PCI Council Launches Standards Training

The PCI Security Standards Council has launched “Standards Training” to help merchants improve preparation for on site assessment.
The “Standards Training” is targeted at security and IT personnel that are
responsible for their company’s PCI DSS activities. This new course
takes some curriculum content directly from current PCI SSC approved
Qualified Security Assessor training. It therefore provides merchants
with the opportunity to understand first hand how a QSA will be
examining their environment and some of the guiding principles they use
during assessments. The course is relevant to Recognizing that
achieving, and more crucially maintaining, compliance with PCI DSS is an
organization’s best defense against account data compromise, the course
will also put compliance into a broader security context discussing best
practices outside of PCI DSS that merchants may find useful for their
overall security programs.
The two-day training course will be held April 6 and 7, 2009 at the
University of Chicago Gleacher Center.

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Account Service Charge Draws a Lawsuit

The newly implemented “Account Service Charge” of $10 per month by Chase has attracted a class action lawsuit. San Francisco-based Green Welling has filed two class action lawsuits regarding promotional offers from Chase that promised a low interest rate for the life of the loan or until paid off. Chase credit card customers allege in the complaints that they were offered balance transfer loans or loans in the form of blank checks that were connected to but with different terms than the credit cards. The Plaintiffs also claim that the promotional rate loans offered by Chase had terms that were at low interest rates usually with APR’s or interest rates set at 2.99% or 3.99% “for the life of the loan” but were also charged transfer fees which raised the interest rates.
In November, Chase sent its customers a notice stating that the minimum monthly payments would go up by 150%, from 2% of the balance to 5% of the balance, according to the document. The notice of change in terms sent by Chase also added a new finance charge misleadingly described as an “Account Service Charge of $10 a month.” This lawsuit says the new $120 annual account finance charge effectively increased the interest rates.

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CardPartner Unveils a Blood Cancers Visa

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and CardPartner have teamed to offer a new affinity Visa card. The new “Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Visa Platinum” generates $50 for each activated card, plus a share of the monthly fees paid by merchants. The new credit card can also be personalized with a unique image, such as a patient’s face, the faces of those who support the patient, or nearly any image that has special meaning to the cardholder. To kick-off the program, the Gap will include LLS as one of six national charities that will receive up to 5% of the net sales on any purchase at Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic made between March 12th to 15th using a special LLS-coded 30% discount coupon that can be downloaded. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer.
CardPartner affinity credit cards are issued by UMB Financial.

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CC SMS Patent Lawsuit Filed Against Visa

FL-based card processor Charge Notification Services Corporation has
filed a lawsuit against Visa for patent infringement. The C.N.S.C.
patent covers charge card transaction authorization and/or
notification in real-time via SMS to the cardholder’s cellular phone. Visa
and some of their bank partners have recently been offering this
service. C.N.S.C. founders Ivan
Ochoa and Daniel Davila have a combined five decades of experience in the
financial services industry. Davila’s background includes 16 years at
American Express where he was a Senior Director within the Global Network
Services (GNS/Franchise) division and more recently, two years as Vice
President and Chief Risk Officer of the credit card division at Russian
Standard Bank (RSB) in Moscow. While at RSB, Davila launched a
similar SMS credit card fraud protection service with great success,
resulting in an
overall significant reduction of fraudulent transactions. Ochoa’s 25
years in the financial services industry include executive positions within
American Express and MasterCard International, where he was Chief of
Staff for Latin
American countries. His areas of expertise include managing operations for
multi-markets, re-engineering, quality control and technology and he has
lead major innovative developments in products and systems.

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Pascarella Joins the CyberSource Board

E-payment solution provider CyberSource has appointed Carl Pascarella, former CEO of Visa, to the Board of Directors.
Pascarella is currently an Executive Advisor at TPG, a leading
global private equity firm. He retired from Visa U.S.A., Inc. in 2005, after having
served as that company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Prior to that time, Pascarella served as President and CEO of Visa International’s
Asia-Pacific Region and Director of the Asia-Pacific Regional Board. He received a master’s of science in management from the Stanford Sloan Program at the Graduate
School of Business at Stanford University.

