Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hack Report Untrue - Citigroup

Earlier today, I blogged about the Wall Street Journal report that a hack at Citi was being probed by the FBI.  PC World says that it turns out somebody at the FBI confused an earlier Citi hack as a new one...

A source within federal law enforcement who declined to be identified said the Wall Street Journal story was inaccurate and appears to have confused a known 2007 hack of Citigroup-branded automated teller machines with a long-running criminal effort to hack online banking customers and move money out of their accounts.


Citi Says Its Systems Were Not Breached

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In response to an inaccurate story today by The Wall Street Journal on Citi's cyber security, Citi issued the following statement:

Allegations reported today by The Wall Street Journal of a breach of Citi systems and associated losses are false. Any allegation that the FBI is working on a case at Citigroup involving a breach of Citi systems resulting in tens of millions of dollars of losses is false. There has been no breach and there have been no associated losses. We take the security of our customers' accounts and systems seriously. We continuously take steps to protect our customers against fraud, and we have state-of-the-art processes to detect and prevent criminal activity.

Occasionally, as with virtually all financial institutions, there are instances of fraud or breaches of third-party systems that result in our taking actions to protect our customers and Citi. However, contrary to the Wall Street Journal report today, there has been no breach of Citi's systems.

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.

HomeATM Headline Newsletter through December 22nd

Visit our corporate website.

Cash, not credit, is holiday shoppers' preferred payment method

Palm Beach Post  According to First Data Corp., which processes transactions for merchants, PIN debit card purchases grew 12.8 percent in November compared to a year ago.

Google to buy Yelp for $500 million or more?

TechSpot  By Matthew DeCarlo, TechSpot.com Google is reportedly in closing negotiations to buy Yelp, the local business review site founded in 2004 by two PayPal ...

PayPal Rolls Out Send Money App For BlackBerry

Washington Post  PayPal is finally extending its money transfer system to the BlackBerry, with a new, free Send Money app for the Blackberry. The app will let you access

Will Consumers’ Shift Away from Credit Cards Outlast the Recession?

Consumers have cut back their usage of credit cards in the past year, often on their own volition but also because suddenly risk-averse credit card issuers have closed millions of credit card...  http://www.digitaltransactions.net/newsstory.cfm?newsid=2404

VeriFone Sees Promise in Mobile Apps And Taxi Transactions

VeriFone Holdings Inc. swung to a welcome $3.69 million profit in its fourth fiscal 2009 quarter and sees evidence of recovery in its global markets, but the leading U.S. point-of-sale terminal... http://www.digitaltransactions.net/newsstory.cfm?newsid=2401

With E-Transfers, Banks Target Gen-Y Payments

A new generation of person-to-person money transfer services is quickly gaining traction with banks, offering a way to regain a share of the electronic payments that was ceded long ago to nonbank rivals.  These services make it easier to send money to other people than with existing methods, and some executives say they could become a new source of revenue at a time when banks are eager to find additional ways to generate fee income.

MoneyGram International tries out mobile phone-based money transfers in ...

Bizjournals.com  MoneyGram International Inc. said Monday that it is trying out a program in the Philippines in which people can receive money transfers over their mobile

Cardtronics Names NYCE Payments Exec as New CEO

ABC News  AP ATM operator Cardtronics Inc. said Monday it named Steven A. Rathgaber, an executive at NYCE Payments Network LLC, as its new CEO

Finding Your Niche in the E-Commerce Ecosystem

After an exceedingly tough year for businesses in virtually every sector, reports of online sales Cyber Monday offer hope for the turnaround so many people have been waiting for. The Internet has been called by many "the great equalizer." One of the best things about selling online is that virtually anyone can start a business on the Net with far fewer fixed costs than a brick-and-mortar approach.  http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/68906.html

Top 8 Security Threats of 2010

BankInfoSecurity.com  Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst, says the threats include man-in-the-browser attacks that defeat one-time-password authentication from a dedicated token ...

Gemalto: Xiring deal highlights competing online payment security solutions

istockAnalyst.com (press release)  However, in a time of rising fraud and competition from payment options such as PayPal, players may yet be forced to seek an alternative to payment cards.

