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Breaking News articles for September 2017

Mobile apps cited in Deloitte trophy breach

Friday, September 29, 2017

Security analysts criticized Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. this week for failing to discover a security breach that reportedly occurred in 2016 and remained undetected until recently. The Guardian reported Sept. 25, 2017, that the breach may have compromised the firm's client email addresses. The incident is considered a trophy win for hackers and particularly embarrassing for Deloitte, a Big Four accounting firm and global cybersecurity consultancy.

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Flood, fire top SMB concerns, researchers find

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Software-as-a-service provider Womply recently polled U.S. small business owners about the biggest threats to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) today and found natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, ranked No. 4. The study, which polled 2,261 small business owners in all 50 states, indicated that threats to company revenue and the physical store are seen as most damaging, Womply stated. The top three dangerous threats, respectively, were major damage from a flood, fire, etc.; a major slowdown in sales; and theft or robbery at the place of business. Coming in at No. 5 was legal action against the business.

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Consumers want payment choices, not cashless society

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Who thinks cash is passé? Apparently very few Americans. Even many of most digitally savvy among us – millennials – like the idea of carrying cash. This is according to the Health of Cash consumer survey just released by Cardtronics, the Houston-based ATM firm. "There's a comfort level people have with cash," said Brian Bailey, Cardtronics Managing Director for North America. And it cuts across generations. Millennials, for example, while leading proponents of digital wallets, are more likely than others to use cash for person-to-person (P2P) payments than the population at large (67 percent versus 62 percent), the survey showed.

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Putting AI, robotics to work in commerce

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sophia, a humanlike robot powered by sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), gave a presentation today about the future role of AI. This was at a UBS disruptive technology conference in Hong Kong, not in an episode of the sci-fi TV series Humans, where the distinctions between humans and robots are barely discernable. There is no denying automated technologies are finding real-world applications not only at home, with voice activated virtual assistants, but also increasingly in business environments where digitized customer service has become commonplace.

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Payments leader Biff Matthews retires

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Payments industry veteran Biff Matthews, Chief Executive Officer at CardWare International Inc., will retire Oct. 1, 2017, following a remarkable 45-year career in payments. Matthews founded CardWare in 1975 and grew it into a leading hardware, software, supply logistics and call center services provider. The company will close Sept. 22, 2017. “Retirement is welcome, while closing the company is bittersweet,” Matthews said. “My assumption is about the first of the year, my wife, Terre, will find me another job to get me out of ‘her’ house.”

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SEC uncovers massive breach

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hackers exploited a software vulnerability to access the Security and Exchange Commission's corporate filing system in 2016, according to a Sept. 20, 2017, disclosure by the SEC. The agency discovered the intrusion during a security assessment authorized by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, the commission stated. The story, initially reported by Wall Street Journal reporter Dave Michaels, rapidly spread across news channels, igniting fierce commentary among security analysts, who questioned why the SEC failed to patch a known vulnerability in its Edgar filing system. This latest criminal intrusion doesn't impinge on the payments chain in the same manner that the recent, massive Equifax breach has potential to do, but the questions it raises illuminate the need to implement significantly improved data security practices and technology across the board, some experts noted.

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Apple's Face ID faces uphill challenge

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Apple iOS user reaction to the new Face ID authentication system built into the iPhone X has been mixed. Face ID, unveiled Sept. 12, 2017, requires users to look at the screen to unlock the phone, access secure apps and enable Apple Pay. Despite Apple's claims that "all saved facial information is protected by the secure enclave" and that "processing is done on-device and not in the cloud to protect user privacy," many are skeptical of using facial recognition for identification purposes.

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NFC Forum boosts interoperability, quality, differentiation, metrics

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Following its mission to advance the use of near field communication (NFC) by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability and educating the market, the NFC Forum just added an NFC tag and reader certification to its global Certification Program. This addition means that tag/inlay, NFC reader and handset manufacturers will now be able to test and verify the performance and interoperability of all key components in the NFC ecosystem.

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1-click checkout now out of Amazon's control

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Amazon Inc.'s 1-click purchase patent expired Sept. 11, 2017, following a successful, 20-year run. Awarded in 1997, when Amazon was selling books online, it enabled consumers to purchase items with a single click, using stored billing, shipping and payment credentials. Retail analysts say the 1-click concept revolutionized online retail and boosted ecommerce spending. Casey Gannon, Vice President of Marketing at Shopgate Inc., expects to see 1-click checkouts broadly implemented across the retail ecosystem in the wake of the patent's expiration.

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Four women in payments receive 2017 Wnet Awards

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (Wnet) just revealed the 2017 Wnet Awards winners. The organization was founded in 2005 to inspire and empower women in the payments industry. The annual awards recognize volunteers who are doing outstanding work to help further those goals. "Wnet is proud of the accomplishments of all of our members, said Gloria Colgan, Wnet President and President of Velco Payments. "We also rely in the volunteerism of our members to keep Wnet on the cutting edge of providing real member value. We are grateful for the contributions of this year’s award winners."

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Google takes mobile payments to India

Monday, September 18, 2017

Google just launched a new digital payments app in India. On Sept. 18, 2017, the search engine giant released an app called Tez for downloading to Android and Apple mobile devices. "Tez" is also a Hindi word meaning fast. The Tez app is a free download that supports person-to-person (P2P) as well as POS transactions. It leverages the Unified Payments Interface, a government-backed platform supporting ecommerce and interbank transfers that links most of the nation's banks. Google said it also plans to offer credit and debit card acceptance via Tez, although it's not clear when. The Tez app is being made available in seven Indian languages as well as in English.

