VeriFone moves into Chinese
Global payment terminal manufacturer
VeriFone has announced it is co-lead investor in a reverse-merger
financing for Trunkbow, a China-based mobile payments and
value-added service applications company.
VeriFone has also been named the preferred
supplier of payment systems technology to Trunkbow, which has
awarded VeriFone an initial order to supply wireless payment
solutions, including the CDMA-based Nurit 8000 terminal.
VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron said: “It is
clear that mobile phones are increasingly playing an active role in
the initiation of payment transactions.
“This role is both within the existing
payments infrastructure and also with telecommunications carriers
like China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.
“VeriFone’s investment in Trunkbow provides us
with a seat at the table for cell phone payments in the world’s
largest cell phone market.”
The Chinese mobile phone market is the world’s
largest with over 700 million mobile subscribers.
According to industry analysts, mobile
payments and banking in China will grow to become a $5.4 billion
dollar industry by 2013, up from approximately $440 million in
Nokia launches mobile money
transfer in India
Mobile handset manufacturer Nokia
has teamed up with YES Bank of India to introduce a live commercial
pilot scheme of mobile money transfers in India. The service will
see its test debut in Pune, one of the largest metropolitan areas
The pilot scheme will let people transfer
money to another person by using the person’s mobile phone number.
The scheme will also allow them to pay utility bills and top up SIM
cards. Nokia has also announced there will also be the facility to
pay for goods and services in the future.
This is a first-of-its-kind service providing
customers with the ability to initiate mobile payments through
multiple channels such as SMS, IVR, WAP, JAVA and FIRE.
Brands like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson
and Blackberry dominate 85 percent to 90 percent of the INR200
billion ($4.3 billion) market in India. Nokia is the leader by far
with a 57 percent market share while Samsung is the distant second
with an 8 percent share. LG is ranked third with a 5 percent
Visa launches debit programme
with Japan Net Bank
Visa, in association with Japan Net
Bank (JNB), has launched a virtual Visa debit card programme in
JNB’s customers will now be able to use a
virtual Visa debit card to make payments at any online merchant
that accepts Visa globally.
Under the programme, JNB will issue a unique
16-digit Visa debit account number which will draw funds from a
nominated JNB bank account.
The virtual Visa debit card can be used for
purchases of up to the value of $1,000 and is valid for 10 days.
Upon expiry the customer can request a new virtual Visa debit card
number. There will be no plastic card issued as part of the
JNB was launched by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
Group in 2000 as Japan’s first internet-only bank and now claims
two million customers.
JNB senior executive and managing director
Mitsuhiro Komura said: “With the launch of JNB’s virtual Visa debit
service, we are able to provide our customers with a convenient and
safe way of making payments at online merchants.”
Karnataka Bank launches student
Indian private sector lender
Karnataka Bank has announced the launch of four new products; a
student prepaid card, a mobile banking service, online payments
through debit cards, and the ‘moneyplant’ international gold debit
card. The bank has also opened 10 more ATMs across India.
The student prepaid card is a reloadable card
that can be purchased in amounts ranging from INR1,000 ($21) to
It can be used anywhere in the world where
Visa cards are accepted and is valid for three years.
For mobile banking, the bank has tied up with
Paymate India, a mobile commerce facility provider, in order to
allow customers to make payments through their mobile phones.
Online payment through debit card enables
payment for online transactions. This facility contains safety
features such as ‘Verified by Visa’ online authentication.
The moneyplant international gold debit card
is a card that enables a daily cash withdrawals of INR25,000 and
daily purchase limit of INR100,000.
PayPal India resumes bank
PayPal India has announced that it
has come to an agreement with the country’s central bank, the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI), over the issue of local bank
withdrawals by users of the service.
PayPal has also announced that it is currently
making changes to comply with Indian regulations for settlements
for exports of goods and services.
The company also said that as of 3 March it
will be able to resume the bank withdrawal service.
The announcement comes after PayPal stopped
personal payments to and from India as well as suspending transfers
to local banks in India. During this time, customers were able to
make commercial payments to India but merchants could not withdraw
funds in INR to local Indian banks.
