28

June

Payment trends for 2017

The early months of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the previous year. From the perspective of the payments industry, 2016 was a year that laid the groundwork for stunning innovations and continued expansion into new financial technology (fintech) and financial services (finserv) territories.

What 2016 really did was set up fintech and finserv for an exciting 2017. Below is a list I compiled with colleagues of the top trends we expect will take center stage in the months ahead.

Blockchain

While blockchain has been around for

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05

June

Understanding merchant processing

For nearly a year now as quarterback of the Street SmartsSM column, I’ve discussed rebranding options that you, as a merchant level salesperson (MLS), can use to lead in with and tie merchant processing into the solution implementation on the back-end. But what exactly is merchant processing? This article discusses the in-depth particulars of merchant processing that, unfortunately, due to the low level of training provided in our industry, many MLSs might not fully understand.

The use of bankcards as a payment option dates back to at least the 1950s. A

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15

February

Emerging markets fuel smart-device surge

IHS Markit researchers predict the global user base for smartphones will rise to 6 billion by 2020, up from 4 billion in 2016. Smartphone and tablet devices now comprise more than 60 percent of the smart-connected consumer device market, up from just 17 percent in 2008, IHS noted.

Several developments will likely drive mobile adoption. “Mobile innovations, new business models and mobile technologies are transforming every adjacent market as the mobile industry diversifies from the maturing smartphone market,” said Ian Fogg, Director at IHS Technology. “Revenues for smartphones shipped in 2020

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08

February

Fed accelerates fast payments in 2017

Due to changing consumer behavior and advances in mobile communications, payments analysts expect real-time payments to become a reality in 2017. The Faster Payments Task Force, led by the Federal Reserve in collaboration with private sector businesses, financial institutions and government agencies, is working toward that end. A progress report published Jan. 26, 2017, provides insights on the group’s progress standardizing and implementing real-time payments and automated clearing house (ACH) schemes.

Esther George, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has led the payment system improvement

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01

February

Healthy relationships build vibrant businesses

Whether they write a few or a thousand deals a month, most merchant level salespeople (MLSs) agree that theirs is a relationship business. Changing technology and consumer trends have led many to consider what the future may hold for their hard-won bonds with merchants and acquirers. Will automated, self-service models replace the personalized service that has historically defined merchant services?

“Super ISOs may technically own a merchant account and take the risk, but keeping that merchant depends on the downstream and merchant,” said Nancy Austin, Vice President of the Northeast Acquirers

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25

January

Fed updates payments data

Cards – credit, and especially debit – continue to lead the charge toward noncash payments in the United States, and card-not-present (CNP) transactions are rising sharply. Meanwhile, growth in automated clearing house (ACH) payments is slowing, as is the decline in check payments. These are key trends revealed by the recently released 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study.

The Fed conducts extensive research into noncash payments (exclusive of wire transfers) every three years, soliciting input from financial institutions and payment networks. Its latest study details card, check and ACH payments in 2015.

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25

January

NFC Forum adds specs, Chase goes QR

The NFC Forum released new specifications intended to enable near field communication (NFC)-enabled devices to communicate more broadly. The NFC Forum is a standards body sponsored by leading payment and technology companies, including Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Mastercard, Nokia Corp., Samsung Corp., Sony Corp. and Visa Inc.

The new specifications address peer-to-peer and broader communications between NFC-reading devices and tags. For example, a new set of specifications details how multiple secure payment applications can be installed and flexibly accessed by end users.

NFC provides a standardized set of wireless communication

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18

January

Yahoo breaches analyzed

A number of security analysts believe Yahoo Inc.’s recently disclosed data breaches constitute yet another wake-up call to the security community, which is tasked with keeping our payments infrastructure safe from persistent and escalating attacks on the part of skilled criminals.

In September 2016, Yahoo stated a security breach had occurred in 2014 that affected an estimated 500 million account holders. In December 2016, the company revealed an earlier event in 2013 had potentially affected 1 billion users. The breaches are said to be the largest ever recorded.

“As news of the new

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11

January

Expect more growth in mobile payments, banking

A vibrant stock market index and historically high ecommerce spending during the 2016 holiday season have led to bullish predictions for payments and retail in 2017. Financial analysts expect growing adoption of mobile technologies to drive digital transformation in payments, retail and banking sectors.

Derek Webster, Chief Executive Officer at CardFlight Inc., a software-as-a-service company that designed the SwipeSimple mobile POS solution, expects to see significant growth in mobile POS solution deployments in 2017.

“As the capabilities of SwipeSimple and other solutions have grown, mobile payment acceptance is serving more and more merchant

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04

January

Tapping into the U.S. economic pulse

At the beginning of 2017, the future direction of the U.S. economy is anybody’s guess, but signs appear to be positive. Sources in the payments industry expect continued growth in several sectors, while some economic observers view potential income and corporate tax reductions and uncapping of business capital expenditure deductions as potential boons to personal spending and domestic business expansion.

Leon LaBrecque, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of LJPR Financial Advisors, has tracked financial trends for four decades. He believes the nation is entering uncharted waters because the indicators we

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