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Breaking News articles for May 2011

The prepaid angle to the Google Wallet

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Google Inc. has made prepaid card functionality central to its mobile wallet pilot program for near field communication-enabled mobile payments. On its website, the search engine giant laid out how the mobile wallet will support the Google Prepaid Card and private-label gift cards offered by participating merchants, as well as Citibank's MasterCard Worldwide-branded credit card called the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard.

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Google introduces mobile wallet, PayPal sues

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Google Inc. introduced a new mobile wallet application for its Android phone May 26, 2011. The next day PayPal Inc., eBay Inc.'s payment subsidiary, sued Google for stealing trade secrets. The Google mobile payment application had rolled out in a campaign confettied with press releases, news articles and advertising.

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Fed publishes proposed money transfer rule change

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Federal Reserve Board issued a request for public comment on a proposed rule to create new consumer protections on cross-border money transfers. The proposed rule would require that money transfer providers make certain disclosures to money transfer senders, including information about fees, the amount of currency to be received by the recipient and the currency exchange rate between the countries of senders and recipients, the fed said.

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Alipay gets license, still in talks with Yahoo!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Alipay, the largest online payments platform in China, was among the first to receive a license from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) to run an e-commerce payment site in China, the company disclosed May 26, 2011. Alipay is now allowed to process foreign transactions, Internet payments, and debit card transactions in China. The news bolsters Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Jack Ma's contention Alipay needed to go private in order to quickly receive the license required under new Chinese regulations.

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Up to 25 percent of mobile networks not PCI compliant

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A report released by Vesta Corp. May 24, 2011, indicates more than 25 percent of mobile network operators are not compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The study additionally discovered more than 35 percent of survey participants did not know they could face financial penalties for noncompliance. Vesta surveyed 16 mobile network operators in the United States and Europe to determine if they were PCI compliant.

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NEAA heads south for new event

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Looking to serve a wider market, the Northeast Acquirers Association will hold its one-day Summer Seminar and Outing at the Turf Valley Resort and Golf Course in Ellicott City, Md., June 15, 2011. The program will include presentations by industry experts and exhibits by vendors along with prizes and giveaways. Maryland is a little bit outside the normal NEAA territory of Pennsylvania to Maine, but NEAA Treasurer Jacques Breton said it is time to open up his organization to a wider audience.

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Legal Internet gambling gaining favor

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Support is growing around the country for Internet gambling. In 2011, five states either have considered or are considering allowing Internet gambling. Congress has already passed legislation authorizing Internet gambling. Congress in 2006 banned all credit card, check and electronic funds transfer transactions on "illegal Internet gambling" sites.

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Cashplus touts prepaid as online fraud deterrent

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

U.K.-based Advanced Payment Solutions, the program manager for the Cashplus Prepaid MasterCard, believes prepaid cards are superior to credit and debit cards in minimizing the risks of online fraud for consumers. Unlike credit and debit cards, prepaid cards limit cardholders' exposure to fraud because the only funds at risk are the funds loaded onto the cards, APS said. "If a customer tops up the card with £100, and he or she becomes the victim of an online card fraud, that's the most the customer will expose," APS noted in a statement. "And with secure access to their transaction information 24/7 online, any suspicious activity can quickly be spotted by the cardholders."

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Sony anticipates losses from earthquake, breach

Monday, May 23, 2011

On May 23, 2011, Sony Corp. revised previously optimistic revenue predictions to reflect "a significant deterioration from our February forecast" – a $3.2 billion loss due to the impact of an earthquake and the ongoing consequences from a data theft of the personal information of 100 million Sony PlayStation Network customers. The anticipated loss would be the largest the company has reported in more than 15 years and the third year in a row the company has reported a loss.

