Preliminary results from Acculynk's recent Internet PIN debit pilot utilizing its PaySecure product show a high consumer adoption rate. Acculynk released a white paper, PaySecure: Tracking to Become a Leading Online Payment Method, which analyzes the data gathered in the pilot. The pilot began in March 2009 and continues with more merchants and electronic funds transfer networks being added. "Because PaySecure is a brand-new payment method, most online shoppers are encountering the product for the first time at their merchant's checkout," said Ashish Bahi, Chief Executive Officer of Acculynk. "The fact we are seeing such a high rate of usage right out of the gate, with minimal education and marketing, demonstrates that PaySecure is an intuitive payment method that consumers will adopt."
J.D. Power and Associates' 2009 Credit Card Satisfaction Study indicated consumers' overall satisfaction with credit cards is at a three-year low. It cites fees and rates as the main factor. In 2008, 10 percent of respondents reported an increase in interest rates. This year 20 percent experienced an increase.
Australia's Payments System Board, the regulatory entity responsible for overseeing the payments systems in Australia, reviewed progress made by its payments industry in regulating itself and keep interchange from rising without government intervention. The Board concluded in an August 2009 meeting that interchange regulation would remain in effect. The Board further proposed that the benchmark for interchange should be lowered to 0.3 percent, although it has not executed that decrease.
In 2008, the Payments System Board, declared in a review that it would remove regulations that it had imposed on interchange if certain conditions were met by industry participants. Specifically, the Board required sufficient steps be taken by industry participants to reduce the risk of interchange fees increasing in the absence of regulation. Although some progress was made, it was insufficient to convince the Board to deregulate interchange.
The Smart Card Alliance released a white paper, Issuer and Merchant Best Practices: Promoting Contactless Payments Usage and Acceptance, which provides practical guidance for both issuers and merchants to encourage the adoption and use of contactless cards. The paper, authored by the SCA's Contactless and Mobile Payments Council, is a result of information gleaned through interviews with issuers and payment brands at the beginning of 2009.
The Consumer Work Group discovered what methods issuers and brands had used thus far to promote contactless and which of these methods was most successful. The white paper offers ways in which merchants can help augment the efforts of the issuers and card brands.
Recognizing the increasing need for alternative forms of funding in the current economic climate, Business Consulting Option LLC launched its own cash advance operation, Business Loan Option. For more information, visit www.businessloanoption.com.
To serve underbanked consumers, eBillme launched a walk-in network for consumers to pay cash for products and services online. After choosing eBillme Walk-In, online consumers receive an eBill which they can pay at participating eBillme locations or through online banking.
F3 Technologies Inc. released a beta version of its Ascend Global Business System Store, designed to address the needs of small and mid-sized businesses interested in taking their products or services to the Web. Merchants can choose from various e-commerce functions available, including payment processing, product and shipping, marketing and merchandising, and inventory controls.
FiftyOne Global Ecommerce performed upgrades to its e-commerce platform. These upgrades include an Asia-Pacific expansion and a new multilingual and single-page, international checkout design optimized for currency conversion and the addition of merchandising tools to allow merchants to dynamically adjust prices in different markets.
Fifth Third Processing Solutions signed agreement extensions with two major chains: Les Schwab Tire Centers and Nordstrom Inc. "We are pleased to provide the support these retailers can use to extend convenient payment options to their valued customers, whether online, in a store or through catalogs," said Donald Boeding, President of Merchant Services at Fifth Third.
First American Payment Systems LP released a tool for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to forecast monthly revenue. "Its abilities surpass any of its kind that I've seen, and I'm confident that offices and agents all over the country are going to reap the benefits the system offers," said Kevin Jones, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for First American.
Juniper Research Ltd. predicts the market for near field communication (NFC)- enabled devices will increase to $30 billion by 2012. In its NFC Mobile Payments & Marketing Opportunities: Forecasts & Analysis 2009 - 2014 report, which is available for free download at the Juniper Web site, the research firm suggests that the use of coupons and "smart" posters for retail marketing will drive mobile transaction volumes.
Mobifyer, a division of M360 Inc., in conjunction with suppliers TranZfinity Inc., eGrips Technology (a division of Flexible Innovations Ltd.) and SCM Microsystems Inc. launched a series of developers' contests to promote contactless, radio frequency identification and NFC technologies with mobile phones.
Addison, Texas-based Momentum Payment Systems LLC launched an application for use with Apple Inc.'s iPhone.
