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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 27, 2015 • Issue 15:04:02

Industry Update

The Green Sheet, Inc.RETAIL BRIEFS

  • The Home Improvement Research Institute projected U.S. home improvement product sales will reach $330.2 billion in 2015, up from the $308.5 billion spent in 2014.
  • According to a Visa Inc. prom spending survey, the average prom-going teenager will spend $919 for prom attire, limousine service, tickets, flowers, pictures, food and accommodations.
  • The American Pet Products Association estimated Americans will spend $60.59 billion on pet food, supplies and care in 2015, eclipsing 2014's total of $58.04 billion.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ANNOUNCEMENTS

ATMIA offers malware guidance

To help the ATM industry prevent malware attacks on its terminals, the ATM Industry Association published new guidelines. Titled Best Practices for Preventing ATM Malware, Black Box and Cyber-Attacks, the manual explains how ATM malware works, from installation to execution, as well as how to detect it. It includes major international ATM malware case studies, looks into Black Box attacks and the hijacking of ATM control and authorization systems, and outlines key mitigation best practices. In addition, the document contains useful links, background reading and relevant standards documentation, ATMIA noted.

Bitcoin deepens investment in Coin Outlet

Bitcoin Shop Inc. (BTCS) gained an additional 2 percent equity ownership in Coin Outlet Inc. BTCS now owns approximately 4.2 percent of Coin Outlet's equity and has the ability to expand ownership up to 11 percent. Regarding the increased investment, BTCS CEO Charles Allen stated, "Today we are pleased to announce our additional ownership interest in, and partnership with, Coin Outlet. Their ATMs should allow consumers to exchange flat currency for bitcoins through one fundamental and easy-to-use transaction."

BlueSnap gateway selected as award finalist

BlueSnap Inc. and its Smarter Payment Gateway is a finalist in the Best Tech Innovation in Shopping/Commerce category for the 19th Annual MITX Awards. Held annually by the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, the awards recognize excellence in concepts and creations in marketing and technology produced or developed in New England. This year, over 120 senior leaders from Boston businesses judged entries for the 32 MITX award categories.

NetSpend comments on CFPB prepaid proposal

According to a statement made by NetSpend, the 90-day comment period for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed rule on prepaid accounts elicited considerable opposition from prepaid cardholders and consumers. The opponents raised their voices against the harmful impact and restrictions the proposed rule would have on their ability to choose products and services that meet their unique financial needs, NetSpend stated. The CFPB comment period is now closed, but the group has not yet indicated when it will issue the final rule.

Delta introduces first U.S. airline Alipay offering

Delta Air Lines, in partnership with Ant Financial Services Group and UATP, enhanced the ticket purchasing process for Chinese consumers using www.delta.com. The initiative makes Delta the first United States carrier to add the Alipay payment platform to its website as part of the airline's ongoing effort to serve Chinese travelers. With the Alipay payment option, Chinese travelers booking Delta flights will now be able to use what is touted as China's most trusted payment method.

ETA award recipients honored at Transact15

The Electronic Transactions Association recognized the annual Star Awards recipients at its recent awards gala held during Transact15. Payscape Advisors was selected from over 300 payment companies as the ETA 2015 ISO of the Year, and Womply was honored with the 2015 ETA Technology Innovation Award. The organization also selected National Merchants Association Chief Executive Officer Heather Petersen as Committee Volunteer of the Year, and Moneris Solutions Corp. CEO Angela Brown was honored as the 2015 ETA Distinguished Payments Professional recipient.

FTC settles CardFlex case

CardFlex Inc. and its principals, Andrew Phillips and John Blaugrund, settled a $3.3 million judgment with the Federal Trade Commission. The settlement was in response to charges by the FTC that the company illegally processed more than $26 million in unauthorized consumer charges on behalf of a company called I Works. The defendants are the last of seven individual and corporate defendants named in the FTC's suit to settle.

Global Currency Reserve introduces new virtual currency

The Global Currency Reserve is working in cooperation with various individuals, businesses, governments and banks worldwide to introduce a new tool called "Dot Money" based on the 2014 book, Dot Money, which is expected to ignite the next step in the evolution of economics. Dot Money will be administered by the GCR and is designed to help stabilize the global economy. The model represents the next generation of virtual and community currency and leverages technology similar to bitcoin, but with major enhancements, the GCR noted.

MerchantNegotiators.com launches for business

MerchantNegotiators.com, a website devoted to changing the way businesses acquire credit card processing services, launched publicly on Fri., April 10. MerchantNegotiators.com reported it makes credit card processors' features, terms, and prices transparent and comparable for the first time. Comparable to Expedia, MerchantNegotiators.com automation reviews 40 of the largest credit card processors and facilitates a competitive online pricing and selection process, the new service said.

Mozido invests in two technology companies

Austin, Texas-based mobile commerce provider, Mozido Inc., made a strategic investment in host card emulation technology pioneer and technology owner, SimplyTapp Inc., which enables cloud-based credentials management to secure near field communication (NFC)-based mobile payments. The company said it also invested in IdentityMind Global, a risk management platform for e-commerce and regulatory compliance, in order to expand safe, secure mobile commerce worldwide.

