Square Trims Losses, Continues Steady Payments Volume Growth

New sellers and an expanding product line made 2016 a good year for Square.

In its earnings report on Wednesday, the company said its net loss per share during the final quarter of 2016 was $.04, a significant improvement from $.34 during the same period the previous year.

New sellers and an expanding product line made 2016 a good year for Square. In its earnings report on Wednesday, the company said its net loss per share during the final quarter of 2016 was $.04, a significant improvement from $.34 during the same period the previous year.

Global News Roundup: DocuSign Launches Payments; Ant Financial Expands to Philippines

In a roundup of news from this week, DocuSign officially launches payments, Shopify improves its shipping, and Facebook friends can now send money internationally through Messenger, thanks to TransferWise. DocuSign has made its payments capability available to U.S. customers, following the beta it launched in November. As PaymentFacilitator.com reported at the time, the company is offering the payment capability through a partnership with Stripe.
In a roundup of news from this week, DocuSign officially launches payments, Shopify improves its shipping, and Facebook friends can now send money internationally through Messenger, thanks to TransferWise.</p><p>DocuSign has made its payments capability available to U.S. customers, following the beta it launched in November. As PaymentFacilitator.com reported at the time, the company is offering the payment capability through a partnership with Stripe.

Podcast: A Sneak Peek at the Upcoming MAC Conference

In this week’s podcast, we’re talking with Vadeene Sisk, chair of the Education Committee and secretary for MAC. She shares her perspective on what the organization does and how it can help payment facilitators. She also lets listeners in on highlights from some of the organization’s recent educational activities, including a popular webinar on what to expect from a Trump administration.
In this week’s podcast, we’re talking with Vadeene Sisk, chair of the Education Committee and secretary for MAC. She shares her perspective on what the organization does and how it can help payment facilitators.</p><p>She also lets listeners in on highlights from some of the organization’s recent educational activities, including a popular webinar on what to expect from a Trump administration.

Global News Roundup: Secure Payment by Live Chat and Best Practices for Merchant Onboarding

In a roundup of briefs from this week’s news, payment tech companies have been busy making deals and introducing new capabilities, India’s payments app is now available for more users, and Aite talks to acquirers about best practices for merchant onboarding.

Australian payment facilitator PromisePay has changed its name to Assembly. The company cited its evolution from an online payments provider to a company focused on customer experience, as the reason for the change.

In a roundup of briefs from this week’s news, payment tech companies have been busy making deals and introducing new capabilities, India’s payments app is now available for more users, and Aite talks to acquirers about best practices for merchant onboarding.

Podcast: Getting the Most Out of Underwriting Tools

In this week’s podcast, we talk to Marcus Smith, senior vice president of Risk Management for iPayment, a provider of payment solutions and processing services, about the tools used in underwriting submerchants.

Smith points out that while underwriting tools themselves are relatively simple, interpreting the results effectively requires some training.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to Marcus Smith, senior vice president of Risk Management for iPayment, a provider of payment solutions and processing services, about the tools used in underwriting submerchants. Smith points out that while underwriting tools themselves are relatively simple, interpreting the results effectively requires some training.

European PF Klarna Expands with BillPay Acquisition

Stockholm-based payment facilitator Klarna is again expanding in Europe, this time with the purchase of German e-commerce payment company BillPay.

BillPay enables customers to pay by invoice, direct debit, or in installments through its PayLater product.

Stockholm-based payment facilitator Klarna is again expanding in Europe, this time with the purchase of German e-commerce payment company BillPay. BillPay enables customers to pay by invoice, direct debit, or in installments through its PayLater product.

News Roundup: PF InstaMed Introduces Secure Token for Patient Portals

In a roundup of this week’s industry news, InstaMed tokenizes payment information for healthcare patient portals, Adyen nearly doubles transaction volume, and PayPal has a busy week.

Payment facilitator InstaMed has introduced what it calls the InstaMed Secure Token. The token enables healthcare providers to integrate payments within their patient portals without storing sensitive payment information on their servers.

In a roundup of this week’s industry news, InstaMed tokenizes payment information for healthcare patient portals, Adyen nearly doubles transaction volume, and PayPal has a busy week.

PF Leaders Square and Stripe Criticize Trump Immigration Order

President Trump’s executive order on Friday halting immigration from seven countries sparked a vocal reaction from many among the tech business community. The CEOs of Square and Stripe were among those expressing concern about the potential impact of the order, both in economic and human terms.
President Trump’s executive order on Friday halting immigration from seven countries sparked a vocal reaction from many among the tech business community. The CEOs of Square and Stripe were among those expressing concern about the potential impact of the order, both in economic and human terms.

News Roundup: PF MCPayment Takes Controlling Stake in Alipay Acquirer Genesis Payment Solutions

In our roundup of this week’s industry news, a Singapore PF looks to expand with an Alipay acquirer and Intuit comes to an agreement over data sharing with JPMorgan Chase.

Singapore payment facilitator MCPayment announced that it has taken a controlling stake in Genesis Payment Solutions, a company licensed to acquire merchants on behalf of Alipay.

In our roundup of this week’s industry news, a Singapore PF looks to expand with an Alipay acquirer and Intuit comes to an agreement over data sharing with JPMorgan Chase.

News Roundup: Stripe Adds European Payment Methods

In our roundup of this week’s industry news, payment facilitators in the U.S. and in Europe are building out features and expanding their services.

Leading payment facilitator Stripe announced that it has added support for five local European payment methods: Bancontact, Giropay, iDEAL, SEPA Direct Debit, and SOFORT.

In our roundup of this week’s industry news, payment facilitators in the U.S. and in Europe are building out features and expanding their services. Leading payment facilitator Stripe announced that it has added support for five local European payment methods: Bancontact, Giropay, iDEAL, SEPA Direct Debit, and SOFORT.

Fintech Groups Express Support for OCC Charter

The curtain closed this week on the comment period regarding the special purpose national bank charter the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed for financial technology companies in December.

The Electronic Transactions Association and Financial Innovation Now were two of the organizations that submitted comments prior to Tuesday’s deadline. Both said they welcomed the discussion about devising a regulatory framework that can support innovation in financial technology while effectively protecting the financial services system and the consumers it serves.

The curtain closed this week on the comment period regarding the special purpose national bank charter the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed for financial technology companies in December. The Electronic Transactions Association and Financial Innovation Now were two of the organizations that submitted comments prior to Tuesday’s deadline. Both said they welcomed the discussion about devising a regulatory framework that can support innovation in financial technology while effectively protecting the financial services system and the consumers it serves.

Opinion: States Have Potential to Transform the Regulatory Landscape for Payments

Policymakers in D.C. and across the country are looking at the modern payments industry with an eye towards regulating it, taxing it, or increasing their cost of doing business. Now is the time for industry officials to work with policymakers to shape good public policy.

One area state policymakers are examining is money transmitter laws. Regulations on money transmitters are changing rapidly and are changing how the payments industry operates.

Policymakers in D.C. and across the country are looking at the modern payments industry with an eye towards regulating it, taxing it, or increasing their cost of doing business. One area state policymakers are examining is money transmitter laws. Regulations on money transmitters are changing rapidly and are changing how the payments industry operates.

News Roundup: New First Data Business Unit Geared to PFs, Other Partners; Mastercard Connects Farmers in East Africa

In this week’s roundup of industry news, payments processors are building on their capabilities for independent software vendors, Mastercard connects farmers to the agricultural supply chain in East Africa, and worldwide cashless payments are rapidly rising.
In this week’s roundup of industry news, payments processors are building on their capabilities for independent software vendors, Mastercard connects farmers to the agricultural supply chain in East Africa, and worldwide cashless payments are rapidly rising.

Guest Post: Will Regulators Get Trumped?

The unexpected election of Donald Trump has left many wondering what the impact will be to the regulatory environment of the financial services industry. A Republican president and Congress will have the potential to alter that environment, but questions remain about how much and how soon. Marsha Jones, president of the Third Party Payment Processors Association, shares her organization's perspective.
The unexpected election of Donald Trump has left many wondering what the impact will be to the regulatory environment of the financial services industry. A Republican president and Congress will have the potential to alter that environment, but questions remain about how much and how soon. Marsha Jones, president of the Third Party Payment Processors Association, shares her organization's perspective.

News Roundup: PayPal and Discover Sign Agreement, Wix Adds Square

In this week’s roundup, PayPal racks up another credit card company agreement, Paytm expands the places it is accepted across India, and more small businesses can use Square for their POS.
In this week’s roundup, PayPal racks up another credit card company agreement, Paytm expands the places it is accepted across India, and more small businesses can use Square for their POS.

Shopify Adds Amazon Sales Channel

Leading payment facilitator Shopify announced that it had integrated with Amazon, allowing its sellers to sell through Amazon stores directly from their Shopify accounts.

