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November 17, 2006

NACHA Appoints Senior Staff

NACHA has announced the promotions of Debbie Barr, Samantha Carrier, and Cari Conahan to senior staff positions, and has also hired George Throckmorton to a senior staff position.


Dexit Announces New CEO, Strategic Equity Investment

Dexit has announced that it has "executed a term sheet pursuant to which Mr. Paul Howell will be appointed to the position of President and CEO of Dexit and to its board of directors, effective immediately. Mr. Howell will also be the lead investor in a $1,141,743 equity investment in Dexit."


Headline News - November 17, 2006

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated.

November 16, 2006

Visa International's CEO Christopher Rodrigues Departs

The Wall St. Journal is reporting in Friday's edition that Visa International Chief Executive Christopher Rodrigues is stepping down and "won't be part of the team that helps the company's reorganize before it files for an initial public offering." Rodrigues has been CEO since mid-2004. The leadership page on Visa's corporate web site was updated earlier today to remove Rodrigues from the VIsa International leadership team. In its reorganization announcement last month, Visa indicated that a search for a new CEO for the future Visa Inc. was underway.

Javelin Reports On Interactive Financial Messaging

Javelin Strategy & Research has released a new report titled "Interactive Financial Messaging™" showing "how financial institutions can improve customer convenience and loyalty by using new interactive technologies to give consumers more control over their accounts."


BAI Study: Banks Need to Tap Young Service Seekers

Customers who feel they have a personal relationship with their bank are a rare breed for large banks, and that is translating into a significant impact on profitability, according to a study released today by BAI, in conjunction with research partners Accenture, SAP, NewGround, Unisys and ARGO Resource Data Corporation.


Wolfensohn & Co. Invests In Obopay

Obopay has announced it has received an add-on investment to the strategic round announced last September from Wolfensohn & Company, L.L.C.


CheckFree Reports FraudNet Adoption, New Consumer Protections

CheckFree has announced that more than 40 financial institutions will deploy CheckFree FraudNet, its automated fraud detection and case management system, by the end of 2006. According to CheckFree, "two of the nation's top 10 national banks, five super-regional banks, as well as brokerage firms, credit unions and community banks, are among the institutions that have already implemented CheckFree FraudNet and achieved tangible results." CheckFree also announced today that consumers who pay bills online through banks that utilize CheckFree FraudNet will receive enhanced payment protection beginning in January 2007.


Aetna, Bank of America Introduce Aetna Healthy Living Credit Card

Aetna and Bank of America have announced the Aetna Healthy Living credit card for Aetna's medical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health members. The credit card, to be available later this year to qualifying Aetna members, is a rewards-based credit card that facilitates payment of out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as everyday purchases while promoting healthy living at the same time. The Aetna Healthy Living credit card includes a rewards program based on Bank of America's WorldPoints platform.


MasterCard, USA Technologies Expand MasterCard PayPass Deployment

MasterCard Worldwide and USA Technologies have announced that 5,000 additional self service point-of-sale terminals, including vending machines, will be equipped with the e-Port cashless transaction solution to begin accepting MasterCard® PayPass. According to the companies, the deployment is the largest rollout to date of contactless technology in self service point of sale and vending machines.


Visa Announces Visa Rugby Legends

Visa International has announced that "five of the world's greatest rugby players - Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), John Eales (Australia), Martin Johnson (England), Philippe Sella (France) and Joel Stransky (South Africa) - will be the "Visa Rugby Legends" and official spokespersons for Visa's global sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup 2007."


Firethorn Partners With Synovus for Mobile Banking Technology

Firethorn Holdings has announced an agreement with Synovus to offer its mobile technology solution to the financial services company's customers by the end of second quarter 2007. Synovus will be one of the first financial institutions in the country to offer the Firethorn application.


November 15, 2006

Reaching Minority Markets: Community Bank Strategies

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released a new Community Developments Insights report, “Reaching Minority Markets: Community Bank Strategies” (PDF), examining a variety of methods that banks are using to target specific minority markets in the United States.


A Store That Only Accepts "Gift Cards"

On the Apple Matters blog, James Stoup writes about the new Microsoft Zune Marketplace - where you can't just buy songs with a credit card. Instead, you first have to buy Microsoft Points - using your credit card. Then, you can use the Points stored in your account to buy music. He says "in effect, Microsoft has created a store that only accepts gift cards as the valid method of payments."

PAYjr Prepaid MasterCard For Teens

PAYjr, a free online money management system for teens, has announced it is now offering a prepaid MasterCard card, issued by MetaBank, as a companion to their online PAYjr service that helps parents teach their teenagers how to manage their allowance and develop better spending habits.


