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.

TransCentra Expands Managed Billing and Payments Services

TransCentra announced that it has been selected by North American Power, one of the nation’s fastest-growing retail energy suppliers, to manage its billing and payments processing. The end-to-end, multichannel billing and payments processing solution will integrate services across the business, enabling North American Power to simplify and enhance billing and payment communication methods for more than 250,000 customers, while driving operational efficiencies. With operations currently in 11 markets, North American Power sought a solution that would transform its billing and payments model, meet regulatory compliance requirements in new markets, and provide the tools to address customer needs quickly and efficiently. TransCentra’s payment processing services include paper and electronic lockbox service, payment data management, A/R file consolidation and generation, and more.

Cardlytics Wins Card Marketing Patent

Cardlytics Card-Linked Marketing announced the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for Cardlytics’ unique technology, covering their core systems – the Cardlytics Offer Placement System (OPS) and Offer Management System (OMS). U.S. Patent # 8,515,810 enables Cardlytics to create targeted marketing based on consumer purchase behavior, and place advertising through online banking portals. Cardlytics developed its distributed architecture in order to create purchase-targeted marketing campaigns, while protecting consumer privacy.

TNS and Trustwave Team on Encryption

Trustwave and Transaction Network Services have joined forces to offer an open and vendor agnostic point-to-point encryption service designed to help merchants protect their customers’ payment card information. TNS will host Trustwave Point-to-Point Encryption technology in its network and data centers enabling TNS to take encrypted transactions from merchants, decrypt those transactions, and securely send transaction data to one or more of a merchant’s payment processors or acquirers. The joint service will be an open platform that will interoperate with point-of-sale technologies and integrate with various payment processors.

USA Technologies Announces Loyalty and Prepaid Program

USA Technologies announced details of its “MORE” ePort Connect loyalty and prepaid program. USAT customers will be able to offer rewards and discount offers for products purchased at their cashless-enabled locations to build loyalty, repeat business and a greater understanding of their consumers’ purchasing preferences. “MORE.,” offered as an enhancement to USAT’s comprehensive ePort Connect® service, is a byproduct of USAT’s ongoing commitment to drive additional value for customers through every connection to its ePort Connect service. “MORE.” enables USAT’s customers to offer either a standard or customized reloadable card, giving their customers access to more rewards, more exclusive offers and promotions and more discounts for future purchases at participating self-service machines.

Australian PSPs to Deploy MasterCard MasterPass

At the Online Retailers Conference and E-commerce Expo MasterCard announced a key milestone in the evolution of its digital payment service, with 16 of Australia’s leading payment service providers confirming they will introduce MasterPass across their customer base. A huge step in the evolution of digital payments, this roll-out will grant thousands of Australian merchants across different e-commerce categories the option to opt in for the MasterPass button, giving their customers the ability to purchase items swiftly, easily and securely online. Australian consumers will have the ability to make a payment from wherever, and whenever they want, with leading providers such as; Advam, ANZ, Ashop, BuyReply, Card Access Services, Commonwealth Bank, Ctel, EstarOnline, eWAY, IP Payments, Merchant Warrior, NAB, NoQ, Paycorp, Payment Express and Powerfront agreeing to integrate with the MasterCard scheme. This will enable more online and multi-channel retailers to have the tools to take full advantage of the growing online and mobile commerce market.

MasterCard Issues Prepaids for Social Grant Beneficiaries

MasterCard and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) announced that there are 10 million active SASSA Debit MasterCard cards in South Africa, following the introduction of the new biometric grant payment disbursement system that commenced in March 2012. This milestone marks the conclusion of the re-registration phase of the project, with social grant beneficiaries having received their new Debit MasterCard cards with biometric functionality, issued by Grindrod Bank in association with SASSA and Net1 UEPS Technologies (Net1). Since March 2012, just under 22 million social grant beneficiaries1 have re-registered onto the new system introduced by SASSA to minimise fraudulent grant applications and collections and reduce grant administration costs by distributing all grant payments electronically. A crucial feature of the SASSA card’s biometric functionality is that it positively identifies social grant recipients using unique identifiers such as fingerprints, voice and other personal information, which means that the SASSA cards cannot be used by any person other than the approved beneficiary to collect his/her grant.

