Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Since March 2009
The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than 2 1/2 years. More people out of work either found jobs or gave up looking and were no longer counted as unemployed. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.6 percent, down from 9 percent in October. The rate hasn't been that low since March 2009, during the depths of the recession. "Something good is stirring in the U.S. economy."
Debit Fees War Continues; Retailers Sue Fed
11/28/11 Omaha World Herald
Retailers won a big victory last summer when the Federal Reserve halved the fees that banks and credit card companies were charging them to process debit card transactions. For some retailers, however, that was not enough. Last week, trade groups representing retailers, convenience stores and grocers filed a lawsuit against the Fed, asserting that the board's debit fee rules still allowed banks to capture too much money from debit card purchases.
Online Payments Shifting from Debit to Credit Cards, Report Finds
Assuming new Federal Reserve Board rules regulating debit card interchange stand, total U.S. consumer payments volume from online use of credit cards will climb 63% during the five-year period from 2011 to 2016, while debit card online-payment volume will rise by just 2%, according to Javelin Strategy & Research’s latest Online Retail Payments Forecast report. “After several years of declining use, credit cards are poised for resurgence,” Beth Robertson, Javelin director of payments research, said in a Nov. 28 press release.
For ISOs, The List Of Tasks Grows Longer
Attention to detail is becoming increasingly important for ISOs as a complex industry becomes even more demanding. It seems the list of tasks screaming for attention has grown dramatically in the past couple of years. First, the Internal Revenue Service established requirements for reporting merchant credit card sales and merchant classification codes for the 2011 tax year, and acquirers must supply an accurate Tax Identification Number for each business in their database.
First Data Releases Black Friday SpendTrend®
11/30/11 First Data
First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Black Friday 2011 compared to Black Friday 2010. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations. Enticed by earlier store openings, consumers responded by spending more. Significant spending actually started Thanksgiving Day, in advance of Black Friday. Retail year-over-year dollar volume growth on Thursday-Friday was 6.3% and transaction growth was 7.3%.
Acquirers Can Expect a Very Merry Christmas If Trends Hold
11/30/11 Digital Transactions
If the best present for a merchant acquirer is more transactions to process, 2011’s Christmas has already arrived. Various reports from acquirers, payment processors, and research firms indicate that electronic transaction volumes are up sharply over 2010’s levels despite the gloom that still colors most economic news. Dallas-based Chase Paymentech, the leading acquirer for Internet merchants, so far is seeing a 40% increase in electronic-commerce transactions and a 26% increase in online charge volume over 2010 for the holiday season beginning Nov. 1.
Bricks-and-Mortan Stores Aim to Nail Down Sales Tax
11/24/11 The Washington Times
It’s a scenario all too familiar to retailers: A customer walks in, asks to see a product, discusses it at length with the sales staff, and then pulls out his cellphone. Jason Brewer, vice president of communications and advocacy for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, explains what happens next: “He uses his smartphone to take a picture of the bar code on the back of the item, and then, right in front of the sales person, he checks prices and orders the item online.”
Dodd-Frank Bill has a Murky Future
With Rep. Barney Frank’s retirement, Democrats are anxious about losing one of the most vocal and forceful advocates for his namesake Wall Street reform law. Republicans are salivating at the chance to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, which they’ve demonized as “job-killing” regulations. And if Republicans hold on to the House next year and take control of the Senate, there could be a full-blown effort in 2013 to repeal the landmark Wall Street law — without former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Frank around to defend the law.
Geithner Vows to Protect, Implement Dodd-Frank
12/01/11 American Banker
Efforts by members of Congress to block appointments to key oversight positions, put forth legislation to repeal the entire law or critical pieces of it, or use cost-benefit analysis as a roadblock with the aim of weakening Dodd-Frank Act are doomed to fail, he said. "We are going to fight to preserve them," said Geithner speaking before a conference hosted by the Financial Oversight Stability Council. He said the financial reforms being implemented by regulators are "sensible and essential."
Big Banks Get Bigger While the Smaller Banks Disappear
11/28/11 Wall Street Pit
The FDIC released data on the state of the banking industry last week. And, we see that the size and number of the bigger banks increase while the size and number of the smaller banks continue to decline. Let’s look at the number of banks in the United States first. The number of banks in the United States dropped by 61 from June 30 to November 30 leaving only 6,352 banks still in existence. Note that the FDIC closed only 26 banks in the third quarter of 2011.
