Zebra Technologies Buys a RFID Concern

Zebra Technologies has completed the acquisition of WhereNet for $126 million in cash. WhereNet is a provider of active radio frequency identification (RFID) based wireless solutions. Zebra Technologies is a provider of thermal bar codes, passive RFID printer/encoders, wireless mobile solutions, and active RFID systems, as well as ZebraDesigner label formatting software, ZebraLink connectivity solutions, Genuine Zebra supplies and ZebraCare services and support.

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TJX Data Breach Lawsuit Bandwagon Cranks-Up

Two law firms have filed a class action suit on behalf of all U.S. consumers who had personal and financial data stolen from the computer network of TJX Companies. Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague and Boston-based Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin filed the suits this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The lawsuit claims says that although TJX discovered the data breach in mid-December, it did not publicly announce the intrusion until one month later when it issued a press release on January 17th. The suit alleges the delay harmed class members in that it prevented them from taking appropriate measures to protect their accounts. However, TJX in the same press release stated that the delay was necessary for, and at the request of, law enforcement. Last week, the Massachusetts Bankers Association said that several banks across the State have reported incidents of fraud due to the TJX data breach. The December intrusion involved the portion of TJX’s computer network that handles credit card, debit card, check, and merchandise return transactions for customers of its 826 T.J. Maxx, 751 Marshalls, 271 HomeGoods and 162 A.J. Wright stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and its 184 Winners and 68 HomeSense stores in Canada, and may involve customers of its 212 T.K. Maxx stores in the U.K. and Ireland. The intrusion could also extend to TJX’s 36 Bob’s Stores in the U.S. (CF Library 1/19/07; 1/25/07)

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DOJ Ends its VantageScore Informal Inquiry

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has closed its inquiry into “VantageScore” without action. “VantageScore” was introduced last March by the three national credit reporting companies. It is the credit reporting industry’s first credit score developed jointly by Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. The group says the new credit scoring is more consistent and objective than current products in the market and will provide greater access to credit for underserved consumers. “VantageScore” uses score ranges from 501 to 990. The DOJ issued an informal request for information nine months ago on “VantageScore.” In October, Fair Isaac sued all three national credit reporting agencies over “VantageScore” alleging that Equifax, Experian, Trans Union and VantageScore Solutions are jointly engaging in unfair and anti-competitive practices that harm the “FICO” credit score brand and goodwill that Fair Isaac spent 50 years creating. In November, Fair Isaac’s CEO, Thomas Grudnowski, resigned. (CF Library 10/13/06; 11/3/06)

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Obopay Enters the Social Money Market

Obopay has acquired BillMonk, a “social money” service. The Company says “social money” includes shared consumer experiences, such as splitting the check at dinner, sharing expenses while on a road trip or funding teenagers and college students. BillMonk allows users to keep track of payments and debts via their mobile phone or the Web and BillMonk automatically calculates the running balance. In October, ViVOtech teamed with Obopay to expand NFC mobile phone payment options. In March, the firm closed a $10 million deal for its first round of funding. Obopay was founded in 2005. Obopay has a management team comprised of former executives from VISA, Microsoft, Yahoo, Expedia, AT&T Wireless, Western Union, First Data, Norwest Bank and Chordiant Software. (CF Library 3/9/06; 10/10/06)

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63% of US Households to Pay Online by 2011

A new report says the number of households that paid bills online will increase to 63% by 2011 or 59 million households. The research found that “Gen Yers” and “Gen Xers” will lead the migration. Although “Gen Yers” will represent just 26% of U.S. households, they account for 36% of all online bill payers. Forrester Research predicts the number of “Gen X” EBPP users will increase by 42% during the next five years. EBPP adoption by “Boomers” will grow by 39% during the next five years. In 2001, “Boomers” represented 42% of all online bill payers, but by 2011 this segment will diminish and make up just 28% of EBPP adopters. Forrester’s EBPP forecast for 2005 to 2010 projected a continued decline in the annual adoption growth rate. But surprisingly, 2005 ended up with a 34% annual growth rate in the number of EBPP users. Forrester says one driving fact for the reversal was more banks abolishing the fee for online bill payment.

