Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mercator Advisory Group New Research on Open-Loop Prepaid Card Market

Sixth Annual Network Branded Prepaid Market Assessment
New Research Report Examines Growth of  Open-Loop Prepaid Card Market

Boston, MA. - September 3, 2009 -- Despite a poor fourth quarter that began to feel the impact of today's recession, the growth of the prepaid industry in 2008 continued to show great vitality. When the prepaid market is evaluated on a segment-by-segment basis, it becomes clear that there are far more markets that are expanding or thriving in this economy than there are segments experiencing negative growth.

The 6th Annual Network Branded Prepaid Market Assessment is the first of our annual trilogy of closely followed prepaid benchmark reports (Open, Closed, Forecast) that provide a thorough analysis and documentation of the growth and development of the Prepaid Industry. It benchmarks the spending, growth, and market dynamics for all Network Branded Prepaid Solutions. This includes a review of the dollars loaded on Network Branded Prepaid products in 22 different market segments.

This year's network branded report is unique because Mercator received data from our benchmark surveys and interviews with processors and issuers that represent a majority of the Open Loop market. The additional information we gained provided greater transparency regarding the development of the market and also enabled more accurate estimation of market size data at the segment level. This permitted Mercator to adjust its historical data to better reflect the robust growth of the open prepaid marketplace. These adjustments provide the fairest and most accurate possible assessment of the scale of the Open Loop market and support our continued goal of delivering to Mercator Advisory Group members the only consistent data set that measures the growth and dynamics of the prepaid industry.

"Mercator Advisory Group believes the prepaid industry will continue to show growth in 2009. However, being in the right channel with the right product is becoming critical to the growth of prepaid products and represents a significant volume opportunity for issuers," Tim Sloane, Vice President of Client Services and Director of Mercator Advisory Group's Prepaid Advisory Service and author of the report comments. "It is clear to Mercator that no other payments market is riding out the current economic downturn as effectively as prepaid and I can't think on any better payments market to be in during a recession."

The 6th Annual Network Branded Prepaid Market Assessment also includes a special section on the utilization of Restricted Authorization Network (RAN) technology. In conducting our surveys, Mercator discovered an increasing use of the technology to enhance card programs. RAN is typically used to create an infrastructure that lowers costs and delivers added revenue to prepaid programs by steering consumers to specific merchants.

Highlights of the report include:
  • The total load for all 33 prepaid segments in 2008 (Open & Closed) was $247.7 billion, a $27.8 billion increase over the $220.27 billion load in 2007 - an increase of 12.4 percent.

  • Network Branded solutions had $60.42 billion loaded in 2008, an increase of 48.6% increase from the previous year.

  • Open Loop gift cards continue to penetrate the sale of Closed Loop gift cards. The 2008 shake-up of the retail industry provided added traction for this segment, which saw a 54.3 percent increase.

  • Social Security, now out of the pilot phase and being fully rolled out, hit $1.48 billion in loads in 2008, making it a significant new government program.

  • Despite continued challenges to get consumers to reload the products, the Money & Financial Services (GPR) segment continues to show solid growth with more companies moving away from bare bone products to more sophisticated offerings that include features such as lines of credit.

HIPPA Compliant Online Payments

Surprise, Ariz., Sept. 3, 2009 -- To the delight of environmentalists, new online registration and payment services allow patients to communicate with physicians in a paperless environment. and recently signed Edward Rueda as a sales representative to bring their convenient online services to practitioners in Arizona.

With HIPAA regulations in effect and malpractice insurance at an all-time high, medical providers are facing the challenge of finding affordable, yet fully functional and compliant practice management solutions. Studies show that 90 percent of patients in most practices can use online registration, with elderly patients slightly slower but more accurate than young people. is the ideal solution for allowing patients to enter their health information on a HIPAA compliant web-based portal from home before an office visit. Not to mention online bill paying saves time and money by reducing paper, postage and administrative costs. With a click of a mouse, patients can access ePatientPayments for convenient online, on-time payments using secure PayPal technology.

