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Breaking News articles for August 2014

Inc. 500/5000 payments industry fast trackers

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based BlueSquare Resolutions LLC earned top honors among the 34 payment processors named to the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Rankings were determined based on percentage of revenue growth from 2010 to 2013. The three-year growth rate for companies on the list this year averaged 516 percent. BlueSquare secured the Inc. 500 No. 19 position and placed No. 1 in the Financial Services category. The company advanced from the No. 101 position last year by posting three-year sales growth of 11,489 percent and generating $46.4 million in 2013 revenue.

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The life of NBPCA attorney Terry Maher honored

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The law firm of Baird Holm LLP announced that one of the firm's partners, Terrence Patrick Maher, passed away on Aug. 12, 2014. "Terry was a local and national expert in the areas of electronic financial services, most notably with regard to the payment card industry," the law firm said. Mr. Maher served as General Counsel for the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association. "Terry was an intelligent and witty man who lit up every room he entered; he always had an interesting story to tell about his constant travels," Baird Holm added.

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New York proposes bitcoin licensing program

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In mid July 2014, the New York State Department of Financial Services laid out a proposed regulatory framework for the issuance of bitcoin licenses. If the regulations are enacted, New York would become the first state to regulate the bitcoin marketplace in the United States. But some in the bitcoin community argued that the alternative currency and its emerging marketplace are still in the early days of development and could be curtailed by over-burdensome regulation. The NYDFS said regulating bitcoin is important to ensure consumer protection and guard against illegal activities, such as data theft and exploiting bitcoin as a money laundering tool. NYDFS Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky said, "We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity – without stifling beneficial innovation. Setting up common-sense rules of the road is vital to the long-term future of the virtual currency industry, as well as the safety and soundness of customer assets."

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NRF appeals to higher power

Friday, August 22, 2014

In a remarkably sustained and intrepid campaign, retail associations and retailers led by the National Retail Federation have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the seemingly never-ending debate over debit card fee regulation. The NRF said it is of "staggering importance" to U.S. retailers and consumers that the nation's highest court weigh in on the implementation of the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which the NRF through its lobbying efforts helped pass into law.

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Menendez expresses concerns about campus card programs

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In an Aug. 12, 2014, letter to the heads of the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., called for strong regulations to protect college students against "high and hidden" fees on prepaid debit campus cards, specifically the cards on which students can deposit financial aid funds.

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Report says DOJ knew Operation Choke Point negatively affected legitimate businesses

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. eliminated from its documentation lists of what has been termed "high-risk" merchant types. The move is seen as a response to the controversy over the U.S. federal government's Operation Choke Point program that allegedly targeted businesses unfairly by denying them the ability to process transactions electronically. On July 28, 2014, the FDIC said it was clarifying its role in supervising relationships between merchants and their payment processors. (This FDIC action was mentioned briefly in a sidebar to our lead article, "Operation Choke Point draws fire from Congress, industry," published Aug. 11, 2014, issue 14:08:01, which was going to press when this news broke. This follow-up story provides further details.)

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Amazon launches Amazon Local Register

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Aug. 13, 2014, online retail giant Amazon.com made the rumors official by launching its own mobile card reader. The dongle-based Amazon Local Register is an obvious new rival to Square Inc.'s mobile payment offering and evidence that Amazon is intent on expanding from its online sphere of dominance and into the offline, in-store merchant environment. Amazon is pricing the reader at $10 and making it available for purchase on its website and in Staples Inc. stores beginning August 19.

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Research says prepaid simplifies m-wallet ecosystem

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Prepaid cards have been touted as a better fit for mobile wallets than credit or debit cards. It is argued that prepaid provides a more straightforward payment process by pre-funding accounts used for purchases made with mobile devices. In The Prepaid Mobile Wallet: Taking Prepaid into Account, U.K.-based mobile financial services association Mobey Forum said prepaid has the potential to dramatically simplify mobile wallet payments.

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ATM ISOs in EMV limbo

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The card brands have mandated an October 2016 deadline for bank and off-premise ATMs to be Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip card enabled. But ISOs that operate ATM networks are reportedly being forced to a play a waiting game as the other constituents in the value chain decide how to proceed in their EMV implementations. According to a July 2014 white paper sponsored by the ATM Industry Association and off-premise ATM network operator Kahuna ATM Solutions, ATM ISOs, and others categorized as independent ATM deployers (IADs), are in limbo because issuing banks on one side and retailers on the other are in charge of how fast, or how slow, the transition of ATMs to the EMV standard proceeds.

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Are the cyber warfare clouds gathering?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Recent news coming from the cybersecurity community suggests that data breaches are being used not just to defraud consumers, but to engage in cyber warfare against the United States. This escalating threat has prompted federal agencies to focus on the role of the payments industry in safeguarding sensitive data. On July 16, 2014, Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued a call to action to the financial services industry to strengthen the security of its networks against cyber attacks.

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Govt. benefit card disbursements up in 2013

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

As a condition of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the Federal Reserve Board is mandated to make an annual report to Congress concerning the state of the market for federal, state and local government-administered prepaid card programs. In its July 2014 report, the Fed said that general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards accounted for 14 percent of the $1.1 trillion in government benefit payments disbursed in 2013.

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Square's 'ambiguous' EMV initiative

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Without a doubt, Square Inc. is a payment innovator and a catalyst for the democratization of the POS, especially among the micro-business community. But at least one mobile payment competitor, ROAM, is a bit mystified about Square's recent announcement of its upcoming launch of a Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip card reader. Square's July 30, 2014, statement offered few details about the future launch of the new reader, other than it would take place "later this year."

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New security bug dubbed Backoff exposed

Friday, August 1, 2014

The latest big breach apparently occurred at the nonprofit retail thrift store operator Goodwill Industries International Inc. The culprit: a new strain of malware called Backoff. The breach, which came to light July 21, 2014, is part of a seemingly ever more frequent occurrence of compromises at national retailers. But if the mainstream media and consumers are adopting a complacent, "oh, another breach" mentality, security experts and the business community remain deadly serious about securing networks and mitigating attacks.

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