Three Upbeat Economic Reports Show Recovery Gaining Ground
1/19/12 USA Today
Three economic reports out Thursday showed an economy in which job creation is rebounding and inflation likely peaked last year at a 3% annual rate, giving companies and consumers some much-needed breathing room on the price front. Housing though remains far from a return to health, even though the number of housing starts is edging higher. On the employment front, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week to 352,000, the fewest since April 2008.
Protests Might Remove Acquirers From the Online Piracy Fray
1/18/12 Digital Transactions
The merchant-acquiring industry has been dragged into the fray because proposals call for payment processors to refuse transactions from foreign Web sites engaged in the distribution of copyrighted material held by American individuals or companies without permission. The proposals would empower the U.S. attorney general or even private individuals claiming their copyrights were violated to seek court orders that would shut off an offending Web site’s payment service. Mary Weaver Bennett, director of government and industry relations at the ETA, calls it “the follow the money approach.”
eBay’s John Donahoe Literally Starts Hammering Out the Plan for Mobile Payments
John Donahoe has a hammer, and he’s not afraid to use it. The yellow-handled hammer, which the eBay CEO purchased at Home Depot using PayPal, signals that the company’s plans for entering the mobile payments business has entered the construction phase. In an interview yesterday, Donahoe provided a few details about the company’s Home Depot trial and how it would expand from five to 51 stores across the country over the next week.
Kaplan joins Total Merchant Services as CEO
Total Merchant Services announces that payments industry leader Joe Kaplan has joined the company as its new CEO. Joe Kaplan originally opened Superior Bankcard Service in November 1994 with the belief that first-rate service organizations are built by providing the best customer service in the industry. That philosophy paid off, because in less than one year SBS became the 12th largest non-bank acquirer in the United States. Superior Bankcard Service was part of the Elavon’s acquisition of PMT.
Visa on EMV in the U.S.
1/20/12 Bank Info Security
The Europay, MasterCard, Visa standard, commonly used in most global markets, is coming to the U.S. The sooner issuers, acquirers and merchants initiate migrations, the better, says Stephanie Ericksen, head of authentication product integration at Visa. Visa has set aim on April 2013 and October 2015 as EMV-adoption target dates. And the card brand has created a roadmap and guidelines to help issuers and merchants successfully launch and complete their EMV rollouts.
Suit Threatens Card Networks’ Security Enforcement Regime
In what could turn out to be a landmark legal case for the payments industry, a Utah restaurant is taking it’s merchant acquiring bank to court over fines and penalties imposed over an alleged security breach. The owners of Cisero’s Ristorante and Nightclub, sued U.S. Bank claiming that the financial institution, wrongfully seized money from the McCombs’ merchant bank account to pay $90,000 in fines that Visa and MasterCard imposed after alleging Cisero’s had failed to secure its network and suffered a data breach that resulted in fraudulent charges on customer bank cards.
TSG's Thoughts - Deana Rich, Senior Associate: "This speaks to the bigger issue of how the industry as a whole cannot always educate or communicate to every merchant. It is not the security structure that is bad, the structure is simply a seat belt, it is the lack of education and subsequent fining of the merchant that is the underlying issue."
In Fight Over Piracy Bills, New Economy Rises Against Old
1/18/12 The New York Times
When the powerful world of old media mobilized to win passage of an online antipiracy bill, it marshaled the reliable giants of K Street — the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Recording Industry Association of America and, of course, the motion picture lobby. Yet on Wednesday this formidable old guard was forced to make way for the new as Web powerhouses backed by Internet activists rallied opposition to the legislation through Internet blackouts and cascading criticism, sending an unmistakable message - Don’t mess with the Internet.
ETA Embracing Industry's New Players, President Says
The new president of the Electronic Transactions Association does more than just talk about turning challenges into opportunities. Eddie Myers, the Washington-based trade group’s new chief executive, is working to bring the acquiring industry’s new players into the association’s mainstream. That way, the new executives can benefit from the experience of established leaders, says Myers, who also serves as president and chief operating officer of Payment Processing Inc., a Newark, Calif.-based ISO.
