Shifting Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) contact and contactless chip technology into high gear in the United States, Visa Inc. is promoting dual-interface chip technology and building infrastructure for near field communication (NFC) -based mobile payments that support either POS signature or PIN entry. The new chip technology also increases card security and allows consumers to use cards in other countries.
EMV technology has a microchip embedded in the card. When a customer swipes the card, the POS device reads the chip and asks for a verification of authentic use with a personal identification number. EMV has significantly reduced POS fraud in Europe by eliminating the magnetic stripe that is on the back of most U.S. cards.
Visa is offering an incentive to merchants who implement smart card technology by eliminating the annual Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard validation requirement.
All acquirers and processors of the Visa brand in the United States will be required to support merchants with EMV technology by April 1, 2013. The company is also shifting liability for POS counterfeit fraud from card issuers to merchants whenever a merchant is a fraud victim and has not adopted contact chip terminals.
VeriFone Inc. and Hypercom Corp. settled an antitrust claim brought by the United States Department of Justice. The settlement allowed VeriFone to complete the $485 million buyout of Hypercom announced in November 2010. Hypercom and VeriFone together control more than 60 percent of the U.S. POS terminal market.
Originally, Hypercom intended to sell its U.S. terminal business to the French company Ingenico S.A., the third largest U.S. POS terminal provider, to address DOJ antitrust concerns. The DOJ objected to the sale, arguing it would make for an anti-competitive POS terminal market in the United States. Under terms of the settlement, Hypercom agreed to divest its U.S. business to The Gores Group LLC, a private equity group in Los Angeles that manages over $4 billion in assets.
An amicable settlement was reached when Yahoo Inc. agreed to take no less than $2 billion and no more than $6 billion if there is an Alipay initial public offering (IPO). The agreement, reached with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, also has the support of the other major Alibaba investor, Japan's SoftBank Mobile Corp.
Yahoo and SoftBank, which together own more than 90 percent of Alibaba, said they were both surprised to learn Alibaba spun off its Alipay payments business last year in order to meet China's regulatory requirements. Both Yahoo and SoftBank have representatives on Alibaba's board but said they did not learn of the Alipay separation until the spring of 2011 - well after Alibaba founder, Chief Executive Officer and President Jack Ma took Alipay private in 2010.
Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in China, also owns Taobao, China's version of eBay Inc. Taobao is China's largest online retailer. The new agreement states Alipay will continue to provide processing services to Alibaba Group and Taobao.
The agreement also gives Alibaba Group a 49.9 percent share of its pretax income in return for royalties and software technology services.
The final stipulation said Alibaba Group will receive between $2 billion and $6 billion in an Alipay IPO with the exact number to be determined by multiplying the equity value of Alipay by 37.5 percent - up to the $6 billion cap.
Professional certification was a major topic at the Midwest Acquirers Association conference held outside Chicago in July 2011, and the conclusion is that much of the responsibility for certification and the success of such programs will lie with ISOs.
The Electronic Transactions Association begins its Certified Payments Professional (CPP) program this fall. The voluntary program will educate payment professionals in industry ethics and business standards to create a standard of practice and knowledge for ISOs, sales professionals and other payments industry professionals.
The ETA reportedly puts the onus on ISOs to ensure their agents are trained and certified. However, the ETA will offer CPP preparation courses. Testing topics include sales, pricing and interchange; process, operations and workflow; and products and solutions.
For full details about the CPP program and testing, a Candidate Handbook is available online at www.electran.org/docs/CPP/ETACPPHandbook.pdf. Applications for the CPP exam can be found at www.electran.org/content/view/773/444/.
Individuals wishing to take the exam must complete their applications by Oct. 1, 2011, in order to qualify for the first round of testing. There are two one-month testing windows at testing centers nationwide.
ETA is requiring of applicants one to three years experience in payment processing and recommending "strong working knowledge" of technology, operations, risk, compliance or security prior to taking the test.
Any W-2 employee or 1099 independent agent in the payments industry is eligible for testing. Application and examination fees for the CPP program are $325 for ETA members and $425 for nonmembers, which includes a nonrefundable application processing fee of $125.
Two annual Awards for Publishing Excellence (APEX) were awarded to The Green Sheet by Communications Concepts Inc. and the editors of Communications Concepts' publication Writing that Works: The Business Communications Report. The Green Sheet won awards for its website and feature writing.
The APEX awards are given for excellence in graphic design, editorial content and effectiveness in communication. APEX awards for publishing excellence have been handed out for 23 years.
The Green Sheet has won 41 awards in the 10 years it has been entering the increasingly competitive competition. This year there were 3,329 entries in 11 major categories with only 100 winners of the APEX Grand Awards.
"We are very pleased to have again competed so well in this national competition and to have two new trophies attesting to our publication excellence," The Green Sheet General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Kate Rodriguez said.
"The Green Sheet continues to win awards in a rapidly expanding pool of entries. These awards testify that we continue to strive to improve the quality of our magazine and its mission to educate MLSs and ISOs about our payments industry."
Comodo, a certificate authority and Internet security organization, earned two Golden Bridge Awards for Excellence in the IT Software and Innovation categories for its GeekBuddy and LivePCsupport products. GeekBuddy is an online support service designed to give live, instant technical assistance to individuals experiencing difficulty with their computers. LivePCsupport is a chat-based support service for business. LivePCsupport provides a dedicated technician to take care of clients' information technology needs 24/7.
Miami processor and issuer Credomatic of Florida Inc. now offers Ordyx Lite, a touch screen POS application for the Apple Inc. iPad. The new system delivers most of the same features as the Ordyx POS System, but at a more affordable price, Credomatic said. The processor currently provides free placement of peripherals, such as remote printers, mag stripe readers and cash drawers.