The RBI has told PayPal that it needs specific
approvals to allow personal inward remittances to India, which it
currently does not have. Until it get these approvals, personal
payments into India will remain suspended.
Hana announces plans to attract
400,000 new customers
Hana Card, the credit card unit of
Hana Financial Group of South Korea, has said it is moving forward
with a plan to attract more than 400,000 customers this year for
its new mobile credit payment service to be launched in a joint
venture with SK Telecom.
“Our goal is securing 400,000-500,000 new
customers for mobile credit cards within the year,” Hana Card CEO
Lee Kang-tae told reporters at a ceremony marking the launch of
Hana SK Card.
The name of the credit card affiliate under
the nation’s fourth-largest financial group will be changed to Hana
SK Card, with the newly-named company to roll out credit payment
services provided on mobile handsets in mid-March, Lee said.
In December last year, Hana Card formed a
strategic alliance with SK Telecom by selling a 49 percent stake to
the wireless telecommunication service provider.
Europe, Middle East,
Russian government plans
combined ID and payment cards
Russians may receive universal
identity and payment cards from the government that would
streamline the payment of pensions and taxes, and be used as bank
cards in stores.
The Kremlin press service said President
Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Finance Minister
Alexei Kudrin would present a draft law “on a national payment
system” to parliament by 31 March.
Medvedev proposed creating a national payment
system in late 2009, and ordered the law to be drawn up during a
meeting over Russia’s financial development on 9 February. The plan
is to issue plastic identity cards with microchips containing the
cardholder’s personal information and combining the features of a
social security card and a bank card, enabling people to pay taxes,
draw pensions and buy products in shops.
VeriFone and OTP announce
Paypass rollout in Hungary
Secure electronic payment expert
VeriFone has announced that its payment systems are being used by
OTP Bank of Hungary in that country’s first rollout of MasterCard
PayPass contactless cards.
OTP Bank, the largest bank among Hungarian
credit institutions and the dominant player in each segment of the
banking market, is being supplied by VeriFone’s local partner,
INPAS, with the contactless version of VeriFone’s PINpad 1000SE,
which accepts both PIN-based and contactless payment.
“Contactless is a simple upgrade solution for
merchants using the PINpad 1000SE,” said Adam Biedrzycki, VeriFone
general manager for continental Europe. “We applaud OTP Bank’s
efforts to provide the convenience of MasterCard PayPass payment to
Hungary’s consumers and merchants.”
Asiacell launches mobile
banking in Iraq
Asiacell, the largest private Iraqi
company and the only mobile telecommunications company to provide
coverage for all of Iraq, has announced a major strategic
partnership with AMWAL, a consortium of Iraqi banks.
By deploying a mobile banking system in
cooperation with AMWAL, Asiacell will enable its prepaid customers
to use their handsets to directly purchase airtime; buy goods and
services from registered merchants; check their bank account
balances; and make mobile-to-mobile and bank account-to-bank
account money transfers. All transactions will be linked directly
with subscribers' bank accounts at AMWAL member banks.
Asiacell CEO Dr Diar Ahmed said: “Asiacell is
proud to be leading the way in empowering the Iraqi people by
giving them access to banking products on their mobile phones. Our
ultimate goal is to provide all Iraqis with access to affordable
banking services by leveraging Asiacell’s national network.
“This innovative mobile financial solution
will enable Asiacell’s subscribers to enjoy convenient, secure and
easy-to-use mobile banking services that are available 24/7 and all
Oberthur and Utiba to provide
Oberthur Technologies, the European
provider of smart cards, has announced a partnership with Utiba, a
global supplier of mobile commerce platforms, to create a suite of
secure mobile money services and money transfer solutions for
mobile operators and financial institutions.
The mobile money solution incorporates a suite
of secured end-to-end payment and money transfer services helping
mobile operators and financial institutions to offer financial
services such as microfinance, domestic and international money
transfer, airtime sharing, e-payment or e-banking.
