Visa and MasterCard are forming a group that is intended to help the retail and banking industries come together on more-secure credit card payments.
Credit card breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and other retailers have put a spotlight on the weak spots in the security of credit card payments.
Visa and MasterCard, which run the networks that carry the payments, said Friday that the new group will include banks, retailers, the makers of credit card readers, and others with an interest in credit card security.
The group’s initial focus will be on banks’ adoption of embedded digital chips for storing account information on debit and credit cards. Compared with the current magnetic strips, it is a system that typically makes data theft harder and is common in other countries. While it is unclear whether the chips would have prevented the Target breach, experts say they make it tougher for thieves to make counterfeit cards using stolen credit and debit card numbers.
Many retailers want the chips, but they also want each debit or credit card transaction to require a personal identification number instead of a signature. Experts say it is harder for criminals to steal PINs than to forge signatures. Some retailers are resisting the switch to PINs — planned to take effect by fall 2015 — because they will be forced to buy more expensive card readers.
— Associated Press
CNN founder Ted Turner was rushed to a hospital in Buenos Aires on Friday from his ranch in southern Argentina for appendicitis surgery.
Turner, 75, was admitted to a Buenos Aires hospital, CNN said in a message on Twitter. Argentine television network TN broadcast images of Turner walking from a clinic to a car in the mountain resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche, 835 miles southwest of the capital, before boarding a private plane. Turner Enterprises chief communications officer Phillip Evans confirmed his hospitalization but said that “no further details will be provided.”
Turner, who owns three ranches in Argentina’s Patagonia region spread over more than 125,000 acres, turned CNN into one of the United States’ biggest cable-television systems before selling it to Time Warner in 1996. He also founded the Turner Foundation, which seeks to protect and restore the natural world, according to the organization’s Web site.
— Bloomberg News
●A whistleblower will be paid $63.9 million for providing tips that led to JPMorgan Chase’s agreement to pay $614 million and tighten oversight to resolve charges that it defrauded the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Affairs Department into insuring flawed home loans. The payment to the whistleblower, Keith Edwards, was disclosed in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that formally ended the case.
●The U.S. trade deficit widened slightly in January as a rise in imports of oil and other foreign goods offset a solid increase in exports. The trade deficit increased to $39.1 billion, up 0.3 percent from December’s revised $39 billion deficit, the Commerce Department said. Exports climbed 0.6 percent to $192.8 billion, led by increased sales of U.S.-made machinery, aircraft and medical equipment. Imports rose 0.6 percent to $231.6 billion, reflecting a 9 percent jump in petroleum imports.
●Consumers increased their borrowing in January on autos and student loans but cut back on their credit card use. Consumer borrowing rose $13.7 billion in January following an even larger $15.9 billion rise in December, the Federal Reserve reported. The category that includes auto and student loans increased $13.9 billion while the category that covers credit cards fell $226 million, marking the third time in the past five months that credit card loans have declined.
●Hog prices are rising for the fourth straight week as a swine virus threatens to crimp the supply of pork. The April contract for lean hogs rose 0.6 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $1.13 a pound. The price has climbed 6 percent this week and is up about a third since the start of the year. U.S. pigs are being infected with the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which can be deadly for new-born pigs.
●A New Mexico judge issued a $3.2 million judgment against Wells Fargo for foreclosing on a man’s home after his death, even though he had bought an insurance policy through the bank that would have paid the remaining balance on his mortgage. In addition to actual damages, attorney’s fees and court costs, District Judge Beatrice Brickhouse awarded James Dollens’s estate $2.7 million in punitive damages, calling the bank’s conduct shocking and reprehensible. Jim Hines, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, said the bank will appeal.
— From news services