Monday, February 28, 2011

IC3 2010 Annual Report on Internet Crime Released

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The 2010 Internet Crime Report was released today by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The report demonstrates how pervasive online crime has become, affecting people in all demographic groups throughout the country. In 2010, IC3 received 303,809 complaints of Internet crime, the second-highest total in IC3's 10-year history.

IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). Since its creation in 2000, IC3 has received more than 2 million Internet crime complaints.

The 2010 Internet Crime Report provides specific details about various crimes, victims and perpetrators, as well as state-specific data. It also outlines how IC3 has adapted its methods to meet the needs of the public and law enforcement.

IC3 received and processed an average of 25,317 complaints per month in 2010. Non-delivery of payment or merchandise accounted for the most complaints (14.4 percent). Scams using the FBI's name (13.2 percent) and incidents of identity theft (9.8 percent) rounded out the top three types of complaints.

In 2010, IC3 referred nearly half of all complaints (121,710) to law enforcement for further investigation. New technology developed for IC3 allows investigators to collaborate on cases spanning jurisdictional boundaries. IC3 analysts also provide support for various investigative efforts.

“Internet crime has affected millions across the country, and the great thing about IC3 is that we have adapted our resources to meet this threat,” said NW3C Director Don Brackman. “We have implemented new tools to help law enforcement bring online criminals to justice.”

Gordon M. Snow, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, added, “We encourage individuals to report Internet crime through the IC3 web portal. The IC3 is a unique resource for federal, state, and local law enforcement to intake cases efficiently, find patterns in what otherwise appear to be isolated incidents, combine multiple smaller crime reports into larger, higher priority cases, and ultimately bring criminals to justice.”

To download a copy of the 2010 Internet Crime Report, go to www.ic3.govNW3C has developed a companion website (ic3report.nw3c.org) for the 2010 report. The site features detailed information about Internet crime trends in all 50 states. It also includes resources for the public and for law enforcement.


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Discover® Small Business Watch: Confidence Holds Steady among Small Business Owners

Concerns over Temporary Cash Flow Offset Perceptions that Economy is Improving
TAX SEASON: Process Gets More Difficult to Organize and More Time Consuming, Few Take Advantage of New Tax Deductions
RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Economic confidence among small business owners remained steady in February, as the monthly Discover® Small Business WatchSM index dipped slightly from 91.0 in January to 90.2. Although a few more small business owners said the overall economy is getting better, a rise in cash flow issues kept confidence flat.
“Hope seems to be tempered by reality this month”
Thirty-four percent of small business owners said economic conditions in the country are improving, up 3 percentage points from 31 percent in January; while 41 percent said conditions are getting worse, unchanged from January; and 20 percent said conditions are the same, down from 24 percent.
At the same time, 50 percent of small business owners reported encountering temporary cash flow issues within the last 90 days that caused them to delay paying bills, up 7 points from January; as 46 percent reported no temporary cash flow issues, down 3 points from the prior month. The average monthly percentage of small business owners who encounter cash flow issues in the 90 days preceding the poll is 43 percent over the past 55 months.
“Hope seems to be tempered by reality this month,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business credit card. “The number of small business owners seeing economic conditions getting better for their businesses is the highest we’ve seen since February 2008, but concerns over temporary cash flow show the biggest one-month spike since November 2009.”
Other February Confidence Indicators
  • Small business owners’ perceptions of the economic conditions for their businesses in the next six months were mixed in February: 33 percent said conditions are getting better, up from 31 percent in January; but 40 percent said things were getting worse, also up from 38 percent from January. Those who said conditions were the same dropped to 25 percent from 26 percent in the prior month, and the number of those who weren’t sure was 2 percent in February, down from 5 percent.
  • 56 percent of small business owners rate the current economy as poor, down from 57 percent in January; 32 percent rate it fair, down from 34 percent; 7 percent rate it good, unchanged from the prior month; and 3 percent rate the economy excellent, up from 2 percent last month.
  • The number of small business owners who plan to increase spending on business development activities such as advertising, inventories and capital expenditures in the next six months was 28 percent, down from 30 percent last month. Forty-one percent will decrease spending on business development, up one percentage point from last month; 30 percent do not plan any changes, up from 27 percent last month.
Taxes: Process Getting More Difficult to Organize
More small business owners report that the tax preparation process is harder this year than in any of the four previous years: 56 percent said it was very difficult or somewhat difficult to find and organize the documents they need. In 2007, the first year the Watch tracked this data, only 39 percent found very difficult or somewhat difficult to find and organize their tax documentation.
The process also seems more time consuming. This year 80 percent of small business owners said the tax preparation and documentation process was somewhat or very time consuming, compared to 73 percent last year, and also the highest in the past four years.
The taxes that still frustrate small business owners continue to be self-employment and federal income taxes. When asked to choose from a list the taxes that frustrate them the most, small business owners chose:
    Self-employment taxes, 30 percent
Federal income taxes, 25 percent
State income taxes, 8 percent
Real and personal property taxes, 6 percent
Employer portion of social security taxes, 5 percent
Unemployment taxes, 4 percent
Sales taxes, 1 percent
Excise taxes, 1 percent
Unsure, 21 percent
 
