Payments Processing in the News
Stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and advances in abolishing unfair credit and debit card processing practices.
Durbin Impact Feud Continues Unabated
Retail associations are celebrating what they are calling a year since their legislative victory in the battle over the Durbin amendment by asserting that none of amendment opponents' dire predictions have come true.
Payments Fraud at Companies Moderates, But Remains at High Levels
Payments fraud against companies moderated during 2011, with the share of companies experiencing payments fraud falling to the lowest level since 2004, according to the Association for Financial Professionals’ latest annual study of corporate payments fraud.
Citing Time Pressures, the ETA Asks Visa to Delay New Acquirer Fee
Accusing Visa Inc. of a "lack of regard" for its members, the Electronic Transactions Association merchant-acquiring trade group sent a letter to the card network March 7 asking that it delay implementation of a new fixed fee until acquirers have time to reprogram their back offices and make other adjustments.
Web Merchants See Fraudulent-Order Rate Fall
Online merchants made some progress last year against fraud, but the fight is becoming more and more expensive for them in terms of both dollar losses and operational costs, according to a report issued on Tuesday.
Protests Might Remove Acquirers From the Online Piracy Fray
The Internet revolt over bills in the U.S. House and Senate aimed at thwarting online piracy might have a welcome side effect for merchant acquirers in possibly getting them out of an unwanted role as deputies charged with enforcing public policy.
Debit Cards Will See Some Growth Clipped by Regulation
Debit cards will remain popular with consumers, but the Durbin Amendment will take as much as three percentage points off its annual growth rate over the next five years, according to a new analysis from First Annapolis Consulting Inc.
The Cardboard Beginnings of the Credit Card
In "Looking Backward," Edward Bellamy’s 1888 novel about a socialist utopia more than a century hence, citizens are issued “credit cards” entitling them to shares of the national wealth.
Merchants Take Swipe at the New Debit Fees
Merchants have been eagerly awaiting the promised savings from a new law that slashed their fees for accepting debit-card payments, but many are finding the early results disappointing.
Visa Steps Up Merchant Perks to Fight Debit Attrition
Visa Inc. next year plans to ramp up a series of incentives for merchants and acquirers, as the world's largest payments network braces for new regulations that are expected to cost it some debit transactions.
Merchants Get More Than $10 Million Thanks To Durbin
A grand total of $11,720,068 in signature debit interchange reductions have been deposited into merchant bank accounts by Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest payments processors. Of these Durbin Dollars, restaurant merchants received $4,042,859 and lodging merchants received $513,852.
Top-Down Solutions Are Questioned at Fraud-Control Conference
Payments executives seem to find it much easier to say what they don’t want than to agree on solutions that might improve the security of card-not-present transactions, if the opinions exchanged this week at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago conference are indicative of general industry thinking.
Visa Hikes Prepaid Interchange But Chops Some Debit Rates
Visa Inc.’s interchange schedule set to take effect Oct. 1, the day new federal debit card interchange price controls also become effective, cuts a few rates for non-regulated debit issuers but clearly encourages issuers to pump out more prepaid cards.
Visa Pushes EMV in U.S.
Visa has announced plans to support a U.S. move toward EMV, also known as the Europay, MasterCard, Visa chip standard.
Reloadable Prepaid Not As Durbin-Proof As Originally Thought
Reloadable general-purpose prepaid cards, once thought to be largely exempt from the debit card interchange restrictions of the Durbin Amendment, will be covered by that law in more cases now that the Federal Reserve has issued its final rule interpreting the amendment.
Banks, Retailers In Lobbying Race Over Debit Fees
The financial regulation overhaul passed last year created a new agency to protect consumers and promised sweeping changes for everything from Wall Street investment firms to Main Street banks.
With Its New Pricing Schedule, MasterCard Stands Pat on Debit Interchange
MasterCard Inc.’s new interchange schedule is out, and it contains no changes in consumer debit card rates or the transaction volume thresholds that many rates require. Normally, no change means no news, but in the highly charged world of interchange, anything the payment card networks do or don’t do is noteworthy.
Buried by Letters, the Fed Delays Issuing Its Debit Card Rules
Overwhelmed by the volume of comments it received, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in letters to Congress the Fed would miss Congress’s April 21 deadline to have issued final debit card interchange and network regulations.
Bills Would Delay Swipe Fee Rules
Lawmakers from both parties embarked on an uphill battle to delay a controversial law that would reduce the fees banks receive from merchants each time a debit card is swiped, following weeks of fervent lobbying by the financial industry.
Merchants Move To Counter Growing Opposition to Debit Regulation
With opposition to looming debit card interchange regulations growing, merchant groups that would benefit from regulation by way of lower payment card acceptance costs are making a case to prevent the Federal Reserve Board’s planned rules from being delayed or scuttled.
Durbin Comments to the Fed Show a Sharp Divide
Samples from the approximately 2,700 comments that have rolled in over the past two months show the issuer-merchant divide over interchange is as sharp as ever, though some recent commentators give new insights about the potential effects of Dodd-Frank on their businesses.
Chargebacks Create Business Headaches
Chargebacks are reverse credit-card transactions that can happen when a consumer disputes a charge, if the card is lost or stolen or if there's a processing error. Business owners are ultimately responsible for the amount charged back to the company.
House Panel Sets Hearing on Debit Card Fees.
For weeks, lobbyists for banks both large and small have been pounding the hallways of the Capitol to complain about a plan to limit the debit card transaction fees banks can charge retailers.
Online Fraud Rate Drops, But 'Cleaner' Fraud Poses a Bigger Threat
Good news for online merchants: For the second year in a row, fraud losses expressed as a percentage of revenue went down last year. They came to 0.9%, down about $600 million from 1.2% in 2009, according to the latest research from CyberSource Corp., a unit of Visa Inc. that provides transaction-gateway and fraud-management services to Internet merchants.
