Monday, November 30, 2015

Payer Authentication reducing chargebacks

Payer Authentication at eComTechnology

payment gateway solutions


Payer Authentication, also known as Verified by Visa® (VbV) and MasterCard SecureCode™, are security protocols developed by Visa and MasterCard that allow consumers toshop online more securely. Visa and MasterCard also give incentives to eCommerce businesses that enable these programs by providing chargeback protection and lower interchange rates.
Simply put, Payer Authentication is validation that the online shopper is the cardholder. Merchants participating in the programs are helping to fight identity theft and consumers become more inclined to continue shopping at these secure websites.

Key Features

  • Reduced Chargebacks - Merchants utilizing Payer Authentication are afforded more protection against chargebacks
  • Interchange Discounts - In some cases merchants experience lower interchange rates
  • Lower Fraud Screening and manual review costs - Merchants spend less time and money reviewing suspicious transactions
  • Expand Internationally - Merchants can increase business in foreign markets with less risk
eComTechnology incorporates every means possible in their gateway to secure your transaction and reduce fraud and chargebacks.
Online Payment Fraud to Rise During Holidays
Attempts by criminals to steal payment card information to commit online fraud are likely to rise during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to ACI Worldwide. The recent shift to more secure chip cards for in-store purchases is likely to increase fraudulent attempts on transactions online. ACI showed fraud rates by volume for transactions that do not involve swiping a card have increased this year, with one out of every 86 transactions a fraudulent attempt compared with one out of 114 transactions in 2014. Fraud attempt rates have increased by 30 percent compared with last year, as consumers shop with more devices online and card issuers are slower to shut down accounts after fraudulent activity. "2015 is likely among the riskiest season retailers have ever seen," says ACI's Mike Braatz. ACI expects a 28 percent increase in online and in-store attempts at fraud this holiday season.
From "Fraud Rates on Online Transactions Seen Up During Holidays: Study"
Reuters (11/17/15) Bose, Nandita

Gateway accommodate multiple processors and Virtual Terminals for Credit Cards and ACH.

payer authentication and chargeback reduction

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What Is A Pyramid Scheme?

What Is A Pyramid Scheme?
By Investopedia Staff | Updated November 17, 2015 |
On March 12, 2014, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an official investigation of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, based on allegations that the company was running a pyramid scheme - a fraudulent investment scheme based on a hierarchical setup. The announcement came after a two-year, aggressive crusade by hedge fund manager William Ackman, whose fund - the New York-based Pershing Square Capital Management - had taken a $1 billion short position on Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) stock.
The FTC investigation followed an inquiry opened by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January 2013. (See New York Times DealBook timeline, "Ackman vs. Herbalife: A History.") Ackman and others are accusing Herbalife of running a pyramid scheme.
Pyramid schemes have cost many people their hard-earned savings. The concept behind them is simple; however, they're often presented to investors in a disguised form. For this reason, it is important to not only be familiar with how pyramid schemes work, but also with the different shapes and sizes they can take. One of the best-known examples of a pyramid scheme was run by disgraced investor Bernard Madoff, who was arrested in 2008 after losing some $50 billion of his investor's funds. (Many investors do not understand how to determine the level of risk their individual portfolios should bear. Read "Determining Risk and The Risk Pyramid.")
The Scheme
As its name indicates, the pyramid scheme is structured like a pyramid. It typically starts with one person - the initial recruiter - who is on top at the apex of the pyramid. This person recruits a second who is required to "invest" a certain amount, which is paid to the initial recruiter. In order to make his or her money back, the new recruit must recruit more people under him or her, each of whom will also have to invest. If the recruit gets 10 more people to invest, he or she will make a profit with just a small investment.
Further, the new people become recruiters and each one is in turn required to enlist an additional 10 people, resulting in a total of 100 more people. Each of those new recruits is also obligated to pay their investment to the person who recruited him or her. Recruiters get a profit of all of the money received, minus their initial investment paid to the person who recruited them. The process continues until the base of the pyramid is no longer strong enough to support the upper structure, and there are no more recruits. (From pyramid schemes to envelope stuffing, there are a lot of scams masquerading as legitimate part-time work. Read more in "Recognize And Avoid "Work At Home" Scams.")
The Fraud
The problem is that the scheme cannot go on forever, because there are a finite number of people who can join the scheme (even if all the people in the world were to join). People are deceived into believing that by giving money, they will make more money; however, no wealth has been created, no product has been sold, no investment has been made, and no service has been provided.
The fraud lies in the fact that it is impossible for the cycle to sustain itself, so people will lose their money somewhere down the line. Those who are most vulnerable are those toward the bottom of the pyramid, where it becomes impossible to recruit the number of people required to pay off the previous layer of recruiters. This kind of fraud is illegal in the U.S. and most countries throughout the world. It is estimated that 90% of people who get involved in a pyramid scheme will lose their money.
Fraud Disguised
Despite the illusion of legality presented by these revamped schemes, they are still illegal. Therefore it is important to recognize the characteristics of such so-called investment plans.
Many schemes will adopt the guise of gift-giving or loans that take place in investment clubs because none of these activities are technically illegal. However, the practice of donating a gift to someone (the recruiter), then having to recruit people into the club in order to receive a return on your investment (or your gift, rather) is essentially a pyramid scheme in disguise.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
Legal multi-level marketing (MLM) involves being recruited in order to sell a product or service that actually has some inherent value. As a recruit, you can make a profit from the sales of the product or service, so you don't necessarily have to recruit more salespeople below you. While you may be encouraged to recruit other salespeople whose sales would give you more profit, you can stick to just selling the product directly to the consumer if you choose.
A pyramid scheme MLM, however, will most likely sell a product with no independent value. The product could take the form of reports of some kind, for example, or mailing lists. In this kind of pyramid scheme, you would be required to recruit new members into the MLM in order to make a profit and keep the MLM alive. Joining the MLM is the only reason anyone would buy the products sold by this pyramid scheme.
Ponzi Schemes
Named after Charles Ponzi, who ran such a plot from 1919-1920, the Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment plan; however, it is not necessarily a pyramid, which is hierarchical. In a Ponzi scheme, there is one person who takes people's money as an "investment" and does not necessarily tell them how their returns will be generated. As such, the people's return on investment could be generated by anything. It could come from money taken from new investors, which means new investors essentially pay off the old investors, or even from money made by gambling in Las Vegas.
Chain Letters
Chain letters can be received electronically or through snail mail and are not illegal on their own. However, they can be a pyramid scheme when the letter asks you to donate a certain amount of money (even just $0.05) to the people on a list, then delete the name of the first person on the list, add your name, and forward the letter to a certain number of other people. The next people receiving the letter are then asked to do the same thing, so that you can receive your money as well. By forwarding the letter, you are asking people to give money with the promise of making money.
The Bottom Line
It is easy to see how a pyramid scheme can work, but participating in one (regardless of the form in which it is presented) involves deception and fraud because not everyone will receive the money that is promised in return. As with any other investment plan you consider entering, it is important to ask the right questions. How will this money be invested? What is the rate of return? Who will be investing it? Talk to professionals and do your research before placing your money anywhere. Always remember that if a plan promises you'll get rich quick with no risk, or doesn't tell you how your money will be invested, you should exercise caution before getting on board.

