COMPANIES

MoneyGram takes a big leap
forward in China

MoneyGram International’s reach in
China’s remittance market is set to increase more than threefold,
thanks to an agreement reached with Bank of China (BoC), one of the
country’s big-four commercial banks. The agreement follows
completion of a six-month pilot involving 240 BoC branches in
Beijing and by the end of 2011 will see MoneyGram’s service
extended to BoC’s 10,000 branches throughout China.

MoneyGram chairman and CEO Pamela H Patsley
noted that with more than $25 billion in annual remittances, China
is a “critical focus” for MoneyGram which will derive “significant
benefits” from its partnership with BoC.

MoneyGram has been providing services in China
since 1994 and has existing alliances with seven other banks
including another big-four bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank
of China.

Separately, MoneyGram announced that it
increased the number of its agents worldwide by 8 percent in 2009
to 190,000, compared to the 410,000 agents of its major rival
Western Union.

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By GlobalData

COMPANIES

Burroughs lives
again

After an absence of almost a quarter
century, a name once synonymous with the banking and payments
industry – Burroughs – has been revived following a deal between US
technology giant Unisys and US private equity firm Marlin Equity
Partners.

Under the deal, Marlin has acquired Unisys’
payment hardware, payment supplies, US-based payment maintenance
and associated payment research, development and sales operations
which have transferred into a newly-created company, Burroughs
Payment Systems (BPS).

The primary products produced by Detroit-based
BPS are its SmartSource cheque and document scanners, SmartCash
cash automation systems and document processing and printing
equipment. Though Marlin did not provide details, it has ambitious
expansion plans for BPS in the payments processing arena, including
acquisitions.

The name Burroughs disappeared in September
1986 following the merger between Burroughs and Sperry Corporation
to form Unisys.

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Heartland dishes up service to
US restaurants

Consolidating its position in the US
restaurant market payment processor Heartland Payment Systems has
formed an alliance with the National Restaurant Association (NRA)
and state restaurant associations to create the restaurant
industry’s first unified payments processing platform.

In the initial phase of what is dubbed the
Full Course Business Solution, the alliance will launch a suite of
payments products including card processing, payroll, cheque
management, tip reporting and compliance services.

David Gilbert, the NRA’s COO and executive
director, said: “Saving time and money is critical to every
operator, and Heartland’s products will help boost our members’
profitability.”

Indicative of the potential scale of the
payments platform, the NRA members operate 945,000 restaurant and
food service outlets employing a workforce of 13 million
people.

TECHNOLOGY

Sagem takes fingerprint
identification mobile

Taking a new approach to security in
the mobile banking and commerce arena, UPEK, a US-based biometric
security specialist, and French mobile solutions vendor Sagem
Wireless have joined forces to develop fingerprint identity
solutions for mobile communications devices.

Commenting on the tie-up with UPEK Jerome
Nadel, Sagem Wireless executive vice-president, said: “Biometric
solutions such as fingerprint sensors simplify the process of user
identification, providing faster and more secure access to
personalised services and transactions.”

He added that security and usability are
critical to reducing perceptions of risk, improving convenience and
encouraging usage.

The first application of the mobile
fingerprint solution will be demonstrated at the Mobile World
Congress in Barcelona and will be deployed on an Android mobile
operating system device.

COMPANIES

Payment Alliance boosts market
position

Payment Alliance International (PAI)
has acquired ATM processing business WRG Services, a move that
consolidates its position as the largest privately held ATM
operator in the US.

The acquisition brings with it WRG
Services’ 12,000 ATMs, increasing the total number in PAI’s ATM
portfolio to 45,000.

The acquisition of WRG Services marks PAI’s
third major acquisition in the US ATM industry since its
establishment in 2005. The first came in 2007 when it acquired the
ATM unit of defunct online bank NetBank, a development which added
8,550 ATMs to its portfolio. The second was in 2008 when PAI
acquired ATM Express, a move that boosted its portfolio to 26,000
ATMs.

Other services offered by PAI to its 75,000
clients include credit card and cheque processing and cash
management.

SECURITY AND FRAUD

POS Vendor Alliance gains
momentum

Aiming to take the fight against
fraud to another level, the Secure POS Vendor Alliance (SPVA) has
announced the formation of the Lab Network, a group of payments
security facilities that will work together to share best practices
and raise the security level within the point of sale (POS)
industry.

“This network is an unprecedented milestone in
the payments industry as it will connect us directly with the
technicians, academics and researchers who are often behind product
innovations and future developments and breakthroughs,” said Steven
Hughes, the SPVA’s president.

The SPVA was founded in April 2009 by POS
systems developers Hypercom (US), Ingenico (France) and VeriFone
(US).

Membership is open to all POS systems
developers and associate membership to organisations that sell or
utilise products or solutions that interact with secure POS payment
devices.

In January 2010, the SPVA had 17 members and
associate members.

CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS

Industry bodies in quest for
SEPA uniformity

Advancing their initiative to
formulate industry standards for mobile phone based contactless
payments, the European Payments Council (EPC) and the GSM
Association (GSMA) have issued a consultation paper, TSM Service
Management Requirements and Specifications, with a specific focus
on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

The paper represents a key step in the joint
initiative launched in June 2008 by the EPC, which represents the
European banking industry in relation to payments, and the GSMA,
which represents some 750 mobile network operators (MNO)
worldwide.

In essence, the EPC and GSMA are working
together to define requirements and specifications regarding the
roles of trusted service managers (TSM) to interface with banks and
mobile operators.

