Merchant level salespeople (MLSs) were feeling pressure from many sides and turning their attention toward education, certification and ethics. The industry also was confronting disruptions caused by computer "worms" and hikes in interchange rates.
Recognizing they were disadvantaged by inadequate training, economic reward or ability to compete with "the big guys," MLSs scheduled a meeting in Tampa, Fla., to discuss forming an association to advocate for their needs. The task of the organization would be to improve MLS work habits while adding credibility and professionalism to the industry.
A self-replicating computer program (or worm) named SQL Slammer attacked the web networks of businesses around the world, clogging Internet traffic and hindering "hundreds of thousands of computers and ATM machines." The worm disabled more than 13,000 ATMs owned by Bank of America Corp.
Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide reported they would increase credit and debit card interchange rates effective April 2003. The industry was still recovering from a hike in fees for PIN-based transactions that went into effect in October 2002.
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