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Longtime Heartland CEO Carr starts new company: Veteran merchant acquirer and advocate for corporate governance Robert Carr has launched Beyond, a Princeton-based company that offers payment processing, point of sale systems, lending, payroll and human resources. It also offers customized services for restaurants, dealerships and services for non-profit organizations. Corporate social responsibility is a large part of the company's launch. Its release details compensation practices for staff and mentions sales people will act as "personal trainers" for their clients. "Beyond is a entering a highly competitive marketplace," Carr said in a release. "What sets us apart is our belief that our core principles of fairness, transparency, and skin in the game will attract top-quality employees and draw a loyal and engaged customer base. We know from experience that there is a huge demand for customer-focused service in the business solutions sector, and we intend to go far beyond the quality that is in the marketplace today.” Carr was the long-time CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, serving as a founder of a $2 million startup that drew a selling price of $4.3 billion from Global Payments in a 2015 acquisition. Heartland suffered a data breach in 2009 that in part led Carr to become an evangelist for stronger corporate controls and self policing in the merchant acquiring industry. He also called on the merchant community to be more collaborative with third parties in embracing new retail technology.

iStock
iStock

Mastercard's earnings beat estimates: Mastercard's first quarter earnings came in at $2.734 billion, up 12% from the first quarter 2016's earnings of $2.4 billion; or $1.01 per share, up 17% from $0.86 per share in the prior year. That's better than Thomson Reuters' analyst estimates of $2.651 billion, or $0.95 per share, for the first quarter. "We're off to a very good start, with strong revenue and earnings growth driven by solid transaction volume levels this quarter," said Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga in a release. Completing the VocaLink acquisition, which recently cleared late regulatory hurdles in the U.K., "redefines" Mastercard's opportunities and positions it favorably to capture new payment flows, Banga said. Mastercard has made digital technology and payments security key goals, recently debuting a biometric card in South Africa, and placing more marketing muscle behind its Masterpass digital wallet. The card brand has also increased its use of Facebook Messenger bots and last week gave technology executive Ed McLaughlin a greater role in driving the company's digital strategy.

Blockchain for check tech: Technology companies such as IBM have touted the use of blockchain to secure financial transactions, and Emirates NBD is following that path by testing blockchain to guard against phony checks. Finextra reports the financial institution will start a program it calls Cheque Chain with employees who will use checks with QR codes that are designed to protect from forgery. A second phase will include QR codes that will register each document on the bank's blockchain platform. This will allow the staff to validate the check and have constant access to the check's source. Check Chain is part of a strategy to integrate blockchain into a range of the banks' services as a security play.

UAE Exchange's bullish on wearables: Remittance provider UAE Exchange and Oberthur Technologies have launched "gocash," a prepaid card that can execute contactless payments for wearable devices. UAE will offer the contactless card that's 15x25mm and has an embedded antenna and a chip. The cards can insert into a wristband, keychain, jewellry, fitness tracker, watch or other wearable. The bank hopes to be positioned when wearable payments become widely used for payments, though the wearable payment market is still experiencing growing pains. "Contactless payment through wearable devices is soon going to be a common practice," said Promoth Manghat, CEO of UAE Exchange Group, in a release. "It will simplify the entire payment journey and experience as it offers customers hands-free convenience while saving time."

Pepper gets training: Softbank's Pepper the robot has found some early work as a greeter at an airport in the Bay Area and a server at Pizza Hut, and the android is receiving an upgrade that makes it more interactive. TechCrunch reports Softbank's Promoter application allows for a differentiated experience when interacting with customers on a broader level that's more personal, using voice and visual data to determine age, gender and emotional response at a higher level. It's also being upgraded to allow users, such as retailers, to tailor the robot to meet a specific need such as marketing or communicating an offer, turning Pepper into more of a customer service rep. The idea is to make Pepper, which costs about $25,000 according to TechCrunch, to graduate beyond novelty to attract people into a store.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Hackers Ran Through Holes in Swift's Network
The Wall Street Journal • Robin Sidel
The payment-transfer network has left banks largely responsible for their own cyber defense. In the past year, a spate of cyberattacks has penetrated banks along Swift’s less-defended perimeter, shaking confidence in the network used by banks for cross-border transactions.

Key to Mobile Wallet Adoption? Rewards, Samsung Pay Bets
Bank Innovation • Diana Asatryan
It’s no secret that mobile wallets, although well-intended, haven’t gained much traction among consumers. In fact, a recent Accenture study suggests that 56% of North American consumers are aware of mobile payment services, but only 19% use their mobile wallet regularly. After...

PayPal launches a small biz toolset “Business in a Box” with WooCommerce & Xero
TechCrunch • Sarah Perez
PayPal today launched a new service called Business in Box, aimed at bringing more U.S. small business owners to its payments platform. The service, which was developed in partnership with WooCommerce and Xero, offers merchants a suite of tools for running their...

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