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

Unemployment Stays the Course in March, Stays Low

Payroll employment was up 192,000 units in March for a subsequent .01% change in the unemployment rate from February, which hasn’t moved from 6.7%. This was led by employment in business services, in health care and in mining and logging. The number of unemployed persons sits at 10.5 million with little change since the previous month figure of 10.5 million. Meanwhile, those jobless for 27 weeks or more was at 3.7 million, down slightly from the February figure of 3.8 million. These individuals accounted for 35.8% of the unemployed, a figure which has declined 837,000 over the prior year.

First Data Names Chief Technology Officer

First Data appointed Michael Manos chief technology officer to oversee global technology infrastructure. Manos joins First Data from AOL Inc., where he served as AOL’s chief technology officer and was responsible for global technology and development platforms for all AOL subscription businesses, the industry, technology and media sites, AOL mail and messaging, and global mobile engineering efforts. Prior to joining AOL, he was a vice president at Nokia where he was responsible for the global operations, consolidation and restructuring of service operations for commercial-facing products and services. Before that, he was senior vice president for technical services at Digital Realty Trust where he oversaw the design, engineering, construction, and long-term operation for the company’s data center operations. He has also held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Microsoft, Walt Disney and Nuclio Corporation.

USA Technologies Announces Latest Three Year Agreement

USA Technologies cashless payment and M2M telemetry solutions for small-ticket, self-serve retailing industries, tannounced a new, exclusive agreement with The Pepi Companies that USAT believes exemplifies the future of integrated cashless payment, telemetry and consumer engagement services. The agreement, designed to span all aspects of Pepi’s business”from vending to micro-market, from mobile payment to cafeteria/food service point of sale”leverages Pepi’s existing cashless-enabled vending network and USAT’s new Integrated Payment Services. Integrated Payment Services, an evolution of USAT’s market-leading ePort Connect® service, was introduced to the vending industry yesterday. Pepsi was USAT’s first customer to initiate a complete conversion to cashless payment and telemetry on its vending machines, a project completed at the end of 2012. Pepi will expand its relationship with USAT by leveraging USAT products, services and add-on integration capabilities across all of Pepi’s other business segments.

Pepi’s integrated service solution will include traditional vending, using USAT’s turnkey ePort® and ePort Connect cashless payment and telemetry products and services. Pepi will also have the ability to integrate other third-party devices certified on USAT’s ePort Connect network. For Pepi’s micro-markets as well as their dining service point of sale, Pepi’s technology partner used QuickConnect to integrate with USAT, for streamlined payment services. In addition, for Pepi’s office coffee services and direct store deliveries, Pepi will use USAT’s ePort Mobile™ solution to integrate payments with other business segments. Finally, USAT’s loyalty and prepaid program, MORE., will be accessible by participating consumers using any of these payment acceptance options for an enhanced consumer experience and loyalty factor”one program for all aspects.

1stPayGateway Announces 1stPayPOS – A Revolutionary Cash Register with Superior Security

1stPay iPad POS announced the 1stPayPOS cloud-based iPad POS system provides big data analytics for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB). The intuitive 1stPayPOS® cloud-based point-of-sale system is easy to install and significantly reduces training time for employees. Replacing the obsolete electronic cash register with 1stPayPOS® will speed the checkout process with barcode scanners, improve your store’s image and provide analytics to better manage your business. 1stPayPOS® has no servers to maintain and no limit to the number of stations like a PC-based system. 1stPayPOS® has proprietary End-To-End Encryption technologies to offer you peace of mind that your customers’ credit card data is secure. The card data is encrypted at the time of swipe, which is superior technology to that used by the big box retailers currently in the news.

Ciphrex Lauches Bitcoin Wallet

Ciphrex has launched Bitcoin Vault™ – a leading-edge, secure software wallet for Bitcoin transactions and account management. The beta release is offered for free and can be downloaded from Ciphrex website at ciphrex.com. Bitcoin Vault™ is the first bitcoin wallet supporting shared multisignature account management using deterministic keychains. That’s welcome news for the Bitcoin community. Last December, at the Bitcoin convention in Las Vegas, attention was drawn to the fact that no one had yet offered any practical multisignature tools.

