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NF Edition #542 - 1/27/17
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Highlights this week...

In Case You Missed It: What's "In-Store" for Payments in 2017?
Commentary by Jared Drieling, Business Intelligence Manager
(As seen in ETA's Details newsletter) The world around us has become increasingly connected, and as such purchasing behaviors of consumers are evolving as well as the tactics merchants are pursuing to take advantage of this reality. For consumers, merchants and payment providers, the need is clear: a frictionless, efficient and pay anywhere, anytime platform. Unfortunately, for many incumbents with legacy technology, supporting digital and physical payments across multiple channels was a key hurdle in 2016. More so, the transition to EMV distracted attention and resources to developing innovative products that could tackle some of these pressing issues. As the industry struggled with EMV and faced legacy technological challenges, emerging players without legacy technology, such as WePay and Adyen, continued to take the market by storm and increasingly found themselves on the radars of many large acquiring entities.

Click here to read more.

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Buys MoneyGram for $880 Million
Bloomberg | 1.26.17

Ant Financial, China’s most valuable financial technology company that was once part of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., stepped up its international expansion by buying U.S. money-transfer service MoneyGram International Inc. The $880 million acquisition marks Ant’s second acquisition of a U.S. company as it expands beyond a home arena that it already dominates. The transaction will connect MoneyGram’s network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts with Ant’s customers. Ant is seeking to expand abroad amid increasing competition from Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat payment system at home. The deal with MoneyGram will further that goal, following recent partnerships with Paytm in India and Ascend Money in Thailand.


Related: MoneyGram Shares Spike as Alibaba Offshoot Takes Another Step Into U.S. Payments

Target Plans to Introduce Its Own Smartphone Payment Service in Stores Later This Year
Recode | 1.24.17

Shoppers will be able to use their phones to pay in Target stores later this year, but it won’t necessarily be with Apple Pay or Android Pay. Instead, Target plans to introduce mobile payment features to one or more of its own apps, the retailer’s Chief Information and Digital Officer Michael McNamara told Recode last week at a National Retail Federation conference in New York City. It’s not clear if Target will add the payment feature to its main Target app, its popular Cartwheel coupon app or both. A spokesman declined to comment further.

Related: Target's Millennial Focus Gives It a Leg Up for Mobile Payments

PayPal Q4 Earnings & Revenue In-Line, Payment Transactions Up 23%

Yahoo! Finance | 1.26.17

PayPal reported operating cash flow of $923 million, and GAAP operating margin of 15% for the quarter. The company saw growth of 5.4 million active customer accounts, with 1.8 billion payment transactions, an increase of 23%. PayPal also reported $99 billion in total payment volume, up 22%. Looking ahead, PayPal expects revenue to grow 14% in a range of $2.9 billion to $2.95 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2017. GAAP earnings per diluted share are forecasted in the range of 31 cents to 33 cents.

Sage Considers Sale of UK Payments Business
The Telegraph | 1.26.17

Sage is considering putting its payments business in the UK up for sale as the FTSE 100 software group reviews its future. The company’s chief financial officer Steve Hare said that in addition to mulling the sale of its North American payments operation, it could exit payments entirely by disposing of its businesses in the UK and Ireland and South Africa. In December Sage, which develops accounting and payroll software for businesses, said it was exploring a potential sale of its North American payments unit, which could be worth around $500m (£400m).

NACHA Releases Same Day ACH Stats
PYMNTS | 1.25.17

The results are in. The Electronic Payments Association (NACHA), steward and rule maker of the ACH Network, just released findings from the Same Day ACH transaction volume data for Sept. 23–Dec. 31, 2016. According to the NACHA data, Same Day ACH was responsible for more than 13 million credit transactions in its just over three months of operation so far. The combined value of these transactions totaled nearly $17 billion, with an average transaction amount of $1,283 in the period through the end of 2016.

Federal Reserve Reports Progress on Efforts to Improve U.S. Payment System
The Green Sheet | 1.26.17

The Federal Reserve on Thursday released a progress report outlining accomplishments and anticipated steps moving forward related to the ongoing initiatives to enhance the speed, efficiency and security of the U.S. payment system. The progress report highlights collaborative efforts in support of five strategies outlined in the January 2015 publication of Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System. These strategies are being pursued by the Federal Reserve in conjunction with various private sector businesses, financial services providers, financial institutions, consumer groups and government agencies.

