American Express Co. officially launched its Small Merchant EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) Assistance Program. The nationwide campaign will help U.S. small merchants fight fraud through a $10 million reimbursement program designed to accelerate adoption of EMV payment terminals by rewarding eligible merchants who have upgraded to EMV-compatible terminals. It will also arm small merchants with knowledge about EMV's security benefits.
Aliyun, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s cloud computing business, opened its first overseas data center in California's Silicon Valley, a significant step toward serving clients globally. The center will initially target Chinese enterprises based in the United States, with a plan to expand its offerings to international clients in the second half of 2015. Aliyun's locations in China include Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
On the heels of receiving top Paybefore Awards recognition for its Reloadit Safe product, prepaid provider Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. released enhancements to its digital services platform to meet consumers' gift card needs. The company's digital platform is now enabled with exchange services, allowing merchants to instantly sell retail, restaurant and other branded gift cards.
CertainSafe released 2nd Generation Tokenization, a solution devised to set a new standard for securing data to reduce the threat of data breaches. The company's approach, called MicroTokenization, provides tokenization of all data around the payment card number and increases the amount of tokenized data from 16 bits to more than 2 billion bits, CertainSafe stated, adding that this facilitates end-to-end encryption, securing data both at rest and in motion.
Digital River Inc. and Alpha Payments Cloud were recently both presented with 2015 Merchant Payment Ecosystem Awards. Digital River was recognized in the Payment Service Provider category; Alpha Payments Cloud was favored in the Channel category. The awards were presented at the Merchant Payment Ecosystem Conference in February 2015 by a committee of veteran professionals, consultants and journalists in the industry.
Linkable Networks reported it secured $11.7 million in funding and made three key executive team hires as it positions itself for growth in 2015. In addition to driving enhancements to its core platform, the additional working capital enables Linkable to scale its direct-to-consumer loyalty platform, which allows retailers and consumer packaged-goods brands to engage the next generation of shoppers, the company stated.
Mercury Payment Systems LLC, a Vantiv Inc. company, received a Bronze Stevie award in the Front-line Customer Service Team category during the ninth annual Stevie Awards for sales and customer service. In 2014, Mercury took home the Bronze award in the same category. "It is because of this high level of service that four out of five Mercury merchants say they would recommend Mercury to another business," said Matt Taylor, President of Integrated Payments at Vantiv.
SmartMetric Inc. developed and launched a biometric fingerprint scanner that fits inside a credit or debit card. Its purpose is to protect cardholders against identity and payment card theft. The fingerprint reader is powered by a rechargeable battery and is compatible with the new EMV chip cards now replacing the 40-year-old mag stripe technology, SmartMetric noted.
Data protection company, Tharon Rankins Enterprises reported it launched a safer way for businesses to protect personal data and financial transactions. Beconux is a biometric transaction processing system that functions similarly to an ATM by fusing multiple biometric features and a cryptographic algorithm to protect financial transactions and personal data. Beconux also offers solid 448 bit encryption and the convenience of portability, the company added.
Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) was recognized as a 2015 World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing ethical business practice standards. The designation recognizes organizations that have had a material impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency throughout the company.
Virtual Piggy Inc., and its Oink Card payment technology, were honored in the Head of the Class category at the 2015 Paybefore Awards, which are dedicated to recognizing excellence in the worldwide prepaid, mobile and emerging payments spheres. "We're proud to recognize the contributions of Discover Prepaid, Virtual Piggy and Marqeta to advancing electronic payments," said Loraine DeBonis, Paybefore Editor-in-Chief and judging panel chair.
In The Disappearing Check – How Long Until the End?, Digital Check Corp. offers projections about the future of U.S. check payments. The report addresses several major factors contributing to the decline in check usage, reports check usage demographics, compares paper check usage to other forms of payment and predicts how long paper checks will continue to exist in meaningful numbers.
