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January 30, 2009

US Credit Card Issuers Go to War Against Credit Losses

In an article titled "Credit Card Companies Go to War Against Losses", Ron Lieber writes for the New York Times about the actions that US credit card issuers are taking in an effort to reign in credit losses on their credit cards. According to Lieber, the steps the credit card issuers are taking include raising interest rates, lowering credit limits, adding new fees, and closing accounts.

TechCrunch: The Economy According To Mint CEO Aaron Patzer has posted a guest column on TechCrunch in which he shares some of the aggregate data that has captured from its users sharing their spending data.

Looking across spending as a whole in 2008, we can see a phase change beginning in the summer. After a bump in the May/June time frame from tax refunds and credits, we see spending declined by $400 / month / household. Spending eroded even further (a $200 drop) in November along with consumer confidence, bouncing back only slightly for the holidays.


APACS Issues Consumer Alert re: Card Fraud Phone Scam

APACS, the UK payments association, has issued a press release advising "about the recent rise in popularity of an old-style phone scam that involves fraudsters duping unsuspecting cardholders into revealing their card details by pretending to be from either their bank, card company or one of the international card schemes – Visa and MasterCard." READ MORE »

January 29, 2009

Mobile Marketing Association Publishes Mobile Banking Overview

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has announced the publication of its Mobile Banking Overview icon_PDF_small.gif - "an educational resource designed to provide analysis of the unique marketing opportunities and attributes that the mobile channel represents for the financial sector. Key subjects include market size, consumer-focused mobile banking products and services, and the mobile media channels available to banks and other financial institutions. It also provides considerations for optimizing mobile banking communications and campaign effectiveness within each channel." READ MORE »

January 28, 2009

CashEdge Updates 2008 Results for Account Opening/Funding

CashEdge has announced that it facilitated the acquisition of more than $4.5 Billion in assets for its financial institution clients during 2008 through its online account opening and funding products – OpenNow/FundNow and OpenNow/FundNow Express, an increase of more than 27 percent from 2007. READ MORE »

UK: One in Four Britons Are Victim of Card Fraud

The Press Association in the UK reports that "one in four Britons have been the victim of credit or debit card fraud, research has shown. Around 26% of people have now had their card used fraudulently, up from 21% when the same research was carried out 12 months ago, according to life assistance group CPP."

Wells Fargo Announces Financial Results, Grows Card Receivables

Wells Fargo announced 4Q2008 financial results this morning. Average core deposits grew at by 31 percent (annualized) from the prior quarter and the low cost of those deposits gives Wells Fargo the widest net interest margin in the industry. Credit card loans outstanding grew 25% from the year ago quarter to $23.5 billion.

January 27, 2009

Heartland Says It Accelerates Development of End-to-End Encryption

Heartland Payment Systems has announced that "it has formed an internal department dedicated exclusively to the development of end-to-end encryption to protect merchant and consumer data used in financial transactions. For the past year, Robert O. Carr, Heartland's chairman and chief executive officer, has been advocating for payments industry adoption of this technology - which will protect data at rest as well as data in motion - as an improvement for payment transaction security." READ MORE »

FDIC Proposes to Limit Weaker Banks from Offering High Rates

In a press release the FDIC announced that "The Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation today proposed for comment a regulatory change in the way the FDIC administers its statutory restrictions on the deposit interest rates paid by banks that are less than Well Capitalized." READ MORE »

Headline News - January 27, 2009

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.

January 26, 2009

American Express Announces 4Q2008 Financial Results

After the market close today, American Express announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2008.

Overall Amex cardholder spending declined 10% year over year - or 5% when adjusted for foreign exchange rates. In the US, card billed business (including cash advances) declined 8% year over year, falling from $123 billion to $112.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2008. In terms of average cardholder spending, Amex reported it declined 15% to $2,792 for the quarter. The average merchant discount rate remained essentially unchanged at 2.53%.

