Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Starbucks Leading the Way With Their Gift Card Strategy

Starbucks are leading the way with their gift card initiatives, attracting many new customers since their introduction. The Starbucks e Gift cards can be sent for Valentine’s Day, weddings, the Lunar New Years and more. They can be sent via email, text or with a physical card. These gift cards which have a certain amount of credit will encourage people who may not usually be customers to visit a Starbucks store to redeem. From there these customers often just find it convenient to simply top up the cards for easier and quicker future purchases.

Many of these gift card users have then gone on to sign up for Starbucks ‘My Starbucks Reward’ program. The program allows members early access to new products, free drink or food rewards and easy payments with the online app. In Q1 alone there has been 0.9 million new MSR members, bring the total number of members to a staggering 9 million. These numbers show the huge success that the scheme has had due to the customer being able to have a quicker and more efficient experience. The other advantage of having so many people sign up for schemes such as MSR program keeps a loyal base of customers that know they will keep coming back as it is in the customer’s interest to buy from Starbucks as it helps their reward points.

However in a study carried out in January of 2014, only 3% of retailers said that gift card strategies were its main priority in their retail plan. Only 17% of retailers said that gift card purchase or redemption were a priority at all in their future strategies. Most were more focused on their online platform, making sure that was a tool that keeps customers coming back. The Starbucks online app has managed to incorporate their gift card redemption scheme into it as well as being able to order coffee and manage your Rewards Program. There is soon to be a delivery service as well in the second half of 2015.

Understandably many of the smaller retailers do not have the financial power to have such a large all-encompassing online service, however Starbucks can be used as an example that is leading the way in terms of omnichannel retail as they are constantly striving to provide a service that not only makes the customers life easier but gives them rewards for their loyalty.

APEX is where merchants rule. As new companies create new iterations of payments that combine mobile capabilities, loyalty, closed-loop currencies, wallets, acceptance devices and lower transaction costs, it is the retailer that decides what is successful and what is an also-ran. At APEX, retailers can view the latest technology alongside their peers and discuss the challenges and feasibility of implementation that are unique to this industry.

Download the complete agenda.

Register with the code XU2848BLOG and save $100!


Forbes -
Accenture -

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Are New Payment Entrants the Enemy?

In payments, does competition from new companies create strange chaos or new opportunities?

Does competition create strange bedfellows, market fissures or new partnerships? That's what the media is constantly debating whenever a new payment technology - from ApplePay to MCX to Bitcoin - debuts.

For long-standing players, the influx of new players creates a constant need to fine-tune strategies and calibrate evolving value in a competitive marketplace. For new companies, the crush of equally novel competition means more fighting for the same slice of the "disruption" pie.

At All Payments Expo, you'll get a front seat to the debates to determine the role that new technologies will play in the payments universe - and what it means for you. Onstage analysis will include:
  • A keynote address from Square on their shifting strategy
  • ApplePay's impact on acquiring, fraud, and the mobile payments ecosystem
  • Bitcoin's future implications and applications for remittance, prepaid and retail payments
  • Retailers' strategies for a tech-fueled path to for bigger basket sizes in-store, online and in the mobile environment
  • Onstage demonstrations of some of the hottest technologies, including wearable tech and iBeacon
By attending APEX, you'll solidify your strategy within the conflicting debates - and meet hundreds of new companies who are taking the headlines.

This is your last chance to save on your APEX ticket.
Register today to save $200 - Use code: XU2848BLOG

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lord & Taylor / Hudson's Bay iBeacon Pilot Shows Promise

Former Hudson's Bay/Lord & Taylor CSO: iBeacon Engagement "Phenomenal" But Does it Have a Future in Payments?

By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR

The shopper’s path to purchase took an exciting turn in mid-2013 with Apple’s introduction of the iBeacon (followed in short order by a bevy of beacon competitors, of course).

And then things got quiet as everyone went off to play with the shiny new toy…

The attraction is a no-brainer. The ability to beam marketing messages, coupons, etc., to the shopper’s phone in the store while they’re actively shopping and to then check them out at POS is something with the potential to revolutionize retail.

According to Business Insider, about half of the top 100 U.S. retailers have been testing beacons and it estimates the technology will be installed in roughly one-third of stores by the end of 2015.

Indeed, everyone from Walmart to McDonald’s to Major League Baseball has been trialing the Bluetooth transmittors.