Rumors of the news before it was officially launched led shares of the company’s stock to spike.

Leading payment facilitator Shopify announced that it had integrated with Amazon, allowing its sellers to sell through Amazon stores directly from their Shopify accounts. Rumors of the news before it was officially launched led shares of the company’s stock to spike.

India PF Paytm Gets Approval to Launch Payments Bank

Indian payment facilitator Paytm announced on Tuesday (Jan. 3) that the Reserve Bank of India has granted the company the final go-ahead to launch Paytm Payments Bank. Paytm was granted in-principle approval for the payments bank in 2015.
Indian payment facilitator Paytm announced on Tuesday (Jan. 3) that the Reserve Bank of India has granted the company the final go-ahead to launch Paytm Payments Bank. Paytm was granted in-principle approval for the payments bank in 2015.

News Roundup: Adyen Partners with VTEX; Xoom Expands into Asia

This week’s roundup of news from around the web includes a new partnership for Adyen, Asian expansion for PayPal’s Xoom, and growing cashless payments in India.

E-commerce technology provider VTEX announced a new partnership with Dutch payment facilitator Adyen, through which it has added payments processing and risk tools from Adyen to its platform. The partnership is geared to helping its customers grow their e-commerce businesses globally, the company said.

This week’s roundup of news from around the web includes a new partnership for Adyen, Asian expansion for PayPal’s Xoom, and growing cashless payments in India.

Mastercard study: Technology Key to Financial Inclusion in Europe

Releasing the findings of a new study this week, Mastercard argued that technology and digital solutions are key to improving access to financial services for those Europeans who are currently excluded from the system.

The survey looked into who the financially excluded are and why they are excluded from their countries’ financial services.

Releasing the findings of a new study this week, Mastercard argued that technology and digital solutions are key to improving access to financial services for those Europeans who are currently excluded from the system. The survey looked into who the financially excluded are and why they are excluded from their countries’ financial services.

Podcast: Beneficial Ownership Defined And Analyzed

As Rich Consulting president Deana Rich explains in this week’s PaymentFacilitator.com podcast – a re-run from August 24 – the Treasury’s beneficial ownership rule announced in May will require banks to perform KYC on all owners with more than 25 percent ownership as well as the person that manages or runs the business, and banks will likely turn that extra work over to ISOs or PFs underwriting merchants or submerchants.
As Rich Consulting president Deana Rich explains in this week’s PaymentFacilitator.com podcast – a re-run from August 24 – the Treasury’s beneficial ownership rule announced in May will require banks to perform KYC on all owners with more than 25 percent ownership as well as the person that manages or runs the business, and banks will likely turn that extra work over to ISOs or PFs underwriting merchants or submerchants.

News Roundup: Procore Technologies is a Unicorn; Freshbooks Adds Apple Pay

In this week’s roundup of news, Procore Technologies reaches unicorn status, Freshbooks adds Apple Pay as a new payment method for its small business users, and two European companies team up to create a short-term financing solution through their new Sage Clic&Cash platform.
In this week’s roundup of news, Procore Technologies reaches unicorn status, Freshbooks adds Apple Pay as a new payment method for its small business users, and two European companies team up to create a short-term financing solution through their new Sage Clic&Cash platform.

Podcast: Underwriting Submerchants – How Responsible Are Acquirers?

Last week, we spoke with Deana Rich about the special considerations behind underwriting payment facilitators. This week we take our focus on underwriting in the payment facilitator space a step farther. We talk with Eric Haru, executive vice president, Risk and Compliance, for Merchant e-Solutions about underwriting submerchants.
Last week, we spoke with Deana Rich about the special considerations behind underwriting payment facilitators. This week we take our focus on underwriting in the payment facilitator space a step farther. We talk with Eric Haru, executive vice president, Risk and Compliance, for Merchant e-Solutions about underwriting submerchants.

European News Roundup: Rewards for U.K. Shoppers, Mastercard and Apple Pay in Spain

In this week’s roundup of news, Google offers rewards for U.K. Android Pay shoppers, Mastercard brings Apple Pay to Spain, and SecurionPay adds a cross-sale feature to its payments software.
In this week’s roundup of news, Google offers rewards for U.K. Android Pay shoppers, Mastercard brings Apple Pay to Spain, and SecurionPay adds a cross-sale feature to its payments software.

Latest from Square: An Integration with Apple Pay

On Tuesday, Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the Square Cash service was integrating its virtual debit card with Apple Pay at Recode’s Code Commerce event in San Francisco.
On Tuesday, Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the Square Cash service was integrating its virtual debit card with Apple Pay at Recode’s Code Commerce event in San Francisco.

Podcast: Underwriting Payment Facilitators Demystified

This week we’re talking with Rich Consulting president and compliance expert Deana Rich about underwriting payment facilitators. How is it different from underwriting other entities, and what are some of the special considerations?

Acquirers who are thinking about entering a relationship with a payment facilitator need to fully understand the risks and how to control them before making the commitment, Rich said.

This week we’re talking with Rich Consulting president and compliance expert Deana Rich about underwriting payment facilitators. How is it different from underwriting other entities, and what are some of the special considerations?

PSD2 Creates Opportunity for New Wave of European PFs

Europe is undergoing a step change in banking and payment services, leveraging open API technology and new regulatory frameworks to make a historically cumbersome industry more competitive, secure and customer-friendly.

The goal? “Customer first” digital banking and Europe-wide faster payments to drive innovation and increase cross-border trade in a European B2C e-commerce market worth over 425 billion euros.

Europe is undergoing a step change in banking and payment services, leveraging open API technology and new regulatory frameworks to make a historically cumbersome industry more competitive, secure and customer-friendly. The goal? “Customer first” digital banking and Europe-wide faster payments to drive innovation and increase cross-border trade in a European B2C e-commerce market worth over 425 billion euros.

News Roundup: PayPal’s New App, Uber’s Day in Court

In this week’s news roundup, PayPal introduces a new app for business owners, Uber goes to court, and Adobe tracks Black Friday online sales.
In this week’s news roundup, PayPal introduces a new app for business owners, Uber goes to court, and Adobe tracks Black Friday online sales.

Podcast: Was 2016 the Year of the Service Provider Breach?

This week we’re talking with Chris Bucolo, director of market strategy for managed security service provider ControlScan. Last week, Bucolo wrote a guest post for PaymentFacilitator.com in which he talked about how risk is viewed and managed within the payment facilitator space. He expands on the topic in this conversation.
This week we’re talking with Chris Bucolo, director of market strategy for managed security service provider ControlScan. Last week, Bucolo wrote a guest post for PaymentFacilitator.com in which he talked about how risk is viewed and managed within the payment facilitator space. He expands on the topic in this conversation.

News Roundup: Partnerships and Launches from Apple, Airbnb, Stripe and More

In a roundup of this week’s news, AirPlus International and Airbnb are joining forces, NMI has added features to its platform for payment facilitators, and Stripe has rounded up handy tools for its merchants.
In a roundup of this week’s news, AirPlus International and Airbnb are joining forces, NMI has added features to its platform for payment facilitators, and Stripe has rounded up handy tools for its merchants.

Payment Facilitators and Risk: How the Market Views Submerchants

There is plenty of evidence that the payment facilitator market will grow significantly over the next few years. There are multiple drivers for this growth, including the belief that the increased complexity of compliance/security requirements for merchants will generate more interest in this payments model.

Although there is general agreement that the growth potential is large, there is a divergent set of opinions on how risky the model is, and how risk needs to be approached.

There is plenty of evidence that the payment facilitator market will grow significantly over the next few years. There are multiple drivers for this growth, including the belief that the increased complexity of compliance/security requirements for merchants will generate more interest in this payments model. Although there is general agreement that the growth potential is large, there is a divergent set of opinions on how risky the model is, and how risk needs to be approached.

Digital Wallets: A Deep Dive into the New CFPB Rule

Buried within the 1,689-page Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “final rule,” or Prepaid Access Rule, are provisos that pertain to digital wallets. In a previous article, I shared the basic outlines of the rule itself and how it relates to digital payments. But how worried should payment facilitators who operate a digital wallet be?
Buried within the 1,689-page Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “final rule,” or Prepaid Access Rule, are provisos that pertain to digital wallets. In a previous article, I shared the basic outlines of the rule itself and how it relates to digital payments. But how worried should payment facilitators who operate a digital wallet be?

News Roundup: Square Beats Estimates (Again), Paytm Adds Logistics

In this week’s news roundup, Square reports its 3Q16 earnings, Paytm expands its capabilities, and Alipay expands the availability of its mobile wallet.
In this week’s news roundup, Square reports its 3Q16 earnings, Paytm expands its capabilities, and Alipay expands the availability of its mobile wallet.

