Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween from HomeATM!

Will New Banking Trojan Make Tokens Obsolete?

I did a brief post on this yesterday.  Here's a follow-up.  On September 30th, analysts were arguing over which Online Banking Trojan (Clampi or Zeus) was MORE dangerous.  Clampi was called the "Big One" and several analysts agreed that the only way to defend against Clampi was to use a separate machine for online banking and for web browsing/checking email.  Zeus was famous for being invisible to up-to-date-anti-virus programs.  Then, on October 2nd, an even more dangerous online banking trojan was discovered.  This one was calleed urlZone and it was the anti-christ of all online banking trojans.  This one not only stole your online banking credentials, it also changed your online statements showing that no money was taken.  Talk about Stealth.  Talk about Next-Gen Trojans...

Yesterday we learned about W32.Silon.  This one evades security tokens. 

Speaking of evading security tokens, Did anyone tell HSBC about this newest Online Banking Trojan?  Because HSBC announced today that they were going to deploy tokens globally.   Oops!

I have a better idea for HSBC. How about a HomeATM card reader with a built in PIN Pad. It comes in two flavors. Magnetic Stripe card reader or Smart Card Reader. Both have a PCI 2.x Certified PIN Entry Device built-in. The Smart Card Reading HomeATM PIN Entry Device is pictured below. Note the Smart Card Chip Reading Slot on the front bottom.

I respectfully implore the online banking industry to stop screwing around with band-aids. The online banking system is crumbling all around you and you keep putting your finger in the dyke. Time to bite the bullet...and utilize a bullet proof system.

One that has been trusted for decades to dispense cash in real-time. Swipe your card (or Insert Card in the case of EMV) and Enter Your PIN. Voilla!

No username, no passwords, no phishing, no keystroke logging, no brainer!

Here's an excerpt from an article at IT Management on the second next generation online banking Trojan to rear it's ugly (two) heads...

A new Trojan called "W32.Silon" is the latest headache for online banks and their customers, packing a one-two punch that helps it evade security tokens and steal customer log-in information at the same time.

The two-headed Trojan, according to online security software vendor Trusteer, uses a "two-pronged payload" to steal log-in information and commit financial fraud at popular online banks.

"This new Trojan illustrates how advanced malware writers have become in their ability to dynamically execute multiple, bank-specific attacks with a single piece of software," Amit Klein, CTO and chief researcher at Trusteer, said in a statement. "The level of sophistication built into W32.Silon is concerning...

W32.Silon is a new malware variant that intercepts Internet Explorer Web browser sessions and has been associated with fraud incidents at several large banks, according to Trusteer researchers.

To steal user credentials, W32.Silon performs its initial attack when a user begins a Web log-in session and enters his username and password. The malware intercepts the log-in POST request, encrypts the requested data and sends it to a command-and-control (C&C) server...

Continue Reading about W32.Silon

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FDIC Warns Banks on Increasing ‘Money Mule’ Activity

Special Alert Informs Banks on How to Spot Money Mules/What to Look For...

In its industry Special Alert Thursday, the FDIC warned financial institutions on the growing threat posed by online banking Trojans and specifically, what they've created: Money Mules.  A new customer who opens an account with a minimal deposit, and then starts receiving big bucks on the wire, should be scrutinized, the alert says. (DUH!)  “Strong customer identification, customer due diligence, and high-risk–account monitoring procedures are essential for detecting suspicious activity, including money mule accounts.” 

Here's one from me...if the sender had to swipe their card and enter their PIN in order to transfer cash...and the receiver had to do the same to receive the cash sent, then this money laundering problem would be solved.  There would be a new sheriff in town and the bad guys would be subject to KYC and AML

KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) bank protocols our built into our system because we use existing bank cards, existing bank issued PINs and the existing bank rails.  So guess what.  No need for scrutiny, because strong customer identification and due diligence is conducted on the customer prior to opening the account, and issuing the card and the PIN in the first place.

No need for high risk-account monitoring procedures to detect "suspicious activity" such as money mule accounts because there would be a record of everything.   Everything transaction is traceable and because KYC and AML protocols are followed...the senders and recipients of the cash transfers could be identified.  

