Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Today also marks the end of an era (1992-2004) in which drs. J. Koning was the executive director of De Nederlandsche Bank NV, responsible for payment systems and retail payments. Under his guidance the central bank stepped into the time of the Euro; new systems (TARGET) were built and the bank started supervising electronic money in all its forms. Also DNB reported on the structure of retail payments (advising a better governance structure for Interpay) and further trimmed down the work force in cash handling.
Posted by Simon on 4:24 PM | link
Contopronto sells its technology to Saudi Arabian Company Zafa
What I think has happened here is that Contopronto has wrongly assumed that its Norwegian license as an e-money issuer would allow the use in all EU-countries. Having boasted about this in the media, the bank supervisor may now have informed Contopronto about the proper scope of their license (local at first, international only after notification of other bank supervisors in Europe).
Posted by Simon on 9:46 AM | link
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
First World Retail Banking Report demonstrates local banking playing field
- banking is still a local business in EU-countries, with considerable cost for banking/payments,
- each country knows a delicate balance between banking sector, merchants, consumers and regulators,
- pricing information is widely available and consistent on a loca scale but international comparisons are quite hard.
The interesting thing is that the study also indicates that this local situation will not quickly change. If so, it would most likely be large players such as ING that may do so by introducing new and cheaper services upon entering different markets. Hans Verkoren, responsible for ING Direct is quoted to have said that ING might -given the 9,1 million customers of ING Direct- consider offering payment facilities as well.
In fact such a choice appears imminent. All over on TV we can now see ads for ING Cards. It would appear quite sensible that this infrastucture will also be used to enter other markets.
Posted by Simon on 11:38 AM | link
Monday, March 29, 2004
New release of Interpay Internet cash register for banks...
- support for Mastercard Securecode and Verified by Visa,
- layered login (allowing merchants to use more than a single username/password and create their own sub-users/profiles for the internal treasurer, the customer care employee etc),
- more detailed reporting of transactions, more language options,
Interpays technology is now in use by banks such as TWYP, ABN AMRO, BNG. Rabobank however has built its proprietary Internet cash register. And there are of course other providers such Bibit, Ogone, Triple Deal, Global Collect etc. Their offerings are sometimes based on using Interpays back-office or on the use of independent international acquiring agents.
The respective websites of these players are quite different in terms of transparancy on features/fees etc. For those who want to do a quick tour of the webinfo on cash registers and payment service providers:
- Abn Amro,
- Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten,
- The Way You Pay (ING Bank),
- Global Collect,
- Triple Deal,
- Netgiro Nederland,
- ontwikkelaar Chess met PURE transactie techniek,
- Virtual XS.
Posted by Simon on 3:53 PM | link
So would really no one fall for this? Imagine that only 1 in a million users in the Netherlands would fall for this one there will be about 3 or 4 account data collected.
Update: only 5 mails later in the same mailbox another try. This time the link is: http://fun4girls.risp.biz/cp/scripts/guestbook-doc/.ego/acct/acct.html.
Posted by Simon on 1:17 PM | link
Payments and Settlements News, nr 4 is out
On the Epso website there is also a discussion on on-line payment instruments by Roland Uittenbogaard of the Dutch central bank, In it I particularly like the following obvservation:
Presumably, there will never be a single standard payment product satisfying all payment needs, just as there currently are several payment products alongside each other, satisfying different needs. Transactions involving different products and services go hand in hand with different ways of paying for them.
And the more diplomatic central-bankerish statement:
The manner in which the [electronic money, SL] Directive is to be implemented has not fully crystallised across Europe (or indeed in the Netherlands).
Posted by Simon on 12:56 PM | link
Friday, March 26, 2004
Dutch most satisifed with their bank (but don't feel it that way...)
I think the Dutch people may be sitting too much on the penny. KPMG's research also shows that of all nationalities the Dutch are most negative about the euro (73 % says that it has not been beneficial). So my hypothesis is that the Dutch are overly sensitive to direct pricing. As a result the comparatively cheap banking sector appears to be too expensive and the Euro is viewed as a failure.
