SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank abandon plans to charge customers a fee for using their debit cards

SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank have joined the growing list of banks that have abandoned plans to charge customers new fees for using their debit cards. Wells Fargo and Chase announced earlier their plans to skip on their original plans to ding customers.

That puts Bank of America alone among the giants sticking to plans to charge customers $60 annually for the privilege of using their debit cards – at least for now.

The marketing blunder became a feeding frenzy for credit unions, some who’ve seen new account activity grow over 250% since the fees were announced.

Mobile Payments for Physical Goods to Exceed $170bn Globally by 2015

A new report by Juniper Research forecasts that the gross merchandise transaction value of mobile payments for physical goods will exceed $170 billion worldwide by 2015. This is nearly triple the $60 billion forecast for 2011.

Juniper Research found that initial growth had been fuelled by a dramatic upsurge in retail apps in the wake of the consumer smartphone explosion. However, there was an increasing industry awareness of the need to enable an integrated shopping experience within the wider context of a fast expanding eCommerce market, thus enabling seamless access to retail sites across multiple devices.

Senior analyst David Snow explained: "Our research for this report underlined the importance of mobile as an extra channel to market, but Juniper believes that mobile campaigns must be tightly linked to print, online and store based campaigns to ensure consistency of customer experience. Increasingly people will browse on one device such as a PC and then buy from another such as a smartphone."

However, the Juniper report also advises that vendors need to innovate unceasingly as the market develops and becomes more competitive.

Further key research from the mobile payments report shows:

· The market will gain further momentum in the medium term following the increasing deployment of POS (point of sale) solutions to facilitate in-store cashless transactions.

· Retailers have observed a marked uplift in average transaction value
when cash is replaced by a mobile payment method.

The report uses an innovative quadrant approach to compare the positioning of some 17 mobile payments vendors. These vendors are also profiled in the report, allowing the reader to pinpoint their strategies. The forecasts provide detailed five year regional data for mobile payments for digital & physical goods, showing key parameters which include subscriber take-up, transaction sizes and volumes. Also revealed are the strategies used to enable consumers to pay by mobile through case studies from companies such as Brooks Brothers and Danal.

The whitepaper: ‘The Goods, the Payment and the Mobile!’ and further details of the new mobile digital and physical goods study can be freely downloaded from the Juniper website.

SOURCE: Juniper Research Limited

Neiman Marcus to accept Visa and MasterCard

Neiman Marcus has been one of the few retailers refusing to accept Visa and MasterCard. Until now, the company to accepts only the upscale chain’s branded credit card, American Express or cash, a practice that has faded into history among virtually all retail stores. Starting Nov. 1, the company will accept Visa and MasterCard at all 41 of its store locations.

Quote of the Day: “Bank of America drove more members into our branches than I ever could.”

“Bank of America drove more members into our branches than I ever could,” Marc Wilensky, vice president of marketing at Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, said applications to join the Germantown-based credit union shot up 59 percent, to 262, this month, compared to a year ago because of the consumer outrage over Bank of America’s decision to charge customers $60 a year for using debit cards.

The Wireless Wallet: Revolution or Pointless Gizmo?

The Atlantic Magazine reports on the Wireless Wallet. In this article, banks, restaurants, and retailers of all kinds have a plan to sell you everything from your next meal to your next mortgage, all from the comfort of your cell phone. McKinsey’s Dave Edelman and Jack Stephenson, head of mobile marketing and e-commerce at JPMorgan Chase, recently sat down to talk about the future of mobile marketing. Read the interview: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/10/is-the-wireless-wallet-a-revolution-or-a-pointless-gizmo/247365/

Nokia unveils its first Windows Phones – the Lumia 800 and 710

Nokia unveiled its first Windows Phone devices – the Lumia 800 and 710 – as well as a range of feature-phones aimed at developing markets. The new Windows Phones run on the 7.5 version of the Microsoft OS (a.k.a. Mango). These are the first products from the Microsoft partnership announced last February.
The Lumia 800, with a 3.7-inch screen, is powered by a 1.4Ghz processor with hardware acceleration and graphics processor. It has HD video capability, 16GB of internal memory and access to 25GB of online storage via Microsoft’s SkyDrive.
The Lumia 710 is a basic version but still features a 1.4Ghz processor. Both Lumia devices will be available in November in selected markets worldwide.

Quote of the day: “We don’t currently believe that NFC as a payment technology is likely to improve either the merchan t’s experience or the buyer’s experience,”

Square is betting that consumers will choose its system over near field communications, which lets phones function like credit and debit cards by waving them in front of a reader. The process requires customers to take out a phone and place it near a reader, much like they already do with a credit card, Chief Operating Officer Keith Rabois said in an interview.

“We don’t currently believe that NFC as a payment technology is likely to improve either the merchant’s experience or the buyer’s experience,” he said.

US Bank will not charge customers for debit card usage

US Bank has announced it will not charge customers for debit card usage, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

US Bank predicts revenue will decrease by $300 million annually due to the new swipe fee caps. Even so, spokesman Tom Joyce said the new debit charges are not justified.

“We really don’t think that turning around and instituting a fee right now is the right move. Obviously, we were against the debit interchange law that passed,” Joyce said. “But moving forward we’re not just going to simply turn around and institute a fee at this point.”

Bank of America plans to assess a $5 monthly debit charge for purchases made via debit. Wells Fargo is also testing debit fees in various states.