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« February 1, 2009 - February 7, 2009 | Main | February 15, 2009 - February 21, 2009 »

February 13, 2009

Merchant Acquirers - A Reminder to Join Our LinkedIn Group

Are you involved in the merchant acquiring side of the payment card business? If so, you'll want to join the Merchant Acquirers group on LinkedIn and join over 400 of your merchant acquiring colleagues as we discuss industry topics. Check it out!

A Look at Discover's Zigging While Other Credit Card Issuers Zag

In an article titled "Discover Hoping a Light Touch on Cuts Pays Off", Maria Aspan writes for the American Banker about Discover - and how it has been pursuing a different strategy than other US credit card issuers with respect to cutting credit lines, raising interest rates, etc. Aspan quotes Discover EVP Harit Talwar as saying that the card issuer's "top priority is emphasizing a "consumer-friendly" strategy in the midst of issuer cutbacks. Discover is hoping the contrast helps win more business from its current cardholders."

US Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Credit Cards

Yesterday, the US Senate Banking Committee held a hearing titled "Modernizing Consumer Protection in the Financial Regulatory System: Strengthening Credit Card Protections". The primary purpose was to discuss The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (“the Credit CARD Act”) re-introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd earlier this week. A video of yesterday's hearing is available online.

In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd wrote: "For too long, the use of confusing, misleading and predatory practices has been standard operating procedure for many in the credit card industry. The list of troubling practices the credit card companies are engaged in is as lengthy as it is disturbing."

The prepared testimony of six witnesses who participated in yesterday's hearing is available online.

APACS Releases UK Card Statistics for December 2008

APACS, the UK payments association, has announced December 2008 spending figures showing that spending on plastic cards over the Christmas period reached £32.3 billion - up 0.3% from 2007, with £4.7 billion spent online. Debit card spending grew to £21.6 billion, up 3.1%, while credit card spending declined to £10.8 billion, down 4.8% from 2007. READ MORE »

February 12, 2009

YouTube Piloting For-Fee Downloads via Google Checkout

In a post titled "YouTube Goes Offline", Thai Tran writes on the YouTube blog that video content creators can now sell their work - "for a small fee paid through Google Checkout" - in a pilot program.

comScore Finds US Retail eCommerce Sales Decline in 4Q2008

For the first time in history, comScore's Q4 2008 retail e-commerce sales estimates showed that online retail spending declined 3 percent versus year ago. For the full year 2008, comScore reported that retail e-commerce grew 6 percent to $130.1 billion, a substantially lower growth rate than in previous years. READ MORE »

Voltage SecureData Provides End-to-End Encryption of Data

Voltage Security has announced major enhancements to Voltage SecureData, supporting more environments and platforms, including end-to-end encryption across distributed environments such as those used by retail and payment processors. "Voltage customers are finding it easier to protect their data end-to-end, comply with regulations and protect sensitive customer information from the moment it is collected." READ MORE »

Gemalto, INSIDE Contactless Announce Availability of NFC Solutions

Gemalto and INSIDE Contactless have announced availability of a Near-Field Communications (NFC) solution fully complying with the latest ETSI standards. According to the companies,

"the solution also meets the new GSM Association "Pay-Buy-Mobile" mobile handset requirements based on the Single Wire Protocol (SWP). The new Inside MicroRead® NFC chip, combined with the Gemalto latest UpTeq 300 m-NFC SIM card embarking a Common Criteria EAL4+ security certified chip, gives handset makers and mobile operators the first fully compliant, interoperable, full-speed SWP solution - tested at 1.6 Mbps - to support proximity payments, transport and ticketing."


Consumers Tightening Their Belts, Using Online Banking More

Fiserv has released results of a newly commissioned survey icon_PDF_small.gif by Forrester finding that U.S. consumers are using the online banking channel more frequently to access their accounts during the current global financial crisis.

"Some 71 percent of consumers said they are keeping a closer eye on their finances than they did a year ago. Slightly more than three-quarters of the consumers surveyed said they use online banking, with non-users making up the remaining one-quarter. Online banking usage increased far more than any other banking channel, with 28 percent of consumers indicating they are using online banking more than they did a year ago, and 63 percent said managing all of their accounts online from one site would help them feel more in control of their finances."


