Signature-based debit transactions carried higher interchange rates than PIN debit transactions for many years. The Durbin Amendment will finally balance those fees, but with this change comes a debate over the future of these two types of transactions.
In a panel discussion at the AFP Retail Roundtable in May, Steve Mott, CEO of BetterBuyDesign, explained that signature debit transactions do not exist in many countries outside the U.S., other than France, the U.K. and some Asian countries. It has not really caught on elsewhere because most consumers view debit transactions as using “their” money, which they are putting into the bank for “safe-keeping,” Mott said.
The Federal Reserve issued its final rule on debit interchange fees on June 29, setting signature and PIN at 21 cents per transaction. Banks also are allowed to charge slightly more if they take steps to avoid fraud. The new rule goes into effect on October 1.
Some industry experts now expect financial institutions to begin pushing their PIN-based product, which currently carries fees of about 10 cents per transaction. However, this is not a viable option for Visa and some of the larger financial institutions, Mott told Payments in an exclusive interview. “I think they would prefer to figure out how they can get around the intent of whatever the regulations turn out to be to promote the golden goose of signature debit as long as they possibly can, at least in the United States. And I think Visa’s long-term strategy is to kill PIN, because it takes almost all of the possible fraud and problems out of the system. And that’s not good for the payments industry because they make all of their money on inefficiencies in the payments system.”
Signature debit carries a high potential for fraud, noted one retailer at the session. Panelist Pat Moran, Senior Vice President, Product Management of Fifth Third Processing Solutions, said that amount of fraud on signature debit is actually very low, “in the three basis point range, on volume.” However, Moran admitted that there is next to no fraud with PIN debit. Moreover, session moderator David Bellinger, CTP, Director of Payments at AFP, added that the Fed found loss rates for signature to be “tremendously higher” than any fraud discovered with PIN.
Bellinger asked the crowd whether or not refusing signature debit is a legitimate option, and they universally agreed that it is not. “It’s possible to say that you can stop taking signature debit, but when you are a merchant that has been in business for a number of years, and your customers are conditioned to coming in—you face a real loss of revenue,” said one corporate in attendance.
One corporate asked why the banks continue to push an inferior product. “As a consumer, I feel much more secure using PIN debit because only I know my PIN,” he said.
Moran agreed that PIN is much more secure than signature. But to reach a more secure solution, the costs are high, he said. “Ninety percent of our merchant customers don’t take PIN today,” he said.
There are other significant incentives for card issuers to push signature transactions. “The issuer may get their interchange regardless of whether it’s PIN or signature, but for Visa and MasterCard, there’s a little add-on beyond interchange that they risk losing,” said one retailer.
Mott cited this is as another reason why Visa is trying to expunge PIN, which it views as a static authenticator, and move to dynamic authentication, EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip and PIN—with a slight alteration.
“They don’t want to tie the transaction to the consumer, which is why the fraud and the chargeback and charge-off rates are so low for PIN,” said Mott. “But they also don’t actually encrypt the information on the account credential that’s in the card with the chip on it. They leave the PAN (Primary Account Number) and the expiration date in the clear. They encrypt the CVD (Card Verification Data) code, a small piece of data that provides a unique transaction ID, and that goes with the PAN and expiry date all the way through the system and back to the merchant.
“The problem with that solution is that doesn’t relieve the merchant from PCI compliance. You still have the PAN and expiry date. Not only that, but I can shop on dozens of online sites with just the PAN and expiry date, because they don’t look for the CVD. So Visa, in my view, is playing three-card Monte with payments security. If you take the PIN out and leave the PAN and expiry date in the clear, the merchants don’t really benefit fundamentally from the shift to EMV.”
Excerpted from the July issue of Payments.
Friday, July 22, 2011
On Average, Victims Pay $631 in out-of-pocket costs per Identity Theft Incident
CHANTILLY, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IDENTITY GUARD®, a product of Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq: INTX) today reminds consumers that Identity theft remains a major threat to consumers of all ages. Fraud protection is essential for everyone from infants to adolescents to adults because identity theft is such a costly and potentially life-changing crime.
According to a February 2011 Javelin Strategy & Research report on identity theft and fraud protection, more than 8.1 million identities were stolen in 2010. On average, victims ofidentity theft were responsible for paying $631 in out-of-pocket costs, such as those to cover fraudulent debt or legal fees, which is a significant rise from $387 in 2009. The California-based market research firm says the increased need for fraud protection may stem from thieves focusing more on new account debit card fraud.
