Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FBI Director Swears Off Online Banking after Nearly Getting Phried

You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time...but the FBI Director? 

In an article from eWeek, FBI Director Robert Mueller states he has "given up"...in fact, "sworn off" online banking after nearly falling victim to a phishing attack. 

I counter with this:  Phishing remains an extensive threat, but even if you were to throw that threat out of the window, the real bad-boys here are online banking Trojans.  Especially ones like Zeus and Clampi which bypass up-to-date anti-virus programs and sit in the wings waiting for you to visit one of 4500 financial institution website's where they kick into gear, steal your online banking authentication credentials, steal money and, in the case of the Trojan urlZone, change online banking statements to reflect your money is still in the bank.  Now that's scary! 

Question: When the FBI director "swears off" online banking,  it's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the security being provided by the online banking industry, is it?  

Thank goodness there's a better way.  HomeATM Eliminates Phishing by Eliminating Typing.  What's there to phish for if there's no phish to see?  We create an empty net by encrypting the data inside the box.  Same with online banking Trojans.  If there's no data to mine, what good would data-mining do?  Swipe, Encrypt,  Transmit.  

FBI Director Nearly Hooked in Phishing Scam, Swears Off Online Banking

In a speech in San Francisco, FBI Director Robert Mueller confessed he has given up online banking after nearly falling victim to a phishing attack. His remarks came the same day authorities in Egypt and the U.S. charged 100 people in an international phishing ring that was targeting American banks.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has apparently sworn off online banking after nearly falling victim to a phishing attack.

During a speech Oct. 7 at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Mueller recounted being “just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet phishing scheme.”

A transcript of the speech is posted here. In it, Mueller notes that the phishing e-mail that almost tricked him looked “pretty legitimate.”

"They had mimicked the e-mails that the bank would ordinarily send out to its customers; they'd mimicked them very well,” he said.

Continue Reading a eWeek

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Looks Like Visa/MC Will Win the Interchange Fight...

In a Reuter's article Juan Lagoria connects the dots and says the writing on the wall favors Visa and MasterCard when it comes to legislating for the merchants and against them.

"Interchange is really a business-to-business issue rather than a consumer issue" wrote one analyst.  One Republican Representative said "interchange is a cost of doing business."

I have to agree. Keep the legislators out of this one. It's not their issue.  (yes, as always, the pun is intended)  This is between V/MC and the Retailers....not the consumers.  Here's a couple excerpts:

By Juan Lagorio - Analysis  NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers rushed to limit credit card fees and interest rates on behalf of consumers a few months ago, but merchants may not be that lucky.  Earlier this year, when Congress passed a law limiting increases in credit card fees and interest rates to consumers, merchants initiated a campaign to curb the fees that retailers such as supermarkets and convenience stores pay to banks every time a customer uses a credit card, called interchange fees.

Two initiatives are being discussed in Congress to limit interchange fees, which are set by credit card networks Visa Inc (V.N) and MasterCard Inc (MA.N), but are collected from retailers by credit card issuers such as Citigroup Inc (C.N) or Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).

But the proposals could founder as legislators' attention is divided among healthcare, regulatory reform and other priorities.
Doubts about the proposed legislation's benefit to consumers could also torpedo the plan.

Merchants contend the fees, which range from about 1.6 percent to 2.5 percent, unfairly cut into their margins and drive up prices for consumers. Financial services companies argue that the payments system is based on a pricing system that benefits businesses and their customers. Banks also said that in Australia, where interchange fees were limited a few years ago, consumers did not benefit and credit card fees rose.

Both groups have been lobbying intensively in recent months, but
most observers believe the credit card companies have the upper hand.  Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas whose views are considered typical of Republicans' thinking on the issue, dismissed the interchange fee issue as "the cost of doing business."

The discussion in Congress points to the conclusion that "interchange is really a business-to-business issue (between merchants and banks) rather than a consumer issue (making broad political support difficult)," UBS analysts wrote.


