Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Competition Bureau Challenges Visa and MasterCard's Anti-Competitive Rules

Credit cardsImage via Wikipedia
Dec 15, 2010 10:35 ET  OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2010) - The Competition Bureau announced today that it has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal, to strike down restrictive and anti-competitive rules that Visa and MasterCard impose on merchants who accept their credit cards.  The Commissioner of Competition alleges that these rules have effectively eliminated competition between Visa and MasterCard for merchants' acceptance of their credit cards, resulting in increased costs to businesses and, ultimately, consumers. Merchants in Canada pay an estimated $5 billion annually in hidden credit card fees. 

The anti-competitive restraints on merchants result in higher prices for all consumers, whether they pay by cash, cheque, debit or credit, because merchants pass along some or all of the high costs they are forced to pay as a result of Visa's and MasterCard's anti-competitive rules. 
"Visa and MasterCard's anti-competitive behaviour hurts businesses and consumers alike," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "It is particularly harmful for small and medium sized businesses, key engines for economic growth in Canada. Without changes to the rules, merchants will continue to face high costs for credit card acceptance, while consumers, even those who use lower-cost methods of payment like debit or cash, will continue to pay higher prices."
Visa and MasterCard operate the two largest credit card networks in Canada. Together they processed more than 90 percent of all credit card transactions by Canadian consumers in 2009, representing over $240 billion in purchases. 
The rules challenged by the Bureau prohibit merchants from encouraging consumers to consider lower cost payment options like cash or debit, and prohibit merchants from applying a surcharge to a purchase on a high cost card. Further, once a merchant agrees to accept one of Visa or MasterCard's credit cards, that merchant must accept all credit cards offered by that company, including cards that impose significant costs on merchants, such as premium cards.
Canada has among the highest credit card fees in the world. Many countries have taken steps to reduce the fees paid by merchants. Canadian merchants that accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards must pay a fee ranging between 1.5 and 3 percent or more of each purchase, nearly twice as much as their counterparts pay in Europe, New Zealand and Australia, but slightly less than in the United States. By contrast, the card acceptance and processing fee paid by merchants in the case of an Interac debit transaction is a flat fee of approximately 12 cents, regardless of the value of the purchase. To provide a practical example, a 3 percent hidden credit card fee on a $400 set of snow tires is $12, but if a debit card is used for the same purchase, the fee is 12 cents.
The Bureau is challenging Visa and MasterCard's rules under the price maintenance provisions of the Competition Act. The Bureau launched its investigation in response to complaints by merchants and their associations and initiated a formal inquiry in April 2009. 
A copy of the Bureau's application will be available shortly on the Competition Tribunal Web site.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Fact Sheet: Visa and MasterCard's Anti-competitive Rules
The Players
Credit Card Networks
  • Visa and MasterCard operate the two largest credit card networks in Canada.
  • Through their networks, Visa and MasterCard provide infrastructure and services such as authorization and settlement of transactions for customers who pay using their respective network's brand of credit cards.
Credit Card Issuers
  • Financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions and caisses populaires, issue credit cards in Canada.
  • The issuers set annual credit card fees and interest rates charged to card holders and determine reward levels for programs like air miles and cash back.
  • Acquirers are the companies that supply credit card network services to merchants.
  • This includes authorization and processing of credit card transactions, as well as point-of-sale services, such as credit card terminals.
The Fees and How They are Collected and Shared
Card Acceptance Fee
  • Card acceptance fees are paid by merchants each time a customer pays for a good or service with a credit card.
  • The fees are a percentage of the purchase price paid to the merchant by the customer.
  • Fees range from 1.5 per cent to 3 percent or more, and are higher on premium credit cards.
  • Fees are distributed in different proportions to the credit card network, the issuer and the acquirer.
  • The card acceptance fee has three components: the network fee, the interchange fee and the service fee.
Interchange Fee
  • The interchange fee is the amount retained by issuers, such as banks and financial institutions.
  • The interchange fee is the largest fee, representing 80 percent or more of the total card acceptance fee.
  • Increases in interchange fees have consistently resulted in increases in card acceptance fees.
Network Fee
  • The network fee is the amount retained by Visa or MasterCard.
Service Fee
  • The service fee is the amount retained by acquirers who process the transactions for merchants.
Merchant Restraints
Visa and MasterCard rules contain numerous anti-competitive restraints including:
The No Discrimination Rule
  • The no discrimination rule prevents merchants from treating a customer who presents a certain credit card less favourably than a customer who presents a different credit card.
The Honour All Cards Rule
  • The honour all cards rule requires merchants to accept all credit cards from a specific network, including premium reward cards with higher Card Acceptance Fees.
The No Surcharge Rule
  • The no surcharge rule prevents merchants from charging a fee on transactions made with Visa or MasterCard credit cards.
  • This forces merchants to embed credit card transaction fees in retail prices.
  • The no surcharge rule prohibits merchants from setting prices that reflect the actual cost of the payment method chosen by the customer.
Price Maintenance
  • Section 76 of the Competition Act allows the Competition Tribunal, in certain cases, to prohibit an agreement or contract that influences prices upwards or discourages the reduction of prices. 
International Comparison
  • Canada has among the highest Card Acceptance Fees in the world.
  • Many countries have taken steps to reduce the Card Acceptance Fees paid by merchants.
  • Canadian Merchants that accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards pay a Card Acceptance Fee ranging between 1.5 and 3 per cent or higher of each purchase. Meanwhile, processing fees in most other countries are significantly lower.
For more information, please contact
For media enquiries,
Phil Norris
Communications Advisor
Public Affairs Branch
For general enquiries,
Competition Bureau
Information Centre
819-997-4282 or Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1-800-642-3844
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Signature Debit Interchange to Drop 60%?

