The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 22, 2016 • Issue 16:02:02
- Reaching out to busy, on-the-go consumers, many grocers now provide door-to-door delivery as an option. Instacart offers a web service for ordering groceries online that pairs customers with personal shoppers who hand-pick items from select stores on its nationwide network. Once completed, individual orders are then delivered directly to the homes of customers who may never again have to hit the aisle for a bag of groceries.
- Anyone who has attempted to find a local hairdresser without the aid of a good referral knows the task can be tedious. Understanding this dilemma, a mobile app called LISA is able to link beauty service providers with customers in real-time. App users can geo-locate a salon, determine price and schedule an appointment at more than 2,000 licensed and certified artists in the Chicago area. Expansion into other markets is expected to occur soon.
- Post-holiday gift returns may have tapered off, but the next consideration for retailers is what to do with all those returns. Returns happen following 15 percent of online purchases and 8 percent of brick-and-mortar store purchases. As a result, nearly 2 million tons of undamaged items are said to end up in landfills each year. To resolve this issue, companies like Optoro now apply reverse logistics to track, process and reroute returned items more effectively.
Alternet Systems unveils new division
Digital commerce technology provider Alternet Systems Inc. formed its Data Analytics Division, which is expected to expand the company's portfolio of digital commerce solutions. Alternet stated its Analytics-as-a-Service solution enables companies to better understand consumer trends and improve their marketing initiatives. "We anticipate our new Data Analytics Division to build upon the revenue base we established in 2015 from our digital commerce operations throughout the course of 2016," said Henryk Dabrowski, Alternet's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
CardFree recognized for mobile excellence
CardFree was honored at the eighth annual Mobile Excellence Awards as 2015's Best Mobile Start-Up. Founded in 2012, CardFree first targeted quick service retail customers such as Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell. The company expanded into casual, convenience and grocery businesses in 2016. The annual Mobile Excellence Awards are produced by Axis PR & Entertainment and sponsored in part by such companies as Intel, YouTube and Fathom Events.
Coin targeted in class action lawsuit
Kronenberger Rosenfeld LLP, a San Francisco-based law firm, filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Coin Inc. received millions of dollars from consumers through a crowdfunding campaign for a product the company knew could never work as advertised. The lawsuit demands a trial by jury and seeks monetary damages against Coin for false advertising, misrepresentation and breach of contract.
ETA lauds latest congressional vote
The Electronic Transactions Association applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for the passage of H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. The bill puts an end to the federal law enforcement initiative Operation Choke Point, which held payment companies responsible for merchant fraud.
Fed reports U.S. payment system progress
In a report issued a year after the publication of its January 2015 Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System, the Federal Reserve detailed progress made and its anticipated steps for moving ahead with its initiative to enhance payment system speed, efficiency and security. To date, the initiative has inspired two task forces, comprising more than 500 industry participants, which have compiled 36 criteria for a faster payment system, the Fed noted.
FitPay closes funding round
FitPay Inc. closed $3.1 million in seed funding led by Giesecke & Devrient. FitPay said it developed a payment enablement platform that allows wearable device manufacturers to seamlessly add contactless payment capabilities to their products. FitPay's payment platform uses near field communication technology, combined with card network tokenization, to interact with POS terminals at retail locations.
Gyft issues security alert
In an effort to protect accounts and account information, Gyft notified potentially affected Gyft users that an unknown and unauthorized party accessed two cloud providers used by the company. The security breach occurred between Oct. 3 and Dec. 18, 2015. Gyft has not discovered evidence of compromise, including access to Gyft accounts, unauthorized purchases, or improper information use. The company stated it is continuing to investigate and is taking appropriate protective action.
Paybefore honors abound
For 10 years, Paybefore's Pay Awards have annually honored excellence in the prepaid, mobile and emerging payments industry. In 2016, Paybefore selected Blackhawk Network's Gift Card for Stock as its Product of the Year. Vantiv Inc.'s OmniShield Assure and Mercury StoreCard were also recognized in the Fraud Fighter and Best Choice Retail Card categories, respectively. Emergent Payments was honored in the Best Online or Mobile Commerce Solution category and NuData Security's NuDetect user verification system earned recognition in the Judges' Choice category.
