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Breaking News articles for August 2013

News highlights for the Labor Day weekend

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Green Sheet offices will be closed Mon., Sept. 2, 2013, for the Labor Day holiday and will re-open Tues., Sept. 3, at 8:30 a.m. We'd like to leave you with four news items that caught our eye this week: #h2Prepaid added to Obamacare The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a ruling that requires healthcare insurance providers accept prepaid debit cards as payment for policies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. The sweeping healthcare reform law previously required payments be made only from demand deposit accounts. The ruling will reportedly allow approximately 10 million uninsured consumers who are also unbanked or underbanked to purchase government-run medical insurance plans with general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards.

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Bitcoin Foundation opens dialogue with Fed

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In late August 2013, members of Bitcoin Foundation, an organization seeking to standardize the crypto-currency bitcoin, met with federal regulators, policymakers, law enforcement officials and congressional staffers. The ensuing discussion focused on the future of digital currencies, which are increasingly under scrutiny by state and federal authorities.

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New age of cross-channel prospecting

Thursday, August 29, 2013

To remain competitive in an increasingly multichannel world, many businesses are exploring a new mix of channels to reach and engage potential customers. This includes a number of payment companies. Trustwave Holdings Inc., Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss P.C. and Square Inc. are three examples.

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Facebook recognizes virtual gifting phenomenon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Technology news site TechCrunch reported that Facebook is abandoning its physical gift giving program in favor of a virtual gift card scheme. TechCrunch said that digital gift cards and Facebook's proprietary gift card credit program comprise 80 percent of Facebook's gift giving sales.

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Prepaid companies make Inc. 500-5,000 list

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prepaid card industry companies, as well as unbanked-focused money transfer providers, landed on the Inc. 500/5,000 list. CashStar Inc., Payoneer, and Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. represented the prepaid card segment, while iSend and Xoom Corp. represented the money transfer category. The list, compiled by Inc. magazine, ranks privately owned companies by revenue growth over a three-year period. The top 500 ranked companies represent the top tier of the overall 5,000.

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Payments industry Inc. 500/5000 winners

Monday, August 26, 2013

Nashville, Tenn.-based Value Payment Systems LLC earned the top spot among 44 payments industry companies named to the 2013 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Rankings were determined based on percentage of revenue growth from 2009 to 2012. Capturing the No. 7 position on the Inc. 500 list, VPS posted three-year sales growth of 17,404 percent and generated $25.5 million in 2012 revenue.

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PCI preview not immune from criticism

Friday, August 23, 2013

Almost three years have passed since the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) updated the global data security standards designed to safeguard electronic payment transactions. As the council gears up to release version 3.0 of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) and its companion payment application standard, criticism leveled at the proposed update concerns whether the standards are flexible enough to keep up with the rapidly evolving payments landscape and to accommodate merchants with varying data security parameters and resources.

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First NFC-enabled iPhone prepaid mobile wallet in Europe

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In July 2013, the first near field communication (NFC)-enabled mobile prepaid wallet was introduced in Europe. The moneto prepaid wallet, which operates with Apple Inc. iPhones, is first being deployed in the United Kingdom, with roll-outs in other European countries expected in the coming months.

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PCI compliance gets easier with SmartSAQ

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The payments industry has seen significant improvement in data security practices since the advent of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) seven years ago. According to a 2010 Visa Inc. report, the Level 1 merchant compliance rate had climbed from 12 percent to 96 percent since 2006. The report also indicated higher compliance among Level 2 category merchants, clocking them in at an overall rate of 95 percent. However, the same study also showed marginal compliance improvement within the Level 3 and 4 merchant brackets.

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Green Dot gets fashionable with GoBank

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The new mobile banking product offered by prepaid card pioneer Green Dot Corp. is being featured on season 12 of the Emmy award winning reality TV show Project Runway. Green Dot's GoBank, called the first bank account specifically designed for mobile devices, is being used by reality show contestants to make purchases and budget finances. Additionally, the winning designer will be awarded $150,000 from GoBank to launch his or her own fashion line.

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Isis adds prepaid to mobile wallet

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The American Express Co. reported it will add its Serve prepaid card to the Isis Mobile Wallet. The addition gives Isis, the near field communication (NFC)-based mobile payment venture created by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US Inc. and Verizon Wireless, a way for financially underserved individuals without access to credit and debit cards to use the mobile wallet to pay bills online and conduct money transfers.