NCR Introduces Web Service to Capture ATM Check Deposit Images

NCR has launched "a new web-based service for easier and faster management and processing of envelope-free deposits at ATMs. With Intelligent Deposit ATMs already making up more than 70 percent of its 2008 U.S. SelfServ ATM orders, NCR believes its new service – NCR APTRA Deposit Gateway – will significantly help the next wave of financial institutions move to image-based ATMs. NCR APTRA Deposit Gateway is a web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that enables financial institutions to perform check image processing for envelope-free deposits made at the ATM." READ MORE »

White Papers Available in First Data's Thought Leadership Library

First Data Corp. has a growing collection of white papers in its Thought Leadership Library covering a wide range of payments-related topics. The latest papers include:

American Express Releases New Study on Commercial Cards

American Express Global Commercial Card has released a new study "detailing how companies are instituting best practices and driving savings to control their costs in an economic downturn. Working with Accenture, American Express interviewed a number of Fortune 500 companies in industries ranging from consumer products to business services. These companies had median gross revenues of $30 billion, and were identified as having leading T&E spending policies." (Full study here icon_PDF_small.gif). READ MORE »

Discover Small Business Watch Index Falls Further in January

After a brief rebound in December, economic confidence among small business owners dipped in January as fewer owners plan to increase spending for business development. The Discover Small Business Watch index fell to 71.4 in January, down 1.4 points from December. READ MORE »

Most Americans Want "Always On Banking"

Monitise Americas has announced new research results finding that "Americans are increasingly demanding 'always on' information about their money, with 77% saying that it was important for them to have real-time and immediate information regarding their bank and credit card accounts." READ MORE »

Wells Fargo Introduces Card Design Studio for Personalization

Wells Fargo has launched the Wells Fargo Card Design Studio service - saying it "gives consumer and business customers the option to customize the design of their Wells Fargo Check Cards or Credit Cards." READ MORE »

Headline News - January 26, 2009

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.

January 24, 2009

Paying with Your Cellphone in the US - Please Stand-By!

In an article titled "Cellphones as Credit Cards? Americans Must Wait", Leslie Berlin writes for the New York Times about why America is not on the verge of mobile payments at POS.

For that to happen, all the players will have to work together to define standards, determine revenue-sharing, expand the network of electronic readers and think through the other parts of what he calls “this 2,000-piece puzzle.”

Unfortunately, it's not a pretty picture.

New Books on PCI-DSS Compliance

With all of the news this week surrounding the payment card data breach at Heartland Payments Systems, we've added a new section to the Payments News Bookstore with several new books covering the topic of PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard) compliance. If you're aware of any we've missed, please send us Feedback and we'll add them to the bookstore.

In addition to these books about the subject, the PCI Security Standards Council website is a great starting point for learning more about PCI-DSS.

January 23, 2009

The Importance of Interchange

In a blog post titled "Digital Money Forum: You can't get away from interchange", Dave Birch writes about how merchant pressures to reduce interchange fees could reduce the business case for some new card payments products. He concludes...

It's not clear to me that either the politicians or the retailers understand how sensitive some new opportunities are to interchange calculations, so a reduction in interchange will inevitably mean a reduction in innovation. If that's the goal, fine.

Following Dave's theme, in our Payments Boot Camps we speculate about what might happen to innovation in payments if interchange were to suddenly be significantly reduced or eliminated. What do you think?

Update: Aneace Haddad blogs about why the interchange wars are over...for now - noting that...

...Retailers are happier than ever to have a customer come in and buy something, even if they must pay interchange, which now seems like a pittance in comparison to the huge discounts that they are giving."

Heartland CEO Calls for Industry Cooperation to Fight Criminals

Heartland Payment Systems issued a press release today saying that it had "added more than 400 merchants to its client base in the past few days - exceeding results for the same period from last year" - and including a statement from founder, chairman and CEO Robert O. Carr on the response his organization has made to the announcement earlier this week of a payment card data breach at Heartland. READ MORE »

New Job Openings at Visa on

Visa Inc. has listed two new job openings on our career site:Both positions are at Visa's HQ in San Mateo, California.

Looking for payments professionals for your business? Post your job openings on

January 22, 2009

Capital One Reports 4Q2008 Financial Results

Capital One has reported financial results for the fourth quarter of 2008. In Capital One's US Card business, purchase volume in the fourth quarter declined over 10% vs. 4Q2007 and was down 5% from the third quarter of 2008. Chargeoffs on the US Card business increased from 4.84% to 7.08% between 4Q2007 and 4Q2008.

Glenbrook 2009 Payments Education Schedule Updated

We've just updated our schedule of payments education courses offered through May 2009. Included are two Glenbrook Payments Boot Camp sessions - one in New York City in March and a second in the San Francisco Bay Area in May. We'll also be holding two workshops on Emerging Payments - one in the San Francisco area and a second in New York. A new workshop on Web 2.0 in Financial Services will be held in San Francisco in March and a workshop on Business to Business Payments will be held in New York in May.

You can find the complete schedule here - registration for all of these sessions is now open. We also updated the downloadable agendas for each of these classes.


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