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NF Edition #550 - 3/24/17
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Highlights this week...

Transaction Opportunities

The U.S. Merchant Acquiring transaction market is currently extremely active. TSG is assisting buyers and sellers connect as well as by providing transaction support services to assist both buyers and sellers achieve their objectives.
In addition, TSG has been engaged by several firms to identify ISO and merchant acquiring business acquisitions and capital partnerships. Each client has its own key investment criteria which includes:
  • TSYS back-end portfolios with or without sales engine
  • Merchant acquiring enterprise businesses with more than $2 billion in card volume, with a sales engine
If you are interested in discussing a potential transaction, please provide high level details of your business and call us at 402-964-2617 - or email us at

All responses will be treated confidentially.

ETA Star Awards: Call for Nominations
ETA | 3.24.17

The ETA Star Awards recognize and showcase individuals and companies that have made a significant difference in the payments industry, whether through innovation, business practices, or contributions to the association.

Recipients receive awards on stage at the Visa President’s Dinner & Star Awards Gala, on May 10 and during the opening keynote presentations on May 12 at TRANSACT.

Click here to nominate yourself or someone you know by March 31, 2017.

On a Growth Trajectory, Amazon Pay Looks To Go ‘Beyond the Button’ in 2017
Digital Transactions | 3.21.17 Inc. announced an integration this week with an e-commerce platform called BigCommerce for its Amazon Pay service, but the company also clearly entertains big ambitions for the payment product it organized as a business in 2015. For now, Amazon Pay is on an upward trend. Some 33 million consumers, half of them members of Amazon Prime, have activated the checkout service. The company won’t say how many merchants accept it, but the number has more than quadrupled over the past two years. “The merchant base has grown very nicely,” Patrick Gauthier, the former Visa and PayPal executive who is vice president of the Pay With Amazon unit, tells Digital Transactions News.


Ant Financial Said Considering Higher Offer for MoneyGram
Bloomberg | 3.20.17

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is considering whether to make a higher offer for MoneyGram International Inc., according to a person familiar with the negotiations, after the U.S. company said a smaller rival’s bid could be a better deal. In January, China-based Ant Financial announced its plan to acquire MoneyGram for $13.25 a share in cash, pending regulatory approval. Last week, Euronet Worldwide Inc. swooped in with a $15.20-a-share offer, a proposition that “could reasonably be expected” to result in a superior proposal, Dallas-based MoneyGram said Monday in a statement.

Related: MoneyGram Board of Directors Determines Unsolicited Proposal from Euronet Worldwide Could Reasonably Be Expected to Result in a "Company Superior Proposal"

ControlScan, MAC Release 2017 Acquirer PCI and Security Survey
The Green Sheet | 3.22.17

ControlScan, a trusted security and compliance program partner to the payments industry, in partnership with Merchant Acquirers' Committee (MAC), has released key findings from the 2017 Acquirer PCI and Security Survey. Completed by more than 130 ISOs, acquirers, processors and payment facilitators, the survey's results support an ongoing effort to understand and share PCI compliance program practices among payments industry stakeholders. One of the survey's key findings was that while merchant service providers agree their merchants' PCI compliance is important, retention concerns are creating a struggle between promoting convenience and enforcing compliance.

Accenture Buying First Annapolis to Boost Payments Expertise
PaymentsSource | 3.23.17

Accenture has agreed to acquire First Annapolis Consulting in an effort to add payments expertise in several international markets. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the next 30 days, were not disclosed. Accenture is interested in adding First Annapolis' existing work to aid the payments strategies of financial institutions, retailers, travel, communications and private equity firms. The Maryland-based First Annapolis also provides consulting in 20 of the largest 25 world economies and has an office in Amsterdam.

Neiman Marcus Agrees To Pay $1.6M To Settle 2013 Data Breach Class Action Lawsuit
Consumerist | 3.20.17

Three years after Neiman Marcus disclosed that it had become the victim of a hack attack in 2013, exposing the credit card information of more than 350,000 customers, the upscale retailer has reached a $1.6 million settlement in the subsequent class action lawsuit. The settlement, which was entered Friday in Illinois District Court, puts an end to a three-year long court battle between the retailer and its customers. The lawsuit, which was first filed in March 2014, claimed that Neiman Marcus failed to notify customers of the hack immediately after being informed of the issue by credit card processor in mid-December. Instead, the company did not reveal the hack until Jan. 10.

