MOBILE PAYMENTS

Juniper Research has conducted research suggesting that, by 2011,
mobile payments will have conducted 22 billion dollars in transactions
and will have attracted 204 million users. The commercialization of
NFC devices, secure applications, the support of credit card
organizations and financial institution funding are all contributing
factors
to expansion of the industry. Research conducted by Juniper includes
interviewing experts in the industry, conducting case studies, and
analysis from representatives of the mobile payment industry.

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Green Dot Net Offers MasterCard rePower

MasterCard has inked a strategic agreement with a major player in prepaid reloadable cards. Under the deal, MasterCard and Maestro prepaid cards with “MasterCard rePower” functionality can be loaded through the “Green Dot Network” and “Green Dot MoneyPak” at over 40,000 retail locations nationwide, including Wal-Mart, CVS/Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Radio Shack. The “MasterCard rePower” POS network was launched last December as a solution to enable MasterCard prepaid cardholders to easily add money to their eligible prepaid accounts. As part of the agreement, “MasterCard rePower”-enabled cards will be reloadable through the “Green Dot Network’s MoneyPak” product as well as through a one swipe technology via electronic POS device at select Green Dot retailers. In addition, Green Dot will provide management services for “MasterCard rePower” including merchant relationships and processing services. Full implementation of the program across the Green Dot Network is expected to be completed later this year.

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SMART DEBIT CARD

TD Canada Trust has completed Canada’s first transaction with a smart debit card and becomes the first organization in the country to be able to conduct a transaction using a chip debit card at a
chip-enabled ABM that adheres to EMV standards. Over the next several years, TD will issue millions of chip-enabled “TD VISA” cards and TD Canada “Trust Access Cards” to its customers. TD Merchant Services has already deployed tens of thousands of chip-enabled POS terminals to merchants in preparation of chip cards entering the market. The first transaction was made at a “Green Machine” ABM located in TD’s Creekside
Corporate Office in Mississauga, Ontario. TD Bank Financial Group has more than 4.5 million online customers.

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Payment Data Systems Logs a June TX Record

San Antonio-based Payment Data Systems reported that its credit card dollar volume processed in June was its highest for any month to date and that the volume processed in the second quarter was also the highest for any quarter in the history of the company. On an unaudited basis, June’s dollar volume rose 54% from the June 2006 level. For the second quarter of 2007, dollar volume leaped 79% from the comparable period last year. Payment Data Systems is an integrated payment solutions provider to merchants and billers

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Checksmart Switches to Western Union Services

Western Union is now offering its services at 263 Checksmart locations in 11 states nationwide. Checksmart Financial, which formerly offered a competitor’s services, joins Western Union’s network of more than 305,000 Agent locations, including subsidiaries Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Checksmart Financial offers financial services such as payroll advances, check cashing, bill-pay services, wire transfers, money orders, prepaid debit cards and phone cards.

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Jack Henry Acquires Gladiator Technology

MO-based Jack Henry has acquired Atlanta-based Gladiator Technology Services for an undisclosed amount. Gladiator is a provider of technology security services that enable financial institutions to proactively safeguard their information and transaction processing infrastructures, and to comply with the related regulatory standards mandated by the federal government. Gladiator services include network intrusion prevention, firewalls, server intrusion prevention and event logging, risk assessments, compliance and regulatory solutions, and e-mail filtering and encryption services. The services are currently supporting more than 500 banks and credit unions nationwide. The acquisition closed on July 1st.

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Consumer Online Travel Bookings Wane

A new survey shows that online travel bookings have declined over the past few years, even though consumers using the Internet to research travel continue to outnumber those booking online. The research by The Conference Board and TNS shows that the ability to book airfares online garnered the highest level of satisfaction, with 48% of customers claiming they are “extremely” satisfied. The ability to make car rental arrangements online also received high marks with nearly 42% of customers saying they are extremely satisfied. Two out of every ten consumers say they have used the Internet more this year than last to research travel arrangements, while 18% have increased their online bookings. The proportion of consumers planning to use the Internet in the next three months to research travel continues to outnumber those intending to book online by nearly two to one. Overall activity, however, has declined over the past three years.

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St. Louis Bank Offers Discover Card Options

St. Louis-based Heartland Bank has launched an Internet bank offering multiple credit card options including the recently released “Discover Network” card, all of which offer travel, entertainment and product rewards. During the online application process, applicants’ identities are electronically verified and the customers will provide information on their existing checking account which will be linked to their Heartland Bank Direct Performance Savings account. Once the account is open, customers will have the convenience of transferring money between their Performance Savings account and existing checking account from any computer in the world. It offers one of the highest rates available, currently 5.05% APY, to all customers regardless of balance, with a minimum opening balance of $500 and no fee if the balance falls below $500 after opening. Heartland Bank has assets totaling more than $800 million.

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Multimedia Gift Card Ramps-Up its Production

Tulsa-based EnXnet and Duplium have doubled their production capacity for the “Multimedia Gift Card” from 600,000 cards a month to 1.2 million per month. Additional manufacturing increases are also being planned so that EnXnet will be able to meet expected demand increases in 2008. The “Multimedia Gift Card” provides marketers a unique format to speak one-on-one with their customers.

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GE MONEY & EDB BANK

For its activity in Denmark and Norway, GE Money has signed a 7
year, NOK 160 million contract with EDB. Providing an option to
expand to other countries in the region, EDB will provide GE Money
Bank with standard components for cards, payments and reporting
to the authorities. EDB offers platform-independent solutions for bank
offices, payment services, card systems, self-service banking and related
services. The company has 3,800 employees, and a reported turnover of
NOK 5.8 billion in 2006. Operating in all Nordic countries, GE Money
has nearly 50,000 employees and 120 million customers in 50 countries.
The Banks’ product offering includes services such as mortgage loans,
car financing, consumer lending and international credit cards. GE Money’s
Norway Office has 340 employees and some 300,000 customers.

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Card Issuers Need to Tweak Online Ads

While more advertising dollars are moving online there is a consensus the the market share of search advertising, where Google reigns as king, will decline from 40% today to 32% by 2011. However, IDC expects Internet advertising will grow to $31 billion by 2011. Major credit card aggregation Web sites such as Austin Ventures’ creditcards.com also face multiple challenges as credit card underwriting tightens, competition strengthens and market saturation peaks. Furthermore, advertising rates will likely increase as response rates will likely weaken. According to Mortgage Advertising Insider the best online strategy is the interaction, synergies and overlap of multiple online channels including banner advertising, paid search and sponsorships. Because advertisers attribute the buyer’s behavior to the last ad seen, they are blind to the implications of users who saw their ad over multiple publications and mediums.

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