Thursday, March 27, 2003

Public transport card in the Netherlands to be made by East-West consortium

Het Financieele Dagblad report that a consortium with Vialis, Accenture, Thales and the Hong Kong public transport company MTRC Corporation has won the bid for the development and introduction of the Dutch public transport system. Contracts will be signed on May 15.

The choice for this consortium will be made public by Trans Link Systems (in which many of the transport companies work together) later today. The system will be a contactless card that replaces the current 'Strippenkaart' (a paper based ticket system).

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Figures for home-banking and on-line behaviour

In general, more and more people go online in the Netherlands. Figure for december 2002 was 9,1 million and January 2003 was 10,1 million. This is quite an increase, which is also notice by the Tax Office in the Netherlands. They promote on-line submission of tax forms and have noticed an increase. The number of 650.000 digital submissions in 2002 rose to 1 million in 2003.

Rabobank has reported an increase of 55 % more customers and now counts more then 1 million Internet savings accounts. As a result 30 % of its savings by customers is now on Internet savings accounts (compared to 21 % at the end of 2001).

ABN AMRO reports 900.000 private customers and 45.000 business customers online.

ING Direct now has 5 million customers and 58 billion euro in savings accounts all over the world (Canada, Germany, US, Italy..).

Sources: Emerce, Automatiseringsgids, FD.

First pilots with chip in public transport in 2004

Automatisering Gids reports that the Minister of Transport will allocate another 10 million Euro for pilots with a chipcard for public transport (to be started in the beginning of 2004). In his letter to Parliament, the Minister explains that the money will not go to the consortium TLS but will be used to gain additional experience with chipcards.

Homeshopping Awards 2003

Last week, we had the home 2003 shopping award ceremony of (sort of like the Oscars, but then to determine the best home-shop). The winners are:

-best Starter (,

-best Catalogue (Conrad Electronic),

-best Webshop (

KPN recived the Innovation award for their product Switchpoint, the promotion of ADSL and the i-mode product. The public also had their say and voted as the best three webshops:




Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Is the Chipknip annoying to tourists...?

Business News Radio today reported on the use of the Chipknip in Rotterdam. Tourists coming to Rotterdam need to buy pre-paid chipknips to be able to park their car. Pre-paid cards can be bought in shops (where consumers pay 10 euro to receive 9 or 7,5 euro on the card) or sometimes from the owner of a tourist attraction (that can sell pre-paid chipknip cards of 10 euro for 10 euro each). Yet, it appears that some toerist attractions (SPIDO) get quite some complaints from tourists that failed to pay for their parked car (and may thus enjoy not only a nice day in Rotterdam but a parking fine as well).

The Rotterdam City Government official was pretty relaxed when interviewed. He explained that before the days of the chipknip, it was more difficult to find working parking meters (due to criminal attempts to open the meters) than now. He also explained that the City Government provided the

See also:

- the website of SPIDO,

- Rotterdam City website on parking,

- the prepaid chipknip website.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Smartcards 'pushing credit card crime to Australia'

Erwin Boogert pointed me to this article by ZDNet News. It reports that fraud moves towards countries with a lot fo magstripes. Amongst which Australia.

Visa Australia, which is seeking to integrate its contact-less chip credit cards with smart card-based state public transport mass ticketing facilities, said Australia was in danger of becoming a main point of card fraud in the Asia Pacific region.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

New York Times on skimming....

The New York Times Technology Section explains all about magnetic stripes and skimming. Including a nice pop up with more details.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Raifeissen Sankt Anton....

Some banks have a particular way of dealing with 'swallowed' debit cards. Yesterday evening I heard the story of a friend of mine who went skiing in Sankt Anton. He needed cash, but as he wanted too much in one time, the transaction was not authorized. So he tries again, but again it doesn't work, he presses cancel. Now his ATM card is swallowed by the machine. As it is still 5.30 he quickly steps inside the bank and claims his card back. The bank people say: "we can't do that right now, you'll have to come back tomorrow."

Next morning at opening time he arrives at the bank. A bank manager explains that his card was not found in the ATM and even goes at length to open up the ATM to demonstrate this. My friend persist that this is impossible but the bank manager also persists. Now my friend calls his bank to report his card missing, block the card en check if any transactions have already occurred. His bank blocks the card, confirms that no transactions have taken place the day before and advises my fried to have a police report drawn up.

Now my friend goes back to the bank manager and says that he needs his name etcetera as he is about to go to the police and file his card as missing. And then.... all of a sudden.... the bank manager goes to his desk, takes out my friends card and says that the card was found after all....

Now either the card has not been swallowed, but someone found it when it came back out of the ATM and brought it back to the bank (or threw it in the banks mailbox) or else we have an interesting case of internal bank fraud ....