Visa Commits to a Two-Tier Debit Card Interchange Structure
In an apparent effort to calm its smaller debit card issuers, Visa Inc. says it will develop a two-tier interchange schedule, one with regulated rates arising from the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law and the other with unregulated rates applicable to banks and credit unions with fewer than $10 billion in assets.
Sharp Comments Flow into Fed in Wake of Interchange Proposals
The comments are flowing in to the Federal Reserve Board in the wake of the board’s controversial proposals to set a 12-cent cap on debit card interchange, ban exclusive network agreements on debit cards, and give merchants more freedom to direct the routing of debit transactions.
Fed Proposes Rules to Cut Debit Card Fees
The Federal Reserve, fulfilling a Congressional order to examine whether merchants were being charged excessive fees to process debit card transactions, has proposed new rules that analysts said could cut those fees as much as 90 percent.
Visa Suggests an Interchange Plan to the Fed; Merchants Blast It
Visa Inc. and a prominent law firm serving financial-industry clients want the Federal Reserve Board to regulate debit card interchange by setting an "average effective interchange rate" and then letting the payment card networks set their own rates as long as the average interchange rate on transactions subject to regulation meets the Fed’s benchmark.
Cyber Security Strategies for the Small Business Market
It's no secret that cyber-intrusions and attacks - whether by viruses,
malware, spyware, or other IT security breaches - are on the rise in
corporate America. High-profile hacks on military computers and
corporate domains like Google have illustrated that new cyber security
challenges are emerging as fast as experts can combat them.
PCI Compliance Should Be a LifeStyle
Merchants are most likely to remain compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and avoid data breaches if they adopt security as a “lifestyle,” according to a recent study.
Visa, MasterCard Reach Settlement in Antitrust Case; Amex to Challenge Lawsuit
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging rules that American Express, MasterCard and Visa have in place that "prevent merchants from offering consumers discounts, rewards and information about card costs, ultimately resulting in consumers paying more for their purchases.
Visa Opens Doors for Mass Transit Riders in New York and Los Angeles
Visa Inc. announced recently that commuters in New York and Los Angeles can use the world's most popular way to pay - Visa - for bus, subway and train fares. In New York, Visa is allowing riders to pay using Visa payWave-enabled cards and mobile phones, while commuters in Los Angeles can use a special Visa prepaid card to ride the LA metro system.
Consumers Divided on Interchange Issues
As advocates of the payments industry and retailers battle over proposed changes to interchange, neither side will find it easy to rally consumer support, according to a syndicated market research report.
Visa May Lose Chunk of Debit Transaction Fees
Smaller debit card swipe fees and other changes in the recent federal financial reform bill may prove to be a blessing for merchants and consumers, but a curse for Visa, the San Francisco-based company that has dominated the plastic payment industry since its inception.
NRF And Visa, Often at Odds, Come Together on Storage Rules
Not always the best of friends, the National Retail Federation and Visa Inc. saw fit on Wednesday to jointly announce that Visa had clarified its card-number storage rules to affirm that merchants may present a truncated or disguised number on a transaction receipt for dispute resolution in place of a full card number.
Risky Software Still in Place as a Visa Deadline Passes
Although many U.S. merchants and processors have met Visa Inc.’s July 1 deadline for replacing unapproved point-of-sale software applications with ones that meet requirements of the Payment Application data-security standard, or PA-DSS, many non-compliant card-processing applications remain in the marketplace, Visa says.
Council Grants an Extra Year to Implement New PCI Versions
Merchants, processors, and others in the card industry will have more time to review and implement new versions of the Payment Card Industry data-security standard under a new schedule announced recently by the PCI Security Standards Council.
Questions Arise in the Wake of Durbin's Winning Amendment
Payments-industry partisans of all stripes got onto their soap boxes to praise or denounce U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin’s successful amendment that could pave the way for regulation of debit card interchange and acceptance terms.
Congress Breaks Its Silence on Interchange with a New Hearing
After months of inactivity on interchange regulation, the U.S. House of Representatives judiciary committee recently held a hearing on one bill advocated by national merchant groups. And while the committee took no action, one merchant group views the hearing as a hopeful sign that legislation will be passed.
Our $48 Billion Credit Card Bill
These days, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t use credit and debit cards regularly — they’re convenient and compact and often come with small cash-back incentives. But what almost no one realizes is that those benefits are far outweighed by an implicit transaction fee, set by credit card companies and their issuing banks, that costs consumers more than $48 billion a year.
Naming A New Chief, MasterCard Signals It Is Open To Changes
MasterCard named a onetime star at Citigroup as its next chief executive on Monday, a widely expected move that could nonetheless shake up the giant payment company. The appointment of the executive, Ajay Banga, is to take effect on July 1, the company said. MasterCard hired Mr. Banga as president and chief operating officer last August and signaled early that he would succeed Robert W. Selander, who has held the top job since 1997.
Stores Endure New Card Rules Despite Hurt Profits
Top retailers have sounded the alarm about the U.S. government's recently enacted credit card reforms, warning investors the new rules will hit their bottom lines to the tune of millions of dollars just as consumer spending is beginning to bounce back.
What's Ahead For PCI?
In the last several years, awareness of issues around payment card security and PCI standards has grown exponentially. As more businesses implement Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) as a necessary layer in protecting their customers' account data, this increased vigilance will help result in fewer breaches, not to mention losses for businesses, financial institutions and cardholders.
Merchants' Credit Card Fees Becoming Political Issue
Consumers recently got some financial relief when Congress passed a bill making it illegal for credit card companies to raise interest rates arbitrarily on monthly balances. And now, some politicians think retailers should get a break, too.
PCI Council Changes Its Audio Recording Policy, Again
The PCI Council, in an attempt to show that it can be flexible and truly is listening to industry feedback, is now on the third version of its controversial policy on audio recordings since the beginning of the year.