Fed Could Cut Signature Debit Interchange up to 60%, Goldman Clients Say
Dec. 14, 2010

Financial-industry clients of Goldman Sachs & Co. are bracing for cuts of 40% to 60% in signature debit card interchange rates when the Federal Reserve Board releases its draft regulations for the controversial fee, possibly as soon as Thursday. Many of the investment-banking firm’s clients also expect the Fed to take an expansive view of a new law’s ban on exclusive agreements between debit card issuers and payment networks.
In all, Goldman Sachs says expectations point toward a 41% decline in overall fees, bringing the blended debit interchange rate down from the 1.25% to 1.40% range to 0.70% to 0.75%. Such a cut would take a $3.3 billion bite out of the current $8 billion in estimated interchange revenues of six leading debit-issuing banks, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. A 41% drop, while no doubt steep, is still less than the possible 70% revenue drop BofA, the nation’s largest debit card issuer, told investors a few months ago that it could suffer if it did not take mitigating steps.
Goldman Sachs on Tuesday released results of a recent e-mail survey of its clients’ expectations about how the Fed will interpret the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law’s Durbin Amendment, which mandates that the Fed regulate the debit card interchange of financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets by late April.
The survey generated 113 responses. Although the law limits what the Fed can consider in setting “reasonable and proportional” interchange rates, it says little about how the Fed is to treat the two forms of debit—signature transactions, which go over Visa or MasterCard rails, and PIN debit, whose transactions use EFT networks. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents believe the Fed will differentiate between the more costly signature and cheaper PIN debit in regulating interchange rates. Assuming an average interchange rate of 1.5% to 1.75% for signature debit and 0.5% to 0.75% for PIN debit, 46% of those who expect the Fed to differentiate believe regulation will cut signature rates by 40% to 60%. Another 18% expect a cut of 60% to 80%. But a sizable number of respondents, 31%, expect a smaller cut of 20% to 40%.
Respondents were less certain about PIN debit, with 31% expecting a cut of zero to 21%, 26% expecting a 20% to 40% cut, and 24% predicting a cut of 40% to 60%. “The lack of a clear consensus appears consistent with general industry observations that PIN’s current interchange levels offer the most economic rate relative to cash, credit, and checks and therefore are less likely to be reduced materially by the Fed especially relative to signature debit,” Goldman Sachs’ survey report says.
Among those who don’t believe the Fed will differentiate between signature and PIN debit, 59% expect a cut of 40% to 60% and 24% said 20% to 40%.
Meanwhile, 69% of respondents said they expect to come up with an interchange formula while 31% predict a flat rate. A Goldman Sachs analyst did not respond to a Digital Transactions News request for comment.
Dodd-Frank also bans so-called exclusive affiliations for debit cards, cards that offer only affiliated networks, for example, Visa for signature debit transactions and Interlink, which Visa Inc. owns, for point-of-sale PIN-debit. The MasterCard Inc. equivalent is MasterCard for signature and Maestro for PIN debit. Instead, a debit card must offer at least one unaffiliated network, in theory giving merchants more transaction-routing choices and potentially lowering their debit card acceptance costs. The demise of exclusive network affiliations will affect both Visa and MasterCard, but especially debit market leader Visa. Some 79% of the debit transactions from Visa’s top 10 debit issuers come through exclusive Visa/Interlink cards, according another investment bank, UBS.
As with interchange rates, the law gives the Fed wide leeway in how to implement the exclusivity ban. The Merchants Payment Coalition, a lobbying group of large general retailers and grocery chains, wants each debit card to access Visa and MasterCard as well as two PIN-debit networks. That scenario would be a radical departure from current industry practice, and many observers think the Fed will focus only on the PIN-debit side, with each card offering at least two PIN-debit options, including one unaffiliated with the signature brand on the card face.
Goldman’s respondents have mixed views: 64% expect the Fed to take a “broad” view of the law’s proscriptions about network exclusivity. Among that group, 41% expect the Fed’s rules to affect only signature debit while 40% expect them to affect only PIN debit and 19% both.
“On debit exclusivity, we believe that a broader view to include signature debit remains a low probability given the systemic changes required to have this realized,” the report says. “Our survey shows that this remains a significant source of concern for investors; therefore, a more benign interpretation should clear a key overhang for [Visa and MasterCard shares].”
The Federal Reserve Board is scheduled to discuss proposed debit card interchange rules at its Thursday meeting set to begin at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. The event will be Webcast live, the first time the Fed has ever Webcast one of its meetings.

