Alto Global Processing: Canadian Bitcoin Processor Nets $8.5 Million Round

alto global processing-Canadian-Bitcoin-Processor-Nets-8pt5-Million-RoundVogogo, a Canadian e-commerce processor based in Calgary, said last week it has secured an $8.5 million round of financing that will enable it to expand its recent success in processing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Canada to the U.S. and other countries around the world. The 13-year old company said it handles $6 to $10 million in cryptocurrency-based transactions monthly and that its dedication to “[meeting] strict compliance and risk mitigation requirements of conventional banks and regulators” will help bitcoin shed any negative perception that remains.

“We had been watching Bitcoin and crypto currencies closely. As a payments company we were very intrigued by the potential of Bitcoin,” said Vogogo Co-Founder Geoff Gordon. “We watched several crypto groups enter the Canadian market, have a lot of success only to then be shut down by their bankers due to payment-related fraud and/or no compliance structure. We put the Vogogo platform in front of a few crypto groups to resounding success in Canada. We are now adjusting our platform to scale these services and we will be replicating the service in the U.S., EU and other target markets.”

Cormark Securities led the funding round with participation from Salman Partners Inc., Clarus Securities Inc., Beacon Securities Limited and Canaccord Genuity Corp.

Source: http://cardnotpresent.com/news/default.aspc?id=6234

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Amazon Quietly Launches Its Consumer-Facing Mobile Wallet App, Amazon Wallet

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Amazon’s first attempt at its own mobile wallet application, designed for use at the point-of-sale, has made a quiet debut on the Amazon Appstore and on Google Play. However, the current implementation of the new “Amazon Wallet” application is fairly barebones – it doesn’t yet support mobile payments or the ability to store credit cards or debit cards. Instead, the wallet only offers the ability to store and organize your gift cards and other store and loyalty cards.

Wallet-Feature-Doc-FirePhone._V347550681_According to the app’s description, Amazon Wallet lets you either scan or type in your gift card, loyalty card and membership card’s information to “reduce the clutter in your leather wallet or purse.” The cards are then available in a digital format as a barcode, QR code, text or image. For dozens of supported merchants, consumers are also able to check the balance of their stored gift cards.

In addition to…

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ALTO GLOBAL PROCESSING: Why Some Businesses Don’t Like Virtual Cards

By Jeff Green for @pymnts

alto global processing b2bVirtual card use is gaining momentum in the B2B market, with their use growing particularly in travel, invoice and health care payments, where use of paper checks remains common. But not all companies favor network automatic opt-in rules tied to acceptance of virtual card products.

Through virtual card products, issuers provide to companies specific 16-digit card numbers they may use online or by phone to apply to specific transactions or payees, thus providing an extra layer of security compared with traditional card products. There is no actual plastic card issued.

Visa reportedly soon will launch a B2B tool to make it simpler for corporations to pay supplier invoices using virtual payment cards. The offering would complement a cloud-based payment initiative Visa launched last year using the SAP Financial Services Network.

Virtual card use for invoicing is especially important for the card brands, as nearly half of all corporate payments are still paid by check, according to Visa, which estimates global commercial consumption expenditures at US$112 trillion.

Firms may embed the Visa tool, which is scheduled to launch later this summer, into their general ledger software, reports FierceFinanceIT.com. In doing so, companies would make it simpler to choose Visa’s virtual credit card offerings when companies pick their payment method online.

“One of the big areas of opportunity for the B2B payments industry is moving upstream into the accounts-payable process, where corporations are making decisions on how to pay invoices,” Tad Fordyce, Visa head of global commercial solutions, told the publication. “Visa has virtual card products that address this opportunity, and one of the challenges we face, as checks are being displaced by electronic payments, is we want to make sure that Visa’s virtual card solutions are present and available for the corporates to use at that time of the payment decision.”

Visa said it expects a new solution in launched recently with SAP to help corporations who want to move toward electronic B2B payments and easily automate and process their invoice payments without the need for significant investment in custom software.

“As companies shift from labor-intensive, paper-based processes to more efficient electronic procurement systems, having the option to pay with Visa will help simplify the process and bring many benefits,” Fordyce said in a Visa/SAP announcement. “We anticipate that being able to make Visa payments via connection to the SAP Financial Services Network will help corporations streamline accounts payable processing, while avoiding the upfront and ongoing costs that would be associated with custom software for the payment process.”

Opt-out request

Virtual cards also have caught the attention of health care providers, which have mixed feeling about the products when used to settle claims.