Friday, November 27, 2015

major blow to the fast-growing fantasy sports

Hard Yards Ahead For Well-Funded Fantasy Sports

New York state attorney general has dealt a major blow to the fast-growing fantasy sports business, telling the two largest players, FanDuel and DraftKings, to cease operations after being ruled as illegal under the state’s gambling laws. It comes shortly after Nevada ordered the sites to close in its state and in California state officials are also investigating their legality. All this comes not long after the industry was rocked by an insider trading scandal, where a DraftKings employee won a USD350,000 contest. Suddenly this multi-billion dollar business is looking very vulnerable.
draftkings 610
The daily fantasy sports industry is dominated by FanDuel and DraftKings, which together have raised more than USD700m. Both argue their sites are skill-based games. Users build their own online sports teams and then compete against each depending on how their real-world counterparts do. The practise has existed for a long time in the US, but it’s only recently become a massive money spinner. FanDuel and DraftKings have secured the backing of many of the biggest names in sports, making deals with 28 of the 32 teams in the NFL. DraftKings also secured an equity investment from the MLB. The two are ambitious, advertising heavily, with DraftKings spending as much as USD24m a week on TV ads.
The importance of being games of skill and not chance is important to the firms, as the former is permitted under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This though is disputed by former congressman Jim Leach who drafted the law, who told the Associated Press that what the two sites are doing as “sheer chutzpah”, adding that it was never his intention that fantasy sports would “morph into today’s cauldron of daily betting”.
fanduel 610
The main problem is daily fantasy sports resembles poker, in that while there is some skill the winnings mostly go to only a handful of players. This is borne out by a study of daily fantasy sports for baseball by McKinsey that showed 91% of winning go to the top 1.3% of players, and 85% of players made a net loss. This is a somewhat worrying result for FanDuel and DraftKings as the UIGEA was used to shut down many online poker and gambling sites.
State By State
US rules on gambling differ greatly from state to state, but losing California and New York, the first and fourth-most populous states in the country, would be a major blow. Worryingly, these bans coincide with investigations from the Department of Justice and the FBI over the legality of daily fantasy operations. It all adds up to a rather worrying picture for fantasy sports sites that could see them disappear entirely. This is all a big change for an industry that was just last month expected to reach USD14bn in the US by 2020.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Facebook is turning advertising around 360 degrees.

