Robert McKinley, Senior Analyst/Editor Robert McKinley is an analyst of the payments industry on a daily basis for 32 years covering payment cards and payment systems from both the business side and the consumer side. McKinley is the retired founder and chief executive of RAM Research, CardWeb and CardTrak. In his prior position, McKinley has participated in more than 10,000 documented news media interviews, testified as an expert witness in two separate $billion+ U.S. anti-trust trials, testified before the U.S. Congress, assisted the GAO with paymentsIMG_2006 (1).jpeg reports, chaired numerous business conferences and provided C-Suite opinion to a multitude of Fortune 500 companies. In retirement, he has continued developing and funding digital media assets as well as contributing payments related analysis/content to a broad list of online publishers, including CardFlash, CardTrak and CardData. McKinley is also a national certified mentor with the non-profit SCORE organization with a focus on assisting Fintech startups.

MasterCard Global Average Tickets

The average purchase transaction for a MasterCard-branded card in the APMEA (Asia Pacific Middle East Africa) region hit $94.14 in 2013, nearly double the average purchase transaction of $55.72 for U.S. MasterCard credit and debit cards. Meanwhile, the average purchase tickets on U.S. MasterCard debit cards has been relatively consistent since 2009, but MasterCard’s average purchase ticket for U.S. credit cards has grown significantly from $80.68 in 2010 to $88.09 last year.

Cubic Introduces Opal Smart Card

Cubic Transportation System and the New South Wales (NSW) state government are celebrating the successful – and ahead of schedule – rollout of the new Opal smart card to all train stations in the greater Sydney area. Opal became available to all train passengers in the region on April 11 in what the state Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian described as an important milestone for public transport. The trains are the backbone of the public transport network in the greater Sydney area, carrying more than 304 million passengers a year and averaging about 1.5 million trips each working day.

NCR Announces Latest Client Expansion

Bricks & Minifigs is now the largest aftermarket Lego store in the country with seven stores, including five family-owned franchise locations and two corporate locations throughout the United States. In need of an integrated mPOS system with sales, inventory and customer engagement capabilities from a provider that understands the retail space, they signed with NCR to deploy its Silver POS solution. Employees find that helping customers is easy with Silver since current inventory and customers’ purchase histories are both just a click away. The mobile POS also streamlines operations and helps the retailer operate with real-time data and customer information just as an e-commerce site does. Bricks & Minifigs uses the NCR solution to manage their email marketing campaigns and loyalty programs.

Discover Financial Services Announces $3.2 Billion Share Repurchase Program

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Discover Financial Services announced that its Board of Directors has approved a new $3.2 billion share repurchase program and increased the quarterly common stock dividend from $0.20 to $0.24 per share. This replaces the prior $2.4 billion share repurchase program. The company expects to make share repurchases from time to time…

MasterCard Nominates Additional Board Members

MasterCard Incorporated announced that its Board of Directors has nominated Julius Genachowski and Merit Janow for election as independent directors at the company’s June 3, 2014 annual meeting of stockholders. Genachowski is managing director and partner at The Carlyle Group and served as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Janow serves as Dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and has been a professor and served in various leadership positions at Columbia for the past 18 years. Janow served as a member of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization, following her tenure as Executive Director of the International Competition Policy Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Justice and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan and China.

NetSpend, Western Union Launch Co-Branded Prepaid Card

NetSpend, a TSYS Company and prepaid cards, partnered Western Union to develop an innovative co-branded prepaid card, available later this year. With approximately 68 million Americans are financially underserved without access to traditional forms of banking, many are turning to prepaid cards to spend, save and manage their money. With nearly 18% currently underbanked, NetSpend and Western Union will jointly develop the co-branded card’s custom features through NetSpend’s proprietary, fully integrated payments platform, and plan to deliver the card through a portion of their combined distribution networks later this year. NetSpend maintains an extensive network of 70,000 distribution locations and 130,000 reload points. Western Union offers its services in the U.S. through a network that includes banks, national retail and grocery chains and independent locations.

Domino’s Adds Google Wallet

Domino’s Pizza is adding even more convenience to its customer experience by integrating Google Wallet with its Android ordering app. Domino’s customers who have an Android device can now pay for their online orders using Google’s digital wallet. Domino’s customers who place an online order of $10 or more using the Android ordering app and pay by selecting the “Buy with Google” button at checkout will receive a free order of Domino’s new Specialty Chicken, now through June 15.

Fifth Third Posts 1Q/14 Net Income of $318mm

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Fifth Third Bancorp reported first quarter 2014 net income of $318 million versus net income of $402 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 and $422 million in the first quarter of 2013. Net income available to common shareholders was $309 million compared with $383 million in 1Q/13, and $413 million…

Amex Serve Now Sold at Walmart

American Express today announced its full service reloadable prepaid Account, American Express Serve, will be available for purchase at 4,100 Walmart stores nationwide. These Walmart stores will also become a part of Serve’s free cash reloading network. This means Serve customers can now add cash to their Account for free across 19,500 U.S. Walmart, CVS/pharmacy®, and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations.

U.S. NIM 2013

The net interest margin (NIM) for major U.S. credit card portfolios has been edging down since mid-year 2013, according to CardData. Capital One, the NIM leader among major U.S. issuers, posted a 35 basis point decline in NIM for the first quarter. Capital One’s U.S. NIM for 2013 was 13.1%. Citibank’s NIM declined 31 basis points in the first quarter for its domestic card portfolio. Citibank’s NIM for 2013 was 9.7%. The Chase NIM for U.S. cards dropped 12 basis points in the first quarter. Chase’s NIM for last year was 9.7%. Meanwhile, American Express’ U.S. NIM was flat in the first three months of this year. For 2013 the AmEx U.S. NIM was 8.9%. The Discover NIM for 2013 was 10.1%, the second highest among the top issuers. Discover will be releasing its first quarter report next week.