Monday, November 17, 2008

FinTech 100 - Fiserve #1 in 2008 Rankings

Click Here to view the 2008 FinTech 100 Rankings

American Banker, SourceMedia`s flagship publication for banking and financial services professionals, and Financial Insights, an independent research services firm and an IDC Company, released the FinTech 100 2008 rankings on November 13. This represents the fifth year that we have formally recognized the leading 100 global technology and service providers to the financial services industry. The ranking is categorized and evaluated based on CY07 year-end revenues and the percentage of revenues attributed to financial services.

The special report contains detailed statistics on suppliers of hardware, software and services to the financial services industry, paired with expert analysis and commentary on the industry. There are several categories of companies again ranked in 2008:

FinTech 100 - includes vendors that derive more than one-third of their revenue from the financial services industry.

Is "Transaction Banking" Major New Emerging Trend?

'Transaction banking' to emerge as a major banking trend in 2009 according to study done by TowerGroup

A recent study into the current and emerging banking trends in the United States indicates that global transaction services (the so-called "transaction banking") are to constitute an important focus of future strategies.

Moreover, the research indicates that 2009 is to be marked by a few clearly defined trends – renewed attention to core competencies, increased attention to small business and corporate and institutional clients, and integrated banking solutions and delivery channels including online banking and electronic bill payment. The report also predicts that banks are to continue their investments in the technology sector, which allows them to improve their relationship management by unifying corporate online banking portals, improving analytics and enhancing automated online client integration and enrollment.

Finally, the study predicts that revenues from retail and investment banking are to continue to fall, causing banks to focus on wholesale and transaction banking revenues for compensation.

The study was carried out by research and advisory services provider company TowerGroup.

AmEx holding November 20th Live Chat

AmEx President hosts live chat November 20

New York, Nov. 17, 2008 -- On November 20, 2008, from 3:00 -- 4:00pm EST, Charles Petruccelli, President, American Express Global Travel Services, will host a special Live Chat Event through the newly created online community (BTX).

For the first time, members of the community will have the opportunity to submit questions directly to Mr. Petruccelli with answers provided in real-time through a text-chat format. Topics could range from the state of the industry to the future of business travel and more.

This Live Chat Event is the first in a series of chats providing access to senior business leaders and industry experts across the business travel industry. American Express Business Travel launched BTX on October 31, 2008 and to date, the online community has more than 1,000 members.

Members are encouraged to submit questions in advance through a link available in the announcement box on .

Please note that in order to participate, individuals must be members of the community. Unregistered individuals should visit the site at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the event to create a profile.

Live Chat (Media RSVP required):

Who: Charles Petruccelli, President, American Express Global Travel Services
What: Live Chat on the Global Business Travel Industry
When: Thursday - November 20, 2008 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Media RSVP: Sarah Hawkins Sloane & Company (212) 446-1890

Source: Company press release.

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Early Trend, e-Commerce Sales up 6% - Chase Paymentech

Chase Paymentech Lauches the 2008 Pulse Index for the Holiday Season

The Pulse Index is an annual tracking of online shopping activity during the holiday season. From November through January, Chase Paymentech monitors the daily activity of 25 of the largest 150 Internet retailers. The data includes the total number of payment transactions and total dollar value processed. The data is taken from transactions crossing Chase Paymentech's global processing platform.

Pulse Index Shows Modest Gains in Transaction Growth

The early trend for this year's Pulse Index is showing that expectations for a slow year are only partially correct. Actual spending through e-commerce is up 6 percent over this period last year, compared to last year's gain of 30 percent over 2006. On the transaction side, the quantity of transactions increased 23 percent versus last year's 30 percent gain. Taken together, these trends are translating to a 13 percent lower average ticket. In other words, activity is not slowing down, but the amount being spent on every purchase is less.

“This will be a very interesting year to watch the Pulse
Index,” said Mike Duffy, President of Chase Paymentech. “The
conventional wisdom holds that holiday spending will be depressed for
many reasons. The economy is weak, discretionary spending is down and
the shopping season is a week shorter this year as Thanksgiving is
late.  However, recent analyst reports indicate that e-commerce may
actually be trending ahead of last year. The Pulse Index will give some
insight into whether the conventional wisdom is accurate or not.”

