The results are in for the 21st Annual Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX), and this year The Green Sheet Inc. brought home three awards for feature writing, news writing and Web site design. APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications distinction.
Awards are given in 11 main categories, divided into 122 subcategories. In 2009, 3,785 entries were evaluated.
According to Springfield, Va.-based Communications Concepts Inc., which evaluates submissions and presents the awards, this year's entries "displayed an extraordinarily high level of quality, and the competition was exceptionally intense."
The APEX judges said they were impressed by the creative ideas and concepts submitted this year.
The Green Sheet Inc. has now received 38 APEX awards, a feat that gives General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Kate Gillespie a tremendous sense of validation.
"I am happy that other people recognize the quality of our magazine," Gillespie said. "I know we have a high-quality publication.
"And what surprises me every year is that we are able to continually keep such high standards, especially considering how small we are. And you can't lose sight of the fact that everyone here plays an integral part in everything we do. These awards are for everyone at The Green Sheet. We're all part of this."
According to a survey of 2,608 consumers conducted by financial consulting firm Analytica Inc., 43.5 percent of respondents had never made an Internet purchase due to security and fraud concerns. And those who limit their online shopping indicated they would make more purchases online if their financial institution offered a safer payment method.
Nearly half (49.9 percent) said they would replace their current online payment method if their bank or credit union offered them a more secure method of making online purchases.
"We found that consumers are not necessarily loyal to the online payment options available to them today," said Steve Rathgaber, President of NYCE Payments Network LLC, which commissioned the survey. "This is good news for financial institutions that wish to keep consumer demand deposit accounts central to their payment relationship.
"Offering an online payment method gives institutions the potential not only to generate new revenue by encouraging consumers to make more online purchases, but also to solidify their relationships with the people they serve."
As online fraud continues to rise and financial institutions lose hundreds of millions of dollars to criminal groups, financial organizations are seeking guidance on how to defend against online attacks. In response to this concern, Entrust is offering a webcast that features information technology research firm Gartner Inc. to help address the questions that directly impact the ongoing fight against online fraud.
The webcast, entitled "Fast & the Fraudulent: Actions Financial Institutions Can Take to Defeat Online Fraud," features 40 minutes of expert opinions on current industry methods to defend against fraud specific to global banks and payment organizations. It is available for viewing at www.entrust.com/gartner-webinar.htm.
"It is critical for experts to help inform other organizations on the necessity of implementing both strong authentication and fraud detection solutions to help stop the alarming growth of e-crime," said Entrust's Director of Identity Products, Steve Neville.
According to the Anti-Phishing Work Group, financial services and payment companies make up 85 percent of the organizations targeted by online criminal groups.
A report published by Ernst & Young Global Ltd., concluded a majority of financial services companies expect no growth before the first six months of 2010. Of the 125 financial institutions surveyed, one-third expect some expansion in 2009; the other two-thirds expect growth to begin in the first six months of 2010 or later.
"The end of the recession and a return to profitability is a tough one for any industry to call," said Tom McGrath, EY's Managing Partner.
McGrath said that if there is any silver lining, it is that 61 percent of the survey's respondents have been able to improve cost cutting measures in the past six months. "Managers are working hard to position their organizations to emerge stronger when the recovery comes ... but the reorganization will vary by sector," he said.
Carmine DiSibio, Managing Partner for EY's Americas Financial Services Office, added that, although the payments industry has been "battered," it will emerge from the recession stronger and healthier with more focus on risk management.
"As the industry recovers, we are likely to see changes in operating models and regulatory frameworks," DiSibio said. "It is likely financial services firms will find their way out of this together."
According to a Secure POS Vendor Alliance survey of 1,030 consumers in the United States, France and Great Britain, 46 percent of respondents expressed concern about the potential for a security breach when making purchases with credit or debit cards.
The SPVA is a nonprofit organization founded by Hypercom Corp., VeriFone and Ingenico S.A. that focuses on standardized implementation of existing security standards.
"Security is clearly a pivotal issue for the [payments] industry and consumers," said Christophe Dolique, SPVA Chairman and Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Transaction Services at Ingenico. "These findings confirm the strong correlation between the strength and quality of security and consumers' views and behaviors toward using card payment systems, which presents a unique opportunity to come together and achieve positive change."
3Delta Systems Inc. reported it has been certified to process online merchant transactions directly through the American Express Co. Card Authorization and Processing Network. Merchants who accept AmEx credit cards and use 3Delta's online payment processing gateway can now securely transmit transactions directly to AmEx for authorization, settlement and payment.
Doin' it right
Employees and friends of Bermuda-based First Atlantic Commerce, an online multicurrency payment and risk management solutions provider, participated in the island's annual Catlin End-to-End charity event held May 2, 2009. An FAC team of 10, including five staff members, biked in superhero costumes across Bermuda to raise money for the Bermuda End-to-End Charitable Trust. They raised just over $9,140.
