Alto Global Processing: Facebook – New Pilot Not a PayPal Competitor

Source: CardNotPresent.com

The payments world took notice recently of a report indicating Facebook was testing a payments service that would put it in direct competition with PayPal. The technology publication All Things D cited “sources familiar with the company’s plans” who said the product would allow any shopper who has previously provided Facebook with their credit-card details to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without entering billing information. It seems the report, which was widely cited by other publications last Thursday and Friday, might have been premature.

On Friday, Facebook cleared up the matter with a statement that denied its new service would be competitive to PayPal. Under the new service, Facebook would not process payments, but simply use payment information already stored in the cloud to automatically fill in the payment fields in a mobile app when making a purchase. Whatever payment provider the individual app uses is the one that processes the payment.

Facebook’s statement, in full, read:

“We are working on a very small test that lets people populate their payment information already on file with Facebook into the checkout form of a mobile phone app when they are making a purchase. The app then processes and completes the payment. The test makes it easier and faster for people to make a purchase in a mobile app by simply pre-populating your payment information.  It will be a very small test with 1-2 partners.

We continue to have a great relationship with PayPal, and this product is simply to test how we can help our app partners provide a more simple commerce experience. This test does not involve moving the payment processing away from an app’s current payments provider, such as PayPal.”

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Alto Global Processing: Visa, MasterCard Offer Common Debit Solution

Written by writers of Card Not Present

Last week, Visa and MasterCard said they have partnered to offer a common debit solution in the U.S. Debit networks in the U.S. have been working for nearly two years toward a solution that would address inconsistencies between the debit network routing requirements of the Durbin Amendment and limitations of the chips in chip & PIN cards and the rules of EMVco—the organization that administers EMV standards. With migration to the EMV standard underway in the U.S., several groups had been working on the problem, with some consensus among debit networks, but no buy-in from Visa and MasterCard.

On Tuesday, Visa and MasterCard, which each had offered separate solutions earlier this year, said they have made proprietary EMV technologies available that would enable a debit chip transaction originating from a single-chip application to be routed by the merchant to Visa, MasterCard or any other U.S. PIN debit network that elects to participate in the solution.

While yesterday’s decision by a federal judge overturning the Durbin Amendment eventually may render the need for such a solution moot, a working group formed bythe Secure Remote Payment Council (SRPc) that includes most U.S. debit and ATM networks has been seeking the creation of a common application identifier (AID) that would solve the issue. Visa and MasterCard have been part of those discussions, but neither has committed to the common AID, apparently hoping proprietary technology would give them a competitive advantage in routing debit transactions.

Members of the working group are interested in Tuesday’s announcement from Visa and MasterCard, but further evaluation would be necessary to determine if signing on with the solution is fair, according to Paul Tomasofsky, president of the Secure Remote Payment Council.

“The announcement is an interesting one on the surface but of course more information is needed to determine how other networks would fit into the picture,” Tomasofsky said. “Before that, it would be helpful to understand how Visa and MasterCard will work together from an operational viewpoint. The SRPc Chip-and-PIN working group members have always advocated a solution that allows all participating networks equal access to technology, a voice in governance, appropriate business terms and the ability to compete and innovate on future enhancements. In short, our solution calls for a multilateral solution and not a bilateral one.”

Read more at http://cardnotpresent.com/news/default.aspx?id=1576

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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 Report: Mobile Transaction Value to Reach $235 Billion in 2013

Technology research group Gartner said worldwide mobile payment transaction value will exceed $235 billion in 2013, up 44 percent from the $163 billion spent using mobile devices last year. And, the Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy said, growth in mobile transaction volume and value will continue to grow significantly.

“We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and we are forecasting a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. “Nevertheless, we have lowered the forecast of total transaction value for the forecast period due to lower-than-expected growth in 2012, especially in North America and Africa.”

Gartner attributes the lower growth projections to disappointing adoption of NFC technology and struggles experienced by high-profile initiatives like Google Wallet and Isis.

Source: http://cardnotpresent.com/news/cnp-news-june13/Report__Mobile_Transaction_Value_to_Reach_$235_Billion_in_2013_-_June_6,_2013/

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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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American Express Plans Adding EMV to US Premium Corporate Cards by BusinessWire

Source: BusinessWire 

A Global Leader in Corporate Card Issuance Now Offers the Chip and Signature Feature for U.S. Cardmembers to Streamline International Usage

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American Express Company (NYSE: AXP), a global leader in corporate card issuance, today announced that the Company will begin issuing Corporate Cards with chip & signature technology to U.S. Corporate Cardmembers, beginning with the premium Card portfolios in the first half of 2013. U.S. Corporate Cardmembers will now be able to experience a seamless international payments process as EMV technology becomes the standard for authorizing transactions around the world. Cardmembers with chip & signature Cards will be able to use their Cards wherever American Express® Cards are accepted, in the United States and internationally.