I predict that process would scare aware the bad guys.  No Stradamus for you.  Here's the special alert from  the FDIC:

Special Alerts


October 29, 2009


CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to BSA Compliance and Security Officer)


Fraudulent Work-at-Home Funds Transfer Agent Schemes


Individuals are using deposit accounts to receive unauthorized electronic funds transfers and forward funds overseas to criminals.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is warning financial institutions of an increase in schemes to recruit individuals to receive and transmit unauthorized electronic funds transfers (EFTs) from deposit accounts to individuals overseas.

These funds transfer agents, often referred to as "money mules," are typically solicited on the Internet by criminals who have gained unauthorized access to the online deposit account of a business or consumer. In a typical scenario, the criminal will originate unauthorized EFTs from a victim's account to a money mule's deposit account. The money mule is then instructed to quickly withdraw the funds and wire them overseas after deducting a "commission" (commonly eight to ten percent).

Criminals target online deposit accounts at institutions where business customers can originate EFTs, such as automated clearing house (ACH) and wire transfers, over the Internet. Money mules, however, can be customers at any depository institution where EFTs can be received and funds withdrawn. In some cases, the money mule may be an unknowing accomplice in a fraud scheme. Because EFTs are often made immediately available by the receiving institution, funds may be removed and wire transferred overseas before the fraud is detected. Refer to SA-147-2009 for more information on fraudulent EFT schemes.

Money mule schemes can take many different forms, but most involve receiving unauthorized EFTs into a deposit account and then withdrawing the funds or forwarding them on to another party via another EFT.

The following are common scenarios:

  • Online job posting Web sites are used by criminals to locate individuals seeking employment with flexible work hours that can be performed from home. These work-at-home schemes often involve written employment contracts, job descriptions and procedures to legitimize the scam.

  • Advance fee scams promising large monetary rewards for acting as a financial intermediary can entice individuals to participate in this activity.

  • Mystery shopping jobs may be used that require the employee to assess the performance of money service businesses by completing EFTs and then evaluating the service using customer satisfaction forms.

  • Social networking sites may be used to recruit individuals to act as money mules. Criminals conjure up various imaginative stories to befriend and persuade individuals to receive and forward stolen funds.

  • Some hesitant or skeptical money mules have been intimidated, harassed and threatened by their criminal "employers" to process the funds transfers quickly and with secrecy.

  • The personal identifiable information provided by the money mule might later be used to commit identity theft or account takeover.

The following are examples of events that may indicate money mule account activity:

  • A deposit account opened with a minimal deposit soon followed by large EFT deposits.

  • Deposit customers who suddenly begin receiving and sending EFTs related to new employment, investments, business opportunities or acquaintances (especially opportunities found on the Internet).

  • A newly opened deposit account with an unusual amount of activity, such as account inquiries, or a large dollar amount or high number of incoming EFTs.

  • An account that receives incoming EFTs then shortly afterward originates outgoing wire transfers or cash withdrawals approximately eight to ten percent less than the incoming EFTs.

  • A foreign exchange student with a J-1 Visa and fraudulent passport opening a student account with a high volume of incoming/outgoing EFT activity.

Money mule activity is essentially electronic money laundering addressed by the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations. Strong customer identification, customer due diligence, and high-risk account monitoring procedures are essential for detecting suspicious activity, including money mule accounts. Financial institutions can find additional guidance about customer identification, account monitoring, suspicious activity reporting, and identity theft red flags below:

FDIC Risk Management Manual of Examination Policies - Bank Secrecy Act;

FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual and

FFIEC Identity Theft Red Flags – Interagency Final Regulations and Guidelines

Financial institutions should act promptly when they believe fraudulent or improper activities have occurred, such as those of a money mule. Appropriate actions may include, but are not limited to, filing a Suspicious Activity Report and/or closing the deposit account in accordance with existing, board-approved account closure policies and procedures.

Cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC's Cyber-Fraud and

Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-4004, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to Questions related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at

For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's website at To automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit

Sandra L. Thompson


Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

Note: Paper copies of FDIC Special Alerts may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 1-877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200.

