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November 20, 2009

Tips For News Junkies

If you're a payments geek who's always on the lookout for payments-related news, you might enjoy the Payments News section we've recently added to Google News. You can find the new payments news section listed here.

If you're logged into Google News, you simply click to add the section to your personalized version of Google News - and follow more payments news to your heart's delight! There's even an RSS feed - if you prefer following it in your news reader!

Hope this helps you find even more payments-related news! If you prefer a more concise, edited compilation, we hope you'll continue just reading!

Second Major US Card Issuer Ends Credit Card Arbitration

In an article titled "JPMorgan Chase Ends Credit Card Arbitration", Maria Aspan writes for the American Banker that JP Morgan Chase has joined Bank of America in abandoning mandatory arbitration clauses as part of their credit card agreements.

NY Times Editorial: A Gift to Credit Card Companies

In an editorial this morning, the New York Times chastises Sen. Thad Cochran for voting on Wednesday to block a bill by Sen. Chris Dodd that would have accelerated implementation of credit card reforms.

Headline News - November 20, 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.

November 19, 2009

Merchants Like Their Reading of the GAO Interchange Report

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) released the following statement in response to today's release of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, "Credit Cards: Rising Interchange Fees Have Increased Costs for Merchants but Options for Reducing Fees Pose Challenges."

"The GAO confirmed key problems that we have raised about credit card interchange fees, also known as 'swipe' fees," said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations. "They found that the 10 largest banks have a stranglehold on this market, have used it to raise their fees, which all consumers pay, and that small businesses and low-income, cash-paying consumers get the worst deal from this arrangement."

"And though Visa and MasterCard claim that swipe fees have not been increasing, and that credit card use increases sales for merchants, the GAO report solidly debunks both of those claims," said Beckwith. "The GAO report should sound the alarm that it is time for Congress to reform swipe fees."

The GAO report confirmed many of the most harmful aspects of unfair, hidden fees swipe fees that are incurred every time a consumer pays by debit or credit card. The report shows that the credit card companies and their issuing banks mislead the public about their increasing rates and about the benefits of credit cards to businesses. The report also outlines an unfair, anti-competitive system that hurts Main Street businesses and their customers in order to pad the banks' bottom lines, with little relation to the actual costs of processing payments.

The report makes it clear that, unless Congress acts to bring competition and transparency into the interchange system, the big banks and credit card companies will keep lining their pockets at the expense of small businesses and consumers nationwide.

Industry Says GAO Finds That Consumers Could Be Harmed by Interchange Regulation

The Electronic Payments Coalition has issued the following statement in response to today's release of a report on interchange fees from the Government Accountability Office:

Today's GAO report concludes that consumers could be harmed if Congress acts to lower what merchants pay to accept debit and credit.

As the GAO noted in its report, merchants receive myriad benefits when they accept debit and credit cards, including increased sales and reduced labor costs. But giant retailers have been lobbying Congress to pay less than their fair share, and have their customers pay for these fees instead.

The GAO's report leads to a clear conclusion: current interchange legislation places the needs of giant retailers over the needs of consumers. We urge Members of Congress to protect the interests of their constituents, and to oppose harmful interchange legislation.

CGAP Report Finds Four Forces to Shape Future of Mobile Banking

The growing use of branchless banking, including mobile phone banking, is inevitable in most countries. But it's far less certain whether large numbers of the unbanked poor will use these alternative channels for financial services beyond payments, such as savings and credit. So says "Scenarios for Branchless Banking in 2020," a new report from CGAP, a microfinance group based at the World Bank, and the U.K.'s Department for International Development (DFID). READ MORE »

GAO Releases Study on US Card Interchange Fees

GAO Interchange Study-Nov2009-d1045.jpgThe US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just released a report on interchange fees on payment cards in the US. The report, titled "Credit Cards - Rising Interchange Fees Have Increased Costs for Merchants, but Options for Reducing Fees Pose Challenges", is available for download on the GAO's website.


