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« September 13, 2009 - September 19, 2009 | Main | September 27, 2009 - October 3, 2009 »

September 26, 2009

The Rage at Overdraft Fees

The rage around bank overdraft fees continues with an article titled "Overdraft 'Protection' Is Anything But" by Michelle Singletary in today's Washington Post.

She writes: "Clearly, people should be more responsible. But once again, financial services institutions have crossed the line of fairness. And to be honest, the federal government has helped them along. The federal agencies that regulate the industry determined several years ago that overdraft protection programs were not extensions of credit, a ruling that was ridiculous."

Mobile Coupons Interest More Merchants

In an article in DMNews, Dianna Dilworth reports on JCPenney's pilot program for mobile coupons in the Houston area. Using the coupons presented on their mobile phones, consumers earn discounts on purchases. For its program, JCPenney is using San Jose-based Cellfire to manage the mobile coupon efforts. Cellfire claims they are seeing redemption rates of 10% to 20% for mobile coupons - resulting from much better targeting of offers as compared to traditional paper coupons.

Dilworth also reports that Starbucks is using 2D bar code as well with its new Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone application now in pilot. She says that Starbucks is using technology from Codilink to read the 2D bar codes generated by the application on the iPhone.

How to Find a Credit Card Processing Merchant Account

TransFS_logo-140px.jpgIn an article titled "TransFS Launches Comparison Site for Credit Card Processing Fees", TechCrunch profiles TransFS - one of a new breed of websites designed to help businesses comparison shop among various merchant acquirers and ISOs for the best deal that matches their needs. TransFS collects information from the merchant and then gathers bids from providers to present back. The TransFS blog provides a steady stream of helpful, merchant-related articles as well.

Payments-R-Us_logo-140px.jpgAnother new entrant into this space is Payments-R-Us (www.paymentsrus.com) that focuses on online merchant payment solutions. Unlike the auction process managed by TransFS, Payments-R-Us offers a free "suggester" based upon the merchant answering some basic questions about their business. Payments-R-Us also has a collection of reference materials helpful to online ecommerce merchants.

September 25, 2009

U.S. Bank Restructures Overdraft Policies, Fees

U.S. Bank has announced a series of modifications to its service charge policies on checking accounts that will take effect in the first quarter of 2010. The changes include eliminating overdraft fees when a customer's account is overdrawn by less than $10, limiting the number of overdraft fees to no more than three per day and offering "opt out" to customers who would prefer to have transactions declined rather than pay overdraft fees. READ MORE »

Economist: The Power of Mobile Money

Economist-MobileMoney_logo-140px.jpgThe cover story in the new issue of the Economist is titled "The power of mobile money" - "By far the most successful example of mobile money is M-PESA, launched in 2007 by Safaricom of Kenya. It now has nearly 7m users—not bad for a country of 38m people, 18.3m of whom have mobile phones."

The article concludes: "Mobile money presents a shining opportunity to start a second wave of mobile-led development across the poor world. Operators, banks and regulators should seize it."

September 24, 2009

Consumers Respond to 7-Eleven’s Call to Action re Interchange Fees

7-Eleven has announced that its franchisees and store operators have collected more than 1.6 million signatures in the “Stop Unfair Credit Card Fees” petition drive. 7-Eleven says it believes this marks the largest number of signatures collected for a public policy issue on record.

Thousands of 7-Eleven franchisees across the country asked customers to support their neighborhood stores by signing petitions calling for Congress to pass legislation that prohibits credit card networks and card-issuing banks from charging unfair transaction fees. The signature drive ran from June 22 through Aug. 10 at store counters coast to coast. READ MORE »

Dynamics Inc. Raises $5.7 Million in Series A Funding

Dynamics Inc., a provider of next-generation payment cards, has announced that it has closed an initial $5.7 million Series A round of financing led by Adams Capital Management. Joel Adams, founder and general partner of Adams Capital Management, is joining the Dynamics Inc. board of directors.