See the Progress Report

JPMorgan Clients to Get Easier Access to Online Finance Tools
Reuters | 1.25.17

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Intuit Inc said on Wednesday they had reached an agreement to allow the bank's customers to quickly put account information into Mint, TurboTax Online and QuickBooks Online financial management applications without turning over user names and bank passwords. The agreement "aligns closely" with a set of consumer data-sharing principles announced in October by the industry through the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the companies said in a statement.

Related: Why the JPM-Intuit Partnership is a Big Step For Data Sharing

'Unified Commerce' Can Drive User Payment Experience and Merchant Sales
PaymentsSource | 1.27.17

The payments ecosystem is vast and the complexity is only heightening, but with the right integration of hardware and software solutions providers can empower retailers to not only improve in-store experiences but enhance data collection and the ability to analyze customer behaviors. For the next year, the key trends are improving the checkout process with friction-less payments solutions and seamless experiences via a unified commerce approach.

Banking to Help Alibaba-Backed Paytm Lure 500 Million Users
Bloomberg | 1.23.17

Indian digital-payments provider Paytm intends to launch its banking operations within two months, a move that would bolster its push to sign up more than a third of India’s 1.3 billion people as customers, according to its chief financial officer. The roll-out of its so-called payments bank by March will help the firm backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reach 200 million customers within a year, CFO Madhur Deora said in a phone interview earlier this month. The company is seeking as many as 500 million in the medium term, he said, without being more specific.

Singapore’s FinTech Industry Is on the Way to Global Leadership
LTP | 1.26.17

Indeed, Singapore is one of the gems of the global financial services industry ecosystem with ~200 banks with total assets of $2 trillion having operational headquarters in Singapore. Global financial institutions like Mastercard, UBS, DBS Bank, OCBC, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are launching (or have already launched) their innovation labs and accelerators in Singapore along with significant investments in the ecosystem. Global financial services companies have their Asian satellites operating from Singapore including AmEx, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and numerous other international financial organizations.

Aliababa Lifts Forecast as New Ventures Bolster eCommerce
PaymentsSource | 1.24.17

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. raised its full-year sales forecast after quarterly results beat estimates, as Chinese spending stays strong and the company wrings revenue from fledgling areas such as cloud computing, entertainment and search. China’s biggest e-commerce company increased its projection for fiscal 2017 revenue growth to 53 percent, from 48 percent previously. That may help assuage investors concerned that a deceleration in the world’s second-largest economy is curtailing Alibaba’s main online commerce business.

Fraudster Surrenders in One of the FBI’s Biggest Ever Credit Card Scams
Fortune | 1.25.17

A fugitive gave himself up nearly four years after being charged in one of the Justice Department's largest credit card fraud schemes ever, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey. The New York man and member of a ring of identity fraudsters allegedly cost banks and other businesses more than $200 million in losses. Habib Chaudhry, a 49-year-old from the Long Island town of Valley Stream, was one of the last remaining conspirators on the lam, the United States' Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey confirms to Fortune.

The CFPB Is In The Crosshairs, Exactly Where It Belongs
Forbes | 1.24.17

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been one of the most controversial components of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.  It has issued contentious rules, tortured data to make other rules, engaged in an extravagant spending spree, and even found itself blasted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for employment discrimination. The CFPB’s funding and structure – a formulaic revenue stream tied to the Federal Reserve, and a sole director rather than a bipartisan commission – were points of conflict before the Bureau was even up and running.

Pew Research Study Exposes America's Poor Password Hygiene
DarkReading | 1.26.17

A new survey by the Pew Research Center on how Americans view cybersecurity finds that most people are concerned about online security but forgo the necessary steps to protect themselves. The survey of 1,040 US adults shows that 41% of them have shared the password to one of their online accounts with friends or family members. Young adults are especially likely to engage in this behavior – 56% of online adults ages 18- to 29 have shared passwords.

