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April 07, 2007

The Sources Of ING Direct's Success

Forrester has a new report available titled "The Sources Of ING Direct's Success" - from the abstract: "ING Direct first opened for business in Canada 10 years ago. In the decade since, the company has become the most successful direct bank in the world with more than 17 million customers in nine countries. ING Direct's strategy of simple products, aggressive prices, and direct distribution has created clear differentiation from its competitors, and helped the bank make profits by keeping costs to a minimum. In the process, ING Direct has made direct banking look simple. Other business strategists can learn from ING Direct's combination of a simple offering, high-quality execution, and bold pursuit of scale."

Three Mobile Banking Developments To Keep Your Eye On

Elena Malykhina blogs for Information Week about recent mobile banking announcements in the US market - saying that "what the banks and the wireless carriers have yet to figure out is how to get consumers to actually use mobile banking and their cell phones as payment devices."

April 06, 2007

American Express Asks Are You a Cardmember?

Stuart Elliott writes for the New York Times about American Express' plan to change advertising campaigns beginning Monday - retiring the "My life, my card" theme and switching to a new one that asks "Are you a cardmember?".

Headline News - April 6, 2007

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

April 05, 2007

New Mercator Report on US Mobile Banking and Payments

Mercator Advisory Group has announced its latest report, "US Mobile Banking And Payments: Finding The Seams, Accelerating The Pace." According to Mercator, the report "reviews the recent upswing in mobile banking initiatives and mobile payments pilots as well as the drivers behind this charge, examines preconditions for mobile success, key technology advances that make success far more likely than in the past and, most important, examines the business models that have emerged to engage the participation of ALL members of the mobile ecosystem: banks, mobile operators, vendors, and payment network operators."


Ecount Introduces Health Care Incentives Suite

Ecount has introduced a suite of prepaid health care incentives that "provides insurers, employers and plan managers with a highly effective solution for encouraging healthy living."


Some Comments On FDC, Chase Paymentech

In a post titled "Explaining J.P. Morgan’s DNP on First Data", the Wall St. Journal's Dennis Berman blogs about why he thinks JP Morgan Chase wasn't playing a role in the private buyout of First Data by KKR announced earlier this week. He believes the reason is that the bank has been trying to negotiate the purchase of the 49% interest in Chase Paymentech held by First Data. Last week we reported that First Data filed an amended 10-K for 2006 which included the detailed financials for Chase Paymentech - a very nice business indeed!

MasterCard Bets $1.4-billion on Canada

Tavia Grant reports for the Globe and Mail about MasterCard's new foundation being headquartered in Toronto. Grant says a MasterCard spokeswoman confirmed the company wanted to put the foundation "in a place that reflected our global nature." She added that Toronto "reflects both North American and European roots."

Headline News - April 5, 2007

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

April 04, 2007

Wells Fargo Launches Home Rebate Card For Mortgage Customers

Wells Fargo has announced the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Card -- calling it "a special credit card product only for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage customers who want to pay down their mortgage faster, build equity quicker and potentially save thousands of dollars on mortgage interest."


Protect Yourself When Shopping Online

Laura T. Coffey writes for MSNBC with recommendations for consumers about how to safely shop online.

More on Metavante Spin Out

M&I Bank has posted a presentation (PDF) as part of this morning's investor conference call on the spin out of Metavante.

Real Life Authorization Holds

Consumer advocate Jon Yates writes in his What's Your Problem? column for the Chicago Tribune about the difficulties one teenager experienced after buying a $1 bag of popcorn on her Visa gift card.

Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Kyle Thomas has been named senior vice president, Processing and Product Sales, for First Data Resources. Thomas was most recently CEO of Global Chili/Chilly Co., which he founded in 2004. Prior to this entrepreneurial venture, he was with Abacus, a division of Doubleclick, where he served as executive vice president and was responsible for product management, sales and marketing. Thomas' career includes various senior management positions with HNC Software, ABN Amro Bank and Citibank, both in the United States and overseas.
  • Jack Harbaugh has been named vice president of business development and Ib Mussa as vice president of client services at The 41st Parameter.
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.

Headline News - April 4, 2007

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

April 03, 2007

Marshall & Ilsley To Split M&I, Metavante into Independent Public Companies

Marshall & Ilsley Corporation has announced it will be splitting Marshall & Ilsley Corporation and Metavante Corporation into independent public companies. "Under an investment agreement with Warburg Pincus, a global private equity investor, Warburg Pincus has agreed to invest $625 million to acquire an equity stake of 25 percent in Metavante Corporation. Marshall & Ilsley Corporation shareholders will own 75 percent of the shares of Metavante Corporation. The plan will be implemented through the spin-off of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation and is intended to be tax-free to Marshall & Ilsley Corporation and its shareholders."


