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NF Edition #553 - 4/14/17
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Highlights this week...

Gateway Enterprise Metrics (GEM)
Launched in 2016, GEM is an industry-first, independent, performance platform utilized by leading gateways in the North America payments processing market to analyze performance versus the market over time. Click here to learn more.

Contact Chuck Fillinger to learn more today.

GEM gateways have seen the following use cases and ROIs in the past six months, justifying their ongoing participating in GEM

  1. A gateway had an outage during a peak shopping period that GEM demonstrated was more significant and negatively impacted merchants more than their internal reporting indicated
  2. A gateway was able to provide real third-party metrics to a major dissatisfied client, which proved it was meeting its Service Level Agreement criteria, avoiding a potential penalty and improving the overall relationship
  3. Management was able to benchmark its gateway performance as consistently worse than market, which helped justify the business case for new technology investment into the gateway
  4. A gateway had a 60+ minute outage that they were not aware of during a major holiday; the gateway’s internal reporting only showed a “slowdown”
  5. TSG uncovered that a gateway was not properly reversing non-settled auth transactions within 72 hours and as such, a network “misuse fee” was being incurred on each of these transactions, negatively impacting merchants within their portfolio
  6. TSG’s “merchant boarding process” for GEM provided insights for one gateway that merchants/partners were likely having issues with during the integration process; new procedures were put in place due to TSG sharing these findings

Jack Dorsey Tweeted a Photo of What Looks Like a Square Debit Card
Recode | 4.14.17

Square Cash appears to be acting more and more like a bank. The Venmo-like service started as a way to simply send money to friends and family online, but it has recently been adding ways to spend the money that you receive and store in the app. The next step? A physical Square Cash debit card, it seems, based on a photo tweeted by Square CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday night. The all-black card was the first hint, since Square had prototyped a similar-looking payment card back in 2014, but never launched it.

Payments Processor Adyen Says Revenue Doubled to $727M in 2016 - No Plans for an IPO
VB | 4.12.17

Adyen, the global payments processor that enables merchants to accept most kinds of payments online, on mobile, and in-store, has reported record revenues for 2016, having grown 99 percent year-on-year. The company said that it garnered €659 million ($727 million) last year, up from €331 million ($365 million) the year before.Additionally, Ayden said it processed $90 billion in transactions, up 80 percent from $50 billion on the previous year.

OptBlue Acquirers Signed 1 Million Small Merchants for AmEx in 2016
Digital Transactions | 4.12.17

Bank card merchant acquirers participating in American Express Co.’s OptBlue program signed 1 million small businesses for AmEx acceptance last yearThe push came as New York City-based AmEx drives toward chief executive Kenneth I. Chenault’s goal of having AmEx’s merchant base reach parity with the Visa/MasterCard base in 2019. AmEx in 2016 had about 8.5 million acceptance locations in the U.S., excluding ATMs and bank branches, according to a March presentation for an AmEx investor event. While up 33% from 6.4 million locations in 2013, AmEx is still about 1.5 million locations short of the bank card base. The main holdouts have been small businesses, which often are reluctant to pay AmEx’s discount rates, traditionally the highest among the four major U.S. general-purpose card brands.

Big Bank Earnings Look Mostly Strong, But Market's Nerves Remain Frayed
Forbes | 4.13.17

Can big banks swoop in to change the conversation on Wall Street? Earnings announced early Thursday by three of the biggest financial stalwarts appeared good for the most part, but whether that can soothe nerves frayed by geopolitical and fiscal policy concerns is unclear. Looking at the three big banks that reported this morning, it’s a pretty decent set of numbers for two of them — JP Morgan (JPM) and Citigroup (C). JPM reported first-quarter earnings of $1.65 a share on revenue of $25.59 billion, beating analysts' expectations by 13 cents on the bottom line and easily surpassing top-line estimates with a 17% rise in net income. Shares rose almost 1% in premarket trading.