Adyen Signs Two New Marketplace Agreements

Both Etsy and Freelancer.com have tapped Adyen to power their payment solutions.

The Etsy partnership covers the U.S., Europe, and “other markets” where Etsy operates, according to the announcement. The company said it has been operating in China, Europe, India and North America for Freelancer.com.

While one marketplace connects buyers and sellers of handmade goods and the other service providers and their customers, in some ways, the payments needs of both are similar.

According to two press releases in as many days from payment facilitator Adyen, the company is actively signing up online marketplaces with global reach. Both Etsy and Freelancer.com have tapped Adyen to power their payment solutions.

European News Roundup: iZettle introduces intelligentpos to Germany, Britons Ditching Their Wallets

In a wrap of news from Europe this week, a payment facilitator expands its POS system outside the U.K., Mastercard released research about what Britons are carrying in their wallets, and Visa announced when it will activate its 3D Secure 2.0 program in Europe.
In a wrap of news from Europe this week, a payment facilitator expands its POS system outside the U.K., Mastercard released research about what Britons are carrying in their wallets, and Visa announced when it will activate its 3D Secure 2.0 program in Europe.

Podcast: What Should Payment Facilitators Know About Money Transmitters?

In this week’s podcast, we talk to attorney Theo Monroe about money service businesses, also known as money transmitters. He says that payment businesses can sometimes engage in activities that qualify as money transmission activities under federal or state law – possibly without realizing it.

Federal and state authorities view money transmitters differently, which means that payment facilitators must understand and navigate varying regulations to make sure they are operating within the law, he says.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to attorney Theo Monroe about money service businesses, also known as money transmitters.

European PF Klarna Continues UK Expansion

An increasing number of online shoppers in the UK can now indulge in their shopping desires today and pay for them over time, by financing their purchase when they check out. Swedish payment facilitator Klarna is expanding availability of its ecommerce financing solution to reach more UK consumers through new agreements with Worldpay, BigCommerce, Shopify and CyberSource.
An increasing number of online shoppers in the UK can now indulge in their shopping desires today and pay for them over time, by financing their purchase when they check out.

News Roundup: Mobile Payments Making Inroads, Somewhat

Two new research reports out this week give us the latest on consumers’ attitudes toward mobile and their overall usage of different payment methods. A product announcement also showcases broader digital wallet adoption.
Two new research reports out this week give us the latest on consumers’ attitudes toward mobile and their overall usage of different payment methods. A product announcement also showcases broader digital wallet adoption.

Don’t Get Tangled in New CFPB Rule

Have you finished reading all 1,689 pages of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) “final rule” regarding prepaid cards and digital wallets? Probably not, but you’ve undoubtedly heard a wide variety of opinions about whether this is good or bad for those in the payments business. My advice: screen out the emotional reactions, focus on the facts, and let’s figure out where we go from here.

Of particular interest to many payment facilitators is how the rule impacts the growing world of digital payments.

Have you finished reading all 1,689 pages of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) “final rule” regarding prepaid cards and digital wallets? Probably not, but you’ve undoubtedly heard a wide variety of opinions about whether this is good or bad for those in the payments business.

Europe News Roundup: Mobile Payments Have Taken Off

A look at European payments news this week reveals that financial technology is alive and well across Europe. Visa released statistics on explosive growth in mobile payments, and several new partnerships are expanding the ways Europeans – and visitors – can pay.
A look at European payments news this week reveals that financial technology is alive and well across Europe.

Wirecard Helps Bring Alipay to London, Teams with Commerzbank

Alipay is expanding its mobile wallet into the U.K. with help from Wirecard, a Munich-based payments processor, the company announced Wednesday (Sept. 28).

The Body Shop, a skin care retailer, will allow shoppers from China to use the Scan Alipay App in three London locations beginning Oct. 1. The launch coincides with the beginning of a week-long national holiday in China, during which thousands of Chinese tourists are expected to visit London, according to the press release.

Alipay is expanding its mobile wallet into the U.K. with help from Wirecard, a Munich-based payments processor, the company announced Wednesday (Sept. 28).

Podcast: The Small Merchant’s Response to a Breach is to Pretend It Didn’t Happen

Of the seven stages of grief, the most remembered is denial. It's certainly remembered by small merchants, who often bizarrely gravitate to denial when they are told that they have been breached. At least that's how Chris Geron, chairman of the MAC Government Relations Committee, sees it.

The justifications for this denial are many, Geron said in this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, a re-run from May 25. Some cling to the absurd belief that being granted a letter of PCI compliance means "that it's not possible to be breached," Geron said. Other small merchants react negatively to a notification from a cardbrand, bank or processor. "Small retailers often believe that if the information has not been shared with them by law enforcement, that the allegation of a breach is not true," Geron said. And some smaller store chains believe that only large chains get breached, he said, despite the fact that the opposite is true. But the most likely reality-denying aspect is financial.

Of the seven stages of grief, the most remembered is denial. It's certainly remembered by small merchants, who often bizarrely gravitate to denial when they are told that they have been breached. At least that's how Chris Geron, chairman of the MAC Government Relations Committee, sees it.

Unregistered Third Party Regpack’s Exposure Of 324,000 Transactions Proves A Cautionary Tale For PFs

A July exposure of transaction records from 899 submerchants serviced by payment facilitator BlueSnap highlights an important lesson for PFs.

In addition to making sure their own houses are in order, they bear responsibility for their submerchants and service providers as well. PFs who control all aspects of the card entry, where it’s impossible for a transaction to enter outside of their interface, may be able to certify compliance on behalf of all their submerchants. However, if any submerchant or service providers could conceivably get access to card data, the PF must ensure they are certified and registered. BlueSnap had to learn that the hard way.

A July exposure of transaction records from 899 submerchants serviced by payment facilitator BlueSnap highlights an important lesson for PFs.

Guest Post: Britannia Waives The Rules As Brexit Makes Waves For PFs

Three months have passed since the referendum on June 23rd that set course for the UK, the EU’s second largest economy, to leave the European Union. Yet there is still considerable uncertainty on how this event will impact the payments industry and payment facilitators.

In this article, we look at the key considerations for U.S. PFs with an existing UK presence or those looking to set up a EU company to expand into European markets.

Three months have passed since the referendum on June 23rd that set course for the UK, the EU’s second largest economy, to leave the European Union. Yet there is still considerable uncertainty on how this event will impact the payments industry and payment facilitators.

Guest Post: Be Prepared – Cyberfraud Is Stronger Than Ever

There has been a 50 percent increase in global cybercrime attacks, with 1 out of 10 new account applications now being rejected. This reflects the dual challenge of a rising threat as well as the potential for considerable impact on customer experience. These statistics come from a ThreatMetrix report named "ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report," and it gives a number of other powerful warnings:

*A larger supply of stolen identities not surprisingly leads to a growing number of attacks based on those identities. As those identities are shared, sold, and further distributed, the risk multiplies; the report shows a 250 percent year over year increase.

There has been a 50 percent increase in global cybercrime attacks, with 1 out of 10 new account applications now being rejected. This reflects the dual challenge of a rising threat as well as the potential for considerable impact on customer experience. These statistics come from a ThreatMetrix report named "ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report," and it gives a number of other powerful warnings:

Tribute to Ken Elderts: Mahalo to a Great Friend

The payments world lost a favorite when Ken Elderts passed away Aug. 6.

When he wasn't a payments executive for the Western States Acquirers Association, VeriFone, TASQ Technology, Dejavoo Systems, and most recently AnywhereCommerce, Elderts loved fastpitch softball, airplanes and new technology. Elderts was known for his mentorship, warmth, smiles and hugs.

The payments world lost a favorite when Ken Elderts passed away Aug. 6.

Podcast: Transaction Laundering — How Not To Get Taken To The Cleaners

One of the cyberthief's favorite tactics these days is transaction laundering, where the bad guy takes their bad transactions—usually for drugs, gambling, counterfeit goods or human trafficking—and runs them through seemingly good web sites, ones ostensibly trying to sell innocuous products.

There are things that a payment facilitator can do to thwart such efforts and that is the focus of this week's podcast, a re-run from March 30, featuring Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting.

One of the cyberthief's favorite tactics these days is transaction laundering, where the bad guy takes their bad transactions—usually for drugs, gambling, counterfeit goods or human trafficking—and runs them through seemingly good web sites, ones ostensibly trying to sell innocuous products.

Take A Deep Breath PFs, Beneficial Ownership Rule Is Not So Bad

First things first: In our opinion, the Treasury's May 11 FinCEN rules are going to impact ISOs and Payment Facilitators alike, in that banks are going to make them follow these new rules.

Although the rule does not speak to ISOs or PFs underwriting merchants or submerchants, we fully believe if you are required to do KYC now -- and ISOs and PFs are required to do KYC now -- they will be required to do the increased KYC under the new rules.

