E-Commerce

Alto Global Processing: DID WE JUST SEE THE FUTURE OF MOBILE PAYMENTS?

CEO, Market Platform Dynamics for http://www.pymnts.com/

Say hello to Apple Pay. It’s the new kid on the payments block and, depending on how things unfold, it could be the new Gorilla in the mobile payments ecosystem.

Here’s what it is.  When consumers get an iPhone6 or 6 Plus, they can use Apple Pay almost right away (obviously in October when it is live at merchants) as long as they have an iTunes account – and there are 800 million of those now in the world. All these 800 million consumers need to do is to enter their CVC code and they’re up and running.

Consumers can then use those Apple Pay accounts to pay at places that have NFC terminals by holding their phone near the device and holding their thumb on TouchID. (Whether this is faster than swipe remains to be seen.) Want to put another card in? Just snap a picture and Apple will do the rest—so long as it’s with one of its affiliated banks (which now includes those that control more than 80 percent of the consumer transactions in the U.S.).  Consumers can always do it the new old fashioned way and type in all the card details into Passbook.

Card info isn’t actually stored on the phone at all. Cardholder information is tokenized and stored in the secure element and never makes it onto the phone’s memory or on Apple’s servers in the cloud.  That’s a pretty big deal. Apple Pay leverages the card network’s tokenization standard, which pretty much seals the deal on how cardholder security will be done in a digital world. Between that and fingerprint ID, Apple Pay seems pretty secure. The spiffy Apple Watch that they showed also enables payments but must be paired with the phone to do it.

There are two other big deals here.

The first is that Apple Pay is also headed online, which means it is going head to head with every other digital online acceptance mark, e.g. PayPal, Visa Checkout and MasterCard PayPass.   With 800 million iTunes accounts worldwide, Apple is millions of miles ahead of all three of those guys combined. All Apple needs is for online merchants to accept it. And with all those iTunes accounts, that doesn’t seem like it will be that hard.

The second is the API. Apple is doing with its payments app what it did with Beacons and the apps store before that: creating an ecosystem that stimulates innovation and strengthens the power of its own walled garden. Allowing developers to embed Apple Pay in their apps is an efficient way for Apple Pay to get massive distribution and scale.

As great as this sounds, there are two limitations of Apple Pay right now for consumers and merchants.  And it’s that old chicken and egg issue that gets in the way of every new payments system.

At least as of today, no one has an iPhone 6 capable of working with Apple Pay. That will change on September 19th, but most people won’t be able to use Apple Pay next year because they won’t have the right phones.  Estimates say that Apple will sell roughly 180 million phones over the next 12 months worldwide and about 25 million of those are in the U.S.. Since that is where Apple Pay works today, analysts say that the addressable market for Apple Pay is 25 million when they count the number of people whose contracts are up and who are eligible to buy a new phone. Apple is, of course, hoping that enough people find the iPhone 6 cool enough that they buy it anyway, contract terms notwithstanding, which could make that number much higher.

Then consumers that do have Apple Pay can’t really use at it very many places right now. Apple says that there are 220,000 merchant locations today that accept NFC but that’s a small fraction of the 8 million plus point of sale locations in the U.S..  Apple Pay ignition depends on merchants believing in Apple and consumers believing that merchants will believe in Apple.

So that’s why what happens next will be really important to watch.

Apple clearly did not intend to innovate payments in its purest sense of the word. It preserved, yet made digital, the core tenants of the four party system that has defined the payments world for the last 60 years. It has given NFC an entirely new lease on life and all but crowned it as the technology standard for payments. As we’ve said many times, NFC needed a catalyst to ignite it and the longer that it lacked one, the more it was at risk of becoming obsolete. Apple Pay is banking on the fact that enough merchants in the U.S. will light up the NFC capabilities that come with their new EMV terminals. The promise of millions of high spending Apple Pay consumers may be that catalyst.

It appears that Apple did intend, however, to reinvent the experience of buying.  We’ve seen hints of it already as making a payment with Apple Pay in a physical store doesn’t require popping open an app to activate the card. This is just the tip of a very deep iceberg. Expect that experience on steroids as the beacon and payments ecosystems mash up, inspire innovators to spring into action to create entirely new sources of value for consumers and merchants.

The other subtle, yet potentially game changing observation I had today is how Apple chose to name its payments capability. Apple introduced us today to Apple Pay, not iPay, not iWallet. Apple wants the consumer association with Apple first and foremost. Sure, card brands and network brands are visible, but Apple Pay will make every other brand subordinate to it because that is how the consumer and the merchant will view it.

