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January 31, 2007

US Merchants Welcome EU Report, Pressures On Interchange

The Merchants Payments Coalition issued a press release today welcoming today's release of a European Union (EU) policy report that calls for closer scrutiny of competition in the European retail banking sector.

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Comptroller of the Currency Speaks Out Re: ILCs

Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan voted today for a one-year moratorium on applications for deposit insurance by industrial loan companies with commercial affiliations, saying that Congress should have an opportunity to consider the issue.

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FDIC Extends Moratorium on Industrial Loan Company (ILC) Applications

The FDIC Board of Directors voted today to continue for one year a moratorium on applications for deposit insurance and change in control notices for industrial loan companies (ILCs) that will be owned by commercial companies. The moratorium does not apply to ILCs owned by financial companies. In addition, the Board voted to issue for public comment a proposed rule (Part 354) to strengthen the framework for consideration of applications or notices for industrial banks owned by financial companies not subject to federal consolidated bank supervision.

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EverBank Asks Consumers - What Are You Waiting For?

Jacksonville, FL-based EverBank launched a new marketing campaign today promoting its FreeNet checking account. The bank said "with rumblings of a new online check-less checking account set to launch by Internationale Nederlanden Groep (ING) DIRECT within the next few weeks, Jacksonville, Fla.-based banking leader EverBank today launched a new campaign which poses a five-word question to financial consumers - "What are you waiting for?" The account offers an introductory yield of 6.01% for the first three months, calling it the "highest yield for checking in the industry" according to Frank Trotter, president of EverBank Direct.

Payment China 2007 Conference

The Global Leaders Institute will be holding Payment China 2007 on May 17-18 in Beijing.

Elegy For Cash

In an article in CSO Magazine, Scott Berinato writes an "Elegy for Cash" - saying that "an inconvenient truth for card issuers and merchants is that cash is a lot safer for consumers."

A Look At the Arriva Card

Global Cash Access has provided more information about its Arriva Card, the first credit card designed for use in casinos.

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ING Direct - CEO Video

In a new video, the President and CEO of ING DIRECT, Arkadi Kuhlmann, has taken it upon himself to explain his outlook on saving money, how financial transactions should be as simple as buying a cup of coffee, and how ING DIRECT works to make that a reality.

Bank of America Introduces New Online Money Management Tools

Bank of America has announced that its Online Banking customers now have access to a "full range of money management tools that help them track expenses and income by category, set budget goals and monitor performance against goal for all of their financial accounts."

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EU Finds Major Competition Barriers In Retail Banking

The European Commission has published the final report of its competition inquiry into the retail banking sector - finding "a number of competition concerns in the markets for payment cards, payment systems and retail banking products. Particular indicators are large variations in merchant and interchange fees for payment cards, barriers to entry in the markets for payment systems and credit registers, obstacles to customer mobility and product tying." Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “The inquiry has found widespread competition barriers which unnecessarily raise the cost of retail banking services for European firms and consumers. The Commission will make full use of its powers under competition law to tackle these barriers, in the market for payment cards and elsewhere when they result from anticompetitive behaviour.”

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January 30, 2007

Debit Cards And Overdraft Charges

Bob Sullivan's MSNBC.com Red Tape Chronicles looks that the overdraft fees that banks charge based upon debit card use. "Many people don't realize that a carefree swipe of their debit card at a point-of-sale terminal to buy a Big Mac could result in "courtesy overdraft" fee of $30 or more."

Obopay Updates News of BillMonk Acquisition

As reported earlier this morning on Payments News, mobile payment service provider Obopay has announced its
acquisition of BillMonk, calling the company "a pioneer in "social money" services." According to Obopay, the acquisition "will provide on-the-go consumers -- who want fast and easy access to their money -- with services that fit their mobile lifestyle."

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Mobile Financial Services - Unlocking the Potential

Edgar, Dunn & Company's latest newsletter is titled "Mobile Financial Services - Unlocking the Potential" (PDF), an article by Ginger Schmeltzer and Samee Zafar. "Only now are mobile financial products and services finally gaining traction. This is partly due to the fact that the number of mobile users is growing exponentially, but also because new technologies enabling fast and secure data access are promising to deliver greater consumer convenience and ease of use."

Data Security Firms Establish PCI Security Vendor Alliance

Eight data security companies have announced the formation of The Payment Card Industry Security Vendor Alliance – (PCI SVA). According to the group, "PCI SVA will assist members of the payment card industry and the PCI Security Standards Council -- composed of merchants, banks and point-of-sale vendors – in educating the business community on the requirements and business value of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, a global benchmark intended to improve security throughout the entire payment card transaction process."

