Monday, December 28, 2009

Bank Tech News: Online Banking Protection Still Weak

Bank Technology News  |  December, 2009  | John Adams

BTN: There are still holes in online banking protection, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, which says lots of banks are still using long passwords and very rudimentary information for authentication purposes.

(Editor's Note:  Long passwords don't work.  Either does the 20 questions approach.  It doesn't matter if online banking customers were required to type the entire book, "War and Peace by Tolstoy" into a box on a bank website and then answered 20  questions about quantum physics...everything can easily be keystroke logged by hackers...

it's the typing that provides the online banking credentials to the fraudsters...not the length of the password nor the number of questions asked. 

Another words, fraudsters could cut and paste your password and username as easily as I cut and pasted this article from BTN) Online Banking customers MUST use a hardware device which encrypts their log-in details outside the browser space so the bad guys get gobbly-gook if they intercept.  The good news is the same is true for online shopping with credit/debit/prepaid cards and bank's can derive recurring transactional income for each purchase made with a HomeATM device.  Furthermore, "card not present" fraud is eliminated with our device and CNP fraud is the fastest growing threat facing online shoppers.

At the end of the day, banks ensure a secure online banking session and make money each time their customers use our device.  Throw in revenue derived for real-time bill pay, instant money transfers (any bankcard to/from any bankcard) and the ROI would be a couple transactions.  Add to that the competitive advantage gained by offering a secure solution in the face of weak authentication and it can make for a pretty formidable marketing/branding that induces customer loyalty AND makes money.   Last time I read an article on Bank Technology News about online banking, their editor said "it's dead."

Online Banking is Dead - Bank Technology News Editor-In-Chief

"Among the protective measures that should be in the dustbin are authentication data such as birthdays, email addresses and zip codes, since it's information that's very easy for fraudsters to predict or obtain. Yet it's still used by about 20 percent of online banking sites. The percentages are low, but given the use of zip codes and email addresses as authentication pieces were outed as a bad idea years ago, any remaining use of these metrics is a surprise. Also, a quarter of banks still require passwords longer than six digits, considered a no-no in an age of usability. And only about 25 percent of banks reduce data exposure by truncating social security numbers during enrollment.  

Javelin additionally found that 90 percent of banks user generic error messages when a log in attempt fails, and 10 percent still display information that can be used in a “brute force” attack. James Van Dyke, president of Javelin, said it was surprising that so many banks overlook this potential vulnerability. He says a cross-site scripting flaw on a customer-facing Web site could allow crooks to access the internal network or insert counterfeit content along with legitimate content on a site and redirect customers to a fraudulent third party site.

Javelin reviewed the websites of 24 financial institutions, including Banco Popular, Bank of America, Bank of the West (BancWest), Branch Banking and Trust Company, Capital One, Citibank, Fifth Third Bank, Golden One Credit Union, HSBC Bank, ING Bank, JPMorgan Chase, M&I, M&T, NFCU, PNC, RBS Citizens, Regions, Sovereign, SunTrust, Synovus, TD Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Zions. The firm did not identify specific institutions, presenting its results in aggregate."

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NCR Hires It's First CMO

NCR Tabs Bravman As Its First Chief Marketing Officer

NCR Corp.’s hiring yesterday of Richard Bravman as its first chief marketing officer offers more evidence that the company is transitioning from its traditional role as an ATM manufacturer to a technology company involved in a wide-ranging line of businesses.

Bravman, whom NCR also named vice president of corporate development, says he will assist the Duluth, Ga.-based company in forming partnerships with other companies and with purchasing smaller businesses that present opportunities in untapped markets.

“NCR is involved in retail, health care, travel and entertainment,” Bravman tells “We must challenge ourselves to develop a coherent voice within the company and form strategic alliances to grow the business.”

Continue Reading at Payments Source

The Other Underbanked - Small Biz

US Banker  |  January 2010  | Marian Raab

When Sue Rexford opens a small-business banking account for her new venture - Bodhi Tree Therapeutic Massage - she will be looking for a financial institution that can provide two things: convenience and low fees. "Those are the key factors," says Rexford, a licensed massage therapist who opened Bodhi Tree in South Orange, N.J., in September.

