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June 12, 2009

Barclaycard, Welcome Real-time Partner on Retailer Rewards in UK

Welcome_Real-time_logo.jpgBarclaycard has announced that it plans to introduce a retailer rewards scheme in partnership with Welcome Real-time "that will enable Barclaycard customers to benefit from a retailer rewards scheme that is expected to encompass retailers ranging from sole traders to major high street names." READ MORE »

Global Payments Acquires Remaining 49% Interest in U.K. Merchant Services JV

globalpayments_logo-140px.jpgGlobal Payments has announced that it has acquired the remaining 49% interest in its merchant services joint venture in the United Kingdom from HSBC Bank plc ("HSBC"). "In June 2008, Global Payments and HSBC formed a joint venture, HSBC Merchant Services, to provide payment processing services to merchants in the United Kingdom and Internet merchants globally. Under the terms of today's agreement, Global Payments will pay HSBC a total of USD$307.7 million in cash to acquire the remaining 49% ownership interest in this joint venture. In addition, HSBC will extend the current ten-year exclusive marketing alliance agreement whereby the bank provides merchant referrals and bank sponsorship to Global Payments to June 2019." READ MORE »

Former FIrst Data CEO Charlie Fote Plans New Business

In an article titled "Ex-CEO of First Data Corp., makes a power play in Denver" in the Denver Post, Aldo Svaldi writes about Charlie Fote, ex-CEO of First Data Corp., and his plans to launch a new holding company later this year that Fote says "will look like Western Union and First Data put together."

Danal to Launch BilltoMobile in US Market

Danal-BilltoMobile_logo.jpgIn a story titled "Danal eyes Global Market" in the Korea Herald, Danal Co., a leading provider of mobile payment services in Korea, says it will "launch BilltoMobile in the United States in about three months, enabling Americans to charge online purchases to their mobile phone bills."

Headline News - June 12, 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.

June 11, 2009

A Look at US Bank's New Banking Technology Trials

logo_usbank.gifIn an article titled "Testing the limits of new banking technology", ContactlessNews reports on recent trials by US Bank of NFC-equipped mobile phones, contactless stickers, smartphone-based mobile banking and small contactless payment keyfobs.

InComm, WiredBenefits Announce Retail Healthcare Partnership

inComm_logo-140px.jpgInComm and WiredBenefits have announced an agreement to develop and market a suite of prepaid healthcare cards through InComm’s network of partner retailers. According to the companies, "aligning WiredBenefits’ Healthcare Platform with InComm’s 145,000 store retail network creates a healthcare delivery method a prepaid format that is familiar to consumers and beneficial to retailers." READ MORE »

Intuit GoPayment Turns Palm Pre Phone Into Credit Card Terminal

intuit_logo-140px.jpgIntuit has announced that Intuit GoPayment, a new way for business owners to process credit cards on their mobile phones, is the first small business application available for the new Palm Pre phone. According to the company, "GoPayment helps improve cash flow by giving small businesses an affordable and hassle-free way to process credit card payments outside the office as soon as the job is done." READ MORE »

Payments Geeks on a Plane - Where Would YOU Want to Go?

747.jpgLet's have some fun! A friend of mine, Dave McClure, is currently touring China as part of his Geeks on a Plane tour - a visit Dave and some friends organized to take "10 day orientation tour of Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai's Internet, Mobile & Gaming sector." Among many other roles along the way, Dave led PayPal's initial efforts to build a developer community.

Let's say that we put together a tour for payments geeks on a plane. Where in the world would you want to go? - to see who and what specifically? Or, if you'd want to host a visit to your company - tell us what you'd show us and why it's important!

Let's have some fun - you can either comment here (below) or over on this thread on Friendfeed where I've started with a quick SF Bay Area tour kickoff beginning at PayPal.

An Overview of Green Dot, Home Depot's Payment Strategy

We mentioned earlier this week that copies of many of the presentations from the recent Chicago Fed Payments 2009 conference are now available online.

One of the more interesting presentations is the Overview of Green Dot presentation by Steve Streit, CEO. It includes a description of how Green Dot is three companies in one: a retail packaged goods provider, a financial services provider, and the Green Dot reload network (MoneyPak).