Facebook is turning advertising around 360 degrees.
facebook-65051_1280In fact, what the social media site has announced is, because of the growing popularity of 360 videos, advertisers will now be able to present advertisements in that format. It appears to be more of a trial run but there are some big companies attached to the idea.
“(W)e’re starting to test 360 video as an advertising format as well. AT&T, Corona (AB InBev), Nescafe (Nestle), Ritz (Mondelez), Samsung, and Walt Disney World (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts) are all running 360 video ads, and we’ll continue to test this format with additional advertisers,” Facebook explained in a press release. “360 video represents an exciting creative opportunity for marketers that allows them to tell immersive stories, optimized for mobile devices.”
It’s just another step Facebook is taking in bringing the video format to users.
Because 360 videos are becoming more popular and prevalent both on the Web in general and on Facebook, the social media site is also encouraging video creators to delve into the format.
Facebook, in the same release, announced it is “launching a new 360 video microsite dedicated to providing relevant resources and information.”

The site features upload guidelines, frequently asked questions and a set of best practices developed by the team behind Vrse, a leading virtual reality studio.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Apple Shuttering Beats Music

Apple Shuttering Beats Music
Image courtesy of (CC) BrianSolis.
Image courtesy of (CC) BrianSolis.
Apple is shutting down Beats Music as it shifts its focus to its Apple Music streaming service.
The Nov. 30 shutdown of Beats Music should come as no surprise. It has been rumored since last year that the service would be shuttered eventually.
Beats executive Dale Bagwell said although subscriptions will be cancelled as of Nov. 30, customers can move their picks and preferences over to Apple Music “right now.”
“All the pros that curated music for you are still crafting more amazing experiences,” Bagwell wrote on a Beats support page. “Plus, on Apple Music, you’ll get even better recommendations based on music you already listen to and love, 24/7 global radio with Beats 1, exciting material from your favorite artist, and more.”
Apple Music app
Apple Music app
Apple acquired Beats Electronics, the Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre-run music company, for $3 billion last May and it has been rumored since last fall that Apple would eventually shutter Beats’ $10-a-month subscription streaming music service.
“Many engineers from Beats Music have already been moved off the product and onto other projects at Apple, including iTunes,” a TechCrunch report said at the time. “It’s not clear when exactly Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre’s music service will be shut down or what Apple will do with streaming, but every source with knowledge of the situation that we talked to agreed Apple plans to sunset the Beats Music brand.”
Despite shutting down Beats Music, Apple continues to capitalize on the experience of music heavy weights and Beats co-founders Iovine and Dr. Dre as well as the music tech-savvy of the Beats engineers.
Record producer Iovine and Dr. Dre, a rapper, are known to have their fingers on the pulse of all that is current and popular in the music industry — and it is that insight that makes the pair a valuable asset to Apple. It is of little doubt the pair were heavily consulted on Apple’s music streaming service, which launched in June.
Apple Music brings 24/7 music to more than 100 countries. The ad-free subscription service costs U.S. customers $9.99 a month after their free three-month membership runs out. There is also a family plan providing service for up to six family members available for $14.99 monthly.
Apple Music did lose 4.5 million of the 11 million initial subscribers once the free trial membership for the service expired for early sign-ups in October. It has since grown to about 15 million subscribers with more than 8.5 million new customers giving the free, 90-day trial a whirl.
With the shut down of Beats Music, Apple is likely hoping that will bolster its customer base considerably as Beats customers were already paying $10 a month.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

