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Breaking News articles for August 2017

Money20/20 to address global audience, issues

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The global commerce community will be well represented at Money20/20, to be held Oct. 22 to 25, 2017, at the Venetian Las Vegas. The sixth annual conference is expected to draw more than 11,000 attendees from 85 countries and 4,500 organizations, according to event organizers. Activities will include a developer hack-a-thon, networking opportunities, hands-on workshops and 450 speakers. Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, Blackhawk Network President and Chief Executive Officer Talbott Roche and 26 other industry leaders will deliver keynote addresses.

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Fitbit lunges into payments

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

On Aug. 28, 2017, wearable fitness device brand Fitbit Inc. unveiled its first smartwatch, Fitbit Ionic. Now available for presale online, it will be stocked at retailers globally starting in October. The Ionic smartwatch features Fitbit Pay, a contactless payment offering that has been in development since Fitbit acquired Silicon Valley-based wearables payment platform Coin in May 2016. Fitbit Ionic smartwatch users can apparently pay for items directly from the device wherever contactless payments are accepted. "Over the coming months you will be able to add eligible U.S. American Express cards, as well as Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe," Fitbit stated, noting that it plans to expand into additional markets in the future.

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Court strikes down CFPB action against payment processors

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A federal district court judge in Georgia dismissed a two-year-old enforcement action brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against several payment processing companies, ruling that the consumer watchdog agency effectively stonewalled the pretrial discovery process. An attorney who follows the CFPB suggested the court's ruling calls into question the CFPB's understanding of its enforcement powers. "The CFPB has been successful in extracting millions of dollars in consent orders without ever stepping foot in a court room, and certainly without ever engaging in formal discovery subject to the federal rules," Joann Needleman, a practice group leader at the law firm Clark Hill PLC, wrote in a recent blog post at InsideARM.com. "This case may have pulled back the curtain and exposed the bureau's inexperience when it comes to actually litigating a case."

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Savvy competitor Square adds showroom

Monday, August 28, 2017

Square Inc., which took the micro merchant segment by storm in 2010 with the rollout of a user-friendly mobile payment dongle and simple pricing program, opened a retail store last week in New York City. Called Showroom, the lower Manhattan storefront serves as a tech support center, showcase for Square products and pop-up store for curated products sold by Square users. Curious about what the payments community thinks of Square's latest move, The Green Sheet asked a number of industry veterans how they view this development.

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New York enacts bold cybersecurity law

Friday, August 25, 2017

Security guidelines, initially proposed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), will become law Aug. 28, 2017. This has sparked statewide audits and broad compliance measures among organizations deemed by the department to be "Covered Entities." These include banks, other financial institutions and insurance companies, according to the DFS. Security analysts see a fundamental shift in the new regulations, which require companies to treat cyber security as a risk management issue and hold senior executives accountable for their companies' security policies, procedures and collaborations with third-party service providers.

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ClearSale takes chargeback prevention on the road

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Green Sheet has previously reported on payment companies ‒ Electronic Payments Inc., Vantiv Inc. and ProPay Inc., for example ‒ that have conducted interactive roadshows to augment the training of ISOs, merchant level salespeople and merchants. Such shows have been used to introduce new POS systems, demystify Europay, Mastercard and Visa implementation and more. On Aug. 24, 2017, ClearSale heralded a new roadshow. It will take place in Mexico the week of Aug. 28 and was devised to address fraud and high chargeback rates in that country.

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Payments industry 2017 Inc. 5000 winners

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The 36th annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private U.S. companies collectively generated aggregate revenue of $206 billion and created 619,500 jobs over the past three years. On average, companies listed realized sixfold revenue growth since 2013 compared with 6.7 percent for the U.S. economy over the same period. In total, 29 payments industry companies made the grade, six for the first time. Earning the top spot among payment companies, Irving, Texas-based Anovia Payments LLC saw three-year growth of 4,526.14 percent and $32.2 million in 2016 revenue, placing the first-time honoree 82 in the overall rankings. Founded in 2013 by payments industry veterans Kevin Jones and Andy Meadows, the company initially targeted U.S. merchants and payment facilitators. It has since expanded into Canada and Australia.