S1 Announces a Global Payments Processing Agreement With PayPal and Multiple Person-to-Person Wins

Logo of PayPal.Image via WikipediaNORCROSS, Ga., Dec 14, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) --

S1 Corporation (Nasdaq: SONE | PowerRating), a leading global provider of payments and financial services software solutions, yesterday announced an agreement with PayPal to develop and deploy payment solutions directly integrated into online and mobile banking platforms.

To date, ten financial institutions have signed with PM Systems Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of S1, to offer Person-to-Person Payments powered by PayPal. The PayPal service allows consumers and businesses to make easy, fast and secure payments directly from their bank accounts to almost anyone with a mobile number or email address around the globe.

"We see person-to-person payments as a good opportunity to give our members added convenience and to differentiate our institution in our markets," said Pete Paulson, CEO for Corporate America Family Credit Union, Elgin, Illinois. "The integration with PayPal through S1 enables our credit union to meet our goals of providing 24x7 mobile payment services that meet our members' needs."

The integration with the PayPal solution allows consumers to quickly send money to almost anyone with a mobile phone or email address by leveraging the PayPal network. In order to send money, the sender needs only to log into online or mobile banking, enter the destination email address or mobile phone number, and transfer the money. If the recipient is one of the 90 million PayPal users, the funds will be deposited instantly for verified accounts. If the recipient does not have a PayPal account, prompts lead them to create one. Financial institutions can tailor pricing for this new offering to generate fee-based revenues.

"S1 is an innovator, offering its financial institutions and customers the ability to use the PayPal network to deliver personal payments from existing accounts with nothing more than a phone number and email address," said Dan Schatt, GM of Financial Innovations, PayPal. "P2P creates tremendous opportunities for financial institutions to offer valuable, differentiated services to their customers."

"The integration of mobile and online solutions from S1 with the PayPal network continues to reinforce our commitment to help customers move money universally: anytime, anywhere and from any channel worldwide," said Pierre Naude, S1 Division President.

