This month’s Cards
International looks very much to the future. In the US, the
Fed’s new interchange rules are fundamentally changing the
relationship between retail banks and their customers.
Debit products are about to get a
lot more expensive for the consumer, and issuing banks are going to
have to get creative in their search for ways to make up for the
loss in interchange revenue as the fees get ever closer to the
Fed’s vision of becoming ‘reasonable and proportional.
See All change in the US.
In Europe, it is the prepaid sector
that is going through major change as it gears up for the
implementation of the EU’s second Electronic Money Directive. The
directive eases many of the restrictions enforced by its
predecessor and should encourage the establishment of new
programmes. It will also aim to open up greater possibilities for
existing paper loyalty schemes to transfer to cards.
All EU states are required to
implement the regulations by 30 April. But Robert Courtneidge
points in 2EMD: Seconds count that this is not
as far off as you might think. The Payments Services Directive
requires issuers to give 60 days’ notice to changes in their terms
and conditions, which leaves a little under a month to re-write
them and communicate the changes.
The spotlight is now shining
brightly and squarely on low-value payments. A new report
highlights the potential for developing a micropayments solution
that meets the needs of online consumers and enables retailers –
and more interestingly the media and digital content providers – to
process small payments quickly and cost-effectively.
Louise Naughton takes a detailed
look at the report in Is there a silver
bullet? and gets an insider view from its authors –
consultants Value Partners – on the opportunities that exist in
this emerging field of payments.
Contactless is another area of
opportunity. The trouble is no-one seems to have been able to
capitalise on the technology. Many markets around the world – the
UK being a great example – have had the technology in place for
quite some time but consumers are not utilising it. Meanwhile,
people in other markets – such as Turkey – have embraced it
wholeheartedly. Jane Cooper looks at why this is in The chicken and
From untapped potential to
untappable markets… We take a look at the problems foreign card
processors are having penetrating the Chinese payments market.
Only a few months ago, a complaint
was filed to the World Trade Organisation revealing China has
failed to open its payments processing industry to foreign players.
Since then, China UnionPay has gone into cooperative agreements
with MasterCard and Amex but it still remains the only company
currently processing payments in China. See
The ATM is the place that brings
the two great enemies – cards and cash – together. As we move
towards a ‘cashless’ society, will their roles change? Will banks
continue to add new functions in a bid to keep their branch queues
down? Or will they keep things simple and accept that the
‘cashless’ society is in reality so far off, they should focus on
doing that and doing it efficiently and securely.
We talk to industry figures in
More than a hole in the wall?.
When it comes to efficiency and
security, biometrics has a big role to play. A number of banks and
networks are looking very seriously at potential uses of the voice
recognition technology as a means of verifying transactions. So we
consider the benefits and the implementation of it in financial
services in The future voice of
Is the carnival
This month’s country survey
Brazilian market faces
shake-up looks at Brazil, where new regulations are
proving problematic for issuers and acquirers in the market. But
the over-riding aims of the regulations are to increase transaction
volumes and encourage merchants to support payments. So as one
party ends, perhaps the next one is about to begin. After all it is
the carnival capital of the world!