According to Oberthur, the solution addresses
both mature countries, where mobile subscribers are often banked
with feature-enabled phones, and developing ones where banking
services and money transfers for underbanked and unbanked segments
can be proposed to large populations through secured applications
in the SIM card.
CellTrust unveils SecureSMS
CellTrust, a US-based supplier of
secure mobile messaging and applications, has announced the launch
of its SecureSMS mobile banking and payment pilot for the African
Within the first few months of operation,
uptake is expected to be high for the new Secure SMS/Text mobile
banking programme launched via CellTrust’s Global SecureSMS
Gateway. The pilot will allow end-users to make mobile cash
transfers, payments and securely access other microfinance banking
“Microfinance banking institutions and cash
agents will continue to play a major role in the successful
implementation of the pilot and indeed the mobile branchless
banking value chain,” explains CellTrust CEO Sean Moshir.
“Securing the mobile branchless banking value
chain against fraud is a major challenge for the region.
CellTrust’s SecureSMS Appliance puts these concerns to rest by
providing a solution that delivers advanced security and
Samuel Ucheaga, managing director of CellTrust
of Africa, added: “We are experiencing a clarion call for more
security, and in the case of mobile text banking or SMS banking,
central bank officials are legislating requirements for secure SMS
with multiple levels of authentication and encryption along with a
clear audit trail for compliance.”
MoneyGram acquires to build EU
Global money transfer provider
MoneyGram has acquired Belgian-based Blue Dolphin Financial
Services as part of a plan to establish its own European network
and take advantage of the Payments Services Directive which aims to
open up the European payments market to non-bank institutions.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Blue Dolphin, which has 18 branches in Belgium
and the Netherlands, has been a MoneyGram agent since 2005,
providing a source of remittance to Turkey and several African
MoneyGram says the branches “along with the
expanded opportunities for payment institutions introduced by the
European Union in November” will help it grow in Benelux countries.
MoneyGram already operates branches in France and Germany.
John Hempsey, executive vice-president of the
EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions at MoneyGram, said: “Owning our own
network in key European markets has been essential to our
“Our retail expansion in France was a catalyst
for adding eight French-speaking countries across Africa and
Oceania since 2008. The recent directive from the EU encourages
trade within payments businesses and owning our own network
supports our growth in highly regulated countries.”
YellowPepper and Fundamo team
up for mobile money service
YellowPepper, a provider of mobile
financial services in Latin America, has announced the launch of
YellowPepper Mony, a mobile financial product for the unbanked
According to YellowPepper, the service will
target the 80 percent of Latin American residents who currently
have a mobile phone and the vast numbers of consumers that are
Established in 2000, YellowPepper currently
has more than 1.5 million users across Latin America.
YellowPepper has formed a strategic alliance
with Fundamo, a specialised mobile banking and payment software
solution provider in order to provide YellowPepper Mony to
financial institutions and corporate clients.
The service offers mobile money transfers,
remittances, mobile bill payments and a prepaid mobile phone
The availability of YellowPepper Mony will
facilitate the sharing of mobile remittances into Latin America and
the Caribbean, a market currently worth $69.2 billion, according to
ECommLink opens Colombia
ECommLink, a prepaid debit card
processor, has opened a satellite office in Medellin, Colombia, to
support its business development efforts in Latin America.
“The Latin American market is ripe for a
variety of prepaid programmes. The large unbanked population and
the immaturity of the payment infrastructure offers significant
opportunity for prepaid cards, particularly when paired with mobile
capabilities,” stated Ennio Ponzetto, CEO of ECommLink.
Vicente Mota, senior vice-president of sales
at ECommLink, added: “Just having the technology needed for a
specific region is not enough. We combine this with a true
understanding of the area and the players to deliver market ready
prepaid solutions that can be widely adopted.
“Our new Colombian office allows us to bring
this level of understanding which we have today in the US and
Mexico to a greater part of Latin America.”
Mexico approves banking
Mexico’s lower house of Congress has
approved legislation giving the country’s central bank more
authority to regulate the interest rates and commissions that banks
charge and to open up competition in the payment processing
The bill states that the Bank of Mexico should
make sure loans are made under “accessible and reasonable”
Legislation will also require payment networks
to request operating approval from the Bank of Mexico and will
force rival networks to connect with each other for free.
