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November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gosh, it's that time of year again - what many (including me) think of as just the best holiday in the US - Thanksgiving. At Glenbrook, we've got a lot to be thankful for this year. Our colleagues of payments professionals across the payments industry have all worked hard to make sure everything's ready for the upcoming annual "Black Friday" onslaught of volume. Chase Paymentech's index will be tracking things over the weekend - so you can see how the consumer economy is doing vs. the last two years. Meanwhile, enjoy the holiday with friends and family! Remember, it's just the best!

PayPal's Plug-In Now Available

After rampant speculation earlier in the week, late today PayPal officially introduced the "PayPal Plug-In" - describing it as "a free download for your Internet browser that allows you to pay with PayPal anywhere MasterCard is accepted online."


After the Meal, the Credit Card Scanner Is Served

Florence Fabricant writes for the New York Times Dining section about portable POS terminals - they've been used heavily in Europe for the last 10 years and are now beginning to be seen in restaurants here in the US. Your card never leaves your hand.

Understanding Risk Management in Emerging Retail Payments

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has published a new research paper titled "Understanding Risk Management in Emerging Retail Payments" icon_PDF_small.gif by Michele Braun, James McAndrews, William Roberds, and Richard Sullivan.


Updated Annual Report on Prepaid Gift Cards Now Available

Montgomery County, Maryland’s Office of Consumer Protection has released its fifth annual gift card study called, “Gift Cards 2007: Best and Worst Retail Cards; A Deeper View of Bank Cards Doesn’t Improve Their Look icon_PDF_small.gif.” The report contains valuable information and recommendations regarding gift cards issued by 22 stores and restaurants and 20 banks/financial institutions.


Replacing Wallets with Mobile Phones

In an article titled 'One More Thing Cellphones Could Do: Replace Wallets', Dan Fost writes for USA Today about using mobile phones for payments. "It's relatively easy to make cellphones very secure devices," said Allen Weinberg, managing partner at Glenbrook Partners, a Menlo Park, Calif., financial services and electronic payments consulting firm. He said the encryption is "as good as or better than what you do with an ATM or at-home banking. No one is going to pick up your phone and start moving money around the world. It's just not going to happen."

Credit Cards Lose Ground to PayPal

In an article titled 'Credit Cards Lose Ground to PayPal', Catherine Holahan writes for Business Week that "PayPal's payment service is likely to show up on a lot of unusual sites this holiday season." She cites a professor who says that "fear of identity theft and payment fraud is driving the adoption of PayPal and Google Checkout in the U.S."

Fronde Anywhere Introduces BusinessMobile

Fronde Anywhere, a provider of mobile products for the financial services and corporate sectors, has launched BusinessMobile as part of its Bank Anywhere suite, making it easier for businesses to maintain control of their cash flow while on the move.


Headline News - November 21, 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.

November 20, 2007

Mobile Financial Services Security

Mercator Advisory Group has announced its latest report titled "Mobile Financial Services Security: A New Ecosystem at Risk."


Mobile Payment Infrastructure in Mexico

CPNI has announced an agreement with PROSA (Promocion y Operacion, S.A. de C.V.), the largest provider of electronic transactions in Latin America, in which PROSA will provide financial institutions in Mexico with the centralized payments processing backbone for CPNI's Phone Authorized Transfer (PAT) mobile payment solutions.


Mobile Banking from FirstBank

FIrstBank of Lakewood, Colorado, has announced the launch of Mobile Banking from FirstBank that the bank says "gives FirstBank's Internet Banking customers the ability to quickly check their account balances and transfer funds across accounts using their mobile phones, even while waiting for a flight and in jam-packed shopping malls." The bank says that Mobile Banking is currently available to AT&T Wireless customers, and Verizon customers are expected to gain access in December.


Convenience, Not Price, Drives Online Holiday Shopping

Nielsen Online has announced that "online shopping's primary appeal is the convenience it offers. In an online survey, out of nearly 1,000 respondents, 81 percent indicated that the ability to shop anytime during the day was why they chose to shop online during the holiday season. Saving time was the next most popular reason to shop online, with 77 percent of respondents, followed by the ability to comparison shop and find things easily, with 61 percent and 56 percent, respectively."


Holiday Shoppers to Spend a Quarter of Gift Budgets on Gift Cards

American Express has announced results from a new gift card survey finding that Americans plan to spend nearly a quarter of their gift-giving budgets on gift cards this year, up from 18% last year and 13% in 2005.


