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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 14, 2011 • Issue 11:11:01


Thoughts on Visa and Square

In "Square versus the payments world" - published in The Green Sheet's Oct. 24, 2011, issue - Tim McWeeney asks why Square continues to operate with impunity despite valid security concerns. There are three simple reasons:

    1. The card associations [now companies], more specifically Visa, have a Square agenda beyond their investment.

    2. Visa often speaks out of many sides of its mouth, as well as other parts of its body, in the discriminatory enforcement of its rules.

    3. The card association silos, Visa more so, don't often confer before commenting, hence the multisided mouth(s).

One only has to look back to Jim Elliott and Cherry Payments and their gouging of merchants in leasing $300 POS terminals for $2,500 or more. Visa got complaints, took note, made public comments about investigating, yet did absolutely nothing. Why? As with Square, Cherry Payments was advancing a Visa goal: the electronification of merchant payments that dramatically cut expenses for Visa and its processors.

Square has the potential of dramatically increasing card acceptance, that is to say, substantially adding processing and interchange revenue at the expense of security: a classic case of greed over profit. So a data breach of a merchant using the Square dongle is the merchant's responsibility while the card associations give tacit approval by doing nothing.

So to increase profits the card associations turn a blind eye to the rape of the merchant much like the Catholic Church turned a blind eye to the Holocaust.

In my opinion, by doing nothing to address dongle security concerns the card associations expose themselves to another class action lawsuit by breached merchants using them.

Biff Matthews
CardWare International


Thank you for sharing your perspectives on Visa Inc. and Square Inc. While The Green Sheet does not endorse any positions regarding the security of Square, Visa Inc.'s motivations, nor the actions of other organizations you've mentioned, we do believe it is important for payment professionals to discuss their concerns openly so they can make wise decisions for the future of their businesses and for the health of the industry overall.


Setting the record straight

We wish to let our colleagues in the payments industry know that Tim McWeeney was not employed by North American Bancard when he wrote "Square versus the payments world," which was published in The Green Sheet on Oct. 24, 2011, issue 11:10:02.

The opinions shared in the article are solely those of Tim McWeeney, not those of NAB. Our company does not condone or promote editorial writing that treats our competitors with anything less than full respect. We believe in fostering a healthy, congenial competitive environment.

The Green Sheet was not able to remove our company's name in the byline and bio for the print version of the article, but all mention of NAB has been removed from the article online. If you have questions or need any clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me at jalderman@nabancard.com.

North American Bancard

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end of article

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