As a small-business owner, Rexford's concerns are pretty typical. Industry experts and analysts say that branch proximity and attractive account rates and fees are among the top concerns cited by small-business owners looking to open new bank accounts.

But Rexford is atypical for a self-employed entrepreneur in planning to open a business banking account at all.

Among the nearly 26 million small firms in the United States, about two-thirds don't have business-bank accounts, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research report released last year.

The bulk of these firms tend to be "overlooked and underserved" by most banks, according to the report examining the underbanked business segment.

Small companies usually "hide in the consumer banking platforms," according to Javelin, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based consulting firm. That means they pay lower account maintenance fees now, but likely won't get specialized services they'll need as they grow, including payroll/invoice management, remote deposit capture, corporate cards and specialized commercial lending.

"Banks need to refine their strategies so that they are recognizing this market and helping small businesses," says Mary Monahan, a managing partner and research director of Javelin.

Continue Reading at US Banker

Credit Union Reality Check 2010

You're Invited...

Credit Union Reality Check 2010

It's Time For Credit Unions to Get Real -

Join Us for

"Credit Union Reality Check 2010"!

The credit union movement is changing fast. Credit unions continue to consolidate. Credit unions' regulatory burden is growing. Congress is focused on new consumer protections for financial services. Clearly, there is no shortage of difficult issues facing credit unions, but opportunity also knocks.

Harrah's - Atlantic City - March 22-24

Credit union leaders that want to be ready for the future need a reality check and they need it now. Please join us for "Credit Union Reality Check 2010" at Harrah's in Atlantic City March 22-24 to see where our movement is headed.

The conference will be packed with hot button topics including:

  • The future of credit union liquidity/investments/payments

  • Retail Savvy: Are you innovating your product line? Banks are, why aren't you?

  • Governance in Focus: How CU boards operate has never been more important.

  • Viability of our CU system: CUs have a unique opportunity, but are we ensuring we will be the model for the future?

  • And more...

Speakers include Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League; Bob Hoel, fellow at the Filene Research Institute; Stuart Levine, chairman and CEO at Stuart Levine & Associates; Tom Parliment, president of Parliment Consulting Services; Stan Hollen, CEO of CO-OP Financial Services; Brett Christensen, owner of CU Lending Advice, LLC; Herb Yolles, Region II's associate regional director, operations (ARDO) for NCUA; and more!

The conference will feature all general sessions where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. The interactivity doesn't stop there. All attendees will have an electronic polling remote to provide instant feedback on key questions.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to help your credit union to get real about the future. For more information and to register CLICK HERE.

Event Sponsors:

New Jersey Credit Union League

Credit Union Times


Alpha Omega - Serving Business for 30 Years

Federal Home Loan Bank of New York

The Credit Union Advisory Group at UBS

CO-OP Financial Services

New Jersey Credit Union League | 299 Ward Street | Hightstown, NJ | 08520 | 800-792-8861 | Website

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Unisys Predicts 2010 Yields a Biometrics Boom While Organizations Go on the Offensive to Protect Data
Advances in surveillance systems and continued Trojan attacks also on the horizon

BLUE BELL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Slashed budgets and reduced staffing numbers delayed many security initiatives in 2009, but the vulnerabilities didn’t retreat and will only intensify in 2010, Unisys security experts predict.

“Given the potential harm that can result from new and more dangerous forms of attacks, both physical and virtual, organizations can no longer afford to wait until they are attacked to defend themselves”

Looking ahead to 2010, Unisys predicts that government and commercial organizations will take a more proactive approach to security, implementing new measures to verify identity and protect confidential information. Financial institutions and defense agencies will lead the charge, with ports and other organizations quickly following.

“Given the potential harm that can result from new and more dangerous forms of attacks, both physical and virtual, organizations can no longer afford to wait until they are attacked to defend themselves,” said Sid Pearl, global director, Risk Intelligence Solutions Management, Unisys. “They will begin to more closely monitor behaviors and identities in an effort to predict and prevent attacks before they happen.”