Breach Repercussions: Yahoo Reports Verizon Deal Delay
Bank Info Security | 1.24.17

Yahoo's executives expect the company's sale to Verizon to be delayed as the search giant continues to investigate two massive data breaches. Despite the breaches, Yahoo reported better-than-expected 2016 fourth-quarter and full-year financial results and signaled that the Verizon deal is proceeding. Both pieces of news will likely calm investors. "With our 2016 and Q4 financial results [being] ahead of plan, and the continued stability in our user engagement trends, the opportunities ahead with Verizon look bright," Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, says in a statement.

Related: SEC To Take A Closer Look At Yahoo Breaches

'Lazy' Passwords Must Give Way to Flexible Biometrics
PayThink | 1.25.17

With more than 3 billion credentials reported stolen worldwide in 2016, and 51 companies admitting a breach, we are clearly all in need of a resolution to fix the password problem. Lazy passwords have failed us, and it’s time we work harder to overcome this roadblock along the path to a secure online experience. Attacks on retailers and large service providers like LinkedIn are avoidable. What’s needed to get us in shape are solutions that achieve two objectives.

Senior Manager at Cybersecurity Firm Arrested in Moscow
ABC News | 1.25.17

A manager in charge of investigating hacking attacks at Russia's biggest cybersecurity firm has been arrested, the company said Wednesday. Kaspersky Lab on Wednesday confirmed reports in Russia's respected Kommersant newspaper that Ruslan Stoyanov, head of its computer incidents investigations unit, was arrested in December. Kommersant said that Stoyanov was arrested along with a senior Russian FSB intelligence officer and that they both face charges of treason.

Modest U.S. Growth at Year’s End May Reframe Policy Debate

The New York Times | 1.27.17

The American economy finished 2016 on a soft note, the government reported Friday, expanding in the fourth quarter at an annual rate of 1.9 percent. That is less than half the rate President Trump vowed he could deliver during the campaign — a promise repeated on the White House website — and the economy’s underlying weakness complicates the new administration’s plans. The pace of economic expansion for all of 2016 wound up at 1.6 percent, the lowest annual rate in five years. It was below the 2.6 percent rate recorded in 2015.

Related: Stock Futures Inch Higher as U.S. Economy Slows in Fourth Quarter

Dow Hits All-Time High, Cracks 20,000 for the First Time Ever
USA Today | 1.25.17

The waiting is finally over. Dow 20,000 – a milestone that seemed out of reach and had a science-fiction feel to it at the 2009 market low when the iconic stock index traded at 6,547 and 54% below its then-peak – is now a reality. In a historic moment on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average eclipsed the 20,000 level Wednesday for the first time in its 120-year history. The Dow jumped nearly 170 points in afternoon trading to hit an intraday record high of 20,082.00. 

Federal Debt Projected to Grow by Nearly $10 Trillion Over Next Decade
The New York Times | 1.24.17

After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to swell again, adding nearly $10 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The numbers reveal the strain that government debt could have on the economy as President Trump presses to slash taxes and ramp up spending. The deficit figures released Tuesday will be a major challenge to House Republicans, who were swept to power in 2010 on fears of a bloated deficit and who made controlling red ink a major part of their agenda under former President Barack Obama. 

TSYS Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings
TSYS | 1.24.17

TSYS reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2016. “2016 was truly an exceptional year in the history of our company. We delivered record financial results, completed our largest acquisition in TransFirst that doubled the size of our Merchant business, and finished the year with results in all four segments having met or exceeded our goals,“ said M. Troy Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of TSYS. “We expect the momentum of 2016 to continue in 2017. We are projecting strong organic revenue growth and double digit earnings growth as we remain laser focused on executing our strategic plans and delivering outstanding results,” said Woods.

Direct Connect Holdings, LLC Acquires United Payment Services
Direct Connect | 1.24.17

Direct Connect, an industry leading merchant services provider, announced today that it has acquired United Payment Services (UPS). Based in Los Angeles, UPS (a First Data ISO) offers credit and debit card processing, ACH services, purchasing card programs and e-commerce capabilities to businesses of all sizes. The acquisition of UPS supports Direct Connect’s strategy to continue to grow through both strategic acquisition and strong organic growth.