The climbing costs may provide individuals with even more incentive to better monitor their credit reports and scores. While a credit and fraud protection program can be a great asset, consumers should also make sure to take the proper steps to lower their risk of identity theft.
Here are six tips that may help consumers better defend against thieves.
1. Avoid throwing away any private documentation - bills, credit card offers, bank statements - that contains personal identifying details without first running it through a paper shredder.
2. Take receipts after a purchase and check their listed amounts against credit card bills. This approach may help a person identify any fraudulent charges on his or her statements.
3. Avoid carrying your Social Security card out of your home unless it's absolutely necessary.
4. Have your mail delivery temporarily suspended when you are on vacation.
5. Use a different password for each online account and construct passwords with a combination of numbers, capital letters, and, if possible, symbols.
6. Stay abreast of the latest online fraud tactics. Knowing what scams are out there can help individuals practice safer Web browsing behavior.
Identity Guard® is a product of Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq: INTX), a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. Intersections has protected 32 million consumers worldwide since 1996. Applying the same 24/7 technology that the biggest names in financial services provide to their customers, the Identity Guard product responds to ever-increasing personal security challenges – protecting your most valuable assets – your credit and your identity. Follow Identity Guard on Twitter@IdentityG and fan Identity Guard on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IdentityGuard.
July 21, 2011 04:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time
PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE: HPY), one of the nation’s largest payments processor, today announced that its results for the second quarter 2011 will be released before the market opens on Thursday, July 28, 2011. A copy of the earnings release will be available on the investor relations portion of the Company’s website at: www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Robert Carr, President Robert Baldwin, and Chief Financial Officer Maria Rueda will host a conference call beginning at 8:30 AM Eastern Time, Thursday, July 28, 2011, to discuss second quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.
Heartland Payment Systems invites all interested parties to listen to its conference call broadcast through a webcast on the Company’s website. To access the call, please visit the Investor Relations portion of the Company’s website at: www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com. The webcast will be archived on the Company’s website within two hours of the live call and will remain available through October 28, 2011.
You may also participate by calling (877) 627-6544 and providing the operator with Pin Number 1695414.
About Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE: HPY), the fifth largest payments processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, gift marketing and loyalty programs, payroll, check management and related business solutions to more than 250,000 business locations nationwide. A FORTUNE 1000 company, Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. The company is also a leader in the development of end-to-end encryption technology designed to protect cardholder data, rendering it useless to cybercriminals. For more information, please visit HeartlandPaymentSystems.com, MerchantBillOfRights.org, CostOfABurger.com and E3secure.com.
Ingenico and ScanSource, Inc. Partner to Optimize Product Distribution in the U.S.
July 22, 2011 09:50 ET
Financial-Technology Entrepreneurs Present Latest Innovations to Wall Street Executives and Venture Capitalists
July 22, 2011 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Big Banks Provide Aid to Start-up Companies in the Financial Technology Sector
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Six entrepreneurs today gave the venture community a first look at a range of cutting-edge financial technology innovations they developed over the past three months, with the guidance and support of some of the world’s leading banks and venture capitalists. In March, the six were selected from a field of more than 90 start-up companies that applied to participate in the annual FinTech Innovation Lab. The Lab was created by the New York City Investment Fund, the economic development arm of the Partnership for New York City, and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) to ensure that New York maintains its leadership in global finance – an industry which is increasingly driven by technological innovation.
“Congratulations to all six companies – we look forward to watching you become the next New York financial technology success stories.”
Since May, the entrepreneurs have developed, tested and fine-tuned their innovations -- which provide technology solutions for market data analysis, risk management and data visualization. Throughout the product development process, 10 global financial institutions -- Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, State Street, and UBS – provided mentors, feedback and market access to the six companies. Among those lending their advice and support were JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. CEO Henry Kravis.
“These companies are among the innovators who are creating the next generation in financial technology,” said Maria Gotsch, President & CEO of the New York City Investment Fund. “By giving them access to important potential customers, we are helping entrepreneurs to accelerate their growth and achieve an edge on competitors around the world.”
Coaching and business advice was also provided by executives at six venture capital firms: Contour Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, RRE Ventures, Village Ventures and Warburg Pincus. The firms also gave each start-up $25,000 in funding for expenses. In addition, Accenture provided program leadership, work space, as well as mentoring by its financial services industry and technology experts.