Visa Extends No Signature Required to Additional Merchant Categories
Visa has announced plans to offer its No Signature Required program to the majority of merchant categories in the United States beginning July 2010. According to Visa, "under the new expanded program, for domestic transactions $25 and less, retailers can accept U.S.-issued Visa cards for purchases without requiring a cardholder signature; this program has the potential to increase speed at the point of sale and enhance customer satisfaction."
On the Back Burner in Congress, Interchange Heats up in California
Proposed regulation of interchange is stalled in Congress, but California lawmakers are investigating the controversial revenue generator for credit and debit card issuers that merchants ultimately pay. It's not clear yet, however, whether the informational hearing held this week by the California Assembly's Banking and Finance Committee ultimately will result in a law.
Major Card Networks Waive Fees On Haitian Relief Donations
American Express, MasterCard and Visa have all announced responses to the devastating earthquake in Haiti - including waiving interchange fees for a period for specific US-based charities that are providing support to Haitian relief.
Cybercrooks Stalk Small Businesses That Bank Online
A rising swarm of cyber-robberies targeting small firms, local governments, school districts, churches and non-profits has prompted an extraordinary warning. The American Bankers Association and the FBI are advising small and midsize businesses that conduct financial transactions over the Internet to dedicate a separate PC used exclusively for online banking.
Debit Card Fraud On The Rise
ATM and debit card fraud is expected to grow 10 percent or more this year, even though credit card fraud may get most of the publicity.
GAO: Proposals To Cut Credit Card Merchant Fees Hard To Implement
Proposals to cut certain fees credit card issuers charge merchants would be challenging to implement, the Government Accountability Office said in a report recently. The charges, known as interchange or swipe fees, have been the subject of growing controversy in recent years. Retailers must pay issuers the fees--set by credit card networks such as Visa and MasterCard--every time a customer uses credit to make a purchase.
Credit Card Companies' Fees Hurt Businesses
U.S. credit card companies are raking in big bucks from charging interchange fees while consumers and businesses continue to struggle amid a weakened national economy, a government report said recently.
Reducing Interchange Would 'Pose Challenges,' The GAO Says
If merchants on the one side and bank card issuers and payment card networks on the other were looking for endorsements of their opposing positions about interchange, they didn't get them Thursday when the Government Accountability Office issued a long-awaited report about the controversial fee.
Return of an Interchange Firebrand
Lloyd Constantine, who maneuvered the card industry into paying the largest antitrust class-action settlement in history, has resurfaced six years later with a book about the case and some surprising criticism about other lawsuits that he sees as riding his coattails.
How To Cut Credit Card Fees
The cost of accepting credit cards is a sore point for merchants. Business owners have long grumbled about the cost of taking credit cards, and for the first time, Congress is considering regulating how the fees are set.
Visa Pushes Back PIN Pad Fine Threat To 2012
After some serious retail pushback - particularly in the gas station sector - Visa has relented and agreed to back off an earlier deadline PIN pad compliance deadline for July 1, 2010, some 7-and-a-half months away. The new policy isn't threatening fines until Aug. 1, 2012.
House Interchange Bill Brings Out the Venom On Both Sides
The interchange partisans went at it again recently in Congress. The battleground this time was a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the bill from U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., that would require more interchange disclosures and demolish most of the bank card networks' rules that prevent merchants from discriminating against card-paying customers.
MasterCard Cries Foul As 7-Eleven Readies Interchange Petitions
7-Eleven Inc. misled consumers who signed a petition asking Congress to regulate card interchange, MasterCard Inc. charged one day before officials with the convenience-store chain were expected to deliver nearly 1.7 million signed petitions to Capitol Hill.
Consumers Respond To 7-Eleven's Interchange Fees Petitions
7-Eleven has announced that its franchisees and store operators have collected more than 1.6 million signatures in the "Stop Unfair Credit Card Fees" petition drive. 7-Eleven says it believes this marks the largest number of signatures collected for a public policy issue on record.
New York Restaurant Loses Its Appetite For Cash
In the latest encroachment of credit and debit cards onto the greenback's turf, the high-end New York City restaurant said goodbye to dollars and cents this week. The message to diners: Tip in cash if you wish, but otherwise, your money is no good here.
Visa Follows MasterCard in Prepaying Its "Wal-Mart" Obligations
As an attorney for the merchant plaintiffs predicted earlier this summer, Visa Inc. disclosed Monday that it plans to prepay the remaining $800 million of its settlement obligations with merchants under the so-called Wal-Mart debit card class action for a discounted $682 million.
PCI Talk Is Cheap: Even Small Merchants Can Afford It
It's very difficult to get small businesses interested in PCI compliance at all (judging from low attendance at the webinars and events aimed at that market). Recent research attempts to understand why that is, and if anything can be done to raise awareness and motivate security improvements.
MasterCard Vs. Visa: Dueling Compliance Philosophies
MasterCard is taking what can only be called a "get tough" policy, issuing larger fines and, most significantly, forcing both Level 1 and Level 2 merchants to use assessors rather than take on the task of self-assessment. But still, merchants, banks, processors and service providers aren't happy with MasterCard.
PCI Awareness Is up Among Small Merchants, But So Is PCI Confusion
Despite widespread efforts to educate small merchants about the Payment Card Industry data-security standards (PCI DSS), a large majority still don?t understand fully the complex requirements, according to a study released today by the National Retail Federation, ControlScan and the PCI Knowledge Base.
MasterCard Becomes The First Card Brand To Publish PCI Fines
MasterCard has become the first card brand to publish its PCI fines and related requirements, a move that could be the latest signal that MasterCard wants to step out of the PCI shadow of its larger rival, Visa. The dollars themselves do not reflect a radical change, although they do include some healthy increases.
Credit Card Fees Wallop Merchants
Shopping for new shoes or groceries for tonight's dinner? What about a birthday gift for a friend? It's easy - just pull out the plastic. But what shoppers might not realize is that every time they swipe that credit or debit card, the merchant is actually incurring a fee.