Dynamics produces "a paper-thin, flexible computer platform that can be utilized in a variety of applications such as next-generation payment cards. Dynamics has invented the world's first fully programmable magnetic stripe that can be read at any existing Point-of-Sale (POS) magnetic stripe reader. The card itself can change any bit of information on this programmable stripe at any given time. The technology does not require any change to the 60 million 1970s-era magnetic stripe readers or re-education of its merchant base." READ MORE »

Wells Fargo Launches Customer-to-Customer Mobile Money Transfers

Wells Fargo has announced a new mobile customer-to-customer payment option that allows Wells Fargo customers to transfer money to each other via the Wells Fargo Mobile Banking service. READ MORE »

KPMG Looks at Global Payments

The financial crisis exposed risk issues of an unprecedented scale for the banking industry and has made increasing the operational efficiency and risk management of payment systems a priority for banks, according to senior regulators, banking executives and financial technology company executives interviewed for a new white paper issued by KPMG International.

The KPMG white paper – entitled “The Beating Heart of Banking: Insights into Global Payments” -- also notes that payments remains a revenue-generating business for banks as the volume of payments is growing worldwide, making up for the decrease in the unit value of these transactions as consumers manage their cash more carefully and make more, but smaller purchases. READ MORE »

September 23, 2009

Intuit Holds Annual Investor Day

intuit_logo-140px.jpgIntuit held its Annual Investor Day today - the presentation slides and a webcast of the event are available online.

Congress Seeks to Accelerate New Credit Card Rules

In an article titled "Congress Seeks Faster Implementation of New Credit-Card Rules", Mary Pilon and Jane Kim write for the Wall St. Journal about pressures building in Congress to accelerate the implementation of the rest of the Credit Card Act's changes from February to December.

PBS NewsHour Looks at Debit Card Overdraft Fees

In this evening's program, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer featured a segment titled "Banks, Customers Face Changes to Debit Card Overdraft Fees". The NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown interviewed Ron Lieber from the New York Times - here's the transcript.

Wells Fargo Joins in Changing Overdraft Practices

WellsFargo_logo-140px.jpgWells Fargo this afternoon announced changes to its overdraft practices for Wells Fargo and Wachovia customers. In a press release, Wells Fargo said it will "eliminate overdraft fees for customers when they overdraw their accounts by $5 or less and will charge no more than four overdraft fees per day. In addition, Wells Fargo and Wachovia customers will be able to opt out of overdraft coverage, meaning customers can specify that they don’t want their transactions authorized into overdraft if funds aren’t available to cover the transaction." READ MORE »

Common Sense and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Writing on his Payments Industry Regulation blog, Broox Peterson takes a look at the proposed revisions to H.R. 3126 suggested by Barney Frank (according to a Reuters report) to address concerns about that legislation and the creation of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Peterson writes: "In an important respect the proposed revisions seem quite inadequate, and that is in clarifying the scope of jurisdiction of the CFPA - in other words, who is subject to CFPA jurisdiction (and why)?"

Voltage Security Combines Encryption, Tokenization, Data Masking

Voltage_logo-140px.jpgVoltage Security, has announced it has extended Voltage SecureData™ by adding tokenization and data masking capabilities to the existing encryption functionality - enabling the end-to-end protection of data, such as credit card numbers, in applications and databases. Voltage SecureData says these additions provide "the most comprehensive end-to-end data protection solution available, giving customers the widest choice of protection options to simplify implementation, reduce PCI audit scope and lower costs." READ MORE »

Chase Launches Ink℠ - A New Small Business Card Portfolio

ChaseInk_logo-140px.jpgChase Card Services has announced Ink℠ from Chase, a suite of business cards developed specifically for small businesses. The new business card portfolio includes four distinct cards "to deliver on the unique needs of small business owners and marks Chase’s introduction of a pay-in-full charge card – a first from issuers of Visa or MasterCard." READ MORE »

First Data Adds Senior Management and New Board Members

FirstData_logo-140px.jpgFirst Data has announced the appointments of Kevin J. Schultz, 51, as president of its Financial Services business segment and John Elkins, 57, as chief marketing officer, effective immediately. In addition, Henry R. Kravis and Joe W. Forehand were appointed as new members to First Data’s board of directors. READ MORE »

NetSpend Adds “Virtual Card”, Online Financial Management Tools

NetSpend_logo-140px.jpgNetSpend has announced the availability of the first “virtual” card to be tied to an existing prepaid debit card account and a suite of online financial management and budgeting tools including a visual spending history report, online budgeting application and budgeting “report card.” NetSpend says these new products and applications "provide a level of convenience and security currently not provided to the estimated 50-100 million underbanked consumers in the United States." READ MORE »