Banks and Tech Firms Battle Over Something Akin to Gold: Your Data
The New York Times | 3.23.17

The big banks and Silicon Valley are waging an escalating battle over your personal financial data, including the amount you spent on dinner last week and how much you are paying for your mortgage. Technology start-ups like Mint and Betterment have been building services that pull together your bank account and credit card records — after you supply the passwords. But now big banks are making a concerted push to set new restrictions on how technology companies can get access to this personal financial data, in some cases refusing to pass along information like the fees and interest rates they charge.

Mobile Execs Mull Checkout Tech, Open Vs. Closed Networks, And Acceptance Costs
Digital Transactions | 3.23.17

The future of checkout, the role of the big payments networks, and merchants’ card-acceptance costs preoccupied a panel of mobile-payments executives assembled Tuesday to assess the current state and near-term future of the still-developing payment technology. With respect to how in-store users should check out on their smart phones, the panel represented a mix of technologies from near-field communication to quick-response codes. But while experts have predicted an ultimate industry coalescence around the powerful NFC technology, some of the panelists weren’t so sure, and argued for a flexible approach that will suit merchants’ needs.

US Payments Forum Provides Guidance on Card-Not-Present Fraud with Perspectives on Experiences Around the World
Nasdaq | 3.22.17

With card-not-present (CNP) fraud a global concern, many countries have deployed various fraud prevention tools to help curb fraud in both online and mobile channels. The U.S. Payments Forum reviews experiences from countries around the world to assist the U.S. payments industry in mitigating CNP fraud in a white paper released today. “While many attribute the rise in CNP fraud seen in other countries to the implementation of EMV chip technology, there are other factors, such as the rapid growth of online sales and the fact that fraud prevention tools have not been fully adopted and implemented by all stakeholders, that have contributed to the increase,” said Randy Vanderhoof, director of the U.S. Payments Forum

Internet of Things' Tough Double: Fast Evolution and Evolving Security
PayThink | 3.23.17

There are more than 12 billion devices already connected, and in the next few years, spending on IoT technology is projected to grow at a staggering 16 percent per year, eventually reaching $1.5 trillion by 2020. In the same time frame, the number of connected devices will reach 30 billion, according to IDC. This growing generation of mobile-savvy consumers, purchasing what they want, when they want it, is creating an impending pressure on financial providers and retailers alike to evolve with connected lifestyles and provide improved payment solutions.

Surging Bitcoin Prices Inspire a Wave of Scams
The Verge | 3.23.17

New research from the security firm ZeroFox shows a surge in Bitcoin-related crimes during the first three weeks of March, just as the cryptocurrency was moving to integrate into conventional financial markets. The scams varied from straightforward phishing attempts to more elaborate pyramid schemes — but in each case, the familiar Bitcoin logo was front and center, employed as a way to gain the target’s trust. Over a three-week period, ZeroFox tracked 3,618 unique URLs linked to those scams, shared over 8,742 social media posts, although it’s unclear how many criminal groups were responsible.

John Collison of Stripe Becomes Youngest Billionaire on Forbes Rich List
SFGate | 3.21.17

There are 195 new names on Forbes' 2017 list of the world's billionaires, and the youngest newcomers are two brothers working in San Francisco. Ireland natives John and Patrick Collison,  aged 26 and 28 respectively, are the co-founders of online payments firm Stripe, which has its headquarters in SoMa. With his $1.1 billion net worth, John Collison actually becomes Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire. He dethrones Snapchat's Evan Spiegel, who's also 26 but is a couple of months older than Collison. 

Alibaba Gets Serious in Southeast Asia in Preparation for Battle with Amazon
TechCrunch | 3.24.17

Done betting, Alibaba is getting down to work in Southeast Asia as it bids to lead the region’s promising e-commerce space and maximize its early mover advantage over Amazon. Alibaba became the first major international player to enter Southeast Asia, a region with more than 600 million cumulative consumers, when it bought a majority stake in Lazada, the Rocket Internet-backed venture, nearly one year ago. Amazon, Alibaba’s key foe in India, is still to make its move, having pushed a planned Q1 2017 entry back to later this year.

LG to Launch Mobile Payments Service Using Magnetic Communication Technology
NFC World | 3.22.17

LG will launch its LG Pay mobile payments service in Korea in June this year using a mobile payment technology that works by “generating a magnetic signal from a mobile device such as a smartphone, and paying it to a general credit card terminal”. The hardware has already been built into the LG G6 smartphone, and the company has secured support for the service from seven Korean credit card companies.