At PayPal, Thompson’s Out — Now Who’s In?
Thompson, who left the Web-focused payments provider in January to become chief executive of Yahoo Inc., helped transform the eBay Inc. unit into a player in mobile and point of sale payments. After a top executive quits, many companies would dodge the question of how they would proceed until a successor has been chosen. But John Donahoe, eBay's chief executive and the interim president of PayPal, was not shy this week about naming names.
EBay Sales Top Estimates as PayPal Gains: San Francisco Mover
EBay Inc. rose after the largest Internet marketplace reported sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, buoyed by a campaign to promote its retail offerings and broader use of the PayPal online-payments service. The stock rose 3.4 percent to $31.37 at 1:50 p.m. in New York, after earlier gaining as much as 5.3 percent. Shares of the San Jose, California-based company had increased 3 percent in the 12 months before today.
Taxicab Drivers Riled Up Over 5% Credit-Card Fee
1/19/12 The Wall Street Journal
May require subscription: San Francisco taxicab drivers are up in arms about being forced to absorb a 5% service charge to process credit-card payments. Rules that went into effect last April shifted the fees from five of the largest cab companies in the city to drivers. Since then, several hundred drivers have protested at City Hall and some say they have been telling passengers they only take cash. Some drivers have begun carrying their own lower-fee processing technology, such as smartphone readers made by Square Inc.
Zappos, Amazon Sued Over Customer Data Breach
1/18/12 ABC News
Online retailers Amazon.com and Zappos.com are being sued in Kentucky by a Texas woman alleging that she and millions of other customers were harmed by the release of personal account information. Officials representing Zappos in Nevada and parent company Amazon in Seattle declined comment Wednesday on the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville.
By 2020, Half of All Visa Europe's Payments Will be Mobile
Visa Europe sees a very mobile future and now predicts that more than half of all Visa payments in Europe will be mobile by 2020. The credit card company shared its prediction as part of a look back at 2011, in which Visa Europe users spent €1.16 trillion ($1.48 trillion), up 14 percent over the previous year. Visa Europe, which exists as a European membership organization that licenses Visa Inc.’s brand and technology, expects 2012 to be a turning point as it starts rolling out its own mobile payment and digital wallet services.
First Data Releases SpendTrend Closed-Loop Prepaid Cards December Analysis
1/17/12 First Data
First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today released its First Data SpendTrend® Closed-Loop Prepaid Cards analysis for the month of December. The analysis tracks U.S. same-merchant activations and redemptions of merchant-branded prepaid cards including spending, gift, incentive and promotional cards. Consumers continued to reload closed loop gift cards in December with reload dollar volume growth at 47.0% and transaction growth at 50.9%.
American Express Reports Fourth Quarter
1/19/12 American Express
American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) today reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.2 billion, up 12 percent from $1.1 billion in the year-ago period. Diluted earnings per share was $1.01, up 15 percent from $0.88 a year ago. Consolidated total revenues net of interest expense were $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 7 percent from $7.2 billion in the year-ago period. The increase largely reflected continued strong growth in cardmember spending and higher travel commissions and fees.
American Express Partners with Lianlian Group; China’s Fast Growing Mobile Top Up Provider
American Express today announced an operating agreement with Lianlian Group which will allow Lianlian Group to use Serve, a next-generation commerce technology, in products and services it develops for its consumer and business customers in China. The Serve platform, which American Express will license to Lianlian Group, is expected to help power a new Lianlian Group digital wallet that consumers can use to top up mobile phone minutes, pay bills and purchase products or services.
TSYS Signs Long-Term Processing Agreement with BancorpSouth
TSYS announced today that it has entered into a long-term agreement with BancorpSouth, a regional bank holding company with $13.0 billion in assets and 286 locations primarily in the southern United States. BancorpSouth provides traditional retail banking services along with credit card, mortgage, investment, insurance, trust and fiduciary services. It has selected TSYS to process its debit card and consumer and commercial credit card portfolios with a conversion scheduled for early 2012. Also, TSYS will support card and statement production and fraud prevention services.
