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« May 6, 2007 - May 12, 2007 | Main | May 20, 2007 - May 26, 2007 »

May 19, 2007

The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act

Earlier this week, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced legislation to "stop some of the most egregious credit card practices that unfairly deepen or prolong credit card debt held by consumers. The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act (PDF) follows an investigation and hearing by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Levin chairs and on which McCaskill serves."

In his floor statement introducing the bill, Sen. Levin said that the bill "would stop credit card companies from charging interest on debt that is paid on time. It would crack down on abusive fees, including repeated late fees and over-the-limit fees, as well as fees to pay your bill. It would also prohibit the charging of interest on those fees. It would establish guidelines on interest rate increases, including a cap on penalty interest rate hikes at no more than seven percent. And it would require that increased interest rates apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt already incurred."

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May 18, 2007

Wells Fargo Launches Images of Returned Item, Deposit Details for Small Business

Wells Fargo has announced the launch of Returned Item & Deposit Details, an enhancement to its Wells Fargo Business Online Banking service. According to the bank, "with this rollout, Wells Fargo is one of the first major U.S. financial institutions to offer small- to mid-sized business customers access to electronic images of returned items, as well as an array of other electronic images, including cleared checks and deposited checks - as part of its online banking service."

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Cash Rewards for Debit Card Usage

Wayne Heilman writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette about debit card cash reward programs offered by credit unions and provided by Rainbow Rewards USA Inc.

A Look at Rewards Cards

USA Today's Christine Dugas writes about all manner of rewards cards available to consumers today - noting that "some rewards cards can be misleading, especially if you neglect to study the fine print."

Headline News - May 18, 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.

May 17, 2007

New Job Postings on PaymentsJobs.com

Bored with your current gig and looking to move on to a new one? Our PaymentsJobs.com jobs listings help payments professionals find the best new opportunities.

Here are some of the new listings:

Looking to hire the best? Highlight your current job openings by listing them on PaymentsJobs.com.

Wells Fargo Introduces Mobile Banking for Business Customers

Wells Fargo has announced its CEO Mobile service to a select group of customers, saying it has become "the first major U.S. financial services company to offer mobile service for businesses."

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Celent Bullish About Mobile Banking

Celent has published a new report titled "US Mobile Banking: Beyond the Buzz" concluding that "mobile banking is here to stay and will grow significantly faster than online banking."

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Evolution Benefits, The Bancorp Bank Team on Health Savings Accounts

Evolution Benefits and The Bancorp Bank have announced an agreement to "provide an integrated solution combining The Bancorp Bank’s health savings accounts and EB’s prepaid benefits card known as Benny to support advanced consumer-directed healthcare programs. The companies’ integrated product will be available in early June."

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Brinks, Metavante Partner on Remote Image Capture Services

Brink’s U.S. and Metavante have announced the launch of Metavante’s Sendpoint distributed image capture service to Brinks’ cash vaults across the country. Metavante’s Sendpoint service provides for the remote image capture and image exchange of deposits and payments received from Brink's Vaults, accelerating deposit capture from receipt through posting and presentment.

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Virgin USA Acquires Majority Interest in CircleLending

Virgin USA has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in CircleLending, Inc., a financial services company that "pioneered the business of managing loans between relatives and friends."

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Acxiom Agrees to Be Acquired by Silver Lake, ValueAct Capital

Acxiom has announced that it has "entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Silver Lake, the leading investment firm focused on large-scale investments in technology-driven growth industries, and ValueAct Capital, one of the largest investment firms that makes strategic block and control investments in public and private companies. Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital will acquire 100 percent of the outstanding equity interests in the company in an all-cash transaction valued at $3.0 billion, including the assumption of approximately $756 million of debt."

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Alliance Data To Be Acquired by The Blackstone Group

Alliance Data Systems Corporation has announced that it has "entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, in a transaction valued at approximately $7.8 billion, including the assumption of certain debt. Under the terms of the agreement, Blackstone will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Alliance Data for $81.75 per share in cash. The purchase price represents a premium of approximately 30 percent over Alliance Data's closing share price of $62.96 on May 16, 2007."

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A Look at CardTech/SecureTech

Dan Fost writes for the San Francisco Chronicle about the latest technology for payments that he saw at this week's CardTech/SecureTech show in San Francisco. "Allen Weinberg, a managing partner at Glenbrook Partners, a payments industry consultant in Menlo Park, said new payment methods are already showing up in places like McDonald's and 7-Eleven. He described a friend who, despite being a "mileage hound" who charged nearly every purchase to earn frequent-flier points, was reluctant to pay for his bag of burgers at McDonald's with his Visa card.
Then Weinberg tapped his wallet on the reader, it beeped, and the transaction was done. "He said, 'I would do that,' " Weinberg said. "The overriding theme is speed and convenience."