First Data Corp. launched Business Track, an information and analytical software suite based, in part, on its SpendTrend tools. The suite provides merchants and businesses fact-based information on customer spending and payments, and features First Data alerts notifying merchants of reconciliation and dispute deadlines, Data File Manager, enhanced monthly statements, SpendTrend access and the Prepaid Advisor Benchmarking Toolkit.
Global Payments Inc. is repurchasing up to $100 million of its stock. The company will repurchase common stock at the current market price, subject to market conditions, business opportunities and other factors. There is no expiration date for this offer and the program is subject to suspension at any time.
Heartland Payment Systems Inc. introduced Mobuyle, a payment solution offering merchants the ability to accept credit, debit and gift cards through smart phones and other mobile devices in both onsite and offsite environments. An encrypting reader is available through Heartland. The app itself is free to merchants through Android Market.
ISIS, a mobile commerce initiative funded by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, is working with Visa, MasterCard Worldwide, Discover Financial Services and American Express Co. on a platform that will enable merchants and consumers to use network-branded cards to make payments using ISIS-enabled phones and payment terminals. ISIS' NFC service is slated for release in early 2012.
Mobile loyalty and rewards program provider Street Savings said it supports the CTIA-The Wireless Association's short message service (SMS) compliance best practices developed by the Mobile Marketing Association.
The CTIA, in collaboration with Wireless Media Consulting Inc., began auditing SMS text message marketing programs on August 1, 2011, to identify and eliminate programs deemed noncompliant with the standard, according to Pal Flagg, Chief Operating Officer at Street Savings
The Texas Bankers Association and its subsidiary, TBA Services Co., made an exclusive endorsement of Vantiv LLC and National Processing Co., a Vantiv company. NPC said it has delivered electronic payment processing in Texas for over 40 years.
London-based YESpay International Ltd. moved the location of its North American subsidiary. The new office is at 116 Spadina Ave., Suite 201, M5V 2K6, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The global payment services company, founded in 2002, also has a subsidiary in Indore, India. For further details, visit www.yes-pay.com.
A joint venture between ABC Mobile Pay and e-Nabler Corp. will enable ABC to deliver eMobilePOS, a full-featured mobile POS solution for mobile and brick-and-mortar merchants. The integrated system can capture payments on iPads, iPods, Microsoft Corp. Windows devices, and by end of summer, Google Inc. Android devices.
China's leading online payment company, Alipay, and mobile payments platform provider CardinalCommerce Corp. are partnering in a new venture that will provide Chinese consumers online access to international shopping. CardinalCommerce added Alipay to its mobile commerce platform, Cardinal MAX, giving Alipay the ability to offer customers safe, secure, authenticated, wireless and mobile transactions.
Alipay is the first Chinese business of its kind to offer cross-border online payments.
AmEx and Verizon Wireless joined forces in the mobile payments arena to compete with mobile offerings from Visa, MasterCard and PayPal Inc.
The deal allows AmEx to place its Serve mobile payments system onto Verizon phones and tablets. AmEx reached a similar deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. earlier this year.
Cardtronics Inc., the world's largest retail ATM owner, agreed to expand its ATM services with The Kroger Co. grocery retail chain. Cardtronics placed an additional 350 ATMs in Kroger-owned stores, including the chains Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co. and Tom Thumb, bringing the number of installations to more than 1,150 Kroger-owned stores in 32 states.
Nationwide Payment Solutions has partnered with eKIOSK Solutions to deliver a proprietary, customizable standalone payment solution powered by NPS's RetailPAY Payment Engine. The kiosks will accept electronic donations and payments to churches, schools and universities, municipalities, storage facilities, charitable organizations and other businesses.
Austrian private railroad service provider WESTbahn Management GmbH selected VeriFone mobile ticketing validation and payment service for its innovative, high-speed Salzburg-Vienna line.
Blackstone Capital Partners VI L.P. bought a controlling interest in Emdeon Inc., a payment and revenue cycle management solutions provider for the U.S. health care industry. The deal is valued at approximately $3 billion and Emdeon will become a private company. Emdeon stockholders will receive cash payouts of $19 per share.
Maryann Baldez was appointed National Sales Manager at Alpha Card Services Inc. Baldez has more than 14 years experience in the payments industry. Baldez formerly worked in sales with POS Portal and Tasq Technology Inc. In her new position, Baldez will be tasked with growing Alpha Card's ISO and merchant level salesperson sales channels.
First American Payment Systems promoted Jason Putnam to Vice President of Sales, Strategic Partner Channel, and Tony Norrie to President of Eliot Management Group, a First American affiliate.
Putnam, who served as Director of Business Development and Director of Client Relations, will guide business development, sales and client relations efforts. Norrie was previously Vice President and General Manager of affiliate Certified Payment Processing.
Kirk Mann joined Certified Payment Processing as its new Vice President and General Manager. Mann formerly worked as Strategic Initiatives Leader and Chief Marketing Officer of GE Capital's Transportation Finance division, Regional Vice President at Financial Federal Credit Inc., and Vice President and Region Manager at CitiCapital, a division of Citigroup Inc.
Christopher Smith was named Business Development Representative for Global eTelecom Inc. Smith will be responsible for courting industry leaders, developing new processing business, and training and assisting ISOs and independent software vendors.
Smith was formerly Vice President of Business Development and Software Integration at Nationwide Payment Solutions LLC.
Entrepreneur Jack Dorsey, founder of mobile payment service Square, appointed Dana Wagner as the new General Counsel at the startup. Wagner formerly served as Google Inc.'s Senior Competition Counsel. Prior to Google, Wagner served as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust division.
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