First Data, RSA Partner on Secure Transaction Management

FirstData_logo-140px.jpgFirst Data and RSA have announced they are teaming up to provide a new service called First Data Secure Transaction Management - "engineered to enable merchants to secure payment card data and remove it from their environment while allowing access when needed." The new service "is designed to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)." READ MORE »

Bank of America, Chase Respond to Overdraft Fee Concerns

In an article titled "Chase and Bank of America Revise Fee Policies", Ron Lieber writes for the New York Times about announcements from Bank of America and Chase regarding changes both banks are planning to their overdraft fee policies.

In a press release, Bank of America announced changes to be implemented October 19 including not charging overdraft fees when a customer's account is overdrawn by a total amount less than $10 for one day, not charging overdraft fees on more than four items per day and making it easier to opt out of overdrafts altogether. Next June, the bank plans additional changes including providing customers a choice with respect to opting in or out of overdraft capability.

According to Lieber's reporting, Chase is planning changes in the first quarter including not charging a fee when the overdraft is for less than $5 and not sorting items in descending amounts prior to posting - a technique that maximizes the overdraft fees charged and has drawn criticism from consumer groups. Chase also plans to allow its customers to opt out of overdraft coverage.

Headline News - September 23, 2009

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated. For job opportunities available for payments professionals, visit PaymentsJobs.com. Employers looking to hire payments professionals can post their job openings there as well.

September 22, 2009

Verifi Enhances Card Not Present Fraud Prevention Service

Verifi has announced new enhancements to the IP Intelligence™ capabilities of its fraud prevention and risk management platform. Verifi’s IP Intelligence solution provides IP geolocation information, a key indicator of transaction risk and credit card fraud. In concert with Verifi’s suite of tools, IP Intelligence provides merchants with a comprehensive set of real-time fraud checks for online orders. READ MORE »

Reserve Bank of Australia Reviews Debit Interchange Pricing

The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced that it is "is considering changes to the regulation of interchange fees in the EFTPOS system. The proposed change to EFTPOS interchange regulation is intended to ensure that competition between EFTPOS and scheme debit is conducted on a level playing field. The change does not imply that interchange fees in the different systems should be equal, only that they are subject to equivalent regulation."

Headline News - September 22, 2009

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated. For job opportunities available for payments professionals, visit PaymentsJobs.com. Employers looking to hire payments professionals can post their job openings there as well.

September 21, 2009

Blackhawk Network Introduces Incentives and Rewards Gift Cards

Blackhawk Network has announced that its Rewards Visa Gift Card will now be offered to businesses through Blackhawk Network’s Incentives and Rewards business-to-business program. The Visa Gift Cards can be customized with a variety of personalization options, such as company logo and branding, custom card and carrier messaging, variable expiration dates, and variable value loads. The card can be redeemed anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. READ MORE »

A Look at mPayy

PaymentsViews_logo-140px.jpgOver on PaymentsViews.com, Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson takes a look at mPayy and shares an interview she did with Conrad Sheehan, CEO of mPayy.

Supermarkets Consider Dropping Checks in Favor of Cards

check-140px.jpgIn an article titled "Grocery stores taking check use off shoppers' lists", Jerry Hirsch writes for the Los Angeles Times about grocery stores, including Whole Foods Markets, considering banning the use of personal checks at their stores in favor of only accepting cash and cards. Hirsh quotes a Whole Foods regional vice president who says it "prefers cash, debit cards and credit cards because they can be processed quickly and come with added protections that safeguard the interests of the consumer and the retailer."

Elavon, Santander Announce UK Merchant Alliance Relationship

Elavon_logo-140px.jpgElavon and Santander have announced the launch of a new alliance for merchant services in the UK. This alliance combines Elavon, a wholly owned subsidiary of US Bancorp, and Santander, one of the strongest and best capitalized banks in the world. "Jointly, Elavon and Santander’s strategy is to become one of the leading players in the UK acquiring market. The new alliance will enable Santander to leverage Elavon’s end-to-end control of the processing relationship; from risk and underwriting, to processing, funding and all customer support functions, whilst Elavon will dramatically increase their presence in the UK market by partnering with one of the most respected and fastest growing institutions in the UK." READ MORE »

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