Amex, Consumer Action Expand Rollout Of Credit Card Education Program

Consumer Action and American Express have announced plans to expand their jointly developed credit card education program called "Credit Cards: What You Need to Know." The program is centered on a training module with a curriculum and educational brochures, translated into five languages, that are distributed to the more than 9,000 community-based organizations within Consumer Action's network to educate consumers about how to best choose and use credit cards.

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Aetna to Enable Faster Payments Between Members, Health Care Providers

Aetna has announced it is "working with Medical Funding Services (MFS) to introduce expanded electronic options to simplify billing and reimbursement. MFS will offer its financial services and related electronic payment solutions to network health care providers in select markets. These include an online solution that combines the health plan and patient portions of a medical bill into a single payment to health care providers."

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Corporate and Purchasing Card Practices Vary by Region

Visa International has announced results from a recent global survey titled, "Global Commercial Payment Cards: Cutting Costs and Boosting Control on a Global Stage" that finds "companies worldwide primarily implement corporate card programs for enhanced visibility into spend (nearly 70 percent), and that the number one priority for companies around the world for implementing purchasing card (P-card) programs is reducing administrative costs for transaction processing (86 percent), but the goals and growth drivers for the programs differ by region."

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Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:


  • Debra A. Janssen has been elected to the Board of Directors of Online Resources Corporation. Earlier, she served as President of First Data Debit Services (Star Network), and as President and CEO of eFunds Corporation.
  • Jerry Bartlett has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Development for First Data Resources (FDR). Bartlett was most recently with TD AMERITRADE where he oversaw all information technology (IT) initiatives.
  • Chris Shultz and Claudia Zane have joined MeritCard, as equity owners, to help promote that company's Agent program. Both Chris and Claudia were with Chase Paymentech for 12 years as Regional Managers in the Strategic Partner Channel.
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.

May 16, 2007

UK - HSBC Opts Out of Home Chip and PIN

Andrea-Marie Vassou writes for Computeract!ve about a decision by HSBC to not deploy to customers chip card readers that other major banks in the UK are deploying to help deal with online banking and ecommerce fraud.

Use Your Driver's License as a Debit Card

Kerry Miller reports for Business Week about a two-year-old company called National Payment Card that enables payments using a consumer's driver's license and a PIN - with the transaction linked directly to the consumers checking account. According to Miller, "NPC started piloting the patent-pending technology at a handful of gas stations in Texas this January. Since then the company has signed contracts to roll out the system to five regional convenience store chains starting in June."

American Express Plans Business, Consumer Buy Site

Ephraim Schwartz writes for InfoWorld about plans by American Express to "launch a consumer service in the fourth quarter that will give American Express cardholders access to American Express's own negotiated rates for thousands of products that it buys annually."

A Q&A With Visa's New CEO

Yesterday, Visa announced that Joseph W. Saunders would be the chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc. The San Jose Mercury News personal finance reporter Mark Schwanhausser interviewed Saunders yesterday.

Metavante Expands Rewards To Online Bill Payment

Metavante has announced it is expanding its Points2U rewards program to include its online bill payment service. Financial institutions now have the option of deploying an integrated rewards program for any combination of credit, debit or electronic bill payment services.

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ID Analytics Secures $20 Million in Series C Financing

ID Analytics has announced it has closed $20 million in a Series C financing that was led by Investor Growth Capital and included existing investors Canaan Partners, Trinity Ventures and Mission Ventures.

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Headline News - May 16, 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.

May 15, 2007

The Updated Glenbrook Web Site

Last week, we "soft launched" the new Glenbrook Partners web site. The new "minimalist" design of glenbrook.com is the first major update to the site since we launched it about five years ago. Learn more about who we are - we'd really welcome your visit!

Chase Launches Chase Rewards Plus

Chase Card Services and Mall Networks have announced the launch of Chase Rewards Plus, calling it "a dynamic shopping program that provides cardmembers with a rewarding online shopping experience. With Chase Rewards Plus, millions of Chase rewards cardmembers will now be able to earn unlimited bonus rewards and take advantage of special offers and discounts while shopping at hundreds of leading online retailers through www.chase.com/rewardsplus."

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American Express Launches The Members Project

American Express has announced what it is calling "a unique online initiative called The Members Project that enables American Express Cardmembers to come together as a community by submitting and sharing their project ideas for making a positive impact in the world."

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Growth in Internet Banking Outpaces All Other Banking Channels Ever Launched

TowerGroup has announced new research finding that the "adoption of online banking by
U.S. consumers is going strong, outpacing growth rates for every other
method of retail banking delivery" - including everything from ATM to call centers. The firm says that "the long touted promise of online banking is now hitting its stride."

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