The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 22, 2009 • Issue 09:06:02
Call for PCI council collaboration
Trade groups concerned about the complexity and cost to merchants to implement the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) wrote a joint letter to the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC).
The letter was co-authored by representatives of the National Retail Federation, the Merchant Advisory Group, American Hotel and Lodging Association, the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the NACS - The National Association for Convenience & Petroleum Retailing.
The letter recommends that the PCI SSC:
- Incorporate a formal review and comment phase on revisions to the PCI DSS by participating membership before they are issued
- Ensure the amount of time from issuance of a revision to the PCI DSS and ensure the effective date is appropriate for all merchants, including level 1 merchants making enterprisewide changes, based on the revisions that are being implemented, as well as small operators without the resources to readily comply
- Follow, and adopt, the Accredited Security Committee X9 Inc. plan to develop a new standard to protect cardholder data, which may include end-to-end data encryption
- Use the concepts of key controls and controls rationalization to restructure the more than 200 detailed requirements of the PCI DSS
- Require credit card companies and their banks to provide merchants the option of keeping only authorization codes and truncated receipts
New resource to minimize breaches
Intersections Inc., in partnership with Financial Services Roundtable and the Identity Theft Assistance Center, launched BreachCenter.com.
John Scanion, Chief Operating Officer for Intersections Inc.'s Business Services, said, "We want BreachCenter.com to be that trusted resource.
Through our exclusive partnership with ITAC, we are also able to provide valuable tools and resources that businesses can use to help minimize the impact of a breach and to help them and their customers recover if a breach has occurred."
The Web site features articles; white papers; case studies; blogs; and a forum for open discussion, opinions, news and reviews of data breach recovery services.
The site also includes Intersections' Seven Steps to Data Breach Readiness and a database of consumer notification laws (updated quarterly and organized by state).
It also feeds information from Open Security Foundations Dataloss Database and ITAC's blog.
ITAC's Victim Assistance service relies solely on Intersections for its operations. A podcast of the launch announcement with John Scanion can be heard at www.breachcenter.com.
U.S. tourism spending down in 2009
According to Visa Inc.'s Tourism Outlook: USA, visitors to the United States spent more in 2008 than in 2007, in spite of the poor economic condition. Year over year spending was up by $7 billion based on the use of Visa-branded payment cards. Similarly, American international spending in 2008 rose 3 percent over the previous year.
But Visa's survey reveals a different story this year. Spending between January and March of 2009 by Americans abroad and tourists to the United States is down over the same period last year.
However, according to the survey, almost half of American respondents said the economy has not affected their desire to travel outside the United States, and 18 percent were more willing to travel abroad this year.
Americans are modifying their spending, though. Eighty-three percent are avoiding the more costly peak seasons, and 31 percent plan to travel closer to home.
Although total inbound tourist spending declined in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the previous year ($11 billion compared to $12.9 billion), the United States is still the most popular destination for international tourists.
Axway cuts through global red tape
Axway Inc., a global provider of multi-enterprise data management solutions, introduced Financial Exchange to provide visibility, security and control over transaction flows through functions such as community management, multi-enterprise collaboration, analytics and process management.
The Phoenix-based company said its solutions are Electronic Banking Internet Communications Standard-certified and compliant with numerous regional and international security standards.
Elavon enhances global payment platform
Building upon its existing, proprietary global payment platform, Elavon Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, expanded its multicurrency, cross-border and dynamic currency conversion (DCC) functionality.
The Elavon network reportedly can authorize transactions in 89 currencies and settle in 16. In addition, Elavon said it can provide DCC for up to 48 currencies.
The company has also brought its DCC offering to Germany, where 27 currencies can be converted, providing merchants with added revenue through conversion fees.
Epay launches debit card
Epay Inc. released its newest EPAY debit card, offering features and benefits that it said will appeal to both consumers and small-business owners. Users can benefit from reduced transaction costs compared to bank wires and cash transfers. Besides worldwide use at ATMs, POS and e-commerce environments, the card can be utilized for payroll, commissions and money transfers.