Ryan Craver
And the results from those tests are now, finally, slowly trickling into news reports.

So I was pretty excited to learn that Ryan Craver, former SVP of Strategy for Lord & Taylor/Hudson’s Bay Co. and who had spearheaded a beacon test for the department store chains, was available to discuss the results.

Craver and his colleagues tested beacons in three different store environments in the U.S. and Canada ahead of a 140-store rollout. (Author's note: The initiative won Mobile Marketer's 2014 Program of the Year. It's toward the end of the linked article.)

And the results were mixed, but very promising.

“The open rates were phenomenal!”

“Our first hypothesis was that the engagement numbers would be off the chart. That held true. The open rates were phenomenal,” Craver told On Payments.

The beacons did not, however, drive traffic in the numbers Craver expected.

Craver says that’s because the app simply isn’t ubiquitous…yet.

“Once beacons are integrated into apps like Facebook and Twitter, we are going to see much, much bigger numbers.”

“Beacon ecosystems haven’t built up yet. But once they are integrated into some of the apps like Facebook and Twitter, we are going to start to see much, much bigger numbers,” Craver predicted.

But whether beacons have a future as a payments tool is questionable. Craver notes the growing popularity of NFC platforms makes it less likely.

“By the end of 2015 or early 2016, all retailers will need to have chip-and-PIN POS.”

“By the end of 2015 or early 2016, all retailers will need to have chip-and-PIN point-of-sale equipment and that will naturally lead to additional retailers that have NFC capabilities,” Craver said.

“So, maybe NFC beats out beacons?” he added.

In this podcast for On Payments—the All Payments Expo (APEX) interview series—Ryan Craver discusses Lord & Taylor’s beacon study, opportunities and challenges for retailers and whether or not the beacon will be the it app for shoppers.

Editor’s note: Ryan Craver will be a featured speaker at APEX 2015—the All Payments Expo—taking place February 23-25 in Las Vegas.

For a brochure or to register for APEX, please visit

Ps. LAST CHANCE! REGISTER and SAVE $200 by FRIDAY 1/23 with promo code XU2848BLOG

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Omnichannel - The Key to Retail Success

At present retailers are increasingly looking into implementing omnichannel retail strategies in order to create a better experience for their customers. These strategies help not only with sales revenue but they let the customer do whatever they need to do throughout their shopping experience no matter what device or platform they are on. This creates an easier and more efficient way for the customer to shop.

An omnichannel strategy that is becoming more popular with retail decision makers is the advancement in mobile capabilities. Retailers are increasingly looking into ways that they can interact with their customers through online platforms which can be accessed through smart phones or tablets. Some online sites include a feature that lets the shopper interact with a stylist to help choose products dependent on the customers likes and dislikes. This kind of service can normally only be found in a physical store. For example Nordstrom acquired Trunk Club, the personalized clothing service which meant shoppers had clothes hand selected by stylists and sent straight to their door with no shipping costs. A service like that in a world where working hours are getting longer and customers are increasingly looking online to shop means that a better online relationship with customers can yield higher revenue sales. Nordstrom experienced a 6.2% increase in sales after their acquisition of the Trunk Club. By creating an omnichannel retail experience, shoppers can still have the same experience they might expect in store whilst on the move on a tablet, laptop or smartphone. 

In store, mobile advancements are creating more efficient shopping experiences for customers. Store associates are often equipped with iPads or other tablets and can walk the isles and interact with customers. This gives them the ability to look up stock numbers on the spot, order in from other stores to cater for the customer’s exact needs or in some cases pay for the products then and there. This makes the shopping experience a more fluid and efficient process.

A recent app powered by Pick’n’Tell for Alfred Angelo bridal company has recording mirrors in store which allows brides to record or take pictures of themselves in the dresses they like. These images or videos then are immediately sent to the consumer’s smartphone which allows the shopper to be able to take the time at home to review the best option and can then buy it easily online. The app can also be used to choose dresses online which will be ready for them on arrival at the store. This creates a seamless customer experience across the digital and physical shopping world.

This ability to create an easier and more personalized shopping experience is increasingly becoming the key in retail strategies. By using omnichannels, companies are able to give the customer a more unique and efficient retail experience which will keep them coming back and thus increasing sales revenue.