CGAP White Paper: Going Cashless at the Point of Sale

CGAP has published a white paper titled "Going Cashless at the Point of Sale: Hits and Misses in Developed Countries" icon_PDF_small.gif by Ignacio Mas and Sarah Rotman. The paper explores a number of payment systems that have been tried and failed vs. those that have achieved some level of success. Includes discussion of Mondex, Octopus, Mobipay (Spain), Moneta (Korea), Simpay (Europe), and Osaifu-Keitai (Japan).

CGAP Sees Mobile Banking Growth in Developing Markets

CGAP, the global microfinance center, is releasing new research and data to encourage telecom operators, financial institutions and governments to see the business potential in expanding access to financial services for poor people in developing markets. According to CGAP, "the current economic climate makes the need for widespread availability of safe alternatives to cash even more pressing." READ MORE »

Headline News - February 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.

February 11, 2009

NACHA Reports US 4Q08 ACH Volume Up 4.5%

NACHA has announced that the number of US ACH payments in the 4th quarter 2008 grew by 4.5 percent over the same period in 2007, topping 3.8 billion. "Internet-initiated ACH payments (known as “WEB” entries) experienced robust growth, increasing 16.5 percent over 4th quarter 2007 volumes. Strong growth also occurred with certain business-to-business payments (known as “CTX” entries) in which remittance information is exchanged electronically. The number of these payments grew by 15 percent over 4th quarter 2007 levels." READ MORE »

Eight Top Bank CEOs to Address TARP Accountability

Eight top US bank CEOs are in Washington today at a full committee hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on the subject of "TARP Accountability: Use of Federal Assistance by the First TARP Recipients." The hearing will be webcast.

Participating are (click links for their prepared testimony):

  • Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • James Dimon, Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Robert P. Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of New York Mellon
  • Ken Lewis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America
  • Ronald E. Logue, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, State Street Corporation
  • John J. Mack, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Morgan Stanley
  • Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup
  • John Stumpf, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wells Fargo & Co.

Litle & Co. Shares Seven Payment Processing Laws for Merchants

According to Litle & Co., a provider of payment processing solutions for card-not-present merchants, "payment processing is an often overlooked source of revenue creation and marketing intelligence, two of the most important concerns for merchants facing the current economic conditions. By looking at payments and processing as an opportunity to improve operations, merchants can increase their revenue by reducing declined authorizations, offering the right mix of payment options and focusing attention on their most profitable customers." READ MORE »

INSIDE Contactless Working to Accelerate NFC Handset Rollouts

INSIDE Contactless has announced that it is working with Qualcomm to accelerate the growth of the Near Field Communication (NFC) handset market by jumpstarting the product development cycle, speeding time to market and significantly reducing development costs. As part of the collaboration, the two companies will develop two 3G handset reference designs-one each for UMTS and CDMA2000 networks-that combine Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem chipsets with INSIDE's MicroRead(r) multi-standard NFC chip. READ MORE »

February 10, 2009

American Airlines to Introduce Cashless Cabins

American Airlines has announced that it will begin this summer to transition to cashless cabins onboard flights within the United States and to and from Canada. "On these flights, American will only accept major credit cards or debit cards for onboard purchases such as headsets, fresh light meals, snacks and alcoholic beverages."

"Moving to a cashless cabin allows us to streamline the inflight sales process for both our customers and flight attendants," said Lauri Curtis, American's Vice President - Onboard Service.

Flight attendants will use a hand-held Onboard Sales Recorder to charge credit and debit cards, eliminating the need to search for small bills or change. The airline has been using these user-friendly devices since May 2006. American Express® and other major credit and debit cards will be accepted. Receipts will be provided to passengers upon request.