Unisys believes the following seven security trends will emerge in 2010 as business and government agencies look to protect data and strengthen identification methods:

1. The consumerization challenge – Consumerization of IT will continue to blur the perimeters of the enterprise network. As a result, Unisys experts predict organizations’ focus will shift to data protection as opposed to traditional network security or infrastructure security. As more employees and consumers use smartphones and PDAs to conduct business transactions online, organizations will look for new ways to protect data beyond simple PINs and passwords. As consumer devices are increasingly targeted by malware and spyware, users will demand that security platforms and anti-fraud applications need to be strengthened and continually updated to ensure the protection of mobile online transactions.

2. A good offense – Trojan attacks will continue to plague financial institutions and government agencies. Therefore, these organizations will need to take an offensive stance to better guard their data against increasingly sophisticated and harmful threats. Unisys experts predict that banks and government agencies will adopt a more comprehensive, integrated view of their IT environments and will seek to better understand the human element behind illegal activities to help them pinpoint in advance when and where and how attacks are likely to happen.

3. Proactive ports – Port security officials will take a more predictive, proactive approach to preventing threats at key ports of entry. Rather than focusing on mere compliance with security standards, Unisys security experts predict that ports will actively begin assessing risks, simulating response efforts and creating more robust disaster recovery plans in the coming year. In addition, Unisys predicts an increase in U.S. land-based port cargo activity as Asian shipping lanes divert shipments from the congested sea ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., to Canadian and Mexican ports. Pressure will increase to rapidly scan cargo shipments as they cross land borders into the U.S.

4. Cloudy forecast – Organizations will also begin to reverse the tendency of “protecting everything” and instead prioritize security controls based on whether the data in question presents low, moderate or high levels of risk. Consequently, more organizations will begin moving less sensitive public data into cloud computing environments to attain cost savings in 2010, and will then migrate more sensitive data to the cloud as new security models are developed to address multi-tier data protection.

5. Biometrics on the border – The coming year will see a tipping point in use of biometric identification tools such as iris, facial or fingerprint scans, to verify identity at the border and customs areas in airports. Unisys experts point out that many governments have invested in an electronic passport infrastructure, but not yet used it. Unisys expects increased rollout of electronic passports which contain a chip to store biometric data that can be matched to its owner to verify that the person carrying the passport is the owner of the passport. Unisys predicts that the rollout electronic passports will be led by countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The Unisys Security Index recently found a majority of people globally would accept biometric authentication to verify their identities.

6. Taking IT to the streets – Mobile biometric devices will allow governments to take more biometric-based critical services directly to their citizens, rather than requiring their citizens to come to the technology. Police forces in the U.S. and U.K. have already started using mobile fingerprint scanners to facilitate faster processing. In Australia, police officers can use the device to access the national fingerprint database from the field to scan the criminal database for a match. Such devices will also aid in the identification of individuals in a disaster situation.

7. Smart surveillance – Surveillance systems will be become more sophisticated and intelligent. Unisys experts say that real time event detection technology will soon be able to identify a security breach as it occurs and initiate an action instead of simply recording footage to be reviewed after the incident. Improved digital camera technology coupled with intelligent software enables surveillance footage to be combined with other available information, such as facial recognition data, to create alerts so that immediate appropriate action can be taken. Surveillance software will also soon be able to recognize recurring patterns, or individuals to detect when an unusual event is occurring in real-time.

About Unisys

Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialize in helping clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilization of their data centers, enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernize their enterprise applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services, infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With more than 26,000 employees, Unisys serves commercial organizations and government agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit

MasterCard Says eCommerce Holiday Shopping up 15.5%

PURCHASE, NY -- 12/28/09 -PIN Payments News Blog- MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, a macro-economic report tracking national retail and service sales, today provided summary results for the holiday shopping season. The data showed year-over-year growth in the period between Black Friday through December 24 in all sectors measured. In addition, six out of ten sectors showed positive growth in the period from November 1 through December 24. Tempering these results, however, is the fact that there was an extra day this year over last year's holiday season. Adjusting for this could decrease the season's year over-year-growth statistics by anywhere from 2% to 4%.