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Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Markets, Forecasts & Strategies 2009-2014

Juniper Research, Oct 2009, Pages: 131

Report Cost: $2895.00


  • New 'Sophisticated Financial Services' Segment Included

  • Definitive Reference Source for the Industry

  • Completely Revised & Updated

  • Extensive Forecasting Suite

This report provides a thorough analysis of the key issues and trends influencing the Global Mobile Remittance/Transfers market. The structure and ecosystem of the sector is presented alongside a discussion of the key market trends and player initiatives. Revenue opportunities are identified and clear recommendations made for players in the market.

Four comprehensive forecasting suites are presented that detail the opportunity for national mobile money transfers, international money transfers, sophisticated financial services and global mobile money transfers as a whole. Mobile money transfer users are projected as well as transaction frequencies, size of transactions and their associated values for each of these market segments.

The report looks in detail at the exciting opportunity for improving the lives of the 'great unbanked' around the world as well as identifying opportunities in the developed world. The status and growth potential for the global money transfer market is quantified alongside the analysis of key developments expected over 2009 and 2010 period.

Key questions this mobile money transfer report answers:

  • What is the opportunity for mobile network operators to increase their ARPU?

  • What are the early usage experiences of companies providing these services?

  • Which will be the leading regions in the market in 2014?

  • How many mobile users will make money transfers over the next six years?

What will be typical transaction sizes?

  • How often will users make mobile money remittances?

  • What market traction is forecast for sophisticated financial services such as savings accounts and loans?

Key Benefits:

  • A unique source of analysis for the mobile money transfer market including technologies, market characteristics and forecasts.

  • Practical analysis of emerging opportunities for vendors & operators.

  • Unique insight: includes interviews of leading players with significant experience of the mobile money transfer market.

  • Benefit from fresh thinking and intelligent market assessment.

Key Questions Addressed by this Report:

  • What is the opportunity for mobile network operators to increase their ARPU?

  • What are the early usage experiences of companies providing these services?

  • Which will be the leading regions in the market in 2014?

  • How many mobile users will make money transfers over the next six years?

  • What will be typical transaction sizes?

  • How often will users make mobile money remittances?

Included in the report are profiles and case studies of the key mobile money transfer vendors and applications providers as well as operators and service providers. CxO level interviews provide up to the minute feedback on market developments, market trends and issues viewed from different vendors in the market.

This report also provides a regional analysis of the development of money transfer and remittances and how they might develop in the next five years. The report draws out the key market drivers and constraints for the future of the money transfer market including the impact of the recession on this emerging sector.


Howard Wilcox is a Senior Analyst with Juniper Research and is a regular conference speaker.

Howard has over twenty five years' experience in the Telecommunications sector, including Director of Industry Intelligence at Marconi,. Howard has a BA in Business Administration with French from Loughborough University, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Management Development from Coventry University.

Product samples

A sample for this product is available. Please Login/Register to download this sample.


Press Release:

Over half a billion people to use mobile money transfer services by 2014, according to Juniper Research

Juniper Research report reveals that mobile money transfer is a growth market opportunity despite near term issues

Hampshire, UK – 21st October 2009: According to new analysis from Juniper Research, consumer demand for mobile money transfer services will see users exceed 500 million globally by 2014, principally in developing countries.

Juniper Research’s new report - ‘Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Markets, Forecasts & Strategies 2009-2014’ - also suggests, however, that the many new mobile money services being announced will face political, regulatory or commercial challenges as they bring their services to market.

Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research and lead author, explained: “Every country has different regulatory structures, and its own set of local market conditions that service operators need to plan around. Nonetheless, we see this as a growth market because of the ubiquity and convenience of mobiles which offer realistic prospects of financial service access for those without traditional banking services.”

In developing world economies often only a small percentage of the population has a bank account or a credit card. A larger percentage, however, have a mobile phone or access to one. The reality is that far more people in countries that are underbanked will have used a mobile phone than will have used an ATM or visited a bank branch.

Further findings from the Juniper Research Mobile Money Transfer report include:

• Sophisticated mobile financial services such as loans and savings accounts can add to the attractiveness of mobile money services, and help to reduce mobile operator churn

• Africa & Middle East, Far East & China and the Indian Sub Continent will be the leading regions for national mobile money transfer services in 2014

The report, launched globally today, contains comprehensive six year forecasting for all the key market parameters including users, transactions and values for national and international transfers, and sophisticated mobile financial services.

