August 28, 2007

PULSE Expands Pinless Debit Service With Recurring Payment Feature

New Option Offers Consumers Additional Choice for Automatically Paying Recurring Bills

HOUSTON, Aug 28, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The PULSE(R) ATM/debit network is offering utility companies, lenders and certain other billers a new payment option that enables consumers to automatically pay recurring bills using a debit card without entering their personal identification number (PIN).

PULSE EFT Association's Recurring PINless Bill Pay service, launched at the beginning of this month, increases convenience and security for debit cardholders, while simplifying the collection process for billers and supporting the continued shift from paper-based to electronic payments. PULSE defines recurring payments as those that cardholders have authorized a biller to charge to their debit card automatically each payment period.

PULSE was one of the first networks to offer one-time PINless debit payments, introducing its PINless Bill Pay service in 1995. PINless Bill Pay enables the conversion of check and automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments - also known as direct debit payments - to card-based payments.

The 2005/2006 Study of Consumer Payment Preferences, conducted by Dove Consulting and the American Bankers Association, noted the trend toward the increased use of payment cards for automatic recurring bill payments. According to the study, 9 percent of consumers used their debit cards to make such payments in 2005, compared with 6 percent in 2003.

"Clearly, there is tremendous room for growth in debit-based bill payments," said Judith McGuire, PULSE's vice president of Retail Services. "Although consumers are increasingly using electronic methods to pay their bills, until now debit cards have accounted for only a small fraction of those payments. The introduction of a new debit-based option for recurring payments allows consumers to transfer their growing reliance on debit cards for point-of-sale purchases to recurring bill payments," McGuire added.

In addition to offering a recurring payment option with the service, the network's expanded PINless debit program includes a "Stop Pay" feature that allows financial institutions to block transactions from a specific biller at a cardholder's request.

"PULSE recognizes that, while consumers are directed to address transaction disputes with their biller, they occasionally will attempt to stop a payment by contacting their financial institution," said McGuire.

PULSE also has added an Account Validation transaction to the PINless Bill Pay service. This feature allows billers to verify the authenticity of a card prior to establishing a recurring payment.

PULSE's Recurring PINless Bill Pay program has already proven successful in pilot testing throughout the past year. The test has shown strong consumer acceptance.

PINless Bill Pay enables cardholders to pay one-time bills by telephone, the Internet or in person. The one-time and recurring services are available only to approved biller types, which include utility companies, government agencies, educational institutions, insurance companies, secured loan providers and, on a pilot basis, property lessors and credit card companies.

About PULSE EFT Association LP

PULSE is one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,400 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS). The network links cardholders with nearly 260,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The company is also a valued resource for consumer research related to electronic payments and is committed to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit


PULSE EFT Association LP
Anne Rhodes, 800-420-2122