Few Took Advantage of New Deductions
Seventy-four percent of small business owners said they did not take advantage of any new tax deductions for their business this year, compared to 11 percent who did and 15 percent who were not sure.
Compared to the average consumer, small business owners prefer to hire a tax professional than use a software program. Among consumers, 49 percent hired a professional and 26 percent used a software program, while 25 percent did neither. For small business owners, 68 percent hired a professional, 19 percent used a software program, and 13 percent did neither.
Consumers, on the other hand, are expecting more refunds: 45 percent of consumers are expecting a refund this year, compared to 50 percent last year; while 20 percent expect to break even and 24 percent expect to owe taxes.
Twenty-six percent of small business owners are expecting a refund, 29 percent expect to break even, and 38 percent expect to owe taxes.
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 (www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent survey research firm. The numeric index is calculated by assigning values to responses to a set of five 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 www.discovercard.com/business/watch. For information on Discover Business card, visit www.discovercard.com/business.
About Discover
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and 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 personal and student loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its Discover Bank subsidiary. Its payment 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 more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discoverfinancial.com.
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.

Contacts

Jon Drummond
Discover
224-405-1888
jondrummond@discover.com
or
Jessica Douglas
Burson-Marsteller
312-596-3441
jessica.douglas@bm.com
Permalink: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110228005346/en/Discover%C2%AE-Small-Business-WatchSM-Confidence-Holds-Steady
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First Data Announces North American Leadership Team

Monday 28 February 2011 | ePayments News Blog

 
US e-commerce and payment processing company First Data has announced its leadership team for its North American business after integrating its business operations and management in North America. Nine senior vice presidents will report directly to North America president Ed Labry in the new organization, namely Vickie Brown – Walmart Partnership Management, Jim Contardi – Product Solutions, Kelley Everetts – Client Care and Implementation Support, Kim Fitzsimmons – Merchant Services And Community Banks, Mark Herrington – Global Product Management and Innovation, Matt Kardell – National Clients and Alliances, Pete Korpady – Global Network Management, Barry McCarthy – Strategic Clients and Alliances, and Stan Wilson – Business Development. In the Global Product Management and Innovation organisation, the following executives will lead these specific product areas: Kevin Barry – Network Solutions, Steve Boehm – Issuing Solutions, Bruce Dragt – POS Solutions (Acquiring, TeleCheck, Terminals, TASQ, Leasing), Jeff Johnson – Prepaid Solutions, Dom Morea – Advanced Solutions and Innovation (Mobile Solutions, Innovation Management, Intellectual Property), and Silvio Tavares – Information and Analytics Services.


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CARTES in Asia : How Smart and Contactless Technologies Are Changing Everyone’s Lives

