estimates of investment costs and fearing that business and technology resources will be stretched as a result, according to a recent Accenture survey.
RSA Security has announced results of the company's second annual password management survey, which polled businesses on issues pertaining to password management. More than 1,300 business professionals participated in this global study, which confirmed that the burden of multiple passwords continues to pose significant security risks, and encourages end-user behavior that endangers compliance initiatives.