Dub 21

Mounting Credit Card Fraud Forces Giant Food Policy Change

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Giant Food

Credit card fraud remains one of the biggest financial threats to consumers all over the world. Giant Food, a grocer in the Washington area, has stopped accepting credit card payments when buying gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

Also read: FBI Used Invalid Warrant To Infect Tor Website With Malware

Giant Food Prefers Less Credit Card Payments

It does not happen often retailers stop accepting one of the more popular payment methods in the world today, but Giant Food saw no other options. The grocer has been dealing with massive amounts of fraudulent credit card transactions by customers buying prepaid debit cards or gift cards to use at the store.

In fact, the store has put a clear sign at the checkout warning customers credit card payments are no longer accepted for gift and prepaid debit cards. To buy these items, consumers must pay in cash or use bank pin-based debit. This policy change went into effect in March of 2016 but has gone by unnoticed by the media for some unknown reason.

Criminals obtaining stolen credit cards tend to target groceries and other smaller retailers more often than not, so it makes sense Giant Food is preventing these types of purchases all of a sudden. Moreover, with the number of credit card phishing attempts on the rise, a lot of criminals resort to embossing their own cards, which are then cashed out through grocery stores such as Giant Food.

Laundering money with stolen credit cards has become a lot easier throughout the years. Converting a card into a gift card effectively launders money, as the gift card can be resold for cash or any other payment method. This type of criminal activity is often conducted by street gangs, as it is one of the easiest ways to get quick and clean cash.

Some people might argue the EMV chip should prevent these types of fraudulent activity, and there is a certain merit to that statement. However, as Krebs on Security mentions, most of the Giant Food cashiers will swipe a chip-based card, negating the additional security. Unfortunately, far too few retailers allow for chip transactions, regardless of whether or not they have the necessary terminal installed.

Bitcoin transactions would make a lot more sense as they negate credit card fraud entirely. But at the same time, it would require a fair bit of staff training to get cashiers up to speed on how Bitcoin transactions work. Moreover, consumers would have to embrace the payment solution as well, which will be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

What are your thoughts on grocery stores falling victim to large-scale credit card fraud? Let us know in the comments below!

Source; Krebsonsecurity

Images courtesy of Giant Food, Shutterstock

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Mounting Credit Card Fraud Forces Giant Food Policy Change

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Dub 05

Trump Luxury Hotel Credit Card Breach Displays Need For Bitcoin

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Trump Hotel Collection

With the Presidential Elections in full effect, the last thing any of the candidates needs is bad press. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, his chain of luxury hotels has fallen victim a security breach which gave hackers access to customer credit card information. It is not the first time major hotel chains are faced with security threats, and stepping up security measures is of the utmost importance.

Also read: Oliver Wyman Principal: Blockchain Exhibiting ‘Kardashian Effect’

Trump Luxury Hotel Chain Breached

Donald Trump, one of the candidates to become the next President of the United States, is not a happy camper when it comes to cybersecurity worries. His chain of luxury hotels – called the Trump Hotel Collection – has fallen victim to a security breach for the second time in less than a year. Similarly to what happened the first, customer credit card details were obtained,

But that is not all, as the hacker collective Anonymous has been able to attack Trump’s websites in the past, and will most likely continue to do so. However, it is doubtful the collective has anything to do with this new payment data breach of the Trump Hotel Collection. Hackers all over the world are looking for security flaws in any platform, preferably the ones storing customer credit card information.

In July of 2015, when the Trump Hotel Collection was targeted the first time, hackers managed to obtain details from multiple customers, which eventually lead to fraudulent credit card charges. After a thorough investigation, it turned out Donald Trump’s luxury hotel chain was responsible for these charges, as their security was breached.

Details regarding this latest breach, however, remain scarce for the time being. An investigation has been launched with the help of federal law enforcement, but there is no indication as to how this hack was performed. What is even more worrying is how it remains unclear as to which hotels were affected.

Stepping up payment system security should be a priority for any hotel chain owner or manager, but the US is lagging behind in this regard. Despite best efforts to introduce EMV chips and tiny microprocessors for one-time credit card payments, data breaches, and fraudulent transactions remain far too common.

Bitcoin is A Favorable Payment Option

Although a lot of people will argue credit cards are inherently insecure, changing consumer behavior will be a struggle. Bitcoin payments, for example, have a lot of merits as they do not disclose sensitive financial information during payment. However, hotel chains such as Trump Hotel Collection are not too keen on accepting digital currency due to its privacy and anonymity aspects.

