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« October 8, 2006 - October 14, 2006 | Main | October 22, 2006 - October 28, 2006 »

October 21, 2006

Bank of America Card Conversion Weekend

Ross Kerber reports for the Boston Globe that by tomorrow Bank of America expects to have integrated its credit card processing systems onto the in-house platform that came with the MBNA acquisition.

October 20, 2006

The Nilson Report - Issue 866

The latest Nilson Report has arrived featuring an in-depth look at POS terminal shipments worldwide (subscription only). This issue also has articles discussing the Visa's merger/IPO plans, Internet gambling legislation, and projections for the growth in purchase transactions on credit and debit cards globally by 2010.

Synovus Weighs Spinning Off TSYS

Tony Adams reports for the Columbus, GA Ledger-Enquirer that "Synovus Financial Corp., which owns 80 percent of payment processor TSYS, is seriously considering spinning off its subsidiary in the face of financial pressure to diversify and grow its business by acquiring other companies around the world." One important issue is that TSYS is limited in its ability to do stock-based acquisitions with its parent holding such a position.

Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Michalis Michaelides has been named Business Development Manager for TSYS Card Tech's European and Indian subcontinent business units. Phone: + +357.2288.2600.
Announce yourself! Have you recently taken on a new position in the payments industry? If you'd like to share the news with your colleagues, be sure to tell us about it.

October 19, 2006

Using Target's Visa REDcard For Bill Payment

Target has introduced a new bill payment offering for its Target Visa REDcard cardholders that encourages the use of their Target Visa cards to make either automatic or manual bill payments at biller-direct web sites while earning rewards and avoiding having to write checks to pay bills.

Operator Deals, NFC Could Help Obopay Stand Out

Digital Transactions reports on Obopay's launch with Amp'd Mobile earlier this week and last week's agreement with Vivotech to connect to contactless payments at the point of sale. According to the article, Obopay "is promoting signups now with an offer of $5 for each account as well as $5 for each account referred by current users. Each Obopay accountholder receives a MasterCard debit card linked to the funds in his account and issued by First Premier Bank, allowing users to get cash from ATMs and spend it in stores."

The NYC NFC Mobile Trial

MasterCard, Citi, and Cingular have launched a web site devoted to the New York City Mobile Trial of near field communication (NFC) technology at MasterCard PayPass acceptance locations - including some specially equipped NYC Subway turnstiles.

FCAC Publishes Pre-Paid Payment Card Guide

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has released a new booklet for consumers, Pre-paid Cards (PDF), describing the "pre-paid" type of Visa and MasterCard branded payment cards, explaining what they are, how they work, and the various fees that can be charged for their use - reminding us that "pre-paid cards can be an expensive way to spend your own money."

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American Express Introduces Event Ticket Insurance Benefit

American Express has announced the "Event Ticket Protection Plan, a new benefit available to consumer and business Gold, Platinum and Centurion Card members at no extra cost. Through the Event Ticket Protection Plan, American Express will reimburse Card members for the cost of tickets purchased with their eligible Card to virtually any event that takes place within the United States, including theater, concert and sporting tickets that they are unable to use due to a covered incident."

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Big US Acquirers

With the latest round of quarterly financial results, several banks have reported their merchant acquiring business volumes for the third quarter. Of particular interest is the 18% growth experienced by Chase Paymentech - handling $168.7 billion in payment volume during the quarter. Bank of America's Merchant Services unit grew by 6.2% to $97 billion in payment volume while US Bank's Nova handled $56.4 billion, up over 26% although US volume vs. international isn't broken out in Nova's numbers.

Visa Introduces Small Business Resource On MSN

Visa USA has announced the launch of “Business Breakthrough, Presented by Visa”, an "experiential and engaging online resource designed exclusively for small business owners."

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Bank of America's Online Numbers

The supplemental data provided by Bank of America as part of its third quarter earnings release includes one very interesting chart on page 19 - titled "E-Commerce & BankofAmerica.com".

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Bank of American Rewards American Express Card

Bank of America is featuring on its home page its new American Express-branded Rewards Card. It appears the bank is offering the same signup offers on the Amex card as it is currently offering on its Visa Signature and MasterCard WorldPoints cards - a 0% APR on balance transfers and cash advance checks during the first 12 billing cycles on the card along with a $50 statement credit following use of the card for "qualifying transactions" (read the fine print!).

A New Business Model for Card Payments

The days of merchant-subsidized credit card rewards programs, rapid increases in interchange fees, and confusing fee structures for credit card purchases are numbered, according to new research by Diamond Management & Technology Consultants.

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Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Jeffrey S. Gardner has been named President of PaySimple.
  • Ron Carter has been named President of Pay By Touch Payment Solutions. Carter was formerly President and Chief Operating Officer of Verus Financial Management.
Announce yourself! Have you recently taken on a new position in the payments industry? If you'd like to share the news with your colleagues, be sure to tell us about it.

