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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 13, 2007 • Issue 07:08:01

MWAA 2007: Security, depth and rock-and-roll

Cleveland isn't America's most exotic vacation spot. Yet, the Midwest Acquirers Association (MWAA) leveraged hip music attractions to draw a crowd to the city on Lake Erie for the organization's 2007 conference.

The highlight of the event, which took place July 24 through 27, was an evening at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Attendees were free to wander six floors of music, videos and memorabilia, or dance the night away to rock classics, thanks to the event's generous sponsors. But it wasn't only rock-and-roll that brought approximately 400 people to the fifth annual MWAA conference.

Like other regional conferences, the MWAA meeting brings together a cross section of the acquiring space -- from executives of large ISOs to newbie feet on the street -- to network and share experiences.

Educational offerings focused on business relationships and security. They featured industry veterans like National Processing Co. President Tom Wimsett, who discussed industry trends, past and present.

Between sessions, the exhibit hall offered an array of technologies and experts on all aspects of transaction acquiring. Here are a few insights we picked up about security issues.

  • Fifty percent of consumers will not buy items online because they fear for the security of their accounts and related information, according to David Mertz of Compliance Security Partners LLC.
  • Sixty-two percent of Americans recently surveyed by the independent research firm Ponemon Institute LLC have been notified that their confidential data has been lost by a bank or other service provider.
  • Companies victimized by data theft spend, on average, $5 million each on remediation, according to several sources. Total costs associated with the highly publicized TJX Companies Inc. data breach are expected to exceed $1 billion, several experts noted.
  • The cost to card issuers of compromised customer accounts averages $182 per breached account, according to the Ponemon Institute.
Good vibrations

Mike Ponder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Payment Systems, was honored during the event with the MWAA Lifetime Achievement Award.

United Bank Card Inc., meanwhile, used the occasion to hold a charity poker tournament -- the latest in a string of Texas Hold 'Em tourneys held during regional acquirers association conferences.

The event brought in over $3,000, one of the biggest takes yet, said UBC CEO Jared Isaacman. The money will be donated to the National Cancer Coalition.

Next year, the MWAA annual conference moves to St. Louis, and will be held during the third week of July. For more information about the MWAA, visit its Web site at www.midwestacquirers.com. end of article

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