Monday, December 21, 2009

American Express OPEN® Helps Solve One of Small Business Owners’ Biggest Challenges – Getting Paid Faster – with AcceptPaySM

Online Invoicing and Payment Solution Can Help Business Owners Collect Payments from Customers More Easily and Quickly

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express, today launched AcceptPay (, an online invoicing and payment solution that can help business owners improve cash flow at a time when customers are taking a longer time to pay.

AcceptPay is a new online solution that allows business owners to create, send and track invoices - all in one place. Through AcceptPay, customers can pay the invoice through a variety of methods, including major credit and debit cards, eChecks, cash, or checks. Resulting payments are deposited directly into the business owner’s bank account.

“At a time when every dollar counts, business owners need tools and resources to help them better manage their firms’ finances, and that is why we created this innovative payment collection solution that can help them get paid faster,” said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, Senior Vice President, American Express OPEN. “AcceptPay further demonstrates our commitment to offering entrepreneurs a full range of products and services that can help them manage through the recession and grow their enterprises.”

According to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of business owners, 60% of small business owners have cash flow concerns, with 20% of business owners reporting that the ability to pay bills on time is the most significant cash flow issue. In addition, 32% of small business owners are most likely to be more aggressive in collecting accounts receivable in order to improve cash flow – the most popular tactic of those offered in the survey.

AcceptPay features and benefits include:

  • Faster payments: Customer payments are deposited directly into a linked bank account designated by the AcceptPay user;

  • Variety of Payment types: Customers can choose multiple online payment options including major credit and debit cards, eChecks, cash or checks;

  • Improved efficiency: Business owners can create and send invoices, as well as track and organize invoices, payments and outstanding receivables online – through a single web-based portal;

  • Added financial control: Business owners can track and view invoices and receivables via automated or custom reports. All of these records can be seamlessly integrated into QuickBooks® software.

  • Ease of use: AcceptPay does not require a software download or customer website.

Every business owner, whether or not they are an American Express OPEN Cardmember, is eligible to apply for AcceptPay from American Express OPEN. There is no set up fee, and the service is priced at $20/month. Any business owner can also register for AcceptPay Lite, which is a free invoicing-only solution that provides the opportunity to test the product.

American Express OPEN partnered with PaySimple, a leading provider of SaaS (Software as a Service) on-demand electronic payment solutions for small businesses, to design AcceptPay. OPEN and PaySimple worked with business owners to create product features and integrated feedback from product test groups.

Small Business Owners Ask “How can I get Paid Faster?” in New TV ad Featuring AcceptPay

American Express recently launched a television spot featuring real business owners asking each other questions about how to better run their businesses. The national ad underlines the primary thing small business owners want to know – how to get paid faster – and highlights AcceptPay as a solution for business owners looking to turn the page on a challenging 2009. Small business owners are also encouraged to ask their own questions and join the conversation by logging on to, an online resource and networking site for business owners. The business owners featured in the ad include:

  • Ahmed Mady, Paragon Remodeling, Vienna, VA

  • Candace Nelson, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Beverly Hills, CA

  • John Lawson, 3rd Power Outlet, Atlanta, GA

  • David Hughes, Skydive Santa Barbara, Lompoc, CA

  • Lynn McMahan, Southern Eye Center, Hattiesburg, MS

  • Jasmine Takeshi, Laughing Lotus Yoga, San Francisco, CA

  • Rafe Totengco, Rafe New York, New York, NY

  • Chris McIntyre, Eagle Rider Tours, Los Angeles, CA

  • Chris Zane, Zane’s Cycles, Branford, CT

  • Dan Marino, Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co, Jackson, WY

About American Express OPEN®

American Express OPEN is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. OPEN supports business owners with exceptional service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPENSM, visit, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card. Terms and conditions apply. American Express Company is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

About PaySimple

PaySimple creates platforms that simplify and empower the lives of small business owners. PaySimple provides an on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that enables small businesses to bill, collect, and manage their customer payments under one user-friendly system. The PaySimple solution includes: recurring billing, email invoicing, ACH direct-debit, credit card processing, echeck processing, online payments, and more. For more information please go to

ACS Electronic Benefit Transfer Program to Save Money and Improve Services for the State of California
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The federal government and the state of California are expected to realize a combined cost avoidance of more than $20 million dollars annually from the implementation of a state electronic benefit transfer (EBT) program deployed by Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (NYSE: ACS).

“We’ll now work equally as hard to continuously improve the program to provide the best possible experience for both the state and its citizens.”

The state’s EBT program, one of the largest in the nation, allows 1.3 million Californians to receive benefits from a number of public assistance programs on the “Golden State Advantage” card. The card can be used at more than 21,000 retailer locations or 50,000 ATMs, increasing convenience and security for recipients while reducing costs for the state.