Card Issuers Introduce New Credit Card Loyalty Plans

Jane J. Kim writes for the Wall St. Journal about new credit cards from Capital One, Chase Card Services and Discover that offer more "flexibility and convenience" in their rewards programs - intended to make their cards "top of wallet" in terms of consumer preference.

PayPal's Holiday Shopping Site

PayPal has launched its holiday shopping site - where "you’ll find a variety of special offers from terrific merchants, including free shipping and other special discounts to make your holidays more affordable." Beginning next Monday, PayPal will be offering 20% cash back (up to $50) when shopping at some merchants.

November 19, 2007

PayPal's Virtual Debit Card

ValleyWag couldn't resist pointing out that all of the buzz about PayPal's virtual debit card was actually just a reprise of the same product PayPal rolled out six years ago! I suspect the folks at PayPal don't view it quite the same way!

Chase Card Services to Adjust Pricing Practices

Chase Card Services has announced "the expansion of Chase Clear & Simple, an ongoing program designed to help Chase customers better understand and manage their accounts, with the adoption of new, clearer pricing practices. Chase is eliminating a practice, commonly used in the industry, of increasing interest rates for individual cardholders when their credit-bureau scores decline. This change is effective on March 1, 2008."


Capital One, NetSpend Terminate Acquisition Agreement

Capital One and NetSpend have announced that "they have mutually agreed to the termination of their previously announced acquisition agreement and that they have entered into a Letter of Intent to expand their existing strategic relationship. As part of the expanded strategic relationship, Capital One intends to acquire a minority interest in NetSpend, a leading retail marketer of prepaid debit cards, along with an option to purchase additional shares of the company. In addition, the parties expect that a Capital One representative will join the NetSpend Board of Directors."


Bill Me Later Holiday Shopping Special Deals

Bill Me Later has announced holiday deals including "free shipping at more than 80 merchants, extended payments, holiday travel promotions and exclusive discounts and offers from leading retailers." Consumers can visit to register for free shipping, find “Daily Steals,” read holiday shopping tips, and more information on Bill Me Later, which allows consumers to make online and phone purchases at hundreds of top merchants without using a credit card."


Free Checking is not Free?

The California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) announced a new report that it says "reveals how the complicated and deceptive overdraft policies at California's biggest banks allow them to reap huge profits from their mostly working class account holders."


Federal Reserve Consumer Help

The Federal Reserve has announced Federal Reserve Consumer Help, a new centralized resource that consolidates and streamlines the Federal Reserve’s consumer complaint and inquiry program. Helpful customer service professionals are available to answer questions and assist with a wide range of issues relating to financial products and services and consumer protection laws.


Electronic Payments Make Holiday Shopping Safer, More Secure

The Electronic Payments Coalition says that, "with holiday spending expected to top $470 billion, the National Retail Federation predicts more than 70 percent of shoppers will primarily use electronic payments for their holiday purchases. Whether using a debit or credit card this holiday season, electronic payments provide a safe, reliable and convenient form of payment that benefits both consumers and merchants."


Chase Paymentech Pulse Index Tracks eCommerce Shopping

Chase Paymentech has announced it has launched an updated version of its Chase Paymentech Pulse Index to track online shopping activity throughout the 2007 holiday shopping season.


Black Friday Shoppers Shop Early

According to MasterCard's Worldwide Holiday Shopping Insights Report, "Black Friday was the busiest day for holiday shopping last year in the top five traditional gift-buying categories (brick-and-mortar department, discount, clothing, electronics/appliances and sporting goods/toy stores), with more than one- third of MasterCard payment transactions occurring before 10 AM Central."


eCommerce Retailers Explore New Ways of Being Paid

Bob Tedeschi reports for the New York Times about ecommerce retailers adopting PayPal, Bill Me Later and Google Checkout as online payment options. One retailer quoted says "“So we’re a big supporter of these other payment methods. Somebody has to keep the MasterCards and Visas honest.”

Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2006

The Identity Theft Resource Center has released a new report today discussing the impact of identity theft victimization. "This report was not based on a census survey but rather one that invited confirmed victims of identity theft in 2006 to respond to a series of 44 questions. These ranged from the emotional impact this crime has had on their lives and their ability to recover their good name to the financial loss to the business community in goods and services."


$35 Billion in Gift Card Spend Expected

In an article titled 'Gift cards are go-to holiday present', Nichole Monroe Bell writes for the Charlotte Observer about gift cards - nothing that consumers are expected to "spend a record-breaking $35 billion on them this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation."


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