Alto Global Processing: Target CIO Resigns Following Massive Data Breach

Posted by  (@sarahintampa) for TechCrunch.com 

Target Corp.’s Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob is resigning, effective immediately, in the wake of the massive data breach during the holiday 2013 shopping season during which as many as 70 million customers had their personal information stolen, including 40 million debit and credit card accounts.

The retailer also said it would be overhauling its information security practices and compliance division, and would be looking for external candidates to serve as interim CIO.

Jacob had worked at Target from 1984-86, then returned in 2002 as Director of Guest Contact Centers. She was promoted to her current position in 2008, after becoming a VP two years prior.

“While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information-security environment is evolving rapidly,” Target Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a brief statement released this morning. “To ensure that Target is well positioned following the data breach we suffered last year, we are undertaking an overhaul of our information-security and compliance structure and practices at Target.”

This also includes elevating the role of the Chief Information Security Officer – another position that Target will hire externally, along with a Chief Compliance Officer.

The company also noted that it’s working with external adviser Promontory Financial Group to help it with its transformation.

Target has been working towards the implementation of chip and PIN card support, a tool that will further ensure customer security. The company also offered free credit monitoring for a year in the wake of the breach disclosure.

Hackers connected to the internal wireless systems at Target stores and grabbed credit card information as it passed through the system. The resulting breach, one of the biggest to date, resulted in millions of credit cards being sold on the black market.

Additional reporting: John Biggs

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/05/target-cio-resigns-following-massive-data-breach/

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Alto Global Processing: 4 Ways to Build Trust in Ecommerce by Transactionage.com

Recent industry reports put shopping cart abandonment rates at an average of 67%, that’s almost 7 out of 10 shoppers falling off before purchase. Reasons for abandonment are numerous, and not always indicative of poor checkout experience, but unnecessary barriers, confusing clutter, slow loading times and crucially, security concerns are key considerations when analyzing and optimising your ecommerce site.

Mistrust is rife in the online world, so assuring your customers that their payment details are safe with you will make an enormous difference to conversion rates, and ensure you’re not missing out on valuable revenue.

Here are 4 strategies to make sure your online checkout experience is not off-putting to potential customers, delivering the assurance they need to stay the course.

1. Clear policies and company information

You should be providing clear links to your privacy policy, shipping and returns policies, FAQs and company information. You cannot be transparent enough when it comes to helping customers understand who you are, where you are, and what your credentials as a business are.

It is especially important for new online merchants without a well-established brand to introduce themselves and help their customers understand who they are doing business with.

2. Security certificate

In order to accept credit cards and debit cards online you’ll need to ensure your third party providers that have access to cardholder information are PCI DSS compliant (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). You will need to certify that your site meets these requirements.

3. Recommendations & testimonials

Consider employing a product review system on your site. Customers want assurance from their peers, and social recommendation (word of mouth) is a powerful persuader. According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 80% of Internet users conduct product research online before making purchases. By allowing customers to provide not only product reviews but also testimonials on their experience with your company, you can go some way to providing peace of mind and comfort to even the most cautious customers.

Of course, not all reviews are glowing, and you should be confident that your business is ready, your fulfillment process is solid, and your checkout is smooth. One silver lining to unfavourable reviews however, is the chance to use the insight, address the issue and deliver a better service for your customers.

4. Payment processing

Help your customers understand how their payments are processed by providing clear information on what happens to their details and information during, and after the transaction.

Make it clear which third parties your site is working with to process payments, and detail any security measures that are in place (provided by your ecommerce payment gateway provider). Third party service providers will meet international standards for data handling and privacy, which will reassure your customers of the safety of your site.  Most even provide their logo for you to include on your site.

In the world of online retail, nothing separates the successes from the failures more than the checkout. With competition for new and existing customers intensifying every year, online retailers need to optimise their checkout processes through conversion rate optimisation to ensure they are doing everything they can to reduce checkout abandonment, and convert shoppers into loyal customers. Getting the assurance piece right is a critical component in achieving your ecommerce goals in 2014.

