First Data Corp.'s SpendTrend analysis for February 2013 showed mixed results in same-store consumer spending compared to a year ago. Dollar volume growth slowed to 4.6 percent year-over-year, down from 6.2 percent in January. Retail dollar volume growth dropped to 2.5 percent, well below the 5.7 percent gain recorded in January, marking the slowest monthly growth in 12 months, First Data reported.
"The combination of elevated taxes, federal tax refund delays, adverse weather and higher gasoline prices clearly curbed shoppers' ability and willingness to shop in February," stated Rikard Bandebo, Vice President and Economist for First Data.
Trending on the plus side for the second consecutive month, credit card dollar volume growth continued to outperform all other payment types tracked, up 7.9 percent in February, as consumers shifted spending to credit cards.
"The fact that the personal savings rate significantly declined in January and consumers shifted more spending onto credit cards could be a sign that consumers may be overstretched," Bandebo said. "However, there are many other factors that could impact spending going forward including an improving labor market, steadily rising home values, healthy gains in the equity markets and the federal budget sequestration."
For more information about the First Data SpendTrend analysis, visit www.spendtrend.com.
A new document, titled The Standardization of Terminology and issued in February 2013 by the EMV Migration Forum's Communication and Education Working Committee, defines and standardizes Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) terminology for industry stakeholders and consumers in the United States.
Randy Vanderhoof, Acting Director of the EMV Migration Forum and Executive Director of the Smart Card Alliance - which created the 120-member EMV Migration Forum - said the committee's work ensures that terms used in educational materials are clear and uniform. The document also provides a deeper understanding of the EMV protocol, software and hardware and how EMV promotes a more secure payments system.
Merchant acquirers are rushing to implement EMV software, processing infrastructure and hardware to support acquirer mandates effective this year. The push to EMV chip-based technology in the United States is guided by EMV road maps issued and supported by Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide, American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services for EMV implementation. The card companies plan to shift liability for card-present fraud to merchants who are not EMV compliant by October 2015.
"There is a tendency among people in the EMV industry to over use acronyms when talking about EMV and payments," Vanderhoof said. "When they use those terms every day, they forget merchants and financial issuers don't use those terms every day. We have to be clear about what we are talking about."
The new document also defines key acronyms common to EMV; it can be downloaded at www.emv-connection.com/standardization-of-terminology.
Visa Inc. entered a 10-year renewable partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. designed to accelerate electronic payment growth, deliver added value to merchants and provide a better cardholder experience, the companies stated. Under the agreement, JPMorgan Chase will launch Chase Merchant Services, a Visa-powered payments platform, to create "more differentiated experiences" for merchants and cardholders, and drive more transactions through Visa's network.
Dublin, Ireland-based payment system testing and validation software provider Acquirer Systems launched its EuroPay/MasterCard/Visa terminal emulator to help U.S. payment companies migrate to the EMV chip and PIN payment protocol. Acquirer Systems' emulator allows acquirers and processors to simulate EMV traffic in the absence of having their own EMV terminal deployments.
Global peer-to-peer payment network operator and bitcoin processor BitPay Inc. said it integrated its service with Amazon.com's Fulfillment-by-Amazon (FBA) web service. FBA allows Amazon sellers with inventory in Amazon's warehouses to sell those items on the seller's websites, and have Amazon fulfill and ship the orders. Amazon sellers can add the BitPay plugin to e-commerce websites to facilitate FBA functionality.
Carrollton, Texas-based ISO Certified Payment Processing said it increased its agent recruiting efforts in Jackson, Miss. CPP reported that job growth in the area outpaces the national average. The ISO needs feet on the street to sell CPP's services to Jackson-area businesses.
The Chosen Group Inc. ISO, Chosen Payments, said it relocated its Kansas City headquarters to a bigger facility in Overland Park, Kan., to support its expansion efforts. Chosen Payments also extended its merchant support hours to offer more personalized service.
Clayton, Mo.-based super ISO Clearent LLC said it signed 99 sub ISOs in 2012, which accounted for Clearent's record growth last year. Clearent noted that the influx of ISO and agent partners resulted in Clearent processing nearly $3 billion worth of transactions in 2012.
ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. launched what it calls the world's first "intelligent" ATM, the Diebold 429. Diebold said the ATM rolled out in urban and rural areas of India can switch between three potential power sources - solar panel, the electric grid and internal battery - to maximize terminal uptime, lower overall costs for ATM operators and deliver convenience to consumers.
Acquirer and U.S. Bancorp subsidiary Elavon Inc. launched a Professional Services business to help its clients lower enterprise costs. The division focuses on how businesses can reduce interchange and fraud costs, as well as implement cost-effective data security strategies.
Bankcard processor Fiserv Inc. launched a new website, www.spotpay.com, where small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can learn about, and enroll in, SpotPay, Fiserv's new mobile card reader and remote check deposit solution. The processor said SpotPay enables FIs to offer SMBs a mobile payments acceptance solution that includes a remote deposit capture solution.
PayAnywhere LLC said its mobile app and card reader scheme was adopted by Girl Scout councils in California, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois and Arizona. "By adding mobile credit card processing to their super sales arsenal, which already includes endless smiles and delicious cookies, the Girl Scouts will be able to boost sales and capture transactions from those with the 'I don't have cash on me' excuse," PayAnywhere said.
PayPal Inc. revealed that its PayPal Here POS solution is available in over 2,700 SoftBank Mobile Corp. retail locations in Japan. PayPal said it entered Japan in the fall of 2012 through its SoftBank partnership. PayPal expects to reach more than 4.2 million small businesses in Japan, where 80 percent do not yet accept credit card transactions.
