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In response to interoperability trends in the financial services sector, Mercator Advisory Group Inc. released guidance on deploying and implementing application program interfaces (APIs). Developing an Appropriate and Sustainable Business Plan for an API Portal, published April 26, 2018, traces the API journey from internal use within an organization to broad deployment among competing enterprises. The European Union has enacted an "open banking" mandate, requiring financial institutions to open their banking portals to fintechs.
Until now, the practice of mystery shopping to measure business metrics internally has been relegated to the automotive, retail, fitness and other merchant segments. Turning the table, The Strawhecker Group recently introduced TruShop, a service that enables merchant acquiring players to objectively evaluate and test how merchants view their brand, products, services, sales and support teams based on TSG merchant engagements. Jared Drieling, Director of Business Intelligence at TSG said, "[W]hat we do is take on the persona of that merchant and we reach out to various payment providers and document that process."
In a survey of 1,794 small business owners, ShopKeep found a slight increase in mobile wallet adoption over a two-year period. In a report titled ShopKeep Small Business Pulse: 2018, ShopKeep evaluated responses from a diversified base of U.S. retail and hospitality customers. Among merchants polled, 50 percent had one to three employees, and 57 percent were female business owners, which survey researchers called "a positive sign considering that women's self-employment rate has historically been lower than men's. This year's findings are at odds with the company's 2016 report in which 42 percent of respondents expected half of all transactions soon to be connected with mobile payment schemes.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 1,579 data breaches were reported during 2017, a significant increase over the 1,093 reported in 2016. To address this critical challenge, Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology solutions, and fraud analytics firm Rippleshot joined forces to create Card Risk Office Fraud Warning, which the partners describe as an early breach detection solution that allows financial institutions to identify potential fraud events 30 to 60 days before network alerts. Is VR commerce the next frontier in payments?
More than 12,000 people converged at the Los Angeles Convention Center May 4 and 5, 2018, to experience VRLA 2018, an expo produced by New Realities Inc. that features next-generation immersive and transformative technology. "People come to VRLA from all over the world to see the latest advancements in VR, AR, and everything related to immersive technology," expo organizers wrote. One advancement featured at VRLA was VR (virtual reality) commerce. And Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown was tapped to give a talk on it at the show. "We view virtual reality ‒ and related emergent technologies, such as augmented and mixed reality ‒ as the next frontier for commerce, and in the same way ecommerce disrupted retail, virtual reality commerce is going to disrupt ecommerce," Brown stated.
Deutsche Bank and the International Air Transport Association, a global airline trade association embarked upon a new joint initiatve. On May 7, 2018, the organizations disclosed plans to test a direct payment scheme that enables consumers to pay airlines from Deutsche Bank accounts. Representatives from both organizations said the pilot reflects the spirit of the European Union's recently revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The PSD2 is regulatory guidance designed to promote innovation and efficiencies in the banking sector.
In a move designed to accelerate release of market-ready solutions by the integrated software vendor community, First Data Corp. strategically combined two companies it acquired last year: CardConnect Corp. and BluePay Holdings Inc. The goal: to enable software companies to more easily integrate secure payment processing within software-as-a-service, mobile and POS applications. Frank Bisignano, Chairman and CEO at First Data, stated, "Combining these two organizations is the natural next step in furthering our momentum in the high-growth ISV space." For the hundreds of ISV partners working with CardConnect and BluePay, the blending of the two organizations is expected to provide added functionality without requiring changes to existing technical integrations, First Data noted.
Wells Fargo & Co. launched Pay with Wells Fargo, a solution designed to simplify mobile payments by consolidating a variety of mobile payment schemes into a single app. Avid Modjtabai, Head of Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation at Wells Fargo, demonstrated the mobile app May 10, 2018, at the company's Investor Day. He described the solution as part of a multipronged effort to transform Wells Fargo's customer experience.
If all goes according to plan, Apple Inc. and The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will release a co-branded credit card and in-store loan offering for Apple customers early in 2019. While neither company agreed to comment, The Wall Journal was informed both parties are in discussions regarding the joint offering and terms and conditions of a potential partnership. For Apple, the partnership would extend its foray into finance through Apple Pay. A joint credit card bearing the Apple Pay brand, provided an agreement is reached, is expected to replace the rewards-card and no-interest financing arrangement Apple forged with Barclays Plc. in 2005. For Goldman Sachs, the move further diversifies its securities' business as the company moves into consumer banking and financing through its Marcus unit.
Broker Fair 2018, held May 14, 2018, was the first conference of its kind for merchant cash advance (MCA) professionals and unsecured small business lenders. Educational sessions, panel discussions and keynote addresses covered a range of topics, from marketing and SEO optimization to syndication, software demonstrations, regulatory issues and business development strategies. In his opening remarks, Broker Fair founder Sean Murray, Chief Editor and Publisher of deBanked, recalled attending numerous conferences that covered algorithms, factoring and traditional lending in depth but sidelined MCA topics. "I asked event organizers, why not include more than one panel on MCA? A lot of them said they didn't think people would be interested," he said.
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