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Breaking News articles for February 2017

California revisits gratuity guidelines

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The California State Legislature will have 2,495 new bills to consider in upcoming sessions. Numerous proposals, filed on or before the state’s Feb. 17, 2017, deadline, introduce regulations designed to protect contractors in what some refer to as the “gig economy.” Examples of such contractors include Uber drivers, seasonal workers and freelance professionals in the expanding digital workplace, political analysts have noted. Amendment AB 1099, introduced by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, would require employers that accept payment cards to also accept tips via payment cards, and to pay employees promptly, representatives stated. The bill would affect ride-hailing services such as Uber, which currently encourages passengers to pay driver gratuities in cash.

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IBM, Visa tackle IoT security

Friday, February 24, 2017

IBM Corp. and Visa Inc. introduced a cross-platform solution Feb. 16, 2017, designed to improve security on the Internet of Things (IoT) by aligning the global brands' patented technologies and capabilities. By integrating IBM's Watson IoT Platform and Visa's Token Service, the companies will enhance security in payment-enabled devices, including wearables, appliances and cars, the companies stated. "The Internet of Things is not only driving a more connected world, it's changing the way we live, shop and pay, by moving data and the point of sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be," said Jim McCarthy, Visa's Executive Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. "With the power of Watson's cognitive technologies and IBM's leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to 'virtually anywhere' and on the enormous scale of the IoT."

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Payfacs receive boost from ETA

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Once a neglected payments stepchild, payment facilitators (payfacs) have been embraced by the industry's mainstream in recent years. In a nod to the growing significance of payfacs, the Electronic Transactions Association launched the Payments Facilitator Committee on Feb. 23, 2017. The Washington, D.C.-based ETA, a prominent trade association for the payment technology sector worldwide, stated the committee "will identify current and emerging technology, business, policy and compliance-related issues that shape the continuing growth of this market."

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OCC enters uncharted fintech waters

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Industry observers agree the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's proposal to consider granting fintech bank charters has broad implications for the banking industry. However, experts disagree on what those implications are. The proposal was set forth in the OCC's Dec. 2, 2016, white paper, Exploring Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies. Critics say the granting of fintech bank charters could hurt startups and consumers alike. Advocates say it would promote innovation and financial inclusion. A number of financial analysts believe supporters and detractors are separated by political fault lines, with Democrats and state governments among the most vocal opponents.

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Advocates, detractors at odds over CFPB

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Feb. 16, 2017, ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the right to appeal an earlier decision by the court against the government agency. The court had ruled the bureau's very existence was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Established July 21, 2011, as part of 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has broad authority to enforce financial laws. Its authority, autonomy and potential for legislative overreach has been a matter of concern on Capitol Hill. In April 2016, PHH Corp. and concerned parties challenged the CFPB's constitutionality. The petitioners, a diverse group of mortgage lenders, financial institutions and trade associations, alleged the CFPB and select government entities such as the Federal Communications Commission "collectively constitute a headless fourth branch of government."

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Arby's under the microscope after breach

Friday, February 17, 2017

Atlanta-based Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. disclosed Feb. 9, 2017, that a data breach may have affected more than 355,000 consumer credit and debit cards. Payment Systems for Credit Unions, a trade association representing more than 800 credit unions, notified Arby's in January 2017 when its card-issuing member banks traced thousands of compromised cards to select corporate stores in the fast food chain. PSCU analysts believe the POS systems became infected with malware between Oct. 25, 2016 and Jan. 19, 2017.

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Amazon payments explosion

Friday, February 10, 2017

Amazon Inc. subsidiary Amazon Payments disclosed Feb. 7, 2017, that it processed transactions on behalf of thousands of merchants and more than 33 million consumers worldwide. Websites that offer the company's Pay with Amazon function enable customers to use stored credentials when purchasing goods and services online, helping merchants improve conversion rates, increase sales and grow their businesses, the company stated. However, some payments analysts believe the service is a part of Amazon's multipronged effort to dominate the ecommerce ecosystem. Patrick Gauthier, Vice President at Amazon Payments attributes the rising number of consumers who choose the Pay with Amazon option to security and ease of use. "Amazon Payments brings the simplicity and familiarity of Amazon's buying experience to our merchant customers, making it easy for millions of Amazon customers around the world to pay using the information already stored in their Amazon account," he said.

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CFPB regulates prepaid, Congress eyes CFPB

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is flexing its regulatory might, leveling multimillion dollar fines on Mastecard and prepaid debit card company UniRush for technology snafus that left cardholders without access to their funds for days in late 2015. News of the action came out on Feb. 1, 2017, as some lawmakers prepared to take a legislative scalpel to the CFPB's controversial prepaid card rules. The UniRush prepaid debit card, known as RushCard and launched in 2003 by hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons, made headlines in October 2015 when tens of thousands of cardholders were turned away from POSs because their cards were declined despite having available funds on deposit with their cards. At the time, MasterCard Payment Transaction Services, a unit of Mastercard, was taking on RushCard's processing workload.

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PCI SSC revises ecommerce guidance

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) published Best Practices for Securing E-commerce Jan. 31, 2017. The supplemental guide, written by the council’s Securing e-Commerce Special Interest Group (SIG), expands and revises content previously published in 2013. Designed to help payments industry stakeholders combat increasing levels of online fraud, the report provides insights from merchants, financial institutions, third-party service providers, assessors and industry associations tasked with protecting card-not-present (CNP) environments, PCI SSC representatives stated.

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NEAA blends tradition, innovation

Friday, February 3, 2017

More than 600 attendees and 90 exhibitors convened in Boston Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2017, for the Northeast Acquirers Association's annual convention. Established in 1985, the NEAA was the first regional nonprofit acquirers association established, leading the way for other such regional associations now thriving across the United States. This year's event mixed exhibits, seminars, panel sessions and networking. "This felt to me like a very happy show," said Nancy Drexler, President of Acquired Marketing. "Many of us have been attending for years and were just glad to see each other and catch up." Drexler described the conference as a blend of established and new relationships, insights, and laughs.

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OCC considers controversial fintech charter

Friday, February 3, 2017

A banking charter for fintechs proposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in December 2016 unleashed a vigorous debate. Advocates say the bill could promote innovation and financial inclusion for underbanked citizens. Opponents believe the measure could threaten consumer safety and impede small business growth.

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Fed accelerates fast payments in 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Payments analysts expect real-time payments to become a reality in 2017. Changing consumer behavior and advances in mobile communications are driving demand for real-time remittances, payments and banking, researchers noted. The Faster Payments Task Force, led by the Federal Reserve in collaboration with private sector businesses, financial institutions and government agencies, is a far-reaching initiative designed to energize payment providers by making payments faster. A progress report published Jan. 24, 2016 provides insights on the group's progress standardizing and implementing real-time payments and automated clearing house (ACH) schemes.

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NYC, ATM groups debate ATM security

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The New York City Council’s recommended guidelines for nonbank ATMs drew criticism from the ATM community. A proposed ordinance, introduced Dec. 15, 2016, seeks to regulate placement and surveillance of retail ATMs. The rules and regulations, if passed, would impose strict penalties on noncompliant ATM owners, deployers and merchants, analysts stated. The Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs held a hearing Jan. 12, 2017, to review the ATM bill, known as Int. 1406-2016. Leaders from the National ATM Council Inc. and ATM Industry Association Inc. participated in the hearing and recommended all affected parties work together to modify the guidelines.

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