Source: http://www.transactionage.com/2014/02/05/4-ways-to-build-trust-in-ecommerce/#sthash.bV6YaBTR.dpuf

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Alto Global Processing: Datacard Group acquires Entrust Inc.

Datacard Group, a provider of secure identification and card personalisation solutions, has acquired Entrust, a provider of secure digital identities and information and a Thoma Bravo LLC portfolio company. Image

The acquisition builds on the strengths of each company to enable its customers and partners to deliver better services in highly connected environments.

“We are pleased to announce the proposed combination of two market pioneers with one ambitious goal – helping our customers and partners reduce complexity while strengthening trust,” said Todd Wilkinson, president and CEO of Datacard Group.“Connectivity is redefining physical and digital boundaries. For our customers and partners, this means opportunity, but also significant complexity. For years the paths of our companies have intertwined as we served customers – often the same financial and government customers – from different points within the technology spectrum. Those paths now converge to bring powerful new innovations in secure identity to enable trust while reducing complexity in deployment, management, and use.”

“Entrust is firmly established as a leader in identity-based security. We take this position very seriously, and because of that it was important that we find the right partner,” said Bill Conner, president and CEO of Entrust. “As a result of our deliberate shift to a SaaS-based business model, a significant portion of Entrust’s revenue is recurring, positioning it well for growth. I’m confident both Entrust and Datacard customers will realize value from our companies’ combined expertise. Simply put – this is a win-win scenario.”

 Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2014/01/06/datacard_group_acquires_entrust_inc/#.UsrNpWRDtLo

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Alto Global Processing: GBP3,170 is spent online with Visa every second at UK-based merchants

GBP100 bn was spent online with Visa at UK-based merchants in the year to August 2013, equating to GBP3,170 being spent every second. This is according to figures from Visa Europe who also reveal that GBP1 in every GBP4 of all spend with Visa at UK merchants is now spent online.

E-commerce is exploding, with UK merchants attracting spend from well beyond the country’s borders with almost a fifth of e-commerce spend from outside the UK. International spend with Visa at UK merchants totalled GBP16bn, with GBP7bn of that spend from outside Europe. The top five international spenders were: the USA at number one, Italy at number two, and France, Japan and Germany at three, four and five respectively.

Total annual online spend with Visa at UK merchants has doubled in four years: in 2009 GBP50.2bn was spent online with UK merchants, a total that was surpassed in the first six months alone in 2013 (GBP52bn).

UK consumers are leading the world when it comes to online spend. In February 2013, Ofcom announced in a report that internet shopping is now more popular in the UK than any other major country, as consumers in the UK spend an average of GBP1,083 a year on internet shopping compared to just GBP842 in Australia (the second highest country studied). Fuelling this uptake is UK consumers’ high adoption rates of smartphones and tablets.

Visa Europe is developing products and services that will help merchants to tap into the burgeoning opportunities that e-commerce present. Leading this response is the development of V.me by Visa, its digital wallet which a range of merchants and banks have already signed up to.

Marc O’Brien, Managing Director at Visa UK said: “In just four years we have seen online spending at UK clothing merchants with Visa nearly double in growth from GBP1 in £7 in 2009, to GBP1 in GBP4 in 2013. In fact, online spending with Visa is now at an unprecedented scale across all sectors including airlines, supermarkets and services, indicative of the ever increasing preference to make purchases online, largely fuelled by the explosion in smartphones and tablets.

“At Visa Europe, we are enabling merchants to take advantage of the possibilities that e-commerce present by making sure that online spend is safe, through Verified by Visa, and convenient through the introduction of V.me by Visa, our digital wallet. Wherever customers are based, no matter what they buy, we are working with merchants to make sure that their customers have the best quality, safest and most convenient online spending experience.”

Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2013/09/30/gbp3170_is_spent_online_with_visa_every_second_at_uk-based_m/#.UkmaCuAgaFk

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Alto Global Processing:Mobile POS Will Surpass $2 Billion in 2013, iPad As Cash Register

Written by TJ McCue of Forbes.com

When Apple began using mobile devices in their stores, people in retail started paying attention. According to a recent study from research firm IHL Group, 28 percent of North American retailers plan to adopt Mobile POS in some form by the end of 2013. The Mobile POS market will surpass $2 Billion in hardware/software sales in North America this year.

Clarification: This data is not consumer point of sales transaction value, but sales of POS equipment hardware and software.

Overall, mobile in retail is now a $5.7 Billion business worldwide and continues to grow rapidly. It is the single fastest moving trend in retail since Internet was added to the stores, according to IHL Group.

The report summary also stated that more retailers, however, are not planning to install Mobile POS at all within the next 3 years (33 percent).  Naturally, the adoption of a mobile POS solution is dependent on the type of retailer and volume of transactions, but I am drawing a blank for a retail environment that could not benefit from some mobility. See link in resources below for the report blog post, which is all I read — the report is not free. But you can download a free preview.

But you do not have to be Apple to turn an iPad into a cash register in your business. The iPad on its own, with free or premium apps, can serve as a full-blown POS (point of sale) system for small and large businesses. If you have not been to a farmer’s market recently, take a look at all the merchants who can now take more than cash. Add a Square credit card reader or one from Intuit , and you are a mobile retail machine.

Years ago, I worked with a wireless software company that was building a mobile point of sale solution for wireless handhelds. They were ahead of their time — having to use ruggedized handhelds from Symbol and Intermec and integrating with proprietary systems. But today, you can do all of that and more with an iPad. There are plenty of stories of how iPads and tablets, in general, are making their way beyond email or web surfing on the couch or using a tablet to show photos, but it is a serious profitability tool.

As a product reviewer, I see a lot of useless mobile stuff (to be candid) and I have seen no shortage of iPad stands, iPad cases, iPad accessories. Many are useful, some are definitely not. But I love this newest one on Kickstarter: MagBak, the World’s Thinnest iPad Mount. Elegant and brilliant are words that come to mind and it is already over-funded. I sure hope they make versions that will do the same for a variety of smartphones, too. Hint: I have an S3, S4, and Nexus 4 and would buy one of these… The reason I included this mount, however, is it makes for an even more functional point of sale system. Put up a magnet mount in your food truck, kiosk, or retail store and you have an impressive modern cash register.

The iPad can change your business processes. If there is not an app, you can get one custom built or build it yourself. The team at Sweb Development is working on custom apps, but also has a platform for building your own (on iOS or Android). Or look at the FileMaker platform that lets you custom develop your own, too. As most Forbes readers know, the iPad is not only a consumer device for fun gaming or watching videos; it is a robust business machine that can help you serve customers and get more work done out in the field or on the shop floor.

More Resources:

The use of tablets (iPad and Android-powered) is growing fast with shipments increasing at a rate of 38 percent in 2013 according to the IHL Group report Mobile POS: Hype to Reality.

I shared a few reasons in a post last year on Why Your Business Needs iPads atAmerican Express OPEN Forum.

USAToday reported on a few unique businesses leveraging the iPad.

If you cannot bear the idea of hanging a naked iPad on the wall or leaving it on the retail counter, then check out this very cool handmade wooden register box from Happy Owl Studio called the Cashbox.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/07/30/mobile-pos-will-surpass-2-billion-in-2013-ipad-as-cash-register/?partner=yahootix

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Alto Global Processing: Taking it Online or Offline – The New Definition of Location

By Ed Jay, Senior Vice President, U.S. Small Merchants for American Express

Location, location, location.  The mantra is storied as the most important aspect for choosing real estate, whether it be personal or commercial. For small merchants, it is critical to be where your customers are. But as technology continues to evolve, so does the definition of the word location. 

