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.

NFC Forum Announces New Executive Director

The NFC Forum announced Paula Hunter has been named the organization’s new Executive Director. She comes to the NFC Forum with more than 18 years of leadership experience in technology association management, marketing, operations, and business development. She led global teams and has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences around the world. As Executive Director, Hunter presides over the day-to-day affairs of the NFC Forum under the direction of the Chairman, Officers, and Board of Directors. Her responsibilities include strategic planning and direction, membership development, budgeting, evangelism for the Forum and its mission, and outreach to liaison and vertical market partners. Hunter joins the NFC Forum following more than three years as Executive Director of the Outercurve Foundation, a non-profit foundation formed with the mission of enabling the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communities, and with Outercurve as Director of Operations for SEMPO.

SafetyPay Expands Global Footprint

SafetyPay, the real time online payment solution that enables consumers to shop from merchants worldwide and pay in their local currency directly from their bank account or with cash, announced the addition of the United States and Caribbean as regions where global merchants can accept cash payments for purchases made online. Walk-in cash payments can be made in Moneygram locations throughout the US and Caribbean. With SafetyPay, merchants can offer consumers with cash and access to ecommerce sites the ability to pay for online purchases. Cash payments can be offered to both local consumers and consumers located in other countries.

Pulse Announces Debit Fraud Mitigation Service

PULSE debit/ATM networks implemented a major upgrade to its DebitProtect Fraud Mitigation Service and introduced an optional fraud blocking service. The enhanced system allows transactions to be blocked in real time, enabling PULSE participants to respond faster to suspected fraud before more fraud is perpetrated on a card, thus reducing losses and decreasing cardholder impact. The DebitProtect fraud mitigation system was first launched across the PULSE network in 2007. PULSE collaborated with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Retail Decisions (ReD) on the DebitProtect upgrade. PULSE deployed the ReD PRISM® software solution, implemented on HP NonStop servers. The initiative received the 2012 HP Alliance ONE Partner of the Year Award for Innovation. In addition to the enhanced fraud detection service and new Authorization Blocking option, financial institution participants may use an optional service that includes the development of custom rules specific to their organization. This helps minimize the impact of false positives on cardholders.

Digital River and Meridian Partner on ePayments

Digital River expanded its Value Added Tax (VAT) management capabilities by partnering with Meridian Global Services. Digital River has long provided VAT calculation and collection capabilities as part of its global commerce solution. Working with Meridian, Digital River can extend its VAT advisory and remittance capabilities as a companion offering to its Digital River World Payments solution. The joint offering provides cross-border merchants access to both global online payments and VAT compliance solutions. The technology combination benefits merchants by breaking down barriers that prevent them from maximising their overseas selling opportunities. While the Digital River World Payments solution enables merchants to cater to local preferences with regionally preferred payment options and purchasing experiences, Meridian’s solution helps merchants manage the back-office operations of VAT compliance, which go hand-in-hand with global transactions. Through its global payment solution, Digital River offers online merchants more than 180 international and local payment options, and over 170 transaction and display currencies.

Conference Board Continues Gradual Ascent

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. was up 0.7% in August to 96.6 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5% increase in July, and no change since June. The LEI six-month growth rate remains steady, suggesting that conditions in the economy remain resilient. Widespread gains in the leading indicators…

Standard Chartered Launches New mApp

Standard Chartered launched its “Breeze” mobile app to transform the digital space in the country’s financial services industry. Currently the sophistication and increased expectation of the average Ghanaian banking customer has influenced banks to adopt a new way of thinking; a thinking that is defined by how to drive a cohesive relationship with the customer. Standard Chartered’s internal research has revealed that customers now wish for simpler and faster banking; be it at the branch, on phones or via mobile networks. The Breeze Mobile Banking app was borne out of a desire to make banking simpler by creating an intuitive, plain-speaking smartphone interface.

Digital River Announces Board Member

Digital River announced the appointment of Ed Eger to its board of directors. Having most recently served as a senior vice president and general manager of the Americas at PayPal and as an advisor to the CEO at eBay Corporation. A seasoned international payments executive with deep financial services, management, branding and risk management experience. From May 1999 to July 2009, Mr. Eger was with Citigroup and last served as the CEO and business head for its International Cards business. While at Citigroup, Mr. Eger was responsible for an organization that spanned 50 countries and served more than 40 million customers worldwide.

MasterCard Launches 21ST Century Newsroom, Blog

MasterCard is evolving its digital storytelling and news sharing platforms to reflect the cashless society. The reimagined newsroom dubbed The Engagement Bureau and the redesigned Cashless Pioneers Blog will make up a MasterCard conversation and publishing ecosystem that helps people engage with the brand, discover amazing and sharable content and immerse them in a discussion around the benefits of digital payments technology in a world that is evolving beyond cash. The Engagement Bureau will become a highly interactive community and information exchange for journalists, bloggers and industry observers that want a real time connection with MasterCard Communications professionals and spokespeople from any place and at any time around the world. The Engagement Bureau will feature summaries of current news, increased use of imagery and video and instant access to communications contacts within the company via social, mobile and traditional means.

GE Opens Manufacturing Fab Lab Space

GE and Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) announced GE Garages, a skill-building center that serves as an advanced manufacturing fab lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and makers. Opening on September 20, the GE Garages space will host a month of free hands-on maker workshops, conduct trainings on high-tech prototyping equipment and offer learning opportunities through a curated guest speaker series. Powered by TechShop and developed in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables, GE Garages aims to spark interest and greater participation in advanced manufacturing through making. The GE Garages location will also function as the headquarters for Chicago Ideas Week, a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders and an innovation platform that inspires, connects and activates the city of Chicago and beyond.

Citi Launches New Mobile Apps

Citi launched two new efficiency applications for financial institutions that are available on mobile devices – CitiDirect BE Payment Advisor and Payments Directory Mobile. CitiDirect BE Mobile Payment Advisor is a mobile-enabled application that allows banks, their customers, or third parties to track the status of a payment at any time and from any mobile device, similar to tracking the status of a package. Citi’s Payment Directory brings a simple approach, allowing banks to quickly search for clearing intermediaries with filtering preferences, creating a straightforward display. The application requires no installation and is accessible from any mobile device – phone or tablet.

Samsung Partners Monitise on Galaxy Payment App

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Samsung Electronics launched its “My Galaxy” app, helping Galaxy users get the most from their phone. Created in collaboration with Monitise “Create” mobile innovation agency, the new app allows customers to learn about the latest accessories for any Samsung smartphone through the app’s m-commerce storefront, with access to over 300 products…

MasterCard joins Better Than Cash Alliance

MasterCard announced it is joining the Better Than Cash Alliance. MasterCard’s commitment comes at the one-year anniversary mark for the Better Than Cash Alliance, which works with governments, the development community and the private sector to digitize their cash payments to people in emerging economies. The initiative for electronic payments was founded last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, USAID, U.N. Capital Development Fund and Visa Inc. Shifting away from cash provides a pathway to greater financial inclusion for the 2.5 billion adults currently without access to formal financial services, and has measurable benefits for governments, development organizations and private sector payers including significant cost savings, transparency, security and economic growth. In the one year since its launch, the Better Than Cash Alliance has made significant progress, including securing 14 commitments from governments and development organizations to digitize their payments.