Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Visa Launches 4 New Mobile Payment Services

Visa Launches New Mobile Payment Services; Continues Mobile Technology Momentum Globally
Visa has announced it is launching four new programs to deliver payments and services via mobile devices. Two commercial mobile payments programs, in Brazil and Korea, along with two mobile offers and transaction notification pilots in the United States, add to more than a dozen pilot and commercial programs enabled by the Visa mobile platform around the world - PaymentsNews

Editor's Note: HomeATM's Wedgie Can Hook up to a mobile phone NOW (see pic above) whereas Near Field Communications is years away. (see "related stories" at the bottom of this post) I can't help but think of the 40 million card data breach due to Wireless Networks. I also question the security of SIM cards. Past experience projects that Hackers will have a "Near" Field Day with this one!'s the press release:

Visa Mobile Platform Powering New Mobile Payment Programs in Brazil, South Korea and Value-Added Service Pilots in U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visa (NYSE:V), the global leader in payments, today took the next step toward making mobile commerce a global reality by launching four new programs to deliver payments and services via mobile devices. Two commercial mobile payments programs, in Brazil and Korea, along with two mobile offers and transaction notification pilots in the United States, add to more than a dozen pilot and commercial programs enabled by the Visa mobile platform around the world.

The Visa mobile platform gives Visa’s bank and wireless carrier partners the tools and technology framework they need to develop, test and offer innovative mobile services around payments to this growing market segment. The mobile platform already supports consumer programs and pilots in a dozen countries and territories, delivering convenient, reliable and secure payment services to active lifestyle consumers.

Visa’s investment in its mobile platform comes as more consumers in both developed and emerging markets adopt mobile devices. According to the GSM Association, there are nearly 3.5 billion such devices in the world with the greatest growth coming from developing countries. As these numbers have increased – and as the devices themselves grow smarter – consumers rely on them for much more than just communication, creating greater opportunity for them to play a central role in commerce and to deliver new services around payment.

Visa’s vision in creating its mobile platform has been to apply the scale, flexibility, and security of its global payment network to deliver both payment and value-added mobile services that have immediate value to consumers, merchants and issuers.

“Today we again see how far Visa and our partners have come in the development of mobile financial services,” said Elizabeth Buse, Global Head of Product at Visa Inc. “As the payments ecosystem has expanded, so has Visa’s opportunity to deliver innovative products and services to a diverse set of stakeholders.”

Global Momentum

The Visa mobile platform was created to help financial institutions, telecommunications providers and handset manufacturers tap into technology to deliver both mobile payments and related services that enhance the consumer payment experience. Visa has continued to extend the platform to offer more innovations that meet the needs of consumers, merchants, financial institutions and mobile service providers. The latest programs include:

  • Brazil: Visa announced yesterday the availability of remote mobile payments in Brazil by Banco do Brasil, which is marking its 200th anniversary in early October with a number of innovative banking programs. It is the first program of its kind in Latin America, allowing Banco do Brasil’s Visa cardholders to pay with their mobile device and confirm the transaction via text message. The service is accessible through any Brazilian mobile carrier serving the more than 140 million subscribers in the country. Companhia Brasileira de Meios de Pagamento (VisaNet Brasil), the acquiring institution for all Visa debit and credit payment transactions in the country, will be running the deployment of this technology in Brazil.
  • Korea: In a world first and in partnership with T-Money provider KSCC (Korea Smart Card Company), card issuer Shinhan Bank and Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF), Visa has made it possible for commuters to use their Visa account to top up their T-Money balances automatically on the phone’s SIM card when it falls below a certain level. By conducting the entire transaction automatically over the mobile network, commuters are freed from the inconvenience of waiting in line at transit kiosks or other agents to top up their transit account.
  • US: Visa recently announced a partnership with Chase Bank for a pilot program to deliver personalized mobile offers to select consumers in Phoenix, AZ. With more than 50 participating merchants, the program has capacity for 5,000 participants who will receive offers, including discounts or special deals, directly to their mobile devices via text message. They will be able to redeem these offers at the merchant’s location or online. The pilot will also cover special game day offers for baseball fans attending games at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • North America: Visa is working with multiple leading issuers, such as PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo in the United States, and RBC, TD Bank Financial Group, and Vancity in Canada, to trial a transactions notification program that is able to send near real-time information to cardholders. Participating cardholders will receive e-mail or SMS text messages on their mobile devices whenever one or more transaction “triggers” occur, sometimes before they leave the store. These mobile notifications will be created simultaneously with the transaction, providing cardholders with an effective way to monitor and manage their accounts.
  • These mobile payment initiatives join a series of existing pilots in several countries and territories, including:
  • Australia: Last week, National Australia Bank (NAB), Telstra and Visa announced an Australian first with the launch of a contactless payment trial using components of the Visa mobile platform. The trial, involving 200 participants and 12 merchants in the Docklands area of Melbourne, will run over the coming months and will enable Telstra, NAB and Visa to assess Australian consumers' and retailers' reaction to mobile payments.
  • Canada: In November 2007, RBC announced a mobile payments trial based on the Visa mobile platform. The Ontario-based trial will involve multiple phases including in-lab testing, an RBC staff pilot, and a consumer pilot. As part of the trial, mobile phones with an embedded NFC contactless chip will enable users to make mobile Visa payWave transactions at contactless acceptance locations.
  • France: Visa Europe is part of a joint pilot with six major French banks as well as four mobile operators called “payez mobile.” This trial tests mobile payments with 1,000 customers at 200 sales outlets in Caen and Strasbourg in France.
  • Germany: In July 2007, a joint venture between Visa Europe, Nokia, T-Systems and Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), a regional transport network in Frankfurt, called RMV2go was announced. The joint venture was formed to spearhead the development of payment solutions based on the Visa mobile platform, incorporating Visa payWave on Nokia mobile devices.
  • Korea: In February 2007, Visa and SK Telecom, the country’s leading mobile operator, announced a trial of the world’s first contactless payment application using a third-generation (3G) universal SIM (USIM) that is personalized for payment “over-the-air.” The program involved SK Telecom subscribers installing the Visa payWave contactless application directly onto their phone. Since then, KTF, another major mobile operator, launched a similar trial with Visa in June 2008.
  • Malaysia: In October 2007, Visa, in partnership with Maybank, Maxis and Nokia, begin a mobile Visa payWave trial with 100 staff from the participating companies. The trial utilized Malaysia’s existing contactless infrastructure and built upon a mobile payment trial conducted in 2006. Technologies from the Visa mobile platform, including graphics-rich user software and the ability to download and personalize the Visa payWave function over-the-air, were tested during the trial.
  • Spain: In June 2007, BBVA, Nokia and Visa announced the launch of a mobile payments program using Nokia 6131NFC mobile phones with NFC (Near Field Communication). A small group of BBVA employees were pre-selected to participate in the program. Each participant received a phone that is preloaded with the Visa payWave application and can be used to pay for purchases at various merchants throughout Madrid.
  • Taiwan: In September 2007, Visa announced a trial with Chunghwa Telecom, the largest telecommunications provider in Taiwan; Chinatrust Commercial Bank (CTCB), the largest privately owned bank in Taiwan; and Nokia. The program involved Chunghwa and CTCB customers provisioning their phones over-the-air with the Visa payWave payment application. This pilot has been complemented with two additional pilots conducted by Far EasTone and Taishin Bank and Vibo and United Bank of Taiwan.
  • United Kingdom: Visa Europe announced its participation in a large scale UK mobile pilot for payments – entitled “mobile wallet” with mobile operator O2. The six month pilot will examine the use of mobile phones to pay for purchases, access events, and travel.
  • United States: In June 2007, Wells Fargo Bank and Visa announced the launch of a three-phase mobile pilot that tests mobile payment and offers on phones equipped with NFC. The initiative also includes mobile coupons and account management services.


Mexican E-Commerce to Grow 70% in 2008

Mexican e-commerce seen growing 70 percent in 2008 | Markets | Economy | Reuters
MEXICO CITY, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Mexican firms will likely sell 70 percent more goods and services over the Internet this year, mostly to people buying plane tickets and computers, experts predicted on Tuesday.

