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NF Edition #527 - 10/14/16
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Highlights this week...

TSG's Attractive Vertical Analysis

This report, utilizing data from TSG's proprietary data warehouse of over 3.5M merchants, lists 282 merchant types and includes key metrics on each of them including volume statistics, profitability, and attrition. Using the Profitability and Attrition Metrics, a score is assigned to each merchant type. This is the "attractiveness" of the merchant.

Preview  |  Purchase - priced at $2,495

Users of this type of data have seen increases of $10 of net revenue per merchant per month by optimizing their portfolio pricing.

Steve Vickers Joins The Strawhecker Group as Director of Product Delivery
TSG | 10.14.16

The Strawhecker Group (TSG), has announced the addition of Steve Vickers to its team as the Director of Product Delivery. Vickers brings over a decade of experience to TSG from leading payments companies including JPMorgan Chase and TSYS. Vickers will help TSG serve its clients across the payments ecosystem in both project management and product development roles. 

“We are elated that Steve has joined TSG,” said Mike Strawhecker, Principal. “It is an exciting time for the payments industry, as technology and banking collide, and our clients lean on forward-thinkers like Steve now more than ever. He is a true student of the industry and we are lucky to have him.”

Wells Fargo CEO Retires Amid Accounts Scandal
Los Angeles Times | 10.12.16

John Stumpf resigned Wednesday as chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., bowing to mounting criticism from lawmakers and others who said he should lose his job over revelations that bank employees created as many as 2 million accounts without customer authorization. The wrongdoing by the San Francisco bank was exposed by a Los Angeles Times investigation and led to an $185-million settlement with regulators last month, sparking the biggest banking scandal since the financial crisis and renewing calls for a breakup of the nation’s biggest banks. Timothy J. Sloan, 56, a longtime Wells Fargo executive who was named president of the company last year, immediately replaced Stumpf as chief executive, the bank said.


Square Said to Have Discussed Caviar Sale With Uber, GrubHub
Bloomberg | 10.11.16

Square Inc. tried to sell its food-delivery business, Caviar, but couldn’t find a buyer willing to pay enough, according to people familiar with the matter. Square discussed a potential sale of Caviar with Uber Technologies Inc., GrubHub Inc. and Yelp Inc. Other prospective buyers had more informal talks with the publicly traded payments company, the people said. Square received inbound interest which initiated the talks, according to one of the people. They asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.

U.S. Stocks Climb on Strong Bank Earnings
The Wall Street Journal | 10.14.16

U.S. stocks climbed, led by the financial sector after three big U.S. banks reported stronger-than-expected profits. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 145 points, or 0.8%, to 18244 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6%. In the European afternoon, the Stoxx Europe 600 was up roughly 1.5%, also buoyed by better economic data from China.

The Contactless Revolution: Visa Study Claims Mobile Payments 'Tripled in the Past Year'
International Business Times | 10.12.16

It may come as little surprise, but the popularity of using smartphones, tablets and wearables to make digital payments is rocketing. From buying a takeaway for dinner to paying the landlord, a new study by Visa claims the number of consumers making such payments has tripled in the past year. The research in question, Visa's annual Digital Payments Study, surveyed more than 36,000 online consumers in 19 European countries and was conducted to analyse how adoption of digital payments has shifted in the last 12 months.

Fed Task Forces Evaluating 19 Proposals as Industry Works Toward Faster Payments
Digital Transactions | 10.12.16

With an eye on having tangible proposals out by mid-2017, two Federal Reserve task forces are about to evaluate 19 plans to make electronic payments faster. Speed and security usually come to mind first when payments executives talk about improving the U.S. payment system, but other factors increasingly important to the future of payments include interoperability and links to new systems being developed outside the banking system.

Imagining a Cashless World - Sweden Shows Us What Life Without Paper Currency Might be Like
The New  Yorker | 10.10.16

A fantastic heist (we like our crimes as smart and magical as dreams) took place some years back, when a stolen helicopter landed on the roof of a cash depot in Stockholm and three masked men smashed a skylight to climb inside. It was September 23, 2009. The depot was freshly stocked in expectation of a coming Swedish payday. Armed with a Kalashnikov, the invaders held employees at bay while their accomplices outside positioned road spikes to keep cop cars from swarming the building. Fake bombs had been set among the police helicopters to delay an aerial chase. The thieves loaded bag after bag of bills into their aircraft, then departed. Seven men were later caught and sentenced, but nearly all of the stolen cash—reportedly some $6.5 million—still has not been found.

