Mar 16th, 2012
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This Day in History 1802
U.S. Military Academy Established
The United States Military Academy--the first military school in the United States--is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Located at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.
Located on the high west bank of New York's Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 6,000 pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection.
Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in congressional action to expand the academy's facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer--later known as the "father of West Point"--and the school became one of the nation's finest sources of civil engineers. Click here to read more.
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With Square in Its Sights, PayPal Debuts Mobile-Payment Dongle - "PayPal Here"
E-payments service PayPal unveiled new hardware for its payments system on Thursday, signaling in no uncertain terms the company’s intent to fight Square — Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s up-and-coming mobile payments company — for the hearts of customers and retailers everywhere. The new hardware, dubbed PayPal Here, is a triangle-shaped dongle that attaches to the smartphone through the microphone jack and reads credit cards. If you’re familiar with Square’s similar device for mobile phones and tablets, PayPal Here essentially performs the same function, and attaches to the device in the same way.
ETA And Visa Sparring Over New Fee Deadline
In a letter ISO&Agent Weekly obtained March 12, Saunders responded to the association, assuring its 450 member-companies the notification time was appropriate. The association did not question Visa’s right to impose the levy, but it opposed the timing, says Greg Cohen, head of the association’s industry relations committee and president of U.S. operations at Toronto-based Moneris Solutions. “We believe the brands should price as they want. It’s a free marketplace,” Cohen tells ISO&Agent Weekly. “But they should give our members a chance to implement the necessary technology and to communicate the situation to our merchants.”
Consumer Prices in U.S. Rose in February as Gasoline Jumped
The cost of living in the U.S. rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline that failed to spread to other goods and services. The consumer-price index climbed 0.4 percent, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after increasing 0.2 percent the prior month, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The so-called core measure, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, climbed 0.1 percent, less than projected.
PayPal's New Mobile Strategy: No Payment Left Behind
It slices, it dices. It accepts checks, electronic payments and plastic cards (by both camera and by swipe). PayPal Inc.'s new mobile technology may seem like overkill, but the company says every payment counts when trying to convince consumers and small merchants to use handheld devices. Mobile payments are a hard sell, even for the dominant online alternative payment provider. Studies often find that consumers have reservations about using phones for payment, either due to security concerns or just a lack of comfort.
Visa, Mastercard See Rise in Payment Volume in February
3/15/12 The Street
Visa and Mastercard, the two largest credit card processors in the world, have reported continued growth in their payments volume in February. Visa's total payments volume in the U.S. rose 10% in February from a year ago. Growth in credit card payments volume was 15%, while debit card payments volume grew by 7%. Cross border volume was also up by 20% and the number of transactions processed by Visa increased 11% globally.
Why Durbin May Prove To Be a Prepaid Blessing for AmEx And Discover
3/13/12 Digital Transactions
With banks struggling to find their way in the new Durbin era that puts controls on their debit and prepaid card operations, the door is opening wider for American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services to win new prepaid card business, according to two attorneys familiar with payment card interchange issues. Chris Daniel and Tom Brown, both partners at Paul Hastings LLP, spoke on Tuesday about new regulatory developments affecting the prepaid card industry at a packed session at the 2012 Prepaid Expo conference in Las Vegas.
Banking Crisis Not Over
3/15/12 The Street
Remember TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program? Since its inception, 742 banks have gained "relief." Under TARP, a bank gets funds in return for preferred shares and a dividend that goes from 5% to 9% after four years. A banker told me that TARP money is expensive and unnecessary: "I can get Home Loan Bank funds for less." And most banks that still have TARP money got it in late 2008. That means the dividend (really an interest payment) will shortly be 9%. That is really expensive money!
Regulators Need to See the Big Picture
The go-go years of financial services growth are over. Today the focus is on capital adequacy, strict underwriting standards and conservative investing. The panicked days of September 2008 that spawned the Dodd-Frank Act mean the days of light-touch regulation also are gone. The rallying cry for this regulatory sea change among many policy makers is "Never again!" The question we should be asking is not whether the new regulations faithfully implement the words on Dodd Frank's many pages, but whether, at the end of the day, they form a coherent framework.
Fed Issues a More Positive Assessment of U.S. Economy
3/14/12 LA Times
Federal Reserve officials issued a more upbeat, though still cautious, assessment of the economy, prompting analysts to predict that the improved outlook would reduce the odds that the central bank would take further steps to spur growth. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his Fed colleagues gave no hint that additional efforts to boost the economy were coming. In fact, some analysts said, the Fed's upgraded economic outlook — to "moderate" from "modest" growth in its latest statement.