Like Seatbelts, There's No Point in Rejecting EMV and PCI
PaymentsSource | 4.10.17

You don’t necessarily need to know the intricate technicalities of PCI and EMV. All you need to know is that following the rules and recommendations for preventing data breaches and credit card fraud will serve your business well. It’s like not buckling your seatbelt when you drive: You may be able to get away with it for a while, but sooner or later, you’re likely to either get a ticket or get into an accident, no matter how safe a driver you are.

Mobile is the Linchpin to Digital Commerce - But Our Industry Moves too Slowly
N>genuity Journal | 4.13.17

For merchants, it's no surprise the share of actual brick-and-mortar store revenue is declining while the digital revenue share has been growing significantly. It’s safe to say that we’ve all heard the phrase, the "blurring lines between physical and digital" – and it's very much true. In today's world, no matter the industry or geography, if you take a channel-centric approach or don't adapt to the changing world, you'll essentially cause friction in any process and likely become extinct. Just ask Blockbuster, Kodak and Borders.

Amazon’s Third-Party Sellers Hit By Hackers
The Wall Street Journal | 4.10.17

Hackers are targeting the growing population of third-party sellers on Inc., using stolen credentials to post fake deals and steal cash. In recent weeks, attackers have changed the bank-deposit information on Amazon accounts of active sellers to steal tens of thousands of dollars from each, according to several sellers and advisers. Attackers also have hacked into the Amazon accounts of sellers who haven’t used them recently to post nonexistent merchandise for sale at steep discounts in an attempt to pocket the cash, those people say.

Related: Amazon Will Make Up 50% of All U.S. E-Commerce by 2021

3 in 10 Have Never Redeemed Credit Card Rewards
PR Newswire | 4.12.17

About three in 10 credit cardholders (31%) have never redeemed credit card rewards, according to a new report. The survey found that cardholders typically gravitate to one extreme or the other, redeeming their rewards points/miles frequently (38% did so within the past six months) or not at all. "Credit card rewards don't usually gain value over time," said credit card analyst Robin Saks Frankel. "In fact, they're more likely to lose value as companies require more points or miles for the same perks. Your best move is to cash them in regularly."

Related: Itty-Bitty Purchase? Put It on My Card

Bitcoin Miners Have Collectively Earned More Than $2B
Quartz | 4.12.17

Bitcoin mining has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Bitcoin miners have collectively earned over $2 billion in revenue since the cryptocurrency was established in 2008, according to an estimate from a new report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Bitcoin mining is how transactions on the bitcoin network get processed. Transactions in bitcoin are bundled into “blocks,” and it’s the job of miners to confirm those blocks are legitimate. This happens when a miner successfully solves a cryptographic puzzle attached to each block, gaining a payout called the “block reward.”

Facebook's Business Model for Messenger Won't Be Payments and Commerce After All
Recode | 4.11.17

When Facebook hired David Marcus, the former president of PayPal, to run Facebook Messenger back in 2014, some assumed the company would start to build Messenger’s business model around payments and commerce. Other messaging apps like Line (primarily in Japan) and WeChat (primarily in China) were already building fast-growing businesses around commerce and payments, and the thinking was that payments would offer a second revenue stream alongside Facebook’s advertising business. Plus, Facebook had Marcus — a payments guy — running the show. Prior to running PayPal, Marcus had founded Zong, which processed payments for social games and apps on platforms like ... Facebook’s. That hasn’t really happened, though.

Related: Facebook Messenger Now Supports Group Payments

Android Pay Now Works in BofA, USAA, Discover and Other Mobile Banking Apps
TechCrunch | 4.12.17

Android Pay, Google’s answer to Apple Pay and other mobile payment technologies, today unveiled new partnerships with a handful of banks from around the world, who will integrate the service into their own apps. The feature will be available within the mobile banking apps provided by Bank of America, USAA, Bank of New Zealand, Discover, and mBank, says Google. This is the first time Android Pay has been available within mobile banking apps. The integration may be slightly different in each bank’s app, but generally, the focus is on making it easy to add cards to Android Pay from within the banking app itself.

