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Atlanta-based law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC disclosed Aug. 2, 2017, that two class action lawsuits have been filed against EVO Payments International and EVO Merchant Services. New Beginnings v. EVO Payments International LLC, et al. and Central Florida Liquidation and Sales v. EVO Payments International LLC et al. were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
EVO is reported to be the largest privately held payment processor and acquirer for merchants, ISOs, financial institutions, government organizations and multinational corporations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Plaintiffs in both class actions allege that privately held EVO has misstated its merchant billing policies and has been overcharging merchants. They additionally claim that EVO's payment processing fees and rates are disproportionately higher than those represented on the company's merchant application.
A class action lawsuit filed Aug. 4, 2017, against Wells Fargo & Co.'s merchant services division is the latest in a series of grievances against the company. Plaintiffs in Patti's Pitas LLC and Queen City Tours v. Wells Fargo Merchant Services LLC accuse the bank of coercive sales tactics and hidden fees. The prosecution claims Wells Fargo misstated fee policies, even after restructuring its card processing division in response to customer complaints.
"As has become obvious in recent months, Wells Fargo had a corporate culture which emphasized revenue and profit over customer wellbeing," stated E. Adam Webb, Managing Partner at Atlanta-based Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC. "In April of 2017, internal reports surfaced that confirmed that this culture had infected the Merchant Services division. We have seen evidence of this through the experiences of our clients, who have learned the hard way that profit trumps promises at Wells Fargo."
Queen City Tours and Patti's Pitas, both customers of Wells Fargo Bank, claimed they were not advised of three-year contract terms or $500 early termination fees; they also allege the defendant failed to honor contractual fee structures.
On the heels of news that between 475,000 and 500,000 ATMs are now operating in the U.S. market, the ATM Industry Association published an industry blueprint for next-generation ATMs. The blueprint was ratified by an international consortium of ATM deployers, vendors, suppliers and service-providers. The milestone in the U.S. market came after years of stagnant growth, ATMIA noted, citing the likely reasons as a struggling economy, Windows updates and a complex EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) migration. "These numbers confirm what we have suspected in recent months," said ATMIA U.S. Executive Director, David Tente. "There is growing recognition of the important role that ATMs play in our payments system, and alongside of it, in a new wave of branch transformation that is sweeping through the banking industry."
According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, U.S. startups were nearly twice as likely as firms in business for more than five years to be adding jobs and growing revenues (43 percent versus 22 percent, respectively). At the same time, more startup executives admitted to being discouraged from applying for financing (27 percent versus 13 percent), despite facing perceived financial shortfalls (69 percent versus 54 percent).
"Startups are the primary drivers of U.S. job growth, and their success is essential to a healthy economy," said Claire Kramer Mills, Assistant Vice President and Community Affairs Officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "Although financing is important for all companies, it's especially critical to these young firms who need funds to weather initial costs and grow."
While banks and online lenders were the most common sources for financing cited in the Fed's 2016 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Startup Firms, alternative finance methods such as accounts receivable factoring are poised for growth, at least in other global regions.
At a time when the U.S. EMV migration is nearing completion, reports of chips separating from plastic payment cards triggered heated debates among payments analysts and others in the electronic payments sphere. Some consumers and merchants, formerly convinced that EMV technology would nearly eliminate counterfeit card fraud, expressed concern that missing EMV chips could present a new and severe threat to the payments chain due to the levels of personally identifiable information on the chips' embedded microprocessors.
Major news outlets around the country poured gas on the fire, sounding the alarm about falling chips and claiming fraudsters can use a separated chip to create a perfectly functioning counterfeit card. In a tweet, SecurityMetrics (@SecurityMetrics on Twitter) shared a link to an ABC news story that detailed the vulnerability, along with the statement, "Any card can be compromised if the chip falls off!"
Reporter Jason Knowles, of Chicago ABC news affiliate WLS-TV, said he was not aware of exactly when his smart card chip and credit card separated. "I didn't realize for days because I was still allowed to swipe my card at many places with the magnetic strip," he said. "When I called Chase, they told me I had to get a new card with a new number because if someone found my chip intact, it could be placed on another card."
Just months after calling upon Chinese app developers to join in a proposed class-action lawsuit, Beijing-based Dare & Sure Law Firm, representing 28 app developers, filed a complaint with China's National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The Aug. 8, 2017, grievance report accuses Apple of monopolistic behavior related to how it manages its mobile App Store in China.
Among the issues cited, delisting from the App Store without adequate justification appeared to be a major point of contention. Under increased scrutiny by the Cyberspace Administration of China, Apple delisted about 60 popular virtual private network services on July 29, and in June, removed tens of thousands of apps from its Chinese App Store as part of a planned global purge, announced by Apple in 2016, of outdated or low-quality offerings.
Also cited in the complaint were alleged restriction of access by Apple to third-party payment providers in its App Store, the 30 percent commission it levies on in-app purchases and the perception that Apple imposes a higher standard on Chinese developers with regard to copyright infringement.
The proposed Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017, introduced Aug. 1, 2017, would create minimum security requirements for U.S. government, Internet-connected devices. Senate Cybersecurity Caucus co-chairs Mark R. Warner, D-Va., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., are sponsoring the bipartisan legislation, which would require government-supplied IoT devices to be patchable, updateable and protected from known vulnerabilities. Security analysts are stressing the need for similar initiatives in the private sector.
In an interview with The Green Sheet, Vanita Pandey, Vice President of Product Marketing at ThreatMetrix, said the IoT has opened new frontiers of growth and cyberthreats, creating "a third industrial revolution." Pandey warned it will only be a matter of time before a large-scale breach impacts mobile and IoT devices. As cybercriminals exploit connected devices and human failings with familiar attack patterns such as phishing and ransomware, advanced forms of detection will be critical to protect political and personal assets, she added.
"Humans continue to be the greatest vulnerability for corporations," Pandey stated. "Today, a large number of attacks come from cybercriminals looking to exploit known vulnerabilities that have never been patched despite patches being available for months, or even years, as evidenced by the WannaCry attacks, a concern the proposed legislation addresses."
An online survey of more than 400 IT cybersecurity professionals revealed threat detection as the top cybersecurity challenge among 62 percent of those surveyed. ControlScan, in partnership with Crowd Research Partners and the Information Security Community on LinkedIn, conducted the in-depth survey and published findings in the 2017 Threat Monitoring, Detection and Response Report.
"This new research report is timely, because it shows that organizations are missing important opportunities to detect cybersecurity threats before they become business disruptors," said Mark Carl, Chief Executive Officer at ControlScan. "A big part of the problem is that in-house IT teams lack the necessary manpower and, in many cases, the specialized knowledge to effectively defend against today's attacks."
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