ACS recently implemented the program for the state as part of a seven-year contract, which includes three optional one-year extensions.   Benefits included in the program are food assistance, both the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the California Food Assistance Program, and cash benefit programs such as California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Refugee Cash Assistance, General Assistance/General Relief, and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

ACS services under the contract include transaction processing, data center services, training of state and county staff, reconciliation and settlement, and reporting. ACS also supports Californians by providing an automated call center response unit, as well as live customer service support.

“With this on-time, on-budget implementation, ACS has again shown its ability to successfully manage complex programs,” said Joseph Doherty, executive vice president and group president of ACS Government Solutions. “We’ll now work equally as hard to continuously improve the program to provide the best possible experience for both the state and its citizens.”

As the largest provider of business process solutions and one of the largest information technology service providers to the nation’s public sector, ACS serves as an operational partner to more than 1,700 government agencies on the federal, state, county, and local level.

The work of ACS touches millions of people every day. ACS processes more than half of the nation’s child support payments; manages 24 electronic payment card programs for state and federal clients, disbursing government payments and benefits; processes nearly 570 million Medicaid claims each year totaling more than $50 billion in provider payments; saves state child care programs millions of dollars; services student loans for more than 11 million borrowers; and facilitates more than 75 million online searches for unclaimed property per year.
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More on Gartner's "2FA is Vulnerable" Report

Is two-factor authentication now passe?

(Fierce Finance IT) In its bid to keep sensitive customer information and their money safe, many banks adopted a two-factor authentication system. Which basically boils down to a system that confirms the user is legitimate by using two checks: One could be a password, the other could be a password-generating token, or chip or something biometric. The rise of such authentication techniques was once hailed as good news from the security point of view. Unfortunately, the effectiveness seems to be on the wane.

In a new report, Gartner says that banks that deploy such authentication are still vulnerable, as the crooks have wised up to these systems. In some cases, users are tricked into forwarding a call from a bank to an unauthorized would-be crook. In other cases, malware lurks until two-factors have been allowed access and then it does its dirty work.

So banks have to keep pushing ahead toward a multi-layered approach that would include server-based fraud detection and out-of-band transaction verification that precludes call forwarding. Something to think about anyway. Some think that tokens have proven to be a failure at the consumer level. AOL for one will scrap its system.

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MoneyGram Begins Mobile Money Transfers in Philippines

Minneapolis and Manila, Dec. 21, 2009 -- MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a leading global money transfer company, today announced an agreement with SMART Communications, Inc., the leading wireless services provider in the Philippines, that will make it easier and more convenient for consumers in the Philippines to receive money transfers to their SMART Money account on their mobile phones.

Today, MoneyGram will launch a pilot of the service in a select number of agent locations in San Diego, California, and Hong Kong. Consumers can send transactions from these pilot locations to any SMART Money account linked to the SMART mobile phone in the Philippines.

SMART Money is the world's pioneer in mobile wallet service and in cross border remittances into mobile wallets. Through the SMART Money platform, remittance beneficiaries have the flexibility to store the remittancevalue in their SMART Money Account linked to their phone, pay bills or withdraw the money from an ATM, a SMART Wireless Center or SMART Money Center. Beneficiaries also receive real-time text notifications after every transaction, giving them added reassurance of the successful receipt of the remittance.

"This partnership gives MoneyGram access to more than 39 million SMART subscribers in the Philippines and extends the benefits of our safe and reliable money transfer services to a new category of consumers," said John Hempsey, executive vice president for MoneyGram's Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. "The Philippines is a major global remittance market and we're pleased to offer yet another convenient choice for Filipinos working abroad to send money to their friends and family back home."

"The collaboration between MoneyGram and SMART will enable Filipinos abroad to send remittances directly to their loved ones' SMART mobile phones in a matter of minutes," said Napoleon L. Nazareno, president and CEO of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and SMART. "This initiative reinforces our commitment to provide overseas Filipinos with more accessible, affordable and secure options to send cash to the Philippines," Nazareno added.

"With more than 4 billion mobile phones in use worldwide today, people in developing countries often have more access to mobile phones than have access to traditional bank accounts," said Hempsey. "Mobile technology will play a critical role in the remittance market, and MoneyGram brings value to partners like SMART in helping to reach new customers, expand product offerings and generate new revenue streams."

Earlier this year, MoneyGram added a U.S. dollar payout option in the Philippines and expanded its agent network to more than 7,000 locations across the country.

About MoneyGram International

MoneyGram International offers more control and more choices for people separated from friends and family by distance or those with limited bank relationships to meet their financial needs. A leading global provider of money transfer services, MoneyGram International helps consumers to safely send money around the world with funds arriving at available agent locations in as little as 10 minutes. Its global network is comprised of 186,000 agent locations in more than 190 countries and territories. MoneyGram's convenient and reliable network includes retailers, international post offices and financial institutions. To learn more about money transfer at an agent location, please visit or find us on Facebook.