APEX is where retailers can leverage payments technology for their strategic roadmaps, including boosting in-store visits, basket sizes, conversion and more. At APEX, technologies deploy mobile capabilities, loyalty, closed-loop currencies, wallets, acceptance devices that drive these strategic objectives. Retailers will scrutinize the latest technology alongside their peers and discuss the challenges and feasibility of implementation.

Join us February 23-25 at All Payments Expo where a new tailored Omnichannel Retail Payments Forum with content built for merchants' strategic executives, exploring how payments-backed technologies are impacting retail. Functions include: Corporate Strategy, CIO, IT, E- and M-Commerce, Finance, Treasury, Payment Services.

Download the complete agenda here to see full session details.

Prices increase this Friday! Register now with the code XU2848BLOG and save $200!

See you in Las Vegas!

Forbes -  
Mobile Commerce Daily -

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Digital Currency’s Role in Prepaid, Retail and Banking

How will digital currency change your business?

When Microsoft announced that it would accept Bitcoin as payment last month, the company noted that digital currencies are growing "beyond the early enthusiasts." Microsoft has placed its bets that the growth will continue - and at All Payments Expo, you'll forge the connections to determine your own company's strategy in the digital currency industry.

As digital currency's role in retail, payments and money movement evolves, it's paramount that you make sense of the role crypto will play in retail, prepaid and other industries.

Do you need to rethink your strategy?
Get up-to-the-minute analysis from the executives, legal minds and industry entrenched in this next phase, including:
  • Keynote address from Chairman Patrick Byrne, one of Bitcoin's earliest champions
  • A Bitcoin Bootcamp for novices, with perspectives from Strategic Counsel Corp., Ethereum, Gliph, Coinsetter and the Digital Currency Council
  • The legal implications of Bitcoin
  • How digital currency impacts accounting and taxation - a must-see for anyone considering accepting or working with digital currency
  • Sessions on digital currency's applications in retail and products for the under-served

 Special Benefits for Attending
  • Prepare you for the Digital Currency Council (DCC) Certification Exam.
  • For those already DCC Certified, DCC Continuing Education Credits are available.
  • Attendees will receive a 3-month trial Leader Membership in the Digital Currency Council - the leading professional association in the digital currency economy.

To see a detailed session breakdown, download the complete agenda. Also, register by Friday, January 23rd and SAVE $300! Use the code XU2848BLOG

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Digital Gift Cards to Overtake Plastic 1-2 Years

1-800-Flowers E-Card Expert Says Digital Wallets Herald End to Another Holiday Tradition
By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR
Like almost every other person I know who is not the parent of a young child, the 2014 holidays concluded with a stack of gift cards in place of a mountain of crumpled wrapping paper.
I’m not complaining, but if you’re the sentimental type like me, you probably get a little wistful looking at a Christmas tree that doesn’t have any presents under it.
My father-in-law still insists on hiding gift cards inside large, ornately wrapped boxes—sometimes it’s a series of boxes like those Russian nesting dolls—but the gag has gone a little stale and it annoys his wife to no end.
Friends of mine keep a pile of phony presents under their tree to achieve that nostalgic effect, which I find a little creepy and depressing.
At my home, we’ve taken to interspersing the cards in colored envelopes among the ornaments. We take turns hunting-and-plucking them from the tree on Christmas Day. 

It's less dramatic than a big box, but at least you get to scavenge for something with your name on it.
Now it looks like I may have to kiss that tradition good-bye, too.
Yes, friends, 2015 may be the beginning of the end for plastic gift cards.
Chris Adamo
According to Chris Adamo, Manager of Partnerships & Gift Cards, B2B, at 1-800-FLOWERS, e-cards will overtake plastic as the gift of choice within the next year, maybe two years.

“We’ve seen digital gift card sales triple in the past year.”

“For our brand as a whole we’ve seen digital gift card sales triple in the past year,” said Adamo, who has been developing e-cards in B2B for the online florist for several years.

Adamo says he expects digital wallet adoption to catalyze the migration to e-cards in the consumer space.

That’s good news for retailers, according to Adamo, who reports that digital gift cards have increased redemptions and purchases at 1-800-FLOWERS.

Digital cards are also perfectly suited to double as loyalty cards, says Adamo, which means a new level of access to customer information.

In this podcast for On Payments—the All Payments Expo (APEX) interview series—Adamo shares his experience and explains why it’s time for retailers to ramp up their e-card initiatives.
Editor’s note: Chris Adamo will be a featured speaker at APEX 2015—The All Payments Expo—taking place February 23-25 in Las Vegas.

