Among entrepreneurs, 55% are optimistic on near-term business prospects while 26% have disclosed expanding opportunities for their business, up from 45% in March 2009 and up from 15% a year ago, respectively. However, 63% do not think the worst of the economic downturn is over and 17% are at risk of going out of business in the next six months. These findings, according to 763 small business owners with fewer than 100 employees surveyed in accordance with the American Express “OPEN Small Business Monitor” survey, also show 13% disclosed the growth mindset can be attributed to the general ease to renegotiate equipment leases and supply contracts while 12% credit lower real estate costs and 32% are utilizing personal or private funds to address cash flow problems. The optimism is not, however, contributing to employment market with only 23% planning to hire this fall compared to the 26% level in the fall 2002 recession.Details
NBC Universal and American Express have announced NY-based Beacon Paint &
Hardware and HAPPYBABY and NM-based Sacred Wind
Communications as the three small business finalists
in the âShine A Lightâ program. The three finalists each receive $10,000
and will now rally support to potentially win $100,000 in grant and
marketing support until October 16th, for which the public is invited to
vote online at www.nbc.com/shinealight. Chosen from more than 4,000
small businesses nominated from across the country for the program, the
3 finalists selected were chosen to showcase inspirational small
businesses and the role they play in driving the economy. The selections
were made with the help of show host Ellen DeGeneres, fashion designer
Diane von Furstenberg and MSNBCâs small business expert and host JJ
Online financial skills education tool MoneyU is now free to qualifying
The course is designed for young adults age 17 to 24 and uses 120
lessons and tasks
covering eight topics to teach practical personal finance skills such as
comparing credit cards and auto loans, researching the starting salaries
in a chosen field, managing debt, saving for the future and completing a
1040 EZ income tax form. The offer is aimed at addressing the critical
need to provide young
adults the practical money skills and experience necessary to be
successful in the challenging environment they are about to enter. More
than 84% of college students have a credit card and half have
more than four credit cards; debt is the biggest reason for dropping out
of school; students leave college with an average loan debt of more than
$20,000, and student debt is rising faster than starting salaries for
new graduates. These same students say they donât know enough about
personal finances and scores in this area show that student knowledge
about personal financial issues is worsening. Griffin Enterprises,
creator of MoneyUÂ®,
must include a $4 fee for each learner to defray its costs to develop
and deliver the program and the offer.
Borders is set to launch its “Teacher Town Hall Meeting” at its
superstore locations on Sept. 29, offering teachers the opportunity to
win one of ten $400 Borders gift card for their schools as part of the
“Stock Your Library Challenge.” The “Stock Your Library Challenge”
sweepstakes invites teachers from the same school to gather at one
Borders store to enter the sweepstakes and enjoy the evening’s
festivities or to visit any Borders store in their area individually.
The schools with the largest number of teacher entries in the
sweepstakes will be entered into a drawing for the gift cards, which is
to take place Oct. 9. During the event and throughout the week educators
upon proof of educator status will enjoy 30% off the list price of
nearly everything in store including books, teaching resources and
materials, music, movies, educational toys and games, gifts and
stationery and cafe products.
Wells Fargo & Company has rolled out its mobile customer-to-customer payment, enabling customers to transfer money to each other via the
Wells Fargo Mobile Banking service. Customers simply log-on to online banking, add the account number of the customer to whom they wish to transfer
money and make a first-time transfer. Subsequent transfers can be made
from customersâ mobile devices by logging onto WF.com and following the
prompts, or online from their computers. Mobile Web Site customers who browse the web on their mobile
phone can go to Wells Fargoâs mobile web site at WF.com and sign on to
their bank accounts to: review account balances, review account
activity, transfer funds, pay bills and find the nearest ATM.
Customers who send text messages on their phone can
send a text message to the short code â93557â (for âWELLSâ on
traditional keypads) to automatically receive their balance within
moments – without having to log in. Customers just type âbalâ to review
primary account balance, âbal allâ to review all account balances, or
âactâ to review recent account activity. BlackBerryÂ® smartphone and iPhoneâ¢ and iPod touch users can download a
WF.com icon for âone-tapâ access to Wells Fargoâs mobile web site.
OH-based traffic monitoring provider SenSource has released its “Wi-Fi
Photoelectric People Counter” to combine POS data with customer traffic data to
analyze traffic and sales conversion ratio.
The Wi-Fi Wireless People Counter installs in minutes and accommodates a
variety of entry styles by offering both front and side-firing options.
Its new sleek design is available in a black or a light gray enclosure
to blend aesthetically at the entrance. This innovative product is
comprised of a two-part break-beam system that covers openings up to 40
feet wide. The selectable group counting feature can be used to count a
group as one unit, rather than counting each individual.