From their Website:

Click link, enter (a.k.a. "type") payment information

Initiating a payment plan is fast, easy and FREE for patients. Patients receiving custom payment plans establish their account password, then enter (a.k.a. "type)  their payment information only once. A PayPal account is NOT required and, since payment plans are recurring for a set number of billing cycles, your patient does not have to remember to make a payment after initiating the plan. Patients paying-on-account simply enter their account number and payment amount for quick, convenient remittance from monthly statements you issue.

Source: Company press release.
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Introducing eBillMe Walk-In

Rye Brook, N.Y., Sept. 3, 2009 -- There are 28 million Americans without a bank account and another 44 million Americans considered ‘underbanked” according to the FDIC. Today eBillme™, the online payment option that already enables consumers and small businesses to use online banking to pay securely with cash, has introduced eBillme Walk-In, a new way for consumers to shop online and pay with cash, without having a credit card or even a bank account. The company has partnered with providers including MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI) to assemble the largest network of U.S. based walk-in locations with the lowest transaction fee.

“Millions of consumers use the Internet to browse but aren’t able to shop online because of limited credit and banking access,” says Marwan Forzley, President and CEO of eBillme. “We want every consumer to be able to pay securely with cash and benefit from the eBillme platform, which includes a rewards program and buyer protection features giving consumers all the perks of credit cards without getting into debt or incurring extra fees. For merchants, eBillme Walk-In offers an opportunity to reach a new consumer market and increase sales.”

Upon selecting eBillme Walk-In, online shoppers will be sent an eBill which can now be paid using online banking or by presenting the eBill to a participating location. A locator is available to show consumers the nearest walk-in location based on their address. Consumers can simply take their printed eBill to one of the over 75,000 walk-in locations across the U.S., including MoneyGram’s nearly 40,000 agent locations.

“We are very excited to introduce eBillme Walk-In to our customers,” says Jeff Wisot, vice president of marketing at “The new offering makes eCommerce more accessible and gives shoppers another way to pay for their online purchases with cash. It also gives us an opportunity to attract a new demographic of shoppers.”

“At a time when credit card debt is burdening so many consumers, paying with cash is the appealing alternative,” says Greg Waltz, MoneyGram’s vice president and general manager of Payment Products. “We have partnered with eBillme to extend its cash checkout solution to consumers without banking and credit access, bringing them the conveniences of shopping online.”

eBillme, now offered by over 800 online merchants, is the most secure way to pay online. When shoppers choose the option at checkout, their order is confirmed with an eBill sent to their e-mail address. The transaction occurs securely, bank to bank, with no personal or financial information required or transmitted over the Internet. And with buyer protection features including a satisfaction guarantee, best price guarantee, in-transit protection, and fraud protection, consumers can shop with confidence knowing their eBillme transaction is guaranteed and protected.

ABOUT eBillme

eBillme™ is the only online payment solution that extends the convenience of online banking to the merchant’s checkout process. The service enhances security for online shoppers, and enables merchants to increase sales while reducing transaction costs. No financial data is exposed and the payment transaction is securely transferred from the customer’s bank to the retailer’s bank. Consumers can shop online, by catalog or through call centers, and pay for their purchases at their bank, credit union, or bill pay portal using the security and convenience of online banking. For more information, please visit or eBillme’s Online Debt-Free Shopping Mall.

Source: Company press release.
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That Was Easy! (TJX/Heartland Breach)

The Last WatchDog's Byron Acohido has written an excellent post on how easily SoupNazi (Albert Gonzalez) was able to breach both TJX and Heartland.  Albert Gonzalez pleaded guilty and will be sentenced  later this month...Here' s an excerpt:  

"Gonzalez and cohorts allegedly used mundane hacking techniques to extract some 94 million records from TJX, parent of TJ Maxx and Marshalls, over the course of at least eight months, and 130 million records from Heartland over 14 months.

“They stayed inside the network chucking stuff out of the window, and nobody noticed, much less tried to stop them,” says Lloyd."

Continue Reading at "The Last WatchDog"

Is Online Banking Dangerous? Bank on It

Does Web 2.0 need Security Web 2.0?

