VISA Assembles Global Mobile Pay Platform

VISA has launched a broad initiative to bring mobile payments to consumers worldwide. The new platform includes technology tools, applications, security standards, and business models to bring together VISA issuers and mobile operators for market trials to drive product development and commercialization of mobile payment services. The initial version of the platform offers solutions for contactless mobile payment, OTA personalization, coupons and direct marketing. Recent VISA-led market activities leveraging NFC technology include the industry’s first large-scale mobile payment trial at Philips Arena in Atlanta last year. Partners included Atlanta Spirit, Chase, Cingular, Nokia, NXP Semiconductors, and ViVOtech. In Malaysia VISA partnered with Maybank, Maxis Communications, Nokia and ViVOtech to pilot a mobile payment program. Other partners VISA has worked with for the new mobile platform include: CASSIS International, Ecrio, Giesecke & Devrient, Venyon, IBM, VeriSign, INSIDE Contactless, and mFormation Technologies.

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Triton and Ventus Team for Wireless ATMs

MS-based ATM manufacturer Triton has signed an agreement with Ventus Networks to bring a comprehensive, managed wireless network infrastructure to the U.S. ATM market. The agreement with Ventus Networks, a provider of managed networked telecommunications solutions throughout the financial services industry, will ensure that U.S. customers who buy or lease Triton equipment will benefit from Ventus Networks’ wireless connectivity to drive in-house and off-premise financial devices. This agreement also includes monitoring, maintenance and management services

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Cardholders Identify With the Networks

A new study has found that 61% cardholders were likely to think of their best cards by network rather than by bank. In citing their worst card, 49% named the network instead of the issuer. The research by Auriemma Consulting Group also found that respondents are more than twice as likely to think of their best-priced cards by network (57%) than by bank (24%). In citing worst pricing, 50% named the network, and 22% identified the issuer. Auriemma says it was surprised that more respondents did not think of their bank name before the network brand considering that mass-media brand advertising among large issuers has intensified so much in the last two years. The analysis resulted from a survey of 319 consumers who have more than one credit card.

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Online Card Apps Have Usability Problems

A new report has discovered that the longest online credit card application takes four times more effort to complete than the shortest. Change Sciences Group says its research shows that the top three credit card sites overall are Capital One, Bank of America and Discover. The research group also found that 82% of online card applications have well-understood usability problems. About 40% of sites reviewed do not allow people to transfer balances from other cards and 40% of sites can make their card offer content more persuasive. About 30% of sites don’t make it easy to find credit cards from the site home page, making it difficult for existing bank customers. Change Sciences concludes that 58% of sites can make major improvements to how they communicate about fraud protection.

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Check Image Items Soar 15-Fold in 2006

The number of check images exchanged last year soared 15-fold compared to 2005, while the dollar value jumped 5-fold year-over-year. SVPCO-Electronic Clearing Services reports that annual image volume is likely to exceed 2 billion items and grow to 200 million items a month. In December 2005, daily average items were 555,446, total monthly items were 11.6 million, daily average dollar volume was $3.4 billion, and monthly dollar volume was $73.4 billion. In November, daily average items were 6.1 million, total monthly items were 122.0 million, daily average dollar volume was $13.5 billion, and monthly dollar volume was $270.6 billion. The leading senders and receivers were Wachovia and Bank of America.

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Wright Express Adds a New Board Member

ME-based Wright Express has named Larry McTavish, currently the CEO and chairman of AL-based Source Medical Solutions, to its board of directors. Prior to joining Source Medical, McTavish was chairman of Ben View Capital, a private investment company. He also served as a full-time consultant for the investment firm Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe. For 10 years, McTavish was chairman and CEO of Comdata Corporation, a provider of information services, financial services and software to the transportation industry.

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NCR to Spin-Off Teradata Business

NCR this morning confirmed its intention to separate into two independent publicly traded companies by spinning-off the company’s Teradata Data Warehousing business to NCR shareholders. Teradata had revenues of $1.5 billion, operating income of $309 million in 2005,and is a market leader in the enterprise data warehousing. NCR will continue to provide self-service technologies, retail point-of-sale technologies and customer-support services as well as business consumables and check-processing and imaging solutions. Combined, these businesses had revenues of $4.5 billion and operating income of $251 million in 2005. Bill Nuti will serve as president and CEO of NCR, and Mike Koehler, currently SVP of the Teradata Division, will serve as president and CEO of Teradata.

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PaySimple Powers Market Hardware Sites

Denver-based Pay Simple has teamed with Market Hardware to provide e-commerce capability for all Market Hardware Web sites. Pay Simple simplifies billing and collection processes by enabling customers to invoice, collect and deposit payments automatically. The customized, secure ASP solution includes auto-recurring billing, electronic check, direct debit and credit card processing.

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Windows-based ATMs Present Challenges

A specialist provider of ATM software solutions is warning banks that the costs of migrating ATMs to the “Windows” operating system may outweigh the benefits. According to a Retail Banking Research report about 64% of ATMs in Western Europe had been converted to run on the “Windows” operating system. Level Four Software says frequent “Windows” updates and stability issues relating to interoperability of the many applications resident on the ATM have resulted in ATMs that can be even more problem-prone than the early deployment of “OS/2” ATMs in the late 1980s. Level Four notes that the scale of testing needed for “Windows” ATMs has proved challenging, especially considering a full regression test can take banks two to three months to execute. The Company says it’s vital that banks exercise caution and look carefully at their
testing and software deployment strategies to ensure they do not
compromise the customer experience.

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GE Money Extends Dixie Homecrafters Deal

GA-based Dixie Homecrafters has signed a five-year extension of their agreement with GE Money to provide consumer financing including the Dixie Homecrafters-branded credit card. GE Money – Sales Finance provides both revolving and installment financing to Dixie customers through its PROJECTLINE and PROJECTLOAN programs, and has funded more than $140 million in Dixie sales over the past several years.

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