Qualcomm Adds Support for NFC Technology to Chipsets

Qualcomm has announced that it has added support for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to certain chipsets in its product portfolio. "Qualcomm is helping accelerate the commercial availability of mobile handsets featuring the short-range technology and is engaged with leading NFC solutions providers to develop reference designs based on the Company's Mobile Station Modem chipsets. NFC technology is well suited for payment, mass transit, ticketing and other similar applications requiring a quick and secure contactless exchange of data between devices that are in close proximity to each other." READ MORE »

Mazooma Launches Real-Time eCommerce Payment Solution

Miami, Florida-based Mazooma has announced what it's calling "the first real-time, non-credit eCommerce payment solution of its kind. By easily and securely enabling online payments directly from consumer bank accounts, Mazooma allows millions to pay for their eCommerce purchases instantly without a credit card."

Internet Retailer profiles Mazooma in an article here. READ MORE »

Creating an Online Financial Institution Hub for Small Businesses

Digital Insight, the financial institutions division of Intuit, has delivered Small Business FinanceWorks™ to help financial insitutions acquire low cost small business deposits and sustain a competitive advantage by offering an online hub for their small business customers.

"Small Business FinanceWorks is a new online financial management tool that small businesses can access through the online banking site of their local financial institution. By offering Small Business FinanceWorks to their customers, banks and credit unions now have the unique opportunity to attract new small business customers, strengthen existing relationships and gain a competitive advantage." READ MORE »

Accor, MasterCard Europe Form PrePay Solutions JV

Accor Services and MasterCard Europe have announced a strategic alliance including the creation of a new company, PrePay Solutions. According to the two firms, "the new company is designed to combine the prepaid and electronic payments expertise of both organisations for business players looking to benefit from the fast growing euro 130 billion European prepaid opportunity." Accor Services will be the majority shareholder in PrePay Solutions at 67 percent, with MasterCard Europe holding a 33 percent stake in the company. A presentation describing the JV icon_PDF_small.gif is available online. READ MORE »

Headline News - February 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.

February 09, 2009

Tough Questions for Bankers

In a New York Times column titled "Up Next for Bankers: A Flogging", Andrew Ross Sorkin writes about the House Financial Services Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday with eight big US bank CEO's. Sorkin provides a list of tough questions he'd like to see the bankers answer - including one (#5) focused on the major credit card issuing banks (JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup) relating to what their expectations are with respect to credit card chargeoffs.

US Private Label Credit Card Losses Over 10 Percent

Credit losses on private label credit card portfolios in the US reached 10.51% in January according to a New York Times report by Tara Siegel Bernard. She writes: "While private label cards account for only about 11 percent of all credit card loans outstanding, their troubles offer a window into the deteriorating finances of some of the most distressed Americans."

JPMorgan's Global Payments Operating System Enhanced

J.P. Morgan's Treasury Services business has announced that it has gone live with the first phase of enhancements to its international mass payments operating platform. According to the company, "the enhancements will deliver immediate benefits to clients using the bank's Global ACH service, including later cut-off times for receipt of payment instructions and intelligent routing which automatically selects the most expeditious route if a cut-off is missed." READ MORE »

Noca Launches Secure eCheck Payment System For Online Merchants

Noca, a Mountain View, California-based startup, has announced the launch of the beta version of its payment system - saying that it "virtually eliminates transaction fees for online merchants. At the heart of Noca's system is Secure Check™, a convenient, safe way for consumers to pay for content, digital media, physical goods and other purchases using their bank accounts directly from a merchant's site." READ MORE »

Identity Fraud In US Increased 22 Percent, Costs Down 31 Percent

The 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Reportreleased today by Javelin Strategy & Research – confirms that the number of identity fraud victims has increased 22 percent to 9.9 million adults in the United States, while the total annual fraud amount only increased slightly by seven percent to $48 billion over the past year. READ MORE »

MasterCard Worldwide Sponsors IRB Rugby World Cup 2011

MasterCard Worldwide and Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) have announced that MasterCard will become the Official Worldwide Partner and official payment system of Rugby World Cup 2011. The Rugby World Cup is the crown jewel of the sport and a prominent global property – with television coverage of Rugby World Cup 2007 spanning more than 200 territories, reaching a cumulative audience of 4.3 billion viewers. READ MORE »


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