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Visa Updates 3DES Requirements for POS and Kiosks

Visa hosted a webinar to clarify its PIN pad data encryption policy on Sept 9 led by Ross Snailer and Stoddard Lambertson of Visa's Payment Risk team, NACS reported.

According to Visa, all attended POS and kiosks must be Triple DES (TDES)  (known on this blog as 3DES) compliant by July 1, 2010, but that fines to acquirers would not occur until Aug. 1, 2012.  See: 3DES, DUKPT & E2EE Explained | PIN Debit Payments Blog
This announcement provides retailers more time to adapt to the TDES POS mandates. Still, if retailers want to continue accepting PIN debit inside, they still must upgrade POS terminals, and the sooner they get started, the better. 

"If a retailer was looking for the 'drop dead' date for upgrading POS to TDES, Aug. 2012 is it -but I recommend taking a sooner, rather than later approach," said Michael Davis, NACS vice president of member services. "The popularity of PIN debit with consumers looking to protect their data and get away from living on credit makes upgrading POS a no-brainer. It's usually less than $500 per POS to serve this consumer segment".
 (I know where they can get it for a lot less!)

In addition, Visa reiterated that fuel dispenser terminal PIN pads will not have to be TDES compliant by the July 2010 date, but must be at least Single DES (SDES) Derived Unique Key per Transaction (DUKPT) by that date.

Additionally, Visa stated that there is no "lights on" mandated date for TDES beyond the July 2010 date for SDES DUKPT or TDES, but noted that retailers would be liable for any breach related to using non-TDES technology after this date.

Visa will be monitoring the deployment of TDES during the next few quarters before it sets a TDES-only date.

"This is huge for our retailers, as many have expressed their inability to financially swallow PCI compliance, which costs an average location $20,000, and upgrading dispensers to TDES at an average cost of $3,000 per dispenser," Davis said. "Our average site operator made $40,000 pre-tax last year. For them to invest in all mandates this year means operating at break-even. This allows retailers to take the more cost effective approach of installing TDES capable PIN pads during pump upgrade cycles, rather than a blitz."

According to NACS surveys of retailers, many retailers were planning to shut off PIN debit at the fuel island and process debit transactions as "signature" debit transactions if forced to choose between upgrading or not. 

"Our analysis of card costs has shown that signature debit, while much less secure for our customers, is now the same cost as PIN debit; but without the cost of having to upgrade PIN pads", said Gray Taylor, payments consultant to NACS. "We are concerned that PIN debit interchange - which has risen an average of 15% on a compounded basis since 1996 - will price itself out of our market, and shift significant transaction share to Visa and MasterCard while eliminating access to new payment card concepts that bring competition to the card payment market. Of course, if the latest Maestro PIN debit interchange hike (78%) is any indication, EFT networks will price themselves out of our market without the TDES mandate." 

Beginning early this decade, Visa has published data security standards in order for PIN pad manufacturers to design and manufacture PIN pads with at least a minimum standard of security. The requirements for these standards have evolved to where Visa will be certifying PIN pads in the future for operation on all Visa networks (VisaNet and Interlink).

Visa noted that globally, standards bodies no longer recognize older PIN entry encryption standards such as Master/Session and, more recently, single DES (SDES) as sufficiently secure. Global bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have adopted triple DES (TDES) pin pads as the new data standard.


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Credit card fraud to cost UAE banks $54 mln

Oct 12, 2009 at 23:22

DUBAI - Credit card fraud in the UAE is expected to cost banks $54 million this year, a rise of 20 percent over the previous year, local daily Emirates Business reported citing Abu Dhabi-based financial services firm, Dunia Finance, on Tuesday.

The increase in fraud is mainly due to economic crisis, the newspaper said.

“As far as the UAE is concerned, we've been observing a year-on-year loss of $45 million and because of crisis it is expected to increase by 20 per cent,” Asanka Amarasekara, head of fraud control at Dunia Finance, told the newspaper.

The trend is similar in other Gulf countries because of the presence of a large number of expatriate workers, he added.

