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NF Edition #501 - 4/15/16
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Highlights this week include:  
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Microsoft, Uber Execs, and MasterCard CEO, Ajay Banga, Named to US Cybersecurity Panel 
International Business Times | 4.14.16

The White House released a list of names that US President Barack Obama has appointed to the new Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity panel. The panel was formed earlier this year as part of Obama's $19bn (£13bn) proposal to boost the US government's cybersecurity system. The panel includes top members of the tech, intelligence and academic communities. Among others appointed is CEO and president of MasterCard Ajay Banga; Microsoft Research's Peter Lee, Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan, former NSA director General Keith Alexander and Stanford cyberpolicy and security researcher Herbert Lin.

Sens. Cruz and Lee Take Aim at DOJ’s Operation Choke Point | 4.13.16

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation fighting the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative that unconstitutionally sought to choke off access to banking services for sellers of firearms and other lawful business enterprises. This legislation sponsored by Sens. Cruz and Lee serves as a companion bill to U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s (R-Mo.) Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766), which passed the House with bipartisan support in February.

Did Jack Dorsey Send Beard Shavings to Rapper Azealia Banks to Promote Square Cash?
Recode | 4.13.16

Last March, the rapper Azealia Banks tweeted to her followers that they should sign up for Square Cash, Square’s Venmo-like service that lets you send and receive cash. More than a year later, Banks now claims that in exchange for promoting the service, Square CEO Jack Dorsey (who also serves as the CEO of Twitter) promised to promote her mixtape. Dorsey, according to Banks, didn’t follow through. Additionally, she says that he sent her some of his hair in an envelope so that she could “make him an amulet for protection.”

No Purchase is Too Tiny for Today's Debit-Card Users - Right, Millennials?
The Seattle Times | 4.11.16

Do you roll your eyes in the checkout line when someone pulls out a card to pay for a candy bar or pack of gum? Get used to the feeling. While 58 percent of Americans still use cash for small purchases, a growing share say they whip out a credit or debit card even when spending less than $5, according to a survey of 616 people with major credit cards. About 38 percent of people surveyed said they used credit or debit cards for small purchases, up from 33 percent in 2014, the survey found.

TSG on TV: Most Retailers Don't Have Chip Readers
WTSP | 4.08.16

Months after a credit card industry deadline for retailers to help keep your financial data safer, research is showing many stores haven't updated their credit card readers. “Our survey is showing only around a third of retailers have made the transition,” said Jared Drieling Business Intelligence Manager for consulting firm The Strawhecker Group. A credit card industry deadline of Oct. 1 to begin using the new EMV chip-enabled credit cards shifted liability for credit card fraud from the banks to the retailers.  Still many large and small retailers are still swiping their credit card transactions.  The result, is confusion for shoppers whether to swipe or “dip” their card and millions of transactions at a higher risk for fraud.

Related: So You've Got A New Chip Credit Card, But Why Won't Stores Accept It?

Cyber Threats are 'Mind Blowing,' Crooks Getting Smarter
NBC | 4.12.16

The technology you use is being targeted, every hour of every day. These digital attacks are growing in number and sophistication, according to the Internet Security Threat Report released by the cyber security company Symantec on Tuesday. The data lost, the money stolen and the disruption caused by cybercriminals is worse than ever. "We see a higher level of professionalization among these attackers, and not just nation states where you expect that sort of thing, but even with the common cybercriminals," said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response.

Visa to Make Chip Payments Feel as Fast as Swipes
ISO & Agent | 4.13.16

Visa insists that EMV chip card transactions take no longer to process than magstripe transactions do, but it is aware that many consumers disagree. The perception comes from the amount of time the chip card is left in the terminal; consumers who are used to a quick card swipe are impatient with the new process of leaving a card in the reader until the transaction is approved. The process seems longer, even if the overall time spent at the register hasn't changed.

