Friday, November 6, 2009

Problem Solved...

"Criminals operate based on a risk-versus-reward equation. If they find a way to make or steal money that has low risk and high reward they will expand in that market, invest more time and hope for a return on investment," said Steve Santorelli, ex-Scotland Yard detective and director of global outreach at Team Cymru, a nonprofit Internet security research company.

For many criminals, it has become easier to exploit the computers of users of online banking services than to try to hack into the systems of banks, which may have invested heavily in security software.

"Why spend months trying to hack a well-fortified bank server when you can use off-the-shelf code to hack a user's home computer...?

"You can compromise their machine in seconds, steal their banking passwords or just piggy-back into their account next time they log in themselves," Santorelli said.

Editor's Note: Why not simply fortify online banking authentication with the same process trusted by banks and consumers to access cash in real time from an ATM?  The technology is there...and it's PCI 2.x certified.  Only from HomeATM.

Swipe Card, Enter PIN. Using same bank rails, same bank cards, same bank PINs. Banks can spend millions of dollars protecting their servers, but there will always be a broken link. The consumers computer. So while banks up their servers, consumers serve up their online passwords and banking credentials in seconds. Just can't do it in a browser. Fortify the process, 3DES/DUKPT encrypt cardholder data/log-in credentials "outside the browser," inside our box.

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MasterCard Inc. Financials

View: Annual Data | Quarterly DataAll numbers in thousands

PERIOD ENDING30-Sep-0930-Jun-0931-Mar-0931-Dec-08
Total Revenue1,364,275  1,279,889  1,156,102  1,224,834  
Cost of Revenue -   -   -   -  
Gross Profit1,364,275  1,279,889  1,156,102  1,224,834  
Operating Expenses
Research Development -   -   -   -  
Selling General and Administrative648,285  686,482  563,822  726,428  
Non Recurring6,245  500   -  6,000  
Others36,242  35,721  30,987  30,050  
Total Operating Expenses -   -   -   -  
Operating Income or Loss673,503  557,186  561,293  462,356  
Income from Continuing Operations
Total Other Income/Expenses Net23,989  11,031  24,383  19,229  
Earnings Before Interest And Taxes697,492  568,217  585,676  481,585  
Interest Expense24,098  31,771  35,798  36,525  
Income Before Tax673,394  536,446  549,878  445,060  
Income Tax Expense221,254  187,567  182,668  205,618  
Minority Interest302   -   -   -  
Net Income From Continuing Ops452,442  348,879  367,210  239,442  
Non-recurring Events
Discontinued Operations -   -   -   -  
Extraordinary Items -   -   -   -  
Effect Of Accounting Changes -   -   -   -  
Other Items -   -   -   -  
Net Income452,442  348,879  367,210  239,442  
Preferred Stock And Other Adjustments(243)195  48   -  
Net Income Applicable To Common Shares$452,199  $349,074  $367,258  $239,442

Research and Markets: Global Digital Economy – E-Commerce & M-Commerce Trends & Statistics

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Global Digital Economy - E-Commerce & M-Commerce Trends & Statistics" report to their offering.

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It offers analyses, statistics, forecasts and key trends for the e-payment, e-banking, m-payment and m-banking services. It provides insight into the most popular online and mobile content and services. An overview of advertising and marketing using digital media is also provided. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also provided. Subjects covered include:

  • Key elements of the digital economy;

  • Global e-commerce, e-payment and e-banking market overview and statistics;

  • Key online services and statistics;

  • Global m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking market overview and statistics;

  • Key mobile content and services;

  • Digital media marketing and advertising;

  • Brief regional overviews.

This report provides a valuable insight into the developments taking place in the digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It includes information and broad global market statistics for the e-commerce, e-payment, e-banking sectors as well as the m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking sectors. The report also includes brief case studies on some of the key markets identified for future growth such as the USA, China and Africa. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also included. Key highlights:

  • PayPal is still by far the most popular online payment system worldwide, with around 45% of its customers based outside of the US. Other interesting models are also emerging such as Twitter's TwitPay.

  • It is expected that PayPal will contribute around a third of eBay's overall revenue in 2009.

  • China now has more Internet users than the USA and these two markets, among others, now offer significant opportunities for those operating in the e-commerce space.

  • In most global markets, online travel has been one of the most successful e-commerce categories.

