Posts tagged with "Visa)"

Companies pledge not to lay off workers amid COVID-19 unemployment crisis

April 14, 2020

A record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. But several employers—in the consulting and financial services sectors—have pledged to hold off on job cuts, and are offering workers a financial cushion, The Washington Post reports.

Indeed, as early as evening of March 19—as stay-at-home orders were just going out in a number of states , but reports of job layoffs already were surging—New York City-based professional services firm Marsh & McLennan CEO Dan Glaser made a pledge to his employees.

“I want to say to all of you that while we are in the thick of this global pandemic, your job is secure,” Glaser said in a video message to the firm’s 76,000 global employees, including workers in its insurance and risk management, human resources, management consulting and reinsurance brokerage businesses.

“There will be no counting of sick days or vacation days until things return to normal,” he reassured workers, announcing the creation of a $5 million fund that would offer grants to employees facing financial hardship and reminded people of the “formidable resources and financial strength” of the company. “We will be fine — if you are fine.”

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the economy and brings a once-roaring labor market to a near-screeching halt, layoffs have mounted at a stunning pace, the Post reports.  For Glaser, the calculus of making such a temporary pledge is far different than for a small retailer or travel industry start-up. Although he expects a “rough period,” he said, “we are among the fortunate not to have to worry about profitability or whether we’re going to survive.”

But because Marsh & McLennan is in what Glaser likes to call “a brains business” — reliant on his employees’ ability to focus on clients— he wanted to assuage fears and concerns. “Are we really going to have somebody remotely call somebody at their home— not knowing their personal circumstances in any degree, not knowing whether they have a loved one in the next room who’s struggling—and let them go?” Glaser said in an interview with the Washington Post. “What would that say about us as a company?”

Several large financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, said last week they will suspend layoffs until the end of the year.

“We don’t want our teammates to worry about their jobs during a time like this,” Bank of America CEO  Brian Moynihan said in a CNBC interview posted on March 27. “We told them there’s no issue, you’re going to be working now through year end. No layoffs, nothing. We’ll continue to pay everybody.”

San Francisco-based payments company Visa will have no COVID-19 layoffs in 2020, CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jrsaid on LinkedIn.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff pledged March 25 “not to conduct any significant lay offs over the next 90 days,” and to continue to pay hourly workers while offices are shut down. He also encouraged employees to keep paying dog walkers and housekeepers during the crisis.

In subsequent tweets, the Post reports, he encouraged other chief executives to follow suit, calling for a “90-day CEO no layoff pledge.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Piggy banks are going ‘extinct, ‘ as kids start using mobile apps for pocket money

January 28, 2020

Those porcelain painted pigs that children have used for hundreds of years to store and accumulate spare change are going the way of the wooly mammoth—and it has nothing to do with climate change.

As the world moves toward a cashless society, pocket money is going digital, CNN reports. To reflect this trend, a flurry of mobile budgeting apps for children has sprung up worldwide: GoHenry, Osper, and Gimi—to name just a few.

GoHenry, for example, is a debit card and app with unique parental controls that is designed to teach young people (ages 6-19) money management skills. Launched in 2012 in collaboration with Mastercard, the GoHenry app and card now boast a community of over 500,000 members in the United States and United Kingdom.

The app is free the first month; then $3.99 per month going forward. To activate it, parents put money in their own accounts; then, transfer it to their children’s cards.

While, thus far, GoHenry has the biggest chunk of the U.S. market, the other apps are fast gaining popularity, as well.

Not yet in the USA—but already boasting 8 million customers in Europe—London-based Revolut, founded in 2015, claims to have a 10,000-person waitlist in on this side of the pond for its services. Currently targeted at adults, Revolut offers a prepaid debit card, fee-free currency exchange, commission-free stock trading, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments.

And, CNN reports, Revolut is set to join the pocket money market with its upcoming launch of Revolut Youth for seven- to 18-year-olds. Parents who are already Revolut customers will be able to add their children to their account as secondary users, each with their own personal debit card. Parents can monitor the child’s account through their existing app, while kids can download their own child-friendly version. Initial testing has begun, with the dedicated app for kids expected to become available in the United Kingdom in the first quarter of 2020.

The companies behind the apps argue that in an increasingly cashless society, they can offer a valuable way of teaching young children about money.

Two-thirds of adults globally are financially illiterate, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey, and one in four teenagers is unable to make even simple decisions on everyday spending.

Indeed, the growth of digital banking has affected how parents doll out pocket money, with one in three parents in the United Kingdom doing it digitally, according to a recent report by the financial comparison website Money.co.uk.

As a whole, kids aged 13-19, are estimated to contribute £1.7 billion ($2.2 billion) into the UK economy each year, according to the Teenage Finance Report from financial services providers OneFamily.

“There’s a big opportunity,” Aurélien Guichard, the product owner for Revolut Youth, told CNN Business.

Research contact: @CNN

Payment card chips fail to halt fraud, study finds

November 9, 2018

Of the more than 60 million payment cards that have been compromised or stolen within the past 12 months, chip-enabled cards represented a staggering 93%, according to results of a study released  recently by Gemini Advisory.

In 2015, the global financial industry began a massive migration to the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) standard in response to overwhelming levels of payment card fraud. The chip-enabled cards were supposed to provide end-to-end encryption during card-present transactions; and to prevent payment card counterfeiting.

However, the New York-based cyber consulting firm says—although most card issuers have adopted the standard—retailers and other merchants have failed to comply with the EMV implementation. 

Indeed, key findings of the study are alarming—among them:

With most large U.S. merchants fully transitioned to EMV, Gemini say that gas pump terminals and small/medium size businesses have become the victims of opportunity. Smaller businesses are only now beginning to understand the importance of EMV programs, as well as to provide a sufficient budget allocation toward them.

Because Gemini Advisory believes that criminal groups will always sway to the path of least resistance, the firm predicts that financially motivated threat groups such as Fin6  and Fin7 are likely to turn their resources toward small- to medium-size businesses with  between 10 to 50 locations.

The bottom line: Until EMV implementation is more widespread among U.S. merchants, Gemini Advisory recommends the usage of mobile payment systems such as Android Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. Such payment systems are not susceptible to shimming devices or POS malware—making them the most secure payment method currently available.

Research contact: @geminiadvisory