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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 »

American Express Settles Antitrust Claims against MasterCard

American Express has announced that it has reached an agreement with MasterCard Inc. to drop a lawsuit alleging that MasterCard had illegally blocked American Express from the bank-issued card business in the United States.

"Under the terms of the agreement, MasterCard will pay American Express up to $1.8 billion. This follows an earlier agreement with Visa to settle similar claims for up to $2.25 billion. Subject to certain performance criteria, American Express would receive more than $4 billion for agreeing to drop its claims against the two credit card networks. The combined antitrust settlement is the largest in U.S. history."

American Express and Visa had announced a settlement earlier - on November 7, 2007. READ MORE »

Cellfire Enhances Mobile Coupon Service

Cellfire, a nationwide mobile coupon and discount offer service, has introduced Cellfire 3.0, enabling consumers to "mobilize offers they discover in traditional and interactive media" and other new features. READ MORE »

Wirecard, Experian Offer Joint Risk Management Services in Europe

Wirecard and Experian have announced "a strategic alliance to create a unique product to provide risk management support to the rapidly growing European Internet payment market. The new product, hosted by Wirecard, gives clients access to sophisticated analytics, modelling and simulation technology at the point at which they make decisions on their customers. Fully integrated into Wirecard’s payment platform, the new service will help clients to increase the speed and quality of their decision-making during order acceptance and reduce their exposure to Internet fraud." READ MORE »

Payments Professionals Management Changes

We have received news of the following recent management changes:

  • Carl D. Blandino has been named Chief Financial Officer at CashEdge. Previously, Blandino served as CFO of Open Solutions Inc.
  • Eduardo Vergara has been named Global Commercial Card Executive at JPMorgan Treasury Services as Global Commercial Card Executive. Most recently, Vergara headed Global Product Management and Marketing for Global Commercial Card at American Express.

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.

June 24, 2008

TowerGroup Worries about Nonbank Personal Finance Web Sites

In a new report titled "The Impact of Online Personal Finance Offering: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", TowerGroup analyst George Tubin finds the capabilities of new non-bank online personal finance web sites are of interest but raises concerns about whether the sites have "adequate fraud prevention capabilities to protect both the consumer and the bank from account takeover and identity theft." READ MORE »

Banks vs. Retailers - Interchange Fees

In his Washington Post column today (scroll down to the bottom of that page), Jeffrey H. Birnbaum writes about the activity in the House Judiciary Committee as it considers legislation that would "force credit card companies to reduce the fees they charge merchants." He writes about visits paid on lawmakers last week by banking industry representations.

Blockbuster Now Accepts PayPal at

Blockbuster has announced it is now accepting PayPal as a way to make purchases on the company's web site "To celebrate the launch of PayPal, Blockbuster is offering PayPal customers $10 cash back for signing up for a new online rental subscription at To take advantage of the cash back offer, PayPal customers should visit" READ MORE »

American Express Anywhere Mobile Service for Blackberry's

Rearden Commerce and American Express have announced American Express Anywhere - calling it "an innovative new mobile service that enables corporate customers to manage travel details and business through their BlackBerry smartphones." READ MORE »

More on the Information Card Foundation

The Information Card Foundation has officially launched its web site and posted its announcement press release. The founding companies say it's their goal "to advance a simpler, more secure and more open digital identity on the Internet, increasing user control over their personal information while enabling mutually beneficial digital relationships between people and businesses." READ MORE »

Visa Launches the Visa Business Network on Facebook

Visa has unveiled the Visa Business Network, calling it "the first-ever application dedicated to connecting small businesses on Facebook. The Visa Business Network has been created with small businesses, for small businesses, and is a unique environment built on Facebook Platform for the small business arena." READ MORE »

June 23, 2008

Information Card Foundation Launched

Robert Vamosi reports for Cnet on the Information Card Foundation, a new group created by Equifax, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, PayPal, and others to "increase awareness of the use of electronic ID cards on the Internet, and encouraging interoperability in business around new standards." The Information Card Foundation website should be updated with more information on Tuesday. See also Dark Reading's article today. Laurie Flynn covers the story in Tuesday's New York Times.


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