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« January 14, 2007 - January 20, 2007 | Main | January 28, 2007 - February 3, 2007 »

January 27, 2007

Want to Loan Me Money?

Annys Shin writes for the Washington Post about person-to-person lending at Prosper.com. "Instead of selling your money to a bank to see the bank sell that money to someone else at 19 percent, why can't I have some of that money?" chief executive Chris Larsen said.

January 26, 2007

More on ING Direct's Electric Orange Account

The Sun's Financial Diary blog reviews comments and experiences from readers using ING Direct's Electric Orange checking account.

Credit Card Companies' Evil Tricks

Liz Pulliam Weston writes for MSN Money about some of the worst practices of credit card issuers. The practices that particularly irk her include issuers being mysterious on interest rates on new accounts, reporting issues re: data issuers send to credit bureaus, late fees for payments, outrageous balance transfer and over-limit fees, and issuing multiple cards with low limits to risky borrowers (Capital One particularly).

TJX Data Breach Update

In an article titled 'TJX cyberfraud spreads: Bank of America reissuing cards", Boston Herald general economics reporter Jay Fitzgerald provides an update on the effects of the TJX data breach - including that "Bank of America said yesterday it’s reissuing credit cards to customers hit with fraudulent charges tied to the cybertheft of data from TJX Cos."

What MasterCard, Visa Can Learn From Wal-Mart ILC Bid

Eric Grover of Intrepid Ventures writes a letter to the editor of the American Banker discussing what he thinks MasterCard and Visa can learn from Wal-Mart's bid to obtain an Industrial Loan Corporation charter. Speaking of the public debate about interchange, Eric writes "In an environment where their critics are mobilized, appeasement won't work. MasterCard and Visa need to relentlessly make an aggressive affirmative case in the public arena, or, like Wal-Mart, they will suffer for it."

First Data Intl, INICIS Form Alliance for Global Merchant Processing in Korea

First Data International and INICIS Co Ltd have announced a strategic alliance to offer merchant processing services to global, online merchants operating in Korea.

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EBPP Forecast: 2006 To 2011

Forrester's Catherine Graeber has published a new report titled "EBPP Forecast: 2006 To 2011" that forecasts growth in electronic bill presentment and payment. "In 2005, electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) adoption grew by 34%, the highest annual growth rate in four years. Robust adoption growth is expected during the next five years. as the number of EBPP users will grow by 63% to roughly 60 million households."

January 25, 2007

Are You Prepared For A Data Breach?

First Data's Star business unit is holding a webinar on the subject of "Data Breach Planning and Response: Issues, Insights & Actions" on Wednesday, February 7, 2007, at 11:00 am EST. Guest experts will include: Peter Burns - Federal Reserve Bank Of Philadelphia, Bruce Cundiff - Javelin Strategy & Research, and Beth Lynn - First Data.

Merchants Applaud Congressional Call for Disclosure From Credit Card Industry

The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) Legislative Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Hatcher today issued the following statement based on comments from Senator Christopher Dodd (D- CT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, at this morning's Hearing titled "Examining the Billing, Marketing, and Disclosure Practices of the Credit Card Industry and Their Impact on Consumers."

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StoreNext and Pay By Touch Team On Independent Grocers

StoreNext Retail Technologies and Pay By Touch have announced an agreement under which the two companies will market and distribute Pay By Touch’s biometric authentication and payment service to independent grocers. The companies says that their joint solution "minimizes grocers’ transaction costs while allowing shoppers to pay for purchases with the simple touch of a finger."

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Update On Senate Banking Committee Hearing On Credit Cards

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing this morning on the "Billing, Marketing, and Disclosure Practices of the Credit Card Industry, and Their Impact on Consumers". The committee's web site has been updated to include the prepared testimony of the participants along with a video archive of the hearing itself. In his opening statement, committee chairman Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said that he "would like to put the credit card industry, issuing banks and card associations on notice. If you currently engage in any business practice that you would be ashamed to discuss before this Committee, I would strongly encourage you to cease and desist that practice. Irrespective of the current legality of such practices, you should take a long, hard look at how you treat your customers, both in the short term and the long term."

Retailers Push For Lower Debit Card Fees

Mike Scott writes for the Oakland, MI Business Review about the give and take between merchants and banks with respect to the fees merchants pay for PIN-based vs. signature-based debit transactions. Separately, the Center for Responsible Lending has announced a new study titled "Debit Card Danger" (PDF) that concludes that banks are "taking advantage of the upward trend in debit card use to make high-cost overdraft loans more common and still costlier. “What banks are calling ‘bounce protection’ is starting to look more like a ‘protection racket,’” said Eric Halperin, director of CRL’s Washington office and a co-author of the report. “Banks are raking in fees from unwitting customers who would not overdraft if given a choice.”

Annals of Data Breaches

James C. McGrath and Ann Kjos of the Payment Cards Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia have published a conference summary report for a conference held at the bank last September.