Pros and Cons of Debit Cards

In an article titled "Debit-card use grows, but risks still an issue", Chuck Strickler writes for The Columbus Dispatch about debit cards - how they help consumers stay in control but also how they're different than credit cards.  In an article titled "One debit-card overdraft can trigger an avalanche", Los Angeles Times personal finance columnist Kathy Kristof writes about how one overdraft was turned into four overdraft fees when one consumer's bank (Chase) reordered the payments posting to her checking account. Kristof goes on to note that Chase has announced it plans to eliminate that practice "in the first few months of 2010".

China Online Payment Industry Report, 2009 - New Report Published

OfficialWire (press release)   by Press Office The global economic crisis has impacted on the majority of industries, but China online payment market is growing against the adversity,

Yelp Walks Away From Google Deal

AccuraCast  Yelp, which was founded in 2004 by two former employees of PayPal, is a local review website, which allows users to read or write reviews about various


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reputedly investigating a hacking attack by a Russian cybergang that targeted Citibank and resulted in the theft of tens of million of dollars, according to a Wall Street Journal report.  More on this story: http://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=20906

Cardtronics Names Payments Industry Executive Steven A. Rathgaber as CEO


Most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of NYCE Payments Network, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.

HOUSTON,  (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- Cardtronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:CATM), the world's largest non-bank operator of ATMs, announced that its board of directors has selected Steven A. Rathgaber as the Company's new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Rathgaber, a seasoned payments industry executive, brings over 32 years of broad payment product and network experience to Cardtronics. Most recently, Mr. Rathgaber served as President and Chief Operating Officer of NYCE Payments Network, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.

"After an extremely thorough search process, we found not only an outstanding leader with a sustained track record of exceeding established operational and financial goals, but also a payments industry executive with the knowledge and expertise needed to help Cardtronics continue its strong track record of growth and innovation," commented Fred Lummis, Cardtronics' Chairman of the Board and interim Chief Executive Officer. "The existing management team has done an outstanding job of creating an extremely valuable and profitable network comprised of over 33,000 financial services kiosks and strong financial institution and retail relationships throughout three countries. With Steve's significant payments industry experience, including the launching of numerous payments-related products while at NYCE, we believe we've found a CEO who will lead our team's efforts to introduce new products and services that will leverage our existing network and scale our business."

During Mr. Rathgaber's 18 years at NYCE, he served in a number of sales and operating roles within that organization, including most recently the position of President and Chief Operating Officer, which he assumed in 2004 concurrent with the acquisition of NYCE by Metavante. During his tenure at NYCE, Mr. Rathgaber was responsible for developing and leading NYCE's payment product expansion strategy, which included, among other things, the launching of internet and mobile banking and payment-related services. He was also responsible for NYCE's domestic and international expansion efforts, and oversaw the acquisition and integration of numerous debit networks and transaction processing platforms. Prior to joining NYCE, Mr. Rathgaber served in a number of operational management roles with Automatic Data Processing, Inc. and Citibank. Mr. Rathgaber holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. John's University.

"The opportunity to join Cardtronics at this point in the Company's evolution was one I couldn't pass up," remarked Mr. Rathgaber. "Having spent almost three decades working in the payments industry, I can tell you that Cardtronics is well-positioned to expand the breadth and depth of the financial services products it currently offers. By leveraging the Company's existing kiosk network management expertise and its relationships with industry-leading financial institutions and blue-chip retailers, I am confident that Cardtronics can become a powerful consumer financial services delivery network. I also expect Cardtronics to continue to benefit from the secular growth trend in the provision of convenient and cost-effective consumer financial services, including surcharge-free access to cash, bill payment services, and prepaid card and remote image deposit services."

In connection with the appointment of Mr. Rathgaber as the Company's new Chief Executive Officer, he was also elected to the Company's board of directors. Both the appointment and the election will become effective February 1, 2010. Until that time, Mr. Lummis will continue to serve as the Company's interim Chief Executive Officer. After February 1, 2010, Mr. Lummis will continue to serve as the Company's Chairman of the Board.


Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cardtronics is the world's largest non-bank operator of ATMs. Cardtronics operates approximately 33,000 ATMs across its portfolio, with ATMs in every major market in the United States and Puerto Rico, over 2,600 ATMs throughout the United Kingdom, and over 2,100 ATMs throughout Mexico. Major merchant clients include 7-Eleven(R), Chevron(R), Costco(R), CVS(R)/pharmacy, ExxonMobil(R), Rite Aid(R), Safeway(R), Sunoco(R), Target(R), and Walgreens(R). Complementing its ATM operations, Cardtronics works with financial institutions of all sizes to provide their customers with convenient cash access and deposit capabilities through ATM branding, surcharge-free programs, and image deposit services. Approximately 11,200 Cardtronics owned and operated ATMs currently feature bank brands. For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.cardtronics.com.

