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. www.robert-mckinley.com

Amex Creates Joint Venture with Global Business Travel Division

American Express Company today announced that it has signed an agreement to create a joint venture for its Global Business Travel division (“GBT”). Under the agreement, American Express will share ownership of the joint venture with an investor group led by Certares. In the proposed transaction, American Express will separate its GBT operations into a dedicated holding structure, which will include certain assets and liabilities that currently comprise GBT, and will have a 50% ownership stake in the joint venture following the closing. In exchange for an investment of $900 million in the joint venture, the investor group will hold the remaining 50%. American Express initially announced its intention to pursue this joint venture transaction in September 2013.

Mohindra Comviva Launches mobiquity Wallet

Mahindra Comviva announced the launch of its mobiquity® Wallet, a cutting-edge digital wallet platform. This is amongst the first of its kind fully integrated digital wallet platform that supports NFC, QR codes and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It will offer security, ease of use and rich features to the customers of banks, telecom operators and retailers across the globe. The platform will bring in agility to develop an ecosystem and increase revenues from existing customers and simultaneously boost customer acquisitions.

Klarna raises €90 million to acquire SOFORT

Klarna today announced it has raised €90 million from its investors, in order to finance the acquisition of SOFORT. The fundraising was led by Klarna’s founders, with participation from existing investors like Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic and Atomico. The acquisition of SOFORT was completed in early March, when the two companies formed Klarna Group, Europe’s leading alternative online payments provider. Klarna Group’s services are used by over 25 million consumers and 45 000 online retailers across 14 European countries. Klarna Group has processed more than 140 million transactions.

Cachet Acquires DeviceFidelity Prepaid mCommerce

Cachet Financial RDC acquired DeviceFidelity’s Moneto prepaid mobile platform and a core VISA prepaid mobile money platform. In addition to the core VISA prepaid mobile money platform and the prepaid mobile application platform, the acquisition includes strategic relationships with Mastercard, MoneyGram and Navy Federal Credit Union. Cachet’s expanded prepaid mobile offering will provide program managers, processors, banks and credit unions the ability to provide their customers a convenient and feature rich prepaid mobile application. The Moneto prepaid mobile platform architecture provides clients the flexibility to add new features within weeks, such as cash loading; instant “Good Funds” for check to card loads; card balance and history; loyalty and rewards; person-to-person transfers; expedited bill pay and remittance.

Digicash Launches Beacon mPayments SEPA Credit Transfers

The bank-led mobile payment scheme Digicash has launched a pilot-project using the Beacon model in Luxembourg. Digicash Beacon devices at the point of sale combine Bluetooth, NFC and QR Code technologies. Its integrated with Digicash Apps that are issued by retail banks and conducts payments using SEPA Credit Transfers straight from the payer’s current account. Just a year after the launch of its mobile payment solution based on QR Codes, Digicash is innovating again by testing its new Digicash Beacon solution under field conditions together with three retail banks: BCEE, POST and BIL. The Beacon wireless data transmission model was announced recently by several global players as the customer experience revolution at the point of sale. Terminals at the POS use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, as well as NFC and QR Codes, automatically providing the customer with the best user experience based on the features of his smartphone.

Xapo Bitcoin Wallet & Vault

Xapo is a team of financial and security experts with a proven track record of building trusted financial products, including our last venture, Lemon Wallet. By offering both a Bitcoin wallet and vault in one secure place, Xapo is marrying the ease-of-use Bitcoin users want for everyday needs with the security they require for confident Bitcoin savings. And transferring bitcoins between your wallet and vault is simple and secure – as the industry’s first combined wallet and vault solution, Xapo is your trusted one-stop shop. I welcome you to open your free Xapo account today and be part of the Bitcoin revolution.

HioTablet POS integrates with USAePay

USAePay recently welcomed HioTablet, a Windows tablet point of sale system for restaurants and retail businesses, to integrate with their secure payment gateway. Manufactured by ICG Software and distributed by AgentPOS, the HioTablet is an easy to install template rich point of sale system serving the restaurant and retail industries. HioTablet is unique in the fact that it does not charge any monthly software fees. The new HioTablet utilizes HioPOS terminal software on a Windows tablet and can be used as a stand-alone point of sale system, or interface with the HioPOS 15″ all-in-one terminal. The tablet contains 17 built-in templates covering a variety of restaurant and retail businesses including a guide for a bakery, bar, yogurt shop, sushi restaurant, supermarket, liquor store and more.

GlobalBay Tablet POS Offers EMV Transactions

Encore Payment Systems has provided small and medium-sized businesses all over the U.S. with the latest solutions in merchant services. Encore Payment Systems is proud to introduce the newest point-of-sale merchant solution to its suite of revenue-building tools, GlobalBay Merchant Tablet POS. GlobalBay Merchant Tablet POS is a turn-key point-of-sale solution that promises an affordable, easy to use system to manage virtually every aspect of their business. GlobalBay Merchant Tablet POS will enable EMV (Chip & PIN) transactions for Encore merchants a full 2 years before the government mandate.

PayWith App Enables In-store Purchase with Mobile

A new method of mobile payment has arrived that will change how merchants and shoppers interact. PayWith Inc., a Vancouver-based company, has launched an innovative new smartphone app that simply and securely enables in-store transactions with mobile devices. With this license agreement, millions of merchants in North America who are able to process
credit cards can choose to accept mCards and engage with their customers on a whole new level
using the PayWith platform.

Visa Appoints Global Head, Merchant Sales & Solutions

Visa announced the appointment of Ramón Martín to the newly created position of Global Head of Merchant Sales and Solutions to lead global merchant strategy and integrating key functions to deliver customized products and services designed to help merchants achieve their business goals and advance Visa’s strong merchant and acquiring partnerships worldwide. Martín joins Visa from American Express, where he spent 16 years, most recently as President of Merchant Services, Americas. Martín completed an Industrial Engineering Degree at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and an MBA at Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Martín also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Retail Federation.

MoneyGram Announces Latest Agent Agreement

MoneyGram has signed an agreement with Qingdao Rural Commercial Bank (Qingdao RCB). Based in Qingdao, one of the largest cities in the Shangdong province of China, the agreement enables convenient money transfer service access for both urban and rural Qingdao residents, and foreign expatriates sending funds back home to family in Qingdao and nearby cities. Money transfer services are now available at all 330 Qingdao RCB locations. Formed in 2012, Qingdao Rural Commercial Bank was first established in 1951 as rural credit cooperative. The company is the fastest growing financial organization in Shangdong province and is a nationally recognized brand in China.

MoneyGram Services Available at Debenhams’ Department Stores

MoneyGram teamed iinternational department store Debenhams to offer money transfer services to its customers. Debenhams’ customers will now be able to send and receive funds around the globe while doing their shopping at the 200-year old retailer in the UK. MoneyGram services are currently offered at 44 Debenhams locations across the UK via its Travel Money bureaus, with further store expansion planned in the coming months. It is anticipated that the new service will be used by thousands of new customers who will enjoy sending from such locations. For a leading retailer like Debenhams, offering the MoneyGram service to millions of customers wanting to send money to family and friends abroad creates a useful one-stop-shop on the high street.