According to recent MasterCard Worldwide research, consumers have shifted focus from mobile payment security to enhanced digital experiences on mobile devices. This was among findings revealed in MasterCard's third annual Mobile Payments Study, developed in partnership with PRIME Research. The results show growth in the number of conversations, as well as a shift in both the tone and focus of the social discussion, MasterCard noted.
Contents of the Federal Reserve's latest position paper and the ongoing development of proprietary solutions indicate momentum is building toward real-time payments. Mercator Advisory Group's research note Faster Payments: Developments and Challenges for U.S. Commercial Payments examines recent efforts to advance faster payments in the United States, key stakeholders and existing challenges.
Bluefin Payment Systems partnered with four new companies to integrate its Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard-validated point-to-point encryption solutions. Small Business Workbench, Infinite Peripherals Inc., Merchant Link, and ANXebusiness Corp. will all incorporate Bluefin P2PE solutions into their proprietary business products to provide customers immediate compliance and security, Bluefin stated.
In partnership, BluePoint and Unwired Nation integrated Bluepoint QwikDeposit ToGo into Unwired Banking's mobile banking platform. The new solution provides Unwired Nation's community financial institution customers enhanced mobile banking capabilities, including mobile remote deposit capture (RDC), independent of core and Internet banking providers for community banks and credit unions.
Elavon Inc. and travel technology provider Amadeus agreed to integrate Elavon's payment processing solutions into the Amadeus Payments Platform (APP). This agreement allows airlines to process payments directly through the APP and benefit from its travel-tailored functionalities, the companies said. Airline and hospitality businesses connected to the APP can also access Elavon's advanced acquiring services to manage chargebacks and reduce the cost of card acceptance.
Global Payments Inc. and Open Edge, its integrated solutions division, joined with New West Technologies to integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX with payment processing into New West's offerings for multilocation retail establishments. New West can now offer an omni-channel solution to retailers that assists with POS, operations, merchandising, marketing, e-commerce, supply chain and financial business functions.
Merchant Industry LLC partnered with Biz2Credit Inc. to offer Merchant Industry customers access to Biz2Credit's small business lending marketplace, which has provided more than $1.2 billion in financing to startup and expanding enterprises since 2007, the companies reported. "We are excited to offer Merchant Industry's clients access to financing through our automated online loan application platform," said Arjun Kathuria, Director, Business Development, of Biz2Credit.
Sionic Mobile Corp. partnered with AuthenticID to integrate catfishAir into upcoming versions of ION Rewards and Shop2Give consumer apps. The apps will be first to protect consumers using facial recognition for identity authentication during account setup, the new partners said. The apps require presentation of a state-issued driver's license, followed by an automated phone "selfie" to verify each user's identity.
The NPD Group Inc. is partnering with Slice Intelligence to provide comprehensive, retailer-independent e-commerce data. The information will be available via NPD's Checkout Tracking e-commerce service; two companies will also collaborate on a series of co-branded scorecards that will provide quick access to vital statistics covering market share, size and trend, according to the companies.
Spindle Inc. and EggZack forged a strategic agreement to deliver a comprehensive mobile marketing program to merchants throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. As part of the agreement, EggZack will integrate Spindle's POS services – Yowza!! Offers mobile couponing and the Yowza!! Beacon program – into its portfolio of search engine optimization, social marketing, email marketing and website management solutions.
TransFirst LLC reported it created three new strategic partnerships. TransFirst and Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit trade association representing the yoga community, will offer customized payment solutions to alliance members. MWRC Internet Sales LLC will integrate the TransFirst payment services into its ExoVend e-commerce system. And TransFirst will offer its integrated payment solutions to Shopgate's mobile commerce customers.
US Bankcard Services Inc. and the California Korean American Grocers Association partnered to provide KAGRO member grocers with dedicated POS and electronic payment services. USBSI will provide an aggregate online ordering website to KAGRO members, as well as a complete POS system to eligible members who gain approval for new merchant accounts, the companies stated.
