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Posted: Dec 14, 2017
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It’s imperative for credit unions to understand interchange – the biggest component of non-interest income.

One of the most misunderstood, and possibly the most misaligned topic in the credit and debit card world is interchange. At a summary, it is a fee paid by a merchant, paid to the issuer, each time a credit or debit cardholder uses a card, in a store or online. The fee covers the cost of processing the credit or debit card; for a credit transaction the fee reimburses the issuer for the interest on carrying the balance during the cardholder’s debt repayment grace period; and the fee is intended to address the cost for zero fraud liability, which reimburses the cardholder in case of fraud. In addition, higher interchange is charged for signature rewards credit cards, to cover the cost of additional cardholder benefits such as cash back or auto rental collision damage waiver. The practice of a merchant paying the issuer interchange was established in 1971, when Bank Americard set 1.95% as the standard rate as compensation for the risk of card-issuing banks. Interchange is also paid to the ATM owner each time a cardholder gets cash out. Seems simple enough, but there’s much more complexity to it.
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Posted: Nov 3, 2017
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Author: Lou Grilli

Another way Credit Unions can keep members happy, reduce declines, and keep cards top-of-wallet.

The ability for an issuer to approve a “Partial Authorization” has been available since 2005, yet most issuers and merchants still don’t take advantage of it. As a result, transactions on debit, prepaid, and gift cards frequently get declined, resulting in frustrated cardholders, and lost sales. 

Simply put, a Partial Authorization occurs when an authorization request for a card presented to a merchant is attempted for the full amount of the transaction and, if there are not enough funds in the debit or prepaid or gift account available to cover the full amount, the authorization is approved for the amount available. This allows the cardholder to use the available amount in the account, and for the merchant to obtain an additional form of payment for the difference. For non-reloadable gift Cards, the issuers will also return a card balance which will be printed on the receipt. Partial Authorization keeps transactions alive without the merchant telling a customer it has been declined and allows the cardholder to pay the remaining amount with another form of payment.

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Posted: Aug 24, 2017
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Author: Lou Grilli

But, that’s all about to change to the delight of smartphone users.

Entering a PIN on a physical pad of numbered buttons has just surpassed being a 50-year old technology, created with the first ATMs. The current security requirements around PIN management and transmission, ISO 9564, dates to 1991.

Today’s smartphone users are accustomed to tapping PINs on their screens, to unlock the phone and access mobile banking. But to make a debit transaction, the consumer still needs to press the buttons on the PIN pad. Security certification of dedicated hardware-based PIN pads assured that the PIN could not be compromised, and could be transmitted securely. “PIN on glass” implies entering PINs on many different phones, tablets, built-in screens on gas pumps, kiosks, etc. This represents a new challenge, because these screens are inherently software devices that potentially can be modified remotely, infiltrated by malware, or hijacked by fraudsters.

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Posted: Aug 10, 2017
Comments: 3

An update on credit or debit EMV chip cards

Fallback occurs when a credit or debit EMV chip card cannot be read at a chip terminal when inserted and is processed by swiping the mag stripe. Fallback is typically seen in a market where EMV is first being introduced. An incorrectly configured terminal, terminals that are not set up to process “chip and PIN”, terminals that have not been programmed to route transactions over some networks, and in rare cases, defective chips within the card, are all potential or legitimate reasons for a chip card to not be capable of being read properly at the terminal. In these cases permitting the cardholder to complete the transaction by swiping the mag stripe card at the terminal seems like the proper way to minimize customer inconvenience.
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Posted: Jul 20, 2017
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Author: Tom Davis

Government also plans to use biometrics to eliminate credit and debit cards by 2020

Editor's Note: This article was previously published on CUInsight.com and has been modified.

Overnight, India, a country with 1.3 billion in population, became a predominantly cashless country, switching to mobile-based digital payments. And the government has even more ambitious plans – to eliminate credit and debit cards by 2020. How did this all happen?

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