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Breaking News articles for December 2010

Durbin asks CFPB to regulate prepaid

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In a letter sent to Elizabeth Warren, head of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., author of the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, said the CFPB should regulate the prepaid card industry, especially as it concerns reloadable prepaid cards.

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EMS gives back during holidays

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Imagine spending a day close to Christmas handing out toys to less fortunate families. What could be more in keeping with the holiday spirit? Jeff Brodsly, Director of Operations; Paul Rasidakis, Director of Sales; and Justin Milmeister, President at Elite Merchant Solutions, a transaction processor based in Van Nuys, Calif., spent Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010, doing just that. It was the culmination – and, according to Brodsly, the most personally rewarding part – of the company's first Give Back Week, a campaign involving 19 of EMS' merchants in Ventura County, Calif., and the Ventura County branch of Spark of Love, an organization that provides gifts to families in need.

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Federal benefits payments entirely electronic by 2013

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Green Sheet The U.S. Department of the Treasury said that by March 1, 2013, benefits payments delivered to recipients by paper check will be completely phased out. By that time, all recipients of social security payments and other types of federal benefits will have those funds direct deposited to bank accounts or loaded onto Direct Express Debit MasterCard prepaid cards.

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Fed's proposed interchange cap dings AmEx

Monday, December 27, 2010

American Express Co. was the latest card issuer to take a hit in the aftermath of the proposed Dec. 16, 2010, outline by the Federal Reserve Board to regulate debit interchange fees. In an investor conference call held Dec. 20, analyst Chris Brendler, of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., downgraded AmEx shares from "buy" to "hold," triggering a sharp decline in share value. Earlier, shares of Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide fell because of the news from the Fed.

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Gift card SpendTrend shows slowing activation levels

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In the First Data SpendTrend Bi-Weekly Closed-Loop Prepaid Cards analysis, First Data Corp. said gift card activation levels declined as spending dropped off overall in the first half of December 2010 and recession wary consumers remained cautious when it came to gift giving purchases.

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The effect of swipe fee reform on ISOs

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Dec. 16, 2010, meeting of the Federal Reserve Board outlined how it proposes to implement the Durbin amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Fed offered two scenarios on how to tackle the amendment's debit card interchange regulation mandate; both scenarios involve capping debit card interchange at 12 cents per transaction. As summarized by Fed economist Mark D. Manuszak in the live broadcast of the meeting, the first proposal would calculate the interchange fee based on each debit card issuer's costs, but the fee would fall between a cap of 12 cents and a "safe harbor" of 7 cents.

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NBPCA sees problems in proposed swipe fee reform

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association voiced concern over "operational flaws" in the Federal Reserve's recently announced debit card interchange fee structure and network routing proposals designed to implement the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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TSG report looks at top public payment companies

Monday, December 20, 2010

The top public payment companies had a strong third quarter, despite tough economic conditions, according to the latest analysis from The Strawhecker Group. Titled Public Payments Companies Analysis, the report looks at the strategies and tactics driving financial performance at the top 11 publicly traded payments companies.

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Merchant sues U.S. Bank for alleged data breach cover-up

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Arizona-based merchant, Paintball Punks, recently filed a class-action lawsuit against U.S. Bank that alleges the bank failed to protect Paintball Punks and other merchants from financial losses resulting from a breach of the bank's credit card data. The suit, originally filed in Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Court in November, was removed to the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Dec. 6, 2010.

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Fed study shows prepaid fastest growing noncash payment type

Thursday, December 16, 2010

According to the 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study, transaction volume on prepaid cards was the lowest among noncash payment forms in 2009. However, prepaid cards represent the fastest growing noncash payment type overall, the study said.

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Chip and PIN versus mag stripe debated

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In a TowerGroup webinar that dealt with the state of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, the question of whether chip and PIN technology will ever supplant magnetic stripe technology in the United States was addressed. Brian Riley, Senior Research Director, Bank Cards, at TowerGroup, concluded the move may be cost prohibitive and ineffective given the changing payments landscape. In Putting the "You" into PCI: 2010 Card Industry Update, Riley said chip and PIN, which underpins the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) security standard, is often mentioned as a possible replacement for the mag stripe technology that prevails in the United States.

