The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 22, 2016 • Issue 16:08:02
- Not just for consumers, wearable smart devices are being deployed by retailers in novel ways. The Container Store recently teamed with Theatro to equip employees with voice-controlled wearable devices in place of existing walkie-talkies. With virtual assistant technology built in, store employees can quickly access inventory availability, status of pickup orders and product information to deliver prompt and accurate customer service.
- Since its public debut as a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy, IBM 's artificial intelligence engine Watson has been in high demand in retail and other venues. Macy's, for example, piloted a program leveraging Watson's know-how to stand in as a virtual customer assistant. Shoppers logging in to the Macy's "storehelp" browser can speak to Watson on smartphones just as they would in seeking assistance from human customer service staff.
- Another established retailer, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., enlisted artificial intelligence under the gift concierge acronym Gwyn (Gifts When You Need), which is also powered by IBM's Watson. Described as an intuitive gift concierge, Gwyn helps guide shoppers in identifying the perfect floral arrangement or gourmet gift selection within the ecommerce retailer's extensive suite of brands and products.
Buyatab named award finalist
Buyatab Online Inc. was shortlisted in the Best Gift/Incentive Card or Program category for the upcoming 2016 Emerging Payments Awards. The Emerging Payments Awards were established to recognize the finest people, programs and innovations in payments technology. Buyatab provides electronic gift card services to a variety of industries, including the retail, hospitality, hotel and restaurant sectors. It was honored in 2015 for its digital and mobile gifting solution. This year, the company is being recognized for auto-reload functionality for gift cards and an integrated mobile purchasing experience.
CSI creates Power2Change foundation
CSI Enterprises Inc. formed the Power2Change foundation to enable it to give more strategically and better organize, focus and track the impact of its philanthropic efforts. "We are passionate about helping our communities throughout the world and providing opportunities for underserved children to grow and succeed in life," said Juliann Pless, Senior Vice President at CSI and co-Chair of the CSI charitable giving committee.
Everseen gains investment funding
Everseen Ltd. secured funding from Marcol Group and other investors to tackle the growing problem of product loss and shrinkage in the global retail industry. Everseen offers POS analytics through the use of video and artificial intelligence. "This investment and Marcol's resources and support in general will help us accelerate our global expansion," said Alan O'Herlihy, founder and Chief Executive at Everseen.
FactorTrust releases LendProtect
FactorTrust launched the LendProtect Account Management Triggers solution. It offers lenders a proactive approach to portfolio management, particularly for accounts holding the highest risk. LendProtect triggers are used by lenders to automatically monitor for changes or events occurring on a consumer's credit profile. Lenders customize specific risk thresholds to receive a unique look into their portfolios, gauging both performance and potential, FactorTrust said.
FAPS call center recognized
First American Payment Systems L.P. has won the Association of TeleServices International's Call Center Award of Distinction for the fourth consecutive year. The award was created 14 years ago to recognize quality in the call center industry. FAPS was selected for its response time, courtesy, etiquette, accuracy, proper call techniques and customer relationship management. "This award highlights our dedication to our merchants and providing them an exceptional customer experience," said Latiffa Sharpe, FAPS Vice President of Merchant Services.
Kiana honored by startup accelerator
Location-based analytics company Kiana Analytics Inc. was named by startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center as the Hottest Company for July 2016. The award recognizes Kiana's rapid company growth. The selection for Hottest Company is based on growth, experience, leadership and execution, as well as relevance for high-demand applications that leverage advancements in mobile, Internet and machine learning, the center noted.
Surge in Mastercard chip card penetration
According to Mastercard, 80 percent of its U.S. consumer credit cards now have EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chips, representing an 88 percent increase in adoption since the October 2015 EMV liability shift. The company also counted 1.7 million chip-active merchant locations on its network, representing nearly 30 percent of the U.S. merchant population and a 374 percent increase in chip terminal adoption since the October deadline.
Mastercard also reported that, in terms of dollars, counterfeit fraud is down more than 60 percent at its top five EMV-enabled merchants. "Mastercard has helped over 150 countries adopt EMV and, time and again, we've seen the same result: significant reductions in counterfeit card fraud," said Chiro Aikat, Senior Vice President of Product Delivery – EMV for Mastercard. "The U.S. is one of the most complex markets in the world and great progress has been made in securing our payments ecosystem in a short amount of time."