About SMART Communications

Smart Communications, Inc. is the Philippines' leading wireless services provider with 39.1 million subscribers on its GSM network as of end-September 2009. SMART has built a reputation for innovation, having introduced world-first wireless data services, including mobile commerce services such as Smart Money, Smart Load and Smart Padala. SMART also offers 3G and HSPA services. Its Smart Link service provides communications to the global maritime industry. Smart Broadband, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, offers a wireless broadband service, Smart BRO. SMART is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippines' leading telecommunications carrier, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. For more information, visit .

Source: Company press release.

Zong Awarded 2009 Best Practices Award for Product Innovation

New Zong+ Service Recognized as Leading Innovation in the Mobile Payments Industry by Frost & Sullivan

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Zong (, the leading mobile payment platform used by online gaming and social networking web sites, has received Frost & Sullivan’s 2009 Best Practices Award for New Product Innovation in the Mobile Payments category for its Zong+ next-generation mobile payments platform.

“Zong+ brings benefits via significant flexibility to the merchants and the end-user, and can be an industry growth driver – an important piece of criteria for our Best Practices recipients.”

Zong+, launched in October 2009, is the first online mobile payment platform to combine the convenience of carrier-based payments with the flexibility of card payments. The new service allows merchants to significantly increase revenue by reducing transaction fees and enabling higher average purchase prices, while allowing consumers to make more convenient and secure payments using their mobile phones. In addition, Zong+ allows Zong to address new market segments, win additional merchants and accelerate its end-user adoption rate benefiting all value-chain participants.

“Being honored by Frost & Sullivan with a Best Practices award for Zong+ confirms the innovative qualities of the service and the value-add it has brought to merchants, wireless carriers and consumers alike,” said David Marcus, founder and CEO, Zong. “We are thrilled by the recognition of our ongoing commitment to our merchant partners, end users and the purchase experience.”

In order to determine the recipients of these awards, Frost & Sullivan analysts conduct a rigorous selection process, which includes evaluating industry challenges and rating companies’ abilities to address them by innovating elements of the product, leveraging leading edge technologies, adding value for key stakeholders, and increasing customer value while further penetrating the market. This industry accolade is awarded by a company that has been dedicated to the analysis and forecasting of high-tech markets since its inception in 1961.

“Zong was the clear winner in the mobile payments category, as they delivered a smooth and flexible payment mechanism -- evidence to Frost & Sullivan of their ability as a company to innovate and continue to penetrate their market,” said Vikrant Gandhi, Senior Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Zong+ brings benefits via significant flexibility to the merchants and the end-user, and can be an industry growth driver – an important piece of criteria for our Best Practices recipients.”

Frost & Sullivan is a research and consulting firm that covers 10 industries and 31 markets, and maintains 31 offices with more than 1,700 industry consultants, market research analysts, technology analysts, and economists globally.
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Account-to-Account Transfers and P2P Payments Forecast: Evaluating Trends and Assessing the Future 2006-2014

DUBLIN-PIN Payments News Blog--Research and Markets has announced the addition of Javelin Strategy & Research's new report "Multi-Channel Account-to-Account Transfers and P2P Payments Forecast: Evaluating Trends and Assessing the Future 2006-2014" to their offering.

“Multi-Channel Account-to-Account Transfers and P2P Payments Forecast: Evaluating Trends and Assessing the Future 2006-2014”

Person-to-person (P2P) transfers, payments from one individual to another, may be made for a variety of purposes, including sharing a meal or the purchase of tickets, sharing rent, giving money to a student or family member, paying for events, making a donation, or even making payments for auction purchases. Such transfers have traditionally been paper-based. This report examines the potential of and growth in new transfer alternatives, including P2P transactions initiated using online or mobile channels. The report focuses on the U.S. market but also looks at the potential for global expansion in P2P services. This report includes a five-year forecast of the U.S. household market for online P2P transfers, online inter-institution account-to-account transfers, wire transfers sent using a bank or credit union, and wire transfers sent using a service such as Western Union.

Primary Questions

  • What is the future growth potential for the P2P market?

  • Which organizations currently offer P2P transfer services?

  • Why has the concept of person-to-person payment been talked about in the market for so long, but has yet to flourish?

  • What services create market readiness for online or mobile P2P transfers or may be fostered by the growth of these options?

  • What channel options are available and likely to be most successful for P2P delivery?

Key Topics Covered:

  • Overview

  • Primary Questions

  • Methodology

  • Executive Summary

  • Forecast

  • The Explosion of New Offerings

  • Market Dynamics: Person-to-Person - Again?