Editor's Note"  Is that a rhetorical question or are they being sarcastic?  No, let's keep typing.  "Enter" at your own risk!

Web 2.0, the second wave of web development and design, is thriving, and so too are applications that take advantage of this technology.

Michael Shema, Qualys Inc Published: 5:00PM BST 03 Sep 2009

Interactive sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and even company websites are becoming ever more popular, and yet, many IT departments are unprepared for the associated new and emerging threats. As more and more companies take to the web to conduct business, the opportunity for attack is significantly increased and organisations need to re-adjust their security practices for the Web 2.0 world.

Traditionally, potential security breaches, or vulnerabilities, target personal and business information that is created and stored in certain Web 2.0 applications, such as Google Docs and Mobile Me.

Using sophisticated JavaScript programs developed specifically to capture data, hackers can redirect users to a perfect copy of the site they are expecting to see.  (Web Site Cloning 101)

Then, when log in details are entered (a.k.a. TYPED!) they are unknowingly... (Editor's Note: Unknowingly? Know this: When you TYPE/Enter log-in details, you are putting yourself in danger. Period.  What's more to know? Read the signs) ...sent to the attacker, providing them with the information they need to access sensitive business information.

(a.k.a. access/wipe out your bank account, steal your credit/debit card numbers, etc. etc. etc. "Do Not Type...Do Not Enter!

Continue Reading at UK

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Touche Couche-Tard!

Fees prompt Couche-Tard to ponder its own credit card

The Star is reporting that Couche-Tard is considering offering it's own credit card brand in response to high Interchange Fees. 

Wonder if Couche-Tard will call it "The Touche-Card

LAVAL, Que.–Convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard says it may launch a credit card with other Canadian and American retailers to bypass financial institutions and their high card fees.
Chief executive Alain Bouchard disclosed the potential venture following the company's annual meeting yesterday.

Raymond Pare, chief financial officer, wouldn't give any details on plans to create a credit card that would compete with what he called the "duopoly" of Visa and Master-Card, but said it would most likely include a "good group of businesses" that would partner and create a common card with "normal rates."

Couche-Tard and others have denounced for years the fees charged by companies such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.  The company says the fees account for between 1.75 and 2 per cent of the value of transactions in U.S. and Canadian gas stations and convenience stores, compared with just 0.5 per cent in Australia where the fees are regulated.

Continue Reading

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TJX Finally Closes Book on Breach with $525k Settlement

FRAMINGHAM – TJX Cos. has settled with the remaining financial institutions that hadn’t previously agreed to settle claims against the Framingham-based retailer for a data breach that took place in 2005 and 2006.

TJX said on Wednesday that it paid $525,000 to AmeriFirst Bank, HarborOne Credit Union, SELCO Community Credit Union and Trustco Bank, primarily to reimburse them for a portion of their legal expenses in the class action suit against TJX.

The retailer, which settled the case with most of the financial institutions in December 2007, denied any wrongdoing.

In hindsight, I bet that Alex Gonzalez, a.k.a. "SoupNazi" would've taken half that amount for a one-year contract as a consultant to TJX...where he could have exposed the inherent weakness he exploited.  But he decided to go another route...  

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Coinstar Signs Agreement wiith SVS

Coinstar E-Payment Services Signs Agreement with Stored Value Solutions

SVS to Provide Instant Issue MasterCard® Prepaid Gift Cards

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stored Value Solutions (SVS), a leading provider of custom gift card solutions for prepaid cards, announced today an agreement to provide MasterCard® prepaid gift cards to Coinstar E-Payment Services, a subsidiary of Coinstar Inc., a multi-national company offering a wide range of front-of-store solutions. The new agreement will focus on supplying MasterCard® prepaid gift cards at retail outlets across the country.

With the SVS prepaid solution, customers can load cash onto a MasterCard® prepaid card and have the freedom to shop anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted, including online, with no credit checks and no late fees.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Coinstar to include prepaid branded products,” said Ralph Rolen, executive vice president and general manager of SVS. “The addition of the instant issue MasterCard prepaid card will strengthen Coinstar’s current versatile product offering.”