Visa Inc. partnered with several global financial institutions (FIs) to offer mobile payment services. BBVA and Cuscal launched new issuer-branded mobile payment applications for mobile devices running on the Android operating system. And Banco do Brazil, PNC Bank N.A., and U.S. Bank intend to launch similar capabilities in the near future. The effort is part of Visa Digital Solutions, a suite of offerings targeting Internet-based and wearable devices.
In addition, Visa, Pizza Hut and Accenture are collaborating to develop a proof-of-concept connected car to test mobile and online purchases on the go. The connected car is expected to feature the Visa Checkout online payment service, cellular connectivity, Bluetooth low energy, as well as beacon technology deployed at Pizza Hut restaurants to alert staff when customers have arrived and are ready to pick up orders.
CCBill LLC, a global e-commerce and online business solutions provider, agreed to acquire automated clearing house (ACH) processing specialist WTS. The acquisition is expected to enable CCBill to expand its ACH services to merchants. "As market behaviors and banking practices continue to evolve, ACH transactions have remained a viable and popular choice within e-commerce," said Jake Powers, Chief Operating Officer of CCBill.
Heartland Payment Systems Inc. acquired Payroll 1, a provider of payroll and tax filing products and services for employers throughout the United States. The intent is to advance Heartland's growth in the payroll processing realm. "Payroll 1 is an important acquisition and part of our continued expansion of Heartland's footprint in the payroll services marketplace," said David Gilbert, Heartland Hospitality Group and Payroll President.
My Big Coin Pay, the corporate parent of crypto-currency payment platform and the virtual wallet website of the same name, initiated a letter of intent to merge with Shot Spirits Corp. as part of an alternative public offering transaction. If successful, the merged company will be named My Big Coin Pay and trade on the over-the-counter pink marketplace. The current management of My Big Coin Pay will manage the surviving public entity, My Big Coin Pay noted.
Twilio Inc., a cloud communications platform com-pany, acquired Authy Inc., a provider of authentication as-a-service for large-scale web and mobile applications. Together, Twilio and Authy intend to address the growing need for stronger authentication methods in an increasingly connected world. User identity is core to secure communications, and businesses need a simple and more cost-effective way to validate user identity, the companies said.
Calpian Inc., a global mobile payments technology and processing company, appointed Chris Anderson President of its subsidiary Calpian Commerce Inc. Anderson has served as Chief Financial Officer of Calpian Commerce since September 2013 in addition to serving as Senior Vice President of Finance for Calpian Inc. He retains his role at Calpian Inc. while assuming his new role as President of Calpian Commerce.
Sage North America appointed Paul Bridgewater Chief Executive Officer of Sage Payment Solutions and Jim Emerick as Executive Vice President of Customer Support. Bridgewater most recently was Group Executive and General Manager of Global Product and Innovation at TSYS. Emerick joins Sage after a post at Bank of America Corp. where he led a 3,000-person global customer service team.
International Bancard appointed Joshua Dean as Chief Marketing Officer and Kimberly Tippin as Vice President of Operations. Tippin brings 20 years of related experience to the company and will oversee the customer experience for all International Bancard clients. Dean comes to the company from Sears Holdings Corp. and has 15 years' business, technology and executive experience.
Verifi Inc., provider of payment and risk management solutions for card-not-present merchants, appointed Chris Derossi its Chief Technology Officer. In his new role, Derossi will oversee the technology team and drive technical innovation for Verifi's products and services globally. Derossi served most recently as Chief Technology Officer at Ultimate Gaming.
Vantiv expanded Mark Heimbouch's role to include leadership of the company's technology and operational functions. Heimbouch, who joined Vantiv in 2009 as Chief Financial Officer, is now the company's Chief Operating and Financial Officer. "Mark has been a strong leader at Vantiv, and his new duties expand naturally upon the work he's done as CFO," said Charles Drucker, Vantiv CEO.
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