Heartland delivers one-stop statement
Since enhancing its offerings with Discover Financial Services and American Express Co., Heartland Payment Systems Inc. gives its merchants the ability to receive authorizations, settlement, funding, statements and customer service for all four major card brands directly from Heartland.
This consolidation promises faster funding, according to Heartland. With Heartland's Online Merchant Center, merchants can also track transactions and account information and have one customer service center for all four card brands.
Awareness Month underway
Pulse, Discover's national ATM and debit network, kicked off ATM & Debit Card Safety Awareness Month with safety tips for consumers. "ATM withdrawals, cash-back during point-of-sale transactions and PIN-based puchases are convenient ways to spend and access your money whenever you need it," said Steve Sievert, Pulse's Senior Vice President, adding that it's a good idea to take appropriate precautions when performing any transaction.
After two years in development, Tetherball LLC released a new radio frequency identification-based mobile loyalty and rewards solution. "Mobile marketers have been struggling to develop a solution that not only provides an easy method to deliver targeted offers to mobile users, but allows them to truly measure the return on their investment," said Jay Highley, President and COO of Tetherball; the solution does it in a "radically simple way," he added.
The latest from TowerGroup
TowerGroup recently issued a number of research reports pertaining to the payments sphere, including Protecting Personal Information: We lost the Battle, Can We Win the War? by George Tubin, TowerGroup Senior Research Director, Delivery Channels; Just Rewards: Adapting the Credit Card Loyalty Feature to a Debit Card World by Brian Riley, Research Director Bank Cards; and Mobile Banking and Payments, April 2009, Leaders, Laggards and New Trends by Charul Vyas, Analyst Emerging Technologies. For more information about these and other TwoerGroup reports, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Payment essentials for private practice
U.S. Bank N.A. added Heathcare Payment Management (HPM) Essentials to its existing HPM solution, which is designed specifically for the private practice environment. The tool allows doctors' offices to accept and track more self-pay funds such as co-pays and deductibles. Ralph Bernstein, Senior Vice President of U.S. Bank Healthcare Payment Solutions, said, "Physicians understand that with the right tools, they can significantly reduce bad debt and the associated collection costs."
US Dataworks hits record in 2008
US Dataworks Inc. reported the company processed 95 percent more automated clearing house, standard-entry, class-coded transactions in 2008 than in the previous year. These transactions included check image exchange items, back-office conversion), e-commerce and telephone order. The number of check image transactions increased more than four times the total for 2007.
#h4 Doin' it right
For Jim McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer for payment solutions company Network Merchants Inc., and Ted Cucci, NMI's Chief Operating Officer, acts of philanthropy come down to a simple equation: love.
Following their hearts in May 2009, the two donated $50,000 to the Schaumburg Child + Family Center, based in Schaumburg, Ill., the village outside of Chicago where NMI is also headquartered. And except for a plea from Karen Selman, Regional Vice President of Children's Home + Aid, their donation would have remained anonymous. The Schaumburg center is a project of the CH+A.
"We really didn't want to tell anyone that we had made this donation but for the fact that Karen called me and said they were having some problems getting funding and asked if we could enlist the help of others," McKenzie said. "We kind of let the cat out of the bag in an attempt to spark others to do the same."
Defining a mission
Founded in 1883, the CH+A is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children born to low-income, young and undereducated single parents. It provides social service programs to 40 Illinois counties. Its Schaumburg center provides an educational environment for children who have not yet reached school age.
"Jim has been attending Schaumburg Rotary Club meetings for a couple of years now," Cucci said. "One morning before a meeting, he was thinking about a couple of kids he knew and countless thousands like them. They are living their lives in constant struggle. How did they get there? Why can't they get out? And what can we do to help them?"
Getting them early
McKenzie said the answer is in reaching these children in infancy and educating them before they become disadvantaged.
He added that until about 12 months of age, nearly all healthy children test at the same developmental levels regardless of environment.