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Football Fans to ‘Tap & Go’ During the Big Game Using MasterCard PayPass

MasterCard has announced that when the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts go head to head for the championship inside Dolphin Stadium on February 4th, "fans purchasing souvenirs or concessions will spend less time standing in line and more time catching the on-field action when they use MasterCard PayPass – a contactless payment option that reduces transaction times – installed at Dolphin Stadium prior to the start of the football season. MasterCard PayPass is also accepted at numerous other merchants throughout the Miami area."

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Entrust Introduces $5 Hardware Security Token

Entrust has announced the launch of a new, five dollar one-time-password (OTP) hardware security token along with news that Expedia will become the first company to deploy the new Entrust token.

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Tracking Americans’ Credit Habits

TransUnion’s TrueCredit.com has announced results from two surveys it recently commissioned with GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media designed to gauge distinct aspects of consumers’ current credit habits. "TrueCredit.com found that 35 percent of consumers actually report purchasing less on credit this holiday season than last year, when the same question yielded 43 percent. Similar to the 2006 survey, four in ten (43 percent) say they have the same amount of credit card debt this year as last, with 11 percent reporting they have more debt and 29 percent reporting they have less."

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Citigroup's Shrinking Sears Credit Card Portfolio

In today's Heard on the Street column in the Wall St. Journal, Robin Sidel and Clint Riley report on one of Citigroup's financial challenges - a decline in outstandings in the Sears credit card portfolio it acquired three years ago.

Update on TJX Data Breach

Jay Fitzgerald reports for the Boston Herald on news yesterday of a class action lawsuit filed against TJX following its earlier announcement recently of breaches of customer data security - "saying the company was “negligent” for not having better computer security." More information on the lawsuit is available in this press release. TJX itself has posted on its website a letter to customers about the breach from TJX Chairman Ben Cammarata along with a video and and FAQ. TJX also reported in a filing with the SEC that Gary L. Crittenden, a member of the board of TJX, has resigned from the board. Crittenden is also Executive Vice President and CFO of American Express.

BillMonk Acquired By Obopay

Over on the Notes from the BillMonk blog, there's news that BillMonk has been acquired by mobile payments provider Obopay. "When we first talked to the Obopay team it was clear to us that they care deeply about making it easier to deal with money. Given that BillMonk’s goal is to make money painless between friends, the match couldn’t have been better."

Another Look At KushCash

Michael Arrington writes on his TechCrunch blog about mobile payments provider KushCash - asking them how they plan to compete with PayPal Mobile, among others.

January 29, 2007

Mobile Payment Forum Featuring Mobile Payments Technology Showcase

At its Spring 2007 Plenary and Members' Meeting coming up March 13-14, 2007 in San Diego, the Mobile Payment Forum will be featuring an Innovative Mobile Payments Technology Showcase on Tuesday, March 13, that highlights "emerging, cutting-edge mobile solution providers from a diversified cross-section of the mobile payment value chain" and will be open to non-members. Richard Crone will be keynoting the event speaking on "Mobile Payments - Strategies for a Cashless Future!". Full agenda and registration information is available online.

BB&T Launches Visa Contactless Check Card Pilot

BB&T has announced that it has begun issuing BB&T Check Cards with the Visa Contactless feature to select clients in Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., in a pilot program.

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StoLPaN Consortium Focuses on NFC Mobile Services

Contacless News reports on Store Logistics and Payment with NFC (StoLPaN), a consortium co-funded by the European Commission and Information Society Technologies.

General Services Administration's SmartPay 2 Purchasing Card Program

Elise Castelli reports for the Federal Times on the GSA's SmartPay 2 purchasing card program - intended to replace the existing 3 million US government purchase cards provided by Bank of America, Citibank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Mellon Bank and U.S. Bank. Bids were due into GSA on January 22 for the replacement program.

Two out of Five Identity Theft Victims Know Source of Crime

According to the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) , two out of five identity theft victims surveyed know how their personal data was stolen, "providing valuable insight about how identity theft occurs."

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The Purpose Money Financial Guide For Spanish-Speaking Audiences

Purpose Money, a financial services portal owned and operated by CompuCredit Corporation, has announced the release of the Purpose Money Financial Guide, a "comprehensive, step-by-step, financial resource guide developed specifically for Spanish-speaking audiences. The Purpose Money Financial Guide offers Latinos operational knowledge of the U.S. financial system, with insider tips from financial experts, as well as practical application exercises, to help Hispanic consumers manage their finances and credit in the U.S."

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A Look At Some PayPal Statistics

There was some discussion last week about PayPal's off eBay payment volumes and whether they were growing fast enough. Here's a spreadsheet containing some of PayPal's volume statistics for the last several years. You can see the nice growth of PayPal's off eBay business in the numbers - with the off eBay volume for the full year 2006 having exceeded $13 billion in payment volume.

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