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Breaking News articles for March 2018

Cannabis merchants seek regulatory clarity, banking solutions

Friday, March 30, 2018

While medical and recreational forms of marijuana are legal in thirty states and the District of Columbia, cannabis merchants face continuing regulatory uncertainties and blatant hostilities from the U.S. Department of Justice. Recent remarks by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions linked cannabis sales with criminal gangs, violence and a national drug crisis, despite growing public support and reported socio-economic benefits of cannabis usage. A study published March 12, 2018, by Colorado State University-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research, and funded by local and state cannabis taxes, found the Pueblo area netted $35 million in cannabis revenue in 2016. Researchers further noted the region's demographics have remained largely unchanged since the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in the state.

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TSYS finds AI, mobile-powered payments gaining ground

Thursday, March 29, 2018

According to a survey of U.S. cardholders conducted by Total System Services Inc., consumer interest in cutting-edge payment methods is on the rise. For the first time in the survey's seven-year history, TSYS asked consumers whether they would use an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered device to make a purchase or payment. Of the 26 percent who own such devices, 60 percent affirmed they would if such an option were available. The TSYS 2017 U.S. Consumer Payment Study also revealed 51 percent of consumers would prefer to use a mobile wallet rather than a payment card to pay in-store, an 11 percent increase year-over-year. Sixty-eight percent of respondents had either loaded or were likely to load a debit or credit card to a mobile wallet. Within the past year, 27 percent registered cards to accommodate in-app purchases with retailers online.

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IT firms consolidate amid escalating cyberattacks

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mergers and acquisitions in the IT community reached an all-time high of $30.8 billion in the second half of 2017, according to a new report by Hampleton Partners, published March 26, 2018. The London-based research firm found heavy consolidation with high multiples for 30 consecutive months in the enterprise software market. Researchers cited Vantiv's $10.4 billion acquisition of Worldpay as a recent example. Organizations are combining assets and capabilities to compete globally and protect against cyberattacks, company representatives stated; they expect continued compression in the automotive, healthcare and payments sectors. "Companies are dealing with very rapid change across multiple fronts," stated Miro Parizek, founder and principal partner at Hampleton Partners. "It's a case of digitally transform or die." He added that they are turning to mergers and acquisitions to quickly and effectively navigate the shifting landscape and satisfy the increasing service expectations of their customers.

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ETA Transact to honor startups, young leaders

Monday, March 26, 2018

Preparations for the Electronic Transaction Association's annual Transact conference, to be held April 17 to 19, 2018, in Las Vegas, include spotlighting groundbreaking startups that will compete for cash prizes, as well as naming of 40 leaders under the age of 40 who are redefining payments. During this year's ETA Transact, nine innovative startups will square-off in the Payments Pitch-Off for a chance to win the top cash prize of $30,000 or the $5,000 cash prize for audience favorite. Participants will be presenting payment products that either solve or take a new approach to an industry challenge by leveraging software.

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'Vishing' attacks exploit older Android systems

Friday, March 23, 2018

Security analysts are urging consumers to update Android mobile phones to protect against a new variant of Android.Fakebank, a Trojan horse designed to steal information from outdated Android operating systems. In a March 15, 2018, blog post, Symantec researchers identified 22 apps from third-party Android markets in Korea. The new strains can intercept and reroute calls made by Korean consumers to their banks and financial institutions. This unprecedented level of sophistication and automation has raised the bar for the security community, noted Symatec bloggers Shaun Aimoto and Martin Zhang. "When the app is launched, it collects and submits user's personal information to a command and control (C&C) server, and presents its display [spoofing a legitimate bank app]," they wrote. "The server will respond with configuration specifying the phone numbers that will be used in the scam."

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Instant financing gains online support

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

An online ecommerce survey conducted by Klarna Inc. revealed that 64 percent of U.S. retailers polled consider online financing through their stores an important component for driving new and increased sales online. Forty-six percent indicated this option would decrease cart abandonment, which remains a major challenge for online merchants today. "Instant financing is clearly recognized by online merchants as a means to attract consumers by providing additional freedom, flexibility and buying power," said Klarna North America CEO Jim Lofgren. "The speed and simplicity with which consumers can apply and be approved for instant financing is widely believed to convert more sales."

