The Strawhecker Group
NF Edition #545 - 2/17/17
Homepage   |   Resources   |   eReports   |   Archive   |   Advertise   |   Contact
Hot News   |   Fintech   |   Regulation/Security   |   Economy   |   Press

Highlights this week...

Payment Gateway Directory: See Who's Who

TSG recently released its expanded and updated Payment Gateway Directory (preview). The eReport features side-by-side comparisons on functionality and company information, covering 3,000 data points from 53 gateways. 

The following companies are included:
Gateway data points (as available) have been primarily gathered from company surveys. Additional research included calls, web research, and internal TSG knowledge.

Click here to purchase. Priced competitively at $2,900.

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) Continues Growth into 2017

Peter Michaud Joins TSG as Director - Project Management

TSG has announced the addition of Peter Michaud to its team as Director - Project Management. Michaud is a payments industry expert, having recently led Product Development at Hap-X and Competitive Intelligence at TSYS. His depth of knowledge on the industry will help him serve TSG clients across the ecosystem in various capacities including product development and corporate strategy.

“We are very excited to have Peter join the team,” said Kurt Strawhecker, Managing Partner. “His breadth and depth of knowledge on the payments industry is elite.  With markets like B2B and Healthcare moving away from cash and check and towards electronic payments, Peter’s skillset is invaluable to have on the TSG team for our clients.”

Prior to joining TSG, Michaud was the Vice President of Product Development at Hap-X, a leading healthcare B2B payments company acquired by Global Healthcare Exchange in 2016.  He also worked at TSYS as the leader of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence for TSYS Merchant Segment and as the head of Financial Planning and Analysis for TSYS Acquiring Solutions. 

Read more.

TSG Promotes Judith Tullius to Executive Operations Specialist

TSG is pleased to announce the promotion of Judith Tullius to Executive Operations Specialist. Judith has made significant contributions to TSG since joining in 2014 through her extensive corporate, administrative, and office management experience. Her responsibilities include improving office operations, managing administrative tasks, and being the central point of contact for incoming communications to the company.

"Judith is the glue that keeps everything together,” said Mike Strawhecker, Principal of TSG. “Judith’s charm, intelligence, and witty sense of humor creates an inviting atmosphere for TSG staff and clients alike,” added Strawhecker.

Read more.

Visa, IBM Partner to Make the Internet of Things Commerce Friendly
ZDNet | 2.16.17

Visa and IBM envision a world where things will be trusted to conduct commerce for you. Welcome to the intersection of the Internet of things and commerce. Visa and IBM are forming a partnership that will connect the credit card company's token technology and the Watson IoT platform. While this partnership isn't yielding customer facing technology yet, both companies see new business models emerging. Visa powers 60 percent of the world's payments.

CFPB, Cordray, Win Second Chance to Avoid a Trump Firing
Bloomberg | 2.16.17

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and embattled director Richard Cordray won a second chance to defend his independence from the political pressure of being fired at any time for any, or no, reason by President Donald Trump. A U.S. appeals court in Washington on Thursday granted the CFPB’s request to reconsider an October decision that stripped Cordray of his job protection, which left him at the mercy of Trump and a pro-business Republican-led Congress looking to rescind financial regulations put in place by the Obama administration after the 2008 fiscal crisis.

US Regulatory Environment Threatens the Rise of FinTech
TechCrunch | 2.16.17

The growth of fintech is challenging governments to devise new regulations to meet the demands of the burgeoning industry. The U.S. currently draws the largest amount of fintech investment and is home to many early success stories. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that the regulatory environment in America is hindering the growth of fintech and impeding its impact on the broader economy. Fintech companies earned approximately ₤6.6 ($8.15) billion in revenue globally in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the Treasury of the U.K. government.

Outdated Security is Causing a Hospitality Breach Epidemic
PayThink | 2.13.17

Data breaches in the hospitality sector are becoming the norm, and outdated security processes in concert with human error are to blame. Millions of consumers have been impacted by hackers targeting the hospitality and other sectors over the past few years, and these problems persist. This week a reputable hotelier suffered a breach that compromised payment systems at their properties in the U.S. and Caribbean. A malware-based attack nestled its way into the servers used to process credit card payments at 12 of their hotels, proving it crucial for companies to rethink how they safeguard customer data.

