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

Russian Federation CPI

Payment card activity in the Russian Federation is a mixed bag as consumer lending is rising sharply as well as inflation, however there are long-term concerns over consumer loan losses. The debt service ratio among Russians is lower than nearly all Western countries. The recent spat over the Ukraine EU free trade deal is fueling concerns it may drive unemployment higher. There is also weak business demand, with Russia projecting its economy will grow no more than 2.5% annually through 2030.

Charge-Offs Sink

After peaking at 10.79% in the second quarter of 2010, credit card charge-offs have sunk three-fold to new lows. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, credit card charge-offs (seasonally adjusted) declined for four consecutive quarters to 3.23% in the third quarter of 2013. Among the nation’s largest issuers Citibank charge-offs are down 61 basis points from one-year ago to 3.54%. Chase credit card charge-offs have declined from 3.57% one-year ago to 2.86%, a 71 basis point decline. Bank of America reports third quarter charge-offs of 4.10% compared to 5.27% one-year ago, a whooping 117 basis point decline. Despite sluggish consumer spending, credit quality is slowly but surely improving. RAM Research projects credit card charge-offs (seasonally adjusted) will decline at least 10 basis points in the fourth quarter to approximately 3.10% industry-wide, a seven year low.

TIS Expands Sepa Direct Debit Management Solution

TIS has further expanded its cloud-based payment transaction platform with a solution for mandate management. For companies with high volumes of debiting authorisations, SEPA poses an especially large challenge. In the future, both existing and new debiting authorisations must be supplemented with SEPA-specific information. This may entail resource-intensive and complex restructuring of mandate management. It must be implemented in a heterogeneous ERP landscape, existing mandates must be reviewed regarding validity under SEPA, and future procedures for obtaining new mandates must be specified, as well as many other aspects. That’s why TIS further expanded its cloud-based payment transactions platform to include mandate management. In doing so, mandate management is completely liberated from the ERP system(s) and bundled in a payment transaction solution that runs as a central process. The TIS Cloud Platform thus enables companies to centralise their mandate management in an audit-proof manner and irrespective of the ERP system(s) used.

Payfont Fills Brass Ranks With Payments Veterans

PAYFONT identity protection appointed Ken Howes, ex Executive Director, Edgar, Dunn & Company, the global payments consultancy and also formerly HSBC Head of Payments; Colin Grannell, former Managing Director of Visa UK Limited; John de Lavis, the US-based former Chief Product Officer at MasterCard and former Chief Operating Officer at Netspend and Metapay, and Belgium-based Erik Van Winkel, former Senior Executive at MasterCard to help drive and deliver Payfont’s go to market strategy. Attracting the above industry heavyweights gives significant credence to Payfont’s potential, following on from its successful patent grants and significant security validation by top cybercrime professionals. This validation includes verification of how significant Payfont is in drastically reducing the risk of identity fraud whilst still providing a very easy experience. Banks and credit card companies are potential initial customers for the new system, although the Payfont team also have sights on bringing its trusted identity system to healthcare, child and vulnerable adult online protection, legal, government and business services.

Monitise Launches mMoney Platform

Monitise has deployed and launched, with regulatory approval, its globally recognised Mobile Money platform with full access for Chinese speakers. ‘Easy TopUp’ offers a simple, secure and convenient real-time mobile service to top up PCCW-HKT pre-paid SIM cards with payment taken direct from their bank account, as opposed to purchasing vouchers from convenience stores. The green light to launch the service follows the granting of regulatory approval by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and comes as Monitise joined more than 100 British companies accompanying Prime Minister David Cameron in China on a trade mission to secure new business opportunities. The service will be supported by JETCO providing access to a real-time guaranteed source of funds through its payments switching capabilities with member banks. It is based on Monitise’s proven technology platform, which accounts for billions of transactions annually and is already used by millions of consumers around the world.

China Mobile Deploys Fime NFC-RF test bench

China Mobile purchased Fime’s EMV contactless analogue test bench, which will also offer consultancy services and carry out pre-certification vendor handset testing. Advanced secure chip testing and tool provider FIME will provide the test equipment to China Mobile and undergo a period of consultancy in order to support the deployment and continued management of the tool. Pre-certification handset testing will take place at FIME Asia’s laboratory where it will also provide near field communication (NFC) handset certification consultancy, expediting the testing cycle and overall time to market.

Thoma Bravo Sells Digital Insight to NCR

Thoma Bravo private equity investment firm sold its Digital Insight Corporation digital banking to NCR Corporation. With a ticket price of $1.65 billion, the sale is projected to close in 1Q/14. Digital Insight, formerly Intuit Financial Services, a division of Intuit, Inc., was acquired by Thoma Bravo in August of 2013. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Thoma Bravo.

Oberthur Partners mBank on mBranchless Banking

Oberthur Technologies digital security solutions partnered mBank mobile financial inclusion to offer mobile branchless banking in emerging markets. Banks and mobile operators need to adapt to deliver the right banking offer to the unbanked population. MoreMagic and mBank’s expertise in branchless banking services, the partnering companies have created an extended mobile branchless banking offer. The m:Wallet™, that has already supported a large number of services such as merchant payment and money transfers for more than a decade, will now include a full range of micro-finance services such as loan, credit and insurance. On top of this enriched wallet, the solution will also include core banking and back-office capabilities for operating the branchless bank, risk management tools and business consulting skills.

KeyBank Implements EnCompass Commercial Card Management

AOC Solutions commercial payments technology and services announced KeyBank has selected its “EnCompass” payments platform for its customers’ commercial card management and reporting. With this, KeyBank will offer its business customers AOC Solutions’ fully hosted, PCI-compliant commercial payments solution, EnCompass, as a one-stop online payment tool to help their business customers manage corporate purchasing/accounts payable (A/P), fleet, travel and entertainment, and purchasing card programs. KeyBank’s customers will also be able to obtain detailed statements and automatically analyze their spending using advanced metrics and reporting features. To access the EnCompass platform, which will be white-labeled as Key2Purchase to reflect the KeyBank brand, users will simply log in via browser using their assigned credentials.

MyUS.com Launches PayPal Service in Select Countries

Consumers in select countries can buy American products from U.S. retailers and ship them abroad using PayPal and MyUS.com in 13 countries. The company is also offering a discounted membership fee and shipping incentive for ALL new customers that sign up prior to December 20th. MyUS.com already serves global customers in over 220 countries and handles millions of packages annually. MyUS.com makes it easy and secure for consumers worldwide to shop US retailers and save up to 80% on international shipping costs. Consumers pay for shipping using credit card, check, money order, wire transfer and now PayPal. MyUS.com is offering 50% off its premium membership fee for year one and 20% off its first shipment for ALL new members (all countries) that sign up before December 20, 2013. Offer good for new members only; 20% discount does not apply to USPS shipments. To take advantage of this offer, visit www.myus.com/paypalpromo or use coupon code “paypalpromo” when registering.

Fiserv Producing Aconite EMV

Aconite is proud to announce that its Smart EMV Manager EMV card authorization systems is under production through Fiserv Inc. Aconite’s Smart EMV Manager preserves the investment made by issuers and processors in their authorization platforms by providing fully-featured EMV capability in an easy-to-integrate plug-in solution. Fiserv is utilizing Smart EMV Manager to bring advanced EMV processing to its already sophisticated environment. With Smart EMV Manager, Fiserv can process EMV transactions across multiple card products and establish the foundation for enhanced chip capabilities as these are introduced in the marketplace.