Retailers Turn to Own Apps to Counter Amazon's Dominance
ISO & Agent | 10.13.16

Major retailers know what they are up against with Amazon, an e-commerce retailer pulling in 183 million visits per month on its site. But that isn’t stopping them from developing their own applications, trying to pull in consumers and increase sales through features that make shopping and payment easier, while encouraging both in-store and online purchases. That’s how Kohl’s Department Stores views it, having launched its Kohl’s Pay service last week as part of its mobile app that shoppers already used to store Kohl’s coupons and loyalty rewards known as Kohl’s Cash.

The Clash Of The Voice-Commerce Titans
PYMNTS | 10.10.16

Google, Amazon and Apple all recognize the ubiquity of voice and its application to a variety of use cases, especially commerce. Each of these players brings their own set of technologies and assets to the voice-activated party. And each of these players — who collectively account for more than $1.5 trillion in market cap — has a pretty big basket of assets and investment capital to throw into creating exhilarating ripples and wild tonics of voice-activated commerce for consumers and the merchants they like to shop. But assets and money alone won’t win the day.

Alibaba's New Payment System Lets Virtual Reality Shoppers Pay by Nodding
Reuters | 10.12.16

Alibaba Group Holdings' finance arm on Wednesday demonstrated a payment service that will allow virtual reality shoppers to pay for things in future just by nodding their heads. VR Pay, the new payment system, is part of Alibaba's efforts to capitalize on the latest technology in online shopping. In 2015, for example, it introduced a facial recognition technology for Alipay mobile payments service advertised as "pay with a selfie".

Apple Pay Launches in New Zealand

NFC World | 10.13.16

Apple Pay has arrived in New Zealand with support for Visa credit and debit cards issued by ANZ Bank New Zealand. The mobile payment service will be accepted by some of the country’s major retailers including BP, The Warehouse,Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo 7,McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King and “many more”.

Fed Paying Close Attention to 'Significant' Blockchain
Finextra | 10.12.16

Distributed ledger technology may be the "most significant development in many years" for payments, clearing and settlement, according to a Federal Reserve governor who says that the central bank will publish its own blockchain paper later this year. In a speech, Lael Brainard says the Fed is "paying close attention" to DLT, recognising its potential to transform the way financial market participants transfer, store, and maintain ownership records of digitised assets.

Why CFPB Rule Is Boon for Tomorrow's Prepaid Customer
BankThink | 10.11.16

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has just released comprehensive rules designed to make the prepaid industry safer, fairer and more transparent. There were few surprises among the rules, which have been a long time coming. The big takeaway? In giving prepaid cards the same regulated status as other products, the CFPB has not only made it harder for bad actors in the space to flourish but created an opportunity for prepaid card providers — yes, opportunity — that regulated status will afford.

Retailer Vera Bradley: Payments System Hacked
Bank Info Security | 10.13.16

Fashion accessories retailer Vera Bradley says its payments processing system was compromised by a malware attack. In a statement posted to its website Oct. 12, the retailer says payment card transactions conducted between July 25 and Sept. 23 at some of its locations may have been affected. As of the end of July, Vera Bradley was operating 112 stores and 44 factory outlets in 35 states. Online purchases do not appear to have been impacted by the incident, the retailer adds.

Hackers Hit 6000 Web Stores to Steal Card Data
Finextra | 10.13.16

Crooks have injected malicious code into 5925 online stores, enabling them to steal payment card details, according to a Dutch developer. Willem De Groot says that hackers have been gaining access to the stores' source code using unpatched software flaws, and installing JavaScript wiretaps to steal card data. The information makes its way to an off-shore collection server - usually in Russia, says De Groot - before being put up for sale on the dark web for around $30 a card.

