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Breaking News articles for July 2008

Merchant tax reporting now the law

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

HR 3221, the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, passed through the U.S. Senate, 72 to 13, over the weekend and was signed into law by President Bush on Tues., July 29, 2008. The new law contains a provision requiring merchant acquiring entities and third-party settlement organizations to turn over merchant credit and debit card transactions to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Uncle Sam seeks slice of payments pie

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

For the better part of two years, the Electronic Transactions Association has fought to defeat HR 3221, the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. HR 3221 contains a provision requiring merchant credit and debit card transaction information to be turned over to the Internal Revenue Service, thus allowing the IRS to extrapolate total cash volume receipts to determine if merchants underreported their income. However, on July 24, 2008, the United States House of Representatives passed HR 3221 by a vote of 272 to 152. Reportedly, this same provision was incorporated into three other bills unrelated to the payments industry and touted as a way to pay for the bills – including the 2008 Farm Bill (Public Law Version 6124), the 2007 Energy Bill (HR 6) and the Joint Economic Committee's 2001 Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals – in the hopes that one of the bills will pass.

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Private equity giant going public

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP, one of the world's largest alternative asset managers, and KKR Private Equity Investors LP (KPE), an equity trust limited partnership that invests its assets in private equity and investment opportunities identified by KKR, signed an agreement in which KKR will acquire all assets and assumption of liabilities of KPE. In conjunction with this transaction, KKR will become publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol KKR. Industry sources indicate the initial public offering (IPO) could generate between $12 billion and $15 billion.

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HR 5546, the downside

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

As supporters of HR 5546, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, celebrated the House Judiciary Committee's passage of the bill, opponents, including Visa Inc., called the bill "anti-consumer" and issued a statement to point out its shortcomings. In the statement, Josh Florum, General Counsel for Visa, said, "The markup of HR 5546 only raises more questions and concerns about an already bad bill." He also said if the bill becomes law, it would "mandate unnecessary regulatory intervention into a fiercely competitive industry that is benefiting consumers, merchants, and financial institutions [FIs]."

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Gas stations nixing plastic

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reacting to rising gas prices and corresponding interchange fees, a number of petroleum merchants have started taking only cash for gasoline purchases. When Roger Randolph came to believe it was costing him money each time a customer filled a tank with $4-per-gallon gas and paid for it with a credit or debit card, he banned plastic at his establishment.

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HR 5546 is in the House

Friday, July 18, 2008

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee passed the Credit Card Fair Fee Act (HR 5546) on July 16, 2008, by a 19 to 16 vote. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote at an unspecified date. A Senate bill, SB 3086, similar to the original House bill, is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, HR 5546 includes one significant change: The provision establishing a three-judge panel to arbitrate interchange pricing – should merchants and the bankcard networks fail to agree on rates – was eliminated. Enforcement now falls on the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

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Gardner bestowed top prize

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Marc Gardner is the man, or in this case, the entrepreneur. On June 12, 2008, Ernst & Young LLP presented North American Bancard's President and Chief Executive Officer its Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 award for the Detroit region. One of Gardner's business associates nominated him for the prestigious competition. Soon after, Gardner received mail notification of his status as a potential recipient. "I was extremely honored," he said.

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Shopit starts Revolution

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shopit Inc., a free peer-to-peer social commerce network, teamed up with Revolution Money Inc., an online payment network, to offer the Revolution MoneyExchange, an online person-to-person payment service that allows account holders on the network to send and receive money at no cost. The partnership with MoneyExchange developed from a mutual desire to offer a free social commerce experience.

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Agreement keeps Frontier flying

Monday, July 14, 2008

Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc., the parent company of Frontier Airlines, and First Data Corp. reached an agreement in Frontier's bankruptcy case, which the airline filed in April 2008. The agreement enables Frontier to continue processing its Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide credit card transactions without interruption, while also offering First Data financial protection.

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New webinars target PCI education

Friday, July 11, 2008

MasterCard Worldwide added three new Web-based seminars to its Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) Merchant Education Program. Network Segmentation, Maximize Internal Preparations for PCI DSS and Data Encryption: Understanding Encryption and PCI DSS join the nine original segments designed to educate merchants on data security and encourage broader adoption of PCI DSS.

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Social Security bennies put on plastic

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Service (FMS) has implemented a prepaid card on which Social Security payments are loaded. The Direct Express card is a MasterCard Worldwide-branded debit card designed to be an electronic alternative to paper check remittance, allowing recipients to get their monthly funds in a more timely and efficient manner.

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PCI SSC expands PCI PED program

Monday, July 7, 2008

As part of its continuing effort to strengthen cardholder data security, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC), which manages the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS), PCI PIN Entry Device (PED) security requirements and the Payment Application DSS, added two new payments industry device types to the PCI PED program. Unattended payment terminals (UPTs), such as self-service vending machines, kiosks and automated fuel pumps, and hardware security modules (HSMs), which are cryptographic devices in payment systems, can now undergo the testing and approval program to ensure they comply with industry standards for securing sensitive data at all points in the transaction process.

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Tie vote curtails online gambling amendment

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In a tie vote June 25, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services defeated an amendment that proponents said would have provided clarity and guidelines for implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., introduced the amendment to the Payments System Protection Act (HR 5767), which would have required the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to develop regulations for UIGEA's implementation so as not to overburden financial institutions (FIs) in the payments industry.

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