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Trustonic receives FIPS 140-2 certification

Friday, September 15, 2017

The National Institute of Standards and Technology certified Trustonic's cryptographic library Sept. 11, 2017, verifying that Trustonic hardware and software modules comply with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2. The certification further validates the rigorous security and best practices used in Trustonic's app development platform, according to company representatives. George Kanuck, Trustonic Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said the certification will help protect increasingly diverse government ecosystems.

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Bank of Ireland, WorldFirst deliver world payments to U.S. SMBs

Thursday, September 14, 2017

As more small and midsize U.S. businesses enter global markets, the search for cost-effective international payments is a pivotal concern. Through an alliance between international money transfer and exchange services provider WorldFirst USA Inc. and Bank of Ireland Global Markets, a new service has been created that allows U.S. businesses to make fast, secure international payments without the transfer fees that are typically assessed. "Our research has clearly shown that U.S.-based companies have a strong appetite for a fast, secure, easy and efficient alternative to their traditional solution for international payments," said Darsh Mariyappa, Head of Bank of Ireland Global Markets U.S.

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‘Unconference’ explores hot financial topics selected by attendees

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NYPAY and Consult Hyperion hosted the 6th Annual Tomorrow’s Transactions Unconference Sept. 11, 2017, in New York City. Designed to facilitate spontaneous, open-ended discussions, the event’s unstructured format gave attendees a voice and a vote on agenda items, which included developments in blockchain technology, mobile financial services, cryptocurrencies and social and financial inclusion. Event organizers were pleased with the level of engagement and far-ranging topics covered in breakout discussions.

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ETA informs CFPB on small business lending

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In July 2017, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called for comments on a section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The amendment requires financial institutions to compile, maintain and report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. In response to the request, the Electronic Transactions Association submitted an in-depth letter to the CFPB on Sept. 8.

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EMVCo expands EMV tokenization framework

Monday, September 11, 2017

A just released document by EMVCo addresses payment token use cases in e-commerce beyond existing card-on-file and offers enhancements related to how payment tokens can be controlled within a single payments channel. In "EMV Payment Tokenization Specification – Technical Framework v.2.0", EMVCo builds upon the previous document, version 1.0 published in 2014, by refining the roles of parties involved in tokenization. "EMVCo has been working closely with the payments community to develop the technical framework to create a common functional baseline for payment tokenisation solutions to achieve worldwide interoperability," said Jack Pan, EMVCo Executive Committee Chair.

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Second Equifax hack puts millions in harm's way

Friday, September 8, 2017

Credit-reporting company Equifax Inc. revealed Sept. 7, 2017, that a breach of its systems compromised the personal information of up to 143 million U.S. consumers, potentially exposing them to identity theft and other forms of fraud. In addition, a number of Canadian and U.K. residents were also affected. Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said forensic investigators estimated the unauthorized access to the company's servers occurred within the mid-May to July 2017 timeframe. Security analysts believe the new cyberattack exposed millions of Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers to the black market. Second in size only to the 2016 pair of breeches affecting 1.5 billion Yahoo customers, this attack is the second reported assault on Equifax in recent years: a 2013 breach of the company involved 209,000 consumer records.

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KFC pilots smile-to-pay in China

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The launch of KPRO by KFC as a new restaurant concept from Yum China Holdings Inc. represents a landmark moment for the quick service restaurant category. The Hangzhou, China-based restaurant plans to cater to China's burgeoning population of urban professionals by offering seasonal, made-to-order dishes and delivering integrative technologies such as Alipay's new Smile to Pay facial recognition payment solution. "We are excited to partner with Alipay to bring the world's first commercial application of the facial recognition payment solution to our customers," said Johnson Huang, General Manager at KFC.

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First Data, PAI aid in Houston recovery

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Residents of Florida and nearby states at risk of being hit when Hurricane Irma makes landfall this weekend are taking all possible precautions. Meanwhile, people in Houston and surrounding areas are in the beginning stages of recovery from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the region last week. Members of GS Online's MLS Forum doing business in Texas observed that aid is flowing into the state, and First Data Corp. and Payment Alliance International are among the companies involved. "It's been shocking seeing the areas that flooded ‒ four feet of water in front of my home when it never flooded before," stated MLS Forum member Desdinova, who is located in the ravaged area. "Almost everyone who has been damaged is in the 'replace drywall' stage. They are wanting to talk, and that's all you can ask for."

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Blackhawk, CashStar merger reflects e-gift card growth

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blackhawk Network Inc. disclosed Aug. 30, 2017, that it paid approximately $175 million to acquire CashStar Inc., a digital gift card provider. The companies are positioning the merger as a positive event for consumers, merchants and the gift card industry. Blackhawk Chief Executive Officer Jerry Ulrich said the newly acquired assets will improve margins and topline growth. "With projected 2018 adjusted EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization] margins above our corporate average, it's also consistent with our margin expansion objectives," Ulrich stated.

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Burger King unveils Whoppercoin in Russia

Friday, September 1, 2017

Burger King Russia issued a billion Whoppercoins on Aug. 25, 2017, the first quick service restaurant (QSR) to cash in on the global initial coin offering (ICO) craze. The fast food giant, in partnership with Moscow-based Waves Platform, will use blockchain technology to drive store traffic and customer loyalty, the company stated. Ivan Shestov, Head of External Communications at Burger King Russia, expects the program to expand beyond Russia's borders. "Now Whopper is not only a burger that people in 90 different countries love; it's also an investment tool," he stated. "As cryptocurrencies continue to increase in value, eating Whoppers today is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow."

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