  • Account-to-Account Transfer: The Forerunner of P2PTransfers

  • Online Person-to-Person: Growing the Next Step

  • Person-to-Person: Accommodating the Mobile Channel

  • Enhanced Security is Essential to Drive Use of Mobile P2P

  • A Potent Opportunity for P2P Expansion: Global and Remittance Transfers

  • Appendix

  • Related Research

Companies Mentioned:

  • AOL

  • Mercantile Bank of Michigan

  • Bank of the West

  • Metavante

  • Bank One

  • MoneyGram

  • Boeing Employees' Credit Union

  • Obopay

  • CashEdge

  • Patelco Credit Union

  • CheckFree

  • PayPal

  • Citibank

  • PNC

  • eBay

  • S1

  • Fidelity Information Services

  • US Bank

  • First Hawaiian Bank

  • Visa

  • Fiserv

  • Wells Fargo

  • iPay

  • Western Union

  • MasterCard

  • Yahoo!

For more information visit


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Attack of the RAM Scrapers!

Dark Reading ran a great piece on RAM Scraping,...which is what you ask?  So, first a definition and then a snippet from their story:

RAM Scraper: A fairly new form of malware designed to capture data from volatile memory (RAM) within a system.

Attack Of The RAM Scrapers

Beware of malware aimed at grabbing valuable data from volatile memory in point-of-sale systems -

By Keith Ferrell DarkReading

The inclusion of RAM scrapers in a recent Verizon Business list of the top data breach attack vectors has prompted a bit of buzz about what exactly RAM scraping is and how much of a threat it poses.

"A RAM scraper as identified in the Verizon Business Data Breach Investigation report is a piece of customized malware created to grab credit card, PIN, and other confidential information out of a system's volatile memory."  The RAM-scraping breaches in Verizon's report occurred in point-of-sale (POS) servers.

RAM scraping is not really what's new, but what Verizon flagged as the emergent threat trend is RAM scraping in POS devices.

Why go after the data in RAM? Because in many ways it's easier to grab there. Current PCI compliance standards require the end-to-end encryption of sensitive payment card data when being transmitted, received, or stored.

Data then is exposed at the endpoints, during processing, when the unencrypted credit card data is resident in the POS device's RAM.  That's where the RAM scraper can cherry-pick the data being processed, capturing only those strings related to card identifiers rather than performing bulk data grabs. This minimizes the scraper's presence and, far from incidentally, reduces the prospects of its being detected as a result of dramatically increased server traffic or other illicit activity flags.

Continue "Dark Reading"

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eBay Community Gives Record $50 Million to Nonprofits in 2009

http://www.ebay.comFunds Raised on eBay Jump 17 Percent Despite Economic Downturn

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a year that brought decreases in consumer spending globally, eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) buyers and sellers rallied to raise a record $50 million for U.S. and U.K. nonprofit organizations so far in 2009. eBay Giving Works, eBay’s marquee online fundraising program that allows individuals to donate while using eBay, has enabled users to contribute more than $162 million to their favorite causes since 2003. The program, called eBay for Charity in the U.K., has provided a new online fundraising channel to more than 21,000 organizations, from small, community-based parent-teacher associations and animal rescues to nationally recognized nonprofits like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Oxfam, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

“Every contribution, big or small, assists us in supporting community-based breast health programs as well as groundbreaking research focused on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality.”

“The eBay community has proven time and again that small actions, when brought to scale, can have a big impact,” said eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe. “It’s what makes the eBay marketplace so unique, and what enables our community to do good things for causes they believe in. I want to thank every single buyer and seller who connected through eBay and gave back to their communities through eBay Giving Works. Your generosity this year, especially in such a tough economy, isn’t just impressive – it’s inspiring. We’re looking forward to helping you do even more good next year.”

Top donors like eBay Top Rated Seller Elizabeth Bennett have been able to use the program to donate thousands to causes that they believe in; 10 percent of the final sale price of goods bought on her eBay store, Africa Direct, goes to charity. To date, Bennett has raised nearly $40,000 for charity through the eBay Giving Works program.

By offering an out-of-the box, commerce-focused solution for online fundraising, the program has also provided nonprofit organizations around the world a creative and highly flexible new way to generate funds when charitable giving is at an all-time low. Based on their individual needs, nonprofits can adapt the program to work for their unique business models.

For example, in 2009, the San Francisco chapter of Goodwill Industries raised more than $44,000 per month through the program by selling donated goods online. The Blind Center of Nevada, a small nonprofit out of Las Vegas, developed a job skills training program that refurbishes electronics and resells them on eBay, with 100 percent of the sales going back to the Center. Since 2006, their eBay Giving Works sales have generated more than $1.2 million. Larger, more iconic nonprofits like Oxfam and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have benefitted from millions of dollars in contributions that filter in from thousands of passionate individuals who feel a personal connection with the brands, as well as via high-profile celebrity auctions that can generate thousands of dollars in revenue from a single listing.

