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« December 24, 2006 - December 30, 2006 | Main | January 7, 2007 - January 13, 2007 »

January 06, 2007

Wall St. Reacts To Global Payments' Earnings

On Friday morning before the stock market opened, Global Payments announced its second fiscal quarter financial results which, according to some observers, met but did not exceed Wall St. analyst expectations. The company has had a history of exceeding expections - so to just meet them turned out to be disappointing and the market reacted with GPN's stock price falling over 16%. Ryan Fuhmann writes about the market's reaction for Motley Fool - reporting that Global Payments' "management summed it up well during this morning's second-quarter conference call. It conceded that "not overachieving expectations is a disappointment for some."

To Watch Payments Convergence, Watch Metavante

Glenbrook's Jim Salters files a report on Metavante - suggesting that to watch what's happening with payments convergence in the US, watch what Metavante's doing.

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January 05, 2007

Bank Marketing Of Remote Deposit Capture Services

Jim Bruene writes about how banks could do a better job of marketing their remote deposit capture services. Like Jim, we've also been anxious to sign-up for such a service - and have yet to be able to do so at our bank.

FDIC Spotlights Importance Of Bank Incident Response Programs

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's latest quarterly Supervisory Insights newsletter features an article titled "Incident Response Programs: Don't Get Caught Without One". From the abstract: "A security incident can damage corporate reputations, cause financial losses, and foster identity theft, and banks are increasingly becoming targets for attack because they hold valuable data that, when compromised, allow criminals to steal an individual's identity and drain financial accounts. To mitigate the effects of security breaches, organizations are finding it necessary to develop formal incident response programs (IRPs). This article highlights the importance of IRPs to a bank's information security program and provides information on required content and best practices banks may consider when developing effective response programs."

Pandemics And Payments - UK Financial Sector Tests Impacts

The UK's banking regulators (FSA, HM Treasury and the Bank of England) have published a report titled "2006 Financial Sector Market Wide Exercise" (PDF) summarizing a six week test conducted last fall intended to test the UK financial sector's resilience to pandemic influenza. "The distinguishing feature of a pandemic is that its main impact is upon the availability of personnel rather than on physical assets. ... Across the financial sector as a whole, not surprisingly, the heaviest impact of the pandemic was upon the more labour-intensive parts, notably the provision of customer-facing retail financial services."

Innovating Customer Service: Retail Banking’s New Frontier

Strategy+Business from Wharton has an article titled "Innovating Customer Service: Retail Banking’s New Frontier" (PDF). From the abstract: "Banking lags far behind most other consumer retail industries in developing leading-edge products and services, but the industry's rush of consolidation is ratcheting up the competitive ferocity. By federal law, no bank may hold more than 10 percent of the total U.S. deposits, and many of the top 20 banks are closing in on that limit, which means that growth by acquiring new customers will no longer be feasible. Instead, banks will have to grow by strengthening relationships with their current customers, and to do that banks will have to innovate their offerings." I particularly enjoyed this quote from the article: "People put up with lousy service because the switching costs are high.”

Bankers Can Learn From JetBlue

Over on Tom Brown's Bankstocks.com web site this morning, David Martin writes about his recent "wow" experiences with JetBlue - saying "I’m trying hard to remember the last time I interacted with a company and immediately felt compelled to tell my friends, “I can’t believe how good these guys are. You’ve got to check them out!” Someone once said "retail is detail" - that's what retail bankers have to live every day.

January 04, 2007

Announcing Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camps For 2007

Glenbrook will be offering an expanded series of Payments Boot Camps for 2007 - beginning in February in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Atlanta in March. For 2007, we're also introducing a new merchant-focused Merchant Payments Boot Camp with the first session scheduled March 21-22 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly a thousand payments professionals have attended a Glenbrook Payments Boot Camp since they were introduced two years ago.

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Purepay Enters Payments Private Equity Marketplace

Purepay, a Columbus, Ohio-based acquirer and operator of payments companies, has announced its launch, planning to focus on automation and transaction processing within the financial services industry.

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Comerica Adds Check Card Travel Rewards

Comerica Bank has announced the "introduction of the Comerica WorldPerks Check Card and the Comerica WorldPerks Business Check Card -- a check card that lets individuals and businesses earn WorldPerks miles for their signature-based check card purchases." Both cards have annual fees.

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A Look At Microfinance International

Jeffrey Gangemi writes for Business Week about Microfinance International - MFIC - a "microfinance and remittance processing upstart" that provides "a remittance delivery platform that can be licensed to banks, new loan products for migrant workers in the U.S., larger loans to provide more lending capital to microfinance institutions in developing countries, and a burgeoning network of retail banking outlets in the U.S. geared toward serving the needs of low-income people."

A Look At Online Lending

Celent has published a new report titled "Up Close and Personal with Online Lending" that examines the state of online lending and what banks will need to do to obtain market share. “Perhaps the ultimate example of just how intensely personal online lending has become is peer-to-peer lending. Its customers often view their financial activity as a means of self expression. For these individuals, the personalization of online lending has increasingly meant the ability to choose who they borrow from, who they lend to, and what level of risk they should take in investing their money as their own lender. P2P lenders have demonstrated that a growing consumer lending market exists,” says Dan Schatt, co-author and senior analyst.

Converging ACH and Wire Transfer Systems

The Aite Group has published a new report titled "Converging Wire Transfer and Automated Clearing House (ACH) to Revolutionize U.S. Electronic Wholesale Payments" that concludes the US payments industry could save $7 billion annually if the two systems were converged into a single electronic system. According to Aite, "converging the wire transfer and ACH systems will provide optimum payments capabilities and services, significant cost savings, and revenue-generating opportunities."