After Apple Pay Loss, Westpac Turns to Samsung Pay
Finextra | 4.11.17

Having lost its bitter Apple Pay battle, Australia's Westpac has signed up to support a rival NFC mobile payments service from Samsung. The move enables Westpac Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cardholders to make contactless payments with their Samsung handsets at thousands of retail sites across Australia. George Frazis, chief executive, consumer bank, Westpac, says: "On many devices, our customers can now use either Westpac Tap and Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay to make contactless payments, and we’re delighted to be the first Australian-owned bank to offer this choice."

Stripe Acquires Indie Hackers in Bid to Strengthen Relationship with Entrepreneurs
VB | 4.11.17

Stripe has acquired the knowledge-sharing service for entrepreneurs known as Indie Hackers. While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Indie Hackers will remain operational as an independent subsidiary. Stripe hopes that this transaction will enable it to strengthen its relationship with startup community and further increase “the GDP of the internet.” Started by Courtland Allen last year, Indie Hackers is a community where “successful founders could share their valuable stories and insights, and where aspiring entrepreneurs could go for inspiration and advice.”

Your Eyes Say You're Here to Get Cash: The Future of Branch Biometrics
American Banker | 4.12.17

Logging into mobile banking with a thumbprint has become mainstream, but are customers ready to be authenticated via a palm reader at the branch or have their irises scanned to get cash from an ATM? In digital channels, biometrics are all the rage. Touch ID has become ubiquitous for many mobile apps. Banks like USAA are letting their customers verify their identity on mobile through scans of their thumbs, voices and faces.

Microsoft's Minecraft Set to Launch its Own Currency
Bloomberg | 4.10.17

Microsoft Corp. is adding a new marketplace -- and a brand new currency -- within the video-game Minecraft, opening up the opportunity for businesses to sell their original content and creations to tens of millions of the game’s players for the first time. Set to go live in the spring, nine businesses will be selling feature packs within Minecraft -- such as new storylines, in-game activities or landscapes to explore -- with prices ranging between about $1 and $10 per creation. Other companies can apply to be allowed into the marketplace over subsequent months. Users wishing to purchase content will need to buy a form of new currency -- Minecraft Coins.

UK Mint Testing Blockchain Trading Platform for Digital Gold
American Banker | 4.12.17

Move over, bitcoin: There's a new digital gold in town. The United Kingdom's Royal Mint, the entity that strikes British coins, has teamed up with CME Group to create a blockchain-based platform for electronically buying, selling and holding spot gold. Unlike bitcoin and digital currencies, this digital gold product, known as Royal Mint Gold, or RMG, is backed by more than just innovative cryptography. "An RMG is a digital representation of real gold sitting in the Royal Mint vaults," Sandro Ro, CME Group's head of digitization, said in a blog post.

GameStop's Breach is a Call for Biometric ID Security
PayThink | 4.12.17

The GameStop data breach is a lesson in business transparency, and a reminder that payment technology at the point of sale and elsewhere is too outmoded to protect consumers. News of the malware on GameStop point-of-sale (POS) systems is alarming since among the bankcard data hackers stole is consumers’ three-digit CVV number. The CVV is thought to be secure because consumers recognize that it isn’t saved, say, when shopping on desktop and mobile. Shoppers also don’t recall presenting a CVV to a cashier. At a POS terminal, though, a mere swipe of the card presents all the card data to the store and anyone else who’s watching.

Swift to Start Suspicious-Payment Alerts to Help Defend Banks
Bloomberg | 4.11.17

Swift, the interbank messaging system that hackers used to steal $81 million from Bangladesh last year, is developing a payment-screening service that will allow small member banks to automate the flagging of suspicious payments. The new service is part of a series of measures from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication to defend against cyberattacks that aim to fraudulently use banks’ connections to the messaging system.

