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« September 9, 2007 - September 15, 2007 | Main | September 23, 2007 - September 29, 2007 »

September 22, 2007

Retailers Struggle With Card Fees

Steve Adams writes for the Patriot Ledger about local merchant concerns about payment card acceptance fees. Adams quotes Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the Washington-based National Association of Convenience Stores, who says "If somebody puts a pack of gum on the counter and pays with a credit card, you’re better off if the person just stole it."

Payment Card Data Leakers Are Often Mom & Pop Merchants

Robin Sidel writes for the Wall St. Journal about payment card data security - pointing out that "smaller shops have proven ill-prepared for the complexities of safeguarding credit-card information." Some small merchants say they're not aware of potential vulnerabilities - or the need to protect data. Sidel notes that Minnesota passed the Plastic Card Security Act earlier this year which took effect in August. California's AB779 has been passed by both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting signature by the governor.

Moneta Acquires CheckFree's Retail Payments Product

Moneta has announced that it has acquired the Retail Payments (RPS) product formerly owned by CheckFree. "The RPS technology allows consumers to purchase goods and services by transferring money directly from their checking accounts to participating merchants. This simplified process eliminates a large portion of the fees merchants assume with traditional purchases made on credit cards and through other online payment providers. RPS has been a successful CheckFree service offering for more than two years."

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TJX Settles Class Action Lawsuits Re: Payment Card Data Breach

TJX announced late yesterday that it "has entered into a Settlement Agreement with respect to the customer class actions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico relating to customer claims arising from the criminal intrusion(s) into TJX's computer system."

Update: Evan Schuman looks at the details of the TJX settlement.

September 21, 2007

Mobile Banking in Asia

The Asian Banker profiles mobile banking activity in markets across Asia - noting that, in some developing markets, banking on the mobile phone may be the first online experience that bank customers experience.

A Look at Credit Card Rewards

Adam Levitin, associate professor of law at Georgetown University, has been writing this week on the Credit Slips blog. In a post titled "Who's Paying for your Reward Points?", Levitin describes what he calls "the largest component of the fee merchants pay" - that going to fund credit card rewards programs. He continues: "Although merchants finance the rewards programs, they derive little or no benefit from them. Rather than generating additional sales [for merchants], rewards programs merely induce consumers to shift transactions from less expensive payment systems to more expensive rewards credit cards."

Credit Card Fees Eat up Merchants’ Profits

John Boyle writes for the Asheville Citizen-Times about local merchant reaction to the fees charged to merchants for payment card acceptance. Boyle quotes a local gasoline retailer: “The thing that really concerns me — and you’ll hear this in Congress from time to time — is how people feel they’re being gouged on gasoline, yet the credit card companies are making the same cents per gallon I am."

Headline News - September 21, 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.

September 20, 2007

Glenbrook's Thumbnail Mobile Banking Strategy

At Glenbrook, we get asked a lot about our views about mobile banking and payments. In our opinion, mobile payment is a whole separate kettle of fish - and not something addressed here. But mobile banking is here and now as most major banks are making their decisions about how to offer mobile banking this year. We've just posted our thoughts re a "thumbnail mobile banking strategy" - we welcome your comments.

Update: Glenbrook's Russ Jones turns the thumbnail mobile strategy into a 10-step cookbook.

Global and US POS Markets

Mercator Advisory Group has published a new report titled "The Global and US POS Market: Forecasts and Futures" that reviews global and regional POS terminal shipments and approximate revenues and looks at the future role of POS terminals in the payment ecosystem.

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First Data International Supports Dresdner Bank Prepaid Card

First Data International has announced it is providing card processing services for the new VIsa prepaid card introduced by Dresdner Bank, part of the Allianz Group. According to First Data, "the Dresdner Prepaid Card combines the principle of prepayment made familiar in the mobile phone market with the payment functionality of a credit card. The card is not linked to a credit facility, and the customer defines the level of credit available on the card by making a deposit. To support the new card, First Data is providing processing and call centre services."

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Going to Finovate 2007?

If you're going to Jim Bruene's Finovate 2007 conference being held on Tuesday, October 2, in New York City, please introduce yourself to Glenbrook's Bryan Derman who will also be attending the conference. Bryan is based in the New York City area and supports a number of Glenbrook clients up and down the east coast.

Finovate 2007 will be showcasing twenty innovative financial services companies including: Andera, Billeo Inc., CheckFree/Corillian, ClairMail, Firethorn, Digital Insight, Geezeo, Identity Theft 911, iPay Technologies, Jwaala, Lending Club, Metavante, mFoundry, Mint, Monitise, Mortgagebot, MShift, Online Resources, Prosper Marketplace, and Yodlee.

TrialPay Updates Business Results

TrialPay has announced that it has achieved more than 2.6 million registered users, 1,000 merchants and over 2,000 advertisers using its platform and that its user base continues to grow with more than 10,000 individuals registering daily.

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US Unveils Newly Redesigned $5 Bill

The U.S. government has digitally unveiled a new, more secure design for the $5 bill that will be issued and enter circulation in early 2008. A new $100 bill will follow. This is the first time in history that U.S. paper money has ever been unveiled entirely online.

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Discover, Chase Paymentech Partner for Small to Mid-Size Merchants

Discover Financial Services and Chase Paymentech have announced "the integration of Discover Network card acceptance into Chase Paymentech's payments network for small- to mid-sized merchants. Chase Paymentech is the world's largest merchant acquirer, with a customer base of more than 600,000 merchants in almost 1 million locations."

