Thursday, December 3, 2009

Man in the Browser Attacks 101

Here's an Intro to "Man in the Browser Attacks" from RSA.  

To see the complete whitepaper, click the following link:

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Obopay Named Tech Pioneer for 2010

Image representing obopay as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Redwood City, Calif., Dec. 3, 2009 -- Obopay, a leading mobile banking and payment provider, today announced it has been chosen by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer 2010 for its innovation, transformational technology, leadership and substantial long-term impact on businesses and society. Obopay is one of 26 companies from around the world to be honored with this prestigious award. In addition, Obopay is one of only 11 companies in the Information Technologies, Telecommunications and New Media category and is the only financial services provider receiving the award. The award will be presented to Obopay at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January. This award underscores the company's vision and corporate commitment to empowering all people with access to affordable banking.

Obopay's service allows everyone with a mobile phone to have access to banking - even people who have been underserved by traditional banking. Half of the world population is un-banked and without access to savings, credit or electronic payments. Obopay's mobile technology is the platform that is making a breakthrough by delivering unprecedented and innovative access to basic financial services to billions globally.

With services in both emerging and developed markets, Obopay is committed to delivering mobile banking and payments to all people in the way that best meets their needs regardless of geography through all operators, carriers, financial institutions, mobile handsets and merchants. With its low cost business model, Obopay enables affordable financial services through mobile communications and through its global partners including Nokia and MasterCard, Obopay is able to extend its reach to the people and businesses that need it the most.

"Being recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer is an incredible honor and a testament to the pioneering spirit that drives this company, as well as our relentless focus to bring universal access to financial services through mobile phones," commented Carol Realini, chief executive officer and founder of Obopay. "Mobile Money creates a breakthrough in banking and we at Obopay are proud to be at the forefront of this revolution by fundamentally transforming the global banking industry, empowering people's lives and changing the way businesses transact."

To view Carol Realini's video interview by WEF, visit:

About Obopay

Founded in 2005, Obopay, Inc ( ) delivers an open, trusted, secure and interoperable mobile payments service by transforming any mobile phone into a convenient and easy way to send and receive money - anywhere, anytime with anyone. Obopay's broad based offering addresses the needs of consumers and businesses around the world by providing a ubiquitous service that delivers value, empowers lives and improves opportunity for merchants both in the physical and virtual worlds. Obopay's innovative mobile money services make it easy for all mobile phone users to securely send and receive money, top-up their mobile, buy online, buy via mobile, pay bills and pay small businesses. Obopay believes the power is in the network and has established global partnerships that include Nokia, MasterCard, Citi, AT&T, Verizon, Essar, Yes Bank in India, Blackberry and Societe Generale. Global headquarters are in Redwood City, CA with operations in India.

Source: Company press release.

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Experts Testify Regulated Internet Gambling Can Protect Consumers and Generate Billions in New Revenue

Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2009 -- Experts in the fields of online security and consumer safety testified today before the House Committee on Financial Services to address legislation introduced by Chairman Barney (who won't say Uncle) Frank (D-MA) that would regulate Internet gambling in the United States. Witness testimonies provided further evidence to Committee members that a regulatory framework for Internet gambling would protect consumers and ensure the integrity of Internet gambling financial transactions. Chairman Frank has previously indicated interest in having the House Financial Services Committee vote on his legislation, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267) as the next step in getting the bill enacted into law during this Congress.

The hearing highlighted the success of existing systems and technologies in blocking minors from gambling online, combating compulsive gambling and protecting consumers against money laundering, fraud and identity theft.

Protecting Consumers Online

Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, the largest Internet safety and help group in the world, concluded in her testimony that regulation provides the best opportunity to protect consumers.

“The status quo offers no meaningful assurances that consumers will be protected,” stated Aftab. “[T]here are a number of technologies routinely used in other industries that were easily adaptable to online gambling sites. They are real, proven and in use today. They are also improving by the minute.”

A comprehensive study conducted by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and presented by Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow further reinforced the consumer benefits of regulation.

