Convenience Store Decisions reports that Debitman has announced that Wawa, the privately-owned Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, has joined the payment network and will issue the private-label Wawa Check Card. The card will reward customer loyalty with an initial $5 gift card after the first use, followed by cash rebates on every purchase.
Ron Lieber writes for the Wall St. Journal about PayPal and some recent changes following settlement of complaints brought by 28 state attorneys general. Lieber recommends not funding PayPal transactions directly from your bank account account but, rather, using either a debit card linked to your checking account or selecting the credit card option each time you use PayPal.
Joyce Moullakis reports for Bloomberg that National Australia Bank is "reviewing its A$4.3 billion ($3.1 billion) credit card arm and may sell the division amid rising competition."
Peppercoin has announced that the 4th Annual Micro and Small Payments Conference will be held November 28 at New York City's Marriott Financial Center. The conference's theme is "Transforming Transactions" and growing the small payments markets. Niki Manby, senior vice president of product innovation at Visa USA, and Robert Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, will keynote.
Chase Card Services has announced the launch of a multimillion-dollar Hispanic advertising campaign using the tagline "Confia en Ti. Confia en Chase." "Have Confidence/Believe in yourself, Have Confidence/Believe in Chase."
Rennhack Marketing Services (RMS) has announced the results of its 2007 ConsumerTrac™ research, an annual survey that helps define which retail banking incentives have the most appeal to consumers. According to RMS, "sixty percent of this year’s participants said a free gift makes a difference in their banking decision. Eighty-three percent still prefer instant gratification, or a gift given on the spot, especially in comparison to gifts sent to the home or “electronic change jar” programs."
MasterCard has announced it now provides cardholders with a mobile, location-based search and directory service so they can request the location of the nearest ATM be sent to their mobile phone via SMS text message. Customers simply call 1-877-FIND-ATM, and state their coordinates to request the location of the nearest MasterCard ATM and can also choose to have a text message sent to their mobile phone detailing the location of the nearest teller.
Blackhawk Network has announced it has signed an agreement to acquire EWI Holdings, Inc. (EWI), a provider of prepaid payment processing technology and services. According to Blackhawk, "the acquisition of EWI expands Blackhawk Network’s market and enhances its ability to service a wide spectrum of retailers with turnkey transaction technology and services."
Visa Asia Pacific has announced that the number of Visa EMV chip cards in Asia Pacific continues to grow with 52 million EMV chip cards now in circulation, a year-on-year growth rate of 48 percent. The number of EMV chip terminals in the region has risen to more than 1.5 million as of the end of June 2006, up 81 percent. Markets that have seen more than a 50 percent increase in the number of EMV chip terminals include Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. At the end of June 2006, 28 percent of all terminals deployed in Asia Pacific were EMV compliant.
As the payments landscape continues to evolve and corporate payments migrate from paper to electronic formats, organizations are continuing to seek greater efficiencies in the wire transfer process. In order to better understand customer demand and position the wire transfer system for potential growth in the future, the Federal Reserve Banks and The Clearing House conducted a joint research study entitled “Business to Business Wire Transfer Payments: Customer Preferences and Opportunities for Financial Institutions” (pdf). The study offers an in-depth view of the issues facing organizations that routinely make wire transfer payments and focuses on the motivations driving payment decisions as well as potential opportunities for achieving growth in wire payments.
Wachovia Treasury Services has announced it is adding the benefits of online hosting to its remote deposit capture (RDC) service.
The Smart Card Alliance kicked off its annual conference in San Diego this year focusing on trends in contactless, mobile and transit payments. Among the strategies being discussed is the potential use of aggregation by transit operators to reduce their cost of accepting "open" contactless bank cards.
Strategy Analytics has released “Mobile Contactless Payments –Growth on the Horizon,” analyzing payment for goods or services using phones instead of cash or credit/ debit cards. According to the company, "the report concludes that the conditions are finally right for growth over the next five years, projecting that mobile contactless payment will be used to drive sales of $36 billion by 2011."
Bankrate's Gregory Taggart reports on the growth in contactless card usage in the US - highlighting Visa data showing that "contactless transactions are an average of 25 percent faster than cash" and claiming that the contactless roll-out in the US has been the fastest deployment of new payment technology ever.
MasterCard Worldwide has announced MasterCard Online Fraud Monitor, a new advanced fraud detection and mitigation solution designed to enhance security for PIN debit transactions. According to MasterCard, "this offering, developed in collaboration with BasePoint Analytics, uses a new sophisticated risk-scoring model to detect potential fraudulent PIN debit transactions in real-time, during the authorization process. The model uses advanced analytics that consider factors such as account spending, device level (ATM and POS) activity, and historical transactions to calculate the likelihood of fraud on an individual ATM card or debit account."
Richard Wray reports for The Guardian about HSBC's launch today of a new mobile banking service that will allow customers to "use their mobile phone to check their bank balance or help their friends or family pay for calls." According to Wray, "after downloading a simple piece of software to their phone, the bank's customers will be able to check their balance or find out if they have been paid, wherever they are."
Vimo.com, a healthcare comparison-shopping site, has published a research report that "reveals wide disparity amongst the fees that HSA Banks charge their customers" with little correlation between high fees and high returns in HSAs. The current Vimo Rankings Report is available for download.
New research from TowerGroup finds that although credit cards remain the most profitable product for banks, an overall decline in bank cards is signaling the need for banks to evolve their rewards strategies. According to TowerGroup, "since 2000 the bank card industry's dependence on rewards programs to attract and retain customers has increased significantly. While rewards have become an essential aspect of bank card business strategy and help increase card usage, customer retention and margins - they come with a cost to the institution in terms of overall profitability."
We have received news of the following recent management changes:
US Bank has announced that it has begun offering a tool, U.S. Bank Access Purchase, that extends the power of its commercial card beyond payment processing and automates its entire purchase-to-pay (P2P) process. The tool connects buyers and suppliers over the Internet, allowing commercial customers to purchase and pay for goods and services from existing suppliers online, and still receive the detailed tracking information required to manage the procurement process.
According to new research produced independently by Javelin Strategy & Research for the Smart Card Alliance, contactless payment is a big hit with consumers who have tried it but still not well known. Of the consumers surveyed, 13 percent have already used contactless payment, and 95 percent of that group said it was both easy and fast. Those consumers who have tried it were confident in the new payment technology as well -- 84 percent said it was as safe or safer than credit cards, and that they would use it for large purchases too.
Mary Jordan writes for the Washington Post Foreign Service about the Philippines and Globe Telecom's G-Cash mobile payments service in her article titled "New Conductors Speed Global Flows of Money". According to Jordan, "Globe Telecom officials said Filipino workers in 17 countries, including the United States, can now use their phones to send money home. In the United States, they said, the service recently linked up with remittance centers in California, Nevada and Texas."
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that San Diego-based Qchex, an Internet-based check creation and delivery service, has agreed to a temporary restraining order to halt what the FTC describes as its unfair business practices. According to the FTC, "Qchex creates and sends checks drawn on any bank account identified by a Qchex customer without verifying that the customer has authority to write checks drawn on that account. As a result, con artists have used the Qchex service to draw checks on bank accounts that belong to others."