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Breaking News articles for February 2014

Mt. Gox, Pony and other bitcoin troubles

Friday, February 28, 2014

The rollercoaster ride continues for virtual currencies like bitcoin. Mt. Gox, the Japan-based bitcoin exchange operator and one of the first such providers of the controversial cryptocurrency, abruptly closed its doors on Feb. 24, 2014, and filed for bankruptcy a few days later. Meanwhile, security firm Trustwave disclosed a new fraud scheme called Pony that targets the digital wallets of virtual currency users.

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Visa launches prepaid fraud database service

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Visa Inc. has created a clearinghouse for the sharing of fraud information as it concerns prepaid cards. The goal of the Prepaid Clearinghouse Service is for the industry to more effectively detect and prevent fraud schemes that target prepaid cards.

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NBPCA, Consumer Action issue paycard guidance

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Since a class-action lawsuit was filed against McDonald's Corp. in June 2013 concerning the fast food chain's payroll card policies, the paycard sector of the prepaid card industry has been under government and media scrutiny. Now, the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and consumer advocacy group Consumer Action have created a four-page payroll card guide designed to help employers educate employees on the electronic wage payment option.

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USPS weighs plunge into crowded GPR pool

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

As mail volumes and concurrent revenue continue to plummet, the U.S. Postal Service has proposed that a general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid card be created that would help to bolster profits at the struggling quasi government agency. Along with a so-called Postal Card, small-dollar loans and money transfers could be offered to unbanked customers at postal locations, according to a Jan. 27, 2014, USPS report. "Around the world, financial services are the single biggest driver for new revenue for postal operators, and conditions may be ripe for similar success for the U.S. Postal Service," said the Office of Inspector General: United States Postal Service.

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Card acceptance at pot shops poised to rise

Friday, February 21, 2014

The production and sale of marijuana is big business, one that is off limits to merchant acquirers and their sales partners. But that may be changing as the federal government and the credit card companies loosen strictures that have relegated marijuana businesses to the underground economy for generations.

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GAO surveys campus card market

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The politically nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released its report on the higher education prepaid debit card market. The GAO said that, as of July 2013, at least 852 schools, or 11 percent of U.S. colleges and universities, offered campus cards to its students. With a growing number of schools partnering with card providers for such programs, the GAO believes that Congress should require campus card providers to publicly disclose their agreements with schools for public review.

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Verizon defends the PCI DSS

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) has come under criticism lately as high profile data breaches continue to expose flaws in retailers' data security systems. But a report issued by telecommunications firm Verizon Wireless concluded that the PCI DSS is working. In the Verizon 2014 PCI Compliance Report, the researchers acknowledged the global standard is imperfect in entirely safeguarding sensitive payment data. "Some even regard the DSS, even in its latest 3.0 guise, as taking fundamentally the wrong approach to security," Verizon said. Then it asked a rhetorical question: "But is it effective in achieving security?" It answered the question with, "Our evidence suggests it is."

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NEAA bids farewell to industry leader

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Following the NEAA Winter 2014 Seminar & Outing in late January, one of the Northeast Acquirers Association's original founding members, Jacques Breton, gave notice of resignation as Treasurer of the NEAA, effective March 1. A letter posted on his Facebook page read, "After 29 years being one of the original founders, it is time to move on. It is time for new faces and new ideas. Please continue to support the NEAA as you have in the past. I look forward to seeing many of you at the other regional meetings and future NEAA events."

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Emerald Card goes to the top

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tax preparer H&R Block won Paybefore's Top of Wallet award for its MasterCard Worldwide-branded Emerald Card. The general purpose reloadable (GPR) card offers low fees and a large reload network. "Winning this award is like being named best picture at the Oscars," said Greg Quarles, President of H&R Block Financial Services.

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Prepaid found to be a 'better deal' than checking

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a report that concluded what is becoming increasingly apparent, that general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards rival basic checking accounts in affordability. The research found that GPR cards offered by large banks are "particularly economical" when compared to similar products studied in 2012.

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The risky business of bitcoin

Friday, February 7, 2014

News moves fast about the controversial virtual alternative currency bitcoin. On Feb. 7, 2014, the value of bitcoin on the open market experienced a reported one-day price drop of 8 percent after a prominent bitcoin processor in Japan halted users from withdrawing U.S. dollars from the exchange. That development follows late January 2014 reports that New York State plans to regulate bitcoin as a result of the indictment and arrest of two individuals in New York who allegedly employed the cryptocurrency to facilitate the purchase of illicit drugs. All these circumstances underscore the potential hazards of offering bitcoin payments when the ecosystem for it remains volatile and unregulated.

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New bill designed to protect prepaid cardholders

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Barely had the new year rolled around than new legislation targeting the prepaid card industry was introduced in Congress. On Jan. 9, 2014, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., proposed a bill that mandates detailed fee disclosures accompany prepaid card programs.

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FinCEN chief urges AML compliance from MSBs

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

At the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Conference, Financial Crimes Enforcement (FinCEN) Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery reinforced the need for money service businesses (MSBs) to follow the anti-money laundering (AML) requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.

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Heartland levels host of charges at Mercury

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Heartland Payment Systems Inc. filed suit against Mercury Payment Systems in federal court, alleging false advertising and unfair competition, among other charges. Heartland, a leading merchant acquirer based in Princeton, N.J., is seeking a laundry list of remedies from the court, including monetary damages and letters to tens of thousands of merchants from Mercury informing them that they've been overcharged and lied to.

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