Momentum's payment processing solutions are now available on the go with the iPhone application which merchants can obtain from Momentum's sales team and install through the mobile device's web browser.
Juliann Larimer, Vice President of North American Channels for NCR Corp., received recognition from Everything Channel's CRN Magazine as being in the Top 100 Women in the Channel.
"We are fortunate to have Juliann lead the expansion of our channel business as we bring industry leading solutions to our partners and the North American channel marketplace," said John P. Di Leo, Jr., Region Vice President, NCR North America.
Doin' it right
BlueStar Inc., distributor of radio frequency identification and automatic identification technology, as well as data capture, POS and mobility products, reported record participation at Vartech09.
The company's annual conference and tradeshow is designed to bring together value-added resellers (VARs), manufacturers and software vendors, enabling them to network, share technology innovations and find new revenue streams to grow business.
Vartech09 was held in Nashville, Tenn., from Aug.13 to 15, 2009. BlueStar combined its Vartech09 show in the United States with BlueWave, the company's Canadian show, which reflected BlueStar's desire to provide one venue for optimum collaboration.
"We got a great response in the surveys from last year, and that helped us put together this year's show, allowing exhibitors to get more face time, to be one-on-one with the type of decision-makers they are looking for and help the VARs find ways to cut operational costs," said Mark Fraker, BlueStar's Vice President of Marketing.
"By combining the shows, we had more resellers attend than ever before, and everyone saved money with the show in one location," he added.
The big picture
Vartech09's theme, "Think," was chosen to spark new business through relationship building among players in the VAR channel.
"We wanted our attendees to think partnerships, think solutions and think return on investment," Fraker said. "This year we added seminars on creative financing, how to implement drip marketing programs and how to drive annual maintenance contracts. These people are so tuned in to what they have to change, and I think that's what really drove our attendance."
At the conference, BlueStar introduced the industry's first distributor-sponsored social technology workshops, which included a seminar on helping VARs make videos for use as marketing and sales tools. Audio and video production tools available at the conference gave VARs an opportunity to market themselves in a new way.
"We thought it was a great opportunity to take 30 or so of our VARs and have them make a video to tell their story instead of the usual one or two paragraphs on their Web page," Fraker said. "Now they get to talk about their company with the fire in the belly and the passion in the eyes that comes from so much sweat equity. And VARs get more leads because someone watched their video and remembered it - and who remembers the About Us page? So it was another way to go out and do one of those touches without using Sales 101 questions. It was very exciting, and we have a lot of people interested in doing it again next year," Fraker added.
Act on new opportunities
Fraker said total attendance at this year's Vartech09 was up 38 percent from last year and brought together payment professionals from 22 countries.
He attributes the spike in attendance to concerns about the economy and a desire to find new ways to do business.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results," Fraker said. "But as the economy is perpetually shifting, we saw our people saying, 'OK, I've been doing this for 20, 30 years. How do I change my business, find new, creative financing and improve the management and efficiency of my operation?'"
Vartech09 introduced new workshops to address those issues and give VARs opportunities to find fresh ways to help their end users and increase profits. Fraker said, "I look at it this way: If you help people get what they want out of life, they will in turn help you do the same thing."
R3 Systems Inc. launched a new e-commerce platform, MerchantAI, built around the open source Magento e-commerce platform. Magento e-commerce software is a trademark of Irubin Consulting Inc., doing business as Varien. MerchantAI can automatically react to changes in site traffic and security threats. With its analytical capabilities, it can make product suggestions.
With a new payment feature for Microsoft Corp. Windows Mobile devices launched by TAAP Ltd., merchants can process card payments without a magnetic stripe reader or chip and PIN technology. Transactions are sent through merchant service gateways that are available through HSBC Finance Corp. and Barclays Bank PLC's Barclaycard.
Tim Hortons, a large Canadian quick service restaurant chain, now accepts MasterCard Worldwide's PayPass contactless payment cards and devices at the POS. With PayPass, Tim Hortons can speed the checkout process for its diners.
VerifySmart Corp.'s debit and credit card security and fraud detection technology brings consumers into the equation, empowering them to help manage their own credit and debit fraud and identity theft risk. Users authorize the transaction from their mobile phones or other mobile devices.
Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and CEO for Visa Inc., was a presenter at Barclays Bank PLC's Barclays Capital Global Financial Services Conference held in New York on Sept. 16, 2009. A podcast of the fireside chat will be available until Oct. 16, 2009, at http://investor.visa.com.