"Overall this year, we have seen increasing stability in spending, as opposed to the free-fall of 2008," noted Michael McNamara, Vice President, Research and Analysis for SpendingPulse. "This is especially significant considering that prices have been holding up this season, without the broad emergency discounting that consumers benefited from during the 2008 holiday season."

McNamara pointed to several anomalies in the season this year. "The extra shopping day may have given some lift to overall year-over-year comparisons. Also, early discounting in 2008 drew holiday spending into early November, while this year shopping didn't really take off until Black Friday. That shift in sales patterns is one of the factors that made November of this year look weak, and December look stronger. That's why it's important to look at numbers for November and December combined. Finally, several major winter storms disrupted traffic to brick and mortar locations that seemed to benefit online shopping growth rates."

SpendingPulse analyzed the Electronics, Specialty (Apparel), eCommerce and Luxury sectors. Here are the end of season highlights:

  • eCommerce

eCommerce was the big winner this year, with seasonal sales up 15.5% during the period November 1 - December 24. Since Black Friday, eCommerce sales were up 18%. This sector has shown year-over-year improvement every week since the beginning of the season, with double-digit growth in all but one of those weeks.

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  • Apparel

    Specialty Apparel made something of a recovery, finishing down only 0.4% for the season to date beginning on November 1st. Since Black Friday through December 24, the category is actually in positive territory, showing a 2.3% year-over-year gain. However, the extra shopping day helped the sales growth rates.

  • Women's Apparel sales were down 0.3% for the season to date beginning on November 1st. Taking a Black Friday to December 24 view, this category also finished the season in slightly positive territory, up 1.5%, but again benefiting from the additional shopping day.

  • Men's Apparel continued to show strength in the two weeks prior to December 24, bringing the November 1 - December 24 season's year-over-year growth up 3.9%. Footwear sales have likewise improved, ending with an increase of 5% over the November-December period of last year.

  • Electronics

    After a strong November, electronics sales began to slow down in the first two weeks of December. A spike in the week prior to December 24 helped the category finish the season up 5.9% for the November-December period and up 6% in the Black Friday to December 24 period.

  • Jewelry and Luxury

    After a volatile two months, Jewelry ended the season up 5.6%, with both high and low ends of the category showing marked strength. Again the extra shopping day helped the year-over-year growth rate. Although the Luxury retail ex-jewelry category showed some weekly improvement throughout December, it finished the season more with a slight increase of 0.8% over the 2008 holiday season. Luxury is another category that would have been lower without the additional shopping day this year.


Data Source: A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and service sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide.

About MasterCard Advisors

MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services to financial institutions and their merchant partners worldwide. Addressing complex challenges in strategy, marketing, risk, and operations, MasterCard Advisors helps clients maximize the value of their payments businesses. As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. For more information, go to

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

For further information contact:

Meir Kahtan


Meir Kahtan Public Relations, LLC

Email Contact

Jennifer Stalzer


MasterCard Worldwide

Email Contact

Reblog this post [with Zemanta] Completes Acquisition of HiChina Web Solutions

HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE) (HKSE:1688.HK) (HK.1688) has completed a share purchase agreement of China Civilink (Cayman), which operates in China as HiChina Web Solutions, a leading eCommerce company that provides domain name registration. This was the first of a two phase deal with acquiring 85 percent of HiChina now, and the option to acquire another 14.67 percent equity interest from HiChina’s founders pending HiChina reaching certain performance targets.

The total consideration of RMB539.98 million (US$79.06 million) in cash for both phases, brings four key assets to a new, large customer base; new, value-added applications; advanced and automated “do it yourself” Web site technology; and additional leadership strength in HiChina’s strong management and operating team.

“As promised at our IPO, our investment focus is on opportunities to grow our customer base and acquire additional technology and new applications to achieve our mission to make it easy for customers to do business everywhere,” said David Wei, CEO, “HiChina is a strategic fit with that vision, and we are happy to close a great year of investment by completing this deal, bringing us that much closer to realizing the synergy of and HiChina.”