The Cardtronics logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=991

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Cardtronics, Inc.
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Top 10 Global Retailers

Top 10 Global Retailers as reported by RIS

Most of the retailers that comprise the largest retailers in the world (excluding U.S. companies) have headquarters in Europe, with France posting three of the top 10. Germany and Japan each post two retailers on the list. Of the largest global retailers only four have a strong presence in the U.S. -- Tesco, Seven and I Holdings, Aldi and Royal Ahold.

The top 10 global retailers are:

1. Carrefour: $124.35 Billion

The France-based company posted slow, yet profitable growth year-over year. Although revenue was up it was essentially flat. Like revenue, net profit also was essentially flat although down from the previous year. With 15,400 stores across 30 countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Carrefour, which means "Crossroads," operates hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience, discount, and cash-and-carry stores.

2. Metro AG: $95.78 Billion

Like Carrefour, Metro posted slow but steady revenue growth year-over-year in its last reported complete financial period. Revenue was up but basically flat, while net income slightly dipped from the previous year. As Germany's largest retailer, Metro owns and operates about 2,200 wholesale stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, department stores, as well as electronics shops. Metro also has stores in 30 other countries including China and Poland.

3. Tesco: $77.45 Billion

U.K.-based Tesco posted one of the sharpest declines of any retailer on the list, with revenue dropping $16 billion and net income also down. While most of the figures posted for other companies on the list are for 2008, Tesco's figures are more current and reflect most of 2009, a timeframe that has been one of the worst on record. It is likely that most of the other companies will reflect a similar downward trend when their 2009 figures are posted. Tesco operates more than 4,330 stores in the UK and 13 other countries in Europe, Asia, as well as the Fresh & Easy banner in the U.S.

4. Aldi: $65.7 Billion

Germany-based Aldi is one of the largest private companies in the world and has more than doubled its revenue in a seven year timeframe. In its latest financial period the company substantially grew revenue year-over-year. Based on the company's steady financial growth, it's clear that Aldi has found the winning formula to success -- offering deep discounts on essentials. Aldi operates about 9,000 stores worldwide and has a strong presence in the U.S. with 1,000 stores across 30 states.

5. Seven & I Holdings: $57.79 Billion

The Japan-based company posted strong growth for the 2009 period, reporting a nearly $9 billion rise in revenue year-over-year. Net income however was essentially flat. Seven & I operates the largest number of stores of any company on this list -- a whopping 33,000 locations worldwide. The "seven" in the company's title reflects the seven areas of business it operates including convenience stores, superstores, restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, financial services, and IS/IT services. The "holding" part of the company's name consists of its five subsidiaries, one of which is the U.S.-based 7-Eleven.

6. Groupe Auchan: $55.65 Billion

The private France-based company reported essentially flat revenue and flat net income year-over-year, but over the past seven years it has more than doubled its revenue. The company is France's second largest food retailer (behind Carrefour) and operates about 495 hypermarkets and 745 supermarkets throughout Europe, China, Dubai, Russia and Taiwan. Auchan recently exited the U.S., Mexico, and Morocco markets. However it opened or acquired about 50 hypermarkets, a dozen supermarkets, and 20 shopping centers in Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia over the past year.

7. Aeon Co.: $48.14 Billion

The Japan-based retailer posted a slight drop in revenue for its 2009 period, but also reported a huge dip in net income making it the only company on this list to operate in the red. Known for its various retail ventures, Aeon is Japan's largest supermarket chain and operates more than 1,000-plus stores under MaxValu and more than 3,000 Ministop convenience stores. Aeon also runs a number of specialty chains and a leading drugstore chain of 1,730 outlets.

8. Casino Guichard-Perrachon: $40.46 Billion

The France-based company reported a rise in revenue while net income was essentially flat for the most recent completed 12-month period. The company owns and operates more than 9,590 hypermarkets (Géant), supermarkets (Casino and Monoprix), restaurants (Casino Cafétéria), and discount stores (Leader Price). The retailer also operates more than 1,100 outlets in 10 countries worldwide, including Brazil, The Netherlands, Thailand and Vietnam.

