Payment News

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.”

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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 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.


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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’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, 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,” 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 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.

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Alto Global Processing: Third-Party Transactions in China Top $1 Billion in First Half of 2013


Transactions in China through third-party payment systems, which include online payment companies, topped $1.13 billion in value in the first half of 2013, according to a report by CCID Consulting. The report identified China UnionPay Merchant Services, which processed 46.3 percent of that total, as the market leader with Alipay (17.8 percent) and China Payment and Remittance Service (6.2 percent) rounding out the top three.

Online payment and bank point-of-sale businesses accounted for more than 97 percent of all third-party transactions in the country for the six-month period ending June 30. The $1.13 billion value of third-party transactions in the first half of 2013 represents 66 percent of the value of all transactions in the entire year of 2012.


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Alto Global Processing: Should Russia Be Your Next E-commerce Frontier?

Written by Guest Writer Julie-Lynn Tikekar for VentureBeat

Russia is home to one of the world’s largest economies and continues to be an attractive option for e-commerce ventures. The question at this point is whether Russia is the right choice for your next e-commerce frontier.

In 2012, Russia’s base of Internet users surged to about 70 million people — overtaking both Germany and the United Kingdom. This is particularly impressive considering that in 2003, less than 10 percent of the Russian population was online and today more than 50 percent are active users. Russia now boasts the most Internet users of any country in Europe and, with another 20 million Russians expected to log on for the first time during the next two years, it will approach both Japan and Brazil in web population by 2015.

In terms of economic activity, research shows Russian web users are much more than just window shoppers. Online purchasing among Russian e-commerce customers is expected to grow 27 percent annually

through 2015 and reach $25 billion by 2014, according to McKinsey & Company. What’s more, annual revenues per shopper will likely more than double to $1,272 in the next two years — edging ahead of France, Brazil, and South Korea.

The development of Russian e-commerce will soon position it alongside many of the world’s top contenders. Although shoppers in other developed markets like the United Kingdom and Germany currently spend far more their Russian counterparts, their total purchases are expected to actually decrease on an annual basis during that same period, primarily due to economic factors. And while China and India will continue to outpace Russia due to sheer population numbers, the growth in the Russian market will make it among the most valuable in the world in just a few short years.

There is no doubt that current online trends in Russia present a strong business case for any company interested in growing their global e-commerce footprint. Yet, like any international market, the Russian e-commerce market presents its own set of unique challenges.

Here are some of the most pressing factors to consider before expanding your online business into Russia:

Cash is king: As much as 80 percent of Russia’s 89 million online purchases in 2011 were paid for with cash on delivery (COD). However, shopper preferences in Russia are expected to change as credit and debit card use grows and consumer trust increases. In the meantime, merchants should make absolutely clear on websites what their COD policies are in order to minimize non-payments or order rejections.

Keep it simple: While Moscow and St. Petersburg are known as the economic centers of Russia, e-commerce activity is following a different trend. Seventy-five percent of online orders are made from smaller cities where economic strength is growing but consumers are still evolving in their online shopping expertise. That is why it is vitally important to take some extra steps to facilitate the shopping experience and create a credible and trustworthy site. For example, prominently display recognized brands on your home page. Present your content in the Russian language. And make links to customer support and FAQs easy to find.

Physical trumps digital: Many Russians have opted to purchase physical software over digital software due to trust, security, and fraud concerns as well as the preference to pay in cash. Although online shopper trust is increasing and payment preferences are evolving, an e-commerce strategy should address both channels to maximize effectiveness in the marketplace.

Keep connected: Social media is another hot topic in Russia. While the opportunity of social commerce is debated in established markets, 93 percent of online users use social media at least once a month and 23 percent are regular content contributors. This is significantly higher than the global average of 70 percent and shows the desire for Russian consumers to stay connected. So keeping a social media as part of your local communication and commerce strategy is key.

Accept uncertainty: The Russian market is growing fast and evolving faster. And while the potential is exciting, the lack of historical market data requires that companies conducting e-commerce in Russia be flexible in their financial planning. Other uncertainties exist as well, such as the lack of carriers providing full nationwide delivery and the overall difficulty in doing business. (The World Bank currently ranks Russia at No. 120.) To take advantage of Russia’s revenue potential, seek partners who are highly experienced in local logistics and payment methods.

