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February 07, 2009

Payments News Now Has a Comments Feed

PN-350x350-v1.jpgAs our Payments News community of readers has continued to grow, the frequency of readers posting comments to the stories on PN has grown significantly. We're now getting multiple posts each business day - and want to make it easier for you to follow along and read them.

To that end, we've just launched a new comments RSS feed that publishes just the comments that are posted to the new stories on PN. You can add the comments RSS feed to your favorite RSS reader and follow along. And, we'd like to encourage you to add your comments into the flow - as the value of this community to each of us will grow exponentially if we share among ourselves.

The main Payments News RSS feed remains in place - providing just the stories, not the comments. As always, if you have comments or suggestions about PN, we're all ears. Send them to us via email by clicking on the Feedback link in the title bar on any page of PN.

February 06, 2009

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

In an article titled "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Spending", M.P. Dunleavey writes for the New York Times about her struggles to get out of $30,000 in credit card debt.

Ditching debt requires dealing with the emotional underbelly of owing money, and coming to terms with a culture that has serious debt addiction issues. Getting out of debt can feel like a battle — because it is one, on many fronts.

She goes on to note that "carrying credit card debt for months or years is a red flag signaling that you can’t afford your life."

Her advice - figure out how to afford your life on the money you have - with one other piece of advice: "brace yourself" - it's hard!

Time: How to Save Your Newspaper (It's Micropayments!)

Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of TIME, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, writes this week's Time Magazine cover story titled "How to Save Your Newspaper". His article is all about how save your newspaper from what appears to be inevitable financial ruin. Isaacson's answer: micropayments.

The key to attracting online revenue, I think, is to come up with an iTunes-easy method of micropayment. We need something like digital coins or an E-ZPass digital wallet — a one-click system with a really simple interface that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog or video for a penny, nickel, dime or whatever the creator chooses to charge.

He's aware the earlier efforts (citing Flooz, Beenz, CyberCash, Bitpass, Peppercoin and DigiCash!) - but feels the times have changed. Along the way, he chastises PayPal for being too expensive for true micropayments and mentions Spare Change, Bee-Tokens, Tipjoy, and TwitPay.

Fed Says Revolving Credit Outstanding Shrank 5.5% in Dec 2008

According to today's G.19 Consumer Credit report issued by the Federal Reserve for December 2008, "consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 3 percent in the fourth quarter. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 5-1/2 percent, and nonrevolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 1-3/4 percent. In December, consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 3 percent."

Data Breaches: What the Underground World of “Carding” Reveals

Kimberly Kiefer Peretti of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the US Department of Justice has authored a paper titled "Data Breaches: What the Underground World of “Carding” Reveals" icon_PDF_small.gif to be published in the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Journal. READ MORE »

ICBA and Patria Services Partner on Mover Marketing Solutions

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has announced that it has selected Patria Services Corp., a SaaS technology-based trigger marketing company based in Wilmington, Delaware, as its Preferred Service Provider for community banking life event marketing solutions, specifically for residential movers. Patria will help ICBA member banks target and model relevant incentive offers to consumers moving in and around the bank’s footprint to generate new deposit balances. Patria handles all aspects of the program including list selection, creative design, distribution, offer modeling and marketing materials.


J.P. Morgan Helps Deliver Early Food Stamp Benefits in Kentucky

J.P. Morgan has announced that it has "helped the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) deliver early food stamp benefits to Kentuckians recovering from the state’s recent devastating ice storm."

"CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services usually issues electronic monthly food benefits on a staggered schedule during the first ten days of each month. Due to the storm, nearly 252,000 food stamp recipients who typically receive funds between the third and tenth of the month were given early access to benefits on February 2nd. These benefits are delivered via J.P. Morgan-issued Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards."


American Express Financial Community Meeting

Earlier this week, American Express held a financial community meeting. The presentation materials including remarks by CEO Ken Chenault are available on the American Express website.

February 05, 2009

Glenbrook's Bryan Derman Looks at Card Network Earnings Reports

In an article titled "Card Network Earnings Are In - It’s Now Safe to Exhale!", Glenbrook's Bryan Derman takes a look at the just announced quarterly results of the major card networks - Visa and MasterCard.

It seems like it’s been a month now that we at Glenbrook – and people all around the payments business – have been holding our collective breath waiting to see what level of purchase volumes would be reported by MasterCard and Visa for Q4 2008.

