Financial Insights Predicts Shift in Payment Methods

FRAMINGHAM, MA – APRIL 12, 2007 – Global independent research and advisory firm Financial Insights, an IDC company, long known and respected for its market research offerings focused exclusively on the financial services industry, announced today the results of an extensive consumer survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults revealing their usage of a variety of new and emerging payment methods. This year, the results reinforced Financial Insights' predictions from 2006, particularly the downward shift in the use of closed-loop (single merchant) gift cards, indicating a shift to open-loop (multi merchant) gift cards, the rapid adoption of online payment security systems, and the decline in the influence of rewards programs in card usage outside of a niche demographic.

The report discusses new developments; in particular, consolidator bill payment overtook biller direct in total number of users (although probably not yet in total number of bills paid). And Financial Insights recommends that core processors and outsourcers should continue to invest in prepaid cards, particularly gift cards, incentive cards (which also showed good usage, with 30.6% participation), payroll cards, and benefit cards. Core processors are in a uniquely strong position with regard to health benefit cards because they can spread the costs of developing relationships with pharmacies and benefit administrators over all of their financial institution clients. All of these prepaid products are poised for rapid growth.

"The results of this survey defy conventional wisdom in several respects, compelling financial institutions, vendors, and merchants to reconsider their investment strategies," states Aaron McPherson, research director, Payments. McPherson also suggest that online merchants that do not support Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode should seriously reconsider their position as the technology has drastically improved over the past three years and is less disruptive to the sales process.

Aaron McPherson, research director, Payments, Dana Gould, senior analyst, Payments, and Maggie Scarborough, research manager, Corporate Banking will be presenting and attending the upcoming Payments 2007 conference on April 15-18 in Chicago. To arrange a briefing in advance or to obtain a copy of the full report "Results of the Financial Insights 2007 Consumer Payments Survey" (FIN206310, April 2007), qualified members of the media can contact Deborah Stark at 508-935-4318 or dstark@financial-insights.com.

About Financial Insights, an IDC Company

Financial Insights provides independent research, custom consulting, and detailed multiclient studies on the technology issues and challenges facing the financial services industry. Our global research covers topics of strategic importance to corporate and retail banks, insurance carriers, asset management firms, securities and brokerage firms. Our local practices in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Canada add an in-depth regional viewpoint. Financial Insights, an IDC company, is headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, USA. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research, and events company.

For more information visit: http://www.financial-insights.com .

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