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New NACHA program supports B2B invoicing

Monday, March 19, 2018

NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association, is making a play to get businesses using more electronic data exchanges in cash management operations. The ACH rules group has approved a new Request for Payment program that leverages electronic data interchange (EDI) standards to support electronic invoicing and collections. The program, which is voluntary, aims to nudge businesses closer to faster, more integrated handling of business-to-business billings and payments. Checks have long been a preferred method of payment by businesses large and small. A 2016 report by the Association for Financial Professionals found 94 percent of businesses still use checks to pay major business partners. But change is occurring. Whereas 65 percent of payments by businesses to major suppliers were made by check in 2007, that share had fallen to 41 percent by 2016. Eighty-three percent of businesses in 2016 also used ACH credits to pay at least some trading partners, according to AFP; 24 percent used ACH debits, 79 percent paid by wire transfer and 48 percent made some B2B payments with purchasing cards.

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NAC's Choke Point battle rages on

Friday, March 16, 2018

While the U.S. Department of Justice officially terminated Operation Choke Point Aug. 16, 2017, it appears numerous financial institutions have not received the memo. Opponents claim the Obama-era anti-fraud initiative, originally designed to combat criminal activities, has inadvertently harmed millions of legitimate business owners. Critics maintain that by stigmatizing entire industry sectors, the OCP measures have led to stringent "de-risk" policies that inhibit high-risk merchants from opening and maintaining bank accounts and lines of credit. Their claims are further supported by an independent study published in March 2018, by the National ATM Council Inc., a trade association representing the retail ATM industry.

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Midmarket to drive global cybersecurity spend

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Over the next four years, midmarket companies are expected to drive 70 percent of global investment in cybersecurity solutions, which could reach $134 billion in total combined global annual spending by 2022, according to U.K.-based Juniper Research Ltd. Juniper cited cybercriminal exploit of "low-hanging fruit" as a persistent concern, especially among midmarket companies. Small businesses have long been a stable target of cybercriminals, the focus of 43 percent of cyber-attacks launched in 2015, according to Symantec Corp. Research by the cybersecurity firm revealed that in 2017, hackers managed to steal $172 billion from 978 million consumers in 20 countries.

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NRF identifies flaws in data breach bill

Thursday, March 15, 2018

In a March 7, 2018, meeting with U.S. House Financial Services Committee members, the National Retail Federation urged the committee to rewrite proposed legislation pertaining to data breach notifications. The NRF, which has long pushed for uniform data breach legislation, called the bill a good effort that falls short of protecting retailers. At issue are a "one-size-fits-all" approach and overly protective stance toward select parties, according to NRF Vice President and Senior Policy Counsel Paul Martino. Martino found loopholes in the bill's first draft that he claimed would exempt financial institutions and third-party service providers from punitive actions, as well as allow organizations to hide major data breaches from public view. "We want to work with the committee to develop an airtight bill that covers all industries and ensures that all data breaches are subject to notification no matter where they occur," he stated.

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Tradeshows flourish, new products shine

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

There is a tradeshow for just about every type of payment professional these days. This week, for example, the Southeast Acquirers Association is hosting its annual show March 12 through 14 in Orlando, Fla. And across the world, Money20/20 Asia is taking place March 13 through 15 in Singapore. One is regional; the other is international; both offer considerable educational, inspirational and networking opportunities. Companies often take advantage of the buzz surrounding tradeshows to introduce new products into the marketplace. For example, at Money20/20 Asia, Verifone just introduced what it described as "the first in a line of commerce solutions that brings mobility, payment, and commerce into one powerful, portable device. From tier one retailers to small businesses, merchants around the globe will soon be able to accelerate their business with Carbon Mobile 5."