NAC asks Visa to rescind new fee
The National ATM Council Inc., a not-for-profit trade association representing the U.S. independent ATM sector, sent an open letter to Visa Inc. requesting that the company rescind, or make optional, its recently introduced ATM Locator Fee for U.S. retail ATM operators. NAC's open letter pointed out that Visa's ATM Locator is not a new service and no charge has previously been imposed upon ATM operators.
The new fee charges retail ATM owners to include their ATMs on Visa's ATM Locator website. This is whether or not the ATM owners want their terminals listed. Visa cardholders can use the locator service to find conveniently located ATMs where they conduct their transactions, and NAC feels that Visa or its card-issuing banks should pay for the service. NAC's open letter also pointed out that other networks also provide ATM locator services that are similar to Visa's with no charges to U.S. retail ATM operators.
PAI recognized as outstanding employer
Payment Alliance International was honored for the second consecutive year by Louisville Business First as one of the best places to work in the Louisville, Ky, area. PAI was one of only five companies named in the large employer category. "Our team brings energy and commitment to what they do each and every day, and it's that passion that drives our business forward," said John J. Leehy III, President and Chief Executive Officer of PAI.
SBA increases technology coalition
The U.S. Small Business Administration added 11 new members to its Small Business Technology Coalition: Bench, Canvas Solutions Inc., Dash Data Inc., Google Inc., Gusto, Intuit Inc., LinkedIn, Paychex Inc., Square Inc., Thumbtack Inc. and Yelp Inc.
The coalition stated, "Technology plays a central role in how businesses today start, operate and grow. Yet the latest research shows that more than half do not have a website, measure the results of their marketing or have a social media account. Only about half use digital tools to help with their business accounting." Thus, the organization is committed to helping small businesses leverage technology as a core driver of growth and differentiation.
The new partners "play a vital role as we work to educate entrepreneurs on the range of resources and technology available to help them connect to customers, scale and conduct business safely anywhere in the world," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Vantiv honored with award of excellence
Vantiv Integrated Payments, a division of Vantiv Inc., was awarded the Vendor Award of Excellence in Electronic Payments at the recent Retail Solutions Providers Association RetailNOW tradeshow. "This honor reflects the commitment to, and value of the partnerships we have with the integrated point of sale ecosystem of software developers and resellers," said Matt Taylor, Group President of Integrated Payments and Emerging Channels at Vantiv.
Influx of tech, FI clients on Visa Direct
Visa Inc. reported that Early Warning Services LLC, Fiserv Inc. and PayPal Inc. joined a growing list of companies using Visa Direct, which enables consumers to transfer funds from a card, bank account or from cash directly to eligible Visa credit, debit and reloadable prepaid accounts. Together, these partnerships represent significant progress in advancing the Federal Reserve's stated goal to bring faster payments to consumers in the United States, Visa noted, adding that the Visa Direct platform is available in more than 200 markets worldwide and can be potentially used to reach over 3 billion consumer card accounts.
Aite issues payment security paper
The Aite Group LLC created a maturity model that focuses specifically on payment security for information technology professionals and ecommerce managers. The company's white paper, Protecting Customers and Reputations: A Merchant Payment Security Maturity Model, offers guidance for organizations at every maturity level, information on the most effective payment security technologies and security profile improvement tips.
ThreatMetrix report shows record increase
As part of its ongoing effort to thwart cybercrime, ThreatMetrix released its Q2 2016 Cybercrime Report. The company noted that its digital identity network detected and stopped 112 million cyber attacks during the quarter, a 50 percent increase from the same period in 2015. The report revealed that the rise in stolen identity credentials available in the market led to an increased level of attacks on new accounts, a 250 percent increase year-over-year.
Technavio tracks mobile payment security trends
Technavio's latest report on the global mobile payment security software market provides an analysis on important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2016 to 2020. According to the report, the top three emerging trends driving the global mobile payment security software market are the introduction of mobile biometrics, multifactor authentication and adoption of multimodal biometrics.