9. Woolworths: $40.13 Billion

Australia-based Woolworths posted a drop in revenue in 2009 while net income was essentially flat. As the number one food retailer down under it operates more than 3,100 supermarkets, general merchandise and electronics stores in Australia and New Zealand. Woolworths also sells gasoline, provides wholesale merchandise for third-party supermarkets and operates more than 150 general merchandise discount stores under the Big W banner.

10. Royal Ahold: $36.26 Billion

The Netherlands-based company posted a drop in revenue year-over-year and net income also dipped. The retailer owns about 2,900 supermarkets and specialty stores across Europe and the U.S., where it is a major player as operator of the Giant Food and Stop & Shop chains, which account for more than 50 percent of the company's total sales.

This is the first time RIS has reported financial standings for global retailers. The figures posted in this story come from the last completed 12 month reporting period.

For related content, see:

Top 10 U.S. Retailers: Walmart, Kroger and Costco Lead List

Top 10 U.S. Retailers

RIS' Top 10 U.S. Retailers:
"Most of the retailers cited on the mega-retailer list are in the pharmacy, mass merchant or grocery verticals. The only department store to make the list is Sears, which came in at the number 10 spot. Several retailers move their historical positions on the list (for better or worse). Home Depot, which was once the number two retailer behind Walmart is now the number 4 retailer, falling behind Kroger and Costco. Sears also drops down the list, continuing a decades-long trend, while Walgreens, CVS Caremark and Best Buy continue upward momentum." - RIS

Here's a look at the Top 10 largest U.S. retailers and how they performed in 2009:

1. Walmart: $404.54 Billion

Earning nearly five times more than the second largest retailer, Walmart won't relinquish its position as the number one retailer anytime soon. Its every-day-value-based prices continue to win customers in search of a bargain, especially in tough times. The retail giant is focusing on global expansion, green initiatives and a store refresh program called Project Impact to ensure it stays on top of the retail heap with solid growth.

2. Kroger: $75.35 Billion

In a year when consumers were forced to trade down and cut discretionary purchases, Kroger benefited by providing must-have grocery staples for the household. As the operator of more than 3,550 stores nationwide, Kroger maintains its strong comp-store sales and solid growth through use of sophisticated customer segmentation analytics and offering competitive prices and private label products.

3. Costco: 71.42 Billion

As the largest membership discount warehouse operator in the U.S. Costco is well positioned to maintain and even grow market share in a recessionary economy. Store openings continue to rise and profits remain healthy for this steadily growing giant.

4. Home Depot: 67.64 Billion

Although its market segment has taken a big hit since the heyday of the housing boom several years ago, the largest home improvement chain is still a retail force to be reckoned with. Revenue has steadily fallen since the $90-billion high point of 2007. Recent cost-cutting measures include shuttering its EXPO, THD Design Center and Yardbirds stores.

5. Target: 64.74 Billion

Although still famous for cheap chic clothing and general merchandise, Target's big move in 2009 was to expand shelf space for food and grocery, especially its private label brands Archer Farms and Market Pantry. Revenue has been steadily, although slowly, growing.

6. Walgreen: 63.34 Billion

In 2009 Walgreen acquired about a dozen Rite Aid locations and 30-plus stores from New Jersey-based Drug Fair and also hit a milestone when it opened its 7,000th drugstore. Like the other drug store chain on the list, CVS, Walgreen is well positioned to maintain its strong record of growth.

7. CVS: $56 Billion

An active acquisition schedule has greatly expanded the number of retail pharmacies for CVS and the range of services it offers. Most recently, it acquired Longs Drug Stores, which added 530 retail pharmacies to its store count. Like its rival Walgreen, CVS also recently opened its 7,000th drugstore. Note that the $56 billion figure only represents the company's retail segment and estimates its fourth quarter sales for 2009. The drug-store chain's Caremark division brings in another $41 billion for a total of $97, making it the second largest organization on the list.

8. Best Buy: $47.3 Billion

Discretionary purchases were down the past year, especially for big ticket items such as TV's and electronics, however Best Buy is still riding a winning streak, partly due to picking up a huge chunk of market share from the liquidated Circuit City chain. To continue its hot streak, Best Buy is developing smaller concept stores, debuting a 24-hour store in New York City, launching Best Buy mobile and expanding its Geek Squad business.

