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Bitcoin Watch: NYC <3 BTC?

Posted by James Mueller on February 17, 2015 05:05 PM

New York State is already poised to be the first state to establish Bitcoin-specific financial regulations, but will its largest city further legitimize the controversial cryptocurrency by joining the ranks of those that accept it as payment? New York City councilman Mark Levine is proposing just that, citing as motivators the potential savings on credit card fees, and the hope of attracting tech talent.

New York is not alone in its curiosity. Many companies have experimented with Bitcoin in the last year, including Microsoft, Dell, and Newegg. Almost all of these, however, don't ever touch Bitcoin directly, instead using a payment processor, Bitpay or Coinbase, to immediately transform a customer's Bitcoin payment into dollars. Overstock.com, meanwile, not only accepts BTC in partnership with Coinbase, but also allows its employees to be paid in it.

Many skeptics are wary of Bitcoin, however, and not without reason: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists hacker vulnerability, lack of protections, high cost, and fraud risk as dangers to be aware of.Continue reading...

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'Green' Credit Cards Expand But Not Yet Second Nature for Consumers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2015 12:55 PM

Green credit cards are a growing trend as consumers are seeking companies and brands “put people and planet ahead of a single-minded focus on profits at any cost.”

According to Green America, the non-profit that launched in 1982 as "Co-op America" until rebranding in 2009, “megabanks collect $60 billion per year in transaction charges.”

“The good news is that the rise of ‘green’ credit cards with low fees, good rates, and extra features such as travel perks means that consumer fed up with megabank abuses now have real choices,” stated Green America Corporate Responsibility Division Director Todd Larsen.

“Changing to a responsible, green credit card is easy. We encourage concerned consumers to take the time now to learn how to put a ‘green’ credit card in their wallet or purse.” And more and more of them are switching, compelling financial institutions to review their products with a mind to reflecting their corporate citizenship commitments.Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: Bitcoin Makes a Splash, Despite Controversies Abroad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2015 03:35 PM

CES 2015 Bitcoin

Bitcoin has been attracting a lot of interest—or at least curiosity—from companies and consumers alike, not to mention governments and financial watchdogs.

That's why CES 2015 is highlighting the virtual currency in a 2,000-square-foot island where companies including BitPay, Bitman, Bitstamp, Blockchain, Circle, CoPay, Kraken, Private Internet Access, Robocoin and yBitcoin—collectively representing more than $100 million in venture capital—have been showing their wares in the Wild West that is the Bitcoin economy.

"Bitcoin is rapidly redefining financial and commercial paradigms," says Emily Vaughn, Marketing Manager at BitPay. "The showcase represents some of the top talent in bitcoin technology and will provide a unique experience for the 170,000 CES attendees."Continue reading...

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Bitcoin Gets More Respect From Major Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2014 12:02 PM

Bitcoin currency gold coins

Bitcoin has survived skepticism, economic volatility and outright hostility from entrenched financial institutions since it was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. But now, it's starting to seep into the global economy as more big brands are stepping out in support of the digital currency.

Time Inc. is the latest company to announce it’s accepting the virtual currency for subscriptions to many of its magazines, including Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel and Leisure.

“For a major publisher like Time Inc. to embrace Bitcoin sends an important message to both its readers and to the broader media community,” said Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase (Time Inc.'s Bitcoin processor), according to the New York Times.Continue reading...

point of purchase

As More Banks and Retailers Join Apple Pay, Samsung Steps Up to Compete

Posted by Catherine Straut on December 16, 2014 05:04 PM

Apple started the week off strong by reporting that the list of companies on the Apple Pay bandwagon has grown significantly over the past couple weeks. 

Some of the newcomers now supporting the mobile payments platform are SunTrust, Barclaycard and USAA, as well as ten new banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, the New York Times reports. On Friday, Amway Center, the home of the Orlando Magic, will start accepting Apple Pay at many of its retail, food and beverage stands during games.

With these new additions, Apple claims it now supports the cards that represent about 90 percent of the US credit card purchase volume.Continue reading...

bc q&a

The Post-IPO CMO: 5 Questions with Citizens Financial Group's Arturo Perez

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2014 04:42 PM

In 1828, Citizens Financial Group got its start as a small community bank called the High Street Bank in Providence, Rhode Island. Today it operates more than 1,200 branches across 11 U.S. states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

In September, Citizens Financial Group spun off from its owner, the Royal Bank of Scotland, in a $3.5 billion public offering—the biggest U.S. bank IPO since the financial crisis. Now three-quarters owned by RBS, which intends to completely divest its stake by 2016, the firm is focused on unifying its brand to create a consistent presence and identity for both B2B and individual customers.

As EVP and chief marketing officer Arturo Perez told brandchannel editor-in-chief Shirley Brady, "We have benefited from our long association with RBS and will continue to maintain a strong business relationship with the company throughout this period and beyond. But for most of our customers, Citizens Bank or Charter One is the brand that resonates most with them. Therefore, the focus will be on introducing Citizens Bank to our Charter One markets."

Find out more about the brand’s key goals and achievements now that CFG is well on its way as publicly traded company—and what customers can look forward to in the months ahead.Continue reading...

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Citibank Overhauls Branches With Smaller Footprints, More Tech

Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2014 05:03 PM

Citibank has been creatively trimming its sails for years, and now the banking brand is going to do some more nipping and tucking to burnish its consumer branches and to become more efficient—as well as attractive—in that part of the business.

The bank announced at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas this week that it plans to make its locations smaller and its technology flashier in seven major US cities, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The plans were unveiled by Jane Fraser, Citi's head of consumer banking, who was recently named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker magazine. The move is necessary, she said, because consumers think of bank branches as “fuddy duddy.”Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Apple Chides Retailers Blocking Apple Pay and Flocking to CurrentC

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2014 11:44 AM

When Rite Aid and CVS announced that they were going to disable Apple's mobile payments platform from use in their respective stores, it came as a surprise to the tech titan—an unpleasant one, to be sure.

Apple Pay only launched a week ago and had more than a million credit cards registered within its first 72 hours of existence, according to Reuters, while major retailers including Walmart and Starbucks declined to participate.

MasterCard has even integrated Pay into its new World Series-themed commercial (watch below) featuring Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, the man who apparently inspired the hit song “Royals” by Lorde. Continue reading...

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