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Breaking News articles for March 2013

Rise in consumer use of mobile financial services

Thursday, March 28, 2013

According to the latest findings from the Federal Reserve Board, consumer use of mobile phones for accessing bank accounts, credit cards and other financial accounts has increased in most segments of the U.S. population over the past year.

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FinCEN improves AML processes

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In a March 19, 2013, talk before the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), said technological improvements at FinCEN are helping the agency combat money laundering schemes. She reported that improved processes have translated into over 50 percent match rates of suspected activity reports (SARs) and currency transaction reports (CTRs) sent in by financial institutions (FIs).

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Analysts weigh in on mobile payments

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Researchers recently have predicted exponential growth in global adoption of mobile payments, but opinions vary on when this trend will become widespread. Factors perceived to be slowing mobile payment adoption are related to data security, convenience and lack of clearly defined market leaders. Following are highlights from reports sizing up mobile payments in these critical areas.

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Check writing comes to Bluebird

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When prepaid cards are marketed as checking account alternatives, the writing of physical checks may be a feature offered but not often promoted. And yet American Express Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. revealed on March 26, 2013, that the addition of a check writing capability to their alternative checking account platform, Bluebird, is now front and center.

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Vantiv, one year after IPO

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cincinnati-based merchant acquirer Vantiv LLC celebrated its first anniversary as a publicly traded company by reporting it had surpassed the goals it set for itself one year ago. "When we went public last year, we set out to achieve aggressive financial objectives, and due to the hard work of our employees, we exceeded those goals last year," said Vantiv Chief Executive Officer Charles Drucker. Vantiv said it is now the top ranked processor of PIN-debit card transactions in the United States and the number three ranked overall U.S. acquirer, based on transaction volume.

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FinCEN tackles regulation of virtual currency

Monday, March 25, 2013

It might be hard to imagine drug traffickers and terrorists laundering illegal proceeds by converting funds into virtual currencies, but the possibility has occurred to the regulatory, law enforcement and financial services communities. Based on concerns raised by entities within those communities, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance on the responsibilities of virtual currency providers and intermediaries to comply with the anti-money laundering (AML) regulations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

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Visa faces challenges to breach fines

Monday, March 25, 2013

A complaint filed March 7, 2013, in the U.S. Middle District of Tennessee challenges fines Visa Inc. assessed after sports apparel retailer Genesco Inc. reported a data breach in its computer system. The retailer claims the card company has no evidence that stored customer data was taken from company computers; therefore no industry security rules were violated, and the card company had no reason to assess fines. These allegations are similar to those made against Visa in Utah state court by Cisero's Ristorante Inc. of Park City, Utah, in 2011.

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Gift card fraudsters indicted

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts unsealed an indictment against two California men accused of a fraud scheme involving Subway restaurants and gift cards. The apparent fraudsters reportedly hacked into Subway POS systems to add at least $40,000 in value to Subway gift cards. The men then allegedly used the cards to make purchases at Subway outlets and also sold the cards online.

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Spring training at W.net LINC events

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (W.net) is sponsoring two Local Interest Network Circle (LINC) events in April 2013 for women involved in the payments industry. Both sessions will provide opportunities to network and gain knowledge from industry experts on how to navigate the increasingly complex world of payments.

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10 debit networks pick Discover AID

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ten independent debit networks agreed to adopt Discover Financial Services' D-Payment Application Specification (D-PAS) as the foundation of a common U.S. debit chip payment solution, the Secure Remote Payment Council (SRPc) reported March 19, 2013. The major card networks are urging adoption of Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip-card payment interoperability standards in the United States by 2015, primarily via a liability shift for card-present fraud.

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Blackhawk to go public

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gift card distributor and Safeway Inc. subsidiary Blackhawk Network filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as $200 million for the innovative prepaid card company. Blackhawk did not disclose the number of shares to be offered or the price range for those shares. Safeway said in September 2012 that it planned to take Blackhawk public in the first half of 2013.

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PayPal co-founder continues payments innovation

Monday, March 18, 2013

Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal Inc. and member of the so-called PayPal mafia, a group of Silicon Valley investors and developers associated with the early days of PayPal who went on to create a series of other technology companies, is funding the new online mobile payment startup Affirm. Initially called Expedite, Affirm is the first project launched by Levchin's San Francisco technology company, Hard Valuable Fun. The company said the name was changed to affirm its technology is "a fast, elegant checkout experience."

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Bergeron steps down at VeriFone

Friday, March 15, 2013

Douglas G. Bergeron, long-time Chief Executive Officer of payment terminal manufacturer VeriFone Inc., resigned March 12, 2013, after 12 years at the helm. Board Chairman Richard McGinn is stepping in as interim CEO, VeriFone said in a release issued March 11. McGinn is also assuming the board seat Bergeron vacated. And Leslie Denend is the new interim Chairman of the Board. McGinn said a search committee is looking for a new leader "who will bring a fresh perspective and enable us to achieve our full business perspective."