In the Harvard study, “Can Internet Gambling Be Effectively Regulated? Managing the Risks,” which was released at today’s hearing, Professor Sparrow states, “The establishment of a well-regulated industry under U.S. jurisdiction would offer far better protection against online gambling’s potential social harms than outright prohibition. Combining a thoughtful regulatory scheme with education, technology tools, and support appears to be the most effective means of handling the realities and risks of online gambling in the United States…In the end, consumers in the United States would be better protected than they are now.”

Implementing Existing Technology

Michael Brodsky, executive chairman of, a provider of pari-mutuel horse racing content for consumers through Internet and telephone platforms, testified that existing technology can be utilized to successfully regulate Internet gambling.

“Today at Youbet we use technology that would ensure effective regulation of Internet gambling. The already-existing, totally legal, online pari-mutuel horserace wagering industry is a U.S.-based model of how to provide a responsible online wagering experience for adults – one that is clean, regulated and scrupulous about both collecting and paying taxes,” stated Brodsky.

While existing federal laws generally prohibit online wagering, Congress has allowed domestic companies like to accept online wagers for horse racing, despite a Justice Department position that such wagers remain illegal.

Combating Compulsive Gambling

In his testimony, Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, the U.S. advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families, discussed how online technology and controls can be utilized to better help combat compulsive gambling than can be done in the existing land-based industry.

“The graphical and interactive structure of the internet provides an opportunity to create informed consumers with access to a variety of information designed to encourage safe choices and discourage unsafe behavior,” stated Whyte. “The amount of online information and possible interventions are essentially unlimited.”

Legislative Movement on Internet Gambling

The hearing follows the recent announcement by the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury to extend the date for compliance with the final Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations by six months to June 1, 2010. The delay, Chairman Frank previously stated “…will give us a chance to act in an unhurried manner on my legislation to undo this regulatory excess by the Bush administration and to undo this ill-advised law.” Chairman Frank’s statement implies he will seek to have his regulatory bill enacted prior to June 1, 2010.

“Today’s hearing and the testimony presented showcased the opportunity to effectively regulate Internet gambling, further laying the groundwork for a vote on Chairman Frank’s regulatory bill,” said Michael Waxman, a spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “For too long, Congress has allowed Internet gambling to thrive an underground marketplace, since UIGEA and attempts to prohibit the activity have failed. We hope Congress doesn’t allow much more time to pass before acting to protect consumers and collect billions in much-needed new revenue through adoption of Chairman Frank’s bill.”

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267), introduced by Chairman Frank in May 2009, cosponsored by 63 members of Congress, would establish a framework to permit licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S. In addition to consumer protections, the legislation reinforces the rights of each state and tribe to determine whether to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state or territory and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projects up to $42 billion over 10 years would be generated for the U.S. Treasury in a regulated environment with the passage of Chairman Frank’s bill along with a companion bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (H.R. 2268). The primary source of this revenue would come from ensuring that applicable individual and corporate taxes and license fees on regulated Internet gambling activities are collected.

For additional information on the hearing and complete witness testimonies, please visit the House Committee on Financial Services Web site.

About the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit . The Web site provides a means by which individuals can register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.

Source: Company press release.

Universal Online Banking Platform in China?

The People's Bank of China (PBoC) intends to set up an Internet platform for online banks between now and June 2010, Caijing reported December 3 quoting PBoC Payment Division Secretary Ouyang Weimin. Clients of any domestic online banking system will be able to login to the platform, the report said.

In a 2009 survey of 35 Chinese cities, 20.9% of residents use online banking, up 2% from the previous year, according to the China Financial Certification

Authority (CFCA). Enterprise banking accounted for 70.3% of total online banking users, the report said.

China's online banking transactions were RMB 300 trillion in 2008 and are expected to come in between RMB 440 trillion and RMB 450 trillion in 2009, according to CFCA data.