The internet, social media, and the growing availability of mobile payment technologies have connected buyers and sellers, making it possible for small merchants to reach consumers from all over the world. Most significantly, it has changed the entrepreneurial landscape and the way businesses operate.  Depending on a merchant’s products, marketing scheme and customer base, this could mean operating solely as an e-commerce business, maintaining a traditional storefront or creating a competitive mix of both.

Setting Up Shop – Online

Opening a digital storefront comes with many direct benefits for entrepreneurs. The most explicit is that it is significantly less expensive to create, build, renovate and operate a digital storefront than a physical retail shop. Online businesses can be automated, where shop owners do not have to be physically present at all times and instead, can focus on the product or maximizing their online presence.

Equally as important, is that retail customers are online and being online creates greater selling potential to untapped customers. Research firm, Forrester estimates that by 2014, U.S. online retail sales will grow to almost $280 billion – up from $155 billion in 2009. Having an online presence provides ease and convenience for consumers to shop anytime, anywhere without having to worry about store hours. Also, selling online allows small businesses to capture important customer data that can help merchants target the right audience more effectively.

There can also be challenges to operating an online business. The biggest hurdle is re-creating the right online experience. An online business is the first entry point for consumers to experience the product and requires small merchants to carefully consider the design, content and navigation of their online store. Websites that are cluttered and difficult to navigate can be a barrier, which could confuse and frustrate consumers.  However, when a digital storefront is designed to be user-friendly, it could bring customer engagement to new heights, create a unique and personal shopping experience and expose the business to millions of potential customers.

There Will Always be a Need for Stores

Although technology provides new avenues and capabilities for expanded sales, small merchant storefronts are still crucial to the development and growth of America’s economy and its local communities.  In fact, 75% of consumers feel that the ability to evaluate a product first-hand influences them most on whether or not they will make a purchase, according to a recent report by Forrester.

No matter how developed digital communication gets, there is no substitute for human interaction and personal service.  Local businesses are part of the neighborhood, and residents want to support them.  We have seen through our Shop Small and Small Business Saturday initiatives, which encourage consumers to shop at their favorite local businesses, that these small merchants are community landmarks, and connected to neighborhoods in a variety of ways.

During the most recent Small Business Saturday, a group of small merchants in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York created their own “Shop Small” map, directing consumers to each other’s storefronts in a show of solidarity and support for the local stores that keep a neighborhood alive.

Consumers are also supporting the movement by showing their support online. The Small Business Saturday Facebook page has more than 3.2 million fans, many of which have recounted the meaningful and long-lasting relationships they have with small merchants in their communities.

There are many factors to consider when thinking about a storefront location. From a product perspective, one deciding factor is the relationship that the consumer has with the product.  Maybe a merchant’s items require a certain touch and feel, as the purchase is a significant investment for the customer either because of price or sentimental importance.  This is true for a variety of specific needs, including the bride-to-be trying on her first dress or the runner with a wide foot who is looking for the best shoe fit.

Another might be that a merchant’s focus is immediate purchases, such as convenience stores, bakeries or delis.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine, a New York City cupcake shop, operates solely out of its Lower East Side neighborhood storefront.

“100% of our business is through our storefront,” said Debra Weiner, co-owner, Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  “We don’t just sell cupcakes – we sell a personalized customer experience that cannot be replicated online.  We get to know our customers, not only by name, but who they are, what their tastes are, and the cupcake flavors they would like.  It helps our business and it lets us create stronger ties within our community, and the only way we are able to do that is by being physically present.”

Social Media Helps Level the Playing Field

Whether your location is offline or online, it’s no secret that social media and digital interaction have changed the way businesses – large and small – interact with their customers.  Recent research from Deloitte indicates that 85% of consumers who have use a retailer’s app or website during a shopping trip made a purchase the same day.  These social and mobile tools give small merchants the ability to bring their unique relationship-based approach to an untapped base of potential customers.