"Either people are already bargain-hunting or they are shopping in a more modest manner," said Aaron Press, Chase Paymentech's Director of Market Analysis. "Both possibilities point towards more conservative consumer behavior," he added. "It's too soon to say which of these is the more significant factor."

The Pulse Index will continue to monitor the trends and see if they extend through the holiday season.
  Chase Paymentech provides payment processing services to more
than half of Internet Retailer’s list of the 500 largest e-commerce
companies. The Pulse Index tracks 25 of the top 150 e-commerce
merchants, representing a large and diverse field of e-retailers for
this holiday shopping season.

Data and charts are updated daily, with weekly commentary to explain any trends, offer historical insight and provide context. Guest commentary will be provided by Sucharita Mulpuru from Forrrester and Aaron Press, Direct of Market Analysis for Chase Paymentech.

Visit the Pulse Index every business day at 2:00 P.M. EST to see the daily numbers, or subscribe to their weekly commentary via RSS.   To do either, vist:

PCI's QSA's/ASV's Must Participate in Quality Assurance Program

PCI SSC launches quality assurance programs for QSAs and ASVs

Wakefield, Mass., Nov. 17, 2008 -- The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), a global, open industry standards body providing management of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), PIN Entry Device (PED) Security Requirements and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS), announces that it has launched a quality assurance program for Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) and Approved Scanning Vendors (ASVs).

The new program was designed to provide QSAs and ASVs with a set of requirements that helps ensure they provide consistent, quality validation and assessment services to merchants and service providers.

The PCI SSC developed the quality assurance program as a direct result of feedback from the Council’s participating organizations and assessment community and is intended to promote consistent interpretation of the PCI standards and ensure quality is maintained among all vendors.

Participation in the program will be required for the Council’s registered QSAs and ASVs, in order for them to retain the ability to conduct PCI assessments.

“Feedback from the Council’s participating organizations and others made it clear that the assessment process for the PCI standards would benefit greatly from more rigorous guidelines,” said Bob Russo, general manager, PCI Security Standards Council. “As a result, we created a clear-cut program that will help ensure all those involved in this process are consistent, credible, competent and ethical.”

The new quality assurance program is based on eight guiding principles. Through the program, the Council and assessor community commit to:

Uphold the best interest of the assessor client

Adhere to validation requirements among the assessor company
Adhere to validation requirements among the assessor employee
Maintain consistent assessor procedures and reporting
Interpret the PCI standards appropriately as applicable to the client’s systems & environment
Remain current with industry trends and PCI SSC updates in the assessor community
Report all opinions as factual, documented and defendable, and
Maintain a positive relationship between the assessor and PCI SSC.

An expanded range of communications channels will allow the PCI SSC to interact with assessors, merchants and service providers on an ongoing basis through certification reviews, credit checks, training, educational webinars, newsletters, a dedicated e-mail service, question and answer documents, informational supplements and feedback forms. A team of dedicated staff will validate assessor application and renewals, ensure that training is relevant and accessible to organizations and maintain the integrity of the testing process. This team also will be responsible for assessor performance monitoring and overseeing any necessary disciplinary action, which could include probation or revocation.

The program will continue to be rolled out in a four-stage process throughout 2009.

For More Information:

More information on the PCI Security Standards Council and becoming a participating organization please visit , or contact the PCI Security Standards Council at

About the PCI Security Standards Council: The mission of the PCI Security Standards Council is to enhance payment account security by driving education and awareness of the PCI Data Security Standard and other standards that increase payment data security. The PCI Security Standards Council was formed by the major payment card brands American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. to provide a transparent forum in which all stakeholders can provide input into the ongoing development, enhancement and dissemination of the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS), PIN Entry Device (PED) Security Requirements and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS). Merchants, banks, processors and other vendors are encouraged to join as participating organizations.

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32% of eCommerce Users Unable to Complete Primary Task

New iPerceptions Data Shows eCommerce Sites Fall Short For Consumers

3 out of 10 website visitors report that they are unable to accomplish the task they are at the site to do -- whether it is buy a product, access customer support, research pricing or read a blog

NEW YORK, Nov 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- iPerceptions Inc., a leading provider of web-focused Voice of Customer analytics, today released new data that indicates that eCommerce and retail companies are risking millions in sales by underserving site visitors in the run up to a challenging holiday season. iPerceptions' 4Q website survey data collected from over 50,000 site visitors shows that consumers are often unable to accomplish what they came to the site to do -- and 1 out of every 2 visitors with a clear intent to buy is walking away without purchasing.

