Alliance Virtual Offices now accepts bitcoin as a form of payment on its global virtual office e-commerce platform. The company touted the move, stating, as an example, that a client with virtual offices in New York and London that employs Dutch nationals living in Hong Kong can now accept bitcoin transactions without incurring traditional exchange rate fees.
The American Express Co. said it agreed to settle two antitrust class-action lawsuits filed by U.S. merchants that challenged the card brand's card acceptance agreements. The settlement will address merchant concerns, help to ensure that AmEx cardholders are treated fairly at the POS and limit the company's exposure to future legal claims, according to AmEx.
CardinalCommerce Corp. reported that 55 percent more transactions were authenticated via its Cardinal Centinel platform in 2013 than in 2012. "Shoppers are asking merchants to accept alternative payments for their purchases," said Tara Lavelle, Vice President of Marketing at CardinalCommerce. "With one connection to Centinel, merchants can access more than 100 alternative payment options, including wallets with our Universal Wallet API."
Electronic gift card network operator CashStar Inc. unveiled Tactile Unwrapping, the newest module in its mobile platform. Tactile Unwrapping replicates the gift unwrapping experience in a digital medium. Digital gift recipients "unwrap" their virtual cards using fingertips on touchscreen-enabled devices, or with a mouse on desktops and laptops, CashStar said.
Ten PIN debit networks in the United States formed a new company, Debit Network Alliance, as a standards body to help facilitate the adoption of an interoperable Europay/MasterCard/Visa debit standard in the United States. The founding networks of the alliance are the Armed Forces Financial Network, ATH, CO-OP Financial Services, Jeanie Network, Network for Electronic Transfers, NYCE Payments Network LLC, Presto!, Pulse, Shazam and the STAR Network.
The Electronic Transactions Association renamed its next tradeshow Transact 14: Powered by ETA. "Transact 14 is reflective of the worldwide paradigm shift in payments, ETA's double-digit growth, and record attendance and exhibitors at our 2013 show," said ETA Chief Executive Officer Jason Oxman. Transact 14 will he held April 8 to 10, 2014, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Working capital provider Fora Financial launched its new partner website that provides information and tools for ISOs, payment processors and other types of companies. The company said www.forafinancial.com is designed to give Fora Financial's partners the insights, tips and other resources to help them better communicate with their customers.
Mobile payments app developer iMobile3 LLC reported that its mobile wallet, PassMarket, is available for small and midsize merchants. PassMarket allows merchants to create "passes" (micro apps downloadable to smartphone users' mobile wallets) that are used to make payments at the POS, communicate offers and other messaging, and provide reporting to merchants.
Mobile POS firm Loop Inc. secured more than $10 million in angel investment funding to further its growth. Loop said it would soon begin shipping its dongle, the Loop Fob, to its pre-order customers and Kickstarter Inc. fundraising backers.
Fundraising facilitator and mobile marketer MobileCause launched a 0 percent transaction fee model for charitable organizations. MobileCause said the elimination of transaction fees allows charitable organizations to raise more capital. Instead, MobileCause charges a fixed monthly fee for everyday mobile and online fundraising.
POS reseller POSGuys.com launched a blog designed to discuss the application of POS and data capture solutions in different environments. "Many customers have difficulty determining how they can use our equipment to solve inefficiencies at their business," said Randy Cantrel, Sales Director at POSGuys.com. "Our staff has worked with countless businesses in virtually every industry, and so we want to share our solutions."
Sweden-based voice over Internet protocol service provider Rebtel launched Sendly, a money transfer service for prepaid phone users. The app, available for download via iTunes and Google Play, allows users to send money to prepaid mobile subscribers in over 50 countries, including China, India, Mexico, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Retail Cloud Technologies LLC launched in Dallas recently. The company said its cloud-based Teamwork Retail mobile payment platform enables retailers to control inventory, merchandising, replenishment, purchasing, receiving, distribution, customer management, order entry and stored-value services.
POS vendor Sage North America reported it is providing mobile payment solutions for numerous Boy Scout Councils. More than 180 Boy Scout Units – groups of Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops – are using Sage Mobile Payments for their year-round popcorn fundraisers. The sale of popcorn helps Boy Scout chapters fund local programs and activities.
Digital currency processor Scharmbeck Worldcoin Financial Services started a beta test of an online platform for the buying, trading and use of a new type of cryptocurrency called worldcoin. The company said worldcoin, which traded at $1.00 per cryptocoin on Black Friday 2013, will be processed 20 times faster than bitcoin on its new platform, which is slated for commercial availability in February 2014.
Biometric authentication platform provider Sonavation Inc. joined the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance. FIDO's goal is to develop identity authentication best practices in an environment where traditional PINs and passwords are eliminated.
An Aite Group LLC report titled Emerging players in biometric authentication: securing remote channels and payments profiles nine vendors tackling biometric authentication from different angles. From transparent solutions such as behavioral, signature and voice biometrics to interactive fingerprint and facial interaction, all have a remote-channel or payment authentication solution in pilot or product mode. The report also highlights opportunities and risks in this field.
The Strawhecker Group, in conjunction with the Electronic Transactions Association, released an infographic titled Why Are Electronic Payments Important? The piece features charts on the electronic payments lifecycle and major players in this sphere, as well as facts on economic impacts globally, where electronic consumer spending is expected to reach $7.3 trillion by 2017
A survey by Compass Plus Ltd. conducted at the recent Cartes Secure Connexions Event in Paris revealed adoption and support of near field communication (NFC) continue to lag as the mobile channel expands. Survey respondents concurred that mobile solutions present the greatest opportunity for payment and card providers in 2014, yet they remain a challenge in terms of security.