That means that the power, at least in the iOS ecosystem, is likely to accrue over time to Apple. And with 800 million registered accounts, well, it might not need that much time.  Just ask the mobile operators what happens when Apple exercises its power over an ecosystem: the balance of power shifts in a pretty dramatic way to them.

Fast forward a few years and it is quite likely that payments becomes an ecosystem defined by apps in the cloud, assembled in Passbook under the control of Apple at least for the iOS ecosystem.   Not only did we meet Apple Pay yesterday, we might also have just met one of the most powerful players in the payments ecosystem.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The news is still fresh and many details are still not known and those that are must still be digested. Today, in many ways, marks the beginning of mobile payments 3.0.  The next couple of years will be something to watch now that Apple is in the game.

Source: http://www.pymnts.com/news/2014/did-we-just-see-the-future-of-mobile-payments/#.VBBj42RdX84

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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.

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

For more information on this please feel free to contact Luca Bizzotto, CEO of Alto Global Processing Please visit Alto Global Processing

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Alto Global Processing: PayPal and Samsung enabling commerce with fingerprint authentication on Galaxy S5

PayPal and Samsung have announced a collaboration that will make Samsung Galaxy S5 users the first to be able to login and shop at any merchant that accepts PayPal on mobile and in-stores with only their fingerprint.

The new biometric feature will mean that Galaxy S5 users will no longer need to remember passwords or login details, PayPal will be the first payments company to support Samsung’s mobile fingerprint authentication technology.

“We spearheaded the Fast IDentity Online Alliance last year and predicted that the industry would soon move beyond passwords, and this announcement brings us one step closer to that reality,” said Hill Ferguson, Chief Product Officer for PayPal“By working with Samsung to leverage fingerprint authentication technology on their new Galaxy S5, we are able to demonstrate that consumers don’t need to face a trade-off between security and convenience. With a simple swipe of a finger, consumers can still securely log into their PayPal account to shop and pay with the convenience that mobile devices afford.”

“We are very excited about our relationship with PayPal as it will bring one of the most trusted online payment solutions in the world to the broader mobile market,” said Hankil Yoon, Senior Vice President of Mobile Product Strategy. “Together with PayPal, we expect to provide our customers with a seamless and secure experience in online shopping and payments on our new Samsung Galaxy S5.”

Please visit http://www.paymenteye.com/ for more news

Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2014/02/26/paypal-and-samsung-enabling-commerce-with-fingerprint-authentication-on-galaxy-s5/

For more information on this please feel free to contact Luca Bizzotto, CEO of Alto Global Processing Please visit Alto Global Processing

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Alto Global Processing: MasterCard, Visa Propose Tokenization Standard for Digital Commerce

The three biggest U.S. payment card networks on Tuesday together proposed the framework for a new standard for online and mobile purchases they said will more effectively protect consumers and businesses from fraud. The fierce competitors said they are responding to increasing consumer demand to protect digital purchases, which make up a growing portion of retail sales.alto global processing visa mastercard

The agreement is not a full-fledged solution, but signals a willingness of the networks and their issuers to work with merchants, acquirers and processors on a standard for widespread “tokenization” of payment information. Many processors have been substituting tokens for actual consumer card account numbers during transactions for some time so that fewer parties have to store payment account details.

The new standard would draw on technology already in place, but the networks said their cooperation and ability to bring all players in the payments ecosystem together would ensure broad acceptance of tokens, enable all participants in the value chain to route and pass through tokens, spur innovation in the digital wallet and mobile app space and improve cardholder security.

“By working together to form a common global standard for online and mobile shopping, we will be able to provide enhanced security, interoperability and consistency for all participants within the digital payments ecosystem,” said Mike Matan, head of Global Network Business for American Express. “In addition, we will be able to drive the rapid adoption and expansion of digital payments, delivering innovative new products and services that will allow consumers to realize the full potential of digital commerce in today’s world.”

For more information on this please feel free to contact Luca Bizzotto, CEO of Alto Global Processing
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Alto Global Processing: Visa announces improved payment card fraud detection

Visa has announced a series of enhancements to Visa’s Advanced Authorization (VAA) technology that significantly improve the ability of its global processing network to detect potential electronic payments fraud.

