Visa lays out ambitious new mobile strategy
Wednesday May 25th 2011, 10:06 am
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Less than a week after CEO Joseph Saunders said Visa Inc. would be announcing its mobile payment plans, the company revealed its blueprint for what it calls the “next generation of payments solutions.” And while the announcement is short on specifics, the goal is ambitious. At its core, Visa’s new strategy aims to transform the way consumers everywhere pay for items in person and online, whether on their computers or mobile devices.

“We are introducing new solutions for ecommerce and mobile devices that provide the same ‘Visa-quality’ experience — convenience, reliability and security — people enjoy when using their Visa cards at a retail location. In doing so, we are accelerating the global shift to digital payments by harnessing our brand, products, network and 50-plus years of payments experience,” Saunders said in the announcement.

Introducing the digital wallet

According to the announcement, Visa will be introducing several new payment products in the United States and Canada by this fall. The new products include a digital wallet that will hold not only Visa credit card accounts, but other payment methods as well as the personal data required to complete online transactions. The digital wallet is intended to simplify and streamline the buying process for customers making purchases on mobile devices.

“From a consumer standpoint, e-commerce is still a challenging interaction,” Jennifer Shulz, Visa’s head of global innovation, said in a call. “We tolerate it with a keyboard, but it’s intolerable on a mobile device.”

Shulz said requirements for consumers to enter and re-enter basic data like credit card numbers and address information for every online purchase makes it clumsy, an issue that is exacerbated when the process occurs on a small mobile device.

Shulz said it was important for Visa to address the issue now as consumers are shifting their online shopping to mobile devices, and as merchants look to expand their presence to incorporate the mobile experience.

“From a retail point of view, you have a solution that now works across multiple channels,” Shulz said.

She said Visa’s products will solve other issues as well. By storing sensitive data for both the consumer and the retailer, Shulz said the new approach will address a host of security issues and PCI-compliance requirements for merchants.

The Visa digital wallet product will also support near field communication (NFC) technologies through Visa’s PayWave service. This means that consumers will be able to use the product to make purchases in brick-and-mortar locations as NFC technologies on mobile devices are adopted.

Shulz said Visa expects that acceptance of a digital wallet won’t happen quickly. She said that 2011 was a good year for mobile payments in terms of attention, but that full market adoption will take five to 10 years.

Bringing digital wallets to the rest of the world

Visa also announced that it will be focusing on expanding its new products to emerging markets as well. Many regions around the world have high penetration of mobile phones but few secure, reliable options for electronic payments, the company said. Visa said it will be working with financial institutions and wireless carriers in those markets to give consumers services that bundle basic financial transactions like payments and funds transfers with air time top-up and bill payment.

“Visa and our subsidiaries are working with financial institutions, merchants, mobile network operators and innovative technology providers to bring new ways to pay and be paid to more consumers and merchants around the globe,” Saunders said in the company’s announcement.

In other regions, where basic “closed-loop” mobile payment networks exist, Visa said financial solutions are still limited by geography and interoperability. The company is looking at leveraging its new products to connect these closed-loop networks.

“What Visa is proposing is providing an open network to allow utility across networks,” Shulz said.

Shulz wouldn’t say what markets Visa is focusing on specifically, but she did say that she expected the company to be announcing news soon.

 



Visa Announces an E-Wallet for Mobile, E-Commerce, and POS Transactions
Friday May 13th 2011, 11:27 am
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Visa Inc. announced on Wednesday a digital wallet aimed at increasing its share of transactions in mobile payments, e-commerce, and at the point of sale.
 

The digital wallet will store all the payment cards in a consumer’s wallet, including non-Visa branded cards, Jim McCarthy, Visa’s head of global products, said during a press conference. Consumers will be able to use the wallet to make mobile commerce and e-commerce purchases and purchases at the physical point-of-sale.

By enabling the wallet to be used for m-commerce and e-commerce, Visa expects it will be able to increase its volume in these lucrative and fast- growing market segments. Online retail sales totaled $38 billion during the first quarter of 2011, up 12% over the same period a year ago, according to Web-measurement firm comScore Inc. M-commerce sales, excluding travel, were projected to reach $3.4 billion in 2010, up from $1.4 billion in 2009 and $396.3 million in 2008, according to the latest figures from ABI Research. Travel-related mobile purchases were expected add another $1.5 billion in 2010.