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Cautious relief as Operation Choke Point ends

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Aug. 16, 2017, letter from U.S. Asstistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd to House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte marked the end of Operation Choke Point (OCP), an anti-crime initiative that numerous professionals in the payments industry denounced as regulatory overreach. OCP put extreme pressure on banks and payment processors to deny services to select high-risk, cash-dependent businesses on the assumption that those businesses were prone to illegal activities and posed a reputational risk to banks. Additional copies of the letter were sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Ordinarily speaking, law enforcement moves from the specific to the general," Boyd wrote. "A bad actor is identified and then gradually the net widens to capture co-conspirators or a larger criminal enterprise. OCP started by presuming a whole industry guilty until individual merchants prove their innocence."

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Contactless payments lifting off

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In "The payments journey: From point of sale to points of commerce – Part 1", The Green Sheet, April 10, 2017, issue 17:04:01, Dale S. Laszig wrote that the payments industry's history is "replete with examples of wide-scale migrations, from paper to electronic data capture, and from mag-stripe to contact and contactless EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards." Only months later, it appears the migration to contactless form factors is escalating. A new study from Juniper Research predicted 53 percent of global POS transactions will be contactless within five years, compared to 15 percent this year.

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Uber agrees to FTC privacy guidelines

Friday, August 18, 2017

Uber Technologies Inc. disclosed Aug. 15, 2017, it will cooperate with a proposed consent order by the Federal Trade Commission by implementing stricter privacy guidelines. A court ruling upheld the FTC's proposal for repairing what the FTC deemed to be Uber's egregious privacy policies. FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said Uber had both underplayed employee access to databases and failed to secure user and driver information. Uber called one of its publicized practices "Creepy Stalker View," suggesting it was fully aware of its unauthorized and illegal behavior.

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Uphill battle for cybersecurity pros

Thursday, August 17, 2017

An online survey of more than 400 IT cybersecurity professionals revealed threat detection as the top cybersecurity challenge among 62 percent of those surveyed. ControlScan, in partnership with Crowd Research Partners and the Information Security Community on LinkedIn, conducted the in-depth survey and published findings in the 2017 Threat Monitoring, Detection and Response Report. "This new research report is timely, because it shows that organizations are missing important opportunities to detect cybersecurity threats before they become business disruptors," said Mark Carl, Chief Executive Officer at ControlScan.

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ETA sets forth recommendations on prepaid rule

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Electronic Transactions Association went to bat for the prepaid sector this week as part of its ongoing advocacy on behalf of the payments industry. In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's June 2017 request for comments on proposed amendments to prepaid account rules under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Truth in Lending Act, Regulations E and Z, respectively, the ETA sent a concise letter to the CFPB.

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New bill aims to protect government IoT devices

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The proposed Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017, introduced Aug. 1, 2017, would create minimum security requirements for U.S. government, Internet-connected devices. Senate Cybersecurity Caucus co-chairs Mark R. Warner, D-Va., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., are sponsoring the bipartisan legislation, which would require government-supplied IoT devices to be patchable, updateable and protected from known vulnerabilities. Security analysts are stressing the need for similar initiatives in the private sector.

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Antitrust complaint filed against Apple in China

Monday, August 14, 2017

Just months after calling upon Chinese app developers to join in a proposed class-action lawsuit, Beijing-based Dare & Sure Law Firm, representing 28 app developers, filed a complaint with China's National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The Aug. 8, 2017, grievance report accuses Apple of monopolistic behavior related to how it manages its mobile App Store in China. Among the issues cited, delisting from the App Store without adequate justification appeared to be a major point of contention.

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Detached smart card chips trigger privacy concerns

Friday, August 11, 2017

At a time when the U.S. EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) migration is nearing completion, reports of chips separating from plastic payment cards triggered heated debates among payments analysts and others in the electronic payments sphere. Some consumers and merchants, formerly convinced that EMV technology would nearly eliminate counterfeit card fraud, expressed concern that missing EMV chips could present a new and severe threat to the payments chain due to the levels of personally identifiable information on the chips' embedded microprocessors. Major news outlets around the country poured gas on the fire, sounding the alarm about falling chips and claiming fraudsters can use a separated chip to create a perfectly functioning counterfeit card.

