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by DAVID BREITKOPFVisa USA's Interlink network has changed its policy on cardholder, disputes for PIN debit transactions, allowing people to initiate a, chargeback, if they are not satisfied with the quality of goods and services., The rule brings to the PIN debit world the same level of consumer, protection that already exists for credit card and signature debit, transactions, and could prompt other PIN debit networks to follow suit., Indeed, Visa's announcement Wednesday has already caused a competitive, ripple across the electronic funds transfer networks that process PIN debit, transactions., At least one rival network, Shazam Inc., has decided to follow, Interlink's lead, and another said it will probably discuss a possible, change, with its member advisory group, made up of financial institutions., Until Nov. 30, when Visa changed its rule, PIN debit cardholders had, little recourse, said Stacey Pinkerd, a senior vice president with Visa, USA., Customers who were unhappy with a product or service and wanted to, dispute a PIN debit transaction had to deal directly with the merchant, In contrast, people who make purchases with credit cards or signature, debit cards could ask the card issuer to intercede on their behalf and, issue, a chargeback if they could not resolve the issue with a merchant., The new rule will apply the same type of guarantees to PIN debit, and possibly issue a refund to the consumer., on Interlink, cards that they get with other Visa cards, Mr. Pinkerd said., Tim Sloane, the director for the debit advisory service of Mercator, Advisory Group Inc. in Shrewsbury, Mass., said that in the past some, issuing, banks took up their customers' cause and dealt directly with the merchants, themselves, but they could not go to the merchant bank., You can see they're in a fairly weak position without the merchant bank, involved, because the merchant bank has the control over the merchant, Paul A. Tomasofsky, the president of Two Sparrows Consulting of Montvale, N.J., and a former NYCE executive, in the middle of processing these disputes, Richard S. Jenkins, a senior vice president for Shazam and the corporate counsel for the Johnston, Iowa, company, said it has a chargeback policy for refunds on goods or services. But because it is an Interlink member, it follows Visa's regulations, and with Visa's new policy in place, Other PIN debit networks, including NYCE, Star Systems, and Co-op, Network, have no dispute-resolution procedure for returning unsatisfactory, goods or services, though they do have provisions for chargebacks on, unauthorized transactions as well as for double billing and other disputes, concerning the price of goods or services., Under Star Systems' rules a cardholder's only recourse today is to return, treat the PIN debit transaction the same as they, said First Data Corp. spokeswoman Donna Pennington., Star is a unit of First Data., an interesting development and certainly something we'd consider discussing with our Star operations advisory group, which is made up of financial institutions., NYCE, which is owned by Marshall & Ilsley's Metavante Corp., occasionally, when a transaction is reversed or when there is, error in the cost of the transactions., But the percentage is very low compared with the number of transactions, that run through the system, said Steve Rathgaber, the president of the, Montvale, N.J., network. (In October, 0.007% of the network's transactions needed to be adjusted.) He said it was too early to say if it would change its rule regarding quality of goods and services., An Interlink cardholder can now initiate a chargeback on the grounds that, the merchant was unwilling or unable to provide services, shipped, merchandise, was not received, a merchant did not provide the goods or services that, were, described on the documentation presented to the cardholder at the time of, purchase, or the merchandise was received damaged, defective, or otherwise, unsuitable., Mr. Pinkerd said that chargebacks on PIN debit transactions have historically been far lower than those for either credit or signature debit cards., That includes fraudulent transactions and disputes over errors and the, quality of goods and services., But with the proliferation of PIN debit cards and PIN pads at merchants, over the last few years, it was time to bring the Interlink PIN debit rules
Published in American Banker (2004)
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by DAVID REICH-HALEHartford Mutual Funds has added seven portfolios to its lineup, which, has grown to 28 funds and $16 billion of assets since the company expanded, into the mutual fund business in 1996., Of the seven new funds, four are equity-based and all of these are, managed by Wellington Management Co., which manages all 22 of Hartford's, equity-based mutual funds., Hartford Life distributes its mutual funds through banks, though banks, are the smallest channel for its products. Brokers account for 65% of Hartford's mutual fund sales volume, financial planners, 20%, and banks, 15%., David N. Levenson, a senior vice president of Hartford Mutual Funds, said the bank channel continues to be a focus. Mutual funds strengthen his company's bank relationships, which are already strong, because of Hartford's No. 1 position in variable annuity sales through banks., Ultimately our variable annuity presence certainly resonates, said., But Hartford's position as the top seller of variable annuities through, banks will not necessarily lead to growth in mutual fund sales in the, channel, said Craig Whitehead, a senior consultant in Chicago for Milliman, USA., The people that make the fund selections are usually fiercely, Mr. Levenson disagreed., We have 40 bank-channel-dedicated wholesalers for annuities and mutual, He added that another reason bank sales of Hartford's mutual funds will, rise is that the insurer filled any gaps its fund lineup may have had with, the seven new portfolios., We did not have a large-cap growth fund, and now we have it, We did not have multicap funds either, On the fixed-income side, we didn't have a national tax-exempt fund, A national tax-exempt fund is tied to municipal bonds., Still, Mr. Whitehead said he does not think adding funds will make much difference in the bank channel., As long as you have a good variety, you should be able to get by with, If you have too much choice
Published in American Banker (2002)
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