Last month, a hospital representative told the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Committee on Vital Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards that some health plans are automatically using virtual credit cards to pay claims, resulting in significant banking charges and administrative work for health care providers.

In his testimony, Doug Downey, speaking for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), said the committee should discourage health plans from imposing a transaction fee for electronic payment or requiring hospitals to “opt out” of virtual card payments.

Health plans or their agents switch payments from check to virtual cards with no business discussion between the two parties, effectively automatically enrolling the provider in the program automatic opt-in. Health plans or their agents are also incorrectly leveraging the card-network rules, which apply to consumer-to-business payments, and applying these rules to B2B payments, Downey said.

“This is a misapplication of the rules,” he said. “HCA merchant credit card fees in 2013 increased by an estimated $3 million as a result of the un-negotiated use of [virtual credit card] payments by health plans and/or their clearinghouse/aggregator payment service agents.”

HCA is not opposed to virtual card use because it may be appropriate for some providers, but it is against network rules that automatically opt in providers to accept such payments, Downey said.

A long history

Virtual cards have been around for some time. One of the first companies to introduce them was Ireland-based Orbiscom, which MasterCard acquired in 2009. MasterCard also works with other virtual card companies, including Europe’s Conferma, which also does business with Visa Europe issuers, according to Business Travelers News.

Though initially marketed primarily as a way for consumers to improve the security of online payments, virtual cards more recently have gained the interest of B2B companies, including firms in the travel industry.

Last fall, MasterCard announced MasterCard Travel Controller, which provides companies with information necessary to allocate charges to appropriate cost centers and allows them to expand control over travel spend by setting customer virtual accounts for each transaction.

Virtual fleet cards

Fleet card specialist Wex is among the major issuers of B2B virtual cards, providing a MasterCard-branded product to its fleet customers.

Last year, the company added 700,000 new fleet cards globally, growing its virtual card volume by 20 percent, according to the company’s fourth quarter earnings release.

In April, Wex’s European unit signed an international deal with Conferma, bringing to that company a prepaid virtual product for the first
time. It enabled Conferma’s partners to optimize travel payments by selecting the payment method that is most appropriate for each transaction type.

Source: http://www.pymnts.com/in-depth/2014/why-some-businesses-dont-like-virtual-cards/#.U7wHBRb2pnE

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Alto Global Processing: Amazon Launches Recurring Payments for Third-Party Sellers

 

alto global processing amazon launchesAmazon this week expanded its third-party payments service to include support for recurring billing. Two hundred and forty million consumers have Amazon accounts and the company has long been seen as a sleeping giant in the e- and m-commerce world. Amazon will now enable online sellers to access those accounts for sales made using a subscription model. The Seattle-based company tested the service with several Websites including mobile phone company Ting, according to a Reuters report confirmed by Amazon.

Amazon’s hope, according to the report, is that startups like Ting, which might have trouble convincing consumers to hand over their credit-card details for automatic periodic payments, will have no such trouble when that information is already vaulted by Amazon. A Ting representative told Reuters that customers who used Amazon recurring payments spent 30 percent more than customers who did not.

Amazon is expected to expand its payment activity even further next week, when, industry observers say, the company will launch its own smartphone.

Source: http://cardnotpresent.com/news/default.aspx?id=5826

Please visit http://cardnotpresent.com/ for more payment news! For more information on this please feel free to contact Luca Bizzotto, CEO of Alto Global Processing

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Alto Global Processing: American Express Expands OptBlue Merchant Acquirer Program

American Express has announced the expansion of OptBlue, its new merchant acquiring program that extends U.S. small merchant acceptance coverage for its cards. alto global processing amex

Amex reports there are now 10 participating acquirers in OptBlue, five of which are among the top 10 in the United States. New to the program are: First Data, EVO, Merchant e-Solutions and First American Payments Systems. The program was announced at American Express’ Financial Community meeting earlier this year with Vantiv, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, Worldpay, Transfirst and JetPay as the first participants. Participating acquirers will provide a full one-stop servicing solution for American Express Card® acceptance to eligible U.S. small merchants.

OptBlue is part of American Express’ ongoing commitment to enhance the U.S. small merchant experience and is an evolution of our acquiring business,” said Ed Jay, Executive Vice President, Merchant Services – Americas, American Express.

“The program will help deliver a smart and easy solution for U.S. small merchants to enjoy the benefits of American Express Card acceptance while making it convenient for consumers to Shop Small® year round.”