"When times get tough, purse strings can get tight, but eBay Giving Works has allowed our donor base to continue to support our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever by continuing to do the things that they do every day, like shop,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “Every contribution, big or small, assists us in supporting community-based breast health programs as well as groundbreaking research focused on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality.”

While funds raised by nonprofits are at an all-time low overall, this year’s eBay Giving Works figures were released amid a year of rapid growth for online fundraising. Online giving is growing at 44 percent per year, seven times faster than offline giving growth.1 Online giving has enabled charities to leverage the power of the everyday “micro-philanthropist” through smaller, more modest, individual donations. The eBay charity program was built expressly to support this kind of fundraising, capitalizing on the philanthropic instincts of eBay’s 89 million member community and pioneering a new model for giving back.

A recent study conducted by Columbia Business School in late 2009 of eBay shopping behavior verified the philanthropic instincts of the eBay community, indicating that eBay buyers are actually willing to pay more to do good. Results showed that an eBay Giving Works item advertising that 10 percent of proceeds will be given to charity is nearly 20 percent more likely to sell than its non-charity equivalent, and at a two percent higher price.

How it works:

eBay Giving Works enables eBay users to support their favorite causes whenever they buy and sell. Today the program offers five easy ways to make a difference:

  • Community Selling: Any seller can donate part of their sale price to a nonprofit. The seller decides which organization to support and how much to give (10-100 percent), and gets a tax deduction for their gift.

  • Direct Selling: Nonprofits can sell their own items on eBay to raise funds. eBay waives most basic selling fees for nonprofits, making Direct Selling practically free.

  • Shop eBay Giving Works: Every item posted by a Community or Direct Seller bears the eBay Giving Works blue and yellow charity ribbon, so it’s easy for buyers to shop for items to support causes that matter to them.

  • Give at Checkout: 1.5 million shoppers every day are invited to add a donation on top of their eBay purchase, when they pay by PayPal. Give at Checkout has raised nearly $5 million in its first 12 months.

  • Donate Now: eBay and PayPal users who discover an eBay Giving Works organization they care about can give as little as $1 right away without buying or selling.

Fast facts about eBay Giving Works:

  • Every minute, over $91 is raised for good causes on eBay

  • Eight nonprofits in the U.S. have raised more than $1 million with eBay Giving Works

  • The most money raised for charity from a single listing on eBay was $2.1 million in 2008, for a power lunch with Warren Buffett benefiting the Glide Foundation. The same auction in 2009 went for $1.68 million

  • Kim Kardashian, a Top Rated eBay seller and avid eBay Giving Works supporter, has raised more than $47,700 for charity through the sale of her own clothing; she has raised $26,000 in 2009 alone

  • In November and December of 2009, eBay Inc. matched $230,000 in funds that were committed via Give at Checkout

About eBay

Founded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) connects millions of buyers and sellers globally on a daily basis through eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, and PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to securely, easily and quickly send and receive online payments. We also reach millions through specialized marketplaces such as StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace, and eBay Classifieds sites, which together have a presence in more than 1,000 cities around the world. For more information about the company and our global portfolio of online brands, visit

1 Source: Blackbaud online giving trends analysis 2009

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Nordic Group Awards First Unattended Payment Approval to Dresser Wayne® iXTM Pay Secure Payment Platform Upgradeable Solution for Fuel Dispensers Helps Protect Motorists Against Card Fraud

MALMO, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dresser Wayne (, a global leader in vehicle energy dispensing technologies, has received PAN Nordic Card Association ( Unattended Payment Terminal (UPT) approval of the iX Pay Secure Payment solution on the Global StarTM and Global Ovation® iXTM fuel dispensers. The outdoor payment solution includes the Dresser Wayne secure key pad, which is the first Payment Card Industry (PCI) version 2.0 Encrypting PIN Pad (EPP) device to be certified by the Association. Nordic-region fuel retailers will now be able to comply with these standards, and to protect their businesses and their customers from credit and debit card fraud.

The PAN Nordic Card Association supports banks and card issuers with standards and best practices that address unique regional needs, building on the fundamentals of the globally recognized PIN Transaction Security (PTS) standards administered by the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC).

“These industry-first approvals will really benefit our customers the most, giving them a standards-based approach to enhanced security at the pump,” said Tim Weston, product manager for payment technologies at Dresser Wayne. “Our upgradeable iX Pay Secure Payment solution also gives customers the flexibility to meet future security standards.”

The iX Pay Secure Payment solution is available on new Dresser Wayne dispensers and via upgrade kit. It features an encrypting keypad, a secure card reader, user prompt controls, and application software authentication. The solution is compliant with EMV standards which address global interoperability of chip cards with payment systems. It was also the first to be certified to the Version 2.0 standard for PCI Encrypting PIN Pad (EPP) Security Requirements.

