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

Card Metrics

U.S. credit card margins and yields have largely been holding steady over the past year. However, Citibank reported that its net credit margin for credit cards rose 89 basis points in the third quarter to 11.16%. Net credit margin is total revenues, net of interest expense, less net credit losses and policy benefits and claims. Chase reports its total net revenue for credit cards declined slightly from 12.46% one-year ago to 12.22% in the third quarter of this year. Total net revenue is a percentage of average loans.

Jones Group Selects VeriFone

VeriFone Systems, Inc. announced that The Jones Group Inc. has selected VeriFone solutions to enable mobile payment acceptance and enhance customer experience for its internationally recognized brands, including Jones New York and Nine West. VeriFone will upgrade the brands’ payment environments with its PAYware Mobile e210 mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solution and the MX 915, an NFC-enabled, multi-media payment terminal.

Chase Earnings Drop As Expected

JPMorgan Chase & Co reported net income for the 4th Quarter 2013 at $5.3 billion. This was a slight increase from 4th Q 2012 which was reported at $5.2 billion. Revenue for the quarter was down 1% to $24 billion compared to the same period in 2012. Legal costs associated with a number of issues was noted as a reason for the drop in profits. Adjusted for the significant items disclosed in our earnings press releases this quarter and in the fourth quarter of 2012, EPS would have been $1.40 this year compared with $1.35 in the prior year and ROTCE would have been 15% this year, flat compared with the prior year.

Holiday Retail Sales Increase for 2013

Severe winter weather did not dampen December retail sales as shoppers took advantage of heavy promotions and last-minute deals. According to the National Retail Federation, December retail sales, which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Total holiday retail sales, which includes November and December sales, increased 3.8 percent to $601.8 billion, which was in line with NRF’s projected forecast of 3.9 percent and $602.1 billion. In addition, non-store holiday sales, which is an indicator of online and e-commerce sales, grew 9.3 percent to $95.7 billion. December retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.1 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Aconite Deploys PIN Manager with Nets

Aconite smart card issuing and processing solutions is deploying its “Aconite” PIN Manager at Nets card payments processor. Nets needed a PIN management solution that would deliver improved customer service and cost savings to their card-issuing clients. Aconite PIN Manager enables competitive differentiation by moving away from the more expensive and risk-prone paper PIN mailers to secure electronic PIN delivery methods. Nets also wanted to simplify operational management, ease compliance and reduce complexity. Aconite PIN Manager is a highly secure PIN management system that delivers a range of features that can be combined or implemented individually to meet specific organisational requirements and priorities. The features of Aconite PIN Manager include electronic PIN delivery, PIN generation, secure PIN storage, PIN verification and synchronisation of EMV Offline PIN across cards and hosts.

ERN Partners Swiff mPayments on Data Analysis

ERN announced its partnership with SCCP Group’s mobile payment platform Swiff, to enable merchants in Europe and Asia to analyse behavioral transaction data captured by Swiff platform in real time. Swiff mobile payment platform is designed to help merchants make and receive card payments using mobile devices to allow fast, easy and secure card transactions. With this new partnership with ERN, the transactional data captured by Swiff can be analyzed in real time by ERN’s Looop platform, enabling merchants to create personalized offers for individual customers delivered directly to their smartphone. ERN recently announced a three-year strategic partnership with FICO (NYSE:FICO), a leading predictive analytics and decision management software company.

Easypaisa Rolls Out mATM cards

Easypaisa, Pakistan’s first and leading branchless banking service from Telenor and Tameer Microfinance Bank, has launched easypaisa mobile account ATM cards in Pakistan using TPS IRIS Enterprise Payment Switch. These cards are highly secure and convenient where customers will no longer need to visit an easypaisa outlet to avail easypaisa services. With the launch of Easypaisa mobile account ATM cards, Easypaisa customers can not only withdraw cash from ATMs nationwide but can also make fund transfers, bill payments and withdraw cash on Tameer Bank POS machines. This card program paves way for significantly improving financial inclusion for easypaisa customers who can receive payments from governmental institutions such as Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI) and many others.

Payfirma Announces Latest Addition to Board

Payfirma announced Ryan Holmes, Founder and CEO of HootSuite, joined its board of directors. Holmes has grown HootSuite to be a global leader in social media management with over 8 million users, including 744 of the Fortune 1000 companies. HootSuite is a social relationship platform for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute social media strategies across networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages from one secure, web-based dashboard. Advanced functionality includes tools for audience engagement, team collaboration, account security and comprehensive analytics for end-to-end measurement and reporting.

Visualsoft eCommerce Implements Realex PCI Payments

Realex Payments, an established e-retail payment service provider, and Visualsoft, an award winning ecommerce platform, have announced a partnership that offers PCI compliant payment solutions for online retailers operating on the Visualsoft platform. Realex Payments works closely with online retailers throughout the initial engagement period, providing consultative services to establish the particular suite of payment solutions that is required to fit the individual business needs. Realex Payments is already trusted by Visualsoft merchants who process thousands of orders per week. Read the latest case study from Realex Payments – “Improving Fraud Management and Customer Navigation Solutions to Deliver Increased Sales” – demonstrating the onboarding process of online retailer www.Lilylola.com and highlighting the key solutions provided by Realex Payments.

Starmount Announces Advanced Omni-channel Customer Engagement, mSelling

Starmount announced version 3.0 of Starmount Connect, an advanced omni-channel commerce and customer engagement platform, and version 3.0 of Starmount Engage, the industry’s leading mobile selling solution for retailers. Starmount Connect and Engage allow retailers to meet rising consumer expectations in an omni-channel world by using mobile devices to engage their customers and deliver a personalized, highly relevant selling experience where the majority of retail sales take place ” in the store aisle. Starmount Connect brings together the data and capabilities to connect retailers’ stores, Web site, warehouses and distribution centers, with the out-of-the-box infrastructure, integration, data distribution and enterprise services that are required to drive omni-channel operations.

Checkpoint and RGIS Partner on Retailer RFID Implementations

Checkpoint Systems and RGIS, LLC, announced at the NRF 103rd Annual Convention & Expo that they have entered into a global partnership to bring the full RFID-based inventory management solution to retailers. The end-to-end solution incorporates the best-of-breed Merchandise Visibility Solution from Checkpoint, together with RGIS’s global team of inventory specialists. Checkpoint’s Merchandise Visibility Solution includes OATSystems software, RFID hardware, RFID tags, RFID-trained field engineers to deploy and support the implementation, RFID-based EAS leveraging the OneTag approach and Wirama Radar and RFID-based POS solutions and compliance tools.

Allied Wallet Users Now Over 100mm Mark

Allied Wallet online credit card processing, multi-currency merchant services, and a PCI Level 1 secured payment gateway reported over 100 million users worldwide for their online payment solutions after a spike in holiday sales. Allied Wallet’s merchants saw an average increase of nearly 30% in sales. Allied Wallet’s merchants saw a significant spike in volume this holiday season, and this spike contributed to Allied Wallet’s growth to over 100 million users worldwide. Allied Wallet simplifies the process of online shopping by allowing consumers to create an eWallet. This eWallet acts as an online payment solution for consumers that stores and protects their payment information.