Banks in the UAE have been hit by a wave of corporate and personal loan defaults as many businesses have gone bust and individuals have lost jobs.

Schneider Foreign Exchange selects SMA Financial’s Service Bureau for outsourced SWIFT connectivity

London, Oct. 13, 2009 – SMA Financial (www.sma.co.uk ), SWIFT Regional partner for UK, Eire, Channel Islands and the Nordics today announced that Schneider Foreign Exchange (SFE), the leading foreign exchange broker has outsourced SWIFT connectivity to SMA Financial’s Service Bureau. The project will enable SFE to streamline its transaction lifecycle, increase straight-through processing (STP) and lower operational risk.

The broker had seen SWIFT becoming more accessible to corporates and set out to research the potential benefits from connecting to the ultra-secure and resilient network. Neil Burns, Director, Schneider Foreign Exchange explained, “An endorsement of SMA Financial by SFE’s main banking relationship provider Barclays reinforced our own findings that SMA’s expertise in outsourced SWIFT connectivity and proven Service Bureau was the best option. SMA’s approach from day one has been open and transparent and we anticipate the Bureau will enable us to minimise the number of exceptions that occur, reduce investigation time and help mitigate our operational risk.”

SFE services a predominantly UK customer base and has a number of different banking relationships each of which required the broker to logon to separate ebanking platforms to make payments and check balances. Any queries had to be addressed to the relevant relationship manager which could be time consuming. The payment lifecycle from initiation to confirmation and settlement was a highly manual process and thus well suited to an automation project.

SFE is currently testing connectivity to its first banking relationship provider via SWIFT. Other banks will then be connected to the Bureau in turn. This will allow SFE to initiate a payment from its back office system which is sent to the SMA Service Bureau where the message is automatically formatted for transmission over the SWIFT network and transmitted to the relevant bank. Confirmations are received back via the Bureau and these can be sent to clients in real-time if required to confirm that the transaction has taken place thus enhancing the service SFE provides.

Burns concluded, “By outsourcing SWIFT connectivity to the SMA Service Bureau we will shield ourselves from any complexity, and minimise the on-going maintenance, typically associated with SWIFT. Additionally, we can ensure that internal IT resources are kept fully focused on supporting our core business.”

Simon Murby, Managing Director, SMA Financial said, “Working with a specialist SWIFT partner allows corporates such as SFE to benefit from the full range of SWIFT services. With its own SWIFT connection, the broker has enhanced its ability to provide efficient services to larger corporate clients that are not already SWIFT enabled.”

About SMA Financial

Founded in 1995, SMA Financial has established its leadership as a source of specialist knowledge and expertise in the financial services industry providing SWIFT services, product and support. SMA Financial is the SWIFT Regional Partner for UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and the Nordics. It is the most extensively SWIFT accredited partner with over 300 successful implementations with banks, corporates and other financial institutions including more than 100 active SWIFT Service Bureau users. The company provides SWIFT Service Bureau, AML and SystemCare solutions as well as experienced consultancy services. For further information please visit www.sma.co.uk

About Schneider Foreign Exchange Limited (SFE)

Founded in November 2006, SFE has established itself as one of the premier commercial and deliverable foreign exchange providers in UK. With a currency turnover of GBP equivalent 2.8 billion per annum (and growing) SFE's client-base ranges from SMEs to FTSE-listed companies. SFE works with several broking and banking counterparties and can offer diverse services by trading 'Same Day', 'Next Day', 'Spot' and up to '2 years Forward'. SFE is developing joint-venture relationships with Introducers and Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) providers and is launching its state-of-the-art multi-broker trading platform in November. For further information please visit www.schneiderfx.com "

Source: Company press release.

More Banks Go with Authentication Devices

Georgian banks to deploy online banking authentication products from Todos

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Todos brings advanced trust and security to Georgia’s banks

Two Georgian banks - TBC Bank and BTA Bank - have selected Todos to provide eBanking authentication devices and back-end servers to improve security, usability and trust for their online customers.