9. Lowe's: $47.04 Billion

Like its competitor Home Depot, Lowe's is in a retail segment under financial siege. However, unlike Home Depot it has maintained year over year revenue, although it has considerably slowed its pace of store openings. When the housing and home improvement market pick up again Lowe's appears to be in a very strong position to capture market share and continue on its stated goal of opening up 2,500 new stores.

10. Sears: $44.08 Billion

While Sears/Kmart is not likely to hit its 2007 peak of $53 billion any time soon, it is moving quickly into multi-channel retailing and taking a leadership position in mobile commerce and social media. Like others in the department store segment year-over-year revenue continues to fall, even as bright spots emerge from new initiatives.

For methodology, RIS evaluated public financial figures for the 12-month trailing period for each of the retailers cited on our list. By 12-month trailing period we mean the period for which a full-year of revenue figures is available. This list is made up only of U.S.-based retailers.

Romanian Fraudster Extradited to Tennessee

Florin Muresan gets free trip to America...can stay here free for up to 10 years!

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday that Florin Muresan, a 27-year-old resident of Romania, has been extradited to Nashville from England to face charges that he fraudulently sold over 1,000 credit card account numbers, including ones stolen from people in Tennessee.

A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tenn., indicted Muresan back in May on charges of obtaining $1,000 or more by trafficking in credit card account numbers in interstate commerce.Muresan was arrested by British authorities in London, England in June of this year. U.S. marshals transported him to Tennessee over the weekend.If convicted, Muresan faces up to 10 years in prison...

More Banks Using Hardware to Secure Online Banking Sessions

European Banks Way Ahead of US Counterparts When it Comes to Providing Security for Online Banking Customers

The device pictured on the left is an online banking authentication device.  (looks more like a calculator)  Millions of these types of devices, from Todos, Gemalto, Vasco, etc. have been purchased (about $14 Euros each) by European banks for their online banking customers.  

The customer inserts their card and the device "calculates" a One-Time-Password

Well, according to a report released by Gartner last week, One-time-passwords are no longer enough to protect online banking transactions.   So, according to my calculations,  there are going to be a whole lot (millions) of OTP devices that need replacing. 

The EMV version of our SLIM is currently in the lab being tested for PCI certification and can be customized with a bank's visual corporate identity. Click here to see a YouTube preview of our EMV BBPOS device. 

Press Release: Banca Intesa Selects Gemalto’s Strong Authentication Solution to Secure e-Commerce in Serbia

One of the world’s first smart-card based authentication solution for securing e-commerce

AMSTERDAM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security, today announced that Banca Intesa in Serbia has selected its Ezio Classic reader to secure e-commerce services. Banca Intesa is the leading financial institution in Serbia and is part of Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s strongest banking group, the fifth largest bank in Euro zone in terms of market capitalization and one of the top 15 banks in the world. The reader, customized with Banca Intesa’s visual corporate identity, will enable users to make online purchases with the security level guaranteed by the EMV banking card. Gemalto deploys one of the world’s first smart-card based strong authentication solutions used for securing e-commerce.

“Gemalto is proud to accompany Banca Intesa in their strong authentication program, which will give their customers the freedom to shop online when and where they want, with utmost security.”

Banca Intesa determined to implement Gemalto’s strong authentication solution to protect its online customers from “card non present” fraud in e-commerce. Online shoppers will be able to buy a wide variety of goods and services such as airline and railway tickets, hotel accommodation, mobile and Internet top-up, consumer electronics, books and office supplies, with the highest level of security.

Ezio Classic reader is extremely easy to operate: users just insert their banking card into the reader and enter their PIN code on the keypad; the device then generates a One Time Password they type in to securely make e-commerce purchases.   (Read what Gartner has to say about One-Time-Passwords)

“We were impressed by the ergonomics of the solution and Gemalto was the only supplier able to meet our delivery deadline,” commented Milos Nedeljkovic, Head of Payment cards and Direct Channels Department, Banca Intesa. “Furthermore, the reader has successfully been deployed in large volumes and for Banca Intesa, this is evidence that we made the right choice.”

“Increasing online payment security is key to building consumer confidence in e-commerce,” added Jacques Seneca, executive vice president of the Security Business Unit for Gemalto. 

“Gemalto is proud to accompany Banca Intesa in their strong authentication program, which will give their customers the freedom to shop online when and where they want, with utmost security.” The solution is compliant with the latest industry standards - MasterCard Chip Authentication Program (CAP) and Visa Dynamic Passcode Authentication (DPA). Gemalto has already achieved major deployments of secure Ezio solutions notably in China, France, Hungary, Nigeria, the UK and USA.