For information, a brochure or to register for APEX, please visit

Ps. SAVE $100 of registration with promo code: XU2848BLOG

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market and consumer research industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This Year, Fraudsters are on the Prowl

"In the wake of recent security breaches, 63% of organizations have either adopted additional security measures or are planning to do so in the near future." -- AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey

It's been a year since some of the nation's largest retailers were targeted by fraudsters during the crush of holiday shopping. And from data breaches to account takeovers to e-commerce fraud, there's still trouble percolating.

Dissect the Latest Strategies for Fraud Prevention at APEX

At APEX, you'll take actionable steps to drill into the latest fraudster tactics, prevention strategies and technology aimed at protecting customers, retailers and banking & payment institutions alike.

Some of the strategies being dissected in February:
  • Preventing gift card fraud from employee and external forces, direct from loss prevention retail executives
  • Analysis on the migration from brick and mortar fraud to e-commerce, including the latest schemes
  • Technology that can avoid false positives and avert negative customer experiences
  • The impact of tokenization and ApplePay in fraud reduction
  • Latest info on EMV integration
  • Need-to-know information from the FBI, National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance and National Anti-ORC Association

Download the full agenda here.

By attending APEX, you'll take critical steps to protect your customers and your reputation - and stay ahead of fraudsters' evolving efforts to compromise the safety of your institution. Save up to $200 if you register by January 23rd! Use the code: XU2848BLOG | Register here.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bitcoin Poised to Go Mainstream?

Digital Currency Council Formed to Train and Certify Financial Professionals in Crypto Coinage
By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR

David Berger
Intense scrutiny from regulators and governments and Bitcoin’s precipitous plunge in value over the past year (approx. 55%) have prompted pundits to question the near-term viability of digital currencies, in general.

But according to David Berger, Founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Council (DCC), there’s nothing to be bearish about.

Berger notes ease of access and Bitcoin adoption rates continue to advance at a healthy clip, and he’s confident the currency is poised for mainstream uptake.

It's as easy getting an email account or hitting 'like' on Facebook...

Bitcoin has crossed the chasm from a little-known technology utilized by a small number of very smart people,” said Berger. “It’s now as simple to use as signing up for an email account or, in some instances, hitting a ‘like’ button on Facebook.”

More than 100,000 merchants accept Bitcoin and it's growing by about 1,000 every week!

“Over the past year alone the number of wallets holding Bitcoin has increased seven times. More than 100,000 merchants accept Bitcoin and that's increasing by almost a thousand each week,” he added.

Just about every established industry or profession has a trade association or advocacy group to represent its interests. I think it speaks volumes that professionals specializing in cryptocurrencies today have an organization of their own.

The DCClaunched this past Septembertrains and certifies professionals from traditional “terrestrial” disciplines—lawyers, accountants, financial pros—that are looking to expand their practices into digital currency.

That demand for certification in the advisory sphere exists should give even the most enthusiastic virtual tender detractors reason to rethink their position.

In this podcast for On Payments—the All Payments Expo (APEX) interview series—Berger discusses the DCC and explains why betting against Bitcoin may be a lemon strategy.

Editor’s note: David Berger will be a featured speaker at APEX 2015—The All Payments Expo—taking place February 23-25 in Las Vegas.

For more information or to register, please visit

Ps. SAVE $100 of registration with promo code: XU2848BLOG

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market and consumer research industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Your Holiday Gift from All Payments Expo | Register by Friday 12/19 & Save $300

Register by December 19th and save $300 - Use the code XU2848BLOG | Register.

Find Your Next Buyer at APEX

With more than 1,300 global payments players on the hunt for new technologies and partners, APEX is the best place to kick off 2015 with meaningful meetings and new business opportunities.

 Meet the executives with buying power to take your business to the next level.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What’s on the Shopping List for Merchants this Holiday Season?

Retailers will be meeting with existing partners and potential vendors to vet the next generation of technologies they are looking to adopt. At APEX, you'll meet retailers and gain a better understanding of the challenges they are facing.