U.S. Retailers Meet Forecasts
12/01/11 The New York Times
Retailers’ midnight openings last week brought in customers, most big chains said they were pleased with their Black Friday sales, and the November revenue increases at stores open at least a year came in just where analysts had expected, reports showed Thursday. But the important question — how retailers’ profit margins were affected by their Thanksgiving weekend promotions — remained unanswered. And several retailers warned that they would be discounting even more in December.
Cyber Monday Spending Jumps 33%
11/29/11 Internet Retailer
Online sales yesterday increased 33% compared with a year ago, according to IBM Corp.’s SmarterCommerce unit that tracks data from 500 retailers. Last year consumers spent a record-setting $1.03 billion online on the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, which is also known as Cyber Monday, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc., which has not yet reported sales from yesterday. "Cyber Monday was once again the big winner for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season."
Holiday Mobile Payments Volume Takes Off - Up 500% Over Last Year
11/26/11 Seeking Alpha
Thanksgiving proved to be a lucrative day for online retailers. IBM reported online Thanksgiving 2011 sales were up 39 percent over 2010, with mobile shopping on the rise. eBay (EBAY) and PayPal are seeing similar trends. PayPal Mobile just announced a 511 percent increase in global mobile payment volume when compared to Thanksgiving 2010. There was a more than350 percent increase in the number of global customers shopping through PayPal mobile on Thanksgiving 2011 compared to last year.
In 2015, Will Credit Cards and Banks Cash In on Black Friday?
11/25/11 The Motley Fool
There's a quiet revolution taking place among payment services; and if you're not looking, you'll miss the fact that it's sprouting in -- of all areas -- Des Moines, Iowa. By the time you're done reading, you, too, may think it's possible that credit card companies will be facing serious competition by the time Nov. 27, 2015 (Black Friday) rolls around. Before getting to the revolutionary technology I want to tell you about, let's do a quick primer on how credit card and other payment systems work.
Is PCI Skimping On Skimming?
PCI does not address skimming at your point-of-sale (POS) devices, especially those self-service areas that are not under constant control of a clerk or manager. I think it should and now may be the perfect time to make a change in your POS practices and PCI itself. Although this may be the season of sharing, that should not include sharing your POS devices with the bad guys.
MasterCard Makes Its First Mobile Payments Investment in mFoundry
11/30/11 All Things Digital
MasterCard has made a strategic investment in seven-year-old mobile banking start-up mFoundry. The investment marks MasterCard’s first in the mobile payments space, and follows similar moves by both Visa and American Express. Neither company is releasing terms of the round, but mFoundry said MasterCard was the lead investor. Intel Capital, Fidelity Information Services and Motorola Mobility also participated. Previous investors include PayPal, Bank of America and Ignition Partners.
MasterCard and Western Union Partner to Fuel Growth of Electronic Payments
MasterCard and The Western Union Company today announced a global agreement that will make electronic payments, including prepaid cards and money transfers, more efficient and convenient for consumers around the world. Today, an estimated 2.5 billion adults worldwide are financially underserved, and within the United States, more than a quarter of the adult population is excluded from the financial mainstream.
Visa Introduces www.v.me
11/30/11 Yahoo! Finance
The .ME Registry and Visa have announced www.v.me as the online destination for V.me by Visa, Visa’s digital wallet and global acceptance mark. V.me by Visa will be a simple and secure way to pay online as well as in person, with PC, tablet, and mobile devices using Visa and non-Visa accounts. www.v.me is the destination for consumers, merchants and developers who wish to participate in Visa’s digital wallet.
Click here to check out www.v.me
Dwolla Waives 25-Cent Fee for Transactions under $10
Dwolla, the online, location-based, social, and mobile payment platform supported by The Members Group (TMG), announced today that it will no longer charge its 25-cent transaction fee for payments of $10 and below. Removal of the fee is predicted to be particularly popular among merchants that deal in small-ticket transactions, as well as in-app purchases found in many mobile applications. Dwolla is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its national rollout today.
FTNI Meets KV Supply’s Aggressive Timeframe for Credit Card Processing
Financial Transmission Network Inc. (“FTNI”), a provider of industry leading receivable management solutions, today announced that has completed the conversion of all KV Vet Supply Inc. (d.b.a. KV Supply) credit card payments to its award winning ETran Receivables Management platform. KV Supply, a leading supplier of pet and equine supplies to consumers and veterinary clinics throughout the US, continues to search for better ways to serve its growing customer base.