First things first: In our opinion, the Treasury's May 11 FinCEN rules are going to impact ISOs and Payment Facilitators alike, in that banks are going to make them follow these new rules.

Podcast: The Small Merchant’s Response To A Breach Is To Pretend It Didn’t Happen

Of the seven stages of grief, the most remembered is denial. It's certainly remembered by small merchants, who often bizarrely gravitate to denial when they are told that they have been breached. At least that's how Chris Geron, chairman of the MAC Government Relations Committee, sees it.

The justifications for this denial are many, Geron said in this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast. Some cling to the absurd belief that being granted a letter of PCI compliance means "that it's not possible to be breached," Geron said. Other small merchants react negatively to a notification from a cardbrand, bank or processor. "Small retailers often believe that if the information has not been shared with them by law enforcement, that the allegation of a breach is not true," Geron said. And some smaller store chains believe that only large chains get breached, he said, despite the fact that the opposite is true. But the most likely reality-denying aspect is financial.

Of the seven stages of grief, the most remembered is denial. It's certainly remembered by small merchants, who often bizarrely gravitate to denial when they are told that they have been breached. At least that's how Chris Geron, chairman of the MAC Government Relations Committee, sees it.

More State Money Transmitter Headaches

As states continue to play with how they define money transmitters, the payment facilitator is caught in the middle. And one payments advocate suggests that it may force a greater role for processors.

Mike Cottrell, direct of global marketing at ProPay and our guest this week for the PaymentFacilitator.com podcast series, argues that not only could this encourage PFs to embrace a greater role for processors, but it could also discourage innovation. In the podcast, Cottrell painted a scenario where PFs—who see themselves as helping merchants do business—will start to pull back on very innovative efforts if it means that they have to spend much more time filling out forms and adhering to different regulations.

As states continue to play with how they define money transmitters, the payment facilitator is caught in the middle. And one payments advocate suggests that it may force a greater role for processors.

PFs Should Take Liability Far More Often Than Anyone Expected

Based on analysis of the payment facilitator model, payments consultant Todd Ablowitz is arguing that payment facilitators need to take on liability a lot more often than they might think.

"Taking the risk as a PF is a choice. Do I take the liability or let the acquirer take the liability?" Ablowitz said. "It doesn't have a dial. You can have a dial on fraud and you can have a dial on credit, but you can't have a dial on how much risk tolerance you have for regulatory. You always have to be on point there. (If you don't), your acquirer will beat you up, the regulators will drag you through the mud and take you to court. You don't want it."

Based on analysis of the payment facilitator model, payments consultant Todd Ablowitz is arguing that payment facilitators need to take on liability a lot more often than they might think.

SWIFT Confirms Major Data Breach As Details Leak Out

On Monday (April 25), SWIFT announced that it is aware of "a number of recent cyber incidents where attackers had sent fraudulent messages over its system," Reuters said. "SWIFT is aware of a number of recent cyber incidents in which malicious insiders or external attackers have managed to submit SWIFT messages from financial institutions' back-offices, PCs or workstations connected to their local interface to the SWIFT network," the group warned customers on Monday in a notice seen by Reuters." This follows publication of quite a few details about the breach that surfaced earlier in the day by the BAE Threat Research Blog, which noted that the attackers attempted to steal $951 million, of which $81 million still unaccounted for.

"This malware appears to be just part of a wider attack toolkit, and would have been used to cover the attackers’ tracks as they sent forged payment instructions to make the transfers. This would have hampered the detection and response to the attack, giving more time for the subsequent money laundering to take place," the blog noted. The report went into many of the particulars of the attack method. "The malware registers itself as a service and operates within an environment running SWIFT’s Alliance software suite, powered by an Oracle Database. The main purpose is to inspect SWIFT messages for strings defined in the configuration file. From these messages, the malware can extract fields such as transfer references and SWIFT addresses to interact with the system database. These details are then used to delete specific transactions, or update transaction amounts appearing in balance reporting messages based on the amount of Convertible Currency available in specific accounts. This functionality runs in a loop until 6am on 6th February 2016. This is significant given the transfers are believed to have occurred in the two days prior to this date. The tool was custom made for this job, and shows a significant level of knowledge of SWIFT Alliance Access software as well as good malware coding skills."

On Monday (April 25), SWIFT announced that it is aware of "a number of recent cyber incidents where attackers had sent fraudulent messages over its system," Reuters said. "SWIFT is aware of a number of recent cyber incidents in which malicious insiders or external attackers have managed to submit SWIFT messages from financial institutions' back-offices, PCs or workstations connected to their local interface to the SWIFT network," the group warned customers on Monday in a notice seen by Reuters." This follows publication of quite a few details about the breach that surfaced earlier in the day by the BAE Threat Research Blog, which noted that the attackers attempted to steal $951 million, of which $81 million still unaccounted for.

Look For ETA To Publish PF Guidelines By June

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) on Tuesday (April 19) announced "the roll-out of new Payment Facilitator guidelines offering guidance and best practices to new entrants regarding settlement, registration, funding delays, fraud, security and related issues." Those guidelines are still being finalized and are not expected to be published until "May or June," according to Todd Ablowitz, the payments consultant overseeing the guideline's creation.

The document will only be available to ETA members. The document—which now stands at 85 pages, but could easily grow—is the most extensive compilation of protocols, procedures and best practices for payment facilitators yet assembled. Amy Zirkle, the ETA's director of industry affairs, said that a lot of the software companies that are salivating over becoming PFs know their software and their merchants' environments and needs but they may not be nearly as familiar with the intricacies of modern payments systems. "These people will get into payments and they don't always know a lot about payments," she said. "This the nitty gritty of what needs to be considered to ultimately protect the payment facilitator. This is the quintessential toolkit for payment facilitators, showing new PFs all of the necessary steps."

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) on Tuesday (April 19) announced "the roll-out of new Payment Facilitator guidelines offering guidance and best practices to new entrants regarding settlement, registration, funding delays, fraud, security and related issues." Those guidelines are still being finalized and are not expected to be published until "May or June," according to Todd Ablowitz, the payments consultant overseeing the guideline's creation.

Study Projects PF Explosion Next Year, To $58.4 Billion Transaction Volume

The number of payment facilitators—and the dollars they are expected to process—will both soar by the end of next year, from 450 PFs and $27 billion in transaction processing last year to 973 PFs and $58.4 billion in transaction processing next year, according to a PF market study finalized this week from Double Diamond Group. That transaction processing number is actually even more powerful as those figures excluded any transactions processed by industry powerhouses PayPal, Stripe and Square.

The study started by examining the SaaS B2B space—a roughly $33 billion market with 22,000 companies—and found that about 13,000 of those companies are positioned to benefit from the PF model. The study's results were announced at the PF Day at ETA TRANSACT 2016.

The number of payment facilitators—and the dollars they are expected to process—will both soar by the end of next year, from 450 PFs and $27 billion in transaction processing last year to 973 PFs and $58.4 billion in transaction processing next year, according to a PF market study finalized this week from Double Diamond Group. That transaction processing number is actually even more powerful as those figures excluded any transactions processed by industry powerhouses PayPal, Stripe and Square.

Podcast: A Preview of Next Week’s Payment Facilitator Day ‘16

The 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 will kick off Tuesday (April 19) in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is In Depth and On Target as the full-day event goal is to explore all of the relevant topics and ideas that are shaping the payment facilitator industry.

"It’s about payment facilitators, for payment facilitators and entities that want to become payment facilitators,” Todd Ablowitz said in this week’s PaymentFacilitator.com podcast. Event hosts, Todd Ablowitz and Deana Rich, dive into what to expect at PF Day ’16 and who will be there.

The 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 will kick off Tuesday (April 19) in Las Vegas. This year’s theme is In Depth and On Target as the full-day event goal is to explore all of the relevant topics and ideas that are shaping the payment facilitator industry.

Visa’s New SMB Rules Add PF Complexities

When Visa recently added more rules on its smallest merchants—PCI Level 4s—it created a sales opportunity for payment facilitators by giving SMBs an even stronger reason to outsource its payments activities. At the same time, it added more complexity to PCI management for those PFs.

Mike Cottrell, head of global sales and marketing at ProPay, tried to put the new rules into perspective for payment facilitators in this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast.

When Visa recently added more rules on its smallest merchants—PCI Level 4s—it created a sales opportunity for payment facilitators by giving SMBs an even stronger reason to outsource its payments activities. At the same time, it added more complexity to PCI management for those PFs.

Transaction Laundering: How Not To Get Taken To The Cleaners

One of the cyberthief's favorite tactics these days is transaction laundering, where the bad guy takes their bad transactions—usually for drugs, gambling, counterfeit goods or human trafficking—and runs them through seemingly good web sites, ones ostensibly trying to sell innocuous products. There are things that a payment facilitator can do to thwart such efforts and that is the focus of this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, featuring Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting.

