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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 14, 2009 • Issue 09:12:01

Research Rundown

Heads or tails

A Nov. 30, 2009, report from Aite Group LLC, ISOs and Merchant Acquirers: Two Sides of the Same Coin, discusses the similarities between ISOs and merchant acquirers, as well as the differences that shape their distinctive approaches to the market. Based on interviews conducted in October 2009 with 17 top bank acquirers and 28 leading ISOs in the United States, the report explores each group's views on today's merchant acquiring environment.

Aite found that, beyond the strict definitions of the two entities promulgated by the card brands, ISOs and acquiring banks have as many differences as similarities, which fosters divergent viewpoints on where the market is headed in 2010. Aite recommends every ISO and acquirer implement individual strategies to compete for new merchant acquisitions, as well as design individual approaches for their 2010 investments.

A merchant acquiring preview

In Merchant Acquiring in 2010: A Preview, Aite examines the top priorities and challenges for merchant acquirers in 2010 and identifies markets seen as emerging opportunities. The report, based on an October 2009 survey of 45 ISOs and acquirers, discusses how acquirers are balancing their capabilities and merchants' needs. It also looks at likely industry-changing events on the 2010 horizon.

The payments industry is looking to emerging markets, such as mobile and wireless, to help it rebound from the previous year's "sluggish processing volumes," Aite said. Merchant satisfaction is also an important area of focus, according to the advisory. Aite advises payment organizations to strengthen their reputations by deepening relationships with merchants and cultivating referral business.

Revisiting pricing and valuation

Regulatory demand for increased transparency is driving payment organizations and financial institutions to revisit and enhance pricing and valuation processes. That finding, published by Aite in Pricing and Valuation Services: The Search for Transparency, is part of a discussion on the regulatory, accounting and operational factors that affect pricing and valuation, especially as it relates to portfolio growth, liquidity and counterparty risks.

Aite estimates the pricing and valuation services industry will increase from $2.1 billion in 2009 to $2.9 billion by year-end 2012. The consultancy also suggests that third-party solutions providers and other value-added resellers can "contribute meaningfully to the pricing and valuation processes of many firms."

For more information, visit www.aitegroup.com.

Fraud protection top priority

CyberSource Corp.'s survey of e-commerce, the 11th Annual Online Fraud Report - 2010 Edition, found that merchants are seeing considerable evidence of success in thwarting fraud. U.S. and Canadian merchants expect to lose approximately $3.3 billion to e-commerce fraud in 2009, down from $4 billion in 2008. This is the first drop in estimated revenues lost since 2003.

CyberSource also reported that in 2009:

  • Merchants estimated they would lose 1.2 percent of their online revenue to fraud, the lowest percentage in the 11-year-old survey's existence.
  • Factors contributing to fraud prevention success included increased usage of sophisticated fraud-management products and services, better management of orders in the manual review process, and better measurement of outcomes.
  • Mid-sized merchants, those with e-commerce revenues of $5 million to $25 million, were hardest hit, with 1.3 percent of accepted orders resulting in fraud losses.
  • The top priority in 2010 for over 60 percent of merchants surveyed was improving the fraud detection and protection capabilities of their systems.

To obtain a copy of the survey results, visit www.cybersource.com/fraudreport2010.

Guarding against fraud

In November 2009, J.P. Morgan Treasury Services released Payments Fraud: How It Happens And What You Can Do To Protect Your Organization, in which the company shares best practices for battling check, automated clearing house and credit card fraud. It also offers tips on the most effective ways to stop cybercriminals.

Additionally, the report provides solutions for protecting treasury operations from advanced phishing techniques, identifies key areas of fraud vulnerability and proliferation, and reviews fraud protection products and services available today.

Also, according to the 2009 Association for Financial Professionals Payments and Fraud Survey - sponsored by J.P. Morgan - more than 70 percent of survey respondents experienced attempted or actual payment fraud in 2008. A majority expect such illegal activities to grow.

For a free copy of the J.P. Morgan report, visit www.jpmorgan.com/cm/ContentServer?c=TS_Content&pagename=jpmorgan%2Fts%2FTS_Content%2FGeneral&cid=1253321033508&source=DirectURL_fraudwhitepaper. For the AFP report, visit www.afponline.org/pub/pdf/2009_Payments_Fraud_Survey.pdf. end of article

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