Measures include giving the Bank of Mexico the
power to establish the interest rates banks pay on deposits and
charge on loans, banning some fees altogether, and requiring
lenders to offer a basic credit card with a credit limit of no more
than MXP11,500 ($889).
The latest raft of legislation follows the
central bank’s move to ban several types of commission fees last
year, with a view to promoting competition by giving banks a
greater incentive to generate revenue from lending rather than
depending on commission and fee income.
Around MXN56.3 billion in fees and commissions
accounted for about 27 percent of the banking industry’s operating
income in 2008.
Uruguay banks face more
competition, says Deloitte
According to global business
consultancy Deloitte, banks in Uruguay will face increased
competition this year in the credit card and consumer loan
segments, due to the economic recovery spurring consumer demand.
Alongside increased competition in services, there will also be
more pressure on fees.
Deloitte stated that the main driver for
profitability in Uruguay will be organic growth.
Banks face strong competition from consumer
finance companies in the areas of consumer loans and credit cards,
mainly in the low and middle income consumer segments.
Uruguay’s private banking system is relatively
small, with UP235 billion (S$11.8 billion) in assets as of 31
The country’s banks are mostly comprised of
local subsidiaries of global banks.
According to Deloitte, banks that operate in
Brazil, Chile and Argentina but which do not have a presence in
Uruguay may look to enter the country by acquiring local banks.
Remittances to Latin America
and Caribbean fall by 11%
Remittances to Latin America and the
Caribbean fell by 11 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, the first
time a fall has been recorded in 25 years. Remittances fell to
around $58 billion, according to a World Bank report.
The Inter-American Development Bank estimates
that more than three-quarters of remittances to this region
originate in the US.
The fall has been attributed to rising levels
of unemployment in the US and Europe, restricting the ability of
migrant workers to send funds back home.
A 2009 survey by the Inter-American Dialogue
think tank in the US of 1,350 Hispanic immigrants shows that 45
percent planned to send less during 2009 than they did in 2008.
Only 6 percent planned to remit more and the
rest intended to send equal amounts.
However, the World Bank predicts the
remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean will increase
from $58 billion in 2009 to $59 billion this year and reach $61
billion in 2011 as many economies come out of recession.
Scotiabank set to buy RBS’s
Scotiabank is planning to acquire
the Colombian unit of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), according to
local press reports.
Scotiabank’s rationale for the
acquisition is that by doing so, it can bypass the lengthy process
of applying to the country’s regulator for a banking licence.
The potential acquisition also has
the potential to ease Scotiabank’s entry into Colombia by giving it
an established customer base.
An RBS spokesperson said that the bank was in
discussions with a potential buyer for its Colombian operations,
but refused to give any further details.
Last year, RBS stated that it was considering
selling off its units in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela
in order to focus more intently on its operations in Brazil and
Hyatt, Chase Card Services and
Visa form strategic alliance
Hyatt, the US hotelier, and US-based
bank JPMorgan Chase have announced a multi-year strategic alliance
that will create a Visa-branded credit card allowing consumers to
earn points through Hyatt’s loyalty programme, Gold Passport.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a global
hospitality company whose subsidiaries manage, franchise, own and
develop hotels and resorts under the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz,
Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield
Suites brand names.
JPMorgan Chase is a global financial services
firm with assets of $2 trillion and operations in more than 60
countries. The company has nearly 145 million credit cards in the
US and Canada.
John Wallis, global head of marketing and
brand strategy for Hyatt, said of the deal: “This alliance will
enhance our Hyatt Gold Passport programme and strengthen our
relationship with our members by creating more opportunities to
earn points to redeem for travel.”
TxVia and Univision sign
prepaid cards processing agreement
TxVia, the US network-based payment
systems specialist, has signed an agreement to process gift cards
and general-purpose reloadable prepaid cards for the Spanish
language media company Univision Communications, with its
platform-as-a-service (PaaS) delivery model.