With a population of over 140 million highly educated, increasingly tech-savvy people, Russia is a country ready to assume its place in the global e-commerce economy. By building a Web presence with high quality branded products, competitive pricing, good language translation, customer convenience, and strong payment/logistics options, it’s possible to take a commanding position in one of the strongest developing markets in the world.f


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Alto Global Processing: International e-commerce sales to triple by 2018

Sales of online goods between countries are set to triple over the next five years to be worth USD307bn. The figure, which comes from a report commissioned by PayPal, represents a jump from USD105bn this year in cross-border e-commerce between Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, the UK and the US.

The report found that last year a quarter of all marketplace revenue and more than half of payments processed by PayPal came from international transactions. With figures set to rise, PayPal has been upping its cross boarder promotion in emerging markets, focussing on China as a particular area for further growth.

The US was the top exporter, with 45% of those surveyed saying they bought goods from there, followed by the UK with 37%. China was the biggest destination for US goods, with 84% of Chinese online consumers asked buying from the region.  Clothes and shoes are expected to remain the most popular items, followed by beauty products and consumer electronics devices.


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Alto Global Processing: Visa and NetHope Announce Five Supportive Grants

There is more to the credit card industry than just payments, transactions, etc. We at Alto Global Processing believe in giving back to the community, which is why we wanted to share this news from

Visa Inc. and NetHope, a consortium of more than 40 humanitarian organisations, have announced the five recipients of the Visa Innovation Grants Program. The grants will help leading development organisations modernise the distribution of payments related to microfinance, agriculture, health, and emergency alto global processing giving back

Every year, billions of dollars in cash payments are distributed to people in need through emergency relief efforts, benefit stipends, conditional cash transfers, microfinance programs, and other development initiatives. Digitising these payments, through mobile phones or other electronic methods, not only improves security and speeds distribution, it also can promote financial inclusion by providing recipients access to broader financial services, including savings and electronic payments tools.

The group of five grantee organisations includes: Agribusiness Systems International (ASI)Freedom from Hunger,International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)Mercy Corps, and Pathfinder International.

“Around the world, humanitarian and development organisations are delivering important programs that are tackling poverty and helping improve lives,” said Douglas Sabo (@DSabo), head of Corporate Responsibility at Visa Inc. “We have heard the call from these organisations for assistance to modernise the way they distribute funds by shifting to electronic payments, allowing them to be even more efficient and effective. We are proud the Visa Innovation Grants Program can help enable this transition.”


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Alto Global Processing: “The B2B payments revolution will eliminate 90% of accounts teams” – GoCardless

At the inaugural Wired Money conference Tom Blomfield, founder of online payments start-up GoCardless, declared a long overdue revolution in B2B payments that could leave 90% of accounts teams redundant.

Speaking at the conference in London on Monday, Tom told audiences that business-to-business payments are stuck in the dark ages, whilst payment providers have made consumer payments online instant, convenient and intuitive.

“In the 90s the biggest problem on eBay was transferring money to another person,”b2bpayments_220_1000

says Blomfield.“PayPal innovated around that problem. The same revolution is needed in business-to-business payments.”

With a lack of innovation in online payment and billing, businesses are forced to rely on antiquated payment methods such as cheques. Audiences were shocked to hear that 80% of B2B payments in the US are still made by cheque. Accounts teams are left to contend with a laborious job of sending invoices, chasing late payments and manually reconciling bank accounts. The result is that UK businesses are suffocating under GBP30bn of late payments.

“At GoCardless we want to make business to business payments easy. We do so by making it simple for companies to take Direct Debit payments online, which puts them in control of when they are paid without the need for a merchant account or expensive credit card fees.”

He went on,

“By being resolutely data-driven, we’ve built a fully automated payment system. It has helped small to medium sized enterprises such as the Ask Driving Schools reduce their accounting time by 80%, and double in size in just a year. Using GoCardless with their accounting software means Ask don’t have to re-key invoices and receipts. With the right authorisations in place, we make computers do the hard work for us – and can render 90% of accounts teams redundant.”