Well, the results came in the last 24 hours, and while it wasn’t pretty, the numbers weren’t quite so bad as some had feared. In fact, in some ways, they were a mildly pleasant surprise.

  » Click to read the full article.

Intl eCommerce Presents Hazards for US/Canadian Merchants

International eCommerce can be a risky undertaking for U.S. and Canadian merchants, according to new data from CyberSource.

During 2008, 30% of surveyed merchants that accept international orders online stopped taking orders from one or more countries due specifically to high levels of fraud. 76% of merchants in that group shut off orders from Nigeria, 58% froze out Ghana, and 32% slammed the door on Pakistan. Other countries blocked in 2008 included Indonesia (23%), Singapore (19%), Romania (18%), China, Russia, and Vietnam with 13% each and South Korea and Hong Kong with 10% each.


EDC and SoundBite Webinar: Collections in Turbulent Times

Risk management and collections have become critical functions for lenders to stay afloat in today’s financial storm and set the stage for stronger performance after the current economic crisis has subsided. Edgar, Dunn & Company will present a free webinar titled: “Collections in Turbulent Times” on February 11, 2009 at 2 PM Eastern in cooperation with SoundBite Communications.

UATP Announces Record Charge Volume for 2008

Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP), the payment network privately owned by the world's airlines, has announced record charge volume and profits for calendar year 2008. UATP CEO Ralph Kaiser stated,

"UATP continues to prosper even in today's economic environment. While we see challenges from an overall decrease in travel spending in the upcoming year, there are enough growth drivers in our business to continue to be optimistic about our performance in 2009."


US Credit Card Issuers Reduce Mail Solicitiations

New data from Mintel Comperemedia shows that only 5.4 billion credit card direct mail offers were sent to Americans in 2008. According to the company, this is the lowest annual total the firm has reported since 2000. READ MORE » Integrates Moneybookers As Accepted Payment Provider

Moneybookers USA has announced its integration on as an official payment provider starting in February.

The Moneybookers payment platform offers a wide range of local and international payment options worldwide, with both merchants and customers benefiting from its ultra-secure payments system and high conversion rates. The system protects auction buyers' personal data from identity theft and fraud, whilst enabling sellers to offer their customers one of the easiest ways to pay online.


Citibank Launches New Online Money Transfer Service to India

Citibank N.A. has announced the launch of Citi Online Remit, a new online money transfer service to India.

Citi Online Remit provides Non Resident Indians (NRIs) the facility to transfer funds to India from any US Checking/Savings account or using a US Credit/Debit Card as a direct transfer into the beneficiary’s Bank account or as a draft couriered to the beneficiary’s mailing address in India.


Commerce Bancshare, Visa Renew Partnership Agreement

Commerce Bancshares and Visa have announced they have signed a five-year renewal agreement, extending the companies’ longstanding relationship. Under terms of the deal, Commerce Bancshares will continue offering the full range of Visa consumer and commercial products – including prepaid, consumer debit and credit, small business debit and credit and commercial cards – through 2013. Commerce Bancshares will also continue to use Visa Debit Processing Service for its prepaid processing capabilities. READ MORE »

Amazon Flexible Payments Service Out of Beta has announced that the Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS) is now out of beta and also easier to use with Amazon FPS Quick Starts. Using FPS, developers can enable your applications with common payment transactions such as one time payments, recurring payments and pre-payments in hours rather than days. Amazon is also offering free payment processing for a limited time to developers who build an application using Amazon FPS. More info on the Amazon Payments Blog.

Navy Federal Credit Union, Visa Renew Credit and Debit Partnership

Navy Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest credit union, and Visa Inc. have announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to renew and extend their longstanding relationship. Under the terms of the agreement, Navy Federal will continue to offer Visa-branded consumer credit and debit products to its 3.1 million members worldwide. In addition, Navy Federal will expand its Visa prepaid and small business product offerings. READ MORE »

MasterCard Reports 4Q2008 Financial Results

MasterCard has announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2008.

"Net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $1.2 billion, a 14.2% increase versus the same period in 2007. Currency fluctuations (driven by movement of the euro and the Brazilian real relative to the U.S. dollar) tempered net revenue growth by 3.5 percentage points for the quarter. The higher net revenue in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2007 was fueled by pricing changes, which contributed approximately 8 percentage points of the net revenue growth; and a 6.0% increase in the number of transactions processed, to 5.5 billion."