U.S. Payments Forum issues EMV guidelines
The U.S. Payments Forum released the white paper EMV Chargeback Best Practices, providing guidelines on how to ensure proper authorization of transactions, and how to avoid or mitigate invalid chargebacks. The white paper is focused on the appropriate treatment and mitigation of both counterfeit and lost or stolen chip card chargebacks occurring after the liability shift dates for contact chip cards used in attended transactions.
Urban Airship surveys mobile wallet adoption
Regardless of age, gender and location, consumers want to use mobile wallets to communicate with brands about sales, offers, coupons, loyalty programs and more, according to The State of Mobile Wallet Marketing report published by Urban Airship Inc. The company conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 U.K. adults to analyze attitudes, expectations and adoption of mobile wallets. Researchers found that mobile wallets are now among the top four ways consumers prefer to stay updated on sales, offers and coupons.
ClickSure, Transpay partner up
The ClickSure open market affiliate network partnered with Transpay, a cross-border payment platform. The companies noted that with more than 50 percent of ClickSure affiliates preferring to receive commission payouts directly to their local bank accounts, Transpay's platform provides them with a simple, cost-effective alternative to international bank wire and check methods. ClickSure can now deliver payouts directly to affiliate banks in local currencies, further streamlining the process.
Early Warning capitalizes on Mastercard Send
Early Warning Services LLC said it will leverage Mastercard Send to enable U.S. debit cardholders of participating banks to send and receive money in real time through the clearXchange network. The new capability will provide a faster payments experience for clearXchange users and expand clearXchange's overall network reach, the companies stated.
Fattmerchant partners with Dining Alliance
Fattmerchant Inc. signed on with Dining Alliance as its preferred merchant services provider. Fattmerchant now provides payment processing to the alliance's network of more than 20,000 restaurant members across the United States, enabling the restaurants to save thousands of dollars annually in fees, the new partners said.
Gupshup, Sage align to help SMBs
Gupshup created a strategic partnership with Sage Software Inc. in the launch of Sage's chat bot for accounting. The bot, named Pegg, enables users to log expenses, check invoices, track payments and more, simply by chatting with the bot. Pegg represents a new, bot-enabled era in accounting, making business software simpler, easier and better than desktop, web and app versions, according to the companies.
Intelligent, Star integration
Intelligent Point of Sale Ltd. introduced the latest version of its electronic POS app, intelligentpos Version 4.0, and integrated with Star Micronics' cable-free mobile POS printers and combined Bluetooth printer and cash drawer mPOP solution. According to the companies, users now benefit from enhanced software and flexible, cost-saving advantages of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi mPOS printing.
MPS, Cardis partner in parking
Municipal Parking Services, manufacturer of smart parking meters, and Cardis Enterprises International signed an agreement to implement the cost-effective processing of low-value electronic payments into MPS parking meters. The initial rollout will be in Cedarhurst, Long Island, N.Y, followed by full implementation across the United States. The partnership is expected to lower transaction processing costs, boost bottom-line revenue and enable MPS to expand its market, MPS said.
Payscout works with awards foundation
Payscout Inc. partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, an organization dedicated to powering and celebrating public service, as part of the foundation's Champions program. "We are proud to be Jefferson Awards Foundation Champions," said Payscout Chief Operating Officer Juan Sotelo. "We share in the foundation's belief that engaging in social good can drive lasting solutions for our communities."
PROFITsystems, RUPractical.com team up
PROFITsystems, a provider of products and solutions for home furnishings retailers, partnered with payment processor RUPractical.com. RUPractical.com's electronic payment gateway now integrates within PROFITsystems' retail management system, RETAILvantage. "This eases the salesperson's process when taking payment and eliminates human error," said Janice Johnson, RETAILvantage Product Manager.
Verifone reaches charity milestone
Verifone Inc. and The Pennies Foundation, which employs the Pennies digital charity box to collect donations for several charities, reported that they had helped to unlock £1million (about $2.18 million) for charities in the United Kingdom. Retailers using Verifone's devices and managed payment service can enable donations as part of the payment process. "Here we are showing how our products and services can be used to benefit consumers, retailers and charities alike," said June Felix, President Verifone Europe.
