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Breach at Forever 21: As 2017 came to a close, customers of Forever 21 got some unwelcome news: A data breach had compromised their credit card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes and some names, Cnet reported. The incident, which affected the clothing store's point of sale terminals from April 3 to November 18, occurred because some of the machines had encryption disabled. As a result, those devices became vulnerable to malware, the article said.

Bloomberg News

Crypto gets dangerous: A cryptocurrency expert in Ukraine has been kidnapped for a ransom demand of $1 million in bitcoin, Engadget reports. The victim was Pavel Lerner, an exec at the crypto exchange Exmo — and when Lerner was released, it raised questions of where the ransom came from. Exmo insists its customers' balances are safe, and that Lerner would not have been able to provide access to their accounts, Engadget said.

An API for the IRS: Credit scoring could be improved dramatically by gaining access to income data from the IRS, but right now such information isn't readily available due to technological constraints, TechCrunch reports. The solution is an application programming interface, which would be mandated by a bill introduced by by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), the article states. The concept is based on the U.K.'s Open Banking measures and Europe's PSD2 legislation, which aim to provide third parties with visibility into bank data, the article notes.

Good day to be outside: There's another EMV migration coming up, this one for gas stations, as the card networks have set a 2020 liability shift deadline. NCR has conducted its first EMV payment on its NCR OPTIC Outdoor Payment solution at the Mirabito convenience store in Norwich, New York. Mirabito is among the first convenience retailers to convert to EMV through the First Data network ahead of the next liability shift. The OPTIC product digitally transforms the user experience to accommodate chip transactions across different gas pump models. Mirabito has placed the technology in three test stores and will soon expand to added markets. Mirabito will also support contactless mobile payments and marketing programs via bar code scanner; and will use video displays for added marketing.

From the Web

A Major Cryptocurrency Platform Has Liquidated Its Customers' Bitcoin Cash for Bitcoin
Fortune | Sat Dec 30, 2017 - BitMEX, a Seychelles Islands-based cryptocurrency trading platform, has sold all of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) cryptocurrency granted to its customers during the Bitcoin clone’s creation in August, and says it will credit those users with an equivalent value of Bitcoin (BTC). BitMEX didn’t disclose the volume of the selloff, but BitMEX accounts for the majority of Bitcoin-to-dollar trading globally, implying it had sizable BCH holdings. There’s no sign that the move had a direct market impact, though. Both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash continued to trend down following the announcement of the selloff’s completion, with regulatory signals from South Korea possibly playing a role.

Financial technology startups emerged as serious challengers to financial services in 2017
TechCrunch | Fri Dec 29, 2017 - Earlier this year the “fintechs” hit a massive milestone, one that very few people noticed but which must certainly be keeping senior execs at banks, credit card companies and other institutions up at night. In June of 2017, for the first time in history, the top 10 publicly traded U.S. fintechs surpassed $100 billion in total market capitalization. Now that number is over $130 billion, and there are another dozen privately held fintechs in the U.S. collectively valued at almost $35 billion. Together this is nearly $175 billion of value that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Price rises in store after ban on ‘rip-off’ credit card charges
The Times | Sun Dec 31, 2017 - Shoppers face price increases and new “service charges” later this month as retailers look for ways to compensate for a ban on credit card processing fees. From January 13, the government will outlaw the charges, which can add up to 3.5 per cent to the cost at the checkout and make it harder to compare prices. However, thousands of retailers unable to absorb the cost intend to increase the price of goods and services or refuse card payments altogether, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

More from PaymentsSource

To encourage EMV debit, Canada's B2 brings a practice point of sale to U.S.
Some of the most important work in payments happens before the transaction, when retailers have to make sure their devices can handle the new technologies and card types that are about to get thrust upon them.

Mastercard looks to tame 'firehose of innovation' around identity
The recent explosion of activity around biometrics and other new forms of authentication should seem like a good thing for the development of connected commerce. But right now it's more of a wild west that needs to be tamed.

12 payments and fintech trends for 2018
With so much uncertainty, the only thing that's clear is how different the sector may look a year from now. Here's an overview of the leading trends in technology that will impact payments and banking in 2018.

Southeast Asia has challenges, but it's worth it for fintech investors
While interest from the West has so far been tepid in the region, this is an opportune time for fintech investors to look at participation in the Southeast Asian market, writes Alexander Koles, CEO and founder of Evolve Capital Partners.

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.
John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.