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Breaking News articles for December 2012

FTC reports on Durbin enforcement

Monday, December 31, 2012

Payment card network rules are under Federal Trade Commission scrutiny to determine if they violate the Durbin Amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the FTC said in a recent report to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The report also indicated the agency found no evidence that community banks and credit unions experienced a decline in debit interchange fees after the amendment went into effect. The FTC is required to submit an annual report on its Durbin Amendment enforcement activities to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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CFPB releases remittance changes, delays effective date

Friday, December 28, 2012

Proposed revisions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB's) pending regulations governing international money transfers were released Dec. 21, 2012. The proposed revisions, first announced in a CFPB bulletin Nov. 27, 2012, would refine remittance transfer provider (RTP) disclosure requirements regarding foreign exchange rates, fees, and consumer taxes. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Act of 2010 required the CFPB to create disclosure and error resolution regulations for international money transfers. CFPB proposes to add a new section to Regulation E of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act requiring RTPs to disclose all costs of remittance transfers to consumers prior to the transaction. The revisions, created after public feedback on the proposed rules, relax and clarify the proposed disclosure requirements. The proposed revisions make RTPs track and disclose only published bank fee schedules and national taxes. The revisions also release a RTP from liability for non-delivery or late delivery of remittance transfers if it can prove the consumer provided wrong account information. The RTP would still have to make a good faith effort to recover the funds. The CFPB called the proposed revisions "narrow in focus and intended to preserve the new consumer protections while facilitating compliance with the rule." Implementation of the new rule was originally scheduled for Feb. 7, 2013 but the CFPB said it will now push back implementation to 90 days after the revised rule is published in the Federal Register.

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Happy holidays from The Green Sheet

Friday, December 28, 2012

To take a little time to celebrate the season, The Green Sheet Inc. will close Friday afternoon, Dec. 21, and reopen Wednesday morning, Dec. 26. We wish all of our loyal readers warm and fulfilling days ahead. We also want to remind you that even though our physical doors will be closed for a short time, our website is always up and running, so you can make use of our extensive payments industry archives whenever you like. And speaking about our website, when it comes to maintaining a web presence, traffic is everything. So imagine how proud we were to learn that among the millions of websites monitored by web analytics firm Alexa, our website ranks 54,053 in the United States and 197,496 worldwide.

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VeriFone says micro-merchant acquiring unprofitable

Friday, December 21, 2012

VeriFone Inc. is shifting its mobile payment strategy, Doug Bergeron, the company's Chief Executive Officer, said in a Dec. 13, 2012, conference call held to discuss his company's fourth quarter earnings report. Hereafter, VeriFone will no longer compete directly to acquire micro-merchants and will distribute its SAIL mobile commerce platform only through its ISO, processor and channel partners. VeriFone introduced SAIL in May 2012. The platform targets the same merchant group courted by Square Inc. and PayPal Inc.: small merchants who typically do a limited number of credit or debit card transactions per month.

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Processing snafu delays Google prepaid refunds

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In October 2012, Google Inc. discontinued the Google Prepaid Card feature of Google Wallet and said it would refund to users the balances left over on mobile prepaid Google accounts. But in early December, Google acknowledged that "unexpected processing issues" had delayed users from receiving refunds and informed them they would receive their unused balances by Dec. 22, 2012.

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Payments by the numbers

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Following are research highlights from recently published payments industry reports. #h2Multichannel reality check A survey of online retailers by Retail Systems Research LLC found that 71 percent of top performers value investment in cross-channel capabilities as a top priority. "Customers are channel agnostic, and as a result, retailers know they must be as well," said Steve Rowen, Managing Partner for RSR and co-author of the survey report, The Multi-Channel Retailer's Reality in a Post-Amazon World: Benchmark Report 2012. #h2Roadmap to data security A RIS Roadmap Series report, Six Steps Toward Tighter PCI and Data Security, describes mileposts for gaining better control over data security.

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Virginia prepares with prepaid for tax year 2013

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Commonwealth of Virginia is going paperless for the disbursement of tax refunds. Beginning in tax year 2013, Virginia residents who are not signed up to get refunds electronically direct deposited to bank accounts will automatically be issued prepaid debit cards in lieu of paper checks. Virginia said the move to prepaid is a cost savings initiative mandated by its budget for the years 2012 through 2014.

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UnionPay, Discover, Cardinal team for online shopping

Monday, December 17, 2012

China UnionPay, which reportedly has issued more than 3.2 billion bankcard worldwide, will now give Chinese shoppers with UnionPay cards the ability to make online purchases at the websites of participating Discover Financial Services merchants. Integration will be achieved through the CardinalCommerce technology-neutral platform, the companies said. UnionPay's UnionPay Online Payments (UPOP) e-commerce solution was developed in response to the need to offer UnionPay cardholders a safe, secure way to make purchases online around the world.