Facebook Messenger Bots Can Now Help you Order Flowers and Shop for Clothes
Recode | 4.12.16

Facebook is beefing up its e-commerce capabilities by adding personal shopping features to its Messenger messaging app, exec David Marcus announced onstage Tuesday during the company’s F8 developer conference. Users of the Messenger app will now be able to order flowers by simply chatting with 1-800-Flowers’ Facebook Messenger account. Facebook users will also be able to access an automated personal shopper by messaging with Spring, a mobile shopping app.

You Won't Be Able to Use Your Phone to Pay for an NYC Subway Ride Until 2021
The Verge | 4.12.16

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority finally released its public bid for a mobile, contactless ticketing system, but don't expect to use your iPhone to pay for a ride on the A train anytime soon. After it picks a private vendor to install the new fare payment system, the MTA says the contract will have a duration of 69 months, which means it won't be up and running until at least 2021. And given the MTA's track record for completing projects on time, probably even later than that.

Alibaba Pours a Total of $1B into Southeast Asia eCommerce Platform, Lazada
Tech Crunch | 4.12.16

Alibaba just took a big step in its Southeast Asian expansion journey. The company said today that it has pumped a total investment of about $1 billion into Lazada, in a deal that makes it the e-commerce platform’s controlling shareholder. This includes $500 million in newly-issued equity capital, as well as the purchase of existing shares from Lazada shareholders. Lazada is now valued at $1.5 billion, according to Rocket Internet, which founded the company in 2011.

Max Levchin's Affirm Raises $100 Million to Expand Beyond Point-of-Sale Financing
VentureBeat | 4.12.16

Affirm has raised $100 million in equity funding that the financial technology company will use to develop what it calls “direct-to-consumer” products. The round was led by Founders Fund and includes participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Jefferies, and others. The company declined to provide its valuation. It’s worth noting that this is an equity round, contrary to the previous round, which included some debt. Affirm told VentureBeat that it has plans to evolve its offerings, such as new ways to get funds right from the palm of your hands via a mobile app instead of point of sale, and it has three new partnerships that it plans to announce next month.

Fingerprints to be Tested as 'Currency'
The Japan News | 4.11.16

Starting this summer, the government will test a system in which foreign tourists will be able to verify their identities and buy things at stores using only their fingerprints.The government hopes to increase the number of foreign tourists by using the system to prevent crime and relieve users from the necessity of carrying cash or credit cards. It aims to realize the system by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Eastern European Cyber Crooks Raid US Banks For $4 Million In Just 3 Days
Forbes | 4.14.16

In early April, cybercriminals believed to be of Eastern European origin unleashed a malware that stole $4 million from more than 24 American and Canadian banks in just a few days, security researchers at IBM said. The hackers combined code from two malware types, known as Nymaim and Gozi, to create GozNym, a Trojan both persistent and powerful, according to a report from IBM’s X-Force branch shown to FORBES ahead of publication. Numerous credit unions and popular e-commerce platforms were also said to have been targeted.

Eye on Litigation: LevelUp’s Patent Fight; New York AG Targets Northern Leasing
Digital Transactions | 4.14.16

Mobile payment and marketing provider LevelUp is continuing its fight against a rival over an alleged patent infringement and the New York Attorney General has filed suit against Northern Leasing Systems Inc. alleging deceptive business practices. In 2015, Boston-based LevelUp’s parent company, SCVNGR Inc., filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against DailyGobble Inc., a New York City-based app developer that does business as Relevant, alleging patent infringement.

House Panel Investigates FDIC Breach
Bank Info Security | 4.11.16

A House committee is seeking information about security breaches at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the wake of a former employee departing the agency with a mobile storage device containing sensitive data on more than 44,000 individuals. Rep. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, characterizes the breach as "troubling" in an April 8 letter he wrote to FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg. "Sensitive information that is housed for any length of time without proper measures in place to mitigate cybersecurity risks is susceptible to a breach," Smith wrote.

