Safaricom CEO Keynotes Underbanked Forum

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) began its 6th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum with Michael Joseph, former CEO of Safaricom, delivering the “Innovation Abroad: An International Mobile Payment Success Story” keynote address. Joseph also examines mobile strategies he thinks will ultimately be the most successful in the U.S. marketplace and worldwide. CFSI’s “Underbanked Solutions Exchange,” sponsored by Meta Payment Systems and New Market Partners, focuses on external forces at play in the financial services marketplace and contemplate the meaning of “quality” financial services. It is a collaborative group of mid-size banks and credit unions engaged in action-oriented discussions to share thoughts, ideas, questions, and experiences with other institutions all with the ultimate goal of profitably and responsibly serving the underbanked.

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Panini and Bluepoint to Host Teller Capture Webinar

Panini global payments processing and Bluepoint Solutions Check 21, item processing, and enterprise content management are set to host their webinar June 16. The “WebEx” meeting will also present the new, all-inclusive teller capture solution offered by the companies specifically for credit unions, available in partnership with CUNA. Panini and Bluepoint Solutions announced their partnership to bring a comprehensive teller capture solution to credit unions. The all-inclusive teller capture solution, featuring Panini´s market-leading Vision X check scanner and Bluepoint´s popular ImagePoint Teller includes software, hardware and support for a cost effective and consolidated price.

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Amex & VisitBritain Debut Tourism micro-site

VisitBritain tourism agency and American Express have forged a joint venture whereby they will market British tourism to the millions of American Express cardmembers around the world. This partnership forms part of VisitBritain’s overall effort to boost visitor numbers to the country by 4 million with focused deals and offers as part of a GBP100million, four-year marketing program to generate GBP2 billion more visitor spending. Encouraging this is the “UK Inspiration” online portal from AmEx providing exclusive offers and insider knowledge on UK’s fashion, food, entertainment and travel bloggers. The new website also aims to provide travelers from the US, France, the Middle East, China and Australia dining, shopping, travel and entertainment offers.

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Collis test tools Now AmEx- Approved

Collis has developed its Test Tool (Collis BTT) for EMV POS Terminal Certifications to process American Express. All card images and test cases required for the American Express EMV Test Plan are included within “Collis BTT,” which allows acquirers and vendors to validate the American Express payment brand testing of their EMV POS terminals. Brand testing is a core component in the overall certification process designed to facilitate problem free acceptance of cards from payment card networks such as American Express. Also, with “Collis BTT,” interoperability issues can be detected before terminals are even deployed.

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Love2reward Launches New Employee Benefits

Flexebens is a unique gift card platform which gives staff 7% discount every time they shop. The Flexebens card can be used in 23 leading retailers including River Island, Debenhams, New Look, Comet, Boots, Superdrug and Iceland, with new retailers joining the program every month. Employees can save money onto their Flexebens card through the ‘Salary Exchange’ scheme, which allows employees to choose how much money they wish to be taken from their salary each month, or through ‘Voluntary Benefit,’ which allows employees to benefit from the same 7% discount, but the onus is on the staff member to make payments online via their own credit or debit card, which means no payroll involvement.

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Flint to expand debit card and remittance operations

Flint Telecom Group voice, data and wireless services through partner channels, is planning to expand its debit card and mobile remittance operations to Europe and the Middle East by enhancing the company’s existing resources in Ireland. By growing existing operations in Ireland, Flint Telecom aims to provide prepaid debit cards and mobile remittance technology and services to European and Middle Eastern mobile operators, banks and other program sponsors.

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Barista Lavazza Offers Visa Cardholders Cashback

Barista Lavazza and Visa have launched “Cash at PoS” cash withdrawal facility at the retail POS. This will enable all Visa Debit cardholders to pay for their coffee in addition to withdraw upto Rs. 1000 cash daily at over 170 Barista Lavazza outlets located across the country. There will be no charges levied on cardholders for the cash withdrawal transaction, whom are not obliged to make a purchase to get cash.