Wirecard, savedroid createintelligent app
The Wirecard Group partnered with Frankfurt, Germany-based savedroid to create an app aimed at helping users put money into savings as they go about everyday activities. Wirecard is implementing a virtual Mastercard in the savedroid app and processing payments via an e-money account. The app brings an innovative solution to the market, demonstrating how banking digitization can also provide added value for consumers, according to Wirecard.
Battery merges Bluepoint, Alogent
Battery Ventures, a global investment firm, reached an agreement to acquire Bluepoint Solutions, a privately-owned, financial technology company based in Henderson, Nev. Bluepoint Solutions will merge with Alogent, another financial technology company acquired by Battery Ventures in June. Together, the companies will create a dynamic check-image capture and document-management company focused across all segments of the banking industry.
Blackboard affiliate acquires Higher One
An affiliate of education technology company Blackboard Inc. successfully completed its acquisition of Higher One Holdings Inc. The acquisition will allow for collaboration between CASHNet and the Blackboard Transact business line. CASHNet enables parents and students to electronically pay tuition and fees, and establish customized tuition payment plans. The acquisition adds to Blackboard's campus financial solution portfolio.
CardConnect, FinTech Acquisition merge
FinTech Acquisition Corp. completed the acquisition of CardConnect LLC. The transaction was approved by a vote of FinTech's shareholders on July 28, 2016. FNTC's Board of Directors had previously approved the transaction and recommended that FNTC's stockholders vote in favor. With the closing of the transaction, CardConnect is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of FinTech Acquisition and FinTech has been renamed CardConnect Corp.
Mastercard acquires VocaLink
Mastercard entered a definitive agreement to acquire 92.4 percent of VocaLink Holdings Ltd. for about £700 million (approximately $920 million). VocaLink's existing shareholders have the potential for an earn-out of up to an additional £169 million (approximately $220 million), if performance targets are met. Under the agreement, a majority of VocaLink's shareholders will retain 7.6 percent ownership for at least three years.
Wal-Mart purchases Jet.com
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Jet.com Inc. entered into a definitive agreement for Wal-Mart to acquire Jet for approximately $3 billion in cash, a portion of which will be paid over time. Additionally, $300 million of Wal-Mart shares also will be paid over time as part of the transaction. The acquisition will build on and complement the foundation already in place to serve customers across Wal-Mart's app, website and stores, and positions the company for faster ecommerce growth, Mal-Mart stated.
Berkenbile joins NMA
National Merchants Association appointed Brian Berkenbile to Vice President of Sales and Customer Service. In the new role, Berkenbile will draw from his background in sales and operations to grow the company and retain clientele. He has been an Electronic Transactions Association Certified Payments Professional since 2015 and serves on the association's Payment Sales and Strategy Committee.
Dean tapped by Kount
Kount Inc. welcomed Lisa Dean to its team as Senior Vice President of Sales. Kount noted that Dean, who has extensive knowledge working in sales in the payments and fraud prevention industries, will be responsible for worldwide revenue at Kount, leading the company's sales team as it continues to expand globally. Before joining Kount, Dean was Vice President of Corporate Sales, Americas at ThreatMetrix.
Bancorp strengthens leadership team
The Bancorp Inc. appointed financial services leaders John Leto and Hugh McFadden to the positions of Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Operating Officer, respectively. In addition Pawneet Abramowski, who has been with The Bancorp since 2014, was promoted to Chief Compliance Officer. "These strategic appointments are the first step in defining the future vision of The Bancorp," said Damian Kozlowski, the company's President and CEO.
Nern joins SignaPay | PayHub
Matt Nern joined SignaPay | PayHub as the company's Vice President of Sales. Nern has nearly two decades of payments industry experience, having held leadership positions in both sales and operations. Nern now leads sales directives for SignaPay | PayHub and is responsible for the Partner Sales, Direct Sales and Referral Sales teams. "The sales accomplishments and leadership experience Matt brings makes him a strong addition to the leadership team," said John Martillo, CEO of SignaPay Ltd.
Stone signs with APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer LLC added Bob Stone as its Global Vice President of Engineering. In this role, Stone will spearhead the corporate engineering functions and lead continuous innovation for the company's worldwide product development. Stone is a POS industry veteran with extensive engineering experience in technology, product management and development for POS platforms and payment terminals, the company stated.
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