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Raining On The Mobile Banking Parade

Forrester's Catherine Graeber has published a report titled "Raining On The Mobile Banking Parade" in which she takes a skeptical view of mobile banking. Graeber says: "We hate to rain on this parade, but here's the reality: Today's consumers still aren't very interested in mobile banking. Before putting a mobile offering at the head of the development queue, eBusiness banking execs should sit patiently on the sidelines and wait to see if the early leaders succeed in growing adoption and delivering a solid ROI."

At Glenbrook, we're taking a somewhat different view. Seems to us that both SMS-based and, particularly, browser-based mobile banking are relatively quick, easy, and cheap for banks to implement, enabling early learning about the customer's mobile interests. We agree that a positive business case for bankers to spend any significant money on mobile banking remains elusive.

Brandon McGee comments on the Forrester report - interpreting more positively some of the data Forrester presents.

Visa Updates payWave Contactless Deployment Status

Visa has released an update regarding the adoption of its Visa payWave contactless-based payments around the world. Visa payWave allows cardholders to wave their card in front of contactless payment terminals without the need to physically swipe or insert the card into a point-of-sale device.

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September 19, 2007

TXT MSGS MAKE BNKG EZ

With that subtitle, Chase has officially launched Chase Mobile, saying it's the "first major US bank to introduce mobile banking using cell phone text messaging to give customers account information on demand."

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NACHA Forms Green Coalition

NACHA has announced the formation of a "green coalition" to educate consumers about the positive environmental impacts of choosing electronic bills, statements, and payments over paper. The leadership partners include Bank of America, CheckFree, Citibank, Citizens Bank, EPN, the Federal Reserve Banks, Fiserv, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank.

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The Battle over California's AB779

The San Francisco Chronicle writes an editorial in favor of Assembly Bill 779 authored by Assemblyman Dave Jones. The bill has passed both houses of the California legislature and is awaiting signing by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Retailers are urging the governor not to sign the bill.

Among other requirements in the bill that mostly mirror those of PCI-DSS including a requirement that retailers in the state encrypt the transmission of payment-related data. Beginning July 1, 2008 in California, one cannot "send payment-related data over open, public networks unless the data is encrypted using strong cryptography and security protocols or otherwise rendered indecipherable." Payment-related data is defined as "account number, credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual's financial account."

India - Enjoying Payment Cards

India's Economic Times examines the growth in usage of payment cards in India - both debit and credit cards. "There are currently 25 million credit cards in India and ICICI Bank is the largest player with 8.5 million cards issued. Citibank, SBI-GE Card and HDFC Bank are the other prominent players in the sector."

New Aite Group Report: Transforming Data into Insight

A new report titled "Transforming Data into Insight: Enhancing Customer Relationships and Bank Profits" from Aite Group, LLC "examines opportunities to gather and analyze the relationship and transaction data on both aggregated groups of customers and individual bank customers to enhance the comprehensive 360° view of the customer and to improve key business processes, such as new account opening and account management."

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September 18, 2007

Australia's Reserve Bank Annual Report on Payment Systems

The Reserve Bank of Australia's Payments System Board has published its Annual Report (PDF) covering its activities for 2006 and 2007. The report devotes a full chapter to the Card Payments Systems - noting that "much of the Board’s effort has been devoted to improving efficiency and competition in Australia’s retail payments system, particularly the card-based systems" and, especially, interchange fees.

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2007 Holiday Gift Card Survey

Archstone Consulting has announced the results of its 2007 Holiday Gift Card Survey examining the shopping habits of more than 1,000 web users across various age groups, gender and region. Based on the survey results, Archstone projects gift card purchases reaching an all-time high at $35 Billion this holiday season, compared to last year’s actual spending figure of $27.8 Billion, a 25 percent increase year-over-year.

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What Mobile Operators Should Know About Mobile Payments

Diamond Management & Technology Consultants has announced a new white paper titled "Mobile Payments: Mobile Operator Market Opportunities and Business Models" that suggests that, "while the growing multi-functionality of mobile phones could present an opportunity to substitute the ubiquitous wallet with a digital alternative, wireless operators face real challenges in deciding how they will generate new revenue in a mobile payments ecosystem that could be dominated by financial services firms."

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Mint Launches New, Free Web-based Personal Financial Manager

Calling itself "the freshest, most intelligent way for you to manage your money online.", Mint.com, a new web-based approach to personal financial management, has officially launched. Mint says it "automatically pulls together the user’s bank, credit union and credit card data, and provides up-to-date and amazingly accurate views of his or her !nancial life - from the big picture to speci!c details, in a friendly and intuitive user interface."

Moneta Online Payment Service

Moneta, a new online financial services company, has announced a new alternative to current forms of online payment that enables consumers to "make online payments directly from their checking or money market accounts using only a secure four-digit PIN." The company says that "merchants pay fees up to 50 percent below those charged by credit card companies and other online payment options." On its web site, Moneta lists Aloha Airlines, TigerDirect.com, Shoebuy.com, and AirTran Airways as participating merchants.

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Wells Fargo Launches Browser-based Small Business Mobile Banking

Wells Fargo has announced "the latest addition to its mobile banking services, Wells Fargo Mobile for small businesses, a browser-based solution that gives small business owners nationwide access to their business and personal financial information at anytime, from anywhere."

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