Mobile credit card payments from
Cincinnati duo…
Fiserv delivers
blow to online fraudsters…
ePayments aims
to slash transaction costs…

Second French pilot programme
underway…
First Data bolsters prepaid
capabilities…


MOBILE PAYMENTS
Mobile credit card payments from
Cincinnati duo

Two companies headquartered in the US city of Cincinnati,
electronic payment processor Infintech and telecommunications
company Cincinnati Bell, have teamed up to offer a credit card
payment service, MobileCharge to companies with mobile workforces.
Based on the use of BlackBerry mobile phones MobileCharge enables
credit card payments transactions to be processed anywhere there is
a wireless signal.

According to the service partners, MobileCharge
is more cost effective than other portable credit card terminals
that require a separate mobile communications plan. In addition the
ability to electronically process credit cards at the point of
service reduces processing costs by 45 percent or more compared
with manual processing. MobileCharge can also be used for inventory
control as it interfaces directly with a company’s accounts
receivable software.
Two versions of MobileCharge are available. The
basic version requires credit card details to be entered manually
on a BlackBerry’s keypad and receipts are e-mailed to customers.
The advanced version, MobileChargePro, has an integrated card swipe
and thermal receipt printer.

 
ONLINE BILL PAYMENTS

Fiserv delivers blow to online
fraudsters

US financial technology service provider Fiserv’s CheckFree
FraudNet, an automated online bill payments fraud detection system,
has achieved outstanding results, blocking 21,000 attempted
fraudulent bill payment transactions totalling $287.9 million since
its launch in November 2005. FraudNet was developed by online
banking technology vendor CheckFree which was acquired by Fiserv in
late-2007.

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By GlobalData
A further indication of FraudNet’s
effectiveness, the US’ largest credit union service organisation
PSCU Financial Services reports that since implementing FraudNet in
October 2007 an overall fraud prevention rate of 96 percent has
been achieved by its members that generates nearly 2.8 million
online bill payments each month.
In addition to preventing fraud, FraudNet holds
other attractions. According to Fiserv by automating detection and
prevention efforts for electronic billing and payment, FraudNet
reduces the time and resources required to manage potential fraud
cases to as little as 15 minutes, or $12.50, per case based on a
total cost of $50 per hour. This compares with the industry average
of 49 hours or $2,450 per case. According to Fiserv, FraudNet is in
use by 462 financial institutions, including eight of the top 50 US
banks.

 
AUTOMATED CLEARING HOUSES

ePayments aims to slash transaction
costs

A service being offered by US payment processor ePayments promises
to slash payment processing costs of medical, legal and other
professional firms. Key to the offering, Professional Payment
Services, is the migration of professional firms’ clients from
credit card to automated clearing house (ACH) payments.

“We are confident we can save our clients up to
50 percent on their credit card fees every month,” said ePayments’
president and chief sales officer, Rod Hill. “If our clients can
work with their customers to accept cheques or cheque account
debits in place of high cost credit cards, it’s a realistic and
achievable goal.”
According to Hill professional firms incur
credit card processing fees of about $300 to $1,000 per month. This
includes 2 percent to 4 percent of each transaction, another fee of
20 cents to 25 cents per transaction and monthly fees and equipment
costs. He added that ePayments can process payments for a flat
monthly rate of $39 with no transaction cost using the ACH network
to electronically process cheques and account debits.
ePayments installs its proprietary cheque
processing software on-site at professional service firms opting
for its service.

 CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS

Second French pilot programme
underway

Visa and French bank Banque Populaire have combined forces to
launch a contactless payments pilot project in France based on
Visa’s payWave technology.

In the pilot in which 200 retailers are
participating 4,000 Banque Populaire customers in the city of
Besançon will be equipped with Visa Carte Bleue cards capable of
contactless payments of up to €20 ($30) and conventional
transactions. Technical support for the pilot is being provided by
French financial services technology developer Natixis
Paiements.
The Banque Populaire pilot is the second in
France in which payWave technology is being used.
The first pilot launched in November 2007,
Payez Mobile, is based on the use of near field communications
equipped mobile phones and involves MasterCard, six major French
banks and three mobile carriers.

 
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

First Data bolsters prepaid
capabilities

US payments processor First Data has announced the acquisition of
stored value gift and prepaid products specialist InComm for an
undisclosed sum. Based on InComm’s 2007 results the deal will add
about $8 billion in retail sales payments processing and net income
of $300 million.

