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Breaking News articles for April 2014

CFSI prepaid scorecard lauded

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jim Jones, Chief Executive Officer at prepaid provider AccountNow Inc., praised the Center for Financial Services Innovation's Prepaid Industry Scorecard, which employs quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis to generate scores that capture the quality of products in the prepaid card industry.

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Heartbleed offers chance to hit 'Reset'

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In what may become a watershed event in the history of Internet security, the so-called Heartbleed bug detected in the popular OpenSSL security protocol has garnered major media attention, and the interest of the general public. But in the payments industry, where security issues are already forefront in most peoples' minds, disclosure of a weakness in secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption software can be viewed as an opportunity to reassess security procedures that include a simple reset of passwords. On April 7, 2014, the Heartbleed vulnerability was discovered in OpenSSL, which is described as a cryptographic library used in securing such pervasive online infrastructure as e-commerce sites, email services and file transfer protocol programs.

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Financial pressures on Square appear to mount

Friday, April 25, 2014

Square Inc. is a favorite punching bag of the payments industry. With the Wall Street Journal reporting that Square lost roughly $100 million in 2013 and has engaged in acquisition talks with tech giants, critics have more ammunition with which to disparage the payment innovator. However, Square is not without resources and leverage among a significant class of merchants, and payment experts warn against making predictions of Square's imminent demise. On April 21, 2014, the WSJ cited anonymous sources who said Square processed over $20 billion in transactions in 2013 and realized approximately $550 million in revenue from that volume.

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AmEx expands Serve via Wal-Mart

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The American Express Co. is expanding its prepaid account product, American Express Serve, by offering the service at approximately 4,100 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. locations across the United States. The Wal-Mart implementation includes the expansion of Serve's free cash reload network. The card brand's move can be seen as an extension of its partnership with Wal-Mart, as the companies teamed for another alternative financial product, Bluebird, in 2012.

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Equinox opens new chapter

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Equinox Payments LLC, an entity formed by private equity firm The Gores Group in August 2011, is in transition. Equinox was formed as a result of an anti-trust settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and VeriFone Inc. The agreement required VeriFone to separate aspects of its business from Hypercom Corp. for its acquisition of Hypercom to be approved. On Feb. 6, 2014, Toronto-based NBS Payment Solutions Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, acquired substantially all of Equinox Payments' assets for an undisclosed sum.

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XP end times not an issue for ATM ISOs

Friday, April 18, 2014

ISOs that operate independent ATM networks are apparently not affected by Microsoft Corp.'s termination of support for Windows XP, the operating system supposedly used in the vast majority of ATMs in the United States. Independent ISOs have nothing to worry about because their ATMs do not operate on XP, according to research conducted by the National ATM Council Inc.

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Voices of Transact 14 – part 3

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Green Sheet concludes its tradeshow odyssey with a look at two mobile payment firms, a processor, a PCI specialist and a terminal manufacturer. What all the payment professionals interviewed for this series have in common is a mindset of always being focused on the future and intent on navigating the historic changes taking place in the industry. The Green Sheet thanks all the individuals who shared their stories with us at Transact 14: Powered by ETA.

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Report shows popularity of prepaid electricity metering

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A recent study issued by energy sector consultancy Distributed Energy Financial Group confirmed previous research that makes a connection between prepaid cards and greater energy savings for consumers. The DEFG report said that three out of four study respondents indicated that, since they switched to prepaid plans, they changed their energy usage habits to lower their energy bills.

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Voices of Transact 14 – part 2

Monday, April 14, 2014

Transact 14: Powered by ETA, the Electronic Transactions Association's annual event held April 8 through 10 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, proved to be a bountiful opportunity for The Green Sheet to interview a dynamic cross-section of payment professionals. Part 2 of our three-part series provides insights from these payment pros into new products, new opportunities and how we can do a better job of securing the payments ecosystem from data security breaches.

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Voices from Transact 14

Friday, April 11, 2014

Transact 14: Powered by ETA wraps up today, April 10, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. As always, the highlight of the Electronic Transactions Association's annual event were the people that The Green Sheet met. Here are a few of the payment professionals that GS had the honor of meeting at this year's show, and what they were here to accomplish.

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Aite describes merchant 'mania' for gift cards

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Boston-based payments consultancy Aite Group LLC conducted research to discover what strategies merchants are pursuing in regard to the panoply of available prepaid card schemes and solutions. Aite found that by far the most popular prepaid card offer continues to be retailer-specific, closed-loop gift card.

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California EBT fee issue highlights ISO opportunity

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A movement is underway in California to reduce the ATM fees banks charge users of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. The initiative to regulate California's EBT food stamp program, and reduce the financial burden on California's unbanked population, raises the potential for ISOs to generate revenue by partnering with more fee-friendly ATM network operators.

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Square makes bitcoin play

Friday, April 4, 2014

Amid the continuing volatility and controversy that surrounds the virtual currency bitcoin, mobile payment innovator Square Inc. added bitcoin payment functionality for merchants on its online platform, Square Market. San Francisco-based Square partnered with bitcoin processor Coinbase to offer the service. According to a March 31, 2014, post on Square's corporate blog, the service is available on Square's online checkout page. "When a buyer opts to 'Pay with Bitcoin,' we first generate a new bitcoin address and attach it to the order," said Square Market lead Ajit Varma. "We will continually monitor this address throughout the checkout process so we know when it has received payment."

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Prepaid card launched for bitcoin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Toronto-based Prepaid Bitcoin may have rolled out the first prepaid card that allows users to transact using bitcoin. Users can purchase cards for $10, $25, $50 and $100 and receive bitcoin based on the exchange rate of the dollar to bitcoin. "For instance, if the Bitcoin current market price is $500, a $25 Prepaid Bitcoin card would hold approximately 0.045 BTC," the company said.

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Kentucky bill seen as attack on prepaid phone users

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The legislature of the state of Kentucky introduced a bill that would substantially increase fees on users of prepaid wireless services to help pay for the state's emergency 911 services. Kentucky House Bill 391 would apparently add a tax to prepaid wireless users that would raise their fees by 360 percent to offset the fall in emergency services funding as users of landlines decrease.

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