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July 31, 2007

Visa LAC Region Announces Results

Visa International's Latin American and Caribbean Region has announced that POS volume increased 26 percent to US$116.3 billion during the four quarters ending on March 31, 2007.

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Gift Cards Are Top Choice for Birthday Gifts

A recent survey commissioned by Cardways.com revealed that "81 percent of men and women prefer to receive gift cards for their birthday. Electronics ranked second followed by clothes and tickets to a show or sporting event."

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FSV Payment Systems, Meta Partner with Parago

Parago, a provider of rebate, incentive and promotion solutions, has announced "FSV Payment Systems has been selected as a strategic partner for prepaid services. In the newly formed partnership, FSV Payment Systems will manage prepaid card processing while their partner, Meta Payment Systems will provide issuing bank services."

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JetBlue Adopts Bill Me Later Payment Option

JetBlue has announced "a partnership with Bill Me Later, a non-credit card form of payment for customers purchasing JetBlue travel. The payment method allows customers to safely and conveniently make JetBlue travel reservations at http://www.jetblue.com using the innovative payment system of I4 Commerce."

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First Data Receives Shareholder Approval for KKR Deal

First Data Corp. has announced that "its shareholders approved the merger agreement with an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR). Of the shares that were voted, over 98% were cast in favor of the merger. Upon the closing of the merger, the Company's shareholders will be entitled to receive $34.00 in cash, without interest, for each share of First Data common stock held.

"I am very pleased to receive such broad support for this transaction from our shareholders," said Chairman and CEO, Ric Duques. "With most of the necessary conditions now having been met, we are well on our way to closing this transaction, as expected, in the third quarter."

New York Times Editorial on Credit Cards

The New York Times this morning published an editorial criticizing regulatory oversight of the credit card industry - saying that the "federal agencies that are supposed to regulate the banking and credit card industries have failed utterly to keep pace with deceptive and unfair practices that have become shamefully standard in the business."

TSYS Works With Lloyds TSB on Prepaid Product

TSYS Europe and Lloyds TSB have announced the launch of the Lloyds TSB money transfer card in the UK. "The new Silver account from Lloyds TSB includes an innovative money transfer prepaid product, aimed particularly at the growing number of newly arrived migrants living and working in the U.K."

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Retail eCommerce Up 23 Percent in Q2

comScore has "released a report on U.S. e-commerce spending for the second quarter of 2007, which showed that non-travel (retail) e-commerce grew 23 percent versus year ago to $27.2 billion, while online travel spending increased 14 percent to $20.3 billion. Total U.S. e-commerce spending climbed 19 percent to $47.5 billion during the period."

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Credit Card Industry Resists Change

In an article titled 'Credit card industry resists change as fees shock many", Christine Dugas writes for USA Today about the Federal Reserve's proposals to require clearer disclosures by card issuers. She writes that the credit card industry "welcomes better disclosure but opposes curbs on its ability to raise fees or rates or change policies. Consumers have yet to see any significant easing of fees and rates that have sparked outrage."

Separately, John Poirier reports for Reuters that Rep. Carolyn Mahoney "plans to offer legislation to address some of the problems plaguing credit card customers who have been blindsided with interest rate changes and various fees."

July 30, 2007

Upcoming Fed Conference on Consumer Credit

The Credit Slips blog reports on six research papers to be presented at the upcoming conference "Recent Developments in Consumer Credit and Payments" sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on September 20-21.

St. Louis Fed Looks at Banking Consolidation

The annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examines banking mergers and acquisiitons over the past two decades. "Our goal is to make certain that the banking industry evolves in a way that preserves the benefits of competition and ensures a safe and sound banking system. So, even if your bank has changed owners three times in the past two years, rest assured that the Fed (or another regulator) has scrutinized each transaction to make sure that the best interests of the industry, the local market, the bank and you are upheld."

Remote Deposit Capture For Consumers

Forrester's Mary Pilecki has published a new report titled "Coming Soon: Remote Deposit Capture For Consumers?" "With check writing quickly dwindling as a payments instrument, RDC for consumers might not have time to evolve into readiness for mass adoption, in which case it is likely to be a bridge technology relevant for a maximum of 10 years."