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RSA Annual Consumer Online Fraud Survey

RSA has announced the findings of its fourth annual Financial Institution Consumer Online Fraud Survey. Conducted in December 2006, the online survey(1) asked 1,678 adults(2) from eight countries(3) around the world for their opinions on evolving fraud threats such as phishing, vishing and keylogging, and on the efforts of their financial institutions to strengthen remote channel banking authentication.

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PayPal’s Struggle For “Off-eBay” Volume

Javelin's Bruce Cundiff offers his comments on PayPal's earnings - as announced yesterday by eBay - and the level of "off eBay" payment volume handled by PayPal (about 36%). Cundiff suggests that "PayPal needs to find another niche (be it transactional, consumer, regional, or otherwise) to prove its worth and further bump up off eBay volume."

First Data Acquires Size Technologies

First Data Corp. has announced it has acquired Size Technologies, a provider of loyalty, stored value and transaction marketing solutions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Credit Card Issuers On The Spot

Christopher Conkey reports for the Wall St. Journal on today's Senate Banking Committee hearing examining the "disclosure, marketing and billing strategies of credit card firms" - saying that "With Democrats now in control of the agenda, the microscope is being focused on how terms offered by banks and credit-card networks burden many consumers." See the Committee's web page for details on today's hearing.

Synovus Financial Corp. Joins NACHA

Synovus Financial Corp. has joined NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association as a direct financial institution member.

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Visa Brings Electronic Payments to Broadway Concessions

Visa has announced it is "making it easier for Manhattan theatregoers to speed through concession lines and get back to their seats before the start of the next act. Sandbar Concessions, the official concessionaire for The Nederlander Organization, serving the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon and Richard Rodgers Theatres, is the first in-theatre refreshment service company to accept Visa credit, debit and contactless payments."

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Top Ten Banking Trends for 2007: The Focus on Revenue

Aite Group has announced a new report titled "Top Ten Banking Trends for 2007: The Focus on Revenue" that highlights the top ten U.S. banking trends it foresees in 2007. According to Aite, "during 2006 banks devised plans for new initiatives, and they piloted technologies that were focused on revenue growth as opposed to more traditional cost-cutting measures. While operational efficiency remains crucial, those banks that are looking to strengthen their position in 2007 will put last year's plans into action, complete product rollouts, and focus on identifying new revenue streams."

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January 24, 2007

Online Nordic Banking Theft Stirs Talk of Russian Hacker

Andrew Kramer reports for the New York Times about a Russian hacker attack on Sweden's Nordea Bank's customers via a virus distributed via email. According to the report, "thieves using the program in Sweden defrauded 250 customers of Nordea’s online banking service over a period of 15 months."

Introducing PaymentsJobs.com

Are you a payments professional looking for a new position? Or, are you an employer (or a recruiter) looking to hire a payments professional? Be sure to check out the new (beta!) PaymentsJobs.com website - in partnership with SimplyHired.com. Employers and recruiters can post jobs for payments professionals here.

Google Shows Really Big Checkout Buttons

The Google Operating System blog notes the new, larger Google Checkout buttons now being tested - much bigger than the original little green shopping cart icon in participating merchant ads.

Anti-Money Laundering Update From Mercator

Mercator Advisory Group has announced an update on anti-money laundering (AML) activity titled "Moving Toward The 'Total Mix'." According to Mercator, this report examines the growing FI-wide approach to AML as well as trends in compliance enforcement, suspicious activity reporting for 2006 and AML vendor consolidation. The report focuses in particular on the markets for and vendors of AML technologies addressing the small and
mid-market banking segments.

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PayPal Financial Results

eBay, PayPal's parent, reported fourth quarter 2006 financial results today. PayPal's revenue for the quarter grew to $417 million, up 37% year over year and its number of user accounts grew to a total of 133 million, up 38 percent.

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Massachusetts Banks Reporting Fraud Has Occurred Re: TJX Breach

The Massachusetts Bankers Association said today that "several banks across the Bay State have reported incidents of fraud due to the recently disclosed data breach by the TJX Companies. The fraudulent use of debit and credit card data has thus far been used to make purchases in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana in the U.S., and Hong Kong and Sweden overseas."

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Visa Teams With Bank Of China For Beijing Olympics

Vivian Wai-Yin Kwok reports for Forbes on Visa International's partnership with the Bank of China for the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing.

Here Comes Digby - A Mobile Commerce Service For Blackberries

30 Second Software has announced “Digby" - describing it as "an electronic commerce service that radically simplifies the buying experience by combining rich content from name-brand retailers with an intuitive shopping process that is optimized for mobile devices."

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Defining and Detecting Predatory Lending

Donald P. Morgan of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has published a staff report titled "Defining and Detecting Predatory Lending" (PDF). From the abstract: "We find that in states with higher payday loan limits, less educated households and households with uncertain income are less likely to be denied credit, but are not more likely to miss a debt payment. Absent higher delinquency, the extra credit from payday lenders does not fit our definition of predatory. Nevertheless, it is expensive."

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