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June 30, 2008

L.L.Bean Chooses Barclays to Launch New L.L.Bean Visa Card

In May, L.L.Bean announced it was terminating its card issuing relationship with Bank of America. Today, L.L.Bean and Barclays announced the launch of the new L.L.Bean Visa card, which will be available tomorrow, July 1. According to the two companies, "the card rewards loyal customers with coupon dollars good toward L.L.Bean merchandise every time they use the card, plus a wealth of new and improved benefits to make the card even more rewarding than before." As part of the deal, Barclays earlier this month opened a new call center in Maine. READ MORE »

ID Analytics Introduces Authentication Solution

ID Analytics has announced the availability of ID Analytics for Authentication - calling it "a network based authentication solution that enables organizations to validate customer identities during online and call center interactions. ID Analytics for Authentication accurately separates legitimate and suspicious identities while reducing customer abandonment rates and lowering the cost of an authentication session by up to 50 percent." READ MORE »

Macerich, American Express Strategic Alliance for Gift Cards

Macerich has announced a strategic alliance with American Express who will become the new gift card provider and marketing partner for Macerich shopping centers across the United States. "Under the five-year agreement American Express will create a specially branded open loop gift card for Macerich. The partnership also includes the opportunity for marketing and promotional programs to explore new ways to effectively reach shoppers." READ MORE »

Identity Theft, Financial Fraud Remain Top Concerns for Consumers

Fears about identity theft and financial fraud are top global concerns for consumers, according to the latest results of the Unisys Security Index. Identity theft is the primary security concern cited among respondents in nine out of 14 countries, while misuse of credit or debit card information ranks as the first or second greatest fear in 12 out of the 14 countries. Interestingly, the survey found an apparent lack of concern about using the Internet to shop, bank and email. According to Unisys, the data indicates that concern about Internet security has taken a back seat to other areas studied, such as issues related to financial well-being and the protection against bank card fraud. READ MORE »

MicroBilt Invests in PRBC, Teams on Thin-File Creditors

MicroBilt and PRBC have announced are that they are "teaming to help small-to-medium (SME) enterprises and financial institutions conduct more business with an estimated 50-70 million American consumers with “thin” or no established credit histories. The two companies will merge payment data collected by MicroBilt and PRBC in PRBC’s data repository to help more consumers qualify for FICO® Expansion® scores used by lenders and financial institutions in underwriting new loans. As part of the agreement, MicroBilt will make an equity investment in PRBC." READ MORE »

Planet Payment Launches BuyVoice Mobile Payments

Planet Payment has announced the launch in the United States of Payment BuyVoice, a mobile commerce solution that "provides merchants with a cost effective, secure and convenient way to accept credit cards, from any mobile phone or landline." READ MORE »

UK: 62% of Card Spending, 72% of Card Transactions on Debit Cards

APACS has announced that £354 billion was spent on plastic cards in the UK in 2007 - a 10 percent increase over 2006 - and that spending of debit cards accounted for 62 per cent of total plastic card spend and 72 percent of total plastic card transactions. Debit cards were used to make 4.9 billion purchases in the UK while credit and charge cards were used to make 1.9 billion purchases. Credit card credit outstanding in the UK fell by £1.1 billion during 2007. READ MORE »

OpenTable Launches Mobile Site for Making Restaurant Reservations

OpenTable has announced the beta launch of the OpenTable Mobile service, "enabling consumers to find real-time table availability and book restaurant reservations through their mobile devices. Now it’s even easier for people who are away from their computers to enjoy the convenience and ease of booking their restaurant reservations online." READ MORE »

Bank of America Invests in mFoundry

mFoundry has announced that Banc of America Strategic Investments Corp. has completed a strategic investment in the company. Bank of America complements mFoundry’s existing strategic investors Motorola, PayPal, and NCR, and venture backers GRP Partners, Ignition Partners and Apax Partners. READ MORE »

A Look at PayPal After 10 Years

Chris Skinner updates his look at PayPal upon its tenth anniversary. He writes: "I reckon that the mixture of innovations, such as becoming a bank in Europe and offering mobile payments as a first mover, to expanding across borders and territories worldwide, is the secret behind PayPal’s success."

EPX Supports PINless Debit for Pioneer Telephone

Electronic Payment Exchange (EPX) has announced today it has signed a multi-year agreement with Pioneer Telephone to process its customers’ payments. In addition to traditional payment processing, Pioneer will begin using EPX’s PINless Debit product to process their customers’ payments who choose to pay for services using their debit cards. READ MORE »

June 29, 2008

A Look at Chip and PIN - Coming to Canada

In an article titled "Plastic gets smart", Ian Harvey writes for the Globe and Mail about the smart card deployment underway in Canada.

June 28, 2008

Payments News - Weekly Wrap - June 28, 2008

Here's a review of this week's top stories on Payments News. If you missed it, last week's Weekly Wrap is here. Back to the future!: for fun, click for this same week's activity a year ago here on Payments News!

Looking for more? Checkout our Other Payments and Banking Blogs page for more from the blogosphere about the worlds of payments and banking.

Quote of the week: "There's no place to hide," said Brian Riley, research director at the Tower Group and an industry veteran. "I have never seen real estate, consumer loans and credit cards take a hit at the same time. Credit card companies are especially vulnerable because they are the last in line to receive payments from customers."

You can find all of our Weekly Wrap summaries in the Payments News Weekly Wrap Archive. They're published every Saturday and look back at the highlights of the week's news. Please send us on how we can improve the Weekly Wrap!