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Factoring on tap for financially strapped businesses

Thursday, August 10, 2017

According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, U.S. startups were nearly twice as likely as firms in business for more than five years to be adding jobs and growing revenues (43 percent versus 22 percent, respectively). At the same time, more startup executives admitted to being discouraged from applying for financing (27 percent versus 13 percent), despite facing perceived financial shortfalls (69 percent versus 54 percent). "Startups are the primary drivers of U.S. job growth, and their success is essential to a healthy economy," said Claire Kramer Mills, Assistant Vice President and Community Affairs Officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "Although financing is important for all companies, it's especially critical to these young firms who need funds to weather initial costs and grow.

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At half-million mark in U.S., ATMs undergoing reinvention

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

On the heels of news that between 475,000 and 500,000 ATMs are now operating in the U.S. market, the ATM Industry Association published an industry blueprint for next-generation ATMs. The blueprint was ratified by an international consortium of ATM deployers, vendors, suppliers and service-providers. The milestone in the U.S. market came after years of stagnant growth, ATMIA noted, citing the likely reasons as a struggling economy, Windows updates and a complex EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) migration.

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Class action filed against Wells Fargo Merchant Services

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A class action lawsuit filed Aug. 4, 2017, against Wells Fargo & Co.’s merchant services division is the latest in a series of grievances against the company. Plaintiffs in Patti’s Pitas LLC and Queen City Tours v. Wells Fargo Merchant Services LLC accuse the bank of coercive sales tactics and hidden fees. The prosecution claims Wells Fargo misstated fee policies, even after restructuring its card processing division in response to customer complaints. “As has become obvious in recent months, Wells Fargo had a corporate culture which emphasized revenue and profit over customer wellbeing,” stated Adam Webb Esq. of Atlanta-based Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC.

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Mixed forecast for open-loop prepaid cards

Monday, August 7, 2017

Growth in the open-loop prepaid card market was spotty last year, marked by weakening in traditionally fast-growth segments in terms of total loads. As a result, Mercator Advisory Group adjusted its overall expectations in the 14th Annual U.S. Open-Loop Prepaid Cards Market Forecasts, 2017-2020 analysis of market dynamics across all prepaid segments. According to Mercator's projections, open-loop prepaid loads will reach an estimated $353.6 billion in value by 2020, led by the FSA/HSA (flexible spending account/health savings account) tax deferred programs segment and the benefits segment.

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Class actions target EVO, allege hidden fees

Friday, August 4, 2017

Atlanta-based law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC disclosed Aug. 2, 2017, that two class action lawsuits have been filed against EVO Payments International and EVO Merchant Services: New Beginnings v. EVO Payments International LLC, et al. and Central Florida Liquidation and Sales v. EVO Payments International LLC et al., were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Their current statuses are pending.

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Keynote panel to address crucial issues at ETA forum

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Electronic Transactions Association is hosting its 2017 Strategic Leadership Forum in Dana Point, Calif., from Oct. 3 to 5. The event, curated specifically for top-level payments executives, just revealed an impressive lineup for its CEO keynote panel.

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EMVCo resets QR code payments

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

EMVCo recently released new guidelines for Quick Response (QR) code implementation. The specifications update QR technology invented in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave. Two-dimensional QR codes were originally used to track inventory on automobile assembly lines. Denso Wave patented the technology but made it available to other industries, where it has played a pivotal role in numerous use cases, including mobile coupons, smart posters and digital wallets. In July 2017, EMVCo issued two separate standards for merchants and consumers, designed to standardize QR code functionality within EMV (Europay, Visa and Mastercard) transaction flows. The global body, jointly owned by American Express Co., Discover Financial Services, JCB International Credit Card Co., Mastercard, China UnionPay and Visa, created a high-level solution architecture for QR code payment processing, stipulating how to format, encode, decode and process QR code transactions in compliance with EMV QR Code Payment Specifications.

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