“The days of entering a 16-digit card number, an expiration date, and CVV2 code to make mobile or e-commerce transactions are over,” McCarthy said. “We expect this digital wallet to have an impact in countries where mobile use is high and card usage is low.”

With the announcement, Visa joins a parade of payments players that have recently chosen to focus on e-wallets, particularly for mobile commerce. Isis, a mobile-payments joint venture formed by three major wireless carriers, recently said it isabandoning plans to form a rival merchant network and will concentrate on an open-system digital wallet. And Visa rival PayPal Inc. took the occasion of Visa’s announcement to underscore its 13-year experience with wallets. “More than 98 million people around the world have already trusted us with their digital wallets,” the company said in a statement.

Visa’s wallet will be an on-demand application that will reside on a secure VisaNet server. Consumers will launch the application by clicking on a Visa buy button on a merchant’s Web site and then enter their user name and password to access the account they want to fund the purchase. Additional security layers may be added for certain types of purchases, based on the amount of the transaction or the type of item being purchased. Merchants will receive the buyer’s billing and address and contact information along with an authorization code for each transaction, but will not have access to or store any consumer account data.

“Merchants are moving away from storing cardholder account data as a way to reduce their risk and PCI obligations,” says Jennifer Schulz, head of innovation for Visa.

Questions arose during the press conference about whether Visa would use near-field communication (NFC) technology, which it has tested in previous digital-wallet trials, to allow the wallet to be used at the physical point of sale. Visa chairman and chief executive Joe Saunders said that if NFC technology were needed to make the wallet work, Visa has the technology, but would need to have merchants deploy more NFC terminals.

“If Visa is going to rely on NFC technology as they have in the past, all they are doing is building a walled garden that supports their current infrastructure,” says Richard Crone, chief executive of Crone Consulting LLC. “Right now no major merchant supports NFC technology and many are looking to leapfrog it with mobile technology that allows them to control the payment options, much the way Starbucks has done with its mobile application.” Starbucks Coffee Co. has installed a bar-code-reading mobile-payments system in all of its U.S. company-owned stores that allows customers to tap proprietary, prepaid Starbucks accounts to pay.

Several large U.S. and international banks are working with Visa to develop the wallet, including U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Regions Financial, BB&T Corp., Canada’s TD Bank, and the U.S. arm of Barclays PLC. Visa did not say whether these banks are supporting the wallet as issuers, acquirers, or both.

Potential revenue opportunities identified by Visa include fees from third-party application developers looking to stake out a place in the wallet, such as person-to-person payment applications, and fees from merchants for sending consumers real-time messages on their phones.

“Right now consumers paying with a Visa or other general-purpose cards are anonymous to merchants, and what merchants want to be able to do is contact them,” says Crone.

Other expansion opportunities include working with providers of proprietary mobile-payment systems. “A lot of closed-loop mobile-payment networks realize they can’t expand without someone like Visa,” said Saunders. “We don’t always initiate these conversations.” Saunders declined to elaborate.

McCarthy said Visa’s acquisitions of PlaySpan, a virtual goods monetization platform, and fraud-control technology provider CyberSource Corp. could extend the company’s presence in digital and mobile commerce. If Visa begins marketing PlaySpan in the m-commerce and e-commerce space, it is possible the company may become the merchant of record for PlaySpan transactions in some instances, Saunders acknowledged.

Because PlaySpan is the merchant of record for the digital publishers it services, Visa is the de facto merchant of record because it now owns the company, added Schulz.

“Not everyone is going to like the idea of Visa as the merchant of record, but changes in the payment landscape are shifting the role of some of the players,” says Todd Ablowitz, president of consultancy Double Diamond Group. “It would certainly be an aggressive move on their part.”

 



Credit Union 24 and Alliance One join forces to expand ATM access
Friday May 13th 2011, 11:25 am
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A reciprocal agreement between two operators of ATM networks illustrates consumers’ growing preference for cash and how some businesses are responding to the demand.

Credit Union 24, the nation’s largest credit union-owned ATM and point-of-sale network, and Alliance One, one of the country’s largest credit union surcharge-free ATM groups, announced Thursday that they are expanding ATM/POS and surcharge-free ATM access for participating credit union members in their organizations’ respective programs.