Samsung Pay Arrives in India
TNW | 3.22.17

Nearly two years since its debut, Samsung has officially launched its secure mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, in India today. It’ll let you use your linked credit and debit cards with select Samsung Galaxy phones to pay for purchases wherever cards are accepted. You can also pair your PayTM account with it to make payments by scanning QR codes. At launch, the program will support cards from Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI, SBI and Standard Chartered; American Express and Citibank will be on board too

Related: Samsung is Aiming to Widen Access to Contactless Payments

IBM Launches Blockchain as a Service for the Enterprise
ZDNet | 3.20.17

IBM has announced the launch of IBM Blockchain, a commercial service aimed at giving enterprise players the option to build their own scalable and secure blockchain networks. By utilizing Hyperledger, a cross-industry open-source effort to bring blockchain to businesses, Big Blue says that developers can quickly build and host secure blockchain networks via the IBM Cloud. In order to enhance security, IBM Blockchain is also underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, a Linux server which is heavily influenced by security.

Coinbase Receives Approval To Trade Ether and Litecoin in New York
CoinDesk | 3.23.17

Digital currency exchange Coinbase has just received approval to offer trading of litecoin and ether in New York state. As a result, the startup has become the first business to provide litecoin trading to customers in New York and just the second to offer ether trading. Almost a year ago, Gemini Trust Company, a digital asset exchange run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, became the first company to provide trading of the ethereum token in the state.

WikiLeaks Details CIA Hacking Tools for Macs, iPhones
PC Mag | 3.23.17

WikiLeaks, continuing its data dump of leaked CIA hacking tools, released a set of documents on Thursday that appear to show how the agency was able to spy on Apple's Mac computers and iPhones. Most of the leaked documents describe hacking methods that are several years old, which suggests they may have been updated or retired as new Apple products were released. With code names like "Dark Matter" and "Sonic Screwdriver," the hacking tools could have allowed the CIA to gain access to computers and mobile devices using techniques like installing malware in a device's firmware, according to WikiLeaks.

eBay Asks Users to Downgrade Security
KrebsonSecurity | 3.22.17

Last week, KrebsOnSecurity received an email from eBay. The company wanted me to switch from using a hardware key fob when logging into eBay to receiving a one-time code sent via text message. I found it remarkable that eBay, which at one time was well ahead of most e-commerce companies in providing more robust online authentication options, is now essentially trying to downgrade my login experience to a less-secure option. In early 2007, PayPal (then part of the same company as eBay) began offering its hardware token for a one-time $5 fee, and at the time the company was among very few that were pushing this second-factor (something you have) in addition to passwords for user authentication.

Related: Is eBay’s Two-Factor Authentication Change Less Secure?

IRS Tries Again To Make Coinbase Turn Over Customer Account Data
Forbes | 3.20.17

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has taken another step towards its efforts to access to United States Coinbase customer accounts. This week, the IRS filed new documents in federal court to compel Coinbase, a California-based company which facilitates transactions of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, to comply with a request to turn over those records. The newest round of court filings suggests that there might be wide-scale tax evasion related to virtual currency.

New Mexico Set to Be 48th State with Breach Notification Law
Bank Info Security | 3.21.17

New Mexico is on the cusp of becoming the 48th state to enact a data breach notification law, which would leave Alabama and South Dakota as the only states without such a statute. The New Mexico Senate on March 15 passed the Data Breach Notification Act, or HB 15, by a 40-0 vote and sent the bill to Gov. Susana Martinez for her signature. The House approved the bill by a 68-0 margin on Feb. 15. A gubernatorial spokesman says Martinez is reviewing the legislation and has 20 days from passage to decide whether to approve it. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Rehm, says he believes his fellow Republican will sign the measure.

CFPB Fines Experian $3M Over False Advertisements For Its ‘PLUS Score’
PYMNTS | 3.24.17

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Thursday (March 23) that it took action against credit scoring company Experian and its subsidiaries for allegedly deceiving consumers about the use of credit scores it sold to consumers. In a press release, the CFPB said Experian claimed the credit scores it marketed and provided to consumers were used by lenders to make credit decisions, but the lenders did not use Experian’s scores to make those decisions. The CFPB is calling on Experian to represent how its credit scores are used in a truthful manner and pay a civil penalty of $3 million. 

Millennials Lead, Gen X and Boomers Lag in the Subscription Economy
Vantiv | 3.23.17

New research from leading payments processer Vantiv shows the growing disparity in subscription spending habits from generation to generation. While Gen Xers and baby boomers aren't signing up at a rapid rate, millennials, more than 70 percent of whom have a product subscription and 89 percent a service subscription, see subscriptions as purchasing made easier at a time when they're bombarded with an abundance of choice.

Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities
Bloomberg | 3.23.17

Fifty-two of the 100 largest U.S. cities were majority-renter in 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau data compiled for Bloomberg by real estate brokerage Redfin. Twenty-one of those cities have shifted to renter-domination since 2009. These include such hot housing markets as Denver and San Diego and lukewarm locales, such as Detroit and Baltimore, better known for vacant homes than residential development. While U.S. home ownership ticked up in the second half of 2016, there are reasons to think the trend toward renting will continue.


Heading to Vegas in May for TRANSACT 17? The Strawhecker Group (TSG), a Gold sponsor, will have a significant presence. Schedule an in-person meeting to discuss current pain points and goals for the remainder of 2017. Act now before times fill up!

Gemalto Knocked By Slowing Take-Up of Chip Cards in US
Reuters | 3.22.17

Gemalto's shares fell by as much as 23 percent on Wednesday after the Dutch digital security firm cut its 2017 profit forecast due to slow adoption of chip-enabled payment cards in the United States. More than 1 billion euros was wiped off Gemalto's market value after the company said the slow take-up of cards embedded with so-called EMV chips to prevent counterfeit card fraud had caused an inventory build-up. Payments network operators such as Visa and Mastercard have been pushing for the adoption of cards embedded with EMV, which stands for EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa, chips.

PayPal Prompts Poland’s Banks to Team Up for Rival Payment App
Bloomberg | 3.21.17

Banks competing in one of Europe’s most cut-throat markets decided to team up on a new technology that allows their customers to leave their wallets at home. The Polish startup, named Blik, enables customers of nine banks to draw cash from ATMs, wire money using telephone numbers and pay for goods or services on the internet and in shops without sharing card or bank data. Two years after its launch, it has 3.5 million users and enables 2 million transactions per month.

Chase Merchant Services Names New Leader for Canada Business
BusinessWire | 3.22.17

Rob Cameron has been named President of Chase Paymentech, the Canadian division of Merchant Services at JPMorgan Chase & Co. that provides merchant services to businesses of all sizes, from small to global enterprises. Cameron is a payments and fintech executive who joins Chase from Moneris Solutions, where he was the Chief Product and Marketing Officer and a member of their executive team.

3dcart Integrates with Square for eCommerce Payments

Yahoo! Finance | 3.20.17

3dcart, a leading all-in-one eCommerce solution, announced today the capability to integrate Square's payment processing features with 3dcart's eCommerce platform, giving online merchants the option to use Square to receive payments. The integration allows for next-day direct deposits, enables the merchant to accept all major credit cards at a single rate, and facilitates integration of reporting between online and offline sales.

Air China and Ingenico ePayments Expand Payment Acceptance Options to Include Discover® Global Network
Ingenico Group | 3.21.17

Ingenico ePayments, the online and mobile commerce division of Ingenico Group, announced it has signed an agreement with Air China, China’s flag carrier and one of the largest airlines in the Asia-Pacific region, to provide the ability to accept Discover Card transactions in North America. The agreement also gives Air China the capability to accept all cards on the Discover Global Network, through Discover Global Network’s strategic alliance agreements with issuers from around the globe.  

RBS to Close 158 Branches
Finextra | 3.23.17

Royal Bank of Scotland is closing another 158 UK branches, with the loss of hundreds of jobs, citing the "dramatic shift" in how people bank in the age of mobile and online services. The bank - majority owned by the UK taxpayer - says that it will close 30 RBS and 128 NatWest branches over the next few months, resulting in the net loss of about 360 jobs. A statement says that the decision has been made "after careful consideration of a wide range of factors including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us".

Deutsche Bank Opens New York Innovation Lab
Finextra | 3.21.17

Deutsche Bank has opened an innovation lab in New York, its fourth globally after Silicon Valley, Berlin and London. The giant German bank says the lab in Lower Manhattan’s Fulton Center will explore new technologies focused on several areas, including artificial intelligence, cloud technology and cyber security. With the core banking franchise running into difficulties at home and abroad, Deutsche Bank has set its sights on a future as a technology company, opening a digital factory in Frankfurt where staffers can work alongside fintech startups, and striking partnerships with accelerators and academics to tap into fresh ways of doing business.

American Express Announces Strategic New Hires within Global Commercial Payments
American Express | 3.22.17

American Express Global Commercial Payments announced that it has hired two Commercial Card veterans within its Global Business Development group. Andy Nicholas has joined as Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Development - International.  Based in London, Andy is leading a team focused on creating customized and scalable business-to-business solutions for large corporations and selling select new travel & entertainment solutions to multinational and global companies. 

