The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 25, 2008 • Issue 08:08:02
ETA surveys need for certification
The Electronic Transactions Association conducted an online survey of payments industry professionals to determine the feasibility of a professional certification or other type of program for merchant level salespeople (MLSs). Data collection ended Aug. 23, 2008.
"This study [was] to determine if there is a need for certification, if employers see any benefits for their staff, and if MLSs think that this could make them more marketable or enhance their professional development," said Rori Ferensic, ETA's Director, Education and Professional Development.
"We want[ed] to know what the industry wants and needs ... in terms of additional professional development activities."
Responses were submitted anonymously; results will be posted on the ETA's Web site in the near future.
Retailers mum over data breach
When federal authorities recently revealed that a computer data theft ring stole more than 40 million credit card numbers from nine retailers in the largest U.S. consumer data robbery ever, only four of the chains reportedly involved had alerted their customers. TJX Companies Inc., BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., DSW Inc. and Dave & Buster's Inc. divulged their breaches shortly after they were discovered.
Boston Market Corp. and Forever 21 Inc. said they never told customers because they hadn't confirmed that data was stolen from them. Office Max Inc., Barnes and Noble Inc. and Sports Authority Inc. would not comment on consumer data disclosures.
Deadline for antitrust claims looms
The deadline to receive settlement benefits in the antitrust litigation case against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide (formerly Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International) was extended to Sept. 15, 2008. Thereafter, all unclaimed benefits and uncashed checks related to this litigation will be forfeited.
In 1996, retailers and retail trade associations filed a class action lawsuit, dubbed the "Wal-Mart suit," against Visa and MasterCard to get the card brands to abandon their "honor all cards policy."
The now terminated policy ensured that if a business accepted one type of MasterCard or Visa card product, then it must accept all of their card products. Specifically, merchants had to honor the card brands' signature debit cards, which incur higher fees than PIN debit cards.
In 2003, the plaintiffs won a $3 billion settlement against the two card companies.
BlueStar awards lucky winners
BlueStar, a distributor of POS, data collection, radio frequency identification and wireless mobility products, recently gave away $50,000 in business solutions.
Ziggy Jankowski of ABS Point of Sale Inc. accepted the $25,000 BlueStar 12-month business-development revitalization package. Steve Ludlum of Mpact Inc. received a $15,000 Fusion business-development marketing services package. Grace Ann Meyn of Automated Retail Systems, Mike Whalen of Trinity Business and Tim Gobber of NBE Solutions won solutions bundles.
DCS enables in-store issuance, marks milestone
Dynamic Card Solutions LLC, developer of the CardWizard instant issue and PIN selection software application for financial institutions (FIs), said the solution can now be used by FIs and their retail partners to instantly issue chip-based Visa and MasterCard co-branded credit cards at retail stores. Once approved at in-store kiosks, customers receive personalized store credit cards that can be used immediately.
Additionally, the company recently signed its 400th customer - SAFE Federal Credit Union. DCS is working with the South Carolina-based credit union to implement a program that instantly issues Visa debit cards at branch locations.
Heartland enjoys record income, and more
Heartland Payment Systems Inc. reported record second quarter net income of $11.5 million. Total revenues in the second quarter were $395 million, an increase of 18.3 percent compared to the second quarter of 2007. Card processing volume increased 29 percent to $17.1 billion, including $2 billion in volume from acquisitions. In other HPS news, the company integrated alphanumeric remittance identification tagging into its remote deposit capture solution to make it easier for businesses to handle check payments. The tagging ties a check payment to a corresponding remittance document or file for streamlined accounting.
In addition, HPS teamed up with the Arkansas Community Bankers Association to provide a full suite of payment solutions to its member banks. The ACB is a trade association serving 148 banks with almost $50 billion in assets. As the ACB's exclusive referral partner, HPS can provide the association's member banks with credit, debit and prepaid card processing, gift cards, and payroll and check management services - from deposit through recovery of bounced checks.
MerchantAccount.com up for grabs
MerchantPortfolios.com will be the exclusive representative for Merchant Account Co. in the sale of the MerchantAccount.com domain name and associated Web site.
The MerchantAccount.com Web site, established in 1996, has not been updated in many years. But according to MerchantPortfolios Managing Partner Lane Gordon, it recently ranked in the top 30 search results for the keywords "merchant account" on Google and in the top 10 results on Microsoft Corp.'s network Web site www.msn.com. For details, visit www.merchantportfolios.com.