About Coinstar, Inc.

Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) is a leading provider of automated retail solutions offering convenient products and services that make life easier for consumers and drive incremental traffic and revenue for its retailers. The company’s core automated retail businesses are self-service coin counting and self-service DVD rental. Other Coinstar products and services found at the retail front-end include e-payment products such as gift cards, prepaid products; money transfer services; and entertainment products and services, including skill crane machines and bulk vending. The Company's products and services can be found at supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, financial institutions, convenience stores, restaurants and money transfer agents.

About Stored Value Solutions

Stored Value Solutions provides custom gift card solutions for prepaid cards, loyalty and B2B applications for a diverse set of clients including retailers, airlines, casinos and e-tailers. As a leading provider of magnetic stripe gift cards, Stored Value Solutions serves six of the top ten U.S. retailers and annually processes over 1 billion transactions for 600 clients. Stored Value Solutions is based in Louisville, KY and is owned by Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation.

About Ceridian

Ceridian is a global business services organization that offers a comprehensive range of innovative solutions. From human resources and benefits to accredited employee assistance, work-life and health and productivity services, Ceridian helps organizations maximize their human, financial and technology resources. As a leader in payroll outsourcing, gift cards and controlled spending, Ceridian is also a driving force in payment innovation. Whether partnering to improve employee productivity, save money or minimize financial risks, Ceridian's business is to help organizations stay focused on their business.

MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated.

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Walmart, Launches Electronic Pay Program

Walmart Launches Associate Electronic Pay Program with MasterCard and First Data

Provides Easy Access to Pay and Reduces Use of Paper Paychecks

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Walmart, MasterCard

Worldwide and First Data today announced a new, more sustainable payroll

program designed to reduce the number of paper paychecks and pay stubs

distributed each year to Walmart and Sam's Club associates in the U.S. In

order to benefit both associates and the environment, the electronic pay

program will include the deployment of the Money Network(TM) MasterCard

Paycard(R) and electronic pay stubs, which will cut down on paper consumption

and provide associates easier access to their wages.

"Electronic payroll is the right choice for our associates, our company and

the environment," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice-president and CFO, Wal-Mart

Stores, Inc. "It provides our associates with fast, convenient and safe access

to their pay. The program's ability to reduce paper usage is right in line

with Walmart's commitment to eliminate waste wherever we can."

Walmart associates may receive their pay either by direct deposit or through

the First Data Money Network program and may access their wages through the

Money Network MasterCard Paycard(R) or Money Network(TM) Checks. The program

will provide a more flexible way for associates to get immediate access to

their full wages on payday even during natural disasters such as blizzards,

hurricanes and floods. Associates will not need to come in on their day off or

while on vacation to receive their pay, and they will have the convenience of

receiving cash fee-free at any Walmart or Sam's Club register. The new

electronic pay program will be rolled out to all U.S. associates in September.

"We have worked closely with Walmart and First Data to develop a customized

program that will simplify the payroll process and support environmental

sustainability," said Chris McWilton, president, U.S. Markets, MasterCard

Worldwide. "We are excited that we are able to support Walmart's vision for

truly responsible and sustainable business operations by providing Walmart and

Sam's Club associates with the benefits of immediacy, security, simplicity and

efficiency offered by paperless wages." MasterCard will be the exclusive brand

for the card, which can be used anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted,

including ATMs.

First Data will provide the processing and reload network for the program as

part of First Data's Money Network(R) Payroll Distribution Service. "Walmart

is raising the bar for employers everywhere by providing associates who don't

have bank accounts with immediate access to funds on payday, without fee or

discount, and access to cash at thousands of locations across the country,"

said Ed Labry, president, Retail and Alliance Services, First Data.

"Associates may also write Money Network Checks payable to themselves or use

them to pay bills, just like any other check." Associate funds in the Money

Network program are FDIC-insured.

