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March 03, 2007

FTC To Host Identity Authentication Workshop

On April 23 and 24, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop, “Proof Positive: New Directions in ID Authentication,” to explore methods to reduce identity theft through enhanced authentication. The workshop will facilitate a discussion among public- sector, private-sector, and consumer representatives, and will focus on technological and policy requirements for developing better authentication processes, including the incorporation of privacy standards and consideration of consumer usability issues.


March 02, 2007

Dodd, Frank Comment On CIti's Card Practices Changes

Yesterday, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) issued a statement regarding yesterday's announcement of Citigroup’s new credit card practices: "“Citigroup’s decision today is a positive step that I would urge other issuers to take. I will continue to consider what steps we in the Congress can and should take to ensure that financial services like credit cards are a more consistent and reliable tool for consumers as they strive to build more secure and prosperous lives in our free market system.”

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services issued a similar statement today: “Eliminating universal default and unilateral changes in terms and conditions are important steps toward reforming industry pricing policies, and I appreciate Citigroup’s newly announced revisions in credit card practices. I hope other issuers will follow Citigroup to end practices that can be unfair and costly to consumers.”

GSA, Wells Fargo Partner for E-Authentication

The U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has announced that "small business customers of WellsSecure, a business unit of Wells Fargo Bank, will now have access to FAS' premier online proposal submission program -- eOffer -- using WellsSecure digital certificates. This is the latest successful public-private partnership under GSA's E-Authentication Initiative, managed by the U.S. E-Authentication Identity Federation."


Annals of Credit Card Debt

In an article titled 'Deep in Debt, Deeper in Denial" on Yahoo! Finance, Laura Rowley writes about credit card debt - soon to be featured in the documentary movie "Maxed Out" that opens nationwide next week.


Recent Job Postings on

Pay By Touch is looking for a Product Analyst - Payments in San Francisco.

Washington Mutual is looking for Senior Product Managers - Payments in Seattle.

Google is looking for a Strategic Partner Manager for Google Checkout based in Chicago and for a number of Google Checkout positions in Mountain View, California.

PayPal is looking for Software Engineers to work in San Jose, California.

These and more jobs for payments professionals can be found on our job board at Payments Jobs. Looking for the best people? You can have your job opening listed live on Payments Jobs in less than 10 minutes.

Google Spent $58.4 Million On Checkout Promos In 2006

Marketwatch reports on Google's disclosure in a regulatory filing that it spent about $58.4 million last year to promote its new Google Checkout payment service. "Google also said it expects to pay more Checkout-related transaction processing fees in 2007." Google's 10-K filing with the SEC is available online.

Mobile Banking: Coming to a Cell Phone Near You

In a comprehensive article citing much of the recent work by Jim Bruene of the Online Banking Report, Laura Bruce reports for on the resurgence of interest in mobile banking - saying that "many in the banking industry are saying 2007 is the year when America will start banking by cell phone."

Headline News - March 2, 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.

March 01, 2007

Visa Latin America and Caribbean Region Reports 2006 Ecommerce Growth

Visa's Latin America and Caribbean Region has announced that online ecommerce purchases using Visa-branded products in the region grew to 55 million transactions valued at US$3.3 billion in sales volume during 2006, representing a 58 percent year-over-year growth.


Results From Merchant Risk Council Annual eCommerce Fraud Survey

The Merchant Risk Council has announced the results of its annual merchant fraud survey. According to the MRC, "this year’s survey was sponsored by CyberSource Corporation as part of its broader annual survey of online fraud. The combined results show MRC Platinum merchants setting the pace for the eCommerce industry in controlling fraud and protecting valid customer orders. The Platinum merchants are 110 of the largest online sellers in the U.S. who share fraud trends and best practices through MRC committees and conferences."


New Javelin Report - Expedited Bill Payments Forecast

Javelin Strategy & Research has published a new report titled "Expedited Bill Payments Forecast 2007 to 2009: Effective Strategies to Create Revenue and Enhance Relationships" (Preview PDF) that examines the future of expedited bill payments—services that enable consumers to make last minute bill payments—and how they represent a viable revenue opportunity for billers and financial institutions.

Citi Announces Changes to its Credit Card Practices

Citi has announced it is "eliminating the industry practice of increasing interest rates for individual cardholders due to their defaults on financial commitments with other parties, sometimes known as "universal default". Until now, Citi has given customers the right to opt out of any such increase. But with this announcement, Citi is going even further, abandoning the practice altogether for all customers."


Capital One Holds Investor Conference

Capital One is holding its annual investor conference today. A webcast is available along with copies of the presentation materials. Of particular interest is the Strategy presentation.

Merchants Paying For Credit Card Reward Programs

Seth Fox writes for the Baton Rouge Business Report about merchant frustrations with the costs of credit card acceptance. Fox quotes one merchant who says "cards are able to offer 1% cash back and other perks to their customers for one simple reason - that money is coming straight from the coffers of businesses where the transactions take place." Another tells her staff at monthly meetings to try to steer customers to using their PIN debit cards.

Call For Papers

The Research Department and the Payment Cards Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia have issued a call for papers for their fourth joint conference on consumer credit payments (PDF). The submission deadline for papers is June 15, 2007. The conference itself will be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on September 20-21, 2007.