This year's expected brisk growth follows a 78 percent surge in Mexican e-commerce sales in 2007 to $955 million, the country's Internet association said at a news conference.

Less than a quarter of Mexico's population of 107 million surfs the Internet, and of those users only about one in 10 buys products and services online, according to a study by the association.

E-commerce sales in the United States last year, covering more than 12,000 retailers but not including travel services, exceeded $120 billion. The study looked at sales data at 22 companies in Mexico with sizable online retail businesses, including airlines, cinemas and department stores.Airline tickets account for about two thirds of online purchases in Mexico, followed by computer-related products, according to the study. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

HomeATM Helps Smartcard Marketing Post 185% Gain

Smartcard Marketing Systems Inc. Posts 185% Gain
Smartcard Marketing Systems Inc.(PINKSHEETS: SMKG) announced today that their card loading and payment processing volume increased 185% in 2008 for the month of July over July 2007. The company attributes its dramatic growth to its successful launch of two prepaid debit card programs and the quick adoption of the HomeATM's online payment processing solution with Pin Debit online. The company processed $46,375 in card loads in July of 2007 and $132,245 in July of 2008.

As stated by CEO Massimo Barone of (PINKSHEETS: SMKG)"We are in an accelerated growth stage of our business cycle as new merchants and consumers purchase our products and services through In addition with the Canadian market prepaid debit cards now an active program and more market penetration with Pin Debit Pads we anticipate continued triple digit growth through 2008 and will report on a month to month basis."

More Skimming Attacks Over the Weekend

Another long holiday weekend, another debit card scam | Tacoma, WA
Wily debit card scammers may have struck again over the Labor Day weekend, victims and police said Tuesday. At least 50 accounts were compromised.

Susie Engelbeck, 47, a stay-at-home mom from Puyallup, said someone using an ATM in Los Angeles took $800 out of her account over the weekend. When she went to report the fraud to her bank Tuesday morning, about 10 other victims were there doing the same thing, she said. “They had a line of people who had been scammed,” Engelbeck said.

Over the July Fourth holiday, more than 125 people who used their debit cards at a South Hill Arco gas station in 2007 had money withdrawn from their bank accounts. Police estimated losses were at least $500,000. Puyallup police Sgt. Ryan Portmann said Tuesday that the department has fielded about 20 new fraud reports so far, with the withdrawals happening in California and Texas. The thefts in July were linked by purchases at an Arco at 11608 Meridian Ave. E. last August. It’s possible the thieves kept some numbers in reserve from that scam, he said.

On Tuesday, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer again urged anyone who used a debit card at the station last August to get a new card. “We don’t know if they have more cards and are planning to do another round,” he said after the July thefts. By coincidence, Engelbeck’s mother-in-law left a News Tribune article on the thefts on the kitchen table for her to read Saturday. “I thought, ‘Three-day weekend, hmm,’” she said, referring to this most recent holiday. “I checked my account, even though I had just checked it 21/2 hours before.” After spotting an apparently fraudulent charge, Engelbeck said, she immediately closed the account.

Todd Pietzsch, a spokesman for the Boeing Employees Credit Union, where Engelbeck banks, said 50 to 60 members reported thefts over the weekend. “We take care of our members,” he said. “If it’s fraud, they’re reimbursed.” Neither the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department nor Tacoma police saw a new wave of reports Tuesday. But there are probably more people out there who don’t yet realize they’ve been robbed, Troyer said. “We definitely want everyone to call so we can try and obtain photos,” he said. Security photos of the thieves from previous ATM thefts haven’t turned up any leads, indicating the crooks are probably not from the South Sound area, he said.

Unfortunately, the scam is one that’s becoming more common. The thieves apparently installed a device on the gas station’s card reader that “skims” victims’ card information and PIN numbers. They seem to be targeting Arco stations, which take cash and debit cards but not credit cards. Arco officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Other agencies up and down the West Coast have reported similar scams. In July, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported that debit card and PIN numbers skimmed at Arco stations were used to steal upwards of $325,000 over the Memorial Day weekend.

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