As more and more of these data breaches take place, consumers will be forced to look for alternative solutions sooner or later. Bitcoin is a viable global solution for hotel chains, but Donald Trump is anything but in favor of a financial solution outside of the control of banks and governments by the look of things.

What are your thoughts on this recent Trump Hotel Collection data breach? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: CNET

Images courtesy of Robbreport, Shutterstock

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Trump Luxury Hotel Credit Card Breach Displays Need For Bitcoin

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Úno 05

Simplex Offers Bitcoin Exchanges Risk-Free Credit Card Purchase Solution

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Buy Bitcoin

Buying Bitcoin for the first time remains a major struggle for novice digital currency users. Even though there are plenty of exchange platforms to choose from, as well as peer-to-peer solutions such as LocalBitcoins, people want more convenient options. Simplex is a new startup that wants to facilitate the purchase of Bitcoin through credit cards.

Also read: NXT Announces Version 1.7.4!

Simplex Unifies Bitcoin And Credit Cards

For quite some time now, a lot of people around the world have been looking to buy Bitcoin with their credit card in a convenient way. But there is a valid reason so few Bitcoin exchanges are dealing with credit card payments, as there is a high fraud rate. Funds can be charged back from a credit card payment, but Bitcoin transactions can not, which puts the exchanges at a severe disadvantage.

Simplex, an Israeli Bitcoin startup, may have solved the problem, though. Their service will give Bitcoin exchanges access to an API that makes accepting credit card payments risk-free for them. Not only will this help Bitcoin in gaining higher adoption rates, but it would also further bridge the gap between traditional finance and digital currency.

Up until this point, buying Bitcoin from an exchange usually means consumers have to send a wire transfer. Depending on the region where they live, these transfers can be anywhere from instant to taking five business days to complete. Needless to say, this is far from a perfect solution, although it offers the best financial protection for Bitcoin exchanges.

At the same time, various banks around the world have begun to block transfers made to either buy or sell Bitcoin. These restrictions are hurting the digital currency ecosystem in the long run, as consumers get the idea Bitcoin is unobtainable except by a select few. Plus, not every country has their own exchange, making international wire transfers harder and more expensive.

The main goal of Simplex is to provide convenient and frictionless purchasing methods for Bitcoin. By removing some of the restrictions associated with wire transfers, the purchase should complete almost instantaneously. Every partner will have their payments processed by Simplex, removing any risks associated with this payment provider for the exchange or broker.

Former PayPal Employees At The Helm

It hardly comes as a surprise to hear former PayPal employees are venturing into the world of Bitcoin and digital currencies. Both Netanel Kabala and Erez Shapira have worked many years for the traditional payment processor, and their knowledge will be of great value to the service offered by Simplex.

Speaking of which, the company has allegedly processed over US$3.5m in transactions since going in open beta twelve months ago. That success has attracted attention from investors, including Bitmain and Cumberland, and the recently successful funding round will help the company launch in full over the next few months.

What are your thoughts on the service offered by Simplex? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Finextra

Images courtesy of Simplex, Shutterstock

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Simplex Offers Bitcoin Exchanges Risk-Free Credit Card Purchase Solution

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Led 29

MasterCard Sees Major Earnings Growth And Keeps Tabs on Blockchain

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Earnings Report

Despite obvious signs on the wall of how the financial world is starting to crumble, there are still plenty of financial players reporting a healthy profit year over year. MasterCard is one of those companies seeing a whopping 11.1 percent profit rise, as the purchase volume increased during the final quarter of 2015. This is quite an interesting piece of information, especially when considering how the company is interested in blockchain technology and Bitcoin as well.

Also read: Brave Web Browser Early Look: 27% Faster Than Firefox, Bitcoin Integration

MasterCard Sees A Big Growth During Holiday Shopping Frenzy

Whenever a credit card issuer reports a quarterly earnings report, there are always certain factors to take into consideration. It only seems normal for these companies to report growth in transaction volume during the final quarter of a year, as this is when the holiday shopping spree goes in full effect.

That being said, an 11.1 percent rise in quarterly profit is quite exceptional, especially when considering how consumers all over the world are still feeling the effect of the 2007 financial crisis to this very day. Consumers are more aware of their finances these days, although there is still plenty of impulse purchasing going on whenever sales or holidays are around the corner.

With a net income of US$890 million during Q4 2015, MasterCard saw a major increase compared to the same period in 2014. In total, there was a US$89 million difference in net income, leading an individual share price increase of US$0.10. Needless to say, investors will be more than pleased with this news.

