Friday, November 18, 2011

Waiters from NYC Top Steakhouse Busted in Million Dollar Credit Card Scam

Image: Confiscated money, credit card equipment
NBC New York
Money, credit card counterfeiting equipment and other goods confiscated
in New York City  are displayed by the district attorney's office on Friday.
updated 2 hours 41 minutes ago

More than two dozen current and former waiters and their associates from some of the city's top steakhouses have been arrested in an alleged identity theft ring, accused of stealing credit card numbers from wealthy customers, authorities said Friday.  The Manhattan district attorney, police and the U.S. Secret Service announced the arrests Friday involving a 28-person ring that operated at top metro-area restaurants like Smith & Wollensky, Capital Grille and Wolfgang Steak, as well as Morton’s in Stamford, Conn. and the Bicycle Club in New Jersey.  read more at MSNBC
The story was first reported Thursday by NBC New York.

Why Standardization of NFC Will Change The World

Author: Alex Hamilton Published: November 18, 2011 at 7:07 am

The real agent of massive global economic change is not one of the usual suspects, it is actually something rather mundane- standardization.
Yes that's right, standardization. Incredibly boring I know. But it has changed the world before and is about to again.
The humble shipping container may not seem like the engine that drove globalization for the 20th Century, but it is. And like the shipping container of the 20th Century, it will be Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled sim cards that will drive innovation and globalization in the 21st Century. Or at least for the next decade.
The move to standard sized shipping containers during World War Two, but particularly in the years that followed, enabled massive and efficient movements of goods all around the world, and as of 2009 approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo is moved this way. Henry Ford changed the world with the production line, but no one changed they way it was shipped, until containerization.
So yes, innovation came from many sources, Japan and Germany not burdened by having to pay for their own defence budgets could invest in R&D in all areas of their economies and the USA could expand into the golden era of the Long Boom, and so on. But all this wonderful capitalism would not have been possible on the scale and time frame that it happened without the backbone of the globalization being the standardized shipping container.
This does not fit the narrative of combat that is so often touted as the raison d'ĂȘtre of capitalism, but it is when things get standardized that change starts to take place. Just within the bounds of the standard. Westinghouse versus Maytag is still just as bloody, except all their wares are shipped in the same sized containers.
Continued on the next page

Read more:

Swedish Telco's to Form NFC Mobile Joint Venture

According to Finextra, Mobile operators Telia, Tele2, Telenor and 3 have formed a Swedish m-payments joint venture.
Finextra: The group say that by joining together they can provide all Swedes, contract and pre-paid, with a range of payment services from next summer.  All mobile operators will have the same product, making it easy for customers switching providers, while using a single counterparty offers greater security and less administration, says a brief statement.  In June, Telia Denmark, TDC, Telenor Denmark and 3 Denmark formed a joint company to develop a common platform for NFC m-payments.  The Scandinavian projects are following a similar model being employed by telcos in the US, under the Isis brand, and in the UK by Everything Everywhere, Telefonica and Vodafone.


Image via Wikipedia
Similar to recently aborted Bank of America usage fee, new cost would compensate for Durbin amendment cap on debit card fees

An attempt by MasterCard to institute a 21-cent floor on all of its PIN debit card transactions to benefit banks using its branded debit cards could have a chilling impact on small businesses.
“If this succeeds, margins will be painfully slimmer for many low margin, low ticket, high volume businesses such as grocery and fast food stores, coffee shops and gas stations,” said Robert G. Gerber, a partner in the Corporate and Securities practice group at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP (Chicago).
Using the example of a grocery store with an average net margin of 5 to 7 percent, Gerber pointed out that margins quickly will disappear on lower ticket transactions. On a $10 purchase, the net margin for the grocer would be about 50 to 70 cents. Under the 1.5 percent fee, the transaction cost would be $.015, and 6 cents more under the new 21-cent cost.
“These types of small businesses survive on operational efficiencies and turning more volume, so while 6 cents might not sound like much, it is more than 10 percent off the net profit margin on that transaction,” Gerber says.
According to Gerber, MasterCard’s overture basically is an attempt to compensate for the $0.21-per transaction cap on debit card fees instituted by the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Only recently, Bank of America’s own attempt to recoup the millions of dollars that it would no longer make on larger transactions due to the cap – through a new $5 monthly debit card usage fee – was rescinded due to public outcries.
“MasterCard is quietly working to institute this new cost to recoup lost income, but also to influence banks to use its branded cards over those of other associations – namely Visa,” Gerber says.
Gerber is available to discuss this latest move by MasterCard and its potential impact on small businesses, as well as other banking issues related to the Durbin amendment. [11/17/2011]
 Randy Labuzinski