GĂ–TEBORG, SWEDEN AND T’BILISI, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 13, 2009 - Todos continues its mission to make online banking more secure and more trustworthy with two sales in Georgia. Both banks selected Todos because it offered high levels of security, flexibility, future-proofing and lower costs with the benefit of local support.

Georgia is a country on the Eastern shore of the Black Sea. It has a population of 4.6m with an economy that has been growing fast and liberalising quickly. In 2007, GDP grew by 12 percent and the World Bank called the country the “number one economic reformer in the world.” Services now account for 65 percent of economic output.

TBC Bank (http://www.tbcbank.ge) had been using a competitor’s system but swapped to Todos, buying the company’s ezToken device. The token’s lower total cost of ownership was a significant factor. Not only was it cheaper to buy in the first place but the longer battery life means fewer replacements over time.

BTA Bank (http://www.bta.ge) also chose the ezToken over rival devices for most users but also selected the enhanced ezToken PIN. The Todos VAS Server’s ability to support different devices and multiple devices per user means that BTA can deploy both and give its customers an upgrade path if they require additional security.

In both cases, the presence of local partner NGT to provide support, consulting and integration was important.

“We’re very excited about these deals and what they represent. Smaller countries and growing banks have a huge opportunity in today’s digital market,” says Bo Emanuelsson, Sales Director EMEA at Todos AB. “Quite simply, they can move faster than their larger competitors. Here we see two important banks in a fast-moving national economy choose trust, security and progress.”

For further information please contact:

John Ahlberg, Communications Director

Todos AB



+46 31 775 88 00

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Consumers DO WANT Security over Convenience...How About Both?

James Van Dyke, the founder and principal of Javelin Strategy and Research wrote a "Perspective" for Bank Technology News which essentially states that consumers are looking to their financial institutions for advice on how to better authenticate themselves.

I have an idea.  Instead of giving away $35 to try online bill pay, save $10.00 and give  away our SLIM in order to provide online banking customers with the same security entrusted to dispense cash at ATM's.  Swipe Card, Enter PIN. 

We 100% replicate the process used by consumers to access cash in real-time at an ATM...EXCEPT...since it's done in the privacy of your own home, there's little threat from a skimmer or hidden camera recording your PIN entry.

I honestly believe that consumers would run towards a bank offering this type of online banking authentication faster than those non-star belly Sneetches ran to Sylvester McMonkey's STAR inscription device.  Besides, I find it immensely  more convenient to swipe my card and enter my PIN than enter a username, password, answer a question and then put in a code I have a hard time reading anyway...


Consumers Do Want to Be Partners in Security

Bank Technology News  |  October 2009

While many bankers and technology professionals profess a belief that individuals can't be motivated to protect themselves, new Javelin research shows that more than eight in 10 online bankers view security as a shared responsibility.

Nearly four in 10 consumers turn off paper statements out of concern that someone will steal their personal information, indicating that customer-empowerment strategies go hand-in-hand with the sense of shared-responsibility necessary to fight crimes that harm both consumers and companies. This, and myriad other data, disproves the theory that consumers need to feel the pain of financial loss in order to monitor their accounts against fraud and shows that consumers are willing to mitigate against fraud.

More evidence: Even when presented with zero-liability protection, consumers continued to express interest in partnering with financial institutions on additional security methods. When surveyed, consumers that most strongly preferred zero-liability protection had an even higher interest in additional authentication security capabilities, many of which would reduce consumer convenience. By analyzing rigorous data comparing latest behaviors and preferences toward banking security and technologies with nationwide trends on actual fraud patterns, we are able to identify steps bankers can take to not only cut losses but strengthen profitable customer relationships.

Specific methods for creating the shared account security responsibility preferred by consumers include better authentication, alerts, user-defined limits and prohibitions (UDLAPs), extended validation SSL, and discounted third party services such as PC protection software, credit monitoring and fraud prevention services.

