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Breaking News articles for December 2017

SWIFT begins 2018 with tough security measures

Friday, December 29, 2017

Jan. 1, 2018, is the deadline for members of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication to implement new, stricter security guidelines. The Belgium-based SWIFT network facilitates financial transaction flows, trade and commerce. Its financial messaging platform connects more than 11,000 banking and securities organizations across a global footprint. As part of its commitment to continual process improvement, SWIFT introduced the Customer Security Programme (CSP) in March 2017, a cybersecurity initiative. Members were invited to share views on how to protect the SWIFT network and adjacent, connected environments from cyber fraud. CSP architecture is based on the SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework, which includes 16 mandatory and 11 advisory security controls for SWIFT users. Mandatory controls establish a baseline for the SWIFT community. Advisory controls are based on good practice and could become mandatory at a later date.

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Class action against MCPS alleges misrepresented fees, contracts

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A class action complaint filed Dec. 22, 2017, against Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions and Woodforest Bank, seeks damages for a large group of merchants, according to court documents. Plaintiffs have claimed the defendants fraudulently obtained contracts and overcharged for services. Atlanta-based law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC and Houston-based law firm Meade & Neese LLP are requesting rescissions for alleged fraudulently obtained contracts and refunds for improper fees. The case, titled Al’s Pals Pet Care LLC, et al. v. Woodforest National Bank N.A., is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and has been assigned case number 4:17-cv-03852.

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Shoppers, criminals converge on Super Saturday

Friday, December 22, 2017

Retailers are bracing for Super Saturday, the last full Saturday before Christmas Eve, which falls on Sun., Dec. 24, 2017. A survey, published Dec. 20, 2017, by The National Retail Federation found only 12 percent of shoppers considered themselves “done” with holiday spending. Fifty-three percent of consumers polled said they plan to complete their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, where they will purchase last-minute gifts and food items, NRF analysts stated. The NRF expects record spending to continue through New Year’s Eve. This includes the upward trajectory of ecommerce spending, which totaled more than $58 million between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday in 2017.

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Data on 123 million U.S. households exposed

Friday, December 22, 2017

On Dec. 20, 2017, researchers at cybersecurity firm UpGuard Inc. confirmed that a cloud-based data repository containing data managed by California data analytics firm Alteryx Inc., was temporarily left online publicly exposing sensitive personal information on 123 million U.S. households. UpGuard first discovered the leak on Oct. 6, 2017. According to UpGuard, exposed within the repository were data sets belonging to Alteryx partners credit bureau Experian and the U.S. Census Bureau. Publicly accessible data from the 2010 U.S. Census and data from Experian Information Solutions Inc.'s ConsumerView marketing database, which is sold to other enterprises, were available for download to Amazon Web Services authenticated users, UpGuard noted.

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Holiday spending trends and impacts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Keeping a vigilant eye on same store sales activity across the millions of merchant locations First Data Corp. processes transactions for in the United States, First Data publishes aggregated data throughout the year on relevant spending trends.

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NEAA just around the corner

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No matter what time of year it is, the volunteers working behind the scenes for the industry’s highly regarded trade associations are always devising ways to support the industry’s feet on the street in a realm so full of innovation it can be difficult to stay abreast of changes. Right now, in addition to the extra activities that typically come with the year-end holiday season, the Northeast Acquirers Association is also busy planning it’s next event.

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Cayan acquisition to expand TSYS capabilities, reach

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

TSYS, a leading payments issuer, acquirer and solutions provider, revealed plans to acquire Cayan LLC, a payment technology company. The all-cash transaction, valued at approximately $1.05 billion, was approved by TSYS' Board of Directors. TSYS executives expect the merger to improve the company's capabilities, market reach and top-line revenue. They shared details in a Dec. 17, 2017, conference call. M. Troy Woods, Chairman, President and CEO at TSYS said Cayan provides "transformative innovations in payments," and said the acquisition "strategically complements our merchant goals to become a leading payments solutions provider to small and medium-sized businesses in the United States by delivering best-in-class services and solutions."

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NYDFS lawsuit against OCC dismissed

Monday, December 18, 2017

On Dec. 12, 2017, a Manhattan federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed in May by the New York Department of Financial Services challenging the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency's proposal to grant national bank charters to fintech companies. U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald dismissed the case as premature since the OCC had not reached a final decision, and any purported harm would be speculative at this point. Responding to the court's decision, NY DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo stated, "As set out in the Court's decision, the OCC represented to the Court that it has not yet determined whether it will issue charters to fintech companies and it has not received any applications for such a charter" and "we hope that the OCC will abandon its pursuit of the chartering of nondepository institutions."

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Credit card unit of FBME scrutinized

Monday, December 18, 2017

Add credit card processing for illegal gambling and pornography businesses, a service that is prohibited under U.S. law, to the list of potential crimes for which FBME Bank Ltd. is being investigated by the FBI and U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y. This is according to Bloomberg, which reported on the development on Dec. 16, 2017. FBME, a small international bank, operates primarily in Cyprus and is licensed in Tanzania. The bank was previously shut out from the U.S. financial system when the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network division of the U.S. Treasury Department alleged it was laundering money for criminal enterprises and terrorist organizations, as well as for a Russian fraud scheme.