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MoneyGram's patent appeal successful

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MoneyGram International said it won an appeal that negates a $16.5 million patent infringement verdict initially awarded to The Western Union Co. According to MoneyGram, the ruling overturned a 2009 judgment won by Western Union that ruled certain MoneyGram processes relating to how mobile phone-based transactions were sent without the use of "written send forms" infringed on Western Union's patents.

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Latest Fed study underscores strength of electronic payments

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Dec. 8, 2010, the Federal Reserve released its latest take on U.S. consumer payment habits, indicating that electronic payments accounted for more than three-quarters of all noncash payments in 2009. In total, the Fed reports, Americans made 84.5 billion electronic payments last year and wrote about 24.4 billion checks.

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MasterCard purchase is global travel card validation

Friday, December 10, 2010

MasterCard Worldwide's purchase of the prepaid card program management operations of Travelex indicates the increasing relevance of prepaid cards to drive revenues on a global scale. MasterCard said the $458 million cash purchase, with an additional $55 million potentially owed if certain performance targets are met, sets up the card brand to become a global leader in the prepaid card industry, especially within the high-growth, cross-border segment, which Travelex services with its Cash Passport prepaid travel card and other products.

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MasterCard, Visa, PayPal thwart DDoS attacks

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recent cyber attacks on the major payment network websites reportedly caused a disruption Dec. 8, 2010, of MasterCard Worldwide's SecureCode service for secure online transactions. The attacks by a band of hackers calling itself "Anonymous" were reportedly in retaliation for Visa Inc., MasterCard and PayPal Inc. dropping Wikileaks from their client rosters after the controversial website refused to stop publishing hundreds of thousands of pages of confidential cables between U.S. embassies and Washington.

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P2P payment system Dwolla goes national

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dwolla, a person-to-person (P2P) online and mobile cash system developed by Dwolla Corp., of Des Moines, Iowa, is now available in all 50 states, thanks to a national rollout that started Dec.1, 2010. Dwolla allows cash payments to be transferred digitally between two users for a flat rate of 25 cents per transaction.

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Fed governor puts prepaid in perspective

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The annual conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Payment Cards Center was marked by an address delivered by Elizabeth A. Duke, Governor of the Federal Reserve, that highlighted prepaid cards as an increasingly preferred payment option given current economic conditions and new federal mandates.

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Discover's Zip cards ready for prime time

Monday, December 6, 2010

Following an extensive pilot program, Discover Financial Services issued its first Discover Zip contactless credit cards and stickers to select cardholders on Nov. 15, 2010. Targeted to early adopters of Discover's mobile technology, the product rollout will expand in January 2011 to include additional cardholders of the company's flagship card products. To operate the system, consumers touch the payment device, which is a plastic card or a sticker that can be applied to a mobile phone or any personal item, to a Zip-enabled contactless reader, to make a payment.

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday post promising sales

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sales figures from Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday show signs that consumers may be loosening their purse strings a bit this holiday season, buying more discretionary items and going online in increasing numbers to make purchases. According to a survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch, consumers expected to spend a total of $45 billion over Black Friday weekend (Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, through Sun., Nov. 28, 2010), up from the $41.2 billion reported in the NRF's 2009 survey.

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Kibosh put on Kardashian Kard

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The reloadable prepaid card featuring the likenesses of the celebrity Kardashian sisters is no more. Less than a month ago, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian launched the Kardashian Kard. But the MasterCard Worldwide-branded card, issued by University National Bank of St. Paul through a contract with The Revenue Resource Group LLC, was discontinued after numerous media reports denounced the card for having hidden fees and weak consumer protections.

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MAG plans for migration to mobile

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Merchant Advisory Group recently devised a set of recommendations to influence the evolution of the U.S. payment system. The policy and technology suggestions will be submitted to "stakeholder groups in the payments business to help them understand merchant needs and preferences transitioning to more secure and efficient transacting – especially with mobile devices," MAG said in a statement.

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