Asian Sesames to reward innovation on 29 March 2011 at CARTES in Asia

CARTES in Asia 2011
HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imagine a world where there are no fake goods, no one needs to carry a wallet or where cars make meals. In just a few years, smart and contactless technologies such as NFC, RFID and the ‘Internet of Things’ could make this possible.
  • Wallets may become a thing of the past. According to a recent (February) report sponsored by Mastercard, mobile and contactless payments will experience immense global market growth over the next five years, reaching US$680 billion and US$320 billion, respectively. In Beijing, China Unicom launched its SIMpass in January, giving the public contactless mobile payment on thousands of buses, taxis and in businesses, including the car parks, supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, cinemas, public telephones. SIMpass has more than two million users in more than 20 cities and provinces of China, including Beijing, Hunan and Jiangsu.
  • In the future, fake goods may become obsolete. All products including pharmaceuticals could be tagged with RFID (radio frequency identity) chips to prevent fakes. For example garment manufacturers such as Gerry Weber already implant chips into their care labels to stop copying. In just a few years, these RFID chips will be so small that they may be used to tag all manner of products to prove authenticity.
  • Machines will talk to each other to make peoples’ lives easier. When people arrive home by car, the car could potentially switch on the air conditioning unit, the air conditioner could switch on the TV and microwave and so on. According to Analysys Mason, the consumer ‘Internet of Things’ will grow to almost 16 billion connectable devices worldwide by 2020.
Innovations such as these and many more will be showcased and discussed at CARTES in Asia exhibition and conference on 29 – 31 March 2011 at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong. Over 170 exhibitors and more than 4,000 trade visitors are expected.
On Tuesday 29 March, 2011, the first day of CARTES in Asia, The Asian Sesames Awards will announce the most innovative smart technology application in Asia Pacific. Jury members include Frank Xu, chairman of the Smart Card Forum of China and Greg Pote, chairman of the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association. Last year’s winning product was Watchdata’s DBS Live Fresh 3-in-1 credit card that combined banking, transport and retail payments on a single chip dual interface smart card and used in Singapore.
Professionals from the fields of banking, security, IT, electronics, retail, telecoms, logistics and government who are responsible for innovation cannot afford to miss this trade show and conference.
Sources: BBC News, NFC News, Analysys Mason
These topics will be covered in the following conferences:
Mobile payments & financial services (Wednesday 30 March – 10am-12.30pm)
Asian consumers as the largest mobile users are increasingly using their mobiles to pay. Smart phones are opening up new opportunities in mobile banking: NFC, payments & mobile financial services. What are the latest trends? What are the challenges to ensure security for consumers?
Chairman’s introduction: M. Sebastien TORMOS – Chairman, GlobalPlatform – USA
Speakers: China Telecom Group, Watchdata, Gemalto, Sunward Telecom
Convergence & Mobility (Thursday 31 March – 2pm - 5.30pm)
Whether it’s the world of identity, networks, mobility & contactless, convergence is evolving based on a more important cooperation between all the stakeholders to develop products and services with a better performance to increase the chance of success and uptake the market. This trend will be illustrated in the session.
Chairman: M. GĂ©rard DE MOURA – Managing Director, Galitt – France
Speakers: American Express, Multos International, Giesecke & Devrient, GlobalPlatform, Oberthur Technologies, RFI Global
NFC & contactless applications (Wednesday 30 March – 2pm-5.30pm)
2010 has been a good year for the take up and deployment of NFC and contactless services across the world. What types of NFC applications have to be developed to meet user’s needs? What are the technical challenges: Interoperability, multiple form factors including mobile phones? This conference will look at the many aspect of NFC development that will drive NFC adoption.
Chairman: M. Craig RICHMAN - Member, NFC Forum
Speakers: DeviceFidelity, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Fime, Sony, Verayo
Internet of Things / M2M applications (Thursday 31 March – 9.30am-01.00pm)
Consumers and Citizens are definitively looking for more convenience and simplicity in their everyday life, with secure and personalized tools to protect their interaction with the digital world. The purpose of this conference about the Internet of Things is to look at what will be the main challenges and to anticipate what will be needed to satisfy the expectations of billions of Consumers and Citizens.
Chairman: M. Gerald SANTUCCI – Head of Unit, European Commission
Speakers: CIITA, Giesecke & Devrient, Watchdata, Sierra Wireless, University of Paris Dauphine, Gemalto
About CARTES in Asia
Date:
 
