Retail ATM operator Cardtronics Inc. agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve claims that it failed to comply with a previous court-approved settlement to make ATMs in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States accessible to blind and visually impaired users. According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, the settlement resolves pending civil contempt charges filed in 2011 and 2012 against Cardtronics, and requires the company to adopt accessibility features at the approximately 95,0000 ATMS it operates nationwide.
As part of its multiyear agreement with the National Federation of the Blind and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Cardtronics established the Accessibility Center of Excellence to deliver a voice-guided user experience at Cardtronics-supported ATMs.
Dynamics Inc. closed $70 million in Series C financing, adding MasterCard Worldwide as a new investor and partner to advance its interactive payment card technologies. "Consumers can now enjoy additional value whenever they make a purchase simply by pressing a button on their card," said Jeff Mullen, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dynamics. His company, which designs and manufactures intelligent battery-powered payment devices and payment platforms, has won multiple financial and electronics industry awards for its technology.
Fiserv Inc. launched its Season of Giving campaign through its Popmoney personal payments service at 200 participating financial institutions. The company will donate a dollar for each Popmoney transmittal, up to $50,000 total, to benefit Good360 nonprofit organizations. Good360 connects businesses with excess goods to a network of more than 40,000 prequalified charities worldwide to distribute over $300 million in products each year.
Google Inc. reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in December 2014 over allegations the company unfairly billed consumers for in-app charges incurred by children without parental consent. Google agreed to notify and refund consumers affected. Any excess from the agreed upon $19 million in refunds not made within a year of approval will be remitted to the FTC. Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. settled similar cases with the FTC earlier this year.
Payment technology provider MagTek Inc. launched QwickPAY Pro, an iPad-based POS app that is compatible with MagTek's Made-for-Apple certified mobile card readers. "QwickPAY Pro extends the value of the QwickPAY product line by targeting merchants wanting a larger, tablet-sized user interface while continuing to leverage the protection offered by the MagneSafe Security Architecture," said Mimi Hart, President and CEO of MagTek.
On Dec. 9, 2014, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association issued a request for comment on Same Day ACH. Previously, NACHA proposed a phased approach to Same Day ACH that will add two new same-day settlement windows, bringing the total to three ACH Network settlements each day. The proposal also recommends an interbank fee with methodology to measure its effectiveness. The comment period ends Feb. 6, 2015.
Global online payments provider Optimal Payments Plc launched a developer center created to facilitate integration of e-commerce websites and REST-based payment apps with its Netbanx PCI Data Card Security Level 1 secure payment gateway solutions. Optimal said, "Developers now have instant access to test accounts, with one unified API key for three REST-based APIs (Card Payments, Customer Vault and Hosted Payments), to simulate the payment process."
Mobile engagement platform SpyderLynk LLC was the winner of the Citibank Citi Mobile Challenge 2014 for Most Innovative Solution for Small Business. In addition to a cash prize of $20,000, SpyderLynk will have an opportunity to work with Citi to offer its SnapPay mobile wallet to Citi clients. Over 3,000 developers from 740 teams in 62 countries participated in the challenge.
For the second consecutive year, Total System Services Inc. was named to The Civic 50, an initiative of the global volunteer service organization Points of Light, in partnership with Bloomberg LP, that honors the 50 most community-minded U.S. companies each year. "We have a long standing culture of service and a corps of team members committed to making a difference in the world," said M. Troy Woods, President and CEO of TSYS. "This honor is an indication that our efforts have a powerful impact on the people we serve."
In a separate development, TSYS was included in the Smart Card Alliance Center of Excellence program, which recognizes member companies that demonstrate high-level participation and achievement in the SCA and smart card industry. Both TSYS and TSYS Senior Director of Consumer Payments Sarah Hartman were honored during a gala held at the recent SCA member meeting in Orlando, Fla.
San Francisco-based Two Tap unveiled its Product Availability API and stated it is the first automated product inventory solution that will allow consumers to instantly see if their product selections (style, color, size, etc.) are in stock before placing an order inside any mobile app and shopping cart. The startup universal shopping cart developer currently supports about 450 online retailers.
Zoccam Technologies unveiled a patent-pending process designed to streamline earnest money check transactions using Jack Henry & Associates Inc.'s payment processing services. The ZoccaPay remote deposit capture and ZocTalk agent-buyer-seller property listing information sharing features within the new mobile app are available exclusively to licensed real estate agents. "Instead of driving checks to the title company, the agent can spend more time putting deals together," said Ashley Cook, founder and CEO of Zoccam.