GETI and IVR Technology Group (ITG) Partner to Add ACH to Pay-by-Phone Virtual Terminal

SOURCE: Global eTelecom, Inc.
November 18, 2011 05:00 ET
FT. WALTON BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - Nov 18, 2011) - Global eTelecom, Inc. (GETI), a premier electronic check processor and gift/loyalty card provider, announced today a new partnership with the IVR Technology Group, a provider of customized IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and SMS text messaging services, to further increase the functionality of ITG's IVR Pay-by-Phone virtual terminal. As part of this partnership, GETI resellers and end user customers can turn any telephone into their own virtual ACH payment processing terminal by utilizing GETI's transaction processing technology.
The IVR Pay-by-Phone gateway combines this ACH capability with credit card processing to offer a complete payment solution. A significant benefit to businesses using the Pay-by-Phone virtual terminal is the ability to certify PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance, because the system does not store credit card data over the VoIP network.
Users of the system are provided a dedicated dial in telephone number and met with a company specific greeting. Callers are then given customized instruction on how to complete their electronic payments. The call flows have been implemented in accordance with NACHA & GETI guidelines. There is no need for any additional hardware and/or software. ITG offers full support for a variety of system to system interfaces including integration with existing IVR systems and customer management software.
"This partnership with IVR Technology Group will substantially enhance payment processing options for GETI clients by integrating GETI solutions into the Pay-by-Phone virtual terminal," said John Laurell, vice president of technical operations at GETI. "Partnering with ITG offers us the opportunity to provide our resellers and their end user customers with the ability to field customer service calls for payment processing 24 hours a day."
About Global eTelecom, Inc. (GETI)Global eTelecom (GETI) provides proprietary electronic Check processing and Gift/Loyalty services to over 55,000 merchants nationwide. GETI's products are marketed through sales channels of banks, independent sales offices and credit card processors. Global eTelecom's value added solutions include: Electronic POS Check Conversion, Paper Guarantee, ACH Debit, Checks-By-Phone, Checks-By-Web, Check 21 rdc, mobile Tele-Debit and Gift/Loyalty Card Processing. GETI is part of Sage North America. For information, please visit
About IVR Technology GroupIVR Technology Group (ITG) is a provider of customized IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and SMS text messaging services through a suite of phone automation services that enhances customer communications, helps drive sales while lowering costs. Leveraging IVR Technology Group's Pay-by-Phone virtual terminal companies can quickly add additional solutions ranging from simple call routing to advanced interactive voice response and cloud based virtual support systems. For more information, visit or call Mike Byrne, 800-438-1709 Ext. 201.

Visa Europe Invests in Beyond Analysis to Strengthen Data Analytics Capabilities

Beyond Analysis 

Beyond AnalysisLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire) - Visa Europe has today taken a minority stake in leading customer insight group, Beyond Analysis. The investment will strengthen Visa Europe's data analytics capabilities and forms part of its strategy to deliver increased value for consumers, retailers and banks through electronic payments.
Over £1 in every £4 spent in the UK is spent on a Visa debit, credit or prepaid card, and over 11 billion transactions are processed from across Europe meaning Visa has unrivalled insight into consumer spending patterns. A key feature of Visa Europe's data analytics is that all cardholder information is anonymous and does not include personal or private details.
Mariano Dima, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa Europe, will join the Beyond Analysis Board as part of the investment.
Beyond Analysis is an international consumer insight and strategy business. Following this investment, it will deepen its work with Visa Europe to help manage loyalty programmes and provide advanced analytics and insight based on the spending patterns captured in card transactions processed by Visa Europe. This insight can help retailers and banks to engage with new and existing customers, providing access to a comprehensive source of information based on Visa card transaction history. This will enable banks and retailers to better segment and target their marketing efforts and drive brand loyalty, purchase behaviour and traffic.
The investment by Visa Europe reflects Beyond Analysis' strategic goal to help more organisations undertake successful multi-channel engagement programmes.
Peter Ayliffe, President and CEO of Visa Europe said, "This investment in Beyond Analysis reflects Visa Europe's commitment to redefining its relationship with retailers, helping them to build stronger relationships with customers and secure increased market share. Enhanced data analytics forms a key part of our vision for the future of payments alongside new technology such as mobile payments and e-wallets."
Paul Alexander, CEO of Beyond Analysis said: "We are delighted to be joining forces with our long term partner Visa Europe to deliver ground-breaking advances in data analytics, resulting in enhanced customer engagement opportunities for retailers. We bring to the table not just our expertise in transforming a massive pool of data into business-ready patterns, trends and synergies, but the ability to turn information into insight, intelligence and creative campaigns that drive competitive advantage and customer-centric business decisions."

