The International Journal of Central Banking's March issue includes the article "Transaction Pricing and the Adoption of Electronic Payments: A Cross-Country Comparison" 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."
Here's the full text of H.R. 5546 - The Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008 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."
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?
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."
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.
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.
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."
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 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."
We have received news of the following recent management changes:
The Pew Research Center has just released a new research report titled "Info on the Go: Mobile Access to Data and Information" . "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 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."
The Center for Financial Services Innovation has published a new report titled "Nonprofit Distribution of Prepaid Cards" . "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."
The Center for Financial Services Innovation has published a new report titled "Innovation Trends in Financial Services to the Underbanked" . "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 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 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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 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.
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.