FAC, whose client base is primarily international, serves a few local merchants, too, so for the company this was all about being involved with a good cause and contributing to the local community.
Everyone a superhero
"A couple of years ago, a former FAC colleague and I decided that we would ride our bicycles in the event, and someone actually sponsored us some extra money to do it in dresses," said Christopher Burns, FAC's Vice President, International Business Development. "We said we'd do it and got such a response that we decided to continue our involvement."
Burns went further and asked a number of friends and FAC employees to join him, and they all signed on. This year's superhero theme inspired FAC participants to dress up as Batman and Robin, Superman and Spiderman.
"They did a great job," Burns said. "The guy who came as Robin stayed up until two in the morning making his outfit. It's amazing how much money people will donate if you're willing to make a fool of yourself. We also won the Team Spirit Award as well, so it really gave everyone a common reference point outside of work."
The End-to-End event has been raising money for local Bermuda charities for 20 years. The course covers the entire island and is a little over 24 miles. Participants could kayak, bicycle, walk or run all or parts of the course.
This year, more than 2,500 people participated - on an island with a population of only 66,000 - with many thousands more lining the streets as well-wishers.
No one left out
Burns and Tricia Lines Hill, FAC's Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications, agree the event had a tremendous effect on participating FAC employees.
"We had people from all departments in the organization," Hill said. "We're not a massive company. Even so, sometimes we don't have a chance to interact outside of these kinds of events, so it turned out to be a great team-building exercise - everyone really pulled together."
The 2009 event brought in more than $340,000 for such Bermuda charities as The Aerie Foundation, Open Airways, Bermuda Red Cross, Coalition for the Protection of Children, The Family Centre, The Reading Clinic, The Menuhin Foundation of Bermuda, Centre for Talented Youth Bermuda, Windreach, BIFF Kids Children's Film Festival and the Bermuda Public Library.
Burns noted that participation in the event has grown significantly since 2008. "It's fantastic to be involved with something that pulls the whole island together," he said. "We raised a lot more money and gained a bit more of a profile within the community, so it's kind of snowballed. It seems we've generated a lot of more interest, but we're always looking for more participants and sponsors. And once you run this in The Green Sheet, who knows what might happen?"
Anyone is welcome
Burns and Hill anticipate even more involvement from the "FAC team" in End-to-End going forward. "I think that we're going to get many more friends and family from FAC next year," Hill said. "And who knows how big it might get? But after the last couple of years and the success we've had, we can't turn back now."
The company plans to continue its costume theme, hoping to establish a yearly tradition that will continue to stimulate interest from Bermuda residents as well as others in the payments industry.
"It's a long shot, but we'd love to encourage any payment professionals to come down here and be a part of this," Burns said.
If running through Bermuda for a good cause appeals to you, be sure to find out what the 2010 theme will be, and bring a fitting costume.
AdvanceMe Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Goldman received the
Additionally, iPay Technologies' co-founder and managing partner Dana Bowers was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the electronic bill payment category. Both are now eligible for the national award, which will be presented in Palm Springs, Calif., in November 2009.
Charge Anywhere LLC introduced a mobile payment solution designed for use with the Palm Pre.
The application will enable merchants to accept mobile credit card payments and e-mail receipts directly from customers. The company also released the latest version of its mobile payment software application to support the 3G BlackBerry Tour Smartphone.
Payment gateway and software development company eProcessing Network LLC is offering its ePnjPOS payment software for merchants who have multiple business units in one location - for example, hair and nail salons, medical offices, tax accountants, law firms and investment companies.
ePnjPOS is designed to give merchants secure processing capabilities from a PC or laptop computer with external Universal Serial Bus devices that facilitate card-swipe, PIN debit, gift card, loyalty, signature capture and check processing functions.
Payment processor First National Merchant Solutions expanded its international portfolio, adding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FNMS said the company will continue to expand its international footprint as economic and business conditions permit.
Banking and payment technology provider Metavante Corp. certified the Panini I:Deal, the latest check scanning platform from Panini, a market leader in distributed capture solutions.
"The Panini I:Deal is compact, affordable and easy to operate," said Paul Danola, President, Metavante Image Solutions. "The I:Deal is designed to operate in a variety of small business markets, making it an excellent choice to deploy with Metavante's Direct Merchant solution."
The costs of processing debit and credit card transactions can be significant; they are also inherently complex. To help merchants understand and lower these processing costs, Optimized Payments Consulting introduced what is said to be the first online payment calculator.
Merchants using the calculator will receive a personalized analysis comparing their effective rate with their industry norms, as well as recommendations for lowering costs.
Payment processor RBS WorldPay Inc. Class A certified Hypercom Corp.'s Optimum T4210 (dial) and T4220 (Ethernet with dial) Payment Card Industry (PCI) PIN Entry Device-approved payment terminals.