Pindrop secures funding
Voice-fraud prevention and authentication provider Pindrop Security, raised $75 million in Series C funding led by Google Capital with participation from GV, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, Citi Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Pindrop protects phone calls for three of the largest banks in the U.S., as well as many top insurance companies, government agencies and retailers. "Working closely with Google Capital gives us amazing access to their expertise in phone and voice related technologies," said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, Pindrop Chief Executive Officer and co-founder.
SafeBreach Inc., which was founded by former LivePerson Chief Security Officer Guy Bejerano and security researcher Itzik Kotler, recently launched its platform. It is designed to enable any size organization to precisely and continuously quantify the risk of breaches from specific attack scenarios, harden infrastructure and achieve greater return on investment from current security investments.
SCA opens Virginia training center
To expand its investment in educating industry stakeholders on how to make payments and identity more secure, the Smart Card Alliance opened a new training center in Crystal City, Va. The National Center for Advanced Payments and Identity Security will be a permanent facility for SCA's live, interactive and dynamic educational activities including workshops, educational courses, briefings, symposiums, and training and certification testing, the alliance noted.
Vantiv rolls subsidiaries into single brand
Vantiv Inc. took steps to consolidate subsidiaries Mercury Payment Systems and Element Payment Services into the single Vantiv Integrated Payments brand. In addition to providing the two entities' distinct offerings, the Vantiv Integrated Payments brand will include other partner and merchant benefits including faster funding, better merchant reporting, access to American Express OptBlue, deeper connections to the card brands, and the enhanced Vantiv Advantage Partner Program.
ACI reveals retail survey findings
In a survey of 200 retail industry professionals at the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention and Expo, ACI Worldwide found that payment security is a core area of concern for retailers. Additional findings included sluggish EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) readiness, avid mobile app interest, and growing digital channel sales. "Regardless of the channel, our survey results demonstrate that payment security is a core area of concern, particularly around tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE)," said Lynn Holland, Vice President, Product Line Manager, ACI Worldwide.
Aite reports on CNP Fraud, 3DS
In a climate of heightened awareness after several large data breaches, the Aite Group LLC released an Impact Note based on interviews with 31 executives on the global rise of card-not-present (CNP) fraud due to the U.S. chip card migration. Participants included global merchants, issuers, payment networks, processors and 3-D Secure (3DS) vendors. Findings indicate a renewed interest in 3DS e-commerce authentication.
DH issues blockchain recommendations
DH Corp., a provider of technology solutions to financial institutions globally, released Five Things Blockchain Must Get Right to Realize its Full and Transformative Potential, a white paper showcasing five things the banking industry must get right with regard to blockchain technology for it to transform the payments landscape. Key considerations outlined in the paper include finding and addressing the right problem and retaining the transformative potential of this technology, especially in light of any new regulations that may be introduced.
"Many banks have realized the potential for blockchain technology to modernize their infrastructure and processes, and are now developing and testing capabilities," DH stated. "This points to growing confidence that blockchain technologies will transform how financial services – and particularly payments – are conducted and delivered."
Javelin releases latest identity fraud findings
The 2016 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, revealed an increase in identity fraud victims of 3 percent (13.1 million consumers) in the United States in the past year. It also revealed a 6 percent decrease in the amount stolen. The study found the rise of EMV has already had a significant impact on fraudster behavior and doubled the incidence of new account fraud.
Mercator speaks to secondary gift card markets
Customers Reselling Gift Cards: Benefits for Retailers, a new research note from Mercator Advisory Group, provides an analysis of the secondary market for retailer-issued gift cards. The note examines the size of the market, major players and actions that issuers should consider if they wish to benefit from opportunities in this new market. Highlights include information on consumer awareness, brand implications, business models, specialty sites and retailer benefits.
