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March 07, 2008

Who Wants a Decoupled Debit Card?

Aite Group has published a new report titled "Who Wants a Decoupled Debit Card?" that it says "reveals that there is a sizeable potential market for decoupled debit cards in the United States, with about a third of cardholders expressing interest." READ MORE »

Transaction Pricing and the Adoption of Electronic Payments

The International Journal of Central Banking's March issue includes the article "Transaction Pricing and the Adoption of Electronic Payments: A Cross-Country Comparison" icon_PDF_small.gif by Wilko Bolt, David Humphrey and Roland Uittenbogaard. From the abstract: "After safety, the efficiency of a nation's payment system is a primary concern of central banks. Since electronic payments are typically cheaper than paper-based or cash payments, pricing these transactions should speed up the shift to electronics. But by how much? Norway explicitly priced point-of-sale and bill-payment transactions and rapidly shifted to electronic payments, while the Netherlands experienced a similar shift without pricing. Controlling for terminal availability and differences between countries, direct pricing accelerated the shift to electronics by about 20 percent. The quid pro quo was the elimination of bank-float revenues."

Consumer Credit

The Federal Reserve has published its latest G.19 Statistical Release on Consumer Credit reporting that overall consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3-1/4 percent in January while revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7 percent.

H.R. 5546 - The Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008

Here's the full text of H.R. 5546 - The Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008 icon_PDF_small.gif that was introduced yesterday Rep. John Conyers and several other co-sponsors "to amend the antitrust laws to ensure competitive market-based rates and terms for merchants’ access to electronic payment systems."

March 06, 2008

The Next Two Decades

Earlier today, we watched Apple's announcement of the iPhone SDK and its associated enterprise features. Glenbrook's Russ Jones shared some of his initial reactions to the news.

Tonight, we're beginning to see some more reactions - including one from the folks at 37signals titled "iPhone SDK, Apple's Touch Platform, and The Next Two Decades".

Bankers and merchants, get ready - there's a new (mobile) world coming. Albert Camus once wrote: “Great ideas come into the world as gently as doves.” We think those wings are fluttering once again. Are you ready?

Electronic Payments Coalition Comments on Interchange Legislation

The Electronic Payments Coalition has issued a statement in response to what it is calling "price control legislation" introduced earlier today (H.R. 5546).


More Retailers Welcome Antitrust Legislation on Interchange Fees

The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) has issued a press release favoring the legislation introduced today dealing with interchange fees. From the press release: "Today House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) introduced the "Credit Card Fair Fee Act," legislation that for the first time deals with the biggest credit card fee of all - the interchange fee, which grew to $36 billion in 2006."


Retailers Welcome Antitrust Legislation on Interchange Fees

The National Retail Federation says it welcomes "the introduction of landmark antitrust legislation that would address hidden MasterCard and Visa fees that cost merchants and their customers more than $40 billion a year." The Credit Card Fair Fee Act was introduced today by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.


Apple Rocks the Mobile World

Earlier today, Apple announced its plans for enabling third-party developers to deploy applications on the iPhone as well as significant new features supporting deployment of iPhones inside enterprises. Glenbrook's Russ Jones shares his thoughts regarding today's iPhone news.

Microsoft Acquires Credentica’s U-Prove Technology

Stefan Brands has announced that his company's (Credentica) U-Prove technology has been acquired by Microsoft and that he and a couple of his colleagues have joined Microsoft's Identity and Access Group. More about the acquisition at Kim Cameron's IdentityBlog and Microsoft's Data Privacy Imperative blog.


Biometric Security for Mobile Banking

The World Resources Institute has published a report by Loretta Michaels titled "Biometric Security for Mobile Banking". "This report identifies a confluence of technology trends leading to viable solutions that can enable very widespread access to financial services. It also discusses the obstacles blocking the growth of this market among BoP consumers, such as mobile phone banking security."

Update: eB2B Payments at the Tipping Point Workshop

Glenbrook, in cooperation with Forte Financial just finished our first Payments Workshop on B2B payments, called "eB2B Payments at the Tipping Point".


SK Telecom, Citi Launch Mobile Money Ventures

SK Telecom and Citi have announced the launch of San Francisco-based Mobile Money Ventures, LLC., a joint venture company that the two companies will use to "develop mobile financial services and technologies that will deliver greater functionality, speed, and convenience to consumers around the world."


Wells Fargo's Merchant Checking Awarded Most Innovative Product

Wells Fargo has received the Barlow Research Monarch Innovation "Most Innovative Product" Award for its newest small business checking account product -- Merchant Checking. Described as an "industry first financial package, Merchant Checking combines the convenience of a business checking account with the ability to accept credit and debit card payments at a flat, low, discounted rate."


Headline News - March 6, 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.

Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Lars Holmquist has been named Chief Marketing Officer at Atlanta-based Vesdia Corporation. Holmquist was formerly President of TSYS Loyalty.
Announce yourself! Have you recently taken on a new position in the payments industry? If you'd like to share the news with your colleagues, be sure to tell us about it. Are you looking for a new payments-related job? Or are you needing to find someone great? Checkout the Payments Jobs job board.