Hear Case Studies, Research and Insights from:
  • Darden Restaurants
  • The Jones Company/ Flash Foods
  • Hudson Bay Co.'s Lord & Taylor
  • SeaWorld
  • Sears Holdings Corporation
  • Cirque du Soleil    
  • 1-800 FLOWERS
  • Cabela's Inc.
  • Schurman Retail Group (Papyrus)
  • Kahala Brands (Cold Stone Creamery)
  • Fandango
  • Groupon    Domino's
  • DineEquity - Applebee's & IHOP
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • Toys R Us
  • Hyatt Incentive Rewards
  • Landry's
  • Home Depot
Download the agenda to see all session details.

Register for All Payments Expo 2015 by Friday 12/19 to save $300! Use the code: XU2848BLOG | Register here.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Line is Set to Enter the Mobile Payments Space with Line Pay

Line, a free messaging app, announced plans for a mobile payments service way back in October. Today, Line has 170 million monthly users and their new payments service has been branded "Line Pay" and will be released around the world very soon.

The significance of the Line Pay launch is not just surrounding the welcoming of a new competitor, Line is attempting to make their app become a complete "lifestyle platform". It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of Line Pay and whether or not it can become the all-in-one platform Line is hoping for.

As of now, Line Pay allows users to complete transactions through the app at affiliated online and brick-and-mortar stores once you have registered your credit cards. However, on the horizon there is a P2P update that will allow users to send money to other users.

At a time when messaging apps are slowing in growth, Line's entrance into the mobile payments space seems very timely.

Where do you see the future of mobile payments heading? Is Line's attempt to create a complete platform for users to seamlessly handle both conversations and payments the future? Join us in Las Vegas, February 23-25 for All Payments Expo 2015 to learn and explore the ever changing landscape of the payments space.

Have any insight to add to this story? Leave it in the comments.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Payments Round Up

The APEX team brings you your weekly payments round up. Below you will find recent industry news that we found compelling and felt that we needed to share with our readers! Enjoy.

Top Stories:

American Eagle Outfitters Banks On Store Consolidation And Omni-Channel To Improve Store Productivity
With e-commerce not turning into a big business for many retailers despite continued robust growth, the need for omni-channel retailing has emerged. The entire apparel industry is gradually shifting towards this concept, which appears to be the future of retailing. Over the past 15 months, American Eagle has taken several steps towards the development of its omni-channel platform and all of them have shown good promise so far. Its “buy online and ship from the store” pilot program has helped it attract those customers, who could have shied away from the retailer if the inventory pool wasn’t integrated across all the channels. The initial roll out was slow, but the company soon went aggressive on its deployment. In its Q1 earnings call, American Eagle had stated that this service would be available in 100 stores by the back-to-school season. However, it had 255 stores offering this service at the end of Q2.

Lamassu: Bitcoin ATM Owners Earning Up to $36,000 Per Year
Lamassu has reported its bitcoin ATM operators now process an average of $20,000-worth of bitcoin each month, while units placed in prime locations receive as much as $40,000–$60,000 in monthly transactions. Lamassu's survey estimated that its operators earn between $1,000–$3,000 each month on an average commission of 5.5%. This equates to annual earnings for ATM operators of between $12,000 and $36,000 per unit.

Hackers exploit NFC phone payment technology
Several bugs in Near Field Communication (NFC) payment systems have been found by security experts. NFC allows people to pay for goods and services by touching their handset to a payment terminal. But the inclusion of the technology on phones has proved useful to hackers seeking a stealthy way to take over a mobile phone. In most cases the bugs would give an attacker complete access to a device's data.

Snapchat introduces Snapcash for P2P payments
The question "how do you monetize Snapchat" has finally been answered and it's going to open up a lot of possibilities for users. Snapchat has introduced Snapcash, a way to send mobile payments to friends using the image sending-then-destroying service.

Have a great weekend!

- The APEX Team

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Register for All Payments Expo by Friday to Save $400!

Designed to Help You Find New Partners and Grow Business

2015 promises to be a big one for payments players with the world shifting toward lightning-speed disruption from technology and data players; new currencies and form factors entering the fray; and a vast need to uncover new customer segments to avoid market saturation.

Start the year right at All Payments Expo, the only payments event designed to help you find new partners and do business on-site.

You'll save $300 if you sign up for All Payments Expo by Friday, Nov. 21, but use the code XU2848BLOG and save an extra $100 – total savings of $400!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Ways in Which Fraudsters Steal Identities

Below is a Whitepaper from Jumio, an All Payments Expo 2015 exhibitor. To see a complete list of sponsors and exhibitors, learn more about the event, or register. Click here.

