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Breaking News articles for December 2008

RBS WorldPay staves off hackers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RBS WorldPay, the U.S. payment processing division of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, indicated its computer system was "improperly accessed by an unauthorized party" who compromised personal information associated with prepaid payroll and open loop gift cards. The personal information of approximately 1.5 million cardholders may have been affected; of this group, 1.1 million "may have had their Social Security numbers improperly accessed as well," according to an RBS press release.

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Morgan Stanley sues Discover

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wall Street investment firm Morgan Stanley filed a lawsuit against its former subsidiary, Discover Financial Services, accusing the card brand of not honoring its original agreement from Discover's June 2007 spinoff. The agreement specified the proceeds Discover would pay Morgan Stanley once the antitrust lawsuit Discover filed against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide in 2004 had been resolved.

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Is TALF on target?

Monday, December 22, 2008

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson introduced the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) in November 2008 as part of the ongoing U.S. effort to stabilize global financial systems and boost confidence among lenders. The move came in response to significant declines in the asset-backed securities (ABS) market, especially in the credit card sector. Intended to jumpstart lending among consumers and small businesses by making funds available through ABS, TALF was funded with $200 billion to open up lending in nonrecourse loans (loans secured through collateral, typically real estate) through the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is also backing the loans with $20 billion in cash in the form of credit protections to the NYFRB.

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No swipe, no sweat

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Electronic Transactions Association and the Smart Card Alliance teamed up to produce a webinar on contactless and mobile payment implementation. The free event, "Best Practices: Contactless and Mobile Payment Implementation," is scheduled for Tues., Jan. 13, 2009, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST. "The goal of this webinar is to leave no questions unanswered regarding the implementation of contactless and mobile payments," said Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director of the SCA. "Attendees will learn how to develop a business case to support contactless payments and how to implement the new payments approach at the POS."

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Protecting scattered data

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Identity trust and assurance provider Shift4 Corp. produced a podcast to discuss Card Information Replacement Technologies (CIRT) and how retailers can effectively evaluate alternative payment security solutions and simplify the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). The podcast, entitled "Trying to Protect Payment Data When You Can't Even Find It All," recommends how information technology (IT) departments can regain control of their most sensitive cardholder data. The goal is to prevent theft by keeping sensitive data out of multiple storage facilities.

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ACH evolving and prospering

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Mercator Advisory Group report said new payment network rules and business models have brought about significant changes in the nature and volume of automated clearing house (ACH) activity. The ACH began in 1972 as a collaboration between Calwestern ACH Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. It was a low-volume network transmitting large, recurring transactions. In 2007, more than 18 billion ACH payments were made, representing a 12.6 percent increase from the total number of transactions generated in 2006.

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E-commerce fraud hits $4 billion

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A study of e-commerce fraud by CyberSource Corp. indicates merchants expect to lose a record $4 billion to online fraudsters in 2008. In the past three years, fraud loss rates have hovered around 1.4 percent of merchants' revenue, but continued growth in e-commerce sales means dollar losses to fraud are growing.

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Outsmarting data thieves

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Security compliance management firm Trustwave recently reported that businesses have made progress in protecting customer data over the years, but cyber criminals have adapted their techniques to access more carefully protected data. Historically, data compromises have been the result of unauthorized parties penetrating network defenses and breaking into databases storing card data. To combat this cyber theft, the card brands now prohibit the storage of certain types of information.

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Mega-mergers' impact on payments

Monday, December 8, 2008

According to a new research report by Mercator Advisory Group, several of the largest commercial banks in the United States are involved in mergers that stand to significantly impact the payments industry. In 2008, Bank of America Corp. bought Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and Countrywide Financial Corp.; JPMorgan Chase & Co. acquired Washington Mutual Inc.; and Wachovia Corp. was purchased by Wells Fargo & Co. David Fish, Senior Analyst, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator, said that in order to maintain market dominance, consolidation was inevitable in the top-tier financial institutions.

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W.net DIVAs honored

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W.net), an organization founded in 2005 to inspire and empower women in the payments industry, presented the winners of its inaugural Driving Improvement Via Action (DIVA) awards at the Designer BootCamp Career Development and Leadership Summit Oct. 23 and 24, 2008. "It was really a phenomenal event that brought women from across the country together," said Victoria Tobin, W.Net's Managing Director. "The response was amazing, and our attendees were thrilled with the networking opportunities, the breakout sessions and the high level speakers. Mary Gerdts, W.net's President, really put her heart and soul into making this event and setting the standards for our BootCamps from here on out, and we see it only getting better."

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Reading Black Friday tea leaves

Monday, December 1, 2008

E-commerce analyst firm comScore Inc. said online sales for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, were $534 million, up 1 percent over last year; combined online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday were up 2 percent compared to 2007. And according to a recent survey by online bank ING Direct, holiday shoppers are not planning to reduce their spending significantly in 2008, despite news of financial turbulence. Though U.S. consumers surveyed expressed concerns about the current economic situation, most indicated they plan to spend from $300 to $1,000 – the same or more as in 2007.

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Boost online loyalty with new tales

Monday, December 1, 2008

In an Aite Group webinar, Senior Analyst Ron Shevlin discussed ways in which financial institutions should reevaluate their marketing philosophies to increase online bill pay transactions and strengthen customer loyalty. "Whatever it is they're doing, it isn't working like it used to," Shevlin said.

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