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NF Edition #504 - 5/06/16
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Highlights this week...

NEW: The U.S. Merchant Category Encyclopedia

The Strawhecker Group has released its newest eReport, The U.S. Merchant Category Encyclopedia. Focused on 37 major U.S. merchant categories, the report serves as a directory in understanding the dynamics of each category, the payments players that focus on each category, and an analysis on the attractiveness of the category from an industry and acquiring perspective.

Check out the preview  |  Purchase here

Also, make sure to check out last week's new eReport - TSG's Merchant Processing Pricing Benchmark Study.

Square Shares Plummet After Mixed Q1 Earnings 
Forbes | 5.05.16

Square reported first quarter earnings on Thursday that beat analysts’ expectations on revenue but missed on profits after the company recorded a one-time charge of $50 million due to a lawsuit settlement. Shareholders reacted negatively sending the San Francisco-based payment firm’s shares down more than 12% in after-hours trading. In a letter to shareholders, the company said that it had accrued $50 million “in general and administrative expenses” in connection to a settlement with Robert E. Morley Jr., an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who sued Square and cofounders Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey Jr. in a federal court in St. Louis in 2014. 

Related:

Craig Wright Backs Out and Won't Prove That He is Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto
Tech Crunch | 5.05.16

Satoshi Nakamoto, 2016 edition, might not be Craig Wright after all. Just a couple of days after claiming that he was the creator of bitcoin, the Australian entrepreneur updated his website with a note that says that he won’t share the proof that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto. And Wright has been smart. He talked with journalists working for GQ, the BBC and The Economist, telling them he is Satoshi. Some of them were more skeptical than others. But a good old embargo that left crypto experts in the unknown was the best strategy. These headlines looked so great!

Related: 

Proposed Rule Would Allow Consumers to Sue Banks, Credit-Card Companies
The Wall Street Journal | 5.05.16

Consumers are set to gain new powers to sue banks under a proposal unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The proposed rule would restrict the use of arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, shifting more power to consumers for a range of financial products, from credit cards to bank accounts to private student loans. The CFPB aims to prohibit financial companies from using mandatory-arbitration clauses as a way to block class-action lawsuits, in which a large number of plaintiffs with similar complaints band together. Companies would still be able to require consumers to enter arbitration to resolve individual disputes.

Why Apple Pay and Other Mobile Wallets Beat Chip Cards
The New York Times | 5.04.16

Every weekend, when Pierre Houle works the brunch shift at Olea, a neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco, many customers want to split the tab on multiple credit cards, a process that takes much longer than it used to. For waiters like Mr. Houle, diners going Dutch is nothing new. But now he has to take each of the credit cards, insert them into a chip reader and wait about 10 seconds for every transaction to process. In the past, he could swipe a card, wait a few seconds, print out the receipt and get going. “It isn’t much, but in the restaurant world it can be enormous,” he said. “I have to wait there, and I can’t go check on something else. You need to move all the time when you do a job like that.”

American Express Spending More to Attract Cardholders, CEO Says
Bloomberg | 5.02.16

American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases, is spending more money to attract cardholders and actively seeking retail partners as it works “with a great sense of urgency” to improve results, Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault told shareholders. AmEx has “ramped up spending on cardmember acquisition,” Chenault said at the company’s annual meeting in New York, while conceding that 2015 was a “disappointing” year for investors. He didn’t elaborate on the firm’s spending.

Building Fintech's Future
ISO & Agent | 5.02.16

Annmarie “Mimi” Hart, CEO and chairman of MagTek in Seal Beach, Calif., has a vision of the payments industry that may seem more like the plot of a Star Trek script. But that sci-fi vision happens to be coming true. Back when a mobile wallet was still an uncertain concept and the EMV migration was just beginning, she was already looking ahead to the next phase, when consumers would be making payments through “Dick Tracy” style smartwatches that they could talk into much like Captain Kirk would talk to the Enterprise. And, eager to live in that future, she wore such a watch years before the Apple Watch debuted to kickstart the wearable payments movement.

Related:

The ECB is Getting Rid of Drug Cartels' Favorite Currency
Business Insider | 5.04.16

The European central bank announced on Wednesday that it would permanently stop production of the 500-euro note, worth about $575 at current rates, and stop issuing the notes around the end of 2018, when a new series of 100- and 200-euro notes goes into distribution. "It has been decided to end in a permanent manner the production of 500-euro bills," European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said after a meeting in Frankfurt, after "taking into account the worry that those bills could facilitate illicit activities.