Have Someone Else’s Store Within Your Store? Well, You Used To Be PCI Compliant
My first thoughts are how convenient it is to have a pharmacy, DVD rental or even an ATM right there, and how the retailer is using its space to generate (presumably) additional revenue. My second thought, however, is to ask myself whether I just walked into a retailer or a data processing co-location (“colo”) facility. The reason for my question is that, depending on how those unrelated businesses process their card transactions, they will expand the retailer’s own PCI scope and risk.
U.S. Retail Sales Rose in Feb. By Most in 5 Months
Americans heartened by an improving labor market boosted spending at stores and malls by the most in five months, adding to signs that the world’s largest economy is gaining strength. The 1.1 percent advance followed a 0.6 percent increase in January that was larger than previously estimated, according to Commerce Department data issued today in Washington. Sales rose in 11 of 13 categories, including auto dealers and clothing stores, showing gains in demand were broad based.
First Data Advisors Releases New Year-End Prepaid Research
3/15/12 First Data
First Data Corporation, released the “2011 Year-End Prepaid Gift Card Market Analysis,” one of a series of research analyses from First Data Advisors, the custom analytics and consulting unit of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions. The new research analysis, which is based on the proprietary SpendTrend® Solutions database, provides industry benchmarks against which merchants can measure the growth of their gift card activations through the last six months of 2011.
Discover Implements 2013 EMV Mandate in U.S., Canada and Mexico
Discover today announced it is implementing a 2013 EMV mandate for acquirers and direct-connect merchants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This industry alignment will streamline certification and deployment efforts and enable a manageable transition for all parties involved, including issuers, merchants and acquirers. To date, Discover has prioritized its global EMV-deployment efforts towards markets which are mandated or have significant chip-card technology presence already.
What If the Real 'Winner' of SXSW Was… AmEx?
Have you heard about the hottest startup to announce a new product at South by Southwest Interactive? It had the most ubiquitous new product, it threw the biggest party with one of the world's top celebrities, and it may change how we think about social commerce. Presenting the winner of the SXSW 2012 buzz bowl: American Express. It debuted an innovative product. AmEx Sync now allows merchants to offer special offers that consumers can redeem by tweeting an offer to Twitter.
BOKU Secures $35 Million Strategic Investment From NEA, Telefónica and Other Investors
BOKU, the global leader in online mobile payments, announced today that it has secured $35 Million in funding. Investors include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Telefónica Digital, the growth arm of the global telecoms leader, as well as previous investors. Additional participants in the round include Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The funding will be used to expand the team, broaden infrastructure and continue BOKU’s global expansion.
PayPal Re-Imagines Money for the Digital Age
The company says the overhaul marks the first time in the its 13-year history that it has completely re-achitected and re-designed its payments product set. Many of the features on display have been known about for some time, including applications for letting people separate their purchase from their payment, switch from debit to credit cards post-transaction, build personal lists, collect coupons and set spending limits for particular consumables.
FTS Acquires Premier First Data ISO Charge Card Systems, Inc.
Financial Transaction Services (FTS), a full-service provider of electronic transaction services, announces its acquisition of Charge Card Systems, Inc. (CCS), a provider of electronic payment processing solutions based in Boca Raton, Fla. Since its inception, CCS has grown into a successful ISO providing electronic payment processing services nationwide by establishing a veteran and knowledgeable distribution channel.
FTNI Announces Enhanced Invoice Presentment Features
Financial Transmission Network Inc. (“FTNI”), announced several new web enhancements to its award-winning ETran Receivables Management platform. ETran is well known for its ability to support Check21, ACH, credit card and cash processing as well as fully support web payments. This latest enhancement now allows merchants the ability to provide their customers with web-based invoice presentment, reconciliation and payment.
AllClear ID Partners with Retailers and Cyber Security Experts to Alert Consumers when Identity Thieves Have Access to their Bank Accounts, Credit Cards and Social Security Numbers
Today AllClear ID, the leader in identity theft protection, announced a partnership with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA). The NCFTA has numerous member organizations, including law enforcement, private sector companies and researchers, working together to protect companies from cybercrime and fraud. Now, through AllClear ID, consumers will be securely alerted when their private information is discovered.