According to the marketing arrangement, Tallahassee, Fla.-based Credit Union 24 members and future members will have the opportunity to utilize Alliance One’s nearly 5,000 surcharge-free ATMs if they choose to do so without paying an implementation fee to join the low-cost ATM cooperative. Alliance One, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, deploys ATMs in 43 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. More than 1,500 financial institutions are Alliance One members.

As part of the agreement, participants of Alliance One who receive service through Corporate One Federal Credit Union, which founded Alliance One in 1998, now will be able to add the Credit Union 24 gateway to their ATM/debit card programs and receive a $300 rebate on the set-up fees. Credit Union 24 operates 55,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.

Jim Park, president and CEO of Credit Union 24, said the partnership is necessary.

“According to our recent credit union industry survey, ATM usage among credit union members remains steady, with fewer credit union leaders, citing a decrease in ATM usage, as behavior was trending in the past,” Park said. “This combined with national trends illustrate how consumers are continuing to rely more heavily on cash-based transactions, dictating the need for our industry to maintain and expand fee-free ATM access to our members. Alliance One’s cooperative structure mirrors the very foundation of our movement, and it’s a business model that Credit Union 24 embraces wholeheartedly. To be able to provide expanded surcharge-free ATM access without negatively impacting the bottom line is a win-win situation for everyone involved, particularly the credit union member.”

By providing credit unions with expanded ATM and POS access, it will help credit unions compete with larger financial institutions and provide the very best services to their members, said Lee Butke, president and CEO of Corporate One Federal Credit Union.

Credit Union 24 has hundreds of thousands of POS locations with national and local retailers and more than 100,000 ATM terminals across the country.



Durbin Amendment Concerns Security Experts
Thursday April 28th 2011, 11:18 am
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A panel of security experts told executives attending Visa’s Global Security Summit Wednesday that the interchange cap mandated by the Durbin Amendment will likely leave card security efforts more muddled than before.

The panelist were almost unified on the notion that the Federal Reserve choosing and dictating card data protection technology would be a bad idea. One panelist, Aaron McPherson of IDC Financial Insights, expressed a hope that the Fed might simply dictate the use of smart card such as chip and pin.

But other panel members doubted that would happen. Nessa Feddis, senior counsel with the American Bankers Association, thought that would be a bad idea since it would be obsolete by the time the rule was finalized and, in the proposal, would give criminals a road map to where they need to develop expertise.

Meanwhile, Gray Taylor, executive director of the National Alliance of Convenience Store Security Standards Board, predicted the Durbin amendment would or should lead to the consumer being drafted into the battle against fraud. He contended that too many issuers are still urging card holders to use the more fraud-prone authentication method, their signatures.

But Feddis responded that Visa had developed signature transactions in order to please merchants who did not want to upgrade their existing payment systems to handle personal identification numbers. Taylor responded by calling that a “fantasy.”



2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study
Wednesday April 06th 2011, 11:15 am
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(APR 5, 2011) The Federal Reserve has publicly released the 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study that reveals “in greater detail increasing adoption of electronic alternatives for payments in the United States by consumers, businesses and governments. The study examined payments made between 2006 and 2009.”

In December, the Federal Reserve released a summary of the study’s findings that highlighted trends related to the use of payment cards and electronification of check processing. Debit card usage now exceeds all other forms of noncash payments and represents approximately 35 percent of total noncash payments. Much of the growth in debit card payments was due to increases in purchases for small dollar amounts; for example, the report reveals that 64 percent of all signature debit card transactions are now for amounts under $25. General purpose credit cards, with 44 percent being under $25, are also used for small dollar purchases. Study results showed that card usage varied by dollar amount. Nearly 50 percent of all card payments under $15 are made with signature debit cards, while 41 percent of all card payments over $25 are made with general purpose credit cards.

“The study reveals that we continue to experience extraordinary changes in the utilization of payment instruments as this nation’s propensity for all things electronic continues to grow,” notes Richard Oliver, executive vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which sponsored the study.