The role of TSMs will be to facilitate
distribution, configuration and activation of the bank’s payment
application on the SIM card within bank customers’ near field
communications-equipped mobile phones.

TECHNOLOGY

Deutsche opts for SAP core
banking solution

In a major win, German software
vendor SAP has been selected by Deutsche Bank to begin a multi-year
project to replace individual software solutions in Germany with a
new core banking system based on SAP for Banking solutions.

The new core banking system will
encompass payments, account management, partner data and savings
applications.

Among objectives set by Deutsche Bank are to
boost efficiency and profitability and accelerate time to market in
rolling out new products and services.

“We are looking forward to shaping the
industry and setting new standards to manage processes and services
even more consistently and efficiently with a new core banking
system,” commented Josef Lamberti, Deutsche Bank’s COO.

COMPANIES

Voice Commerce Group gains
Asian exposure

UK biometric payment and security
services specialist Voice Commerce Group (VCG) has expanded its
distribution horizons with the formation of a strategic partnership
with Australian reseller, Majitek.

The partnership covers VCG’s three
key offerings, VoicePay, Voice Transact and Voice Commerce and will
enable Majitek to offer a range of payment services and identity
and verification solutions.

Nick Ogden, CEO of VCG, said: “Expanding our
global reach is strategically important for the continued growth
and success of Voice Commerce Group.

“By partnering with an established service
provider solutions company such as Majitek, which has an excellent
reputation and record in technology innovation, particularly within
the Asia-Pacific region, we will be able to ensure that Voice
Commerce has the global footprint that we require.”

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Barclays leaps into third-party
payments

Taking a key step in the
evolutionary process of mobile banking adoption by consumers, UK
bank Barclays has added the ability to make third-party
payments.

Barclays is the first bank in the UK
to make the move beyond basic services such as bank account balance
enquiries, viewing mini-statements and making transfers between
their own accounts.

Commenting on the service enhancement, Sean
Gilchrist, Barclays’ digital banking director, said the growth of
consumers using the banks mobile banking services has been
“phenomenal” since its introduction in May 2009.

Barclays’ mobile web banking site receives
about a million visits from mobile devices per month.

Barclays’ mobile banking service is compatible
with all internet-enabled mobile phones.

TRENDS

Britons travelling abroad stick
with cash

Britain is a country of travellers
with more than half (51 percent) of the country’s inhabitants
having travelled abroad in 2009.

However, despite their high
propensity to roam, the majority of Britons remain cash-oriented
during their foreign excursions reveals research by banking group
Santander.

According to Santander, 52 percent of all
Britons travelling abroad in 2009 took cash as their primary
payment method, irrespective of whether they were travelling for
business or pleasure.

The next most popular payments methods for
Britons travelling abroad were the credit card (20 percent) and
debit card (15 percent).

The once-dominant traveller’s cheque is now
out of favour, with only 5 percent of travellers using them on a
regular basis.

COMPANIES

Deutsche and Eurogiro formalise
relationship

Firmly cementing a long-standing
relationship, German bank Deutsche Bank has bought an 8 percent
equity stake in Eurogiro, the world’s second-largest network for
cross-border payments.

Focused on connecting the postal
organisations, post banks, banks and other financial institutions,
Eurogiro has a reach of over two billion individuals worldwide.

“Becoming a shareholder in Eurogiro perfectly
supports our Global Remittance initiative,” said Paul Camp, head of
cash management, financial institutions at Deutsche.

Deutsche has been engaged with Eurogiro for
over 10 years and provides its members with US settlement services.
This offering is being expanded to include multicurrency settlement
services.

For its part, Eurogiro provides Deutsche with
access to its global network of postal banks and postal
organisations.

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Elavon and Santander team up in
Mexico

Continuing its aggressive global
expansion strategy, US payments processor Elavon has formed a joint
marketing alliance with Spanish bank Santander in Mexico.

Under the terms of the alliance,
acquiring services will be offered to existing and prospective
Santander merchants.

“Santander has always offered acquiring
services as a valuable product to our clients,” said Marcos
Martínez Gavica, executive president of Santander-Mexico.

“However, we believe that we can better
respond to the needs of the payments industry and our customers by
transitioning the business to an alliance solely dedicated to
acquiring.”

The alliance in Mexico marks Elavon’s entry
into the Latin American market and adds to existing alliances with
Santander in Spain, the UK and Puerto Rico.

Elavon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US
Bancorp, the US’ sixth-largest commercial bank.

MOBILE PAYMENTS

VoiceCash looks to UAE
remittances for growth

Armed with its recently-acquired
European banking licence, mobile money transfer specialist
VoiceCash Group (VCG) has set its sights on grabbing a share of the
$10 billion a year remittance market in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE).

Dubai-based financial services
company Newboard Capital will act as strategic advisor to VCG,
which will focus on remittance channels from the UAE to Pakistan,
India and Bangladesh.

Incorporated in 2008 in the Netherlands and
headquartered in Germany, VCG’s mobile phone-based remittance
service incorporates its voice authentication technology,
VoiceTrust, as one part of a two-factor security solution.

In the first phase of the security process
VCG’s server verifies the password or PIN sent via mobile short
message service and initiates an automated phone call to the user
for voice authentication.

Only the combination of the correct password
or PIN and the voice of its valid user results in a successful
authentication and enables the real-time transfer of funds to
proceed.

Commenting on the UAE initiative, Michael
Kramer, CEO of VCG, and Corne Melissen, CEO of Newboard Capital,
promised to bring “serious competition” to the UAE remittance
market.