Wells Fargo has added Banco De Oro Unibank and M. Lhuillier to the Wells Fargo “ExpressSend” remittance network, tripling its total payout locations to over 2,800 branches and 2,900 ATMs. BDO has over 700 branches, nearly 1,400 ATMS and was named the #1 commercial bank for Overseas Filipinos Remittances for 2008 and 2009 based on volumes. The bank has several rural bank partners and is part of the growing network of SM shopping malls throughout the Country, where customers may claim their remittances. BDO has nearly 2,700 remittance pick up locations around the Philippines.
Visa and Bancomer Transfer Services have launched a money transfer service that will provide an additional alternative for consumers that send money from the United States to friends and family living abroad. Consumers will be able to initiate a Visa money transfer transaction at any BTS location in the United States. The Visa money transfer transaction can reach any eligible Visa account in the world, including all key remittance destination countries, including El Salvador, Brazil, China and The Philippines, with plans to extend the program to allow remittances from BTS locations to any country within the Visa network. The Latin America corridor is one of the largest money transfer markets in the world, with a total of USD $58.8 billion transferred in 2009. In 2009, BTS alone accounted for USD $10 billion in consumer funds transferred to Latin America, making BTS one of the largest processor of remittances for this region. Other large remittances markets served by BTS from the U.S. include Asia, Europe and Africa.
Walmart moves deeper into financial services by offering consumers low priced bill-paying services via its 3,755 domestic locations, including Walmart SuperCenters and Neighborhood Markets.
The retailing behemoth succeeded in driving down prepaid card prices to $3 and now offers next day “CheckFreePay” service from Fiserv for less than $2. Walmart already caps the check cashing fee at $3 for payroll and government checks. The “Walk-in Bill Payment and Same Day Bill Payment” services includes “Standard Delivery Bill Pay” by “CheckFreePay” (delivered within three business days) for $0.88; “Next-Day Delivery Bill Pay” by “CheckFreePay” for $1.88; “Same Day” by MoneyGram starting at $4.50; and “Money Orders” for $0.60 Walmart also offers the “Walmart MoneyCard,” a reloadable, pre-paid Visa debit card, for $3. The “CheckFreePay” service from Fiserv gives customers the ability to pay bills from more than 2,500 companies. The new Walmart service enables consumers to pay utility, landline phone, cable/satellite, credit card bills, auto and wireless phone at their local store.
A new report has found that regulatory pressures represent the most significant challenge to branded prepaid card issuers. A majority of respondents also view finding an effective way to market prepaid cards a serious impediment to their success. Nevertheless, Boston-based Aite Group found that only a quarter of respondents were dissatisfied by their current performance in the prepaid card market. More than three-quarters of issuers focus on selling prepaid cards directly to consumers through their own channels and marketing efforts. About 44% focuses on issuing prepaid cards to employers and government agencies. While another sizeable group utilizes retailers’ stores as a distribution channel, 56% currently stay away from selling through that channel. AITE concluded that most branded prepaid card issuers lack an integrated distribution platform.
A new report predicts that the value of branded and private label prepaid card transactions will hit $178 billion by 2010. The industry is expected to grow by a CAGR of more than 17% from about $80 billion last year. The new study by Boston-based Aite Group says the three major trends reshaping the industry include: the introduction of reload services; the drive to offer private label prepaid card products to small merchants; and the deep integration of branded and private label prepaid cards into various industries’ business processes. Among key findings, the report reveals that despite rapid industry growth, gaining scale in branded prepaid card processing remains a major challenge for processors and issuers. Aite also says that over time, the subtle distinctions between the various card products, such as debit versus prepaid versus credit, and branded versus private label, will erode as products grow in diversity and complexity and mesh together. Concluding that by the middle of the next decade, the prepaid card industry will have ceased to exist as a recognizable entity.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo reports that its “ExpressSend” customers with qualifying accounts now can have transaction fees discounted or waived in regard to money remittances to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Vietnam, India and the Philippines. All customers using the account-based service can have zero dollar transaction fees as part of the new service introduction through September 30th. Customers will also receive increased information when they complete a transaction in a Wells Fargo’s banking stores, including details about the remitter, the beneficiary, how and where funds are sent, the fee, how much money the beneficiary will receive, foreign exchange rate for the transaction and the estimate of the amount of revenue Wells Fargo earns on the foreign currency conversion.