29-31 March 2011
Opening times:
29 March - 2.00pm to 5.30pm
30 & 31 March - 9.30am to 5.30pm
Place:
Hong Kong – AsiaWorld-Expo
Organiser:
COMEXPOSIUM
Website:
www.cartes-asia.com
For trade visitors only
CARTES in Asia is a regional Exhibition for the APAC market and a high-level Congress covering digital security and smart technologies.
For its first edition in March 2010, CARTES in Asia brought together 116 exhibitors from the smart card and digital security industry and took its place among the major events dedicated to smart technologies worldwide. 2813 visitors from banks, telecoms, administration, IT security and retail sectors, had the opportunity to discover innovative technologies for card manufacturing, authentication solutions, payment solutions, mobile security and other innovative technical solutions.
25 years experience at high level, international card business events
The CARTES team organises the sector’s leading international event CARTES & IDentification in Paris which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 with 432 exhibitors and 18,768 international visitors . CARTES has promoted smart technologies and presented the main market trends and innovations through the most appropriate forms including conferences programme, SESAMES Awards, animation areas, specific exhibition and demonstration areas.
CARTES events are organized by COMEXPOSIUM, the leading French profesional trade fairs organizer, offering a high level of service and premium quality standards for exhibitors and visitors.
Strong partnerships with main regional media and associations
CARTES in Asia will benefit from the strong support of major regional associations, authorities and local development agencies to gather all the components of the smart technology value chain in the Asia Pacific region.

Contacts

For more information, obtain photographs or to arrange interviews please contact:
CRED Communications Ltd (English media)
Mandy Queen
+852 96847365
mandy@credcommunications.com
or
Otis Kung (Chinese media)
+852 96843926
otis@credcommunications.com
Permalink: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110221005473/en/CARTES-Asia-Smart-Contactless-Technologies-Changing-Everyone%E2%80%99s


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Tyfone and Dexim Bring NFC Contactless Payments to the iPhone

New Tyfone iPhone sleeve powered by Dexim lets people use their iPhones for mobile contactless payments
PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tyfone (www.tyfone.com), a mobile financial services solutions provider, announced today the Tyfone iPhone sleeve, powered by Dexim (www.dexim.net). The Tyfone iPhone sleeve, designed and produced by award-winning smartphone accessories manufacturer Dexim, uses Tyfone’s SideTap™ MicroSD technology to allow existing iPhone users worldwide to make mobile contactless payments directly from their phones.
http://www.tyfone.com
“Tyfone is poised to deliver on the promise of mobile contactless payments several years ahead of when industry analysts expect this technology to take off commercially”
“Financial institutions and retailers alike are turning to mobile technologies for the next wave of commerce evolution,” said Carol Grunberg, vice president of marketing at Tyfone. “Tyfone’s technology is built for the widest possible audience, and lets consumers add contactless payment technology to their existing mobile phones. Tyfone’s SideTap can work in hundreds of millions of phones with memory card slots already in the market today. The Tyfone iPhone sleeve lets people who are using the iPhone have the same contactless capabilities as people using Android, BlackBerry and other smartphones.”
The Tyfone iPhone sleeve and the company’s patented SideTap technology transform the iPhone into a true electronic wallet. This Dexim-powered stylish sleeve, which also provides protection for the iPhone, has a slot to house the Tyfone SideTap MicroSD card, the world’s first secure memory card integrated with contactless payments technology. This sleeve also has built-in circuitry interfacing the 30-pin iPhone connector to a memory card slot enabling iPhone apps to communicate to the smartcard chip in SideTap MicroSD for over-the-air provisioning and management of identity securely. A miniature antenna and onboard controller ensures consumers can securely store and update any bank account, credit card, prepaid card and other payment information.
A simple app lets the user select which payment information to use when checking out of retail stores, paying at restaurants and even when using public transportation. A simple tap against a contactless point-of-sale terminal – already available at hundreds of thousands of locations worldwide – completes the transaction. Tyfone’s technology leaves the memory card functionality completely intact, allowing people to increase the available storage of their iPhones for saving any kind of digital information.
“Tyfone is poised to deliver on the promise of mobile contactless payments several years ahead of when industry analysts expect this technology to take off commercially,” said Laconia Cheng, Managing Director at Dexim. “Through this partnership, Dexim will again use its technology to solve a real market issue with a simple and elegant solution that iPhone users will love.”
Tyfone’s contactless payments use near field communications (NFC) technology. NFC technology beams transact information over a very small distance to ensure secure financial transactions. As the industry standardizes NFC technology for contactless payments, the business models are still evolving. Tyfone’s contactless payments solutions put control of the electronic wallet in the hands of the consumer, remaining neutral between financial institutions, mobile operators and retailers.
Institutions interested in ordering Tyfone iPhone sleeves with SideTap MicroSD cards should contact contact@tyfone.com.
About Dexim
Dexim is a worldwide brand. The company manufactures a line of iPod/iPhone/iPad/BlackBerry accessories that offer consumers an enjoyable and superior experience. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.dexim.net.
About Tyfone
Founded in 2004, Tyfone’s corporate headquarters are in Portland, Oregon, and its Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Bangalore, India. Tyfone connects money and mobility via a highly secure, scalable and flexible mobile financial services solution tailored to meet the evolving needs of consumers, financial institutions, mobile network operators, transportation companies, and retailers. Operating in any standard memory card slot, Tyfone’s u4ia® platform and its companion SideTap™ memory card is the world’s first patented, neutral, and comprehensive memory card-based payments solution for mobile contactless payments. Tyfone and its partners enable a suite of services including Mobile Banking, Mobile Identity Management, Mobile Remote Payments, Mobile Retail Services, and Mobile Contactless Payments. For more information visit www.tyfone.com.
Some names and brands mentioned may be claimed as the property of others. Tyfone®, u4ia®, and SideTap™ are trademarks of Tyfone, Inc.
iPod, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. “Made for iPod” means that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc. “Works with iPhone” means that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPhone and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. Apple is not responsible for the operation of this device or its compliance with safety and regulatory standards.

