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« October 29, 2006 - November 4, 2006 | Main | November 12, 2006 - November 18, 2006 »

November 11, 2006

Interchange Fees Under Attack In New Zealand

Claire Trevett writes for the New Zealand Herald about action taken by the government's Commerce Commission to take MasterCard and Visa along with their financial institution members to court over credit card interchange fees in the country.

New Google Checkout Features: Email Invoices, Coupons

Google Checkout has been enhanced so that sellers can now send out email invoices via Google Checkout. Late last month, Google Checkout added a Coupon Creator feature allowing sellers to offer a variety of coupons and discounts including $-off discounts, %-off discounts, etc. as well as specifying such things as "one per customer," "new customers only," and so on.

TechCrunch's Mike Arrington reports on his experiences as a seller with customer service from both Google Checkout and PayPal. Arrington says "When we’ve had to contact Google about issues (such as the suspected fraud), we’ve received intelligent customer service and the problems were quickly resolved. Contacting PayPal customer support, on the other hand, has been a complete nightmare. Automated response hell, followed by canned responses that didn’t address our issue, followed by silence."

November 10, 2006

FFIEC Internet Banking Authentication Guidance: Bank Updates - V7

Glenbrook's Linda Elliott has been following the banking industry's efforts to comply with the FFIEC Internet Banking Guidance issued almost a year ago. We first posted her initial summary of bank strategies last September. Here's a link to her most recent update (version 7) with the latest on what the industry has been doing since then. Linda points out there are only about 30 business days left in the year for financial institution's to finalize their plans to comply.

A Look At Alliance Data

Marilyn Munch of the Investors Business Daily reports on the holiday mood at Alliance Data Systems.

Scottish Credit Cards in China

Shai Oster and Carrick Mollenkamp report for the Wall St. Journal on the efforts of Royal Bank of Scotland and its joint credit card venture with Bank of China which has so far signed up one million customers.

November 09, 2006

Citibank Singapore Teams With Pay By Touch

Pay By Touch has announced that Citibank Singapore has rolled out Pay By Touch's biometric payment services to its Citibank Clear Platinum cardholders. "Effective today, cardholders are invited to enroll in the biometric credit card service, and pay for goods and services with the touch of a finger."


The American Express Gift Insurance Receipt

American Express has announced that its charge cardmembers will be able to physically include a gift insurance reminder with gifts by downloading the new American Express Gift Insurance Receipt that "communicates the protections offered by American Express." The receipt will be available for downloading from November 15 through December 31 at


Another "Gift Cards Are Very Popular" Survey

The 2006 American Express Gift Card survey of 1013 shoppers concludes that, for the first time, "gift cards will supplant toys, games, music and movies as the gift of choice, and will rival even the perennial favorite, apparel, as the gift to give and get this holiday season."


CheckFree, Firethorn Partner To Deliver Mobile Banking, Bill Payment Services

CheckFree and Firethorn Holdings have announced an exclusive partnership agreement to deliver mobile banking and bill payment services to financial institutions.


GE Money Partners For EverydayMoney.Org Consumer Web Site

GE Money has announced that, "in an effort to educate consumers with need-to-know information about credit, budgeting, mortgages and protection against identity theft, Everyday Money ( launched today. Everyday Money is a consumer-friendly web site written in uncomplicated language. It contains dynamic, user-friendly interactive tools to help consumers learn about and improve their everyday interactions with money and finances."


Sam’s Club Partners With MasterCard For Credit Card Acceptance

Sam’s Club and MasterCard Worldwide have announced that Sam's Club will begin accepting MasterCard credit cards today for payment at all U.S, Puerto Rico and Canada Sam’s Club locations. Sam's Club has annual revenues of about $40 billion per year - some of which will now be captured as MasterCard purchase volume. Until today, the retailer had only accepted credit cards issued by Discover and its own private label cards. According to the press release "now all MasterCard cardholders, both consumers and business owners, with a Sam’s Club Membership, have access to exceptional values on a multitude of goods and services as well as affordable luxury merchandise." Robin Sidel And Kris Hudson report on the news for the this morning's Wall St. Journal saying that the deal for MasterCard is "a coup in its rivalry with Visa USA Inc." as Sam's is not also accepting Visa's credit cards.


VeriSign Enables Coca-Cola Vending Purchases via Mobile Phones

VeriSign has announced a deal to enable purchases at Coca-Cola vending machines via mobile phones in Austria. Now, over two million mobilkom austria and ONE wireless customers have access to the mobile payment function at vending machines across Austria.


Rankings of Financial Industry Technology Vendors

The American Banker and Financial Insights have released their third annual FinTech rankings of the top technology providers to the financial services industry worldwide.


