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« January 3, 2010 - January 9, 2010 | Main | January 17, 2010 - January 23, 2010 »

January 15, 2010

Some Thoughts on Blippy

In a post titled "Peeling the Blippy Onion", Glenbrook's Russ Jones writes on about Blippy.

Broadcasting something to a community of friends or followers in real-time in today’s hyper connected, super integrated world is easy if you know what to broadcast. And knowing what to broadcast only requires access to real-time purchase data. Ah, there’s the rub."

THQ*ICE Selects PlaySpan to Provide Global Payment Solution

THQ*ICE has announced a new partnership with PlaySpan, a provider of monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks. According to the two companies, "Dragonica™ Online adventurers are now able to purchase ICE Cash using PlaySpan’s more than 85 global payment methods. In addition, PlaySpan is providing comprehensive credit card processing and fraud risk management services." READ MORE »

JP Morgan Chase Reports 4Q09 Financial Results

JP Morgan Chase has reported financial results for the fourth quarter of 2009. Its Card Services unit reported a net loss of $306 million, compared with a net loss of $371 million in the prior year. End-of-period managed loans were $163.4 billion, a decrease of $26.9 billion, or 14%, from the prior year and a decrease of $1.8 billion, or 1%, from the prior quarter. Charge volume was $86.9 billion, a decrease of $9.1 billion, or 9% over 4Q08 but up 5% from the third quarter 2009.

January 14, 2010

MasterCard's SunTrust Coup

Earlier today, MasterCard announced that it had won the debit card business away from Visa at SunTrust. In an article titled "MasterCard’s SunTrust Coup Includes Credit As Well As Debit Cards", Digital Transactions reports that SunTrust's "agreement with MasterCard also will bring MasterCard-branded cards to SunTrust’s 1-million-card credit portfolio that currently is 100% Visa."

As a practical matter, we're not surprised. These kinds of portfolio negotiations tend to swing everything of significance to an issuing bank over to the winning card network - in exchange for a financially attractive arrangement for the issuer.

The last time this happened was five years ago this month when MasterCard and Washington Mutual announced WaMu's conversion of debit cards to MasterCard. Subsequently, of course, WaMu was acquired by JPMorganChase when the FDIC took it over - and we're still waiting to hear how Chase plans to deal with WaMu's debit card relationships.

We look forward to the upcoming Visa (Feb 3) and MasterCard (Feb 4) investor calls when this subject will certainly be probed more deeply.

Major Card Networks Waive Fees on Haitian Relief Donations

American Express, MasterCard and Visa have all announced responses to the devastating earthquake in Haiti - including waiving interchange fees for a period for specific US-based charities that are providing support to Haitian relief. In addition, the card networks have made their own contributions and are offering increased employee matches to donations made to these charities.

Here are the details for: American Express, MasterCard and Visa. See also this New York TImes Bucks blog post.

Want to donate via text message from your mobile phone? See "Donations To Haiti Via Text Message Surge Past $5 Million" on TechCrunch. "Donations are said to be coming in to the tune of $200,000 each hour, so they’re very likely coming close to $6 million raised at this point. Impressive stuff."

Visa Launches "I Go with Visa Debit" - A Social Media Campaign

Visa has introduced I Go with Visa Debit for consumers in Brazil and Mexico - calling it "an online campaign to educate young adults on why debit is faster, more convenient and secure than cash. I Go with Visa Debit is a unique campaign that engages consumers through online and social media networks and allows them to participate in a creative contest, where winners are selected by their peers in an online community at, in Mexico, and, in Brazil." READ MORE »

SunTrust Selects MasterCard for Debit Cards

SunTrust and MasterCard have announced that SunTrust will convert the company's debit card programs to MasterCard. "After the conversion to MasterCard-branded debit cards, which is expected to begin late this year, SunTrust will issue approximately five million MasterCard® debit cards that can be used everywhere MasterCard debit cards are accepted, including ATMs. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed." READ MORE »

Fitch Reports US Retail Credit Card Defaults at Near-Record Levels

Fitch has announced that its "December Retail Credit Card Index results show that more than one in every eight dollars of receivables was written off as uncollectable during the November collection period on an annualized basis. Taken with the recent delinquency trends and Fitch's expectation for unemployment, Fitch expects retail card chargeoffs to remain elevated throughout first half-2010."

New Entrants Attacking the Financial Industry

In a post titled "Is the Internet Finally Robbing the Greedy Financier’s Gravy Train?", Sarah Lacy writes for TechCrunch about the many traditional industries the Internet has wrecked - and how she sees the recent activities among startups (and acquisitions) indicative of a new trend - companies that are "finally aligning interests between the finance professionals and the users." Lacy goes on to note that "finance has been so anti-innovation and so anti-consumer for so long, these companies don’t have to be perfect to be huge."