Roping Consumers into Fee Tug-of-War
A sustained tide of consumer anger about all types of bank fees is adding momentum to the long-running merchant campaign against interchange.
MasterCard Puts Wal-Mart Case In The Rear-View Mirror
MasterCard Inc. plans to pay off its remaining $400 million settlement obligation to retailers over debit card acceptance early for a discounted $335 million, according to a filing the card network made on Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Two More Congressional Bills Aim At Interchange Regulation
U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin?s introduction of a Senate companion to U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr.?s Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009, along with a little-noticed bill introduced last month in the House, bring to three the number of interchange bills pending in the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Congress Reintroduces An Interchange Bill
The Credit Card Fair Fee Act, a bill that would inject government into the interchange-setting process, has been resurrected after dying in committee last year. But this time there are more players around the table seemingly less inclined to sympathize with the defenders of the current bank card interchange system.
Visa Sees Credit Card Industry Restructuring
Visa, the world's largest payment network, said recently that U.S. legislation curbing certain practices by credit card companies would force the industry to restructure as revenue expectations shrink.
Small Business Economic Confidence Drops Sharply In May
After reaching its highest level in 14 months, the economic confidence among small business owners fell in May as owners reported cash flow concerns and expect to cut back on business development spending, according to the latest Discover Small Business Watch.
Congress Will Study Interchange And Eyes Rules For Gift Cards
The U.S. House of Representatives on May 20 overwhelmingly passed a sweeping credit card reform bill that leaves out retailer-backed regulation of interchange. The bill, which the Senate sent to the House Tuesday, includes a Congressional interchange study and could open the door to controls on gift cards.
Discover Finds Small Business Economic Confidence Surges
Economic confidence among small business owners rose to its highest level in 14 months in April as more of them see the broader economy and the conditions for their own businesses improving, according to the latest Discover Small Business Watch.
The Pros And Cons Of Small Business Credit Cards
If you're a small business owner, you've probably received numerous offers and applications for a small business credit card. You probably wonder whether you should consider getting one or how they differ from other forms of credit.
Retailers Bullish On E-commerce Technology
72% of companies in a recent survey said the economic downturn had not led to a change in their e-business technology investment plans, and more than half of business-to-consumer companies said they planned to increase their budgets for e-business technology, Forrester Research Inc. says.
Maintaining a Safe Environment For Payment Cards
The Payment Cards Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Electronic Funds Transfer Association jointly hosted a conference, "Maintaining a Safe Environment for Payment Cards: Examining Evolving Threats Posed by Fraud." The conference included panels representing each of four key constituencies: issuers, consumers, merchants/acquirers and networks, speaking on the nature of payment card fraud in the 21st century landscape.
To Cut Fraud Losses, Don't Wait For Chargebacks
Online merchants shouldn?t wait for chargebacks to indicate a problem with fraudulent orders. Instead, they should pay attention to other indicators, such as the volume of canceled orders, to anticipate whether a wave of chargebacks is about to hit.
Some Interchange Rates Up, Some Down
Lower interchange rates in some cases for online retailers and travel-and-entertainment merchants that accept Visa credit cards and a new MasterCard authorization fee that's 3.7 times higher than the one it will replace are set to take effect in April when the bank card networks adjust pricing schedules.
Economic Confidence Remains Flat Among Small Business Owners
Economic confidence among the nation's 22 million small business owners remained flat in February, gaining only a half-point over the previous month in the latest Discover Small Business Watch. The monthly index rose to 71.9 in February from 71.4 in January.
Visa Gift Cards Turned Into Phony Credit Cards
The crooks are using Visa gift cards to create their own credit card by adding stolen numbers, a name, and an expiration date. When they're swiped nothing happens, but then the clerk is asked to type in the credit card numbers.
Afraid Of Fraud - 30% Of U.S. E-Retailers Block Some International Orders
International e-commerce can be risky for U.S. and Canadian merchants, says a new report from payment processor CyberSource Corp. During 2008, 30% of merchants that accept international orders online and that CyberSource surveyed stopped taking orders from one or more countries because of high levels of fraud.
The Recession Is Sending Rates Of Friendly Fraud Up, Processors Say
With the recession throwing more and more people out of work by the day, payments processors are reporting that their merchants are experiencing sharp increases in e-commerce chargebacks stemming from so-called friendly fraud. This is the fraud that results when a consumer repudiates a transaction as unauthorized in hopes of escaping liability for payment.
Discover Announces PCI Data Security Merchant Levels
Discover Financial Services has announced it is rolling out an enhancement to its Discover Information Security and Compliance (DISC) program that the company says "will streamline the validation and reporting process, making it easier for merchants that process transactions on the Discover Network to communicate their compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS)."
MasterCard White Paper On Open Payment Systems, Interchange
MasterCard Worldwide has announced it has published a new white paper titled "Benefits of Open Payment Systems and the Role of Interchange" that the company says "dispels misperceptions about payment systems and explains the tremendous economic value that electronic payments bring to the economy as a whole and their role in advancing commerce."
Economic Confidence Improves Among Small Business Owners
After falling to its lowest measurement ever in November, economic confidence among small business owners rose slightly in December. The Discover Small Business Watch rose to 72.8 in December, up 5.3 points from November.
Visa Posts Its Canadian Interchange Rates On The Web
In another sign of sweeping changes in the Canadian payment card market, Visa Inc.'s Visa Canada unit last week published interchange rates on its web site for the first time. The posting comes at a time when merchants are complaining about higher rewards-card acceptance costs and expressing fears that possible Visa- and MasterCard-branded debit cards could undermine Canada?s low-cost Interac PIN-based debit card network.
How To Subdue Credit Card Fees
Too many small-business owners aren't aware of their credit card processing fees, and they're paying too much because rate increases are opaque and confusing. (Please refer to the second section of this article titled "How To Subdue Credit Card Fees").
