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« February 11, 2007 - February 17, 2007 | Main | February 25, 2007 - March 3, 2007 »

February 24, 2007

A Look At Intuit's Strategies

Damon Darlin interviews Intuit CEO Steve Bennett who says Intuit's "vision is our online software as a service suite that integrates all the data flow that makes it one place for small business to do online banking, bill payment and customer management."

Think Your Social Security Number Is Secure?

Damon Darlin writes for the New York Times about efforts to try to get Social Security numbers removed from web sites, etc. “The problem is every dentist’s office has Social Security numbers. Every doctor’s office has them. How secure are these?”

February 23, 2007

Visa's Mobile Platform Initiative

As part of our preparation for Glenbrook's next Payments Boot Camp (being held in Atlanta March 13-14), we've been doing a update to our mobile banking and payments module - including adding a deeper dive into Visa's new Mobile Platform initiative.

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2007 Mobile Financial Services Survey Results Available

Edgar, Dunn & Company and Mobile Payments World have announced the results of the 2007 Mobile Financial Services Study (PDF) they conducted into attitudes about mobile financial services - including mobile banking and mobile payments. Almost 500 individuals participated in the survey producing some most interesting results.

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Consolidation of Check Printers in the US

Meena Thiruvengadam writes for the San Antonio Express-News about the merger announced in December of M&F Worldwide Corp., the parent company of San Antonio-based Clarke American, the nation's No. 3 check printer, with Atlanta-based John H. Harland Co., the country's No. 2 check printer, to become the largest check printing company in the US - larger than long-time No. 1 Deluxe Corp. The merger is still awaiting regulatory approvals.

What Is Google Getting Out Of Checkout?

Brian Mark asks himself what is it that Google is getting out of offering Checkout for free - and proceeds to answer his own question by realizing that, as people register to participate in Checkout, Google then "actually knows where those people live. That’s right, your credit card billing address gets verified when you add it as a payment option. So now they know where you live, which helps them better target local search results and really tailor personalized search for you."

Can Checking Ever Really Be Fun?

In an article titled ING Direct Makes Checking (Almost) Fun Again, NetBanker's Jim Bruene reviews in detail the cool features of ING Direct's Electric Orange checking account - and critiques their decision to not provide an in-hand paper check option for customers and suggests they need to get with it and offer remote deposit capture capability as well.

February 22, 2007

Boston Fed Study of Consumer Behavior and Payment Choice

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has released a new Study of Consumer Behavior and Payment Choice (PDF) based on a survey of payment behavior and attitudes taken by Federal Reserve employees in 2004. The authors include Marques Benton, Krista Blair, Marianne Crowe, and Scott Schuh. Among the findings: "Cost, convenience, and timing are the three most important fundamental characteristics that determine respondents’ adoption and use of all payment methods. Safety and privacy also are important for methods more susceptible to consequences like identity theft that are costly to consumers."

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Mobile Phone - The New Way to Pay?

Krista Becker, Emerging Payments Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has published a new industry briefing paper titled "Mobile Phone: The New Way to Pay?" (PDF) that contains some great background and thinking about the issues and opportunities around mobile payments.

More on Bank of America's Immigrant Cards

Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis has published an op-ed titled "Not in the Cards" in this morning's Wall St. Journal explaining more about the bank's pilot program to issue secured credit cards to immigrants in the Los Angeles area. After explaining the bank's rationale for offering the cards - including noting that that pilot is a "new promotion of a secured credit card product that has been available for years", Lewis says that "after a week of listening to our customers, we have made a decision. We will continue our card marketing pilot program in the Los Angeles market."

State Legislation Could Make Merchants Liable For All Data Breach Costs

Joseph Pereira writes for the Wall St. Journal about new legislation sponsored by Masschusetts State Rep. Michael A. Costello "that would require retailers to pay for losses when hackers and thieves breach their security systems to steal consumers' credit-card and other financial information." The bill would require that merchants would, in addition to bearing responsibility for notification to affected consumers, be responsible for all card issuer expenses associated with re-issuance of cards, providing identity theft protection to consumers, and be fully responsible for any fraud losses that occur on cards involved in a merchant data breach incident. Pereira notes that merchants are opposing the bill - saying "that they already are paying dearly for potential fraud through what's known as an interchange fee."

Bank of America as the "Bank of Opportunity"

Bank of America has announced the theme of its new brand positioning: "Bank of Opportunity." The bank said that its new brand positioning is being supported by the its largest advertising campaign to date scheduled to debut during ABC's telecast of the 79th Academy Awards. The bank said its new positioning "reflects Bank of America's unique role in helping individuals, businesses and communities around the world realize opportunities to achieve their goals."

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Terri Dial's Work at Lloyds TSB

Carrick Mollenkamp of the Wall St. Journal profiles ex-Wells Fargo banker Terri Dial's work as the head of retail banking at Lloyds TSB in the UK. "Her goal: Emulate U.S. banking practices in an effort to boost a stagnant bottom line and fend off bigger rivals seizing market share."

First Data to Exit Official Check and Money Order Business

First Data Corp. has announced that "upon completion of the strategic review of its Official Check and Money Order operation (the "Business") the company has decided to gradually exit this line of business. Most of the Business will be terminated over a period of two to three years. The Business wind-down is expected to free up between $250-$300 million in cash for alternative uses including acquisitions, share repurchases or other corporate purposes during 2007. This cash is currently used in the operation of the Business."