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Florida AG investigating prepaid card industry

Monday, May 23, 2011

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced May 19, 2011, that her office's Economic Crimes Division has begun an investigation into the possible deceptive and unfair practices of five prepaid debit card companies – First Data Corp., Green Dot Corp., AccountNow Inc., Netspend Corp. and UniRush Financial Services LLC. The attorney general issued subpoenas to force the companies to divulge information about hidden fees they possibly charge on prepaid debit cards. The subpoenas aimed at San Ramon, Calif.-based AccountNow and Cincinnati-based UniRush ask the companies to support published statements that using prepaid debit cards help card users improve credit scores.

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National cyber security framework proposed

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cyber security was on the minds of Washington politicians long before the massive theft of personal information from 100 million Sony PlayStation Network customers occurred in April 2011. Two years ago the Obama Administration released its Cyberspace Policy Review, which emphasized concerns about the security of government information and the cyber infrastructure. Additionally, over 50 cyber security related bills were introduced in Congress last year. New efforts to police cyber space continue. A White House Fact Sheet released May 12, 2011, declared that the United States "cannot fully defend against these threats unless certain parts of cyber security law are updated."

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Tester proposes cutting debit fee study time

Friday, May 20, 2011

On May 18, 2011, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., amended the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act (S 575) to shorten the proposed study period in the bill from two years to 15 months. The bill was introduced in the Senate March 15, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Tester said he is amending the bill to incorporate feedback and capture the 60 votes needed for passage.

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Gala-Net takes new security steps

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Online role-playing game provider Gala-Net Inc. issued a notice that it changed its customer password policy in the wake of a massive data compromise that occurred at another unnamed online game publisher. Gala-Net said passwords on its customer accounts that have remained inactive for six months or longer were reset and randomized. In addition, the publisher instituted a policy that requires users to change passwords every 120 days. Silicon Valley, Calif.-based Gala-Net, which began accepting prepaid game cards in 2009 to allow users to buy gPotato currency to enhance experiences in tween- and teenager-targeted online games like Flyff and Tales Runner, has expanded its user base from 3.4 million users in 2009 to over 10 million users today.

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ETA annual docks in San Diego

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Imagine having a chance to pose a question to one of the nation's most renowned entrepreneurs and technology gurus. About a dozen folks representing ISOs, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and their partners had just such an opportunity last week during a dialogue with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. The event kicked off the ETA's 2011 Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego. The event also featured a keynote address by former Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Mass., co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Speaking to a packed hall, Dodd fielded a volley of questions concerning interchange, the Federal Reserve Board and the legislative process.

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Feds move to halt VeriFone purchase of Hypercom

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Department of Justice complaint filed in Washington May 12, 2011, alleges VeriFone Inc.'s proposed $485 million offer to buy Hypercom Corp. violates provisions of both the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Sherman Antitrust Act. The government further alleges Hypercom's subsequent attempt to avoid antitrust concerns by licensing Hypercom's business in the United States to Ingenico for five years also violates antitrust laws. The DOJ complaint asks The District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the Hypercom acquisition by VeriFone and the licensing of Hypercom business to Ingenico.

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Unbanked vets urged to enroll in Direct Express

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

As part of its phase-out of government paper check payments over the next two years, the U.S. Department of Treasury is including veterans and railroad retirees in its move to electronic payments via direct deposit and Direct Express prepaid cards. Until now, the Treasury's electronic payment initiative was only officially targeted toward recipients of Social Security benefits payments.

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Democrats petition SEC to require cyber attack reports

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Five Democratic senators, led by Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission May 11, 2011, to ask the agency to clarify federal disclosure requirements concerning data thefts. The letter was written just a week after the House Subcommittee for Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade held a hearing on the recent massive Sony Corp. data breach that compromised personal information from nearly 100 million Sony customers.

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Alipay goes private, leaving Yahoo! behind

Monday, May 16, 2011

Six years ago, search engine operator Yahoo! Inc. spent $1 billion acquiring a 39 percent stake in Alibaba Group, the China-based holding company for such companies as Alibaba.com, Taobao and Alipay. Alibaba's flagship company, Alibaba.com, is an Internet retailer similar to eBay Inc. and a payment processor similar to PayPal Inc., as well as an e-commerce solutions provider. The Yahoo!-Alibaba deal reportedly undermined eBay's attempts to enter the huge China retail market with its auction site and alternative payments subsidiary PayPal.