Michigan Credit Union: Members Can't Use Credit, Debit Cards at Wendy's
The Columbus Dispatch | 10.11.16

If you're one of the 50,000 members of America 1 Credit Union in Jackson, Mich., and you plan to stop at a Wendy's for a Baconator, you had better bring cash. Concerned about data security, the Michigan credit union isn't allowing its members to use their debit and credit cards at the burger chain's restaurants.

Second Hacker Group Targets SWIFT Users, Symantec Warns
Reuters | 10.11.16

Cyber-security firm Symantec Corp said on Tuesday that a second hacking group has sought to rob banks using fraudulent SWIFT messages, the same approach that yielded $81 million in the high-profile February attack on Bangladesh's central bank. Symantec said that a group dubbed Odinaff has infected 10 to 20 organizations with malware that can be used to hide fraudulent transfer requests made over SWIFT, the messaging system that is a lynchpin of the global financial system.

IoT Devices as Proxies for Cybercrime
KrebsonSecurity | 10.13.16

Multiple stories published here over the past few weeks have examined the disruptive power of hacked “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices such as routers, IP cameras and digital video recorders. This post looks at how crooks are using hacked IoT devices as proxies to hide their true location online as they engage in a variety of other types of cybercriminal activity — from frequenting underground forums to credit card and tax refund fraud.

Fed Minutes Point to Rate Hike ‘Relatively Soon’
Bloomberg | 10.12.16

U.S. central bankers debating the merits of raising interest rates last month described the decision as a close call, with several saying a rate hike was needed “relatively soon,” minutes of the September meeting showed. “Several members judged that it would be appropriate to increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon if economic developments unfolded about as the committee expected,” the minutes from the Sept. 20-21 gathering in Washington showed.

How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Online Retail Forever
TechCrunch | 10.12.16

Artificial intelligence is all around us, from searching on Google to what news you see on social media to using Siri. And with the momentum around AI growing every day, it’s not surprising that some of the most innovative retail sites have recently been experimenting with the use of AI, as well. Businesses that ignore this growing trend will find themselves playing catch-up for years. The big question is how exactly is this new technology going to change retail. E-commerce is a space with a lot of potential, in part because it’s such a data-rich industry, and, there’s some momentum around AI gathering already.

Glad Tidings for Retailers This Holiday Season, Reports NPD
PRWeb | 10.10.16

Retailers should have plenty to be thankful for in the coming holiday season. According to global information company The NPD Group’s 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, consumers plan to spend an average of $636 on holiday-related expenses, up 3 percent from what they anticipated last year. When questioned more broadly, 14 percent of consumers plan to spend “more” than they did during last year’s holiday season and 17 percent say they’ll spend “less” – virtually unchanged from 2015 results. 

Britain’s Economy Was Resilient After ‘Brexit.’ Its Leaders Learned the Wrong Lesson.
The Upshot | 10.10.16

Advocates of “Brexit” argued that was hogwash, and the early evidence suggests they were right. For example, surveys of purchasing managers showed that both the British manufacturing and service sectors plummeted after the vote in July, yet were comfortably expanding in August and September. But the events of the last couple of weeks suggest that British leaders are drawing the wrong conclusions from the fact that their predictions proved right. The British currency is plummeting again, most immediately because of comments from French and German leaders suggesting they will take a tough line in negotiating Brexit. 

Shift4 Hits Lucky Number Seven (Billion) Tokenized Transactions
Yahoo! Finance | 10.12.16

"Shift4 created tokenization as a simple solution to a complex problem, where merchants were struggling to secure the sensitive card data they relied on to carry out their daily business. We took much of the burden of storing and securing that sensitive payment data off merchants' shoulders and placed it squarely on our own. With hackers' tactics growing more advanced, our tokenization solution, which replaces payment card data (instead of just disguising it), is all the more important."

TransFirst and Raintree Systems Form Payment Solutions Alliance
TSYS | 10.13.16

TransFirst, a leading provider of transaction processing services and payment enabling technologies, and Raintree Systems, a specialized practice management electronic medical records/electronic health records solutions provider, have formed a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the alliance, TransFirst will be the integrated provider of payment solutions to Raintree Systems’ healthcare clients, which include practices in specialties such as physical therapy, behavioral therapy, pediatric therapy, rheumatology, pain management, oncology, and bariatrics

Institutions In 6 Asia-Pacific Countries Adopt UnionPay Chip Card Standard
PR Newswire | 10.12.16

UnionPay announced its chip card technology licensing cooperation with seven members of the Asian Payment Network (APN). This marks a new breakthrough in the "Going Global" of China's financial technology standards. Major switch networks in Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will adopt UnionPay chip card standard in card acceptance and issuance.