Zenius Solutions, an NFC software company, made its ZeniusMobilePay demo software available free. Users can upgrade to pilot or production licenses. ZeniusMobilePay works with multiple mobile wallet applications for NFC-enabled phones. It is also compatible with certain retrofitted phones.
Brigham Young University-Idaho is participating in a pilot with Rfinity involving an open encryption platform using a secure microSD (secure digital) memory card with contactless interface developed by Giesecke & Devrient GmbH.
ClaimLogic, a provider of revenue cycle management solutions for the health care industry, chose Electronic Payment Exchange as its payment processor. EPX will extend fully integrated payment solutions to ClaimLogic's customer base.
Elavon Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, forged a marketing alliance with PAY.ON AG, an online payment and risk management technologies provider. This partnership gives Elavon access to PAY.ON's 140 plus payment systems; PAY.ON benefits from Elavon's global payment platform that supports multi-currency and cross-border payments. In other company news, Elavon acquired the merchant processing portfolio of Carolina First Bank, which is the banking subsidiary of The South Financial Group Inc. Elavon will service Carolina First's merchant customers and, according to a 10-year alliance agreement, Elavon will receive referrals for new acquiring business through Carolina First's 177 locations in Florida and the Carolinas.
Fast Transact Inc. partnered with Magellan Commerce to round out its online functionality into a one-stop shop for merchants needing e-commerce solutions. Magellan can now offer an integrated e-commerce platform and merchant services.
First Data Corp. formed an alliance with Web.com Group Inc. to offer small and mid-sized merchants payment processing, online marketing and e-commerce solutions. With the combined resources and tools of the two companies, merchants will benefit from a wider array of services to grow their customer bases.
OpenTable, a provider of real-time online restaurant reservation management, selected Braintree Payment Solutions to provide Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance for its Electronic Reservation Book software.
RBS WorldPay, a U.S.-based payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland, selected Arsenal Security Group Inc. as its PCI DSS compliance partner. Arsenal Security Group will provide the questionnaire, vulnerability scans and its proprietary SmartSearch Technology to ensure that RBS WorldPay meets all of the PCI DSS requirements.
Atlanta-based retailer Stacks and Stacks will offer Moneta Corp.'s Pay Now option which allows online shoppers to pay from their checking, savings or money market accounts in a single step process. "Moneta gives our customers a secure way to pay with a virtual electronic check," said Mel Ronick, founder and CEO of Stacks and Stacks.
TNB Card Services partnered with the United States Postal Service Federal Credit Union for all of the Federal Credit Union's acquiring business, a $22 million portfolio. "TNB has clearly demonstrated that our business is important to them and that it offers the right tools and strategies to drive card growth and deliver a more valuable card product to our members," said Bill Chow, Vice President of Operations for the U.S. Postal Service FCU.
GSI Commerce Inc., an e-commerce and multichannel solution provider, acquired certain assets of Pepperjam, an affiliate marketing network and marketing agency.
The acquisition is meant to increase GSI's affiliate marketing offerings for its clients.
Trustwave acquired Vericept Corp., a data loss prevention (DLP) and intellectual property protection provider, in order to provide more tools for its clients to keep sensitive data secure.
DLP technology can help its clients fulfill seven of the 12 requirements of the PCI DSS.
John Buaas, a payments professional with over 30 years in the industry, is stepping into the position of regional Vice President at OneBridge for the southwestern and western United States. He will be tasked with generating new business in those areas.
Timothy Dunn joins UP Solution Inc. as Director of Direct Sales and Operations. Dunn, a 15-year payment processing veteran, comes to UP Solution from his position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at myARCworld Inc.
He is also a member of the Electronic Transaction Association's Technology Committee.
Robert "Bob" Ficarra stepped into the role of Vice President of Sales for Tampa, Fla.-based Sterling Payment Technologies. Ficarra, formerly Vice President of ISO and Partner Sales at CrossCheck Inc., is responsible for growing Sterling's ISO channel.
First Data Corp. welcomed W. Patrick Shannon as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Shannon will succeed Phil Wall, who is now CFO of Bank of America Merchant Services. Shannon has 26 years of financial management experience.
41st Parameter Inc., a fraud detection and prevention provider, brought in William Snow as Vice President of Engineering to help fight fraudsters. Snow is a 23-year veteran in the software and information technology industries with both large scale enterprises and smaller start-ups.
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