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.

Visa Enhances Offers Platform

Visa’s announced its processing enhancement for Visa Offers, allowing Visa issuers, acquirers and merchants of all sizes to deliver targeted rewards to Visa cardholders. Cutting out paper coupons, allowing consumers, who opt in, to earn points and discounts as well as redeem special offers instantly at checkout by simply using their enrolled Visa card. the platform supports Visa’s commitment to offer solutions for retailer and financial institution clients of any size that allows them to deliver customized and differentiated benefits to Visa cardholders at the point-of-sale. The VisaNet payments processing network allows the efficient delivery of these offers that can enhance the consumer checkout experience, increase merchant sales and strengthen issuer relationships. New capabilities include Fully Customizable Offer Content; Real-Time Offer Relevancy; Consumer Loyalty Qualification; Multiple Redemption Options; and Support for Multiple Offers Programs.

Shake Shack Deploys NCR Smartphone App

NCR announced Shake Shack implemented the NCR “Pulse Real-Time” smartphone app. available for iOS and Android devices. The NCR Pulse Real-Time is a SaaS-based mobile analytics engine addressing the everyday challenges of low visibility into current operational performance, lack of predictable data and inability to be in several places simultaneously.The application delivers up-to-the-second performance metrics and notifications directly to a user’s smartphone. Operational data is segmented for quick, easy review, such as voids and comps, net sales by hour, employee performance and overtime alerts. The user can view the guest check of a customer that just sat down or paid their bill and can use it to make real time decisions on their bottom line.

Amazon Coins Available to Kindle Fire Customers

Amazon announced customers can now use Amazon Coins to purchase apps, games and in-app items in the Amazon Appstore and on Kindle Fire. To celebrate the launch, existing and new Kindle Fire customers in the U.S. have had 500 free Coins”a $5 value”deposited into their Amazon accounts today. Amazon Coins is an easy way to purchase apps and in-app items on Kindle Fire, and for developers it’s another opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increased monetization. With discounts of up to 10% for purchasing Coins in bulk, it’s also an opportunity for customers to save money on their app and game purchases. Customers can purchase Coins by visiting Amazon Appstore developers will earn their standard 70% revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins.

Blaze Mobile Awarded NFC mPayments Patents

Blaze Mobile mpayment solutions was awarded three key NFC Mobile Payment patents. The Blaze Mobile patents awarded cover NFC Mobile payments (US8290433), the combined use of NFC mobile payment and coupon redemption(US8332272) and the original NFC payment sticker (US8275312). Blaze Mobile develops innovative mobile commerce, health care, and advertising solutions that enable secure, convenient, cost-effective transactions and promotions from the mobile device.

Post Office Deploys Mass Rollout Across Europe

Post Office has installed contactless payment terminals across 30,000 counter positions in its unrivalled network of over 11,500 branches across the UK. This makes the Post Office the biggest user of contactless acceptance technology in Europe allowing customers to pay for transactions of up to £20 using contactless cards and Near Field Communication (NFC) equipped mobile phones with a simple tap of their card or mobile phone at the counter position. The Post Office is currently undertaking the biggest transformation program in its history.

First Data Announces Merchant Credit Financing

First Data Merchant Solutions, First Data’s direct-to-market merchant acquiring business, announced the availability of its “Merchant Cash Advance” program. Allowing small and medium sized businesses that accept card payments to access an alternative source of funding to increase cash flow, “Merchant Cash Advance” is available to both new and existing First Data Merchant Solutions customers and provides a lump-sum advance based on the merchant’s monthly card transactions. The advance is automatically paid back through a fixed, specified percentage of daily card processing settlements with First Data Merchant Solutions. Because there is no fixed payment amount, during quiet trading periods the repayments are lower, further helping cash flow, while the reverse is true for higher-volume trading periods. To be eligible for an advance, merchants must typically process at least GBP1,000 per month in card transactions, have a good standing with their landlord and no unresolved bankruptcies.

Gyft Gift Card Platfrom Adds Bitcoins Support

Gyft mobile gift card platform added support for bitcoin purchases of gift cards on the Android platform, through its partnership with BitPay payment processor for bitcoin. Customers are now able to buy mobile gift cards using bitcoins and redeem them at over 50,000 physical retail locations across the USA including GAP, Lowes, Sephora, GameStop, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Nike, Marriott, Burger King, Fandango, Brookstone, and many more household brands. Users just download the Gyft app, select bitcoin as the payment method at checkout and make the payment from the bitcoin wallet.

Deductr integrates HyperWallet POS Solution

Deductr business expense tracking and reporting system for small business owners and hyperWALLET Systems will integrate their respective services to provide customers a way to pay for, track and record business expenses at POS. Users of hyperWALLET’s prepaid cards can now simply swipe their cards at a merchant’s point of sale, enabling their purchase information to automatically be imported into Deductr’s online software for automated expense tracking. This one-step process eliminates the tedious and time-consuming manual receipt tracking efforts that typically hinder business owners from claiming all their tax deduction entitlements. hyperWALLET’s integration with Deductr further enhances a cardholder’s experience as they can now effectively manage their business expenses in a simple, hands-off manner and realize the full potential of their tax deductions and entitlements.

iPayment Implements ROAM on mPOS Solutions

ROAM, an Ingenico company and mobile commerce platform provider, and iPayment acquirer, announced a new program in which iPayment will use ROAM’s mobile commerce platform to deliver a suite of mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions to its merchants throughout the United States. ROAM will provide iPayment merchants with a complete end-to-end solution, including the G4X Secure Mobile Card Reader, ROAMpay X4 Mobile POS Application and the myROAM management portal. ROAM’s platform capabilities support the largest number of mobile devices of any mPOS provider, including iOS and Android based smartphones and tablets. Its core platform assets – secure readers, applications to support mobile card acceptance, PCI compliance, real time data exchange, and merchant onboarding – are available as turnkey solutions that can be deployed as is, or as complete white label solutions offering branded hardware, applications and support tools.

MasterCard Deploys Identity Card Program

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and MasterCard announced at the World Economic Forum on Africa the roll-out of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability as a pilot program. The National Identity Smart Card is the Card Scheme under the recently deployed National Identity Management System (NIMS). This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent. The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will be issuing MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability. This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.