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Regional Payments Associations Launch Joint Effort

January 16 – In a joint initiative to demonstrate their dedication to the payments industry, the 11 Regional Payments Associations (RPAs) launched a joint logo and website at www.regionalpaymentsassociations.org.

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Smart Card Alliance Educates Merchants and Issuers on Contactless Payments

January 10 –  Contactless payments have become one of the most popular ways to pay globally with usage in countries such as the U.K., Canada and Australia growing every day. As U.S. merchants and issuers look to move towards faster, more convenient payments, the Smart Card Alliance is providing new resources, including two infographics and a Q&A to outline benefits and security considerations for contactless payments in the U.S.

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StonehamBank Uses ZRent to Automate Rent Payments

January 6 – StonehamBank joins ZRent’s network of financial institutions to provide online rent collection services to their landlord and small business customers.

ZRent (www.ZRent.net), a division of Leader Bank, is proud to welcome StonehamBank to its expanding network of financial institutions. ZRent allows financial institutions to provide online rent collection services to their landlord and small business customers, creating competitive advantage and customer loyalty for participating institutions. This new partnership will allow StonehamBank customers to take full advantage of

ZRent services, enabling landlords and tenants to fully automate the rental payment process. “We are very excited to enter into this partnership with StonehamBank. We look forward to bringing all the benefits of ZRent to their customers,” said Jay Tuli, the Senior Vice President of Retail Banking at Leader Bank. “We hope that ZRent can continue to help automate rent payments for community banks and their customers.”

“We are committed to offering innovative services to our customers, ZRent is another great example of services we provide to our customers evolving needs,” said Edward Doherty, Jr., Executive Vice President of StonehamBank. “ZRent offers a simple and convenient solution that provides real value to our customers looking to efficiently manage their rent collection.”

ZRent works by automatically deducting rent payments from the tenant’s bank account and depositing them
directly into the landlord’s account. Tenants can set and forget their monthly payments, and landlords will no longer have the hassle of collecting checks and making the trip to the bank. ZRent also provides peace of mind for the landlords, who will now receive one complete payment for each unit on the same day every month. ZRent is free of charge for any landlord that banks with one of the participating institutions, currently StonehamBank and Leader Bank.

For more information on Leader Bank’s innovative ZRent tool, visit www.zrent.net, email zrent@zrent.net, or
call 781-641-8691.

About StonehamBank
StonehamBank is a full-service community bank offering state of the art products and services to residents and businesses throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. In addition to providing progressive products and convenience services, StonehamBank believes in making a difference in the community through its Community Involvement Program and Charitable Foundation. Member FDIC. Member SIF. Equal Housing Lender. For more information on StonehamBank, please visit www.stonehambank.com or call directly at 888-402-2265.

About Leader Bank
With assets over $1 billion, Leader Bank is a nationally chartered bank founded in 2002 with seven full-service branches in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Burlington and Cambridge. Leader Bank offers a full range of personal and business banking products including free personal and business checking accounts, commercial and residential lending products, home equity lines of credit, deposit products with highly competitive rates and free online banking and bill payment services. Visit Leader Bank’s website at www.Leaderbank.com or any one of the Bank’s convenient branch locations for more information. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, NMLS # 449250.

Partnering for Payments

Fintech payments solutions offer new challenge.

By Michael Scheibach

Generating revenue, improving product offerings, streamlining operations and better serving customers are among the top priorities for financial institutions in 2017. They also are the priorities for small businesses, especially retailers, who constantly look for ways to reduce costs, better serve their customers and increase revenues. Many retailers, in fact, are now part of the Merchants Payments Coalition — representing nearly 3 million stores — whose mission is to reduce credit card fees and create “a more transparent system that works better for consumers and merchants.”

Needless to say, banks must confront this changing payments landscape or risk losing their retail customers to fintech startups. In a report released last year, “Banks, Retailers and Fintech: Reimaging Payments Relationships,” the authors point out that fintech companies “sense an opportunity” in payments and are “muscling in” on banks’ traditional turf. “Banks cannot afford to be complacent,” reads the report. “Changes sweeping the industry suggest that there is a lot more disruption ahead, with potentially much more significant impact on banks.”

An even greater threat than payments processing, however, may be the weakening of the overall business relationship with a retail customer — an area of strength for banks. In other words, fintech payments solutions often have expanded capabilities that strengthen the fintech’s connection with its customers.

An example of a fintech company offering more than a simple payments solution is Fattmerchant (www.fattmerchant.com), a subscription-based merchant processing company. Its solution also includes one-time and recurring online payments, invoicing capabilities, a reporting dashboard with analytics, a mobile app, technical support, customized reports and more.

Although Fattmerchant has focused primarily on retailers, professional services and ecommerce companies, it also knows the importance of working with banks because of their longstanding small-business customer base. To do this, the company recently introduced a white-label Partner Program for banks and credit unions that is fully customizable according to the financial institution’s brand standards. A financial institution that becomes a partner has access to tools and resources for marketing, customer service, technical support and account management. Plus, the program allows institutions to analyze merchant processing savings for clients and helps clients switch processors, all while the institution earns money.