Another interesting presentation is Payment Strategy at Home Depot by Dwaine Kimmet, VP Home Depot Financial Services. Kimmet clearly lays out the retailer's payment priorities - and frustrations with increased interchange costs saying that, since 2002, Home Depot "has not seen value created by these new, higher fees." He goes on to describe the private label card approach that Home Depot's adopted which has become its lowest cost credit tender type.

There are lots of other interesting presentations from this recent conference - available here.

Microsoft Ends Life of Microsoft Money Products

After 17 years in the personal financial management software business, Microsoft has announced that it is withdrawing from that market:

With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009.

More details here.

New Career Opportunities on

The following career opportunities are available now on

Are you hiring payments professionals? Be sure to list your openings on!

Headline News - June 11, 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.

June 10, 2009

MasterCard Opposes Sen. Durbin's Interchange Bill

MasterCard Logo.jpgIn a press release this afternoon, MasterCard said that "legislation introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) would harm consumers by taking away the fundamental consumer protections antitrust laws provide. By giving merchants an exemption from antitrust laws and establishing a government price control board, the bill would result in consumers paying more to use their credit cards. Experience has demonstrated that when merchants no longer pay their fair share for the benefits they receive from card acceptance, consumers pay the price through less credit availability, higher prices to use their cards, and fewer benefits." READ MORE »

More on the Fed Interchange Working Paper - Policy Interventions

Earlier today, we posted about a new Working Paper from the Federal Reserve titled "Interchange Fees and Payment Card Networks: Economics, Industry Developments, and Policy Issues". We've quickly scanned through it - it's an impressive analysis of the issues, economics, etc. surrounding interchange fees.

The last section of the document takes a look at potential policy interventions that could be considered. These include:

  • Clarifying or eliminating restrictions on differential retail pricing across payment methods
  • Prohibiting network determination of interchange fees
  • Regulating the level of interchange fees
  • Mandating "multi-bugged" cards that can perform transactions on multiple networks with merchant control of network routing rules
  • Doing nothing

If you're at all interested in the subject of interchange fees for payment cards, this working paper is a must read!

Sen. Durbin Introduces Interchange Fee Legislation in US Senate

Yesterday, Senator Richard Durbin introduced S.1212 in the US Senate - "A bill to amend the antitrust laws to ensure competitive market-based fees and terms for merchants' access to electronic payment systems."

The Electronic Payments Coalition in a press release today responded by saying, among other things, that it "strongly opposes interchange legislation introduced yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) - a bill nearly identical to one that received broad bipartisan opposition last year. This legislation is an attempt by giant retailers to make consumers pay for one of their business expenses - the cost of accepting credit and debit. It's simple: merchants do not want to pay their fair share to accept debit and credit cards, and they want consumers to foot the bill. If this legislation passes, American families will end up footing retailers' bills when it comes to accepting debit and credit cards."

A Clunker Card for the Clunker Bill?

IMG_2026.jpgThe US House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that sets aside $4 billion to subsidize new car purchases by consumers who scrap their old clunkers. The legislation is now moving to the Senate and, according to CNN, is supported by President Obama.

Maybe what this country needs is a Clunker Card to go with this "clunker bill". When you make your purchase, the dealer uses the Clunker Card to authorize the subsidy, allowing the Federal government to track usage, etc.? Think of the psychological power that card will exert on consumers who receive it - they'll just have to spend it!

Reminds me of the American Gift Card that Dan Newman first proposed in an op-ed in the Washington Post earlier this year!

eHarmony Implements Accertify’s Fraud-Fighting Technology

Accertify_logo.jpgAccertify has announced that its Interceptas platform has been chosen by eHarmony, the online service that uses relationship science to match singles seeking long-term relationships. READ MORE »

A Look at Interchange Legislation

In an article in today's Politico titled "John Conyers takes aim at interchange fees", Victoria McGrane writes about the interchange fee legislation re-introduced last week in Congress by John Conyers and Bill Shuster. The bill would She notes that lobbyies for the financial industry opposing the bill "point out that Conyers’ bill — unlike an earlier version — does not specify that merchants must pass on savings to consumers."