Posted by Simon on 2:12 PM | link
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Paypal coming to the Netherlands..?
Posted by Simon on 5:14 PM | link
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
MP demand free and transparent payment services
Posted by Simon on 5:31 PM | link
Eastern Europe source of false Euro-notes
Posted by Simon on 3:42 PM | link
Collecting with chipknip not a success yet
Now it could be that people just don't want to spend money. But perhaps the collections would have ben more succesfull in cities with obligatory chipknip-use for parking (such as Rotterdam). I hope this will not mean the end of this idea; as it is safer it does deserve another try.
Posted by Simon on 11:23 AM | link
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Goodbye Interpay, hello Trans Link Systems... ?
Now the interesting thing is that until this month, we had a real monopoly in transporting debit-card authorisations. This was all done by Interpay and merchants had to have a contract with Interpay. This led to a lot of complaints on the monopoly structue and fees involved. Having studied this structure, the central bank advised that the system should become more open; a second processor should be allowed and merchants would no longer need to have a contract with Interpay but with their bank. This change took effect this month.
But with TLS we will see a comeplete copy of the old Interpay monopoly structure emerging for public transport companies, using the TLS_payment system. Except for one different detail. Although indeed there is a monopoly, the shareholders of TLS have agreed that the maximum return on investment for shareholders will be 10 %. So if profits of TLS are larger it should show up in lower fees....
Posted by Simon on 6:11 PM | link
Trust in e-commerce
Trust is not the only factor deterring the EU's consumers from shopping online. A majority (57%) does not buy on the Internet simply because they have no access to it.
Posted by Simon on 5:13 PM | link
AOL launches on-line bill payment
Posted by Simon on 4:30 PM | link
Monday, March 15, 2004
A media dilemma rather than a payment crisis...
Having read the book and all the technical errors it contained, I decided not to spend a lot of time in this blog on his whereabouts (see this serie of blog-entries and this last conclusion). But I discovered that in general the Dutch media are so keen on getting more readers/viewers and audience, that they do not check their sources properly and that they are unable to view the ethical dillema they face.
Let us have a look at the real dillema. The main objection of Schirris to the Dutch direct debit and acceptgiro system is that is built on trust. It is because of that trust that we are able to process about 1 million direct debits and 250 million inpayments quite efficiently. And only some criminals and fraudsters (such as Fons S) deliberately seek to take advantage of consumers, banks and enterprises collectively. So they (try to) insert false payments into the payment system. And although this does economical damage to all players concerned and can be considered an act of violence, the media are happy to jump into the story and give such fraudsters quite some attention.
Now what is the media dilemma? The dillemma is that, due to the publications in other media, I am obliged to spend some time on this weblog on this theme, as it is my goal to report about all stuff that happens in the Dutch payment industry. Similarly other reporters and news shows may face a 'need' to report on this issue. But I would personally rather not spend any time/space on this issue at all. Research of the central bank (download here) has already shown that there are no serious security issues. So we need not be concerned.
The real thing happening here is that Schirris, as an (alleged) fraudster, is involved in legal proceedings and has apparently decided to fight back with all (publicity) means possible. So reporters may want to steer clear from this man and his musings and realize the ethical component of their role.
If anyone would come up to newspapers with a story that he can disrupt traffic in society completely by throwing stones from a number of viaducts above important highways onto all the cars in traffic, such a person would be:
Now, if the media would not take such a person seriously (nor provide him a voice that would increase his possibility to find supporters for his plan), why should they spend any time on the digital equivalent presented by Schirris?
Posted by Simon on 8:09 PM | link
Friday, March 12, 2004
Mailed credit-cards as basis for web-scam
In the Netherlands this does not work, given that new credit-cards need to be activated before use. But other countries work differently. The result is that the webshop owner believes he can deliver services but is faced with a chargeback a couple of weeks after the transaction (when the legitimate card holders see a transaction they did not do).
Now, although the credit-card companies have such conditions that the shop owner pays the losses of the chargeback, we might wonder if the legal basis for doing so is not getting a little weak. Mail fraud with credit-card has been around so long that it could be considered best practice to have a separate activation procedure. Why should the merchant pay if an issuing bank is too sloppy in its issuing procedure?