Nearly two thousand years ago, the famous military strategist, Sun Tzu, wrote in his infamous book, “The Art of War” that to beat the enemy you had to get to know the enemy. It’s with this in mind that Jumio is publishing this white paper to help to get to know the enemy so that we can all win more battles against the fraudsters.

The Jumio researchers spent many days talking to convicted ex-fraudsters, professional criminologists, law enforcement practitioners and fraud managers to uncover some of the exploits that fraudsters use.The content of this white paper presents what we heard first hand - how convicted fraudsters steal and exploit identities. This is the first of a series of white papers in which Jumio examines how fraudsters steal identities and then go on to conduct acts of fraud against businesses.

The first conversation with one of the convicted fraudsters we spoke to revealed a whole new dictionary of fraud terms and yielded insight into the roles of players in the underground economy. A deeper understanding of this underground economy will help us all, as professionals in fraud prevention, and as consumers to make life harder for the fraudsters.

In this, the first instalment of “The Fraudsters’ Playbook” we share our insight into the first stage of the fraud process: identity theft. In our second instalment we will share our insight into the second and subsequent stages of fraud, the act of ID fraud and card fraud and how criminals profit from it. Here are our findings on five ways in which fraudsters are trying to steal your identity…

Five ways in which fraudsters steal identities...

 To view the complete whitepaper, click here.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

With the Holidays Coming Up, Most Retailers are Gearing Up for the Biggest Day of the Year: Black Friday

At the APEX offices, we are keeping a close watch on the payments-fueled technology retailers will use to gain traction with shoppers. Because the 2013 season was not the monster hit for retailers (according to Forbes), the pressure is on to lure shoppers away from the turkey on the table.

Our bet? Retailers will deploy more mobile coupons, geolocations/beacons and context-aware technology.

These immersive technologies are a huge opportunity to (literally) point customers toward certain deals or products, incentivize them with time-sensitive door-busters, reap data on customers’ movements during the rush and make customers’ lives easier.

There is a lot of promise in this technology. APEX recently tried the Snip Snap-powered beacon app at Lord &Taylor’s Manhattan flagship, where beacons stationed by the shoe department and Alex + Ani jewelry display populated our iPhones with offers, product information and details on new facets of the store layout, including Birdcage, a new store-within-a-store concept on the 2nd floor.

Picture the throngs of shoppers who line up before sunrise (or immediately after Thanksgiving dinner) to shop. Imagine that captive audience plotting their shopping mission by scrolling through the app while they are waiting in line. Pair that with easy-to-clip mobile coupons, and deals exclusive to the app and you have a recipe for bigger basket sizes, and increased engagement and richer customer data.

We anticipate that these trends will be in use for the rest of the year – not just on Black Friday. (All the better to lengthen the shopping season, right?)

At APEX, you’ll  hear direct from the retailers deploying this technology, as well as the entrepreneurs pioneering new ways for retailers and shoppers to virtually interact – including the CEO of SnipSnap and the former VP of Corporate Strategy for Lord & Taylor. Download the full agenda here.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prepaid Debit Cards Set to Face Rules on Overdrafts and Disclosure

Via Bloomberg

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose to limit overdraft charges on prepaid debit cards and require more disclosure from issuers about all fees they charge, a person familiar with the matter said.

The market size for prepaid debit cards has nearly doubled to an estimated $80 billion since the CFPB began reviewing the products after the initial criticism that transaction fees on some products were too high.

The competition in the prepaid marketplace has driven lower fees over the past four years. The person familiar with the proposal told Bloomberg that it could come in early November and won’t include broad restrictions on transaction fees.

CFPB officials have been studying the prepaid market since 2010, when cards including one issued by reality TV stars the Kardashian sisters were charging as much as $1.50 for withdrawals or for speaking with a customer service. Such fees became rarer after increased competition from new market entrants.

According to Madeline Aufseeser, senior analyst with the Aite Group, a Boston-based consultancy, these cards have risen in popularity. In 2010, consumers had about $37 billion loaded onto prepaid cards, a number that is expected to rise to nearly $80 billion by the end of this year.

To read the complete story from Bloomberg, click here.

With more consolidation and saturation in key niches of the marketplace, it's never been more important for prepaid to continue to drive new growth and unearth new business opportunities. To support prepaid players, that is why at All Payments Expo 2015, we've created the Prepaid Forum, a dedicated forum focused on relevant and important content for the prepaid industry.