3 Signs the Russian Economy Is Recovering

3 Signs the Russian Economy Is Recovering
By Evan Tarver | October 22, 2015 AAA |
The price of oil, and the main driver of Russia's economy, has declined significantly over the past 18 months. At the same time, the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in the wake of its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. In response, Russia's ruble decreased in value, and capital began to leave the country as citizens placed their money abroad. It seemed as if the country's economy was spiraling downward.
However, against expectations, Russia's economy is starting to recover. With an increase in the performance of domestic companies, rising prices for imports and a devaluation of the ruble, Russia's economy has kickstarted itself.
Performance of Domestic Companies
The Russian stock market is one of the best-performing markets this year. According to reports, roughly 78% of Russian companies on the MICEX index have shown more revenue growth in the most recent quarter than their global peers. Russian companies are also now more profitable overall than the companies on the MSCI Emerging Markets index.
For example, Russian steelmaker Severstal recorded its highest profit margins in six years on high output. In April 2015, the company signed a contract to supply steel to the Renault-Nissan auto plant, which is expected to increase exports from Russia to the former Soviet republics, Africa and the Middle East.
Economists have been forecasting that every $10 decline in the price of crude oil reduced Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by roughly 2%. However, Russia's GDP, after declining for close to 18 months, is expected to grow at roughly 3.5% per year, even without increases in oil prices.
Devaluation of the Ruble Aids Performance
The historic decrease in GDP over the past 18 months has caused Russia's currency to lose nearly half its value against the U.S. dollar. Further declines in oil prices, which may be imminent due to Saudi Arabia's decision to pump record amounts of crude oil, will stop the ruble from recovering in the short-term.
For companies such as Severstal, which exports roughly 30% of its steel, the devaluation is beneficial. All of the costs that go into producing Russian steel are priced in rubles. Russian company costs relative to their international competitors' costs have decreased significantly. On the other side, any steel that Russian companies export abroad is priced in U.S. dollars or euros, both of which have strengthened in value against the ruble. When the company earns its revenue in foreign currency, it can effectively buy more rubles through the favorable exchange rates.
This benefit also applies to the country's energy sector. Russia exports huge amounts of oil and gas to nations that use the dollar or the euro. That's partially why Rosneft, a multinational oil producer in Russia, reported a revenue increase of 18% last year, compared to an increase of less than 1% for its international competitors.
This performance is a big reason why Russia's tax revenue has not declined, mitigating more pain for the country's economy. Russia's oil output is still near record highs, however, which has caused oil prices to remain weak.
Rising Prices for Imports
In addition to the ruble helping company performance, it also increases the price of imports for Russia. This provides economic benefits in the form of domestic import substitutions that consumers purchase in lieu of the higher-priced important goods options. This allows Russians to save more, and it helps the economy increase its GDP.
A similar recovery happened in 1998, when the Asian financial crisis spread to Russia; the country defaulted on its international debt and subsequently devalued the ruble. There was an immediate negative economic response, followed by an import substitution recovery that was more successful than most economists believed. The same should happen in the current environment.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Global regulators ending the phenomenon of "too big to fail" banks

G20 finalizes tools for ending 'too big to fail' banks

Global regulators set out their "final tools" on Monday for ending the phenomenon of "too big to fail" banks, seeking to draw a line under a period of intensive rule making after a financial crisis that tarnished the sector and weighed heavily on taxpayers.
Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) that coordinates regulation across the Group of 20 economies (G20) to plug gaps highlighted by the 2007-09 financial crisis, said many of the key reforms have been implemented decisively and promptly.
"As a consequence, the financing capacity to the real economy is being rebuilt and significant retrenchment from international activity has been avoided," Carney said in a letter to G20 leaders ahead of their summit next week.
The G20 tasked the FSB in 2009 with introducing a welter of reforms from increasing bank capital requirements to shining a light on derivatives markets and curbing bankers' bonuses.
Carney, who is also Governor of the Bank of England, said the board has now finalised the tools needed to wind down "too big to fail" banks in an orderly way if necessary, seen as the last major financial reform of the crisis.
G20 leaders meeting next week in Turkey will be asked to endorse a reform that requires the world's 30 top banks to issue a buffer of bonds by 2022 that can be written down to raise funds equivalent to 18 percent of risk-weighted assets, if the lender goes bust.
The aim of the buffer, known as total loss-absorbing capacity or TLAC, is to allow a big bank to fail without creating the kind of mayhem in markets seen after Lehman Brothers bank went bust in 2008.
Under the worse case scenario, the banks would have to issue a total of 1.1 trillion euros ($1.18 trillion) in bonds. The bulk of this, or 755 billion euros, would be in China and other emerging markets whose banks have been given and extra six years until 2028 to comply with TLAC, the FSB said.
Banks could also plug the shortfall by issuing shares or retaining earnings.
"It is clear the benefits far exceed the costs of introducing this standard," Carney said.
Citi bank analysts said the requirement will be manageable for European banks, with an estimated average 2 percent earnings hit in 2017, rising to 4-5 percent for Unicredit, Santander and BNP Paribas.
Banks moved early to meet tougher capital requirements since the crisis to reassure investors about their solvency. But Svein Andresen, FSB secretary-general, said he does not expect banks to necessarily rush headlong to meet TLAC rules early.
"Many banks have told us they will let existing liabilities run off and replace them in the course of normal refinancing," Andresen said.
Some of the banks like Bank of America, UBS, Credit Suisse and Citi have already said they already meet or will comfortably meet the TLAC rules.
The Swiss finance ministry said on Monday that the new rules it outlined last month would comprehensively meet TLAC standards and in parts exceed the minimum requirements of international standards.
Last month the Federal Reserve published rules to apply a TLAC-style rule on the biggest U.S. banks who would need to raise an additional $120 billion in long-term debt.
The EU is applying a similar requirement on all banks based in the 28-country bloc with rules compatible with TLAC to avoid duplication.
As flagged, the basis for calculating how much TLAC the big banks must hold has been scaled back. An open-ended exemption for the big banks from emerging markets like China has also been scrapped in favor of a longer phase-in.
"Countries must now put in place the legislative and regulatory frameworks for these tools to be used," Carney said in a letter to G20 leaders.
Banks had warned that the new capital rules being rolled out made it too expensive in some cases to keep markets as liquid as they were before the crisis by offering to buy and sell bonds at any time.
The FSB has completed its first review of all the rules that have been introduced and said it has "not found evidence of significant unintended consequences to date".
"Evidence is mixed, and the baseline for comparison should not be the unsustainable excess liquidity that existed prior to the crisis," Carney said.
He rejected criticisms from banks that TLAC and other changes to bank capital rules over the coming year amount to a quantum increase on the current Basel III framework.
"There is no Basel IV. What we are doing is ironing out issues that have been identified over time in the application of Basel III," Carney said.
The FSB is still assessing the risks to financial stability from the activities of big asset managers and will publish recommendations "as necessary in the first half of 2016".
Misconduct at banks, such as trying to rig the Libor interest rate benchmark and currency markets, can create systemic risks. The FSB has agreed an action plan to see if additional rules are needed, particularly regarding pay structures in the sector to stop encouraging reckless behavior.
($1 = 0.9289 euros)