Nokia Venture Pushes Phone Payments

Stephen Lawson writes for InfoWorld Netherlands about Nokia and Giesecke & Devrient's joint venture company, Venyon Oy, based in Helsinki with offices in Munich, Dallas and Singapore. According to Lawson, "the mobile phone payments Venyon wants to facilitate are based on NFC (near-field communication), which uses an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip and antenna to exchange information with a payment station from a range of a few centimeters."

Debit Card Holders Feel Data Theft Fallout

Tux Turkel writes for the Portland (ME) Press Herald about TD North's reissuing up to 200,000 debit cards following the data breach at TJX last month. "Banks are very unhappy about the TJX Cos. security breach. Joe Pietroski, who represents commercial banks as president of the Maine Bankers Association, said it costs between $12 and $22 to replace each debit card, including the cost of notification."

Prepaid Cards: Vulnerable to Money Laundering?

The Payments Card Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has published a white paper titled "Prepaid Cards: Vulnerable to Money Laundering?" (PDF). From the introduction: "Over the past year, several government agencies have issued reports describing threats to the U.S. financial system, including the use of prepaid cards by money launderers. This paper discusses the potential money laundering threat that prepaid cards face as they enter the mainstream of consumer payments. It provides an overview of money laundering, describes how prepaid cards could be abused, and outlines how both the government and the payment sectors have responded to mitigate risks."

ShopRite to Accept MasterCard PayPass

MasterCard Worldwide and Wakefern Food Corporation, the merchandising and distribution arm of ShopRite supermarkets, have announced it has begun accepting MasterCard PayPass contactless payments at over 200 ShopRite locations in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. This rollout constitutes the largest deployment of PayPass in the supermarket category to date.


More on Ecount

The Philadelphia Daily News profiles Ecount founders Matt Gillin and Paul Raden and their investors. "Gillin is sanguine when he talks about the Citi acquisition. 'Honestly, we always knew that we would get here someday, so I'm somewhat reserved about it. What's really the coolest part is all the people who contributed along the way.'"

February 28, 2007

Citi To Acquire Ecount

The New York Times reports that "Citigroup has agreed to buy Ecount, a privately held provider of prepaid cards, expanding its presence in the fastest-growing part of the payment industry, according to bank officials." According to the Times, the official announcement is expected to be made tomorrow.

Visa ReadyLink Prepaid Reload To Be Available At 7-Eleven Stores

Visa USA has announced an agreement with 7-Eleven to "introduce Visa ReadyLink, Visa's prepaid load network, to its U.S. convenience stores. 7-Eleven, the world's largest convenience store chain and one of the nation's largest independent gasoline retailers, will work with its Visa member acquiring financial institution to implement the service. This service will allow consumers to add funds to eligible Visa reloadable prepaid cards at the nearly 5,350 stores that 7-Eleven operates and franchises in the contiguous U.S."


MasterCard's 10-K Annual Report

MasterCard's 10-K annual report for 2006 was filed today with the SEC and is available online. Included were various exhibits including updated Bylaws, as well as copies of amended business agreements with HSBC and Bank of America (both redacted to remove confidential financial information).

A Payment Solution That's Just Better

In a post titled "Pincer Movement" on the Digital Money Blog, Dave Birch writes about the recent story we posted here on Payments News earlier this week about NTT DoCoMo and McDonald's getting together for contactless mobile payments in Japan.

Dave asks "isn't this a nightmare come true for the payments guys in banks? The retailers and the mobile phone operators getting together to provide a new solution to a problem that is not central to either of them but as a byproduct of achieving some other goals -- perhaps customer intimacy or reduced churn -- and chips away at legacy payment systems provided by banks..."

PayPal Webinar on Alternative Payments

PayPal's Online Merchant Network is holding a webinar on March 7th beginning at 10 AM Pacific time on the topic of alternative payments. According to the announcement, "Jim Hunt, Director of Merchant Relations for PayPal, identifies the pros and cons of the available forms of alternative payment methods and what to consider when choosing which to implement. In addition, a panel of current mid-sized PayPal merchants will be available to give their perspective and answer questions."

Blackhawk Network Named Most Innovative Prepaid Product/Service

Prepaid Media has announced the winners of the 2007 Prepaid Card Awards - naming Blackhawk Network as the Most Innovative Product or Service. Other award winners include the Wal-Mart Prepaid Visa, Brinker International for its payroll card program, and the American Red Cross for its disaster relief card program.

PULSE Studies Debit Card Market

The PULSE EFT Association has announced results of its 2007 Debit Issuer Study - concluding that "U.S. debit card-issuing financial institutions experienced debit card transaction growth of 18 percent in 2006 and expect continued strong growth in 2007."


Citi, Obopay to Pilot Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service

Citi has announced an agreement with Obopay to pilot an "innovative, real-time Person-to-Person mobile payments service later this year. The service will be offered to new and existing Citi credit and debit card customers. Further details, including cities for the consumer pilot, are to be confirmed and announced at a later time."


MasterCard Adjusts US Interchange Rates

Digital Transactions reports on changes MasterCard is making to its interchange rates effective April 1, 2007 - saying that "Internet retailers will see their acceptance costs decline for some MasterCard credit card transactions but rise for others." MasterCard's full interchange rate tables are available online.


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