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March 31, 2007

Debit Cards, Overdraft Fees, and PIN Fees

Barbara Whitaker writes for the New York Times about debit cards and how authorization holds can sometimes drive a series of overdraft fees and bank practices regarding charging extra fees for PIN-based transactions.

March 30, 2007

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The Role of Retail Banking in the U.S. Banking Industry

A study forthcoming in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Economic Policy Review, "The Role of Retail Banking in the U.S. Banking Industry: Risk, Return, and Industry Structure" (PDF), concludes that the industry’s recent emphasis on retail banking is driven almost entirely by the very largest U.S. banks and that it may be more persistent than in past cycles.


First Data International to Acquire POLCARD

First Data International has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire POLCARD SA, Poland's leading independent merchant acquirer and card issuer processor, in an all-cash transaction for $325 million.


March 29, 2007

BancorpSouth Now Live With Mobile Banking Using AT&T

BancorpSouth has announced that its banking customers who subscribe to the AT&T Mobility wireless service can now download the mobile banking application directly to their device, where they can access the application anywhere and at any time.


Visa Launches National Financial Education Program for College Students

Visa USA has announced the national launch of its What's My Score program - including giving away 5,000 free FICO credit scores - to college students. The launch coincides with the release of a new survey of credit and debit cardholders that shows that only 17 percent of those surveyed knew their FICO credit score by the time they were 21 years old.


BITS ACH Check Conversion Risk Management Toolkit

BITS has released an ACH Check Conversion Risk Management Toolkit (PDF) to "educate financial institutions’ fraud department personnel and investigators about the benefits and risks associated with ACH check conversion." Interestingly, the report includes this comment: "The ACH network, which historically has had minimal fraud, has seen a large uptick in fraudulent transactions, similar to the various types of fraud experienced in the check environment environment."


Banks Call for International Co-Operation to Combat Fraud

First Data International has announced findings from a study of banking fraud in Europe, Middle East and Africa in which fraud experts from 52 banks across the region called for greater co-operation in the fight against fraud while acknowledging the significant barriers that stand in the way of collaboration.


Skype Adds PayPal P2P Payments

Ben Charny reports for MarketWatch on the integration of PayPal send money functionality into the latest version of the Skype client software. More details at the Skype Beta blog.

Fiserv, Bank of America Connect Through Viewpointe

Fiserv has announced it is now exchanging checks with Bank of America through Viewpointe, a provider of check image exchange and archive services in the United States. The agreement enables Bank of America to connect to thousands of endpoints on the Fiserv Clearing Network, while allowing other Fiserv customers to exchange images directly with Bank of America.


Gemalto Provides Canadian EMV Migration Support

Gemalto has announced a "new end-to-end solution to help Canadian debit and credit card issuers implement the international EMV standard. Its EMV Pilot Package includes microprocessor-based smart card technology to provide better security to cardholders, as well as personalization and consultation services."


TJX - The Largest Payment Card Data Breach Ever Reported

Jenn Abelson reports for the Boston Globe on the TJX data breach reported earlier - saying the breach involved "at least 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers" stolen over a period of several years. The data was provided by the company in a 10-K annual report filing with the SEC yesterday.

March 28, 2007

Firethorn, Verizon Work to Introduce Mobile Banking, Payments Solution

Firethorn Holdings has confirmed that "Verizon Wireless is
working with Firethorn to introduce its mobile banking and payments
solution. The announcement demonstrates growing support among the nation's
leading wireless carriers for Firethorn's unique federation strategy for
making the mobile banking and payments marketplace."


Survey Says Prepaid Health Care Cards Gain Consumer Support

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association has announced results from a recent survey about paying for health care finding that consumers with prepaid health care cards, as part of their flexible spending account (FSA), were far more satisfied with being able to easily and efficiently pay for eligible health care expenses.*


Visa USA CEO Says Collaboration Key to Unlocking Potential of Mobile Payments

In his keynote address today to the CTIA Wireless conference, Visa USA President and CEO John Philip Coghlan said that mobile payment is "at a critical moment in its development, and realizing its full potential will require close collaboration between the wireless and payment card industries. Given the striking similarities in the paths our two industries have traveled, it is only natural we have arrived at a moment of convergence,” Coghlan said. “In fact, the convergence of payments and mobile communications is not just logical – it is inevitable.”