EU Online-Security Plan Is Criticized
The Wall Street Journal  | 2.13.17

May require subscription to read. Business groups are slamming a European Union proposal that would require customers to enter extra security information for online purchases above €10 ($10.64), saying the extra hassle could cut online sales by more than €11 billion ($11.7 billion) a year. The European Banking Authority, an EU rule-making body based in London, said it aims to combat fraud by requiring customers to enter extra information, such as a personal identification number, but “will seriously consider” making changes. It plans to announce revisions by the end of this month.

32 Million Credit Cardholders Haven't Changed Favorite Card In 10+ Years
TheStreet  | 2.16.17

32 million U.S. credit cardholders haven't changed their preferred credit card in at least a decade and another 21 million have never switched, according to a new report. The market is fragmented between people who haven't changed their favorite credit card in a long time and those who recently signed up for a new one, with few cardholders in the middle. 42% have selected a new go-to card within the past three years versus 38% who have never swapped their favorite card or haven't done so in the past decade. That leaves 19% who last made a substitution four to nine years ago.

PayPal Buys TIO Networks to Expand Into Bill Payment
ZDNet | 2.14.17

PayPal just announced that it has acquired TIO Networks, a Vancouver, Canada-based bill-pay processor, for $233 million. TIO operates a network of roughly 900 bill payment kiosks throughout North America and claims to house 14 million consumer bill pay accounts. TIO also offers bill payment services at some 65,000 retail walk-in locations, where cash-toting customers can pay their utility, cable and wireless bills (among others). The company primarily serves the unbanked and underbanked, meaning people who can't afford or don't have access to mainstream financial services that make electronic bill paying possible.

Banks Look to Cellphones to Replace A.T.M. Cards
The New York Times | 2.13.17

Wallets can be lost, stolen or forgotten, but most people today wouldn’t be caught dead without their phones. Banks understand, and are grabbing on to that trend. Customers who don’t want to fumble around in their wallet for their A.T.M. card — or who have misplaced it for the umpteenth time — will soon be able to unlock cash dispensers’ coffers by using their phone. JPMorgan Chase, which has more A.T.M.s in the United States — 18,000 — than any other bank, has activated this technology on a few hundred machines in four test cities, including Miami and San Francisco. Six thousand more are already upgraded and ready to go.

Target Apple Pay Support Ruled Out For Now
Ubergizmo | 2.13.17

A social media post led to reports that perhaps Target would soon start accepting Apple Pay in its stores across the United States but the retail giant has now confirmed that this is not the case, at least for now. Target has issued an official statement confirming that it doesn’t have any plans to start accepting Apple Pay in its stores. A social media post led to reports that perhaps Target would soon start accepting Apple Pay in its stores across the United States but the retail giant has now confirmed that this is not the case, at least for now. Target has issued an official statement confirming that it doesn’t have any plans to start accepting Apple Pay in its stores.

comScore Reports $109 Billion in Q4 2016 Total Digital U.S. Retail E-Commerce Spending, Up 18 Percent vs. Year Ago
PRNewswire | 2.13.17

comScore reported Q4 2016 U.S. retail e-commerce spending from desktop computers and mobile devices. For Q4 2016, $109.3 billion was spent online, marking an 18-percent increase versus the same quarter in 2015. The majority of online buying occurred on desktop computers, with $86.6 billion spent, up 13 percent vs. year ago. Meanwhile, m-commerce spending on smartphones and tablets contributed $22.7 billion, with a significantly higher year-over-year growth rate than desktop at 45 percent.

Snap IPO Largest in US Tech Since Alibaba
TechCrunch | 2.16.17

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has set a valuation range of $16.2 billion to $18.5 billion for its upcoming IPO. That’s according to an updated filing which revealed that Snap shares will be priced between $14-$16, meaning it could bring up to $3.2 billion in capital. Snap’s pricing is below its initial range of $20 billion-$25 billion — and below what it raised at in its last equity round — but it still promises to be the highest valued U.S. tech IPO since Alibaba, which went public in a record $25 billion offering in 2014. In addition, the less aggressive price setting could also drive interest from investors.

CEO Jack Dorsey Just Bought $7 Million in Twitter Stock
Recode  | 2.14.17

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey decided on Tuesday to show investors just how much confidence he has that Twitter can turn around its business. Dorsey bought $7 million worth of Twitter stock this week, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. The filing shows Dorsey made two separate purchases — he bought about $1 million in stock on Monday, and then $6 million worth of Twitter stock Tuesday.