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Alto Global Processing: New Online Tool Launches to Help Consumers Understand the Cost of their Credit Cards

The UK Cards Association’s new website will give consumers better access to tailored information on their credit card costs

Following a research project undertaken with the Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) at The University of Bristol*, The UK Cards Association today announces the launch of a new website – with the objective of helping consumers improve their understanding of their credit card costs. The website is built on the findings of the research, which concluded that consumers are struggling with the ‘APR’ as the traditional measure of illustrating the cost of borrowing.

The CardCosts website will allow credit cardholders to:

  • Gain a better understanding of the cost of their current repayment choices;
  • Experiment with different levels of payments and desired periods to pay off a balance;
  • Learn from a range of informative messages which explain what can be complicated terms;
  • Link to other help and guidance, such as credit card statements and summary boxes; and
  • Quickly receive details of sources of free independent debt advice.

The website looks to go further than other similar existing tools by capturing details of different types of Balance, covering not only traditional card purchases, but also balancetransfers and cash advances. Furthermore, it allows the user to clearly see the impact of paying just a little more than the minimum payment. These enhanced features will ensure that the indicative costs provided are as tailored to a customer’s individual circumstances as possible.

Jo Swinson and The UK Cards Association Chair, Melanie Johnson discussing the launch of a new online tool giving consumers better access to tailored information on their credit card costs —

This is the latest in a series of important enhancements to transparency and responsible lending delivered by the card payments industry over many years, which has included the introduction of summary boxes, the delivery of a series of new consumer rights offering greater control and convenience, a contact process to provide advice for cardholders who are frequently paying only the minimum payment and also the introduction of annual creditcard statements.

The initiative has received support from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, where the Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer Affairs & Postal Services, Jo Swinson MP, has welcomed the alignment of this work with its own ambitions around ‘consumer empowerment’.

The development process for the new website included feedback from key stakeholder round-tables involving Which?, the Money Advice Trust, Citizens Advice, AdviceUK, StepChange Debt Charity, Money Advice Scotland and with subsequent input from the Money Advice Service.

The UK Cards Association will now be working with its members and other stakeholders to discuss how best to ensure that the benefits of the website are made available to as many customers as possible via various channels.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of The UK Cards Association, commented:

“I am delighted with the outcome of this important research, the result of working closely with the highly respected Personal Finance Research Centre. The research confirmed that customers find it difficult to understand APRs and would prefer to see credit card costs displayed in a way that is more easily understood. This website does just that, allowing people to better understand their costs in a clear, tailored and interactive way. This is another important step in the industry’s transparency journey, which has seen a series of initiatives delivered in the interests of customers over many years.”

Andrea Finney, Senior Research Fellow at the Personal Finance Research Centre, commented:

“One of the most striking findings to come out of our research was how strongly the people we spoke to wanted to understand the costs of their credit card in relation to their own spending. A hypothetical balance, such as the one used for calculating the APR, simply wasn’t meaningful. This new website was developed to give users the opportunity to see the cost of their cards as a direct reflection of their actual balance and how they use theircard.

The way that credit card costs are calculated and applied can be complicated enough, but when you add in the potential different combinations of types of balance and the many different approaches consumers can take to repay their cards, the picture becomes even more complex. It’s extremely difficult for consumers to navigate this complexity on their own. The key challenge in developing a tool like this therefore lay in stripping back this real-world complexity to make the interface as simple and intuitive to use as possible, while retaining the validity and representativeness of the results.”

Jo Swinson MP, Consumer Minister, commented:

“The Government is committed to helping consumers in financial difficulty. A big part of managing financial problems and debt is knowing how to avoid them, and well informed consumers make better choices and spending decisions. That is why I am pleased that The UK Cards Association and Bristol University have launched the CardCosts website today, which I’m confident will be a welcome aid to consumers seeking more information on credit cards. This website will help consumers take control of their bills and pick the best credit card for their needs. “Consumers who are in financial difficulty can talk to the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000, who provide free and confidential debt advice.”

To view a short film of Jo Swinson and The UK Cards Association Chair, Melanie Johnson discussing the new website please visit:

To view the press release as a PDF, with notes to editors, please click the link below.

For further information please contact The UK Cards Association Press Office on 020 3217 8436 /07767 114703 or email

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