American Express Creates New Unit to Provide Consulting

American Express has announced the launch of American Express Business Insights, a new analytics and consulting organization that Amex says "draws on the power and reach of the Company’s global network to help business customers develop better-informed strategies to grow their business." READ MORE »

J.P. Morgan's Best Practices in Fighting Corporate Payments Fraud

J.P. Morgan has issued a report titled “Payments Fraud: How It Happens And What You Can Do To Protect Your Organization” in which the company shares best practices for battling check, automated clearing house (ACH), and credit card fraud, as well as tips on protecting treasury operations from advanced phishing techniques. The report also explores the key areas of fraud vulnerability and proliferation, and reviews fraud protection products and services available today. READ MORE »

Miami International Airport Accepts MasterCard PayPass

Affiliated Computer Services has announced that Miami International Airport will accept MasterCard PayPass contactless payments in its parking lots starting December 2009. MasterCard PayPass is a fast, cashless payment option that enables travelers to pay for parking simply by tapping their PayPass-enabled MasterCard card or device on a PayPass reader. The Miami International Airport PayPass implementation is being managed by ACS, an industry leader in airport parking systems. READ MORE »

3Delta Systems Certifies with RBS WorldPay

3Delta Systems has announced that it has been certified to directly process electronic payment transactions with RBS WorldPay. RBS WorldPay offers merchants an range of payment processing solutions – from face-to-face to online, servicing all sizes and sectors of business. READ MORE »

Headline News - November 19, 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.

November 18, 2009

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Over on our sister blog, I share some of my thoughts about today's announcement of American Express acquiring Revolution Money. It's a bold move towards innovation by a company that's been slow to move in the past. Read my post and share your comments - would love to know what you think!

U.S. Bank Makes Visa Mobile Available to Select Debit Cardholders

U.S. Bank has announced that Visa Mobile is now available to select U.S. Bank debit card holders. Visa Mobile bundles alerts, offers, and a locator service -enabling cardholders to manage their U.S. Bank Visa accounts with near-real time updates. The application can be downloaded to mobile devices powered by Android, the Open Handset Alliance’s open source platform for mobile devices. READ MORE »

41st Parameter Forecasts Increased Risks from Mobile Channel

41st Parameter says it is "forecasting increased mobile channel cybercrime and decreased effectiveness of traditional anti-fraud tactics, attributed to the rapid adoption of new mobile handsets and multiple operating systems. According to a November 2009 consumer study of U.S. mobile phone users, 18.9 percent of mobile consumers now use a smartphone, and an additional 49.2 percent plan to purchase an advanced mobile device within the next two years. Last week, Gartner reported smartphone sales in 3Q09 grew 12.8% year over year, reaching 41.1 million units." READ MORE »

Chase Introduces Two New Business Cards for Checking Customers

Chase has announced the addition of two new credit cards - Ink and Ink Capital - to its Ink portfolio of business cards that provide additional purchase rewards or an interest-payment refund to customers with Chase business checking accounts. READ MORE »

Global Payments Sells Money Transfer Business

Global Payments has announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its DolEx- and Europhil-branded money transfer businesses to an affiliate of Palladium Equity Partners, LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Global Payments will receive proceeds in the range of $85 million to $110 million based on the operating performance of the business determined at the time of closing, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals including the consent to the transaction by the issuers of money transfer licenses in many of the states and countries where DolEx or Europhil currently operates.

AFP Payments Newsletter for November Now Available

The Association for Financial Professionals' November Payments Newsletter is now available. Payments includes features on emerging payments issues, Q&As with payments newsmakers, news briefs and expert-authored guest columns. In the November issue are articles on wire format changes coming next year to allow for remittance data, a column authored by Anita Patterson who directs treasury services for Cox Enterprises, a Q&A with the Federal Reserve’s Ken Isaacson, and an excerpt from our magazine written by the Fed’s Lauren Hargraves and Hank Farrar at The Clearing House.

