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« September 6, 2009 - September 12, 2009 | Main | September 20, 2009 - September 26, 2009 »

September 18, 2009

Card Industry Responds to Push for Interchange Fee Regulation

The Electronic Payments Coalition issued a press release titled "Consumers Will Be Hurt By Interchange Regulation: 5 Articles of Proof" yesterday responding to pressures for regulation of interchange fees in the US:

"Today, the Electronic Payments Coalition released key evidence from several sources, demonstrating conclusively that consumers would be hurt by interchange regulation in the form of higher fees, fewer benefits, and zero savings at the cash register. Despite the misleading claims of giant retailers who want to shift this cost, merchants themselves have confirmed that they would not pass savings on to their customers." READ MORE »

September 17, 2009

Merchants Publish A Look at Interchange Fees Outside the US

The Merchants Payments Coalition has published a paper titled “Swipe Fee” Reform – International Lessons that takes a look at interchange fees (so-called "swipe fees" in the group's vernacular) in several markets outside the US. The paper states that "Compared to the rest of the world, U.S. swipe fees are: more than two times the rates in the UK and New Zealand, four times the rates in Australia, and over six times the cross border rates recently agreed upon by MasterCard and the EU."

Visa Survey Finds Consumers Not Sympathetic to Merchant Costs

Visa has released results of a new survey finding that "consumers believe retailers benefit far more from accepting credit and debit cards than they pay in costs." Visa said that the survey also found that consumers believe merchants see card cost acceptance as a part of doing business, much like paying for utilities such as electricity. READ MORE »

A Look at Revolution Money

In an article titled "When Closing Accounts Is Counter-Revolutionary", Maria Aspan writes for the American Banker about RevolutionCard closing some of their cardholder accounts.

Discover Reports Financial Results

Discover_logo-140px.jpgDiscover Financial Services has reported financial results for its third quarter 2009. Discover reported that Discover Card sales volume declined 7% from the prior year to $23 billion but increased 6% from the prior quarter. Managed loans of $51 billion were relatively unchanged from the prior quarter. The third-quarter managed net charge-off rate rose to 8.39%, up 319 basis points and 60 basis points from the prior year and the prior quarter respectively.

Bank of America Introduces BankAmericard Basic Visa Card

BankofAmerica_logo-140px.jpgSaying it is responding to "consumer demand for a card that offers the convenience of credit with simplified rates and terms," Bank of America has announced the BankAmericard Basic™ Visa card. "The new card features one basic rate for all types of transactions, including balance transfers and cash advances. That rate, which is tied to the U.S. Prime Rate, will not change over the life of the account." READ MORE »

September 16, 2009

Last Call: Glenbrook's New York Payments Boot Camp - Sept. 23-24

Next week, Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson and Bryan Derman will be teaching our Payments Boot Camp in New York City on Wednesday and Thursday, September 23-24. Registration will be closing shortly!

Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camp is a two-day "deep dive" into all aspects of the US payment system. Our fall series features an expanded focus on Mobile Payments – and introduces Glenbrook’s Mobile Payments Market Map.

The Interchange Wars Continue...

In an article titled "Retailers Battle Credit Card Fees", Nancy Trejos writes for the Washington Post about interchange fees. She writes that "the General Accounting Office is doing a study of the fees, as required by a law signed by President Obama in May that bans many unfair credit card industry practices."

She notes that "The Merchants Payments Coalition will release a study on Thursday of how European countries, Canada and New Zealand handle interchange fees."

We'll cover the study here on Payments News when it's released.

American Express and Twitter - Success!

I had a little bit of fun this afternoon - wondering out loud (on Twitter) if American Express was active on Twitter. So, I tweeted the question!

Less than an hour later, I had my reply - from Rachel at American Express - who asked if there was anything she could do. Very cool!

What did we learn? The American Express Customer Care Twitter account is AskAmex!

Just How Hot Are Virtual Currencies and Mobile Payments?

Zong_logo-140px.jpgTake a look at the Inside Facebook blog and the ads from its sponsors - including Zong, SuperRewards, Allpass, PaymentPin and OfferPal.

Also, notice the survey results discussed in this article - none of the major consumer credit card companies or issuers made the top 10!

Have you signed up to use virtual currency or pay for digital goods using your mobile phone?

American Express Launches New Rewards Options

Saying it is "focused on providing relevant rewards during these difficult economic times," American Express has announced several enhancements to its Membership Rewards program including the a feature that allows Amex cardholders to use points toward “everyday” charges within their online statement. Amex also announced the launch of Membership Rewards Specials - a program featuring "great deals on popular rewards." In addition, a number of new partners have been added to the Membership Rewards program. READ MORE »

Social Media and Financial Services - The Environment

We've been doing research into the use and application of social media to the business of financial services. We recently came across this updated "Did you Know" video put together by XPLANE that really helps frame the environment we're dealing with. Enjoy - and, if you'd like to talk about social media and financial services, get in touch. Google me!

[Hat tip to Presentation Zen!]

Survey Examines What Banks Should Do About Card Fraud

ACI_logo-140px.jpgACI Worldwide has released the findings from a global consumer fraud survey that highlights the areas that banks need to focus on following a card fraud incident.