Payday Loan Firm Hit By Data Breach
Finextra | 4.10.17

Wonga, a prominent UK payday loan firm, has warned 270,000 of its customers that their accounts may be at risk following a data breach. The company reportedly discovered the breach last week but only realised that customers' account details were at risk on Friday 7th and then began notifying them the following day. More than 245,000 UK customers have been notified in addition to 25,000 in Poland. A company spokesperson told news website TechCrunch that “Wonga is urgently investigating illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of its customers in the UK and Poland.

Visa and American Express to Strengthen Security for Stolen Contactless Cards
NFC World | 4.12.17

Visa is to bring all of its contactless transactions online this year across 10 European countries to give consumers “more control over their accounts” following calls from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for banks to tighten the processes they undergo when a customer reports a stolen contactless card. American Express is also “reviewing options” to ensure those who cancel their cards are protected against contactless fraud.

U.S. Retail Sales, Consumer Prices Slump in March
Reuters | 4.14.17

U.S. retail sales fell for a second straight month in March and consumer prices dropped for the first time in 13 months, supporting views that the economy lost significant momentum in the first quarter. But with the labor market near full employment, the decline in both sales and consumer prices is likely to be temporary and probably does not change expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in June. "Some Fed officials will be disturbed by the unexpected drop back in core inflation, but this won't prevent a June rate hike," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Climbs on Upbeat Assessment of Economy
Bloomberg Markets | 4.13.17

Consumer sentiment advanced to a three-month high in April as Americans’ optimism about their current financial situation and the economy reached the strongest point since 2000, University of Michigan survey data showed Thursday. Americans have kept up a solid run of optimism, supported by a labor market that’s still humming and confidence that growth-boosting policies will take shape under the Trump administration. Some 52 percent of respondents to the Michigan survey reported that their finances had recently improved, the highest share since 2000. The more favorable assessment reflected higher incomes and wealth, as well as low prices.

Initial Jobless Claims Cling Near Post-Recession Low
MarketWatch | 4.13.17

Initial jobless claims were essentially unchanged at 234,000 in early April, holding near extremely low levels that show the U.S. labor market is going strong despite a slowdown in hiring last month. Economists polled by MarketWatch has expected new jobless claims to total 245,000 in the seven days stretching from April 2 to April 8. The more stable monthly average of jobless claims was somewhat higher at 247,250, the government said Thursday.


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!

Mastercard Gains Regulatory Approval to Acquire VocaLink
Mastercard | 4.11.17

Mastercard commented on the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority’s decision that clears the way for the completion of the company’s planned acquisition of VocaLink Holdings Limited. The CMA gave final approval for the proposed set of remedies that address the competition concerns the CMA identified earlier this year. The deal is now expected to close in the coming weeks. “We believe the future of payments will be defined by choice,” said Michael Miebach, chief product officer, Mastercard. “Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it. Together, we’ll be one partner to meet all payment needs of businesses, governments and consumers."

Related: Mastercard Start Path Global Startups Forecast a Fintech Future

Ant Financial Sets ‘The Record Straight’ About Its Fight With Euronet for MoneyGram
Digital Transactions | 4.12.17

China-based Ant Financial Services Group, which has a deal to buy MoneyGram International Inc. for $880 million, on Wednesday fired back at Euronet Worldwide Inc. as the two firms fight for the No. 2 U.S.-based wire-transfer provider. Euronet last month submitted an unsolicited $1 billion bid for MoneyGram and has said that in addition to offering MoneyGram shareholders more money, its offer faces less political risk and fewer regulatory hurdles than Ant’s because Euronet is a U.S. company based in Leawood, Kan. A federal panel must review the Ant bid, and some members of Congress have expressed reservations about the pending deal.