Ready Financial Secures $7.0 Million Series B Funding

Ready Financial, provider of the READYdebit Visa prepaid card and online bill payment and check-writing service, has announced it has completed a $7.0 million Series B round of financing led by Rockbridge Growth Equity, a middle-market private equity firm started by Quicken Loans Chairman and Founder, Dan Gilbert, with participation from Flybridge Capital Partners. READ MORE »

Wells Fargo Enhances Rewards Program

Wells Fargo has announced that it has enhanced its rewards program by adding the Earn More Mall with bonus point opportunities, the ability to purchase retail gift cards, new travel features and benefits, five times as many redemption options, and a redesigned site for easier navigation and improved search capabilities. READ MORE »

American Express to Acquire Revolution Money

Amex_logo-140px.jpgAmerican Express has announced it has agreed to acquire Revolution Money. According to Amex, "the transaction, which is subject to regulatory review, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010. The purchase price is expected to be approximately $300 million. Upon closing, Revolution Money would operate as a subsidiary of American Express and be the first component of its recently formed Enterprise Growth organization. Enterprise Growth was formed to leverage American Express’ existing assets and capabilities to generate incremental fee revenue and to drive the company’s entry into new payment areas and related businesses." READ MORE »

November 17, 2009

Discover Launches iPhone Mobile Application

Discover_logo-140px.jpgDiscover has launched a new Discover Mobile iPhone application - now available as a free download from the iTunes App Store. The app allows a Discover cardholder to view account summary including current balance, etc., make a Discover card account payment, view recent transactions and rewards activity, and enroll in rewards programs.

This Afternoon's Senate Hearing: Abusive Overdraft Fees

The US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is holding a hearing this afternoon on the subject of "Protecting Consumers from Abusive Overdraft Fees: The Fairness and Accountability in Receiving Overdraft Coverage Act". The witnesses will be: Mr. Mario Livieri, Consumer, State of Connecticut; Mr. Michael Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending; Mr. Frank Pollack, President and CEO, Pentagon Federal Credit Union; Mr. John Carey, Chief Administrative Officer, Citibank NA; and Ms. Jean Ann Fox, Director of Financial Services, Consumer Federation of America. READ MORE »

Today's Senate Hearing: Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is holding a hearing today titled "Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers" to explore efforts by some ecommerce companies to offer post-transaction marketing offers to consumers following a purchase. As part of this process, the ecommerce companies usually pass along the consumer's payment card information they've just captured for the purchase to the marketing partner. The Committee staff has prepared a report on the issues involved with this practice and a set of exhibits documenting some of the offers. READ MORE »

MasterCard Launches M/Chip Advance Payment Platform

MasterCard has announced the availability of M/Chip Advance, a payment platform takes traditional debit, credit and prepaid chip cards to the next level by advancing payment functionality, facilitating deployment of contactless applications and integrating information needed for business applications such as transit and loyalty. The result according to MasterCard: "the potential to deliver versatile, multi-functional payment capabilities to consumers on one payment card." READ MORE »

Visa's Transaction Alerts Now Available in North America

Visa has announced the North American rollout of its new transaction alert service allowing card issuers to provide near real-time alerts to Visa account holders throughout the U.S. and Canada.

According to Visa, "the service enables consumers to better manage and track their spending while providing them with an early warning system for potential fraudulent activities. Alerts are sent on behalf of participating issuers directly from VisaNet, Visa’s global processing network, typically within seconds of a transaction occurring. Alerts are triggered when the transaction meets certain criteria the account holder has selected and are delivered directly to the account holder via email, SMS text message or the Visa Mobile application. Visa’s transaction alerts let consumers monitor their accounts for unusual activity and take immediate action if they believe a potentially fraudulent transaction is taking place." READ MORE »

GoPayforit Launches Mobile, Small Payments Service in the UK

GoPayforit_logo-140px.jpgGoPayforit has announced that it has launched its new mobile, small payments service to enable bloggers and content owners to more easily sell content online. The company says that "by using GoPayforit, lower priced content can now be purchased by consumers in an easier, more manageable and less time-consuming way. GoPayforit allows bloggers and content owners to set up a payment service for their site by inserting one simple line of code. Once established, this enables consumers to debit money directly from their mobile phone bill (PAYG or contract) in order to make payments. UK mobile operators provide support for GoPayforit as a secure transaction platform as it is based on the tried and tested Payforit platform." READ MORE »


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