Source: JLM Pacific Epoch

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Study Shows Significant Customer Base Growth for Banks Offering Mobile Financial Services

Mercatus Study reveals banks can improve customer acquisition by up to sixty percent

BOSTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Banks offering mobile financial services can increase new customer acquisition by as much as sixty percent, according to a recent survey by Mercatus LLC, a financial services strategy consulting and investment firm. The six-month consumer research study survey, sponsored by Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), examined the impact of mobile financial services[1], including mobile banking and payments, on consumer decision-making, specifically when it came to selecting retail banking services.

Consistent with past innovations in financial services delivery, such as online banking and ATMs, mobile financial services are approaching a tipping point. Mercatus' analysis assessed consumer behavior across three decades of distribution channel innovation, revealing how the current pace of mobile adoption exceeds past innovations including ATMs, debit cards and online banking.

The survey finds that nearly one-third of consumers are using, or considering using, mobile financial services in the next year. Additionally, responses indicate that consumer mobile financial service adoption will grow significantly during the next five years, exceeding the use of online banking by 2015.

"Owing to its rapid pace of adoption, mobile is a market that offers a clear first-mover advantage. Banks that act soon, and aggressively deploy mobile financial services, will capture a clear market opportunity to aggressively deploy mobile financial services," said Bob Hedges, Mercatus managing partner. "Banks that delay will risk losing their best customers to the competition."

Mobile Offering Equals Customer Acquisition

In addition to increased customer acquisition rates, the study shows:
  • Mobile financial service capabilities were more impactful in a consumer's decision to select a bank than availability of online banking, access to ATMs, or nearby branches

  • Banks offering mobile financial services should anticipate as much as a sixty percent increase in sales lift

  • Customer acquisition promotional offers including mobile financial services out-performed those that did not include mobile financial services by nearly thirty percent

  • A decrease in cost of acquiring a new customer by as much as twenty percent based on the increased effectiveness of mobile-related customer acquisition marketing

The increased customer acquisition lift was documented in the research study's discrete choice analysis.

Mobile Users Are an Attractive Customer Segment

Survey results also indicate that mobile financial services represent an attractive customer segment for banks to acquire and retain. Users of mobile financial services:
  • Are younger (between age 18 and 39) and have higher incomes

  • Hold higher balances at their primary bank, use more banking and card products, and display lower rates of attrition as compared to traditional customers

  • Can be serviced at a twenty percent lower cost than traditional bank customers[2]

  • Display lower rates of attrition as compared to traditional customers[3]

"Financial Institutions offering mobile services can have a strategic advantage when it comes to attracting new customers," said Tim Attinger, Head of Product Innovation at Visa Inc. "Visa is working closely with its financial institution clients to help deliver innovative and secure mobile services to Visa account holders, including mobile transaction alerts, offers, money transfers and payments that can help them to deliver innovative and secure mobile services to their cardholders."

More than 1,400 U.S. consumers over the age of 18 with mobile devices and bank accounts participated in the study.

About the Research Study:

The study of more than 1,400 U.S. consumers over the age of 18 with mobile phones and checking accounts was completed by Mercatus in June 2009. The study was commissioned by Visa Inc. to understand the impact of mobile financial services on consumer financial services behavior. The survey was fielded to an online panel and consisted of both a traditional question/answer format and a discrete choice process. In the discrete choice analysis, consumers evaluated alternative customer promotional offers, both with and without mobile. This research approach allowed for the determination of the relative strength of offers and the mobile components of those offers, and the subsequent analysis of acquisition rates.

About Mercatus LLC

Mercatus LLC is a strategic consulting and investing firm focused on the retail financial services. Mercatus works with industry executives and private equity investors to make investment and business growth decisions. Mercatus is dedicated to delivering the insights, innovative thinking, and information required to equip clients for success in today's fast-changing marketplace.

[1] Mobile Financial Services are defined to include both mobile payment and mobile banking activities. For purposes of the study, these activities include: access to account balances, access to statements, bill payment, balance transfers, transaction alerts, mobile offers, remote payments, proximity payments, and money transfers.

[2] Based on the consumer survey reported patterns of both consumer delivery channel utilization and the frequency of consumer service interaction by mobile financial services users compared to traditional customers estimates.

[3] Based on an analysis of consumers reported willingness to switch banks for competitive offers and stated levels of satisfaction with their current bank.


