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Breaking News articles for March 2010

Acquirers await final draft of IRS rules

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The payments industry is in a holding pattern while awaiting a final version of new rules from the Internal Revenue Service governing reporting requirements. Most provisions of the rules, which would require payment processors and third-party networks to report annually the total dollar amount of card-based sales transacted by individual merchants, are expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2011. (See "Uncle Sam's finger in the payment pie," The Green Sheet, Dec. 14, 2009, issue 09:12:01.)

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Gift card regs put prepaid industry under pressure

Friday, March 26, 2010

On March 23, 2010, the Federal Reserve Board issued the final rules to implement the gift card provisions in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (The CARD Act). The rules, which amend Regulation E of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act of 1978, restrict fees and expiration dates on certain types of prepaid cards and require providers to "clearly" document terms and conditions on the cards. The Fed said the rules cover gift certificates, closed-loop gift cards and open-loop, network-branded, general-purpose prepaid cards, but exclude cards not marketed or labeled as gift cards or gift certificates, such as some open-loop, network-branded reloadable cards and cards received through loyalty, award or promotional programs.

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First Data shuffles it up at the top

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

After three years as First Data Corp.'s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Capellas is moving on to First Data's parent company, Kholberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he will be a senior adviser focusing on technology. KKR Senior Adviser Joe Forehand will become First Data's interim CEO, as well as Chairman of the company's board. The changes will take effect March 31, 2010, and were disclosed March 11, the same day First Data released its 2009 year-end financial results.

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Discover earnings report

Monday, March 22, 2010

Discover Financial Services released its earnings report for the first quarter of 2010, and the results are decidedly mixed. The company reported a net loss of $104 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2010 – despite a 5 percent increase in card sales volume, to $22 billion. By comparison, Discover reported a net income of $120 million in the first quarter of 2009. Yet, that income was attended by a slightly steeper drop in net loss to shareholders than what the company experienced in its first quarter this year.

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Retailers push for interchange reform – again

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The debate over interchange regulation continues. Most recently, the National Retail Federation took issue with the failure of the newest version of the financial services reform bill to tackle the contentious topic. The NRF argued that the proposed consumer protection bill is not complete without addressing the rising costs of interchange for merchants and, by proxy, consumers.

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Small business lending gets boost

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lending to small businesses by the mega-bank JPMorgan Chase has taken a spike. The bank extended more than $1.1 billion in credit to small businesses during the first two months of the year, double its lending total during the same two months last year, a spokesman told us. In addition, the spokesman said Chase increased lending through the Small Business Administration by $26 million, to total $181 million for the first five months of the federal government's fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2009.

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First Data's composite security system – a game changer?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Processing giant First Data Corp. recently launched a pilot security program to guard merchant POS systems, and the company hopes it will become a benchmark in the fight against data theft. The pilot program, which will be tried on about 400 merchants over the next four months, uses a multipronged security architecture that combines "asymmetric" encryption with tokenization.

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EMV, contactless gaining U.S. ground

Friday, March 12, 2010

Contactless transit cards, mobile contactless payments and Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) cards were the hot topics at the Smart Card Alliance 2010 Payment Summit held in Salt Lake City in February 2010.

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TSYS, FNBO enter joint venture

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seeking a foothold in the merchant acquiring space, processing giant Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) entered a joint venture with First National Bank of Omaha. The partnership, which the two companies anticipate finalizing April 1, 2010, gives TSYS a 51 percent stake in the FNBO acquiring arm, First National Merchant Solutions LLC, with FNBO retaining a 49 percent stake.

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Legislative outlook: Interchange bills less likely than ID fraud rules

Monday, March 8, 2010

The legislative lookout for payment acquiring is mixed. In issues related to data security, the industry has emerged as a role model of sorts, with lawmakers taking a cue from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). Meanwhile, the debate over interchange has resurfaced amid rumors that at least one ranking Democrat in the U.S. Congress is considering new legislation.

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Time to nominate ETA award recipients

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Electronic Transactions Association is seeking nominations for the 2010 ETA Awards program. The ETA has extended the deadline through Fri., March 5, 2010. The awards honor both companies and individuals.

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Making the case for disaster relief cards

Monday, March 1, 2010

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, has brought untold death and destruction to the island nation. According to J.P. Morgan, the treasury arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., disaster relief cards for the Haitian people would be of no use at the present time, but may play a role sometime in the future. "Ground usage in Haiti of any card-based products, disaster or otherwise, isn't imminent," said Chris Paton, Managing Director of J.P. Morgan's Public Sector Benefit Payments Business. "Card programs require strong, stable telecommunications networks, which we suspect are not in place right now.

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ETA says down with proposed CFPA

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Electronic Transactions Association was one of a legion of organizations representing commercial interests that endorsed a recent letter to the United States Senate urging it to block the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The proposed agency is at the heart of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ratified by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2009, a bill the Senate is now deliberating.

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