The Strawhecker Group report titled, Merchant Acquiring Industry Overview, A guide to understanding the U.S. payments market and related metrics, explores the history and milestones, transaction value flow, and evolving ecosystem behind U.S. payments. The report also analyzes the risks, distribution channels, regulation and aggregation within the payments industry. An entire section is devoted to payment metrics, merchant acquiring as an investment opportunity, average life cycle of a merchant and vertical markets that are most attractive today.
According to the 2014 global ATM fraud survey, fraud continues to be a pernicious problem for ATM operators in 42 countries surveyed. "Increased attacks from a new range of skimming devices, including continued miniaturization, as well as ongoing and geographically spreading malware and black box attacks were notable features of this year's survey," said Mike Lee, CEO of the ATMIA, who published the final report.
Mercator Advisory Group's research report, A SWIFT Disruption? Bitcoin and Peer-to-Peer Models Challenge the Remittance Business, analyzes the value proposition of bitcoin versus person-to-person (P2P) transactions in the cross-border U.S.-Philippines and U.S.-India remittance corridors. On one side of the coin supporters of bitcoin espouse bypassing expensive fees and regulatory requirements of standard banking channels, while P2P advocates seek to displace traditional consumer service providers.
The Electronic Transactions Association published a white paper titled Making Mobile Payments Make Dollars and SENSE for Small-to-Medium Businesses that addresses the mobile POS from a number of different angles. Mobile topics covered include merchant benefits, advantages, risks, best practices and evaluation criteria, along with 10 easy steps to help guide merchants through mobile POS implementation.
A survey of Money20/20 conference attendees conducted by CAN Capital Inc. found that 41 percent cited industry expertise as the most important trait when evaluating potential partnerships, followed by the ability to integrate with existing services for 37 percent of those who responded. When asked about payment security, 45 percent felt online payments were most secure and 51 percent said card transactions at the POS were the least secure method of payment.
An Aite Group LLC report, The European Payments Landscape: Beyond SEPA, explores what has happened since the August 2014 migration to the Single Euro Payments Area, now that payment processors are able to offer SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Services. According to the report, over 2 billion payments will flow across the Eurozone each month in the newly standardized formats, yet certain issues have yet to be resolved.
Austin, Texas-based Abila Inc., a software and services provider to the nonprofit industry and trade association sectors, entered strategic alliances with payment processors Vantiv and Sage Payment Solutions, a division of Sage North America. Under terms of each agreement, both partners agreed to integrate their payment management systems with Abila's cloud-based netForum Enterprise system, which reconciles and tracks funds.
Direct commerce software developer Ability Commerce partnered online with Network Merchants Inc., an e-commerce payment gateway provider. "Our partnership with NMI allows Ability Commerce to provide safe, secure payment solutions for our customers and stay on the leading edge of innovative payment trends in the market place like Apple Pay," said Patrick Reineke, Director of Technology for Ability Commerce.
Madrid-based Amadeus IT Group SA, in partnership with London-based Worldpay, integrated Worldpay's payment services with its Amadeus Payment Platform, increasing the number of currencies and countries available to its global travel industry clients. "Our portfolio of over 120 local currencies means Amadeus customers can grow their reach as they are able to accept payment from consumers across regions in their local currency," said Kevin Dallas, Chief Product & Marketing Officer, eCommerce at Worldpay.
Newport Beach, Calif.-based companies Cause Direct, a merchant services provider, and Peak Solutions, a managed information technology solutions provider, entered an agreement that will allow customers of both entities to make charitable contributions with each invoice paid. "With Cause Direct's processing platform, whenever a payment is made using a credit or debit card, a percentage of the transaction amount is automatically donated to a charity the company supports," CD stated.
Bermuda-based global online payment provider First Atlantic Commerce reached an agreement with Israel-based travel cost comparison and booking platform Travolutionary to integrate their platforms. Travolutionary said that through this affiliation, it plans to expand payment capabilities for its hotel, airline, and car product client offerings.
Online gift card platform GiftCards.com LLC inked a deal with virtual gift card platform CashStar Inc. that will allow the company to leverage the CashStar Exchange network of more than 200 merchant brands. "We're the largest and most trafficked website for all things gift cards, and now our customers will have a greater selection when choosing to purchase eGift cards," said Jason Wolfe, CEO of GiftCards.com.