Read more at Reuters

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is U.S. Employment Really Surging?

Is U.S. Employment Really Surging?
By Adam Hayes, CFA | November 09, 2015 AAA |
Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the October unemployment data that showed the headline unemployment figure dropping to 5%, better than the expected 5.1%. Great news for the economy, however the headline employment figure can be a little misleading.
The Headline Figure
When the BLS reports unemployment data, they report the so-called headline unemployment figure, or U3 unemployment. The definition of an unemployed person for the official U3 figure counts people who are without jobs and who have actively looked for work within the past four week period. In other words, somebody who is unemployed but has given up looking for work is not counted.
The U4 unemployment figure includes discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work, but it still does not count somebody who is a "marginally attached" worker, who, while not being discouraged, are those who are willing to work but are not looking. The U5 unemployment measure includes that category, but still fails – crucially – to measure people who have taken on part-time or temporary work in order to make ends meet but who are at the same time actively looking for permanent work. For that you need to look at the U6 unemployment measure which looks at all of these cases.
The U6 Unemployment Picture and Labor Participation
The headline U3 unemployment figure is 5.0%, however, when accounting for discouraged workers, marginally attached, and part-time workers who would really like full-time work, the number jumps to nearly 10% (9.8% seasonally adjusted). This is closer to the "real" unemployment picture in America today.
Another important employment metric to consider is the Labor Force Participation Rate, which is currently at 62.4%, a level not seen since 1977 (see the graph below). This metric describes the ratio of those people employed or actively looking for work, compared to the entire population's eligible workers. In other words, a 100% participation rate would mean that everybody who could work in a country is working (whether they want to or not). As people stop looking for work and become discouraged, they drop out of the workforce, but still remain able-bodied. A 62.4% participation rate means that 37.6% of the eligible adults in the United States are not working. In other words, 37.6% of the population is not employed (note, I didn't say unemployed).
The Bottom Line
While the employment picture in America has certainly been improving, especially since the Great Recession, it is important to keep in mind that the headline number of 5.0% is not the whole story. When accounting for the U6 number and the labor participation rate, the employment picture does not look nearly as rosy.
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Friday, November 13, 2015

President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breaking: President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

