Recent News

In response to complaints about problems implementing a new federal law requiring acquirers to report merchants’ electronic payment transactions, the Internal Revenue Service delayed the penalty provisions and withholding requirements for a year, until Jan. 1, 2013. All acquirers are still required to file the 1099-K reporting form by the end of the year.

Beginning January 2013, First Data and Global will be instructed to withhold funds from merchants whose Tax Id Number (TIN) and Tax Filing Name (TFN) do not match. Once funds are withheld, First Data and Global will send them directly to the IRS. Merchants will not be able to retrieve their withheld money until they file their tax return for 2013. California and Maine are also imposing State Withholding amounts.

In order for merchants to avoid withholding, they need to update their TIN and/or TFN if they receive notification that their information does not match. Recently, First Data sent letters on our behalf notifying merchants of their unmatched status. Global merchants will be receiving notification directly from us shortly.

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On June 29, 2011, the Fed announced the final regulation on the Durbin Amendment which went into effect on October 1, 2011. This final regulation caps interchange fees at $.21 per transaction plus 5 basis points for both PIN based and signature debit transactions for banks with over $10 billion in assets. Any institution with less than $10 billion in assets are exempt from the cap. More than 70% of the debit cards issued in the US are from banks with over $10 billion in assets which means merchants will see this cap in 70% of debit transactions.

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ECS is now offering SparkBase’s Paycloud mobile wallet and loyalty application. This program launched recently with more than 3,000 merchants. Paycloud transforms iPhones and Android smartphones into mobile wallets that enable loyalty rewards and deliver merchant coupons and promotions directly to the consumer’s phone. The Paycloud is the first mobile wallet that integrates with merchants’ existing point of sale terminals without using expensive NFC technology. Instead, Paycloud allows customers using virtually any smartphone to connect with their favorite merchants by tapping their phone to a countertop sensor linked to the merchants’ existing terminal.

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The mobile revolution continues to grow exponentially. Millions of Americans no longer need their leather wallets with Google Wallet—a mobile app that securely stores credit cards, offers, gift cards and more on your mobile phone. This virtual wallet is changing the face of commerce by enabling customers to simply make “tap and go” payments with their mobile devices, while increasing loyalty at your merchant locations.

Google, First Data, Citi and MasterCard® brought this latest innovation in commerce to life, and all partners continue to invest heavily for its success. With mobile contactless transactions expected to top 2.2 billion in 2011 and with enhanced functionality on Google Wallet to come (virtual coupons, receipts, tickets, and more), consumers may never go back to traditional payments. ECS can provide merchants the equipment, installation and all the necessary training to take advantage of this new and exciting payment platform.

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Apriva has launched Apriva Wallet, an m-commerce platform for its network of independent sales organizations and merchant acquirers that enables consumers to make payments via Android and iPhone devices. Apriva Wallet is available for download at any participating retailer when consumers supply their mobile number at the point of sale. The platform is compatible with any payment processor, wireless carrier, and financial institution, and also interoperates with NFC and EMV standards. In addition, Apriva Wallet can support magnetic stripe payment technologies and requires no changes to the POS environment.

 

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President Barack Obama has used his recess appointment powers to install Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), effectively enabling the agency to monitor payday lenders, credit bureaus, and utilize all of the powers given to it under the Dodd-Frank law. Without a director at the helm, the agency was only able to monitor and enforce existing regulations on consumer financial products and not able to write new regulations for banking products. "Now, with a director, the CFPB can exercise its full authorities—with respect to both banks and nonbanks—to help those markets operate fairly, transparently, and competitively," Cordray says. The CFPB had begun its mission by placing regulators in the largest banks to review mortgage lending and consumer banking fees, and the CFPB director can now influence banking policy as a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

 

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The strong increases in online payment transactions noticed by merchant acquirers and others in November continued through the entire holiday shopping season, according to recently released data. Leading e-commerce acquirer First Data reported on Thursday (1/5/2012)that its Cyber Holiday Pulse Index recorded nearly 360 million transactions valued at approximately $14.5 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, up 38% and 26% respectively from the year-earlier period.

 

 

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The United States is the last substantial market to resist widespread adoption of the EMV chip and pin standard, but over the past year, the outlook for EMV has improved significantly, with backing from Visa, and to some extent, MasterCard.

That’s caused Gemalto, a payments technology firm headquartered in Europe and a proponent of smart cards and EMV to change its view of how quickly chip & pin could arrive in the US. As recently as 2010, the firm was projecting a slow rate of adoption here, but Visa’s decision to accelerate adoption through a combination of incentives and penalties has changed the company’s outlook. Gemalto recently published a white paper which outlines the advantages of EMV in a variety of settings and argues that the anti-fraud characteristics of EMV, the growing inconvenience for US cardholders traveling abroad and the rise opf mobile payments technology make the timing of Visa’s push for EMV more potent, and will speed adoption.


 

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The United States Department of Justice published its revised rules implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Official publication is one of the last steps on a very long road leading to new ADA regulations for both public and private entities on a diverse set of issues including Talking ATMs, ticketing for accessible seating, effective communication, service animals and more. The new Talking ATM standards are in Sections 220 and 707 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

The next steps? The new rules take effect on March 15, 2011 - six months after publication in the federal register. Compliance with the new 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, is required as of March, 2012


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