March 05, 2008

Mobile Access to Data and Information by US Consumers

The Pew Research Center has just released a new research report titled "Info on the Go: Mobile Access to Data and Information" icon_PDF_small.gif. "58% of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to do at least one of 10 mobile non-voice data activities, such as texting, emailing, taking a picture, looking for maps or directions, or recording video. And 41% of adult Americans have logged onto the internet on the go, that is, away from home or work either with a wireless laptop connection or a handheld device. Taking account of overlap between the two groups, this means that 62% of all Americans have some experience with mobile access to digital data and tools. That is, they have either used a cell phone or PDA for a non-voice data application or logged on to the internet away from home or work using a wireless laptop connection or with a handheld device or both."

TRX, COA Solutions Card Management Services for Airlines

TRX and COA Solutions Ltd have announced the launch of a joint Card Management Services solution for airlines desiring to lower their distribution costs and credit card fees. According to the two companies, "the solution supports the airlines' corporate direct invoicing and payment solutions as well as the Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) network. In production since October 2007, the system is already processing approximately $600 million on an annualized basis in UATP and various payment products for a major North American airline."


Nonprofit Distribution of Prepaid Cards

The Center for Financial Services Innovation has published a new report titled "Nonprofit Distribution of Prepaid Cards" icon_PDF_small.gif . "This paper explores how three organizations—the Center for Community Change, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley, and the Service Employees International Union—are combining a new product, prepaid debit cards, with new marketing and distribution methods to provide economical and convenient financial services to their communities."

Innovation Trends in Financial Services to the Underbanked

The Center for Financial Services Innovation has published a new report titled "Innovation Trends in Financial Services to the Underbanked" icon_PDF_small.gif . "The market opportunity represented by underbanked consumers is being met by a number of startup companies with innovative consumer products, marketing methods and distribution channels, and/or risk management tools. CFSI's evaluation of several of these companies based on customer impact, financial return, and innovation reflects important trends in the underbanked market. Through alternative data, prepaid cards, and marketing and distribution models, these companies provide underbanked consumers with the services needed to access the path to financial prosperity."

Secure Identity Systems Introduces mConfirm Anti-Fraud Technology

Secure Identity Systems has announced it is bringing a new Israeli technology named mConfirm to the U.S. that it says "thwarts credit and debit card fraud, and potentially stops ID thieves in the act. This in turn helps banks better protect customers, stem losses due to fraud, and attract new depositors with free identity protection services."


Discover's U.S. Spending Monitor Flat in February

Discover reports that its Discover U.S. Spending Monitor "steadied in February as spending intentions flattened, while pessimism about the economy increased. After sharp spending cutbacks in December and then January, following the end of the holiday season, consumers steadied their spending, but were cautious about any increases."


A Minor Payments News Enhancement

One of my partners at Glenbrook yesterday suggested that we should include links on each individual story page to the previous story and the next story. We've had those links for a long time - but they're down at the bottom of the page and not at all obvious. So, we've added next story and previous story links right up top on the individual story pages. You can also use keyboard shortcuts: CTRL-p for previous story or CTRL-n for next story.

If you've got suggestions on how we can make Payments News more useful and usable, please email them to

March 04, 2008

Chase Announces ChaseHealthAdvance Financing Options

Chase Card Services has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Unicorn Financial Services and is launching an expanded set of patient financing products as ChaseHealthAdvance financing options.


Wireless Transactions Speading Fast

Jessica Twentyman writes for the UK edition of the Financial Times about the growth in NFC-based payments, writing that "the technology that will enable such transactions has fast been gaining ground, albeit in smartcards rather than phones."

The Condition of the US Banking System

Donald L. Kohn, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, testified at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee today about the condition of the US banking system. With respect to credit cards, Kohn commented: "the bankruptcy rate rose modestly over the first nine months of 2007 and could be a harbinger of increasing delinquency rates on other consumer loans. In view of this risk, Federal Reserve supervisors are monitoring these consumer loan segments for signs of spillover from residential mortgage problems, particularly in regions showing homeowner distress, and are paying particular attention to the securitization market for credit card loans."

Heartland Acquires Controlling Stake In Canada's CollectivePOS

Heartland Payment Systems has announced it has acquired a majority interest in Collective Point of Sale Solutions Ltd, a growing Canadian provider of payment processing services and secure point-of-sale solutions. Under the agreement, Heartland will maintain the CollectivePOS brand in Canada. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


India's Airtel Launches Range of Mobile Commerce Solutions

Airtel has announced the launch of range of Mobile Commerce solutions including Mobile Money Transfer (MMT), Postpaid Bill Payment and Prepaid Recharge on the mobile phone. Airtel is partnering with ICICI bank, HDFC bank, SBI, Corporation bank and VISA to enable these payments using a solution that has been developed by mChek.



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