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May 10, 2008

Payments News - Weekly Wrap - May 10, 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 week's activity here on Payments News last year!

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!

eBay's PayPal-only Plans in Australia Stir Controversy

Ina Steiner writes for about new developments as eBay moves forward with plans to mandate PayPal on sellers in Australia. She cites several submissions to the inquiry into the practice being conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

May 09, 2008

Credit Card Issuers Close More Inactive Consumer Accounts

Lisa Scherzer writes for the Wall St. Journal that more credit card issuers are closing inactive accounts. She writes: 'As credit-card delinquencies rise, closing inactive accounts helps companies reduce their exposure to risky credit holders.'

Security and Convenience - or Is It Convenience and Security?

Jupiter's Ed Kountz blogs about alternative online payments ((PayPal, BillMeLater, Google Checkout and eBillMe).

He writes: "A new JupiterResearch report indicates that consumers who are turning to alternative online payments are doing so for two primary reasons. The first is security -- in the form of not having to enter card information online. The second, convenience, is related—as anyone who has ever wanted to make a purchase on a PC upstairs, using a credit card located in a wallet or purse a floor or two away has found." Which do you think is most important for consumer adoption: convenience or security?

Ed's new blog is one of many payments and banking blogs that we've recently collected onto our "Other Blogs" page. On one page there you can see the titles of the latest posts on over 30 blogs.

Disruption in the Payments World

Celent has published a new report titled 'Disruption in the Payments World' saying that 'the current euphoric era for many issuers will be disrupted and quite possibly eliminated over the next three years.' Why? Celent's reasons include a forecast that interchange rates will begin to decline, that a large payments company will launch an alternative network to MasterCard and Visa, and that credit card issuers will need to diversify their payments mix by adding decoupled debit payment options. READ MORE »

Debit Cards Replacing Cheques at Retailers in UK

APACS, the UK payments association, has released figures showing that the debit card retains its popularity at retailers, with spending on debit cards increasing by 11% last year. According to APACS, this increase stands in stark contrast to paper cheque spending which declined by 7.5% in terms of value and 13% by volume over the same period. Credit card spending at retailers in the UK has not grown over the last three years. READ MORE »

Visa Inc. to Make Operating Regulations Available to the Public

Visa Inc. has announced that it will for the first time make its Visa International and Regional Operating Regulations available publicly, effective May 15, 2008. According to Visa, the Operating Regulations, which will be available on Visa's corporate website at, are 'the set of rules which govern the participation of issuing and acquiring financial institutions in the Visa system.' Visa also said that 'to protect cardholder and merchant safety and the Visa system, Visa has omitted proprietary and competitive information, as well as certain details from the rules relating to the security of the network. For example, in the merchant rules, Visa has omitted authorization limits by country and processing codes which could aid fraudsters.' READ MORE »

Beyond Voice: Mapping the Mobile Marketplace

For the last two days, the Federal Trade Commission held a Town Hall meeting in Washington to explore the evolving mobile commerce (M-commerce) marketplace and its implications for consumer protection policy. The FTC has posted the agenda for the meeting along with webcasts of the sessions along with transcripts (to be available soon).

Monitise, Metavante Partner For Mobile Money in UK

In the UK, Monitise and Metavante have announced that they are working with Carphone Warehouse to launch a “mobile money” scheme that includes the introduction of a Carphone Warehouse prepay card managed directly from the mobile phone that can be used to shop in millions of outlets worldwide. READ MORE »

Reserve Bank of Australia Comments on eBay's PayPal Mandate

The Reserve Bank of Australia has made comments to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's inquiry into eBay's recent announcement that it would mandate the use of PayPal for payments on eBay's Australian site. The RBA comments: 'The proposed conduct by eBay is to mandate the use of PayPal for almost all transactions on the eBay site. This raises three potential issues in relation to the payments system. The first is that it could limit the ability of new on-line payment systems to become established and for alternative systems to compete in the on-line payments space. The second is that it could restrict merchants' ability to negotiate lower fees. And the third is that it restricts choice for consumers.' More in the RBA's full submission. Also, CNN reports on eBay's move.

Citigroup Holds Investor and Analyst Day

Citigroup is holding an investor and analyst day today in New York. A presentation icon_PDF_small.gif is available online along with a webcast. Included in the presentation discussing Citi's innovation efforts are mentions of its mobile banking and mobile payments efforts with Obopay, SK Telecom, AT&T and Firethorn (slide 17). In an article titled "Blue-Light Specials at Citigroup as Its New Chief Plans a Revival", Eric Dash reports for the New York Times on efforts by Citi over the last several months to dispose of some of its weaker business assets.

May 08, 2008

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First Annapolis Navigator - April Issue

The April 2008 edition of the First Annapolis Navigator is now available. This month's feature article is "Cross-Selling Commercial Cards." Other articles include: "Soft Economy Delivers Hard Hit to Retail Sector", "Mid-Size Internet Retailers Payment Acceptance Methods", "Marketplace Feature: Stock Market Performance", "Q1 2008 Credit Card Issuer Scorecard", and "Market Scan of European Bank - Issued Prepaid Cards."

