The American Express Co. launched the American Express Token Service, designed to enable bank issuers, processors, acquirers and merchants to create a safer online and mobile payments environment for consumers. The new service leverages a "vault" where transaction details are stored and tokenized. "By using tokens, merchants and digital wallet operators will no longer need to store consumers' sensitive payment account information in their systems," AmEx said. "In addition, tokens can be assigned for use with a specific merchant, transaction type or payment device to provide further protection against fraud."
Alternative currency processor BitPay launched POS app Bitcoin Checkout at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas in early November 2014. BitPay said the app is available in 40 languages and includes features designed for service businesses, including multi-employee checkout, tipping, and tip reporting. Bitcoin Checkout, which is currently available for Android tablets and smartphones, can also be used to make near field communication (NFC)-based in-store payments.
In November 2014, Chase Paymentech LLC hosted The Appathon for Main Street – A Codefest to Benefit Small Businesses. The event, held in the San Francisco Bay Area, provided app developers the opportunity to develop mobile payment apps for small businesses using the Chase Paymentech Software Development Kit and leveraging Apple Inc.'s mobile payment platform, Apple Pay.
First Data Corp., the parent company of POS system innovator Clover Network Inc., launched Clover Mobile to allow merchants to operate their businesses via mobile devices. "Armed with Clover Mobile, merchants can place orders, take secure payments, scan inventory, clock in employees, sync sales data with their accounting packages and generate marketing insights that can lead to stronger, enduring customer relationships, all with a portable, tablet-sized device," First Data said.
Biometric payment firm Hypr Corp. said it will soon launch the first phase of its biometric mobile payment platform, HyprKey. "We seek to end fraud by making it possible for the world to use three-factor authentication seamlessly with any and all identity-based applications," said Hypr’s Chief Executive Officer George Avetisov. "The HyprKey app is our first phase in replacing currently flawed software-based two-factor authentication with biometric-token based three-factor authentication."
Prepaid card provider InComm expanded its Vanilla Reload partner network to include nearly 55,000 locations – 55 percent more locations than in 2013, InComm said. InComm noted that locations where consumers can swipe their general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards to add funds to the cards drives 90 percent of the Vanilla network's payment volume. "Retailers who offer swipe reload yield 25 percent more loads from GPR customers," the company said.
North American Bancard unveiled PayAnywhere 3.0 at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas. NAB said PayAnywhere 3.0 software will come preloaded on its PayAnywhere Storefront tablet computers beginning in mid-November 2014. New features of PayAnywhere 3.0 include PayPal photo check-in, swipe-to-sell functionality, and user interface improvements that allow merchants to run special offers, organize product categories, add multiple pricing options and customize inventory.
NCR Small Business said the NCR Silver POS system will support bitcoin payments by the end of 2014. Reggie Kimble, NCR Small Business Director of Business Development, believes the bitcoin integration will provide merchants more flexibility in the payment options they can offer consumers. "Offering bitcoin as a payment alternative allows small businesses the flexibility they need to better serve their growing number of customers who prefer digital payment solutions," Kimble said.
Fiserv Inc. unveiled Popmoney for Disbursements designed to streamline and speed up the payment of disbursements such as insurance claims and refunds by electronifying payments that have been traditionally accomplished via paper checks. With Popmoney, disbursements are made by email or mobile phone.
In early 2015, payment startup thundR will roll out a mobile shopping platform that matches geo-location data to local merchants offering daily deals. The firm said it has "pioneered a 'personalized' shopping algorithm engine that precisely understands the consumer's real shopping needs based on their age, interests, social media interactions and location."
VeriFone Inc. launched its new worldwide brand identity, including a new company logo and website design. VeriFone said it came up with its new identity following research it conducted globally with clients, partners and employees. The new branding is designed to reflect how VeriFone can be a reliable partner in an increasingly complex payments landscape.
Toronto-based accounting and payment solution provider VersaPay Corp. said it expanded its relationship with The Terry Fox Foundation of Canada. The foundation sponsors annual marathons across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. VersaPay, which provides payment processing and online donations for the foundation's charity runs, helped deploy more mobile payment devices for the 2014 run sites.
Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide reduced the average interchange rate in Canada to a reported1.5 percent. MasterCard reduced rates specifically for independent petroleum and grocery merchants; added a new independent business rate category for convenience, hardware and drug stores, parking operators, restaurants and dry cleaning retailers; and a new rate for charities.
Meanwhile, Visa said it reduced its interchange rates following discussions its Canada division had with the Canadian government. "Visa enters into this undertaking with the full expectation that the government is committed to a level playing field," Visa said. "If Visa or our clients are disadvantaged as a result of entering into this undertaking, Visa reserves the right at any time to terminate or amend it." Both card brands said the new rates are set for the next five years.
At the Cartes Secure Connexions Exhibition and Conference held in Paris in early November 2014, digital authentication and transaction security firm Watchdata Technologies Pte. Ltd. rolled out Sharkey, its first smart wearable device. Sharkey comes in the form of a watch or wristband and supports NFC-based contactless payments.
Data compiled from EMVCo members showed nearly 30 percent of all global card-present transactions from July 2013 to June 2014 utilized Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) chip technology. To qualify as an EMV transaction, both card and terminal had to be EMV chip-enabled. "It is the first time we have collated and published transaction volumes and EMVCo plans to ensure these new statistics are available to the payments community on a bi-annual basis," said Tac Watanabe, EMVCo Executive Committee Chair.
An Accenture survey of 4,000 consumers in the United States and Canada found 40 percent of North American consumers have used their smartphones to initiate payment at merchant locations, up from 16 percent two years ago. Respondents indicated they would make smartphone payments more frequently if they could use their phones to track receipts, and scan and purchase products on the spot in order to skip the check-out process altogether.
According to an SB Authority Market Sentiment Survey involving more than 1,000 small business owners, 82 percent revealed that their existing POS systems lacked contactless payment capability, 14 percent were unsure whether their systems even had this capability, and only 7 percent were planning to upgrade POS systems to accept contactless payments in the near future.
The Strawhecker Group released a report titled Merchant Cash Advance Overview: A detailed analysis of the U.S. MCA market, the opportunities within, and current player offerings. In addition to providing a market overview, it offers key insights from merchant acquirers and ISOs who have successfully deployed merchant cash advance (MCA) programs and their reasons for supporting this value-added service.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households study revealed the percentage of unbanked U.S. households dropped to 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent in 2011; underbanked households remained unchanged at 20 percent. Additionally, 29.2 percent of underbanked households reported using mobile devices to access bank accounts versus 21.7 percent for fully banked households.
BillingTree teamed with DealerClick to enable its auto finance customers to make payments via multiple channels. "Together we can offer auto finance companies the widest range of payment options in a tightly integrated management solution to enable them to run their businesses effectively in what is now a fast growing part of the financial services market," said Marya Lang, Auto Finance General Manager at BillingTree.
GlobalCollect, part of Ingenico Group, aligned with BlueSnap to expand cross-border revenue capabilities to include 180 countries, 150 localized payment methods and 150 currencies, the companies stated. With the integration of GlobalCollect's international payment processing services and BlueSnap's dynamic hosted check pages, the platform can now detect shopper location and then provide the appropriate language, currency selection and payment choices.
IdentityMind Global and Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures agreed to integrate IdentityMind's international compliance platform into Lamassu's bitcoin ATMs, which number above 200 internationally. The integration encompasses Know Your Customer transaction monitoring, sanctions screening, automated Suspicious Activity Reports filing and anti-fraud services, which will deliver key compliance measures for ATM operators to function on a global basis, the companies stated.
Merchant Warehouse is working with TouchBistro to ensure restaurant and food service businesses that employ the TouchBistro POS system have access to the latest payment technologies, including NFC-enabled mobile payments, through its Genius Customer Engagement Platform.
Payscape Advisors, in partnership with Optimal Payments, can now accept and support online and recurring payments in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. "Through our groundbreaking, integrated SaaS [software-as-a-service] partner program, we recognized the universal need for Payscape to extend our processing capabilities outside of North America," said Rachel Lawrence, Technology Integration Specialist at Payscape.
