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

U.S. ISSUED INTERNATIONAL CARDS

International bank credit cards issued by U.S.-based issuers was in a funk in 2013. International bank credit card outstandings (EOP) are down 3.8% YOY and purchase sales volume has been flat, based on Q4 reports from Citibank and Capital One, both active international Visa and MasterCard issuers. At year-end 2013, Citibank had $33.6 billion in international credit card outstandings, down 3.2% from year-end 2012, after adjusting for the sale of Brazil Creditcard in 2013. Capital One with $8.05 billion in international credit card outstandings edged down 6.5%.

AMEX INTL & GLOBAL Q4

American Express reported fourth-quarter net income rose 8% to $103 million for its International Card Services unit while the Global Network and Merchant Services division posted a 13% rise in net income to $399 million. AmEx’s Global Commercial Services net Q4 income more than doubled to $182 million. AmEx says the increase in International Card Services total Q4 revenue of $1.4 billion was driven by higher cardholder spending and higher net card fees. Total Q4 revenue, net of interest expense, for Global Network and Merchant Services, also rose to $1.4 billion, reflecting higher merchant-related revenues driven by an increase in global cardholder spending. Global Commercial Services total revenues increased 2% to $1.2 billion, primarily due to higher cardholder spending.

Westpac and Scotney Partner, Expand Cashless Payments Offering

Westpac partnered Scotney Group (Scotney) to launch its cashless payments solution across other segments such as aged care, mining and universities with the potential to take approximately $65 million in cash out of circulation in its first year alone.Scotney’s Flexischools solution is a ‘closed-loop’ payments system that lets parents pay for a wide range of school activities without children having to carry cash. More than 800 schools across Australia and New Zealand have set up the online portal, with Westpac processing more than 10 million transactions to date. Scotney has driven strong growth and innovation in the school sector, Westpac believes the technology has wider applications. The bank sees potential through its other industry relationships to take millions in cash out of circulation and digitise payments. Westpac will maintain its transactional and cash management relationships with customers and introduce Scotney’s expertise to set up the closed-loop system and manage the flow of payments.

Mobeam, Clutch Launch Scanning mWallet

Mobeam and Clutch released the latest mobile wallet enabled with Mobeam’s patented beaming technology. This new feature lets consumers use Mobeam’s technology to beam barcodes from their loyalty, membership, and gift cards directly from their smartphone to any laser scanner. The beaming feature is available exclusively on two of the world’s most popular phones, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. In the past month, Mobeam’s beaming technology has driven close to 2 million shopping trips on over 25 million devices. Clutch eliminates the need for multiple apps, enabling consumers to manage gift and loyalty cards, daily deals, coupons, offer searches, purchases, shopping comparisons, social gifting and mobile payments all in one place. Mobeam converts barcodes into beams of light that can be read by the tens of millions of laser scanners in use today by retailers worldwide.

TIS Concludes 2013, Sets Treasury Trends

TIS offered cloud-based payment transaction systems that include solutions matched to the current needs in mandate management, bank account management, bank transaction management and bank fee controlling. TIS is the leading cloud platform for management of enterprise-wide payment processes ranging from liquidity control to bank relationship management. The SEPA “Out-of-the-Box” solution from TIS processes all major bank connection protocols, channels (Host-to-Host, SWIFT or EBICS) and formats and automatically converts these to conform to the applicable SEPA guidelines. An integrated Direct Debit mandate management system centrally monitors and controls all global mandate processes. TIS was also able to win over many other well-known medium-sized enterprises as new customers in Germany during 2013 to employ the TIS Cloud Platform to centralise their payment transactions.

Mikron Joins OSPT Alliance

The Open Standard for Public Transport (OSPT™) Alliance today announced that Mikron has joined the organization as a Full Member. Mikron supports a number of national public transport organizations with its RFID tags, and is well known for its wide range of other microelectronic products including smart cards, SIM cards, chip-based bank cards, identification documents and innovative solutions for industrial electronics. Mikron is Russia’s largest RFID tag manufacturer with a capacity of more than 50 million tags per month and customers in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and North America. Its ultra high-frequency, high-frequency, and low-frequency passive RFID tags have been used for many years in applications as diverse as logistics, point of sale and electronic article surveillance.

CIBC and TELUS launch mobile payments

CIBC and TELUS announced the launch of the CIBC Mobile Payment App to TELUS mobile devices with Near-Field Communications (NFC) capability, allowing more Canadians to have access to mobile payments. TELUS customers using the app and a CIBC credit card account will be able to make mobile payments at many of the most popular retailers in Canada including coffee shops and grocery stores.

VISA EUROPE 2013

To describe Visa Europe in three words is contactless, mobile payments, and digital wallets. Visa Europe struck so many such deals in 2013. For example, banks representing 80% of all consumers are already committed to digital wallets and by 2020 Visa Europe predicts one-third of all European consumers will be using V.me by Visa. European consumers have made 211 million contactless purchases in 2013, as the monthly contactless spend has also increased six fold to €285 million. Visa Europe processes more than 32 billion transactions per year with purchase sales exceeding €1.3 trillion on 483 million cards. In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new global Visa Inc., with an exclusive license in Europe.

JetPay Enlists Former U.S. Bancorp and MasterCard Exec to Launch Prepaid Outfit

JetPay Card Services added Ralph A. Bianco Executive VP, General Manager to lead the Company’s pre-paid card division that will offer Visa branded reloadable cards plus Visa branded and private label gift cards. The prepaid card division will focus on delivering high value low cost products to consumers. The first products launched by this division, which will be announced later this month, will be aimed at consumers with or without a traditional bank account that need a safe and secure way to shop, save or budget for household expenses. Of particular importance is to create products that will be attractive to consumers that have limited access to financial services and who often spend exorbitant amounts each payday to cash paychecks and pay bills. He holds a degree in electro-mechanical engineering from City College of New York and is a graduate of the Executive Program of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

Discover Offers Free FICO® Score to Cardmembers

Discover has fully rollout of free FICO® Scores provided on the monthly statements of millions of Discover cardmembers, following the pilot launch to Discover it cardmembers, which occurred in November 2013. The FICO® Scores are based on data from TransUnion®, a world leader in consumer credit information. Discover is the first major credit card issuer to provide free FICO® Scores directly to its cardmembers on their monthly statements. In addition to providing free FICO® Scores to consumer cardmembers, Discover is providing the two key factors explaining what information from a person’s TransUnion credit report influenced his or her particular FICO® Score. Qualified cardmembers who have Discover More, Discover Open Road, Discover Motiva, Miles by Discover and Escape by Discover cards will receive their free FICO® Scores based on data from TransUnion directly on their monthly statements.

JetPay Card Services Adds Executive

JetPay Card Services announced the addition of Ralph A. Bianco as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Mr. Bianco is leading the Company’s pre-paid card division that will offer Visa branded reloadable cards plus Visa branded and private label gift cards. The prepaid card division will focus on delivering high value low cost products to consumers. The first products launched by this division, which will be announced later this month, will be aimed at consumers with or without a traditional bank account that need a safe and secure way to shop, save or budget for household expenses.