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February 21, 2007

A Look at the Popularity of Kiosks

Dawn Kehr of Source Technologies writes about how kiosks and other interactive technologies are becoming popular among consumers - citing, among others, a gift card kiosk deployed by Build-A-Bear Workshop last holiday season.

Mobile Banking Redux

In an article in this morning's Wall St. Journal titled "Mobile Banking Shifts Into Higher Gear," Jane Kim reports on the resurgence in interest among major banks in offering mobile banking services. Kim quotes Celent analyst Dan Schatt who "says he expects that by the end of this year, 10% of people who currently bank online will use mobile banking." Kim also notes that some consumers think mobile payments when they hear about mobile banking - and are disappointed when mobile payments isn't part of a bank's mobile service offering.

TJX Provides More Information On Data Breach

The TJX Companies has issued a press release (PDF) that includes its updated findings from the company's "ongoing investigation of its previously announced unauthorized intrusion into its computer systems." The release provides more details about the nature and time frames of the data breach.

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JCB Selects Visa Asia Pacific's Specification for Contactless Payments

Visa and JCB have announced an agreement to share Visa Asia Pacific's contactless specification, which JCB says will soon open up the acceptance of JCB's contactless cards, J/Speedy, at merchant locations outside of Japan. With this arrangement, merchants can use the same terminal to accept contactless payments for both brands.

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February 20, 2007

Kwikset Introduces New Biometric Home Security Application

This doesn't have anything immediately to do with payments - but it's potentially relevant and interesting nonetheless. Kwikset has introduced SmartScan, what the company calls "the world’s first residential biometric keyless entry system."

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HSBC Direct Promotional High Yield Savings Product Sign of Things to Come

comScore Networks has released the results of a study examining the share of the online High Yield Savings market among key players and the impact of recent rate changes on this marketplace. According to comScore, "the market for high yield savings accounts has become increasingly competitive during the past year, as evidenced by the emergence of new players and subsequent marketplace fragmentation. While ING Direct held a commanding share of new online savings account application submissions in Q4 2005 (53 percent), its share dropped to 25 percent during the same time period in 2006. Meanwhile, newer players like Citibank and Washington Mutual, which each held a negligible share of the market in Q4 2005, increased their share to 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively by Q4 2006."

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Tracking Household Credit Card Debt and Interest Rates by State

PlasticEconomy.com is tracking the consumer credit card debt of a number of consumers who have signed up for their service and who periodically provide their outstanding balance, minimum payment amount, interest rate, and due date for the credit cards they hold. Among other things, they report on the level of household credit card debt and the average APRs charged on a state by state basis. As of this morning, this data is based on information totaling almost $2 million in credit card debt.

Mobile Payments For Teens From Obopay

Obopay has announced a new Sponsored Accounts feature that the company says "allows anyone under 18 to benefit from the fun, convenience and security of sending and receiving money in real time via the mobile phone. Through this new family enhancement, parents can provide each child with an Obopay account linked to his or her own mobile phone. With Obopay, kids can now enjoy the freedom of spending cash in a cool new way, while parents get the tracking and control they need to ensure fiscal guidance." Obopay has also announced it is now offering a new "Refer-A-Friend" program to incent signups. It rewards Obopay users who refer their friends to signup with Obopay with $5 for each successful referral.

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Sodexho to Accept MasterCard PayPass

Trying to bust corporate cafeteria lines, Sodexho, a provider of integrated food and facilities management in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, has announced that it will begin accepting MasterCard PayPass contactless cards at its on-site restaurants across the country. Sodexho said it has begun phase one of the implementation that includes 225 locations and will expand PayPass to 1,000 Sodexho-managed corporate sites by the end of 2007.

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I4 Commerce Beefs Up Board

I4 Commerce, parent of Bill Me Later, has announced that Mark Britto, former Senior Vice President at Amazon.com, Robert DiRomualdo, former Chairman of Borders Group, Inc. and Victor Lund, former Vice Chairman of Albertson's, Inc. have joined its Board of Directors.

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ACI Worldwide Launches On Demand Hosted Services Offering

ACI Worldwide has announced the launch of an ACI On Demand offering, allowing financial institutions and retailers in North America to use the company’spayments software through a hosted solution arrangement. ACI says it "will configure and host a unique copy of its software to meet the needs of each customer, offering greater control than traditional outsourcing and multi-tenant arrangements while freeing clients from the job of staffing and managing their own systems infrastructure."

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Debit Cards For Immigrants

Erika Hayasaki writes for the Los Angeles Times about the Sigo card - a prepaid MasterCard debit card designed for immigrants. Sigo cards are Issued by MetaBank and marketed by IDT Stored Value Services. More information about Sigo is available on their website.

Prepaid Debit Cards for Kids

Vicki Lee Parker writes for the McClatchy Newspapers about PayJr and other prepaid debit cards targeting teens and even younger children. She asks "is putting plastic into a child’s hand, especially one under 12, really going to teach the child how to manage money?

PCI Security Standards Council Building Board of Advisors

The PCI Security Standards Council has announced that nominations for election to the PCI
Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) Board of Advisors are now open. According to the Council, "the Board of Advisors will represent the current roster of more than 100 PCI SSC Participating Organizations, and will provide strategic and technical guidance to the PCI Security Standards Council, reflecting the varied perspectives of different global stakeholders."

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