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In memoriam: Philip G. Garcia

Monday, March 12, 2018

Payments industry veteran Philip G. Garcia passed away Feb. 28, 2018, following a brief illness. Born April 13, 1955, Garcia was a skilled technical analyst at Intel Corp. He had previously worked for more than 16 years at Hypercom Corp. and made many friends in the payments community during his tenure. Tom Salamone, Owner of Wellington Weir Human Resource Solutions, was Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hypercom when he met Garcia. He remembers a man who had a smile and kind word for everyone he met.

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CyberEdge finds rising security concerns

Friday, March 9, 2018

A report published March 7, 2018, by CyberEdge noted year-over-year growth in security concerns and threats. Researchers surveyed 1,200 information technology managers from 17 countries and 19 industries to examine the emerging threat landscape and respondents' security postures, investments and strategies for this fifth annual report. Respondents cited cloud security, data privacy, access control and threat monitoring among their leading challenges. "Although we've presented multiple pieces of evidence to suggest that IT security has finally stemmed the tide of successful cyberattacks, this doesn't mean that life is peachy keen," researchers wrote. "Far from it."

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World Economic Forum forms cybersecurity consortium

Thursday, March 8, 2018

On March 6, 2018, the World Economic Forum launched a consortium dedicated to bolstering cybersecurity within the financial technology and data aggregator sectors. The consortium came together after leading cybersecurity experts convened by the forum identified the growing threat of cyber-attacks to financial services providers as a key concern for global financial systems. "Fintechs can only deliver on their customer experience promises if the financial system is able to manage the risks adequately," said Matthew Blake, Head of the Financial and Monetary System Initiative at the forum. "This consortium will offer technology companies a clear goalpost and thus enable them to implement sound cybersecurity measures at the product design stage."

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As Lyons shifts focus, Mastercard aligns digital, physical

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

An entrepreneur at heart, Mastercard Chief Innovations Officer Garry Lyons is leaving the Purchase, N.Y.-based card and payments brand to launch a new technology venture closely aligned with the company he has helped to invigorate. Meanwhile, Mastercard is integrating its physical and digital payments teams under one organization, the Products and Innovation team. The reorganization will be effective April 2, 2018; Lyons will depart the company June 1. Mastercard credits Lyons for being a catalyst for its expanded view of payments technology, as well as for leading the creation of Mastercard Labs, a global research and development effort that looks at the future from a fresh perspective, ascertaining how technology advancements and consumer trends will affect the company's business.

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Rising victim tally a negative, credit monitoring a plus for Equifax

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Forensic analysts and law enforcement authorities have found evidence of additional damages related to the Equifax Inc. data security breach initially disclosed Sept. 7, 2017. At the time, an estimated 145.5 million consumers were estimated to have been affected. This tally was updated March 1, 2018, when Equifax claimed to have found an additional 2.4 million individuals whose personally identifiable information had been compromised.

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New study finds ISVs can streamline PCI compliance

Friday, March 2, 2018

Researchers have found achieving and maintaining Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards compliance continues to be a challenge for small and midsize merchants. The 2018 ControlScan/MAC Acquiring Trends Survey, published Feb. 28, 2018, surveyed 115 acquirers, processors, ISOs and payment facilitators. Atlanta-based ControlScan, a global security company, co-authored the report with Merchant Acquirers' Committee, an organization of bankcard professionals involved in the risk management side of card processing. The organizations said the comparative analysis, aimed at tracking compliance trends, is their seventh annual survey.

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NACHA unites with IFX Forum

Thursday, March 1, 2018

In a strategic move, NACHA ‒ The Electronic Payments Association and financial services standards development organization International Financial eXchange Forum agreed to combine organizations to accelerate development of standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) supportive of the global financial services industry. "The powerful combination of IFX Forum's established leadership in financial industry standards, along with additional technical expertise in the area of API message development, and NACHA's leadership in payment and adjacent standards will accelerate this innovation," said NACHA President and CEO Janet O. Estep. "The organizations will be able to build relevant standards in existing and new business domains."

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