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Breaking News articles for September 2009

Canadian debit shakeup

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the fall of 2008, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide revealed plans to introduce their branded PIN-debit cards into Canada. MasterCard launched several pilot programs for its Maestro Debit Card in early 2009. As a condition to entering the market, the company agreed to set transaction fees to mirror those of Interac, Canada's not-for-profit debit network collectively owned by Canadian banks. However, a year later Visa has yet to enter the Canadian debit market: Company officials said they have no intention of setting a flat debit transaction fee or introducing any debit programs without interchange.

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Two companies, two new security departments

Friday, September 25, 2009

Providing comprehensive security for cardholder data from the point of swipe to transaction settlement is of utmost importance to the payments industry. To that end, information technology (IT) and security experts are working to implement promising solutions such as end-to-end data encryption; ISOs and merchant level salespeople are endeavoring to help merchants achieve compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Recently, POS terminal manufacturer VeriFone and managed security services provider (MSSP) Gladiator Technology each formed internal security departments to strengthen their compliance offerings through development and implementation of enhanced solutions, as well as to educate payment professionals and merchants on the latest security threats.

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Swiping at interchange reform

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Electronic Payments Coalition recently lashed out at the National Association of Convenience Stores in a full-page advertisement in Politico, a Washington, D.C.-based publication covering national politics. The EPC, an organization of credit unions, banks and payment card networks dedicated to preventing government-imposed interchange reform, accused convenience stores of overcharging customers for goods and services.

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SCA proposes alternative to end-to-end encryption

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A new report from the nonprofit Smart Card Alliance proposes an alternative system to end-to-end encryption (touted by some as the closest thing to a cure all) for shoring up the payments industry's embattled security networks. The SCA's research paper, End-to-end Encryption and Chip Cards in the U.S. Payments Industry, makes the cryptography used in contactless payment acceptance technology the cornerstone of its envisioned makeover.

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A new chapter in Cynergy's story

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Sept. 1, 2009, payment processor Cynergy Data LLC began proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware. As mandated by the filing requirements, Cynergy entered into an asset purchase agreement (APA) with bidder Cynergy Holdings LLC, an affiliate of The ComVest Group. ComVest is a private investment firm that provides debt and equity solutions to middle market companies, which in essence means buying all of a company's assets. Sale of assets is accomplished via open auction over a 60 to 90 day period. Auction parameters are determined by the court, which decides what companies are eligible to submit bids, the length of the bidding period and the ceiling on bid amounts.

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ETA poised for congressional return

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Over the summer of 2009, the Electronic Transactions Association provided information to help educate Washington officials on data security, interchange and tax regulation. The full Congress, which begins its legislative session in mid September, plans to review several proposed data security and breach notification bills. According to Mary Bennett, the ETA's Director of Government and Industry Relations, there has already been significant movement in the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 2221, the Data Accountability and Trust Act, introduced in April 2009. H.R. 2221, if passed into law, would require the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate regulations with regard to data security and breach notification and, more importantly, would preempt state information security laws.

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Super LINC a Marquis event

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Female payments industry professionals from all across the United States and Canada will have an opportunity to meet and network at the second annual Super LINC (Local Interest Networking Circle) on Oct. 14, 2009, at the New York Marriot Marquis in the heart of Times Square. The event is sponsored by Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W.net), an organization devoted to empowering women in the payments industry, and will begin immediately following The Electronic Transactions Association's 2009 Strategic Leadership Networking Forum.

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WSAA welcomes feet on the street

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Western States Acquirers Association will hold its sixth annual conference from Oct. 14 to 15, 2009, at the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort, located directly across the street from Disneyland. This year's conference features:
  • Mark Dunn's Field Guide Seminar
  • Payments industry update from industry veteran Paul Martaus
  • Forum panel discussion
  • Breakout sessions on security and compliance
  • Passes to Disneyland
  • Cash and prize giveaways worth thousands of dollars
  • Exhibit hall with vendors
  • Networking receptions
  • Keynote speaker Craig Virgin, a three-time Olympic distance runner

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Prepaid cards reduce balance inquiry blues

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The ability to make noncash payments using checks or debit cards is an essential tool for survival in the modern financial world. Yet, approximately 106 million adult residents of the United States can't obtain checking accounts at traditional banks. These consumers, often called unbanked or underbanked, are denied checking accounts because they have poor credit histories or have mismanaged their bank accounts in the past. Forced to live on a cash basis, unbanked consumers pay high transaction fees, waste time and incur personal risk when conducting basic financial transactions at check cashers and payday lenders. Furthermore, they are unable to make purchases online, book hotel or airline reservations, and must purchase money orders to pay bills.

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PCI SSC combats skimming with new resource

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) issued a new supplement designed to educate merchants on how to defend against skimming attacks. Entitled "Skimming Prevention – Best Practices for Merchants," the supplement authored by the PCI SSC PIN Transaction Security Working Group focuses on defining what skimming entails and how merchants can protect against it. The working group defines skimming as the "unauthorized capture and transfer of payment data to another source for fraudulent purchases." This can be accomplished by stealing the data directly off of payment cards or by infiltrating payment networks via POS terminals, terminal locations, wires, communication channels, switches and so forth.

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