Monday, October 31, 2011

The Business of Halloween

Hey John,
Considering it's October 31st, I thought you might like our newest infographic on The Business of Halloween. In case you like it and are up for doing a post about it, you can use the following embed code to share the image on your site -- 

Americans spend more and more on Halloween each year. All the costumes, decorations, candy and cards add up to big business and have given rise to a crop of Halloween pop-up stores that are able to cash in during the two months a year they are open.

The Business Behind Halloween
Via: Business Credit Cards Blog

Mercatus Concierge® for Mobile Featuring QR and NFC Technology Now Available to Retailers

TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mercatus Technologies, a software development company delivering cross-channel marketing capabilities to the retail industry, launches a service module for the Concierge® for Mobile solution. Concierge for Mobile, a customizable mobile application service—now featuring innovative Near Field Communication (NFC) and Quick Response (QR) technologies—exponentially extends the brand reach of retailers to improve competitive advantage, boost brand equity, and improve financial performance.
“NFC and QR technologies enable people to get and interact with information anywhere, anytime”
Mobile technology revolutionizes the retail industry by changing how and when consumers interact with brands. With Concierge for Mobile, retailers enable customers to leverage the brand’s interactive mobile app to quickly and conveniently sign up for a loyalty account to manage their shopping list, digital coupons, promotions, and more. And now with the addition of NFC and QR code technologies, retailers put their customers in control and satisfy their desire for immediate information about their products.
“NFC and QR technologies enable people to get and interact with information anywhere, anytime,” explains James Thomas, Director, Strategy, Mercatus Technologies. “Our innovation incubator, Mercatus Greenhouse, brings together retailers, visionaries, and our technology gurus to collaborate on innovative solutions to real-world retail challenges. One idea that sprouted is the NFC and QR technologies featured in Concierge for Mobile. Our NFC and QR functionality was unveiled to chain retailers at NextPoint 2011 and the interest was substantial. The convenience and instant gratification of highly responsive NFC and QR technologies give retailers the tools to effectively and quickly place their brand in the palm of every mobile device user while boosting brand equity and improving financial performance.”
Because the Mercatus platform is modular, retailers are able to add to their solution over time—always knowing that they are leveraging their investment. Concierge API supports Concierge for Mobile, Concierge for Web, and Concierge for Cart to name just a few of the modular services available to achieve retailers’ unique requirements. For more information or to schedule a one-to-one demo, please contact Rick Laanvere at 973 353 6214 x 241. Also, watch the demo video, Concierge for Mobile Featuring NFC and QR Code Technologies.
Concierge for Mobile Brochure (PDF)
Concierge API Brochure (PDF)
About Mercatus
Imagine delivering the right message to the right consumer in the right place at the right time. Mercatus Technologies makes this possible. Mercatus enables retailers and advertisers to achieve competitive advantage, boost brand equity, and improve financial performance. Leveraging Mercatus’ smart shopping technology on a cross-channel marketing level, retailers and advertisers achieve the ultimate one-to-one relationship with shoppers throughout their buying cycle—from intent to influence to purchase. See the bigger picture