JPMorgan Selected by US Dept. of Commerce for Charge Cards

The U.S. Department of the Commerce (DOC) has selected JPMorgan as its provider for charge card services. The order is part of the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) SmartPay 2 program, the largest government charge card program in the world. READ MORE »

Discover Card Wins Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Award

Discover Financial Services has announced that its Discover Card was ranked No. 1 in customer loyalty among leading credit card brands, according to the 2008 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index report. Brand Keys identifies the four most important drivers of brand loyalty in the credit card category as Rewards and Services; Fees and Flexibility; Ease and Speed of Interactions; and Protection and Precision. Discover Card has won the credit card category in the index 11 years in a row. READ MORE »

AuctionBytes Interviews Scott Thompson, PayPal CEO

Ina Steiner of writes about her interview with Scott Thompson, PayPal CEO. A podcast of the interview is available. She writes: 'Thompson talked about the competitive landscape in online payments and PayPal's focus in the next 12 - 24 months. He also shares his thoughts on eBay's Safe Payments policy, including what the PayPal-only policy on eBay Australia means for the rest of the world.'

UK Banks Boosting Monthly Fees on Accounts

James Charles reports for Times Online (UK) that several of the largest UK banks are increasing monthly fees on current accounts by up to 20 percent in advance of a ruling by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) capping overdraft fees.

Headline News - May 8, 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.

May 07, 2008

Don't Play the Credit Card Game

In her Thursday column titled 'Your Losing Hand', Michele Singletary reports for the Washington Post on last week's proposed rule changes by the US financial regulators re: credit cards. She writes: 'Although regulators are proposing to eliminate some of the more unsavory practices of the industry, many cardholders -- regardless of class, education or income -- can only win by not playing the credit card game.'

Understanding the Payment Application Data Security Standard

The PCI Security Standards Council has announced a complimentary educational webinar, “Understanding the Payment Application Data Security Standard” on Thursday May 22, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. EDT with a second session scheduled the same day at 7:30 p.m. EDT. READ MORE »

An Update on Prosper's New Slogan, Advertising

Jim Bruene's Netbanker reports on person-to-person lender's new marketing initiatives including its new slogan: "Let's bank on each other." More on the Prosper Blog.

A Look at Orange Money

Wireless operator Orange is testing in the Ivory Coast a new money transfer system: Orange Money. Strategies Telecom & Media interviews Marc Rennard, executive director in charge of Orange’s operations in Africa, Middle-East and Asia. about Orange Money. As we've seen previously with M-PESA in Kenya, the mobile operators are focusing much of their mobile payments initiatives on markets where a large majority of the population is unbanked.

Credit Card Regulation is Overdue!

That's the title of a Dallas Morning News editorial this morning commenting on last week's proposed rules changes that says 'enough is enough.' The editorial continues: 'New regulation is overdue. Creditors have been free to hike interest rates at any time and for any reason – and then apply the new rate to purchases the consumer has already made.'

Federal Reserve Reports March Consumer Credit Stats

The Federal Reserve reported today that consumer credit increased at a 7.2 percent overall rate in March 2008 - with revolving credit increasing at 7.9 percent for the month.

Sony Announces FeliCa Technology Channel Program

Sony Electronics has announced the establishment of an integrator and developer channel program for its FeliCa contactless integrated circuit (IC) chip technology. The FeliCa microchip provides a fast, convenient and secure all-in-one solution platform for multiple applications, including electronic pre-paid transactions, access, interactive signage and membership or loyalty rewards systems. The chip combines processing, storage and communication functions, and can be implemented in a variety of form factors including cards, key chains and mobile phones. READ MORE »

The US Mobile Internet - Major Partners Join Together on Clearwire

Clearwire and Sprint Nextel have announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine their next-generation wireless broadband businesses to form a new wireless communications company. In addition, Intel Capital, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks – have collectively agreed to invest $3.2 billion into the new company to be named Clearwire.

Google's Larry Adler comments on the Official Google Blog about Google's participation in the new company. It will be fascinating to watch how this affects mobile Internet usage for financial services applications. Wikipedia has a comprehensive article about the WiMax technology that is the basis for this new network. READ MORE »

Pew to Promote Fair Bank Account Standards For 'Underserved'

The Pew Charitable Trusts have announced a new project aimed at 'helping America's workers underserved by mainstream financial institutions secure access to safe, affordable, fair, and empowering bank accounts. The Pew Safe Banking Opportunities Project, a two-year $2.1 million initiative, will develop and promote standards for bank accounts so that moderate- and low-income households that are new to or have been left out of the mainstream banking system are less likely to have to rely on overly expensive, income-stripping financial products.' READ MORE »

MasterCard Adds Fuel, Maintenance to Easy Savings Program

MasterCard Worldwide says it is 'the first payments company to offer small businesses automatic savings on fuel and maintenance through the addition of the Fuelman Network to the MasterCard Easy Savings program.' MasterCard says its BusinessCard credit and signature debit cardholders enrolled in the program will now receive a 1% automatic rebate on fuel and a 5% automatic rebate on maintenance purchases at more than 16,800 participating locations in the Fuelman Network nationwide. READ MORE »

MasterCard Selects ACI Worldwide for IPS Debit, Prepaid Platform

ACI Worldwide has announced that MasterCard Worldwide has selected ACI's electronic payment solutions as key elements of the new MasterCard Integrated Processing Solutions (IPS) announced in early April. MasterCard IPS provides banks a suite of branded debit network and card issuer processing services including PIN and signature debit and prepaid processing, and ATM driving. READ MORE »


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