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Court holds retailers' appeal, First Data to give info

Friday, December 14, 2012

U.S. retailers challenging the proposed $7.2 billion class action settlement of allegations that Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide interchange fees violate U.S. antitrust laws had their attempt to block approval of the preliminary settlement denied Dec. 10, 2012. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals refused the retailers' motion for an expedited hearing and decision on their attempt to overturn preliminary approval. The appellate court also ordered all appeals deferred until after the Eastern District of New York issues its final settlement approval or otherwise concludes the case.

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Holiday payments by the numbers

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Following are research highlights from recently published reports on 2012 holiday spending trends. #h2Black Friday sees higher average ticket First Data Corp.'s SpendTrend analysis of Black Friday 2012 revealed 1.9 percent growth in average ticket size at retailers, compared with a decline of 0.9 percent last year. First Data attributed the increase to shoppers boosting their overall spending and merchants shifting their merchandise discount strategies.

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SVS declares victory in CAT case

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ceridian Stored Value Solutions (SVS) said a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed SVS's 2011 victory in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Chicago-based processor Card Activation Technologies Inc. SVS said the ruling vindicates SVS's position that its gift card technology does not infringe on CAT's patent.

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New malware infects POS terminals

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seculert, an Israeli-based security firm, uncovered powerful new malware that targets POS systems. In a Sept. 11, 2012, blog post, Seculert reported that the so-called Dexter malware has infected hundreds of POS systems in 40 different countries worldwide over the last two to three months. Seculert said 42 percent of the infected POS systems are located in North America, with an additional 19 percent of the systems located in the United Kingdom.

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Visa Europe appeals EC decision

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Visa Europe Ltd. is appealing the European Commission's decision to reject its request to modify its debit interchange rates, according to General Court documents published Dec. 10, 2012. Visa Europe is asking the General Court, the European Union's second highest court, for the EC decision to be annulled. The EC is the EU's competition watchdog. In 2010, Visa Europe agreed to cap debit card multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) at 20 percent to settle an antitrust complaint brought by retail trade association EuroCommerce. In July 2012, the EC denied Visa Europe's request to change the cap.

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Special Starbucks gift card sells out in moments

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For many dedicated coffee lovers, the launch of the Starbucks Metal Card was bitter sweet. On Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, the Starbucks Coffee Co. made the limited edition gift card available at the online retailer Gilt.com. But, within moments of the launch, the 5,000 cards were reportedly sold out, leaving Starbucks devotees disappointed.

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UBPS expects approval for triple acquisition

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stockholders of Universal Business Payment Solutions Acquisition Corporation (UBPS) are expected to give final approval to the corporation's $179 million acquisition of three payment companies. The vote will take place at the company's annual stockholders' meeting Dec. 11, 2012. In July 2012, UBPS first reported its plan to purchase Cleveland, Ohio-based ISO Electronic Merchant Systems; payment processor JetPay LLC of Carrollton, Texas; and Allentown, Pa.-based payroll processing and tax filing company AD Computer Corp.

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Experts doubt SAFE WEB Act slows cyber crime

Friday, December 7, 2012

On Dec. 4, 2012, the U.S. Congress reauthorized the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, which confers on the Federal Trade Commission broad cross-border fraud fighting powers. But payment security experts don't expect the reauthorization to have much of an impact on the fraud and theft inflicted on the payments industry by international gangs of cyber thieves.

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CFPB seeks to refine money transfer rules

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is refining the rules that govern the business practices of money transfer providers. The CFPB proposed in a Nov. 27, 2012, bulletin that refinements be made to the rules requiring remittance transfer providers (RTPs) disclose exchange rates, fees and taxes to consumers; the bureau also wants to change the rule that covers RTPs' liability for customer errors.

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Buyatab offers best gift card practices

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mobile e-gifting platform provider Buyatab Online Inc. issued best practices for online retailers and their e-gift card offers. Buyatab's Best Practices Holiday Guide outlines five guiding principles to help e-tailers boost the awareness and success of web-based virtual gift cards.

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Technology spurs cashless adoption

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Evidence that the self-service payment sector is growing can be found in two recent developments. USA Technologies Inc. is equipping its vending machines to accept near field communication- (NFC) based payments via the Isis mobile wallet. And VeriFone Inc. said gas station customers can now buy lottery tickets at VeriFone PayMedia-equipped pumps in Minnesota.

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Contactless payments takes to the skies

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Contactless payments are taking flight. MasterCard Worldwide said US Airways is the first airline to accept in-flight contactless payments. Passengers can buy food, beverages and other services in-flight by tapping MasterCard PayPass-enabled cards or mobile devices on PayPass-accepting readers. The system uses the transaction processing platform of onboard store technology firm GuestLogix Inc.

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Acquisition news galore in early December

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The first business day in December 2012 was a busy one in the payments industry, as four companies made news in the mergers and acquisitions category. Leading acquirer Vantiv Inc., security firm Acculynk, mobile marketer Mobivity Holdings Corp. and consultancy Greenwich Associates reported on Dec. 3 of either entering into, or completing, acquisitions.

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New bill would eliminate prepaid card expiration dates

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On Nov. 23, 2012, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act. If enacted into law, the legislation would modify the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to unilaterally eliminate expiration dates and certain fees from virtually all prepaid card programs.

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