HID Global and ASSA ABLOY Strengthen Patent Portfolio in NFC Technology

Patents for Mobile Access Solutions that Use NFC Technology Further Extend Company’s IP Position
IRVINE, Calif. & STOCKHOLM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HID Global, trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity, today announced that the company and its parent, ASSA ABLOY, have been notified by the United States Patent Office that their patent, US 2008/0163361, titled “Method and Apparatus for Making a Decision on a Card,” has been allowed and will issue shortly. This invention covers the use of portable credentials in a secure access network, in which the access decision can be made within a portable credential (such as the secure element of a mobile device) using data and algorithms stored within the credential.
“We remain focused on continuing to expand the size and breadth of our patent portfolio. These latest additions strengthen HID’s IP and patent portfolio with two more core patents for physical and logical access control on mobile platforms.”
The patent complements an earlier patent, US 7,706,778, titled “System and Method for Remotely Assigning and Revoking Access Credentials Using a Near Field Communication Equipped Mobile Phone,” which issued last year. Both patents are part of HID Global’s rapidly growing investment in developing mobile access solutions using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.
“As a trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity, HID Global and ASSA ABLOY invested heavily in developing an extensive intellectual property portfolio to protect our investment in state-of-the-art, industry-leading products,” said Denis Hebert, President and CEO with HID Global. “We remain focused on continuing to expand the size and breadth of our patent portfolio. These latest additions strengthen HID’s IP and patent portfolio with two more core patents for physical and logical access control on mobile platforms.”
HID Global and ASSA ABLOY have created one of the industry’s most extensive IP, product and service portfolios targeted at physical and logical access applications on traditional cards and readers, as well as emerging mobile access platforms including NFC-enabled smartphones and other portable devices. This extensive portfolio also allows HID Global and ASSA ABLOY to continue to innovate and meet the growing demand for converged physical and logical access solutions that require a broad range of user authentication products and technologies.
“HID is excited to be issued these patents, which protect key innovations in our recently announced iCLASS Secure Identity Object™-Enabled (iCLASS SE) access control solutions and Trusted Identity Platform®,” commented Dr. Tam Hulusi, senior vice president of strategic innovation with HID Global. “Our large IP portfolio includes many patents that are essential to industry standards such as those established by Global Platform, a cross-industry, not-for-profit association that identifies, develops and publishes specifications to facilitate the secure and interoperable deployment and management of multiple embedded applications on secure chip technology. We invite interested companies to contact us to discuss the opportunity of licensing applicable IP from us.”
ASSA ABLOY’s and HID Global’s patent portfolio currently consists of over 500 issued worldwide patents and over 300 pending patent applications plus foreign patents and applications. The portfolio also includes IP from the company’s recent acquisitions of Lasercard and ActivIdentity, as well as ActivIdentity’s earlier acquisition of Corestreet, whose patent portfolio is also heavily oriented towards physical and logical access control. This extensive patent portfolio addresses almost every major door, lock and access control market.
About HID Global
HID Global is the trusted source for secure identity solutions for millions of customers around the world. Recognized for robust quality, innovative designs and industry leadership, HID Global is the supplier of choice for OEMs, system integrators, and application developers serving a variety of markets. These markets include physical and logical access control, including strong authentication and credential management; card printing and personalization; highly secure government ID; and identification technologies used in animal ID and industry and logistics applications. The company's primary brands include HID®, ActivIdentity™, FARGO®, and LaserCard®. Headquartered in Irvine, California, HID Global has over 2,100 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries. HID Global is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. For more information, visit
ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience. ASSA ABLOY is represented on both mature and emerging markets worldwide, with leading positions in much of Europe, North America, Asia, and the Pacific. In the fast-growing electromechanical security segment, the Group has a leading position in areas such as access control, identification technology, entrance automation and hotel security. Year-end 2010 the Group had some 37,000 employees and sales of around SEK 37 billion.
® HID and the HID logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of HID Global in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks, service marks, and product or service names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

austriamicrosystems Announces the Highest Performance NFC Reader IC for Payment and Automotive Applications