Contacts

DEXIM
Jared Melnicoff or Patrick Tarpey, 317-806-1900
Email: press@dexim.net
Dexim on Twitter: @DeximUSA
or
TYFONE
Mobility Public Relations
Holly Woolard, +1-503-343-4144
Email: tyfone@mobilitypr.com
Tyfone Press Kit: http://tyfone.mobilitypr.com
Tyfone on Twitter: @Tyfone
Permalink: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110228005045/en/Tyfone-Dexim-Bring-NFC-Contactless-Payments-iPhone


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Arcos Dorados Selects VeriFone PAYware Merchant for Latin America McDonald’s Restaurant Operations

Will Utilize the VeriFone Hosted Payment Services for POS Transactions and Also Provide Restaurants with VeriFone Card Acceptance Systems
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY), today announced it has won a contract to supply its PAYware Merchant card payment and settlement hosted service to Arcos Dorados, the company that manages the McDonald's brand in Latin America.
http://www.verifone.com
“Our ability to provide a regional hosted services package was the key element in a tremendous win for VeriFone payment solutions.”
Arcos Dorados is the largest restaurant operator in Latin America and the largest McDonald's franchisee in the world. Beginning with 220 McDonald’s restaurants in Argentina and Uruguay, PAYware Merchant will be integrated with a proprietary POS system to accommodate card payment processing at the point of sale.
Arcos Dorados has also contracted to lease VeriFone card acceptance systems and will offer individual restaurants either the VX 810 PINpad or MX 870 multimedia payment system. The agreement provides the opportunity for broader rollout to other countries, and beyond.
“We look forward to rolling these capabilities out through the Arcos Dorados McDonald’s system,” said Gustavo Jimenez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Systems group at VeriFone Latin America. “Our ability to provide a regional hosted services package was the key element in a tremendous win for VeriFone payment solutions.”
Arcos Dorados is a Latin American company and operates more than 1,850 McDonald's restaurants, as well as other McDonald’s-branded points of sale throughout 19 countries (Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Uruguay and Venezuela) and delivers field service to the other ten markets in the region.
“We were looking for payments and security expertise, and VeriFone provided the knowledge and technology to support our efforts,” said Pablo Corona, Arcos Dorados Systems Director, South Division of Latin America. “We found the perfect match for PCI DSS compliant hardware and software while increasing transaction reliability.”
When implemented, customers will swipe their cards on a VeriFone acceptance device connected to a cash register. The cash register POS then passes the transaction to PAYware Merchant, which handles payment processing authorization and settlement between the acquirer and the restaurant system.
PAYware Merchant, part of the PAYware suite of software products, is ideal for medium-to-large sized merchants and retailers who need the functionality to process a high volume of electronic payments through any channel. This solution, which also supports EMV chip & PIN, provides rapid payment processing that can be tightly integrated with any front-end POS system to increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
About VeriFone Systems, Inc. (www.verifone.com)
VeriFone Systems, 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.