According to the data, the aggregate task completion rate for eCommerce sites in October 2008 was 68%, meaning that 3 out of 10 consumers were not able to complete their primary task during the course of their site visit. Task completion rates were lowest for consumers who stated that the primary purpose of their visit was to purchase products or access customer support, hovering at 52% and 51% respectively.

The iPerceptions study also provides new insight into the multitude of reasons that people visit eCommerce sites. While 16% of all visitors stated that the purpose of their visit was to buy, the majority were there to browse; compare and research products (47%); access customer service or customer support (10%); and check out prices and promotions (11%). Additional reasons to come to a site included finding a store location (4%), as well as a long tail of other reasons (10%) such as reading a blog, asking an expert a question or watching a video. Task completion rates were highest for people looking for a store location (80%), researching a product (76%) and seeking pricing and promotions (78%).

The good news for retailers is that site visitors who are able to complete their primary purpose of visit are twice as likely to make a repeat visit, while 67% of visitors who complete their primary purpose report enhanced brand opinion (vs. only 18% for those who do not). Additionally, 60% report a higher future likelihood to purchase either online or offline (vs. only 14% for those who do not).

"In the face of tightening budgets, retailers can't afford to be swayed by conventional wisdom or the HIPPO -- the Highest Paid Person's Opinion," said Jonathan Levitt, vice president of marketing at iPerceptions. "eCommerce practitioners have spent the last 15 years focusing on the shopping cart and the conversion funnel, but they are still losing half of the people who come to their site intending to make a purchase. Now is the time to tune into the voices of real customers to get a reality check on what people want from their website experience."

About iPerceptions

iPerceptions is one of North America's leading web-focused Voice of Customer analytics providers. Its webValidator Continuous Listening solution and Proprietary iPerceptions Satisfaction Index (iPSI) turn thousands of data points into easy-to-understand strategic and tactical decision support for website marketers. iPerceptions' clients include such well known brands as InterContinental Hotels, General Motors, Dell Computers, Hyundai, LG Electronics, Choice Hotels International, BMW and Monster Worldwide. iPerceptions has offices in New York, Toronto, Montreal and London.

SOURCE: iPerceptions

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Information Card Rolled out by Equifax/Parity

Equifax teams up with Parity to roll out I-Card for online transactions

Equifax has partnered with identity management services provider Parity to introduce the Equifax online identity card (I-Card).

The initiative enables visitors on e-commerce websites which accept the I-card to conduct online transactions without revealing financial information online or having to use multiple passwords, confirming only proof of age online. Users who are interested in getting the Equifax I-Card can apply for it on the company's website and they will also gain access to Parity's Azigo I-card management software which allows for one-click sign-in and identity verification. When creating the I-Card, Equifax made use of its authentication service eIDverifier, multiple data sources for identity verification as well as open source technology that is approved by The Information Card Foundation, a group of consumer and technology companies. The group focuses on building products designed to help customers get control of their personal information.

The Equifax I-Card is more of a demo aimed at online businesses, but such technology could enable the creation of cards that contain personal data such as customers' profile, purchase preferences, online payment, or verified identity information

For more information, on the Information Card Foundation, click here:

(will open in a new window)

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Debit Talks, Credit Walks Part II

Debit Talks, Credit Walks...II  (Part I here)

In an article titled "Less Power to Purchase", Nancy Trejos writes for the Washington Post about credit card issuers lowering credit limits and raising their rates and fees to all their customers, not just high risk ones. 

In another article in NYT, Citi, backed off their promise not to raise interest rates...

"Citi to Raise Credit Card Interest Rates 3%

In an article entitled "Despite Pledge, Citigroup to Raise Credit Card Rates, Blaming ‘Difficult’ Environment", Eric Dash writes for the New York Times that Citi is "reneging on a promise it made to tens of millions of credit card customers in good times" by raising interest rates - by 2 to 3 percent...