PCI council releases PCI DSS 3.1, penetration test guidance

On April 15, 2015, when procrastinators were rushing to file tax returns, the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) published the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) Version 3.1 and supporting guidance. The council said the revision includes "minor updates and clarifications, and addresses vulnerabilities within the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol that can put payment data at risk." Effective immediately, version 3.1 is available in the documents library at www.pcisecuritystandards.org. PCI DSS Version 3.0 will be retired June 30.

Also, in March 2015, the PCI SSC published formal penetration testing guidelines to help organizations establish a strong methodology for regularly testing security controls and processes to protect the cardholder data environment in accordance with PCI DSS Requirement 11.3. The new guidance aims to help organizations of all sizes, budgets and sectors evaluate, implement and maintain a process that addresses components, qualifications, methodology and reporting practices.

SmartMetric prevails in card brand fee dispute

SmartMetric Inc. won a legal dispute with Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide. The two card companies had sought what would have approximated $3 million in fees and costs against SmartMetric arising from a SmartMetric patent infringement claim against Visa and MasterCard. As of March 25, 2015, the presiding court denied the motion against SmartMetric, clearing the company of all claims.

YapStone raises $60 million

YapStone Inc. closed a $60 million financing package with Comerica Bank and Bregal Sagemount. The financing enables the company to accelerate growth initiatives in existing markets and aggressively pursue growth in new verticals and new marketplaces. "We expect to process over $14 billion in transaction volume this year and are well positioned to further capitalize on the global trend towards increasing electronic payments in huge markets once dominated by the paper check," said Tom Villante, YapStone Chairman and CEO.

The Green Sheet, Inc.RESEARCH

Accenture researches gaps between merchants, consumers

Results of two "seamless retailing" studies by Accenture indicate a number of gaps between consumer expectations on product offerings and pricing, and the ability of retailers to deliver on them. The survey of 750 U.S. consumers, along with a separate analysis of how U.S. retailers operate across multiple sales channels, found consumer loyalty and growth across all channels requires retailers to enhance mobile commerce offerings and improve the in-store shopping experience.

Federal Reserve reports on mobile

The Federal Reserve Board report Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2015 indicated the use of mobile phones to access bank accounts, credit cards or other financial accounts continued to increase among adults in the United States in 2014. The report is the Fed's fourth look at how consumers access banking services using mobile phones, make payments for goods and services on mobile phones, and are influenced by mobile phones on shopping decisions.

Mercator research guides healthcare payments

According to Mercator Advisory Group research, Health Care Sector Opportunities for Acquirers, payments for healthcare services in the United States are estimated to total nearly $3 trillion annually, or 17.9 percent of gross domestic product. Since consumers now pay monthly insurance premiums, co-pays and co-insurance expenses directly to healthcare providers, the study suggests an opportunity for industry stakeholders to capitalize on the settlement of healthcare payment transactions and simplify payment acceptance for healthcare providers.

The Green Sheet, Inc.PARTNERSHIPS

BBVA Compass, Dwolla offer real-time money

BBVA Compass expanded services to enable customers to send and receive funds instantly through Dwolla Inc., an all-digital payment network. The provision is made possible through the BBVA's use of Dwolla's secure payments protocol for financial institutions, FiSync, which enables confirmation of good funds, secure authentication and real-time availability of money to and from the Dwolla network. The partnership also marks the debut of FiSync's authentication and tokenization processes, which remove the need for account holders to provide sensitive bank account information or credentials during transactions, the companies said.

Clearent, CardFlight pairup on mobile offerings

Clearent LLC agreed to offer CardFlight's SwipeSimple mobile payment acceptance solutions to Clearent's sales partners and merchants. SwipeSimple includes encrypted mobile card readers, payment acceptance applications for iOS and Android devices, a real-time reporting and administrative dashboard for merchants, and a reseller portal for easy boarding and portfolio management. When coupled with Clearent's payment processing services, merchants have a robust solution for on-the-go card acceptance, Clearent said.

Heartland renews with Verifone

Heartland Payment Systems Inc. and Verifone Inc. agreed to renew their long-standing strategic alliance and expect to pursue new key initiatives aimed at providing merchants with enhanced security and Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)-ready payment processing. "A renewed alliance between Heartland and Verifone ensures merchants have access to the most secure and flexible payments solutions on the market today," said Heartland Chairman and CEO Robert O. Carr.

Ingenico, Intel go mobile

Ingenico Group and Intel Corp. collaborated to combine technologies and jointly develop a mobile tablet that supports EMV and NFC payment functionalities. Under the collaboration, Intel Data Protection Technology for Transactions will be combined with Ingenico Group payment acceptance capabilities in mobile and future solutions in the United States and Canada, beginning with the jointly developed mobile tablets based on the Intel Atom processor.

