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Breaking News articles for July 2014

First Data to acquire Gyft

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Merchant acquirer First Data Corp. has entered into an agreement to purchase mobile gift card wallet provider Gyft Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction is expected to close in August 2014. "With more than 200 of the most recognized retailers on its digital gift card platform, Gyft is a mobile wallet accessible by website and as a free app on iPhone and Android devices," First Data said. "The company brings an active and loyal user base of demographic groups such as millennials, who increasingly expect a highly personalized customer experience."

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Aite report dispels card acceptance myths

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For years, retailers and their associations have argued that the costs of offering bankcard payments to their customers has been too high. Their efforts to shape public opinion proved highly influential, resulting in U.S. lawmakers passing the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, in which a price cap was placed on debit card interchange. But now comes a report from payments consultancy Aite Group LLC that provides evidence that the costs associated with accepting cash can far surpass that of electronic payments.

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ISIS mobile wallet moves to rebrand

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's in a name? For many companies, the moniker they choose becomes their public persona. So imagine the shock of executives at banks and communications companies involved with the Isis mobile wallet when news broke of a militant group whose name translates into English as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS for short. ISIS is a militant group that has been making headlines with a violent sectarian campaign against civilians and governments in Iraq and Syria. In an effort to distance itself from the group, the Isis mobile wallet will be renamed, the company stated.

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CFPB opens prepaid card complaint line

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Consumers can now submit complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerning prepaid cards. The CFPB added the prepaid card complaint functionality to its webpage dedicated to complaint filing for a number of different financial products, including student loans, payday loans and mortgages, as well as other non-bank products, such as debt settlement and credit repair services.

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Acquisition fuels cross-border e-commerce

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

London-based e-commerce payment firm Optimal Payments Plc agreed to acquire Los Angeles-based ISO TK Global Partners LP (doing business as Meritus Payment Solutions) in a $210 million transaction. The proposed acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014, is seen by Optimal and Meritus as a way to expand their e-commerce footprints statewide and overseas, respectively. Optimal has an extensive portfolio concentrated primarily in the U.K., Canada and Europe, with one emphasis on legal online gambling in those markets. Meritus services small to midsize e-commerce businesses in the United States.

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ETA seeks Operation Choke Point petition signatures

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On Friday, July 18, the Electronic Transactions Association will submit the first round of signatures gathered in a petition advising Congress to curtail the federal law enforcement initiative Operation Choke Point. The initiative holds payments companies responsible for merchant fraud. Members of the payments industry are encouraged to sign the ETA petition.

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NetSpend's Henry steps down

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dan Henry, Chief Executive Officer at prepaid card provider NetSpend Holdings Inc., is stepping down. Henry, a leading voice in the prepaid card industry, said he is leaving the Total System Services Inc. owned company for family reasons. Chuck Harris is taking over leadership of NetSpend, with the title of Senior executive Vice President at TSYS.

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In-app billing at issue, again

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission alleged that Amazon.com unlawfully billed parents to the tune of millions of dollars for the in-app purchases of their children. The complaint follows a similar FTC action against Apple Inc. earlier this year in which the tech giant agreed to reimburse parents for charges incurred by their children via the lucrative mobile app ecosystem. In the July 10, 2014, complaint, the FTC charged that the online mega retailer violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon accountholders for the usually small-dollar in-app purchases made by their children without the permission of parents or other accountholders.

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AmEx defends merchant pricing in court

Friday, July 11, 2014

The American Express Co., long criticized for the high fees it charges merchants who accept AmEx cards, is now defending those fees, along with its anti-steering rules in U.S. District Court in New York. The case, which a judge began hearing on July 7, 2014, is all that remains of a massive anti-trust suit filed in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general challenging AmEx, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. rules banning merchants from "steering customers" to less costly payment options. MasterCard and Visa almost immediately reached multibillion-dollar out-of-court settlements with the DOJ and the states; AmEx did not.

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Prepaid spearheads mobile convergence

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The prepaid card industry is proving to be a catalyst for the adoption of mobile financial services by banks and others, according to Mobey Forum. The London-based mobile financial services association said prepaid is pushing innovation in the mobile realm because of the perfect marriage between prepaid accounts with mobile devices, and that banks need to adapt to this new reality and offer mobile prepaid services to remain relevant to consumers.

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HCE payments face security, end-user hurdles

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Host card emulation (HCE) technology is considered a promising new mobile payment scheme because it facilitates in-store contactless payments without transactions having to pass through the costly real estate of the secure element (SE) embedded in smart devices. But a recent SIMalliance Ltd. white paper details limitations of HCE, including lack of security and the very practical shortcoming that if an end user's mobile device runs out of battery life, the HCE-enabled transaction cannot be completed.

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Recess appointment rebuke raises CFPB debate

Thursday, July 3, 2014

On June 26, 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Barack Obama overstepped his constitutional recess appointment powers when he made several controversial federal appointments without the approval of the U.S. Senate. The ruling may affect the payments industry, and specifically, the prepaid card industry, because the director of the relatively new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has regulatory authority over financial services, was appointed under the same circumstances as the appointments the court just ruled on.

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Celebrities discontinue prepaid cards

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Much media fanfare met NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson and personal finance guru Suze Orman when they put their names and reputations behind general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards. But now comes word that the two cards bearing their imprimaturs were to be discontinued.

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Trustwave, First Data team for 'inside-out' security

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In June 2014, the largest U.S. acquirer, First Data Corp., inked a partnership deal with Chicago-based data security and compliance firm Trustwave. The focus of the new pairing will be on offering, via First Data ISOs, what the companies characterized as a new level of data security to small and midsize businesses. This new level involves what can be termed an "inside-out" approach to security and compliance. The core of the partnership revolves around Trustwave's cloud-based TrustKeeper platform, which Trustwave stated is used by about 2.7 million subscribers worldwide. The service plugs into merchants' POS networks to protect against malware and viruses, critical system changes, unauthorized devices, security misconfigurations and noncompliant payment card storage.

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