Contacts

VeriFone Media Relations
Pete Bartolik, +1-508-283-4112
pete_bartolik@verifone.com
Permalink: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110228005546/en/Arcos-Dorados-Selects-VeriFone-PAYware-Merchant-Latin


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Fledging Company’s Sqwizz Device Offers A Different Option For NFC Interaction

PaymentsSource | Friday, February 25, 2011
By Will Hernandez

The anticipated proliferation of Near Field Communication technology has prompted a fledging company to create a device that features contactless functionality consumers would use to make payments, store loyalty cards, and communicate with NFC-enabled smartphones and posters, PaymentsSource has learned.

NFC Data Inc.’s Sqwizz device is a key fob that looks similar to popular small MP3 music players. The front of the device features a light-emitting diode screen and scroll buttons to navigate a menu. The back has a secure PIN pad consumers would use as a security measure to access and use the device’s multiple areas.

A contactless decoupled debit card would sit at the front of the device. Users would link the card to any checking account via the automated clearinghouse system using bank-routing and account information from a personal check.

NFC Data has an agreement with a Silicon Valley-area partner to distribute 100,000 Sqwizz devices in August, according to company co-founder and co-CEO Ken Mages.

Chicago-based NFC Data is positioning Sqwizz as more than just a payment device. Sqwizz also is intended to mimic functions an NFC-enabled smartphone might perform but less expensively–$29.95, or free, depending on distribution models.

Other Sqwizz functions include communicating with NFC tags found in smart posters, exchanging data with NFC-enabled smartphones, storing multiple loyalty cards, and receiving and redeeming coupons.

“There are a lot of compelling reasons why NFC [phones] can be complemented by a device that fits on your keychain and not cannibalized by the phone and vice versa,” Mages says.

NFC Data envisions several different scenarios for Sqwizz distributions models.

Telecommunication companies could sell the device in their stores as a precursor to NFC-enabled smartphones or as an accessory when those phones are available. Banks wishing to connect to their customers directly could give Sqwizz devices away as a promotional item, or electronic stores such as Best Buy Co. Inc. could sell the device as an “NFC thumb drive,” Mages says.

The company is seeking bank partnerships to cobrand Sqwizz’s contactless-payment function, Mages says. The company also is in talks with technology companies that produce keyless automobile-entry devices.

If NFC Data gets itself in a situation where the devices are given away for free, “we want to find the one strategic partner who shares the vision as clearly as we do and gets behind it and pushes,” Mages says. “It could be a bank, retailer or telco.”

Indeed, finding the right partnership will be key, says Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group LLC.

“Clearly, for anything to roll out you need a big entity to capture it, or you need a viral uptake,” he says. “When you’re talking about getting a hard product into people’s hands, it’s pretty rare that you’ll get a viral uptake.”

NFC Data plans to earn revenue from Sqwizz in various ways, Mages says. Banks, retailers or telcos would pay NFC Data to brand the device with their name and colors, and advertisers would pay a fee to NFC Data each time the Sqwizz captures information from an NFC tag, Mages says.

Mages is not interested in capturing revenue from decoupled debit cards. The company is more concerned with the NFC-initiated activities outside the payments environment the device would conduct, he says.

Sqwizz is designed to hang from a keychain, making it easier to access compared with a smartphone, Mages contends. The process of removing a phone from a pocket or purse, unlocking the phone, finding and opening the right mobile application, and paying fails to fall in line with the idea of speedy NFC transactions, he says.

At least one observer disagrees with Mages’ description of how NFC would work with mobile phones. “[NFC Data is] assuming NFC is going to be cumbersome,” Nick Holland, a senior analyst with Yankee Group, tell PaymentsSource, noting he has seen NFC phones work without having to open an application.

NFC Data has experienced some pushback on Sqwizz from potential partners, mainly because of its strategy to focus on a keychain device as the form factor. But Mages views the device as a way to consolidate loyalty cards and even to incorporate building access.

“When you first look at the Sqwizz, you might think it’s another piece of something you don’t need,” Mages says. “But I really feel strongly the mobile phone can’t be a Swiss army knife for everything.”

But the mobile phone is a network-connected device, which Holland believes illustrates an initial problem with Sqwizz.