The Mobile Money whitepaper and further details of the study, ‘Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Markets, Forecasts & Strategies 2009-2014’ can be freely downloaded from the Juniper website.


About Juniper Research

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

For further information

John Levett

Juniper Research

T: +44(0)1256 830 002


Twitter Warns of New Phishing Scam

According to Daniel Ionescu at PC World, FaceBook isn't the only phish in the sea...

is warning users of a new phishing scam spreading through direct messages on the network, which redirect users to a fake log-in page to steal their passwords.

Through its Spam Watch account, Twitter warned: "We've seen a few phishing attempts today (Wednesday); if you've received a strange (direct message), and it takes you to a Twitter log-in page, don't do it!"

The phishing direct messages take the form of: "hi. this you on here? http://blogger.djh****.com" (Part of the hyperlink removed for security). The site that this hyperlink redirects recipients to is designed to grab your Twitter username and password as soon as they are entered. 

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Mobile Money Ventures Collaborates with Citibank to Launch First Mobile Banking Offering From a Foreign Financial Institution in China

Beijing, Oct. 30, 2009 -- Mobile Money Ventures, LLC (MMV), a leading global solutions provider of the next generation of mobile financial services, today announced it is continuing its string of successful deployments in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of a mobile banking solution in China with Citibank. Citi Mobile – the first offering of its kind in the country from a foreign financial institution – allows customers to access and manage their bank accounts using their phone’s mobile browser.

“Citi Mobile is an extension of our commitment to bring our customers innovative services that truly enhance the banking experience,” said Anand Selva, Executive Vice President, Citibank (China) Co., Ltd. “We’re excited to work with MMV to give our customers the ability to securely manage their finances, regardless of time or location.”

Using Citi Mobile, customers can conveniently view their account summary, transfer money and browse the latest product information from most popular mobile devices with Internet browser capabilities, regardless of wireless carrier. The offering is tailored for both English and Mandarin-speaking users. In addition, to ensure that all transactions are secure, the solution utilizes two-factor authentication and no personal information will be cached within the mobile device.

“Our partnership with Citibank China builds on the tremendous success we have had deploying mobile banking solutions across the Asia Pacific region,” said Jayastu Bhattacharya, Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development at MMV. “Our customizable and scalable platform enables MMV to rapidly deploy mobile financial services that build customer loyalty and generate new revenue for our financial institution partners.”

Citi is focused on making strategic investments in technologies such as mobile banking to create value for its customers and partners. In addition to the offering in China, Citi and MMV have worked together to deploy mobile banking services for customers in Hong Kong, the United States, the Philippines and Singapore. The two companies will be announcing additional deployments in Asia, the U.S. and Europe in the coming months.

About Mobile Money Ventures

Mobile Money Ventures, LLC (MMV) is the leading global solution provider of the next generation of mobile financial services applications. Built on the financial services and technology leadership of Citi and SK Telecom, MMV delivers the future of mobile banking with its comprehensive, customizable and secure platform. MMV’s turnkey solution enables financial institutions (FIs), carriers and partners to reduce time to market, leverage new growth opportunities and enhance customer loyalty. MMV is FI and carrier agnostic. Mobile Money Ventures is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more details, visit .

About Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at or . Source: Company press release

Web Marketer Ordered to Pay Facebook $711M damages

Facebook said Thursday a California court has awarded the social networking Web site $711 million in damages in an anti-spam case against Internet marketer Sanford Wallace.

The Associated Press


Facebook said Thursday a California court has awarded the social networking Web site $711 million in damages in an anti-spam case against Internet marketer Sanford Wallace.

Facebook sued Wallace for accessing users' accounts without their permission and sending phony posts and messages. The company said on its blog that in addition to the damage award, the San Jose, Calif., court referred Wallace to the U.S. Attorney's office for prosecution for criminal contempt of court - meaning he could face jail time.

Wallace earned the monikers "Spam King" and "Spamford" as head of a company that sent as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day in the 1990s.

In May 2008, the online hangout MySpace won a $230 million judgment over junk messages sent to its members when a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled against Wallace and his partner, Walter Rines, in another case brought under the federal anti-spam law known as CAN-SPAM. In 2006, Wallace was fined $4 million after the Federal Trade Commission accused him of running an operation that infected computers with software that caused flurries of pop-up ads, known as "spyware."