Free Credit Card Fraud Prevention Training
To assist in the fight against fraud, MasterCard is offering a free, online credit card fraud prevention training you can take at your own pace. The program will familiarize you with the security features of MasterCard and help you identify fraudulent cards and what actions to take if you suspect fraud.
Free Webinar - Understanding PCI DSS Version 1.2
The PCI Security Standards Council, the standards body providing management of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard has announced it will be offering a complimentary webinar, "Understanding PCI DSS Version 1.2,? to be held on Tuesday Nov. 25, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. EST and at 7:30 p.m. EST. The session will be repeated on Wednesday Dec. 17, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. EST and 8:30 p.m. EST.
New Credit Card Fee Hurts Small Merchants
Consumers pay fees and higher prices to cover losses. But some fees punish the wrong people unnecessarily, and a San Antonio area antiques store provides an example. The store owner is like many others who accept MasterCard and Visa credit cards as payment for store sales. Here is her situation when faced with a new fee from her processor.
MasterCard's Keys To Survival
The credit card underdog is taking on rival Visa with smart technology, memorable marketing, and global ambition. But what happens when consumers put their cards away?
Discover Settles Lawsuit Against Visa, MasterCard
Discover Financial Services, the fourth-biggest U.S. credit-card company, settled an antitrust suit in which it sought $18 billion from larger rivals Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. for blocking banks from issuing its cards.
More Big Merchants Comply, But PCI Likely Still Foreign To Small Fry
New data from Visa Inc. show more of the largest merchants now meet the Payment Card Industry data-security standard, or PCI. But the level of validated PCI compliance among small merchants?the overwhelming majority of businesses that accept credit and debit cards?likely remains much lower.
Updated PCI-DSS Version 1.2 Released
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) has announced the general availability of version 1.2 of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). According to the Council, "this latest version is the culmination of two years of feedback and suggestions from its industry stakeholders and is designed to clarify and ease implementation of the foremost standard for cardholder account security.
Visa Enables Issuance of Unembossed Cards
Visa has announced that it will begin supporting the issuance of "unembossed" cards in the U.S. for Visa consumer debit, business debit and consumer credit cards. Unembossed payment cards feature printed personalized information, such as the account number and cardholder name, rather than embossed with raised lettering.
Fair Fee Act Could Help Small Retailers
If passed, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008 (HR.5546), introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), could affect both online and bricks-and-mortar retailers that accept credit or debit card payments.
California Data Breach Bill Awaits Governor's Decision
If signed into law, the new bill prohibits retailers from storing "sensitive authentication data subsequent to authorization, even if that data is encrypted and any payment-related data that is not needed for business, legal, or regulatory purposes."
Small Businesses Owners Feel Better About Overall Economic Conditions
Small business owners' economic confidence rose for the second straight month in August, climbing away from a 22-month low in June as their concerns about the state of the overall economy improved. The Discover(R) Small Business Watch (SM) reached 86.9 in August, up 2.3 points from July and more than 15 points higher than June.
PCI Security Standards Council To Host Webinar On Security Standards
The PCI Security Standards Council announces it is offering a complimentary and educational webinar, "A Perfect Fit - Understanding the Interrelationship of the PCI Standards," to be held on Thursday September 4, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. EDT and a second session the same day at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Some Stores Quiet Over Card Breach
When federal prosecutors recently disclosed that computer hackers swiped more than 40 million credit card numbers from nine retailers in the biggest such heist ever, it was the first time that many shoppers had heard about it.
Retail Credit/Debit Card Hacking Ring Arrested
The US Department of Justice has announced that "eleven perpetrators allegedly involved in the hacking of nine major U.S. retailers and the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers have been charged with numerous crimes.
FTC, DoJ Are Leery Of Bills That Would Regulate Interchange Rates
Banks and the payment card networks, which oppose the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008 in the House of Representatives and its Senate companion, recently got some ammunition for their cause when both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission came out against the interchange proposal.
Small Business Economic Confidence Rebounds After Record-Low
The Discover(R) Small Business Watch(SM) jumped in July to 84.6, up 12.8 points from 71.8 in June. After sinking to its lowest level in June, economic confidence among small business owners rebounded in July, as the number of those who said they are experiencing cash flow issues decreased significantly and general economic confidence began trending upward.
What You Risk By Using Debit Card At The Pump
QUESTION: When I use my debit card to buy gas at the pump, I've noticed that a hold gets put on funds in my account for a few days -- sometimes for more than what I purchased. What gives? Is there any way to avoid this?
MasterCard Expands PCI Merchant Education Program
MasterCard Worldwide has announced the availability of three new seminars designed to help merchants protect payment card data and reduce the likelihood of reputational risk and the incidence of fraud.
How To Deal With Credit Card Mumbo Jumbo
Owning a small business often means having to wear many different hats - marketer, accountant, building manager, and Web tech whiz, to name a few. But when it comes to figuring out what's behind credit card companies' charges for handling your customers' transactions - known as interchange fees - that can be one hat too many.
A Visa Rule Change, Prompted By DoJ, Could Foster PINless Debit
Pressed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Visa Inc. has changed its operating rules to allow PINless debit card transactions for small-ticket purchases, just as it waives the signature requirement for low-value purchases on its signature-based Visa check card.
PCI Deadline Approaches For Internet Application Security
On June 30, the PCI Security Standards Council, the independent body that administers the Payment Card Industry data-security standard, will make mandatory protection measures in its rules about Internet-facing software applications that the Council currently classifies as best practices.
American Express Settles Antitrust Claims Agains Mastercard
American Express announced today that it has reached an agreement with MasterCard Inc. to drop a lawsuit alleging that MasterCard had illegally blocked American Express from the bank-issued card business. Under the terms of the agreement, MasterCard will pay American Express up to $1.8 billion.