Learn about iX Pay Secure Payment solution at

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Vesta Corporation Powers Online Reloads for NetSpend Prepaid Debit Cards

Value-Added Electronic Payments Provider Enables Real-Time Account-to-Account Payments for NetSpend Prepaid Debit Cards

In this press release, Vesta is proud of the fact that they can provide limited ($250) prepaid card loads in real time.  And they should be.  Most take days.  That said, HomeATM can "not only" load a prepaid card in real time from any bankcard, but do it without the $250 limitation.  Same with P2P. 

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--  With prepaid debit cards surging in popularity, Vesta Corporation, a global pioneer and leader in electronic payments, today announced the launch of an innovative Web reload service for NetSpend Corporation, a leading provider of card-based prepaid financial products to underbanked consumers. Powered by Vesta’s payment technology, this industry-first service lets NetSpend customers immediately add funds to their prepaid debit cards from bank issued debit cards.

According to a newly released forecast by the Maynard, Mass.-based research firm Mercator Advisory Group, the market for prepaid cards looks extremely dynamic over the next few years. In its 2009-2012 forecast Mercator predicts general-purpose reloadable cards will reach $118.5 billion in loads by 2012 versus $8.7 billion in 2008.

“NetSpend works to give our cardholders the products and tools to make managing their financial lives easy, convenient and secure,” said Dan Henry, chief executive officer of NetSpend. “We turned to Vesta because of their reputation and track record. Vesta’s payments and transaction technology allowed NetSpend to quickly implement this new convenient and secure channel our cardholders can use to reload their cards.”

NetSpend cardholders can now add up to $250 to their prepaid debit cards from any bank debit card. Unlike other online reload services, new funds are added in real-time to the cardholder’s account, making funds immediately available. Other online reload services can take as long as five days for funds to be ready for use. With Vesta managing online reload transactions, NetSpend cardholders can now reload their prepaid debit cards without having to visit a point of sale location.

Editor's Note:  HomeATM can do real-time loads without the $250 limitation.  In fact, why even use an intermediary (the prepaid debit card) when we can "load" your original debit card with cash from any bankcard.  Why take the money from the original debit card and load another?   Seems like an unnecessary extra step.  However, with that said, HomeATM can load any loadable card in real-time using any bank card.  Simply swipe the "sending" card then enter PIN (an email will be sent to recipient)  Open the email, take the card you want to load with funds and swipe it, then enter the PIN.  Funds are transferred in real-time and cardholder can immediately use the card.  So, if your organization has a need for that, let us know.  

Vesta’s program includes an innovative gifting feature that allows a customer to invite friends and family to contribute to a prepaid account. Invitations are delivered by email and include a link to begin the reload process. If desired, contributors can set up an account to expedite future reloads, further simplifying these person-to-person payments.

Vesta’s technology includes proprietary account verification and risk management practices that enable the provider to fully fraud-indemnify NetSpend from any costs resulting from fraudulent transactions. In addition, Vesta brings full PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)-compliant payment processing to Web reloads.

“As an innovator in value-added payments services, Vesta brings a unique perspective to evolving industry needs,” said Doug Fieldhouse, Vesta’s president and CEO. “Vesta plans to work with NetSpend to develop new products for the rapidly growing number of prepaid debit card customers.”

For more information, visit and

Cyberhackers vs. Banks

Cyberhackers vs. banks

By Jim Kim

The Financial Times has weighed in with a wide-angle view of the current state of the hackers vs. banks war. It concludes that the thieves may be winning. One experts estimates criminals took about $40 million directly from bank accounts this year, "primarily targeting the small and mid-sized businesses that are themselves customers of small and mid-sized banks."

We've noted that small banks and their customers appear to be sadly fertile targets, given that their security efforts tend to lag the really big institutions. It's surprising how many small business fall prey to the same phishing techniques that bedevil consumers. The costs of entry into this illicit business may be declining unfortunately. Cisco says that one of the main programs that thieves use can be had for just $700. This is troubling. Small banks and businesses have enough to worry about. It looks now like 2-factor authentication is not faring well against the bad guys.  For more: - here's the article

Editor's Note:  It's time to define 2FA.  Generally speaking it is what you have, and what you know

Therefore, one could make a case that "having a username: and "knowing a password" is two factor authentication.  Since username and password is proven inadequate, 2FA must be useless. 

Then there's the One-Time-Passcodes" (OTP's) whereby something you have (hardware device) generates a one-time-PIN.   In a recent report from Gartner, they concluded that OTP's are no longer enough to protect online banking transactions.  So 2FA using OTP's is useless.  But that DOESN'T mean all two factor authentication is useless.  Just 2FA using a web browser.  Because, as Gartner also recently reported, nothing that uses a browser for authentication can be trusted. 