“Where the real value-add [is with NFC] is getting access to real-time information [through the mobile network], not information at some point when you plug the device into your computer,” he says. “There’s no immediacy with the device.”

Sqwizz can connect to a smartphone through the audio jack, Mages says. Users capturing data on the device can see a preview on the screen and move the information to the phone for viewing. But if a user lacks a smartphone, information cannot be downloaded from the Sqwizz until connected to a computer.

NFC Data also is developing a mobile app that would enable NFC phones to perform the same functions as the Sqwizz.

Ablowitz believes it is difficult to determine Sqwizz’s viability because of the unknowns about NFC technology. “If [NFC] is like other things in payments like I’ve seen, it’ll settle out in a way that a bunch of people will sort of ask a question or two about security and quickly get comfortable,” Ablowitz says, noting a small but vocal percentage of consumer will have security concerns based on their interpretations of the product.

“If that plays up the same way with NFC, I’m not sure there is enough of a market for an alternative device,” he says. “I think those people are more likely to stick with what they have.”

Sqwizz could be “an idea that just might be a little ahead of its time because NFC hasn’t been proven out yet,” Ablowitz adds.

Mages previously was chairman, president and CEO of HomeATM ePayment Solutions. He left the company last March, (see story)
Click to Enlarge
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Debit Interchange Fact Sheet

Debit Card Usage

  • An average debit card is used to perform 17 purchases per month.
  • 72 percent of consumers used a debit card, up from 65 percent a year earlier.
  • 58 percent of debit transactions were for less than $20, up from 47 percent of transactions a year earlier.

Cost of Processing Debit Cards versus Other Payment Types
  • For the consumer, merchant, bank and central bank, the cost of a non-verifiable check is 39 cents higher than a signature debit transaction.
  • A merchant’s resource (includes costs such as processing, transport to bank, bank charges, other direct costs) costs for a $54.24 grocery store transaction was 16 cents higher for a check than a debit payment.
Customer Transaction Speed for Debit versus Other Payment Types
  • On average, debit card transactions take 30 percent less time than check transactions.
  • If all debit transactions were processed as checks than the average person would waste an hour per year waiting in lines.
Lost Revenue Resulting from the Fed Rule
  • With a proposed interchange fee cap of 7 to 12 cents – an estimated $12-$14 billion in revenue could be lost.
  • On average, large issuers get 44 cents per transaction in interchange revenue

Cost of Providing a Checking/Debit Account
  • The cost of opening an account runs between $150 and $200
  • The yearly cost of maintaining an account runs between $250 and $300
  • About half of checking accounts are unprofitable in a “good year,” and with the coming regulatory changes that percentage could increase to 75 percent.
Fraud Losses
  • The Federal Reserve’s proposal does not include the cost of fraud losses or fraud prevention.
  • Debit card fraud losses to all parties was approximately $1.36 billion in 2009.
  • Fraud losses represent 0.04 percent of an issuer’s transaction volume, but 9.4 percent of transaction value.
  • Most common types of debit card fraud: counterfeit card, lost and stolen card fraud, card-not-present fraud.
Cost of Handling Checks vs. Debit
  • Signature debit has the lowest social cost to parties involved in a transaction. The estimates below are based on a grocery store cash transaction of $54.24.
  • The cost of a non-verifiable check is 39 cents higher than a signature debit transaction. However, the difference for a verifiable check and PIN debit is same – this is due to the interchange fee being included in the cost of PIN debit.

Payment Type Social Marginal Cost

Cash $2.66
Non-verifiable Check $1.40
Verifiable Check $1.08
Credit $1.22
Signature Debit $1.01
PIN Debit $1.08

A check transaction requires a merchant to spend 16 cents more on resources to clear a transaction than a debit transaction (for a grocery transaction of $54.24).
unit in cents

Cash $0.42
Check $0.31
Credit $0.24
Debit $0.17

Debit Card Reward Programs

58 percent of Issuers in 2009 offered some type of rewards program, up from 53 percent in 2008.

