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.

2C2P Launches mPOS Trial

2C2P payment solutions and Myanmar Citizens Bank, one of the pioneer private banks in Myanmar, have officially announced the launch of the mPOS solution, iACCEPT, in partnership with Myanmar Hotels International Group, to accept MasterCard and Visa international payment cards. iACCEPT is a 2C2P owned innovative mobile solution that transforms iOS and Android smart phones into a mobile point of sales system. iACCEPT will allow Inya Lake Hotel and The Strand Hotel, both luxury hotels under Myanmar Hotels International Group, to accept payments through MasterCard and Visa inside the guest room, effectively providing in-room express check out facilities for guests. iACCEPT solution runs on the same backbone of 2C2P’s PCIDSS Level 1 payment platform, so it is as secure as a traditional POS terminal.

Interac Debit Card Fraud Skimming Losses Way Down

Interac Association reported that Interac debit card fraud losses as a result of skimming are at a record low – decreasing to $29.5 million in 2013 from a high of $142 million in 2009.
Only 25% of losses in 2013, or $7.3 million , are the result of fraud exploitation. Total losses in 2013 represent 0.0093% of domestic Interac debit card volume (0.93 basis points) and the lowest volume of recorded fraud losses. As a result of this significant decline in fraud exploitation, the number of cardholders reimbursed by financial institutions fell to 72,200 in 2013 from 238,000 in 2009. Cardholders are protected from losses under the Interac Zero Liability Policy*. Criminals are increasingly migrating their payment card fraud activity to international exploitation in non-chip environments and card-not-present exploitation on credit cards and other networks’ debit products. Interac rules offer account holders the added protections of not allowing card-not-present, offline and signature transactions. Chip technology enables advancements like Interac Flash®, which is currently being rolled out across the country.

TSYS To Provide Processing for Virgin Money

TSYS today announced that it has reached a long-term agreement to provide consumer credit processing services along with value- added capabilities for Virgin Money customers within the United Kingdom. Virgin Money selected TSYS’ market leading TS2® platform to support its UK cards portfolio. TSYS will provide a flexible and reliable card processing solution for Virgin Money with value- added capabilities being provided through various partners, including TSYS Managed Services EMEA.

MoneyGram to Connect to the HomeSend Money Transfer Hub

MoneyGram signed a global agreement with BICS to connect to HomeSend. HomeSend, a strategic business partnership between BICS and eServGlobal , is a global technology hub service that enables person-to-person fund transfers. Through the technology of the HomeSend hub, MoneyGram customers in more than 200 countries will be able remit funds to mobile accounts of HomeSend hub members across the globe. MoneyGram has 336,000 agent locations worldwide and also offers money transfer services through kiosks, along with online, mobile, and other channels. The agreement will enable MoneyGram customers and agents to further connect to HomeSend’s substantial network, which includes some of the largest tier one mobile operator groups. Today HomeSend has live deployments in more than 50 countries and commercial contracts with mobile network operators (MNOs) and money transfer operators (MTOs).

Merchant Warehouse Acquires Opticard

Merchant Warehouse payment technologies acquired Opticard provider of gift and loyalty programs for organizations worldwide. Merchant Warehouse will now offer deeper mobile and digital engagement opportunities for small and mid-sized businesses through an expanded suite of gift, loyalty and prepaid programs. For nearly 20 years, Opticard has offers solution processing for merchants, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, completing more than 20 million transactions annually. Its prepaid offerings, including both gift card and loyalty programs, are designed to meet the unique needs of every retailer, enabling them to build lasting relationships with their customers, while simultaneously encouraging them to return and spend more. Through this acquisition, Merchant Warehouse will continue to invest in the Opticard platform to advance the suite of service offerings to both new and existing resellers and retail customers. Opticard employees will join the Merchant Warehouse team, will continue to invest in Opticard’s solutions, offerings and infrastructure, enabling continuous improvement and growth.