Online travel sector market summary:

  • Travel has been one of the largest and most competitive online sectors for at least a decade;

  • There is evidence that the economic downturn has impacted upon online travel spending by at least 10% as consumers and businesses reign in spending;

  • The longer term prospects for the sector still remain strong and while consumers may be spending less, traffic to online travel services remains steady;

  • Over $110 billion is expected to be spent on online travel in the US in 2009;

  • Online travel is also the most popular online service in Asia Pacific, with more growth expected for the region, particularly China, India, Singapore and Japan;

  • Travel websites are evolving from offering simple online bookings to incorporating online video tours, niche destinations, customised alerts and direct customer assistance;

  • Traffic from social networking sites to travel sites is growing and there may be potential opportunities for travel sites to leverage social networks further;

  • The travel industry is also turning its attention to mobile devices as a platform for marketing, booking and paying for travel.

  • E-commerce security concerns continue to persist with many consumers still reluctant to impart credit card information over the Internet and mobile devices.

  • The developing markets of Kenya, Philippines and India are currently driving developments for micro-credits and micro-payments and it won't be long before these models start arriving in the developed markets as well.

  • Mobile banking also found its initial success in the developing world where financial services are poor. The sector was also stimulated by the high charges which banks demanded for conventional money transactions. In coming years, growth will also come from mature markets as consumers turn to mobile phones as an adjunct to popular online banking services.

  • China's m-commerce market reached RMB1.3 billion ($163 million) in 2006 and is forecast to reach RMB7.6 billion ($953 million) by 2010.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Key Elements Of The Digital Economy

2. E-Commerce Market Overview and Statistics

3. Online Content and Services

4. M-Commerce Market Overview and Statistics

5. Mobile Data Content and Services

6. Digital Media Advertising and Marketing

7. Regional Overviews

8. Glossary of Abbreviations

For more information visit


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Retailers Beware: 63% of Consumers Plan to Spend Less on Holiday Gifts this Year

Growing Economic Concerns among Women Leads to 3.2 Point Drop in the Discover® U.S. Spending MonitorSM

A Cause for Concern for Retailers: Nearly 63% of Consumers Anticipate Spending Less Than Last Year on Holiday Gifts

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(PIN Payments News Blog)--Nov. 2009-- The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor fell 3.2 points in October to 85.8 (based out of 100). The decline was primarily due to a rising number of consumers concerned about the state of the economy. Overall, 56 percent of consumers rated the economy as poor, a 4-point increase from September. Forty-six percent of consumers felt economic conditions were getting worse, a 3-point rise from September and the first increase reported since July.

Concern over personal finances also rose in October, as 27 percent rated their finances as poor, a 4-point increase from September. Forty-nine percent felt their finances were getting worse, a 1-point increase from September.

The decline in economic and financial confidence was greatest among women, which may be a concern for retailers heading into the holiday shopping season. The Monitor has shown that spending intentions are tied to economic and financial confidence, and so far, numbers suggest consumers, especially women, are anticipating cutting as much if not more of their holiday spending as they did last year.

Women Decidedly More Pessimistic Than Men about the Economy, Both Share Similar Views about Finances

In October, 58 percent of women rated the economy as poor, a Monitor record 9-point increase from September. Men rating the economy as poor actually dropped a point to 53 percent. Forty-seven percent of women also said the economy was getting worse, a 3-point increase from September, while 44 percent of men felt the same way, a 2-point increase from the previous month.

Women weren’t able to find comfort in their financial situations either. Twenty-eight percent rated their finances as poor, a 5-point increase from September. However, women who felt their finances were getting worse remained unchanged in October at 49 percent. More men also rated their finances as poor, 25 percent versus 23 percent in September. But more men felt their finances were getting worse, 48 percent versus 45 percent in September.

“The Monitor has always shown that women tend to be less optimistic than men about the economy and their finances,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover. “But the record jump in the number of women rating the economy as poor and the pessimism over the current state of their finances may indicate a weak holiday shopping season ahead.”

Nearly Two-thirds of Consumers Anticipate Spending Less on Holiday Gifts

Retailers were hoping a better economy may boost holiday spending this year, but while government reports showed the economy gaining some traction in the third quarter, consumers’ holiday spending intentions may be disappointing to retailers. The Monitor asked nearly 5,000 consumers whether they planned to spend more, less or the same as last year on holiday gifts. Nearly 63 percent said they planned on spending less this year, the same number reported a year ago. Last year was one of the worst holiday shopping seasons on record. Another concern is higher numbers of women (65%) than men (60%) anticipate spending less on holiday gifts this year.