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Australians hit by online bank fraud: another e-mail scam

ZDNet reports:

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has revealed that some customers have been tricked into revealing their online banking client numbers and passwords after receiving a spam mail claiming to be from the bank. The message has the subject "Netbank Security Server Update" and asks recipients to reactivate their Netbank accounts. The HTML message grabs a genuine Commonwealth Bank graphic, but the hyperlink that purports to take the reader to the NetBank site actually points to a server identified only by an IP address.

Monday, March 17, 2003

To Micropay or not to Micropay...?, an expert advice web site where knowledge is traded for expert advice or cash announced on March 15 that it is changing its minimum per answer fee from 10 cents to 1 dollar per question or article.

"While we are committed to the micropayment concept" said our CEO, Chris Kalaboukis "The time is not right for micropayments. Internet culture, being what is has become due to the distortion of the first wave of dot.coms, perceives sub-dollar charges close enough to free to be of low value. By increasing the minimum fee, we further differentiate ourselves from free services, and frankly, improve expert response rates by making it worth their while"

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Saturday shopping at the ATM

Saturday morning is the morning that people go out shopping and divide tasks. Now, if you fetch groceries, I'll go to the butcher; those kinds of things. The same goes for money. This morning I was in line just behind a woman that took out two debit-cards and subsequently got some money from her own account and some more from the other/for the husband (using a pin that she is not supposed to know).

Or she had just succesfully robbed someone, but somehow that seemed unlikely to me.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Other blogs: the Start of Fee and Glenbrook page

Here is a link to two other weblogs on retail payments:

1-The Start of Fee: online payments, micropayments, EBPP, web fraud, fee-based tools (by Oliver Travers and Tara Calishain),

2-Payment industry news from Glenbrook (by Scott Loftesness).

Digital inpayment

De Automatisering Gids reports that Dutch banks may introduce a digital form of the acceptgiro. Current solutions by the Postbank and Privver have not yet had sufficient uptake. So it's not sure if the digital inpayment (acceptgiro) really will become the e-billing killer applications.

Yearbook 2003 - ICT of the Social and Cultural Planning Office of the Netherlands

The Social and Cultural Planning Office of the Netherlands has published its Yearbook ICT and society. Among the results:

- the number of people that shop at home increased from 2 % of the popuation in 1998 to 11 % in 2000,

- the share of e-commerce turnover is 0,2 % of the 192,3 billion euro that consumers spend (2000).

Source: Yearbook ICT and Society 2003.

ABN AMRO internet services in the Netherlands

ABN AMRO has held a press conference and presentation see this link in the ABN AMRO Press Room to explain more about ABN AMRO internet services in the Netherlands. The conference coincided with the introduction of new look and feel of the ABN AMRO website.

Some facts:

-they've reduced the number of pages from 3000 to 900,

-more than one million clients use internet banking; these clients have a similar profile as the average ABN AMRO customer,

-the uptake of mobile banking is still very low (see also the article by Peter Olsthoorn).

Download the full powerpoint presentation here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

A Possible Legal Framework for the Single Payment Area in the Internal Market

I'm not sure if I mentioned this link before, so this may be a duplication. Still here is the link to the EU pages on the Commission consultation and responses with respect to the topic of a unified legal framework for the Single Payment Area in the Internal Market.

There may be some more legislation ahead, which would not bode well for those payment service providers in countries that at the moment do not have any such legislation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Internetsales increases 77 percent

Emerce reports that the on-line sales value in the Business to Consumer segment in the Netherlands has increased with 77 percent to an amount of 980 miljoen euro. These are the results of research by Blauw and A total number 2,9 million Dutch inhabitants are now buying online.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Attempting to fraud Paypal owners

Webwereld reports. Some Paypal owners last week received a mail that looked as if it was sent by Paypal. The mail asked users to send their personal details and credit card numbers to an e-mail address in Russia. So it was a scam.

Regular Paypal users confronted with scam or spam may go to this page on the Paypal website and report their experience/questions.

Postbank temporarily slower in processing credit-transfers

The Financieele Dagblad reports that the processing time for inpayments and credit-transfers of the Postbank is lengthening due to the introduction of new work automated work methods. What usually takes one day (encoding the payment) now requires two to three days. On average a number Postbank processes 400.000 of these payment orders a day. The delay is now three to 4 days.

The Postbank also informs its customers on the website and underlines that the delay is only related to payment orders via the regular mail. Payments through its e-banking system (Girotel) and IVR (Girofoon) are not affected.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Focus-in and payment with Switchpoint

Planet Multimedia reports about the failure of dating site Focus-in to apply the payment product Switchpoint with succes. The business model required single-payment for each reacting to other candidates. Other dating sites use a different model in which candidates need to apply for at least one month and pay using a direct debit.