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries. Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure. Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM), Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports, and USB tokens for online identity protection. To complete the solution we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals. As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.

For more information please visit www.gemalto.com.

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WSJ: Citibank Hacked?

Grupo Financiero BanamexImage via Wikipedia

FBI Probes Hack at Citibank

Russian Cyber Gang Suspected of Stealing Tens of Millions; Bank Denies Breach

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a computer-security breach targeting Citigroup Inc. that resulted in a theft of tens of millions of dollars by computer hackers who appear linked to a Russian cyber gang, according to government officials.

The attack took aim at Citigroup's Citibank subsidiary, which includes its North American retail bank and other businesses. It couldn't be learned whether the thieves gained access to Citibank's systems directly or through third parties.

The attack underscores the blurring of lines between criminal and national-security threats in cyber space. Hackers also assaulted two other entities, at least one of them ...

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Airline Folds While Awaiting Credit Card Debt

Last year, I blogged about how Frontier Airlines was forced into bankruptcy because of credit/debit card reserves being held by First Data.  See: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!  To First Data's "credit" they worked with Frontier to alleviate the problem caused by the reserves.

Now, Compare and Save is reporting that payment processor E-Clear withheld as much as £35m in fees owed to the leading Scottish airline, contributing to Flyglobespan's collapse... 

Airline folded 'while awaiting credit card debt'

22 December 2009 11:43:12

Scottish airline collapsed after failing to receive credit card payments.

Payment processor firm E-Clear is being investigated over an alleged £35m debt which contributed to the downfall of Flyglobespan.

The leading Scottish airline collapsed last week, leaving as many as 4,500 holidaymakers stranded in a number of destinations in Europe, North America and north Africa.

Further confusion arose over the weekend as Allbury Travel, which is owned by E-Clear chief executive Elias Elia, also ceased its operations with immediate effect.

Continue Reading at Compare and Save

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Top 10 Reasons U.S. Should Consider EMV

Date: Tuesday, January, 26, 2010

Time: 1:00PM - 2:00PM EST

Reserve your webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/649554705

The Smart Card Alliance invites you to attend a complimentary interactive webinar entitled, The Top 10 Reasons U.S. Should Consider EMV.

With so many countries in advanced stages of EMV/chip migration, the question is often raised–why is the United States not following suit and migrating to this more secure technology? Now with U.S. travelers beginning to have trouble using their magnetic stripe cards abroad, and the threat of fraud levels rising from within and from being imported from abroad, it is an ideal time for U.S. financial industry to take a thorough look at the costs and potential benefits of EMV/chip, and possibilities for implementation.

This webinar will present the current rate of EMV/chip deployment internationally, the benefits of the technology in fighting payment fraud, and implementation options for U.S. card issuers. The webinar will include a case study of EMV/chip implementation in Canada, and an analysis of how U.S. cardholders who travel abroad with non-EMV/chip cards alter their purchase behavior, resulting in lost card business and customer goodwill.

Attendees should come away with an understanding of how an accelerated effort to migrate to chip card technology will allow the U.S. payments industry to effectively reduce fraud in the long term and ensure global interoperability and acceptance


  • Deborah Baxley, Management Consultant, KeyPoint Consulting

  • Nick Holland, Senior Analyst, Aite Group

  • Simon Hurry, Senior Business Leader, Visa Inc.

  • Dave Metcalfe, Director, Debit Payment Innovation & ScotiaCard Services, Bank of Nova Scotia

  • Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director, Smart Card Alliance

Reserve your webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/649554705

Obama Set (Swipe, Encrypt, Transmit) to Reveal US Cyber Security Chief


By Steve Evans

Former Microsoft security guru lined up

US president Barack Obama is close to naming a new cyber security chief to help protect America’s IT infrastructure, with reports suggesting that government and IT security veteran Howard Schmidt is set to land the role.

Shortly after taking office in early 2009, President Obama announced a review of America’s ability to protect itself from cyber attacks. At the time, he said that the country was not as prepared as it should be for threats from cyberspace.

Schmidt, who was previously an advisor to President Bush, also used to work for eBay and Microsoft and has significant pull in the technology industry, according to a report in The Guardian. He is currently president of the Information Security Forum and founder and CEO of R & H Security Consulting LLC.

