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December 31, 2009

2009's Most Popular Posts and Themes on

PaymentsViews_logo-140px.jpgOver on, Glenbrook's Erin McCune takes a look back at the seven popular topics and recurring themes that stand out since Payments Views was founded in February.

Small Businesses - Dedicate a PC for Online Banking Activities

In an article titled "Cybercrooks stalk small businesses that bank online", Byron Acohido writes for USA Today about how small businesses are being targeted by fraudsters seeking to gain online banking account userid's and passwords. According to Acohido, "the American Bankers Association and the FBI are advising small and midsize businesses that conduct financial transactions over the Internet to dedicate a separate PC used exclusively for online banking."

2010 - The Year of Consumer Power

In her "Color of Money" personal finance column in today's Washington Post, Michelle Singletary writes about 2010 being the "Year of Consumer Power" - reflecting on the legislative (The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009) and regulatory (overdraft fees) changes that are scheduled to take place as 2010 plays out.

An Update on Interchange Legislation in the United States

The Payments System Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has released a Payments Systems Briefing titled "An Update on Interchange Legislation in the United States" by Research Associate Christian Hung. The briefing "provides a summary of recent developments in interchange legislation in the United States as well as the recently released Government Accountability Office report detailing its findings on interchange fees."

December 30, 2009

Looking Back: Payments News Stats, Top Stories, and Categories of 2009

Our mission with Payments News continues to be helping folks just like us - payments professionals - quickly and easily stay on top of the news of the day. We try to make it easy for you to "read over our shoulder" and get a tightly edited sense of what's important and relevant. That's what we try to do every business day. PN is a daily complement to Glenbrook's other payments education offerings including our Payments Boot Camps and our new Payments Essentials webinar series.

PaymentsNews_logo-140px.gifPayments News once again had a very busy year in 2009 - serving almost 3 million page views to over 2 million unique visitors. Over the year, our daily email distribution subscribers grew by over 1,100 to over 6,500 readers. Over 4,500 readers follow PaymentsNews daily via our RSS feed.

And, over 1,200 readers have been following Payments News in real-time via our Payments News Twitter feed launched late last year. We tweeted over 3,000 news stories in 2009!

This year, we also added a Payments News Facebook page - so you can easily become a fan and follow us on Facebook.

Looking back over the 2009, here are the top 5 most viewed individual news stories posted to Payments News this year:

  1. Chase Launches New Ultimate Rewards Program
  2. Bank of America's Add It Up Offers Cash Back for Online Shopping
  3. MasterCard Launches Priceless Picks iPhone Application
  4. 100,000,000 Accounts in Apple's iTunes
  5. A Look at PayPal's Adaptive Payments

The top 5 most viewed categories/tags on Payments News for 2009 were:

  1. Chase Card Services
  2. Mobile Payments
  3. Citi Cards
  4. Prepaid Cards
  5. Merchant Acquirers

Thanks very much for reading Payments News in 2009 - we hope you're finding it a valuable daily tool. We always welcome reading your comments and suggestions - please send them to us here! We're looking forward to an even more exciting 2010 - and wish you all the best too!

PaymentsViews_logo-140px.jpgAnother highlight of 2009 was the launch of our sister "rants and opinions" blog: in February under the leadership of Erin McCune. An active blogger herself, Erin's worked hard to get all of us at Glenbrook sharing our thoughts on the latest happenings in payments. Perhaps the best example is Carol Coye Benson's series of articles sharing her insights and observations on mobile payments based on interviews she conducted with the leading U.S. and Canadian companies in this market!

Thanks again for your readership of Payments News and Payments Views! Best wishes for a great 2010 from all of us at Glenbrook Partners!

Crowdsourcing Card Design - Discover's Card Design Contest

Discover Card is running a card design contest - and reports that so far over 2,000 card designs have been submitted! Discover is using its Facebook page and tweeting on Twitter to generate awareness and interest in the contest. The winning card design will be featured on the next Discover Student Card.

Move Your Money - Out of Big Banks and into Community Banks!

In an article titled "Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution", Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson write about a populist movement they're starting to encourage folks to move their money out of the major banks and into local community banks.

The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it's meant to be. It's neither Left nor Right -- it's populism at its best."

They've put together a web site and a video about the idea.

Headline News - December 30, 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.

December 29, 2009

RushCard Introduces Card-to-Card Funds Transfer

RushCard has announced the availability of a new card-to-card funds transfer feature that allows RushCard members to "instantly transfer money at a fraction of the cost they'd pay to move money through leading wire transfer services. A RushCard member can now transfer funds to another member's card at a low, flat rate, and they can transfer funds between their own RushCards for free. Transfer fees with other services can be eight to ten times higher to move the same amount of money." READ MORE »

How Should Banks Replace Upcoming Losses in Overdraft Fee Income?

