Sunday, July 31, 2005

Postbank installs instore ATM's at retailer Albert Heijn

Today news came out that Postbank installs in-store ATM's in all shops of retailer Albert Heijn. Fun thing is that the cash withdrawals will be free to the consumer. Yet, if non-Postbank customers take out cash, their own bank will renumerate Postbank a service fee. And that is an interesting driver behind all this.

Now let's take a look at the future. It is not unlikely that eventually Dutch banks end up doing the same as the Belgians. Which is to leave atm-withdrawals in the home-bank ATM for free, while pricing those at other banks. So that leads to a renewed battle between banks, that will all want their own ATM in good places in order to provide their customer the best service possible.

Commission publishes draft Regulation to fight terror

Immediately after the september attacks in New York, US regulators found the leverage to impose, by means of the FATF, a set of draconic rules. These would mean that all payment transfers had to be accompanied by the name/address of the payer. This measure against fraud/terror is of course useless. Who expects that B.Laden from Pakistan will send money in his own right...?

Still, such things then continue to become a rule in their own right. And US and EU have agreed to implement the so called Special Recommendation Number 7 (wire transfers). And, given the current UK chairmanship of Europe, and the bombs going off in London, UK decided to step up the pace. Consequently the Commission published its draft regulation this week; in mid-summer.

Meanwhile, Dutch government published a report on underground banking, undercutting the regulations completely. Conclusion: there is not much to be done to get these organisation to follow the regular bank rules. So if any terrorist needs to get his money somewhere, it'll get there...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Payments and Settlements News Nr 23 is out

See this 23rd edition with news on:
-Paypal expanding to China
-the European Association of Payment Service Providers for Merchants
-E-Invoicing in Europe – Standardisation efforts at the European level
-Changes in the cash infrastructure as announced by the US Feds.
- and much much more

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Digital Dutch bill paying in 2006...

Trouw reports that four large banks (Rabo, ABN AMRo, ING and Postbank) have chosen to introduce the digital bill payments. Currently, most Dutch bills are paid by so-called: acceptgiro. Payment of these bills requires people to do a 16-digit data-entry per payment.

TPG Post, which set up the digital bil payment via Privver, is the partner in this set-up. The new functionality will mean that people will find their bills electronically prepared in their home-banking internet-application. So payment will then be quite easy.

Oyster - London aims to incorporate low value payments to travel card

Digital Media Europe: News reports that Transport for London aims to incorporate low value payments to its Oyster travel card. It has announced that the potential partners for developing this e-money capacity are: Alphyra; Barclays; BBVA/Accenture/MTR/Octopus; EDS/JPMorgan; Nucleus/Dexit/Ericsson/Hutchison 3G UK/Euroconex; Paypal and RBS. These companies may negotiate with Transport for London over provision of the proposed service this summer.

TfL aims to incorporate e-money to its contactless ticketing and payment smart card, Oyster, allowing holders of the card to use it to make low value payments for goods and services at news agents, parking machines, fast-food restaurants, supermarkets and other locations where the transaction speed is important and cash is inconvenient.

TfL expects to confirm a partner by the end of the year and aims to commence trials for Oyster e-money in late 2005 or early 2006.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Europe to review e-money rules.....

Finextra reports that the European Commission is to review e-money rules. This is just as scheduled. There are only some minor glitches here.

First of all, the last three years should be the years in which all players in the e-money world were to be properly supervised. But the commission struck a deal with mobile operators so these would be exempted from the regulation. As a result, many small innovative companies (for whom the directive meant to establish a level playing field to compete with banks) went out of business, leaving basic only the bigger guys (Paypal) in the e-money market. See also this website of former Dutch m-payment players, which apparently documents the rise and fall of non-bank, non-telco m-payments providers in the Netherlands.

So while the Commission is keeping up appearances and pretending that this is an official evaluation, the only question that remains is which trick they will pull to ensure the competitive advantage of mobile operators in the m-payment business.

Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy words can thus only be viewed as a major cover up. Should we really believe this:
'I am personally committed to ensuring that the Directives we adopt fulfil their objectives and improve the functioning of the single market. Should the evidence prove that this is not the case, we will not hesitate to take decisive action.'

Time will tell...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Datadump at ESCB: P&S news 22

Issue No 22 of Payments and Settlements News is a major linkdump which covers (1) payment and settlement systems oversight issues; and (2) financial stability issues; and which provides (3) links to payment statistics.

To balance all the central banking oriented stuff (claiming that oversight is required for financial stability... bla bla bla) I'd like to point the readers to these remarks made at the St. Louis Banking Conference by Professor George Kaufman:
I also come from the perspective that "systemic risk" in banking is not a threat and has not been a great danger in world history. It is a scare term, much like the use of the word "fire" in a crowded theater. Systemic risk is used shamelessly by regulators to justify their own actions, and by novelists and movie script writers to provide plots for horror stories. This is my bottom line, and if I had two hours I could go on and give you all the evidence.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Chipcard only in parking meters is not a (legal) problem

The highest Dutch Court rules last week that city councils are allowed to place parking meters that only accept Chipknip-payments. There is no need that these parking meters accept cash, as long as the cities comply with the rule to have separate pre-paid chipcards on sale near the parking meters.

The ruling corrects an erronoues judgment of a lower court. And it also puts aside an advice of the legal council to the court. Both these incorrect legal findings made the public believe that there would be a legal requirement to accept cash at all times. Yet, this is however a common misconception.

In general there is no requirement to accept cash, provide one states it beforehand. An additional rule for government entities is that, as far as it concern a payment of tax, sufficient ways exist to pay with cash (or use cash to buy a pre-paid chipcard nearby).

I'm glad that the High Court made this one clear once and for all.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Conference "Past and Future of Central Bank Cooperation"

The BIS publishes the proceedings of the Conference "Past and Future of Central Bank Cooperation" held: 28 - 29 June 2005. The conference was held to mark the 75-years existence of the BIS.