On Sept. 19, 2012, online daily-deal marketer Groupon Inc. launched a payment service it guarantees is "the lowest cost option" for its merchants to accept credit cards. The new software solution, Groupon Payments, is built into the latest version of the Groupon Merchants app. The app works with Apple Inc. mobile devices.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company stated its lowest-rate guarantee is only available to Groupon's U.S. merchants, who "must provide proof of their current third-party rates for identical service" for the guarantee to apply. Groupon also said that, under the terms of the Groupon Payments Merchant User Agreement, it may "modify or discontinue the guarantee" or other Groupon Payments services "at any time."
The solution, which includes a card reader for high transaction volume or an audio jack accessory, is available for any U.S. merchant running a deal with Groupon. Groupon Payments' interchange rates for Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide and Discover Financial Services card-present transactions are 1.8 percent plus 15 cents per transaction; the American Express Co. fee for card-present transactions is 3 percent plus 15 cents per transaction, Groupon noted. The company's payment service is also available as a pilot program to merchants who do not employ Groupon offers.
The company said it uses encryption to secure credit card information and is backing the app with a support team. Features of the service include bill totals, tips, tax calculation, refund processing, emailed customer receipts, live transaction history, daily sales reports, deposit tracking and revenue trend analysis.
PayPal Inc. will ban payments between residents of Argentina effective Oct. 9, 2012. Under new terms of the payment service's user agreement, Argentinians will thereafter be able to send and receive international payments only. PayPal defines Argentine resident as any individual or "entity, partnership, organization or association" that signs up for a PayPal account in Argentina.
In July 2012, the Institute of International Finance Inc., a global association of banks, called the economic policies of Argentinian President Cristina Fern_ndez de Kirchner "unorthodox." The IIF said, "The government has resorted to tightening controls on trade and capital flows to restrain chronic capital flight and limit the loss of international reserves."
In September 2012, a new 15 percent tax on all foreign purchases went into effect in Argentina. According to media reports, the result of the government's policies has led some PayPal users in Argentina to set up two accounts under different email addresses. They then are able to transfer money between the two and exchange local currency for dollars in the process.
Regarding its plans for the Argentine market, PayPal sent The Green Sheet the following statement: "We consider Argentina to be an important market. However, we do not currently offer services that cater to the specific needs of the local Argentine market.
"For example, we do not provide users the ability to transact in local currency or withdraw to local bank accounts. Therefore, we decided to limit our services to international payments for goods and services while we evaluate possible improvements to our product offering."
Free copies of the Electronic Transactions Association's CPP Examination Study Guide are available to professionals who register to take the November 2012 CPP exam by the registration deadline, Oct. 1, 2012.
The 60-page guide was developed and published by the ETA Education Committee for experienced payment professionals preparing for the Certified Payments Professional (CPP) exam. The ETA has certified 343 CPPs since it initiated the certification program in 2011.
The ETA's CPP certificate is intended to demonstrate to retailers that the service provider has broad knowledge of the industry and an understanding of not only sales, but also pricing and interchange; business process, operations and work flow; products and solutions; risk; and regulatory, compliance and security matters.
CPPs are listed in a searchable registry located on the ETA website, www.electran.org, where more information on the CPP program, including professional advantages of certification and information on registration, is available.
At the FinovateFall 2012 technology conference held Sept. 12 and 13, 2012, in New York City, four of the eight companies deemed "Best of Show" were payments-related businesses. Of the 64 companies that demonstrated their products and solutions, conference attendees voted Dashlane, Dynamics Inc., PayTap Inc. and ShopKeep.com Inc. into the top eight.
Dashlane is a mobile application that automatically populates consumer information into the checkout windows of smart phone-optimized websites. Dynamics offers a physical mobile wallet the size of a credit card that stores multiple accounts and is mag stripe-enabled.
PayTap is an online, person-to-person bill payment solution that allows bill payees to enlist the help of family and friends to pay their bills. ShopKeep provides a software-as-a-service platform that turns Apple Inc. iPads into POS and back-office solution devices.
As part of The Beat's Readers' Choice Awards, travel newsletter The Beat named American Express Co. the "Most Admired Payment System." It is the fifth consecutive year that AmEx has received the honor. The Beat and The BTN Group, which publishes the newsletter, are owned by Northstar Travel Media LLC.
Performance Training Systems, creator of the Bankcard Boot Camp for new merchant level salespeople (MLSs), is now offering memberships in its Bankcard Tool Box training program at www.bankcardtoolbox.com. The program offers webinars, articles, newsletters, PDFs videos, case studies, templates, and more, for payment professionals seeking to increase their earnings.
The Better Than Cash Alliance was formed to hasten the shift from cash to electronic payments in developing countries. The alliance founders are financial services companies Visa and Citigroup Inc., along with the U.N. Capital Development Fund, the U. S. Agency for International Development, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and investment firm the Omidyar Network.
Capital Access Network Inc. reported it increased the availability of small business loans through its subsidiary, NewLogic Business Loans Inc., which can now provide access to an innovative loan product to small businesses in all 50 states.
Through a single application, businesses across the United States can be qualified for two different products: a business loan through NewLogic and a merchant cash advance from NewLogic's sister company AdvanceMe Inc., CAN said.
Chandler, Ariz.-based ISO Element Payment Services Inc. moved into new corporate headquarters. The move originated out of a desire for more space, as the company reported it had grown its workforce by 21 percent in the last year. Element said the new headquarters is approximately 50 percent larger than its previous office space.