So, what DOES work?

Hint:  Go to an ATM and try and pull out $100.  What do you have to do in order to accomplish that task?   Well there are three variables involved. 

You have to use a hardware device (ATM) to "insert your card" (what you have) and Enter your PIN (what you know).  That process has been used and trusted by banks and bank customers for decades.  We replicate that process for online banking authentication.  

The HomeATM PCI 2.x Certified PIN Entry Device allows you to "insert your card" and "Enter your PIN."  The only difference is we eliminate the threats induced by skimming devices and hidden camera's designed to capture your PIN as you enter it.  

Add to the equation that we also eliminate phishing.  (nothing to phish phor) and it seems obvious that the stage is "SET" (Swipe Encrypt, Transmit) positioning our low cost SLIM PED as an online banking savior.   

For more on HomeATM's 2FA online banking authentication, check out the related article below:


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Heartland Payment Systems Agrees to Settle Cardholder Class Actions

“We are pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement agreement that helps cardholders recover losses they may have incurred directly related to the criminal intrusion”

Under the terms of the settlement, Heartland will pay a minimum of $1,000,000 and up to a maximum of $2,400,000 to class members who submit valid claims for losses as a result of the intrusion. The settlement resolves all actions and proceedings that were asserted or could have been asserted against Heartland in relation to the intrusion by all persons in the United States who had payment cards used in the United States between December 6, 2007 and December 31, 2008 and who allege or may allege they suffered losses. Any person who validly requests exclusion from the settlement class will be excluded from the settlement.

Heartland will also pay all costs associated with the administration of the settlement, including up to $1.5 million for the cost of notice to the settling class. In addition, Heartland has agreed to pay up to $760,000 of the attorneys’ fees and costs of attorneys representing the class members. Lastly, Heartland has agreed to submit the report of an independent expert on Heartland's actions and plans to enhance the security of its computer system since the announcement of the intrusion on January 20, 2009.

A claims administration process informing affected cardholders of procedures to be followed for making claims or opting out of the settlement will be implemented, including a dedicated website.

The settlement is subject to court approval and other terms. Heartland may terminate the settlement agreement if the number of persons who submit valid requests for exclusion from the settlement class exceeds 2,500 or if the costs of notice to the settling class exceed $1,500,000.

“We are pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable settlement agreement that helps cardholders recover losses they may have incurred directly related to the criminal intrusion,” said Bob Carr, Heartland’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are committed to providing our merchants and their customers with a secure processing solution that protects them from the growing threat of cyber crime.”

About Heartland Payment Systems

Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE:HPY), the 5th largest payments processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, payroll, check management and payments solutions to more than 250,000 business locations nationwide. Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. For more information, please visit,, and

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TSYS and Marfin Laiki Bank Launch Credit Card Exclusively for Women

 TSYS and Marfin Laiki Bank

NICOSIA, Cyprus--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TSYS and Marfin Laiki Bank today announced the successful launch of the Woman’s Card, the first and only card in Cyprus designed exclusively for women.

“We are very excited about the launch of our new Woman’s Card. With TSYS’ support, we’ve achieved a new milestone in the Cyprus market by bringing a truly unique card to market”

Marfin Laiki Bank has been a client of TSYS since 2004 and the new Woman’s Card is supported by TSYS’ PRIME licensed card management solution. The Visa-branded credit card is linked with a loyalty programme that allows cardholders to redeem points as vouchers for free purchases from a range of stores for women. The card’s key differentiator is the distinctive benefits that focus on women’s welfare, such as free mammography or osteoporosis tests, travel insurance, purchase protection insurance and home care services.

"We are very excited about the launch of our new Woman’s Card. With TSYS’ support, we’ve achieved a new milestone in the Cyprus market by bringing a truly unique card to market,” said Rodoula Hadjikyriacou, director retail banking, Marfin Laiki Bank.

"By leveraging PRIME’s rich functionality and flexibility, Laiki Bank has been able to tailor its products and services specifically to meet the needs of its customer base,” said Kelley Knutson, executive vice president of TSYS International. “This demonstrates once again that PRIME is a platform for payments innovation.”

The launch of the Woman’s Card is just one in a series of milestones for TSYS in Cyprus. TSYS technologies enable EMV-compliance, interest-free instalment schemes and secure e-shopping service, deploying a virtual card to ensure safer transactions over the Internet — the first service of its kind in Cyprus.

Green Tuesday? Tuesday, December 15 Reaches Record $913 Million in Online Spending

That brings the total holiday spend, so far, to nearly $25 billion, a 4% increase over 2008 numbers. There have also now been nine individual shopping days which surpassed the $800 million mark.