American Express and Universal Studios Expand Partnership

Universal Studios and American Express announced an expanded multi-year agreement that brings the strength of Universal’s theme parks and filmed entertainment together with its brand to create exclusive consumer benefits and experiences. Also allowing AmEx to acquire new Card Members directly through Universal theme parks and websites, this expanded partnership presents new and innovative marketing opportunities for both companies. The partnership will now include marketing opportunities that leverage Universal Pictures’ retail partners, consumer licensing and digital media platforms on a global basis. The partnership will continue to set the stage for ongoing offers and promotions for anyone holding an American Express Card, ranging from discounts at the theme parks to special once-in-a-lifetime entertainment experiences.

VeriFone Welcomes New Member to Board of Directors

VeriFone Systems announced that Richard A. McGinn will leave the board and be replaced by long-time retail and consumer financial services veteran Jane J. Thompson, effective immediately. Thompson has successfully led multi-billion dollar organizations in the financial services, home services, retail, and ecommerce industries. She served at the executive level of Fortune 50 organizations for more than two decades. Most recently, as a strategic consultant, Thompson helped drive strategy and growth for large corporations as well as small, fast-growth businesses. She is the former president of Walmart Financial Services and former executive vice president of Sears Credit and Home Services. Thompson has also served as partner at McKinsey & Co., and in brand management and marketing at Procter & Gamble. She is a member of the board for The Fresh Market and former board member of ConAgra Foods.

AmEx to Increase Quarterly Dividend 13%, Buy Back +/- $4.4B Common Shares

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] American Express announced its approved plan as part of the 2014 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR). It included increasing the Company’s quarterly dividend to 26 cents per share beginning with the second quarter 2014 dividend declaration, subject to approval by the Company’s board of directors; repurchasing up to $4.4 billion…

Credit Outstanding Down .3% Y/Y, But Rising

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] With the total outstanding revolving US consumer credit down 0.3% in January from last year to an adjusted $856B from $846B, any positive momentum achieved in 2013 is a fading memory, and its bleeding into 2014. Continuing to grow, January revolving credit outstanding is still not as high as the 2008…

Maplins to Distribute iZettle Chip & PIN Readers

IZettle social payments announced that its Chip & PIN readers are now available in Maplin stores throughout the UK. Maplin consumer technology and gadgets, is stocking the device in its stores, which allows users to accept card payments via a Bluetooth connection to their smartphones or tablets. iZettle, launched in the UK in 2012, is a popular choice for small businesses and sole traders who demand fast, secure and hassle free card payments. iZettle’s service consists of an app and a reader which combine to process card payments. It also provides free analytics tools to help small businesses spot sales opportunities and identify loyal customers. iZettle’s card reader is compatible with all major credit and debit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express.

EcoPayz launches virtual card

EcoPayz global payments solutions provider launched its one-use payment card allowing consumers to securely pay for goods online and over the phone. The new ecoVirtualcard can be immediately acquired and used to spend around the world wherever MasterCard is accepted. With the ability to run the card independent of the customer’s bank account, the card offers maximum security and privacy – and expires once used, ensuring it can never be lost or stolen. The competitively priced virtual card is already being hailed as the best alternative to similar products offered by banks, and owners of the card have ambitious plans for its future adoption around the globe. With the card available in GBP, USD and Euros and support staff fluent in 7 different languages the card is swiftly attracting a global customer base. Previously hesitant shoppers citing security fears as a barrier to online shopping are now also being drawn to the card.

Fime RF Testing NFC Forum-Approved

Fime transaction provider announced its radio frequency (RF) test bench has been officially approved by the NFC Forum, a global association that advances the use of near field communication (NFC) technology. The tool validation process and approval brings official recognition that the FIME RF test bench meets the requirements defined in the NFC Forum specifications, making the tool eligible for testing devices for conformance to the functional requirements outlined by the NFC Forum.The FIME RF test bench evaluates the analog compliance of smart devices, such as mobile handsets and tablets, ensuring product compliance to the NFC Forum Analog Technical Specification. Successful product evaluation through compliance testing and NFC Forum certification allows a device manufacturer to use and display the NFC Forum Certification Mark. It is now available to mobile handset and device manufacturers at FIME’s network of global laboratories, spanning America, Asia and Europe.