Lamassu Accepting Pre-orders on Bitcoin ATMs

Lamassu Bitcoin ATMs have opened their website for pre-orders. Preliminary production run had been funded with orders paid in Bitcoin, which expects the preliminary run of 15 units to ship in September and the remainder of the pre-orders to ship by the end of the year. Lamassu’s cash-to-Bitcoin device has garnered substantial media attention over the past months, including pieces in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, TechCrunch, the BBC, the Financial Times, Mashable and Bloomberg.

Costco Renews Cardtronics ATM Services Contract

Cardtronics announced that Costco Wholesale has renewed the company as a key provider of ATM services in the United States, adding a long-term contract extension to a relationship established in 2005. The world’s largest retail ATM owner, Cardtronics owns and operates more than 450 ATMs located in Costco membership warehouses spread across 39 states today, and has expansion rights for future Costco locations. With the recent expansion of Cardtronics’ ATM branding program to include both Principal Branding and Preferred Branding, all 450 ATMs are once again available to interested financial institutions.

BlueKite Expands Cross-Border Bill-Payment Network

BlueKite international bill-payment solutions added Ecuador, Nicaragua and Panama to its network. BlueKite has developed proprietary technology that provides complementary payment options to millions of consumers who emigrated and still support friends and families back in their home countries. The new bill-payment services and utilities available through BlueKite include: Claro, CNT, ETAPA and EERSSA in Ecuador, Movistar and ENACAL in Nicaragua and IDAAN, ASEO, ENSA, SKY, CABLE ONDA, Claro TV and Claro in Panama. The company has been providing payment services to local billers including utilities and telecommunications companies in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.

MPayMe Launches mBiz Payment App

MPayMe announced the successful launch of its mobile business platform ZNAP held at Chester Racecourse – one of the world’s most prestigious horse racing venues. MPayMe showcased the ZNAP application by powering the first ever QR-BAR – an exclusive invitation-only VIP event where all drink orders and payments were enabled through mobile phones. The ZNAP app was accessed via Xperia handsets, sponsored by Sony, and given to all invited guests from the business, media and celebrity world upon entering the QR-BAR. Attendees checked-in to the venue by using ZNAP to scan a QR-code on a welcome sign at the entrance, giving them access to view the QR-BAR drinks menu. To place orders, guests simply selected choices from the menu and added them to the virtual shopping cart in the app. They proceeded to check-out and entered their table number so that drinks could be delivered quickly to their table, thereby ensuring a queue-less experience.

Conductiv mCommerce Unveils Customized mPOS

Conductiv made available its Interact Mobile POS Solution, customized for retail pop-up stores. Two recent success stories of businesses selling smarter and better with Conductiv’s Mobile Pop-Up POS are Justin Boots, a Berkshire Hathaway company, and Bellview Winery, recently voted New Jersey’s top winery. At the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting, Justin Boots set up a pop-up store using Conductiv’s Mobile Pop-Up system, and sold over 1,000 pairs of boots in 10 hours. That’s an average of one and a half pairs per minute, handily breaking their previous sales record.

Trinity Groves Restaurants Deploy NCR Aloha POS Service

NCR Corporation consumer transaction technologies announced Trinity Groves mixed-use development project implemented NCR Aloha POS as a Service (POSaaS) program in its Dallas-area restaurants. POSaaS is a subscription-based program with no-contract period and a predictable monthly fee. With two restaurants currently using the POSaaS solution and 12 more planned within the next two years, Trinity Groves selected NCR because of its low-risk, flexible subscription program that combines industry-leading software, hardware, data security services, maintenance and helpdesk support services in one all-inclusive monthly payment. Trinity Groves selected the NCR Aloha POSaaS model for all of its restaurants because of its subscription model with a lower initial investment, as well as the flexibility to add and/or remove components as needed, which has helped the restaurants deploy the solution faster and easier.