June 27, 2008

NACS Launches Retail Campaign Against Card Interchange Fees

In a press release, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) says that "the nation’s 115,000-plus convenience stores will communicate their outrage over devastating credit card fees via pumptoppers that will educate consumers and Congress about the problem." NACS will be making "pumptoppers" available free of charge to retailers "communicating the industry’s fight against sky-high interchange rates." READ MORE »

Merchants Comment on Visa Interchange Fee Changes for Fuel

In a press release today, the Merchants Payments Coalition commented on yesterday's announcement by Visa of changes to its interchange fees and authorization holds for fuel purchases. READ MORE »

Consumers Union Praises Visa's Plan to Reduce Debit Card Holds

In a press release this morning, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, praised a plan announced yesterday by Visa to "virtually eliminate excessive holds on debit card transactions beginning this October when customers pay for gas at the pump. Right now, many gas stations impose a hold on funds in their customer's bank accounts for an amount that exceeds what has been spent on gas. These debit holds can last for up to three days and can be particularly burdensome for consumers in today's economy." Consumers Union called on gas stations to take advantage of the new procedure and for MasterCard to adopt a similar policy. READ MORE »

UK: Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank Implements 3D Secure

Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank has announced that it has implemented 3D Secure on its BillPay websites. "Better known to the public as “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode”, 3D Secure is designed to protect cardholders against unauthorised use of their debit or credit cards online." READ MORE »

Headline News - June 27, 2008

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.

June 26, 2008

Glenbrook Payments Boot Camps

We've got two sessions of Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camp coming up later this year. Registration for both sessions is now open.

Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camp is an intensive, two day "deep dive" into the US payments systems - providing a unique cross-payments system view. We focus on ensuring you come away with an up-to-date understanding of how current trends and issues in electronic payments will affect the status quo and how new and emerging players may compliment - or threaten - today's industry incumbents.

The first session , October 15-16, 2008, will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area. Carol Coye Benson and Scott Loftesness will be teaching this session. The second session, December 3-4, 2008, will be held in Denver, Colorado. Carol Coye Benson and Linda Elliott will be teaching this session.

Over 2,000 payments professionals have attended one of Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camps. Read some of the comments we've received about the Payments Boot Camp from attendees. Enroll today!

New Jobs on

Are you looking for new challenges? Our sister web site,, has several new job postings this week for payments professionals:

Are you hiring? Be sure to post your openings for payments professionals on!

Got several jobs to post? for a package discount.

Visa to Reduce Interchange Rates for Fuel Transactions in US

Visa has announced that it is "implementing processing and rate changes that will result in benefits for American consumers and fuel merchants frustrated by rising prices at the pump. Visa’s new processing approach for fuel transactions will enable consumers to buy gas more easily and allow motorists and station owners to better avoid the risks and inconveniences associated with pump limits and holds on funds. Visa also will reduce interchange rates for fuel transactions, which can lower costs for oil companies and service stations and can be passed onto consumers at the pump." READ MORE »

Discover Financial Services Reports Second Quarter Results

Discover Financial Services has reported net income for the second quarter of 2008 of $234 million, or $.48 per share, as compared to $209 million, or $.44 per share, in the second quarter of 2007. Managed loans grew 2% to $47.8 billion while sales volume on Discover Cards grew 2% to $22.5 billion in the quarter. READ MORE »

In New York Taxis It's Not Just Payments, It's Entertainment

VeriFone has announced that VeriFone Transportation Systems has added new programming, including, to the content available on the interactive mobile information screens at the heart of its integrated payment and information system in New York City taxis. READ MORE »

GE's Credit Card Business Seems Unattractive to Potential Buyers

In an article titled "Nobody's Snapping Up GE's Plastic", Robin Sidel writes for the Wall St. Journal about GE's efforts to sell its $30 billion credit card business because of potential buyer concerns about consumers' ability to repay their credit card debts. In particular, there's concern that GE's private label portfolio could rank lower in consumers' payment hierarchy when times are tough.

NetSpend, Skylight Financial Announce Merger

NetSpend and Skylight Financial have announced signing of a definitive merger agreement to combine business operations. They say that "the merger forms one of the largest private companies dedicated to meeting the financial services needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers in the United States." READ MORE »

June 25, 2008

NPR: Rising Bank Fees Squeeze Consumers

This afternoon's All Things Considered on NPR included a segment titled "Rising Bank Fees Squeeze Consumers" that focused on overdraft fees charged by banks on checking accounts. From the story: "Bob Hedges, founder of Mercatus, a consulting firm, said his research shows that the No. 1 reason consumers don't trust their banks is that they feel they're charged too many fees." Adds PayPal Pay Later Promotional Financing Option has announced it is now giving shoppers the ability to shop and pay later with the promotional financing service, PayPal Pay Later. "The PayPal Pay Later service gives customers a credit account with flexible financing options - even if a buyer doesn't have a PayPal account. As part of the introductory financing promotion, customers can defer payments on purchases for 90 days, allowing consumers to buy what they really want on and plan their payments in a way that best fits their budgets." READ MORE »

RBS Lynk Selects Chockstone For Restaurant Loyalty Marketing

Chockstone and RBS Lynk have announced a strategic partnership to provide loyalty services to RBS Lynk restaurant merchants. According to the two companies, "Chockstone's unique loyalty platform helps further differentiate RBS Lynk's product offering for restaurant operators, demonstrating RBS Lynk's commitment to offering unrivaled products and service for its restaurant customer locations." READ MORE »


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