Financial institutions can use the information to more reliably know which transactions to decline in real time, potentially reducing fraud by billions per year, while more confidently approving legitimate transactions to remove friction from payments for merchants and consumers alike.visa alto global processing giving back

“Cardholders, merchants and issuers all want to have confidence in the convenience and the security of every Visa transaction,” said Mark Nelsen, Head of Risk and Authentication Products, Visa Inc. “The great improvements we’ve made in Advanced Authorization this year were designed to do just that: fight fraud and its costs to financial institutions and merchants, while also ensuring legitimate transactions are handled with the speed and convenience that consumers and merchants want.”

Visa has increased the breadth of each account profile in the Advanced Authorization model by adding more transactional history data, along with additional neural networks to analyze that data. The account profile is a major component of the risk score assigned to a given transaction and provided to the issuer for them to make an authorization decision. The result is more robust performance and improvement of as much as 130% in detecting fraud in debit transactions and 175% for credit transactions.

The enhanced model includes additional risk indicators specific to Automated Fuel Dispensers (AFD) transactions. Visa’s network now can pinpoint suspicious activity at a gas station and apply that to all transactions processed through that station. The model also uses account velocity at AFDs compared to that account’s normal behaviour in the score determination. This can potentially increase the effectiveness of fraud detection in this segment by as much as 266% for debit transactions and 163% in credit.

The VAA improvements offer the potential to substantially reduce fraud in both transactions where the physical Visa card is present, such as a retail store, as well as in “card not present” environments such as online shopping. The improvements are effective for both consumer and commercial accounts and transactions.

Source: http://www.paymenteye.com/2013/10/03/visa_announces_improved_payment_card_fraud_detection/#.UlLhFWRAREB

Please visit http://www.paymenteye.com for more news!

 For more information on this please feel free to contact Luca Bizzotto, CEO of Alto Global Processing Please visit Alto Global Processing
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Alto Global Processing: When Projecting Payments’ Future, Look First To Its Past

By Ben Carsley, Managing Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)

Welcome to PYMNTS.com’s 2013 CEO Series: a quick and concise glimpse into the minds of the leaders of the payments industry and how they view innovation, change and growth. We’ll ask each top exec the same six questions about the payments industry to gauge who they view as innovation experts and why they feel their company stands out. What advice do these leaders have to offer to those looking to survive in a complex and dynamic industry? On PYMNTS.com, you can find out.

In this installment, we speak with Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM, to learn his thoughts on payments innovation, how the industry is changing and more. What does Paull believe many players forget when trying to innovate in payments, and what does he say payments’ past tells us about its present and future? Find out below.

How would you define your company’s approach to innovation?

It’s a collaborative effort between our own vision of where we see this industry going and the demands coming from our customers and partners. We put a lot of pressure and responsibility on ourselves to be visionaries in this space, as evidenced by delivering the first encrypted card reader to the market and some of the more recent innovations we’ve worked on with customers, such as the integration of payments into a broader mobile experience.  You learn so much more and shape such a stronger vision by engaging your customers in this process and jointly leveraging each other’s ideas.

What is the most innovative thing that you have introduced into the market – and what did it deliver to the stakeholder group that was its target?

I’d have to say the most innovative thing we’ve done is architecting our entire platform in a way that’s not only fully brandable and customizable, but also flexible enough so that it can be unbundled into separate offerings. Taking that approach has allowed many major players out in the market to leverage our platform to not only compete with the likes of Square and the other players in the market, but actually break out more value-added solutions and do it with ease and agility. We’ve given other players in the market a huge competitive advantage by providing an affordable way for them to get to market with a mobile commerce solution of their own.

Where do you look for innovative ideas and why?

I already spoke about how important our customers are to our innovation process, but in our goal to become a best of breed provider, we acknowledge that we can’t always develop everything in-house ourselves, especially not in such a rapidly growing segment. So, we also look to key partners for their input and expertise. By integrating some of our partners’ solutions into our platform, those partners become another source of innovation. We’re always surveying the market for other businesses that are providing new and innovative mobile development tools and software modules that might bring value to our customer base.

What do you think that most people underestimate about innovating in payments?

Many companies don’t look backwards and learn enough about where the payments industry has been and how it has evolved. Even though mobile is a new frontier, the mobile payments space is following a lot of the same trajectory that physical payments and eCommerce went through. For example, if you look at a physical countertop device, at first it only accepted credit cards, next it was debit cards, then it was prepaid cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, etc. That’s in essence what we see happening in our industry. Now the software and value-added applications are really streaming in to surround the existing hardware capabilities for mobile card acceptance. I think people underestimate how much innovation has already taken place in the industry and how much of the groundwork has already been laid for the new players entering this space.