The people counter is also available for use as a stand-alone system
without the Wi-Fi integrated transmitter.
GA-based data protection provider nuBridge is looking to data security modelâtokenization to reduce the
expense of complying with PCI-DSS. Unlike traditional encryption methods where the encrypted data or
âcipher textâ is stored in databases and applications throughout the
enterprise, tokenization substitutes a tokenâor surrogate valueâin place
of the original data. Under the PCI DSS, encrypted payment card data is
considered to be âin scopeâ for audit purposes. By limiting occurrences
of encrypted data to a central vault, organizations can reduce the
number of systems, applications and processes that must be audited for
compliance with PCI DSS. With “Format Preserving Tokenization”,
a token uses the same amount of storage as the original clear text data
instead of the larger amount of storage required by encrypted data.
Because a token is not mathematically derived from the original data, it
is arguably even safer than cipher text. Authorized applications that
need access to encrypted data can only retrieve the data using a token
issued from a token server, which provides an extra layer of protection
for sensitive information. Compared to traditional encryption, a
tokenization architecture can also reduce data storage requirements and
preserve storage space on data collection computers.
Heartland Payment Systems payments processors has been named a leader
among the nationâs most innovative companies for the third year in a row
through InformationWeek 500, which identifies and honors creative users
of information technology. The recognition is thanks to the company’s
its plans to implement end-to-end encryption (E3TM) technology for
payments processing, which is being designed to safeguard cardholder
data at rest and in motion throughout the lifecycle of payments
transactions. The solution is being designed to protect data from card
swipe, through the payment processorâs network and to the card brands.
InformationWeek identifies and honors the nationâs most innovative users
of information technology with its annual 500 listing, now in its 21st
year, while Heartland Payment Systems is the 5th largest payments
processor in the United States providing card processing, payroll, check
management and payments solutions to more than 250,000 business
Customers of DIRECTV have gone to court to block the company from automatically
removing the fees from customers’ bank accounts or charging their credit
card accounts without consent. In a complaint filed last September in Los Angeles Superior Court by Kathy Greiner, a six-year
customer of the company, cancelled her service and returned the
equipment. DIRECTV subsequently levied a $240 “early cancellation” penalty on Greiner,
which the company took directly from her bank account (after deducting some
amounts she had previously paid) without her knowledge or permission.
Greiner’s complaint was later consolidated with another lawsuit The joint
lawsuit alleges that DIRECTV failed to disclose to
customers that it imposed an 18 or 24 month term of service and that cancellation
before the end of the term would result in enormous penalty fees. The company would also
automatically extend the “contractual obligation” by another 18 to 24
months if malfunctioning equipment needed to be replaced or the customer decided
to make a change to programming or other services. These policies were not
properly disclosed to purchasers beforehand, and consumers did not agree to them, the suit
A new poll finds that 63% of Americans surveyed said the way they spend and save has been forever changed as a result of the economic downturn. Only 29% said spending and saving would go back to the way it was before the recession. The survey from Citi also revealed that 61% will continue to cut down on credit card purchases. Fifty-nine percent will continue to cut back on everyday expenses; 60% will continue to save and invest more; 63% will continue to reduce the amount of money they owe. Also, 68% of African Americans and 66% of Hispanics have cut down on credit card purchases (compared to 62% of the national sample).
Additionally, Citi found that those who earn less than $50,000 were most likely to cut back on everyday expenses (80%), followed by 76% for those who earn $50,000 – $75,000. But even at the top of the income scale, people are making adjustments and cutting back on everyday expenses â 70% for those who earn more than $150,000 and 68% for those who earn $75,000 – $150,000.
The Electronic Transactions Association and Trustwave will host an
interactive webinar titled, “Essential Technologies Needed for Achieving
PCI DSS Compliance” on September 29.
Mark Polimus, Senior Product Manager of Threat Management Services at
Trustwave will discuss the key technologies necessary for merchants to
protect cardholder data and comply with the Payment Card Data Security
Standard (PCI DSS) and will provide direction on how smaller merchants
and remote locations can implement these technologies to significantly
reduce their chances of a security breach while taking large steps
toward achieving and maintaining PCI DSS compliance.
A new survey found that 49% of small business owners said they are still adding positions despite the economy and 76% said they believe the U.S. economy and their business will be doing better in three to six months. According to a survey released by Chase Card Services, 39% say that gaining access to capital or credit is one of the top three most important issues facing their business and 33% say that monitoring and managing cash flow is the most important issue facing their business.
The Chase survey also found that 59% are expanding into new markets and nearly as many (54%) say they are producing more revenue among existing customers; 80% of small businesses surveyed described their business as pursuing a moderate or aggressive growth strategy; and 65% say that small businesses are very important in leading the country out of the recession.