Visa Launches Enhanced Transaction Data for Amazon Business Customers in the U.S.
Visa | 4.10.17

Visa Inc. has become the first card network to enable participating issuers to provide their U.S. commercial account holders a comprehensive view of their Amazon Business purchases. The new enhanced transaction data functionality, initially available to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and PNC Bank, N.A., U.S. commercial account holders through Amazon Business, provides full line-item details on Amazon Business customers’ purchases made with their Visa commercial card and can seamlessly integrate with popular reconciliation tools.

Vantiv Announces Partnership with Womply to Put the Power of Big Data in the Hands of Business Owners
Vantiv | 4.12.17

Vantiv, Inc., a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes, announced today that it has partnered with Womply, a merchant-focused technology company, to offer Vantiv BizShield and Insights to small and medium-sized businesses. The products will allow merchants to manage, protect and simplify their businesses with real-time data, advanced analytics, online reputation management, and proactive threat management.

Silicon Valley Bank and First Data Launch Commerce.Innovated. 2017
First Data | 4.10.17

Silicon Valley Bank, the bank of the world’s most innovative companies and their investors, and First Data, a global leader in commerce-enabling technology, today announced their collaboration on Commerce.Innovated., an accelerator designed to help commerce, payments and fintech startups grow their businesses. The four-month virtual program provides participants with operational mentorship from Silicon Valley Bank, First Data and their respective networks.

iPayment Launches New Website, Refreshed Corporate Identity
The Green Sheet | 4.13.17

iPayment, Inc., a trusted provider of payment and processing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), announced the launch of a new corporate website, featuring a completely refreshed visual identity. The site highlights the Company's focus on partnerships, which have been core to the fabric of iPayment since its inception nearly 20 years ago. Visitors can explore iPayment's complete suite of partner programs, with unique solutions for traditional agents and ISOs as well as technology partners, research products and enablement solutions, search available job openings and much more.

Global Payments Launches Enhanced Ecommerce Offering in Canada
Global Payments | 4.12.17

Global Payments Inc., a leading worldwide provider of payment technology services, announced the launch of an enhanced ecommerce payments management offering for Canada. Leveraging the company's Realex ecommerce technology, the platform provides a range of cloud-based, software enabled technology services for both large and mid-sized businesses to enable them to accept payments online, as well as via phone, mail, email or mobile devices.

Related: Global Payments Announces New TouchNet® OneCard VIP™ Platform for Cloud-Based Campus Transactions

Gas Station TV and Verifone Announce Joint Venture Creating High-Impact National Video Network Reaching One-in-Three Adults Monthly
Business Wire | 4.12.17

Gas Station TV, America’s leading video network at the pump, and Verifone, a world leader in payments and commerce solutions, today announced a 50-50 joint venture that combines the assets and operations of Verifone’s Pump Media division with GSTV, which is owned by Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity and Falcon Investment Advisors. The combined business will operate under the GSTV brand and deliver 3.3 billion annual impressions through more than 18,000 locations in all 50 states by year’s end.

TSYS Signs PRIME Licensing Agreement with Enfuce Financial Services for the Nordics Region
TSYS | 4.12.17

TSYS announced that it has signed a PRIME software license and services agreement with Enfuce Financial Services. The Finnish-based payments services provider has strategic plans to grow its business across Scandinavia. Enfuce will operate PRIME in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment to bring efficiencies to its operating model and allow it to compete in the region through its technology and superior value. This will be the first live operation of PRIME in a cloud environment, following successful end-to-end testing in December 2016.

Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial Is Continuing Its Global Expansion
eMarkets Daily | 4.13.17

Alibaba Group Holding Limited finished trading at $110.63. The fintech company affiliated with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA), Ant Financial is continuing its global expansion. The firm has taken its first official step into Indonesiaafter it reported a joint venture to develop local financial services. The company has partnered with conglomerate Emtek, Indonesia’s second largest media firm and an investor in -major e-commerce player Bukalapak, to enter Indonesia, which is Southeast Asia’s largest economy and home to a population of 250 million people. 