“In some countries, chip technology is becoming standard for card authorizations. By providing a chip-enabled solution, the new chip & signature Cards will help U.S. Corporate Cardmembers avoid disruptions while traveling internationally”

“As we continue to enhance our global footprint, our priority is to ensure our Cardmembers have superior security features and the full complement of American Express benefits when using our products internationally. Our EMV technology adds another layer of protection so that our Cardmembers know they are further safeguarded from fraud and can leverage the flexibility that chip & signature provides across the globe,” said Darryl Brown, President, Global Corporate Payments Americas, American Express.

The new chip & signature Cards offer an extra level of transaction security by employing dynamic encryption technology, which makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access Card information. American Express currently offers chip & PIN and chip & signature Card capabilities throughout their global markets. American Express allows merchants and Card-issuing partners to adopt the EMV solution that best meets their individual market needs.

“In some countries, chip technology is becoming standard for card authorizations. By providing a chip-enabled solution, the new chip & signature Cards will help U.S. Corporate Cardmembers avoid disruptions while traveling internationally,” added Brown.

american expressAbout American Express Corporate Payment Solutions

American Express Corporate Payment Solutions provides the Corporate Card, Corporate Purchasing Solutions, and other expense management services to mid-size companies and large corporations worldwide. In the U.S., American Express is a leading issuer of commercial cards, serving more than 70% of the Fortune 500, as well as tens of thousands of mid-size companies. For more information, visit www.americanexpress.com/corporate.

Contacts

American Express
Christine Elliott, 212-640-0622
christine.s.elliott@aexp.com

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Alto Global Processing: ID Analytics introduces Fraud Detection Solutions for Online Retailers by PaymentsNews

6a00d8341bfc2453ef017c381fcc58970bID Analytics has introduced a suite of fraud detection solutions designed specifically for eCommerce retailers.

“Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and eCommerce retailers still encounter too many false positives when screening for potential fraud. ID Analytics partners with merchants to help them fight fraud while ensuring that no additional friction is introduced into the online customer experience,” said Aaron Kline, director of eCommerce, ID Analytics. “This new suite of products leverages our unique data platform and is specifically designed to help eCommerce merchants maximize conversion by accurately separating true fraud from false positives and detecting when an online account is compromised.”

ID Analytics’ eCommerce suite helps retailers improve their fraud detection through access to the ID Network, “one of the nation’s largest networks of real-time, cross-industry consumer behavioral data.”

Source: http://www.paymentsnews.com/2013/03/id-analytics-introduces-fraud-detection-solutions-for-online-retailers.html

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Alto Global Processing: B+S card service launch European payment solution to the UK

German electronic payment processors and acquirers B+S Card Service have officially launched in the UK.

Andreas Stendera, Director of Sales, B+S Card Service commented:“B+S is excited to Imagebring its merchant focussed approach and experience of payment processing to the UK. A core example of this merchant centric approach is the China Union Pay (CUP) card acceptance of our product offering at a time when UK merchants need to be prepared for an exponential increase in Chinese tourism. This is as a result of travel visa laws being simplified in April 2013. For merchants to capitalise on this anticipated growth market they need to be able to accept the 2billion issued CUP cards. With these changes to the market merchants need to be prepared to adapt their practices to create the flexibility that is required for their evolving international customer base. B+S is gearing its product portfolio towards assisting merchants to meet these changes in an effective and profitable manner.”

Mr Stendera added: “The launch of B+S in the UK will bring a new dimension and approach to the market. We concentrate on getting the basics right to deliver long term customer satisfaction. By establishing local operations we can truly understand each individual market and provide the best level of support possible to our customers. B+S is built only on the best German principles and with 20 years’ experience in the European market we are well positioned to offer a Europe-wide solution for UK electronic payments sector.”

 

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Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2013/03/18/bs-card-service-launch-european-payment-solution-to-the-uk/

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Alto Global Processing: Virgin Atlantic Airways strengthens payment security with Semafone

 Source: PaymentEye 

Semafone today announced that its software has been selected by Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) to protect card data provided by customers over the telephone. The secure voice Imagesolution will enable PCI compliant payment card payments throughout VAA’s contact centres worldwide.

The Semafone solution allows customers to enter their own card details into their telephone keypad and passes these directly to the bank. The agent cannot see or hear the card numbers but remains on the call during the entry of payment data to offer assistance if needed.  No card data is processed or stored on VAA’s telephony infrastructure or agent desktops, removing the need for the numerous checks and controls that would otherwise be needed to comply with PCI regulations.

“During our evaluation process, we considered a number of different options, but the decision to implement Semafone was simple” commented David Bulman, director of information technology at Virgin Atlantic Airways“The safety of our customers’ data is of paramount importance and we needed to find a solution that we could put in place with limited disturbance. Semafone met all of our requirements.”

“We are delighted to have been selected by Virgin Atlantic Airways to provide PCI compliant payment card capture across its contact centres,” commented Tim Critchley, CEO of Semafone.  “The need to prevent card fraud is a global one so we are very pleased to be able to support VAA in its contact centres across the world.”

Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2013/03/14/virgin_atlantic_airways_strengthens_payment_security_with_se/#.UUHb1tFAREB

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