(FREE)

ALTERNATE PAYMENTS

MyECheck on a strong growth
path

MyECheck, formed in 2004 to harness
opportunities presented by the introduction of cheque imaging in
the US, has reported solid progress in 2008, processing over $90
million compared with a mere $4 million in 2007. Revenue also
increased significantly, rising from $46,051 in 2007 to $548,159 in
2008.

According to MyECheck it recorded growth of
over 40 percent in each quarter-to-quarter period in 2008 with, for
example, revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008 increasing by 41
percent compared with the third quarter to $222,267.

The core of MyECheck’s business is its
patented solution enabling the clearing for merchants of electronic
cheques (e-cheques) created remotely by consumers who enter their
current account details on a merchant’s website.

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By GlobalData

E-cheques are transferred directly to the
Federal Reserve System, bypassing banks and the automated clearing
house system, and enabling clearing in near real-time.

Taking advantage of its near real-time
clearing ability, MyECheck is focusing on companies using remote
cheque capture to collect recurring payments from customers.

Targeted companies include those in mortgage,
insurance and credit card industries.

 

SECURITY

Industry body sets out to
promote biometrics

The Financial Services Technology
Consortium (FSTC), a US industry body, has initiated a programme
aimed at promoting biometrics as a security solution.

The programme, to be co-sponsored by
the American Bankers Association, has already attracted interest
from over 20 US banks.

The FSTC’s executive director Dan Schutzer
explained that the programme will endeavour to develop a
methodology for banks to better select, specify, evaluate and
deploy biometric applications with greater customer acceptance.

“We also hope to identify and validate at
least one or two of them that will make an immediate impact in the
fight against identity theft and insider fraud,” he added.

Notably, a survey conducted by technology
vendor Unisys in 2008 found that 72 percent of Americans would be
willing to undergo fingerprint scans to verify their identities
when dealing with banks and government organisations.

 

REGULATION

Diebold CFO steps down amid SEC
probe

Diebold has announced that its chief
financial officer (CFO), Kevin Krakora, has relinquished his
position following receipt of a Wells notice from the US Security
and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Wells notices indicate that the
SEC’s Division of Enforcement is considering recommending that the
SEC bring civil enforcement actions against individuals alleging
that they violated provisions of the federal securities laws.

The US ATM manufacturer noted that the Wells
notice is linked to an ongoing investigation of the company by the
SEC. It is also possible that the SEC will issue a Wells notice to
the company in connection with the investigation.

Diebold added that it is also aware that its
prior CFO and other former employees in the company’s finance
organisation have also received Wells notices.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

US ACH growth slows
appreciably

Economic recession took its toll on
the US automated clearing house (ACH) system in 2008, reducing
growth in payment volume and value to the slowest pace in almost a
decade, reveals data published by the National Automated Clearing
House Association (NACHA).

From a CAGR of 14.4 percent CAGR in payments
volumes between 2000 and 2007 and increases of 15.1 percent and
17.1 percent in 2006 and 2007, respectively, growth slowed to 6.9
percent in 2008 with total volume reaching 18.29 billion.

The value of payments flowing through the ACH
network grew at an even slower pace in 2008, rising 4 percent to
$29.96 trillion.

In specific payments categories the most
impressive growth was reflected by internet-initiated ACH debits
which increased 19.7 percent compared with 2007 to $939
billion.

NACHA estimates that 85 percent of
internet-initiated ACH payments are to pay bills via companies’ or
billing services’ websites.

Topping the list of financial institution in
total ACH network transactions originated in 2008 was, for the 34th
consecutive year, JPMorgan’s Treasury Services unit. According to
the bank the unit originated over 3.5 billion ACH transactions in
2008.

 

ALTERNATIVE PAYMENTS

Strong investor backing for
Revolution Money

Alternate payments service provider
Revolution Money has received a strong vote of confidence in its
latest funding round, attracting $42 million from a new investor –
an affiliate of investment bank Goldman Sachs – and six existing
investors.

“In one of the toughest funding environments
in history, this investment is a big endorsement of Revolution
Money’s business model,” commented Jason Hogg, founder and CEO of
Revolution Money.

“As merchants and consumers search for savings
at every turn, Revolution Money is seen as a welcome alternative to
the traditional high-cost credit card companies and PayPal.”

Launched in September 2007 the US-based
Revolution Money offers two products: RevolutionCard and
RevolutionMoneyExchange.

RevolutionCard is a general-use credit card
that charges no interchange fees and only a 0.5 percent processing
fee per transaction to accept.

This represents up to an 80 percent savings
over other credit card offerings. The card is accepted at some
650,000 merchant locations and 85 percent of all ATMs in the
US.

Revolution MoneyExchange is an internet
service enabling users to make person-to-person and
person-to-merchant payments free of charge. The service has some
400,000 users.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Deal gives Fundtech a major
boost in the UK

In a move that significantly
increases its reach in the UK’s corporate payments market US
transaction banking technology vendor Fundtech has acquired
InterSoftware in a £1.1 million ($1.6 million) cash deal.

InterSoftware is to be acquired
through Fundtech’s UK unit Accountis, an electronic invoice
presentment and payment (EIPP) systems specialist acquired in
February 2008.

Acquisition of InterSoftware increases
Fundtech’s UK corporate customer base using the Bacs direct credit
and direct debit payments system from 900 to 8,500. The latter
total represents over one-third of companies using Bacs
services.

“With access to 7,600 new corporate customers,
we have a unique opportunity to accelerate the growth of Accountis’
wide range of payment services, including our EIPP Network,” said
Accountis’s executive chairman Peter Radcliffe.

In addition to EIPP, Accountis will offer
other internet-based services including direct debit and credit
management, remittance notification and fully automated enterprise
payment workflow.