"While we don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals," said Sam O'Rourke, associate general counsel for Facebook, in a blog posting Thursday. "This is another important victory in our fight against spam."

There was no phone number listed for Wallace in Las Vegas, where he is believed to be living, according to the ruling.

The company said the judgment marks the second-largest anti-spam award ever. In November 2008, Facebook won an $873 million judgment against Adam Guerbuez and his business, Atlantis Blue Capital, who bombarded users with sexually explicit spam messages.

MoneyGram International Reports Third Quarter 2009 Financial Results

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 30, 2009-- MoneyGram International, Inc. (NYSE:MGI), a leading global payment services company, today reported financial results for the third quarter of 2009.

  • Money transfer transaction volume excluding bill payment increased 6 percent, and money transfer fee and other revenue increased 3 percent versus prior year. On a constant currency basis, money transfer fee and other revenue excluding bill payment increased 5 percent versus prior year.

  • Global agent locations reached 186,000, an increase of 15 percent over prior year.

  • Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was $66.6 million versus $75.7 million in the prior year, primarily driven by a $15.8 million decrease in net investment income in the third quarter of 2009.

  • Net loss for the quarter was $18.3 million and EBITDA was $29.3 million. Both EBITDA and net loss were impacted by $37.4 million of significant items in the quarter. These items include a $16.5 million legal accrual for a patent lawsuit; a $6.0 million legal accrual for settlement with the FTC; $9.2 million of stock-based compensation and executive severance; $8.4 million in impairment charges and $2.7 million of net securities gains.

  • Total revenue in the third quarter was $304.5 million, roughly unchanged from $305.0 million in the same period last year. Third quarter 2008 total revenue included net securities losses of $13.3 million and investment revenue that was $25.4 million more favorable compared with 2009.

  • Year-to-date total revenue in 2009 was $875.5 million, up from $608.1 million in the first three quarters of 2008. Year-to-date total revenue in 2008 included net securities losses of $350.8 million and investment revenue that was $101.3 million more favorable compared with 2009.

“In the third quarter we made great progress on our expansion initiatives and on our efforts to actively manage our debt,” said Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram International chairman and chief executive officer. “While our third quarter results were affected by several items, we do not believe that these are reflective of the underlying strength of the business. During the quarter, we saw improved growth in our money transfer business, signed and renewed several key agents around the globe and implemented initiatives focused on reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving efficiencies. I am confident that as a company we are re-energized and collectively taking the right steps to position MoneyGram for long-term profitable growth.”


The Company ended the third quarter with assets in excess of payment service obligations of $410.5 million, and earlier in this month paid down the remaining $45.0 million balance on its revolving credit facility. Over the last six months, the Company has paid down $145.0 million of its outstanding debt.

Market Development

In the third quarter of 2009, the Company continued its focus on expanding its agent network. For example, MoneyGram recently:

  • Expanded its agreement with Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer, to add money transfer services to 22 Carrefour hypermarkets throughout Romania.

  • Renewed a multi-year agreement with Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest private-sector bank, and added 1,000 MoneyGram agent locations to the bank's existing MoneyGram network of nearly 5,000 branches.

  • Signed CUNA Strategic Services in the U.S., to provide 7,900 credit unions with turnkey access to MoneyGram’s global money transfer and bill payment services.

  • Added 2,600 Union Bank of India locations through the Company’s largest super agent, UAE Exchange Financial Services.

  • Added Citi Personal Loans and Citi Mortgage to the Company’s growing list of clients offering customers the convenience of walk-in bill payment services.

  • Expanded MoneyGram’s successful prepaid business with the addition of First Data, Metavante and TxVia, providing consumers with more convenient options to add funds to their re-loadable prepaid cards in MoneyGram's agent locations in the U.S.

“As we move into 2010, we will continue to expand our network and further enhance our product and service offerings thus increasing value and brand loyalty for our customers,” added Patsley. “The adoption of new services, such as mobile text message ‘receive’ notifications and multi-currency payout, coupled with our MoneyGram Rewards global loyalty program, create a formidable platform for growth.”