Survey Shows Canadians Not Shielding Their Debit Card PIN Regularly

According to a survey commissioned by the Canadian Interac Association, and conducted by The Strategic Counsel, 92 per cent of Canadians recognize the importance of shielding their PIN at a bank machine or a debit card terminal. However, 60 per cent do not always shield their PIN if they believe nobody can see them entering it, and 37 per cent do not always shield their PIN even if they believe somebody can see them entering it.

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Presentations From FSTC's Annual Meeting Available

A number of presentations from the annual meeting of the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) held last week in New York are available online.

ETA Compliance Day

As part of a continuing effort to help organizations in the electronic payments industry understand and meet their obligations to comply with rules issued by the major credit card brands, the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) will offer the first stand-alone version of its Compliance Day forum on November 6-7, 2006 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Chicago.

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Now You Can Go Shopping With Your Mobile Phone

Sean Hargrave writes for the UK's The Guardian about the deployment of NFC-equipped mobile phones for payments in the UK. Hargrave quotes Alan Wright, head of mobile strategy at Motorola, who "points out that many of the new handsets coming on to the market within 12 to 18 months will be NFC-enabled. From then, it should become commonplace to pay for low value goods and services on a mobile phone - beginning with tickets."

Merchants Respond to Visa's Release of Default Interchange Rates

Mallory Duncan, chairman of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) and senior vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation, issued a statement yesterday following Visa's posting its interchange fees on its web site.

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October 18, 2006

PayPal Financial Results

eBay reported quarterly financial results this afternoon including results for its PayPal business. During the quarter, PayPal's number of accounts grew 41% year over year to 123 million accounts. The number of accounts active in the quarter grew to 30.9 million, up 26%. Those active accounts generated 146.2 million payments during the quarter averaging about $62 per payment resulting in a total payment volume of $9.1 billion, up 37%. PayPal reported a 46% growth in its transaction loss rate - growing from 24 basis points last year to 35 basis points this year. PayPal's transaction revenue rate was up slightly from 3.6% of payment volume to 3.73% - resulting in PayPal revenues of $340 million, up 42%. 38% of PayPal's revenue was from international.

iKobo Closes $4 Million Series C Funding Round

"Person to person" online money transfer company, iKobo, Inc. has announced that it completed a $4 million Series C financing round. The funding round was led by Greenhill SAVP, with additional financing support from existing investors, including Total Technology Ventures LLC and Council Ventures.

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Southwest Airlines Gift Cards Sold At Major Retail Locations

Southwest Airlines has announced that you'll be able to purchase the Southwest Airlines southwestgiftcard at stores such as Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, and at participating SAM'S CLUB and Wal-Mart locations, the southwestgiftcard will be available in either $50 or $100 denominations. Southwest Airlines worked with SmartClixx LLC to distribute the southwestgiftcard at retail locations.

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Another Mobile Payments Company: Crandy

A colleague just pointed out to us a new (new to the US) mobile payments company: Crandy. According to a recent press release, "Crandy is a German-based mobile payment system with more than 350,000 users in five European countries."

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Upromise MasterCard Debit Rewards Program

MasterCard Worldwide has announced the launch of a debit card rewards program that will provide cardholders a new way to save for the rising costs of higher education. BancorpSouth, BankAtlantic, BECU and Provident Bank are the first four financial institutions to offer the new program, currently available to eligible Debit MasterCard customers. MasterCard said the program will be exclusive to the four issuers for a period of one year, after which MasterCard and Upromise will evaluate if and how to expand the offering to additional customers.

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Merchants: Create Your Own Gift, Loyalty Cards

Gift card provider Travel Tags has announced the launch of a short-run gift card business through a new website, eyeTwist.com, that caters to small and medium-sized gift card orders and other promotional products. The initial launch of eyeTwist includes four products: gift cards, loyalty cards, postcards and luggage tags in quantities ranging from 250 to 10,000.

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Discover's Rotating 5% "Get More" Rewards Program

Discover Card has announced that throughout October, November and December, its cardmembers can earn a 5% Cashback Bonus through its “Make the Holidays More Entertaining” Get More program when paying with Discover at restaurants, movies, and buying books, music and everything else, in-store or online, from these specific merchants: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Circuit City, Crutchfield, Napster and Waldenbooks.

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Peppercoin To Provide Garden Fresh Restaurant Loyalty Program

Peppercoin has announced that Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. will use its Small Payment Suite and consulting services to enhance its customer loyalty program in its 98 Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation restaurants. Peppercoins rewards solution uses the payment cards already in consumers' wallets to increase consumer loyalty and retention.

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