Number of Compromised American ATMs Soars
Finextra | 4.11.16

The number of cash machines in the US compromised by criminals rose 546% in 2015 over 2014, according to figures put together by analytic software firm Fico. Fico, which monitors hundreds of thousands of American ATMs through its Card Alert service, says that the number compromised last year was the highest it has ever recorded.

US Retail Sales Down 0.3% In March Vs. 0.1% Increase Expected
CNBC | 4.13.16

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in March as households cut back on purchases of automobiles, further evidence that economic growth stumbled in the first quarter. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that retail sales declined 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales edging up 0.1 percent last month.

Drivers Rev Up for the Cheapest Summer Gasoline Prices in 12 Years
MarketWatch | 4.14.16

Vacationers will have a reason to really celebrate this summer, with gasoline prices expected to be at their cheapest levels for the season since 2004. “U.S. drivers are expected to pay the cheapest summer gasoline prices in 12 years, as low crude oil prices mean more savings at the pump,” U.S. Energy Information Administration Administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement Tuesday.

Applications for U.S. Unemployment Benefits Fall to 253,000, Evidence That Employers Looking Past The Recent Slow Economic Growth
U.S. News | 4.14.16

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plunged last week, matching a March figure that was the lowest level since 1973.THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for jobless benefits fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less-volatile figure, dipped 1,500 to 265,000. The number of people collecting benefits declined 4.9 percent to 2.17 million.

ACH Volume Grows by 5.6 Percent Adding 1.3 Billion Payments in 2015 
NACHA | 4.14.16

In 2015, ACH transaction volume grew to more than 24 billion electronic payments, an increase of 1.3 billion payments or 5.6 percent, over 2014 volume, according to new statistics released by NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association®. This increase marks the second consecutive year in which ACH payments grew by more than 1 billion. Additionally, a total of more than $41.6 trillion was transferred over the ACH Network last year, increasing 4 percent compared to 2014.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo Report Declining Profit
The New York Times | 4.14.16

It is shaping up to be another grim year for the nation’s biggest banks. On Thursday, both Bank of America and Wells Fargo said their first-quarter profit fell as the banks faced slumping oil prices, low interest rates and choppy financial markets. Bank of America said earnings declined 13 percent from the quarter a year ago, to $2.7 billion, or 21 cents a share, dragged down by lower long-term interest rates and a slump in its sales and trading business.

PayPal Credit With Lend You Money for Online Shopping in the UK
Mashable | 4.14.16

Another challenger to traditional credit cards has emerged in the UK with the introduction of PayPal Credit, a way to spread out payments for online purchases. The payments giant will allow consumers to apply for credit, under which purchases of £150 ($212) or more will be interest-free for four months, then subject to the standard variable interest rate, which is currently 17.9%. Limits will be set person by person.

Apriva & iPayment, Inc. Announce Mobile EMV Payment Solution
Apriva | 4.11.16

Apriva, the leading provider of secure end-to-end wireless transaction processing solutions, and iPayment, Inc., a premier provider of payment solutions and processing services, today announced that they have extended their partnership to provide EMV capable solutions to small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) using mobile points of sale. This extension of iPayment’s point of sale (POS) solutions brings EMV functionality to customers using their mobile payment application, iPayment MobilePay.

Complete Merchant Solutions Announces Investment Led by GCP Capital Partners
Business Wire | 4.12.16

A group of investors including GCP Capital Partners, Western Heritage Capital, and Performance Equity Management have acquired a significant stake in Complete Merchant Solutions (“CMS”), a leading provider of merchant acquisition services, credit card/debit card transaction processing services, and payment solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CardFlight and Miura Systems Partner to Offer EMV and NFC Mobile POs Solution to the US Market
CardFlight | 4.13.16

CardFlight, a mobile point of sale (POS) technology provider, and Miura Systems, the global leading provider of innovative secure electronic payment hardware, are announcing a partnership to offer a new mPOS solution in the United States market via CardFlight’s mobile POS platform and payment gateway. The device, manufactured by Miura and marketed as the Bold B550 reader by CardFlight, will allow merchants to accept EMV chip cards, contactless NFC payments, Apple Pay and Android Pay, as well as magnetic stripe payments from smartphones and tablets.