First Data Amends 10-K Annual Report to Include Chase Paymentech Results

First Data Corp. has amended its 10-K annual report filing with the SEC to include the financial statements of Chase Paymentech. Chase Payment is 51% owned by JP Morgan Chase and 49% owned by First Data Corp. First Data made the updated 10-K filing under an SEC rule requiring it as a result of FDC’s equity earnings in Chase Paymentech having exceeded 20% of FDC’s consolidated income from continuing operations before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2006. The filing reports Chase Paymentech's 2006 revenues as $1.2 billion (up 49% from 2005) with net income of $476 million before some miscellaneous adjustments.

Store Checkout Speed Matters

A press release from National In-Store says that one in ten shoppers leaving a store without making a purchase cited the wait to check out as a factor in their decision not to buy and notes that customer satisfaction levels, when forced to wait in line in excess of 4 minutes, fall below 80%. [Editor's note: bank branch managers - a/k/a store managers - take note!]


24-Point Recovery Checklist for Identity Theft Victims

The Ask the Advisor blog posts a 24-point recovery checklist outlining actions recommended for identity theft victims - noting that "you can reduce your risks for identity theft, but you don't have control over government agencies, hospitals, or retail stores that manage to lose your personal information."

US Mobile Banking Scorecard

Netbanker's Jim Bruene is tracking the recent announcements of mobile banking services by US banks in a Mobile Banking Scorecard he's posted.

Credit Cards Offer Better Protections Than Debit Cards

Kelli B. Grant writes for SmartMoney about the differences in consumer protections between credit cards and debit cards - including "zero liability" protections.

Obopay Introduces Obopay Checkout

Obopay has announced the introduction of Obopay Checkout, calling it "an industry-first capability that enables mobile merchants to offer consumers effortless, instant payments that monetize digital and physical offerings."


March 27, 2007

Bank of England Launches New Adam Smith £20 Banknote

The BBC reports on a new £20 note featuring a portrait of Scottish economist Adam Smith that is being introduced by the Bank of England. The new note includes a number of security features - including the following comment: "some unpublicised "covert features" are designed to further deter counterfeiters."

Chase, United Airlines Award Double Miles for Tax Season

United and Chase Card Services have announced a program offering United Mileage Plus Visa cardmembers double miles for every eligible dollar spent when they use their card to pay their personal (or quarterly estimated) federal income tax, or when they pay their state or property tax between March 1 and May 25, 2007.


Paypal Asking E-Mail Services to Block Unsigned Messages

Jeremy Kirk reports for Network World that PayPal is working on persuading email providers to block email messages appearing to come from PayPal that don't contain digital signatures - in an effort to try to reduce phishing attacks.

Travelex To Acquire Ruesch International

Reuters is reporting that Travelex is acquiring business-to-business payments provider Reusch International for $440 million and merging it into Travelex's Commercial Foreign Exchange division.

Visa Commercial Survey - Companies Reducing Check Use In Favor of Cards

Visa has released results from a new global survey finding about 25 percent of companies plan to increase their use of corporate payment cards and decrease their reliance on checks in the near future. According to Visa, these companies "believe that corporate payment cards will reduce costs and enable greater cash flow management as a result of more transparent financial data for payables and receivables."


Kyocera, Visa Demonstrate Mobile Payments Using NFC at CTIA

At the CTIA show this week, Kyocera Wireless says it will be demonstrating several solutions that "deliver on the promise of next-generation wireless technologies to enable a variety of mobile consumer applications. Kyocera Wireless and Visa International are demonstrating mobile payments utilizing NFC technology, essentially turning a mobile phone into a Visa payment solution using the Visa mobile platform."



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