Samsung and Visa team up for NFC mobile payments at London 2012 Olympics
Friday April 01st 2011, 1:41 pm
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Samsung & Visa, Two Worldwide Olympic Sponsors, Join Forces to Enable Mobile Payments

Pioneering alliance to bring mobile payments to the UK and around the world in the run up to and during London 2012

Samsung and Visa today announced plans to bring the latest innovation in payment technology to the market as part of their sponsorships of London 2012, enabling consumers to make mobile payments using the Samsung Olympic and Paralympic Games mobile handset. Before and during the Games, the innovation will transform the payment experience in London and globally, enabling faster, more convenient payments via mobile phone.

“Innovation is a key business driver for Visa and mobile payments are one of the main areas we’re focusing on. The Olympic and Paralympic Games enables us to accelerate our business goals and this partnership plays a large role in achieving them”

Samsung and Visa’s new strategic alliance is designed to leave a lasting legacy in the market post-2012.

Samsung Electronics, the Worldwide Olympic Partner for Wireless Communications Equipment, and Visa, the Worldwide Olympic Partner and exclusive Payment Services sponsor are combining their sponsorship assets and leadership in technology to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games mobile handset available to the general public will be equipped with technology that enables mobile payments, Near Field Communications (NFC) and Visa’s contactless payment technology. To make payments, customers simply select the Visa mobile contactless application, select pay and hold the phone in front of a contactless reader at the point of purchase.

Visa is working with banks and retailers worldwide to roll-out acceptance for Visa contactless cards, as well as mobile phones, as part of an industry wide roll-out of contactless technology. In London there are already more than 60,000 locations where contactless payments are accepted and contactless and electronic card payments will be available in the run-up to and during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. With the momentum to commercialise mobile payments globally, consumers will be able to make mobile contactless payments in the run up to and during the Games in many countries around the world.

Samsung and Visa will work together to provide the contactless enabled Olympics handset to Visa and Samsung sponsored athletes as part of this initiative. Samsung and Visa also plan to make the handset available for consumers to purchase through mobile network operators and other distributors. A Visa-enabled SIM card will be required for use with the device in order to make purchases at retailers who have the contactless payment system.

“Visa, like Samsung, shares the vision of leveraging our Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsorship to leave a lasting legacy in the market for banks, retailers, mobile operators and consumers. We are not only breaking new ground for Olympic partnerships, we are committed to enabling consumers to connect with mobile and contactless payments technology for 2012 and beyond,” said Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe. “We look forward to working with financial institutions and mobile operators alongside Samsung to make this initiative a success.”

“Innovation is a key business driver for Visa and mobile payments are one of the main areas we’re focusing on. The Olympic and Paralympic Games enables us to accelerate our business goals and this partnership plays a large role in achieving them,” said Mariano Dima, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Payment Solutions at Visa Europe.

Samsung and Visa are committed to enabling consumers to create meaningful connections with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and enjoy a better, smarter life through the leading mobile payment technology. Samsung has demonstrated its leadership in NFC-enabled phone technology, since it launched one of the first commercial NFC phones in France in 2010. It then unveiled the industry’s first Android phone equipped with NFC capabilities last year, followed by the NFC-enabled bada smartphone, introduced at the Mobile World Congress 2011.

“As a pioneer in mobile technology, Samsung is striving for long term change in the way we use mobile payments. In London next year, we regard the greatest show on earth as the perfect opportunity to showcase how this technology can make a positive difference to people’s lives – enabling them to feel closer to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This mobile payment device will be available in the UK initially, and we plan to expand the service to other countries in Europe and around the world where contactless payment facilities are available in the near future,” said Seokpil Kim, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe.

Gyehyun Kwon, Vice President & Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing, Samsung Electronics added, “This marks the very first partnership between two Worldwide Olympic Partners of the London 2012 Games. We are delighted to be joining forces with Visa to make the Olympic Games more accessible and convenient for everyone. This fits extremely well with our ambition to enable more people to participate in the Games through our smart technology.”

Visa and Samsung will work with mobile network operators, financial institutions and retailers around the world to bring the convenience, security and reliability of Visa’s contactless technology to mobile users worldwide. Currently, Visa mobile payments are being rolled out in countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the United States.



Consumers Are Skeptical of Durbin Benefits, According to Survey
Thursday March 17th 2011, 11:31 am
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Consumers have few expectations that they’ll benefit from pending debit card interchange price regulations, according to new survey findings from Javelin Strategy and Research. And, with consumers used to free checking and debit cards, banks will need to move carefully if they want to impose new fees to make up for revenues lost to regulation, Javelin asserts.

