Media outlets have used the words "average," "normal," "regular" and "tourists" to describe the civilians who orbited the earth every 90 minutes on a SpaceX Dragon. But there is nothing ordinary about the Inspiration4 crew and its mission commander Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4. The three-day flight, financed and led by Isaacman, splashed down off the coast of Florida on Sept. 18, 2021. Isaacman called Inspiration4 "the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars." He also pointed out that the mission's goal is to raise awareness and funds to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and its efforts to end childhood cancer.
"I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission, and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer here on Earth," he said in a statement. Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, who has sent 14 individuals into space within the last 12 months, shared Inspiration4 updates on Twitter. "Just spoke with Inspiration4x crew," he tweeted during the mission. "All is well."
The U.S. Department of Justice indicted four individuals, including executives of a Los Angeles-based payment processing company, for conspiring to deceive banks into allegedly processing more than $150 million in credit and debit card payments on behalf of 100 sham merchants. Said merchants were engaged in online gaming, debt collection, debt relief, online pharmaceuticals and payday lending, alleged to have been misclassified as legitimate businesses to secure processing services.
Among the indicted was Ahmad "Andy" Khawaja, owner and CEO of Los Angeles-based payment processor Allied Wallet Inc., which specialized in serving online businesses. Also indicted were Allied COO Mohammad "Moe" Diab of Glendale, Calif.; Allied's vice president of operations Amy Ringler Rountree of Logan, Utah; and Thomas Wells, owner of Martin County, Fla.-based Priority Payout, an Allied referral partner. Khawaja and Wells were charged with wire fraud. Diab and Rountree were charged with wire fraud conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy.
Nacha published new guidance on authorizations on Sept. 17, 2021, expanding ACH acceptance into new technologies and channels. The ruling, termed "Meaningful Modernization" enables consumers to authorize future non-recurring ACH transactions by voice or in writing, Nacha stated. Numerous payments industry professionals expressed support for the ruling.
Meaningful Modernization seeks to improve and simplify the ACH user experience by "facilitating the adoption of new technologies and channels for the authorization and initiation of ACH payments; reducing barriers to use of the ACH; providing clarity and increasing consistency around certain ACH authorization processes; and reducing certain administrative burdens related to ACH authorizations," read Nacha's description of the rule. The full description is available at www.nacha.org/rules/meaningful-modernization.
The Electronic Transactions Association hosted its fifth annual Fintech Policy Forum on Sept. 23, 2021. Designed to highlight legislative and regulatory issues impacting payments industry stakeholders, the virtual event brought together policymakers and payment leaders, stated Jodie Kelley, CEO at the ETA. In opening remarks, Kelley thanked event sponsors and the ETA's government relations leadership team for their support, planning and contributions.
Trending topics on the agenda included crypto, open banking, helping the underserved, small business lending, and international payments. "We'll discuss how these developments help increase financial inclusion, and we'll hear from policymakers and industry and SEC executives," Kelley said of the comprehensive agenda, which began with a presentation by Guy Harris, head of merchant services at Bank of America.
Government and industry leaders subsequently discussed ways to help underserved consumers and small business owners survive pandemic-related economic challenges while improving access to financial products and services.
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