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Breaking News articles for April 2011

First Sony data breach suit filed, FBI launches investigation

Friday, April 29, 2011

A nationwide class action suit against Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (Sony EA) and Sony Network Entertainment International (Sony EI) was filed in federal court April 27, 2011, just days after Sony announced a massive data breach compromised the personal information and, possibly, credit card numbers of more than 77 million Sony PlayStation customers, but more than a week after Sony discovered the breach. The complaint was filed in the Northern District of California on behalf of an Alabama resident, Kristopher Johns and "all other similarly situated." The suit was filed by the Rothken Law Firm in Novato, Calif., and Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff LLP in Sacramento. Both firms are experienced in technology litigation.

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Attorney claims Sony hackers selling cardholder data

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hackers involved in the breach of Sony Corp.'s online video game network are offering 2.2 million credit cards, the corresponding three-digit security verification codes and other personal information for sale on underground Internet sites, the attorney leading a class action suit against Sony said today. Novato, Calif., lawyer Ira Rothken confirmed, "We have information that is a red flag that the folks who took the Sony data for 2.2 million credit cards with the [card verification values] and assorted personal information are offering to sell this information in criminal venues that use underworld bulletin boards."

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Javelin, LexisNexis webinar delves into fraud threats, solutions

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A new payment trends and fraud study for LexisNexis by Javelin Strategy & Research found there were more than $100 billion in fraud losses in the payments industry in 2010. The study also concluded technology is developing so rapidly the payments industry is unable to keep up with new fraud techniques. Fraud, the study reported, drives one in three customers away from merchants and creates wariness among consumers toward online retail markets.

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Illegal online gambling allegedly enabled with prepaid cards

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On April 15, 2011, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed that three of the largest online poker companies, their associates and payment processors were indicted on charges of fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering. One way that illegal gambling activity was allegedly facilitated was through the use of prepaid cards.

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Prepaid meter pilot begins in India

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Times of India reported that the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. installed 30 prepaid electricity meters at commercial establishments in Lonavla, a city in the Pune district of the Maharashtra province of India. The meters can be recharged over the Internet, as well as via "coupons" in the form of prepaid cards inserted into the meters.

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Intuit's IMS ends agent program

Monday, April 25, 2011

Innovative Merchant Solutions, the payment processing arm of Intuit Inc., is terminating its agent program effective July 31, 2011, the end of its fiscal year. IMS National Sales Manager Jeff Broudy confirmed his company is ending its agent program. "It's no longer a channel Intuit is focusing on," he said. "We are turning our attention to our core channels. We've just decided not to use our agent channel as one of our core channels."

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Does certification without licensing make sense?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Regulation hovers over the payments industry like dark clouds on a spring day. It is easy to predict rain will come soon, but nobody can say if the rain will bring floods or flowers with it. Payment processors are getting proactive on self-regulation. The industry is moving to head off more government regulation by setting up its own training and certification programs.

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PayPal, Discover launch Money Messenger

Thursday, April 21, 2011

PayPal Inc. entered into the person-to-person (P2P) product market in April 2011 when Discover Financial Services launched its new Discover Money Messenger Service, a free application that allows card customers to transfer money on Discover.com or by using a smart phone. The Discover-PayPal partnership was announced in October at PayPal's Innovate 2010 conference in San Francisco.

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Pakistan government moves to verify prepaid phone users

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Associated Press of Pakistan reported that Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, ordered on April 19, 2011, that prepaid phone providers verify the identities of all prepaid mobile phone users in Pakistan within 30 days. In a meeting at Pakistan's Ministry of Interior, Malik said telecommunication companies had not taken steps to verify user identities via subscriber identification module (SIM) cards, which are portable cell phone memory chips where user information is stored.

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Indictment halts the action for poker sites, processors

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three of the largest online poker companies, their associates and payment processors were indicted in March 2011 on charges of fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed April 15. Internet poker sites PokerStars and owners Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate, Full Tilt Poker and owners Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick, and Absolute Poker and owners Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, along with five alleged accomplices, were named in the indictment.

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Travel card commemorates royal wedding

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ttglive, the website for the U.K.'s Travel Trade Gazette, reported travel agency Thomas Cook Group launched a limited edition Travelex Cash Passport travel currency card in commemoration of the upcoming royal wedding between Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.

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Smart Card Alliance website updated

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Smart Card Alliance unveiled new resources, including multimedia and expanded search capabilities, to its website, www.smartcardalliance.org . The new features are designed to give visitors easier access to the SCA's extensive content on the latest trends in technology for the payments, health care, physical access, identity and transportation markets. The new multimedia center features video interviews of experts talking about the industry's hottest topics.