A Look at Data Breaches - And How to Prevent Them
Verizon Business has announced a comprehensive report on data breaches concluding that "nearly nine in 10 corporate data breaches could have been prevented had reasonable security measures been in place." The study also provides key recommendations to help businesses protect themselves and urges them to be proactive.
Discover Seeks Damages Against Visa And MasterCard
Discover Financial Services is seeking more than $6 billion in damages in its 4-year-old case against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., according to documents unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
California Gas Stations Hit By Debit Card Scam
About 80 people who bought gas with their debit cards at an Arco station in San Jose had a total of $45,000 drained from their bank accounts by thieves suspected of pulling the same scam at the company's stations elsewhere in California.
PCI Compliance - Are You Missing The Boat?
Major credit card companies had a good idea when they decided to pursue a standard for cardholder data protection. Data breaches were on the rise and credit card information was being targeted. So why were so many merchants standing on the dock after the PCI boat has sailed?
Retailers Assail Credit Card Fees In House Hearing
Retailers accused Visa and MasterCard during a recent congressional hearing of levying excessive fees, while the card company executives countered that retailer-supported legislation would simply push more of the cost onto consumers.
Credit Card Processor Agrees To $26 Million FTC Settlement
The marketers of a debit and credit card processing services operation have agreed to judgments of more than $26 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceived small businesses throughout the country.
As Hearing Nears, Another Interchange Bill Is In The Works
Payment card interchange will be in Congress' spotlight again when the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing about the controversial Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008, a bill that would put price controls on card-acceptance costs.
Breaches Make A Mockery Of PCI Security Standards
Dave & Buster's, a popular eatery and arcade, is the latest U.S. firm to be hit by hackers bent on stealing credit card data. This breach, much like one a few months ago at the East Coast grocery chain Hannaford, was the result of strategically placed malware that recorded credit card data in transit. These breaches illustrate the need for more stringent payment card security standards.
ABC News Segment On Counterfeit Cards
Thieves are copying the information stored on magnetic strips onto counterfeit cards. This ABC News segment shows how it's done and what you need to do to avoid becoming a victim.
Data Breaches More Than Doubled In 2008 First Quarter
Data breaches disclosed by Hannaford Bros Supermarket Chain, GE Money, and Georgetown University are just some of the 167 breaches reported during the first quarter of 2008, according to the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). This is more than double the first quarter in 2007 (76 breaches).
Malware At Hannaford Raises More Questions About Data Security
Fraudsters planted so-called malware, or malicious software, on servers at about 300 supermarkets in or affiliated with the Hannaford Bros. Inc. supermarket chain and with it were able to steal credit and debit card data. The thefts happened even though Hannaford at the time was compliant with the Payment Card Industry data-security standard, or PCI.
TJX Agrees To Settle FTC Security Breach Charges
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that TJX has agreed to settle charges that it engaged in practices that, taken together, failed to provide reasonable and appropriate security for sensitive consumer information.
Grocery Chain Breach Casts More Doubt on Data Security
News of the first big data breach of 2008 broke recently when grocery chain Hannaford Bros. Co. acknowledged a data intrusion into its computer network that resulted in the theft of a reported 4.2 million customer credit and debit card numbers.
MasterCard "Welcomes" Dismissal Of Antitrust Suit
MasterCard International said it welcomed a U.S. appeals court's dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit by a group of merchants claiming that the company, Visa USA and three banks had conspired to set fees charged to businesses for credit card sales.
Visa Looks For Record IPO In Defiance Of Wall Street Headwinds
Facing financial markets that have been roiled by troubled subprime mortgages and a weakening economy, Visa Inc. on Monday said it is seeking to raise $15 billion to $17 billion in its upcoming initial public offering of common stock - an amount that even on the low end would be a record IPO.
Vermont Interchange Bill A Cry For Help
A bill introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives in January 2008, H.600, would force hard copy disclosure to Vermont merchants of the interchange fees set by Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide and other credit card companies.
Credit Cards May Shortchange Wait Staff
Should the restaurant wait staff have to pay its share of the processing fee when the tip is put on a credit card bill? Some restaurants have been reducing tips by assessing the fee for years, but the practice is attracting new interest as processing fees rise and profit margins tighten.
Restaurant Chain Stops Plan To Take Fees From Tips
The parent company of Outback Steakhouse and its sibling restaurants has rescinded a policy of requiring its wait staff to cover credit-card processing fees for tips included on their customers' bills.
Father And Son Sentenced In Credit Card Scam
A father and son were sentenced earlier this week for defrauding about 1,200 customers out of roughly $125,000. The two operated NorCal CSI, a Sacramento-area company that acted as an independent sales agent for a credit card processing company.
Look Who's Making Coin Off The Credit Crisis
When credit gets tight, the vampires come out. Now feasting on small businesses is a cadre of "merchant cash advance" (MCA) shops. These lenders of last resort give small businesses cash today in return for a percentage of their future credit card sales.
Survey Lists Riskiest Citys For E-Commerce
Miami is now viewed as the riskiest city for e-commerce in the U.S., according to a new survey by online payment security services vendor CyberSource Corp. Miami bumped New York from the top spot this year in the annual survey.
Visa Reports Mid-Sized Merchants Are Making PCI Progress
Merchants accounting for two-thirds of Visa Inc.'s U.S. transaction volume have validated compliance with the Payment Card Industry data-security standard, or PCI, Visa reported. PCI is the card networks' controversial joint set of rules for protecting cardholder and transaction data.
Data Lost On 650,000 Credit Card Holders
Personal information on about 650,000 customers of J.C. Penney and up to 100 other retailers could be compromised after a computer tape went missing. GE Money, which handles credit card operations for Penney and many other retailers, said Thursday night that the missing information includes Social Security numbers for about 150,000 people.
Card Issuers Line Up For TJX Settlements
The retailer TJX is close to reaching agreement with U.S card issuers which suffered financial losses as a result of the security breach in its computer systems.