Walmart's Sustainability Commitment As part of its company-wide sustainability

goals, Walmart is committed to being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy,

creating zero waste and selling environmentally-friendly products. The company

is moving toward these goals by using sustainable sourcing practices including

energy efficiency, waste reduction, renewable energy and lifecycle management.

These initiatives are making Walmart a more sustainable company and helping

create a favorable environment for green job creation.

About Walmart Stores, Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or "Walmart," serves customers and members

more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,000 retail units under 53

different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2009 sales of $401

billion, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million associates worldwide. A leader

in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart

ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine's 2009 Most Admired Companies

survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting Online merchandise sales are available at and

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic

link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants

worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and

markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions

each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to

financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard

Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard(R),

Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more

than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to

About First Data

First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for

people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of

electronic payment. Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or

debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and

harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for

millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries.

First Data's Money Network Payroll Distribution Service delivers the benefits

of paperless pay, while at the same time reducing administrative costs for

employers. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Michelle Bradford, Walmart, Tel +479 204 6696,

Sarah Ely, MasterCard Worldwide, Tel. + 914 249 6714,

Glen Turpin, First Data, Tel +303 967 6552,

SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Michelle Bradford of Walmart +1-479-204-6696,;

or Sarah Ely of MasterCard Worldwide, +1-914-249-6714,; or Glen Turpin of First Data, +1-303-967-6552,

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Lloyd Constantine's New Book is "Priceless"

From: Payments News 

Priceless: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel

Attorney Lloyd Constantine of Constantine Cannon has a new book coming out in early October titled "Priceless: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel".

From the advance material on the book:

Priceless offers readers an insider’s telling of the case that ended with the breakup of the Visa/Mastercard credit cartel and a $3.4 Billion settlement. Lloyd Constantine, founder of Constantine and Partners, the small boutique antitrust firm that could, and lead counsel on the Visa/Mastercard case, takes no prisoners as he tells his side of what happened in this very public lawsuit whose outcome continues to affect economics today."
Priceless is now available for pre-order from

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Interac and PULSE Reach ABM Agreement

INTERAC(R) and PULSE(R) collaborate to provide cash access in Canada for Diners Club, Discover and PULSE cardholders

TORONTO, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - INTERAC and PULSE today announced an agreement
to provide Diners Club, Discover and PULSE cardholders the ability to withdraw
money from ABMs of participating Acquirers in Canada.

"The agreement with PULSE builds on INTERAC's commitment to expand
international use of the payment network through relationships with other
networks," said Mark O'Connell, President and CEO, Acxsys Corporation,
architects of the INTERAC network.

Similar to INTERAC's Cross Border service, the PULSE and INTERAC
connection eliminates network setup and ongoing costs for Canadian Acquirers.

"We are pleased to be collaborating with INTERAC to expand cash access
for Diners Club, Discover and PULSE cards in Canada," said Dave Schneider,
PULSE President. "Increasing acceptance around the world is a key priority for
Discover Financial Services and this agreement supports that goal."

PULSE, one of the largest ATM/debit networks in the United States, is
part of Discover Financial Services. The relationship with PULSE is expected
to drive incremental transaction volume for Canadian Acquirers.

"This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to serving the needs of
our clients by bringing them innovative services to support and grow their
businesses," said O'Connell. "The agreement will allow Canadian Acquirers to
evolve their ABM service offerings by extending their services to additional
cardholders travelling in Canada."

Access to the service was initiated for Diners Club cards in July. ABM
acceptance for Discover and PULSE cards on the INTERAC network is scheduled
for October 2009.