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Post Office introduces Traveler payment card

Post Office “Travel Money” has introduced its pre-paid card giving customers a way of taking holiday money abroad. The Post Office Travel Money Card Plus is available from more than 3,000 Post Office branches and via postoffice.co.uk. The “Travel Money Card Plus” is a chip and PIN-enabled MasterCard and is available in Euros, US dollars and sterling, allowing customers to lock in competitive exchange rates offered on the day of purchase. It is accepted in more than 28 million locations around the world and can be used like a debit card in shops, bars and restaurants as well as online and at cash machines.

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Bankruptcies & Revolving Credit Both Way Down

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Of the total $2.4 trillion in outstanding US consumer debt, total outstanding revolving credit dropped nearly 1.5% in April to 790.1 billion, while May consumer bankruptcies fell 16% nationwide from the year ago period with overall consumer filing totals having dwindled from 136,142 down to 114,803. This in large part means…

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INSOURCING The New Black?

“Insourcing” – retaking operational control of a credit card function, or the entire card business and returning it to an organization that previously outsourced it. The trend for the 90’s and much of the last decade was definitely outsourcing. “Lower your operating expense,” went the mantra, and many card organizations followed suit. The allure of letting others put up with the headaches of running some card function for you seemed compelling. For many, it still works very well. Now, though, more and more financial institutions are resuming those functions, turning to what R.K. Hammer calls, “Insourcing.” Insourcing brings back management control of the day to day operational function being shipped elsewhere, not to mention jobs.

Among the more than 700 credit card portfolios which sold out since 1990, many of their 5-10 year outsourcing agreements and restrictions are expiring, which gives rise to the flurry of such activity today. “Will most past sellers retake control of their card portfolios?” poses Hammer. “In a word, no,” answering his own question. What typically determines if they will is considering how the relationship has gone since the sale with the buyer; second, have the post-sale reduced credit risk and interest rate risk been important to the seller; third, what do the cardholders say about how the service levels performed since the sale; fourth, would the past buyer be willing to negotiate a good faith purchase price; fifth, have the buyer’s product menu and services been superior to what the seller could now offer themselves; sixth, what is the current appetite for unsecured credit now that the non-compete has expired.

“It’s tough to say with precision what percentage of past card deals will unwind – with or without a repurchase of those assets,” notes consultant R.K. Hammer. ” We’d say far more will simply resume the business without such a transaction, simply issuing cards from scratch to their customers. Not many organizations who now hold the accounts and card loans will want to unwind the deal, especially if they have unamortized premiums still on their books from the first transaction. Whether or not “insourcing” seems to be roaring back, let’s put it this way…a lot of very interesting renegotiations are taking place every day , as this is written,” concludes Hammer.

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Visa Acquires Fundamo, Re-ups With Monitise

Visa is acquiring Fundamo mobile financial services platform for $110 million in cash, in conjunction with having signed long-term commercial agreements with Monitise mobile money solutions. This is meant to accelerate the execution of Visa’s global strategy announced last month to provide the next generation of payments solutions, enabling consumers to transact wherever and whenever they choose, using a card, a computer or a mobile device with Visa’s reliability, security and global acceptance. It will ultimately allow Visa to offer mobile financial services and payments capabilities to consumers on everything from basic services on simple handsets to more advanced services on smart phones.

Fundamo’s platform enables the delivery of mobile financial services to unbanked and under-banked consumers around the world–including person-to-person payment, airtime top-up, bill payment and branchless banking services. Combined with Visa, the Fundamo platform will add enhanced functionality and new services to existing mobile financial services subscribers across Africa, Asia and Latin America for globally accepted payments that will expand the utility of closed-loop, interoperable systems.

Meanwhile, the new commercial agreement with Monitise will expand delivery of mobile financial services to banked Visa account holders in conjunction with Visa’s financial institution partners. Monitise’s expertise in customizing mobile applications for a broad range of phone models and operating systems enables Visa to virtualize existing Visa accounts on mobile phones and offer Visa account holders globally a new array of payment types. Also, the partnership will launch a mobile banking solution in the U.S. for clients of Visa DPS, Visa’s debit and prepaid processing platform designed to allow clients and processing partners to offer their mobile payments, person-to-person payments, mobile transaction alerts and mobile marketing offers.

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