Commenting on the significance of the deal
First Data’s US division’s president, Ed Labry, said: “The
combination of First Data and InComm propels us into having a
holistic prepaid product suite that includes banking products,
payroll solutions, closed and open loop gift cards and now expanded
distribution.” Notably, InComm’s president and CEO Brooks Smith
will become the leader of First Data’s Global Prepaid Services
division.
In addition to operations in the US, InComm has
offices in Japan, Canada, the UK and Puerto Rico and in total
provides products and services to more than 145,000 retail
locations.

 
AUTOMATED CLEARING HOUSES

NACHA campaigns for use of direct
deposits

US industry body the National Automated Clearing House Association
(NACHA) has launched a national awareness campaign to encourage
greater use of direct deposits for the payment of salaries and
other employee benefits. According to NACHA while three out of four
workers who are offered direct deposit use it there are many
workers who are not offered this benefit, primarily employees of
small businesses.

The focus of the campaign is on cost savings.
For small employers with fewer than 100 employees replacing pay
cheques with direct deposits results in a saving of about $7,000
per year while for employees who use direct deposit to split their
salaries or wages into more than one account the saving is about
$300 per year.
NACHA is also highlighting that while virtually
all large companies offer direct deposit for pay, very few
consistently offer direct deposit for expense reimbursement, bonus
payments and pension payments.

 
PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Metavante shows its form in the
UK

US payments processor Metavante’s acquisition of UK prepaid and
debit card transaction specialist Nomad Payments in January 2008
for $58 million is paying off. UK prepaid card provider Advanced
Payment Solutions (APS) has selected Metavante Technologies,
formerly Nomad Payments, as its sole payments processing service
provider, a decision that will involve transitioning over 200,000
account customers – the biggest move of its kind in Europe to
date.

“Metavante have provided us with a reliable
solution and flexible fee structures that will enable APS to offer
a greater range of pay as you go charging combinations, and
therefore a greater range of future products to our clients,” said
APS’ CEO Rich Wagner. “This is a vital factor in the prepaid card
business, which has tighter margins and more disparate cardholder
behaviour than other debit and credit portfolios.”
APS offers a number of products including
cashplus, the UK’s first general purpose MasterCard prepaid chip
and PIN payment card. Cardholders, who can top-up cashplus cards at
20,000 outlets, have loaded £200 million ($390 million) onto the
cards since its launch in 2005.
Research firm Mercator predicts that annual
prepaid card spending in the UK will reach $34 billion by 2010
making it Europe’s largest prepaid market and the fourth largest
market worldwide.

 
MOBILE PAYMENTS

Bharti Telesoft enters the Middle
East

Already having achieved notable successes with its mobiquity mobile
phone banking solution in Asia and Africa, Indian mobile
communications technology developer Bharti Telesoft is set to take
on untapped markets in the Middle East. Partnering Bharti Telesoft
in the venture are Arab Financial Services (AFS), the largest
payment card processor in the Middle East and North African
regions, and Bahrain management consultancy Riyada
Consulting.

The mobiquity service is to be integrated into
AFS’ card issuing platforms that serve over 50 banks and will be
offered as a stand-alone service to financial service providers,
explained AFS’ CEO Shankar Sharma. “We believe that many of our
existing customers will take up the service,” he continued.
The venture forms part of Bharti Telesoft’s
strategy to increase its annual revenue four-fold to $200 million
in the next three years. According to the company it “is betting on
newer offerings like mobile commerce for growth.” High on the
agenda is mobile banking. “More people have mobile phones than bank
accounts. It’s a great platform to expand banking services and we
have products for that space. We see a lot of potential,” said
Bharti Telesoft’s CEO Manoranjan Mohapatra.

 
ONLINE PAYMENTS

NETELLER offers multi-currency
option

UK online payments specialist NETELLER has deployed NETBANX
International Payments Gateway (NIPG), a new version of its NETBANX
payments service that incorporates multi-currency payments and
multi-payment option capabilities.

“We believe that these new globalisation
features in our NETBANX service significantly extend our lead over
other payment brands,” said NETELLER’s president and CEO, Ron
Martin.
One of NIPG’s key features is NETELLER’s
Dynamic Currency Conversion application that permits online
shoppers to pay in their local currency at the pertaining exchange
rate. In addition NIPG facilitates the use of local and global
payment cards and other local payment options including giropay and
ELV for Germany, iDEAL for the Netherlands, Carte Bleu domestic and
international for France and Carte SI for Italy.
NIPG also offers multi-lingual payment web
pages to enable merchants to collect payment from consumers in the
language of their preference, including English, French, German,
Italian, Spanish and Welsh.
NETELLER reported having 3.94 million customers
at the end of 2007, of which 2.95 million were in North
America.

