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« January 7, 2007 - January 13, 2007 | Main | January 21, 2007 - January 27, 2007 »

January 20, 2007

Make the Most of Your Credit Card

ABC News has a feature story this morning for consumer's about how to make the most of credit cards based upon an interview on Good Morning America with Ron Lieber, staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Lieber recommends borrowing first from family members and never, if you can avoid it, from credit card companies. In between he suggests considering, the person-to-person lending company.

More On TJX Breach And Fifth Third Bank

James McNair writes for the Cincinnati Enquirer about the major data security breach at TJX Companies and Fifth Third Bank's role as the merchant acquirer for TJX. In an article titled 'TJX facing customer complaints, possible fines by credit-card firms" in the Boston Globe, Ross Kerber writes that this incident may be the first major test for the recently formed Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Kerber quotes Seana Pitt, an American Express vice president who chairs the council, who said that the TJX incident is "a wake-up call for the industry" that reinforces why merchants should improve their security. Larry Greenemeier reports the story for Information Week In an article titled 'Credit Card Data, A Hack, And A Rush To Contain The Damage".

January 19, 2007

Words Of Thanks!

For Glenbrook and Payments News, it's been one of those weeks - one of those very good weeks. We always love to hear feedback on how Payments News is helping payments professionals (our "target audience"!) - and we've heard a bunch of great stories this week. If you've got one to share with us, please let us know! Or, if we're not quite cutting it, we need to know that too! Add your comments on the end of this post - or drop us a note. Hope you have a great weekend!

On To Web4

After that brief moment of silence for Bitpass, let's move on to Web4 - so artfully portrayed by Seth Godin. "I'm about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it cheaper, or if I want it from a vendor with a better reputation. Not based on some gamed system, but based on what a small trusted circle believes."

Bitpass Is Toast

Bitpass has begun notifying its merchant and consumer customers via email that "due to circumstances beyond our control, we are discontinuing our operations. We have partnered with Digital River to provide operational support during the period prior to shut down. As of today, January 19, 2007, all Bitpass Buyers with US dollar denominated accounts are being notified that they will have seven (7) days to spend any amounts that currently exist in their Bitpass Account." Alas, Clay Shirky was right. Bitpass, RIP.

A History Of PayPal

Valleywag has posted an "alternate history of PayPal" written by founder and former PayPal CEO Elon Musk. Readers might also enjoy today's post from Robert X. Cringely - it's mostly about Google although he uses an opening reference to PayPal's early history to lay part of the foundation for his story.


Massachusetts Bankers Assn Responds To TJX Data Breach

The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) said in a press release late yesterday that in addition to VISA USA, now MasterCard is contacting Massachusetts banks to report that some of their customers’ personal banking information may have been compromised due to the data breach reported by TJX Companies. The association said that "Bay State banks are acting quickly to protect customers who have been red-flagged by the two card associations after doing business with TJX stores including TJMaxx, Marshalls, Winners, HomeGoods, TKMaxx, AJWright, and HomeSense." The MBA also said it is "questioning the TJX’s self-characterization as being “victimized” by the intrusion in a news release issued yesterday by the retailer." Daniel J. Forte, CEO and president of the MBA said, “We think it’s a little odd that they would characterize themselves as victims when it appears that they may have been capturing data that is unnecessary.”


NPC Signs With TSYS Acquiring Solutions

TSYS Acquiring Solutions has announced it signed an earlier agreement to provide transaction processing services for National Processing Company (NPC), formerly Iron Triangle Payment Systems. The multi-year agreement was effective in the third quarter of 2006. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


More on TJX Data Breach

Robin Sidel reports for the Wall St. Journal that the merchant acquirer responsible for handling card payments for TJX is Fifth Third Bank - although the bank won't confirm that fact. Sidel points out that the card associations look to the merchant acquirer for any liability associated with the actions of an acquirer's merchants. Separately, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank posted a statement on the committee's web site saying "those institutions where breaches have occurred must be identified and they must bear responsibility. Specifically, this means retailers or wholesalers must take responsibility, contrary to what common practice is today."

Back To The Future - Of Mobile Banking

James Van Dyke of Javelin Strategy and Research blogs about how it's feeling like we're back in 2000 again - what with the seeming renewed interest in mobile banking and mobile payments. Back then, he says "the technology didn’t match the way that people managed their finances" - and the banks eventually shut down their mobile-specific offerings. Here are two bookends on Wells Fargo's experience - a February 7, 2001 press release announcing Wells Fargo as the "first major bank to launch nationwide wireless banking" with the launch of Wells Wireless - and a CNET story from August 2002 (only 18 months later) announcing the shutdown of the Wells Fargo wireless banking service after only 2,500 customers actually used it. Obviously, the big question is what's different today? You can stay tuned to the news about mobile banking and mobile commerce in the category archives for those topics here on Payments News.

Growing Opposition To A Wal-Mart Bank

Gary McWilliams reports in this morning's Wall St. Journal about growing opposition in several states to Wal-Mart obtaining a bank license, even though the retailer has repeatedly said it has no interest in operating a consumer bank. The FDIC is meeting on January 31st to consider Wal-Mart's application - along with nine other ILC applications. Last year, the FDIC imposed a six-month moratorium on ILC application approvals and that period is now coming to an end later this month.