MasterCard issued the Mobile MasterCard PayPass User Interface Software Development Kit for smart phones that use the Android and BlackBerry OS 7 mobile operating systems. MasterCard said the tool kit helps card issuers, mobile telecommunication firms and third-party software developers integrate applications for PayPass Tap-and-Go contactless payments on NFC-equipped mobile phones.
Boston-based ISO Merchant Warehouse reported it integrated its Genius Customer Engagement Platform into Passbook, Apple's mobile wallet for the recently announced iPhone 5. Mobile merchants that use the Genius mobile payment platform can now accept Passbook "passes," the ISO said, adding that Genius will be launched nationwide in January 2013.
Accounts receivable management software developer Ontario Systems LLC was certified Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant. Ontario Systems said it is the only company in its industry to receive the official designation.
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) released security best practices for mobile payment software developers. The PCI Mobile Payment Acceptance Security Guidelines offer developers and mobile device manufacturers guidance on how to design appropriate security controls for mobile payment applications.
Alternative payment provider Square Inc. closed its Series D financing round, with investments from Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management and Starbucks Coffee Co. Square said it has grown to over 400 employees and now processes over $8 billion in payments annually.
At the FinovateFall 2012 conference, big data provider and new MasterCard company Truaxis showcased Profitability Analytics, a new feature of its StatementRewards platform. Profitability Analytics is designed to deliver financial institutions greater consumer payment insights toward the goal of optimizing customer relationships.
The Women's Network in Electronic Transactions (W.net) named the winners of its 5th Annual DIVA (Driving Improvement Via Action) Awards.
The winners were Discover Financial Services (Diversity Champion Award), Discover Relationship Manager Gigi Fonteneaux (Spirit Award) and Local Interest Network Circle (LINC) Chicago (Strongest LINC Award). The awards were presented at W.net's Career & Leadership Summit held Sept. 10 and 11, 2012, in Atlanta.
In conjunction with the publication of Credit Card Processing for Sales Agents, the Credit Card Consortia for Education & Training issued a companion study guide edited by Bill Pirtle, President of C3ET and former Street SmartsSM columnist for The Green Sheet.
Credit Card Processing for Sales Agents and the accompanying study guide will help the sales agents and ISOs to generate more profit while helping them better understand the industry," wrote payments veteran Daniel Neistadt in the foreword to the book.
Payment services provider SlimPay S.A. integrated the Axway Financial Exchange platform to aggregate and process payments in multiple European formats, which will enable businesses to manage, consolidate and secure online credit and direct debit transactions in compliance with Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) requirements.
Payment processing consultancy International Merchant Systems Inc. signed a multiyear contract with Phoenix Managed Networks LLC to include the PhoeniXSentry PCI compliant, cloud-based network management service and firewall router as part of the IMS suite of services available to ISO, financial institution and merchant clients.
Kount Inc. entered a technology partnership with Tungsten Revenue to combine Kount's fraud prevention technology with Tungsten's customer profitability analytics. Through the partnership e-commerce retailers will gain access to comprehensive customer profiles that capture both the sales opportunity and risk involved in doing business with customers in card-not-present environments, Kount reported.
Business management software and services provider Sage North America inked a deal with MobileCause to deliver mobile fundraising applications to Sage nonprofit customers. The device-neutral platform will initially be integrated with Sage Millennium, a web-based solution that allows nonprofit organizations to cultivate donors, Sage reported.
Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) licensed its PRIME 4 card and merchant management solution to Kenyan financial services provider Paynet, which will transfer its Visa Inc. card financial institution portfolio to PRIME 4.
In other news, TSYS partnered with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in launching the TSYS NFC Payment Solution, which will allow CIBC to create mobile accounts in real-time and support the Europay/MasterCard/Visa technology standard.
International payment systems provider ACI Worldwide Inc. signed a $48.75 million cash agreement to acquire payment software provider Distra Pty Ltd. According to ACI, the Distra Universal Payments Platform will enable ACI to integrate its payment products more cost effectively across customers' existing and future enterprise architectures.
Online auction site eBay Inc. acquired social shopping website Svpply.com. According to eBay, New York-based Svpply will continue to develop merchandising, nonsearch discovery and browsing technologies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Alaric International, a global provider of fraud prevention and payment technology systems, appointed Tim Cha as Sales Director - Australia, New Zealand and Pacific. He will spearhead Alaric's ongoing sales drive in the region. Cha joined Alaric from S1 Corp. where he served in a number of sales roles and most recently served as Asia Pacific Business Development Director of the company's payments systems division. He previously held senior management positions with Stratus Technologies and Bank of America Corp.
ROAM Data Inc., an Ingenico company that provides mobile commerce and platform-as-a-service solutions, appointed Ken Paull its new CEO. Paull had served as ROAM's Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing since September 2011. He has fully contributed to the development of ROAM Data in the United States and played a key role in the signing of significant deals, the company stated. Former CEO Will Graylin left ROAM to pursue other opportunities.
Art Roldan, former CEO and Chairman of payment management software developer ISD Corp., joined the SignatureLink Board of Advisors. According to SignatureLink's CEO Greg Wooten, Roldan was a natural choice for the board due to his 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in the technology field and his expertise in electronic payments and network security. He also previously held senior executive positions at such companies as The Premisys Corp., Novarra and SecurePipe.
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