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

Western Union Launches Stored-Value Solutions Platform

Western Union launched its “Global Share” platform to introduce new stored-value solutions in markets around the world through local companies. This allows local companies to enhance their overall value proposition by leveraging many of Western Union’s strengths in the marketplace, including the largest network of its kind in the world, its globally recognized brand and its expertise in moving money across borders. The “Global Share” platform allows Western Union and its clients develop enhanced value propositions in the marketplace by leveraging each other’s complementary assets. For this, Western Union has already signed agreements with six companies for solutions that meet a variety of needs around the globe.

TIO Networks Launches mPayment App

TIO Networks, North America’s leading expedited bill payment company, announced it has partnered with Mobilicity, Canada’s smart mobile carrier, to develop and release a native smartphone-based account payment app for Mobilicity customers. The app is available in the Google Play Store. The My Mobilicity Payment App supports Android smartphones, allowing customers to conveniently view their account balance and due date, securely pay their monthly fees or top-up their My Wallet account with any Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card. It also allows users to view their app payment history, review payment receipts, and find the nearest authorized Mobilicity location.

Fiserv Posts Record Automotive Loan Origination Transaction Volume

Fiserv financial services technology solutions announced 2012 was a record-setting year for its Automotive Loan Origination System (LOS). With more than 10.8 million loan applications and 3.7 million contracts processed through the company’s auto lending platform, there was a 31 and 33% increase for applications and contracts, respectively. This is thanks in large part to the return to health of the automotive industry through renewed consumer demand following the past year’s uptick in the economy. The industry has witnessed the emergence of both established and new lenders vying to meet the needs of growing segments.

MasterCard Launches New mCommerce Solutions

MasterCard announced mobile innovations and feature enhancements to Smart Data, including a new mobile receipt application that liberates corporate cardholders from the burden of filing paper receipts for expenses. The new Smart Data Mobile Receipt Capture App for iOS, Android and Blackberry users enables corporate cardholders to directly upload receipt images by taking a smartphone picture and attaching it to the transaction when filing their expense report, allowing cardholders to toss the dreaded paper receipt. MasterCard is also piloting a Mobile Fleet e-Receipt App to assist businesses and governments needing accurate and timely data to manage automotive fleets. The mobile fleet app allows drivers to visit any fuel merchant and enter the data required by their fleet managers, including the type and amount of fuel purchased, the price paid per gallon, the odometer reading, along with many additional features.

Fathead Deploys Virtual Piggy Payment System

Fathead officially licensed sports and entertainment graphics launched a Virtual Piggy youth-friendly payment system, now available to customers as a secure online payment option through Fathead.com. With a Virtual Piggy account, Fathead is able to create a safe, convenient shopping experience for children by giving parents the ability to control and monitor their child’s spending account. Under this parentally managed account, kids can freely browse and purchase their favorite Fathead products, while learning financial responsibility at the same time. Customers can create a free Virtual Piggy account by visiting Virtualpiggy.com.

Conference Board Economic Index Slow & Steady

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. was up 0.7% in February to 94.8 after a 0.8% gain in January and .5% gain in December. Indicating a slow but continued expansion in economic activity, this growth was also thanks to improvements in housing permits and financial components helped…

B+S Card Services Expands Beyond Boundaries

B+S Card Service acquirer and a one source solution for electronic payment processing launched in the UK. Founded in 1989 B+S is part of the German Savings Bank Finance Group, and has become one of Europe’s most experienced service providers for acquiring, payment acceptance and point-of-sale terminals for electronic payments. B+S focus on delivering reliable and trustworthy solutions which has made it the provider of choice for more than 227,000 customers across 14 European countries. This experience has enabled B+S to develop an understanding of several local payment markets in Europe. In addition to CUP acceptance B+S is experienced in cross-border acquiring offering excellent knowledge of international payment processing including multi-currency settlement that offers merchants payment in native currency as well as additional ones including the US Dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Euro.

Chase Changes Policies Regarding Payday Lenders

JPMorgan Chase announced that it is making policy changes that will protect customers when payday lenders and other billers seek inappropriate payments from Chase’s consumer deposit accounts. Chase will only charge one returned item fee to customers in cases where a biller presents items that are returned to them due to insufficient funds in the customer account more than once in a 30-day period Chase is working to proactively identify potential misuse of the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system – including misuse on the part of payday lenders or other companies – and report such practices to the National Automated Clearing House Association. Chase will work with NACHA to try to strengthen their own policies to disallow excessive presentments. Chase will also make it easier for customers to close their accounts when there are open pending charges, including payday lender payments. If we believe those pending charges are inappropriate, we won’t honor them.

Global Travel Spend Up 6% Y/Y

Visa account holders continued packing their bags as aggressively as they did in 2011, according to 2012 Travel Snapshots. VisaVue Travel data showed spending by Visa account holders traveling to Brazil, Canada, Mexico and United States jumped 6% to $57 billion compared to 2011. With this, China knocked the U.K. out of the top three inbound countries traveling to the U.S. for the first time since 2009, up 30% Y/Y. Visa account holders from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. showed more interest in Japan, boosting tourism spend in the country by an average of 25% to $948M while Visa account holders in Africa dramatically increased travel spending in the U.S. 17% to $585M on their Visa accounts.

Ex-AmEx CIO joins Good technology board

Good Technology secure enterprise mobility announced that Marc D. Gordon has been elected to its board of directors, bringing more than 25 years’ experience guiding technology companies. Gordon has served as the executive vice president and CIO of American Express since September 2012 and enterprise CIO and chief technology officer at Bank of America after joining the firm in 2004. Gordon has also held the CIO position at Best Buy and The Timberland Company, served on the U.S. National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and has advised government agencies on cyber security and emergency preparedness. Gordon has an extensive background as both a consultant and global technology leader and has led the deployment of several industry-moving innovations.

NCR Upgrades Gift Card Platform

NCR upgraded its “Silver” mobile POS system to give small business owners an edge on promoting and growing their businesses with gift card programs. The NCR “Silver” gift card platform makes loading, accepting and managing gift cards easy. Users simply take credit card payments for an affordable way to create powerful business-building gift card programs. Since gift cards usually result in sales higher than the gift card’s face value, this also generates added income. And because NCR Silver is cloud-based, the gift card update easily deploys to existing NCR Silver customers and is included in all new versions of NCR Silver delivered to customers.

Leaf Announces Open Payment Acceptance

Leaf unveiled an open approach to payment acceptance, giving small businesses the freedom to work with the payment provider of their choice, as well as the ability to accept new forms of payment all from one device. Offering the first POS platform committed to open payment acceptance, Leaf empowers merchants to choose their providers and rate plans, offer the most novel and convenient payment options for their customers, and aggregate data analytics over all payment types and providers. Leaf enables merchants to choose from a list of more than two dozen credit card, gift card and next generation payment providers within its partner program, which it plans to grow in the coming months. Leaf also offers the ability to create new accounts with pre-approved partners through its “LeafBusiness” online analytics and management portal.