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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2016 • Issue 16:01:02

Industry Update

The Green Sheet, Inc.RETAIL BREIFS

  • The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcased several next-generation revenue tools, including one from Delivery Agent Inc. Through its proprietary Shop TV t-commerce technology, fans can engage with and transact directly from music, advertisements and television using a mobile device, personal computer or the TV itself. Demos featured an in-ad engagement for Toyota as well as in-show shopping for fans of Discovery Channel's Shark Week TV series.
  • Another CES 2016 highlight takes the guesswork out of shopping for beauty and medical enhancement products. The ModiFace Mirror HD platform delivers high-definition simulations of the effects of makeup, skin care, anti-aging, eyewear and other personal products as viewers glance into an actual mirror. Beauty counters and medical offices are betting that fewer mistakes will lead to happier customers.
  • Making its debut at CES was GoSend Commerce, a platform developed by Delaware-based global shipping service provider GoSend Inc. Realizing that just 1 percent of U.S. retailers sell internationally, the new platform is geared toward any-sized retailer who wants to transition into the global market. The platform is said to deliver the tools and shipping rates that most large retailers already have at their disposal.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ANNOUNCEMENTS

Alpha Card expands

Eight-time Inc. 5000 honoree Alpha Card Services LLC took steps to double its customer service team. The company said it recruited seasoned Fortune 1000 customer service professionals to ensure it is able to meet growing demand. "A focus on customer experience goes hand-in-hand with good business and has always been a core value of ours," said Lazaros Kalemis, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Card.

CardReady challenged by FTC, State of Florida

The Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida charged CardReady LLC with credit card laundering and illegally facilitating a nationwide telemarketing scheme purporting to offer debt relief. "Our investigation went beyond the telemarketers who swindled consumers out of their money," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We also stopped the credit card processing operation that hid their illegal transactions."

CheckAlt launches new division

CheckAlt Payment Solutions Inc. opened a new Merchant Services division, which will offer a variety of credit card and other electronic payment processing solutions for small and midsize businesses. The division will also provide a white-label program for financial institutions seeking a processing program for their clients that helps maximize relationship value and promotes additional growth to their bottom lines, CheckAlt noted.

FTC to host PrivacyCon event

The FTC will host the inaugural PrivacyCon event, which will feature 19 presentations of original research on important consumer privacy and security issues by leading academics from universities and think tanks from around the world. The conference will also include discussions with thought leaders from academia on the policy implications of the research being conducted, as well as original research on consumer advocacy being conducted by industry-level organizations.

FTNI honored as tech leader

Financial Transmission Network Inc. reported that it was recognized as a leading software and technology provider by Food Logistics magazine, and this is the first time the company and its ETran solution have earned FL100+ recognition. "ETran has proven to be a valuable asset for our clients and partners across the food and beverage industry, enabling them to significantly streamline accounts receivables and payment processing operations on a single platform," said Kurt Matis, President and CEO of FTNI.

Harbortouch, Mercury earn accolades

Harbortouch was selected as a 2016 Best Channel Vendor by Business Solutions Magazine. The company earned this designation in both the Payment Processing and POS Hardware categories. Mercury Payment Systems was also named a 2016 Best Channel Vendor by Business Solutions Magazine for the eighth consecutive year. The awards recognized both companies for providing exceptional value to business channels.

IFAN launches mobile-friendly program

IFAN Financial Inc. launched its Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured POWER by IFAN MasterCard Prepaid Card program, which is linked to the IFAN Mobile Wallet through the IFAN Financial Payment Platform. According to IFAN, the solution offers access to cash and merchant services worldwide at any location that accepts MasterCard debit cards in addition to the MasterCard Zero Liability Policy, which protects customers against loss or theft throughout the world.

First Nasdaq Linq blockchain transaction

Nasdaq reported an advance in the application of blockchain technology: its Nasdaq Linq blockchain ledger technology was used to complete and record a private securities transaction, marking the first of its kind using blockchain technology. Chain.com, an inaugural Nasdaq Linq client and blockchain developer, documented its issuance of shares to a private investor using Nasdaq's blockchain-enabled technology.

PayPal promotes holiday charity contributions

In conjunction with introducing the PayPal Holiday Giving Tracker, PayPal Inc. stated that $857 million was raised globally for charities through its platform during the 2015 holiday season from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, 2015. This year-end charitable giving was driven by 7.24 million people from 183 countries and supported 258,759 charities around the world.