A Look at the Wal-Mart MoneyCard

Vanessa Rozier writes for the Naples (Florida) Daily News about Wal-Mart's new MoneyCard - a prepaid Visa debit card. "Wal-Mart called the card a “life changer,” but it could be more of an industry changer, as the company grows into the banking industry."

Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Robert M. Sigler has been named CFO at Pay by Touch. Sigler is Co-Founder and President of the Global Trust Ventures private equity fund, a significant investor in Pay By Touch.
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. Are you looking for a new payments-related job? Or are you needing to find someone great? Checkout the Payments Jobs job board.

July 29, 2007

A Look at Mobile Banking

Ryan Kim writes for the San Francisco Chronicle's business section about mobile banking - "Wells Fargo is the latest bank to add mobile service, following Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia and SunTrust, all of which started similar services in the past few months. Most of the country's top 20 banks are either offering the service or trying it out."

July 28, 2007

A Look at Proposed Changes to Credit Card Regulations

Curtis Arnold writes for CardRatings.com about the Federal Reserve's proposal to amend Regulation Z (announced on May 23) to "improve the effectiveness of the disclosures consumers receive in connection with credit card accounts and other revolving credit plans by ensuring that information is provided in a timely manner and in a form that is readily understandable." The Fed is asking for public comments on the proposal - which must be received on or before October 12, 2007.

Slower than Cash - Among the Wild Animals

While on a recent family vacation, one of our visits was to the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park just outside of Escondido, California. A wonderful experience indeed - except when it came to buying things. The card acceptance practices and technology at the Wild Animal Park could sure use some work.

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More Drumbeats About Overdraft Fees, Overdraft Loans

The press continues having a field day with the checking account overdraft fee/overdraft loan issue recently highlighted by the Center for Responsible Lending. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Péralte C. Paul explores the issue - saying "for those who are checkbook challenged when it comes to balancing the all-too-important checking account, that $4 Starbucks latte can end up costing that much plus another $30 in overdraft charges if the funds to cover it are lacking."

Lessons of Google Checkout

Ehab Bandar writes on his Banking Unwired blog about Google Checkout - and how consumers might get confused. He believes that "the benefits of Google Checkout are only truly realized with an all or nothing approach."

What I Really Want in Mobile Banking Services

Morriss Partee of EverythingCU.com blogs about what he really wants in the way of mobile banking services: SMS-based query/retrieval of useful information including account balance, details within budgeting categories, etc.

China UnionPay Adds Merchants

From the Shanghai Daily comes this report on China UnionPay's efforts to expand merchant card acceptance in China. "With the growth, UnionPay has 616,700 merchants and nearly one million points of sale."

July 27, 2007

Citi, Obopay to Begin Pilot of Mobile Payment Service to Consumers

Citi has announced that it will begin piloting a new mobile peer to peer payment service with Obopay to select new and existing Citi customers as part of a limited consumer trial in Boston and Chicago.

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Capital One in Saving Zone Deal with Yahoo!

Capital One and Yahoo! Shopping have announced a partnership "creating the Capital One Saving Zone, a portal on Yahoo! Shopping that offers exclusive deals on select merchandise to Capital One cardholders. At the Saving Zone, Capital One cardholders can receive up to a 40 percent savings on already discounted items, as well as an additional 10 percent off everything they purchase on the site using their Capital One credit card."

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Online Resources to Acquire Internet Transaction Solutions

Online Resources Corporation has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Internet Transaction Solutions, a biller service provider (BSP) to receivables management companies and utilities.

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Headline News - July 28, 2007

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated. For job opportunities available for payments professionals, visit PaymentsJobs.com. Employers looking to hire payments professionals can post their job openings there as well.

July 26, 2007

Financial Insights Payments Newsletter

The latest quarterly edition of the Payments Newsletter from Financial Insights (PDF) is now available. This edition looks at BerkShares, a local currency in western Massachusetts. "The main idea of BerkShares is to keep money in the local community by encouraging residents to spend with local businesses. The exchange rate on BerkShares results in an effective 10% discount on everything bought with the currency, but it may only be used at businesses that accept it."

MasterCard PayPass Pilot in Italy

MasterCard has announced the first MasterCard PayPass pilot programme in Italy, in partnership with Poste Italiane – business unit Banco Posta.

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