These earnings were on par with the projections made by financial experts earlier in 2015. In fact, the projections predicted a spot-on 79 cents per share value by the end of 2015. This just goes to show how hard work can pay off for MasterCard, despite stiff competition from Visa as far as the credit card industry is concerned.

With a 12 percent increase in transaction volume by customers, credit cards issued by MasterCard are becoming a preferred method of payment all over the world. Considering how contactless payments are on the rise all over the world, it only seems to make sense consumers are flocking to credit card and other payment solutions.

Bitcoin is A Viable Global Payment Alternative

Unlike plastic cards, Bitcoin has been offering cross-border payments for many years now. The main difference between Bitcoin and Mastercard is how the former is subject to much lower transaction fees, as the sender pays for every transaction rather than the recipient. Plus, there are no intermediaries involved in Bitcoin, putting the end user in full control of their finances at all times.

That being said, MasterCard has openly expressed their interest in blockchain technology recently. Embracing distributed ledgers would allow for cheaper payment solutions, as well as reduce overhead costs. Furthermore, it would also be beneficial to merchants as they can receive funds faster, rather than waiting for several days until the money arrives.

What are your thoughts on the MasterCard earnings report? Will this trend hold up over the next few years? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reuters

Images courtesy of MasterCard, Shutterstock

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MasterCard Sees Major Earnings Growth And Keeps Tabs on Blockchain

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Led 04

Bitstamp Enables Bitcoin Purchases Through Plastic Cards In UK And Slovenia

Source: bitcoin

Bitstamp Enables Bitcoin Purchases Through Plastic Cards In UK And Slovenia

Bitcoin exchanges around the world have been looking at various ways to make the purchase of digital currency much easier for novice users. Instant bank transfers are not available in every individual country, but credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Bitstamp has enabled support for residents in the UK and Slovenia to buy Bitcoin with these traditional payments.

Also read: Bitcoinist Weekly News Re-Hash: Samsung Pay Hits Online Shopping, Moe Levin Talks 2016

Bitstamp Embraces Card Support In Limited Fashion

It goes without saying that enabling payments through credit and debit cards could be a risky move on Bitstamp’s end. Both of these payment methods are often linked to fraud and chargebacks, which could be of particular worry for a service provider dealing with non-refundable digital currency in the form of Bitcoin.

However, Bitstamp has gone ahead with enabling plastic card support, although the feature will not be available worldwide just yet. For the time being, only users in the United Kingdom and Slovenia can experiment with these new payment options as both Visa and MasterCard are supported. Other European countries will be added over time, although no further details have been announced.

Based on the Bitstamp blog post, the process of buying Bitcoin with a credit or debit card will lead to instant purchases. It is important for users to keep in mind these transactions are limited regarding daily volume, similar to the service provided by companies like Bittylicious and Circle.

Verification and completion of this procedure will occur through Vogogo, a company that has made a name for itself in the Bitcoin industry throughout the years. By providing advanced risk management solutions to businesses all over the world, Vogogo aims to provide the perfect defense mechanism against fraud attempts through traditional payment methods.

To access this new deposit methods, Bitstamp users in the UK and Slovenia can go to the deposit page, and select “Credit Card’ as a payment option. Then they will have to enter the amount of funds they want to spend – limited to US$300 per day or US$1,500 per week – and once the card details are entered, hit the “Submit” button. Assuming all of the information checks out, the transaction should be completed automatically.

A New Trend For Bitcoin Exchanges Across The World?

Whether or not other Bitcoin exchanges around the world will follow the lead of Bitstamp, remains to be seen at this point. That being said, it is the first time a major European exchange enables plastic card payments, even if it is in a limited fashion for the time being. Considering how much trading volume Bitstamp has on a daily basis, these numbers could very well increase over time.

Outsourcing the processing and verification of plastic card payments to an external payment such as Vogogo is a smart decision on BitStamp’s behalf. Keeping up with regulatory requirements when dealing with [international] bank transfers is hard enough as it is. Plus, if the partner offers that type of functionality, it would be a shame not to use it.

What are your thoughts on the option of buying Bitcoin from an exchange with a credit or debit card? Let us know in the comments below!

Source; Bitstamp

Images courtesy of Bitstamp, Vogogo, Shutterstock

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Bitstamp Enables Bitcoin Purchases Through Plastic Cards In UK And Slovenia

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