First Data Announces Affirmative Responses from Lenders to Refinance Term Loans Due in 2021
First Data | 10.10.16

First Data Corporation announced that it has received affirmative responses from a group of new and existing lenders who have agreed to provide approximately $4.3 billion and €0.2 billion of term loans due March 2021 at an interest rate of LIBOR plus 300 basis points. The transaction announced today allows First Data to refinance its existing term loans that are due in March 2021 at an interest rate 100 basis points lower than those they will replace and result in annualized cash interest savings of approximately $45 million.

Discover Financial Services Declares Quarterly Dividend for Preferred and Common Stock
Discover | 10.13.16

The Board of Directors of Discover Financial Services declared a quarterly cash dividend on its Fixed Rate Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series B, in the amount of $16.25 per share. The dividend equals $0.40625 per depositary share, each representing 1/40th interest in a share of the Series B Preferred Stock. The dividend will be payable on November 28, 2016, to the holders of record at the close of business on November 11, 2016.

Apriva Completes EMV Certification of Ingenico Group Terminals to TSYS
Apriva | 10.10.16

Apriva, the leading provider of secure end-to-end wireless transaction processing solutions, announced it has completed EMV certification with TSYS® Acquiring Solutions for Ingenico Group’s Telium2 smart terminals connecting through the Apriva Gateway. This full-featured certification includes the wireless iWL 220 and iWL 250 devices, as well as the iCT 220 and iCT 250 countertop models. The certification spans all major card brands including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and U.S. debit cards, and includes contactless transactions from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

American Express and Intuit Help Small Businesses Tackle Cash Flow Crunch
American Express | 10.13.16

Intuit Inc. and American Express announced a partnership that will give qualified QuickBooks Online small business customers who are also American Express OPEN Business Card Members access to short-term, low-cost financing from American Express to pay vendors and ease the cash flow crunch. This unique partnership will make American Express OPEN Working Capital Terms the payables financing solution for QuickBooks Online customers.

Game, Set, Match: Mastercard in Priceless Partnership with Tennis Australia
Mastercard | 10.13.16

Mastercard and Tennis Australia announced a brand new partnership that will see the payments giant serve as the official payment partner for the Australian Open and naming rights partner for the Mastercard Hopman Cup. As part of the collaboration, Mastercard will be involved in a variety of Australian Open lead-up events, including launch activities in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore; as well as becoming an official partner of the Emirates Australian Open Series tournaments in Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.

Fiserv Names Devin B. McGranahan Group President
Fiserv | 10.12.16

Fiserv, Inc., a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, announced today that Devin McGranahan has been named president of its Billing and Payments Group, effective November 1, 2016. McGranahan succeeds Rahul Gupta, who will leave Fiserv in December 2016 to pursue other interests. McGranahan brings more than 25 years of business and leadership experience to Fiserv.

ACI's UP Immediate Payments Helps TransferWise Connect To Faster Payments Scheme
TheStreet | 10.13.16

ACI Worldwide, a leading global provider of real-time  electronic payment and banking solutions, announced it has provided the back-end technology for TransferWise's successful integration into the Faster Payments Scheme. "We are excited that TransferWise has been able to complete the onboarding process in record time and is the first fintech to connect to the Faster Payments Scheme via the New Access Model."

JetPay Corporation Names Gene M. Valentino as Chief Strategy Officer of Its Payment Processing Segment
MarketWired | 10.11.16

JetPay Corporation, a leading provider of debit and credit card processing services, payroll and human capital management, and prepaid card services, announced that Gene M. Valentino has been named Chief Strategy Officer for its Payment Processing operations. "Mr. Valentino is uniquely qualified to fill this important leadership role," said Diane (Vogt) Faro, CEO of JetPay. "Gene is an experienced payments leader and entrepreneur. 