For more information on this announcement, see’s filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at

Note: All US dollar conversions are based on an exchange rate of USD1.00=RMB6.83

About Limited (HKSE:1688) (HK.1688) is the global leader in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and the flagship company of Alibaba Group. Founded in 1999, makes it easy for millions of buyers and suppliers around the world to do business online through three marketplaces: a global trade marketplace ( for importers and exporters, a Chinese marketplace ( for domestic trade in China, and, through an associated company, a Japanese marketplace ( facilitating trade to and from Japan. Together, its marketplaces form a community of more than 45 million registered users from more than 240 countries and regions. also offers business management software solutions targeting small businesses across China under the “Alisoft” brand and incubates e-commerce talent for SMEs in China through Ali-Institute. Founded in Hangzhou, China, has offices in more than 50 cities across Greater China, Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States.

About HiChina

HiChina, founded in 1996, is the leading Internet application service provider in China. HiChina is devoted to providing comprehensive Internet application services to businesses, which covers domain services, hosting services, email systems, Web site creation, as well as consultation services for E-commerce to assist businesses in applying E-commerce to their business. Having established a strong position in the Internet infrastructure industry in China, HiChina currently serves more than 200,000 paying enterprise members.

Aloha Radiant...Kiss My Grits!

In an excellent article written by Jason Brown for the Acadiana Bureau and published in 2The Advocate, he talks about Radiant Systems' Aloha POS system, the breach that occurred at several Louisiana restaurants using the system and the ramifications for some of the restaurant owners.  One of the victims, Mel's Diner wound up having to pay $50k+ for the whole ordeal.     Suffice it to say, when Mel's Diner received a letter from Visa, informing them they needed to conduct a Visa approved audit, "Kiss My Grits" wasn't an option...

"Keith Bond, owner of Mel’s Diner in Lafayette and Broussard, purchased Radiant’s POS Software in October 2007 for the company’s Broussard location, Mel’s Diner Part II.  The easy-to-use, touch-based system costs about $20,000 and was intended to replace the business’ reliance on handwritten guest checks.

The system had been in place for only a few months when Bond received a letter from VISA informing him that his system had been compromised. The letter stated that Bond needed to hire a forensic auditor to examine the extent of the breach.

If he refused, Bond could have been subjected to tens of thousands of dollars in fines and a possible revocation of his ability to use credit cards at the store.

He consented and paid about $19,000 for a VISA-approved audit, which allegedly confirmed the compromise.

The audit also found that the system had an insufficient firewall for added security, no anti-virus software on the point of sale terminals and that the seller, Computer World, had allegedly sold him an older unit packaged as new.

Bond said he was forced to hire technicians to secure and continuously monitor his system. As an added precaution, Bond said he reverted back to using a dial-up modem, which has built-in security. The system was never installed in his Johnston Street location in Lafayette.

After the audit, Bond received additional fines from VISA and notification that he was liable for up to $30,000 in charge-backs for the charges made on the stolen credit cards. In some cases, Bond said portions of his daily credit card transactions, or settlements, were withheld to pay back the fees.

Bond estimated the ordeal cost him about $50,000. Fortunately, he said he had enough in reserves to handle most of the costs.

“If you had hundreds of cards stolen, it could force you out of business,” Bond said.

Nationwide problem

Charles Y. Hoff, general counsel for the Georgia Restaurant Association and one of the attorneys assisting in the Lafayette lawsuit, said he has received a multitude of calls from restaurant owners all over the country regarding similar claims.  “It is not isolated and it is something that is a real concern on a national level,” Hoff said...

 Continue Reading at The Advocate

Discover® Small Business WatchSM: Small Business Economic Confidence Steady in December

Fewer See Economic Conditions in the Country Getting Worse

RIVERWOODS, Ill.- Economic confidence among America’s small business owners was steady in December as fewer of them think the U.S. economy is getting worse compared to November, and more see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months, according to the Discover® Small Business WatchSM. The Watch index improved slightly in December to 77.0 from 76.5 in November.

“They’re still looking for more encouraging signs in the overall economy, but on a positive note, the number of them who see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months increased for the first time since August.”