Angels grace Paymo
Paymo Inc. (formerly mTN Global) raised $5 million in seed financing. Paymo connects online merchants with more than 3 billion mobile phone users worldwide, enabling digital content and service purchases to be charged to mobile phone bills. The financing was provided by angel investors in the United States and Europe and will be used to accelerate product development and marketing.
Radiant expands reach
Four new resellers will sell and implement retail technology provider Radiant Systems Inc.'s product. One Step Retail Solutions, one of the largest retail-service providers in the United States, is now fully certified by Radiant. Soon to be certified are Canadian Retail Solutions Inc., Cognitive IT Solutions Inc. and RVP Business Systems.
Strawhecker turns 2
Payments industry consulting firm The Strawhecker Group celebrated its second anniversary. The company reported it has completed more than 215 projects for more than 125 different clients, played an advisory role for 27 merger and acquisition transactions with a total value of more than $1.1 billion, and performed risk management and operational diagnostic reviews on 12 of the Top 50 U.S. acquirers.
Check network has record month
SVPCo, the paper and electronic check exchange business of The Clearing House Payments Co. LLC, reported the SVPCo Image Payments Network posted record monthly volume in July 2008, showing almost double the growth of the same period in 2007. This includes a one-day milestone of 38 million items processed, totaling $56.7 billion, July 7.
Other comparisons to 2007 include average daily volume of 22.6 million items, an increase of 94.2 percent; 498.5 million check images, a 103 percent increase; and $787.8 billion in dollar value, an 80.4 percent increase.
AT&T, CheckFree enhance e-billing
AT&T Inc. and CheckFree Corp. have expanded their relationship. Customers can now receive and pay AT&T wireless phone bills through more than 3,000 FI Web sites, where they can sign up online to receive e-bills from AT&T; the AT&T eBill service lets them access statements online, customize payment options and view archived account histories.
CardinalCommerce adds Amazon
CardinalCommerce Corp., a provider of payment services, added Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Payments to its e-commerce platform, Cardinal Centinel. Cardinal's Centinel technology enables the Amazon Payments platform, which provides a complete e-commerce checkout and payment solution.
Charge Anywhere, Intermec to go everywhere
Charge Anywhere LLC POS Software will soon be available on the Intermec CN3 rugged mobile computer so as to create a secure wireless credit card terminal. The initiative allows merchants to process credit card payments in any environment using a Payment Application (PA) Data Security Standard- (DSS) validated secure payment application.
The combination of features is designed to enable merchants to capture signatures on the device and review and print them at a later time.
CyberSource, Trustwave join forces
CyberSource Corp., a provider of electronic payment and risk management solutions, and Trustwave, provider of on-demand data security and PCI-compliance management solutions, have partnered to provide solutions to Trustwave and CyberSource merchants in the United States and Europe. A complete offering of payment security technologies, services and consulting from both companies is set to help merchants streamline validation of PCI compliance.
Elavon, Regency extend agreement
Elavon Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, renewed its agreement with Regency Hotel Management Co. and affiliates to provide payment solutions and services in more than 50 Regency-owned and managed properties across nine states.
Encore pens deal with Vasco
Encore Payment Systems, an electronic payment processing provider, will use Vasco Data Security International Inc.'s Digipass G0 3 and Vacman Middleware to provide secure remote access to its critical data. Vasco is a software security company specializing in authentication products.
Gemalto customizes photo cards
Digital security provider Gemalto N.V. will provide its CardLikeMe service to PlasticNow Inc., allowing consumers to customize their PlasticNow prepaid MasterCard-branded cards with the photos of their choice.
Gemalto has been the exclusive supplier of payment cards and personalization services to PlasticNow, one of Canada's leading prepaid card solutions providers, since 2006.
Merchant e-Solutions gets Green
Merchant e-Solutions Inc. partnered with GreenBank USA to provide GreenBank and its merchants a payment gateway, processing platform and Web-based reporting system. GreenBank has more than 67 branch locations throughout Tennessee and is reportedly one of the largest independent commercial banks in its market.