Discover Financial Services Reports Fourth Quarter Net Income of $563 Million or $1.40 Per Diluted Share
Discover | 1.24.17

Discover Financial Services reported net income of $563 million or $1.40 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2016, as compared to $500 million or $1.14 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2015. The company’s return on equity for the fourth quarter of 2016 was 20%. "We delivered robust revenue growth in the fourth quarter with a solid operating efficiency ratio. While the seasoning of loans from the past several years of growth continued to drive provisions, overall credit performance remained healthy," said David Nelms, chairman and CEO of Discover.

NCR Silver Launches Redesigned Point-of-Sale Application
BusinessWire | 1.24.17

NCR Silver has launched a redesigned tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) application, which offers small businesses quicker access to information and faster transaction times via an optimized user interface and improved customer experience. “NCR is constantly looking for ways to add value and insights to the small business experience,’’ said Chris Poelma, president and general manager of NCR Silver. “With that, we take customer feedback and insights into everything we do – including technology enhancements to our platform.”

American Express Company Elects John Brennan to Board of Directors
American Express | 1.24.17

American Express Company announced that John J. “Jack” Brennan has been elected to its board of directors. Mr. Brennan is chairman emeritus and senior advisor of Vanguard, one of the world’s largest and most respected investment companies. He joined Vanguard in 1982, was elected chief financial officer in 1985 and president in 1989. He served as Vanguard’s chief executive officer from 1996 to 2008 and chairman of the board from 1998 to 2009.

Green Dot Said to Be in Talks to Buy Russell Simmons’s UniRush
Bloomberg | 1.26.17

Prepaid-card provider Green Dot Corp. is in talks to buy UniRush, a smaller competitor co-founded by Russell Simmons, the music industry entrepreneur behind rap label Def Jam, according to people familiar with the matter. Green Dot has entered into exclusive negotiations with UniRush after an auction for the company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. A deal hasn’t been finalized and the talks could fall apart, they said.

Link Rethinks Business Model As Banks Balk At ATM Running Costs
Finextra | 1.26.17

The UK's Link ATM network is rethinking its business model as banks seek to reduce the costs incurred by providing free ATM withdrawals across the national network of 70,000 cash machines. The total cost of the UK’s free to use ATM network is around £1bn, with Link member transactions coming in at around £750m. The nation's banks have begun to balk at the cost, which equates to a 25 pence surcharge every time a customers uses a non-branch machine at another bank.

CU4Business will collaborate with Square to help credit unions better serve U.S. small businesses
PR Newswire | 1.25.17

CU4Business and Square Inc. announced this week they are entering into a collaboration to assist credit unions in serving the 28 million small businesses across the U.S. CU4Business will begin offering Square's payment solutions to small businesses through its network of credit unions. Square's hardware and point-of-sale software include everything a business owner needs, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory, to real-time analytics and invoicing, as well as financial and marketing services.

Total Merchant Services Offers Free, Cutting-Edge Payment Processing Solutions for Businesses of All Types
PR Newswire | 1.26.17

Total Merchant Services, a leader in payment services and solutions, today announced the expansion of its free equipment program to encompass the company's entire family of products, including readers, terminals and new point of sale (POS) systems. Through the new program, businesses of any type or stage of development can receive free, cutting-edge payment processing equipment appropriate for their needs.

First American Payment Systems and VetOfficeSuite.com Partner to Bring Secure Payment Solutions to Veterinarians
PRWeb | 1.24.17

First American Payment Systems, a leader in the payment processing industry, has partnered with VetOfficeSuite.com, a premier online veterinary practice management system, to deliver integrated payment solutions within their cloud-based software. The partnership will be announced at the upcoming North American Veterinary Community conference in Orlando, FL from February 4-8, along with available appointments for veterinarians to review the software. By partnering with First American, VetOfficeSuite.com provides a wide variety of payment options backed by advanced security technology.