Anticipated spending on household expenses like gas and groceries rose for the first time in four months, not unexpected with the holidays approaching. But with household expenses expected to rise, more consumers plan to cut overall discretionary spending to compensate. Fifty-two percent plan on cutting purchases like going out to movies or restaurants, a 2-point increase from last month. Likewise, there was a 2-point increase to 52 percent of consumers who expect to cut home improvement spending. And 51 percent are planning to cut major personal purchases like vacations in the month ahead, up a point. Even savings wasn’t immune, as 40 percent of consumers plan to save or invest less in November, a 2-point increase.

Monitor-low 44% Expect to Have Money Left Over After Paying Monthly Bills

For the seventh straight month, less than a majority of consumers have money left over after paying monthly bills. In October, a Monitor-low 44 percent planned on having money left over, a 3-point drop from September. Furthermore, 41 percent were expecting an added expense or income shortfall in the month ahead, a 3-point rise from last month and the highest since December 2008.

“The Monitor’s numbers suggest that more and more consumers are having a hard time balancing their budgets,” said Loeger. “Consumers have little choice but to cut discretionary spending to compensate, even if it means less presents for family members this holiday season. Consumers simply don’t seem to have the economic or financial confidence right now to reverse course, which is not good news for retailers.”

For more Discover U.S. Spending Monitor survey data, charts and information, please visit

About Discover U.S. Spending Monitor

The Discover® U.S. Spending MonitorSM is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100. Surveys are conducted by Rasmussen Reports, an independent survey research firm (

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers student and personal loans, as well as savings products such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Its payments businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

Source: Discover Financial Services

Matthew Towson



WorldPay Founder Wants it Back from RBS

WorldPay founder moves to buy business back from RBS

  • Former WorldPay founder says wants to buy RBS WorldPay

  • RBS WorldPay could be worth about 1.5 billion pounds

  • RBS forced to sell business by European regulators

  • WorldPay, a separate business founded by Nick Ogden, was taken over by RBS through a hostile takeover for about 40 million pounds in 2002.

Finextra: The founder of online payments operator WorldPay, Nick Ogden, has formally approached the Royal Bank of Scotland about buying the business back.

The WorldPay business was one of the assets RBS was told to dispose of by the EU competition watchdog earlier this week as a condition for joining the UK Government's asset protection scheme. Ogden founded Internet payment processor WorldPay in 1989 as Streamline before selling it to the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002.

A spokesman for Ogden confirmed to Finextra that he has formally approached UBS, which is handling the sale, about buying it back. He is also in talks with three private equity groups about financing the deal.

The unit could cost up to £1.5 billion although Ogden will look to pay considerably less now that RBS has had its hand forced by the EU.

Continue Reading at Finextra

AuctionBytes Offers New PR Service

For Immediate Release

BOSTON, Mass. - AuctionBytes is launching a new feature to help marketplaces, vendors and services get their news in front of online retailers. is a new portal located on the website that lets companies publish their press releases about products and services for online sellers.

Press release headlines will be displayed on the AuctionBytes home page, which receives 500,000 monthly visitors a month. In addition, online merchants will be able to browse news on the portal page.

AuctionBytes editors will vet the press releases to ensure the portal offers compelling content of interest to online sellers and merchants and anyone interested in the ecommerce space. Topics include news on marketplaces, online payments, ecommerce web-hosting, website design, email marketing, search engine optimization, product-sourcing, shipping, fulfillment, and more.

The service is free for companies in the ecommerce space.


AuctionBytes is the number-one source of independent news for ecommerce and the online-auction industry launched by Steiner Associates LLC in 1999. The AuctionBytes-Update email newsletter is published twice-monthly and contains website reviews and techniques on buying and selling online. AuctionBytes Newsflash is a thrice-weekly email newsletter containing ecommerce news and announcements. The AuctionBytes Blog is a must-read news and commentary blog for the ecommerce industry and was featured in the acclaimed book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley, 2008). Steiner Associates LLC, publisher of, is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts.