Unfortunately, after the first year, significant deficits begin to manifest in children raised in high-risk environments.
And the educational system in the United States isn't equipped to educate toddlers and preschoolers.
"What I learned from Karen is that low-income families are so focused on trying to make ends meet that they're not focused on what's going with on their kids' educational needs," McKenzie said. "So by the time they get to kindergarten they're already behind the eight ball."
Reaching more children
McKenzie and Cucci found out that CH+A was awarded a $500,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation in Detroit as part of a capital campaign to raise $4.5 million to cover costs of the Schaumburg center's recent expansion.
According to CH+A, the 13,000-square-foot facility more than doubles the capacity for early childhood education programs targeting at-risk families in Chicago's northwest suburbs.
"At an important stage in a person's life, you reach a point where you know it's time to give back," McKenzie said. "It just happened that this was the right time for us, so Ted and I were the first to respond to the Kresge challenge grant by making a $50,000 contribution. From when we started NMI in 2001, our company culture has always been to work behind the scenes so that others could prosper. We believe that in helping others we have found success as well."
The Kresge funding is contingent upon the CH+A raising matching funds by Sept. 1, 2009, McKenzie said. At this time, the organization has raised $3.7 million for the Schaumburg center, so it is $800,000 short to qualify for the Kresge grant.
McKenzie and Cucci hope their contribution will encourage others to follow suit. Cucci pointed out that some groups may charge administrative costs, but 100 percent of every dollar donated through the Rotary Club goes to the intended recipient. "Isn't it crazy how giving works sometimes?" McKenzie said.
"If you become other-centered and start to actually look out for the other guys first, good things invariably happen to you."For payment professionals interested in making a contribution, visit www.rotaryfundraiser.org or e-mail Karen Selman at email@example.com.
USMS boosts product line
U.S. Merchant Systems has added the Orion all-in-one check reader, imager and card solution from 4Access Communications Co. to its product line. In addition to fully supporting the terminal, USMS will also provide check and card software applications.
Visa delivers for tourism
Visa launched VisaVue Travel Reports to provide valuable spending metrics to the U.S. tourism industry and government agencies. The reports will be available by subscription.
"The global economy is placing considerable pressure on travel and tourism industry merchants," said Bill Sheedy, President, North America at Visa. "By converting Visa transaction data into actionable information, we can provide timely insights to businesses that rely on tourism revenues as we work to help them grow their businesses."
WRG commemorates 20 years
WRG Services Inc., a distributor of off-premise ATMs, celebrated 20 years in business.
From its beginnings as a coin-operated amusement company with two employees, WRG has grown into a bustling enterprise with 11,000 terminals deployed to date.
BofA choice for BMC
Using Bank of America Corp.'s Comprehensive Payments suite, Boston Medical Center will pay a large number of its bills electronically. "The Comprehensive Payments suite was easy to implement, and we look forward to benefiting from the increased efficiencies of the program," said Ron Bartlett, BMC's Chief Financial Officer.
Check Into Cash selects Fiserv
Check Into Cash Inc. customers can now pay bills in person using cash at over 900 locations across 30 states with Fiserv Inc.'s CheckFreePay service.
Check Into Cash cardholders can pay bills for hundreds of businesses including utility, cellular, auto, insurance and credit card companies. The service integrates into Check Into Cash's existing terminals.
Data Age, Pivotal team for integration
Combining Data Age Business Systems Inc.'s POS software and Pivotal Payments' gateway software, Data Age clients can now process both credit and debit transactions through its computer system.
Victor Guzman, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Data Age, said the integrated payment solution "has been designed to help small businesses in our target markets get better rates and simplify processing through a complete point-of-sale system."
Jenkon, ProPay sign deal
JIA Inc. (Jenkon), a developer of Web-based sales and business management software for direct sellers, has partnered with ProPay Inc. to offer its customers ProtectPay, a security compliance tool.