Related: Dorsey: Twitter still has “a long way to go”

Arby's Under the Microscope After Breach

The Green Sheet | 2.14.17

Atlanta-based Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. disclosed Feb. 9, 2017, that a data breach may have affected more than 355,000 consumer credit and debit cards. Payment Systems for Credit Unions, a trade association representing more than 800 credit unions, notified Arby's in January 2016 when its card-issuing member banks traced thousands of compromised cards to select corporate stores in the fast food chain. PSCU analysts believe the POS systems became infected with malware between Oct. 25, 2016 and Jan. 19, 2017.

Visa Settles With 13 Retailers In £500M UK Swipe Fees Trial

Law360 | 2.16.17

Requires subscription to read. Visa Inc. settled on Wednesday with 13 of the 14 retailers in a £500 million ($625 million) swipe fees antitrust damages case before judgment in its recent trial had been delivered, London’s High Court heard on Thursday in a separate interchange fees suit. Visa Inc. has settled with thirteen of the fourteen retailers in a £500 million ($625 million) swipe fees antitrust damages case, in which the companies had been seeking damages for overcharging bank-to-bank interchange fees on transactions.

Banks Ask Lawmakers to Ease Capital Rules, End Card Fee Cap
Bloomberg | 2.13.17

Chief executives at the biggest U.S. regional banks are asking U.S. lawmakers to consider easing capital requirements and repealing part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul that caps fees banks charge retailers on debit-card transactions. Regional banks don’t pose risks to the financial system that have caused concern among policymakers, executives of 18 banks said in a Feb. 13 letter to the top Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress. The banks include U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., and Capital One Financial Corp.

Four Ways Banks are Turning the Tables on Cybercriminals
American Banker | 2.16.17

Instead of waiting for the next cyberattack, banks are taking several steps to get ahead of the problem. “The whole financial services sector is trying to be more proactive relative to information-security controls,” said Jason Witty, the chief information security officer at U.S. Bank in Minneapolis. Ransomware attacks, high-stakes wire transfer fraud and other incidents that have inflicted escalating damage have created a sense of urgency. Banks, especially large ones, also see innovative counterpunches as a way to dissuade regulators from stepping in with new requirements, Witty said.

Verizon Data Breach Digest Triangulates Humanity Inside Security

DarkReading | 2.13.17

If the whole security management services thing doesn't work out, Verizon may want to consider getting into the techno-thriller mystery writing business. Its newly released Data Breach Digest is chockablock with stories of online shenanigans (with some identifying details altered) that would be right at home in an episode of Mr. Robot. In one example, an online gaming company finds its production network hacked; worse, points of top players were being siphoned off and customers' personal information might have been compromised as well.

Is Bank Malware Campaign Linked to North Korea?
Bank Info Security | 2.13.17

A cyberattack first discovered in Poland is unfurling a bundle of technical clues that point to a larger global campaign against financial institutions, possibly executed by the Lazarus hacking group, which apparently was involved in the breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank. Symantec and BAE Systems published technical details on Feb. 12 that point to Lazarus, but both vendors cautioned their investigations were continuing. Neither vendor mentioned North Korea, but it is widely believed that Lazarus is connected with the isolated state.

While We’re Distracted by the Drama, the Economy Seems to Be Taking Off
The New York Times | 2.15.17

You could be forgiven for not noticing it, but the United States economy is gaining momentum. It may not be as dramatic as the torrent of political news out of Washington; an improving economy, after all, announces itself through a series of data releases that are just a little bit better than people were expecting. But that’s exactly what has happened. In consumer spending, the job market and manufacturing, the economy seems to be enjoying consistent, broad-based growth to start the year.

The Post-Election Jump in Consumer Confidence is Turning Into Spending
Yahoo! Finance | 2.15.17

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election win, economic surveys more or less said the same thing: confidence was up. Whether it was consumer or business confidence, everywhere you turned in the US economy the mood was getting better. A mix of hopes for lower taxes, less regulation, and increased fiscal spending, boosted both business leaders and consumers alike. Like the election, however, these surveys showed — particularly at the consumer level — a nation divided.

U.S. Small and Medium Enterprises Optimistic About Business Prospects in 2017 and Beyond, According to New Global Research from American Express
American Express | 2.16.17

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.S. and worldwide are optimistic about the economy and confident about their future business performance, according to the inaugural American Express Global SME Pulse. The new survey of senior executives and decision makers from SMEs across 15 countries reveals these businesses in the U.S. are even more optimistic about the global economy than their foreign counterparts. More than half of U.S. executives (54%, vs. 39% overall) are positive about the global economic outlook over the next 12 months. When asked to consider the local economic environment, they are even more upbeat, as nearly six in ten are positive (59% vs. 45% overall).