About S1

Leading banks, credit unions, retailers, and processors need technology that adapts to the complex and challenging needs of their businesses. These organizations want solutions that can respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and help grow their businesses. For more than 20 years, S1 Corporation (Nasdaq:SONE) has been a leader in developing software products that offer flexibility and reliability. Over 3,000 organizations worldwide depend on S1 for payments, online banking, mobile banking, voice banking and branch banking solutions that deliver a competitive advantage. More information is available at

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements include statements with respect to our financial condition, results of operations and business. The words "believes," "expects," "may," "will," "should," "projects," "contemplates," "anticipates," "forecasts," "intends" or similar terminology identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our beliefs as well as assumptions made using information currently available to us. Because these statements reflect our current views concerning future events, they involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Therefore, actual results may differ significantly from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. The risk factors included in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (and available on our website at or the SEC's web site at provide examples of risks, uncertainties and events that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations we describe in our forward-looking statements. Except as provided by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

The S1 logo is a trademark of S1 Corporation. All other registered or unregistered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,
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The MasterCard Foundation Names President Festus G. Mogae of Botswana to its Board of Directors

Meeting with the leaders from Mozambique, Bots...Image via Wikipedia

President Mogae's career is distinguished by achievements that advanced economic and social progress in Sub-Saharan Africa

TORONTODec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The MasterCard Foundation announced today the appointment of President Festus G. Mogae of Botswana to its Board of Directors. President Mogae's career is distinguished by achievements that advanced economic and social progress in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the Foundation focuses many of its efforts. His experience implementing health and education reforms, growing his country's economy and later serving as an international thought leader on health and climate change issues, make him a dynamic addition to the Board.
"President Mogae's work to fight poverty, HIV/AIDS and unemployment is celebrated throughout Africa," said Lois Juliber, Chair of The MasterCard Foundation Board and retired Vice-Chair and COO of Colgate-Palmolive Company. "His expertise, coupled with regional insights and relationships, will help us scale up microfinance and education programs that prepare young people to compete in the global market."
President Mogae led the Republic of Botswana from 1998 to 2008. In 2009 President Mogae accepted the position of Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change, a role that culminated with his participation in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. President Mogae spent the past year as the African President-in-Residence atBoston University's African Presidential Archives and Research Center. Prior to his election in 1998, President Mogae served as Vice President, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, and Permanent Secretary to the President. He previously was the Alternate Governor for Botswana at The International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and The African Development Bank.
"I am delighted to join the board of The MasterCard Foundation, particularly given its belief that young people in the developing world can break the cycle of poverty with access to education, skill building and financial services," said President Mogae. "I have long shared a similar confidence in Botswana and its people."
President Mogae received a number of prestigious awards at the conclusion of his presidency. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for making Botswana a model of democracy and good governance. President Mogae also won the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. His public recognition of and programming on HIV/AIDS earned him commendation from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In April 2010, in recognition of his exceptional talent, energy, and commitment to international understanding, President Mogae was named a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust. President Mogae holds a bachelor of arts from Oxford University and a master of arts in development economics from the University of Sussex.
The MasterCard Foundation believes that people have the potential to transform their lives and to improve the lives of their families and their communities. By increasing access to microfinance and youth education to people in developing countries, the Foundation is enabling them to realize their potential and lift themselves out of poverty. It is an independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada and was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company's initial public offering in 2006. For more information, see
The members of The MasterCard Foundation Board of Directors are:
  • Lois Juliber, Chair, retired Vice-Chair and Chief Operating Officer of Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Phillip Clay, Chancellor and professor of city planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Hutham Olayan, Principal and Director of The Olayan Group
  • Paul Ostergard, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Citigroup Foundation
  • Marguerite Robinson, former professor, author, independent consultant on microfinance
  • Festus Mogae, former President of the Republic of Botswana

SOURCE MasterCard Foundation
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StoresOnline Adds ProPay for Its eCommerce Merchants

