Amazon.com now allows its proprietary virtual currency, Amazon Coin, to be used on all Android-based smart phones and tablet computers. Previously, Amazon Coin could only be used on Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets.
AnywhereCommerce unveiled Rambler 3.0, the latest iteration of its mobile POS dongle that plugs into the audio jack of tablets and smart phones. The third generation of the mPOS device includes a redesigned form factor featuring flexible clip-arms for a surer, more snug and secure fit when attached to mobile devices, the company said.
Safeway Inc. subsidiary and prepaid card distributor Blackhawk Network reported that nearly $10 billion was loaded onto prepaid cards purchased via Blackhawk's gift card malls in 2013. The company said its 2013 revenue was up by 21 percent from 2012.
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a nationwide organization of banking regulators (also including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), formed the Emerging Payments Task Force. It is designed to study changes in payment systems, such as those initiated by virtual currencies like bitcoin, to determine potential impacts on consumer protections, state laws, and the processes of banks and nonfinancial service providers. The task force comprises commissioners from nine states.
Digital River Inc. became the payment provider for website developer Wix.com Ltd. Digital River noted that it offers online merchants more than 180 international and local payment options and over 170 currencies. In 2013, the company processed more than $30 billion in online transactions. Over 42 million registered users worldwide have developed websites based on Wix.com's cloud-based development platform, Digital River said.
Electronic Payments Inc. reported its flagship gateway product ProCharge Platform achieved validation with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). EPI said it made the strategic decision to validate ProCharge as its own PCI DSS-approved product to further legitimize and bolster the product in the marketplace.
Ingenico SA said its 2013 revenue totaled 1,371 million euros, representing a 14 percent increase. The Paris-based POS manufacturer said its payment terminal business accounted for 1,074 million euros; its transaction services arm generated 297 million euros.
At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, held Feb. 24 to 27, MasterCard Worldwide reported that its MasterPass mobile wallet now supports in-app payments. The addition of in-app payments to MasterPass means that smartphone users do not have to store payment card credentials in each app.
In Brussels, Belgium, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) comprising the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee voted in favor of the European Commission's proposal to cap credit card interchange fees at 0.3 percent per transaction. For debit card transactions, the proposal was amended to 7 euro cents, or 0.2 percent per transaction value, depending on which value is lower.
The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and consumer advocacy group Consumer Action issued a four-page payroll card guide designed to help employers educate employees on the electronic wage payment option. An Employee's Guide to Payroll Cards was produced with funding, technical feedback and industry expertise from NBPCA members ADP, Commerce Bank, First Data Corp., MasterCard and Visa Inc. The publication and its companion guide, An Employer's Guide to Payroll Cards, are available as free downloads at www.nbpca.com/en/News-Room.aspx.
Trade associations representing merchant and financial services interests have begun working together to explore ways to increase information sharing across groups, improve card security and maintain consumer trust. Participants joining forces as of February 2014 include the Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Bankers Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, Electronic Transactions Association, National Restaurant Association and National Retail Federation, among others.
Square Inc. users can now pay for purchases with Discover Financial Services- and Diners Club-branded payment cards at Canadian retailers. Square said it processes more than $100 million annualized in credit card payments in Canada. Discover acquired Diners Club in 2008.
In conjunction with the RSA Conference 2014, held Feb. 24 to 28 in San Francisco, data security firm ThreatMetrix spotlighted its context-based security and advanced fraud prevention solution designed to improve the security of traditional username and password protection. ThreatMetrix said its solution offers three essential benefits: "frictionless" access for known and trusted combinations of accounts and devices, increased security by identifying high-risk connections, and operational efficiency via real-time application protocol interface-driven big data analytics.
In separate announcements, Visa and MasterCard said their NFC-based contactless payment technologies would support a new feature in the Android mobile operating system called Host Card Emulation (HCE). Visa said HCE allows any NFC application on an Android device to emulate the payment characteristics of a smart card, thereby letting users wave-to-pay with smartphones in store, while permitting cardholder accounts to be hosted securely in the cloud. MasterCard said HCE enables contactless payments without the need for a secure element (housed inside the smart card chip) on mobile devices.
At the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Wirecard AG presented its mobile wallet, now enhanced with Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology. BLE allows smart devices to communicate with back-end networks while consumers are in stores. Wirecard said that integrating BLE into Wirecard's wallet allows discounts, special offers and loyalty schemes to be directly related to a customer's location within a store.
The Strawhecker Group study TSG Attrition & Growth offers a critical analysis of merchant attrition and growth patterns over four consecutive quarters based on findings collected from a database of 1.8 million merchants. Category breakouts include the U.S. region, merchant dollar volume, merchant account open date and statistical data based on Standard Industrial Classification code groupings.
Despite myriad challenges facing U.S.-based independent ATM deployers (IADs), from Europay/MasterCard/Visa migration to interchange reductions, many remain optimistic about the future according an annual survey co-sponsored by the ATM Industry Association and Kahuna ATM Solutions. Of the IADs surveyed, 32.5 percent plan to grow their businesses over the next 12 months; 20.3 percent said portfolio growth is their preferred method.
A Bluepoint Solutions white paper titled Are You Prepared for a Data Breach? explores how reliance on paper-based document storage can expose financial institutions to increased risk of data breach and identify theft and fraud activity. Researchers determined that secure enterprise content management solutions are a viable solution for protecting sensitive consumer data in FI environments.