33% of UK Conosumers Have Not Heard of Pre-Paid Cards

VRL & TNS Survey: A Third of UK Consumers Have Not Heard of Pre-Paid Cards

Study reveals worryingly low awareness of the latest solution to consumer debt

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--33% of UK consumers don’t know what a pre-paid card is, despite efforts to promote them as a solution to both debt and card fraud. New research released by TNS and VRL today also reveals that more than a fifth (23%) of people who are aware of them do not actually understand how they work.

Although there are more than 25 types of pre-paid cards on the market in Britain, only 12% of people have actually purchased one for their own or family use, and half of these people purchased it more than six months ago. Those who are using them mainly acquired the card to make online purchases (45%). In line with industry attempts to provide a safer alternative to debit and credit cards, others use the cards to budget more easily (24%), spend money abroad (20%) and to manage the money they give to their children (8%).

“It’s surprising that although the two biggest issues in the financial industry are debt and fraud, pre-paid cards are not being promoted as a simple solution to help combat both issues,” said Waheed Aslam, Vice President Global Financial Services at TNS. “Because pre-paid cards have no direct link to your bank account and do not rely on credit (only the money you have topped up with) the pre-paid card is an excellent way of paying for goods more safely and without fear of overspending, especially online. A lack of awareness in the UK could also be due to the popularity of debit cards, and to the ‘credit’ culture we have got ourselves into, where we use credit to buy what we want, then pay back only what we can afford – prepaid cards have the power to reverse this situation.”

With so many firms looking to enter the personal finance market including mobile phone and retail firms, who arguably have a larger installed base of customers, it will be interesting to see the role that pre pay finance could play and how innovative their strategies really are.”

Although many of the pre-paid cards either have an initial fee or a monthly fee, most UK consumers are also unaware of these costs. Of those surveyed who hadn’t purchased a pre-paid card, just under half (46%) did not know what the standard charges were and a quarter (26%) assumed there were no monthly fees attached. More surprisingly, of those who had purchased a pre-paid card, nearly a fifth of people didn’t know what their monthly fees are costing them and 40% weren’t aware of paying any monthly fees.

The study, which is the largest ever undertaken on UK consumer awareness and usage of pre-paid cards, was presented at VRL’s European Prepaid Cards Summit, held in Rome from 12-13 November 2009. “Prepaid cards have become one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive payments markets”, said Hugh Fasken, Editorial Director at VRL. “While regulatory and cultural forces mean individual countries are at different stages of penetration, interest in prepaid across the world is booming.”

Now in its fifth year, Prepaid Cards Summit Europe provides analysis and intelligence on the European prepaid market. This year’s conference also featured speakers and case studies from across Europe, including Mattia Adani, Senior Adviser – Counsel of Experts, from the Italian Department of the Treasury. No more than 33 percent of registered delegates came from one country and globally 28 countries were represented.

For more information about VRL’s Prepaid Cards Summit conferences in Europe, India and the Middle East, please visit

TNS and VRL PrePaid Card Usage and Awareness Study:  The online study surveyed 3000 people nationally representative by age, gender and geographic area. The fieldwork was carried out in July to September 2009.

About TNS

TNS, who recently merged with Research International, is the world’s largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 75 countries, TNS is part of Kantar, the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit for more information.

The Kantar Group

The Kantar Group is one of the world's largest research, insight and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20 specialist companies – including the recently-acquired TNS – the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. The Kantar Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP Group plc. For further information, please visit

First Data Extends Merchant Services Agreement with Sovereign

Multiyear Agreement Continues Successful Partnership

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today announced the company has agreed with Sovereign Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A., to extend their existing merchant services agreement. Sovereign and First Data began their cooperation to offer merchant services programs in 2001. Sovereign is one of the top 20 merchant acquirers in the United States with more than 60,000 merchants.

First Data will continue to provide merchant processing services to Sovereign’s business and commercial customers throughout the northeastern United States, allowing Sovereign to offer a full suite of electronic payment products and services including credit, debit, check and gift card programs.