I guess this 'failure' is more about business models than about payment issues.

Ministry of Finance responds to questions on cost and price of cash distribution..

The Minister of Finance today published his reply to questions of MP Crone. These questions were asked because banks increased their fees for depositing coins. And their reason for doing so was that the Minister of Finance stopped subsidizing the coin distribution in the Netherlands.

In the reply to MP Crone it becomes clear that in the future we will be confronted more and more with European rules that specify that government bodies that are active in the market, may not be subsidised and must use cost-+ based pricing models. The result will often be an increase of fees and prices for the intermediairy and end users.

This may sound negative. But the benefit is that any market player that knows how to do it cheaper, may step up to offer its services, without undue/false competition of a government sponsored entity.

Contactless Payment White Paper

Contactless Payment White Paper.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Securicor may take over Geldnet

according to the announcement on the NMa website.

Increase the trust in e-commerce by quality labels..

At a workshop on quality labels, Haitze Siemers, European Commission, Deputy Head of Unit, DG SANCO held a talk with the title:

Trustmarks for e-commerce - ensuring consumer confidence – Proposal for a Commission Recommendation

It turns out that the Commission may be recommending common guidelines for trustmarks. If these recommendations are not sufficiently followed up by market players, a directive may follow. But then again, let's first await the recommendation.

Another pin-fraud ...

Trouw and Volkskrant report today that 72 customers of a gas station in Doetinchem have become the victim of another skimming attack (that took place on 5 and 6 February). Banks will pay the damages and have replaced the cards. The police goes for the thieves.

An earlier article by the Volkskrant tells about a conviction for a thieve that swiped the cards in April last year. The criminal, an employee of the gas station, only got convicted to sit 4 months in jail (of which 2 on probation), 60 hours of working punishment and 2 years conditional freedom (if he does it again he will be punished tougher...).

Now that seems to me too much of a light-weigth approach to prevent these annoying crimes.

Mobile Mokum desires e-money parking in Amsterdam

Het Parool reports that one of Amsterdam's local political parties (Mobiel Mokum) suggests the introduction of e-money payments for parking. The political party refers to examples in Nijmegen and Rotterdam and proposes the introduction of separate pre-paid cards for parking. As for the financial element: Mobiel Mokum believes that cost of terminal management may go down and also that some money can be made by sponsorship logo's on the face of the card.

I am not sure if I understand the proposal correctly. Cities are already in a position to buy pre-paid chipcards from Interpay and sell these to the public. So I assume the proposal is to make cash payments impossible. Yet, city regulations make it hard to impose a single payment system throughout the city. So there may be some more discussion and negotiations ahead before this suggestion becomes reality.

On the air... direct debit via Internet

Local news station RTV Noord Holland had a customer complaint with respect to an unjustified direct debit. Mw Dobbe found that an unknown company debited her account. Instead of phoning to her bank she phoned the company (Volat BV Kadopost... for 0,45 euro per minute....). They promised a payment reversal but did not live up to their promise.

RTV Noord Holland phoned the company to enquire. The company explained that the payment was made as a result of an Internet-direct debit and that the Postbank had made an error. Also on the phone line was Gijs Boudewijn of the Dutch Association of Banks. He explained that no such thing as an Internet direct debit existed (yet), because it turns out that such systems may be error prone. RTV Noord Holland made Volat promise to reverse the payment, which they did.

Later on another customer complained about a similar debit off their account. The direct debit was, upon request, reversed immediately. So, this was an example were the direct debit procedure worked fine. Still RTV and the customer felt that banks should not have designed the direct debit system that it requires consumers to take action if anything goes wrong. Mr Boudewijn continued to explain that with almost 1 billion payments via the direct debit procedure, the costs were as low as possible. But banks will be seeking for improvements and a solution for direct debits over the Internet.

See also my proposal to solve this: 3D-liability shift for acquiring banks. And maybe it is an idea to charge companies that make errors in these procedures, an administrative fine of 25 euro for the payment reversals/chargebacks. It helped for credit-cards, should also work for other products.

Monday, March 03, 2003

60 customers' a day...

... line up at the offices of the central bank to deposit their guilders. And another 60 letters per day are being sent with the same request: exchange these old notes for new euro's. Newspapers inform us that these 60 customers need to wait quite long when they are in the queue....

Saturday, March 01, 2003

It's all about money....

... was one of the records in the radioprogramme Boei made by the local news station Rijnmond. Being Rotterdam born/bred I had the pleasure to visit my hometown to participate, together with Bart Jacobs, in a one hour discussion about payments, security, the future of money. Of course in one hour, we could only scratch the surface of these topics, but I hope it was as enjoyable for the audience as for us in the studio.