CEO Suneera Madhani emphasizes that one of the biggest benefits of the program for financial institutions is the ability to partner with a merchant services provider with no markups. Financial institutions have traditionally worked with standard processors cutting into their customers’ bottom lines, says Madhani. Now they are able to recommend a company that works for the mutual benefit of both the merchant and the institution.

“Customers of financial institutions enrolled in our Partner Program have access to a network of available resources and transparent pricing to help them succeed,” said Madhani. “The program provides updated technology such as a detailed analytics dashboard and tools, as well as a fully integrated virtual terminal. By using Fattmerchant, merchants are offered major savings through no markups and no contract. Merchants also have the added benefit of working with both their bank and the Fattmerchant team to find ways to save, essentially expanding their financial support system.”

Although the Partner Program is new, Madhani said the early response has been positive, with small to medium-sized financial institutions seeing the greatest return. One such institution is Axiom Bank in Orlando, Fla. According to Daniel Davis, president and CEO, the bank and Fattmerchant are working together to provide customers with affordable merchant processing, and to ensure that customers are improving their return each month and reducing unnecessary spending on exorbitant bills.

“Small-business owners are seeking convenience, clarity and trustworthy services,” said Davis, “and that’s what they’ll find with this partnership.”

 

 Michael Scheibach is executive editor of BankNews.

 

 

Fed: Noncash Payments Continue to Grow; Checks on Decline

December 30 – Credit and debit card payments continued to gain ground in the payments landscape from 2012 to 2015, accounting for more than two-thirds of all core noncash payments in the United States, according to a Federal Reserve study of U.S. non-cash payments. Automated clearinghouse payments grew modestly over the same period, and check payments declined at a slower rate than in the past. (more…)

Payments Summit – Smart Card Alliance

When: March 27-30, 2017
Where: Orlando, Florida
More information>>

Fintech Leaders Named to Roles at Push Payments

December 7 – Push Payments, a leader in real-time payments, named several executives to key strategic roles in the organization. The individuals come “from the largest and most dominant fintech companies in the payments industry,” it said in a release.

Travis Dulaney, CEO of Push Payments, said “Don Mileff, Khuram Ahmad, Sabrina Ho, and Jamie Luangaphay have all made strong commitments to help drive the real-time payment evolution.” 

• Mileff has 25 years of system architecture and payment experience ranging from mobile to payment processing environments. He has provided leadership and defined technologies across a few of the largest in the world such as Samsung Pay, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

• Ahmad brings 17 years of payments experience and has successfully launched numerous award-winning programs and held leadership roles at Fiserv, Google and FIS.

• Ho has over 20 years of Fintech technology experience ranging from helping to build the first prepaid platform, Wildcard Systems to major initiatives within American Express.

• Luangaphay has over 10 years of finance experience with large financial institutions such as Bank of America and BankUnited.

“These folks are consummate professionals with an immense knowledge of the payments industry,” said Bob Chevlin, Chief Innovation Officer of Push Payments. “With more than 70 years of combined banking, payments and technical experience under their belts, they are poised to make an immediate impact and bolster our existing team of industry professionals.”

About Push Payments Push Payments is a real-time payments processor located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., specializing in the immediate transfer of value between a multitude of accounts types. Push Payments delivers easy-to-implement API solutions that allow their clients to facilitate credit push transactions in seconds while providing a suite of features, that allow them to be more competitive, experience greater operational efficiency, include additional data all while providing complete Regulatory transparency and Compliance in this heightened era of Risk Management. Their unique, directly integrated, multi-modal payment platform offers maximum flexibility for companies that look to take control of their cash flow while reducing cost.

As Electronic Payments and Invoicing Increase, So Do Concerns About Cybersecurity

December 5 – As every facet of the financial services industry faces the imminent shift to digital platforms, more than one-third of treasury and financial professionals have heightened awareness of the growing risks of fraud and cyber-attacks, shows TD Bank’s Treasury Management Survey. Heading into 2017, corporate treasury and finance professionals cite protecting assets, securing transactions and cybersecurity as top priorities.

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Over Half of U.S. Adults Are Using Mobile Payments at Merchants Online or in Stores

October 26 – New research presented in the latest Insight Summary Report from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series, titled “Mobile Payments: Market Leadership Is Up for Grabs,” reveals that over half of smartphone owners in the United States have used their mobile device to pay for goods and services in stores or online. As smartphone ownership reaches 78% ownership among U.S. adults, most consumers have used their phones for mobile shopping.

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ATM, Mobile Banking, and Mobile Payments Are Converging for Convenience of Banking Customers

October 21 – ATMs have evolved over the past half-century from a basic cash withdrawal appliance to the foundation of today’s self-service banking. In new research, 2016 ATM Market Benchmark Report, Mercator Advisory Group reviews how the ATM, mobile banking, and mobile payments are converging for ever-more convenient customer interaction with banks and credit unions.

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