I think that, although some of the merchant may have been somewhat naive, they might have a legal case and may hold the issuing bank responsible. Meanwhile everyone is best advised not take any large-value orders from Indonesia or Russia without sufficient risk assessment. Or choose a procedure in which irrevocable payment by money transfer precedes delivery.
Posted by Simon on 1:45 PM | link
Charity donations by Chipknip
Posted by Simon on 1:28 PM | link
Citychip uses loyalty-concept as a means of payment
Although the concept of loyalty points and payment has already been tested and proved to work for gas stations it is now expanding. And as long as consumer get the points for free we have an electronic means of payment that is not electronic money, but may work as such for payment.
Reason being that the legal definition of electronic money is narrower than the economic definition (anything electronic that is being used as a means of payment). The legal definition aims at tackling all electronic money-products where the consumer first gives away money (loading a purse) to later spend it. Thus, the money of the consumer is protected. If however the retailer provides electronic points as a gift, it is not considered electronic money.
By the way, let's not underestimate this payment market. In Germany more payments are being made with electronic 1l1oyalty-points than with the e-purse.
Posted by Simon on 1:25 PM | link
Rabobank starts promoting services via i-mode
Posted by Simon on 11:23 AM | link
Dutch e-commerce in 2003
The most lucrative segment in the market is the travel domain (€ 520 million euro) with hard en software (app 160 million euro) and consumer electronics (app. 140 million euro) as runner-up. It is most likely that the entertainment sector (ticketing) has made the 100 million euro benchmark.
Posted by Simon on 11:18 AM | link
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The cost of payments: a balancing act
Quite some time was spent on the discussion of costs in retail payments, Euro-falsifications and solutions to make payment systems in the Netherlands more efficient. And at the end of the conference, central bank director Jaap Koning presented the results of joint research (done by the Social Platform on Payments) into the costs of retail-payments at the point of sale.
In brief, the costs amount to 2,9 billion Euro in 2002, with a considerable potential for savings if we use the debitcard for payments of a value of € 11,63 and more and chipknip for the lower value payments. See the full report (in Dutch) at the DNB-website.
Essentially the conference may have been a break-through on the old fee-for-payment transactions discussion. Even the Consumer Union was willing to discuss under which conditions introduction of fees could best be done. So we may look forward to a complicated but successful balancing act on this issue.
Posted by Simon on 9:57 AM | link
Cards & Financial Service of Vendex/KBB expands....
Posted by Simon on 9:32 AM | link
Monday, March 08, 2004
Designation of Visa Debit Card Scheme in Australia
Following a decision by the Payments System Board, the Reserve Bank has today designated the debit card scheme operated in Australia by Visa International as a payment system under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998. Designation is the first step in the possible establishment of standards and/or access regimes for a payments system.
Once again Visa faces a road of next steps (research, hearings, questionairre etc). So they may choose to go that road and await the decision of the RBA on interchange fees, honour all cards rule, access regime etc. But they could also skip the proceedings and determine/implement the appropriate end result:
- lower interchange fees,
- elimination of honoud all cards and no surcharge rules,
- open access to Visa system.
Given that the RBA's work provides us with a lot of solid research and analysis, I actually look forward to the Australian proceedings. It may cost a lot of work, time and effort, but the result is exemplary for regulators all over the world.
Posted by Simon on 3:23 PM | link
Mobile operator and leading banks in Norway launch mobile cash
Loading the wallet requires a transfers between the consumer's bank account and the mobile wallet. This is done free of charge. The minimum sum that must be loaded is five euros, and the maximum mobile balance can be 400 euros.
Compared with existing SMS payment systems, the major difference in the new system is that the payments are not made via the consumer's mobile phone bill. Many Finns with mobile phones as a prequisite are not allowed to purchase personal services with their mobile phones.
The announcement in my view demonstrates the inevitable trend towards bank-based sms-payments.
Posted by Simon on 10:16 AM | link
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Target phasing out "smart" Visa cards
In 4 years time we'll know if this decision was:
1-accurate, given that RFID or mobile phones will take over,
2-wrong, as the programme was introduced too early....