TigerDirect.com Now Accepts SECURE-eBill

MODASolutions has announced that TigerDirect, a retailer of computer hardware and components, is now accepting its SECURE-eBill payment option that allows customers to pay for purchases from their existing online bank accounts.

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NACHA Accredits 668 Payments Professionals In 2006

NACHA has announced that it accredited or re-accredited 668 payments industry professionals in 2006 under the Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) Program. The current number of AAPs nationwide is now at an all-time high of 3,036, and has increased by 85 percent since 1999.

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Royal Bank of Scotland Announces New Mobile Banking Service

No, it's not what you think. I had to smile as I read the press release announcing that "The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced plans to launch a new mobile banking service in Yorkshire, operating from York and running five days a week. The new mobile service will provide banking to around twenty Yorkshire communities and the service will start in February 2007." These are banks on wheels, not banks on your mobile phones.

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China UnionPay Reports Peak Volumes On New Year's Day

People's Daily Online reports that China UnionPay "posted record card transactions of 12.31 billion yuan (1.54 billion U.S.dollars) on New Year's Day, up 70 percent from the same 2005 period."

A Jolt To Your Credit Score

Brian O'Conner writes for the Detroit News about a recent change by local utility DTE Energy who began "reporting the payment histories of all 2.5 million customers to the major credit bureaus in August." The impact on consumers missing a bill payment due date has been significant - O'Conner cites an example of one consumer whose "late DTE payment knocked his all-important credit score down by 100 points -- and pushed the interest rate on his new mortgage up."

Where's The PayMart For Payments?

Dave Birch picks up the discussion about the question we asked a few weeks ago in our Creating Wealth from Payments Innovation post: why isn't there a Wal-Mart for payments? Dave blames regulation - and that's certainly a factor. Reminds me of the days when airline fares in this country were heavily regulated, preventing a Southwest from emerging. On the other hand, the most successful new entrant in payments in recent history - PayPal - navigated the regulatory waters (state money transmitter laws primarily) relatively easily. One could argue regulation wasn't much of a barrier for their entry. Google Checkout - acting not like PayPal as a money transmitter but, rather, as a master merchant - seems to have avoided any financial regulatory issues. On the other hand, mobile payment provider Obopay's job description for a VP Treasury Operations includes being responsible for "compliance with Federal banking regulations such as Anti Money Laundering, Patriot Act, Regulation D and E, and the FFIEC guidelines" and for "state money transmitter regulations".

January 03, 2007

MasterCard, Bank of America Amend Services Agreement

MasterCard has filed with the SEC notice that on December 27, 2006 it amended and restated its agreement with Bank of America relating to "certain pricing arrangements for Bank of America’s use of MasterCard’s core authorization, clearing and settlement services and certain supplemental user-pay services in the United States and certain other countries. The Agreement was amended to include new pricing arrangements in exchange for transaction volumes related to the issuance of MasterCard-branded debit cards by Bank of America." Today's notice follows last week's similar announcement from MasterCard regarding HSBC.

Contactless Payments Approach Tipping Point

According to a new Aberdeen report titled "Retail Contactless Payment Systems: Improving Customer Retention & Loyalty", "contactless payment systems are fast approaching the tipping point of adoption within retail. After numerous pilots and deployments in the last three years, the continued pressure to improve the customer shopping experience is prompting retailers to adopt this technology." The report was underwritten by ViVotech, MasterCard, Alphyra, Visa and Discover Financial Services.

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US 2006 E-Commerce Spending Reaches $102 Billion

comScore Networks has announced that "consumer online non-travel (retail) spending at U.S. sites during 2006, including the holiday season (November 1, 2006 - December 31, 2006). For the full year 2006, online retail spending reached $102.1 billion, marking a 24-percent increase versus 2005. Online holiday e-commerce accounted for $24.6 billion, up 26 percent versus last year."

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A Look At The Numbers

Bankrate.com's Ellen Cannon has been posting on her Plastic Rap blog about the recent publication by the U.S. Census Bureau of its 126th Statistical Abstract of the United States - and some of the numbers regarding Americans, their debts, and their use of various payment methods and online bill payment based upon age.

A Vision For Retail POS Payment Acceptance Technologies

Dave Birch blogs about a "medium term vision for retail payments." In Dave's vision, "the retail POS shrinks to a button on the shop counter, whereas all the "smarts" migrate into the mobile." We can speculate about just what that "medium term" timeframe for Dave's vision actually is - and what the downstream implications might be for the POS equipment vendors.

TowerGroup Says Gift Cards Need Tighter Regulation

In a new report titled "Gift Cards: How to Ensure they Don't become Drift Cards" by Brian Riley, senior analyst in the Bank Cards practice, TowerGroup says it "believes gift cards need tighter regulation due to the money laundering risk associated with the anonymous nature of the product and lack of control."

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ClickandBuy Signs Digital Music Stores

ClickandBuy has announced that "three independent online music stores have selected its international digital payments platform for its hosted digital commerce system and its ability to provide different types of payment methods, including yearly subscriptions, micropayments or single downloads of songs."

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SunTrust Renews With CheckFree, Adds CheckFree's FraudNet

CheckFree and SunTrust have announced a multi- year contract extension where SunTrust will continue
to offer CheckFree Web and will add CheckFree's FraudNet fraud engine to its online banking service.

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Credit Bureaus - Data Quality Issues

Beth Healy writes for the Boston Globe about credit bureau data quality issues and just how irritating they can be for consumers. Healy reports that US Rep. Barney Frank, who becomes chairman this week of the House Financial Services Committee, plans to hold hearings early this year to look into the problems.

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