With over 1,000 attendees representing every segment of the payments eco-system, the opportunity to learn, network and collaborate is unbeatable; here's why...

With Wearables Set to Soar, MasterCard Prepares to Support Device Payments Later in 2016
Digital Transactions | 5.03.16

MasterCard Inc. expects the first wearable payment devices for use on its network to be available later this year, Sherri Haymond, senior vice president for digital payments for MasterCard, tells Digital Transactions News. The devices are part of MasterCard’s Commerce for Every Device Program, which is intended to add payment functionality to everyday devices consumers use. MasterCard is providing the platform to which wearable device makers, card issuers, and transaction processors can connect to enable wearable payments.

Why Apple Won’t Give Us Real Numbers
PYMNTS | 5.02.16

If last week wasn’t a wake-up call that there’s something amiss in Cupertino, I don’t know what is. I’m not talking about the fact that Apple’s Chinese love fest seems to be on the rocks or that iPhone sales tanked. Nope. It’s the fact that Apple can’t give us one meaningful statistic on how *well* all of its post-Jobs initiatives are really doing. And that the company’s efforts to feed us tiny crumbs of positive news are beginning to look more lame every earnings call.

Kohl’s Becomes First Retailer to Support Store Payments and Rewards With One Tap in Apple Pay
MacRumors | 5.04.16

Kohl's has announced that customers can now pay for their purchases with Kohl’s Charge Cards or other credit or debit cards and simultaneously earn Yes2You Rewards loyalty points with a single tap using Apple Pay. The combined functionality is currently available in approximately 250 Kohl’s stores in the United States, and the department store chain expects one-tap checkout to be available in all stores nationwide later this month. Kohl's is the first retailer to offer a one-tap solution for payments and rewards using Apple Pay.

Reinventing the Coupon Program for Mobile Payments
American Banker | 5.02.16

Pressure is building on financial services providers to develop more merchant-centric loyalty programs to fight declining interchange revenue, and U.S. Bank is testing one approach in Lawrence, Kan. The bank's Deal Local app, a proprietary system developed with its Elavon merchant processing subsidiary, operates a bit like a card-linked offers platform for local businesses. In the Kansas pilot, U.S. Bank has signed up 23 businesses that already use Elavon for its processing services to provide offers through Deal Local via Fanfare, the loyalty platform Elavon launched in 2014.

Ether Has Been Cleared to Trade on the Winklevoss Bitcoin Exchange
Quartz | 5.05.16

While bitcoin is by far the biggest and most widely known digital currency, another is quickly establishing itself as a serious player.  With a market capitalization of close to $800 million, Ethereum, with its ether digital currency, is considered the “next big thing” in cryptocurrency. And now, with new regulatory guidance from the state of New York, it’ll be easier for users to trade ether, addressing one of the biggest complaints about the currency to date.

BitPay's New Visa Card Turns Bitcoin into Dollars for Easy Real-World Spending
Neowin | 5.04.16

BitPay has announced that it is launching the BitPay Visa Card which will be available to consumers in all 50 US states. The move will give Bitcoin holders the ability to go into any shop and buy products using their Bitcoins. The card allows for zero-fee top-ups of up to $10,000 per day in spendable funds, additionally, you can receive direct payments to the card from your employer. Withdrawing money from the BitPay Visa Card is simple too, card holders can withdraw up to $3,000 in cash per day from any ATM machine which accepts Visa cards.

Deloitte Redefining Financial Services With Blockchain-Backed Digital Banking
IBT | 5.04.16

Deloitte, the world’s second-biggest professional services company by revenue, will partner with five startups to build a range of products based on the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin. At the Consensus 2016 blockchain conference in New York this week Deloitte said it was partnering with five blockchain startups — BlockCypher, Bloq, ConsenSys Enterprise, Loyyal and Stellar — and has already built 20 working prototypes with those companies.

Hacker Group Draws Bull's-Eye on 'Every Major Banking System' 
BTN | 5.05.16

The hacktivist group Anonymous, which brought down the Greek central bank’s website through a distributed denial of service attack on Tuesday, claims it will be targeting financial organizations around the globe over the next 30 days. In a video about the attack, the group claims it will target PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Nasdaq, the Bank for International Settlements, all central banks, the IMF, London Stock Exchange "and every major banking system." However, a pastebin post that purports to be Anonymous' master target list does not mention PayPal, MasterCard, Visa or Nasdaq. The lengthy list of targets in that post includes the websites of the Federal Reserve and nine of its 12 regional banks.

