Magazine article American Banker

Immediate Annuities Touted to Meet Retiree Product Need

Magazine article American Banker

Immediate Annuities Touted to Meet Retiree Product Need

Article excerpt

MasterCard International said it has completed a five-year, $160 million makeover of its payments network and that the enhancements move most MasterCard banks to a single computing platform that does a better job of processing all payment types, including more exotic ones.

MasterCard's description of its upgrades sounds very similar to Visa U.S.A.'s report on its new network. Visa said that it is just about done building Direct Exchange and that the network will make the processing of all payments -- including debit, Internet, and wireless device transactions -- faster and easier.

MasterCard executives said that they have "completely redone" their network's core systems, upgrading all operations. Among the areas of improvement they listed are: transaction authorizations; clearance and settlement; regional service centers; and private networks that let member banks share data exclusively with one another.

"It's not that the old systems were bad, they were just mature," Robert Reeg, a senior vice president at MasterCard in charge of business development, said in an interview. (The makeover's completion was announced Tuesday.)

Mr. Reeg emphasized the network's ability to process a variety of transactions, including those initiated through wireless devices or over the Internet. MasterCard, he said, has added lines of code to its processing platform so it can read more types of transactions and do so with better efficiency.

Visa has been making the same boasts about its network's flexibility. …

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