Neil Fisher, VP global security solutions at Unisys, believes that the appointment will boost cyber security beyond the US.

Continue Reading

Featured Video: Verifone Debut's iPhone Secure Payments Solution

From PYMNTS.com - Read the full article here

Women Shoppers Prefer Debit or Cash over Credit Cards for Holiday Purchases

CheapToday’s ‘Just Wondering’ Survey Suggests Power Moms Leading the Charge against Credit and towards Debit or Cash Options for Their Holiday Purchases

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CheapToday, Inc., the Online Shopping Network specializing in publishing quality deals from high profile brands including Sears, Kmart, Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, Macy’s, Calvin Klein and Barnes & Noble, today announced the latest results from its ‘Just Wondering’ survey of buying trends and attitudes of Power Moms.

“their primary motivation seems to be to avoid having to deal with large credit balances in 2010; reflective of a general trend away from relying on credit for holiday purchases.”

CheapToday regularly surveys its Power Mom subscribers to monitor their buying behavior, attitudes and trends. When asked, “By which payment method will you have purchased the majority of your holiday gifts this year?” 134 CheapToday Power Moms responded and the results were as follows:

  • 43% reported using Visa for their holiday purchases, preferring the debit payment option over the credit payment option

  • 32% reported using Cash or Check payment for their holiday purchases

  • 14% reported using MasterCard for their holiday purchases, preferring the debit payment option over the credit payment option

  • 3% reported using Retail Store Credit Cards such as those provided by Walmart

  • 2% reported using their American Express Card

  • 6% reported using Other options such as Gift Cards and the Discover Card

“Women power mom shoppers prefer debit, cash and other ‘pay as you go’ purchase options this holiday season,” said Chris Hill, President & CEO of CheapToday, Inc. Hill continued “their primary motivation seems to be to avoid having to deal with large credit balances in 2010; reflective of a general trend away from relying on credit for holiday purchases.”

About CheapToday.com:

CheapToday, Inc. is an online shopping network specializing in publishing quality deals from high profile brands including Sears, Kmart, Target, Kohl’s, Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret, and Walmart. Each day, CheapToday’s Editors answer a specific question for its readers: What’s CheapToday @ Your Favorite Store? Deals are published on CheapToday.com, through our Daily Deals Alerts & Weekly Wow Newsletters (http://www.cheaptoday.com/deal-alerts/), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cheaptoday) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/cheaptoday).

Visa Study: Consumers Lose Track of More Than $1,000 In Cash Each Year

Shopping is Among the Highest Categories for Disappearing Cash; Majority of Consumers Agree Debit Cards Help Track Spending

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to a new survey commissioned by Visa Inc. (NYSE:V), U.S. consumers cannot account for an average of $21 per week in cash spending, adding up to more than $1,000 per year. Younger adults between the ages of 18 to 24 claim to lose track of $2,500 annually, more than twice the average amount.

The international survey of more than 12,000 adults in 12 markets around the world (including 1,000 U.S. consumers) asked respondents to estimate their “mystery spending,” or the cash they spend but cannot account for every week.

“Despite consumers’ focus on controlling spending, they are still losing track of a considerable amount of money each year — particularly when shopping or spending leisure time with friends and family – key activities during the holiday season,” said Wayne Best, Visa’s chief economist.

Where does the cash go?

U.S. consumers said they were most likely to mystery spend while:

  • Purchasing food and other groceries (34 percent)

  • Leisure shopping for non-essentials (32 percent)

  • Enjoying a night on the town (31 percent)

  • Dining out (26 percent)

Additionally, 22 percent of U.S. consumers believe that small cash purchases make it hard to track spending. “Even for the most organized spender, it can be tough to keep track of every cup of coffee, greeting card, teacher’s gift or stocking stuffer picked up at the mall and paid for with cash,” said Best. “While cash purchases can be difficult to track, the survey revealed that consumers believe debit cards can help them monitor spending more closely and stay within budget.”

Debit can help solve the disappearing cash dilemma

  • Debit cards can provide an easy and effective way for consumers to access available funds for purchases. And, according to the Visa survey, consumers agree:

  • Overall, debit cards ranked as Americans’ primary payment method for personal and household expenses (37 percent), which is considerably above cash (22 per cent).

  • Over two-thirds of debit card users (68 percent) prefer to use their debit card instead of cash whenever possible.