“Small business owners are entering 2010 on a cautious note,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover's business credit card. “They’re still looking for more encouraging signs in the overall economy, but on a positive note, the number of them who see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months increased for the first time since August.”

December Indicators:

  • The number of small business owners who think the economy is getting worse was down to 49 percent from 53 percent in November; while 24 percent of small business owners see the economy staying the same, up from 16 percent in November; 25 percent see the economy getting better, down from 28 percent in November; and 2 percent are not sure.

  • 22 percent see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months, an improvement from 19 percent in November; but still in contrast to the 52 percent who see conditions getting worse, 24 percent who see things staying the same, and 3 percent who aren’t sure.

  • 35 percent rate the current economy as fair, up from 30 percent in November; while 61 percent rate it as poor, and 4 percent rate it as good or excellent.

  • 18 percent of owners say they will increase spending on business development activities such as advertising, inventories and capital expenditures in the next six months, 26 percent will make no changes, 51 percent plan to decrease spending, and 5 percent are not sure.

  • 51 percent of owners have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, down 1 percentage point from last month; 45 percent of owners have not experienced cash flow issues, and 4 percent aren’t sure.

Financial Planning Poll: 62% of Small Business Owners Have a Retirement Plan

When asked about planning for the future, 62 percent of small business owners say they have a financial plan for their retirement, while 33 percent do not, and 5 percent are not sure.

Sixty-three percent say it is “somewhat or very likely” that they will have enough saved to last through their retirement, 25 percent say it is “not very likely,” 7 percent say it is “not at all likely,” and 4 percent are not sure.

Nearly three in four small business owners, 74 percent, say the recession has reduced their retirement savings, 19 percent say the recession had no impact, and 6 percent saw their retirement savings increase.

Of those owners who say their retirement savings have gone down:

  • 12 percent saw a decrease of up to 10 percent

  • 24 percent saw a decrease of 10 to 20 percent

  • 17 percent saw a decrease of 20 to 30 percent

  • 24 percent saw a decrease of 30 to 50 percent

  • 19 percent saw a decrease of more than 50 percent

  • 5 percent were not sure

Most Small Business Owners Make Their Own Investment Decisions

Fifty-six percent of small business owners say that they make their own investment decisions, 35 percent use a financial planner or other investment professional, and 9 percent are not sure. When asked if they have financial planning assistance through a spouse’s employer, 84 percent of owners say they do not, 13 percent say they do, and 4 percent are not sure.

Fifty-two percent of owners have an IRA account, and 29 percent of them have a Keogh, Solo 401(k) or a Simplified Employee Pension plan.

Few Planning Early Retirement

Small business owners seem to be in no hurry to stop working; and depending on how you phrase the question, roughly a third of them don’t ever plan to step down.

When asked at what age they plan to retire, only 13 percent said before age 60, 28 percent said between ages 60 and 65, 18 percent said between ages 65 and 70, and 9 percent will retire past 70. Not surprising – based on previous surveys – is that 30 percent said they do not plan to retire.

When asked what they eventually planned to do with their businesses, 23 percent will close them, 19 percent will transfer ownership to a family member, 13 percent want to sell, 6 percent will hire someone else to run it, and 3 percent aren’t sure. And similar to the age question, 36 percent responded that they do not plan to retire, down from 42 percent in August 2006.

The views and opinions expressed by small business owners and consumers who participate in the Small Business Watch survey are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of
Discover Financial Services or its affiliates.