ProtectPay assigns a unique identifier to each credit card proffered for payment and processes the transaction from that identifier, eliminating the need for the merchant to handle card data, which can be compromised, Jenkon said.
JA, Veracity launch referral program
Junior Achievement of Georgia Inc.'s Augusta District and Atlanta-based Veracity Payment Solutions Inc. started a referral program called The Achievers Alliance Network. A portion of transaction revenue for participating businesses and merchants will be donated to Junior Achievement.
"Our objective is very simple," said Anthony J. Walsh, Vice President of Business Development for Veracity, "to assist Junior Achievement in reaching their financial goals to help them empower our future leaders of tomorrow."
RBS WorldPay, Century join forces
RBS WorldPay Inc. joined forces with Century Payments Inc. to manage and expand the RBS WorldPay Agent Bank program. "Century will collaborate with our agent banks to help them meet their customer and financial goals," said Tom Konz, Senior Vice President of Indirect Sales and Marketing for RBS WorldPay. "Plus they will continue to receive the same high quality, secure processing services they have grown to expect from RBS WorldPay."
SeñorPay teams with U.S. Hispanic Chamber
SeñorPay LTD entered into an agreement with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to offer discounts to chamber members. SeñorPay, a division of SignaPay LTD, supports its credit card processing service with bilingual marketing, training and customer care.
PayCycle in to it
Intuit Inc. signed papers to obtain online payroll services provider PayCycle Inc. After the approximately $170 million deal finalizes, small businesses will have access to PayCycle's payroll services through Intuit.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Intuit's accountant customers can use the services as a stand-alone payroll provider for their small business customers.
MD On-Line gets healthier
MD On-Line Inc., a New Jersey-based health care payment provider, acquired Medical Claim Corp. of Bristol, Conn. MD On-Line's main focus is converting health care companies to an electronic submission process.
David Johndrow, Medical Claim Corp.'s founder, said, "It gives me confidence to know that after 19 years of hard work building relationships with our customers that, upon my retirement, the same level of first-class service will continue."
Payment provider nets new VP
Dhruv Chopra joined Net1 UEPS Technologies Inc. as its new Vice President, Investor Relations. Chopra's background includes a five-year stint as a research analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc's information technology services. Previously, he was a management consultant specializing in the financial services industry. Though UEPS is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chopra will be based in New York.
Doran set in stone
Payment solution provider Graphite Payments tapped Kim Doran for Director of National Sales Support.
Tina Gregory, Graphite Payments' CEO, said, "Graphite Payments is delighted that Kim has headed up the start of a winning team responsible for the support of business development in the agent and ISO marketplace."
Mumby is the word
International voice and Internet Protocol solutions firm Arbinet Inc. appointed Robert Mumby as its new Vice President of Sales, North America.
Mumby is responsible for building Arbinet's international voice business with traditional and emerging carriers, prepaid companies and mobile operators across the continent.
Yapstone welcomes Price
Yapstone, a San Francisco-based payment provider for the property management industry, welcomed Robert Price as CFO. Price, a 30-year veteran in electronic commerce and high-tech industries, will oversee financial reporting, accounting, planning and human resources functions.
Mercator gets new VP
Mercator Advisory Group Inc. selected Ian Rubin, a 13-year research and consulting veteran, as its new Vice President and Managing Director. "We are very fortunate in this economic climate to be able to continue adding high-caliber talent to the team," said Robert Misasi, the firm's President.
- The U.S. Census Bureau reported that retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2009 totaled $31.7 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.
- The Consumer Electronics Association said consumer electronic sales are expected to reach nearly $724 billion in 2009, up 4.3 percent from sales of $694 billion in 2008. Mobile phones accounted for 26.7 percent of total U.S. electronic device sales in 2008 but are projected to grow only 2.1 percent in 2009.
- In a Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research Inc. 58 percent of retailers in the United States reported an increase in online sales in the first quarter of 2009.
- In a June 2009 survey by Retail Forward, 48 percent of consumers questioned said they avoid impulse items as a way to control shopping expenditures.
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