"Innovation is more critical to the U.S. financial services industry than ever,” said Chris Wearing, Managing Director in Accenture’s U.S. Capital Markets practice. “Finding growth and new efficiencies in this radically changed marketplace depends heavily on new technologies and better processes. These entrepreneurs show how new ideas and technologies can help institutions adapt and profit. And they prove that New York continues to distinguish itself as a center for innovation.”
“As the global capital of finance, New York City is uniquely positioned to become the center of innovation in financial technology,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “These six companies represent a growing tech sector that will sustain the competitive advantage of New York’s great financial institutions, while also creating businesses and jobs in New York City.”
The six participants in this year’s FinTech Innovation Lab and the products they developed are:
- Aqumin: Using interactive 3D technology, Aqumin's AlphaVision™ facilitates visual analysis and interpretation of vast, disparate sources of public and proprietary market data. This enables financial market professionals to identify patterns and extract information quickly. For more information: www.aqumin.com
- CB Insights: CB Insights’ Mosaic assesses the health of private small businesses by finding signals of strength or weakness in publicly available information sources. Mosaic, through the use of these information inputs, empowers wealth management, investment banking, vendor procurement, and lending groups to improve their marketing and due diligence efforts. For more information: www.cbinsights.com/mosaic
- Hanweck Associates: Hanweck Associates offers high-performance, real-time analytics and risk products for top-tier hedge funds, banks, broker/dealers and other financial institutions. The company uses commercial graphical processing units (GPUs) to accelerate computations in its products such as Volera™, a low-latency, real-time options analytics engine. For more information: www.hanweckassoc.com
- Lenddo.com: Lenddo.com is the first service to use and analyze online social networks to assess credit worthiness. The Lenddo community uses these networks to help middle class people in emerging markets obtain loans and improve their financial reputation. For more information: www.lenddo.com
- Syphr: Syphr is a provider of highly personalized credit management and financial optimization applications that help financial institutions and online finance websites attract business. The company’s patent-pending technology identifies more qualified and better-informed customers. For more information: www.syphronline.com
- Zipmark: Zipmark is a mobile and online payments company that works just like a check, minus the paper and trip to the bank. With a mobile barcode, Zipmark accepts secure payments from any bank, thrift or credit union, providing customers with a lower-cost alternative to pay their rent and other bills. For more information: www.zipmark.com
“New York City is one of the world’s great financial capitals and the home to a burgeoning technology start-up culture, so we are uniquely positioned to foster an attractive environment for financial technology companies,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “Congratulations to all six companies – we look forward to watching you become the next New York financial technology success stories.”
“It is great to see such vibrant innovation from the New York startup community,” said Andy Brown, Chief Technology Officer of UBS. “We have enjoyed collaborating with the finalists and there has been a great business development dialog throughout. We have found technology that we can use at UBS through FinTech.”
“We're excited to be part of this inaugural year for Fintech,” said John Burns, CIO of the Investment Bank at Credit Suisse. “The quality of the firms and the products they are bringing to market are an affirmation of this program and one of the reasons we're committed to its success. Technology is at the core of what we do in financial services and this program will ensure an innovation pipeline for our industry in the years to come.”
“We believe technology innovation is a key factor of gaining competitive advantage, and we are delighted to be part of a process that attracts innovative companies to be closer to the financial industry in New York City and helps them grow and foster emerging technologies that benefit us,” said Steve Randich, Co-Head of ICG Technology and Co-CIO of Citibank.
For more information about the FinTech Innovation Lab, visit: www.fintechinnovationlab.com
About the Sponsors
The New York City Investment Fund (www.nycif.org ) is the vision of Henry R. Kravis, founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., who serves as its Founding Chairman. The Investment Fund has raised over $110 million to mobilize the city's world financial and business leaders to help build a stronger and more diversified local economy. It has built a network of top experts from the investment and corporate communities who help identify and support New York City's most promising entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. The Fund is governed by a Board of Directors co-chaired by Russell L. Carson, General Partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe; and Richard M. Cashin, Managing Partner of One Equity Partners. The Investment Fund is an affiliate of the Partnership for New York City (www.pfnyc.org), an organization of the leaders of New York City’s top corporate, investment, and entrepreneurial firms. They work in partnership with city and state government officials, labor groups, and the nonprofit sector to promote the interest of the city and its neighborhoods. The Partnership carries out research, policy formulation, and issue advocacy at the city, state, and federal levels, leveraging the resources and expertise of its CEO and Corporate partners. Partnership companies account for nearly 7 million American jobs and contribute over $740 billion to the national GDP.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its website is www.accenture.com.