Headline News - January 19, 2007

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated.

January 18, 2007

Chase Card Services Strengthens Credit Card Practices, Services

Chase Card Services has announced changes to its its policies and practices that it says are designed to help customers more easily manage their accounts and personal finances and avoid fees.


Fortney Named Chairman of EFTA's eFinancial Enablers Council

The eFinancial Enablers Council (eFEC), a roundtable of CEOs and division heads of leading Internet banking and payments providers, has announced the election of David S. Fortney as chairman. Mr. Fortney represents Metavante Corporation, where he serves as a senior vice president heading Metavante’s electronic presentment and payments business.


JPMorgan Chase Acquires FisaCure

JPMorgan Chase has announced it has acquired all of the assets of FisaCure, a provider of electronic remittance services for Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliant transaction sets. The acquired FisaCure technology will become part of the Healthcare Solutions business of JPMorgan Chase's Treasury Services unit.


Retailers Face Threat Of Gift Card Fraud

Anne D'Innocenzio reports for the Associated Press on a presentation made at the National Retail Federation's annual conference in New York City by Paul Cogswell, vice president of loss prevention and risk services at Comdata Stored Value Solutions. Among some of the techniques discussed, Cogswell noted that "thieves steal credit cards and then buy gift cards with [those cards]. That helps the crook "extend the life of a credit card," since most victims of stolen credit cards will immediately report a missing card."

A Look At Ecommerce In Europe

comScore Networks has released a report on European online holiday shopping activity in the U.K., France and Germany concluding that Germans spent the most online during the holiday period -- an estimated 5.4 billion EUR from 30 October -- 31 December, 2006. U.K. consumers spent an estimated 4.0 billion EUR online during the same period, and the French spent an estimated 1.9 billion EUR. This compares to an estimated 18.8 billion EUR (US$24.6 billion) spent in the U.S. during the holiday shopping period (1 November to 31 December).


Intel Capital Invests In ClickandBuy

Intel Capital continues to invest in payments-related companies. Last April, Intel Capital invested in Japan's Bitwallet. Today, FIRSTGATE Holding AG, owner of ClickandBuy, announced it has received investment funding from Intel Capital. The company reports it has more than seven million users and 7,000 merchants using its system for the sale of goods and services online.


TJX Security Breach

The TJX Companies yesterday announced that "it has suffered an unauthorized intrusion into its computer systems that process and store information related to customer transactions."


Who's News - Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Robyn Bartlett-Andersen has been named General Manager of First Data Healthcare Services at First Data Corp.
  • Silvio Tavares has been named Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations at First Data Corp.
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.

January 17, 2007

A Look At Cross-Border Payments

Visa has published a new white paper titled, "The inefficiencies of cross-border payments: How current forces are shaping the future" (PDF) by Dr. Yoon S. Park, PHD & DBA, George Washington University.


MasterCard Announces Two New Board Members

MasterCard has announced the election of Nancy J. Karch and Tan Teong Hean to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.


It's All About Control

Dave Birch blogs about the give and take between mobile operators and banks as they jockey for position in mobile payments. He says it's not concerns about security that are at issue - rather, it's all about control. He notes a recent announcement by Rabobank in the Netherlands of Rabo Mobile - where the bank will be distributing the handsets to customers.

G&D Supports Bank of America’s NFC Trial

Bank of America has chosen Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) to provide Over The Air personalization services as part of a trial to test radio frequency contactless payment companion devices.


January 16, 2007

New Report Links High Credit Card Debt To Medical Expenses

As health care costs continue to rise faster than incomes, families are turning to credit cards to pay for medical care, according to new research by Demos and the Access Project in a report entitled "Borrowing to Stay Healthy: How Credit Card Debt Is Related to Medical Expenses" (PDF).


City of Detroit Enables Card Acceptance At Multispace Meters

Duncan Solutions and Peppercoin have announced that the City of Detroit is "among the first wave of cities to let drivers pay for on-street parking with their credit or debit cards instead of searching for loose change. Detroit recently replaced old, traditional parking meters with 175 new multispace meters, covering nearly 1,225 parking spots. This is one of the largest deployments of parking paystations that accept credit cards in the United States."


Deloitte Launches Center for Banking Solutions

Deloitte & Touche USA has announced the formation of the Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions, which Deloitte says "will address innovative ways to solve issues affecting the competitiveness of banks operating in the United States. The Center will be led by independent chairman Donald Ogilvie, who served as president and chief executive officer of the American Bankers Association (ABA) for two decades before joining Deloitte in September."


Check 21 Webinar Next Monday

Panini, a provider of check capture solutions for the financial services industry, has announced it will be holding a webinar next Monday, January 22, 2007 at 1:30 pm EST. Debbie Howell, Senior Account Executive, Federal Reserve Bank, will present a current industry update on Check 21, including the most recent electronic check clearing data. “The growth of Check 21 is now steady and healthy,” states Howell. “The Fed has very aggressive goals for the continued electronification of paper checks during 2007.” Doug Roberts, president of Panini North America, will provide a company and product update. Registration information can be obtained by visiting Panini’s website at


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