President Barack Obama announced on Friday his decision to reject TransCanada's permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, ending one of the most controversial and hard-fought environmental battles in recent years.
"This morning Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive review, the State Department has decided the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the interests of the United States," he said, adding "I agree with that decision."
Senate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama had caved to special interests and "extremists."
"Given this project's importance to North American energy independence, the question still remains not if but when Keystone will be built. Republicans have no intention of giving up on common-sense jobs ideas like Keystone. Our nation's long-term need for the energy and jobs Keystone would provide will certainly outlast the little over a year remaining in the term of the current Administration."
The $8 billion pipeline would have transported 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada's tar sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Environmentalist drew a line in the sand over the project, saying approval would be "game over for the climate."
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the decision represented a "courageous leap forward" in combatting climate change.
"Rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is right for our nation, for our children and for our planet," she said. "It would have locked in, for a generation or more, massive development of among the dirtiest fuels on the planet — posing a serious threat to our air, land water, and climate. The proposal, pushed largely by the fossil fuel industry, was a recipe for disaster. In no way was the pipeline in America's national interest."
Obama's decision comes less than a week after TransCanada requested a delay from the administrating in deciding on whether or not to green light the project.
Following TransCanada's request the State Department, which Obama designated as the lead agency to review the permit, said it would continue its deliberation of the company's proposal. And the White House said Obama would make a decision on the project before the end of his term.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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AVG WiFi Guard Helps you avoid the rogue WiFi access points used by hackers by alerting you when your PC tries to access an unknown WiFi network.
Stops hackers getting into your personal data Ultimate protection for credit card numbers, bank details or other personal information you enter online
Whatever you’re shopping for or whichever bank you use, the most important thing is to know that you’re doing it safely. We keep an eye on the personal info you enter online to make sure it’s safe, so you can keep an eye on the bargains.
You get: AVG Enhanced Firewall Blocks hackers attempting to access the private data stored on your PC. Stops malware taking over your computer or from harming other peoples. Works on wired and wireless networks.
Helps ensure a fast running PC Faster scanning and a faster PC, because antivirus should never slow you down.
We all worry that putting stuff on our PC affects performance. Our ‘stuff’ goes out of its way to make sure that it never slows you down.
You get: AVG Turbo Scan, Game Mode, AVG Smart Scanner
AVG Turbo Scan Dramatically shortens security-scanning times thanks to a smarter scanning sequence that follows the order in which files are saved to the hard drive.
Game Mode Keeps scans and updates at bay whilst you play to avoid lags and freezes. Also safeguards your digital profile from hackers looking to steal and sell your game rewards.
AVG Smart Scanner Only scans your PC when you’re not using it. Drops to low priority mode as soon as you move your mouse or hit a key. To keep scan times to a minimum it ignores files it’s already scanned and knows are safe.
Accelerates web experienceFor the ultimate video-viewing experience
If you spend time on YouTube you’re going to like this. Faster smoother video streaming – who doesn’t want that?
You get: AVG Accelerator Maximizes connection speeds and the download of binary data to deliver faster, smoother video streaming. Dramatically enhances the experience of YouTube videos.
Free phone support Whenever you need help, day or night, we’re there.
You get: AVG FREE Support Our expert support team is always just a free call away day or night, free of charge, 365 days a year.
Easy-to-action advice and alerts Detects performance problems or opportunities which you can action via the super-easy interface.
If we ever find anything that’s a worry, we’ll alert you so you can take the best action including our super easy one click fix. And because our interface is now even better, it’s even easier to do.
You get: AVG Advisor, Easy Interface, AVG Auto-Fix, AVG Auto-Updates
AVG AdvisorResponds to performance issues with recommendations on how to speed your browsing. Alerts you to apps that take a lot of bandwidth and memory giving you the option of shutting them down.
Easy InterfaceOur new improved interface is designed to make AVG the easiest possible protection – all part of our promise to give you great products that ask less of you. Fully compatible with Windows® 8.
AVG Auto-Fix Detects and alerts you to any security risk, providing a simple one-click Auto-Fix button that automatically fixes the problem and resets the system to the best protection mode.
AVG Auto-Updates As we constantly innovate and evolve our protection technology, we’ll make sure you’re automatically updated to maintain top level defence levels.
For more information or help with your purchase please contact our Account Management team

Monday, November 09, 2015

Contactless cards haven’t won everyone over just yet

Contactless cards haven’t won everyone over just yet

Payment Eye contactless asia
It is easy to get the impression that we have become a nation of contactless acolytes, running around tapping our cards for everything from a stick of gum to the weekly shop.

High spending doesn’t paint the whole picture

After all, as a nation, we did somehow manage to spend £2.5 billion in the first six months of 2015 using just contactless cards. In June alone we spent £567m and skipping to August we tapped £634m away, an increase of 219.4 per cent over the year.
According to the UK Cards Association in August 72.8m contactless cards were issued, marking an increase of 2.6 per cent on the previous month and 42.4 per cent over the year.
However, one should be weary of letting all these statistics create a nebulous glow and assuming that just because more money is spent, it means everyone is spending it.
The UK Cards Association noted that 89 million contactless transactions were made in the month, marking an increase of 0.1 per cent on the previous month and 235.9 per cent over the year.
Whilst we should not jump to any conclusions – it is just one month after all – there is an inference to be drawn here that rather than more people spending money, it’s actually the same amount of people spending more money.
This suggests that despite contactless payments being undoubtedly popular, they are not as popular as some people will have you believe. There is still some work to be done, particularly in particular age groups.