First Data Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016 Financial Results
First Data | 2.13.17

“First Data delivered a full-year profit, generating a nearly $2 billion improvement from our 2015 net income. We’re proud of that turnaround, but we’re intensely focused on the hard work still ahead," said First Data Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano. “Throughout this year and beyond, our team is aligned to deliver solid earnings growth, disciplined expense management, strong cash generation, and continued organic deleveraging, all while strengthening service and driving innovation to serve and expand our client base," Bisignano added.

Related: First Data and ShopKeep Expand Partnership

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Partners with Mastercard to Meet the Needs of Small Business
Mastercard | 2.16.17

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Mastercard today announced an agreement that recognizes the contribution and importance of small businesses to the Canadian economy and local communities. The partnership demonstrates the benefits of electronic payments in Canada while helping to reduce the cost of acceptance for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are members of the CFIB – Canada’s largest organization representing SMEs. “This new agreement with Mastercard is a big deal for small business,” said Dan Kelly, President of CFIB.

Cayan's New Genius Handheld Drives a More Dynamic Sales Experience Anywhere in Store
Cayan | 2.14.17

Cayan, a payment technology company, announced the launch of their new Genius® Handheld™, a first-of-its-kind, semi-integrated, EMV enabled mobile payment device in the U.S. that helps retailers reinvent the in-store shopping experience for consumers. With a growing number of customers choosing online shopping over store visits, merchants are under increased pressure to find new ways to enhance the brick and mortar shopping experience and meet the increasing demands of today's consumers. Genius Handheld allows sales associates to get out from behind the counter and onto the shop floor -- helping customers and closing sales.

Shift4 and POS Portal Partner for Secure Processing and Payment Hardware Delivery
PRWeb  | 2.15.17

POS Portal is excited to announce its partnership with Shift4. POS Portal is the leading provider of EMV-ready payment devices in the U.S. With more than 16 years of experience working with processors, gateways, ISVs and merchants, POS Portal stocks and distributes thousands of EMV devices out of its bi-coastal, P2PE-certified Key Injection Facilities (KIFs) every day. When it comes to EMV-ready devices, POS Portal has the right solutions in place to help partners with their payment hardware needs. Deploying EMV-ready payment devices is a complex process that requires extensive certifications and exacting security standards in order to enable a distribution partner to access and correctly load the injection keys that are needed for EMV compliance.

Blackhawk Network Holdings posts 4Q profit
Yahoo! Finance | 2.15.17

Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. (HAWK) on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $24.7 million. The Pleasanton, California-based company said it had net income of 43 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for amortization costs and non-recurring costs, came to $1 per share. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.09 per share.

iPayment, Inc. Launches Partnership With
BusinessSolutions | 2.14.17

iPayment, Inc., a trusted provider of payment and processing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), announces a new partnership with, a leading cloud solution provider of enterprise quality operational resources designed to help SMB owners launch, run and grow their business. In addition to business management must-haves including free email and a free website package (hosting, domain and website builder/templates all included),’s suite also features tools for team collaboration, hiring, and local presence and search engine optimization. And, IT support and equipment protection are also included.

USAePay Launches its Payment Engine Middleware Library for Developers
PRWeb | 2.13.17

USAePay is a leading payment gateway that offers advanced tools to assist developers in integrating with their solutions. From basic integration libraries to a list of API languages, developers have the ability to integrate quickly and focus on growing their business. Today, USAePay launched its Payment Engine middleware library for developers to integrate USAePay’s EMV solutions. The Payment Engine is a middleware library that provides a simple, robust software integration for developers. The library has an easy method of implementing EMV terminals that work on USAePay’s mobile and cloud-based applications. 

Apriva and Parlevel Systems Unveil One-Stop-Shop Vending Solution
BusinessWire | 2.13.17

Apriva, a leading provider of omnichannel payment solutions and secure mobile communications, and Parlevel Systems, an innovative leader for vending technology solutions, announced the enhancement of Parlevel’s unique, one-stop-shop solution for vending operators through the support of campus cards. In this partnership with Apriva, Parlevel delivers a full range of versatile hardware, equipment financing, flexible payment processing, campus processing, and analytics tools—all powered by an easy-to-use vending management system (VMS) for the food and beverage industry.

Intuit Goes Live On VersaPay ARC™ to Automate Its Invoice to Cash Process
KFMBFM| 2.15.17

VersaPay Corporation, a leading provider of cloud-based invoicing, accounts receivable management and payment solutions, announced that Intuit Inc. has implemented VersaPay ARCTM for select small business and accountant customers. The service allows the company's customers that primarily pay Intuit on a net term basis to use a self serve portal and pay online 24/7. This improves Intuit's collection tools and gives them the flexibility to better manage their invoice to cash cycle.