Click here to view the updated event brochure. 

Make sure you join us this February 23-25 at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas - As a blog reader, use the code XU2848BLOG when you register and save $100 off the current rate | Register Here.

See you in Las Vegas!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

All Payments Expo Agenda Now Available!

All Payments Expo is your Q1 meeting place to execute 2015 strategy:
• Meet with Existing Partners & Clients in Prepaid, Gifting and Incentives
• Meet New Prospects in Omnichannel Retail and Disruptive Technology
• Get Free Meeting Space and Intuitive Technology to Find, Vet and Manage Meetings


New Ideas from these Payments Movers and Shakers to Keep You Competitive:
Emerge Financial Wellness
Boom Financial
Digital Currency Council
Darden Restaurants
PayPay Financial
Flash Foods
Coin Capital
Connexions Loyalty
Locke Lord
Hudson Bay Co.
Dorado Industries
Cabela's Inc.
Dravis Group
Home Depot
Strategic Counsel Corp.
Women's Annex Foundation
Cold Stone Creamery       
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Wallaby Financial
Sears Holdings Corporation
Icon Capital Reserve SA
Mobetize, Corp.
Bain Capital Ventures
Regions Bank
Mercator Advisory Group
RK Incentives
Cirque du Soleil
Unidos Financial
National Anti-ORC Association
451 Research
MacAngel LLC.
Rebellion Lab
Momentum Groups
Accion Venture Lab
Bryan Cave
Toys R Us
Plug N' Play
Tally Capital
Keefe Bruyette & Woods
U.S. Senate
Mercator Advisory Group
Central Bank
Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores
General Catalyst Partners
Bitcoin Strategy Group
EMV Migration Forum
Self Synthesize!
Gift Card Network
Logbar, Inc.
Hyatt Incentive Rewards
Davis Polk & Wardwell

Register for All Payments Expo 2015 now! Use code XU2848BLOG to save $100 off the current rate – total savings of $400 when you register by 11/21 – Register here.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Register for APEX by this Friday 10/24 to Save $500!

Rates for All Payments Expo 2015 go up after this Friday, 10/24 make sure you register now to maximize your savings. Register now and save $400 off the standard rate, but you can save an EXTRA $100 when you use the code XU2848BLOG - Total savings of $500! Register here.

Increase deal flow and new partnerships for your business by harnessing the changes happening in payments and commerce being discussed at All Payments Expo 

The APEX experience will support every aspect of your strategy - from customizable content across four forums to a complimentary meeting platform, complete with bookable free meeting space, powered by partneringONE

Here's what's new for 2015:

Tailored Forum
Customize your content and hand-pick your sessions across four different focus areas ripe with partnerships, innovation and business development opportunities: Prepaid, Disruptive Technologies, Omnichannel Retail and Gifting/Incentives.

Meet the Regulators
Meet with the regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies who are impacting your business. Take advantage of this relaxed, informal way to meet and educate the regulatory community.

Private Boardrooms
Exclusively for seasoned executives, APEX has developed four private discussion-based sessions that delve into the most pressing challenges facing the industry. These discussions are private, off-the-record and limited to 25 participants.

Private Retail Exhibit Hall Tour
Retail participants will get exclusive access to the exhibit hall while it is otherwise closed - plus a tour of new technologies led by Martha Weaver, Executive Director, Gift Card Network.

Women in Payments Lunch
A mentoring and networking opportunity build just for women in payments. Conversations built around the biggest questions circulating the industry, including the impact of mobile and cryptocurrency on payments.

Book by this Friday to lock in the lowest possible price ($500 savings) and get access every tool to build your business. Use the code XU2848BLOG to save. Register now.

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to Ryan Geswell at

See you in Las Vegas!

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

All Payments Expo 2015 - Dates Announced

All Payments Expo is THE meeting place for the world's most successful merchants, payments companies, banks and technology firms. Industry leaders come together to create partnerships, launch new products, develop new business and explore innovations 

Top Reasons to Attend:

More Retailers
APEX attracts 300+ retailers annually to meet with vendors, re-sign contracts and scout out new potential vendors. Retailers also meet with peers for industry benchmarking, networking and to uncover tactics and challenges to grow programs across plastic and digital platforms.     