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Data breach aggregation: yes, it's a thing

Friday, December 15, 2017

Security analysts are discussing a large cache of stolen credentials being sold on the Dark Web. 4iQ, a threat intelligence firm, made the disturbing discovery Dec. 5, 2017, during a routine investigation of an underground community forum. 4iQ investigators found the database of 1.4 billion stolen logins, displayed in clear text, organized alphabetically and optimized for search. The database is an aggregated "dump file" of 252 high-profile data breaches, researchers noted. In addition to its record-breaking volume, the database has a user-friendly format with interactive tools to enable criminals to import new exploits as they occur.

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Worldpay, Vantiv merger progressing

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Recent developments in the agreed upon merger of Vantiv Inc. and Worldpay Group plc, expected to close on Jan. 16, 2018, include confirmation of key executive roles and designation of Cincinnati as the new company's global and corporate headquarters. London, where Worldpay is based, will become the international headquarters for the new company, which will use the name Worldpay Inc. Upon closing, shares of common A stock will trade on the NYSE under the symbol "WP" and London Stock Exchange as "WPY". Charles Drucker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vantiv, will assume the role of Chairman and co-CEO of the new company. Worldpay CEO Philip Jansen will also serve as co-CEO of the newly formed company. In their new roles, Drucker will lead the company's strategic initiatives, including the integration of combined businesses, while Jansen will guide go-to-market and sales efforts, including cross-selling across the combined entities' client base.

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Breaches affect nearly 1 in 3 businesses, survey finds

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A report published Dec. 7, 2017, by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. (HSB), found almost one-third of U.S. business owners experienced a data breach in the last 12 months. The HSB survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics, cited third-party contractors, employee negligence, and lost or stolen mobile devices as leading causes of the criminal exploits, HSB representatives stated. "The results highlight how closely our economy and society are interconnected digitally," stated Timothy Zeilman, Vice President at HSB, a cyber insurance company. "Almost all of our personal and business data can be accessible on the Internet through online business connections, websites and social media. And that exposes our private information to attacks from hackers and cyber thieves."

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$1 trillion credit card debt looming, Wallet Hub says

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Personal finance website WalletHub stated a Federal Reserve rate hike is more than 99 percent likely to occur on Wed., Dec. 13, 2017, according to recent forecasts. "The move couldn't come at a worse time for consumers," WalletHub stated upon releasing its December Rate Hike Report and Q3 2017 Credit Card Debt Study. WalletHub projects 2017 will end with more than $50 billion in new credit card debt. "This fifth rate hike in recent years coincides with record increases in credit card debt levels that put us on pace to cross $1 trillion in outstanding balances by the end of the year," said Diana Popa, WalletHub Communications Manager. "And it contributes to an unwelcome holiday present for consumers: an extra $7.4 billion in credit card interest charges in 2018."

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Holiday shoppers favor multichannel retailers

Friday, December 8, 2017

Early reports suggest merchants with both an online and brick-and-mortar presence attract more customers during the holiday shopping season. Analysts have seen a pre-shopping trend among consumers who research products online, then touch and buy in stores. Analysis published Dec. 4, 2017, by retail consultancy BRP, supports these observations. Gene Bornac, Senior Vice President at BRP, said technology has given customers more control of the shopping experience. "Now it is up to retailers to play catch up with their organization, processes and technology to deliver the right products for the right price in the right place," he said.

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Discover moves to enhance convenience, security

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Discover Financial Services revealed Dec. 6, 2017, that it will no longer require signatures at the POS as of April 2018. This is for credit and debit transactions on the Discover Global Network in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. However, to participate, merchants may need to update their POS systems. The change is part of Discover's efforts to continually improve the payment experience by speeding up the time spent at checkout all while maintaining a high level of security for both customers and merchants, the company stated, adding that it previously implemented tokenization, multifactor authentication and biometrics, which are more secure than requiring a signature and provide a more seamless payment transaction.

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Healthcare payment platforms hit stride

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently predicted annual healthcare spending will reach nearly $5.5 trillion and account for 19.9 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 2025. With annual projected growth of 5.6 percent over the next decade, the healthcare payment technology race is heating up as investors and platform developers converge to resolve the complexities of multiparty healthcare systems. For consumers, lack of transparency on out-of-pocket expenses has created indebtedness and an accounting backlog or even chargeoffs for healthcare service providers, analysts noted.

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Ecommerce embraces brick-and-mortar for customer engagement

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Retail analysts have observed a new trend in the retail community: ecommerce merchants are opening physical stores. Recent store openings by Warby Parker, Everlane and Amazon.com Inc. are indicative of consumers’ need to touch and feel products before they buy, analysts believe. In some cases, the people who appear to be most surprised by the return to brick-and-mortar are the retailers themselves.

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TIO Networks still down, investigation of breach continues

Monday, December 4, 2017

The operations of TIO Networks remain suspended to protect customer data during an ongoing investigation of TIO platform vulnerabilities, according to a Dec. 1, 2017, update from PayPal Holdings Inc., which acquired TIO in July. The suspension began Nov. 10, after PayPal discovered security vulnerabilities on the TIO platform, as well as issues with TIO's data security program that do not adhere to PayPal's information security standards, PayPal stated.

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EMV sales top mobile on Black Friday 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) may have reached a tipping point in the United States, according to the 2017 Holiday Payments Index, published by Cayan LLC, a Boston-based technology firm. The report found EMV transactions accounted for 73 percent of Black Friday in-store payments, compared with 18 percent magnetic-stripe cards. "Despite EMV continuing to be a thorn in consumers' sides, its widespread adoption at the point of sale has successfully moved EMV from a new concept to mainstream," the report authors wrote. "This becomes apparent when you compare its growth to last year, when just 55 percent paid with EMV, and 34 percent paid with magstripe."

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