Hyperwallet Announces Developer Evangelism Initiative Following Payment Technology Breakthrough
Press Release Rocket | 10.13.16

Hyperwallet, a leading global payouts provider to millions of independent workers, today announced the launch of its new Developer Evangelism program, which will see the company’s focus shift towards building relationships within the wider developer community and taking a ‘developer-first’ approach to future releases. Hyperwallet further revealed that it had recruited Dan Harrison, a technical solutions expert with a long history of customer advocacy, to head up the program.

Adyen joins NetSuite SuitePayments program
Netsuite | 10.11.16

NetSuite Inc., the industry’s leading provider of cloud financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced that Adyen, a leader in global payments, has joined the NetSuite SuitePayments program to provide global businesses with greater payment options when using the NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform and SuiteCommerce InStore. Leveraging NetSuite’s SuiteCloud Development Platform, Adyen built the Adyen integration for SuitePayments SuiteApp which has achieved “Built for NetSuite”* status.

Synchrony Financial and At Home Introduce Consumer Financing Program for The Home Décor Superstore
EON | 10.12.16

Shoppers looking to decorate or refresh their living spaces with the latest in home décor will soon be able to take advantage of rewards and flexible payment options offered by a new At Home consumer financing program through Synchrony Financial, a premier consumer financial services company with more than 80 years of retail heritage.

Blackhawk Network Appoints David Tate to Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail
PRNewswire | 10.10.16

Blackhawk Network, a pioneer of prepaid gift cards, payment tools and rewards delivered via a robust and convenient network, announced that David Tate has been appointed to senior vice president of Blackhawk's U.S. retail business. He will report to Blackhawk's CEO and president, Talbott Roche. Tate joined Blackhawk in 2001, and most recently served as senior vice president, products and marketing. During this time, he helped lead Blackhawk's core gift, open loop gift, telecom, GPR, digital, and emerging payments divisions, as well as all business development and marketing functions.

Facebook Founder Saverin Sued in Fight Over Bankrupt Vendor Jumio
American Banker | 10.10.16

An investor in Jumio sued Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and other directors of the mobile-payment company accusing them of mismanaging the startup and duping shareholders about its prospects. Bad management drove the Palo Alto, California-based company into bankruptcy after it was forced in 2015 to restate two years' worth of earnings, shareholder Bloso Investments Ltd. said in the complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court.

NFC Forum Technical Specifications Improve RF Communication and NFC Tag Interoperability with NFC Devices
NFC Forum | 10.12.16

The NFC Forum announced today the availability of one adopted and four candidate technical specifications, following approval by the Board of Directors. The specifications are available on the NFC Forum website. Formerly a candidate specification, the Analog 2.0 Technical Specification delivers new capabilities that support improved RF communication to ensure interoperability between Near Field Communication (NFC) devices and existing RF infrastructure and cards based on the ISO/IEC 14443 and ISO/IEC 18092 standards.

Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Plan $100 Billion Tech Investment Fund
VB | 10.13.16

Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank said they will create a technology investment fund that could grow as large as $100 billion, aiming to create one of the world’s largest private equity funds. The plan is part of a series of dramatic business initiatives launched by Riyadh this year as Saudi Arabia, its economy hurt by low oil prices, deploys huge financial reserves in an effort to move into non-oil industries.

InstaMed is First in Healthcare to Achieve P2PE v2.0 Validation
BusinessWire | 10.12.16

InstaMed, healthcare’s most trusted payments network, announced that it has been validated by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC), as having met the rigorous controls defined in the PCI SSC Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) Standard version 2.0 for the protection of payment card data. InstaMed is the first in healthcare to achieve P2PE v2.0 Validation and is the only single platform in healthcare that delivers an end-to-end payment solution that is PCI Level 1 Service Provider, EMV and HITRUST certified.

ATMs Could Be The New Bank Branches in India
Business Insider | 10.12.16

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed that ATMs should be treated equivalent to a bank branch with a bank employee for support. This idea popped up after a study conducted by the RBI showed that mobile penetration in India is highest in Asia and Indians largely depend on ATMs and branches tremendously. As per the report, 50% of the respondents amongst the Indians, used mobile banking once in a week at the very least as compared to 26% in Malaysia and 44% in China who use mobile banking. Monthly mobile banking transactions have grown 11-overlay to 7 crore for each month in three years.

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