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Chart of the Week

Welcome to the News View for "Chart of the Week".

Here, on these archive pages, you'll find all of the articles on Payments News for Chart of the Week listed in date sequence beginning with the most recent article at the top of the page.

Click here for a complete listing of what's available in the Payments News Archive - organized by both posting date and subject category.

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May 31, 2013

Chart of the Week - Bitcoin Market Capitalization

For this week's Chart of the Week, we swing our attention back to what's happening in the world of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been a media star over the last few months - with lots of writers and editors focusing on this unusual - and potentially disruptive - digital currency. This chart (from shows the total market capitalization in the Bitcoin world - the product of the number of Bitcoins that have been minted times their value. This value fluctuates daily as it would for any other commodity or currency. It appears to have settled in - for the moment - at $1.5 billion in value being represented by these bits stored in the Bitcoin block chain.

Editor's note: Have you bought Bitcoins? If so, tell me about it by sending me an email:

Bitcoin Market Capitalization 31May2013

May 03, 2013

Chart of the Week - UK Card Fraud Losses (2001-2011)

In our Chart of the Week last week, we looked at the relationship between the unemployment rate in the US and outstanding consumer revolving debt.

This week's chart of the week looks at the history of card fraud losses in the UK - as cited in the recent report "The U.S. Adoption of Computer-Chip Payment Cards: Implications for Payment Fraud" by Richard J. Sullivan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In the UK and a few other countries, these kinds of card fraud loss statistics are collected by the industry and shared publicly - unlike currently in the US.

UK Card Payment Fraud 2001 2011

Sullivan's article "examines how computer-chip cards work differently from magnetic-stripe cards, describes the security improvements offered by the chips, and reviews their mixed track record at defeating fraud in other countries."

The top dotted line in the chart represents the total card fraud losses on UK issued cards. The darker line below that represents fraud losses on IMOTO (Internet, mail order, and telephone order) card-not-present transactions while the third line below represents card fraud losses associated with counterfeit card transactions.

EMV chip card deployment took place in the UK during the shaded 2003-2006 time frame. Sullivan notes that the implementation of EMV initially helped reduce counterfeit card losses but that, because those cards still had magnetic stripes on them, fraudsters could still counterfeit them and use them at mag stripe acceptance locations outside the UK.

Sullivan goes on to comment:

After 2008, fraud losses with counterfeit cards and on IMOTO transactions declined. The decline was due to two factors. First, more merchants and ATMs on the European mainland had converted by that time to accept EMV payment cards, so fraudsters with counterfeit magnetic-stripe cards could no longer easily find locations where mag- netic-stripe cards were accepted, merely by crossing borders. Second, increasingly, merchants in the UK were adopting 3D secure systems for their IMOTO transactions."

April 25, 2013

Chart of the Week: US Unemployment vs Revolving Debt

Last week we looked at PayPal's annual payment volume over the last 10 years and how it's grown. This week's chart is a mashup of the US unemployment rate (the thin blue line - as provided by monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) plotted on top of the revolving debt statistics (the red vertical bars - as provided monthly by the Federal Reserve).

US credit card issuers frequently talk about how credit card chargeoffs track the unemployment rate. I was curious as to how the absolute amount of revolving debt tracked unemployment. In this chart you can see revolving debt peaking a $1.2 trillion in 2008 before consumers began paying down revolving debt - and issuer's began charging off amounts from consumers who were defaulting on repayment.

Beginning in 2011, unemployment peaked and consumers began slowly adding to revolving debt again as employment began also improving.

Unemployment RevolvingCredit

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April 18, 2013

Chart of the Week: PayPal's Payment Volume (2001-2013)

PayPal logo 140x60pxHere's this week's chart of the week - PayPal's payment volume ($ Billions) by quarter from 2001 through its first quarter 2013 results reported earlier this week. The last two columns show a bit of seasonality - but, otherwise, a pretty impressive ramp "up and to the right"!

PayPal Payment Volume

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Have you seen an interesting chart recently that opened your eyes to new insights? Please tell me about it! Email it to me:

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