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Breaking News articles for April 2009

Contactless faring well

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Smart Card Alliance's 2009 Payments Councils Summit was held in Salt Lake City at the end of February 2009. The primary focus of discussion was the adoption of contactless electronic fare collection in major U.S. cities. The SCA's Transportation Council listed many accomplishments and elected a new steering committee and officers.

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Small business confidence rising

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Discover Financial Services LLC's April 2009 Discover Small Business Watch indicated small-business owners are more confident about the economy than they have been in more than a year. The monthly index rose to 88.5, which is the highest it's been since it hit 90.8 in February 2008. Thirty-one percent of business owners surveyed said the economy is improving, which is twice the number who noted improvement the preceding month. This represents the largest percentage in this category in two years. Despite this optimism, 91 percent of small-business owners described the current economy as fair or poor.

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Credit cards, the talk of Washington

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's been a busy week in Washington, with both the White House and U.S. Congress calling to task credit card companies and card-issuers for playing tough with consumers by imposing harsh terms and rate increases. Interchange hasn't received much attention in the public dialogue, but at least one pending bill does address it. Meanwhile, merchants have been ratcheting up their rhetoric to keep the interchange debate alive. "President Obama has consistently said Main Street businesses and middle-class families are the backbone of America's economy," said Lyle Beckwith, Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the National Association of Convenience Stores. These hidden credit card interchange fees hit those folks the hardest and only for the sake of padding the big banks' bottom lines."

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Taking shelter under SSC umbrella

Thursday, April 23, 2009

With concern growing in the payments industry about the security and fraud issues surrounding PIN-based payment devices, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC) widened its reach in April 2009 and introduced new security requirements for two payment devices previously unregulated. The two devices added to the SSC's regulatory list are unattended payment terminals (UPTs) and hardware security modules (HSMs).

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Slaying the breach elephant

Friday, April 17, 2009

To share information about data breaches and prevent cyber criminals' continued attacks on the payments industry, Heartland Payment Systems Inc. founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert O. Carr extended an invitation to the top 25 merchant acquirers and their registered third-party processors to attend the inaugural meeting of the Payments Processor Information Sharing Council on May 5, 2009, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., in St. Pete Beach, Fla. After Heartland revealed in January 2009 that it had been the victim of a security breach, Carr wanted to know whether similar breaches had occurred at other processors and, if such breaches had occurred, why Heartland and other potentially vulnerable processors had not been informed so they could have protected their cardholder data from the same type of intrusion.

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Ladies can LINC up before ETA

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Women planning to be at the Electronic Transactions Association's Annual Meeting & Expo from April 21 to 23, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas might also enjoy attending the Local Interest Networking Circle Super LINC sponsored by Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W.net) on the first day of the conference at 3 p.m. Founded by industry veterans Mary Gerdts, Linda Perry, Holli Targan and Diane Vogt Faro, W.net's mission is to inspire and empower women in the payments industry through networking and education.

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AmEx green with Web access

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

American Express Co. is going green, offering external sales agents anytime, online access to sales tools, rules information and other assistance. The company's latest communications tool – ESA.Amex360.com – is a one-stop Web shop for the most up-to-date information for agents who sell and service AmEx. Soon, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) selling AmEx acceptance will be able to access the most current policies, alerts, and training and sales tools simply by logging on at www.esa.amex360.com. (ESA is AmEx lingo for external sales agents.) A spokesperson for AmEx said the Web site is expected to be live at the end of April.

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UIGEA, WTO rules at odds

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A preliminary report issued by the European Commission on March 26, 2009, stated the United States' 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is discriminatory and violates World Trade Organization rules. A complaint by the London-based Remote Gambling Association triggered the European Union's year-long Trade Barriers Regulation investigation. In an RGA press release, Clive Hawkswood, RGA's Chief Executive expressed hope for a prompt settlement that "will ensure that EU operators are properly safeguarded, especially in relation to trade that took place prior to the introduction" of the UIGEA.

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Alternative currencies – better with plastic?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some U.S. communities are printing their own brands of paper currency to boost consumer spending, a practice that payments industry veterans say might be done better with plastic. "Like a gift certificate, this is prepaid money and it's set aside by individual companies or retailers or businesses in that particular community and they all contribute in one way or another," said Steve Eazell, Director, National Sales and Marketing, for Secure Payment Systems, a Calif.-based ISO.

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In the OTA we trust

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Authentication and Online Trust Alliance, which counts leading financial institutions and global businesses among its members, shortened its name to Online Trust Alliance to reflect the organization's expanding mission of enhancing the trust, confidence and protection of online businesses and consumers worldwide. "When we started in 2004, we were dealing with fraudulent e-mails, the lack of authentication and the impact phishing exploits were making regarding legitimate brands," said Craig Spiezle, Chairman and founder of the OTA. "Accounts were being compromised, and that was the root of the problem."

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Sharing for security

Monday, April 6, 2009

In March 2009, Heartland Payment Systems Inc. and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center formed the Payments Processing Information Sharing Council. The new group aspires to help companies within the payments sphere avoid breaches of cardholder data, as well as determine how to eliminate security vulnerabilities and address risk mitigation practices throughout the payments industry.

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Boom time for prepaid game card market

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just as moviegoers see value in handing over $10 per person to experience make believe worlds in films, online gamers see value in loading real-world money onto game cards to enhance their online characters' experiences in virtual gaming realms. Prepaid card distributor InComm is capitalizing on this growing phenomenon. The Atlanta-based company reported nearly 200 percent growth in game card sales in 2008 over the previous year. Brian Parlotto, Senior Vice President of Products and International Sales at Incomm, attributed the increase to its channel distribution strategies.

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PCI, interchange under scrutiny in D.C.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Payment Card Data (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) has come under attack by a large group of retailers, and they may have allies in the U.S. Congress. Legislation intended to rein in cardholder terms and fees has been approved by the Senate Banking Committee, and another cardholder rights bill is expected to pass an initial vote today before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions.

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