Citi Renews U.S. Private Label Card Relationship with Sunoco

Multi-Year Renewal and Launch of new Rewards Card to save Customers 5 cents per gallon on all Sunoco Fuel Purchases

ATLANTA--()--Citi and Sunoco today announced a multi-year renewal of their long-standing U.S. private label credit card relationship.
“Sunoco is committed to offering customers a range of payment options that suit their needs and lifestyles”
Citi has provided branded payment products to leading petroleum product provider Sunoco since 2004. The relationship offers Sunoco locations quick and efficient fuel purchase processing while ensuring that customers have convenient and flexible payment options for their fuel purchases.
“We are honored to renew our long-standing relationship with Sunoco," said Craig Vallorano, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Citi Retail Partner Cards. "This renewal and other recent announcements reinforce our long-term commitment to providing best-in-class credit programs to market leaders in the retail industry."
This renewal will also mean good things for customers, including new or expanded Sunoco card product offerings, according to Drew Kabakoff, Sunoco Brand Manager.
“Sunoco is committed to offering customers a range of payment options that suit their needs and lifestyles,” he explained. “We think it’s important to give customers flexibility and reward their loyalty, which is why we have teamed with Citi to recently launch a new rewards card that provides a five-cents-per-gallon discount on fuel purchases at Sunoco retail locations.”
Customers can find information about the rewards card program at over 4,900 Sunoco stations in the U.S. or check for details and to apply online.
Citi Retail Partner Cards provides consumer and commercial credit card products and services, including private label credit cards, for national and regional retailers across the U.S. The business services nearly 90 million accounts and consists of managed assets of approximately $44 billion. Retail partners include: Sears Holdings, The Home Depot, Macy’s, and multiple leading oil and gas companies, among others.

Intuit Grows First-Quarter Revenue 12 Percent; Reiterates Full-year Guidance

NASDAQ in Times Square, New York City, USA.
Image via Wikipedia

Small Business Group Revenue Increased 13 Percent, Driven by Strength in Connected Services
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) today announced financial results for its first fiscal quarter, which ended Oct. 31, and reiterated guidance for the full fiscal year 2012.

First Quarter Highlights:
Unless otherwise noted, all growth rates refer to the current fiscal quarter versus the comparable prior-year quarter.
  • Increased revenue by 12 percent, to $594 million.
  • Grew Small Business revenue by double-digits for the seventh consecutive quarter, driven by strong adoption of online and mobile services and improving revenue per customer.
  • Generated strong revenue growth through connected services. QuickBooks Online increased subscribers 40 percent, to over 300,000.
  • Reported first quarter fiscal 2012 operating loss narrowed significantly compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Reiterated guidance for the full fiscal year 2012, including revenue growth of 9 to 11 percent, GAAP earnings per share growth of 19 to 24 percent, and Non-GAAP earnings per share growth of 14 to 17 percent.
  • Launched for the iPad to positive reviews; the current rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars in the Apple app store.
Snapshot of First Quarter Results