  • Three-quarters of U.S. consumers using debit cards (76 percent) agree the cards provide an easy way to track spending.

  • Three in five U.S. consumers who use a debit card (61 percent) say that using their debit card helps keep their mystery spending to a minimum.

  • Two-thirds of U.S. debit card users (63 percent) find that tracking their debit card spending helpful in sticking to a budget.

  • U.S. consumers whose primary payment method is their debit card would rather give up coffee, their MP3 player, their mobile phone, email, visiting social network sites - and even cash - for one week than they would their debit card.

The period ending December 2008 marked the first time that spending on Visa Debit cards surpassed spending on Visa Credit cards; debit now makes up approximately 70 percent of Visa’s U.S. transactions.

“For more than a decade we’ve seen a shift in consumer behavior as debit cards have taken a greater role in everyday spending,” said Stacey Pinkerd, head of global consumer products at Visa Inc. “More places that were traditionally cash only — from taxis to charities to dry cleaners — are now accepting payment cards, so consumers can enjoy convenient access to their funds by using their debit cards with a level of control and protection not offered by cash.”

Mystery Spenders Abroad

The survey data also provides insight into international trends. Heightened spending vigilance stands out as a global phenomenon while various regions showed distinct patterns in tracking spending.  Consumers around the world report they are unable to account for 20 percent of their cash spending each week.

  • Australians reported the largest cash disappearance, both in terms of actual amount lost ($59) and also percentage of total spend (34 percent). While adults in India reported only $8 missing weekly, this is actually 31% of their total weekly cash spend.

  • Compared to 12 months ago, the cash-oriented countries of Russia (38 percent) and India (74 percent) believe they are losing track of more cash at a significantly higher rate than U.S. consumers do (13 percent).

  • Consumers in Korea (74 percent) and South Africa (71 percent) either “strongly agree” or “agree” that use of debit cards keeps mystery spending to a minimum.

  • Shopping for food or other groceries (43 percent), leisure shopping and/or shopping for nonessentials (33 percent) and out for the night or socializing (32 percent) were the top spending categories around the world where consumers feel they lose track of spending.

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com

About the Survey

Ipsos MORI conducted an international study across 12 markets during September 2009. Interviews were conducted by telephone among nationally representative sample adults aged 18+ in each market. Data has been weighted accordingly to reflect the total adult population of each market (some markers to reflect the total urban population). The interviews for this survey were conducted in the following markets: USA, Canada, India, Russia, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, and GCC. MARGIN OF ERROR: using a confidence interval of 95%, a difference of plus or minus four percentage points between markets is required for the finding to be significant.

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MoneyGram Makes $40 Million Debt Prepayment, CFO Resigns

http://www.moneygram.comMoneyGram International Makes $40 million Debt Prepayment

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a global leader in the payment services industry, today announced that it has provided notice to its debt holders that on Dec. 22, 2009, it will make an optional $40 million prepayment on its tranche B term loan under the senior secured credit facility.

“We remain focused on continuing to improve our capital structure and are very pleased to be able to make a prepayment on our term B debt to further reduce the company’s total outstanding debt obligation,” said Pamela H. Patsley, chairman and CEO.

Including this latest payment, MoneyGram International will have paid $187 million toward its outstanding debt obligation in 2009. This represents a 19 percent decrease in the company’s total outstanding debt since Jan. 1, 2009.

In related news, MoneyGram also announced the departure of their Chief Financial Officer.

MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a global leader in the payment services industry, today announced that Jeffrey R. Woods, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will be departing the company for personal reasons on Jan. 15, 2010.

“I would like to thank Jeff for the contributions that he has made to MoneyGram over the past five months. While his tenure was brief, we appreciate his efforts in helping to position the company for growth in 2010,” said Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram chairman and CEO. “These decisions are never easy, however, the board and I understand Jeff’s reasons and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Woods joined MoneyGram in August of 2009. Following his departure, he will be available to the company on an as-needed basis. The company has begun a search for his successor.

NRF Discusses $1.1 Billion V/MC Payout

National Retail Federation discusses $1 billion Visa/MasterCard lawsuit payout

NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan tells CNBC that the $1.1 billion final payout from retailers’ lawsuit over Visa and MasterCard debit card practices “could not have come at a better time than Christmas” for merchants strained by the current economy.

Read more about the lawsuit settlement at NRF's blog

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