Global Funds Transfer Results

Total revenue for the Global Funds Transfer segment rose to $285.0 million in the third quarter of 2009 from $279.5 million in the same period last year. Segment results were impacted by a 6 percent increase in money transfer transaction volume excluding bill payment, partially offset by currency valuation changes and a decline in average money transfer fees. The segment reported operating income of $13.7 million, and an operating margin of 4.8 percent in the third quarter. Both operating income and margin were impacted by $27.1 million of the significant items discussed above. Adjusted margin was 14.3 percent.

Money transfer transaction volume excluding bill payment increased 6 percent and revenue increased 3 percent to $235.2 million in the third quarter of 2009 from $228.0 million in the third quarter of 2008. On a constant currency basis, money transfer revenue excluding bill payment improved 5 percent.

Money transfer transaction volume including bill payment was up 4 percent and revenue improved by 2 percent to $266.5 million in the third quarter of 2009 from $260.0 million in the third quarter of 2008. On a constant currency basis, money transfer revenue including bill payment improved 4 percent.

In the third quarter, money transfer transactions excluding bill payment originating in the United States and Canada increased 9 percent. Including bill payment, transactions increased 4 percent in the quarter from the prior year. Transactions originating outside of North America increased 8 percent from the prior year. Spain’s economic downturn continues to impact the Company’s international transaction growth. Excluding Spain, transactions originating outside of North America increased 17 percent from the prior year.

MoneyGram’s transaction volume to Mexico decreased 10 percent in the quarter. However, the Company continued to see positive growth in its domestic U.S. business, and throughout much of Latin America and Canada.

Payment Systems Results

Payment Systems total revenue declined to $18.5 million in the third quarter of 2009 from $25.5 million in the third quarter of 2008. Net revenue in 2009 reflects investment revenue of $5.1 million and a net securities gain of $2.1 million, while 2008 net revenue reflects $26.8 million of investment revenue and $11.2 million in net securities losses and $10.6 million in commission expense. The segment reported operating income of $7.0 million in the third quarter of 2009, up from $1.9 million in the third quarter of 2008. Operating margin improved to 38.0 percent in the third quarter of 2009 from 7.6 percent in the comparable period last year.

Conference Call

MoneyGram International will have a conference call today at 9:00 a.m. ET, 8:00 a.m. CT to discuss its third quarter 2009 results. Pamela H. Patsley, chairman and chief executive officer, and Jeff Woods, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will host the call. The conference call can be accessed by calling 1-877-548-7911 in the U.S. The participant confirmation number is 8914415. A replay of the conference call will be available one hour after the call concludes through 5:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 6, 2009. The replay of the call is available at 1-888-203-1112 for U.S. callers or 1-719-457-0820 for international callers. The confirmation code is 8914415.

About MoneyGram International, Inc.

MoneyGram International, Inc. is a leading global payment services company. The Company's major products and services include global money transfers, money orders and payment processing solutions for financial institutions and retail customers. MoneyGram is a New York Stock Exchange listed company with approximately 186,000 global money transfer agent locations in 190 countries and territories. For more information, visit the Company's website at

First Data Introduces Prepaid Card Loads and Euopean Research

Source: First Data, 29 October 2009

First Data's Star network introduces pre-paid reloads

Global electronic commerce and payments processing leader First Data announced yesterday that its Star Network is the first electronic funds transfer network (EFT) to launch load and reload support for Star-branded general purpose prepaid cards.

First Annapolis estimates that the general purpose prepaid market will reach $170 billion in spend and cash volume by 2012.

General purpose prepaid cards - like First Data's Money Network card -- work just like debit cards, which allow cardholders to make purchases, pay bills, or withdraw cash at millions of locations. The STAR Network has supported general purpose prepaid programs with PIN-secured ATM and POS transactions, and with its biller-direct payment service for many years.

In Related News:

First Data to release new European prepaid consumer research
- From First Data:

For a preview of the research findings, listen to our 10 minute podcast. Also register to receive your executive summary of the research.

Click here to register to receive the executive summary; indicate if you want the summary for retailers or financial institutions.

Click here for the podcast.