XBux Declares Extreme Success With Prepaid Cards

XBux has announced the success of their XBux Prepaid Card Program that "aggregates sponsors, promoters and competitors to simplify reward delivery." According to the company, the XBux Prepaid Card Program, powered by Ecount, enables immediate, streamlined payments to competitors.


A Look At Remote Deposit Capture

David Joachim writes for the New York Times about remote deposit capture. "While checks do not necessarily clear any faster using remote deposit, the practice does help eliminate “desk float,” or the delay between trips to the bank."

Discover, China Unionpay Launch Discover Acceptance in China

"It was less than a year ago that a landmark transaction at the famous Macy’s Herald Square in New York City kicked off the first phase of a reciprocal acceptance agreement between Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and China Unionpay (CUP), China’s only national bankcard payment network. Today, a single swipe of a Discover Card marks the second phase of the agreement, signifying the acceptance of Discover Network cards at more than 480,000 merchant locations and 90,000 ATMs across China."


November 08, 2006

Mobile Phone Banking and Low Income Customers

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation), and The Vodafone Group Foundation (VGF) have released the first public findings of a study titled "Mobile Phone Banking and Low Income Customers: Evidence from South Africa" (PDF) that studied on how low-income individuals in South Africa use mobile phone banking ("m-banking"). The findings show that m-banking can be up to a third cheaper for customers than the current banking alternatives, and users value the service for its security and easy use. However, this study shows more needs to be done to address negative perceptions about the cost and effectiveness of mobile phones and m-banking. The study concludes "with millions of mobile phones already in poor people’s hands, CGAP, UNF, and VGF see tremendous potential in the power of network operators, banks, and new entrants to deliver financial services through this channel.


2006 Credit Card Trends Aid Consumers takes a look at some positive (for consumers) trends in the US payment card market including the continued growth in debit cards, the use of home equity loans, higher minimum payments allowing faster repayment of credit card debt, prepaid cards, no-fee cards, revised reward programs, and savings cards.

Unintended Consequences of Contactless?

Dave Birch writes on the Digital Money blog about a recent study of the card industry by Diamond Management and Technology Consultants that asks whether the card industry's investment in contactless POS deployments might just be setting the stage for others to leverage those capabilities. Dave, who's giving a talk on the subject later today, says "All of the effort going in to migrating to contactless POS creates an environment for cash replacement: we're all agreed on that. The question is who will take most advantage of that: Citibank or Vodafone, Starbucks or Disney? Or even PayPal."

A Gift Card Effect On Retail Sales?

Heather Scoffield writes for Canada's Globe and Mail about recent analysis conducted by Steve Chan, economist for TD Bank, exploring whether there's really a "gift card effect" associated with growth in post-holiday season retail sales.

Holiday Treat For Merchants - Google Checkout For Free

Google has announced that it is giving Google Checkout merchants a big holiday gift: processing all of their Google Checkout sales for free beginning today through the end of 2006 - whether the merchant is a Google Adwords advertiser or not. Google says "There's no limit: we're processing all of your Checkout sales for free" from November 8 through December 31.

November 07, 2006

How Smart Is Amazon?

A friend writes... Over the last year, has begun enabling developers to utilize several online services provided by Amazon in lieu of having to develop and operate their own online services. Recently, Amazon even opened up its fulfillment warehouses and distribution capabilities for use by third-parties. Business Week published a recent cover story on these initiatives.


Sharing Account Control With The Customer

James Van Dyke blogs about an upcoming Javelin report on "interactive financial messages" or IFMs - saying "banking and payment executives should make a plan for successful IFMs before their competitors do..."

Qpay - A New Mobile Payment System Launches In Australia

Nick Miller reports for the Sydney Morning Herald on Qpay, a new mobile payment system in Australia by entrepreneur Greg Walter. "The Qpay corporate vision is about making payments available anywhere, anytime. Whether you are buying, selling or just need to pay an IOU, Qpay makes it easy, convenient and secure.", Citigroup Join Forces To Transform Rewards Programs and Citigroup have announced a strategic relationship to significantly expand the ThankYou Network. "As the exclusive travel partner of ThankYou Network, Expedia is launching a rewards program that will enable its customers to earn ThankYou Points and rewards for eligible travel they book on In addition, is powering the redemption of travel rewards on ThankYou Network's website,"


Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • John Keatley has been named Chief Financial Officer of Green Dot Corporation.
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.

Visa Provides New Tools To Support Global Contactless Programs

Visa International has announced the availability of new tools and services based on its global contactless specification that can be used by vendors and member financial institutions interested in implementing new contactless payment programs.



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