Lottomatica Empowers Its Merchant Partners With Ingenico's Integrated POS
Ingenico Group | 1.23.17

Ingenico Group, the world leader in seamless payment,  announced its extended partnership with leading operator in the lotteries and gambling sector in Italy, Lottomatica (an International Game Technology PLC subsidiary),  for the deployment of an innovative tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) solution, the Integrated POS, in Italy. This roll-out consists of an upgrade of the existing fleet of Ingenico countertop terminals to offer enhanced commercial and payment services to Lottomatica’s customers. 

Star Micronics, with Elo and E-Nabler Corp., Introduces New Integrated mPOS Solution
PR Newswire | 1.23.17

Star Micronics, the global industry leader in POS printer solutions, has announced that Elo, a global supplier of touchscreen solutions, and e-Nabler Corp., developer of the award-winning eMobilePOS software have together certified a fully integrated mPOS solution. The solution includes the Elo I-Series for Android tablet running eMobilePOS atop the new Elo mPOS printer flip stand that houses a Star Micronics printer. The space-saving, full-feature POS with commercial-grade durability is well-suited for retail, hospitality, venues, and more.

Finnair to Let In-Flight shoppers Pay With Alipay
Finextra | 1.25.17

As the first airline in the world, Finnair plans to introduce onboard the world´s largest online payment platform Alipay. Finnair will trial the application on its route between Helsinki and Shanghai as of January 27. Finnair is partnering with Finland´s leading e-payment platform ePassi to offer Alipay as an official payment method onboard flights connecting Shanghai and Helsinki. In addition, the Finnair lounge in the non-Schengen area at Helsinki Airport will also accept Alipay. Customers will be able to make payments for inflight purchases such as tax free items or buy themselves an Economy Comfort seat through the app by scanning a QR code.

TransUnion Introduces IDVision to Help Businesses Prevent Sophisticated and Evolving Fraud and Identity Theft
TransUnion | 1.25.17

TransUnion unveiled IDVision, a suite of solutions providing businesses with a holistic approach to fraud and identity management. IDVision helps companies stop sophisticated and evolving fraud while also protecting and restoring their confidence in conducting business. In 2016 alone, more than $1.6 billion was lost by companies due to credit card application fraud.* While a significant amount, it is just a fraction of the overall cost burden impacting consumers, government organizations and businesses from diverse industries such as healthcare, retail, credit card and consumer lending.

United Airlines, UnionPay International and Planet Payment Announce the Launch of UnionPay Credit Card Acceptance for eCommerce
Planet Payment | 1.24.17

In order to meet the needs of Chinese travelers, United Airlines, UnionPay International and Planet Payment, Inc. announced the launch of UnionPay Credit Card acceptance with United Airlines for reservations and other ticketing purchases online and through call centers. UnionPay International provides high quality, cost effective and secure cross-border payment services to world’s largest cardholder base and ensures convenient local services to a growing number of global businesses

Boku Announces New Chief Financial Officer
BusinessWire | 1.23.17

Boku is pleased to announce the appointment of Gillian Davies as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.Ms Davies joins Boku from Banner Managed Communication, part of Adare Group, where she served as interim Finance Director. Prior to this role, Ms Davies spent 11 years as Group Finance Director of London listed 4imprint Group plc, the leading international direct marketer of promotional products. During her tenure at 4imprint, the company saw significant organic growth and a more than six fold increase in share price.

Spire Payments Signs 5-Year Deal with Nets Merchant Services
The Green Sheet | 1.26.17

Spire Payments announces the signing of a five-year contract with Nets Merchant Services, a leading European payment provider. The 5 year deal will see Spire Payments supplying its latest range of POS solutions. This significant milestone comes shortly after the announcement that both companies collaborated to launch an innovative Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) acceptance device to be deployed as an upgrade to tens of thousands of Nets POS terminals across Denmark. Utilising a smartphone-based mobile wallet, Dankort cardholders will benefit from an enhanced and seamless purchasing experience.

CPI Card Group and Proxama Announce Strategic Relationship
EON | 1.23.17

Proxama PLC, the international digital and mobile commerce company specialising in end-to-end payment solutions for card issuers and processors, is delighted to announce a joint agreement with CPI Card Group, a global leader in financial and EMV chip card production and related services, to deliver innovative financial and payments products to CPI’s growing North American customer base.

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