"The most important factor to ensure customers were happy with their bank after they were hit by fraud is how quickly any stolen money was reimbursed. However, just under a third of those surveyed also judged their bank’s customer service by how quickly they identified a fraudulent transaction. For a quarter of respondents it was most important that the financial institution identified the fraud before they did." READ MORE »

Earthport Launches Payments for IBM's Global Expense Reporting

Earthport_logo-140px.jpgEarthport, a global payments utility, has announced the launch of a global payments service for IBM’s Global Expense Reporting Solution (GERS) offering. The new global payments service, utilizing Earthport’s technology and Universal Payments Network, will extend the existing IBM GERS solution to include the final settlement of employees individual expense reports. It will be marketed to new and existing IBM GERS clients. READ MORE »

September 15, 2009

The Era of Responsible Credit Card Borrowing

PaymentsViews_logo-140px.jpgOver on PaymentsViews.com in a post titled "The Era of Responsible Credit Card Borrowing Begins Today", Glenbrook's Bryan Derman takes a look at Chase Blueprint - saying that it "represents a significant generational inflection point in the evolution of the US credit card business."

Chase Introduces Blueprint - With New Card Control Features

ChaseBlueprint_logo-140px.jpgChase Card Services has introduced Chase Blueprint - calling it "an innovative set of features that dramatically improves the way customers can manage their spending and borrowing. Blueprint helps consumers take charge of their finances with free tools they can use to pay down balances, manage everyday spending and pay off major purchases."

Blueprint, in what Chase is saying is a "first for the banking industry", enables Chase customers to better manage their expenses – from everyday spending like groceries to major purchases like appliances or home repairs – and adjust their plan at any time without penalty. Blueprint is integrated into customers’ accounts, enabling them to create customized payment plans and track their progress on every statement, either online or on the phone working with a Chase advisor.

Chase says that the launch of Blueprint follows more than two years of planning and research focused on better understanding the way consumers think about borrowing. According to a Chase survey of 4,026 U.S. consumers, 74 percent say it is “very important” that they have complete control over managing their finances and believe that cards are an essential part of that equation. READ MORE »

Jack Henry Reports Record Remote Deposit Capture Transactions

Jack Henry has announced that its Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) solution continues to set new transaction volume records. The company's RDC solution now supports more than 22,000 merchants and 85,000 merchant locations. "After a record-setting July, during which more than 11,350,000 RDC transactions were processed, volumes continued to increase and another monthly record was set in August with more than 11,685,000 RDC transactions processed. The collective transactions processed during this two-month period represent in excess of $18 billion." READ MORE »

VeriFone Announces Global Security Solutions Business

VeriFone has announced the formation of a Global Security Solutions Business Unit - saying it will be "focused on delivering innovative security solutions, including VeriShield Protect end-to-end encryption, to protect cardholder data throughout merchant and processor systems." Jeff Wakefield, formerly vice president of marketing for VeriFone’s Integrated Systems business, was named general manager and vice president of the new business unit. READ MORE »

September 14, 2009

A Look at Payments Innovation at US Bank

In an article titled "Sticking with R&D, Even in a Downturn", Maria Aspan writes for the American Banker about US Bank's continuing focus on payments innovation.

"We can pilot things across both ends of the spectrum. We can issue and acquire in kind of a small pilot environment" without overspending or overextending the company's resources", Pamela Joseph, its vice chairman of payment services said.

American Express Launches Personal Savings Accounts

American Express has announced Personal Savings from American Express, a new line of FDIC-insured certificates of deposit and high-yield savings accounts. The Personal Savings deposit accounts are offered by American Express Bank, FSB, a depository institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and part of the American Express family of companies. READ MORE »

Retail Gift Card Association Announces New Members

giftcard-140px.jpgThe Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), a trade association originally formed last October, has announced the addition of Darden Restaurants, AMC Entertainment, Disney, JCPenney, Lowe’s Home Improvement, L.L.Bean, Foot Locker, Bass Pro Shops, Bon Ton, SpaFinder and Giant Eagle to its membership. The RGCA - "established by retailers for retailers" - says it "understands the need to promote a more accurate depiction of the practices, sales and terms related to the closed loop gift card market." READ MORE »

Contactless Chip Cards as an Alternative to End-to-End Encryption

SmartCardAlliance_logo-140px.jpgThe Smart Card Alliance has published a new position paper titled “End-to-End Encryption and Chip Cards in the U.S. Payments Industry" that "proposes an alternative to end-to-end encryption, protecting cardholder data by using chip card technology, but in a different way than has been considered in the past."

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, said "In our paper we discuss a different approach optimized for the U.S. payment market: using contactless chip cards, including a dynamic cryptogram with each transaction and authorizing transactions online. This stands in sharp contrast to previous considerations of implementing 'chip and PIN' based on the full EMV standard. Instead, this proposal builds on what is already happening in the U.S. -- the issuance and merchant acceptance of contactless cards -- while keeping in step with globally interoperable EMV standards." READ MORE »

American Express Launches US Spending and Saving Tracker

AmericanExpress_logo-140px.jpgAmerican Express has announced results from the first American Express Spending & Saving Tracker finding that, while 60 percent of respondents who participated said they intend to spend about the same or more in the next 30 days, (compared to the last 30 days), 40 percent plan to spend less. READ MORE »

Visa Updates July, August US Payment Volume

visa_logo-140px.jpgVisa has filed an 8-K providing information about its US payments volume for July and August. According to Visa, "in August, U.S. aggregate payments volume growth was negative 1% versus the prior year period. This represents an improvement over the July period end of negative 2%. Further broken down, U.S. credit payments volume growth was negative 10% and debit payments volume growth was positive 7%. Compared to the July period end, U.S. credit payments volume was down slightly from negative 9%, while debit payments volume improved from positive 4%." READ MORE »

US Credit Card Issuers Focus on Premium Cards and Cardholders

In an article titled "Turning to Premium Credit Cards", Alex Mindlin writes for the New York Times how US credit card issuers are focusing their solicitation efforts on premium cards - including the MasterCard World and Visa Signature cards.

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