One of the less-commonly-used but quite effective tactics, Rich said, is do some secret shopping, both on the PF's own customer sites as well as suspected fraudulent sites. That is literally making purchases from both kinds of sites and seeing what then happens. Rich said she was recently talking "with a banker who told me that she had done that on a site she suspected to be bad and then she made the purchase and it never came through her own system. She never saw it because the purchase didn't really occur. They weren't really selling anything on that site. They were really selling stuff on the bad site. It was that secret shopping, using your own payment card to purchase things, that let her know what went wrong."

One of the cyberthief's favorite tactics these days is transaction laundering, where the bad guy takes their bad transactions—usually for drugs, gambling, counterfeit goods or human trafficking—and runs them through seemingly good web sites, ones ostensibly trying to sell innocuous products. There are things that a payment facilitator can do to thwart such efforts and that is the focus of this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, featuring Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting.

Facebook Wants A Piece Of In-Store Payments

Finding experimental features hidden in code is like reviewing patents for clues as to a company's future plans. Given that most trialed ideas—let alone patented ones that never get to trials—are never productized. That said, code in a product suggests a somewhat more serious interest. And it was inside code of the latest version of Facebook's Messenger that Facebook planted some hints of plans to enable in-store payments.

To be fair, there's as yet no concrete details about how this may materialize nor how Facebook would fulfill in-store product purchases. Still, it's intriguing. "Tucked inside the code for Facebook’s Messenger are clues for how the chat app plans to become a marketplace, including an unreleased feature that lets people use the app to buy things in stores," said a story in The Information. "But the unreleased features suggest Messenger’s push to shape itself as a social commerce platform is accelerating more quickly than previously known. And the interest in store purchases is notable. The software includes commands allowing a user to 'pay in person' or 'pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item' with 'no cash needed.' One developer who has worked with Facebook said Messenger has a large team working on integrating online and offline services, like using the app for purchasing items in retail stores."

Finding experimental features hidden in code is like reviewing patents for clues as to a company's future plans. Given that most trialed ideas—let alone patented ones that never get to trials—are never productized. That said, code in a product suggests a somewhat more serious interest. And it was inside code of the latest version of Facebook's Messenger that Facebook planted some hints of plans to enable in-store payments.

NRF Pushes Back Against Debit Swipe Fee Cap

The National Retail Federation (NRF) last week pushed back against debit card swipe fees, saying the fees are still far too much.

"In most cases, 24 cents per transaction represents a significant savings over the prior non-competitive pricing," NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said in a statement. “However, it is still substantially higher than issuers’ incremental costs."

The National Retail Federation (NRF) last week pushed back against debit card swipe fees, saying the fees are still far too much.

A Surreal Peek Into The Payment Data Underworld

If you're in the mood for a truly surreal peek into the stolen payment card data market, check out this profile of a data-seller called Joker's Stash, over at KrebsOnSecurity. This vendor's employees, solely selling illegal stolen data mind you, "set themselves apart by focusing on loyalty programs, frequent-buyer discounts, money-back guarantees and just plain old good customer service." Heck, it's hard enough to get legitimate retailers to do that.

Indeed, the Bitcoin-accepting company markets itself as proudly only selling data that it's own people stole, as opposed to selling what any lowlife on the street steals. And it offers limited guarantees: "All sales are final, although some batches of stolen cards for sale at Joker’s Stash come with a replacement policy — a short window of time from minutes to a few hours, generally — in which buyers can request replacement cards for any that come back as declined during that replacement timeframe." Even their loyalty program is better than that offered by some large retailers.

If you're in the mood for a truly surreal peek into the stolen payment card data market, check out this profile of a data-seller called Joker's Stash, over at KrebsOnSecurity. This vendor's employees, solely selling illegal stolen data mind you, "set themselves apart by focusing on loyalty programs, frequent-buyer discounts, money-back guarantees and just plain old good customer service." Heck, it's hard enough to get legitimate retailers to do that.

Accenture Study: Most Boards Of Large Banks Have Little Tech Background

Under the least surprising things ever category comes a new report—from Accenture—that barely six percent of the board members at large banks have any meaning technology background. The findings certainly explain the tech-hesitations coming from banks, especially when it comes to reducing payments friction.

This is much of the reason why payment facilitators have such a critical role to play with banks—a role that banks neither want to nor are able to execute themselves.

Under the least surprising things ever category comes a new report—from Accenture—that barely six percent of the board members at large banks have any meaning technology background. The findings certainly explain the tech-hesitations coming from banks, especially when it comes to reducing payments friction.

Australia’s Crackdown On “Excessive” Interchange

A bill passed by both houses of the Australian Parliament bans companies "from charging an excessive payment surcharge." But what does Parliament consider excessive? That is partially dictated by rules from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The bill requires that interchange must "reflect the cost of using the payment methods for which they are charged." Does it allow for any margin? And if so, how much would Parliament consider reasonable? In a report from PwC (aka PricewaterhouseCoopers) Australia, "whether a surcharge will be deemed excessive is dependent upon whether there is a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) standard or regulation in place. The RBA is currently consulting on a standard and is due to make a decision in May 2016. The Bill will not become operative until the standard is in place." It added: "If an infringement notice is issued it will impose a penalty of 600 penalty units ($108,000) for a listed corporation and 60 penalty units ($10,800) for a body corporate that is not a listed corporation."

A bill passed by both houses of the Australian Parliament bans companies "from charging an excessive payment surcharge." But what does Parliament consider excessive? That is partially dictated by rules from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

How A PF Can Clear The Confusing Regulatory Thicket Of Money Transmitters

As states, U.S. federal regulators along with country regulators across the globe try and set rules for money transmitters, payment facilitators are temporarily caught in the middle.

That is how Heather Mark—director of compliance at ProPay and our guest for this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast—sees the environment. When all of the conflicting particulars are set aside, there are only two situations where a PF gets into the money transmitter definition mess. First, there is the issue of "who has the ultimate control of the funds being transmitted," Mark said. Secondly, she points to circumstances "where payment facilitators are injecting themselves into the payments process." If a PF's activities take it into either of those scenarios, "then chances are pretty good that they will fall under the money transmitter provision," Mark said.

As states, U.S. federal regulators along with country regulators across the globe try and set rules for money transmitters, payment facilitators are temporarily caught in the middle.

Wendy’s Breach Fallout Painfully Illustrating The Need For EMV

A report out on Wednesday (March 2) put the level of fraud being felt by credit unions as far worse than the fraud suffered after the Home Depot and Target breaches, with some CU estimating that the fraud could be ten times those other retail breaches. And much of the pain is being felt at merchants who have yet made the EMV switch.

KrebsOnSecurity reported Wednesday that three different CUs in Ohio reporting higher levels of fraud. One CU president was quoted as saying "We have been getting killed lately with debit card fraud. We have already hit half of our normal yearly fraud so far this year, and it is not even the end of January yet. After reading this, we reviewed activity on some of our accounts which had fraud on them. The first six we checked had all been to Wendy’s in the last quarter of 2015." The story also noted an interesting twist, with some consumer victims repeatedly re-compromising themselves by going to different Wendy's restaurants—some of which had apparently not yet contained the breach.

A report out on Wednesday (March 2) put the level of fraud being felt by credit unions as far worse than the fraud suffered after the Home Depot and Target breaches, with some CU estimating that the fraud could be ten times those other retail breaches. And much of the pain is being felt at merchants who have yet made the EMV switch.

EMV Liability Shift Delivering Surprises To Restaurants

One of the unintended consequences of merchant protections prior to the EMV liability shift in October is that they shielded retailers from seeing a lot of the fraud going through their stores. The problem? That caused quite a few smaller merchants to reach the erroneous conclusion that the frauds that they didn't see didn't exist.

"We're now just seeing the fraud that always existed," said Georgia Stavrakis, the senior director of loss prevention at Heartland Payment Systems and the secretary of MAC. Stavrakis, the guest for this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, as seen a lot of retailers who looked at their level of known fraud and chose to not bother implementing EMV. In short, the fact that they were shielded from seeing their true fraud rate caused them to not fear having to pay for their fraud. The liability shift, therefore, didn't frighten them. "People were misinterpreting the data that we had from before the shift. People were looking at their records, saying 'OK, I've never had a chargeback in 16 years so I don't really care when the liability shift comes because I won't have a dispute,'" Stavrakis said during the podcast. "The reality is that you could have had hundreds of thousands of fraudulent transactions at your location before October. You just didn't know about it because the bank wasn't going to waste its time or money to send that to you."

One of the unintended consequences of merchant protections prior to the EMV liability shift in October is that they shielded retailers from seeing a lot of the fraud going through their stores. The problem? That caused quite a few smaller merchants to reach the erroneous conclusion that the frauds that they didn't see didn't exist.

