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30 seconds industry news

APPLE OUT OF ITS DEPTH IN THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY?

This year marked another first for Apple, the US-based tech giant that has been keeping both at the very top of annual most profitable companies list as well as at the forefront of technological developments. After revolutionizing the computer market with desktop, laptop and tablet computer, and becoming a leading maker of smartphones, the company set its sights on something a little more old-fashioned, at least at first glance: credit cards.

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Partnering with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, Apple presented this year to the world its first Apple Card. Boasting no fees and an annual percentage rate ranging from 12.99 to 23.99 percent, when the average rate for credit cards currently stands at 17.8 percent, and offering integration with various other services available to Apple product users, the card was set to make significant waves upon introduction.

But what was the actual response, once the first wave of titanium cards was sent out to users and the hype following each new Apple announcement died down? 

Well, NBC News contacted around half a dozen credit card experts who had received their own Apple Cards and asked them for their evaluation, rating this new card on a scale of 1 to 10 based on comparisons with other reward and Mastercard cards. Their verdict? An average score of 6.5. But even that comes with a caveat.

As Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com remarked, the general attitude of Apple Card users might run more towards a 9 for Apple Pay users and a 4 for everyone else. Both Matt Schulz of CompareCards.com and Jill Gonzalez of WalletHub expressed their belief that Apple Card is simply not competitive in the current market, with its rewards simply not being up to par. Schulz further pointed out that what interest an average consumer is a card that offers either the best rates or the best rewards - both marks that Apple Card does not reach.

As it currently stands, the Apple Card may be a resounding yes only for the already consummate Apple fan and one who takes extra care of their Apple products at that: the card's coating is, according to multiple reports, easily damaged by hard surfaces and materials or even other cards in your wallet. Apple's own support page warns that contact with leather and denim might cause permanent discoloration.

WORLDPAY CONNECTS TO IATA FINANCIAL GATEWAY

Worldpay has made a significant step forward in its business by joining the Fintech and Payments Services Strategic Partnership Program. The payments company will now be involved in the creation of IATA (International Air Transport Association) policies and regulations on behalf of its member airlines.

Worldpay's involvement in this initiative will enable web-based as well as mobile-based payments, MOTO (mail order telephone order) and NDC (New Distribution Capability), as well as provide airline passengers with access to chip and PIN terminals compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

Worldpay will also be lending their expertise and experience to the upgrade and rollout of IATA's new Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) file format (DISH23). The BSP has already been pre-integrated in over a hundred countries and Worldpay will certainly be able to help IATA's member airlines consolidate their local BSP acquiring relationships into one global account.

This initiative also provides support for IATA's plans for the creation of unified gateway, which would allow all its member airlines to increase their payment diversity and acceptance. 

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Such a gateway is expected to be a significant boon to airline passengers, ensuring a consistent payment experience across all airlines' touchpoints. And with IATA airlines spanning all continents, the "no matter where you are, you pay the same way" approach will certainly be a boost to passenger satisfaction.

MULTISAFEPAY ACHIEVES FULL ACQUIRER AND PROCESSOR STATUS FOR VISA AND MASTERCARD

MultiSafepay has recently achieved full acquirer and processor status with two card giants: Visa and Mastercard. This significant development places the company - already an important player in the European digital payment sector - in full control of the entire credit card payment flow between the consumer and the merchant. The fintech company has been specializing in providing innovative solutions and technologies to online retailers of all sizes: small, medium or large, chances are they are employing MultiSafepay services and products.

This direct handling of credit card payments for Visa and Mastercard presents a step towards expanding the span of control of the fintech's business, say several company representatives.

With credit card payments making up a significant, sizeable percentage of all online payments in the ecommerce industry, maintaining a steady and reliable payment flow is paramount. 

Standard practice involves multiple third party providers processing any single transaction - requiring constant compatibility as well as the handling of safety and security concerns. However, with MultiSafepay now being the acquirer and processor for Visa and Mastercard, the payment flow is under single control from checkout in the online store to credit card schemes. The fintech's new strategic role is expected to reduce dependency on the aforementioned third party service providers as well as increase the payment processing velocity. MultiSafepay's oversight will also allow for data aggregation that may help both merchants and the fintech itself develop and deliver new services as well as provide a more streamlined user experience.