Wallaby Launches Chrome Extension for Credit Card Recommendations

Wallaby announced the launch of its Google Chrome web browser extension that expands Wallaby’s market leadership position in credit card optimization solutions. The Wallaby Chrome Extension is included in the roll out of Wallaby Version 3.0 for iPhone – the most significant update to the popular and award-winning mobile app since its launch in 2012. Through the extension, Wallaby users easily identify which of their credit cards they should use for online purchases at a wide selection of merchants including Amazon, eBay, Staples, and Best Buy.

SIX Payment Services and MasterCard Launch MasterPass

SIX Payment ServicesSIX Payment Services and MasterCard will jointly provide the wallet payment platform MasterPass for card issuing banks. The digital wallet simplifies payments on the internet and offers financial institutions in Europe an advanced payment solution for digital e-commerce and m-commerce. By the end of 2014 all holders of payment cards issued by Swiss banks will be able to use MasterPass to pay for online purchases on their PCs or mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. With MasterPass, users no longer need to enter their address details or credit card number for each online purchase; they store them in their wallet. It doesn’t matter if the card comes from MasterCard or another provider, from then on consumers can pay more easily and quickly online without having to register with each new retailer or enter card and delivery details for each transaction. MasterPass cuts online payments to just a few clicks.

Europe to Slash Credit, Debit-Card Fees to 1/7 What American Merchants Pay

American merchants, gouged by banks on exorbitant credit- and debit-card fees, applaud the European Union for Thursday voting to cap card fees at a seventh of what U.S. retailers pay their banks. The European Parliament approved a 0.3 percent cap on the “swipe” fee paid by merchants when a customer uses a credit card. In the U.S., by contrast, Americans pay the highest swipe fees in the world, between 2 and 4 percent per transaction, or between $2 and $4 on every $100 worth of groceries, gasoline and everything else they buy. Members of Parliament also put a seven-Euro-cents cap (a dime in U.S. currency) on debit card transaction, or 0.2 percent of the transaction value, whichever is lower. For U.S. debit cards the banks in the U.S. can charge almost a quarter, which means Americans also pay the highest debit-card swipe fees in the world. The Merchants Payments Coalition – UnfairCreditCardFees.com coalition collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.

Verifone Fashions mPayment for Visa Network

VeriFone announced five devices in its “PAYware Mobile” line of EMV- enabled mPOS devices have been approved by the Visa Ready Program. The program is designed to ensure that devices, software and solutions used to initiate or accept Visa payments are compatible with Visa’s requirements. By adopting “PAYware Mobile” devices that are Visa Ready approved, merchants enjoy the benefits of secure electronic payment acceptance from virtually any location. PAYware Mobile solutions from VeriFone are innovative mPOS devices that enable retailers and merchants to extend the POS to new environments. PAYware Mobile devices feature universal, PCI compliant mPOS adapters that transform smartphones and tablets into completely secure devices that can accept contactless, chip and PIN and traditional mag-stripe card payments. Some devices also accept NFC payments and feature high-end barcode scanning for additional functionality such as remote inventory management, checkout and access to product information.

Equifax Partners with mCommerce Company Jumio

Equifax Inc. today announced its partnership with Jumio, an industry leader in the mobile commerce space that specializes in payments and ID scanning and validation products for mobile and web transactions. The companies will be working together in developing a series of solutions that will create a more streamlined, secure mobile transaction process for both consumers and retailers. The solutions will also be integrated with the Equifax Mobile Wallet functionality, allowing consumers to access their cards on their mobile device to use for purchases. Shoppers can choose to either scan their credit card with their smartphone, or utilize their smartphones in-store at the checkout counter to complete the transaction.