Secure Remote Payment Council Announces Formation

The Secure Remote Payment Council, (SRPc) held its formation meeting and inaugural Board of Directors meeting in Dallas in December to install its Board, elect officers and set its 2010 agenda. The SRPc says it is "dedicated to the growth, development and market adoption of secure eCommerce and mobile payment methods." READ MORE »

Headline News - January 14, 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.

January 13, 2010

Arcot Introduces ArcotOTP Mobile Authentication Solution

Arcot has announced a new EMV authentication solution for cardholders to authenticate "Card Not Present" transactions using their mobile phones. According to the company, the new solution -- ArcotOTP -- lowers the cost of providing EMV authentication and increases the convenience for cardholders on the go. READ MORE »

January 12, 2010

MasterCard Introduces Advisors Merchant Solutions

MasterCard has announced MasterCard Advisors Merchant Solutions - calling it a "first-of-its-kind suite of information products, data analytics and marketing services [that[ will enable decision makers across merchant organizations to understand spending activity in their industry category; evaluate their sales performance against their competitive set; and focus direct marketing efforts to target the very best prospects and hard to reach segments." READ MORE »

OLS Announces Availability of OLS.Card

On-Line Strategies has announced OLS.Card - calling it "a highly configurable framework for issuers to build upon. Card issuers can choose to implement the most basic of functionality or customize OLS.Card to support their unique business strategy. OLS.Card was conceived as a result of numerous customers and prospects seeking complimentary card management system components for use in conjunction with the company’s core authorization engine, OLS.Switch." READ MORE »

First Data's December 2009 SpendTrend Report

First Data Corporation has released its First Data SpendTrend transaction analysis for the full month of December 2009 compared to December 2008. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations.

According to FDC, "same-store transactions for December 2009 showed a growth of 8.0% over 2008, holding up well despite widespread winter storms on the last holiday shopping weekend. Transactions in the month of November 2009 were 8.9% higher than the previous year. Driven by increased usage at value retailers, PIN debit transactions continued to outperform with growth of 12.5% in December." READ MORE »

Fiserv Introduces Deposit Manager to Streamline Retailers' Cash Operations

Fiserv has announced Deposit Manager, "an integrated cash deposit solution that is designed to allow financial institutions to offer their retailing clients an improved way to handle end-to-end cash operations." READ MORE »

Final Results for Chase Paymentech's Cyber Holiday Pulse Index

Chase Paymentech has announced the final results of its Cyber Holiday Pulse Index that tracked daily online shopping activity throughout the 2009 holiday shopping season.

According to the company, "for 2009, the number of online shopping transactions soared 30 percent over 2008, while total sales volume increased 17.3 percent. The difference in these two numbers can be attributed to the decline in average ticket value, which dropped 9.8 percent." READ MORE »

January 11, 2010

American Express Membership Rewards Can Be Used to Pay Taxes

Among a number of enhancements to its Member Rewards program, American Express has announced that its cardholders will now have the option to use Membership Rewards points toward federal, state and local income tax payments.

"Cardmembers can use points toward the actual tax payment when filing through Pay1040 ( and Official Payments Corp. (, starting at 200 points. Cardmembers will be able to continue using Membership Rewards points toward applicable convenience and payment fees incurred when filing taxes online."

Elavon's Fusebox Payment Gateway

Elavon, the merchant acquiring subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp has announced the introduction of Fusebox - calling it a "next-generation hosted payment gateway that provides secure multi-point connectivity across a merchant’s enterprise." READ MORE »

Last Call: Glenbrook's Santa Clara Payments Boot Camp - Jan 20-21

Next week, Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson and Scott Loftesness will be presenting our Payments Boot Camp in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday and Thursday, January 20-21. Enrollment for this session is still available.

The Glenbrook's Payments Boot Camp is a unique, two-day "deep dive" into all aspects of the US payment system. Our new series features an expanded focus on Mobile Payments – and introduces Glenbrook’s Mobile Payments Market Map.

The Future of Payments for Retailers: Innovation, Customer Service

ACI Worldwide has announced the availability of a report by Retail Systems Research (RSR), examining the future of retail payments. The research was sponsored by ACI Worldwide and "highlights the need for retailers to review and upgrade their payment systems, to ensure they can remain innovative and meet changing customer needs." READ MORE »

Headline News - January 11, 2010

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.

January 10, 2010 - Mobile Payments: Replacing Cash in the “Last Mile”

Over on our sister blog, in a post titled Mobile Payments: Replacing Cash in the “Last Mile”, Glenbrook's Jacqueline Chilton summarizes last week's panel discussion on mobile payments organized by MPay Connect.

Jacqueline writes: The "panel generally agreed that cash might be eliminated for specific types of transactions, but mobile payments will not replace cash more broadly."


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