O Alliance studies retail
According to a study from The O Alliance titled Retail Transformation Underway: Achieving Customer-Centric Commerce, nearly 70 percent of retailers are struggling to evolve from an omnichannel model to one that truly puts the customer front and center. The finding was revealed as part of The O Alliance's industry study and research report, created in partnership with Revmetrix, which also uncovered five other key strategies necessary to drive the transition.
Bluefin chooses CDE
Bluefin Payment Systems LLC partnered with audited encryption service organization CDE Services Inc. CDE will join Bluefin's list of point-to-point (P2PE) key injection facilities for the company's Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standard-validated P2PE devices and provide deployment services to Bluefin clients and partners. "Merchants now have two national key injection and device fulfillment options with Bluefin, which is an industry first," said Ruston Miles, Chief Innovation Officer at Bluefin.
FuturePay offered by Shopify
FuturePay Inc., an online payment option that enables shoppers to buy now and pay later, partnered with Shopify to allow Shopify merchants to customize online stores to cater to new types of online shoppers, create new revenue streams and increase average cart size. Merchants using Shopify will benefit by providing their customers with a customer-friendly financing option that works elegantly on any device, the companies noted.
Maverick, Lime Light integrate
Maverick BankCard Inc. and Lime Light CRM joined forces to enable payment processing for online marketing businesses. Maverick stated it helps facilitate e-commerce businesses with efficient, economical and reliable card processing and electronic payment services. Lime Light CRM said it offers online advertisers around the globe sophisticated, high-level customer relationship management to manage their campaigns and offers.
Moki teams with Mimo
Moki Mobility Inc. reported that it formed a strategic partnership with Mimo Monitors, combining Moki's tablet-based kiosk control capabilities and Mimo devices to provide those in the retail and corporate spaces an affordable, fully managed commercial-grade way to deploy large fleets of tablet-based kiosks and displays. Retailers can purchase a low-cost device that is purpose-built to withstand the day-to-day rigors demanded from a tablet-based kiosk or display in retail or other settings, the companies added.
MShift, Team One expand mobile network
MShift Inc. reported that it is working with Team One Credit Union to expand its AnyWhereMobile Mobile Payment Network in Michigan. Merchants enrolled range from gas stations to restaurants to retail and service establishments. "With its patented payment system, which combines account transfers with ACH aggregation, AnyWhereMobile is able to satisfy the needs of both customers and merchants that are not met with existing merchant ACH-based payments programs today," MShift said.
NACHA selects HighRadius
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association identified HighRadius as a Preferred Partner for cash application automation. NACHA's Preferred Partner Program identifies leading providers and innovators that work with the organization to better advocate for technological advancements for the industry. NACHA said that improving cash application automation is one of the key needs businesses have expressed to the association through its corporate relations program.
One Step, Springboard form alliance
One Step Retail Solutions teamed with Springboard Retail to begin offering its cloud-based retail management software. One Step Retail Solutions provides events, seminars, white papers, webinars and other educational services to retailers; it also serves as a value-added reseller of POS systems and ancillary products, the companies noted. "Springboard Retail is an excellent end-to-end, cloud-based retail management solution that we look forward to offering to the multichannel retailer," said One Step founder and CEO Scott Kreisberg.
Shoptelligence adds strategic partners
Shoptelligence added three new strategic partners at the National Retail Federation's Big Show. New partnerships include technology provider Confiz, digital business company ThoughtWorks Inc. and software-as-a-service provider XOMNI. "Our partners play a critical role selling and deploying our technology, and our roster of world class partners helps extend our benefits to the retail community across the globe," said Shoptelligence CEO Laura Khoury.
Blackhawk buys NimbleCommerce
Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. acquired NimbleCommerce, a digital commerce platform and network for promotions. NimbleCommerce also enables merchants and brands to manage their own prepaid offer and gift card programs or resell through a network of retailer and publisher branded sites. The acquisition adds hundreds of new distribution points encompassing media outlets, deal websites and other publishers to its e-commerce platform, Blackhawk said.
