In April 2013, the Retail Industry Leaders Association elected to opt out of and object to the proposed $7.25 billion class action settlement negotiated on behalf of 8 million merchant plaintiffs and defendants Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide.
This decision means RILA members are refusing any financial reward that would otherwise be available to them under the settlement's terms.The proposed settlement would end retailers' pursuit of federal court claims that the card companies' interchange fee rules violate federal antitrust laws. The Federal Eastern District of New York court approved the preliminary settlement and scheduled a final settlement hearing for Sept. 12.
The RILA represents more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers. Its members report more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales and include such retail industry leaders as Lowe's Companies Inc., Target Corp., The Home Depot Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The RILA believes the proposed settlement would lock in the two card companies' "duopoly," provide no relief from interchange rate setting practices and rules, block retailers from bringing antitrust actions based on future alleged anticompetitive behavior of Visa and MasterCard, and limit innovation and competition.
The Electronic Transactions Association, payment consultancy firm Global Vision Group and payments industry consultant Linda S. Perry launched the International Acquiring Forum. The new educational and networking event will take place in London from Sept. 17 to 19, 2013, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel and Conference Center.
In a press release about the new forum, ETA Chief Executive Officer Jason Oxman said, "As the global trade association of the payments industry, ETA constantly innovates to provide new opportunities for our 525 member companies to grow their busi-nesses globally.
"We are thrilled to partner on producing this new event, a unique forum to connect with global payments companies looking to explore business opportunities outside the U.S."
NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association is working with Earth Day Network whose global initiative, The Canopy Project, seeks to establish environmental sustainability through community tree planting. NACHA's PayItGreen program, which promotes reduction of paper consumption through electronic billing and payments, will work in tandem with the network to plant an estimated 12,000 trees.
The Bitcoin Alliance of Canada said the new association was formed to address shortcomings in the reporting of issues concerning the alternative currency called the bitcoin. "Both on television and online, news typically doesn't properly address the dynamic aspects of bitcoin," the BAC said.
CrossCheck Inc. was named the preferred check guarantee service for the Automotive Aftermarket Association of the Carolinas and Tennessee. CrossCheck will offer special group pricing on payment services to AAACT members.
Donna Embry, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at ATM network operator Payment Alliance International, was named one of the Most Influential Women in Payments by media outlet PaymentsSource. Embry, with over 40 years in the payments industry, was one of 20 female payments professionals chosen for the inaugural award.
Puerto Rico-based merchant acquirer Evertec Inc. went public on April 12, 2013. Evertec sold approximately 25.3 million shares in its initial public offering and raised about $506 million. The company said it is the largest acquirer in Latin America and the Caribbean, processing over 1.8 billion transactions annually and managing a network of over 4,100 ATMs and over 104,000 POS terminals.
First Data Corp. made available for financial institutions complementary payment processing software, VisionPLUS Flex. The solution supports issuing and acquiring of credit, debit, prepaid, consumer and commercial cards, the acquirer said.
Fiserv Inc. renamed its debit network Accel to reflect the network's ability to accelerate retail, biller and social person-to-person payments. Also, the firm unveiled a payment accuracy and fraud solution to reduce improper payments for U.S. federal agencies. In 2012, improper federal payments made to U.S. recipients totaled approximately $108 billion, Fiserv said.
New Jersey-based acquirer Heartland Payment Systems Inc. was named one of the 2013 Best Places to Work in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The acquirer operates the Heartland Service Center in Jeffersonville, Ind.
POS manufacturer Ingenico SA introduced the iWB Bio Series of mobile POS devices that employ biometric fingerprint authentication technology. Ingenico said the mobile POS terminals are the first biometric payment devices combining chip, PIN, fingerprint verification and global positioning satellite technology.
LevelUp Inc. conducted a pilot test of its smart-phone based payment program at dining venues managed by Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services at Buffalo State College in New York and Northeastern University's Curry Student Center in Boston. During the pilot, students were able to pay for meals by scanning quick response codes with smart phones using the LevelUp app.
MasterCard Canada unveiled its digital wallet MasterPass to the Canadian market. Merchants including Porter Airlines Inc., daily deal website Wagjag Ltd., the online travel agency of Jaunt Inc. and Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.'s online grocery store grocerygateway.com, accept MasterPass at checkout.