Payment software provider HealPay entered an agreement with VeriCheck to offer real-time check processing through its Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. HealPay said its IVR system supports over 25 dialects and can be provisioned to automate accounts receivable for any business. "Users can check their balance and pay their bills in real time without the assistance of an operator or collector," said Erick Bzovi, CEO of HealPay.
Kahuna Payment Solutions integrated Silanis Technology's e-SignLive electronic signature product with its FlexPay PLUS retail-lending platform to automate the approximately 4,000 contracts it processes each month. "When a customer is ready to make a major purchase from one of our retail partners, efficiency is key to completing the financing and securing the funding," said Thomas B. Mortimer, CEO of Kahuna.
Online loyalty and rewards payment platform RewardsPay Inc. entered an agreement with Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and payment processor, to deliver digital currency as a payment option to its e-commerce merchants. Customers can choose whether to make full payment with bitcoin, or combine bitcoin with a credit card for split-tender transactions, the companies stated.
Spindle Inc. entered an agreement with BridgePay Network Solutions LLC to certify BridgePay's gateway services on Spindle's payment aggregation platform. As a result, BridgePay can now expand its network of resellers and independent software vendors, and Spindle has access to BridgePay's integrated suite, including its PayGuardian secure payment application, the companies stated.
Payment processor Acculynk agreed to purchase the intellectual property (IP) of PayPlum Inc., an enterprise-class distributed PCI compliance software solution focused on safeguarding acceptance and transfer of sensitive payment card data within the online and mobile channels. Acculynk plans to also acquire PayPlum's "one-page check out" hosted service. Pending final approval, PayPlum will act a reseller of the new, enhanced solutions.
Kili Technology Corp. acquired DeviceFidelity Inc. As part of the agreement, DeviceFidelity became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kili and will continue to operate in its present location. The combined companies plan to leverage Kili's "mPOS Solution-on-a-Chip" technology in tandem with DeviceFidelity's plug-and-play near field communication and mobile security solutions.
In Nov. 2014, Vista Equity Partners completed the acquisition of TransFirst Inc. "TransFirst offers a powerful payment platform that delivers exceptional value, so it's no surprise that they have been able to retain a strong base of satisfied customers," said Robert F. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. "Together, we will continue serving the needs of these customers while creating new opportunities to drive innovation and growth."
Stefan Cenusa joined PayPro Global as the company's Risk and Compliance Director. As head of the Risk and Compliance department, he is charged with enhancing PayPro's multilevel fraud check. Cenusa has more than eight years' experience in risk management in the payments and e-commerce spheres and a proven track record in quality assurance, risk analysis and production management. PayPro CEO Meir Amzallag said, "We are confident that Stefan Cenusa will lower even further fraud occurrences in our system and improve customer experience at the same time."
Fiserv Inc. named Kevin Schultz as its Group President. Schultz will oversee a group that includes the company's consumer-focused electronic payment platforms and digital channel solutions. Schultz served most recently as President of Global Financial Services at First Data Corp. Directly prior he was Global Head of Processing Services at Visa Inc.
"Kevin brings a strong payments background and intense client focus to his new role," said Jeffery Yabuki, Fiserv President and CEO. "We believe his industry knowledge and leadership experience will help us to deliver on the opportunities we see to create new value for financial institutions and their customers."
The Members Group added four client business executives to its client development team: Mark Landry, Yvonne Stelpflug, Ryan Talley and Julie Willse. Landry has managed and grown payment portfolios nationwide, and has held sales and client relationship positions with PSCU Financial Services and Fiserv, among others. Stelpflug, who most recently was a Vice President within TSYS Acquiring Solutions, has also held positions with Wells Fargo and BBVA Compass.
Talley came to TMG from Randstad Technologies, where he served as a Senior Accounts Manager and New Business Development Manager responsible for major accounts. Willse joined TMG from Greater Iowa Credit Union, where she served most recently as Financial Service Manager.
James E. Nevels joined the First Data Board of Directors. He is Chairman of investment advisory firm The Swarthmore Group, as well as Chairman of The Hershey Co. Board of Directors. An expert in the securities and investment industry with experience in finance, law and corporate governance, Nevels brings the number of First Data board members to eight.
Frank Bisignano, First Data Chairman and CEO, said Nevels' "breadth of experience in the public and private sectors will make him a great asset to First Data as we continue to drive our transformation and growth in our business."
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