Shopify Announces Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2016 Financial Results
BusinessWire | 2.15.17

“Our work at Shopify is to help entrepreneurs thrive in a space that’s changing all the time, and we did our job especially well this past holiday season,” stated Tobi Lütke, founder and CEO of Shopify. “That eight of our ten top sellers over the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend were merchants that had upgraded from lower-priced plans reminds us that today’s startups become tomorrow’s superstars, at a velocity that appears to be increasing all the time. As the engine powering the growth of these merchants, Shopify has an opportunity that stretches years into the future.”

JPM Teams with Fintech to Deliver Digital Mortgage Platform
National Mortgage News | 2.16.17

JPMorgan Chase has partnered with fintech firm Roostify to build a digital self-service mortgage platform that will allow consumers to upload and electronically sign mortgage documents. The platform, which is expected to be rolled out later this year, will be integrated with Chase's backend Mortgage Express loan origination system. In addition to the document upload and e-signature capabilities, the new platform will also allow prospective borrowers to message with Chase loan officers and to track the status of their applications. Real estate agents will also be able to receive updates on the loan process for pending sales.

Fidelity Payments Chooses PAX Technology as Preferred EMV Provider
PRNewswire | 2.14.17

Fidelity Payment Services, a leader in merchant services has established a strategic partnership with PAX Technology as the preferred provider of EMV terminals and PIN pads. Fidelity has been a strong advocate of PAX's products and was a key player in their entry to the US market in 2011. They have named PAX to be their EMV terminals of choice due to their competitive pricing, device quality, advanced software, and expert support.

Bluefin Payment Systems and AudienceView Announce Partnership for PCI-Validated P2PE and Payment Processing
PRWeb | 2.14.17

Bluefin Payment Systems, the leading provider of PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solutions, and AudienceView, a world leader in e-commerce software for events and entertainment organizations that processes over $2 billion in annual transactions, announced today the availability of Bluefin’s PCI-validated P2PE solution on the AudienceView platform. AudienceView provides a single integrated ticketing, e-commerce and customer engagement platform for performing arts, athletics, university campuses, festivals and more, including 550 venues in 15 countries.

Anovia Payments Launches Operations in Australia
The Green Sheet | 2.16.17

Anovia Payments, an award-winning payments solution provider based in Dallas, Texas, announces its entry into the Australian market with a host of services designed to be more efficient and competitively-priced for small and medium-sized businesses. With credit processing reaching more than 7.3 trillion dollars globally and almost every transaction featuring an electronic payment method, the merchant services arena is fast becoming both more competitive and globalized. 

Xero and Silicon Valley Bank Unveil Next Generation of Financial Management to Transform Small Business Banking
LTP | 2.16.17

Xero, the leading global cloud accounting platform, announced a deeper relationship with Silicon Valley Bank, the bank of the world’s most innovative companies and their investors, that will enable startups to have more control over their financial data in a secure environment and get investor ready so they can access the capital they require to scale. Xero and Silicon Valley Bank customers will now benefit from a more automated banking experience for their mutual customers.

Yes Bank Debuts Contactless Debit Cards
Finextra | 2.14.17

YES BANK, India’s fifth largest private sector bank, has ramped up its existing portfolio of Debit Cards with the launch of new Debit Card variants. The highlight of this ramp up is the introduction of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology across card variants to enable Contactless Payments. The Bank has also strengthened its focus on Rupay Cards, and has introduced two cards on this platform offering superior features and benefits.

Fintech Startup PromisePay Becomes Assembly Payments, Signs Key Gumtree Deal
AFR | 2.13.17

Well-backed Melbourne-based fintech start-up PromisePay has taken the bold move to change its name at the same time as announcing one of its most important deals to date, with eBay-owned online marketplace Gumtree. The company, which last year closed a $14 million Series A funding round with Australian tech VC fund rampersand, Westpac's Reinventure, 99Designs co-founder Mark Harbottle and former Hitwise CEO Andrew Walsh, will now be known as Assembly Payments.

Copyright © 2017 The Strawhecker Group, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
11605 Miracle Hills Dr. Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68154

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
The above will remove you from all TSG communications, this includes email blasts as well as NewsFilter. Please be aware of this before you choose to unsubscribe. Thank you, we appreciate your continued readership.