ProPay provides StoresOnline Merchants with a cost effective, user friendly merchant solution
http://www.propay.comLEHI, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ProPay (, an industry leader in Merchant ServicesEnd-to-End Payment Securitycredit card processing, and electronic payment services, announced today that it has been added by StoresOnline as a provider of credit card processing to provide their eCommerce Merchants with ProPay Merchant Accounts.
“ProPay continues to find innovative ways to service and enable entrepreneurs and businesses to quickly and easily accept credit cards.”
Each month, StoresOnline provides hundreds of business owners tools to set up their online stores. These businesses, which range from already established and successful brick & mortar enterprises to startups, offer their customers the convenience of purchasing their offerings online.
“StoresOnline added ProPay as a payment services provider for its online merchants because of its ease of integration and low cost,” said Clint Sanderson, President of StoresOnline. “ProPay’s instant signup approval process and straightforward pricing with no hidden fees made it an easy choice as we sought additional payment solutions for our merchants.”
ProPay has a long history of providing simple, secure and affordable solutions for online merchants. ProPay’s innovative signup and approval process enables merchants to literally sign up and start accepting credit cards within minutes. Merchants are attracted to ProPay Merchant Accounts because of the security provided and the simple, straightforward fee structure which has no hidden fees, no monthly minimums, no long term contracts and no gateway or statement fees.
“ProPay is excited to partner with StoresOnline to provide merchant services to its online merchants,” said Bryce Thacker, ProPay’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “ProPay continues to find innovative ways to service and enable entrepreneurs and businesses to quickly and easily accept credit cards.”
About ProPay
Since 1997, ProPay has provided simple, secure, and affordable payment solutions for organizations ranging from the small, home-based entrepreneur to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. ProPay is a leading provider of complete End-to-End Payment Security solutions that reduce, and may even eliminate, the organization’s risk of having sensitive payment data compromised. ProPay is the recipient of the prestigious 2010 ETA ISO of the Year award. ProPay is a privately held company, headquartered in Lehi, Utah. For information, visit


ProPay, Inc.
Scott Nelson, 801-341-5660

Children Spend Millions in Unauthorized Spree

Kids rack up millions using parents' accounts

YORK, EnglandDec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Children are spending 64 million pounds (1) online a year without their parents' knowledge, putting the adults at risk of card fraud.
A new study commissioned by life assistance company CPP reveals that one in seven online purchases made by British kids aged 7-16 are done behind their mums and dads' back.
Two thirds of kids are now hitting the cyber streets, annually spending 448 million pounds (2) and eight in ten use their parents' bank cards, online accounts and paypal.  It is time that parents woke up to the risks of letting their children shop unsupervised on the internet.  With three quarters of children not checking the security of websites when shopping online, CPP is warning parents to keep a close eye on their children, otherwise they could risk their card details being misused by internet fraudsters.
The peak of spending is set to increase during the Christmas period as a quarter of kids say they will or plan to buy presents online, a 10 per cent increase on kids online Christmas purchases last year potentially putting even more parents at risk of card fraud.
Sarah Blaney, card fraud expert from CPP said: "Parents need to educate their children about of the very real risks of shopping online. They need to ensure that their children only put sensitive information into sites that are encrypted, trusted and secure and teach them about what signs to look for in a safe site.
"It's clear that online fraud is a serious problem in the UK with card-not-present fraud accounting for over 260 million pounds in 2009 (3). On a wider level consumers need to be responsible and take preventative steps to safeguard their sensitive information. In particular, signing up to MasterCard's SecureCode or Verified by Visa is a useful way of preventing fraudulent transactions".
The research also found that children are buying a range of items, including; computer games (51 per cent), books (42 per cent), films (30 per cent) and phone applications (18 per cent).
Unsupervised access to the internet can lead to other issues in addition to the risk of fraud. For example, nearly a quarter of children have bought a video game or film that is for an older age and a handful of children claimed to have purchased cigarettes (one per cent),  alcohol (one per cent) and even weapons and solvents (one per cent).
CPP is working to raise awareness of the dangers of card fraud. CPP's Card Protection policy insures all credit and debit cards from fraudulent use if they are lost or stolen.
For more information, please visit or
Notes to editor
  1. – According to ONS data there are 6,778,693 children aged 7-16 years in the UK.  Research shows that 63 per cent of them purchase items online = 4,270,577.  The average amount spent by children online is 15 pounds per purchase and they make on average 7 purchases a year.  One in seven of these purchases is made behind their parents' back.  15 pounds x 4,270,577 = 64,058,655 pounds
  2. According to ONS data there are 6,778,693 children aged 7-16 years in the UK.  Research shows that 63 per cent of them purchase items online = 4,270,577.  Spending on average 15 pounds per purchase and making 7 purchases a year. 4,270,577x 7 x 15 pounds = 448,410,585 pounds
  3. UK Cards Association 2009 results, published March 2010

