Ann Carrns reports for the Wall St. Journal about branch expansion plans being curtailed at Washington Mutual. According to Carrns, the "pace of openings has been scaled back, and it doesn't plan to enter new markets."
Barron's reports on research from Morgan Stanley about Safeway (from its analyst meeting on Tuesday of this week) discussing Safeway's Blackhawk Network subsidary. According to the report, Safeway estimates that Blackhawk will sell $1.6 billion in gift card value in 2006 and estimates that sales could grow to $10-11 billion in gift card value by 2009.
Sheila Riley reports for Investor's Business Daily about the international remittance market - as big banks are growing increasingly interested in this market. Riley quotes Celent analyst Dan Schatt who says "the big opportunity is for banks to basically take back a market that they should have more control over and be able to succeed in."
Standard Chartered and First Data Corp. have announced an agreement to jointly establish a new company to provide merchant acquiring services to merchants across Asia.
Intuit and Electronic Clearing House Inc. have announced signing of a definitive agreement for Intuit to acquire ECHO for a total purchase price is approximately $142 million on a fully-diluted basis.
Citigroup, MasterCard Worldwide, Cingular Wireless and Nokia have announced "a consumer technology trial of Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled mobile phones with MasterCard PayPass contactless payment capability in New York City."
The Mercator Advisory Group has published a new report titled "Hungry For Adoption: Pay At Table Viewpoint and Wireless Point-Of-Sale Update" examining the market opportunity in the US for handheld wireless point of sale solutions (wPOS).
The Interac Association has announced that debit card fraud at gas stations across Canada has declined by more than 60 per cent over the past year. According to Interac, "the deep decline, representing about $15 million in avoided fraud losses, was largely the result of Project Protect, a joint education initiative spearheaded by Interac Association and law enforcement with support from Payment Card Partners and other industry partners."
mFormation Technologies has announced a strategic alliance (including an investment in mFormation) with Visa International to "advance over-the-air (OTA) solutions for mobile payments."
ABI Research has published a new research study titled "RFID Contactless Payments" that estimates industry spending on contactless payments hardware and software will reach $870 million by 2011, up from just $260 million in 2006 - a compound annual growth rate of 27%.
Unisys has announced the results of a new survey concluding that "a majority of U.S. consumers fear their personal information and security will be compromised while shopping online or using online banking services this holiday season, resulting in the potential loss of significant revenue for banking and retail institutions." According to the study, concerns about bank card fraud and identity theft are so high among consumers that nearly one in every two consumers polled has ceased using online personal banking services, as well as telephone and Internet-based shopping, if the transaction requires a credit card number
Wells Fargo has announced that it has sold more than 1 million Wells Fargo Visa Gift Cards since the it began offering the product in October 2005 - with a substantial percentage of those sales actually coming from businesses.
MasterCard Worldwide and Ariba have announced an agreement "to enhance payment solutions for companies around the world. Under this agreement, Ariba and MasterCard will connect enhanced transaction data from the MasterCard global data repository with Ariba Supplier Network, resulting in integration of purchasing and corporate card programs available for companies globally."
We came across a press release late this afternoon from a South Carolina-based supermarket chain - BI-LO/Bruno's - that is intended to address concerns that have surfaced in the media over the last few weeks about gift card fraud.
Contactless News interviews Trevor Pavey, Manager of Contactless Payments, Texas Instruments, about his view of what the future holds for contactless payments - including his top three predictions for 2007: more retailer roll-outs, "cool" new form factors, and greater consumer acceptance.
Mercator Advisory Group has announced a new Prepaid Market Forecast 2006-2009 report including a detailed forecast for both open and closed loop prepaid card segments over the next several years - with specifics on the growth and estimated load volumes in each of 34 prepaid segments.
The latest edition of Trident Capital's newsletter (not yet available online) has arrived with a front-page profile of one of its UK-based portfolio companies, Advanced Payment Solutions. According to Trident, "APS has become the leading provider of prepaid general purpose payment cards to unbanked and underbanked consumers in the UK." APS launched the first general purpose prepaid Chip and PIN payment card in the UK in August 2005 and has recently launched a new Gold Prepaid MasterCard.
On his Online Banking Report blog, Jim Bruene writes about Citibanks' approach to what he calls "True Mobile Banking" - suggesting that the guy to talk to is Sausalito, CA-based mFoundry CEO/Founder Drew Sievers. Jim says he's preparing a mobile banking forecast for the next issue of his Online Banking Report.
Yesterday and today, Goldman Sachs has been hosting its Financial Services CEO Conference in New York. Most of the major bank CEOs - along with other financial service company leaders - have been presenting. As we enjoy seeing (if not listening to) what the bank CEOs are presenting, we've collected a set of links to many of these presentations for your downloading and reading enjoyment.
TowerGroup's Colin Kerr is out with a new report titled "Where's My Payment? Using Logistics Management to Drive an Enterprise View of Payments" - saying that "now is the time for banks to shift their view of payments processing - treating it as an enterprise-wide business rather than a service function."
Despite the proliferation of high speed Internet among U.S. homes, most eCommerce shopping happens during work hours, according to CyberSource.
Bill Me Later sends along the following news about some interesting holiday shopping trends they've noticed this season.