MasterCard's gross dollar volume in the US actually declined in the fourth quarter by 5.2% to $256 billion. US credit purchase volume was down 11% while debit was +6%. MasterCard dramatically reduced its advertising and marketing expenses by 32.8% in 4Q08 vs. 4Q07 - helping fuel an increase in operating margin from 16% to 38%.

MasterCard is holding an earnings call this morning. A copy of the earnings presentation for use on the call is available online. READ MORE »

Headline News - February 5, 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.

February 04, 2009

Visa Inc. Reports Fiscal 1Q2009 Financial Results

Visa Inc. has announced its financial results for the fiscal first quarter 2009 ended December 31, 2008.

"Net operating revenue in the fiscal first quarter of 2009 was $1.7 billion, an increase of 17% over the prior year, driven by strong contributions across all revenue categories. Payments volume and processed transactions remained solid, in particular in the Asia Pacific (AP), Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) regions."

Today's conference call presentation and a set of supplemental operational performance data are available online. READ MORE »

Upcoming Tomorrow Morning: MasterCard Financial Results

Before the market opens tomorrow morning, MasterCard Worldwide is scheduled to announce its financial results for 4Q 2008. A conference call has been scheduled for 9 AM Eastern Thursday, 2/5.

H&R Block Bank Selects MasterCard for Debit Brand Exclusivity

MasterCard has announced "a contract extension and five-year Debit MasterCard signature and PIN brand exclusivity agreement with H&R Block Bank, owned by H&R Block Inc., the world’s preeminent tax services provider. Under the multi-year agreement, H&R Block Bank will participate exclusively in the MasterCard network, to take advantage of simpler processes, more control and greater cardholder insight when managing its debit portfolio." READ MORE »

Putting Credit Card Debt on Notice

The Center for American Progress has released a new report titled "Putting Credit Card Debt on Notice - Using electronic reminders to give consumers the right information at the right time" icon_PDF_small.gif by Tim Westrich, Research Associate for Economic Policy at American Progress.

One simple technological solution could help level the playing field between cardholders and credit card companies and put money back into families’ budgets. Text messages— or a similarly rapid electronic method—could allow a financial institution to transfer information to cardholders at the “teachable moment” when they need it the most.

Google Introduces Google Latitude

[Editor's note: This may not have any immediate banking/financial services application - but it's yet another example of what's happening with mobile technology becoming the "sensor-based platform" of the future!]

This morning Google introduced Google Latitude, a new service that uses mobile phone positioning data to let you see where your friends are in real-time on Google Maps. More information - including a brief introductory video - is available here.

Headline News - February 4, 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.

February 03, 2009

A Deeper Look at NFC

In an article titled "NFC is more than just payments", Andy Williams writes for NFC News about the other applications of near-field communications - beyond payments. "What makes NFC so attractive is the wide range of applications it can support, whether it’s opening a door, logging into your computer, signing on to the Internet, or using your phone like a PDA stylus, touching points on a map or other display to gather further information or directions."

Exploring Innovation in Consumer Payments (US Market)

From Glenbrook's Scott Loftesness: As part of my research at Glenbrook in 2009, I'm exploring innovations in consumer payments in the United States - seeking to understanding how innovation happens, what the key drivers of innovation in payments are, and the people and organizational aspects of successful payments innovation.

You can help me by suggesting the innovations you consider most important - and helping to rank them for further research and examination. I'm using Google Moderator for this effort - I've seeded the initial list with about 30 "ideas" of innovations. You can vote on which you consider most important - or even add your own to the list. To participate, click here - and thanks in advance for participating!

Citi Describes Its Support for Citi's Credit Card Customers

Citi today has announced the first edition of a new quarterly report on its use of TARP funds. The report, titled "What Citi Is Doing to Expand the Flow of Credit, Support Homeowners and Help the U.S. Economy" icon_PDF_small.gif includes a section on Citi's credit card business (page 23) - where it says:

"Citi’s primary objective, particularly in this environment, is to fund the expansion of credit to existing card members and target new account originations, based on their ability to repay their loans" and that "in 2009, Citi Cards plans to extend a significant amount of new credit to U.S. consumers, within Citi’s customary sound lending standards."

What's not clear from Citi's TARP report is how these plans relate to Citi's upward adjustment of interest rates on outstanding credit card balances that began in mid-November.


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