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FTC busts 'free' gift card scheme

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission charged 29 different organizations with allegedly spamming mobile phone users with hundreds of millions of text messages that attempted to steer them to websites that falsely promised "free" gift cards in exchange for the disclosure of personal information, including credit card and health information. The FTC filed eight different complaints in courts around the United States that target the marketers of the text messages as well as the operators of the websites.

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LevelUp reaches 1 million users

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

LevelUp Inc., a third-party mobile payment aggregator, is gaining traction. It disclosed in February 2013 that the number of customers using the LevelUp mobile application had doubled to 1 million users since November 2012. Additionally, 5,000 merchants have signed up to use the LevelUp service, the company said.

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First Data reports on February spending

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Data Corp.'s SpendTrend analysis for February 2013 showed mixed results in same-store consumer spending compared with a year ago. Dollar volume growth slowed to 4.6 percent year-over-year, down from 6.2 percent in January. Retail dollar volume grew 2.5 percent, well below the 5.7 percent gain recorded in January and marking the slowest monthly growth in 12 months, First Data reported.

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FinCEN reminds FIs of e-filing mandate

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is reminding financial institutions (FIs) that they are required to begin filing "mandated" Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports electronically by April 1, 2013. FinCEN said mandated reports include suspicious activity reports, currency transaction reports, registration of money services business forms and designation of exempt person reports. The agency warns that FIs will be considered noncompliant if they continue to file reports in a paper format after the April deadline.

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Farewell to Mike Duffy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Michael Duffy, 54, President of Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC since 2000, passed away March 7, 2013. Duffy died after a long illness, but no details about the condition were released. In a press release following his death the company said, "Mike's leadership was marked by passion, authenticity and integrity. He was a brilliant leader and a pioneer in the payments industry. Mike forged strong connections with his people – across the entire organization. He possessed a unique mix of strategic vision and pragmatic, real-world understanding of our systems, capabilities and the employees, knowing they were the cornerstone of the business."

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New battles erupt in mobile wallet wars

Friday, March 8, 2013

With the mobile payments ecosystem continuing to grow and evolve, it is little wonder that legal issues have arisen around m-payment companies and processes. On March 6, 2013, mobile phone carrier billing company PayOne Corp. filed a patent infringement lawsuit against The Home Depot Inc. The complaint alleges Home Depot's deployment of PayPal Inc.'s in-store checkout solution infringes on a number of PayOne patents. On another front, documents from the financial institution regulatory arm within the State of Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) confirm that mobile payment startup Square Inc. was issued a cease and desist order in January 2013. The order said Square does not have a required license to operate in the state.

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EMV Migration Forum promotes language consistency

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A new document issued in February 2013 by the EMV Migration Forum's Communication and Education Working Committee defines and standardizes Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) terminology for industry stakeholders and consumers in the United States. Randy Vanderhoof, Acting Director of the EMV Migration Forum and Executive Director of the Smart Card Alliance – which created the 120-member EMV Migration Forum – said the committee's work ensures that terms used in educational materials are clear and uniform.

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Paybefore Awards honor excellence

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

At the Seventh Annual Paybefore Awards ceremony held during the Prepaid Expo in Orlando, Fla., several companies were recognized. Kaiku Finance, Better ATM SErvices and The Bancorp Payment Solutions Group were among the winners:

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EMV road map discussion continues

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Following Visa Inc.'s spring 2011 release of a road map for U.S. adoption of the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip-based payment standard, U.S. card brands MasterCard Worldwide, Discover Financial Services and American Express Co. followed suit, issuing milestones to be met by payment processors, acquirers and merchants governed by their rules. In a report titled U.S. EMV Timeline Beyond the Road Maps: How Long Will Conversion Really Take?, Mercator Advisory Group stated,"[I]n theory, the road maps should serve as a reasonable expectation for when the U.S. will fully adopt EMV, but judging by past experience, that likely won't be the case."

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MasterCard unveils MasterPass in Barcelona

Monday, March 4, 2013

At the recent 2013 Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, MasterCard Worldwide introduced MasterPass. MasterCard called its new digital wallet solution the "future of digital payments." The card brand said MasterPass is a cloud-based universal wallet that functions with any payment card and MasterPass-enabled device. Additionally, the wallet supports near field communication technology, quick response codes and tags, according to MasterCard.

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Infographic counters MPC 'swipe fee' claims

Friday, March 1, 2013

The debate over interchange may have reached a new level of hyperbole when legal counsel for the Merchants Payments Coalition said that if Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide were to charge consumers the "swipe fees" they now charge merchants to accept electronic payments, the card brands "would probably go to jail." Countering such statements, payments industry consultancy The Strawhecker Group published an infographic that lays out the costs of interchange and the benefits interchange fees enable the industry to provide to merchants and consumers.

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