The Univision prepaid MasterCard card, which
will be available nationally in 2010, and the Univision MasterCard
gift card, which is available currently, are issued by Bancorp Bank
and licensed from MasterCard. The PaaS delivery model means clients
can outsource processing to TxVia completely or bring all or a part
of their requirements in-house, allowing more control over their
“We are thrilled to be working with Univision,
which serves as a trusted partner to the Hispanic population in the
US, providing information and entertainment as well as an important
voice to the community,” said Jonathan Weiner, executive
vice-president of products and managed services for TxVia. “As
their programmes scale and positively impact the lives of many
people, we’re confident that the entry of Univision into prepaid
will be considered a watershed event in financial services.”
Gemalto introduces payment card
for American travellers
Gemalto, the global digital security
expert, has introduced the ‘World Traveler’ programme, which
includes a globally accepted dual interface EMV payment
microprocessor card and complete issuance service for US banks and
Gemalto’s World Traveler programme means any
US issuer can provide cards to their customers in under two months,
ensuring secure payments while travelling internationally. The
programme features full card design and production, personalisation
data preparation, and personalisation of EMV dynamic data
authorisation (DDA) contact and contactless dual interface. Gemalto
also provides additional services in this offering like an
SMS-based PIN reminder service and global emergency card
replacement as part of the complete World Traveler programme.
“Cardholders expect to be able to use their
payment card anywhere in the world,” said Jack Jania,
vice-president and general manager of secure transactions at
Gemalto North America. “Gemalto’s World Travel card product and
service portfolio allows US card issuers to fulfil this
expectation, with globally accepted smart payment cards ensuring
the ability to make secure payments anywhere their customers
Mocapay unveils secure mobile
payments at merchant POS
Mocapay, a mobile payments provider,
has announced a mobile payment programme that functions regardless
of tender type and transaction location. Mocapay’s ‘dynamic
cryptogram’ architecture ensures every mobile payment transaction
is executed securely with a one-time use and perishable
authorisation code. Mocapay’s transaction-level, token-based,
mobile payments solution ensures that no sensitive information is
stored on a mobile handset or passed to the merchant at the
Mocapay offers its end-to-end mobile platform
solution to merchant issuers of closed-loop loyalty and gift cards
and private-label credit cards, as well as financial institutions
that issue open-loop prepaid, debit, and credit cards.
“Security and merchant acceptance is a
critical component of mobile payments and one of the seminal
reasons behind the limited adoption of mobile payments in the US,”
said Kevin Grieve, CEO of Mocapay. “Our mobile payments platform
ensures true anywhere, anytime mobile payments acceptance.”
FSV renews agreement with
Allpoint Network, the operator of
the largest surcharge-free ATM network in the US, has announced the
renewal of its agreement with FSV Payment Systems, the US provider
of network-branded prepaid debit card products and processing
services to both the public and private sectors.
Allpoint Network offers surcharge-free access
in leading retail locations such as 7-Eleven, Target, Costco,
CVS/pharmacy, and Walgreens. Allpoint is the largest surcharge-free
ATM network with 37,000 ATMs across the US.
“Offering surcharge-free access to ATMs at 40
percent of the top 10 retailers in America provides a tremendous
amount of convenience to prepaid cardholders,” said Ben Psillas,
president of Allpoint.
Cathy Corby Parker, executive vice-president
at FSV Payment Systems, added: “Our partnership with Allpoint is a
win for our cardholders and a win for FSV. The extensive access
provided by the broad network of surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs is a
key component of the value FSV delivers to consumers.”
US credit card charge-offs
The US credit card sector posted
mixed performance in January as charge-offs rose sharply, while
early stage delinquencies declined for a third month in a row,
according to credit ratings agency Moody’s
Charge-offs rose sharply to 11.15 percent in
January, while early stage delinquencies fell below the 6 percent
mark to 5.96 percent, according to Moody’s Credit
Card Indices. The delinquency rate measures the proportion
of account balances for which a monthly payment is more than 30
days late as a percentage of the total outstanding balance.
“The improvement in the early-stage