Source Technologies earns perfect marks

Source Technologies reported its Self-Service BillPay kiosk software received a 100 percent on Veracode's SecurityReview program, which inspects technology vendor software code for security flaws. "Our Self-Service BillPay kiosk helps retailers safely automate in-store bill payments, giving their customers an easy, secure way to pay bills without having to wait in long lines for an employee to take their payment," said Keith Hamilton, CEO of Source Technologies.

Toast closes $30 million round

POS company Toast Inc. closed $30 million in Series B funding. The financing round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures) and private investors. The company will use the funds to fuel further hiring, product innovation and customer success. "We've been growing 4X year-over-year and are excited to continue investing in great people, great products, and great customers," said Chris Comparato, Toast CEO.

TransNational opens Denver office

TransNational Payments expanded its market presence by opening its first Colorado-based office in Denver in January 2016. Headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., TransNational noted that it has experienced healthy growth through previously opened offices in Tampa Bay and Orlando, Fla. The company said it views the Denver vicinity as an opportunity to develop business operations in a fast-growing city.

Visa Checkout continues market penetration

Visa Inc. reported that Starbucks, Walgreens, NFL Shop, HSN and Match are now among the merchants taking advantage of Visa Checkout's digital payment delivery capability. Visa expects Walmart.com will begin supporting Visa Checkout in 2016.

"Delivering a seamless payment experience for our customers is a priority for us," said Ryan Records, Vice President of Starbucks Global Card, Commerce & Payment. "Integrating Visa Checkout as a way to reload your Starbucks card in our world-class digital platforms is a great way to provide our customers with the reload options that are most convenient and relevant to them."

Visa also noted that more than 10 million consumer accounts and 600 financial institutions in 16 countries have signed up to use Visa Checkout since its launch 18 months ago. "According to new research from comScore, Visa Checkout is more effective than other checkout options at driving conversion, which means that shoppers who start a checkout process are more likely to complete it, when using Visa Checkout," Visa stated.

The Green Sheet, Inc.RESEARCH

Bluepoint issues white paper on checks

Bluepoint Solutions Inc. released a new white paper, Cheating With Checks: An Update on the Changing Check Fraudscape. The publication consolidates findings from the Federal Reserve, the American Bankers Association, Celent LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and other industry leaders. It reviews the latest technologies designed to prevent check fraud. Areas studied included the use of shared data and the consolidation of multiple vendors and systems into one solution across multiple capture points.

Equinix predicts 2016 digital trends

In Equinix Inc.'s 2016 industry predictions, the firm forecasted a number of industries will experience major change in the coming year. Equinix believes this will largely be driven by the information technology (IT) transformation underway, in particular the combining of new payment platforms and big data with technologies such as location-based services. Other 2016 Equinix predictions include a greener Internet, increased impact from the Internet of Things and a reduction in IT growth barriers due to interconnectivity.

First Data releases Holiday 2015 SpendTrend

First Data's Holiday 2015 SpendTrend Report, released Jan. 8, 2015, revealed that 20.2 percent of all holiday shopping is now occurring online, a segment that has seen steady growth in recent years. Using insights gleaned from transaction data from 1.3 million U.S. merchant locations, First Data also found that retail sales were up 3.3 percent for the full holiday season. "The sales growth was a marginal increase over 2014's year-over-year growth of 3.2 percent," First Data noted.

Krish Mantripragada, Senior Vice President, Information & Analytics Solutions at First Data, said that shoppers were spending an average of $74.68 per purchase. "The frequency of transactions, however, may have offset the lower ticket prices, which resulted in overall healthy growth for the full season," Mantripragada added. Online, shoppers were inclined to spend more at checkout, with purchases averaging $125.72 per transaction compared with $69.64 at brick-and-mortar locations, the company said.

Mercator analyzes debit card security

Mercator Advisory Group's new report, Consumers and Debit in the U.S.: Heightened Security Concerns, reveals that while overall debit card usage in the United States is holding steady, young adults and high-income earners are shifting away from debit card use. Usage by both demographic segments declined to a seven-year low in 2015. "Concerns about security, particularly online, as well as lack of rewards are potential inhibitors to greater debit card use," stated Karen Augustine, author of the report and Manager of Primary Data Services at Mercator Advisory Group.