When asked about what merchants would do if the fees they pay to accept debit cards were lowered, some 66% of 4,998 consumers polled agreed that, “Merchants will do nothing—prices will remain the same,” according to Javelin’s new “Payments Regulation and Consumer Expectations: How To Best Manage the Changes Ahead.” Thirteen percent of respondents said “merchants will lower prices overall,” and 12% expected them to lower prices for debit card transactions. Another 9% said they expected merchants would lower fees for some transactions.

“I think it’s general skepticism, consumers do have a fair amount of skepticism resulting from things going on in the economy,” says Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin.

Further, it would take a hefty amount of merchant steering to get consumers to switch to prepaid cards, cash, or other payment forms from credit or debit cards. Forty-seven percent of respondents agreed that, “no discount below 10% would persuade me to switch.” Nine percent of respondents said they’d switch for a discount of 1% to 2.9%; 16% would switch to get discounts of 3% to 5%; 17% would switch for a break of 5.1% to 7.9%, and 12% could change payment forms for a discount of 8% to 9.9%.

“It’s not necessarily going to be worth it” for a merchant to take the effort to persuade customers to use something other than the payment form they present, according to Robertson. There’s a caveat, however. Big merchants might recover their costs on small discounts, simply because of their ability to spread them over large volumes. “That might be worth it,” she says.

Javelin did its actual polling last September, before the Federal Reserve Board released details of its debit card interchange regulation proposal in December. But the survey’s wording was constructed so that results would not be tied to the specifics in the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law and its Durbin Amendment that addresses debit card issues, according to Robertson. The online survey of a random sample of online Americans had a 1.39 percentage-point margin of error at the 95% confidence level, with larger margins of error for subsets.

Some banks have already announced higher checking-account fees or cut debit card rewards programs to make up for revenues they expect to lose under the Fed’s debit regulations that could cap interchange at 12 cents per transaction. Bank income was also hit by last summer’s Regulation E changes requiring banks to get customer approval for debit card overdrafts. But changing the consumer mindset accustomed to free services won’t be easy.

Some 60% of respondents said that any monthly debit fee would make them change to another form of payment. Fifteen percent said they’d change payment forms even if the monthly debit fee were as low as $2 or less per month. Another 15% would change payment forms when hit with fees of $2 to $5, and 6% said they would change if fees were $5 to $10. Only 3% wouldn’t change until monthly fees exceeded $10.

“In general, when you think about the banking environment, consumers have become used to free checking, they’ve been encouraged to use a debit card,” says Robertson. “Now, suddenly, there’s going to be a big shift.”

Rather than slap on fees willy-nilly, banks might keep customers happier if they devised services that consumers find valuable and for which fees might stick, according to Robertson. One type might be alerts, such as when an overdraft is about to occur. Fifty-five percent of respondents in Javelin’s study group that had an overdraft within the past year said overdraft alerts by e-mail or text message would be of value to them compared with 40% of all respondents. Thirty-one percent of overdrafting consumers and 40% of the whole group thought a notice of a large withdrawal or purchase also would be valuable. Regarding alerts for when a balance falls below a pre-set level, 28% of overdrafters and 22% of all respondents thought they would be valuable. “Here’s an opportunity of high value to your customers,” Robertson says.



Cardholders Worried About Fraud
Monday March 07th 2011, 4:26 pm
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Consumers worldwide worry about card fraud while many of them still carry PINs with them.

These are among the findings of a December survey of 4,200 respondents in 14 countries that was sponsored by payments processor ACI Worldwide, which said the findings highlighted both fraud fears and the need for fraud prevention education.

The survey found that 21% of the Italian respondents said they had carried their card PIN with them–a violation of a “cardinal rule” of card safety, the company said–a number that rose to 23% in India and 27% in China.

Meanwhile, only 10% of American respondents said they carried PIN numbers while nearly 20% said they still throw bank statements and receipts in the trash can, ACI said.

“When it comes to fraud, prevention is obviously better than a cure. Financial institutions need to continue to inform consumers about how they can protect themselves against fraud,” said Jasbir Anand, lead solutions consultant at ACI Worldwide.