  Q1 FY12 Q1 FY11 Change Q1 FY12 Q1 FY11 Change
Revenue $594 $532 12% $594 $532 12%
Operating Loss $(94) $(104) NA $(29) $(53) NA
EPS $(0.21) $(0.22) NA $(0.10) $(0.12) NA
Dollars are in millions, except EPS.
Intuit typically posts a seasonal loss in its first fiscal quarter when there is little revenue from its tax businesses but expenses continue at relatively consistent levels.
CEO Perspective
“We’re off to another strong start in fiscal 2012, growing revenue double-digits. Growth was led by our Small Business Group, which has now posted double-digit growth for seven consecutive quarters,” said Brad Smith, president and chief executive officer. “Across the board our first-quarter results are in line with our expectations, so we are reiterating our guidance for fiscal 2012.
“Our business is growing despite a volatile macroeconomic environment, because we benefit from secular tailwinds. The long-term structural shift to connected services is overpowering the cyclical uncertainty weighing down the economy. Intuit also benefits from enriching the mix for our base of 50 million customers who are rapidly adopting connected services, which generate recurring revenue streams and favorable lifetime value economics for Intuit.
“Our results in the first quarter reinforce that our strategy is working and give us confidence as we head into the remainder of our fiscal year. We are in a digital jet stream, as consumers and small businesses increasingly demand access to applications anytime, anywhere and on any device. That demand will only get stronger as the proliferation of mobile devices continues. If we do our job well, and continue to innovate, we will benefit from these ongoing trends for a long time to come.”
Business Segment Results and Highlights
Total Small Business Group revenue increased 13 percent for the quarter. Within the Small Business Group:
  • Financial Management Solutions segment revenue increased 9 percent. QuickBooks Online grew subscribers by 40 percent and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions grew subscribers by 28 percent, contributing to a favorable revenue mix.
  • Employee Management Solutions segment revenue grew 13 percent due to improved customer retention and favorable revenue mix. Total payroll customers were up 3 percent, while online payroll customers were up 20 percent. During the quarter Intuit expanded several partnerships to distribute Intuit Full Service Payroll.
  • Payment Solutions segment revenue increased 19 percent, driven by 11 percent growth in the merchant customer base and 1 percent growth in transaction volume per merchant.
Consumer Tax
  • Consumer Tax segment revenue increased to $41 million, a $12 million increase in a seasonally light quarter. More customers filed extended returns in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 compared with a year ago. TurboTax for 2011 will go on sale in retail stores on Nov. 25 and will be available online Dec. 1.
Accounting Professionals
  • Accounting Professionals segment revenue increased 6 percent to $27 million in a seasonally light quarter.
Financial Services
  • Financial Services revenue grew 9 percent due to adding financial institutions and end users along with incremental services and mobile adoption. Mobile banking users more than tripled over the last year to more than 1.2 million users, helping to improve revenue per user.
Other Businesses
  • Other Businesses segment revenue declined 3 percent.
Quarterly Dividend
Intuit paid its first quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share, or $45 million, in the first quarter. In November the company’s board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share to be paid on Jan. 18, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Jan. 10.
Stock Repurchase Program
During the first quarter, Intuit repurchased $255 million of its shares. At the end of the quarter the company had authorization from its board of directors to use up to an additional $2.4 billion for stock repurchases through August 2014.
CFO Perspective
“We’ve consistently delivered strong total Small Business Group revenue results, which are benefiting from the ongoing shift from desktop to online services,” said Neil Williams, Intuit’s chief financial officer.
“Approximately 70 percent of small business customers now enter the Intuit franchise through a connected service, including QuickBooks Online and other services, up from 40 percent in 2008.
“We expect the rapid adoption of connected services to continue in small business and across all of our businesses. Today, we reported that our first quarter fiscal 2012 loss narrowed significantly compared to the first quarter of last year, which reinforces the benefit of the shift to more recurring, reliable connected services revenue.”

First Data Corp and TCH Complete Merger and JV Company

EFS Transportation Services and TCH Form Joint Venture

ATLANTA & OGDEN, Utah--()--First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, and Transportation Clearing House, TCH, a leading transportation payments organization today announced the two companies have completed their previously announced merger and created a joint venture company. First Data contributed its EFS Transportation Services business to the new venture with TCH. The joint venture creates a leading payment card provider to the transportation industry. No transaction terms were disclosed.
“I am excited that we have formally completed the merger and can now move forward with our plans to change the ‘payments’ landscape for the transportation industry”
“I am excited that we have formally completed the merger and can now move forward with our plans to change the ‘payments’ landscape for the transportation industry,” said Scott Phillips, chief executive officer of TCH and chief executive officer of the joint venture. “We are eager to establish our role as the new Industry leader by bringing unparalleled service levels, customer-driven innovation and new technology to make our Industry better.”
About TCH
Established in 1998 and headquartered in Ogden, Utah, TCH offers payment card products and transaction processing with electronic reporting to the transportation and financial industry. TCH is accepted at over 10,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada. TCH’s portfolio includes: private label fuel cards; TCH Fleet MasterCard®; TCH Checks & MoneyCodes and TCH SmartPay. TCH recently introduced Z-Con, a card-less technology to process fuel transactions and collect data. Backed by experts in the industry, TCH maintains cutting edge technology in money transfer and data processing. For more information, go to
About First Data
Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.

Mobile Payment Market Forecasts for: Argentina, Poland, Finland, France, Malaysia, Japan, India, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands

3Q.2011 Argentina Mobile Payment Market Forecast 2009 - 2015

3Q.2011 Poland Mobile Payment Market Forecast 2009 - 2015

3Q.2011 Finland Mobile Payment Market Forecast 2009 - 2015

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