About the Small Business Watch

The Discover Small Business Watch is a monthly index measuring the relative economic confidence of U.S. small business owners who have less than five employees, a segment that consists of 22 million businesses producing more than a trillion dollars in annual receipts. The Watch is based on a national random survey of 750 small business owners. It is commissioned by Discover Business card, which strives to offer the best business credit card for American small businesses, and is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, LLC (, an independent survey research firm. The numeric index is calculated by assigning values to responses to a set of six consistent questions. The base value of the Watch was established at 100.0 based on surveys conducted in August 2006. In addition to generating the index, the Small Business Watch surveys small business owners every month on key issues, and polls 3,000 consumers four times per year to gauge purchasing behavior and attitudes towards small businesses. For past results and survey data, visit For information on Discover Business card, visit

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

Blackhawk Launches Virtual Gift Cards

Payments Source reports today that the BlackHawk Network is taking a page from CashStar's book and introducing virtual gift cards.  Here's a snippet:

Reacting to customer feedback on its Web site,, Blackhawk Network Tuesday announced it is selling prepaid electronic gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Sears Holding Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

“When we relaunched the site last year we got a lot of feedback, and one of the suggestions was the flexibility to e-mail [gift cards],” Teri Llach, Blackhawk group vice president of, tells Consumers who visit the Web site can load between $5 to $200 into an electronic card account and also include a personalized message. The cards are free.

Recipients receive an e-mail and can print out the card information to use for in-store purchases.  They also can type in the card information to make purchases at the stores online, a service Llach claims differentiates Blackhawk’s card from CashStar Inc.’s. 

Earlier this year, CashStar was the first company to introduce print-at-home gift cards. At the time, observers said CashStar had the potential to change the market. Since then, the Portland, Maine-based company has added The Home Depot Inc. and Papa John’s Pizza to its list of merchant clients.

Continue Reading at Payments Source

VeriFone Prevails Again in Heartland Dispute
Federal Court Upholds VeriFone's Efforts to Offer Direct Support to Heartland Merchants as Judge Denies Heartland’s Preliminary Injunction Request

VeriFone Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PAY) today announced that a federal court has completely rejected an effort to prevent VeriFone from offering direct support to merchant customers of Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY).

Finding that Heartland's contentions “contradict its own claims in this case,” U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied, in its entirety, Heartland’s request for a preliminary injunction that sought to prevent VeriFone from communicating its offer to provide direct and free support to Heartland merchants and further rejected Heartland's assertion that VeriFone made any untrue statements.

VeriFone announced November 3 that it would provide that support to prevent any disruption to merchants after determining that pending litigation over Heartland’s alleged infringement of a VeriFone patent is likely to impact Heartland’s ability to maintain service levels with its customers. VeriFone informed Heartland that its support relationships with Heartland would terminate effective end of day December 31, 2009. VeriFone further announced on November 5 that Heartland expects its merchants to contact VeriFone for support.

In an opinion dated December 23, Judge Cooper noted that Heartland had made contradictory claims over its ability to service its clients who are using VeriFone systems. The judge said Heartland’s own assertion in its previous court filings “suggests an ongoing dependence and foreseeable adverse consequences upon withdrawal of such support.”

“We’re pleased that Judge Cooper saw fit not to block our efforts to offer continual support to Heartland’s merchants for VeriFone systems and to find our statements correct,” said Douglas G. Bergeron, the Company's Chief Executive Officer. “Despite Heartland's considerable efforts we believe the right thing to do is to ensure that those merchants do not experience any disruption or degradation in the support they receive for their VeriFone system. We are actively encouraging Heartland merchants to register for direct support with VeriFone. Alternatively, we encourage merchants to sign processing agreements with one of the many organizations currently supported by VeriFone.”

Heartland is dependent on VeriFone for updates and support to the VeriFone operating system, runtime libraries, and in most cases the payment application. After December 31, the only way for Heartland merchants to ensure ongoing support and efficient operation is to register with VeriFone by that date at

About VeriFone Holdings, Inc. (

VeriFone Holdings, Inc. (“VeriFone”) (NYSE: PAY) is the global leader in secure electronic payment solutions. VeriFone provides expertise, solutions and services that add value to the point of sale with merchant-operated, consumer-facing and self-service payment systems for the financial, retail, hospitality, petroleum, government and healthcare vertical markets. VeriFone solutions are designed to meet the needs of merchants, processors and acquirers in developed and emerging economies worldwide.