Inaugural FIS Impact Awards Recognize Client Innovation and Operational Excellence
FIS | 4.11.17

FIS, a global leader in financial services technology, announced the winners of the inaugural FIS Impact Awards program. These annual awards, independently judged by leading industry analyst research group Celent, recognize FIS clients in the United States and Canada that are using FIS technology or services in innovative ways to better serve their customers and drive tangible business results. For each of the winning entries, FIS is making a $10,000 donation in the client’s name to a charitable organization chosen by the client through the FIS Foundation.

Apriva and OTI Announce Semi-Integrated Solution for Unattended Markets
Business Wire | 4.11.17

Apriva, a leading provider of omnichannel payment solutions and secure mobile communications, and On Track Innovations Ltd. (OTI), a global provider of near field communication (NFC), cashless payment and fuel management solutions, announced today a partnership to bring a new end-to-end EMV solution to markets supporting unattended payments. This pre-certified payment solution immediately supports magnetic stripe reader (MSR) transactions, and will soon be EMV certified on various processors through Apriva. As a semi-integrated solution, the OTI TRIO reader is securely interfaced with the Apriva gateway, which means a quick integration process for unattended systems.

Bluefin Payment Systems and Clearwave Corporation Partner for PCI-Validated P2PE for Healthcare Organizations
LTP | 4.11.17

Bluefin Payment Systems, the leading provider of PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions for healthcare, education and retail, today announced a new partnership with Clearwave, an industry leader in patient registration, self-service and insurance verification for healthcare organizations. The companies have partnered to provide Bluefin’s PCI-validated P2PE solution to Clearwave clients through Clearwave’s self-service medical check-in system. Clearwave’s innovative patient check-in and payment system enables healthcare organizations to improve workflow, streamline the check-in process, and increase patient engagement, leading to improved patient satisfaction. 

ACI Worldwide to Power Payments Fraud Protection for ADSI
ACI | 4.11.17

ACI Worldwide, a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced that ADSI, a leading banking IT services and fraud protection provider operating in South America, the Caribbean and Central America, has selected the company to power fraud protection for its data center. ADSI, which supports 20 million financial transactions daily and provides fraud protection services to a variety of regional banks through its Panama-based operations, selected ACI’s award-winning payments risk management solution, ACI Proactive Risk Manager. ADSI will leverage Proactive Risk Manager to automate its risk analysis, monitor current processes and train staff to onboard and maintain rules strategies for the countries in which ADSI operates. 

Harbortouch and FiveStars Partner to Bring Powerful Loyalty Solution to Harbortouch Customers
KDRV | 4.12.17

Harbortouch, a leading national provider of point-of-sale (POS) systems and payment processing services, today announced a partnership with FiveStars, a rewards and marketing platform for local businesses and their customers. FiveStars combines customized rewards, messaging tools, and automated promotions in one easy-to-use marketing program to bring customers back more often and spend more on each visit. Through this partnership, Harbortouch will integrate the benefits of the FiveStars solution into the company’s POS offering and Harbortouch customers will have access to exclusive pricing from FiveStars.

YapStone Welcomes Christopher Crum as SVP of Sales and Customer Success
PRWeb | 4.11.17

YapStone, a global provider of online and mobile payment solutions for marketplaces and large vertical markets, expanded its management team with the addition of Christopher Crum as SVP of Sales and Customer Success. In his role, Crum will focus on scaling U.S. and International sales teams, leading business development efforts and managing customer success initiatives.

FTNI Partners With Golbon in Foodservice Industry
The Green Sheet | 4.11.17

Financial Transmission Network Inc. (FTNI), a provider of industry-leading integrated receivables solutions, today announced it has formed a partnership with Golbon, a national foodservice buying group, to become a preferred receivables processing technology provider to their 200-plus independent distributor members.

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