Partnering with consumers on security decreases the length of time fraud can take place and therefore lowers the mean dollar value of the fraud losses for consumer and the total expenses for all parties involved. A study partially sponsored by Intersections, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank found that banks and merchants absorb the great majority of financial losses in the average $4,840 case of identity fraud, yet consumers are now spending 30 hours resolving such crimes with nearly $500 in out-of-pocket expense. Friendly frauds are even worse, requiring 50 hours for resolution compared with the average of 30 hours, and double the average consumer costs. Given this, and with half of fraudulent activity first detected by consumers, consumers' willingness to get involved is in both parties' bottom-line interest.

Safety not only prevents fraud losses, it also creates more profitable relationships. When consumers are either selecting a new credit card company or one of the several existing payment cards for their next transaction, current Javelin research shows they rank security against identity fraud as their paramount concern, overtaking interest rates, rewards, customer service, and other costly offerings. Increased security and privacy protection also make a consumer spend more online; and credit cards that are perceived as more secure will generate more transaction income for the issuer as well.

Finally, banks' bottomline interest in security partnership may also be enhanced with revenue opportunities. Consumers are already participating in identity theft programs outside financial institutions. Over half of consumers use anti-virus protection, eliminating or at least cutting down on malware infections; and one in four subscribes to services that offer credit monitoring, fraud alerts, and transaction alerts. Consumers that shop online go to great lengths to feel safe while doing so. More than eight in ten consumers use firewalls, update their antivirus software regularly, and monitor their bank accounts more often, even though these activities require additional efforts. Since consumers are often paying for protection services elsewhere, why shouldn't banks sell bank-branded versions of white-label products?

Identity crimes uniquely target both identity-holding consumers and the companies that serve them, and therefore all parties will be most effective when working together for the prevention, detection, and resolution of a crime that totaled some $48 billion in 2008 in the United States alone. While the financial industry has excelled in behind-the-scenes fraud mitigation solutions and after-the-fact customer fraud resolution capabilities, Javelin sees an opportunity for banks and card issuers to build on the important zero liability guarantees from the card industry while providing additional security options to safeguard consumer accounts against emerging threats. Even the largest U.S. credit card issuers have many opportunities to strengthen customer-partnered prevention and detection capabilities.

With consumers seeking greater participation in their security, banks, issuers, merchants, and vendors can take advantage of the tremendous growth opportunities in the financial security sector. Security professionals can improve their ability to fund strategic investments in customer-partnered security methods, using factual research data to bolster business cases with benefits such as increased customer acquisition, cross-selling, loyalty, and increased preference at point-of purchase.

James Van Dyke is founder and principal of Javelin Strategy & Research.

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Constantine Cannon LLP Issues $1 Billion Proposed Distibution of Payments Letter

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following letter is being issued by Constantine Cannon LLP:

Dear Merchants,

Constantine Cannon LLP and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Co-Lead Counsel for United States merchants in the In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, CV 96-5238, advise Class Members as follows:

On October 9, 2009, Lead Counsel filed a request with the District Court for the Eastern District of New York to make a distribution of more than $1 billion to eligible class members. The distribution would be primarily funded from the proceeds of the prepayment deals recently approved by the Court and would include payment of residual monies remaining in the settlement funds after accounting for the payment of all approved claims.

The distribution payments will be made on a pro rata basis to class members who received and cashed their checks for signature debit, PIN debit, and credit card overcharges. Lead Counsel anticipates mailing distribution checks within four weeks of the Court's determination of the total residual payment amount to be made in this distribution.

Lead Counsel's letter seeking Court approval of the proposed distribution of residual settlement funds is available by clicking here and on the case website, www.inrevisacheckmastermoneyantitrustlitigation.com, by clicking on the link entitled "Lead Counsel's October 9, 2009 letter seeking authorization to distribute more than $1 billion of residual settlement funds."

Details concerning merchant rights under the Settlement are available on the case website by clicking on the sidebar option entitled "Merchant/Class Member Rights Under the Settlement." You may also call 1-888-641-4437 for additional assistance.