Research Methodology
Research was carried out online by Opinion Matters among 1030 children aged 7-16 years old between 10th September and1st October 2010.
Corporate Background Information
The CPPGroup Plc
The CPPGroup Plc (CPP) is an international marketing services business offering bespoke customer management solutions to multi-sector business partners designed to enhance their customer revenue, engagement and loyalty, whilst at the same time reducing cost to deliver improved profitability.  
This is underpinned by the delivery of a portfolio of complementary Life Assistance products, designed to help our mutual customers cope with the anxieties associated with the challenges and opportunities of everyday life.
Whether our customers have lost their wallets, been a victim of identity fraud or looking for lifestyle perks, CPP can help remove the hassle from their lives leaving them free to enjoy life. Globally, our Life Assistance products and services are designed to simplify the complexities of everyday living whether these affect personal finances, home, travel, personal data or future plans. When it really matters, Life Assistance enables people to live life and worry less.
Established in 1980, CPP has 10 million customers and more than 200 business partners across EuropeNorth America andAsia and employs 1,900 employees who handle millions of sales and service conversations each year.
In 2009, Group revenue was 292.1 million pounds, an increase of more than 12 per cent over the previous year.
In March 2010, CPP debuted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
What We Do:
CPP provides a range of assistance products and services that allow our business partners to forge closer relationships with their customers.
We have a solution for many eventualities, including:
  • Insuring our customers' mobile phones against loss, theft and damage
  • Protecting the payment cards in our customers' wallets and purses, should these be lost or stolen
  • Providing assistance and protection if a customer's keys are lost or stolen
  • Providing advice, insurance and assistance to protect customers against the insidious crime of identity fraud
  • Assisting customers with their travel needs be it an emergency (for example lost passport), or basic translation service
  • Monitoring the credit status of our customers
  • Provision of packaged services to business partners' customers

CPP is an award winning organisation:
  • Winner in the European Contact Centre Awards, Large Team of the Year category, 2010
  • Finalist in the European Contact Centre Awards, Best Centre for Customer Service, Large Contact Centre of the Year categories, 2010
  • Winner in the National Sales Awards, Contact Centre Sales Team of the Year category, 2010
  • Finalist in the National Insurance Fraud Awards, Counter Fraud Initiative of the Year category, 2009
  • Finalist in the European Contact Centre Awards, Large Team and Advisor of the Year categories, 2009
  • Named in the Sunday Times 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100
  • Finalists in the National Business Awards, 3i Growth Strategy category, 2008
  • Finalist in the National Business Awards, Business of the Year category, 2007, 2009 and Highly Commended in 2008
  • Named in the Sunday Times 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 HSBC Top Track 250 companies
  • Regional winner of the National Training Awards, 2007
  • Winner of the BITC Health, Work and Well-Being Award, 2007
  • Highly Commended in the UK National Customer Service Awards, 2006
  • Winner of the Tamworth Community Involvement Award, 2006. Finalist in 2008
  • Highly Commended in The Press Best Link Between Business and Education, 2005 and 2006. Winner in 2007
  • Finalist in the National Business Awards, Innovation category, 2005

For more information on CPP click on
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36 Million Americans have Bought Medications Online Without a Doctor's Prescription