The online survey was conducted by Research Now in December and included 300 respondents each from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Great Britain and the United States.

ACI Worldwide’s Americas headquarters is in Elkhorn, Neb., and the company said it provides more than 800 customers with payment processing, risk management, back-office automation and application infrastructure services.



Study Finds GPR Prepaid Cards Value in New Banking Environment
Tuesday March 01st 2011, 11:44 am
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Economic Study Finds Reloadable Prepaid Cards a Comparative Value in Environment of Rising Bank Fees

Consumers can manage finances with a prepaid card for as little as $76.35 per year while bank customers can pay more than $218 per year March 1, 2011

(Montvale, NJ) - According to an economic study released today, consumers who choose a reloadable prepaid card to manage their finances could pay far less in fees than if they use low-balance checking accounts or check cashing for similar financial services. The study found that consumers have many affordable options to manage their finances with reloadable prepaid cards and can pay fees as low as about $6 a month or $76.35 per year.

The comparative economic analysis was conducted by economist G. Michael Flores of Bretton Woods, Inc., an expert on payments and financial institutions. The study analyzed a range of payments options available to consumers, including basic checking accounts, reloadable prepaid cards, cash-based lifestyles and check cashing services, and each of their relative costs for a similar consumer activity pattern. The first comprehensive economic study that compared the cost of prepaid cards versus other financial tools was conducted in 2009.

“Just like our 2009 report, this year we found that prepaid cards offer a compelling value because they fill a growing void created by increasing fees for checking accounts driven by recent legislation,” said Flores. “Reloadable prepaid card fees are reasonable and consumers are turning to the products because the cards meet their basic financial needs with consumer protections and convenience of features at an attractive price point.”

“The second edition of the Bretton Woods economic analysis report provides additional hard data to support what consumers are saying: reloadable prepaid cards are a great value,” said Kirsten Trusko, President of the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA). “This report is an objective assessment of prepaid’s increasing value and I hope critics will read it to gain a better understanding for how reloadable prepaid cards help millions of consumers effectively manage their finances every day.” As it did in 2009, Bretton Woods compared the costs of the largest reloadable prepaid card programs versus alternative payments tools for similar transaction activity. The 2011 report adds analysis on the “sea change” that is occurring in consumer banking due to new regulations. Some key findings include:

• Check cashing and paying bills with money orders are the most expensive payments options available to consumers of the options compared

• Traditional checking account costs are rising with additional restrictions on account activity, this is affecting the underbanked demographic the most

• Reloadable prepaid card prices are falling while features of the cards have become more robust

To gain an accurate comparison of the costs to consumers using reloadable prepaid cards versus bank accounts for similar usage patterns, Flores looked at the pricing of basic FDIC insured checking accounts from the top four banks (by asset size) in the United States and the prices from the largest providers of network branded prepaid cards. The analysis utilized the consumer transaction pattern suggested in a recent study by consumer advocacy group Consumers Union. The comparison revealed:

For similar usage patterns:

• Reloadable prepaid card users’ costs range from $76.35 to $261.35 annually if they use direct deposit and $184.35 to $380.15 if they don’t take advantage of this feature

• Bank customers pay from $218.35 to $314 annually for a basic checking account

• Consumers that utilize check cashers and cash pay $139.68 to $719.64 annually

The full text of the report and a bio for Mr. Flores can be obtained by emailing

nbpca@nbpca.org

 



Visa adds more protection against credit card fraud
Tuesday January 18th 2011, 11:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As part of the ongoing effort to combat identity theft, Visa recently added to its credit card fraud prevention system.

Visa says it is now better positioned to spot credit card fraud, after drastically overhauling its detection software, adding a number of new elements and increasing how many factors it considers before flagging a potential account breach, according to a report from National Public Radio. The improvements were made in September, well before the holiday shopping season, but only revealed in early January.

The company says it spots a far greater percentage of fraud cases, particularly those originating in foreign countries, the report said. The system now considers the distance between purchases, the time of day, how quickly transactions are made and the type of stores processing the transactions. In the past, Visa could only consider two of these factors at any one time.

Credit card companies have increased their security measures recently in response to criminals becoming more skilled at scamming consumers and gaining access to their accounts.