Visa Warns Merchants Of PIN-Entry-Device Fraud
Visa USA is warning merchants about the security risk from older point-of-sale PIN-entry-devices (POS PEDs) that predate Visa PED requirements implemented in 2004. Criminals remove these devices in less than a minute and replace them with modified devices designed to skim card account numbers and PINs, it says.
How TJX Became A Lesson In Proper Security
With TJX facing anywhere from $500 million to nearly $1 billion in expenses, not to mention a black eye with the public over how their credit card data is secured, this experience should serve as a lesson to other retail outlets on securing their networks.
Heartland Sues MICROS, Merchant Link And Chase Paymentech
Heartland Payment Systems has announced it has "filed an antitrust action against MICROS Systems, Inc.; Merchant Link, LLC; and Chase Paymentech, owner of Merchant Link. The suit, filed in United States District Court in New Jersey, alleges the three companies have caused increased processing prices for table-service restaurants through an anti-competitive tying arrangement which violates the Sherman Antitrust Act and New Jersey's unfair competition laws."
60-Minutes Report - Hi-Tech Heist
Do you think twice when typing in your credit card number online, but have no problem handing over your plastic card at a store? Well actually, you may have it backward. Your personal information may be more secure in cyberspace than at the mall down the road.
Extra Fees For Paying With Credit?
Charging customers extra for using a credit card may not be breaking the law, but it is breaking policies between businesses and the credit card companies.
Visa Gave TJX Until 2009 To Get PCI Compliant
Credit card company Visa knew in late 2005 of the extensive security problems at TJX, but decided to give the retailer permission to remain non-compliant through Dec. 31, 2008, according to documents filed in federal court on Nov. 8.
Red Mesa Grill Diners Hit By Fraud
More than 40 Red Mesa Grill customers recently discovered fraudulent charges on their cards after using them to pay for meals at the restaurant.
Visa Fines TJX Credit Card Processor
Visa has doled out some $880,000 in fines to a Cincinnati-based acquiring bank that retail chain TJX contracted with to process most of its credit card transactions. Fifth Third Bank was not following proper security guidelines related to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), according to court filings from a group of banking associations suing TJX over the breach.
MasterCard Worldwide Launches PCI Merchant Education Program
MasterCard Worldwide has announced a new PCI Merchant Education Program - calling it "an initiative offered to acquiring bank customers that provides practical assistance in educating merchants and encouraging broader adoption of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)."
Making Sure Your Stores Guard The Data
Credit-card companies regularly warn consumers about how to protect themselves from fraud when using plastic: scour statements for unauthorized purchases, shred paperwork that includes account numbers and don't leave bills or cards on the kitchen counter when people are in your home.
TJX Settlement Leaves the Bigger Card-Security Issues Unsettled
Off-price retailer TJX Cos. Inc. late Friday announced it had settled the consumer class-action lawsuits it faced in the wake of a security breach that compromised nearly 46 million payment card records in its computers, but big-picture issues facing card networks, processors, and merchants about the best ways to enhance card security and who should be responsible for it are far from settled.
Seeking Ways To Cut Fees On Credit Cards
With more Americans than ever using plastic to pay not only for high-price items but also everyday purchases like groceries, small businesses in particular complain that their profits are squeezed by card-related fees
Your Identity On The Loose
According to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial, the California Retailers Association has urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto AB779, arguing that it's burdensome on businesses and not necessary to protect privacy.
New Biller Categories, More Vendors Spur PINless Debit Growth
Transactions consumers make online with PIN-debit cards?but without entering their PINs?will soar 40% this year, to an estimated 92 million payments, driven by rising biller adoption, an expansion of eligible biller categories, and increasing availability of the payment option among vendors that handle payments for billers, according to a new research report.
The Dark Secrets Of Debit
Quietly but surely, a revolution is under way in how we pay for everything from a cup of coffee to our monthly electric bill. Continuing a climb that started a decade ago, debit cards are now preferred over credit cards by those American consumers who use plastic for their in-store purchases.
Credit Card Data Stolen From Bank Customers
A South Carolina bank has notified several hundred credit card customers that their personal information containing, including addresses and account numbers, apparently was stolen and sold to direct-marketing organizations.
Merchant Guide To Contactless Payments Implementation
New resources for merchants wanting to know more about accepting contactless payments. A new white paper titled "Accepting Contactless Payments: A Merchant Guide" and a presentation titled "Contactless Payment Deployment: Merchant Implementation Guide" are available free of charge online.
How Vending Payments Could Benefit From Federal Reserve Rule Change
The nascent market for electronic transactions in self-service machines should get a sizable boost from a Federal Reserve rule change that went into effect Aug. 6. The rule change could also foster the development of contactless transactions at these machines, laying the groundwork for payments via mobile phone for a wide array of small-value items.
Small Business Cash Advances Come With High Rates
Cash-strapped small-business owners are increasingly queuing up for small business cash advances. While criticized by some as predatory and usurious, this financing method is expanding, capitalizing on the growing hunger of small merchants for cash and the reluctance of traditional banks to serve it up.
Credit Where It's Due
The cost of processing cards isn't always what you consider when you contract for what you believe are low "rates." It's a confusing situation as processors and brokers (middlemen) lure you with low introductory fees and then tack on hidden charges, holding you hostage for a service that is mission-critical to your business. Here are some tips to help you determine if your processor and/or broker are increasing their profits at your expense. These tricks are damaging your bottom line.
Visa Starts To Put Small Merchants Under Its PCI Microscope
More large merchants now meet the dictates of the Payment Card Industry data-security standard, or PCI, according to new numbers from Visa U.S.A. At the same time, Visa, the biggest payment-card network, is turning its security attention to small merchants, the source of the majority of data breaches.
Serious Rules Cover What Goes On A Restaurant Receipt
The rules that determine what personal details may appear on the receipt are found in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA). According to the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the act's enforcement, this law says that electronically printed credit and debit card receipts must shorten -- or truncate -- the account information.
