Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Target Credit Cards: No Longer Using Visa

Target has dropped Visa as a partner on it's store issued credit cards. The retailer has decided to opt for an exclusive in-store credit card that will be accepted at all Target stores and it's website: The reason for this turn about is market research and testing.  Interestingly enough the testing showed that Target customers would spend more when using the in-store credit card vs the Visa issued credit card.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Appointment Setters Scamming Merchants

There are companies who are employed by corporations such as credit card processors to solicit retailers and set appointments for their sales reps.. The concept certainly makes sense and I guess if done correctly could be quite profitable. Perhaps as more merchants are getting these sometimes very obnoxious calls and tiring of them the call centers have to come up with a new ruse to hook them in for the appointment. One of these gimmicks is they use buzzwords like PCI Compliance (which most merchants are these days). They will try to convince you to make the appointment only to send in some dimwitted sales person to strong arm you into making the deal.
The call center gets a commission for every  appointment they set and this process allows them to increase their bottom line. Usually they fail to mention hidden fees surcharges and the fact that they lock you into a contract or getting you to lease equipment and pay 20 times what the machine is even worth.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vermont Setting to Legalize Minimum Credit Card Purchases

The State Senate approved a bill allowing Vermont retailers to have a minimum charge on credit card purchases. Although many small retailers currenlty request a $10 minimum for purchases with credit cards, it is actually against their merchant account contract with Visa and Matercard. The Senate bill was actually altered from it's original version to allow for quicker passage through the House. The original version would also have allowed retailers to refuse credit cards that are assoicted with higher fees to the merchant i.e. reward and corporate cards. If the bill passes the house, it will  need  the Governor's signature to become law. Last year, 7-Eleven stores delivered 1.66 million customer signatures from a petition campaign urging Congress to stop unfair credit card fees. It was the most signatures ever delivered to Congress on a policy issue in American history. There has been a constant struggle between Visa/ Mastercard and merchants regarding interchange fees. The merchants claiming that these fees are simply raising their products pricing while the banks claim to providing a service and that the merchants are smply looking for more profit that customers will never see.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hacker of TJX gets 20 years

As mentioned previously, hacker Albert Gonzalez had plead guitly and was convicted  and senteced to 20 years in prison for his role in a variety of computer fraud including TJX, Heartland payments 7-11 and other corporations. How did he do it you ask?

Using a SQL-injection attack, the hackers broke into the 7-Eleven network in August 2007, stealing an undetermined amount of card data. They used the same kind of attack to infiltrate Hannaford Brothers in November 2007, which resulted in 4.2 million stolen debit and credit card numbers; and into Heartland on Dec. 26, 2007. Of the two unnamed national retailers mentioned in the affidavit, one was breached on Oct. 23, 2007, and the other sometime around January 2008.

Once on the networks, the hackers installed back doors to provide them with continued access. They tested their malware against 20 different antivirus programs to make sure they wouldn’t be detected, and also programmed the malware to erase evidence from the hacked networks to avoid forensic detection.