Companies will be able to add any of these
modules instantly without any change to their IT
infrastructure.

Bacs reports that in 2008 it processed 5.6
billion payments with a total value of £3.85 trillion. These totals
represented increases of 2.8 percent and 6.8 percent,
respectively.

 

REMITTANCES

Obama to lift US-Cuba remittance
restrictions

Western Union has welcomed the
decision by US President Obama to lift all restrictions on
remittances by Cubans in the US to their family members in Cuba.
Under restrictions imposed by the former Bush administration
remittances between the US and Cuba were limited to $1,200 per
year.

In a statement Western Union noted that it has
3,000 current Cuba-enabled agent locations in the US and 153 agent
locations in Cuba.

The remittance service provider has been
providing services between the US and Cuba since 1999.

The size of the inbound Cuban remittance
market is not precisely known. According to non-profit body the
Inter-American Dialogue’s estimate for 2008 is between $830 million
and $985 million, of which just over a half was from the US, down
from 81 percent in 2005.

The Cuban government reports inbound
remittances to be worth some $1.4 billion annually.

 

ONLINE PAYMENTS

PayPal UK forges
ahead

PayPal further consolidated its
position as the UK’s leading financial website during the 12 months
to February 2009, reveals data published by research company,
Nielsen Online.

According to Nielsen, during the 12 months
PayPal’s UK unit experienced a massive 50 percent increase in
unique visitors compared with the corresponding 2007/08 period.

Based on February 2007 data PayPal’s UK
website enjoyed 7.06 million unique visitors while the top-10
financial website recorded a total of 34.16 million unique
visitors.

During February PayPal was followed by
comparative website Money Saving Expert (4.75 million unique
visitors) and banking groups Lloyds TSB (3.54 million), Barclays
(3.42 million), Halifax (3.39 million) and HSBC (2.88 million).

According to PayPal it has over 22 million UK
account-holders, a total almost equal to half the UK adult
population.

 

CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS

Visa goes commercial with
mobile payWave

Malaysians’ reputation as early
adopters of new payments technologies has made Malaysia Visa’s
choice for the first commercial launch of its payWave contactless
payments service using mobile phones equipped with near field
communications (NFC) technology.

Partnering with Visa are mobile phone
manufacturer Nokia, Maxis, Malaysia’s largest mobile network
operator (MNO), and Maybank, Malaysia’s largest bank.

The service utilises a Nokia handset to allow
Maybank Visa account holders to make payments at the 1,800 merchant
outlets in Malaysia that accept Visa payWave.

In the service the contactless chip embedded
in the Nokia handset also powers additional functions, including a
contactless transit application that enables commuters to pay for
charges while using metropolitan transit systems, bus terminals,
highway toll gates and car park facilities at more than 3,000
contactless payment points.

Maxis has branded these services Maxis
FastTap.

Extending its mobile phone-based payments
reach further in Asia, Visa has embarked on a pilot project in
Singapore in partnership with Citibank Singapore and MNO MobileOne.
The three-month pilot is the first in Singapore in which a mobile
device will be used for payments at the POS and involves some 300
Citibank customers and 750 merchant locations.

 

PAYMENTS PROCESSING

Deutsche Bank to slash shipping
lines’ costs

Deutsche Bank and INTTRA, the
world’s largest supplier of electronic commerce solutions to the
shipping industry, have joined forces to offer container shipping
companies the ability to automate invoicing and payments processes.
The service, which will utilise Deutsche Bank’s electronic invoice
presentment and payment (EIPP) platform, is targeting $500 million
in annual industry cost savings.

INTTRA estimates that there are 150 million
invoice transactions processed a year for ocean shipping with costs
averaging $20 to $60 per invoice. Implementing an EIPP solution can
cut average transaction processing costs by more than half,
according to INTTRA.

Over 260,000 container orders are initiated on
the INTTRA platform each week, representing more than 10 percent of
global ocean container trade which is worth some $260 billion
annually.

The INTTRA/ Deutsche Bank service is to be
launched in the fourth quarter of 2009.

 

MOBILE BANKING

Research firm predicts mobile
banking boom

Worldwide the number of mobile
banking users will soar from 20 million in 2008 to 913 million in
2014, predicts telecommunications research firm Berg Insight. The
prediction will require the market to sustain a staggering CAGR of
89 percent over the five-year period.

Berg anticipates that the Asia-Pacific region
will be the most important regional mobile banking market,
accounting for 65 percent of the total users in 2014.

The region will followed by Europe with 110
million users and North America with 80 million users.

International money remittances will also
become an important market for mobile phone-based payments,
believes Berg which, however, provides a forecast with a
significant margin of error.

By 2014 the research firm predicts that mobile
phones will be used for between 5 percent and 20 percent of
remittances and generate between $170 million and $680 million in
annual service revenues.

 

REMITTANCES

UK-first for Caxton
FX

Caxton FX has become the first UK
foreign exchange (forex) broker to be authorised by the Financial
Services Authority (FSA) to hold client money.

With the authorisation, Caxton FX
also becomes the first forex broker to offer private customers
protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which
is designed to guarantee funds up to a maximum of £48,000
($72,000).

Welcoming the announcement the UK Money
Transmitters Association’s chairman Dominic Thorncroft said: “The
move by Caxton FX is specifically designed to address the issue of
client fund safety head-on and it has reached a significant
milestone in the industry.

“This marks the next stage in the debate about
client protection and regulation in the foreign exchange
industry.”

Caxton FX undertakes funds transfers worldwide
on a no-commission and no-transfer-fee basis. Depending on the
destination, euro, US dollar and sterling fund transfers take one
to two days.

Fund transfers denominated in other currencies
take two to three days.