Credit Card Debt is Trending Down

One big lesson that the American families learned from the economic downturn is to stay away from debt especially credit card debt. This article will help you change your thinking about credit card debt. Several types of credit cards are used around the world; you, the consumer, have to educate yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of the cards in use, to know which ones are more beneficial to you.  Regardless of your choice, you will have to work very hard to pay interests to your card issuers every time you decide to carry a monthly balance on your card.  When the economic crisis started in 2007, the families who carried high balances on their cards paid a very high price for their debt and many of them had to file bankruptcy.

  In 2007, 97% of consumers indicated they used a credit card in the previous year. In 2008, that number plummeted to 72% according to Javelin in a study completed in March 2009 titled “Credit Card Spending Declines”

The amount of debt on credit card was down to $674 Billion as of Sep 2012 (Wall street Journal, Feb 25, 2013), from $715B from the high level of 2009.

Many analysts think that the decrease is not just the result of Americans paying down their credit cards or not getting new ones, it also the fact that many financial institutions have written off  billions in bad debts.    The fact that the debt level is lower now than it

was in 2009 is encouraging but it may not be sustainable if Americans are not educating themselves about basic financial literacy and the use of leverage to increase their earning power.   This is the reason why Safe Pay Training initiated these series of workshops to train and equip people to win the financial war.

Learn the basics of Investing Attend our training.  Test your knowledge:

Posted in Business Services, Credit Card Payments

New Data Breach in the US

Global Payments Inc, A fortune 1000 company announced last Friday March 30, 2012, that hackers accessed part of its processing system back in January and February.   Approximately 1.5 million records with customers’ credit card information have been stolen.

As of today April 04,  Master Card and Visa already confirmed that they dropped Global payments from their registry of authorized and compliant third party credit card processor.  Global Payment CEO, Paul Garcia, announced that he expected to be re-instated as an authorized visa and master card processor as soon as possible.

Stay tuned.  If you think your card information may have been compromised, you can contact your financial institution.  For, now pay attention to all transactions on your cards.

Again you need to protect yourself as a customer or as a business owner accepting credit card information from your customers.   New posts will be added regarding the breach. Stay tuned

Posted in Business Services, Credit Card Payments, Data Security, History of Electronic Payments

Customers are victorious! US banks dropped the expected debit card fees.

By Luc Jean-Francois, MBA

The experiment started by the major banks to charge customers a monthly fee to use their debit cards has been very brief. Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust and Regions banks abandoned the idea at the end of October when thousands of their customers threatened to move their accounts to credit Unions and other banks with no plans of these additional fees. Yesterday, November 1st, Bank of America announced that it dropped the fees as well. This last announcement marks a complete retreat of the industry.

In September, the banks revealed that the customers would be charged a fee of 3 to 5 dollars in any given month they use their debit cards. Bank of America was the last bank to abandon the idea and the co-chief operating officer, David Darpell, stated that “We have listened to our customers very closely over the past few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee.” The banking industry feared the same reaction that Netflix had from its customers: A massive account cancellation!

 

Bank of America added the fees as a strategy to recover about 2 Billion a year expected in lost revenues due to new Federal regulations on debit and credit cards. It is almost certain that the banks will continue to look for new ways to introduce new fees on their services to make up for the lost revenues. Customers beware!

Drop a line and let us know what you think.

Posted in History of Electronic Payments

Minimum/Maximum Transaction Amounts

MasterCard is now permitting US merchants to set a minimum transaction amount to accept a card payment when a customer is using a MasterCard accessing a credit account.  Some important restrictions apply to this new decision. The merchant community should be aware of them if deciding to set a minimum amount to charge:
  1. The minimum transaction amount cannot exceed USD 10 or any higher amount established by the Federal reserve by regulation
  2. The minimum transaction amount does not apply if the customer is using a MasterCard accessing a debit account
  3. The merchant cannot differentiate between MasterCard and other acceptance brands (Visa, Amex etc) if a minimum amount is set
  4. The merchant cannot differentiate among banks issuing mastercards if a minimum transaction amount is set.
This move will help the merchant community with the processing fees which can be devastating for the  merchants processing small transaction amounts because of the fixed cost charged per transaction.
In addition,  MasterCard allows certain merchants to set a maximum transaction amount to accept a master card accessing a credit account.  However, only departments, US agencies, corporations owned or controlled by the US Government and businesses under the following Merchant Category Classification (MCC) codes  8220, 8244 and 8249 are granted this permission.
For your information, here is a list of the businesses under the selected MCCs.
MCC 8220—Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools, and Junior Colleges
MCC 8244—Schools, Business and Secretarial
MCC 8249—Schools, Trade and Vocational
Let me know your thoughts about this decision.  Confirm your position in the industry, whether you are a card holder, a customer, a merchant, an employee from an issuing bank or from a processor.
Building Trust & Confidence in Every Transaction!
Posted in Business Services, Chargebacks, Credit Card Payments, Data Security, History of Electronic Payments

Epsilon reports Massive Data Breach: Millions of email addresses and names stolen!

By Luc Daniel from Safe Pay Training LLC

Florida, Friday April 8, 2011

jeanluc@safepaytraining.com
Last Friday April 1, 2011, Epsilon announced in a press release that “an incident was detected where a subset* of its clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s email system”.  According to the company, the incident was detected on March 30th and the compromised data was limited to clients’ names and email addresses.  No other personal identifiable information (PII) associated with those names was at risk.  In an updated note released on April 04, Epsilon indicated that the affected clients are only 2% of its clients’ base. However, we don’t know how large Epsilon client base is.  All we know is that Epsilon is a very large company providing Email Marketing services to more than 50 of the largest corporations in the World. (Info security Magazine, April 08, 2011).
By law, the affected companies have to notify their clients about the breach and Epsilon is expected to provide free credit monitoring services to all affected customers worldwide for at least two years.  You should be concerned about this data breach reported last week and you may have already received a notification from your bank, brokerage firm, or any affected provider that had access to your email address or name.