Over 50s are not easily swayed

One group of people who have been circumspect about using contactless cards are the over 50s. Seven out of ten of them worry about the security of contactless payment, whilst 50 per cent believe said they wouldn’t be surprised if there was an increase in pickpocketing, with thieves seeking to make the most of the absence of PIN Codes, according to research from Saga, the over 50s insurance company.
Such attitudes clearly show that some people simply will not be swayed by arguments of contactless cards being expeditious, rather choosing to prioritise the inherent risk that accompanies them. Their concerns are far from irrational and should be addressed by those seeking to encourage contactless use.
It should also be pointed out that Saga’s research showed that those over 50 who do have contactless cards, don’t use them that frequently. Most statistics about contactless card use float around the high 20s low 30s in terms of percentage. Three out of ten people over 50 use contactless for food shops, 21 per cent use them to pay for food and drink in restaurants and just 16 per cent for coffee and cakes in coffee shops.
The last statistic is rather surprising considering the coffee shop prices are bound to be much lower than those at restaurants or supermarkets and therefore more likely to be within the contactless spending cap.
Therefore this suggests is that people over 50 still do not see the appeal of using contactless cards to make low-value purchases. This is enforced by the fact that only three out of ten (31 per cent) of over 50s like not having to carry cash on them.
Furthermore, only a quarter of respondents said they enjoy not having to remember their PINs, meaning that 75 per cent enjoy having that level of security and actually find comfort in it.
All this is meant to level the fervour currently surrounding contactless cards and show that there are still some issues that need to be addressed before the technology truly becomes appealing to everyone.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

card-accepting outlets

Number of card-accepting outlets to double by 2020

Number of card-accepting outlets to double by 2020

By the end of 2014 there were 46.6 million merchant outlets worldwide and by 2020 there will be 90.3 million, according to strategic research and consulting firm, RBR.

Emerging market growth

The majority of the growth will happen in Asia-Pacific markets such as China and India where the fastest growth was recorded in 2014. Interestingly, the growth mainly increased not because the larger cities expanded and evolved, but rather because card-accepting terminals expanded to geographic areas and merchant sectors where consumers could not previously use cards, rather than remaining in just the largest merchants and cities.
Despite being the fastest and the largest growing region, it is still relatively underdeveloped and the overall density of outlets is much lower than that of North America.
rbr data

Europe growth is consistently strong

Central and Eastern European markets came second behind the Asia-Pacific region in terms of growth, roughly for the same reason of expansion into areas that previously did not use cards.
This strategy has also been adopted in Latin American markets, which too will see rapid growth, especially in the rural areas.
However, in other regions, the rate of growth will be slower because of the maturity of the markets.

Why will growth accelerate?

Aside from the previously mentioned strategy of targeting rural areas that traditionally did not use cards, there are other factors at play – it appears it is as much to do with PR as it is with putting actual outlets in place.
Banks and other financial institutions are laying it on thick by extolling the virtues of using cards and encouraging customers, new and old, to use them instead of cash.


The other significant reason is of course contactless. The rise of contactless technology has been stratospheric, which has been helped immeasurably by the likes of Transport for London and supermarket chains that make up the locations where consumers spend their money most frequently.
Retailers have deployed contactless-enabled terminals to replace more traditional units, and acquirers see contactless as a key tool in their attempts to increase card acceptance among low-value sectors. As a result, contactless card acceptance is becoming more common in outlets such as pharmacies, cinemas, restaurants and coffee shops.
This increase in contactless capability has been particularly noticeable in the UK, where we managed to spend £2.5 billion in the first six months of the year. In the period running from January of this year to June, just under 40,000 new contactless payment terminals were installed.

MPos plugs the remaining gaps

In locations where traditional payment terminals isn’t cost effective, smaller, cheaper devices offering mPOS capabilities come into their own. The US is a good example of them in action. Last month finally saw the liability shift happen meaning that many merchants upgraded their technologies in order to accept EMV cards. However, many smaller businesses were concerned about the costs of these upgrades as terminals did not come cheap, and would not necessarily prove to be cost effective.
MPOS platforms such as SumUp and giants like PayPal saw this gap in the market and decided to quickly plug it. SumUp introduced an EMV-compliant mPOS device that works with swipe cards; electronic and e-wallet payments via NFC, including Apple Pay and Android Pay; and with EMV chip cards. This cover-all-bases approach was one that PayPal pursued earlier when it released its PayPal Here reader.
When it was released in the US, Christopher Uriarte, chief Strategy & Payments officer at Vesta Corporation told PaymentEye that many small merchants have not had made the transition to EMV a priority, but the increase of such EMV-compatible technologies can quickly reach a larger scale across America without requiring a huge investment by small and medium merchants.

What about Visa and MasterCard?