“Sovereign is a premier financial institution with a strong commitment to delivering market-leading products and services to its clients and we look forward to continuing our partnership over the next decade,” said Ed Labry, president of First Data Retail and Alliance Services. “Together with Sovereign, First Data will continue to offer the bank’s merchant customers an innovative portfolio of electronic payment solutions needed to compete in today’s marketplace.”

About Sovereign

Sovereign Bank, a subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A., is a financial institution with principal markets in the northeastern United States. Sovereign has more than 750 branches, over 2,300 ATMs and approximately 9,700 team members. Sovereign offers a broad array of financial services and products including retail banking, business and corporate banking, cash management and capital markets. Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N) is a retail and commercial bank based in Spain. At the end of 2008, Santander was the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and third in the world by profit. Santander has 90 million customers, 14,000 branches – more than any other international bank – and over 170,000 employees. For more information on Sovereign Bank, call 877-SOV-BANK. For additional information on Santander, visit

About First Data

First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of electronic payment. Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries. For more information, visit

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EA SPORTS Launches First-Ever Prepaid Debit Card with Rewards for Loyal Customers

Current EA Sports logo.Image via Wikipedia

Points for Everyday Spending Used Toward EA SPORTS Game Titles

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) has made it easier for loyal gamers to buy their favorite EA SPORTS™ titles with the launch of the first-ever EA SPORTS branded prepaid debit card. The reloadable prepaid debit card enables users to receive a percent back from every purchase at thousands of brick-and-mortar and online retailers to redeem points (“EA SPORTS Rewards Points”) that can be used to purchase select EA SPORTS game titles.

“The EA SPORTS DebitSmart Visa® Prepaid Card is a great opportunity for us to offer our community of loyal customers a new way to purchase and save on their favorite EA SPORTS game titles,” said Todd Sitrin, Group Vice President Global Marketing at EA SPORTS. “Consumers use the card while making their everyday purchases and are rewarded with EA SPORTS video games. This program is a perfect marriage of encouraging responsible spending while providing a unique reward program.”

The Visa-branded EA SPORTS prepaid card is reloadable and funds can be allocated from a payroll direct deposit, checking account, another prepaid card or at thousands of GreenDot and Western Union retail locations nationwide including Wal-Mart, CVS/Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, 7-Eleven, and Radio Shack. The EA SPORTS DebitSmart™ Visa® Prepaid Card can be used to make purchases at more than 20 million locations where Visa prepaid cards are accepted and have access to millions of ATM’s worldwide.

EA SPORTS prepaid cardholders can earn “EA SPORTS Reward Points” at over 26,000 community brick-and-mortar retailers including Macy’s, Barnes and Noble, Sunglass Hut, Office Max, Papa John’s and Coldstone, more than 700 online retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Netflix, Apple iTunes, Gap, and Toys ‘R’ Us and at select grocery and convenience stores. Cardholders can then redeem their “Game Cash” at the EA SPORTS store by visiting

Enrollment can be done online or over the phone by calling877-732-7114 for the EA SPORTS DebitSmart™ Visa® Prepaid Card.

The EA SPORTS DebitSmart Visa® Prepaid Card was created in partnership with Coconut Creek, Florida-based StorValue Card Solutions, LLC, the industry leader of co-brand and rewards based general purpose reloadable prepaid card products and is issued by MetaBank™.

For EA SPORTS prepaid card assets, go to

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, wireless devices and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EATM, EA SPORTSTM, EA MobileTM and POGOTM. In fiscal 2009, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $4.2 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at

EA, EA SPORTS, EA Mobile and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

About StorValue™

StorValue Card Solutions, LLC develops and executes co-brand, rewards and loyalty based programs and creates industry and demographic specific prepaid card solutions. For more information, please visit or call 877-481-9333 ext 101.

The EA SPORTS DebitSmart™ Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by MetaBankTM pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Funds are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

About MetaBank™

MetaBank is a federally-chartered savings bank regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision. Meta Financial Group, Inc.® is the holding company for MetaBank, Meta Payment Systems®, and Meta Trust Company®. For more information visit

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