Darden Restaurants Settles FTC Charges For Deceptive Gift Card Sales

Darden Restaurants, owner of the restaurant chains Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Smokey Bones, and Bahama Breeze, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it engaged in deceptive practices in advertising and selling its gift cards. As part of the settlement, Darden will restore fees that were deducted from consumers’ gift cards and disclose fees or expiration dates in future gift card sales. This is the FTC's second law enforcement action involving allegedly deceptive gift card sales.


Glenbrook Payments Boot Camp Update

Here's an update on Glenbrook's upcoming Payments Boot Camps from partner Carol Coye Benson:

"Our phone is ringing off the hook with people trying to figure out what the payments system impact of FDC's going private might be - just when we're starting to get our head around the role of the card associations as public (or almost public!) institutions. These are the kinds of questions that always get fascinating interactions going at our Payments Boot Camps. We have a few seats left for our New York City payments boot camp on April 24th and 25th and recently opened for registration our next San Francisco Bay Area payments boot camp on May 2nd and 3rd."

Questions? Email Carol directly.

Survey Says - Pay Electronically and You'll Be a Better Saver

According to a consumer survey commissioned by NACHA's Marketing Management Group, consumers who use direct deposit or direct payment to add to their savings accounts save $90 more per month than those who use another method to save. The survey showed that only 36 percent of respondents use direct deposit or direct payment to save with the majority doing their saving by depositing checks or cash (41%) or by manually transferring money between accounts (13%).


Fifth Third Bank Joins NACHA

Fifth Third Bank has joined NACHA as a direct financial institution member, becoming the third new NACHA member in 2007. According to the most recent NACHA Top 50 list, Fifth Third is the nation's 18th largest originating financial institution and the 14th largest receiving financial institution of ACH payments.


Reflections on the 10th Digital Money Forum

Dave Birch writes about last week's 10th Digital Money Forum held in London - saying "the central question posed this year was that of the “half life” of cash, presupposing an asymptotic fall in cash usage. Will digital money become the mainstream in the next decade?" Presentations from the Digital Money Forum are now available online.

First Data Files More Details On KKR Buyout

Yesterday afternoon, First Data Corp. made several filings with the SEC regarding its just announced buyout by KKR. Included were the Agreement and Plan of Merger between FDC and KKR, an internal employee blog posting by David Bailis, President of FDC's Financial Institution Services business unit, and a transcript of an internal Q&A conference call that CEO Ric Duques had with employees.

From Free to Fee in China

Janece Zhou of Pacific Epoch reports how quickly the online payment providers in China have flipped from free to fees for their services.

Citi Mobile Brings Everyday Banking to Your Cell Phone

Citibank has introduced Citi Mobile - describing it as "the first mobile banking application from a major U.S. bank that can be quickly downloaded onto cell phones, making mobile banking for Citibank clients as fast and effortless as banking online. A push of a button on your cell phone is all it takes to check your balance, pay bills, transfer funds, find an ATM and more."


April 02, 2007

Metavante Spin Off Rumors

The winds of change are really blowing in the US payments business. Tonight, Dennis K. Berman reports for the Wall St. Journal on rumors of a plan to spin Metavante out of Marshall & Isley Corp. into a new public company. According to Berman, Warburg Pincus would take a minority position in the new company. Former Bank of America CEO David Coulter, also a member of the board of directors of First Data Corp, is reported to be helping Warburg Pincus with its financial technology investment efforts.

New Papers from the Payment Cards Center of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank

The Payment Cards Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has published two new papers. The first, titled "Bankruptcy: Is It Enough to Forgive or Must We Also Forget?", authors Ronel Elul and Peiro Gottardi develop a model in which entrepreneurs must repeatedly seek external funds to finance a sequence of risky projects under conditions of both adverse selection and moral hazard. The second, titled "Competitive Effects of Basel II on U.S. Bank Credit Card Lending", by William W. Lang, Loretta J. Mester, and Todd A. Vermilyea analyzes the potential competitive effects of the proposed Basel II capital regulations on U.S. bank credit card lending.

UK Tells Consumers To Report Financial Fraud to Their Banks

As of Sunday,April 1, 2007, new procedures went into effect in England, Wales and Northern Ireland requiring that "banks and financial institutions become the first point of contact for cheque, plastic card and online fraud offences. In most cases consumers will be required to report instances of this type of fraud straight to their bank or building society and not to the police. It will be up to the financial institution involved, and not the account holder, to pass details of the relevant crime on to the police."


A Look at Citi Mobile

Anita Hamilton writes for about Citi's launch of its new Citi Mobile mobile banking service - noting that the new service is independent of any wireless carrier. There's an FAQ on Citi Mobile available from the bank's web site.

Contactless Vending Machines Now At Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

SkyeTek, in partnership with Isochron, has announced they have enabled cashless payment at vending machines located throughout the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Consumers equipped with RFID enabled credit cards can now make a purchase by just waving a card within a few feet of the new vending machines.



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