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Rapid7 Unveils a PCI Compliance Portal

Boston-based Rapid7 has launched its PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance Portal, a remote security scanning solution that enables merchants, online retailers and credit card service providers to achieve compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard and is designed to meet the security requirements of all credit card companies. The PCI Compliance Portal locates website and database vulnerabilities that hackers commonly exploit to capture credit card data. SQL injection attacks, which are frequently performed by hackers on exposed Web applications, are identified by VISA International as one of the top five credit card risks.

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Data Security Firms Establish PCI SVA

ConfigureSoft, Cyber-Ark, Modulo Security, Proginet, Protegrity USA, Reflex Security, SafeNet and Verisign data security companies have created The Payment Card Industry Security Vendor Alliance – (PCI SVA). The PCI SVA will assist members of the payment card industry and the PCI Security Standards Council in educating the business community on the requirements and business value of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, a global benchmark intended to improve security throughout the entire payment card transaction process. PCI SVA plans to create a series of case studies, seminars, return-on-investment analyses, and white papers to show how organizations may achieve compliance with the PCI DSS requirements efficiently and on-budget.

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MC “PayPass” to Get a SuperBowl Work-Out

MasterCard’s contactless payment option will be in full action this weekend at Dolphin Stadium for the “SuperBowl.” “PayPass” was installed at Dolphin Stadium prior to the start of the football season and is also accepted at numerous other merchants throughout the Miami area. In addition to Dolphin Stadium, the new technology has been installed in nine other football stadiums and 12 baseball stadiums nationwide. Also, MasterCard released a new TV spot for “PayPass” during the recent “AFC Championship.” MasterCard reports that there are about 13 million “PayPass” cards and devices in the market, and “PayPass” is currently accepted globally at 46,000 merchant locations.

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Wincor Nixdorf Q4 Sales Up 13% as Earnings Rise 18%

Wincor Nixdorf reported that fourth quarter consolidated net sales rose by 13% to $711 million. Earnings before interest, taxes and amortization climbed by 18% to $59.6 million. Net profit increased to $33.7 million, 44% up on the same period a year ago. Asia and the Americas each produced double-digit growth rates over the course of the quarter. The Americas net sales rose by 19%. Within the Banking segment, net sales for the quarter rose by 20% to $452 million driven mainly by buoyant growth in the company’s product and services business in Europe and other regions. The Retail segment recorded net sales growth of one percent, taking the total to $259 million. For complete details on Wincor Nidorf’s latest results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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FDC & INICIS to Offer Merchant Processing Services

First Data International and INICIS, a South
Korean processor of e-commerce transactions, will offer merchant
processing services to online, South Korean merchants. Under the terms of the agreement, First Data and INICIS will provide
on-line payment processing services to First Data’s global, e-commerce
merchants in Korea. First Data will recruit new merchants and market the
alliance’s services to the Korean affiliates of its global clients.
INICIS will provide cardholder authentication and authorization clearing
and settlement, funding, call center support and chargeback processing.
In addition, after the transaction is cleared by INICIS, First Data will
deliver merchant summary data to the global merchant. The agreement
provides a differentiated approach for allowing global merchants to
obtain real-time access to the constantly changing demands of Korean
consumers.

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Trintech Opens London Office

Trintech, financial service and software provider, will open an office
in London, England. Based in Dublin, Ireland, Trintech is hoping to
expand European operations and broaden Trintech’s reach, offering
solutions on a broader spectrum, both vertically and geographically. The
companies’ reconciliation software solutions provide accounting
compliance and risk management capabilities for top European clients.
Trintech’s software programs, “ReconNET” and “AssureNET GL,” are used by
over 450 of the world’s leading companies and has been serving the
industry for over 20 years.

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Missouri Biz Card Scam Draws Indictments

A former Bank of America officer and a Missouri State Representative were indicted this week in a credit card fraud scheme that netted about $1.2 million. Fifteen other people were also indicted in the scam which involved submitting phony applications for BofA business cards. The former BofA VP, Robert Conner, demanded a cash kickback payment of $2,500 to $5,000 from each fraudulent applicant he approved. After the fraudulent credit applications were approved by Conner, he had the credit cards sent directly to him rather than to the applicants to facilitate his receipt of cash payment kickbacks at the time he provided the card to the applicants. Typically, the first transaction on the fraudulent credit cards was a cash advance, the proceeds of which were used to allegedly pay Conner a kickback. Among the other defendants was Missouri State Representative John Bowman. Each credit card fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.

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