As retail analysts crunch incoming data from 2021 Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, reports indicate digital commerce may be up by more than 10 percent from last year, according to Alon Livneh, content writer and podcaster at Riskified.
Describing 2021 as a watershed year for global ecommerce, Livneh offered hopeful ecommerce guidance in Tis (Still) the Season to Be Jolly: Holiday Season Prep for a Disrupted eCommerce Market. The report predicted ecommerce, especially digital gift cards, would be a primary holiday shopping channel for consumers and fraudsters alike.
Mastercard updated its guidelines for direct marketing, continuity and subscription merchants classified as MCC 5968 in Mastercard's merchant category code list.
Revised rules require "high-risk negative option billing merchants" to be transparent and responsive with customers enrolled in free trials and subscription services, according to Mastercard's Security Rules and Procedures – Merchant Edition, published Feb. 9, 2021, and a subsequent bulletin.
Mastercard representatives noted that consumers who elect to try a free sample may not realize or remember that recurring billing begins when a trial period ends.
The National Retail Federation reported that 2021 Black Friday sales exceeded expectations, with 179.8 million shoppers making in-store and online purchases over the holiday weekend. The NRF expects these increases to continue, based on data culled from the association's October and November surveys, NRF analysts stated.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay acknowledged soft openings made it difficult for retail analysts to measure 2021 holiday spend, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals beginning as early as October and November.
Payments giant Square revealed it changed its corporate name to Block, effective Dec. 10, 2021. The move follows on the heels of Facebook's decision to rename itself Meta. The renaming trend in tech began back in 2015, when Google renamed itself Alphabet. The name changes are said to be a way to better represent what the firms do. But it remains to be seen if any will gain traction with consumers, who, for example, still use the names Google and Facebook.
"The change to Block acknowledges the company's growth," Square said in a press release. "Block is an overarching ecosystem of many businesses united by their purpose of economic empowerment, and serves many people – individuals, artists, fans, developers and sellers."
A class action lawsuit filed Nov. 23, 2021, could impact a broad network of sub-ISOs and merchant level salespeople associated with Priority Payment Systems LLC and Priority Technology Holdings Inc. In the complaint, a large class of merchants, represented by the law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC, accuses Priority representatives of enrolling customers under false pretenses and subsequently inflating contracted fees.
Plaintiffs further assert that Priority ISOs used Priority's standard merchant application to sign up new customers, many of whom were not aware that they were entering into an agreement with Priority and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. Injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs includes refunded fees and rescinded contracts.
Visa launched its Global Crypto Advisory Practice to help clients and partners “advance their crypto journey.” Visa works with more than 60 crypto platforms, which coupled with its global network of consultants and product experts, positions it well to help financial institutions evaluate strategies and opportunities in the crypto market, the company said.
“We’ve seen a material shift in our clients’ mindset in the last year, from a desire to explore and experiment with crypto, to actually building a strategy and product road map,” said Carl Rutstein, global head, Visa Consulting and Analytics.
A survey of 6,000 financial decision makers conducted by Visa found 18 percent would be likely or very likely to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto-related products in the next year.
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