 
INTERNET PAYMENTS

An easier path into China for
merchants

US electronic commerce technology vendor CyberSource’s UK unit and
Chinese payment services provider PayEase have joined forces to
offer foreign merchants a simplified route into China’s internet
commerce market.

Among the benefits the new service offers is
swift and cost effective integration with China’s over 20 debit
card issuers. This overcomes the current difficulty merchants face
of having to integrate with each issuing bank on an individual
basis, claims CyberSource.
The new service also incorporates CyberSource’s
Decision Manager that has the ability to recognise the Chinese
language character set and incorporates rules to automate the
acceptance or rejection of orders. Financial transaction reports
are available in English.
“We see this alliance with PayEase as an
extraordinary opportunity for merchants who wish to expand into the
Chinese eCommerce market,” said CyberSource’s president and COO,
Scott Cruickshank.

 
POS

North American POS deliveries
stall

Tough economic conditions took their toll on the North American
retail POS terminal market in 2007 with total revenue generated
falling about 7 percent to $5.56 billion, according to research
firm IHL Group.

Turnover in 2007, which includes maintenance on
existing terminals, was also well below levels of around $6.5
billion seen during the period of booming demand between 2003 and
2005.
Microsoft’s Windows operating system again
dominated the POS market in 2007, accounting for $3.8 billion or 68
percent of sales. This was little different from market shares
enjoyed by Microsoft in previous years that have ranged from 69
percent in 2001 and 2002 to 71 percent in 2004 and 2005.
Second to Microsoft in 2007 was IBM’s sales of
$1.02 million, representing an 18 percent market share. POS
terminals running on the Linux operating system accounted for sales
of $575 million or 10 percent of the market. Notably, Linux
operating systems market share has increased from only about 2
percent in 2001.

 
MOBILE PAYMENTS

M-PESA arrives in
Tanzania

Vodacom Tanzania, in which South African telecommunications company
Vodacom has a 65 percent stake, has launched its M-PESA service
which allows mobile phone-based money transfers.

A big success in Kenya where it has garnered
1.7 million users since its launch in February 2007, M-PESA was
developed by UK telecommunications company VodaFone which has a 50
percent stake in Vodacom.
“Vodafone M-PESA is a service that is expected
to revolutionise the way Tanzanians manage money,” said Vodacom
Tanzania’s managing director Dietlof Mare.
“Of the 21 million Tanzanians over the age of
16, only 1.6 million currently have a bank account, but more than
7.5 million Tanzanians have a mobile phone.” The largest mobile
service provider in the country, Vodacom Tanzania had 4.1 million
customers in April 2008.
Meanwhile VodaFone’s plan to launch an M-PESA
based remittance service between the UK and Kenya has encountered
problems in the UK involving banking, exchange rates and anti-money
laundering regulatory requirements. Trials of the proposed service
in conjunction with US bank’s Citigroup UK unit have been ongoing
since early-2007.

 
ONLINE PAYMENTS

US consumers demand choice and
security

Choice of payments and security are the two paramount
considerations of US shoppers when selecting internet merchants,
and outweigh merchant incentives like rewards and discounts reveals
a study conducted for PayPal by research firm
JupiterResearch.

Key findings of the survey were:

• 66 percent of consumers prefer online merchants that offer
multiple payment mechanisms;

• 62 percent of purchasers feel more secure when they do not have
to enter credit card information online, even at merchants’ sites
that they trust;

• 61 percent of online shoppers choose sites that offer both credit
and debit card payment options;

• 55 percent of consumers think about which payment methods they
will use before they click on the checkout button;

• 48 percent of all online adult shoppers prefer the convenience of
alternative payment methods;

• One third of online shoppers want to avoid filling out name,
address and credit card details; and

• Only one in eight consumers thinks about how they will pay even
before deciding what to buy.

Notably, the survey’s finding that choice of
payment option is the top consideration appears at odds with
PayPal’s parent company, eBay’s controversial decision to offer
PayPal as the only payments option on its Australian website. (see
eBay stirs up a storm in Australian e-commerce market).

 
SELF SERVICE

IBM launches pay anywhere
self-checkout

Ten percent of consumers that leave a shop without making a
purchase were deterred by having to wait for service at the POS,
according to IBM.