A few weeks back, Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson issued a challenge - asking "What Are the Best Ways for Banks to Replace Lost Overdraft Fee Income?" She was looking for creative ideas from the community on how bankers should deal with perhaps their most significant financial challenge ahead.

Today, Carol has summarized the results of her search for ideas in a new post on titled "No News is Bad News?". She writes:

We got very few ideas at all, and none from bankers! The no-news-from-banks could, of course, be because banks are keeping their well-laid plans a deep and dark secret. Or it could be …. there are just no good ideas?"

Read her full article here.

December 28, 2009

Follow PaymentsNews and PaymentsViews on Twitter

Are you active on Twitter? Did you know that you can follow us on Twitter too? Both and have Twitter feeds that you can follow to get real-time updates for our postings:

Follow us and get our updates as real-time tweets!

New in VP Product Development & IT - Intuit

Just posted on

Intuit’s Payments Solutions Division (PSD) is seeking a Senior Technical Leader with a proven track record managing in large scale real-time transactional and data driven environments. Deep domain experience in the payments or related industry required. The person we hire will report directly to the General Manager of the Payments Solutions Division and will be responsible for the IT, PMO, Product Development, Enterprise Solutions and Architecture teams.

Read the full posting here. Are you hiring payments professionals? List your job here ($200 for a 30 day listing).

A Look at Repositioning Bank of America's Credit Card Business

In an article titled "New Chief at Bank of America Seeks Credit-Card Fix", Dan Fitzpatrick writes for the Wall St. Journal about incoming CEO Brian Moynihan's plans to reposition its credit card business.

Reminder: Musings about Mobile Payments 2009 - Research Brief

If you haven't already picked up a copy of Carol Coye Benson's research brief "Musings about Mobile Payments 2009", here's a reminder that you can download a free copy through the end of this week.

This Glenbrook research brief contains insights and observations from a series of interviews that Carol conducted over the last six months with many of the mobile payments companies in the U.S. and Canada. You can download a copy of the PDF version by quickly registering at our sister website

The upcoming 2010 editions of our Glenbrook Payments Boot Camps include an expanded and updated focus on emerging payments – based on Carol's on-going mobile payments research, new options for online payment for digital content, and ACH-based payments across online and physical domains.

A Look at Chase Paymentech's Cyber Holiday Pulse Index

ChasePaymentech_logo-140px.jpgChase Paymentech has updated its Pulse Index to reflect results from November 5 through yesterday. During the holiday season, Chase Paymentech monitors the daily settlement activity of 50 of the largest 250 Internet retailers, as defined by the Internet Retailer Top 500, to create the Pulse Index.

If you scroll down on the page, you'll see the full timeframe - with the peak shopping days being each Tuesday for the three weeks prior to Chrismas. From a sales standpoint, 2009 was slightly ahead of 2008 while transactions grew significantly. A lower average ticket in 2009 pulled down the sales comparison to last year.

Moneta, Equifax Partner to Add Instant Credit Options

Moneta has announced an agreement with Equifax "to utilize the Equifax credit decisioning system for a new instant credit feature for Moneta’s online payment wallet. Merchants accepting Moneta payments may now offer a range of bank-sponsored funding options to their customers including checking, savings, money market and now instant transactional credit lines underwritten by the sponsoring bank." READ MORE »

December 27, 2009

A Look at Bankers' Fee Income Challenges

In an article titled "Consumer Fees: The Hits Keep Coming", Maria Aspan writes for the American Banker about how bankers are scrambling to deal with the assault on various banking and credit card fees - noting that "the banking industry has been shaken out of its complacent reliance on consumer fee income." Aspan quotes Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson:

Overdraft fees for bankers are like heroin — they know it's bad for them (particularly in building the trust relationship with customers that they want), but the revenue just feels so good," Carol Coye Benson, a managing partner in the consulting firm Glenbrook Partners LLC, wrote in a November blog post. "The Fed's new rules are detox."

December 23, 2009

Season's Greetings!

A good friend once told me: slow down, get into the moment, and hold them close. All of us at Glenbrook hope that you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

The 2008 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has published The 2008 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice by Kevin Foster, Erik Meijer, Scott Schuh, and Michael A. Zabek.

From the abstract:

This paper presents the 2008 version of the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), a nationally representative survey developed by the Consumer Payments Research Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and implemented by the RAND Corporation with its American Life Panel. The survey fills a gap in knowledge about the role of consumers in the transformation of payments from paper to electronic by providing a broad‐based assessment of U.S. consumers’ adoption and use of nine payment instruments, including cash.