Fed Working Paper: Interchange Fees and Payment Card Networks

FederalReserve-130px.jpgThe Federal Reserve has published a new working paper in its Finance and Economics Discussion Series titled "Interchange Fees and Payment Card Networks: Economics, Industry Developments, and Policy Issues" icon_PDF_small.gif by Robin A. Prager, Mark D. Manuszak, Elizabeth K. Kiser, and Ron Borzekowski.

From the abstract:

In many countries around the world, electronic card-based payments have been replacing older types of payments at a rapid rate. In the United States, use of both debit cards and credit cards has been rising rapidly, while check volumes have been declining. The increased use of electronic payment methods has generated a number of public policy debates. One prominent debate concerns interchange fees. This paper is intended to provide background for understanding the interchange fee debate. The paper describes the operation of a typical payment card system, presents a summary of the economic theory underlying interchange fees, and discusses various developments in the U.S. payment cards industry, as well as legal and regulatory developments abroad. The paper concludes with a discussion and critical evaluation of a number of potential policy interventions.

Visa Introduces VisaVue Travel to Track International Spending

visalogo-small.jpgVisa has announced that it is introducing VisaVue Travel, a new service that will provide government agencies, hotels, airlines and other organizations within the U.S. tourism industry with insights into spending by international visitors to the U.S. Visa says that "the new service will enable subscribers to tailor their marketing and promotional strategies and budgets based on up-to-date information about international spending on Visa payment card transactions." READ MORE »

A Look at US Bank vs. American Express for Delta Mileage Cards

logo_usbank.gifIn an article titled "Frequent Fliers, Choose Your Card", Justin Bachman writes for BusinessWeek about the battle between US Bank and American Express over the former US Bank/Northwest Airlines WorldPerks cardholders - now that Northwest is about to merge with Delta, longtime partner with American Express. Bachman writes: "The fight over this customer base has been ferocious."

Headline News - June 10, 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.

June 09, 2009

Dodd Urges Fed to Protect Consumers from Abusive Overdraft Fees

dodd.jpgIn a letter today to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, urged the Federal Reserve to act as soon as possible to protect consumers from abusive overdraft fees. Dodd called on the Fed "to finalize a proposed rule that would curb the use of excessive and unfair fees when consumers overdraw their bank accounts. Dodd further pressed the Fed to implement an “opt-in” approach to overdraft fees, which would ensure that banks would be prohibited from charging consumers an overdraft fee without their consent."

A Customer-Driven Architecture for Banks - Learning from iPhone

Javelin Strategy & Research has released a new report that shows how it believes that financial institutions must create a Customer-Driven Architecture (CDA) that gives customers what research shows they want most: financial control. According to Javelin, "with many consumers’ finances in shambles, today’s economy is the perfect time to finally put customers in charge. The seven attributes of CDA outlined in the report shows bankers how to prioritize technology investments in order to achieve iPhone-like monetary control." READ MORE »

Survey Says One-Third of Physician Offices Don't Accept Credit Cards

SK&A Information Services has released findings from its Physician Office Credit-Card Acceptance Survey - concluding that "33% of U.S. physician offices do not accept credit cards as a form of payment. This represents a 5% increase since last year's survey, and the research suggests doctor offices are limiting this form of payment as a result of their patients being affected by high interest rates, maxed out credit limits and a more challenging ability to qualify for credit." READ MORE »

NACS, Merchant Groups Ask PCI Council to Lead Collaborative Effort

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council must take the lead in developing a collaborative approach with merchants in defining more open standards for future PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) requirements, stressed NACS (the National Association of Convenience Stores) and several other trade associations in a June 8 letter to the Council. READ MORE »

Demo'ing Payment Card Acceptance on Your iPhone

One of the new TV ads for Apple's iPhone 3GS features the Credit Card Terminal application - available in the iTunes App Store - showing how a card accepting merchant can use the application to process credit card transactions right from her iPhone.

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 3GS and also reduced the price of the current model iPhone 3G to $99.

First Data, Wells Fargo Expand Card Processing Relationship

FirstDataCorp_logo.jpgFirst Data has announced that Wells Fargo has expanded its agreement for card processing services and will move its newly-acquired Wachovia credit card portfolios to First Data for card processing services. READ MORE »

Headline News - June 9, 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.


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