Apriva Expands EMV Certification of Globalcom's BV1000
The Green Sheet | 3.23.17

Apriva, a leading provider of omnichannel payment solutions and secure mobile communications, announced that it has completed an additional EMV certification with TSYS for Globalcom Engineering’s BV1000 device connecting through the Apriva Gateway. This certification provides vendors with the ability to provide more secure payment options to customers in unattended retail environments, such as self-service parking and car wash solutions, and provides another EMV processor option for Apriva’s large network of resellers.

U.S. Bank is First to Offer Mobile Payments for Visa Commercial Cards
BusinessWire | 3.20.17

U.S. Bank Corporate Travel Card clients will soon have the convenience of paying for expenditures via mobile with Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay. This new functionality allows commercial cardholders to conveniently and securely pay on the go with compatible devices, making U.S. Bank the first financial institution to offer a mobile payment solution for Visa corporate card transactions. “Business travelers are increasingly expecting the same convenience and security in their business transactions as they experience with their personal transactions,” said Jeff Jones, president of U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems.

Payments Veteran Cindy O’Neill Joins Priority Holdings Commercial Payments Division
PRWeb | 3.20.17

Priority Holdings, LLC is pleased to announce the addition of Cindy O’Neill to its management team as President within its Commercial Payments division. “Priority’s B2B payments business has experienced exceptional growth during the past year, particularly among our payment network (AMEX, MasterCard, VISA) financial institution clients and payment technology companies,” noted David Mc Miller, President of Priority’s Managed Services division.

Petroleum Card Services Announces Key Addition to Leadership Team
PR Newswire | 3.21.17

Petroleum Card Services (PCS), a premier provider of payment processing solutions geared specifically for independent petroleum and convenience store (c-store) owners, announced the addition of industry veteran, Pete Embs as Vice President and Business Unit Head. A seasoned payments professional with more than 14 years of experience, Pete will have overall responsibility for the business, overseeing sales, operations and day-to-day management. 

linked2pay Deploys Online, Real-Time Card Underwriting for ISOs and Sponsor Banks
EON | 3.21.17

linked2pay announced today the deployment of real-time delivery of merchant accounts to its Bank Centric Payments platform. Now, the company’s ISO and reseller partners can enroll with a participating sponsor bank to leverage a paperless, real-time process to register, underwrite and board their merchants for card processing. It also includes the ability to monitor and manage the ongoing risk of a portfolio by leveraging integrations with 3rd party business analytics service providers.

PaySimple Introduces First Point-Of-Sale Software For Services
PR Newswire | 3.23.17

PaySimple, the leading service commerce platform for businesses, has reinvented point-of-sale software for service businesses with their new release of Service Point of Sale (sPOS) platform. Small- and medium-sized service business owners are looking for ways to simplify management tools and have a more comprehensive view of their businesses. PaySimple's new sPOS is a virtual terminal that provides customers the simplicity of point of sale with the power of a complete billing, payment, and customer management solution. 

Delerrok Launches TouchPass: Electronic Fare Collection as a Service
PR Newswire | 3.21.17

Delerrok Inc., headquartered in Vista, California, announced the launch of TouchPass, cloud-based electronic fare collection offered as a subscription service. Delerrok has proven the technology behind TouchPass in Medford, Oregon, where the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) deployed the service in October after a successful trial on all its buses. "TouchPass has performed exceptionally, and we were delighted to see adoption grow to about one of every three boardings in such a short time," said RVTD General Manager Julie Brown.

Net Element's Unified Payments to Offer Planet Payment's Multi-Currency Pricing
Benzinga | 3.21.17

Net Element, Inc.a provider of global mobile payment technology solutions and value-added transactional services, announces that its Unified Payments subsidiary entered into a partnership with Planet Payment, Inc., a leading provider of international and multi-currency payment processing services, in which Unified Payments will offer Planet Payment's Multi-Currency Pricing to its portfolio of online merchants.

Payment21 and ACI Worldwide Enable Anti-Money Laundering-Compliant Bitcoin Payments Globally
ACI | 3.22.17

Payment21 and ACI Worldwide announced a strategic collaboration enabling payment service providers (PSPs) to offer merchants anti-money laundering (AML)-compliant Bitcoin acceptance via ACI's UP eCommerce Payments solution. ACI's network of more than 130 PSPs, serving more than 56,000 merchants, can now accept Bitcoin payments as a result.

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