Online Banking Transactions Increase 79% Since 2001

The number of individuals conducting banking transactions online has increased 79% over a two-year period, from nearly 13 million to 23.2 million individuals. On a year-over-year comparison, from the Fall of 2001 to the Fall of 2002, online banking grew 32% from 12.9 million to 17.1 million. Comparing the Fall of 2002 to Fall of 2003, the trend continued as the audience level for online banking grew 36%. The research comes from Nielsen//NetRatings, who also found that Sacramento and Salt Lake City surfers have the highest propensity for using online banking of any major markets in the country. Surfers in both markets are 54% more likely to have used online banking in the last six months than the average Internet user. Seattle and Austin followed as the second and third highest ranked major markets. San Diego rounded out the top five regions where online banking occurs.

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Bidding on Circuit City’s Bankcard Portfolio Drives Up Price

VA-based Circuit City confirmed last week it has received a number of bids for its bankcard operation over the past thirty days. The company says that based on the current bid activity it now expects an after-tax loss of approximately $105 million, compared with the company’s mid-August estimate of up to $200 million. Circuit City also said they expect the sale of the bankcard operation to generate approximately $295 million in cash, compared with its previous estimate of in excess of $190 million. Overall, the company posted total sales for the second quarter ended August 31, 2003 of $2.16 billion, a 3% decline over the year-ago quarter. In August, the company said that getting out of the bankcards business would enable the company to avoid the large cyclical profit swings that are inherent in finance operations serving primarily non-prime accounts. Circuit City’s finance operation manages approximately $1.5 billion in bankcard receivables and $1.5 billion in private-label and co-branded VISA credit card outstandings. For complete details on Circuit City’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Online Bill Paying Increases to 57%

A new survey has found that the percentage of consumers paying at least one of their bills online has increased from 17% in 2000 to 57% this year. The report says the most common method for paying bills online is through a credit card provider’s Web site (58%), followed by their primary banking institution’s site (52%). The research comes from CT-based InsightExpress which also found the most common online activities include accessing bank statements (72%), reviewing account transactions (57%), and transferring funds between accounts (53%). However, among those not paying bills online, more than three out of four (76%) cite security concerns. Additional barriers include an unwillingness to pay associated fees (62%), the requirement to install or configure software (42%), and lack of recourse for any errors committed while paying bills online (42%).

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Micro-Payment Services Launches Using OptimumPayNet”

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services and Optimum Pay have launched their new electronic micro-payment solution. Using “OptimumPayNet,” DRFL partners and customers will be able to conduct micro-payment eCommerce transactions. Customers will be able to purchase low-priced goods, services and content via the web or any mobile device.

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TNB Card Services Buys Four CU Portfolios

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has signed agent issuing agreements with four credit unions to purchase and manage their credit card portfolios. Laredo Federal Credit Union, Arlington Federal Credit Union, El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union, and LeTourneau Federal Credit Union are current TNB clients that have chosen TNB as their agent issuer partner. Laredo has 2,000 card accounts. Arlington has 900 card accounts. El Paso Employees has 2,500 card accounts. LeTourneau has 200 card accounts.

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China Construction Bank Adds More Diebold ATMs

Beijing-based China Construction Bank has inked a deal with Diebold to added 800 more ATMs this year. All of the terminals will be installed in CCB’s nationwide branches before the end of this year. Diebold handled an initial installation of ATMs to CCB in the first seven months of the year. This will be the second ATM contract for this year. CCB customers will have access to bill payment and electronic funds transfer between foreign currency and savings accounts, and will be able to review stock transactions, account balances, banking statements and advertisements via the ATM. Some provincial bank branches differentiate themselves from competitors by selling airline tickets at ATMs.

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ABA Card Conference Opens Sunday with Perfect Timing

After a four year hiatus, the ABA is set for a Bank Card Conference next week that is sure to be full of fireworks in the wake of all the litigation involving the nation’s largest card networks. The “American Bankers Association/Foreword Financial Bank Card Conference” will be September 21-23 at the Union Station Hyatt Regency hotel in Dallas. Keynote speakers include Carl Pascarella, president and CEO of VISA and Richard Vague, CEO of Juniper Financial. The program will cover growth strategies for commercial and consumer bank card portfolios, merchant acquisition, and debit cards; compliance with the FCRA, privacy regulations, ID theft regulations and bankruptcy legislation; regulatory changes to the TSR, the U.S.A. Patriot Act, Regulation Z and FFIEC guidelines; authentication technologies for businesses and individuals, fraud prevention and security, online fraud, and online account management; and, the future of smart cards.

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VISA Says MasterCard is Taking Advantage of the Wal-Mart Settlement

VISA says MasterCard’s complaint has no merit and that MasterCard is simply trying to steal some of VISA’s debit card business by inferring to VISA members they can avoid their share of VISA’s legal obligation to the settlement fund. VISA says it expects to be able to fund its obligations under the settlement agreement out of its future revenues. Given the fact that the Wal-Mart settlement relates to money that VISA members have received as a benefit of their past debit transactions, VISA says it expects those members to bear a fair proportion of the settlement liability. VISA insists it would be grossly unfair for large debit issuers to seek to avoid the burdens of this settlement, leaving other members to foot the bill for the Wal-Mart case settlement. VISA says this is the reason behind its “Settlement Service Fee” bylaw. VISA says “MasterCard appears interested not in competition on the merits for debit issuance, but in taking opportunistic advantage of the Wal-Mart settlement to encourage VISA members to avoid their responsibility for participating in a system that was challenged, and then settled in a manner that insulates the VISA members from the danger of a potentially larger liability.

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HSBC Launches Premier International

HSBC has launched its first fully international banking service for personal customers in the UK, Canada, France, Hong Kong SAR, India, Jersey, and the USA. The new “HSBC Premier International” provides consumers with a portable credit history, enabling an instant credit history transfer between countries to aid in qualifying for credit cards. The new service also offers fee-free ATM withdrawals and free check cashing at HSBC branches worldwide. Plus, global, fee-free Internet transfers between all the customer’s “HSBC Premier” accounts, even in regions where this is normally a charged-for service. Access to HSBC International, the Group’s offshore banking provider, for tax-efficient solutions, multi-currency accounts and offshore investments, is also included.

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