About Acxsys Corporation

Acxsys Corporation, comprised of eight large financial institutions as
shareholders, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Acxsys specializes in the
development and operation of new payment service opportunities as well as
consulting and management services in the field of electronic payments. The
Corporation's shareholders are the architects of Canada's national network for
shared electronic financial services: INTERAC Direct Payment, Canada's
national debit card service and INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service for
cash withdrawals at Automated Banking Machines. For more information, please


PULSE is one of the leading ATM/debit networks in the U.S., currently
serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across
the United States. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS).
The network links cardholders with more than 289,000 ATMs, as well as POS
terminals at retail locations throughout the U.S. The company is also a valued
resource for industry research related to electronic payments and is committed
to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services
and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit

For further information: Tina Romano, Interac Association, Acxsys
Corporation, (416) 869-5062,; Steve Sievert, PULSE, (832)
214-0111 or (800) 420-2122,
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Best Practices for Promoting Consumer Use of Contactless Payments ID'd

New Smart Card Alliance Research Identifies Best Practices

for Promoting Consumer Use of Contactless Payments

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., September 3, 2009 –
New Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council research has identified issuer and merchant best practices for driving consumer use of contactless payments. The Council presents its research in a new white paper, “Issuer and Merchant Best Practices: Promoting Contactless Payments Usage and Acceptance,” available for download at:

“Over the past five years, contactless payment has had the fastest deployment and acceptance of any emerging payments technology in recent memory,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.  “Though acceptance continues to rise, we need to look at the next steps in advancing the technology. The goal of this white paper is to outline the best practices necessary for the industry to move past the early adoption phase and prepare the payment infrastructure for the next innovation in proximity payments – NFC-enabled mobile phones.”

The Council studied the effectiveness of certain issuer and merchant activities in marketing, promotion, and consumer and employee awareness in order to determine the best practices for promoting consumer awareness and use of contactless payments.  Some best practices detailed in the white paper include: providing basic information on benefits and on how and where to use the cards; targeting cardholders by demographics; creating “buzz;” identifying champions for contactless benefits; creating incentives; using multiple communication vehicles to deliver key messages; and many more.

“The white paper also includes best practices for other industry stakeholders.  It is our view that all members of the ecosystem – including acquirers, processors, vendors, payment brands, and industry associations – need to be engaged and coordinated to play a role in making contactless payments a success,” added Vanderhoof 

Participants involved in the development of this white paper and in the issuer survey included: Collis America, Cubic, Discover Financial Services, First Data Corporation, Giesecke & Devrient, IBM, INSIDE Contactless, MasterCard Worldwide, Oberthur Technologies, VeriFone, and ViVOtech.

About the Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council Research

Since mid-2005, leading financial issuers have placed tens of millions of
contactless credit and debit cards and devices into the hands of consumers worldwide, while over 153,000 merchant locations accept the technology. 
In early 2009, the Council's Consumer Work Group conducted a series of interviews with contactless credit and debit card issuers and payment brands to understand what programs issuers had instituted to drive consumer usage and awareness and which programs were the most successful.  This white paper reports the research findings and describes the best practices that issuers found to be most effective.

About the Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council

The Contactless and Mobile Payments Council is one of several Smart Card Alliance technology and industry councils. The Council was formed to focus on facilitating the adoption of contactless and mobile payments in the U.S. through education programs for consumers, merchants and issuers. The group is bringing together financial payments industry leaders, merchants and suppliers. The Council’s primary goal is to inform and educate the market about the value of contactless and mobile payment and work to address misconceptions about the capabilities and security of contactless technology. Council participation is open to any Smart Card Alliance member who wishes to contribute to the Council projects.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit


Contact: Deb Montner, Montner & Associates Tech PR Agency, 203-226-9290,

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And the Password Is..."SWIPE"

SQL Vulnerability Leaves Passwords In The Clear, Researchers Say

With no patch forthcoming from Microsoft, Sentrigo launches workaround for flaw

Sep 02, 2009 | 05:02 PM By Tim Wilson

A vulnerability in Microsoft SQL Server could enable any user with administrative privileges to openly see the unencrypted passwords of all other users, researchers said today.

Researchers at database security vendor Sentrigo say that in SQL Server 2000 or 2005, administrators can view all of the passwords used since the server went online by reviewing its process memory. Under SQL Server 2008, the problem has been partially fixed, but an administrator with local access and a simple debugger could still view the passwords, Sentrigo says.

The vulnerability is most likely an insider threat because it requires administrative privileges, says Slavik Markovich, CTO of Sentrigo.
However, it is also possible for a hacker to take advantage of the flaw by exploiting SQL injection, he says.

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