Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pay Me...You Twit...Twitpay

Send Money Through Twitter With Twitpay - NY Times
By Jenna Wortham

Twitter can be used to network, make friends or keep up with Britney Spears. And soon it will become a way to transfer money over the Web.


Twitpay is a start-up that aims to allow people to send small payments through Twitter. To do this they include the recipients’ username in their message. For example, posting the update “@johnsmith twitpay $10 for lunch” would deliver the cash to that Twitterer’s Twitpay account. The company monitors the public stream of messages for the keyword “twitpay” and facilitates the exchange. You replenish your Twitpay account using a site like PayPal. Once recipients have accumulated more than $10 in their accounts, the balance can be cashed out in the form of an Amazon gift card. For all transfers exceeding $1, Twitpay will take a flat cut of five cents.

In its simplest form, the service is a quick way to settle a lunch tab or pick up a round of drinks on a friend’s birthday. But Michael D. Ivey, its chief executive and co-founder, says it could also make it easier to donate money during a disaster like Hurricane Katrina or an earthquake. “Ideally we want to enable social giving on Twitter,” he said. “But beyond that, we could enable charitable giving, such as to the Red Cross. We’re very excited to be able to help people do good over Twitter.”

Along with many of the third-party applications that make use of Twitter’s platform, Twitpay has no official ties to Twitter, which allows people to post messages up to 140 characters in length. But along with the Shorty Awards, Mr. Tweet and the multitude of other sites and third-party applications springing up around the platform, Twitpay is another example of the way Twitter is forming an ecosystem of its own.

The service is still in a trial phase, but Mr. Ivey said the company was actively working to obtain funding and is in discussions with several groups.

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Today Show Credit Card Skimming Video

This morning on the Today Show, Matt Lauer, did a story on "credit card skimming." Believe it or not, once skimmed, the information on the magnetic stripe was transferred to the magnetic stripe on a hotel room key. Once the card information was transferred to the hotel key they went shopping and used the hotel room key as the credit card. Because they were able to slide the card themselves in the store nobody even suspected a thing and Sarah's (a Today Show staffer) card was loaded up. As I've stated many times, look for this type of identity theft to grow rather than be curbed as time goes by.

Here's the video:

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New Credit Card Rules Adopted by Regulators

Seal of the Office of Thrift Supervision, part...Image via Wikipedia
Regulators adopt new credit card rules - Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON – Federal regulators on Thursday adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry that will shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances among other changes.

The rules, which take effect in July 2010, will allow credit card companies to raise interest rates only on new credit cards and future purchases or advances, rather than on current balances.

They were approved Thursday morning by the Office of Thrift Supervision, a Treasury Department division. The Federal Reserve and the National Credit Union Administration were expected to act on them later in the day. The changes mark the most sweeping clampdown on the credit card industry in decades and are aimed at protecting consumers from arbitrary hikes in interest rates or inadequate time provided to pay the bills. (continue reading)

FYI: The new rules prohibit:

  • Placing unfair time constraints on payments. A payment could not be deemed late unless the borrower is given a reasonable period of time, such as 21 days, to pay.
  • Placing too-high fees for exceeding the credit limit solely because of a hold placed on the account.
  • Unfairly computing balances in a computing tactic known as double-cycle billing.
  • Unfairly adding security deposits and fees for issuing credit or making it available.
  • Making deceptive offers of credit.

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