Companies Slash Customers' Credit Lines -

Consumers' Credit Card Limits Slashed as Companies Try to Reduce Risk

Cecil Bello has stumbled into a new corner of the credit squeeze. The 32-year-old management consultant has had the limits reduced on three of her credit cards.

In September, U.S. Bank notified the Fairfax County resident that she no longer had a $14,500 limit on a card that had a balance of about $5,000. Her new limit left her just $500 from being maxed out, she said.  Then came an Oct. 26 letter from American Express that said she now had a limit of $14,000, down from $22,000. That letter said her "total debt is too high relative to your payment history with us and other creditors."  Early this month, she received an e-mail from American Express notifying her that another card with a $5,000 limit had been reduced to $3,000 and that her new cash advance limit was down to $200.

Bello said she had made more than the minimum payments on time each month.  "I am taking responsibility for paying off my debt," she said. "But when credit card companies trap people this way, it's almost impossible to dig yourself out of the hole."

Credit card companies are increasingly putting the clamps on their customers. Lenders are taking a wide range of steps to mitigate their risk as unemployment rates tick up and the number of delinquent borrowers grows. Besides cutting credit limits, card companies are raising rates and fees, and suspending offers such as zero percent balance transfers. They are also making rewards programs less rewarding and shutting down inactive accounts, industry analysts and watchdogs said.

continue reading at the Washington Post

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Encryption Key2Key

Editor's Note:  This is rather amusing.  BMW releases information about their work on a RFID Chip enabled car key in the UK which doesn't use chip and PIN.  The good news is that the key can be "canceled" if someone loses them.  The bad news is that cars sales are in the tank, and even if BMW could retrofit all their customers with this "key" I don't think they own enough of the market to entice the gas station owners to install the "small electronic reader than can decipher the details and debit the cash accordingly"   Therefore, I don't expect this to be something that even approaches take off, let alone get's off the ground.  This pig certainly won't fly...but as I said, it is rather amusing :) 

The car key that will pay your petrol bill | Mail Online

By Daniel Cochlin

Last updated at 12:46 AM on 16th November 2008
Drivers have got used to cars doing ever more for them – and now BMW is working on a vehicle that will even buy its own petrol.

After filling up, motorists will simply wave their ignition key in front of the pump to settle their bill, eliminating the need to queue up tediously in the forecourt shop.

The same technology will also work for parking meters, meaning drivers will no longer face the anguish of rooting around for the right coins and usually coming up a few pence short.

BMW is working on a car key that will enable motorists to settle a petrol bill by waving it in front of the pump. The system works because the key contains a tiny chip holding details of the driver’s bank account.

Fuel pumps and ticket machines need to be fitted with a small electronic reader that can decipher the details and debit the cash accordingly. 

The system, which may also be fitted at toll booths and even train and Underground stations for drivers leaving their cars behind, does not use a PIN code – raising fears that the keys would be targeted by thieves.

But BMW said the keys could be quickly cancelled if lost or stolen and the company hopes the system will be so successful that its drivers will use the key as their personal credit card.

Dutch firm NXP Semiconductors, which has developed the key along with BMW, revealed a prototype – with two small antennas on the top – at a trade show in Paris this month.  A spokesman said the scheme could also be used by park-and-ride drivers who wanted to jump on a bus. He said: ‘This key works in a very similar way to the Oyster card used on public transport in London.  ‘If the petrol station is fitted with a reader, you could pay the bill just using the key and without the need to go inside.  ‘There is no chip and PIN involved so it is quicker than a credit card. The key looks like the one now used in a BMW 7 Series.’

He explained: ‘All you need to do is hold it about 4in from the reader and it will automatically take the money from your account.  ‘We hope it could also be used by people who want to leave their cars and jump on a train, and they could just hold their keys up to a reader in the train station.  ‘This is all about making life easier for BMW drivers, and allowing them to get in their cars without worrying where their wallet is or if they have enough cash.’

Professor Raymond Freymann, managing director of BMW Group Research and Technology, said: ‘We are doing research in enhancing the capabilities of the car key into one smart device for access, payment and service that will simplify the lives of BMW car drivers in the future.’ 

The key has been given the green light by the German Federal Office of Information Security, meaning it is satisfied it meets the country’s highest standards for keeping bank details safe.

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