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Data Dive: Hacked Hotels, Square Evolves & Venmo Doubles Down On Commerce

The problem with a run of fantastical headlines is that eventually the world has to assume a more even keel.
Or not.

With hotels getting hacked, Square going real time, Venmo channeling its inner Star Trek and boldly going where P2P has never gone before, there’s plenty to keep you on the edges of your seats.

Kimpton Caught In a Hack Attack

In case you were wondering – no, cybercriminals do not take a summer vacation.

Of course, the various tales of woe out of the DNC’s recent struggle with keeping Russia out of its servers may have already clued you into that fact.

But this week we did learn that Kimpton, which runs 62 hotels in the United States, reports that an undisclosed number have likely been hit by hackers. According to a statement released last week, “Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants takes the protection of payment card data very seriously. Kimpton was recently made aware of a report of unauthorized charges occurring on cards that were previously used legitimately at Kimpton properties. As soon as we learned of this, we immediately launched an investigation and engaged a leading security firm to provide us with support.”

Kimpton also reminded card holders to monitor accounts – and inform their financial institution in case of unauthorized charges.

“Payment card network rules generally state that cardholders are not responsible for such charges,” the company said.

If Kimpton has truly been breached it is surely not alone. This year Trump Hotel, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt, Starwood and White Lodging have all confirmed card breaches. Kimpton isn’t even the first breach this month – Omni Hotels saw hackers make off with 50,000 payment card numbers gleaned from point-of-sales systems.

So at least Kimpton is not alone – though “luckily” enough for them during a time when much more alarming hacks were unfolding.

Square Helps Merchants Cash Out Faster
In a move to make it easier for their small business clients to better manage their cash flow, Square has announced the coming roll-out of its Scheduled Deposit services.

This will allow sellers the option of depositing their daily sales in their bank accounts on the same day they receive them. That privilege of life without waits comes with a charge – 1 percent of total deposit amount – but the service is available every day, including weekends.

“Cash flow and access to capital are some of the biggest challenges faced by local sellers when growing a business, often due to lengthy settlement times as long as five days,” said Square in a blog post announcing the new feature. “With the introduction of Scheduled Deposit, Square gives sellers the option to deposit their daily sales in their bank account the very same day, seven days a week.”

The new service pairs next-business-day settlements and Instant Deposit – both launched within the last year – and Square says sellers in that time have completed more than 2 million deposits instantly. What’s more, the number of sellers who are opting to get their money instantly has more than doubled since the start of 2016.

The news comes ahead of Square’s next earnings release -which is on the docket for Wednesday. Check back, we’ll fill you in on the results.

Pay With Venmo Waves Bye-Bye To Beta
For the army of millennial consumers who currently use Venmo to transfer funds among themselves – last week brought some very exciting news.

Venmo – going forward – will enable its all of its customers to conduct transactions and share the bill on the apps of participating stores.

The participating retailers list so far includes: Boxed, a bulk ordering website; Delivery.com, a food delivery service; Dolly, a moving app; Gametime, a mobile ticketing app; Hop Market, a mobile marketplace; Munchery, a food delivery app; Parking Panda, a parking reservation app; Poshmark, a fashion marketplace; Priv, a beauty and wellness app; Urgentli, a rental marketplace; and Wish, a shopping app.

“So long, beta. Earlier in 2016, we announced that a limited number of Venmo users would get to experience the familiar delight and ease of paying with Venmo within their favorite merchant apps,” said Venmo on its blog. “We’re thrilled to announce that all of our Venmo users will be able to make purchases with Venmo.”

The list above, according to Venmo, is just the opening list – and the goal is to sign on more partners – particularly those more relevant to Venmo’s customers – those Millennials that are so very hard to reach but so very coveted by merchants.

So what did we learn this week? You don’t need the Olympics to watch high stakes competitions unfold. Hackers are going for the gold in cyber fraud in payments, Square is running the SMB marathon and Venmo is making sure it is the way that all the cool kids are paying for their tickets to the game.

See you next week.

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LATEST PYMNTS REPORT: MARCH 2020 B2B API TRACKER  

B2B APIs aren’t just for large enterprises anymore — middle-market firms and SMBs now realize their potential for enabling low-cost access to real-time payments and account data. But those capabilities are only the tip of the API iceberg, says HSBC global head of liquidity and cash management Diane Reyes. In this month’s B2B API Tracker, Reyes explains how the next wave of banking APIs could fight payments fraud and proactively alert middle-market treasurers to investment opportunities.

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