With this rapid growth of card-accepting outlets the big question to consider is which company will come out on top? Will the likes of Visa and MasterCard be able to keep up with the growth rate?
“While Visa and MasterCard are currently accepted at 78 per cent of outlets worldwide, it is unclear whether they will be able to maintain this level, as most of the growth will be in China, where they are only accepted at 29 per cent of outlets,” said RBR.
Visa and MasterCard are still the most widely accepted schemes worldwide, with 37 million outlets each according to RBR figures, but their acceptance is low in the Middle East region – mainly because of their inability to access the large Iranian market due to international sanctions.
Unsurprisingly, Visa and MasterCard acceptance is low in China where UnionPay has a chokehold on the industry.
Whilst on the subject of UnionPay,  it is the fastest-growing scheme in terms of the number of outlets, having increased by 25 per cent with 5.7 million new outlets in 2014, according to RBR figures. However, outside of China, it is wholly dependent on network-to-network agreements, which hinders its dominance.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Live streaming video

Your Hottest New Weapon: Live Streaming Video

Video-based content is on its way to becoming the most widely consumed form of media available on the Internet. With platforms like YouTube cranking out unfathomable amounts of video clips, users have become accustomed to absorbing content in a highly visual and more compelling manner than text alone. In every minute of the day, 300 hours of new video are uploaded and made available to YouTube’s billion-plus users. Vines are everywhere and GIFs litter the Internet.
But despite the awesome benefits of video content, an even more compelling form of media is beginning to take the Internet by storm; live streaming video.
Over the past year, several live streaming video sites and apps have emerged, making some serious waves. This type of real-time interaction provides businesses and consumers a dynamic and exciting way to engage and make profound connections. For this reason, businesses, influencers, and regular Joes are all converging on these sites for a piece of the action.
Check out some of the in-demand live streaming platforms that businesses and consumers alike just can’t stop talking about.
The most popular live streaming service currently available is Periscope. The Twitter-owned live streaming service connects folks from all over the world with face-to-face digital interaction. In order to broadcast video through Periscope, users must sign up using their Twitter account. Users can then subscribe to the Periscope broadcasts posted by those they follow on Twitter and notifications will be provided each time one of these individuals begins a broadcast. Similarly once someone a user follows begins a broadcast, a link will be automatically posted to Twitter. Periscope’s defining feature is that streams can be saved for up to 24 hours once a broadcast has ended, allowing for those who were not able to attend to still gain the insights shared.
Brands can develop highly engaging live streaming campaigns through the use of how-to tutorials, sneak-peaks for upcoming product releases and celebrity Periscope takeovers. These types of broadcasts can not only reel in loads of views but can also help generate impressive levels of engagement.
First announced at SXSW, MeerKat has been Periscope’s arch nemesis since the beginning. MeerKat is often hailed for its simplicity; simply tap the Stream button and the broadcast is up and running. Don’t have the time to stream right now? No problem, with MeerKat streams can be scheduled for future dates. What really sets MeerKat aside from the bunch, however, is their leaderboard system where users and viewers are ranked on activity levels. While MeerKat’s broadcasts disappear the moment they end and the layout is a bit more cluttered than Periscope’s, this does not stop 20 percent of MeerKat’s two million users from consuming upwards of two hours of video per day.
Since broadcasts vanish instantly upon ending with MeerKat, brands should take advantage of this platform by engaging with audiences through Q&A sessions, flash sales exclusive to the stream, and behind-the-scenes looks at company operations.
While Blab is the newest of the live streaming platforms, the site has elicited some major recognition over the past several months. Despite its current beta status, Blab is beginning to hit it big with many industry professionals and social media marketers. As opposed to Periscope or MeerKat, Blab allows for on-screen group conversations to take place with up to four participants at a time. In a Brady Bunch-style layout, participants discuss topics while viewers interact with the panel through a comment bar. As long as there are not four participants in the conversation, anyone can join in at any time as long as the host accepts the request. Streams can be scheduled out in advance as well as saved for later viewing once they are over.
Marketers can gain leverage through Blab by inviting industry influencers on to discuss insights, make intimate connections with audience members by allowing individuals to join on-screen and ask questions, and providing truly value insights to audience members through insider knowledge. is one of the lesser-known platforms, but is quickly making headway. While information on’s user base is not currently available, Google Play shows the app has been download 100,000 to 500,000 times on Android devices alone. Part of what makes unique is that users are given the freedom to open up non-intrusive live-chat screens during broadcasts which are displayed just to the left of the video stream. On top of videos remaining available for 24 hours after a broadcast ends, allows for users to download video files. has the most comprehensive social options available as it connects users with friends and followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
As live streaming video services continue to explode in popularity, more and more celebrities, influencers, and popular brands are after a piece of the action. If you think that live streaming is a valuable engagement tool for your brand, now is the time to become an early adopter before the sites become too noisy and the competition gets too stiff.
Do you think that live streaming video is set to be the next big movement is social online interaction? Or is this movement just a passing trend?


Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+

Dallas City Guide – Interactive City Guide

Dallas City Guide – Interactive City Guide