CONSTANTINE CANNON LLP (formerly Constantine & Partners) Co-Lead Counsel for the Class Counsel@InReVisacheckMastermoneyAntitrustLitigation.com


Co-Lead Counsel for the Class

SOURCE Constantine Cannon LLP

Fiserv Drives Paperless Bill Adoption with New E-mail and Mobile Presentment Options

Fiserv, Inc. today announced that Biller Direct HV, a hosted solution that integrates electronic billing and payment capabilities into company websites, has been enhanced with new delivery and alerting capabilities. New capabilities include a "push e-bill" option that enables the delivery of secure PDF e-bills via e-mail and mobile alerts that notify consumers via their mobile device when a bill has been received...

Fiserv Drives Paperless Bill Adoption with New E-mail and Mobile Presentment Options

Addition of secure "push e-bill" and mobile alerts to Biller Direct HV allows organizations to pursue a multi-channel bill presentment strategy

Brookfield, Wis., October 13, 2009 - PIN Payments News Blog -  Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, today announced that Biller Direct HV, a hosted solution that integrates electronic billing and payment (EBP) capabilities into company websites, has been enhanced with new delivery and alerting capabilities. New capabilities include a "push e-bill" option that enables the delivery of secure PDF e-bills via e-mail and mobile alerts that notify consumers via their mobile device when a bill has been received.

With Biller Direct HV from Fiserv, billing organizations can now deliver bills electronically to all channels including the web, email and mobile devices. These enhancements reflect the continued focus Fiserv has on delivering services to meet both billing organization and consumer needs.

Today, consumers are much more knowledgeable about e-billing options and demand the freedom to choose where and how they view and pay bills. Meeting consumers at their preferred point of preference drives improved customer satisfaction and decreased costs.

"There is a digital transformation underway and it can be challenging for billing organizations to keep up with payment trends, consumer wants and needs, government regulations and emerging technologies, on top of running their own business," said Adam Craig, director of product management, Biller Solutions, Fiserv. "It is our responsibility to understand and navigate the convergence of these market forces, and equip our partners with the tools to stay ahead of expectations. The key to maximizing e-bill adoption is delivering bills wherever consumers prefer, whether it is online at the biller?s site, on a bank site, via e-mail or on a mobile device."

Secure PDF e-Bill Via e-Mail

This new functionality gives consumers the option to receive and view a secure PDF version of their bill from any e-mail inbox, regardless of the e-mail service provider. Fiserv adds an encrypted PDF attachment to the bill reminder, secured with a consumer-defined passphrase for added security. Combined with the full suite of features offered by Biller Direct HV within a billing organization?s website, Fiserv has been able to create the most comprehensive, compelling and secure PDF billing solution in the marketplace today.

"Our solution represents a paradigm shift in the way that PDF e-billing is viewed today, and this could have a significant positive impact on paperless adoption and the rate of electronic payments," Craig said.

Mobile Billing Alerts

Biller Direct HV also enables consumers to receive Short Message Service (SMS) text messages delivered to their mobile device with notifications regarding their billing account, including a bill reminder that contains bill summary information. Fiserv has already secured partnerships to make this new upgrade available and compliant with all U.S. mobile carriers.

"Particularly for younger consumers, incorporating mobile alerts to notify them of bills coming due or that have just been paid will help increase the utility and immediacy of bill payment services, while adding minimal incremental costs. For firms considering alerts, the need to develop them in-house can be offset by partnering with a solution provider that offers alerts as part of its broader bill payment platform," said Edward Kountz, senior analyst, Forrester Research, in the June 2009 report US Electronic Bill Payment And Presentment Forecast, 2009 To 2014.

Secure PDF e-bills and mobile alerts can help billing organizations reach a broader audience and appeal to consumers who have not yet switched to paperless billing, with the potential for providing billers a lift in e-bill adoption. Biller Direct HV offers Fiserv biller clients the most reliable, most secure and most feature-rich solution available in the biller direct marketplace. In addition to online, e-mail and mobile channels, Fiserv can deliver e-bills to its network of more than 3,000 financial institutions. Billers can now partner with one company and leverage cutting edge solutions that encompass all channels.