ATLANTA – Oct. 29, 2009 – First Data is extending its deep insight into the prepaid market with the publication this month of its brand new consumer research into the prepaid markets in Italy, UK Germany and Austria.

For a preview of the research findings, listen to our 10 minute podcast and register for your executive summary now and indicate whether you would like to receive the summary for retailers or financial institutions.

Our research, which we believe is unique in its depth and scope across five card types, could influence your product and marketing strategies and help you create a more informed business case including:

• What prepaid products to sell by geography and market maturity

• Where to sell them – likely adoption by country

• How to sell them – encouraging propensity to purchase

• How to structure fees

• What value added services to offer

If you would like to receive an executive summary of our research later in November, please send your name, company and email address to and indicate whether you would like to receive the summary for retailers or financial institutions.

About First Data

First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of electronic payment.  Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries. For more information, visit


First Data

Leanne Coote

+44 (0)1268 296367

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Bling Nation Raises Additional $20 Million Bling

Startup Bling Nation raised $20 million in Series B funding from Balderton Capital for their new cell phone payment system.  The startup has raised some major bling as total funding to date now stands at $33 million since its launch in 2007. 

More impressively, the startup has raised $28 of that $33 million since July.  They announced that they had raised $8 million in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Meck and Camp Ventures back on July 1st. 

They market their technology to community banks and to the local merchants surrounding that bank.  They issue their secure stickers with RFID tags that are tied to a customer's account which customers attach to any handset.  The handset is now RFID enabled and can then be swiped near special terminals to purchase physical goods from stores that participate in the "nation." 

Upon completion of the transaction, the purchaser receives an SMS message.

It's an interesting way to approach the market.  I like the approach.  First the community bank, then the community merchants, then the community consumers.  Reminds me of the game of Risk or Stratego only they are doing it one community at a time.

On paper it might look like it would take an awful long time before there is a Bling "Nation" but that's not necessarily true. What they are doing is the equivalent to conducting several mini-pilots at once...and as the results of the pilots trickle in, they're armed with more powerful data/testimonial that it works. (which is probably why they've raised $28 million since July)  This in turn empowers their pheromonial attraction to major strategic relationships.  Interesting...

To see how Bling Nation works, click here for a 27 second video

Facebook hit by Phishing and Online Banking Trojan Combo

From: Help Net Security

Facebook users should be on the lookout for an email threat that is posing as a message from Facebook administrators. The message contains both a phishing scam and a notorious “banking Trojan” virus.

A link within the spam email takes users to a spoofed Facebook login page requesting the user’s Facebook account information. After entering their credentials, users are then prompted to download “updatetool.exe” which is a Zbot Trojan variant.

According to Red Condor’s security experts the spoofed Facebook login page uses in the sub-domain portion of the malicious URL. As a result, people with small screen resolution or small browser windows/address bars size might think they are actually on Facebook’s login page.

The Trojan associated with this threat installs a sophisticated “banking Trojan” that is known to scour the infected hard-drive for personal banking information and various login credentials, as well as perform key logging and other nefarious activities.

Continue Reading

In related news, a Judge Awarded Facebook $711 Million in Damages in Spam Case

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Anti-Spam Phishing Philters Inphiltrated

According to ZDNet Blogs Anti-Spam Philters are useless against Phishing. 

A recently conducted ethical phishing (New study details the dynamics of successful phishing) experiment impersonating LinkedIn by mailing invitations coming from Bill Gates, has achieved a 100% success rate in bypassing the anti-spam filters it was tested against.

The experiment emphasizes on how small-scale spear phishing campaigns are capable of bypassing anti-spam filters, and once again proves that users continue interacting with phishing emails.

More info on the methodology used:

“This scenario was an invitation from Linkedin, posing as an invitation from Bill Gates to join his network. Linkedin was selected due to availability, and the fact that it is a social network recognized by most executives. This selection of Linkedin was also based on the fact that linked-in email should be already identified by most existing email system(s), and this may have helped delivery through into the mailbox. The phishing link can be identified in the HTML source code below.

The Phishing site was based on the Linkedin sign in page. The form action was changed so that the user would be redirected to a subsequent page on our site. No usernames or passwords were collected during this assessment. All targeted users were contacted before the phishing email was sent, and were expecting a Linkedin invitation from Bill Gates.”