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AIRPLUS REPORTS

Corporate travel provider AirPlus has released two reports that indicate
over 84% of corporate travel managers are or have reevaluated their
respective travel policies. The reports also reveal differences in
travel policies internationally. Only 2% of Europeans have stopped
traveling, compared to 19% of Americans. “The Wire…from AirPlus” is a
monthly installment of news based on timely
survey questions posed to corporate travel managers in North America and
Europe. Included in this release are results from a secondary study,
also conducted in February 2009, with 544 corporate travel managers from
around the globe.

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FTC/FRB Rolls-Out a Credit Card Calculator

The Federal Trade Commission has posted on its Web site a calculator that gives consumers an estimate of how long it will take them to pay off their credit card balance. Developed by the Federal Reserve Board, the calculator is being provided in connection with the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The calculator can be accessed at [http://www.ftc.gov/creditcardcalculator](http://www.ftc.gov/creditcardcalculator).

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FDS & AMEX

Payment processor First Data has signed a merchant services agreement
with American Express. Under the terms
of the agreement First Data will become the exclusive merchant acquirer
and merchant processor for American Express Card transactions in Poland.
First Data will assume responsibility for the range of merchant services
including signing new merchants to accept American Express branded
cards, managing relationships with existing merchants and processing
merchant transactions on the American Express network and be responsible
for managing and implementing new solutions for
American Express merchants in Poland, including migration to the EMV
standard. American Express Card acceptance will remain available to
Polish merchants through a number of acquiring agents, overseen by First
Data.

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Windows Gains Share Over Linux in the POS

A new study has found that POS Terminals running Microsoft “Windows” operating systems increased from 71% of shipments to nearly 76% last year. “Windows Vista” was used on 13.7% of all new POS installations in 2008. The shipshare of “WEPOS” and “Windows XP Embedded” terminals increased from 31% in 2007 to 34% in 2008. The study from IHL Group also found that overall shipments decreased 4.2% last year, with only Grocers and Supercenters/Warehouse Clubs seeing shipment gains. According to the study, retailers in all vertical segments are seeing a larger impact due to challenges of “PCI DSS” compliance, and recent security breaches weigh heavily on their POS purchase decision-making process.

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CONTACTLESS BARCLAYCARD

Barclays has become the first bank in the U.K to offer contactless debit cards. Barclays expects to issue upwards of three million of the new contactless Visa debit cards. The majority of
Barclays debit card customers will have contactless cards by 2011. The cards will permit contactless transactions up to GBP 10. About 8,000 retailers already accept contactless payments including many outlets of Pret A Manger, Coffee Republic, EAT, Books etc, Krispy Kreme, Threshers and thousands of independent retailers. Barclaycard introduced contactless technology on credit cards in September 2007 with the launch of “Barclaycard OnePulse,” the three in one “oyster,” credit and contactless card. All “Barclaycard Platinum” cards now include contactless technology, and over 1.5 million “Barclaycards” in
issue are now contactless-enabled.

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Inner Fence and Merchant Focus Team

Software developer Inner Fence and Merchant Focus Processing have
partnered to offer “Credit Card Terminal”, a credit card processing
application for iPhone. Credit Card Terminal is an iPhone virtual
terminal that performs
merchant credit card processing using Authorize.Net technology.
The solution includes a
merchant account from Merchant Focus Processing, a payment gateway from
Authorize.Net, and Inner Fence’s industry leading Credit Card Terminal
for iPhone as a bundled package. The iPhone Virtual Terminal and
merchant account bundled solution is
popular with photographers, computer technicians, limo drivers, home
party sales associates, merchants at fairs and farmers’ markets, and
many more small businesses.
Merchant Focus Processing has been a leading merchant account provider
and an Authorize.Net Preferred Reseller since 2002, successfully serving
the processing needs of thousands of merchants.

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Monthly Payment Rates Continue to Oscillate

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, continued to oscillate, but reflecting a downward trend in January. In November the MPR posted its largest one-month drop ever, descending 251 basis points. Rising in December, the MPR collapsed 178 basis points. In January 2008, the MPR declined 140 basis points from the prior month. Historically, the MPR declines slightly in January, but this has not been the case since the start of the current recession. Among managed credit card outstandings, the MPR declined to 16.78% in January after rising to 18.56% in December. According to CardData, the MPR one-year ago stood at 17.82%.

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
Aug 08: 19.39%
Sep 08: 18.69%
Oct 08: 18.53%
Nov 08: 16.05%
Dec 08: 18.56%
Jan 09: 16.78%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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