Patent Wrap: MasterCard’s Plan To Turn An ATM Into A POS

In this week’s look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, PayPal and MasterCard inventors are our payments patent people with a trio of invention applications all filed on Feb. 18. MasterCard's filing envisions using all of those strategically ATMs for a lot more than cash-dispensing. This makes even more sense given that cash-dispensing will become increasingly unnecessary as in-person purchases go digital.

Meanwhile, PayPal wants to aggregate purchases from multiple merchants in one quasi-session. And MasterCard also has an idea for a way to use payment data to identify physically-proximate consumers with similar buying patterns.

In this week’s look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, PayPal and MasterCard inventors are our payments patent people with a trio of invention applications all filed on Feb. 18. MasterCard's filing envisions using all of those strategically ATMs for a lot more than cash-dispensing. This makes even more sense given that cash-dispensing will become increasingly unnecessary as in-person purchases go digital.

Regulators Sharpening Their Ordinance Knives For New Payments

Although regulators have never been mainstays of payment facilitators' holiday card lists, as payments grow increasingly complex, those regulators will become even more ever-present and, candidly, resented. As state regulators—along with their federal counterparts from the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plus some global regulators—zero in on newer payment methods, their chief focuses will be organizational structure.

Specifically, initial questions will focus on "whether compliance functions are adequately staffed, whether we have enough risk managers looking at all of the pieces of the puzzle and whether the board is involved. We're starting to see these regulators ask these questions," said Ellen Berge, law partner at Venable LLP as well as panel leader for the compliance panel at the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC). Berge discussed these issues during this issue's edition of the PaymentFacilitator.com's weekly payments podcast.

Although regulators have never been mainstays of payment facilitators' holiday card lists, as payments grow increasingly complex, those regulators will become even more ever-present and, candidly, resented. As state regulators—along with their federal counterparts from the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plus some global regulators—zero in on newer payment methods, their chief focuses will be organizational structure.

Google Compare Shutting Down

Google is shutting down Google Compare (which at one point had been called Google Advisor), the search engine's service to deliver price quotes on payment cards, insurance and mortgages—and to sometimes sell those products directly to shoppers.

This likely says less about Google's commitment to the financial services space and more about the difficulties selling those kinds of highly regulated products. Sometimes, it's best to leave these matters to payment facilitator professionals, Google. Stick to your searches.

Google is shutting down Google Compare (which at one point had been called Google Advisor), the search engine's service to deliver price quotes on payment cards, insurance and mortgages—and to sometimes sell those products directly to shoppers.

Global Payments Wrap: MasterCard’s Selfie—And Other Biometric—Authentication—Trials Do Well With The Dutch

This week’s global payments news takes us to the Netherlands, France, India and Brazil. As MasterCard promises to continue and extend its selfie biometric authentications trials in various countries, it found impressively positive results in one region. Dutch participants, given the option of either a fingerprint or a selfie in lieu of a password during a six-month trial, decidedly went bio.

Visa is rolling out Visa Checkout to France, India, Ireland, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom later this year, the card brand announced. And Paytm is close to finalising technology outsourcing contracts worth Rs 125 crore to manage the back-end for its payments bank which the company expects to roll out in August

This week’s global payments news takes us to the Netherlands, France, India and Brazil. As MasterCard promises to continue and extend its selfie biometric authentications trials in various countries, it found impressively positive results in one region. Dutch participants, given the option of either a fingerprint or a selfie in lieu of a password during a six-month trial, decidedly went bio.

Payments Patent Wrap: MC Wants To Take The Where In Wearables And Add A Who

In this week’s look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, MasterCard is our guest of honor for a pair of patent applications, a little patent pending power. MasterCard on Feb. 11 applied for this patent as a way to better authenticate anyone trying to make a purchase via a wearable device. The idea starts with the system grabbing a reference sample related to the cardholder and payment card info.

In another patent application, MasterCard wants to use mobile purchases to dictate—in realtime—what news stories the shopper will be shown.

In this week’s look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, MasterCard is our guest of honor for a pair of patent applications, a little patent pending power. MasterCard on Feb. 11 applied for this patent as a way to better authenticate anyone trying to make a purchase via a wearable device. The idea starts with the system grabbing a reference sample related to the cardholder and payment card info.

Global Payments Wrap: Bad News For MasterCard Out Of Australia

This week's global payments news takes us to Australia, the U.K., the Czech Republic, India and Hong Kong. Australia's ANZ Mobile Pay opts for Visa over MasterCard. Following a Visa-only deal announced from NAB Pay late last month, the ANZ move means double bad Australian bank moves for MasterCard.

American Express Global Business Travel's new system promises to "locate all travelers worldwide, visualize which travelers are closest to a potential travel disruption and enables travel and risk managers to not only locate impacted travelers but also communicate with them in real-time. The GBT solution enables companies to communicate with traveller via SMS, email, or a mobile application, and prioritize aid to those travelers with the greatest need," said an Amex statement.

This week's global payments news takes us to Australia, the U.K., the Czech Republic, India and Hong Kong. Australia's ANZ Mobile Pay opts for Visa over MasterCard. Following a Visa-only deal announced from NAB Pay late last month, the ANZ move means double bad Australian bank moves for MasterCard.

Payments Patent Wrap: How Does A Payment Device Know Whose Voice Command To Obey?

In this week's look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, Amazon and Visa are the guests of honor. Amazon was issued a patent on Tuesday (Feb. 9) for a way to help POS and other systems differentiate different people, when they are all giving voice commands. Amazon: POS, listen to the sound of my voice. No, not her voice. My voice.

Visa was issued a patent on Tuesday (Feb. 9) for ways to identify one user that works with multiple payments devices. The problem? "Each portable payment device associated with a single account within a payment processing system is distinguished using track data. The track data from the portable payment device is read at each of a plurality of merchant point of sale terminals (POS). Rather than relying on the PAN alone, a merchant may utilizes the track data, or a proxy thereof, as the unique identifier for the portable payment device," Visa's patent filing said.

In this week's look at interesting payments patents issued and/or applied for, Amazon and Visa are the guests of honor. Amazon was issued a patent on Tuesday (Feb. 9) for a way to help POS and other systems differentiate different people, when they are all giving voice commands. Amazon: POS, listen to the sound of my voice. No, not her voice. My voice.

Can Anyone Really Tell The Payments Impact On Revenue?

Although it's all-but-universally accepted that the more customer-desired payments options a merchant offers the better, it's often tricky to measure the revenue-specific results. David Cost, VP of e-commerce for apparel site Rainbow Shops, found this out a few months ago when his site started accepting PayPal. Revenue increased at the same rate it historically has, but 20 percent of payments almost immediately started being fulfilled by PayPal.

The tricky question is: Would the shoppers who used PayPal have made those identical purchases anyway, using Visa/MasterCard? Or did the PayPal move save those sales and prevent the revenue from plunging?

Although it's all-but-universally accepted that the more customer-desired payments options a merchant offers the better, it's often tricky to measure the revenue-specific results. David Cost, VP of e-commerce for apparel site Rainbow Shops, found this out a few months ago when his site started accepting PayPal. Revenue increased at the same rate it historically has, but 20 percent of payments almost immediately started being fulfilled by PayPal.

Podcast: A Preview Of Next Month’s MAC Show

The Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC) show will unfold in Las Vegas March 8-10 and MAC President Richard Parrott makes his case this show will be a different kind of payments event. Specifically, it will be much more specific.

In this week's PaymentFaciliators.com podcast, Parrott argues that the show will be far more granular than other payments show, allowing for payments professionals to learn specific techniques and methods, rather than broad overviews of industry trends.

The Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC) show will unfold in Las Vegas March 8-10 and MAC President Richard Parrott makes his case this show will be a different kind of payments event. Specifically, it will be much more specific. In this week's PaymentFaciliators.com podcast, Parrott argues that the show will be far more granular than other payments show, allowing for payments professionals to learn specific techniques and methods, rather than broad overviews of industry trends.

Global Wrap: Russia Wants To Imprison Bitcoin Users

This week's look at payments stories from around the globe stops at the U.K., Russia, Hungary and the European Union. Choose your currency carefully in Russia these days as the Russian Finance Ministry doesn't mess around. The Ministry wants to punish anyone who uses Bitcoins with a 500,000 ruble (about $6,500 U.S.) fine and two years in a "corrective labor" camp, according to a report in Crypto Coins News. The story says that corrective labor is just what it sounds like: "a combination of penal detention and forced labor."

After the Hungarian Competition Authority slapped MasterCard with a HUF 88 million (about $318,000 U.S.) fine "for abusing its market position," the card brand said it would appeal the fine, according to a report in The Budapest Business Journal. And the EU wants to cap cash payments in an anti-terror move.