What you should do to protect yourself?

  • Be alert about emails you’re receiving.  Email scams and phishing activities are expected to increase in the forseeable future.
  • Be vigilant with regard to opening emails and/or accessing links sent by unknown sources
  • Don’t provide any personal information requested by emails; contact the person or the company directly if you think the request could be legitimate.

If you think you are at risk because you were dealing with one of the affected companies, you can call your provider or Epsilon’s hotline for Consumer Inquiries in the US and Canada at (866)-595-4896 or email sbranam@epsilon.com).  Some of the affected companies are:  Chase Bank, TD Ameritrade, Scott Trade, Citi Bank, Bank of America, Target, M & T Bank, Verizon, Best Buy, Walgreens, Mother Care, Marks & Spencer etc.

This breach may be the largest in US history and will probably trigger new regulations about consumer Privacy and Data Security since congress is now investigating the incident.  According to American Banking News, millions of emails and names were stolen by hackers.  The chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law Sen. Al Franken advised that Americans should know more about who owns their information.  (Politico, April 08, 2011).

“Most of the people affected by the Epsilon breach had never heard of that company before this week,” Franken told Politico in a statement. “We need to give Americans more awareness about who has their information and greater ability to protect it.” He added.

About Epsilon

Epsilon is the industry’s leading marketing services firm.  The company claims to be the largest permission-based email marketer in the world distributing 40 billion emails annually.  Epsilon is an Alliance Data company (NYSE: ADS). Alliance is based in Texas. For more information, visit htto://www.epsilon.com or http://www.alliancedata.com/ or call 1.800.309.0505.

 

About Safe Pay Training LLC

Safe Pay Training LLC is proud to carry the vision to be recognized as the world’s most Advanced Training dedicated to educate merchants and consumers about Data Security, consumer privacy, Risk Management, Compliance and Fraud Prevention.  The company firmly believes that education and awareness are keys to defeat the perpetrators of both financial and cyber crimes. Safe Pay Training is investing heavily to establish a Safe Certification to ensure that the certified “Safe Merchants”, their staff and “Safe consumers” can transact with Trust and Confidence any time anywhere.  For more information visit http://www.safepaytraining.com  or call (561) 492-9611.

References :

American Banking News: (ABMN staff, April 05, 2011): Data Breach at Epsilon Exposes Millions of E-mails to Hacker retrieved on April 08, 2011 from http://www.americanbankingnews.com/2011/04/05/data-breach-at-epsilon-exposes-millions-of-e-mails-to-hacker

Info Security Magazine (staff writer, April 8, 2011): Mothercare follows M&S down the Epsilon data breach trail retrieved from http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/17210/mothercare-follows-ms-down-the-epsilon-data-breach-trail/

Romm, T (Politico, April 07, 2011): Al Franken keeping eye on Epsilon breach.  Retrieved on April 08, 2011 from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52731.html

Posted in Data Security, History of Electronic Payments

Massive Data Breach reported by NY hospitals: 1.7 million records stolen.

By Luc Daniel Jean-François
February 19, 2011

On Dec 23, 2010 thieves stole a van that was transporting backup tapes with sensitive information belonging to patients, staff, vendors and contractors from four Bronx hospitals: the Jacobi Medical Center, North Central Bronx Hospital, Tremont Health Center and Gunhill Health Center. If you have dealt with these hospitals any time during the past 20 years, from 1991 to Dec. 2010, you should be concerned about this data breach reported last week on February 11 by the New York Hospitals and Health Corporation ( HHC) where 1.7 million records were stolen with the van.

According to an article published on Feb 16 by eweek magazine, HHC took the necessary steps to protect the persons who might be affected. The corporation will provide a credit monitoring service to all victims and or potential ones; however they have 120 days to register for the service by calling 1-877-412-7148.

Specialists in data breach studies indicate that a typical data breach costs an average of 204 dollars per compromised record. In the present case, HHC can expect to pay up to 350 million dollars to remedy this data breach effects.

For more details regarding this data security alert issued by Safe Pay Training LLC visit the link: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/NYC-Hospital-Data-Theft-Affects-17-Million-Patients-282182/

What should you do?

If you think you are at risk because you were a patient, a staff, a vendor or a contractor of one of these hospitals during the past 20 years, you should contact immediately the customer care center at 1-877-412-7148 to register for the monitoring service. You should receive a letter in the mail from the hospital but why wait, be proactive and call now. Protect yourself.

About Safe Pay Training LLC

Safe Pay Training LLC is proud to carry the vision to be recognized as the world’s most Advanced Training dedicated to educate merchants and consumers about Data Security, consumer privacy, Risk Management, Compliance and Fraud Prevention. The company firmly believes that education and awareness are keys to defeat the perpetrators of both financial and cyber crimes. Safe Pay Training is investing heavily to establish a Safe Certification to ensure that the certified “Safe Merchants”, their staff and “Safe consumers” can transact with Trust and Confidence any time anywhere.

Posted in History of Electronic Payments

Safe Merchant Community

This forum is dedicated to the business ownersor merchants accepting Electronic Payments.   The trends have been and will continue to be a push towards a cashless society.  More and more consumers are choosing a form of electronic payments, especially creditv/debit cards to pay for their purchases.   Therefore, the merchants have to move with the trends to stay competitive in the market place.  Accepting credit, debit cards and Electronic Checks, become a must for the vast majority of merchants regardless of their size, location, products or services being offered.

Posted in History of Electronic Payments