AnywhereCommerce and Bluefin Payment Systems form Payment and Security Partnership
PR Web | 4.14.16

Retail and mobile payments innovator AnywhereCommerce and Bluefin Payment Systems, the leading provider of PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions, have announced the availability of Bluefin’s P2PE solution for AnywhereCommerce clients utilizing the Nomad 2, the industry’s first PCI-validated P2PE mobile device with EMV. PCI-validated P2PE mitigates the time and costs associated with PCI compliance and especially benefits large enterprises where security is essential in protecting card data as well as a brand’s reputation.    

HSBC Bank USA Announces Settlement with OCC Related to Legacy Credit Card Add-on Products
EON | 4.14.16

HSBC North America Holdings Inc. announced that HSBC Bank USA, N.A., has reached an agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to resolve a regulatory review of past billing practices related to certain credit card add-on products that were sold primarily to customers of HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., a former subsidiary of HSBC Finance Corporation, as well as to customers of HSBC Bank USA.

Fiserv Research Reveals the S-Factors of Billing and Bill Payments - Speed, Security and Satisfaction
Fiserv | 4.13.16

Fiserv, Inc., a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, today announced findings from the Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey. The Survey finds consumers' billing and bill payment behavior is linked to three factors: speed, security and satisfaction. Consumers want a bill payment experience that is as easy, convenient and intuitive as a push of the button. Speed and security are the drivers of decision-making with satisfaction as the key outcome. 

Electronic Payments Acquires Assets of Vault Payments Group
News Channel 10 | 4.12.16

Electronic Payments, a leading provider of payment processing solutions, today announced the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Vault Payments Group (Vault), a premier provider of integrated payment offerings for Acumatica, Microsoft, NetSuite and Sage ERP. Since 2006, Electronic Payments has offered integrations into QuickBooks® Accounting and QuickBooks® Point of Sale software. With the acquisition of Vault, Electronic Payments augments those initiatives with additional leading ERP integrated payments products.

Paymetric, Inc. Launches New Call Center Solution to Secure the Enterprise
EIN News | 4.11.16

Paymetric, Inc., a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions for the enterprise, today announced its new call center solution. With demand growing in call center secure payments and increased PCI compliance requirements, Paymetric has just released a suite of flexible call center solutions that make it simple for merchants to deploy within existing enterprise systems.

Ultra-thin, Tattoo-like Wearables Enabled by New Technology Partnership
BusinessWire | 4.12.16

MC10, Inc., the healthcare technology company specializing in stretchable body-worn computing systems, and PCH, which designs custom product solutions for startups and Fortune 500 companies, have entered into an exclusive partnership to commercialize MC10’s Wearable Interactive Stamp Platform (WiSP™). The partnership will allow brands to develop a variety of consumer applications for the platform, which is a skin-worn, ultra-thin, stretchable and disposable stamp.

Ingenico Group acquires Think&Go NFC, the connected screens start-up
Ingenico | 4.11.16

Founded in 2010, employing a staff of fifteen, Think&Go NFC has developed a technology that enables any kind of digital display to interact with connected objects such as smartphones and transit passes. As a result, the connected screens become a vehicle for marketing tools like drive-to-store, couponing, loyalty programs and downloads. With fifteen innovation awards, two patents and 150 screens deployed, the company has already contributed to the global standing of French FinTech.

Craigslist Rival, OfferUp, Tests Mobile Payments in Seattle, Letting Buyers Pay Sellers Inside Its App
Geekwire | 4.11.16

OfferUp is quietly testing mobile payments for users of its community marketplace in Seattle, giving buyers the option to pay sellers through its app without exchanging cash — and giving itself another potential selling point over Craigslist, the widely used but hopelessly outdated titan of local buying and selling. The OfferUp mobile payments beta is an option just in Seattle for now, not in other parts of the country where OfferUp is available.

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