Google Wallet Point Man at Citi Leaves for Post at Daily Deal Site, LivingSocial
12/02/11 NFC Times
Dickson Chu, who headed the Google Wallet program at U.S.-based Citigroup, has left the bank to take a newly created post as senior vice president for merchant solutions at daily deal site LivingSocial. Chu was instrumental in forging Citi’s partnership with Google, which puts a Citi-issued mobile credit card supporting MasterCard PayPass in the Google Wallet.
Green Dot Buying Small Utah Bank
Prepaid card company Green Dot Corp. is buying a small bank in Utah, an acquisition that will allow it to streamline its business. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved the company's $15.7 million purchase of Bonneville Bancorp in Provo, Utah. The bank will be renamed Green Dot Bank and will eventually issue the company's prepaid cards. The prepaid cards issued by Green Dot function much like debit cards but are not linked to bank accounts.
USA Technologies Inc. No Longer Accepts MasterCard Debit Transactions
12/01/11 Vending Marketwatch
USA Technologies is still working with MasterCard to secure a competitive debit interchange rate for the small-ticket market. “We want to accept MasterCard debit, but at a rate structure we can keep our customer’s processing rates intact,” he said. “The elimination of MasterCard debit acceptance is a loud message from the vending community that MasterCard’s approximately 250 percent increase in debit card processing fees for a typical $1.50 vend purchase is not acceptable.
Newtek's SB Authority Index Up .23% for October 2011
Newtek Business Services, The Small Business Authority, announced the release of the SB Authority Index for October 2011 reaching 109.18 points. The SB Authority Index is up .23% from September 2011. The slight increase was led by Newtek's proprietary merchant processing volume and retail sales. President and CEO, Barry Sloane said, "We are seeing mixed signals from the economy as certain segments are soft and some segments are firming while holding steady. Clearly consumer spending remains an illuminated spot as Americans addicted to shopping continue to spend."
Vantiv Introduces First Open Loop Prepaid Program
Vantiv, LLC (formerly Fifth Third Processing Solutions, LLC) one of the nation's leading full service payment solutions providers, introduced today its first prepaid program, offering general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards. The MasterCard® cards can be branded by participating financial institutions and used anywhere MasterCard is accepted in the United States. "Our Financial Institution Services and Merchant Services clients need to meet evolving customer demands."
Acculynk, Major E-Commerce Merchants form International Internet PIN Acceptance Consortium
11/30/11 The Paypers
Online PIN-debit technology provider Acculynk and major e-commerce merchants have formed the International Internet PIN Acceptance Consortium which is set to enable cross-border online payments by establishing Acculynk’s PaySecure as the standard for processing internet PIN-debit transactions internationally. Acculynk has set up the Consortium to collaborate with networks and financial institutions in target markets to prioritize the integration of PaySecure.
Time is Money with Launch of First Ever Contactless Payments Wristwatch
The saying that 'time is money' has become a reality with the launch of Watch2pay, the UK's first ever prepaid contactless wristwatch, enabled with MasterCard® PayPass™ contactless technology to allow consumers to simply 'Tap & Go™' to make fast, secure payments for up to £15 within seconds. MasterCard has worked closely with watch manufacturer LAKS and issuer Vincento to bring this latest innovation to British consumers who will now be able to tap their wristwatch against a contactless reader.
Billing Disputes Main Cause of Card Complaints to CFPB
11/30/11 Credit Union Times
Billing disputes, interest rates and identity theft are the biggest reasons for complaints about credit cards filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency said Wednesday. The CFPB said it had received 5,074 complaints about credit cards during its first three months of operation. Of those, 13% were related to billing disputes, 11% concerned APRs and interest rates and 10.8% were related to identity theft, fraud and embezzlement
FDIC 'Problem' Banks Decline Again
11/23/11 Bank Info Security
The number of banks listed on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s "problem list" has declined for the second consecutive quarter. Problem banks that made the list went from 865 during the second quarter of 2011 to 844 in Q3, a sign that the economy is showing improvement, says James Chessen, chief economist for the American Bankers Association. "The considerable slowdown in bank failures and continuing decline in the number of troubled banks is a positive sign."
New Cisco Global Cloud Index Projects Cloud Computing Traffic to Grow 12-Fold by 2015
In the inaugural Cisco® Global Cloud Index (2010 – 2015) issued today, Cisco estimates global cloud computing traffic will grow 12-fold from 130 exabytes to reach a total of 1.6 zettabytes annually by 2015, a 66 percent compound annual growth rate. 1.6 zettabytes is approximately equivalent to: 22 trillion hours of streaming music, 5 trillion hours of business Web conferencing with a webcam and 1.6 trillion hours of online high-definition video streaming.