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Durbin draws opposition from advocacy groups

Friday, April 15, 2011

With debit interchange regulation looming, 33 national and state-level advocacy groups, think tanks and center-right activists have joined to lobby against premature implementation of the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which could cap debit interchange fees starting as early as July 2011. The coalition includes the Americans for Tax Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute and 60 Plus Association. In an April 2011 joint letter to Congress, the coalition stated, "Consumers and seniors on fixed incomes will likely bear the brunt of these regulations directly, as card issuers struggle to cover the cost of artificially low price controls on interchange fees.

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Isis to pilot contactless m-payments in Salt Lake City

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Isis, the mobile commerce joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless, Discover Financial Services and Barclays Bank, said it will pilot the Isis m-commerce platform in Salt Lake City in early- to mid-2012. The deployment will mark the first commercially available mobile transportation fare payment program in the United States, according to Isis.

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Phone card leftovers targeted in Thailand

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Federation of Consumer Organisations gave mobile telecommunication operators in Thailand notice that they may face legal action if they can't adequately clarify business practices concerning leftover minutes on prepaid calling cards, according to the Bangkok Post. The non-profit FTO is threatening to file suit against both private- and state-run enterprises for unfair treatment of prepaid calling card users, the media outlet said. It quoted telecom researcher Anuparb Thiralarp as saying that the telecom providers treat such users like second-class citizens tied to substandard service contracts.

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And the breach goes on

Monday, April 11, 2011

A slew of recent data breaches have security experts and government authorities scrambling to fix security loopholes and identify possible sources. In the most recent attack, Epsilon Data Management LLC, an online marketing unit of Alliance Data Systems Corp., reported customer data was exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon's email system, affecting approximately 2 percent of its global client base of 2,500 companies. Epsilon detected the breach on March 30, 2011, and notified clients that the information obtained was restricted to email addresses and customer names. Since the incident occurred, a growing number of companies affected by the breach have stepped forward. Citigroup Inc., HSN Inc., Kroger Co., Walgreen Co., and Walt Disney Co.'s travel subsidiary, Disney Destinations, are among the affected companies.

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The latest interchange increases – waving a red flag?

Friday, April 8, 2011

MasterCard Worldwide recently released its spring 2011 changes to interchange rates and assessments. Included among them is an increase in the interchange rate for a widely used rewards card called the World Merit III, which for some retail merchants constitutes a large portion of their credit card volume, according to Phil Hinke, Founder of MLS Advocate LLC. "World Merit III can be 20 to 30 percent of a retail merchant's MasterCard transactions," Hinke said. "So this increase could have a noticeable impact on a retailer's monthly processing costs."

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China prepaid market may offer unimaginable opportunities

Thursday, April 7, 2011

According to a Mercator Advisory Group report, China's prepaid card market is growing rapidly despite it going widely unnoticed by the worldwide payments industry. With a major "reshuffling" underway in the market, significant opportunities might arise for global players, Mercator said.

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Ingenico to get a bigger slice of U.S. market

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

VeriFone Inc. and Hypercom Corp. agreed on April 4, 2011, to sell to Ingenico S.A. Hypercom's U.S. payment systems business, which reportedly achieved revenues of about $61 million in 2010. The aggregate purchase price is $54 million in cash, subject to post-completion price adjustments. Pending regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close immediately before completion of VeriFone's acquisition of Hypercom, which is expected to occur in the second half of 2011.

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Report finds checking accounts better than prepaid cards

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nonprofit consumer watchdog Consumers Union released a report that claims most prepaid cards charge higher fees than what consumers can expect to pay for basic checking accounts offered by the top five banks in the United States. In Adding It All Up: How Prepaid Card Fees Compare to Checking Account Fees, Consumers Union said that, while some banks are beginning to charge news fees, basic checking accounts still compare favorably to prepaid cards in terms of costs to consumers.

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W-net becomes Women's Network in Electronic Transactions

Monday, April 4, 2011

In a desire to keep current and remain relevant, W-net's Senior Leadership Team decided to change the association's name from Women Networking in Electronic Transactions to Women's Network in Electronic Transactions, as well as change its website address to www.wnetonline.org . Additionally, changes to the website format offer greater usability and provide access to more information, said Kim Fitzsimmons, President of Women's Network in Electronic Transactions.

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'Cheat sheet' cuts Dodd-Frank to size

Friday, April 1, 2011

A summary of the1,000-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was released by InformationWeek Financial Services. At fewer than 40 pages, the "cheat sheet" summarizes the law's rules and definitions. Using laymen's terms, the report outlines the law's impact on technology organizations and highlights key deadlines.

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