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June prepaid retreat to be held in Niagara Falls

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Global Prepaid Exchange announced that the 4th Annual Gift & Prepaid Retreat will be held June 15 and 16, 2011, at the Marriott Gateway on the Falls in Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada. The event is focused on the gift and prepaid card markets in Canada and the United States.

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Texting for redemption at the ETA

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If a smart phone can be a computer, a camera, a television set and a music player, why does an ATM or a card reader have to be limited to accepting credit and debit cards? They don't, said Pal Flagg, Chief Operating Officer of San Diego-based Street Savings. He believes Street Savings technology opens new marketing opportunities for ISOs, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and small businesses. Street Savings uses text messaging to promote gift and loyalty programs through payment devices such as ATMs and POS terminals. The company said short message service (SMS) communications have the advantage of usually being opened within minutes of arrival, with coupons sent by SMS redeemed 10 times more often than paper coupons.

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Kenya power company makes prepaid electricity meter push

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

According to Kenya's Daily Nation, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company Ltd. is expanding its prepaid electricity meter program in the East African country. Power customers will be able to pay for electricity in advance via funds loaded onto "scratch" prepaid cards and converted into "utility units," the online news outlet said.

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First Data enjoys growth

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Data Corp. reported its first quarter 2011 earnings were $2.5 billion, up 6 percent ($142 million) over the first quarter 2010. Revenue adjusted for reimbursables increased 2 percent ($29 million) to $1.5 billion. First Data Chief Executive Officer Jonathan J. Judge reported, "Higher volumes and good sales performance in our domestic and international merchant acquiring businesses coupled with lower expenses led to increased profitability across the board during the first quarter for First Data."

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Smart Card Alliance urges U.S. adoption of EMV

Friday, May 6, 2011

Payment processing technology is changing rapidly in Europe and around the world. However, industry experts believe the United States lags behind other countries in adopting state of the art card technology, and different standards and diverse technologies make selling in a global market problematic. Credit card issuers who attended the Smart Card Annual Conference held in Chicago May 4 and 5, 2011, reported that the industry is encouraged by the first test of smart cards in the United States.

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Oregon Senate passes cash-back gift card bill

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On May 2, 2011, the Oregon Senate unanimously passed a bill that allows Oregon consumers to cash used gift cards that hold $5 or less in value. Senate Bill 756 gives consumers an option at the POS to receive in cash the remaining funds on gift cards instead of forcing consumers to spend more at stores than intended in order to use up the leftover gift card funds, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Joanne Verger, D-District 5.

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Sony discloses second breach, refuses to testify

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One day after issuing a formal public apology for service outages following massive data breaches, Sony Corp. announced more than 24.6 million additional customer accounts have been compromised. Sony also said as many as 12,700 foreign credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates and approximately 10,700 direct debit records of customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain were stolen from what the company calls "an outdated database from 2007."

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U.S. Treasury begins phasing out paper check benefit payments

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

As of May 1, 2011, new applicants for Social Security, Veterans Affairs or other federal benefits must choose to have funds either direct deposited to bank accounts or loaded onto prepaid cards. With paper checks no longer an option, U.S. taxpayers will reportedly save $1 billion over the next 10 years.

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Verizon, Secret Service release fourth data breach report

Monday, May 2, 2011

Data breaches, though common, more destructive, and more targeted than ever before, can most often be prevented using common, inexpensive security procedures, a new report released by Verizon Risk Team stated. In April 2011, just as the massive Sony PlayStation Network data breach panicked media, alerted processors, and aggravated 77 million PlayStation users, Verizon Risk Team released its 2011 Data Breach Investigations Report.

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