A recent Mercator Advisory Group report explores the global impacts of interchange regulation. "Though the full effects of interchange regulation are not felt for years after, based on empirical evidence from Spain and Australia among other countries, the cap the European Commission proposed in July 2013 will have a considerable impact on all participating countries across the region and set the domestic industry back a number of years, as happened following domestic regulation in Spain and Australia," researchers stated.
The Smart Card Alliance 2013 Annual e-Yearbook: A vision for the Future, Reflections of the Past is available online. The 75-page volume summarizes the SCA's leadership and education activities over the past year, with perspectives on what lies ahead. Included are articles on mobile and NFC fundamentals, the EuroPay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) ecosystem, the meaningful use of electronic health records, and the national strategy for trusted identities in cyberspace, among others.
Global Payout Inc. and Prepay UK Ltd. entered a joint venture agreement that will pool their combined U.S. and international prepaid debit card products and resources, which include international Visa- and MasterCard-branded EMV prepaid card products and a globally deployable general purpose reloadable card for the retail sector.
Payment network HealthCarePays entered an agreement with cloud-based dental office solutions provider OneMind Health to deliver electronic remittance advice and electronic funds transfer reconciliations to dental offices on behalf of dental insurance carriers. HCP offers health-care payment authorization and processing services compliant with the Affordable Care Act, and state and federal laws related to health care, HCP said.
Interactive Donor Corp., branded as iDonor, aligned with First Pay Solutions to launch a responsive web and mobile application (widget) dedicated to micro donation transactions. "Interactive Donor Corp. has raised the bar on how mass participatory donations can be reached by creating rewards and leveraging their deep relationships within this space," said Vincent Ko, founder of First Pay.
Merchant Warehouse partnered with CGS to integrate its Authorize.Net Payment Gateway with CGS's business technology solutions BlueCherry and Threadvine. The objective is to help streamline online transactions for CGS's retail, apparel and financial service customers in more than 20 nations, the companies stated.
Retail mobile payment technology developer DoubleBeam acquired cloud-based commerce and mobile payment platform provider GoPago. The melding will reportedly deliver an integrated POS and mobile commerce platform for brick-and-mortar, online and mobile merchant channels. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
EBay Inc. completed the acquisition of global payment platform Braintree for approximately $800 million in cash. Braintree will operate as a separate service within PayPal, which plans to integrate with Braintree to benefit customers of Braintree's Venmo mobile app by leveraging social network engagement as part of the transaction process.
ISO and payment processor Intrix Technology Inc. acquired Southfield, Mich.-based Merchant Processing USA, a payment processor specializing in merchant services for small and midsize businesses. This marked the fifth acquisition for Intrix in 2013, which has focused on strategic growth through the acquisition of targeted portfolios in specific vertical markets, Intrix said.
Identify theft protection services provider LifeLock Inc. acquired mobile wallet developer Lemon for approximately $42.6 million in cash. Subsequently LifeLock launched a new app that uses Lemon technology to protect consumers' digital identity. "The acquisition of Lemon dramatically expands our mobile capabilities, enabling us to launch a robust consumer wallet app in the marketplace on day one," said LifeLock CEO Todd Davis.
VendTek Systems Inc., a developer and licensor of software for the global prepaid and financial services markets, entered an agreement with Payment Source Inc. to sell its Canadian business to PSI for $4.5 million and the assumption of up to $1.5 million in working capital deficit.
Proceeds from the sale will reportedly be used to further VendTek's planned expansion into Brazil, while PSI will license and use VendTek's e-Fresh transaction software to manage its Canadian clients.
Clearent LLC recently appointed Jason Hubbard as its Vice President of Business Development, ISO Sales. He will be focused on developing relationships with new ISOs and agents throughout the United States. With more than 10 years in the payments realm, Hubbard has served in positions ranging from outside sales to managerial roles, including Senior Sales Account Executive for Red Payments, Vice President of Indirect Sales and Marketing at Pace Payment Systems, and Senior National Account Manager for Crescent Processing Co.
John Kirkpatrick signed on as a Senior Associate at TSG. The consultancy noted that Kirkpatrick brings nearly 30 years of leadership experience developing and implementing complex global business strategies for companies of all sizes using his extensive knowledge of technology valuations, gateways, and back-end solutions. Most recently, Kirkpatrick was the Chief Information Officer at TransFirst, where he oversaw the company's information and technology division.
The Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (W.net) announced its board of directors for 2014. The 15-member board will be led by President Lisa Shipley of Transaction Network Services. Board officers include 2015 President-Elect Linda Rossetti, Bluestone Payments; Treasurer Chris Lee, Moneris Solutions; Secretary Gloria Colgan, Market Platform Dynamics; and Immediate Past-President Patty Vincent, TSYS Acquiring Solutions.
W.net directors include Jane Elliott, Global Payments; Diane Vogt-Faro, National Benefits Program; Theresa Gongora, TSYS; Carol Grunberg, Google Inc.; Joan Herbig, ControlScan; Peggy Bekavac Olson, Strategic Marketing; Linda Perry, Linda S. Perry Consulting; Stacia Smith, First Data Corp.; Holli Targan, Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C; and Nina Vellayan, FrontStream Payments.
Merchant Warehouse added Christopher Wuhrer as its Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Product Marketing. Wuhrer, who has more than 18 years' experience in payments, e-commerce and mobile technology, is responsible for driving the product vision, direction and go-to market strategies for the company's product and service offerings, the company said.
Wuhrer most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Product Strategy, Mobile and Emerging Technologies for Bank of America Merchant Services (a First Data/BofA joint venture). Previously, Wuhrer led First Data's mobile commerce and innovations practice.
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