The average consumer has 5.1 of the nine instruments, and uses 4.2 in a typical month. Consumers make 53 percent of their monthly payments with a payment card (credit, debit, and prepaid). More consumers now have debit cards than credit cards, and consumers use debit cards more often than cash, credit cards, or checks individually. Cash, checks, and other paper instruments are still popular and account for 37 percent of consumer payments.

Most consumers have used newer electronic payments, such as online banking bill payment, but they account for only 10 percent of consumer payments. Security and ease of use are the characteristics of payment instruments that consumers rate as the most important.

Hot Topics in Payments for 2009 - Overdrafts, Interchange, Gift Cards

Google's Insights for Search provides some handy tools for exploring what topics folks have been searching for over time. For example, here's a graph of search activity over the last five years on the subject of overdraft fees. Needless to say, they become a very hot search term (and consumer issue) in 2009!

Here's a less dramatic example - this time for interchange fees.

Finally, one of my favorites - gift cards - look at this seasonality!

FDC Reports Mid-Dec 2009 Consumer Spending Data

First Data Corporation has released its First Data SpendTrend transaction data comparing Dec. 1 through Dec. 14, 2009 to the same period last year. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending using credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations.

FDC reports that overall transaction growth remained healthy at 7.9 percent, while the Midwest experienced the highest growth rate of 10.8 percent. Transaction growth for all regions was up from November. Data indicates that consumers continued to focus on value, leading to large transaction increases in petroleum (13.4 percent) and value retailers (14.9 percent). READ MORE »

A Look at Regional Differences in Consumer Payments in the UK

The UK Payments Council has created "an online, interactive map to demonstrate the varied payment attitudes, preferences and behaviours that can be seen in the different regions across the UK." READ MORE »

A Look at Charge Cards

In an article titled "Tamer Cards for Tougher Times", Mary Pilon writes for the Wall St. Journal about how charge cards are returning to consumers' wallets as card issuers adjust to tough economic times by reducing credit availability. Charge cards don't revolve - they must be paid off in full each month.

Headline News - December 23, 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.

December 22, 2009

Musings about Mobile Payments 2009 - Glenbrook Research Brief

GP-MusingsAboutMobilePayments2009-180px.jpgFor the last several months, Glenbrook’s Carol Coye Benson has been interviewing a number of companies involved in mobile payments in the U.S. and Canada. You’ll find all of the analyses she’s written following those interviews on The companies included are Billing Revolution, Blaze Mobile, Bling Nation, Boku, CashEdge, First Data Corp., mFoundry, mPayy, Obopay, Payfone, Zong, and Zoompass.

To make it easy to access all of Carol’s analyses in a form that you can download, print out and take with you, we’ve created a PDF version titled “Musings about Mobile Payments 2009” that includes each of Carol’s commentaries. You can download a free copy of the PDF from Happy holidays from all of us at Glenbrook!

The upcoming 2010 editions of our Glenbrook Payments Boot Camps include an expanded and updated focus on emerging payments – based on Carol's on-going mobile payments research, new options for online payment for digital content, and ACH-based payments across online and physical domains.

Equifax Finds U.S. Consumer Payment Trends Continue to Deteriorate

Consumer delinquency rates for bankcards, first mortgages and home equity lines of credit again rose month-to-month in November, according to Equifax's monthly Credit Trend Report.

Bankcard issuers continued a year-long trend of closing accounts and reducing credit lines. Card risk management programs have accelerated since July of 2008, reducing card credit lines by $803 billion and the number of accounts by 93 million. Delinquency rates for bankcards picked up notably since the end of 2008 in tandem with rising unemployment. The November 2009 60-days-past-due rate of 4.62 percent is almost a full percent higher than the November 2008 rate of 3.76 percent. However, the rate still remains below the peak of 4.79 percent in May 2009. READ MORE »

Headline News - December 22, 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.

December 21, 2009

Glenbrook Office Hours - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Do you have questions, observations, or thoughts about payments? Give me (Scott Loftesness) a call this Wednesday.

Scott - Version 2.jpgI'll be holding office hours again this Wednesday, December 23, from 10:30 AM Pacific through the end of the day. You can reach me at +1.650.469.3421. I look forward to talking to you!

By the way, I'm currently doing research into payment methods for online and mobile games - if you're working in that area, I'd love to hear from you!

If I'm unable to take your call, I'll try to return your call - subject to my availability. If you'd rather email (preferred outside of office hours), you can always reach me at:

Do you have Glenbrook on your side?


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