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Equifax Acquires SMB Credit Rating Firm PayNet

Founded in 2000, PayNet provides a range of services and data products for leasing and commercial lending companies to make better credit granting and other decisions by understanding the credit history and risks of small and medium businesses. Equifax announced their acquisition of the company, for an undisclosed amount, on April 24.

PayNet and employees are now part of Equifax’s United States Information Solutions, the credit bureau’s largest business unit.

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MasterCard Acquires Ethoca, Post-Transaction Provider Pioneer

MasterCard announced on March 12 their acquisition of Ethoca, pioneer of the chargeback or issuer alert service. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the second quarter and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ethoca came to market in 2005 with the first card issuer-to-merchant collaboration network, their Ethoca Alerts service. This network allows Ethoca’s now 4,000 financial institution partners to communicate disputed transactions with their more than 5,000 merchant clients, allowing the merchant to respond and potentially avoid a chargeback. These services, known as issuer alerts, can help organizations reduce costs and lower chargeback rates.

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Nearly 450 Million Consumer Records with PII Exposed in 2018

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, who just released their 2018 End-of-Year Data Breach Report, the number of data breaches fell by nearly 25 percent compared to 2017, but the number of compromised records containing personally identifiable information (PII) more than doubled to 446.5 million.

Although the total number of data breaches declined in 2018, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), it was still the second highest number of data breaches reported in one year since the ITRC has been keeping track.

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Cyber Monday and Black Friday Reach Record Highs Totaling More Than $14 Billion in Online Sales

Cyber Monday 2018 was the largest online shopping day recorded in the U.S. with $7.9 billion in sales volume, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales on Black Friday grew 24 percent from 2017 to $6.2 billion this year as mobile shopping and pick-up in-store saw the largest growth.

While Cyber Monday online spending increased about 20 percent year-over-year, mobile payment transactions represented $2.2 billion of the $7.9 billion sales total for the day. Mobile spending was up nearly 56 percent from Cyber Monday 2017. Adobe additionally estimates that online sales on Thanksgiving Day reached $3.7 billion, an increase of 29 percent from 2017.

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Consumers More Concerned with Fraud than Overspending During Holiday Season

A recent survey from CaptialOne found that 26 percent of consumers believe Cyber Monday is the riskiest day of the year to shop online while 85 percent of US consumers believe the risk of identity fraud is elevated during the holidays. Financial fraud was the top concern amongst Americans, surpassing consumers who were most concerned about potentially overspending during the holiday season.

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Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales Exceed US Online Sales from Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday

Alibaba, China’s largest online company, reported gross merchandise value (GMV) of $30.8 billing on Singles Day or 11/11. This metric, which represents the dollar value of goods sold by third parties over Alibaba’s platform, is up 22 percent from last year. Singles Day is the largest online shopping day in China, far exceeding the value of US online sales on Cyber Monday which reached a record $7.9 billion in 2018.

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Germany Issues First GDPR Fine Following Data Breach at Social Media Company

Nearly 2 million username and password combinations along with 330,000 email and password combinations were exposed in a data breach impacting German social media platform Knuddels.de. The company received a €20,000 fine related to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because the passwords exposed were stored in plain text.

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