London-based Powa Technologies inked a deal with Santa Ana, Calif.-based Ingram Micro Inc. to distribute the PowaPOS T-series tablet-based POS solution in North America. "Market demand for a scalable, flexible tablet-based payment solutions continues to grow, and with Ingram's global reach, thousands of its channel partners can now call on the company to meet this market need," said Jeff Dumbrell, CEO of PowaPOS, a division of Powa Technologies.
UniRush LLC, operator of the prepaid RushCard, chose Enacomm Inc. to deliver multifactor authentication that utilizes voice biometrics and mobile knowledge-based authentication, the companies stated. RushCard plans to deploy Enacomm's eKBA mobilized authentication technology to secure cardholder information for RushCard users.
Global commerce-as-a-service provider Digital River Inc. entered a merger agreement whereby it will be acquired by an investor group led by Siris Capital Group LLC, collectively known as Siris, for about $840 million. "We believe that this transaction will provide Digital River with the flexibility to innovate and execute our vision of setting the standard for global e-commerce technology and services," said David Dobson, CEO of Digital River.
Prepaid mobile remote deposit provider Ingo Money Inc. will acquire card funds disbursement platform provider Fuze Network Inc. "The combination of Ingo Money and Fuze technologies will accelerate our mission to digitize the cash economy by enabling consumers to use their mobile phones to convert any check or cash into electronic Good Funds and to push it virtually anywhere," said Drew Edwards, Ingo founder and CEO.
MasterCard entered an agreement to purchase the Payment Gateway Services business of Transaction Network Services for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014. The acquisition represents MasterCard's ongoing initiative to expand its branded products, particularly in North America and Latin America, the company stated.
London-based i2i Events Group acquired and entered a multiyear partnership with New York-based Money20/20, an event production company. Money20/20 will continue to operate under its current leadership team, which includes Anil Aggarwal and Jonathan Weiner, who co-founded Money20/20 in 2011. In addition to hosting an annual event in Las Vegas, the group plans to launch Money20/20Europe in London in 2015.
Michigan-based North American Bancard acquired Delaware-based Electronic Payment Exchange for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 1979, EPX stated it has built a portfolio that processes in excess of $18 billion per year. NAB reported the acquisition will add to its technological capabilities while at the same time enable EPX to expand its platform in Latin America and Europe.
Bob Cassin will fill the newly created position of Vice President of Client Relations at software and payment processing provider ABC Financial. Cassin, who has been with ABC since 2010, will report to the company’s Senior Vice President, Mike Escobedo, and will aid in managing the Account Executive team. "Cassin has been a valuable asset to the Client Management team for several years, and as ABC continues to expand its industry leading market share, Cassin was the clear choice to lead this initiative," stated Mike Escobedo, Senior Vice President of ABC Financial.
CardConnect hired Scott Dowty as its Chief Revenue Officer. He will oversee all sales and marketing initiatives, along with managing the company’s strategic partnerships and acquisitions. "Scott not only has an impressive track record of driving growth for companies, but he also brings a rich understanding of the payments industry to our management team," said Jeff Shanahan, President and CEO at CardConnect. Prior to joining CardConnect, Dowty served as an executive at Global Cash Access Inc.
Thomas D. Lineen signed on with US Merchant Systems as its President, Chief Revenue Officer. Lineen will work to enhance the sales strategy, production, revenues and earnings of USMS and all subsidiaries. A 15-year veteran of the payments industry, Lineen most recently, founded and served as CEO of Parallel Solutions. "We’re thrilled at USMS to welcome Tom to our team," said Stu Rosenbam, CEO and co-founder of US Merchant Systems. "Tom brings a fresh perspective and the experience to help USMS grow to new heights and a true payments industry leader.”
VersaPay hired John McLeod as Vice President, Marketing. McLeod joined VersaPay after eight years with Desire2Learn Inc., a global SaaS-based learning solutions provider. "John brings the marketing know-how and leadership we need to raise brand awareness for VersaPay, and more importantly, ARC, our cloud-based solution that automates Accounts Receivable," said Craig O'Neill, VersaPay's CEO.
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