Birth of the Internet plaque at the William_Ga...Image via Wikipedia
Research about Dangerous Practice – and the 11 Internet Commerce Companies Partnering Together to Protect Patients – Announced as Part of White House Forum~
WASHINGTONDec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Illegal online drug sellers have provided tens of millions of Americans prescription medication via the Internet without a valid prescription, recent research has found.  These rogue sellers have preyed upon thirty-six million people, or 1 in 6 Americans, exposing them to the potential of taking counterfeit and unapproved medications. The proliferation of illegal online drug sellers offering medication without a prescription has prompted major online commerce companies to take action to curb this dangerous practice.
The information was released today from The Partnership at at the White House Intellectual Property Health and Safety Forum.  The research was funded by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), of which The Partnership at is a member.
"Those who sell prescription drugs online without a valid prescription are operating illegally, undercutting the laws that were put in place to protect patients, and are thereby endangering the public health," said Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). "It is a real wake-up call that so many Americans have engaged in this dangerous behavior.
At the Summit, Espinel announced that 11 companies have come together voluntarily to create a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by targeting illegal online drug sellers. The companies include American ExpresseNom, Inc.Go DaddyGoogleMasterCardMicrosoftNeustarNetwork SolutionsPayPalVisa and Yahoo!.
"The announced collaboration is a huge win for public health, and marks the first time that so many Internet commerce stakeholders have worked together on a comprehensive solution to address the rogue online drug sellers posing as Internet pharmacies," commented Libby Baney, an advisor at B&D Consulting who counsels the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP).  "ASOP joins the IPEC in applauding the voluntary action by these 11 companies, and we look forward to working with these leading organizations to ensure patients have access to safe, legitimate online pharmacies."
In June, the Obama Administration submitted to Congress a strategic plan to combat intellectual property theft, including the production and sale of counterfeit medications.  Since that time the IPEC has been working to increase cooperation between the government and the private sector to protect consumers from counterfeit medications sold on the Internet by illegal online drug sellers.
"The abuse of prescription medications is one of the most troubling public health problems in our country today," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at  "Parents and policy makers alike need to be concerned about how easy it is to order these potentially 'abusable' drugs online.  We support efforts to take the steps necessary to shut down rogue sites and encourage patients to safeguard medications and dispose of them properly when they are no longer needed."
All legitimately operating, state-licensed pharmacies, whether they have a physical location or are found online, sell only FDA-approved medication and only with a prescription. Unlike legitimate pharmacies that offer consumers the option of ordering doctor-prescribed medications over the Internet, rogue Internet drug sellers pose as legitimate websites that offer prescription medicine for sale without a prescription.  This makes it all too easy for people to unknowingly obtain potentially dangerous fake, substandard, or unapproved drugs.
"More than 95% of Internet organic search results yield illicit websites that offer to sell unapproved and potentially counterfeit medicine, mostly without a prescription," said Jeannie Salo, Director of Global Anti-Counterfeiting, International Government Affairs at Eli Lilly and Company, an ASOP member.  "The data announced at the White House today show that millions of Americans are putting their health at risk with online purchases by bypassing the laws – like the valid prescription requirement – that were put in place to protect patients," added John Horton, President of LegitScript, a member of the ASOP.
"Consumers need to understand that the products they receive from Internet drug sellers are often not the same, FDA-approved medicine that they could get from a legitimate pharmacy. Products sold on rogue websites may be ineffective, harmful or worse," added Baney. "The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies plans to procure additional research to gain insights into why consumers buy online, what kinds of medicines they buy, and why some consumers perceive the risks while others don't.  We are eager to partner with the 11 Internet commerce companies announced today who have agreed to take a stand against this public health threat."
The research regarding drug purchasing habits was conducted via telephone survey among a national probability sample of 1,015 adults. Interviewing for this CARAVAN® Survey was completed during the period of November 4-7, 2010.  The margin of error is +/- 3%.
About the Alliance for Safe Online
The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) is committed to helping to protect patient safety and ensuring patient access to safe and legitimate online pharmacies in accordance with U.S. laws.  Other members of ASOP include the American Pharmacists Association, Eli Lilly and Company, LegitScript, Merck, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and NeedyMeds.
About The Partnership at
The Partnership at is a nonprofit organization that helps parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children.  Bringing together renowned scientists, parent experts, and communications professionals, this public health nonprofit translates current research on parenting, teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand resources at Through its nationwide PACT360 community education programs, The Partnership at educates and mobilizes local community efforts to address drug threats at the grassroots level, including methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse, and also provides parent training and teen programs that help prevent teen substance abuse.  The Partnership at depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and government and is thankful to SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.
SOURCE The Partnership at
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