What person or company do you think “gets” innovation and why – and, conversely, who or what has missed it and why?

That is a very difficult question. In terms of mobile payments, we are probably working in some form or fashion with a majority of the industry players, so it’s difficult in two respects.  The first is that many of them ask us not to disclose information about our relationship, as is the nature of being a “behind the brand” technology platform. The second is that there are just too many people we could offend by excluding. Being an Ingenico company, we obviously have a bias in this respect because we certainly think Ingenico “gets” innovation. By investing in ROAM and building out a mobility line of business, they have the vision to understand how key mobile is to the transformation of this industry and how important it is to their future. On the contrary, we have seen many of Ingenico’s competitors put a less persistent effort into this market during a time that is a very critical inflection point in our industry.

What advice would you give a young innovator in this space and why would you tell her to heed it?

Never lose sight of the wants and needs of your customer (or in the case of a distribution channel environment – your customer’s customer). And don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers and to the market to share ideas and gain other people’s input. This is a complicated ecosystem that we operate in and to develop and bring products out to the market in a silo is a risky venture.


Ken Paull, CEO of ROAM

Ken has over 20 years in senior management roles in the electronic payments industry including senior vice president at RBS Lynk (now WorldPay), vice president at Triton Systems and general manager at VeriFone. He was responsible for building and rapidly growing what is now WorldPay’s national account payments division while also directing the turnaround of what had been a declining ATM processing business. While at Triton, the company surpassed NCR as the second largest domestic ATM supplier and also became the global leader in retail ATM deployments. At VeriFone, Ken built their major account, retail division which has become one of the largest segments of their business. Most recently, Ken has held positions of board director at Access to Money, director at Market Platform Dynamics and president of Pax. A native of the Boston area, Ken holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications from Babson College, as well as an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University.

Alto Global Processing: Amazon to pay mobile developers e-commerce referral fees

Amazon is moving to close the gap between mobile apps and online commerce by letting developers make money from selling goods in their apps for tablets and smartphones. Mobile developers can now generate revenue by selling physical and digital products listed on Amazon through their apps for a 6% commission as part of a new API launched by the e-commerce giant. Already offering this service on the web, Amazon is moving to capitalise on the consumer shift toward mobile shopping and encourage more developers to build apps for its range of Kindle devices.

alto global processing amazon

“Developers now have the ability to create an even deeper connection between their app and the products customers value and purchase through Amazon.com,” says Amazon Appstore VP Mike George. “Imagine a developer of a nutrition and fitness app can now offer their customers the ability to purchase vitamins, supplements and fitness gear within the app, directly from Amazon.com. It offers the customer a more relevant experience and provides the developer with a new source of revenue.”

Mobile Commerce Boom

Amazon is touting the API as a new way for developers to make money, alongside mobile adverising and using freemium models. But it’s mainly a way for Amazon to make money. Amazon built this retail empire on the web, but the growth of mobile is having a huge impact on its business, with mobile shoppers expected to spend a cumulative USD37.44bn this year in the US alone and it has been forced to adapt, fast. The company was quick to pick up on this shift in consumer behaviour and its mobile shopping app is the second most-used e-commerce app in the US behind eBay’s. It picks up 12.2m unique visitors per month, with visitors spending an average of 18 minutes on the app, but is now moving to harness more e-commerce referrals from third party apps.

Developers Are Key

Everyone knows why Amazon sells its devices so cheaply. It wants people to buy things on them. The firm sells its hardware at cost-price because it wants its tablets and e-readers to act as personalized shopping portals where consumers can download apps and shop for goods, films, books and games.

To get good content, however, it needs good developers and that’s why the firm is launching this new API. To make its ecosystem more appealing to developers. The global app market is set to be worth USD27bn this year, as the number of consumers adopting and spending money on smartphones and tablets continues to rise, and Amazon is looking to increase its share of those sales.

Kindle Strategy

So is Amazon’s strategy working? It’s starting to. Amazon is set to generate USD4.5bn from the sale of its Kindle e-readers and tablets this year, up more than a quarter compared to last year. Crucially for Amazon, however, Kindle-related content revenue is set to surpass hardware next year, generating USD5.7bn, up from USD3.8bn this year.

However, Amazon’s strategy is costing it in the short term as it invests for the future. The firm slumped to a loss of USD7m in Q2 as heavy investment in distribution centres, hardware and content deals ate into its bottom line.

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