1 The Federal Reserve Debit Interchange Survey;
2 2010 Pulse Debit Issuer Study;
3 Javelin, "Credit Card Spending Declines", March 2009;
4 First Data White Paper, “Now You See It, Now You Don’t: A Review of Fraud Costs and Trends”. 2009.;
5 Estimate by Celent, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos, May 2010, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2010, “The End is Near For Free Checking.”
6 “Banking Strategies: Retail Delivery Insights Special Edition,” March 11, 2009, BAI;
7 AEI-Brookings Joint Center fro Regulatory Studies, “The Economics of a Cashless Society: An Analysis of the Cost and Benefits of the Payment Instruments”
8 Elizabeth Klee, “Paper or Plastic? The Effect of Time on Check and Debit Card Use in Grocery Store


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ROAM Data’s Universal Secure Mobile Card Reader Solution Chosen by Intuit, Sage, Total Merchant Services, North American Bankcard and Others


Major merchant service providers (MSPs) have chosen ROAM Data’s patented mobile card acceptance solution to penetrate the largely untapped SMB market (estimated at 22 million small businesses and sole proprietors in the United States) competing against Square and each other.
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ROAM Data, the mCommerce solutions leader, announced today that several more large merchant services providers (MSPs) have contracted with ROAM for its mobile card reader and software solution.
“Our solution enables our partners to tap into a whole new market segment while increasing value and stickiness to their existing merchant base.”

What differentiates ROAM’s solution from offerings by companies like Verifone and Magtek is device reach and price point. Because of ROAM’s mobile software expertise and its unique reader design, ROAM’s solution supports the most number of device platforms in the industry, with one hardware SKU that securely runs on iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry devices, as well as PCs, Macs, and Netbooks. Its revolutionary price point, allows MSPs like Intuit GoPayment, Total Merchant Services, and North American Bankcard to give away readers to support their small business owners, and others like Sage Payment Solutions to offer extremely competitive rates for their merchant base.
“The uptake has been amazing, we are now getting orders into the hundreds of thousands of units, and have tripled manufacturing capacity the past 2 months to keep pace, and new resellers are calling us daily.” Said Will Graylin, Founder and CEO of ROAM, “Our solution enables our partners to tap into a whole new market segment while increasing value and stickiness to their existing merchant base.”
ROAM’s turn-key mobile solution helps its partner MSPs compete on a more level playing field against merchant service providers like Square that have developed its own unencrypted reader solution. Unlike Square’s reader however, ROAMswipe fully encrypts cardholder data before it gets to the phone to prevent skimming (capturing track data on the phone to be replicated for fraudulent use). It is the world’s first encrypted audio-coupled reader with patent pending technology that allows the reader to be more secure, have much better read rates, and cover more phones.
Beyond hardware, ROAM has a patented software platform and payment gateway that enables all sorts of mCommerce applications for small and larger merchants, turn-key or customized, for face-to-face or remote transactions. ROAM’s turn-key card acceptance application for mobile merchants is called ROAMpay. MSPs like Sage Payment Solutions have private labeled this offering to have their own branded mobile application and support systems all powered by ROAM as a service. Companies that have chosen ROAMpay can leverage ROAM’s mobile expertise so they can focus on their core business instead of mobile app development and maintenance. For those that have already built their own smart phone apps and support infrastructure, ROAM helps them integrate ROAMswipe into their native app with ROAM’s SDK and software libraries.
ROAM provides a suite of mCommerce solutions and tools to help MSPs and their merchants deliver the best mobile commerce solutions possible. ROAM currently has over 150 MSP that resell ROAMpay and ROAMswipe. For more information about ROAMpay visit:http://www.roamdata.com/roampay/us/ and for more about the full range of ROAM’s mCommerce solutions including ROAMbiz, ROAMbuy, ROAMstores, visit www.roamdata.com.
About ROAM Data
ROAM Data provides patented mCommerce software, hardware and services that enable merchants to win customer spend and loyalty. ROAM Data securely delivers faster more convenient transactions for small and large merchants across virtually any mobile device. ROAM’s mission is to enable mCommerce to improve lives.
ROAM’s team has been innovating in this space for over 10 years and has cracked the four major problems that have held back the full scale adoption of mCommerce namely: device complexity, payment security, legacy system integration and app deployment/maintenance. ROAM partners and customers include some of the largest payment providers e.g. Intuit Payment Solutions, Ingenico, First Data, Chase Paymentech. ROAM won the 2010 Technology Innovation Award sponsored by the Electronic Transaction Association and is setting the standard for scalable mCommerce solutions for merchants everywhere. Visit us at www.roamdata.com.


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