Mercury StoreCard

Mercury Payment Systems, LLC, today announced the launch of Mercury StoreCard™, a gift, rewards, mobile payments and promotions card all in one. Consumers can use the Mercury StoreCard as a gift card or a reloadable stored-value card to earn cash back loyalty rewards on every StoreCard purchase. The Mercury StoreCard can also be converted into a digital gift card via Apple® Passbook® or an Android marketplace app, allowing consumers to pay for purchases with either their physical card or smartphones, creating mobile payment convenience. Consumers can also use their smartphones to view their Mercury StoreCard’s balances, manually or automatically reload their cards, send custom-printed gift cards to their family and friends, and share promotional gift cards via social media.

BPAY Group and IDRBT Join IFX Forum

The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX; http://www.ifxforum.org) Forum announced two new members: the BPAY Group and the Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), both at the Small Business level. The IFX Forum is an international non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange, IFX, which is available at no charge at http://bms.ifxforum.org/. BPAY is an Australian payments scheme linking individuals and businesses to more than 160 banks and credit unions, and it processes more than 26 million bill payments each month. IDRBT is a banking technology research institute in India, established to provide operational service support in information technology to banks and financial institutions. IDBRT also offers a range of academic programs, and consults in banking technology and related areas.

U.S. Bancorp Aquires Charter One Bank

U.S. Bancorp announced today that its lead bank, U.S. Bank National Association, has reached an agreement to acquire the Chicago branch banking operations of the Charter One Bank franchise owned by RBS Citizens Financial Group. The acquisition includes Charter One’s Chicago retail branch network, small business operations, and select middle market relationships. Once complete, the acquisition will nearly double U.S. Bank’s deposit market share in the Chicago metro area. Under the terms of this transaction, U.S. Bank will acquire approximately $5.3 billion of deposits, $1.1 billion of loans, 94 branches, and 800 employees for a deposit premium of approximately $315 million, or 6 percent. At close, U.S. Bank will have combined deposits of approximately $11.3 billion in Chicago.

MoneyGram Warns About New Fraud Schemes

MoneyGram is warning consumers to watch out for new scams in the New Year. One of the newest scams targets people who use Instagram, offering the victim an investment opportunity. They ask the consumer to send between $100-$200, promise to invest it and turn it into $1000-$2000. Once the consumer sends the money, the scam artist and the money disappear. Also, fraudsters set up fake business accounts on popular networking sites and offer victims attractive work from home business opportunities, but first the victim needs to send money for a kit to get started. Remember, reputable companies use social media to connect with customers, not to ask for money. Seeing trip information and pictures gives thieves ammunition they need to call family and friends of individuals travelling and ask for money to help get their loved ones out of an “emergency situation.”

CheckAlt, iParse and CU Wireless Ink mDeposit Clients

FAA Federal Credit Union, University of Nebraska Federal Credit Union and Valley Credit Union have selected industry partners CheckAlt, iParse and CU Wireless as their mobile deposit solution provider. CheckAlt, iParse, and CU Wireless are very excited to add three more credit unions to their network of clients as they continue to expand their partnership into 2014. The mobile deposit solution created by the three innovative financial services companies integrates seamlessly into FAA’s, University of Nebraska’s and Valley’s existing mobile applications to allow the credit unions’ members to make mobile check deposits quickly and easily.

GlobalPlatfor Publishes Best Practice Guidelines

GlobalPlatform has published the first Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) Protection Profile (PP)*. The document defines the level of security required in a TEE hosted in a mobile device to support the delivery of a range of value added services including premium content and mobile wallets, as well as enterprises and governments supporting bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. GlobalPlatform members have published the market’s first PP for TEE products; a secure area that resides in the main processor of a mobile device and ensures that sensitive data is stored, processed and protected in a secure environment. The document identifies the security needs of the TEE to support different market requirements by combining the standard security methodology outlined by Common Criteria, with the best practice specifications as defined by GlobalPlatform in relation to TEE architecture and interfaces**.

US Bank Bill Pay Giving Program Hits Milestone

U.S. Bank Bill Pay Giving has generated $450,000 in contributions to four nonprofit organizations since it began in 2011, nearly $166,000 in 2013 alone. Nearly 340,000 customers have made a charitable contribution through the Bill Pay Giving Program. The program was designed to introduce customers to the online bill payment process by having them make their first “payment” a $1 contribution to charities supporting disaster relief, environmental protection, education and arts, and hunger and poverty relief. U.S. Bank matches customers’ payments up to $50,000 annually.

Comdata Acquires eFueling Technologies

Comdata Inc. has acquired eFueling Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Woodfin Oil Company. This acquisition allows Comdata to expand its product offerings in the unattended fueling market by combining eFueling’s and Comdata’s product knowledge and industry experience. Comdata and eFueling partnered to develop a robust, web-based site controller system marketed as SmartSight. Launched in 2013, this system provides fuel merchants with real-time insight into transaction data and activity at unattended fueling sites.

Starbucks Expands Starbucks Cards in New Market

Starbucks Coffee Company introduced Starbucks Gift Cards at select locations in China for purchase in three unique design themes, including Thank You, Kind Regards and Happy Lunar New Year. Since the Starbucks Card launched 12 years ago, $16 billion has been loaded on more than 450 million cards in 27 countries worldwide (as of Sept. 30, 2013). Timed to the launch of the Starbucks Gift Card in China, Starbucks is also offering a Lunar New Year Gift Card in participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. The Card celebrates the joyfulness and self-reliance of the horse, this year’s honored animal of the Lunar New Year.

2013 Card Industry Revenue – Another Downtick

During the past five years CU and Bank card issuers have dealt with new regulations which curtailed their business models, impacting their interest and fee income strategies. Partly as a result, the 2013 top line revenue for the card industry in the R.K. Hammer card issuer model was reported at $145.5 Billion, down again, $4.1 Billion from the previous year. Indeed, some credit unions and banks showed revenue improvements last year, but those exceptions were primarily due to bulk acquisitions, as opposed to “organic” growth: exceptions to the rule.

American Express Settles Suits; Amends Surcharge Rules

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] American Express agreed to settle two putative antitrust class actions filed by U.S. merchants that challenged the company’s Card acceptance agreements. The settlement agreement will address certain merchant concerns, while helping to ensure that American Express Card Members are treated fairly at the point of sale. It will also limit the…