The US technology developer believes it has the
answer to this problem in its new self-checkout kiosk that can be
placed practically anywhere in a shop.
A world-first, claims IMB, its AnyPlace
Checkout, which accepts credit and debit card payments, also
enables small businesses to affordably deploy advanced kiosk
technology previously only available to large enterprises.
Stressing the significance of self-checkout
facilities IBM cited a market study by research firm IHL Group
2007.
Among the findings were that 98 percent of
respondents had used self-checkout, almost 50 percent had used it
more than five times in the previous years and 72 percent had
readily accepted the technology.
IHL Group predicts that US consumers will spend
US $230.7 billion on self-checkout transactions at retail stores,
up 28 percent compared with 2007.

 
ATM

NCR takes new technology into the
scrapyard

Scrap metal merchants rely heavily on peddlers who in turn have
traditionally demanded cash payment for their wares.

Several years ago two US companies, self
service technology specialist NCR Corporation and scrapyard
services supplier Transact Payment Systems (TPS), teamed up to
create a cashless solution based on onsite ATMs and magnetic
striped cards issued in payment to peddlers by scrapyards. NCR and
TPS have now significantly improved on that solution.
The new system replaces plastic cards with a
printed receipt that includes an encrypted bar code that can be
read by a scanner-equipped ATM.
NCR explained that this innovation has been
made possible by the introduction of its two-dimensional (2D)
barcode reading technology which will be used for the first time in
the US for ATMs in the TPS solution.
According to NCR the 2D barcode is more
scrambled in appearance than the common vertical lines of
traditional bar codes, can hold more information and is
significantly more difficult to copy.
The 2D code was recently introduced by the US
airline industry for passenger boarding passes.
According to the US Department of Commerce
metal scrap valued at $2.36 billion was traded in the US in 2006.
This excluded imported scrap.

 
BIOMETRICS

SmartMetric claims a world-first in
security

SmartMetric, a US biometric technology developer, has released what
it claims to be the world’s first practical fingerprint microchip
based sensor for use in credit and other wallet size cards.

Accuracy of the chip is 99.999 percent even on
dirty or calloused hands, according to SmartMetric.
“We believe this is the most sophisticated, yet
functional security and identity solution in the world,” said
SmartMetric’s president and CEO Colin Hendrick. “Not only is the
technology reliable, but it simplifies the entire process of
identity authentication since no central fingerprint database is
required. Everything that’s needed is on the card itself.”
While SmartMetric’s product is no doubt an
effective means of identification, its claim as a world-first could
be disputed by other developers such as Biometric Associates in the
US which produces a similar fingerprint smartcard solution, the BAI
Authenticator.

 
ONLINE PAYMENTS

Online bill paying takes
off

Not only Australians paying more bills every month – an average of
8.2 compared with 3.4 in 2002 – their payment method is also
changing markedly reveals a survey undertaken by BPAY, an internet
bill payment specialist serving 14,000 businesses.

The most striking change is adoption of online
bill payment with 80 percent of respondents reporting having
regularly paid bills online in 2007, up from 36 percent in
2003.
BPAY noted that 70 percent of respondents used
its service in 2007, a year in which it processed 16 million
payments per month. BPAY has processed more than 1 billion payments
since its launch in 1997.
The big loser in Australia’s bill payment
market is the mail-borne cheque, with only 17 percent of
respondents having regularly used mail bill payments in 2007, down
from 43 percent in 2003.
Even growth in direct debits appears to have
been halted. Usage as a regular payments means having climbed from
55 percent in 2003 to 72 percent in 2006, eased to 66 percent in
2007.

 
PAYMENTS PROCESSING

First Data expands presence in
India

First Data’s Asia Pacific expansion strategy has received a boost
with its appointment as a payments processor by Kotak Mahindra, one
of India’s largest financial conglomerates.

First Data’s first processing contract in
India, it calls for the deployment within four months of its
VisionPLUS platform to support the launch of a new credit card and
loan portfolio by Kotak Mahindra Bank.
“Through this agreement, First Data has
significantly extended its presence in India, an important market
in which we see real opportunities for growth,” said First Data
Asia Pacific’s president Nigel Lee.
Established in February 2003 Kotak Mahindra
Bank operates 178 branches in 107 locations throughout India.
Parent company Kotak Mahindra, which has a
diverse range of other interests including asset management, life
insurance and investment banking, boasts a total of 4.4 million
customer accounts.