The AS3911 features industry’s lowest power, antenna auto tuning, and 1 W of output power
UNTERPREMSTAETTEN, Austria--(BUSINESS WIRE)--austriamicrosystems (SIX:AMS), a leading global designer and manufacturer of high-performance analog ICs, has announced the AS3911 NFC (near field communications) and HF (high frequency) reader IC. The AS3911 has unique capabilities not available in the market and enables a number of applications, including EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) payment, access control, automotive, NFC Infrastructure, and ticketing.
With an on-chip capacitive sensor, the AS3911 reader IC requires only 5 μA of current and can wake in the presence of a tag. This unique feature allows for the lowest current consumption in the industry. The IC also provides automatic antenna tuning to eliminate manual tuning while providing 1 W of output power, eliminating the need for an external booster circuit. This is an important feature for the 650 mW of power needed to read credit/debit cards. Competing solutions require a complex external booster circuit. The AS3911’s high level of integration and exclusive antenna management means halving typical system cost.
austriamicrosystems’ AS3911 is the only chip on the market with on-chip error handling for EMV applications. Alternative reader ICs do error correction on the host microcontroller. In addition, the AS3911 includes the analog front end (AFE) and a highly integrated data framing system for handling ISO 18092 (NFCIP-1) initiator, ISO 18092 (NFCIP-1) active target, ISO 14443 A and B reader (including high bit rates) and FeliCa™ (Felicity Card) reader. Other standards and custom protocols can also be accommodated by adjusting the AFE and implementing framing in an external microcontroller. Additionally, the AS3911 is the first reader IC on the market that supports the Very High Bit Rate (VHBR) draft amendment to the 14443 standard, allowing for data rates up to 6.8 Mbit/sec.
Bruce Ulrich, Wireless Product Line Director at austriamicrosystems, commented, “Customers repeatedly requested a reader chip designed for NFC applications. The AS3911 provides the features and performance to optimize the infrastructure readers for NFC. Customers need flexibility, RF performance, and speed to enable them to overcome the weaker performance of the NFC enabled phones. This is where users need peak RF performance and flexibility combined with low power. The AS3911 reader IC gives designers a system solution to speed their time to market.”
The AS3911 includes features that make it very well suited for low power designs. In addition to the capacitive sensor detecting the presence of a card without switching on the reader field, a card can also be detected by performing a measurement of amplitude or phase of the signal on the antenna. The AS3911 also contains a low power RC oscillator and wake-up timer to wake the system after a defined time period and check for a tag. Additionally, this IC is qualified for use in automotive applications so it can be used for car access, ignition and diagnostic functions.
The AS3911 operates over a wide power supply range -- from 2.4 V to 5.5 V -- and over a wide temperature range of -40 to 85ºC and is housed in a 32-pin QFN (5x5 mm) package. For more information visit
Price & availability
The AS3911 is available immediately in sample quantities only. Contact austriamicrosystems for pricing.

Payment Alliance International Recognized as a Fast 50 Company (in Louisville)

Honored by Business First for Third Consecutive Year
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Payment Alliance International (PAI), a leader in electronic payment processing solutions and the Electronic Transactions Association’s (ETA) 2011 “ISO of the Year,” has been named a Fast 50 Company by Business First of Louisville for the third consecutive year. Fast 50 award recipients represent companies from the fastest-growing businesses in the 13-county greater Louisville area. Businesses must be independent, for profit, privately held, and have realized at least $1 million in annual revenue for each of the last three years. PAI has been recognized on the Fast 50 list in each of its three years of eligibility and was ranked 20th on this year’s esteemed list.
“Independent Sales Organization (ISO) of the Year”
John J. Leehy, III, president and chief executive officer of Payment Alliance International, attributes the company’s success to the dedication and energy of the company’s employees and the loyalty of its many customers. “This past year serves as irrefutable proof that excellence can thrive in even the toughest of economic climates. If your team is truly committed, willing to work harder than they believed they could, and never lose track of what helps customers most, success will follow! We are excited to once again be recognized as a Fast 50 Company and proud to be part of such a terrific group of high performance companies in our region.”
This is the 12th annual Fast 50 awards program held by Business First of Louisville where each company is recognized and listed in order of their growth rate. An awards luncheon was held Oct. 27 at the Kentucky International Convention Center and this year’s event drew a record crowd of over 600 attendees. David Kozal, chief financial officer, and Leehy accepted this year’s award on behalf of PAI.
About Payment Alliance International (PAI)
Payment Alliance International is a leading provider of payment processing solutions for businesses nationwide and has been recognized as the 2011 “Independent Sales Organization (ISO) of the Year” by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). We are the nation’s largest deployer of ATMs, and provide ATM processing and maintenance services, ATM equipment sales and support, and ATM branding programs. We also provide comprehensive payment and small business solutions including credit, debit and prepaid card acceptance services, remote deposit capture and check processing, ecommerce solutions, ATM/email/mobile marketing, and loyalty programs…all designed to maximize customer success and make business easy. Payment Alliance International is based in Louisville, Ky., with offices in West Palm Beach, Fl., Jackson, Miss. and Billings, Mont. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

