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December 22, 2010

Treasury Extends Direct Deposit to Millions of Americans, Phasing Out Paper Checks for Federal Benefit Payments

treasury_logo_80px.pngThe U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a final rule to "extend the safety and convenience of electronic payments to all Americans receiving federal benefit and non-tax payments. Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013."

Eight in ten federal benefit recipients already use direct deposit; the new rule is designed to push the other 20% over the line to electronic payments. The move is expected to save Social Security $1 Billion.

Luottokunta, BookIt, and Microsoft Develop New Text Message-Based Payment Service

luottokunta_logo_137px.gifLuottokunta, BookIt Oy, and Microsoft have announced a new authentication service, which "allows for mobile payments from any mobile phone and via any operator, using iSMS.

The advantage of iSMS is that the use of the service does not require additional accessories or applications for the phone. Earlier systems have been based on authenticating the mobile phone and its user. For this purpose, a separate certificate was needed on the phone’s SIM card. In iSMS, the system is entirely within the network, and no separate certificates or mobile wallets are necessary. The payment method can be any card registered for the service by the consumer. Authentication is done as a cloud service, where an unforgeable “fingerprint” is created for each transaction.
Luottokunta eMobile is a new payment service based on this new authentication method.

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