Executive group acquires CoreCommerce
CoreCommerce, a cloud-based e-commerce platform serving thousands of clients in more than 22 countries, was acquired by a group of entrepreneurs and business executives, CoreCommerce reported. Matt DeLong, founder of CoreCommerce, worked with Peter Marcum, Managing Partner of Dev Digital LLC, to assemble a group of executives to take CoreCommerce to the next level. "This investment allows us to further invest in the platform and bring in new talent, which will in turn bring more value to our clients," DeLong said.
Heartland gains Beanstalk
Heartland Payment Systems Inc., one of the nation’s largest payment processors which itself is being acquired by Global Payments Inc., disclosed it has acquired privately held Beanstalk Data LLC, a provider of customer engagement platforms for restaurants in the United States. Heartland stated the acquisition allows it to help restaurants seamlessly integrate their customer relationship management systems and marketing and engagement programs with Heartland's POS and e-commerce solutions.
Rambus picks up Bell ID, Ecebs
Rambus Inc. acquired Smart Card Software Ltd., which includes Bell Identification Ltd. and Ecebs Ltd. As part of this acquisition, the advanced mobile payment platform developed by Bell ID and the smart ticketing platform created by Ecebs, will be incorporated into the Rambus Cryptography Research Division. Rambus said it expects the acquisition to be accretive to pro forma earnings within the first 12 months.
NACHA elects seven
NACHA added four new and two re-elected directors to its board of 19. The following new and re-elected directors will serve three-year terms: Michael Bellacosa, Richard W. Burke Jr., Kevin J. Christensen, Michael Fossaceca, Craig T. Vaream, and Uma Wilson. "Those elected to serve on the NACHA board, representing financial institutions of all types and sizes, help us ensure that the ACH network continues to evolve to meet the needs of their customers," said Janet O. Estep, NACHA President and CEO.
Connor joins Alpha Card
Michael Connor joined the management team at Alpha Card Services. As Vice President of Finance, he will provide the strategic direction for the finance department and oversee all corporate planning, reporting and taxation. Connor will work with other members of the management team and key stakeholders to establish objectives, both long term and short term, and provide the metrics the organization will use to validate that they are achieved, Alpha Card noted.
Johnson advances at Mercator
Alex Johnson, who joined Mercator in 2015, has assumed more responsibility at the firm. "It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that Alex Johnson will be leading the Credit Advisory Service for Mercator Advisory Group," stated Robert Misasi, Mercator CEO. Johnson, who has more than a decade of experience in financial services, will continue to closely follow and analyze regulatory and technology changes affecting issuers, acquirers and payment networks.
USAT assigns Maxwell
USA Technologies Inc. appointed Leland "Lee" Maxwell as interim Chief Financial Officer. Maxwell replaces J. Duncan Smith, who recently left the position. Maxwell is a senior financial executive with more than 30 years of business experience and is a certified public accountant. He served as the company's Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from 1997 to 2003. He is also Board Chair and co-founder of the DMAX Foundation.
Moffett assumes lead role at W.net
Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W.net) hired Lisl Moffett as its new Executive Director. Moffett brings more than 18 years of global nonprofit association leadership to W.net, the organization stated. She is responsible for W.net's membership and sponsorship development, as well as all program design and delivery. "The leaders and members of W.net have built a strong organization, and we are positioned for a great period of growth," Moffett said.
Polito appointed by TransMark
TransMark Funding LLC hired industry specialist Jennifer Polito as the company's Director of Business Development. According to TransMark, Polito is nationally known for her work in the credit card processing and merchant cash advance industry. "We are pleased to bring on such an experienced and aggressive business personality as Jennifer to lead our merchant cash advance business," said TransMark Vice President Lance Stevens.
YapStone adds execs
YapStone Inc. expanded its executive management team with the hiring of key executives, including Debra Tenenbaum as Chief People Officer, Amir Sunderji as Chief Risk Officer, Saran Mandair as Vice President of Production Operations and Site Reliability, and James Collom as Vice President of Engineering. YapStone further reported that it will hire approximately 100 new employees in 2016.
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