New Faces
You'll meet more executives who are relevant to all the areas of your business, with a flood of new participants. New attendees hail from retail's IT, Marketing and Corporate Strategy functions; new app developers (from wallets to loyalty); alternative financial services  CEOs, merchant acquirers; cyptocurrency players and more.

Secure Meetings
All APEX attendees will have access to the attendee list on our proprietary partneringONE platform, where you can vet potential partners and easily pre-arrange meetings. More than 5,000 meetings take place onsite annually.          

Growth Opportunities for Prepaid
With prepaid maturing, this is THE place to identify new customer segments, distribution opportunities and use cases that take your prepaid business into unsaturated territory.

Register now and you can save $400! Plus, as a blog reader you can receive an extra $100 off the standard rate, by using the code XU2848BLOG”, a total savings of $500 - Register Now! 

See you in Las Vegas! 

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why Does Bitcoin's Value Fluctuate So Much?

Introduced as open-source online payment software in 2009, Bitcoin in simple words refers to a purely digital currency which is used primarily for online payment purpose. Although, it was recognized by the US Treasury as a decentralized virtual currency, the popularity of cryptocurrency is still in developmental stages and is not as widely accepted. Despite of being a purely virtual currency, Bitcoin is one of the most volatile currencies and the prices can fluctuate even in a normal market situation. Despite of several shortcomings as a viable currency, the popularity of Bitcoin among online users has grown rapidly since its introduction. Given below are the various reasons why the value of Bitcoin fluctuates so much.

1. Buyer Protection
Several banking agencies like the European Banking Agencies have issued several warnings about Bitcoin lacking any sort of consumer protection. This means that if you use Bitcoin online to buy a product and the seller doesn’t deliver it or the product is faulty, then there is absolutely nothing that you can do to recover your lost Bitcoin cash. While this problem can be resolved through escrow services, but this definitely makes the investors apprehensive about investing in a poorly protected currency.

2. Bad Press Reviews And Use In Illegal Trade
Bitcoin’s popularity was severely hampered due to the news about Bitcoin being regulated by the government. There were several instances of it being used in illegal drug trade via the Silk Road which also resulted in the marketplace being shut down by the FBI in 2008. Trade has picked up since then but these incidents have also created an unrest and disbelief in the value of Bitcoin among the people.

3. Digital Wallets Are Prone To Technical Issues
The vulnerability of digital wallets to data corruption and virus make it a really dangerous currency to invest. Bitcoin currency is usually stored on a computer hard drive which is susceptible to data loss and can very well bankrupt a wealthy investor. The coins collected on the hard drive are also lost permanently with no chance of recovery and will be permanently orphaned by the system.

4. Deflation
Unlike regular currencies which are valued against a solid standard such as gold or silver or another valuable currency, Bitcoin’s price is regulated due to its limited production. The current mining technology limits its production to 21 million and is thus prone to deflation. Since the value of each Bitcoin will increase each day, the question of when to spend the currency will be a serious problem for the investors and result in spending sprees. A sudden surge in spending can not only cause deflation but also unexpected volatility.

5. Security Breaches Due To Poor Software Design
Due to being operated through an open-source database, the source-code can easily be modified and hacked by anyone. This makes it an extremely unsecure form of currency to invest in. Recent news about the OpenSSL attacks by the Heartbleed bug in April, 2014 has led to even further repercussions in the value of Bitcoin in the market. The value of Bitcoin is highly based on the people’s confidence in the software design and security breaches as such can act like a bane to its popularity and use.

6. Tax Treatment
Despite of its small value, the volatility of Bitcoin was highly affected by the recent announcements by the IRS. In March 2014, the IRS announced and recognized Bitcoin as an asset that is taxable under the US law and made it mandatory for the users to record its value at the time of each transaction. This has led to a sudden decline of Bitcoin users and investors as book keeping is essentially troublesome for what the currency is worth.

Despite of its several advantages as an unofficial cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is met with several challenges and obstacles to its growth in use. The above reasons for its volatile and constantly fluctuation prices have led to a bad perception of its value in the investors.  Nevertheless, Bitcoin is also viewed as a sign of a maturing market and changing trends in global economics by several investors and there might be a bright future after all for the digital currency.

Author: Luke Peters is an active trader on several forex related platforms like and has written several articles related to law, trading, finance, and financial management. He likes to spend most of his time reading various books and literature related to the respective niches

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