Merchant cash advance (MCA) provider Merchant Cash and Capital LLC was named the second best MCA provider in March 2013 by topcreditcardprocessors.com. MCC recently eclipsed $500 million in MCAs funded.
Alternative mobile payment provider mPowa said it is poised to take advantage of the transition of the U.S. payments industry to the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) standard. Since the mPowa dongle already supports EMV, the company is the "only mobile payments device that can fully support this transition," noted mPowa Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Dan Wagner.
Data security firm SecurityMetrics won Utah's 2013 Best of State award in the business services category for best customer servicing and call center. Utah judges scored award nominees based on the overall quality and innovation of company programs, as well as companies' contributions to quality of life in Utah.
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection specialist Prolexic Technologies said the average bandwidth for a DDoS attack occurred at a data transfer speed of 48.25 gigabits per second (Gbps) in the first quarter of 2013, resulting in a 718 percent increase over the Gbps rate for DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2012.
Research and Markets added a new report that characterizes the market for mobile wallets as heating up because of the increasing popularity among consumers of paying for purchases with smart phones. "The mobile wallet market is a new frontier, especially in the payments industry, which has seen little change in technology or functionality for decades," said Jeffrey Green, author of Mobile Wallets: The U.S. Landscape.
Chosen Payments formed an alliance with CerTek Software Designs Inc., the creator of Artisan retail POS software, to integrate CP's payment processing platform into CerTek's software suite. CerTek reportedly will refer merchants who deploy the new system to CP for payment processing.
The Merchant Customer Exchange selected Gemalto to build its merchant-controlled mobile wallet. Running on Gemalto's Allynis Mobile Payment platform, the wallet will initially be bar-code and cloud-based, MCX said.
Moneris Solutions Corp. partnered with Montreal-based POS software developer LightSpeed Retail Inc. to provide an integrated mobile payment management solution for Canadian merchants. Under terms of the agreement, Moneris will embed LightSpeed's POS and retail management tools into its payment processing platform.
POS Portal Inc. now features a value-added PCI compliance solution from ControlScan on its P2 Customer Relationship Management system for ISOs and merchant acquirers. According to POS Portal, ISO clients using the system gain real-time single-source access to detailed merchant compliance information, including individual merchant status in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance process.
Sionic Mobile Corp. formed a strategic alliance with DoubleBeam Inc. to cross-license certain proprietary technologies. Under the agreement, Sionic will license and embed DoubleBeam's digital image capture and e-checking payments within its ION Rewards and ION Loyalty apps; DoubleBeam will integrate the ION platform into its white-label merchant mobile wallet, the companies stated.
Net Element International Inc. completed the acquisition of Unified Payments LLC. To accommodate the acquisition, Net Element created a new platform division, TOT Group Inc., which will oversee global mobile payments and transaction processing in emerging markets such as Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States, among others.
PayPal Inc. acquired customer acquisition and engagement startup Iron Pearl for an undisclosed sum. Under terms of the agreement, Iron Pearl co-founders Stan Chudnovsky and James Currier will lead a newly formed Growth team at PayPal tasked with leveraging data from Iron Pearl's core system to develop new product initiatives.
Integrity Payment Systems selected Donald E. Apgar as its Senior Vice President of Business Development. Apgar has 30 years' experience in the financial services and electronic payments industries. In addition to leading sales teams for such industry leaders as First Data, Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America Corp., Apgar has also held senior management and advisory roles with several startup ventures and regional ISOs.
Chosen Payments CEO Jeff Brodsly was picked by First Data to join its ISO Advisory Board, which is a group of 15 members selected from ISOs throughout the country. Board members meet twice yearly and participate as needed throughout the year. The primary focus of this group is to consult with one another and provide feedback pertaining to First Data's strategies and programs for its ISO channel.
Steve Paradine, a financial industry sales veteran with more than 25 years of sales experience, joined Allied Payment Network as its Senior Vice President of Sales. Previously, Paradine held senior management positions at Fidelity National Information Services Inc. He also served as regional sales manager of Summit Financial Solutions Inc.
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