With OptBlue, participating acquirers can offer U.S. small merchants the benefit of a single statement, one settlement process, and one contact for all the major card brands. Acquirers determine merchant pricing in addition to providing payment processing and servicing. OptBlue will help expand American Express’ U.S. small merchant coverage, providing consumers more payment options at local businesses. American Express continues to receive the same transactional information it does today, allowing OptBlue merchants to benefit from the valuable tools, services and marketing that the Company delivers to small merchants. OptBlue is limited to eligible U.S. small merchants that have a projected American Express charge volume of less than $1 million per year.

Source: American Express Expands OptBlue Merchant Acquirer Program.

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Alto Global Processing: IRS DEEMS BITCOINS TAXABLE PROPERTY

Senior Analyst at PYMNTS.com
Bitcoin collecting and use just got a lot more complicated, thanks to a March 25 IRS notice classifying bitcoins as property and not currency. As such, it imposes a huge record-keeping burden on anyone who is dealing in bitcoins.

bitcoin alto global processing According to the IRS, general tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. Among other things, the notice imposes a huge record-keeping cost on anyone dealing with bitcoins.

“Anytime you buy or sell you have an IRS record-keeping obligation,” David Evans, chairman of Global Economics Group, tells PYMNTS.com in commenting on the IRS notice. “Obviously, they are only going to enforce that selectively, but people that are heavily into this will have issues.”

The IRS decision also provides what Evans believes is a real impetus to using bitcoins only for things that are only denominated in bitcoins. If a website offers “stuff” that is only priced in bitcoins, then it would be hard to argue that there’s been appreciation, he said.

Still, the IRS created some major headaches for many bitcoin users. “It imposes huge paperwork requirements; every time you pay with an appreciated bitcoin, you face a tax liability,” he said. “And it means you have to pay your personal income tax rate of about 10 percent to 40 percent (more if state taxes apply) if you’ve held the appreciated bitcoin for a year or less.”

Most people, Evans suggested, will ignore the IRS rule, and merchants don’t have to worry about taxes if they are using a bitcoin wallet provider that pays them in real currencies. Still, this provides a strong incentive to hold on to one’s bitcoins if the belief is they will appreciate. That way, the holder is liable only for long-term capital gains instead of using them for transactions, he said.

“For people in the with paper losses, it might provide an incentive to dump them and get the tax write-off,” Evans added.

To read the full IRS notice, click here.

 

Source: http://www.pymnts.com/in-depth/2014/irs-deems-bitcoins-taxable-property/#.UzMlNa1dWSo

 

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Alto Global Processing Report: Merchants Supporting Mobile Doubles in 2013

Merchants have doubled the amount of revenue coming from mobile devices since last year, according to a new report on mobile payments and fraud from CardNotPresent.com, Kount and The Fraud Practice. With nearly 2,000 respondents (more than 1,000 of them merchants), the Mobile Payments & Fraud Survey: 2014 Report is the largest ever to focus on fraud in the mobile channel, the companies said.
The importance of mobile to revenue growth is clearly illustrated in this year’s study—the second annual version of the report. Overall, merchants said mobile was responsible for 20 percent of their business, a 100 percent increase from last year’s survey. Thirty percent more merchants supported mobile commerce in 2013 than the year before, the study found. At the same time, merchants clearly are more wary of mobile payments. More than 30 percent of merchants polled said mobile is riskier than standard e-commerce (25 percent more than last year).
“After establishing the benchmark last year, the 2014 Mobile Payment & Fraud Survey shows continued development in mobile commerce and risk management initiatives as well as changes in expectations and priorities for the mobile channel,” said David Montague, president and executive consultant of The Fraud Practice LLC. “Not only are organizations now more likely to find that the fraud risk associated with the mobile channel is higher than with standard web e-commerce, but organizations are also more likely to believe the mobile channel requires additional tools for managing risk.”
CardNotPresent.com, Kount and The Fraud Practice are offering a sneak peak at what the results mean in a free Webinar today at 2 p.m. ET. Sign up for the Webinar here. A more comprehensive look at the results will comprise a keynote address at the CNP Expo in Orlando, Fla. at the end of May. Find out more about the CNP Expo and register here. A free copy of the report is available on the Kount Website.Source: http://cardnotpresent.com/news/cnp-news-mar14/Report__Merchants_Supporting_Mobile_Doubles_in_2013_-_March_13,_2014/For more articles like this please visit http://cardnotpresent.com/

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