ThreatMetrix Inc. unveiled SafeandSurf, a new mobile security application for smart-phone users. SafeandSurf is a Web browser that securely stores smart-phone users' personal data until they are ready to sign on to a social network, execute an online banking transaction or complete an e-commerce purchase.
TSYS Acquiring Solutions approved for Class A support and training two wireless and Ethernet connectivity models in VeriFone's Vx Solutions product family: Vx 670 Wi-Fi and Vx 510 Ethernet countertop system. Based on the Verix platform, Vx Solutions are designed to provide a common user interface across multiple form factors, as well as offer consistent software, applications and support.
Payment solutions provider Universal Air Travel Plan Inc. added Virgin America Airlines as its newest merchant. "As a new airline, we've quickly recognized the demand for UATP acceptance and want to expand our corporate client base while lowering distribution costs," said Diana Walke, Vice President of Planning and Sales at Virgin America.
Verrus Mobile Technologies Inc. launched its Pay by Phone parking services in Sacramento, Calif., Ann Arbor, Mich., and at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The system is designed to help decrease the number of tickets drivers receive and reduce reliance on parking meters for revenue collection.
Information technology and POS solutions firm XPIENT Solutions LLC selected payment processor RBS World Pay as its preferred payment provider. Under the agreement's terms, XPIENT will recommend RBS to both current and future clients in order to provide a fully integrated payment offering.
Payment security solutions company CardSwitch Technology Ltd. and credit card solutions provider OpenCard S.A. signed an agreement that will allow OpenCard to market CardSwitch's payment security solutions. The CardSwitch system is said to prevent fraud that results from card skimming and provide an effective method of reducing consumer card fraud.
Fraud and risk management specialist ID Analytics Inc. teamed up with online and direct marketing firm Deluxe Corp. to help Deluxe comply with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 Identity Theft Red Flags Rule.
Deluxe intends to use ID Analytics to improve fraud detection rates, automate Red Flags Rule compliance and reduce operational costs.
Payment processor Financial Transaction Services LLC. teamed up with Data Delivery Services Inc. and Comply Guard Networks Inc. to help merchants meet requirements set forth by the PCI Security Standard Council.
MasterCard Worldwide signed a multiyear contract extension with OptumHealth Inc. to issue MasterCard cards for health saving accounts, flexible spending accounts and health reimbursement arrangements.
The cards can be used as a form of payment, tied to these tax-advantaged accounts, for eligible medical expenses such as co-payments, deductibles, prescriptions, vision care and certain over-the-counter items.
MyECheck Inc. signed an agreement with Simplifile LC, to facilitate integration of the MyECheck Remotely Created Check solution into the Simplifile Internet-based electronic recording service. This will allow Simplifile customers to make payments for recording and submission fees using an online check imaging process.
Travelport formed an alliance with payment solutions provider PSP International to create a joint venture that will provide integrated payment solutions tailored specifically to the travel industry. The new company, eNett International, will enable automated payment, settlement and reporting between travel agencies and travel product suppliers using all payment form factors.
Stored-value solutions specialist TrustCash Holdings Inc. partnered with Internet payment processor Electracash Inc. to add automated clearing house (ACH) processing functionality to its suite of payment solution services.
In a move designed to improve management, marketing and customer service for its credit card program, XCEL Federal Credit Union of New Jersey switched its card processing to TNB Card Services.
XCEL is transferring all 2,500 of its accounts to TNB in an upgrade that Chief Operating Officer Marianne Pulice said was "definitely needed."
Payment solutions firm Universal Air Travel Plan hired K. David Holmes III as the company's new Vice President, Global Sales. Holmes was promoted from Regional Commercial Director, The Americas, and will focus on recruiting new airline merchants, growing existing UATP issuer programs and expanding UATP's partner program.
Comdata Corp. named Greg Licata as its Vice President of Health Care. Licata's responsibilities include implementing Comdata's payment products and services in the health care industry.
Paymetric Inc. expanded its team with the addition of Asif Ramji as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Integrated Payment Solutions. Ramji is responsible for driving revenue for Paymetric through its direct sales force in addition to overseeing all the company's marketing programs, strategies and demand generation activities.
Fraud detection and prevention solutions provider 41st Parameter Inc. reported that J. Peter Selda, a 35-year information technology veteran, joined the company as President, CEO and member of its board of directors.
Third-party credit card servicer Total Card Inc. hired Paul Simon as National Sales Director. Simon, who has been in the payments industry for 20 years, is responsible for market expansion and new business development.
POS terminal manufacturer Hypercom appointed Peter Vesco as Managing Director, Northern Europe. Vesco's new responsibilities include directing and driving Hypercom's business activities throughout the region. Vesco's tenure begins in October 2009.
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