Green Dot Cards and Network President Troughton Quits
Mark will continue to serve Green Dot through the end of January 2012 after which point he plans to pursue new start up opportunities. Previously, the Company's primary revenue divisions underneath Mr. Troughton were led by Kostas Sgoutas (Private Label) and Eric Duerhing (Green Dot Brand). Following Mr. Troughton's resignation, Kostas Sgoutas and Eric Duehring will assume two new Executive VP positions and will report directly to Green Dot's Chairman and CEO, Steve Streit.
Target Suspends Efforts to Sell Credit Card Receivables
Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, temporarily suspended the planned sale of its credit card portfolio and agreed to pay JPMorgan Chase & Co. $2.8 billion to retire 2008 financing. Discussions with potential partners will be revived later this year, the Minneapolis-based retailer said today in a statement. The payment to JPMorgan, along with a make-whole premium, will reduce fourth-quarter earnings per share by 8 cents, Target said.
Another Twist in the Fee Fight
1/14/12 Omaha World Herald
Are you one of those cashless consumers who pulls out plastic to pay for a morning latte? You might want to start carrying some green just in case. Consumers could see more $5 or $10 minimum charge rules — or at least polite requests — when using credit or debit cards this year, as merchants try to cope with an unintended effect of new federal limits on how much card issuers can charge them in so-called "swipe fees."
Bank of America Swings to a Profit
For Bank of America, less is more. Even as the company reported a $2 billion profit in the fourth quarter on Thursday, what was once the country’s largest bank continued to shrink, shedding tens of billions of dollars from its balance sheet and laying off nearly 7,000 employees. The results mark the clearest evidence so far of chief executive Brian T. Moynihan’s view that bigger isn’t better, and Wall Street seemed to agree — Bank of America shares rose more than 2 percent to just under $7 a share.
US Bancorp and PNC Lending Surge
May require free subscription: US Bancorp and PNC, the fifth and sixth-biggest US banks by deposits, reported strong fourth-quarter earnings as the division between Wall Street and Main Street-focused institutions became more pronounced. New lending drove fourth-quarter net income 6 per cent higher year-on-year to $1.4bn, or 69 cents a share at US Bancorp, as net revenue increased by 8.1 per cent to $5.1bn. New loans of $70bn in the last three months of the year and average total loans that rose 5.6% powered the results.
NACHA Launches ACH Messaging Campaign and Microsite to Provide Resources and Encourage Understanding of ACH Network and Payments
The Electronic Payments Association today announced the launch of a new industry resource, its microsite. The microsite – a supplement to the main NACHA.org site – was created to help all payments industry participants develop a common understanding of ACH payments, the NACHA Operating Rules, and the value of the ACH Network. The messaging microsite is a comprehensive, centralized industry resource containing communications tools and information to drive industry adoption and usage of ACH.
Moneris Launches PAYD™, A New Mobile Payment Processing Service
Moneris Solutions® (Moneris), Canada’s largest credit and debit card processor, announced today the launch of PAYD™, offering Canadian small business owners—who have not historically accepted credit card payments—the ability to do so using their smartphone or tablet devices. Moneris’ decision to develop PAYD is in direct response to the needs of a large portion of Canadian small businesses currently not accepting credit card payments.
NRF Forecasts Retail Industry Sales Growth of 3.4 Percent in 2012
1/16/12 Yahoo! Finance
Though stubbornly high unemployment and continued uncertainty over the prospects for job growth will continue to dampen the outlook for industry retail sales growth in 2012, the retail industry will still grow at a rate faster than many other industries. This year, retail industry sales will rise 3.4 percent to $2.53 trillion*, according to the National Retail Federation – slightly lower than the pace of 2011, in which sales grew 4.7 percent. Economists estimate that real U.S. GDP will rise around 2.1 to 2.4%.