Continue Reading at ZDNet Blogs

Cards and Payments Loyalty Conference - Early Bird Expires Today

Cards and Payments Loyalty Conference

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Fiserv Wins "Most Innovative" Presentation Award

Fiserv, Inc., announced today that it was selected as  the winner of the "Most Innovative Case Study Presentation" awarded by attendees at the Financial Technology Insight Summit held in Boston, Mass., September 30 - October 2. Featuring Aperio Customer Analytics from Fiserv, the presentation addressed the need for financial institutions to have a better understanding of customer segmentation, as well as the ability to predict the future behavior of these customers. It showed how banks can create greater relationship value and improve cross selling opportunities by leveraging this information to offer the right products at the right time. Please contact me with additional questions.

- Financial Technology Insight Summit recognizes Aperio Customer Analytics from Fiserv -

Brookfield, Wis., October 30, 2009 - Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced today that it was selected as  the winner of the "Most Innovative Case Study Presentation" awarded by attendees at the Financial Technology Insight Summit held in Boston, Mass., September 30 - October 2. Featuring Aperio Customer Analytics from Fiserv, the presentation addressed the need for financial institutions to have a better understanding of customer segmentation, as well as the ability to predict the future behavior of these customers. It showed how banks can create greater relationship value and improve cross selling opportunities by leveraging this information to offer the right products at the right time. With predictive analytics, institutions can increase the rates of return on inbound and outbound marketing, manage delinquencies and address customer churn and retention - thereby driving profitability through more efficient


Entitled "Using Analytics in Customer Retention and Uplift Marketing Programs" and presented by Carol Cowan, vice president, product management and marketing, Bank Solutions, Fiserv, the case study focused on the use of analytics in customer retention and cross-sell programs. The presentation covered several case studies from organizations using the technology to analyze customer trends and perform uplift modeling. Results indicated that users were able to improve marketing campaign results by 30-300% while decreasing marketing program costs by as much as 40%.

The "Best of Financial Technology Insight Attendee Choice Awards" winners and nominees are chosen solely by the executives attending the Summit - primarily director-level and above technology management positions at top global banks and other financial institutions. "I believe the awards selected by our attendees truly represent the best of the strategic initiatives and new products that are driving growth in the financial services industry," said Bill Sell, vice president and general manager, CrossTech Media.

Fiserv was also nominated in the categories "Best Market Solution", "Best New Technology" and "Best Overall Vendor." Financial Technology Insight Summit is a two-day, invitation-only educational and networking program with structured attendee/sponsor interaction. Award voting takes place on the final day of the program and is based on solutions and product knowledge gained throughout the various educational programs. Twenty-two vendors were in attendance including IBM, Infosys, Harland Financial Solutions and Tata Consultancy Services.  

"Fiserv is honored to receive this recognition from the industry for the innovative use of one of our client growth solutions," said Tony Catalfano, division president, Bank Solutions, Fiserv. "When financial institutions can more effectively reach and understand their customers, they are in a stronger position to succeed and become a leader in their market. With vast market knowledge and global expertise, Fiserv has a commitment to industry-leading quality standards, and ongoing investments to drive innovation and industry transformation."

An example of the Fiserv core competencies in Customer and Channel Management and Data Analytics and Business Insights, Aperio is a next generation customer interaction management solution that provides financial institutions the ability to enable customer centricity. A true multi-channel solution, it integrates and automates business processes and tracks customer interactions across multiple channels. Organizations then have the capability to proactively make decisions about how to proceed with a customer - based on real-time data. The solution is pre-integrated with the Signature(TM) Bank Platform from Fiserv and is also available neutral of core provider. 

Financial Technology Insight is produced by CrossTech Forums, in partnership with IDC Financial Insights.

About CrossTech Forums

CrossTech Forums is a leading producer of highly focused business events that bring C-level executives together with leading and emerging Vendors in Private Boardroom Appointments to form strategic partnerships and secure new business in the technology sector. Additional information about CrossTech Forums can be found at

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is the leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, driving innovation that transforms experiences for financial institutions and their customers. Ranked No. 1 on the FinTech 100 survey of top technology partners to the financial services industry, Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009. For more information, visit

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