Fiserv offers a complete portfolio for optimizing bill pay touch points to maximize profitability, including electronic and paper bill production and distribution, on-demand and recurring bill payment (via agent, web, IVR and walk-in channels) as well as e-lockbox and remittance processing. For more information visit www.fiserv.com/billers.

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is the leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, driving innovation that transforms experiences for financial institutions and their customers. Ranked No. 1 on the FinTech 100 survey of top technology partners to the financial services industry, Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009. For more information, visit www.fiserv.com.

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FBI Director, Online Banking and Bank Systems & Technology News

Art Gillis from Bank Systems & Technology wrote an interesting story this morning.  It seems that online banking is off limits to not only the FBI director, but also for him.  Why?   Because he "knows too much about the technology."  Here a couple snippets:

Like the FBI Director, I’m Extremely Cautious of (Online Banking)

By Art Gillis Oct 13, 200910:03 AM ET

Where we (FBI Director Robert Mueller and I) part company, however, is in the fact that I never enrolled in online banking. So it’s quite easy for me to ignore phishing e-mails, even fictitious ones from my own bank, let alone all the fake wannabes.

My reason for not putting my monetary transactions on the Internet is simple—I know too much about technology and its user friendliness, even as it applies to intruders. For every new hurdle the hopeful protectors set up, it takes only 18 hours for the intruders to undo. In truth, the intruders are smarter than the protectors.
I’m sorry, Director Mueller, but you of all people should never trust anyone or anything, and you almost did.

Putting my money and its related data on a public facility (PC or browser) is equivalent to leaving the vault door of a bank unlocked, and posting a sign on the front door of a public street showing the location of the vault (and how much is in it)  for every passerby to see.

The best safety measure the world has today, is that a very large majority of citizens has no desire whatsoever to commit a crime. You won’t believe what I’m saying because the press covers the crooks not the good guys. Even if the bad guys amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of the world population, that’s 7 million possible intruders. I’d still be concerned if the number were only 100, because unlike Bonnie and Clyde, the electronic masterminds don’t need a fast Ford, guns, brute force, and a branch to get the dough. They can do it from a PC connected to a public network in the privacy of their cave anywhere in the world.
Continue Reading

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Smart Card Alliance and Mobile Payments Councils Announce New Officers

Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council Plans

More Education on Chip Cards and U.S. Payments Fraud for Upcoming Year

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ, October 13, 2009 – Educating on the security benefits of chip card technology, and the possibilities for it to reduce fraud in the U.S. payments industry will continue to be the top priorities for the upcoming year, the Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council announced today. The Council also announced its new officers and steering committee.

The Council’s recent educational efforts included support for a position paper, End-to-End Encryption and Chip Cards in the U.S. Payments Industry, which proposes using chip card technology to protect cardholder data and reduce fraud. With contactless cards and acceptance terminals already widely deployed in the United States, the paper discusses the fraud-reducing benefits of contactless chip cards, including a dynamic cryptogram with each transaction that stops card counterfeiting, a major source of fraud. Furthering the adoption of chip cards is an idea that builds on infrastructure already in place, and meets globally interoperable EMV standards over time.

“This position paper was a success in bringing to light the security advantages of contactless chip cards, and how they can be used with the current acceptance infrastructure to reduce fraud,” said new Contactless and Mobile Payments Council Chair Charles Walton, INSIDE Contactless. “Our priority for the upcoming year is to keep this discussion active, and to delve more deeply into the subject and provide further resources. A new white paper is in process that gets into more details on why, and how, chip card technology can really lower payments fraud in the United States.”

This year, the Council developed many educational resources on contactless and NFC proximity mobile payments, as well as documenting research and best practices for implementation of the technologies. This includes conducting a workshop on NFC and mobile payments at CTIA Wireless 2009 and publishing the white papers, “What Makes a Smart Card Secure?”,“Issuer and Merchant Best Practices: Promoting Contactless Payments Usage and Acceptance,” and “Security of Proximity Mobile Payments.”