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Moneta and Equifax Agree to Provide Online Instant Credit Option

Moneta to leverage Equifax’s credit decisioning system to enable instant credit approval for online purchases

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moneta, a fast-growing online payment alternative to credit cards, announced an agreement with Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX), a global leader in information solutions, to utilize the Equifax credit decisioning system for a new instant credit feature for Moneta’s online payment wallet. Merchants accepting Moneta payments may now offer a range of bank-sponsored funding options to their customers including checking, savings, money market and now instant transactional credit lines underwritten by the sponsoring bank.
“Merchants are looking for customer-friendly, real-time transactional credit offerings for online purchases and consumers want simple, easy-to-use credit options,” said Dann Adams, president of Equifax’s Consumer Information Solutions. “We are pleased to team with Moneta to provide innovative solutions for comprehensive risk management and credit decisions in a real-time, online purchase setting.”

Moneta currently offers an easy-to-use online payment method that allows customers to fund online purchases directly from a bank account, without disclosing their personal financial information to the merchant. The instant credit feature, scheduled for release in early 2010, will extend the funding options of Moneta payments to include the extension of transactional credit for online purchases, in real-time. Moneta is primarily marketed and distributed through leading U.S. banks as an extension of their demand deposit account (DDA) service portfolio.

“In choosing an industry leader to drive our credit decisioning engine we selected Equifax, as a widely trusted partner of leading banks and financial institutions throughout the U.S.,” said Guido Sacchi, CEO of Moneta Corporation. “Moneta’s merchant and bank partners have a growing demand for transactional, instant credit offerings to drive sales, and the partnership between Moneta and Equifax provides them with an innovative, differentiated solution. Merchants and their customers will greatly benefit from the addition of instant transactional credit to Moneta’s funding options.”

About Moneta Corporation

Moneta Corporation is a leading payments company offering secure, convenient methods for consumers to pay online merchants directly from their checking, savings or money market accounts. Moneta partners with online merchants and banks to accept and process payments, while providing additional branding opportunities and revenue streams. Moneta’s rapidly growing partner network enables online retailers and travel providers to attract valuable customers with a preference for paying directly from their well-established bank accounts. Moneta is a privately-held company headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, visit

About Equifax (

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

With a strong heritage of innovation and leadership, Equifax continuously delivers innovative solutions with the highest integrity and reliability. Businesses – large and small – rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology, marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 14 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.

Goodbye PCI - Hello Encryption and Data Loss Prevention Products

December 27, 2009


More good news for Symantec Vontu, Fidelis, EMC  RSA, Voltage, Verdasys, Trend Micro LeakProof, Websense, McAfee Reconnex and PGP.  The arguably ineffective Breach Avoidance Rules championed by the Payment Card Industry (PCI DSS) are on their way out; and new solutions that rely on Encryption and Data Loss Prevention Products are emerging. Expensive lawsuits could be directed against the founders of PCI: American Express, Discover Financial, JCB, MasterCard and Visa International.


Many of the speakers at the December 2009 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Compliance Conference in Sydney, were downbeat.
  • Speaker Stephen Wilson, said PCI DSS was a “patch” designed by payment card companies in the hope that they could avoid forcing merchants and financial institutions to use more complex, expensive and time-consuming procedures like encryption and two-factor authentication as a standard part of every transaction.

  • Speaker David Kaplan, Director of Security Consulting Practice, Earthwave said the claim by members of the PCI Security Standards Council that no organization that is PCI DSS compliant has been breached was wrong. So far in 2009, there have been over 350 breaches and over 100 million identities and card holder data stolen from companies who were PCI DSS certified.

Visa Inc. To Announce Fiscal First Quarter 2010 Financial Results on February 3, 2010

Visa Inc. will report its fiscal first quarter 2010 financial results on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. The results will be included in a press release, with accompanying financial information, that will be released after market close and posted on the Visa Investor Relations website.

Visa's executive management team will then host a live audio webcast beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 p.m. Pacific Time) to discuss the financial results and business highlights.

All interested parties are invited to listen to the live webcast at A replay of the webcast will be available on Visa's Investor Relations website for 30 days.

Concurrent with this press release, Visa will impose its customary "quiet period", during which time company executives will not be interacting with the investment community. This quiet period will extend until fiscal first quarter earnings are released on February 3, 2010.

About Visa: Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

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