Visa Gets More Personal With Data
Visa plans to roll out new, highly customized incentive and reward programs based on more detailed consumer information, including data on purchases, buying habits, and retailer loyalty.
Gas Stations Ripe For ID Theft?
Using a credit card at a gas station could pose more of a risk for data theft than shopping online, as point-of-sale terminals have emerged as a weak link in the security chain, according to a Gartner Inc. analyst.
Out Of Gas - The Cost Of Selling Gas Via Credit Cards
Credit card companies and banks get an average of 1.75 percent on every gallon of gas sold, and credit card processing fees now rank as the second-biggest expense for gas stations operators, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Relief from Credit Card Costs
It's no secret that the cost of accepting credit cards is reaching dire new heights. According to the most recent National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) State of the Industry (SOI) report, retailers were burned for an estimated $6.6 billion dollars in credit card processing fees?an increase of over $1 billion from the prior year.
Visa Credit Card Network Begins Effort To Go Public
Visa, the biggest credit card network in the U.S., took its first official step Friday toward becoming a public company, outlining to federal regulators how it proposes to restructure and combine its global operations.
Mom-and-Pop Gift Cards - Alternative To Gift Certificates
From Christmas stockings to bar mitzvah bashes, plastic gift cards from big chain stores have become an accepted part of American gift-giving over the past decade. Now, local retailers are getting into the act, offering gift cards instead of old-fashioned gift certificates.
Merchants Pay Attention To Rising Credit Card Fees
Downtown Indianapolis restaurateur Regina Mehallick admits figuring out how much credit-card fees affect her bottom line doesn't occupy a big slice of her busy day ... But, perhaps it should.
TJX Faces New Suits Over Data Breach
TJX Cos. faces federal lawsuits in five additional states over a data theft that exposed at least 45 million credit and debit cards to potential fraud.
Credit Card Interchange Fees Spark Disputes Among Small Business Merchants
Credit and debit card payments have risen sharply in recent years and now make up a large percentage of sales at small businesses. Although it's clearly a convenience, many small businesses nationwide worry about the mounting "interchange" fees they pay on card transactions and their effect on prices.
Recent Case Against Merchant Processing Company May Not Be Only One
A recent case filed by the Federal Trade Commission against an independent sales organization in Beaverton, Ore., may not be the last such action the federal regulator will bring. In April, the agency sued Merchant Processing Inc. in federal court, alleging the ISO duped merchants by promising to buy out existing terminal contracts and handle transactions at lower rates.
Is A Corporation Scamming Small Businesses?
A credit card processing machine was supposed to save merchants money but it's already cost them thousands of dollars. A New York corporation has filed suits against hundreds of mom and pop businesses. But then, in a dramatic twist, the small businesses claimed they were the victims, that they were ripped off.
How Credit-Card Data Went Out Wireless Door
The biggest known theft of credit-card numbers in history began two summers ago outside a Marshalls discount clothing store near St. Paul, Minn. Investigators now believe, hackers pointed a telescope-shaped antenna toward the store and used a laptop computer to gather information about customers.
Father, Son Plead Guilty To Defrauding Businesses
A father and son from the Sacramento CA area, have pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count each arising out of a scheme to defraud about 1,200 customers out of over $200,000.
FTC Takes Aim At Merchant Processing Company
The Federal District Court in Oregon has frozen the assets of Beaverton-based Merchant Processing, Inc. (MPI), its owner, and affiliated companies. The court ordered a temporary halt to claims the Federal Trade Commission alleges are deceptive, and appointed a receiver to temporarily take control of the business. The FTC alleges that the defendants used deceptive tactics to sell credit and debit card processing services to thousands of small businesses across the county.
TJX Security Breach - Wakeup Call To Retailers
Experts say TJX either failed to encrypt or truncate credit card numbers or did not secure encryption keys. The exposure of 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers in the TJX data theft should serve as a wakeup call to retailers who risk losing money and credibility when they fail to protect sensitive customer data, say officials at the PCI Security Standards Council.
Menusoft Announces American Express Certification
Menusoft Systems Corporation, developers of Digital Dining software, recently announced certification by American Express over direct IP. This allows their POS application to save merchants significant amounts on their transaction fees.
Fraud Rings Up A Large Ticket
When a hacker infiltrated the credit card processing system for one of his Atlanta Bread Co. restaurants in the fall, it set off a "nightmare" for Bob Riekhof accompanied by a bill of about $25,000 and counting, the franchisee said.
Merchant Wins On Interchange Would Help And Hurt Prepaid Cards
With efforts by merchants to force down interchange rates picking up steam, the rapidly expanding prepaid card market will confront two very different outcomes should those efforts ultimately succeed, according to an expert on interchange.
Saving On Credit Card Processing Fees
Of all the demands of running a business, shopping for a competitive credit card processor might seem trivial. Yet a healthy dose of due diligence can go a long way.
MasterCard & Visa Debit Cards - New Labeling Requirement
As part of the "Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation" settlement (frequently referred to as the Wal-Mart suit), Visa and MasterCard were required to reissue more than 250 million ATM/debit cards with the word "Debit" on the face so that merchants could clearly distinguish them from credit cards. This requirement went into effect on January 1, 2007. More information is available at the following link.
Boost Your Sales by Accepting Credit Cards
Accepting credit cards is becoming a must for entrepreneurs and small businesses in today's business environment. There are numerous social, demographic, and technological factors combining to make plastic the payment form of choice for increasing numbers of people.
Five Leading Payment Brands Unite to Strengthen Global Data Security
WAKEFIELD, Mass. Sept. 7, 2006 - American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International today jointly announced the formation of an independent council designed to manage the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which focuses on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. The founding of the PCI Security Standards Council, LLC, marks a significant milestone in the payment industry's efforts to secure payment account data in a globally consistent manner. Ultimately this means that more than a billion global payment card users will benefit from a higher level of security protection against data theft and fraud.