This week's look at payments stories from around the globe stops at the U.K., Russia, Hungary and the European Union. Choose your currency carefully in Russia these days as the Russian Finance Ministry doesn't mess around. The Ministry wants to punish anyone who uses Bitcoins with a 500,000 ruble (about $6,500 U.S.) fine and two years in a "corrective labor" camp, according to a report in Crypto Coins News. The story says that corrective labor is just what it sounds like: "a combination of penal detention and forced labor."

Payments Patent Wrap: PayPal Seeks One Honest Room

Our weekly look at the most interesting—or perplexing—Patents or Patents Pending from the payments industry. PayPal on Thursday (Feb. 4) applied for a patent that would determine the security level of a set of coordinates and remember it, allowing for less stringent authentication and security when making a purchase that place.

Also, EBay on Feb. 4 (Thursday) filed for a Patent on a way for truck fleets and consumers to more intelligently purchase fuel. And MasterCard on Thursday (Feb. 4) filed for a patent application that would look at non-compliant merchants and track activities to find other naughty players. The card brand is operating on the rationale that thieves tend to hang out together—and that shoppers who buy from one illegal store will likely go to another disreputable merchant if the first one is shut down.

Our weekly look at the most interesting—or perplexing—Patents or Patents Pending from the payments industry. PayPal on Thursday (Feb. 4) applied for a patent that would determine the security level of a set of coordinates and remember it, allowing for less stringent authentication and security when making a purchase that place.

How Flexible Is The PF Model?

The strength of any payment model is not merely how well it performs for merchants, but also how elastic it is in terms of being relevant to many kinds of companies and geographies. That is the topic for this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, with guest Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group.

Ablowitz pointed to a recently-profiled company called RunSignUp.com as a good example of how flexible the PF model can be. The PF model lets merchants and software companies seamlessly integrate payments "without this artificial wall between the payment gateway and the merchant account," Ablowitz said. "This removes many of the barriers. Banks move slowly and they have a lot of bureaucracy."

The strength of any payment model is not merely how well it performs for merchants, but also how elastic it is in terms of being relevant to many kinds of companies and geographies. That is the topic for this week's PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, with guest Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group.

Patent Wrap: If A Stylus Is Out-Of-Date, How About Stylus Integrated Into A Plastic Card?

Our weekly look at the most interesting—or perplexing—Patents or Patents Pending from the payments industry brings us two from MasterCard. MasterCard on Tuesday (Jan. 26) was issued a patent for a creative way to integrate a high-tech stylus with plastic cards.

Can Privacy Be Maintained By Analyzing Consumer Spend? Yes, But It's Not Easy. The patent applicaton described "a method for maintaining consumer privacy in behavioral scoring includes a first computing system and a second computing system. The first computing system disguises consumer characteristics and maps disguised consumer characteristics to unencrypted account identifiers, and then transmits the data to the second computing system. The second computing system encrypts the account identifiers upon receipt, and maps the encrypted account identifiers to anonymous transaction data."

Our weekly look at the most interesting—or perplexing—Patents or Patents Pending from the payments industry brings us two from MasterCard. MasterCard on Tuesday (Jan. 26) was issued a patent for a creative way to integrate a high-tech stylus with plastic cards.

National Australia Bank Pushing Android NFC Payments

This week's global payments report hits Australia, Asia, U.K., Hong Kong and China. The National Australia Bank (NAB) has updated its mobile banking app to enable Visa Debit account holders to make tap-and-go payments..

Asian Shoppers Driving Global Stat: 34 Percent Online Transactions Now Mobile. Asian markets took an outsized amount of influence on the global stats. U.K. Banks Change Rules For Reimbursing Errored Online Payments. The circumstances are limited, but in cases where there is no dispute, the funds now have to be replaced within 20 working days.

This week's global payments report hits Australia, Asia, U.K., Hong Kong and China. The National Australia Bank (NAB) has updated its mobile banking app to enable Visa Debit account holders to make tap-and-go payments.

Patent Wrap: Why Limit POS Communications To Payments?, Wonders MasterCard

This week's wrapup of the latest in payments patent applications and patents issued.

MasterCard: Why Limit POS Communications To Payments? In a U.S. Patent application filed by MasterCard on Jan. 14, the card brand envisioned using POS data connections as a more flexible communication system, with messages going "to an entity that is neither a payment account issuer nor the transaction acquirer."

This week's wrapup of the latest in payments patent applications and patents issued. MasterCard: Why Limit POS Communications To Payments?

Global Wrap: In China, 360,000 Mobile Payment Viruses Detected In 2015

This week's wrapup of payments news around the globe brings us to Brazil, China, Nigeria, the Netherlands, France, India, Canada and the U.K..

In China, 360,000 Mobile Payment Viruses Detected In 2015. As many as 25.05 million mobile phone users in 2015 became victims of various viruses in China amid the growing popularity of mobile payment in the country, according to a report from the Tencent Research Institute and reported by ChinaDaily.com.

This week's wrapup of payments news around the globe brings us to Brazil, China, Nigeria, the Netherlands, France, India, Canada and the U.K..

Podcast: The Tricks To Mastering The PF ROI

Just because a business adopts a payment facilitator business model, that doesn't mean that its executives let those new procedures touch every aspect of their business. But not doing so can literally cost a business money by robbing it of some of the benefits that initially attracted those execs to the PF model.

New PF companies run that risk "if we don't do a good job of building the metrics that measure the success of our throughput, as in how many apps an hour, what volumes are we looking at, what SIC codes?" said Joni Floyd, a 35-year veteran ISO exec, who penned a column about these conundrums last week, in our new podcast. "A lot of times, the financial operations or the settlement accounting of an organization doesn't really change when you go from a strict direct merchant to a sub-merchant model. All of the chargeback fees might be dropped into the same general ledger account. Sub-merchant and direct merchant losses might not be recorded correctly," Floyd said. "One of the challenges to the back-office of the operation, in parallel with implementing the payment facilitator model, is making sure that our financial operations team records the expenses relative to both direct merchants and sub-merchants so that we don't overburden our sub-merchant categories with expenses that don't pertain to them, like chargebacks, write-offs due to risk or bankruptcies."

Just because a business adopts a payment facilitator business model, that doesn't mean that its executives let those new procedures touch every aspect of their business. But not doing so can literally cost a business money by robbing it of some of the benefits that initially attracted those execs to the PF model.

Global Wrap: China’s Ping++ Issues Funding Statement With No Amounts

This week's look at payments around the world takes us to China, Russia, Costa Rica and Canada. Here's something you don't see every day: A funding round news release that somehow opts to not reveal the amount raised. Isn't that the whole point of issuing a funding news release?

That said, this is what Ping++ said said, in its official statement: "Ping++, an integrated payment firm in China, recently announced that it has raised tens of million dollars during its series B round of financing. New investors China Broadband Capital Partners, L.P. (CBC) and Shengjing Technology led this new financing round, which also included the existing investors Sequoia Capital and Linear Ventures. The moneyfrom this round will be used in team expansion, in order to enrich the product line, and further establishment of the base system."

This week's look at payments around the world takes us to China, Russia, Costa Rica and Canada. Here's something you don't see every day: A funding round news release that somehow opts to not reveal the amount raised. Isn't that the whole point of issuing a funding news release?

Payment Patent Package: Using Beacons To Shrewdly Choose Checkout Lanes

This week's holiday-theme gragbag of payments patents and patents pending focuses on privacy—and why no one should have it. PayPal was issued a Patent on Tuesday (Jan. 5) for a way to use retailer-based wireless beacons to calculate how much a shopper is buying and to then send them to the best checkout lane. It may or may not be the best lane for that shopper, but it will be the best to move the greatest number of customers out as quickly as possible. The patent argued that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.

"At various merchant locations, such as a merchant's retail store, a user may browse items and/or services for sale from the merchant and select various items/services for purchase from the merchant. These items/services may be grouped in areas together, such as a produce or bakery of a shopping market or a computers or televisions section of an electronics store. Based on the amount of items/services purchased, the user may spend a different amount of time completing a checkout and payment. For example, purchasing one bag of apples may be very quick; however, purchasing enough vegetables, meat, condiments, and hamburger buns for a barbeque may take a considerably larger amount of time," the Patent said.

This week's holiday-theme gragbag of payments patents and patents pending focuses on privacy—and why no one should have it. PayPal was issued a Patent on Tuesday (Jan. 5) for a way to use retailer-based wireless beacons to calculate how much a shopper is buying and to then send them to the best checkout lane. It may or may not be the best lane for that shopper, but it will be the best to move the greatest number of customers out as quickly as possible. The patent argued that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.

Global Wrap: Visa Europe Falling Out Of Love With Bitcoin

In Visa Europe's end-of-the-year payments wrap, it went out of its way to indicate that when it comes to virtual currencies, the Euro cardbrand has a roving eye.

