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

Payelp Announces Latest Membership Partner

Payelp Global payment and business development platform partnered Onebip by Neomobile global mobile payment service. Onebip, which started in 1995 as the first mobile payment service worldwide, is connected to over 250 carriers with 5 billion users in over 70 countries. Onebip, part of global mobile commerce group Neomobile, has offices in Rome, London, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Bogota, San Francisco and more. Onebip enables merchants to monetize digital goods and services to their users on a global scale using carrier-billing technology. As a leader in Europe and Latin America, Onebip has successfully supported the growth of many online gaming and entertainment businesses on mobile with an advanced technology platform. Payelp Global (aka “Payelp”) processes more than 500,000 transactions per minute- the payment and business development service is available in 74 countries worldwide and is constantly expanding.

Suncoast Schools FCU Change

The board of directors and senior management of Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the state of Florida, chose to pursue the state charter conversion vote to enable the credit union to serve all residents of 17 counties located near or along the west coast of Florida. This change will allow Suncoast to enhance its presence in and commitment to their communities that it currently serves. VR Election Services facilitated the vote to ensure integrity in the process.

NEW GIFT CARD DATA CENTER

Stored Value Solutions has further strengthened its position in China with the launch of a new data center in Shanghai. The data center complies with local regulations, which stipulate that any new card issued in China must be processed within the country. SVS already has a busy regional office operating out of Shanghai. Vice President of Business Development for the Asia Pacific region, Shoney Yuan, explains that the investment in this data center is part of the SVS long-term strategic vision for the region.

ATM Innovation Showcase

The Integrated Payments Alliance (IPA) is pleased to announce the association will hold the ATM Innovation Showcase and ATM X-Games on February 11, 2014 as part the U.S. ATMIA Conference and Expo. The IPA ATM Innovation Showcase, a full day educational event designed for ATM and payment leaders interested in learning more about cutting-edge payment technology, will kick off at 9:00 a.m. at the Lowes Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.

SLUGGISH DOWN UNDER

Australia, the world’s second wealthiest economy, is cracking a bit. The labor market is deteriorating in Australia and consumer spending is softening. Despite cutting the benchmark interest rate to 2.5% Australia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth will likely run at 2.4% and stay stuck in the mud for the foreseeable future. According to Reuters, except for just one quarter of negative growth, Australia actually grew by 1.4% in 2009. Last year, growth amounted to 3.3%, whereas unemployment was 5.2%. RAM Research predicts the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will fall to 1.2% for the fourth quarter.

PayAnywhere Now Accepts PayPal Payments

PayAnywhere announced they have teamed with Discover Financial Services, a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services, to offer PayAnywhere merchants the ability to accept PayPal at the point of sale. This means that PayAnywhere merchants will be able to accept PayPal and will be able to tap into PayPal’s rapidly growing customer base that has swelled to more than 55 million active customers in the U.S., more and more of whom are using the PayPal payment card.

Retail Holiday Spending

First Data Corporation released its First Data SpendTrend® analysis for Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2013 compared to Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2012. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations. Black Friday lost some of its luster as retailers opened their doors earlier this year in order to vie for a piece of the holiday spending pie, especially with this year’s shorter-than-usual window between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Year-over-year retail dollar volume growth during Thanksgiving and Black Friday was strong at 9.0%, and a significant increase compared to last year’s growth of 5.6%. Most of the 9.0% retail spending growth was driven by shopping on Thanksgiving as opposed to Black Friday; with 3.4% growth on Black Friday.

US PCE Index

The U.S. Personal Consumption Expenditures Index has fallen to 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013 from 5.1% in the third quarter of 2006. Consumers are still sitting on their wallets and not sure sure what retailers are up to, as aggressive holiday sales are very early and very sluggish. January may be the bright spot for retailers, but “Baby Boomers” are watching closely and will close in during the first quarter.

MoneyGram Reaches New Milestone

MoneyGram reached a new milestone by surpassing 10,000 locations in the Philippines. This makes MoneyGram one of the most widely networked global remittance companies in the country. With presence in nearly 200 countries and now over 10,000 locations in the Philippines, MoneyGram continues to bring families closer through its reliable services. Additionally, OFW family members can now send their remittances directly to loved ones’ bank accounts through MoneyGram’s cash to account service. This service enables customers to send needed funds directly into their family and friends’ bank accounts at any of the participating 20 banks in the Philippines.

1900 Pizzeria & NCR POS Hit MileMarker

NCR consumer transaction technologies announced 1900 Pizzeria is on its 20th anniversary year using NCR POS technology. With six stores in São Paulo, the pizzeria has relied on NCR to support its success and help manage all of its locations. 1900 Pizzeria is using NCR Colibri POS software to help the pizzeria with all of its business functions, from order to billing, management of tables, and cost reduction through various reports, in addition to expediting the service of the waiters. Additionally, 1900 Pizzeria uses NCR Colibri Back Office software for greater business insight and decision making including real-time management of stock, menu management, and a remote overview of all of its locations.

Better ATM Services Launches Reseller Network

Better ATM Services has inaugurated a reseller network with the signing of its first agreement with Express Teller Services. Express Teller Services EFT financial service products for financial institutions and retailers can now allow third party ISOs and IADs to offer ATM-issued Visa gift cards and other prepaid products expanding their services to financial institutions. Express Teller Services becomes the exclusive reseller for credit unions in Arizona through the reseller accord. The pact builds upon the strong partnership between Better ATM Services and Express Teller Services, which began when Express Teller Services piloted Better ATM Services’ pioneering, patented technology with Arizona-area credit unions. Visa prepaid gift cards and Discover MyGift multi-merchant gift cards will initially be offered at three First American Credit Union locations in Southern and Northeast Arizona, and New Mexico.