Kount teams with Ethoca to reduce online fraud

Kount Inc., provider of fraud detection and sales boosting technology, formed a strategic partnership with Ethoca Ltd. Kount said the alliance will help its e-commerce merchants increase overall acceptance levels by bundling complementary Ethoca Alerts into Kount's technology. These alerts provide a means to catch fraud that has already been confirmed between card issuing banks and cardholders, significantly shortening the time merchants would have to wait to receive the same information through the normal chargeback and dispute process, Kount added.

Moneris, Verifone exclusive in U.S.

Moneris contracted with Verifone to exclusively provide EMV-enabled countertop terminals to its U.S. clients. Moneris will offer merchants seeking countertop EMV-capable terminals the Verifone VX 520 to support EMV and NFC payments. "We're pleased to be able to work with Verifone as a key partner in our work to help U.S. merchants transition to EMV-enabled payment devices," said Chris Lee, President, North American Strategic Partnerships and Emerging Markets for Moneris.

Pivotal assists veterans through partnership

Pivotal Payments entered into a corporate partnership with Hire Heroes USA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans transform their military service into civilian success by creating job opportunities through personalized employment training and corporate engagement. Pivotal Payments stated it will actively support Hire Heroes through direct donations and as an employment partner.

TransFirst, First Commonwealth join forces

TransFirst LLC and First Commonwealth Bank, a subsidiary of First Commonwealth Financial Corp., formed an exclusive five-year partnership to bring payment processing services with superior customer support to First Commonwealth merchant customers, the companies stated. TransFirst will provide an array of payment processing products, including traditional, wireless and mobile solutions to the merchant customers of First Commonwealth Bank branches in Western and Central Pennsylvania.

USAePay teams with Sage on gift cards

USAePay embarked upon a new gift card service partnership with Sage Payment Solutions EFT. The gift card program enables merchants to take advantage of having a reusable, stored-value card that provides an electronic alternative to paper gift certificates. Free online reporting is also offered, which affords merchants with 24/7 access to card balances and complete transaction tracking. Businesses of all types can also customize the gift card and loyalty packages offered, according to the companies.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ACQUISITIONS

Early Warning, Authentify agree on acquisition

Early Warning Services LLC reported that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Authentify Inc., provider of phone-based, multifactor authentication solutions currently serving more than 1,200 financial institutions and e-commerce companies. The acquisition enables Early Warning to offer digital, multifactor authentication and provides the ability to integrate, manage and prioritize multiple digital channel authentication methods.

Global purchases Realex

Global Payments Inc. acquired Realex Payments, a European payment gateway provider for online business. According to Global, the transaction was funded through available liquidity, and there are no expectations of material impact on the company's fiscal 2015 results or capital plans. The acquisition furthers Global Payments' strategy to provide omnichannel solutions that combine gateway services, payment service provisioning and merchant acquiring across Europe.

Ingo Money buys Fuze Network

Ingo Money Inc., a mobile payment technology and service provider, extended its platform through the acquisition of Fuze Network Inc. Once Fuze is fully integrated, Ingo Money's enhanced transaction platform will allow consumers to access funds from almost any source immediately – cash, checks and cards – and push funds to virtually any destination account, including debit, credit and prepaid cards, Ingo Money said.

Mobile Lads brings Simbadeals to North America

In exchange for a cash and share transaction, Mobile Lads Corp. will engage in a joint venture to acquire and take full operational control and funding of the Simbadeals online shopping solution. Through the acquisition, Mobile Lads plans to form and leverage relationships with major retailers and media networks in an effort to drive traffic in various ways to its Simbadeals.com website to convert traffic into sales.

The Green Sheet, Inc.APPOINTMENTS

Campbell heads up risk at Newtek Merchant Solutions

Newtek Business Services Corp. retained Michael Campbell to serve as Chief Credit Officer and Chief Risk Officer for Newtek Merchant Solutions. Newtek noted that Campbell has 25 years of merchant bankcard operations experience including credit and risk management, bankcard credit, risk management policy, fraud, regulatory, data security and portfolio management. Most recently, Campbell served as Vice President and Head of Risk for Charge Payment Merchant Services.

Issen chosen by YapStone

Web and mobile payment technology provider YapStone appointed Daniel Issen as Chief Technology Officer. Issen will lead recruitment and management for YapStone's engineering and product delivery teams; he will also construct the company's technology stack to support continued growth. A 28-year veteran of technology and payments systems, Issen joins YapStone from Amazon Local Commerce, where he launched Amazon Local Register, YapStone noted.

Linden promoted at MCPS

Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions, also known as Delta Card Services Inc., appointed Todd Linden to the position of President and CEO. A 30-year veteran in the merchant acquiring space, Linden has served as MCPS President and Chief Operating Officer for the past five years, having an instrumental influence in helping the company rapidly grow during this time, MCPS reported.

Proxama appoints two

Proxama Inc. expanded its North American presence with the appointment of Ricky Ranjan and Mark Meringolo to be Vice Presidents of Sales, North America. Meringolo resides in New York and brings 15 years of experience in emerging and mobile payments and commerce to Proxama. Ranjan has more than 10 years of experience in global sales and leadership within the mobile payment and NFC markets. end of article

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