Montreal-based ISO Pivotal Payments reported a 34 percent increase in business in 2012. Specifically, the ISO's overall revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 42 percent in 2012. The company attributed the growth to its innovative strategy and sales development initiatives.
International think tank the Ethisphere Institute named Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) and Visa Inc. to the institute's 2013 World's Most Ethical Companies. TSYS executive Philip W. Tomlinson said the processor promotes and expects ethical business behavior. Meanwhile, Visa executive Ellen Richey said Visa's employees are held to the highest levels of ethical business practices and trust.
CardinalCommerce Corp. added Visa's V.me checkout to the Cardinal Centinel mobile security platform. "Our Centinel platform offers merchants streamlined integration to all alternative payment and checkout methods, authentication and a variety of other payment services" said Tim Sherwin, CC co-founder and Executive Vice President. He added that V.me will further CC's mission to normalize payments through a single integration.
Donation platform FirstGiving partnered with ticketing and registration platform Eventbrite to deliver an integrated solution enabling nonprofits to manage fundraising event data and donor outreach campaigns. "Our experience has taught us that event-driven fundraising has been a key to the success of some of our largest organizations, and Eventbrite's best-in-class services are a perfect fit," said Nina Vellayan, FirstGiving President and CEO.
In conjunction with the Harvard Square Business Association, tablet POS provider Leaf is enabling businesses in Harvard Square to accept donations electronically. Consumers that make payments at Harvard Square businesses will have the option of donating to local charities, including Youth on Fire, Harvard Square Meals Program, On The Rise and Bread and Jams' Self Advocacy Center.
Mobile restaurant POS software Next Gen Dine, the Future of Restaurant Dining, completed its integration with the Merchant Warehouse payment gateway. To process payments, Next Gen Dine merchants deploy a MagTek Inc. iDynamo-encrypted card reader, which is an Apple Inc. iPad accessory.
Cloud-based mobile wallet and offer redemption platform Paydiant Inc. integrated with Digital Dining, a restaurant management and POS software system from Menusoft Systems Corp. The integration will reportedly allow Menusoft's 50,000 Digital Dining customers to configure targeted mobile offers and redemptions with its pay-at-the-table mobile wallet services.
Texas-based Prodigy Payment Systems partnered with New York-based Merchant Capital Access LLC to offer alternative financing programs for small and midsize merchants. Funding is typically available within 72 hours, and payments are based on a fixed percentage of future credit card receipts, the partners stated.
Signature Card Services became the exclusive payment solutions partner for the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Under terms of the agreement, SCS will market credit card processing solutions to new and existing members of InterNACHI.
TSYS entered an agreement to provide full-service payment and chargeback processing, technical support and risk management services to MLS Direct Network. "This new relationship extends our reach to provide service and support to an organization that offers its cooperative buying network members benefits they might not have access to on their own," said Mark Pyke, President of TSYS' Merchant Services segment.
uTouchPOS partnered with First Data Independent Sales and Mercury Payment Systems LLC in offering a "Business Starter Bundle" plug-and-play POS solution that includes a cash drawer, thermal receipt printer, barcode scanner, credit card reader and merchant-targeted software. uTouchPOS said its certified technicians offer support and training in 290 North American cities.
ACI Worldwide Inc. completed the acquisition of online banking and bill pay provider Online Resources Corp. for $3.85 per share. ACI President and CEO Philip Heasley said at the time of the purchase, "Driven by the increase in electronic transactions from online and mobile banking, bill pay is becoming a major pivot point and area of strategic investment for our customers."
Arizona-based Spindle Inc. acquired Colorado-based MeNetwork Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Spindle said it will integrate MeNetwork's mobile advertising technology into its mobile payment platform to deliver location-based marketing to merchants in the United States and Europe.
Global payment processor WorldPay acquired card payment services firm YESpay International Ltd. WorldPay intends to leverage YESpay's payment platforms and technologies to create a single payment service for shopping through in-store, online and mobile channels, the companies stated.
Two executives from TriSource Solutions LLC were appointed to Electronic Transactions Association 2013 committees. Deborah Brown, TriSource Solutions' Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, is the new Vice Chair of the ETA's Certified Payment Professional Credentialing Committee. Michael Cottrell, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer, was appointed to the ETA's Mobile Payments and Education committees.
Mercury Payment Systems named Randy Clark its Senior Vice President of Marketing and Jim Maloney Chief information Officer. Formerly Clark was Chief Marketing Officer at UC4 Software GmbH. At Mercury he is charged with growing payment and loyalty solutions sales to SMBs. Maloney is responsible for the security of Mercury's information systems, products and services. Maloney previously directed security at Intuit Inc.
Executives from across the spectrum of the payments industry were named to the 2013 - 2014 EMV Migration Forum Steering Committee.
These include: Sarah Hartman, TSYS; Patty Walters, Vantiv Inc.; Carolyn Balfany, MasterCard; Karen Czack, AmEx.; Simon Hurry, Visa; Ellie Smith, Discover; Dan Heimann, ACI; Nick Pisarev, Giesecke & Devrient; Jesse Lee, Wells Fargo & Co.; Andrew Paur, Woodforest National Bank; Matthew Connelly, JPMorgan; Whitney Stewart, SunTrust; Kristy Cook, Target Brands Inc.; Chris Coward, Publix Super Markets Inc.; John Drechny, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Laura Ermer, McDonald's U.S.A.; Nancy Loomis, STAR Network; Robert Woodbury, NYCE Network; Mansour Karimzadeh, SCIL/EMV Academy; and Robin Trickel, Heartland Payment Systems Inc.
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