Steiner Associates LLC

PO Box 668

Natick, MA 01760


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More on SSL is SOL (i.e.) Forget about Secure Financial Transactions Conducted on a Browser!

Here's some more on the recently discovered/secretly addressed/accidentally exposed critical flaw in SSL which is what the online banking community relies on for security. Translation: There is no security when financial transactions are done on the web. From
Marsh Ray and Steve Dispensa of PhoneFactor discovered a serious vulnerability in SSL, the most common data security protocol on the Internet for online banking. The SSL Authentication Gap allows an attacker to mount a man-in-the-middle attack, and affects the majority of SSL-protected servers on the Internet.

Specifically, the vulnerability allows the attacker to inject himself into the authenticated SSL communications path and execute commands. Furthermore, both the web server and the web browser generally have no idea their session has been hijacked.

Editor's Note: I've been posting for well over 18 months now that the Web is NOT SAFE for financial transactions. I wrote several months back that SSL was flawed. Extended Validation SSL is also flawed.

It seems that the online financial community is "stuck on band-aids" to stave-off threats. Why not do it right? Triple DES DUKPT encryption done "outside the browser" will eliminate all the threats that live "inside the browser." As I said last will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Attacks on SSL have made banks worried, Our patented technology takes trust to a whole new level and allows banks to set up secure links directly to the card reader itself, bypassing existing threats and risks completely. We envision that it will dramatically cut down internet crime and allow banks to do much more with their online banking customers.

The vulnerability results from a weakness in the SSL protocol standard (formally known as Transport Layer Security, or TLS). As such, most SSL implementations are vulnerable in one way or another. Affected scenarios include web surfers doing online banking.

“Because this is a protocol vulnerability, and not merely an implementation flaw, the impacts are far-reaching,” said Steve Dispensa, CTO of PhoneFactor. “All SSL libraries will need to be patched, and most client and server applications will, at a minimum, need to include new copies of SSL libraries in their products. Most users will eventually need to update any software that uses SSL.”

Here's come the band-aids!

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Oberthur Launches Smart Lumiere

Oberthur Technologies Launches World's First Commercialized Light-Emitting Payment Card

Paris, - PIN Payments News Blog - Oberthur Technologies, the world's second largest supplier of smart card solutions and the number one provider of contactless payment cards has launched Smart Lumiere, an innovative light-emitting contactless card. Available in both dual contactless-EMV or pure contactless configuration, Smart Lumiere emits light when it is entered in the field of a contactless reader to inform the cardholder when a transaction is taking place.

Smart Lumiere is the next evolution in Oberthur Technologies' pioneering work in the field of contactless payment devices. Comprised of a translucent plastic core, antenna and illuminating light apparatus, Smart Lumiere meets ISO 14443 dual interface contactless payment standards. It is the first light-emitting payment card to be ready for use in pilots. The Smart Lumiere technology has also been recognized by the industry for its innovation, with nominations in both the Hardware and the Loyalty categories of the 2009 SESAMES awards.

For the card issuer, Smart Lumiere offers major applications in the payment, loyalty, prepaid and transport markets. The color and sequence of the light sources, like the design of the card itself, is decided by the issuer, while the versatility of either pure or dual EMV-contactless configurations enables Smart Lumiere to be deployed in major geographic markets at any level of contactless migration.

For the cardholder, Smart Lumiere offers a unique form factor that will become a preferential payment device. More importantly, the Smart Lumiere card provides a visual cue to the cardholder that their contactless payment transaction has taken place; helping the bank to reinforce trust in contactless as a secure, convenient and rapid way to pay.

"Smart Lumiere provides both issuers and their cardholders with an innovative payment device and a strong message to encourage adoption of contactless payment. It also offers issuers a way to differentiate their offering and win top of the wallet status." comments Frederic Chevreton, General Manager of the Payment Product Line, Card Systems Division, Oberthur Technologies, These Sesames nominations reinforce Oberthur Technologies dedication to innovation in the payment industry."

Smart Lumiere is part of Oberthur Technologies' Smart Plastics range of innovative card bodies, finishes and inks.

About Oberthur Technologies

With sales of 882 million Euros in 2008, Oberthur Technologies is a world leader in the field of secure technologies. Innovation and high quality services ensure Oberthur Technologies' strong positioning in its main target markets:

  • Card Systems: The world's second largest provider of security

    and identification based on smart card technology and associated

    services for mobile, payment, transport, digital TV and convergence


  • Identity: Leading international supplier for the manufacture and

    personalization of secure identity documents such as passport, identity

    card, driving license or health care card - traditional and electronic

    - and associated services for both governmental and corporate markets.