My guess would be that it's a smart move to move away from smart.
Posted by Simon on 11:01 PM | link
Brands & Licenses for chip and pin services
Posted by Simon on 5:06 PM | link
Sign here for cash back please
Posted by Simon on 1:15 PM | link
Ship registration with SMS in Amsterdam
Posted by Simon on 12:00 PM | link
Online Postbank gets a lot of customers
Posted by Simon on 11:55 AM | link
RFID Tags in New US Notes Explode When You Try to Microwave Them
Posted by Simon on 10:33 AM | link
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
ERG steps out of contact chip cards
The new chief executive of struggling technology group ERG yesterday officially ended the company's costly push to be a world leader in smart cards and promised to focus on its core public transport ticketing business.
So much for contact-chip as the e-purse of the future?
Posted by Simon on 1:08 PM | link
Single number to report lost and stolen cards
The proposal to establish a single number is linked to possible future EU legislation aiming to create a Single Payment Area. To prepare the ground for this, in December 2003 the Commission issued a Communication on a "new legal framework" for payments in the Internal Market, seeking views from consumers and businesses (see this link).
The proposal is a perfect example of the estethics paradox in policy making. This paradox (first observed and outlined by yours truly in a presentation for a financial markets policy makers course) tells us that if you give policy makers a desk and a vague job description, the first thing they do is make an overview of the world. Then they discover the confusing reality of multitudes of systems and solutions. And then they immediately jump to the conclusion that a single policy is desired. Or for that matter, a single phone number for lost and stolen cards.
Meanwhile the policy makers forget to answer more relevant questions such as:
- is there a problem in practice and what is the size of the problem?
- who is the problem owner: the market or government?
- are there indications that, if a problem would exist, the market is not going to solve it?
- if government or regulatory intervention is required, which is the most appropriate form that does most justice to the roles of market and government?
Instead they go about finding backing for their theoretical and esthetic plan(s). In this case they seek an alliance with the public, who can fill in a questionairre here. Still us EU-citizens are not allowed a single character of free open response to further detail any objections to the questions asked.
So is there nothing positive to mention here? I guess there is. We should all be happy that the EU policy makers didn't conceive and consult us on the real solution to all their esthetical/observer problems: fast track regulation to ensure that each EU-citizen gets one single card for all payments, issued for free by one single European bank.
Posted by Simon on 11:30 AM | link
Monday, March 01, 2004
Tax payment no longer free of charge... the end of cash as we know it
Now, what's relevant here, is the fact that government starts charging for cash. This can be no other than the beginning of the end of cash as we know it. How can such a government demand that other players in the market (banks, retailers) do not charge for the use of cash (or worse: continue providing payment services for free)? Or as we say: if there's one sheep over the fence, others will follow soon.
The end-result will be that in five years time we will actually see quite a number of retailers and banks agressively steering towards non-cash payments. The security and cost issues for those who handle cash will eventually lead to a proper pricing and elimination of this previously government sponsored product. And the losers in the game, the central banks, will undoubtedly find other ways to generate income (via direct or indirect taxes).
Posted by Simon on 4:42 PM | link
Interpay cuts jobs and will sell giro-services
-350 of the 1750 employees will lose their job but get an offer to do something else,
-300 of the 1750 employees will move to either synsis or paysquare or the company that will take over giro-processing,
-1050 full time equivalent employees will remain to do mostly electronic processing,
-the credit-card acquiring activities will be done by a daughter company Paysquare.
Posted by Simon on 3:46 PM | link
Simpay goes for € 1 billion digital content market
Posted by Simon on 1:05 PM | link
Current weblog List of publications
Retail payments are still very much influenced by local conventions, regulations etc.....
Readers should not base any decision on the basis of the information provided in this weblog.
This weblog serves as an archive of public events in retail payments. It is an individual account which should not be construed as a formal viewpoint of any organisation.
Copyright Simon Lelieveldt
Feel free to copy, paste or use this log but always mention the author and URL (http://www.simonl.org/blogger.htm)