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Breaking News articles for March 2009

Merchants launch new interchange offensive

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Merchants Payments Coalition launched a fresh attack on bankcard interchange in hopes of garnering support for federal legislation, although the group has yet to offer details regarding the legislation it desires. The opening salvo came with the inaugural airing of a 30-second television spot titled "Next Domino." The ad compares "predatory lending" in the form of credit cards with the subprime mortgage crisis. It closes by urging viewers to contact their representatives in the U.S. Congress. "Tell them they can't fix our nation's credit card problems without reforming the biggest fee of all – interchange," the ad's announcer exhorts.

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Raising the ACH bar

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The payment processing industry is under increasing scrutiny as regulatory and government agencies implement mandates to garner more control and hold it more accountable. To help payment professionals expand their knowledge base, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association – is offering the opportunity to become an Accredited ACH (automated clearing house) Professional. NACHA founded the program in 1993 and has certified over 3,500 AAPs since then. Candidates are welcome from any sector of the industry, but need at least two years of ACH experience. "The whole point is to make sure that people have a solid subject matter base to start from," said Scott Lang, Senior Vice President of Association Services at NACHA. "The exam is a way for us to ascertain that the AAP has expertise in issues relating not only to the ACH network, but other payment system issues as well."

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Virtucard for virtual goods

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Virtucard, a new online payment method from SafPay Inc., promises no chargebacks and a low per transaction fee for merchants while offering anonymity and security to consumers. Consumers load this virtual mall card with their bank's online bill-pay provider and spend it like a gift card at participating online stores.

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A token of payments to come

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Merchants typically incur significant costs to become Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliant and face the prospect of hefty fines if they are determined to be noncompliant – not to mention the operational and reputational damage data breaches can cause. Mercator Advisory Group suggests tokenization may be able to mitigate these concerns. Mercator's new report, Emerging Technologies Practice, Merchant Security, Tokenization and the Fairy Tale of Outsourcing PCI, examines tokenization as a secure alternative for card data storage, processing and settlement.

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RBS, Heartland PCI compliance revoked: What's next?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Following a stretch in which no penalty was handed down for two large-scale data breaches, Visa Inc. revoked the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliant statuses of both Heartland Payment Systems Inc. and RBS WorldPay Inc. on March 13. 2009. Both companies recently disclosed breaches to their data networks that compromised the information of thousands of clients – RBS indicated it had been breached in December 2008, and Heartland in January 2009.

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New fees, more money for Visa, MasterCard

Thursday, March 19, 2009

MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. are revising fee schedules, upping the ante for merchant acquirers. MasterCard recently unveiled a new Network Access and Brand Usage (NABU) fee of $0.0185 per transaction to be assessed acquirers beginning in April 2009. Visa will levy a new U.S. Acquirer Processing Fee (APF) of $0.0195 per transaction three months later. Unlike interchange, which benefits bankcard issuers, these new fees will flow directly to MasterCard and Visa. It's a move that should pay off handsomely for the two companies' shareholders.

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Fees on unemployment payments opposed

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The practice of banks charging fees when people who have lost their jobs access unemployment benefits using prepaid cards is drawing the ire of prepaid card issuer and program manager FiCentive Inc., a subsidiary of Payment Data Systems Inc. "We are appalled that this is happening in our industry," said Louis Hoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at FiCentive. "And we're very concerned about it."

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Make a mark, take a stand

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Electronic Transactions Association recently released six policy positions addressing payments industry-specific issues and practices. The positions were drafted by the association's Industry and Government Relations committees and are a result of a dialogue between the ETA and card companies to improve relationships among the card brands, merchants, ISOs, acquirers and processors.

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Mobile commerce popular, NFC lagging

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New data from ABI Research projects the non-near field communication (non-NFC) mobile commerce industry will see $1.6 billion in transactions in 2009, while the total money transacted in a mostly fledgling NFC industry will be minimal. Yet, while NFC has been slow to catch on, insiders generally agree it's only a matter of time before the service takes hold. In the payments industry, NFC primarily involves mobile phones acting as debit or credit cards at the POS.

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Aite busts merchant retention myths

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Aite Group LLC, an independent research and advisory firm focused on business technology and regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services industry, conducted a survey of merchants between May and August of 2008, to determine what made them stay with their ISOs or acquirers. In its report, Merchant Retention: Five Assumptions Put to the Test, Aite measured five factors typically associated with merchant retention. Merchants were asked to rate each factor's importance in deciding whether to keep or discontinue relationships with their service providers.

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Fees on unemployment payments opposed

Monday, March 9, 2009

The practice of banks charging fees when people who have lost their jobs access unemployment benefits using prepaid cards is drawing the ire of prepaid card issuer and program manager FiCentive Inc., a subsidiary of Payment Data Systems Inc. "We are appalled that this is happening in our industry," said Louis Hoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at FiCentive. "And we're very concerned about it."

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It's a card, card world

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

According to the 2008 Study of Consumer Payment Preferences, a nationwide survey conducted by BAI Research and Hitachi Consulting Corp., cash use is dropping as consumers continue to adopt card-based payment options. Forty-one percent of consumers said they use cash less often than they did two years ago. The study was conducted online in June 2008 using a representative sample of 3,308 U.S. consumers nationwide. Sponsored by First Data Corp., Metavante Technologies Inc., MasterCard Worldwide and Discover Financial Services' Pulse network, it explored the increasing use of credit, debit, gift and prepaid cards.

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Mobile POS payments moving up

Monday, March 2, 2009

Once upon a time, cell phones were just phones, novel for being truly mobile (unlike their cordless land-line predecessors) but used like traditional phones in most other respects. Today, they're little hubs of communication, recreation and information into which various technologies, old and new, are consolidating. "The telephone is not a telephone anymore," said Ted Svoronos, E-Commerce Consultant and Certified Fraud Examiner with Group ISO Inc. "It's a ubiquitous device for multi-use."

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