"Going into this most recent week, we had anticipated that Monday or Tuesday would post the highest online spending total of the season and perhaps be the first day on record to surpass $900 million," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Despite a disappointing start to the week, with sales on Monday of $854 million down 1 percent versus 2008, we were encouraged to see spending continue strongly throughout the balance of the work week, led by Tuesday's record $913 million. In fact, each day through Thursday December 17 - the last day that many online retailers would guarantee free shipping in time for Christmas - saw at least $800 million in spending, which suggests that savvy consumers may have been waiting for those last-minute deals."

Strong Spending Continues Through Most Recent Work Week to Maintain 4-Percent Growth Rate for Season, Despite Slightly Disappointing Sales on Green Monday

RESTON, VA, December 20, 2009
- comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 48 days of the November - December 2009 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $24.8 billion has been spent online, marking a 4-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week began on a slightly disappointing note, with sales of $854 million on Green Monday (Dec. 14, 2009) down 1 percent versus year ago, but was followed by three strong spending days that each surpassed $800 million. Most notably, Tuesday, December 15 set an individual day spending record with $913 million, the first such day to surpass the $900 million threshold.

2009 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2008

Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. - Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore, Inc.


Millions ($)



Percent Change

November 1 - December 18




Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26)




Black Friday (Nov. 27)




Cyber Monday (Nov. 30)




Green Monday (Dec. 14)




Tuesday, Dec. 15




*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru December 19, 2008)

"Going into this most recent week, we had anticipated that Monday or Tuesday would post the highest online spending total of the season and perhaps be the first day on record to surpass $900 million," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Despite a disappointing start to the week, with sales on Monday of $854 million down 1 percent versus 2008, we were encouraged to see spending continue strongly throughout the balance of the work week, led by Tuesday's record $913 million. In fact, each day through Thursday December 17 - the last day that many online retailers would guarantee free shipping in time for Christmas - saw at least $800 million in spending, which suggests that savvy consumers may have been waiting for those last-minute deals."

Nine Individual Spending Days in 2009 Surpass $800 Million in Spending

With the heaviest online spending days of the season now likely behind us, Tuesday, Dec. 15 will rank as the heaviest online spending day of the year at $913 million, one of nine individual spending days to surpass $800 million. Cyber Monday (Monday, Nov. 30) currently stands in second place with $887 million, the highest it has ever ranked on this list.

"In a typical year, Cyber Monday tends to be the eighth to tenth heaviest spending day, but this year it moved higher up the list than ever before," added. Mr. Fulgoni. "In part, this is due to the fact that the day fell fairly late in the season, so that pent up consumer demand likely boosted its performance, but also because of the increasing marketing hoopla and promotional activity that surround the day."

The third heaviest spending day of the year was Tuesday, Dec. 1 with $886 million in spending, followed by Wednesday,

Dec. 16 with 874 million and Green Monday (Monday, Dec. 14) rounding out the top five with $854 million.

Ten Heaviest U.S. Online Retail Spending Days of 2009

Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. - Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore, Inc.



Spending in Millions ($)


Tuesday, Dec.15



Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 (Cyber Monday)



Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009



Wednesday, Dec. 16



Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 (Green Monday)



Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009



Tuesday, Dec. 8



Thursday, Dec. 17



Thursday, Dec. 3



Wednesday, Dec. 2


*Green Monday occurs on the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas and tends to be the heaviest online spending day of the season.

Free Shipping Remains Critical Driver of 2009 Holiday Shopping

comScore's analysis of online transactions reveals that free shipping remained an important driver of online shopping throughout the 2009 holiday season. During each week, at least 45 percent of all transactions included free shipping, outpacing the corresponding week in 2008. The peak occurred during the week ending Dec. 6, with 50 percent of all transactions including free shipping.

The average order value for online transactions peaked at $117 during the week ending Nov. 29, 2009 and week ending Dec. 6, 2009, also outpacing the corresponding weeks in 2008. For the week ending Nov. 29, the average order value for transactions including free shipping was $124 while the average order for those without free shipping was $111. For the week ending Dec. 6, the average order value for transactions including free shipping was $134 while the average order for those without free shipping was a much lower $103. This suggests that free shipping offers can be used creatively by retailers to incent consumers to spend more per order.

2009 E-Commerce Transaction Analysis vs. Corresponding Weeks in 2008

Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. - Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore, Inc.

Week Ending

Percent of Transactions Incl. Free Shipping

Average Order Value for All Online Transactions





Nov. 8, 2009





Nov. 15, 2009





Nov. 22, 2009





Nov. 29, 2009





Dec. 6, 2009





Dec. 13, 2009





Dec. 20, 2009*





*Week ending Dec. 20, 2009 data only includes five days ending Dec. 18 for 2009

About comScore

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit


Andrew Lipsman

Director, Marketing Communications

comScore, Inc.

+1 312 775 6510

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