Through chat features on websites, and free platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, merchants can communicate directly with customers, both in their local neighborhood and all over the world, to gauge demand and solicit feedback to improve their customer service.  Likewise, the explosion of smartphones has changed consumer behavior. Consumers are harnessing the power of the virtual community for real time recommendations and review sites such as Yelp can greatly impact a business. These online social tools help to connect consumers to offline merchants and vice versa.  Merchants can also utilize these platforms as advertising tools to develop a closer relationship between customers, the business and its products.

Ultimately, this levels the playing field for small merchants.  Now, mom-and-pop-shops share the same customer audience, communication platforms and sales possibilities as big-box businesses with multiple locations. With a little creativity, the impact can be both memorable and profitable.

Tips for determining online, storefront or both

The truth is that no two businesses are alike, and in the world of small merchants, nothing is black and white.  Some businesses operate and flourish solely online, others are fixtures within the community, and there are also ones that do both.

Warby Parker, a merchant that sells classically crafted eyewear at affordable prices, has developed a successful blend of online and offline. The company was established as an online business, but quickly found value in operating a small showroom out of the company’s headquarters. The company has since expanded its offline retail presence through partnerships with boutiques in key markets and standalone Warby Parker storefronts.

“By operating both online and in-person, we can reach our customers using the channels that they prefer, and engage with them on their terms,” said Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby Parker. “We have worked hard to create a unique shopping experience for our customers, and are able to connect with them on a personal level both physically and digitally.”

Each entrepreneur has to decide what is best for their business, and what type oflocation would most effectively attract the most costumers.  Below are a few tips to help you sift through the advantages and disadvantages of each direction, and find one that fits your business model and marketing scheme.

  • What is your initial budget?  Opening a digital storefront is significantly less expensive than renting, renovating and maintaining a physical one.  If your budget does not enable you to take on such an ordeal, maybe selling products online would be a more effective business model.  This way you can focus on other essential aspects of your business like advertising, and developing a superior product.  You could also use the less-expensive digital route to test the market, and see if you can build the customer demand to warrant taking on the risk of opening a brick-and-mortar business.
  • Who and where is the customer base you are looking to attract? Ask yourself: Where are they, and how are they going to hear about your store? – a 5-star restaurant most probably isn’t going to effectively gauge interest in its product by testing with a food truck.  If your customer base is infinite, is reachable online, and would prefer to make purchases online, maybe a digital storefront is the way to go.
  • What is the relationship that you want your customers to have with your products? Are your products the type of things that people come in knowing exactly what they want, or do they need to get a sense of the look and feel.  If your customers need a chance to look around and use your product before purchasing, then a physical storefront makes the most sense.
  • Does your business type have a hyper-local connection?  People who are invested in their communities are inclined to interact with businesses that are woven into the fabric of those particular regions.  If you are planning on developing a deep and meaningful relationship with locals most of all, then a physical storefront will best help you meet your community- and business-focused goals.

Just remember – taking the leap as an entrepreneur is an exciting journey, whether it is a virtual or physical one.

Bio: Ed Jay is the Senior Vice President, U.S. Small Merchants for American Express.

Source https: //knowledgecenter.americanexpress.com/ArticleRead/ManageArticle/191

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Alto Global Processing: Monitise to Integrate Blackhawk Network Gift Cards into Mobile Wallets

Blackhawk Network and Monitise have announced an agreement to make prepaid gift cards from Blackhawk Network’s GiftCardMall™ available for purchase from participating banks and payment companies’ mobile wallets that are powered by Monitise.

We believe that consumer demand for gift cards is increasing around the world and with it the expectation that access to mobile offerings will allow consumers to make purchases whenever they want,” said Tim Attinger, Group Vice President, Strategy and Innovation at Blackhawk Network.

“By working with Monitise, we are helping its bank partners bring great retail brands and consumers together with new revenue opportunities and marketing applications. We are also excited about the overlap between certain of Blackhawk’s global content and Monitise’s international footprint and aspirations.”

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