Crooks Go Deep With ‘Deep Insert’ Skimmers
KrebsonSecurity | 5.05.16

ATM maker NCR Corp. says it is seeing a rapid rise in reports of what it calls “deep insert skimmers,” wafer-thin fraud devices made to be hidden inside of the card acceptance slot on a cash machine. KrebsOnSecurity’s All About Skimmers series has featured several stories about insert skimmers. But the ATM manufacturer said deep insert skimmers are different from typical insert skimmers because they are placed in various positions within the card reader transport, behind the shutter of a motorized card reader and completely hidden from the consumer at the front of the ATM.

Tax Return Fraudsters Hit ADP Portal
Bank Info Security | 5.05.16

Some employees at organizations that use outsourced payroll provider ADP have been hit with tax return fraud. ADP blames customers for failing to secure the unique portal registration codes it issues to clients, saying they'd been obtained by fraudsters, enabling them to obtain individuals' personally identifiable information and use it to help commit identity theft. "ADP has learned of a small number of clients whose employees have been victimized by fraudulent registrations through a self-service registration portal," ADP spokesman Dick Wolfe tells Information Security Media Group.

Employers in U.S. Take on Fewest Workers in Seven Months 
Bloomberg | 5.06.16

Employers in April added the fewest number of workers in seven months and the U.S. jobless rate held steady as subdued economic growth prompted a more moderate rate of hiring. The 160,000 gain in payrolls followed a revised 208,000 rise in March, a Labor Department report showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 200,000 April advance. The jobless rate, projected to ease, stayed at 5 percent, while wage growth accelerated.

Bank of America Survey Finds Small Business Owners’ Confidence Down While Election-Year Anxiety Rises
Business Wire | 5.03.16

Small business owners’ confidence in the national economy is down, according to the spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, which found that only 29 percent of small business owners feel confident that the national economy will improve over the next year – a sharp drop from a year ago. The report, based on a semi-annual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country, suggests that the upcoming presidential and congressional elections are having a sizable influence on the outlook of small business owners.

Uber and China's Alipay Agree to Expand Co-Operation 
BBC | 5.03.16

Taxi-hailing service Uber and China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group have agreed a deal that will allow Chinese travellers to pay for a taxi in any country where Uber operates. It means they can pay for their rides in yuan using their Alipay accounts. US car sharing service Lyft and China's Didi Chuxing recently launched a similar service. The growth in smartphone transport services is encouraging firms to build international partnerships.

Alibaba's Hong Kong Fund Invests in Three eCommerce Startups
Tech Crunch | 5.06.16

Alibaba has broken the seal on its startup fund for Hong Kong after it backed its first three companies in undisclosed deals. The startups are unsurprisingly all in the e-commerce space: Yeechoo is online fashion store focused on renting not buying, Shopline helps online sellers use the internet for marketing, while GoGoVan is delivery and logistics on-demand. Last November, Alibaba put $450 million into two standalone funds focused on early-stage investing in Hong Kong and Taiwan. These are the first deals for the Hong Kong fund — which is slightly smaller at $130 million and is managed by Gobi Ventures.

Payment Startup Zooz Raises $24M as Global Fintech Looks for Standards
Tech Crunch | 5.03.16

As payment solutions proliferate and calls for standardization mount, Israel-based payment platform startup Zooz said it has closed a $24 million led by Target Global Ventures, to expand globally and bolster its products and services. Zooz’s series C round more than doubles the total amount invested in the company to $40.5 million, raised in four rounds. The latest round included Fang Fund, iAngels, Kreos Capital and existing investors Blumberg Capital, lool ventures, Rhodium, Claltech (Access Industries’ Israeli tech vehicle), XSeed Capital, CampOne Ventures and angel investor Eilon Tirosh.

Postmates, Shopify Partner for On-Demand Deliveries
SFGATE | 5.03.16

Postmates couriers will provide same-day delivery of items sold by retailers who use Shopify’s e-commerce software, under a deal between the two companies announced Tuesday. San Francisco’s Postmates has about 25,000 couriers nationwide who drive their own vehicles. Canada’s Shopify runs online storefronts for about 21,000 U.S. merchants who can participate in the Postmates deliveries. It provides software to about 243,000 merchants globally

Money Transfer Startup Turns to Banks for Boost
American Banker | 5.04.16

A company that often uses the slogan "Bye Bye Banks" has decided to say hello. The cross-border payments startup TransferWise, which cultivated a reputation as an alternative to banks and their fees, is canvassing the U.S. for bank partners so it can reach more people who send money to other countries, said Scott Miller, the vice president of global partnerships. "About a year ago we realized that not everyone is going to come to TransferWise to transfer money," Miller said. "So, wherever they are going to make transfers, we should go to them."