Capital One’s new co-branded decoupled debit MasterCard has the potential to reshape the card-issuing landscape. The patent-pending product enables both PIN and signature debit transactions from checking accounts at other institutions and offers a high-value rewards program. A new report from Boston-based Aite Group says the revolutionary Capital One product delivers reward value at least two times the amount delivered by traditional debit card reward programs. The study found that Capital One wants to become a top 10 debit card issuer and is willing to operate with narrower profit margins on the product by betting on scale. Cap One also bets on a proprietary processing and risk management infrastructure that allows it to operate with lower costs than traditional debit card issuers. Aite Group says PayPal, which is the fifth largest issuer of VISA small-business debit cards, has been the most successful non-bank debit card program. Other debit card-issuing initiatives from organizations that don’t control checking accounts include programs operated by Tempo Payments, First Data, and TSYS. Aite says the progress of those organizations has remained limited thus far.
For the first time Internet-connected households are paying more of their bills online than by paper check. An annual survey shows that online payments made up 39% of the total volume of bill payments among online households, while the volume of checks sent through the mail fell to 34% of the overall volume. The “2007 Consumer Bill Payment Survey,” conducted by Harris Interactive and the Marketing Workshop, for CheckFree, also found that nationwide, consumers paying at least one bill online per month rose to 74%, compared to 69% of respondents in the previous 2005 survey. Consumer adoption of online bill payment has more than doubled since January 2002, when only 37% of online households reported paying at least one bill online. The average survey respondent paid 11.5 bills in a typical month, with 4.5 bills, paid online, and 3.9 bills, paid by paper check. Some 85% of consumers surveyed said paying bills online saves the paper, stamps and the hassle of paying bills by check.
A new report predicts that global money transfer industry revenues will grow about 6% CAGR between 2006 and 2010. By 2010, the industry will generate about $18.3 billion in revenues, up from $12.9 billion in 2004. However, Boston-based Aite Group says workers’ remittance growth will soften over the coming years. The Aite Group projects that cross-border transfers will grow 8% CAGR between 2006 and 2010 and estimates that by 2010, global workers’ remittances will amount to $456 billion, up from $369 billion in 2007. The study concludes that money transmitters need to differentiate by tailoring services for each particular type of money transfer. They should focus on analyzing and segmenting the money transfers sent in major corridors and offer targeted services to enhance the user experience, such as cross-border bill payments.
Actimize and Corillian have agreed to integrate the Actimize “Cross Channel Electronic Banking and Payment Fraud Prevention” solution with Corillian “Voyager and Intelligent Authentication” solutions. The combined offering provides comprehensive risk-based authentication and cross-channel transaction fraud monitoring for all online banking activity. Three top banking institutions have already adopted this integrated offering. The solutions provide proactive login and cross-channel transaction monitoring including ACH, wire transfer, bill payment and internal transfers. Actimize is a provider of enterprise software solutions for anti-money laundering, broker/dealer compliance, and fraud prevention. Corillian is the market leader of online banking, payment and security solutions to the financial services industry.
Taco Bell, ShopRite, Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores and Clearview Cinemas have signed deals to accept “VISA Contactless” cards. “VISA Contactless” technology enables customers to make purchases by simply holding the cards near a secure reader at checkout instead of swiping them and eliminates the signature requirement for most payments under $25. Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores accepts Visa Contactless at its 276 stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Clearview Cinemas has installed VISA Contactless readers in all of its 52 theater locations in the New York metropolitan area. Grocery retailer ShopRite has started accepting VISA Contactless payments at more than 4,000 POS locations in the Northeast and the Taco Bell restaurant chain will test Visa Contactless cards initially at 100 restaurants in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Wells Fargo reports it has sold more than one million “VISA Gift Cards” since the company began offering the product through the company’s banking stores in October 2005. More than 3,100 Wells Fargo banking stores sell Wells Fargo “VISA Gift Cards.” Customers who have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account can purchase gift cards at Wells Fargo stores or online. Customers can buy the cards individually and in bulk. Wells Fargo also recently enhanced its online gift card site to accommodate bulk orders.