"When 2015 arrived, a lot of innovation chatter in Fintech focused on Bitcoin, but as we leave the year, that focus has shifted substantially to the blockchain. If we think back to how it was perceived a year ago and then how it is understood today, it’s clear that another transformation is happening," the Visa Europe post said. "2015 has turned blockchain into something the industry has to live with. It is no longer a choice anymore. Recent news speculating about the identity of its creator and the formalisation of virtual money as a commodity, just makes it more real than ever before."

In Visa Europe's end-of-the-year payments wrap, it went out of its way to indicate that when it comes to virtual currencies, the Euro cardbrand has a roving eye.

Payments Patent Potpourri: A Way For Visa To Ride The Payment Rails Faster

This is our weekly plunge into some of the more interesting patents awarded in the payments space.

Visa Needs To Ride The Rails Faster—And These Are Literally Rails. On Tuesday (Dec. 15), Visa was granted a patent that deals with how transactions can be approved quickly enough for the increasingly-popular mobile public transit payments.

This is our weekly plunge into some of the more interesting patents awarded in the payments space. Visa Needs To Ride The Rails Faster—And These Are Literally Rails. On Tuesday (Dec. 15), Visa was granted a patent that deals with how transactions can be approved quickly enough for the increasingly-popular mobile public transit payments.

Global Wrap: Russia Offers Card Brand Alternative, Citi Guts Loyalty Benefits In Australia

This week's reports—from Russia, Taiwan, Australia, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Canada— show the continued shifts in payments strategies across the globe.

Russian Banks Issue First Payment Alternative To Visa, MasterCard. The move on Tuesday (Dec. 15) reveals the Mir card, which translates to "peace," "world" and "Bite me, U.S. card brands." According to a story in The Rakyat Post, Mir was issued "by a string of banks, among them Gazprombank, Rossiya bank and others blacklisted by the West following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year."

This week's reports—from Russia, Taiwan, Australia, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Canada— show the continued shifts in payments strategies across the globe.

PaymentFacilitator Takes Time Off For The Holidays

Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year's Day, PaymentFacilitator.com will briefly suspend its insights, mirth and payment processing pleasantries after this issue until Jan. 2, 2016.

May you all have pleasant holidays, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate.

Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year's Day, PaymentFacilitator.com will briefly suspend its insights, mirth and payment processing pleasantries after this issue until Jan. 2, 2016. May you all have pleasant holidays, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate.

Payment Patent Potpourri: MasterCard Wants To Combine Purchase History With Police Files

Patents and Patent Pendings issued give a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, strategies and possible future product plans of payments company executives. Although many issued patents never morph into products, someone thought the idea was worth preserving as an option.

But it can also include plenty of "What the heck were they smoking?" ideas. This week's batch of Patents and Patent Pendings—from Visa, MasterCard, Paypal and eBay—doesn't disappoint.

Patents and Patent Pendings issued give a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, strategies and possible future product plans of payments company executives. Although many issued patents never morph into products, someone thought the idea was worth preserving as an option. But it can also include plenty of "What the heck were they smoking?" ideas. This week's batch of Patents and Patent Pendings—from Visa, MasterCard, Paypal and eBay—doesn't disappoint.

Global Wrap: In Australia, MC Exec Lashes Out At Apple/Amex Deal

This week's global payments report has investments from Mexico, India and the U.K., an Australian cyber currency IPO delayed for the fifth time, a Canadian Amex small merchant initiative and a MasterCard exec lashing out at the Apple/Amex deal in Australia.

There's more fallout from Apple's decision to launch in Australia (and Canada, for that matter) only with American Express cards. This time, it's from a MasterCard exec crying foul, arguing that regulators take a more lax regulatory position with Amex than with other card brands. Eddie Grobler, division president of MasterCard Australasia, said "Apple Pay launching in Australia with Amex proprietary cards was a symptom of its ability to charge merchants much higher fees than Visa or MasterCard and therefore having much fatter margins to share with Apple, which has been demanding a cut of the fees paid to banks before allowing them onto Apple Pay."

This week's global payments report has investments from Mexico, India and the U.K., an Australian cyber currency IPO delayed for the fifth time, a Canadian Amex small merchant initiative and a MasterCard exec lashing out at the Apple/Amex deal in Australia.

Global Wrap: WeChat Unveils Overseas Social Payments, The Importance Of Amex In Australia

The first week of December shows a lot more international payments activity, with this week's news spotlighting shifts in Australia, China, the Netherlands, Africa and Germany.

When Apple Pay was launched in Australia last month, the fact that only Amex cards were supported was unusual. (And statements from MasterCard that cash in Australia is losing to mobile and contactless raised more questions than they answered.) But some of the explanations for that situation are now becoming clear.

The first week of December shows a lot more international payments activity, with this week's news spotlighting shifts in Australia, China, the Netherlands, Africa and Germany.

Square Sets IPO Price At $9, Far Below Expectations

When Square's IPO launches Thursday (Nov. 19) morning, it will start off seeking $9/share, which values the company at $2.66 billion, half of where it had valued a year ago. Even its IPO prospectus had estimated a range of $11-$13. Square is arguably the industry's best-known payment facilitator.

"It’s a signal that Square will face a challenge when it finally goes public," noted TechCrunch. "Square’s pricing — below its previous valuation — is one of many instances of valuations being written down among late-stage startups." Fair or not—FYI, it's not—Square is facing Wall Street analysts who need to pigeonhole Square direct competitors. But the Square business model, size and customer based is sufficiently unusual that there really are no like-for-like rivals.<

When Square's IPO launches Thursday (Nov. 19) morning, it will start off seeking $9/share, which values the company at $2.66 billion, half of where it had valued a year ago. Even its IPO prospectus had estimated a range of $11-$13. Square is arguably the industry's best-known payment facilitator.

Global Wrap: European Parliament Insisting On Mobile Payment Standards

The global payments space was brimming with activity this week, as next month's holidays loom ever closer.

Three major Thailand mobile operators—Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move—have struck a deal that is supposed to allow consumers to easily transfer money amongst the group starting Dec. 1. All users need do is key in the receiver's mobile number. No bank account details needed.

The global payments space was brimming with activity this week, as next month's holidays loom ever closer.

We Won’t Publish The Week Of Nov. 23, For Thanksgiving

In observation of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, PaymentFacilitator.com will not publish the week of Nov. 23, either on our sites or in our weekly newsletter.

We will be back the first week of December with all of the news that PFs need, along with a few extra goodies as we unveil some new editorial features and prepare to launch our podcast series.

In observation of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, PaymentFacilitator.com will not publish the week of Nov. 23, either on our sites or in our weekly newsletter. We will be back the first week of December with all of the news that PFs need, along with a few extra goodies as we unveil some new editorial features and prepare to launch our podcast series.

Samsung Pay’s Encryption Perception Problem

It seems a funny thing has happened on the way to using Samsung Pay for some users, as the emerging mobile payments platform isn't compatible with a phone’s encryption protocol. Simply stated: if the phone is switched into encrypted mode (as many who use their phones for work are required to do), users can’t add cards to their Samsung Pay wallet.

This isn't going over well. Although it's not yet clear if this encryption conniption is a glitch or intentional, either way it is sending a positively terrible message to users about Samsung Pay and security. Not requiring a user to activate phone encryption is one thing, but refusing new payment credentials if it's already been activated is very different.

It seems a funny thing has happened on the way to using Samsung Pay for some users, as the emerging mobile payments platform isn't compatible with a phone’s encryption protocol. Simply stated: if the phone is switched into encrypted mode (as many who use their phones for work are required to do), users can’t add cards to their Samsung Pay wallet. This isn't going over well. Although it's not yet clear if this encryption conniption is a glitch or intentional, either way it is sending a positively terrible message to users about Samsung Pay and security.

Global Wrap: Nambia Launches A New National Payments System

Payments developments around the globe has mobile commerce taking off across southeast Asia, card swipe fees and surcharges on the hotseat in Australia and New Zealand, foreign card players are facing an easier than expected time entering Chinese marketplaces while PayTM is pushing hard for its Payment Bank in India.
Payments developments around the globe has mobile commerce taking off across southeast Asia, card swipe fees and surcharges on the hotseat in Australia and New Zealand, foreign card players are facing an easier than expected time entering Chinese marketplaces while PayTM is pushing hard for its Payment Bank in India.

Bloomberg Square Video

Double Diamond Group partner Rick Oglesby and Bloomberg’s David Ritter discuss whether investors should be bullish or bearish on Square’s initial public offering with Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)…

Double Diamond Group partner Rick Oglesby and Bloomberg’s David Ritter discuss whether investors should be bullish or bearish on Square’s initial public offering with Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)…