Global Payments Renews Multi-Year Agreement to Support YUM! Brands in Canada and Is Recognized As UPGC Supplier of the Year
Global Payments | 5.03.16

Global Payments Inc., a leading worldwide provider of payment technology services, is pleased to announce that it has renewed a multi-year agreement with Unified Purchasing Group of Canada (UPGC), to support the payment technology needs of YUM! Brands, Inc. - KFC®, Pizza Hut® and Taco Bell® - across Canada. Further, in recognition of Global Payments' commitment to delivering quality support and operational efficiencies to YUM! Brands franchisees, UPGC recognized Global Payments as Supplier of the Year.

3dcart Now Offers Comprehensive Vantiv Payment Processing Integration to Online Stores
Yahoo! Finance | 5.04.16

Shopping cart software provider 3dcart has partnered with Vantiv, Inc., a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes, to bring flexible eCommerce payment processing choices to more than 20,000 active online stores. As an option for payment processing on 3dcart online stores, Vantiv offers efficient core payments processing capabilities – including traditional card processing, international, and alternative payment options – along with several value-added protection, revenue, and analytics, reporting, and operations solutions.

Boku Brings Carrier Billing to Spotify
LowCards | 5.04.16

Boku announced it will provide carrier billing to Spotify users in Germany and Italy, which expands its current partnership with Spotify that first launchd in the U.K. With this new agreement, nearly 90 million Spotify Premium subscribers will be able to purchase their membership directly from their mobile device, using just their phone number. “Our partnerships with carriers connecting to Spotify in the UK have been a phenomenal success both in terms of revenue and new subscriber acquisition. So much so that, in the UK, the default payment method for new Spotify users has changed from credit card to carrier billing,” said Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku.

Equinox Launches EMV-Certified Lodging Terminal
Equinox | 5.03.16

Equinox Payments, a leading provider of payment terminals, applications and support services, today announced that its Voyager Lodging application running on the Equinox Apollo terminal has been certified by TSYS, making it the first major EMV-certified stand-alone lodging solution available in the US. Hotel owners can now accept the latest technology and avoid costly chargebacks related to the EMV liability shift.

Bluepoint Solutions’ Item Processing and Enterprise Content Management Suites Chosen by Camino Federal Credit Union
PR Web | 5.05.16

Bluepoint Solutions announced that Camino Federal Credit Union will deploy both the FASTdocs suite, for enterprise content management, and the ImagePoint suite, for end-to-end item capture and processing. By taking an integrated approach, Camino FCU (Montebello, CA-based, 12,400 members, $140 million assets) will eliminate many manual processes, create new opportunities for efficiency, and reach members whenever and wherever they are.

Bluefin’s PCI-validated P2PE Solution to host Visa Data Secure Platform (DSP)
EON | 5.03.16

Bluefin Payment Systems, the leading provider of PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions for retail, healthcare and education, today announced that they will provide the Visa Data Secure Platform (DSP) through their Decryption as a Service P2PE Solution. Visa DSP is a platform designed to help merchants prevent sensitive account holder data from being compromised by encrypting it in the PCI PTS approved Point of Sale hardware.

Tidal Boosts Global Expansion, Peak Transaction Processing Capabilities With Exclusive Ingencio ePayments Partnership
Ingenico | 5.04.16

Ingenico ePayments, the online and mobile commerce division of Ingenico Group, today announced that the innovative music and entertainment platform, TIDAL, selected Ingenico ePayments as its exclusive partner to help process increasing demand for its services and optimize the payment experience for its customers.

Android Pay and Samsung Pay Now Available for BBVA Compass Cardholders
BBVA Compass | 5.04.16

Now there are more ways for BBVA Compass customers to make purchases, thanks to the integration of Android Pay and Samsung Pay for BBVA Compass cardholders. Android Pay and Samsung Pay, the mobile payments solutions from Google and Samsung, let BBVA Compass customers pay with their supported Samsung and Android phones instead of using their BBVA Compass Visa debit, credit or prepaid cards. The introduction of the mobile payments functionality underscores BBVA Compass' drive to provide more and varied ways for its customers to bank digitally.

FIME To Deliver D-PAS Terminal Certification Services for Discover
FIME | 5.04.16

Discover has accredited FIME, a leader in payments consultancy, to provide formal approval services for terminal end-to-end certification of Discover Network and Diners Club International acceptance systems using D-Payment Application Specifications (D-PAS). As a Discover-approved certification services provider, FIME also offers specialist consulting services to acquirers preparing their systems for end-to-end certification.

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