by Ty Hardison

How do your unbanked employees access funds?

Instead of depending on check cashers to access funds, paycard users enjoy the fluidity of a debit account to make purchases online, pay bills and take cash out from ATMs as needed.

Your company might have had spotty luck with its direct-deposit program. Some employees enrolled right away, while others forgot to complete all the necessary forms. Some may prefer to cash a physical paycheck while others fall into the "unbanked" category, effectively operating outside the financial system. According to the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, nearly one-third of American households fall under that last category, making it challenging for employers and employees to exchange funds. 

Paycards set up a clear solution to the problem: Mandating direct deposit. This allows employees with checking accounts to link their information to your payroll system, and those who are "unbanked" to enroll in a paycard program that provides them an easy way … more

Finding the right payment model for your clientele

One of the best ways to identify payment processing models that are appropriate for your business is to learn from your customers.

One of the best ways to identify payment processing models that are appropriate for your business is to learn from your customers. For leaders at supermarket chain Whole Foods, this has meant listening to their sought-after millennial demographic for direction about adopting Apple Pay and other digital payment options. 

"We are, through the use of technology, building out and extending ourselves where our customers are whether it's through Instacart for home delivery, which we're doing more than any other grocery store in America now," Co-CEO Walter Robb said during the company's earnings call. "And we're really just getting started whether it's through affinity, which builds a personal connection to customers who will allow to customize their relationship with us [or] … more

Finding the right payment processing provider for your enterprise

This week, Nerd Wallet conducted a cost-benefit analysis of expanding enterprises to include payment card processing systems.

This week, Nerd Wallet conducted a cost-benefit analysis of expanding enterprises to include payment card processing systems. While few industries rely on cash-only models of doing business in 2015, some holdouts may not be sold on the benefit of accepting card payments. 

Some of the benefits included broader reach to new customer bases, ease and convenience, reduced trips to banks to make cash deposits and streamlined accounting. Emily Starbuck Crone also noted that in competitive industries, giving customers the option to pay with their cards can help businesses gain an advantage. She cited a vendor at a farmer's market as an example: In the past, these have been largely cash-based enterprises, but some customers might not have the physical currency to make a purchase. … more

April blog roundup: Data security, mobile payments, Congressional oversight

In case you missed it, here are some of the topics we covered on the Vantage Viewpoint blog last month.

From mobile payments to data security, April was an active month in the payment processing space. In case you missed it, here are some of the topics we covered on the Vantage Viewpoint blog last month:

Not all businesses require EMV terminals: Does yours?

Key takeaway: Just because a company doesn't require a new EMV terminal doesn't mean there aren't steps it can take to protect itself and its customers.

3 mistakes when selecting a payment processor

Key takeaway: With a host of regulatory and compliance considerations to make as well as cost and convenience, a third party service provider can help decision makers find the ideal solution.

Hospitality industry routinely the target of breaches

Key takeaway: All participants in the hospitality industry can be susceptible to … more

Forrester: Don't expect full EMV migration until 2020

A new study by Forrester Research estimates that chip-and-pin signature technologies won't be

A new study by Forrester Research estimates that chip-and-pin signature technologies won't be "broadly adopted" in the U.S. until 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal. The findings temper misconceptions that the October EMV deadline will create sweeping and immediate change in the payment card industry. Instead, those transitions should be expected to happen incrementally over the next five years, at least. 

Steven Norton of the Journal explains that instead of effecting a seismic shift in the way retailers process payments, the EMV deadline will do more to influence liability in the event of security compromises. He also cautions observers against the notion that chip-and-pin authentication will eliminate vulnerabilities in payment processing. 

"But the switch to EMV … more

93 percent of retailers say customers want more payment options

In the payment processing space, providing customers with options for purchasing goods or services can improve their experience and open your business up to new customers.

In 2015, convenience is a primary driver of innovation. In the payment processing space, providing customers with options for purchasing goods or services can improve their experience and open your business up to new customers. According to a survey by market research firm Ovum called "2015 Global Payments Insight," a customer-focused approach to omnichannel payment processing is catching on among retailers. 

"While half of the retailers recognized in their responses that the customer is king, and the key driver to increase their payments investment, many are still hesitant to invest in technologies they are wary of," explains PYMNTS. "It's worth noting that 93 percent of retailers surveyed said they believe consumers want access to a broad selection of payments tools — … more

EMV shift could change hackers' focus to CNP transactions

Ian Murphy of RetailDive suggests the adoption of EMV systems will cause hackers to focus on card-not-present (CNP) transactions.

The 2015 EMV deadline arrives in October and many experts have speculated about how the widespread implementation will change the nature of cyberattacks. On this blog, we've discussed predictions that hackers will use all of their old tricks up until the EMV deadline in order to capitalize on the closing window of opportunity. However, Ian Murphy of RetailDive suggests the adoption of EMV systems will cause hackers to focus on card-not-present (CNP) transactions. 

"CNP fraud is expected to more than double from a total of $2.9 billion in 2014 to $6.4 billion in 2018," explains Murphy. "And as an EMV transition proceeds in the United States, fraud will shift from card-present transactions to other types of card payments that so far lack stringent protocols for authentication, says … more

Penetration tests should be sophisticated and controlled

PYMNTS spoke to Graham Steel, CEO of Cryptosense, a company that creates software for testing vulnerabilities in secure systems.

Earlier this year, we discussed the importance of conducting penetration tests. Recently, PYMNTS spoke to Graham Steel, CEO of Cryptosense, a company that creates software for testing vulnerabilities in secure systems. According to the site, Cryptosense focuses on back-end security gaps in PINs, security keys and other forms of encoded information. 

"What we usually find are just little mistakes, little configuration errors or small things that are being done wrong," said Steel. "The things we find wrong are often easy and simple but they are hidden among all the other functions that are found in payments back office application. They are shallow, but they are hard to find because of all the other layers."

One of the best ways to ensure that your system … more

Most merchants say high-profile breaches have served as wake-up call

Although a significant number of merchants have been proactive about reviewing their payment security strategies, 69 percent is far from 100 percent.

After a year of high profile breaches, some might assume that merchants are on high alert about payment card security. And while a majority say that the spate of compromises has caused them to think seriously about the issue, about 30 percent say the media attention has had little effect on their approach to data protection. 

On this blog, we just discussed the findings of "Data Security in the Evolving Payments Ecosystem," a report by Experian and the Ponemon Institute. One of the study's areas of focus was on the response from merchants in relation to breaches at companies like Target, Home Depot and Michaels.

"Sixty-nine percent said highly publicized data breaches did increase their awareness about securing their payment processes," summarizes Roy Urrico of Payment Union … more

Study shows merchants value convenience over security

Despite the hype that surrounds new payment methods, the most important aspect of data security is doing what you do, well.

It seems that each week there's a new payment method on the market. Whether it's the launch of a new mobile payment platform or the looming October deadline for EMV migration, merchants may feel a sense of urgency to implement systems that give their customers a variety of options for purchases. However, a new study by Dublin, Ireland-based Experian and the Michigan-based Ponemon Institute found that retailers may need to realign their priorities when it comes to new payment platforms. 

"While risk and security concerns loom, large and new technologies are being deployed because they offer vastly improved customer convenience. Throughout our study, we found a large percentage of companies are likely to keep moving forward with deployment of new technologies … more