The Electronic Transactions Association welcomed its incoming class of 2021 ETA Young Payments Professionals Scholars. The year-long program is designed to prepare young payments professionals for leading roles at the ETA and throughout the payments industry. Jodie Kelley, CEO of the ETA, stated, "We are excited to work with this year's scholars to further their connections within the industry and look forward to collaborating with the group to create programming that will bring their perspectives to the forefront of the industry."
Visa Inc. scuttled plans to acquire fintech Plaid under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ is characterizing the move as a win for consumers and businesses. Not surprisingly, Visa and Plaid put a different spin on the decision. "We believe the combination of Visa with Plaid would have delivered significant benefits," said Al Kelly, Visa Chairman and CEO. "However, it has been a full year since we first announced our intent to acquire Plaid, and protracted and complex litigation will likely take substantial time to fully resolve."
On Jan. 4, 2021, the Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (Wnet) welcomed newly elected members to its board, executive committee and president's advisory council. As the organization enters its fifteenth year, its growing membership includes men and women committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in payments and fintech, Wnet representatives stated. In addition, Wnet recently hired its first chief executive officer, Wendy Holliday, M.Ed., CAE, to support and expand the organization's mission.
Holiday eGift spend rose 40 percent in 2020, according to Blackhawk Network's BrandedPay Post-Holiday Spending Report, published Jan. 21, 2021. Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing and corporate brand at Blackhawk, stated she expects digital sales to remain strong, especially in the first quarter of 2021, as shoppers take advantage of online sales. "As consumer behavior continued the rapid, digital migration, gift card programs are no exception," she said. "This is a huge win for retailers, as gift card recipients show up ready and excited to use them."
Mastercard and Visa want to make contactless payment acceptance a no-brainer for businesses, particularly small merchants. Mastercard is launching a first-ever U.S. deployment of Cloud Tap on Phone, a cloud-based platform that turns any NFC-enabled Android smartphone or tablet into a contactless payment acceptance device. Mastercard said it is partnering with leading acquirer Global Payments Inc. and the payment gateway firm NMI to support Tap on Phone payment acceptance by Computer Engineering Group, a California-based IT services firm.
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