According to Fitch Ratings, strong growth in U.S. prepaid card transactions is expected to continue. Contributing factors include the ongoing popularity of gift cards and consumers' desire to more closely manage personal finances. Data released by the Federal Reserve confirmed that general purpose prepaid card payments were the fastest growing noncash payment method in the United States between 2009 and 2012.
A Smart Insights report, titled NFC applications beyond payment to boost adoption and released jointly by Intelling and CNRFID, sheds light on how NFC presents new opportunities for merchants to establish customer relationships by facilitating one-to-one marketing. The report also discusses how NFC can be applied in service, industrial, transportation, health care, gambling, government identification and smart-city environments.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Agilent Technologies Inc. and Palaiseau, France-based FIME, an advanced secure-chip testing provider, entered an agreement to jointly develop pioneering testing solutions for the payments and telecommunications markets. The companies stated that a top priority will be advancement of tools to test and certify secure-chip mobile payment technology.
First Data Corp., in collaboration with Visa, will utilize Visa's common debit solution to deliver a streamlined and cost-effective approach for debit Europay/MasterCard/Visa chip card standard adoption among all parties involved. "This agreement is a significant step to accelerate EMV adoption by addressing Regulation II compliance for debit EMV transactions," said Barry McCarthy, President, First Data Financial Services.
Payment processor Infintech LLC and business loan specialist The Business Backer LLC formed a strategic alliance to expand resources to business clients. "By partnering with The Business Backer, we are able to offer our clients access to working capital from a trustworthy source," said Ryan Rybolt, President of Infintech. "Their expertise and unique underwriting process provide greater access to available funding options."
JetPay Payment Services, a division of JetPay Corp., and LifeMed ID entered an agreement whereby JetPay will process transactions and financial data at LifeMed patient kiosks placed in hospitals and medical offices. Patients can reportedly sign-in for appointments at kiosks, which also are capable of reading and billing from insurance data recorded on patients' LifeMed ID cards.
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions teamed with main street lender OnDeck Capital Inc. to integrate the lender's proprietary platform and OnDeck Score technology, which will provide MCPS merchants an improved borrowing process that includes decisions in minutes and funding in as little as 24 hours, the companies stated.
Merchant Warehouse inked a deal with Retail Cloud Technologies LLC to integrate its Teamwork Retail cloud-based management and mobile POS solution for mid-tier specialty retailers with Merchant Warehouse's Genius Customer Engagement Platform. "Partnering with Merchant Warehouse gives our clients the ability to accept virtually any type of payment on a single, unified platform," said Michael Mauerer, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Cloud Technologies.
TransFirst Inc. teamed with cashless mobile shopping application developer GeeBo, a division of JCS Enterprises Inc., to deliver a user-friendly wallet service. The service utilizes the GeeBo app's QuickBooks feature to access account information and enter Quick Check store numbers to pay for goods at participating merchants, the companies said.
With the acquisition of Automated Financial LLC based in Arizona, ATM operator Cardtronics USA Inc. added 2,100 merchant ATM contracts to its nationwide network. Other recent Cardtronics acquisitions have created regional hubs in New Jersey, Minnesota, Oregon and California, Cardtronics stated.
MasterCard entered an agreement to acquire C-SAM Inc., a provider of mobile wallet and on-device software and services to businesses in the United States, India, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Mexico. According to MasterCard, pending regulatory approvals, the acquisition will speed development and deployment of mobile wallets and payment solutions globally, including rollout of its MasterPass digital service.
TriSource Solutions LLC heralded recent appointments and promotions as follows: Deborah Brown, TriSource Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, was named the 2014 Chair for the ETA's Certified Payments Professional Commission. She was also elected to the Merchant Acquirers Committee Board as an Advisor in 2013.
TriSource promoted Laura Hauber to the position of Vice President, Client Operations. Her payments industry experience dates to 1999; previously she was in the banking realm. She has been with TriSource Solutions since its inception. Larry Herrmann was promoted to Vice President, Risk & Underwriting. An industry veteran, he celebrated his fourth anniversary with TriSource in November 2013. And Brian Howard was promoted to Assistant Vice President. He was been with TriSource for nine years.
Andrew Patterson is the new Chief Technology Officer at Mercury Payment Systems LLC. He has more than a decade of technology and management experience and will be responsible for the company's software engineering, technology infrastructure, business intelligence, quality assurance and architecture. Directly prior, Patterson served as the Vice President of Payments Software and Emerging Products for Moneris Solutions Inc.
Mark Adams joined Meritus Payment Solutions as Senior Vice President and CTO. Meritus noted that Adams has 19 years' technology experience and brings extensive expertise in product development, application engineering and the building of highly scalable cloud based infrastructures. At Meritus, Adams will oversee product engineering, application development, information technology infrastructure and information security. Most recently, he served as Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Engineering at HireRight.
AnywhereCommerce hired three payments executives to bolster its international business activities. William Nichols, the company's new Executive Vice President of International Markets, is driving international sales and marketing with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Before joining AnywhereCommerce, Nichols held executive positions at First Data Corp. and VeriFone Inc.
Newly appointed Executive Vice President Nigel Bidmead is responsible for the company's business development and sales activities in the EMEA region. He comes to AnywhereCommerce after serving in senior executive roles with First Data, VeriFone and ACI. Jimmy Quake, Senior Vice President for the Asia-Pacific region, is leading business development and market expansion efforts there. Before joining AnywhereCommerce, Quake served as Vice President for ViVoTech.
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