Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.
- Bullish Signs on Credit Card Growth
Consumer credit card growth, which has been on the decline for about three years, could be showing signs of life again, according to data from Equifax Inc. The Atlanta credit bureau said new bank-card account originations increased 35% during the 12 months that ended March 2011, and credit lines also expanded incrementally, although the company did not say by how much. Equifax did not release the total number of new consumer credit card accounts issuers opened. The increase in new card accounts is “a sign card lending competition is heating up,” Equifax said in a July 1 press release.
- Amex Taking Prepaid Push to Colleges
American Express Co. is expanding its prepaid payments business through a partnership with CardSmith LLC, which develops and manages campus ID card programs for colleges. Amex will provide a reloadable prepaid account option on students’ ID cards, which can be used for buying on-campus meals, checking library books and other functions. With the prepaid account, students will be able to use the cards to pay for purchases at any merchant that accepts Amex. “The cards will have multiple loading options, including financial aid disbursement,” an Amex spokeswoman wrote in an email on Thursday.
- The banks’ billion-dollar idea
Banks have found a new revenue stream — and this time, it doesn’t involve hitting you up with a new fee. Many of the nation’s leading banks are using information about their customers’ shopping habits — how much they spend, where they shop, what they buy — to make money. Based on that data, retailers are offering targeted discounts via the banks through text messages, email and online bank statements. The banks don’t actually hand over your data to retailers. Instead, retailers describe what type of customer they’d like to target and the bank then sends the deal to customers who fit the profile.
- Alerts, electronic notifications and paperless: getting to the wired consumer
Wells Fargo ATMs allow customers to eschew the paper receipt in favor of an electronic equivalent, which is a great paperless strategy. In this year’s NACHA PayitGreen research study, we discovered that two surprising segments represent a paperless opportunity: Gen Y (young adults) and early adopters of technology. Working without the research data, my intuition would have caused me to view more tradition-bound segments as the best target for elimination of paper, yet it turns out that early adopters use one proverbial foot to step into new technology while failing to move the other foot out of the paperless realm.
- Safer mobile transactions
IdentityX, from Reston, Va.’s Daon, claims that using your smartphone, it can enable you to securely establish your identity through a combination of encryption, PIN entry, location-based technology, and biometrics such as voice, face and palm image matching. The company further claims that IdentityX is a fully mobile, private and cost-effective solution that allows you to set the level of security for each type of transaction — thereby tuning the balance of convenience and security. Is it any good? Well, Daon was recently named the winner in the Cyber Security & Authentication category for the American Technology Awards, which bestows the only “Best Of” awards that recognize all technology products and services for the technology industry.
- As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows Its Printing Presses
The number of dollar bills rolling off the great government presses here and in Fort Worth fell to a modern low last year. Production of $5 bills also dropped to the lowest level in 30 years. And for the first time in that period, the Treasury Department did not print any $10 bills. The meaning seems clear. The future is here. Cash is in decline.
- Mobile Payments To Triple To $670B By 2015; Digital Goods Will Represent 40% Of Transactions
Juniper Research is releasing a new study today that reports that the transaction value of mobile payments for digital and physical goods, money transfers and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions will reach $670 billion by 2015, up from $240 billion this year. The top 3 regions for mobile payments (East Asia and China, Western Europe and North America) will represent 75% of the global mobile payment gross transaction value by 2015. Digital goods payments will account for nearly 40% of the market in 2015.
- Finance startup Yodlee hits 34M users, looks to a “FinApps” future
Yodlee, a company that powers personal financial management (PFM) solutions for major banks and finance portals, now has 34 million registered users worldwide, it told VentureBeat. And it doesn’t look like Yodlee’s growth is going to slow down anytime soon, especially with the “FinApps,” or financial apps it launched last year, which give third-party developers the power to develop apps that can securely access financial data. The 12-year-old company has been a leading force for online financial services for some time. It’s the PFM of choice for eight of the top 10 financial institutions, including Fidelity and Bank of America.