ShopKeep reports on 2015 merchant trends

Cloud-based POS and business management solution ShopKeep released new data highlighting trends seen in 2015 from across its merchant base. The study revealed daily activity of ShopKeep small business merchants and also provided insights regarding ShopKeep merchants' interactions with their POS systems. Key trends included peak selling and customer service times, as well as retail, quick service restaurant (QSR) and other trends among small merchants.

The Green Sheet, Inc.PARTNERSHIPS

CheckAlt, NuSource team up

CheckAlt stated it will serve NuSource Financial LLC as its ATM deposit processing and reconciliation solution provider. NuSource delivers ATM services to over 700 financial institutions across 20 states including placement, maintenance, outsourcing, equipment sales and remote management. The CheckAlt Solution will enhance service offerings through the processing and consolidation of items received via image-enabled ATMs, CheckAlt added.

Checkpoint, Microsoft collaborate

Checkpoint Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. worked collaboratively to bring Checkpoint Radio-Frequency Identification Merchandise Visibility solutions to the cloud, enhancing them with Microsoft analytical tools. The resulting cloud-based merchandise visibility solution, Sense + Respond, provides multichannel retailers with a flexible, fast-deployment approach for gathering real-time insights and predictive analytics, the companies stated.

#h2Jackson Hewitt, AmEx offer tax options

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and American Express Co.'s American Express Serve will offer a new tax refund option to Jackson Hewitt clients, the companies reported. The solution is a full-service, reloadable prepaid account that provides faster access to refunds, along with value-added money management tools. "With American Express Serve, we can get refunds to our clients faster and with fewer fees, and offer smart ways to make their tax refund work harder for them, especially those living outside of the traditional banking system," said David Prokupek, Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Hewitt.

MasterCard, Coin innovate together

MasterCard Worldwide partnered with Coin to make MasterCard payments available on multiple fitness bands, smart watches and other wearable devices. The companies said the collaboration expands MasterCard's introduction of its Commerce for Every Device program to enable any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable item to become a payment device. Coin will provide the hardware and software technology that integrates with MasterCard's Digital Enablement Service.

Quatrro, Emailage tackle fraud, chargebacks

Quatrro Processing Inc. formed a strategic partnership with Emailage Corp. devised to empower both parties to leverage their combined service offerings to provide end-to-end fraud and chargeback solutions to merchants of all sizes. The integration provides merchants a comprehensive evaluation of customer profiles through big data analytics and encompasses order review management, order chargeback propensity evaluation, post chargeback management and reconciliation services, the companies said.

Samsung, MasterCard work together

MasterCard introduced the Groceries by MasterCard app available through Samsung's new Family Hub refrigerator. The first shopping app integrated into a refrigerator, MasterCard Groceries connects consumers to leading grocers in a convenient and efficient setting – their kitchen, the partners stated, adding that the Groceries app redefines the family grocery shopping experience by allowing households to share, build, manage and modify their grocery lists and shopping carts throughout the week.

SmartCard Marketing teams with Loyalty SuperStore

SmartCard Marketing Systems Inc. partnered with Loyalty SuperStore Inc. to create a value-added exchange of offers and incentives for real-time redemption. The points-based solution is offered through the SmartCard Marketing payment platform; the loyalty, benefit and incentive programs are provided by Loyalty Superstore. The partnership benefits retailers and consumers in North America and opens a new stream of capabilities for worldwide markets, the collaborators said.

Synchronoss, OnStar offer in-car m-commerce

Synchronoss Technologies Inc. partnered with General Motors' OnStar to facilitate merchant transactions and cloud intelligence for connected cars. Synchronoss' Integrated Life platform will be established as the interaction hub for merchants who will supply value propositions to OnStar customers. OnStar will use the Synchronoss Integrated Life platform to deliver context-based in-car offers and services to subscribers, the companies stated.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ACQUISITIONS

Benseron, HBS merge

Benseron Information Technologies Inc., a restaurant and hospitality POS software company, merged with payment processing and merchant services provider Hybrid Business Solutions. The deal is a sign of expansion for Benseron and will result in Benseron's POS customers receiving extremely competitive credit card processing rates as well as seamless integration with HBS' suite of products, Benseron stated. Both companies will continue to operate under their former names.