  • Security printing: World's third largest private security printer

    specialized in high security for the production of banknotes, checks

    and other fiduciary documents in more than fifty countries.

  • Cash protection: World leader in the emerging market of

    intelligent systems to secure cash-in-transit and ATM.

Close to its customers, Oberthur Technologies benefits from an industrial and commercial presence across all five continents.

Oberthur Technologies S.A. is a limited liability company (societe anonyme) registered in France with its registered office at 50 quai Michelet 92 532 Levallois Perret, France. Oberthur Technologies S.A.'s corporate registration number is 340 709 534 R.C.S. Paris.

Source: Company press release.

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Elan and Laconia Partner to Provide MasterCard PayPass

Minneapolis and Laconia, N.H., Nov. 5, 2009 -– Elan Financial Services and Laconia Savings Bank have partnered to provide Laconia Savings Bank customers with MasterCard® PayPass™ contactless payment capability on their debit cards. The PayPass-enabled cards offer Laconia Savings Bank's cardholders a faster, more secure way to pay and a more convenient shopping experience by enabling "Tap & Go™" payments.

PayPass-enabled debit cards allow cardholders to simply tap their cards on a specially equipped merchant terminal. The payments are then processed and completed without the hassle of swiping a card or fumbling for cash and coins. Signatures are not required for PayPass purchases under $50, further speeding up a cardholder's transactions. PayPass cards also include a traditional magnetic stripe so they can be used anywhere MasterCard cards are accepted.

"MasterCard PayPass is a great example of Laconia Savings Bank's commitment to continually evolving our services and offerings to bring added value and convenience to our customers," said Mark Primeau, President and CEO of Laconia Savings Bank. "MasterCard PayPass is simpler and faster than cash, enabling our cardholders to enjoy a quicker, more convenient payment option."

"Laconia Savings Bank has taken an innovative and forward-thinking approach to bringing value to each interaction with its cardholders," said Richard "Troy"

Cullen, business manager of Elan Financial Services. "As the payments landscape continually changes, cardholders are looking for easier and more convenient ways to pay for purchases, and financial institutions like Laconia recognize the importance of harnessing the latest technology and offering it to their cardholders. Elan is pleased to have partnered with both MasterCard and Laconia to facilitate this capability and looks forward to working further with Laconia to help integrate and enhance PayPass functionality for its cardholders."

MasterCard PayPass is ideal for traditional cash-heavy environments where speed is essential, and has led the way in bringing contactless technology to consumer categories such as quick serve restaurants, drug stores, gas stations, vending machines, convenience stores, sports arenas, movie theaters, transit systems, taxis, parking garages and more. As of Q2 2009, there are nearly 61 million MasterCard PayPass cards and devices in use at more than 153,000 merchants worldwide. According to U.S. MasterCard research, consumer preference and satisfaction is driving PayPass growth and usage. About 94 percent of PayPass-using respondents in a 2008 MasterCard PayPass Benchmark Study were satisfied with their experience, and 77 percent of PayPass consumers said they use PayPass as their primary card for everyday purchases.

Laconia Savings Bank began providing new customers with PayPass-enabled debit cards in September and will begin replacing all other existing customers'

debit cards with PayPass-enabled debit cards upon renewal or request.

About Laconia Savings Bank

Laconia Savings Bank has been serving New Hampshire residents and businesses since 1831. Throughout their history they have provided financial and volunteer support to many worthwhile organizations throughout the state and are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in New Hampshire. They currently have 19 office locations throughout the state and are the largest community bank in New Hampshire.

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®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to .

About Elan Financial Services

Elan Financial Services provides a complete range of EFT processing and payments services including ATM and debit card processing, credit card issuing and prepaid card solutions. Elan Financial Services provides transaction processing, terminal driving and the necessary monitoring and support services for over 31,000 ATMs nationwide, supports more than 18 million ATM and debit cards and is a leading credit card issuer for more than 1,500 clients in 50 states. Elan also owns and operates the MoneyPass surcharge free ATM network. For more information call 800-343-7064, or visit them online at .

Source: Company press release.

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