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More space for exhibitors, incentives for attendees at WSAA

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Western States Acquirers Association is making room in the exhibit foyer for a limited number of additional table-top exhibitors at its 10th annual conference. The show will occur Oct. 8 and 9, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Burlingame, which is adjacent to the San Francisco Airport and a short ride to the storied City by the Bay. "We will create flow from the exhibit hall into the foyer by putting the photo booth into the foyer along with a bar and some food tables, which should create high traffic going back and forth," WSAA board member Steve Eazell wrote in an email update.

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Google Wallet ending gift card experiment

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Search engine giant Google Inc. has been known to abruptly shutter programs. The latest fatality is Google's closed-loop gift and loyalty card feature of Google Wallet. On Aug. 8, 2013, Google said in an email sent to Google Wallet users, and published on the tech site AndroidSPIN, that the wallet users would soon be unable to redeem virtual gift and loyalty cards via the near field communication (NFC)-enabled payment feature of Google Wallet.

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Plenty of resources for payment pros

Monday, August 12, 2013

As usual, the payments industry is jumping with activity this week. Following are several items that caught our eye this morning:
  • Trustwave launched the Trustwave TrustKeeper Community, a social network for small business security. The social network is moderated by Trustwave and is designed to foster understanding and acceptance of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance and data security best practices.

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SheerID growth parallels rise of loyalty

Friday, August 9, 2013

The loyalty and reward solution, once considered a valued-added service included in the overall service package, is becoming central to the paradigm shift occurring in merchant sales. The rise in the importance of loyalty thus represents a potentially more profitable way to sell merchant services. Online customer verification service provider SheerID can attest to this shift. The Eugene, Ore.-based company, which specializes in verifying the identities of military personnel and other consumer groups as part of omnichannel loyalty programs, reported that it processed seven times more verifications in the second quarter of 2013 than it did in the same period in 2012.

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Debt cycle detailed in payday-advance sector

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The prepaid card industry now has more evidence to make the case that prepaid card products are a better financial services alternative than payday loans. The evidence comes from testimony delivered to the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging that payday loan borrowers often get trapped in cycles of debt that are difficult to overcome.

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FTC continues industry scrutiny

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recently, several Federal Trade Commission cases concerning payment businesses have been in review by the courts. Separate claims against Landmark Clearing and Automated Electronic Checking Inc. allege the companies had personal responsibility for the merchants within their portfolios who accepted remotely created checks and payment orders not authorized by consumers. Payments industry legal expert, Barrie VanBrackle, of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, said the FTC made these allegations against the named processors because there was a belief that "the merchants used these deceptive methods with the assistance and knowing cooperation of their payment processors, or, conversely, the payment processors suggested these payment mechanisms to merchants."

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Double-billing error causes manic Monday

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Data Corp., the largest acquirer in the United States and privately owned by investment firm KKR & Co. LP, double-billed a sizable amount of its merchants on one day in early August 2013. The merchants affected were those whose transactions are processed on First Data's Omaha processing platform, one of five platforms First Data operates in the United States. ISOs have been inundated with calls from double-billed merchants who have their customers' payment card transactions processed on the Omaha platform. In a statement to The Green Sheet, First Data said: "Over the weekend, some clearing bank clients reported receiving and processing duplicate month-end files from First Data. In some instances, this resulted in double postings of monthly fees to merchant accounts.

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Prepaid Awards 2013 finalists announced

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

At the Lancaster London Hotel on Oct. 2, Prepaid Awards 2013 will host an awards celebration for the global prepaid card industry. The showcase, sponsored by U.K. voucher provider Ukash, released the shortlist of the awards finalists. The awards are broken up into three categories, with three to fivecompanies vying for the top prize in each subcategory.

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Back to square one: Court smacks Fed over debit interchange rules

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Federal Reserve Board has been ordered back to the drafting table to rewrite the controversial debit card regulations it promulgated to implement the Durbin Amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The order, handed down July 31, 2013, by Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was a firm rebuke of the assumptions and methodologies that led the Fed to cap debit card interchange at 21-cents per transaction.

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Prepaid SIM card registration debate returns

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Following a July 26, 2013, bombing that killed eight people outside a bar in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, a move to register users of prepaid cell phones has been revived. The bombing was reportedly triggered by a cell phone. Philippine lawmakers suggest that registration of prepaid SIM cards that reside in mobile phones would deter terrorists from using prepaid phones to set off bombs.

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