Blackhawk purchases two

Blackhawk Network reported that it acquired GiftCards.com LLC and OmniCard LLC adding to its expanding e-commerce business portfolio. About the GiftCards.com purchase, Talbott Roche, Blackhawk President, said, "We're excited to add another gift card website to our roster. By merging our current e-commerce offerings and the distinctive assets offered by GiftCards.com, we'll be able to deliver the broadest selection of gift cards to current and future customers."

Early Warning completes clearXchange purchase

On Jan 12, 2016, Early Warning Services LLC, a leader in fraud prevention and risk management, completed its acquisition of clearXchange, the largest financial institution-led digital payments network in the United States.

"Integrating Early Warning's industry-leading fraud prevention services, authentication capabilities, and bank network with the scope of clearXchange's digital payments solution will create the largest, most secure real-time payments ecosystem in the U.S.," said Paul Finch, CEO of Early Warning. "Consumers, businesses, and government agencies will now be able to seamlessly send and receive payments with unparalleled speed, accuracy, and security through our network. We are eliminating friction from real-time payments."

EchoSat gains Heartland's SmartLink

EchoSat Inc. reported that it acquired the SmartLink division of Heartland Payment Systems Inc. With the addition of Heartland's SmartLink Secure Payment Gateway (SPG), EchoSat will serve more than 21,000 merchant locations in the petroleum/convenience store and supermarket industries. EchoSat and Heartland also entered into an agreement for Heartland's sales network to promote the EchoSat SPG, PaySafe SPG, SmartLink Platinum and managed network services solutions, the companies noted.

FAPS buys Chase Commerce business

First American Payment Systems L.P. recently purchased the entire portfolio of ISO accounts and associated contracts from JPMorgan's Chase Commerce Solutions. With 25 years of experience in providing sales and operational support for ISOs, First American will be providing a comprehensive product suite, strategies for growth and award-winning customer service to the former Chase Commerce ISOs and their merchants, FAPS said.

The Green Sheet, Inc.3APPOINTMENTS

Lee to lead new W.net board

The Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (W.net) revealed its 2016 board of directors will be led by incoming chair Chris Lee, President of North American Strategic Partnerships at Moneris Solutions. Executive board officers include 2016 President-Elect Gloria Colgan, President of PYMNTS.com; Treasurer Theresa Gongora, Head of Corporate Strategy and Planning at Total System Services Inc.; Secretary Carol Grunberg,Head of Payments Partnerships at Google Inc.; and Immediate Past-President Linda Rossetti, President of Bluestone Payments LLC.

Lindsey joins Security Card Services

Security Card Services LLC hired Michael Lindsey as Executive Vice President of its Merchant Outreach Center. Lindsey has more than 26 years of financial services, payments and operational expertise, and comes to SCS from BancorpSouth where he most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer. During his time at BancorpSouth, Lindsey grew the call center from 16 to 110 employees, SCS said.

Signifyd elects McKiernan

E-commerce fraud protection services provider Signifyd elected Bill McKiernan, founder of Visa subsidiary CyberSource Corp., as a Signifyd board member. The company said it will utilize McKiernan's expertise in the payments and fraud management space, as well as his experience with building and growing startups, as it continues to accelerate growth and expand the team. "We're thrilled to have Bill on our board, as his knowledge of e-commerce and fraud will benefit our business as a whole," said Rajesh Ramanand, CEO and co-founder of Signifyd.

NAB appoints Parkinson

North American Bancard hired Jim Parkinson to serve as its Chief Information Officer. In his new position, Parkinson will be responsible for the company's IT operations, including IT engineering, project management and IT products and strategy. NAB noted that Parkinson has extensive experience with digital projects and strategies and in leading IT teams, most recently at Valassis, and formerly during his 24-year tenure at Sun Microsystems.

Pires joins JetPay subsidiary

JetPay Corp. named entrepreneur and human resources expert Michael Pires as CEO of its JetPay Payroll Services subsidiary. Pires takes over the leadership role from Nick Antich, who founded A D Computer (now JetPay Payroll Services) 44 years ago. Antich recently decided to retire and identified Pires as the clear choice to lead the company into the future.

Wenz, Teja transition roles at Vogogo

Risk management and payment processing specialist Vogogo Inc. said it transitioned its Chief Operations Officer, Tom Wenz, to a new role as Vogogo's Chief Financial Officer. Wenz replaces current part-time CFO, Karim Teja, who is shifting to a consulting role. Wenz, a certified public accountant with a Masters degree in business administration, brings a wealth of CFO and industry experience to his new role, the company said. end of article

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