First Data Selects VeriFone for Caribbean POS Product Offering

VeriFone Vx Solutions Selected as Exclusive Class A POS Systems provider by First Data
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY), today announced it has been selected by First Data Corporation as the exclusive provider of Class A Point-of-Sale (POS) payment acceptance systems in the Caribbean region.
“VeriFone supports the advancement of newer payment acceptance capabilities and we’re eager to bring our cutting edge solutions to the region.”
First Data is partnering with VeriFone to develop applications for VeriFone’s Vx Solutions and VX Evolution countertop, wireless and PIN entry systems. First Data intends to expand its product offering to include the most advanced payment system hardware and software technology throughout the region with a strong focus on security and authentication for Caribbean businesses.
“We selected VeriFone as our exclusive POS product offering in this region as their devices go beyond traditional magnetic stripe transactions by providing advanced EMV card processing, which increases a merchant’s security and authentication measures to help reduce fraud,” said Phil Steurer, SVP, Central America and Caribbean, First Data. “With Vx Solutions and VX Evolution, VeriFone is providing market-ready and fully compliant payment processing solutions that will provide our Caribbean customers with the most advanced technology available to the marketplace.”
“This is an exciting opportunity for VeriFone to work with First Data in expanding its offering with payment systems that meet and exceed the latest data security requirements,” said Fernando Lopez, VeriFone executive vice president, Latin America and The Caribbean. “VeriFone supports the advancement of newer payment acceptance capabilities and we’re eager to bring our cutting edge solutions to the region.”
VeriFone has deployed payment systems worldwide for many years and has worked with banks and merchants worldwide to implement the necessary systems. The systems will support EMV credit and debit cards which utilize a smart card chip that has its own data storage, processing power and application software to provide much higher levels of security than magnetic stripe cards.

Chase, Wells Fargo, BofA, SunTrust Dropping Debit Card Fee Plans

Dodo Brain Move Morphs into Don't

  1. SunTrust, others to drop debit card fees

    Atlanta Business Chronicle (blog) - 13 minutes ago
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    2 days ago – NEW YORK (AP) -- Chase and Wells Fargo are joining the list of banks that won t be charging customers to use their debit cards,

Bank of America Reportedly Considering Ways to Scale Back Debit Card Fee Plan

Consumers Union:  Bank of America Should Drop Debit Card Fee for All Customers

SAN FRANCISCOOct. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bank of America is reportedly considering ways to scale back its plan to charge most of its customers a monthly $5 debit card fee according to Reuters.  The bank has indicated that it is exploring ways to allow more customers to avoid the fee, including maintaining a certain minimum balance, using direct deposit for paychecks or having a Bank of America credit card.  No specific details have been officially announced by the bank.
"It's clear that Bank of America is feeling the heat and is looking for ways to respond to the overwhelming public opposition to its unfair debit card fee," said Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union's financial services program.  "It's hard to know how many of its customers will be in a position to avoid the fee based on what we know so far.  If Bank of America wants to show that it is listening to its customers, it should drop the debit card fee altogether.  Consumers shouldn't have to pay a fee just to have access to their own money."
Garcia added, "Ultimately, consumers will have to judge for themselves whether Bank of America is offering a fair deal.  There are plenty of credit unions and other banks who are offering checking accounts without debit card fees."
Consumers Union has published a set of tips for consumers who want to switch banks.

SOURCE Consumers Union

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