MasterCard, VeriFone Announce Tap & Go Payments In Taxis

MasterCard Worldwide and VeriFone have announced what they say is "the first U.S. acceptance of MasterCard PayPass™ “Tap & Go” contactless payments in taxicabs, making life easier for busy consumers in one of the country’s largest, fastest-paced cities. The contactless acceptance is expected to roll out to all taxis licensed by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA)."


Bank of America Launches Affinity Banking

Bank of America has announced the launch of affinity banking - what the bank describes as a "game-changing innovation" saying it "marks the first time in financial services that a bank offers a broad complement of financial services to partner organizations whose members share a strong common interest or passion -- such as their college or university, favorite cause, or professional affiliation. The model was created by the former MBNA organization 25 years ago, however the monoline business was largely focused on credit cards. In addition to credit card, affinity banking will include deposit and home equity products."


Visa Pilot Tests Delivery of Mobile Coupons and Rewards

Visa USA has announced the launch of a new mobile payment coupons and rewards pilot at its California headquarters. According to Visa, "following the successful completion of the industry's first large-scale U.S. mobile payment trial at Philips Arena in Atlanta earlier this year, Visa is now testing the delivery of mobile payment coupons and rewards via text message, graphic and bar code images direct to consumers' mobile devices." Visa says a recent online survey it conducted found that 61 percent of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 are interested in making purchases using their mobile phones.


Cool Cards

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal on "cool" credit card designs aimed at earning your loyalty at the top of your wallet - including some new scratch and sniff aroma designs. Sidel quotes one supplier who says "Pretty soon, there will be cards that can do everything but get up and walk away."

Firethorn Teams With Cingular Wireless For Mobile Banking and Payments

Firethorn Holdings has announced a strategic alliance with Cingular Wireless to bring mobile banking and payments services to Cingular Wireless customers. Atlanta-based Firethorn says it is the only mobile banking and payments provider Cingular has authorized on its network. Sarmad Ali reports on the Firethorn/Cingular deal for the Wall St. Journal.


November 14, 2006

Precious Plastic 2007 - Consumer Credit in the UK

PricewaterhouseCoopers has published "Precious Plastic 2007 - Consumer Credit in the UK", a study of the UK consumer credit market. The PwC research concludes that "credit card margins continued to fall in 2006, as the industry came under unprecedented scrutiny from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the Competition Commission and the Financial Services Authority."


Tim Jones - Lessons From Mondex and Mobile Payments

Dave Birch has posted a two part podcast on the Digital Money blog interviewing Tim Jones, one of the original creators of Mondex - out of National Westminster Bank - and Simpay - the first significant European mobile payments consortium. The two podcasts are well worth a listen.

IBM Urges Retail Bankers: Dare To Be Different

Building an Edge, IBM's Financial Services newsletter, features an article titled "Dare to Be Different" (PDF) by Sunny Banerjea, Cormac Petit, John White, and Robin Kahn that sweeps across the real world of retail banking and urges retail bankers that it will be necessary to "pursue uncommon innovation to stand out from the crowd and adapt successfully to marketplace demands." This article provides unusually comprehensive and tasty selection of global innovation in retail banking.

Blackhawk Network To Distribute McDonald’s Arch Cards in Safeway Stores

Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway, has announced an alliance with McDonald’s and P2W to sell McDonald's Arch Cards in 1,500 U.S. Safeway stores including Dominick’s, Vons, Pavilions, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Carrs.


Online Resources Launches CardHQ Online Gift Card Store

Online Resources has announced CardHQ, "an online gift card store that enables consumers to purchase retail gift cards through their secure online banking and bill payment applications. Available in time for the holiday season, the new service also provides Online Resources’ client financial institutions access to the $40 billion gift card market."


CyberSource: Fraudsters Pocket $3 Billion From U.S. eCommerce in 2006

CyberSource has announced the results of its 8th Annual CyberSource Survey of eCommerce fraud - reporting that U.S. merchants will lose as much as $3 billion in eCommerce revenue to fraud in 2006, up from $2.8 billion last year. As a percent of revenue, fraud losses will be slightly less this year-merchants expect to lose 1.4% of revenue, down from 1.6% the year before, and 1.8% in 2004.


eFunds, IBM Announce Partnership

eFunds has announced it is partnering with IBM to deliver new payments management solutions and a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework to banking and financial services clients. According to the companies, "the partnership will help global customers transform business processes and capitalize on emerging opportunities quickly in a rapidly changing payments market."


CheckFree Expands Online Financial Services Solutions

CheckFree has introduced a suite of Online Channel Optimization Solutions the company says is "designed to help financial institutions expand their reach and generate opportunities to acquire new customers at reduced cost, build deeper customer relationships to increase retention, and drive revenue growth and profitability by leveraging up-sell and cross-sell opportunities."



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