Tag: visa

Visa will make signatures optional for chipped credit cards

It's been about a month since American Express and Mastercard decided to stop requiring signatures for EMV chip credit cards. Now Visa is joining their ranks, making signatures optional for chipped transactions in North America.

"Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast and convenient payments at the point of sale," said VIsa's Dan Sanford in a statement. "Our focus is on continually evolving the market towards dynamic authentication methods such as EMV chip, as well as investing in emerging capabilities that leverage advanced analytics and biometrics. We believe making the signature requirement optional for EMV chip-enabled merchants is the responsible next step to enhance security and convenience at the point of sale."

Contact and contactless chip-enabled points of sale are taking over, of course, for their enhanced security and convenience for retail transactions. Visa notes that it has deployed more than 460 million EMV chip cards and readers at over 2.5 million locations.

Source: Visa

New UK Visa card lets you spend Bitcoin like normal money

With Bitcoin trading at all time high, investors are working out whether it's best to sit on their stockpile or make the most of it while they can. For those wishing to utilise their investment, opportunities can be limited, with only a small number of big companies currently supporting cryptocurrency transactions. London Block Exchange (LBX) wants to change that. It's launching a new Visa debit card that will let users spend their Bitcoin (and other digital currencies) anywhere across the UK.

LBX claims that the Dragoncard, which launches in the coming weeks, is the first to let investors instantly convert their Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero currency into sterling. The platform and accompanying smartphone app are secured by the same systems that underpin the UK banking system and have provisionally been approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

When used on the High Street, customers will be charged a 0.5% fee for converting their cryptocurrency holdings into pounds at the till. The Dragoncard also comes with a one-off £20 charge and will charge a small fee for ATM withdrawals. Public pre-registrations are already open, but institutional investors will only be accepted via invitation.

Bitcoin transactions, by default, aren't typically fast. They take several minutes to complete, which has led experts to deem it unsuitable as method of payment. LBX handles the conversion itself, rather than at the point of sale, allowing it to potentially remove that headache for users altogether.

Via: London Block Exchange (PRNewsWire), The Telegraph

Source: London Block Exchange

Visa swaps payment cards for NFC gloves at the Winter Olympics

Visa is very fond of showing off its tap-to-pay technology at the Olympics, and that's truer than ever with the 2018 Winter Olympics around the corner. The payment giant is selling a trio of NFC-equipped gadgets to help you shop at the PyeongChang games, most notably a set of winter gloves. Yes, you can pay for that souvenir without freezing your hands as you reach for a credit card or even your phone. You won't have to use them or the other devices at the games, but they'll come with prepaid values of between 30,000KRW to 50,000KRW ($27 to $45) to encourage shopping in South Korea. Visa hasn't offered pricing.

The other two items are considerably subtler. There are four commemorative lapel pins ($4.50 each) that you can load with prepaid funds, and a flexible NFC sticker that you can attach to all kinds of objects and accepts prepaid values as high as $180.

If you want any of them, you'll probably have to wait until you're visiting the country. Visa is currently selling all three through South Korea's Lotte Card (both online and in customer centers), and they'll otherwise be available through Olympic Superstores. Really, these are technology demos that just happen to be useful in other parts of the world. And that's a bit of a shame -- people in many colder climates would likely appreciate those gloves.

Source: Visa

Uber’s new credit card could be a tough sell (updated)

Uber isn't exactly known for protecting the privacy of its drivers or riders. Tim Cook reportedly had to threaten to remove the Uber app from iPhones after he discovered the app was "fingerprinting" iPhones with a permanent ID. The ride sharing company had to stop gathering location data from passengers, even after a ride ended, and it settled with the FTC over abuse of customer data. Now Uber is offering a new credit card, available November 2nd, which might seem a bit counter-intuitive.

The Uber Visa has no annual fee, and users earn $100 after they spend $500 in the first 90 days of owning the card. You'll get rewards for using the card, and they'll accrue even faster for buying food in a restaurant, booking a trip, taking an Uber (obviously) or shopping online. You'll be able to redeem the rewards for Uber credits on rides and UberEats delivery, as well as cash back or gift cards. It will even grant you an annual $50 "subscription credit" you can use towards Netflix, Spotify or Amazon Prime. Uber also says that cardholders can get coverage for theft or damage of their mobile devices, and invites to secret shows and dining experiences. All subject to "terms," of course. Still, given the company's track record, it might be a tough sell to ask customers to sign up.

Update: Uber clarified to Engadget that it would not get any information on individual spending, as that will stay with the issuing bank, Barclays. The only thing Uber will know is the amount of spending that occurs on their cards in aggregate. The company says it will have access to how many Uber credits that rider has earned through the percent back on an individual level. This post has been edited in light of those details.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Uber

PlayStation credit card gives extra money back for gaming purchases

If you're a PlayStation fan, you probably use your credit card for a lot: games, add-ons, the virtually obligatory Plus subscription and the occasional accessory. Wouldn't it be good if you could at least get some compensation for pouring so much money into Sony's coffers? If you live in the US, you can. Sony has launched a Visa-based PlayStation credit card from Capital One that gives you discounts and redeemable points if you shop for Sony gear or PlayStation services.

You always get Sony Rewards points whatever you buy (including three times as many for paying phone bills), but you'll get five times the usual points if you shop at the PlayStation Store, and a similar amount for Sony products if you fill out a Bonus Points form. You'll also get 10 percent off subscriptions to PlayStation Music, Now and Vue (in the form of credit), and half off a Plus subscription if you spend at least $3,000 with the card in the span of a year.

Catches? There's no annual fee, but it will take a while to rack up enough points to actually buy something. You get the equivalent of $1 for every 100 points -- that free PS4 Pro will have to wait. The requirement for that bonus form doesn't help, either. And of course, you won't get as many benefits if you aren't a fan of most Sony products outside of the PlayStation itself. Still, if your existing card doesn't give you perks you tend to use, it might not hurt to give this a look.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Automated English visa test struggles to understand English

An Irish veterinarian's application for an Australian visa has been rejected after she failed to pass an automated English proficiency test, despite completing it in her native language of... English. Louise Kennedy, who has two degrees (both obtained in English), wanted to apply for permanent residency in the country on the grounds of her job, which is classed as a shortage profession. Despite acing the reading and writing parts of the test she didn't score highly enough on oral fluency, as it seems the machines couldn't understand her accent.

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is an automated system that asks applicants a number of questions and records their vocal responses which are analyzed and scored. The Australian government demands a score of at least 79 points. Kennedy scored 74.

Speaking to The Guardian, Kennedy -- who is now considering other options for staying in the county -- said: "There's obviously a flaw in their computer software when a person with perfect oral fluency cannot get enough points." Yet Pearson categorically denies there's anything wrong with its test or scoring engine, noting that Australia has very high immigration requirements (and President Trump is full of admiration for Prime Minister Turnbull's stance on the issue).

In light of Germany's recent announcement that it plans to use voice recognition to identify refugee origins, Kennedy's struggle throws into question the viability of relying on automation for this purpose. It's one thing when an accent means Siri doesn't understand mundane commands, but entirely another when people's futures are at stake.

Via: Gizmodo