The Council also conducted a webinar series in partnership with the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). The four webinars in the series covered the most critical issues surrounding smart cards in payments – basics of the technology, mobile payment and NFC, implementation, and security.

“The Council has proven itself the most dependable source of information on contactless and mobile payments technology and implementation,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “The Council not only provides the most recent information about the state of the industry, but is always asking ‘what’s next?’ and developing the resources that stakeholders need to move the technology forward into the future.”

The Contactless and Mobile Payments Council is made up of over 120 individuals from 45 organizations, including card issuers, payment brands, merchants, financial payment processors, terminal vendors, card manufacturers, chip vendors, systems integrators/consultants, and personalization bureaus. The new officers are:

  • Chair: Charles Walton, INSIDE Contactless

  • Vice Chair: Ron Pinkus, Giesecke & Devrient

  • Secretary: James F. Lock III, JPMorgan Chase

Members of the 2009/2010 Steering Committee are:

  • Willy Dommen, Booz Allen Hamilton

  • Troy Bernard, Discover Financial Services

  • Jack Jania, Gemalto

  • Sri Chawla, IBM

  • Ken Moy, MasterCard Worldwide

  • Paul Korczak, MTA NYC Transit

  • Garfield Smith, Oberthur Technologies

  • Dan Loomis, VeriFone

  • Simon Hurry, Visa IncMohammad Khan, ViVOtech

The complete library of Contactless and Mobile Payments Council resources can be found at http://www.smartcardalliance.org/pages/activities-councils-contactless-payments.

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 http://www.smartcardalliance.org.


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Fiserv Examines Mutual Fund Advisory for Retirement in New White Paper

Fiserv today announced the availability of their latest white paper, "Mutual Fund Advisory for Retirement: Easing the Transition into Retirement with Income Preservation and Generation." Please contact me with additional questions.

White paper is third in a series focusing on the retirement challenges of baby boomers

Brookfield, Wis., October 13, 2009 -PIN Payments News Blog-  Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, today announced the availability of their latest white paper, "Mutual Fund Advisory for Retirement: Easing the Transition into Retirement with Income Preservation and Generation."

The onset of the current economic downturn has created new challenges for aging baby boomers planning their retirement years. Many in this generation are moving their assets into mutual fund advisory ("MFA") programs that offer the familiarity of mutual funds while providing the ability to generate income, preserve capital and remain focused on tax consequences as part of a managed solution. Even in this difficult economic downturn, Investment Services from Fiserv has seen strong account growth since the beginning of 2009 in MFA programs, underscoring the benefits that a mutual fund advisory solution provides to investors. 

The paper provides an overview of MFA programs, including structure,  various investment options, and  potential trajectories. Fiserv's Mutual Fund Advisory offering includes sleeves of mutual funds chosen to match a planned asset allocation model. The program allows separate funds to be wrapped into a single account that can be managed without individual transaction fees.

"Mutual Fund Advisory from Fiserv is a great turnkey solution to help advisors balance the risks and requirements of retirement investing while meeting the needs and retirement goals of each individual investor, generally those with a small amount of investable assets, through customized investment portfolios," said Cheryl Nash, senior vice president, Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Investment Services from Fiserv. "Baby boomers require managed account solutions that provide asset retention, flexibility and liquidity as they prepare for retirement during a difficult economic time."

The Mutual Fund Advisory paper is the third of a four-part retirement series from Investment Services that also includes "Baby Boomers Driving a New Industry Focus" and "Unified Managed Accounts for Retirement: The Technology Solution Designed to Assist the Affluent Baby Boomer Generation." A fourth paper on Wealth Management Advisory Services will be released later this year.

To download the latest paper in the boomer series, please visit the Investment Services Website at www.investmentservices.fiserv.com

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is the leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, driving innovation that transforms experiences for financial institutions and their customers. Ranked No. 1 on the FinTech 100 survey of top technology partners to the financial services industry, Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009. For more information, visit www.fiserv.com.

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