ControlScan and Miva get tough on PCI
Miva Merchant Inc., an e-commerce software and solutions company, and ControlScan Inc., an e-commerce security solutions provider, struck an alliance to help merchants meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) DSS requirements. Miva Merchant customers will now have access to ControlScan's PCI compliance solution, which includes on-demand security scanning, the PCI self-assessment questionnaire and security certification seals.
Grameen, Obopay to deliver banking to world's poorest
Obopay Inc., service provider for mobile phone payments, and Grameen Solutions Ltd., a company recognized for promoting economic and social development through information and communications technology, will collaborate to use mobile technology to deliver banking services to 1 billion of the world's poorest people by 2018.
Working initially in India and Bangladesh, the initiative will provide access to affordable financial services, including cross-border remittances, money transfers, payments, and savings and credit accounts.
Payvision partners with Plug'n Pay
Payvision, an international payment solutions provider for the card not present marketplace, brokered a strategic alliance with Plug'n Pay Technologies Inc., a provider of payment and digital fulfillment solutions for Internet merchants. Payvision will provide Plug'n Pay multicurrency and domestic global acquiring capabilities.
ITEX strikes a bargain
ITEX Corp., a marketplace for cashless business transactions, acquired the media trading system, client base and advertising credit assets of Intagio Corp. for approximately $750,000. The transaction included $4 million in media inventory and 300 client relationships.
IP Merchant to walk the MegaPath
MegaPath Inc., a California-based provider of managed Internet protocol data, voice and security services throughout North America, acquired IP Merchant Solutions for an undisclosed amount. Through this acquisition, MegaPath is gaining IP Merchant's PCI compliant Payment Processor Extranet service to provide its retail, restaurant and hospitality customers a cost-effective solution for accessing leading credit card processors.
Coleman to direct EPX
Electronic Payment Exchange, provider of integrated, end-to-end payment processing solutions, appointed John Coleman its Director of Bank Alliances. Coleman will assist banks and ISOs in growing merchant portfolios and increasing revenue by providing EPX's portfolio evaluation services, side-by-side sales, product demonstrations, and bank and merchant training support and services.
UDCC changing the guard
After 15 years of fruitful business partnership, Lonnie D. Gaddy III is retiring from Universal Debit & Credit Corp. Gaddy and Carlos Gavidia, UDCC's current Chief Executive Officer, co-founded the ISO in 1994. Gavidia will assume the title of President, and UDCC will acquire Gaddy's share of the business.
Kieley joins AmEx
John J. Kieley accepted a position with American Express Co. as Director of Chargeback and Dispute Policies within the company's Global Network Services division. He will be based in Phoenix.
Raymond to lead product development
TNB Card Services, a credit union-owned provider of electronic payments processing services and agent issuing solutions, named Mitch Raymond Senior Vice President, Product Development. Raymond comes to TNB from Citigroup, where he most recently served as Vice President, Senior Operations Manager.
San Nicolas goes online
Randy San Nicolas joined the business development and consulting team of On-Line Strategies Inc. San Nicolas will seek new business in the middle market segment of issuing and acquiring.
He joined OLS from Major Payment Systems LLC where he served as a Vice President of Operations and Business Development.
Fleet One hits the road
Fleet One LLC, provider of fuel cards and fleet-related payment solutions to businesses and government agencies, added the following professionals to its Over The Road sales force and account management teams: John Shorter, Account Manager; Jonathan Allen, Account Executive; Christopher Davis, Account Executive; and Joy Teague, Account Executive.
Stevenson is NPC CFO
Steve Stevenson is the new Chief Financial Officer of National Processing Company. He will report directly to Tom A. Wimsett, NPC President and CEO.
Stevenson is a 20-year veteran of the payment processing industry and most recently served as the Executive Vice President and CFO for NOVA Information Systems Inc. (now Elavon Inc.)
- According to The U.S. Department of Labor, almost 12 percent of jobs available in the United States are in the retail sector. Additionally, the retail trade industry projects 11 percent job growth from 2007 to 2008.
- A report released by research firm NPD Group Inc. indicated sales of men's apparel in the United States rose 3.1 percent from January 2008 to July 2008; women's wear sales fell 6.5 percent during the same period.
- The U.S. Census Bureau noted that U.S. retail and food services sales for July 2008 were $384.6 billion, a 2.6 percent increase over July 2007. Total retail sales in the United States in 2007 were $4.49 trillion.
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