Robert McKinley, Senior Analyst/Editor Robert McKinley, with 33 years experience covering payment cards and payment systems, is Senior Analyst/Editor for CardFlash and other payments-related publications. He is the retired founder and chief executive of RAM Research, CardWeb and CardTrak. McKinley served as an expert witness in 100+ litigations including two multi-$billion trials, testified before the U.S. Congress, chaired multiple payments conferences, hired as consultant by Fortune 100 companies and several overseas financial institutions. Full Bio: www.rbm4.com

Digicash Launches Beacon mPayments SEPA Credit Transfers

The bank-led mobile payment scheme Digicash has launched a pilot-project using the Beacon model in Luxembourg. Digicash Beacon devices at the point of sale combine Bluetooth, NFC and QR Code technologies. Its integrated with Digicash Apps that are issued by retail banks and conducts payments using SEPA Credit Transfers straight from the payer’s current account. Just a year after the launch of its mobile payment solution based on QR Codes, Digicash is innovating again by testing its new Digicash Beacon solution under field conditions together with three retail banks: BCEE, POST and BIL. The Beacon wireless data transmission model was announced recently by several global players as the customer experience revolution at the point of sale. Terminals at the POS use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, as well as NFC and QR Codes, automatically providing the customer with the best user experience based on the features of his smartphone.

Cachet Acquires DeviceFidelity Prepaid mCommerce

Cachet Financial RDC acquired DeviceFidelity’s Moneto prepaid mobile platform and a core VISA prepaid mobile money platform. In addition to the core VISA prepaid mobile money platform and the prepaid mobile application platform, the acquisition includes strategic relationships with Mastercard, MoneyGram and Navy Federal Credit Union. Cachet’s expanded prepaid mobile offering will provide program managers, processors, banks and credit unions the ability to provide their customers a convenient and feature rich prepaid mobile application. The Moneto prepaid mobile platform architecture provides clients the flexibility to add new features within weeks, such as cash loading; instant “Good Funds” for check to card loads; card balance and history; loyalty and rewards; person-to-person transfers; expedited bill pay and remittance.

Klarna raises €90 million to acquire SOFORT

Klarna today announced it has raised €90 million from its investors, in order to finance the acquisition of SOFORT. The fundraising was led by Klarna’s founders, with participation from existing investors like Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic and Atomico. The acquisition of SOFORT was completed in early March, when the two companies formed Klarna Group, Europe’s leading alternative online payments provider. Klarna Group’s services are used by over 25 million consumers and 45 000 online retailers across 14 European countries. Klarna Group has processed more than 140 million transactions.

Mohindra Comviva Launches mobiquity Wallet

Mahindra Comviva announced the launch of its mobiquity® Wallet, a cutting-edge digital wallet platform. This is amongst the first of its kind fully integrated digital wallet platform that supports NFC, QR codes and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It will offer security, ease of use and rich features to the customers of banks, telecom operators and retailers across the globe. The platform will bring in agility to develop an ecosystem and increase revenues from existing customers and simultaneously boost customer acquisitions.

First Data Shows February Weather Hinders Consumer Spending

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] First Data released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Feb. 1, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2014, tracking same-store POS data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks. It showed dollar volume growth remained positive at 2.4%, but marked a slight slowdown versus January’s 2.5% growth as…

Cardtronics & BBVA Compass Ink ATM-branding Deal

Cardtronics announced a licensing agreement with BBVA Compass, providing the bank branding rights to more than 300 ATMs in H-E-B stores. The deal equates to a nearly 50% jump in the bank’s Texas ATM network, bringing its total to nearly 1,000 machines. The deal provides the bank with potential access to shoppers at more than 300 H-E-B operated stores. The agreement between Cardtronics and BBVA Compass is part of a growing relationship established in 2012. Prior to this H-E-B announcement, BBVA Compass had branded 268 Cardtronics-owned ATMs in convenience and grocery stores throughout Colorado and Texas.

First Data and IBC Renew Merchant Acquiring Contract

First Data and International Bank of Commerce (IBC), announced that the companies signed a long-term extension for merchant services and payment solutions. IBC has been a partner since 2004 and First Data will continue to provide innovative business solutions to enable the bank’s clients to accept all forms of payments and grow their businesses. First Data will provide dynamic solutions throughout the IBC footprint and advance clients to a new era of payments using a consultative approach.

Thinfilm and Xerox Principal NFC Forum Members

The NFC Forum announced that Thinfilm and Xerox Corporation have joined the NFC Forum at the Principal level. The first to commercialize printed rewritable memory, Thinfilm is creating printed system products that will include memory, sensing, display and wireless communication such as NFC -at a cost-per-functionality unmatched by any other electronic technology. Since the invention of Xerography more than 75 years ago, the people of Xerox have helped businesses simplify the way work gets done. Today, Xerox is the global leader in business process and document management, helping organizations of any size be more efficient so they can focus on their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., more than 140,000 Xerox employees serve clients in 160 countries, providing business services, printing equipment and software for commercial and government organizations. The Principal level is the next-to-top tier of NFC Forum membership, and it includes significant participation opportunities.

APS CEO Chair the Mobile Money & Wallet Summit

Richard Wagner, CEO of Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) will chair the prestigious Mobile Money & Wallet Summit 2014, a two-day event in London on 18th and 19th March for the mobile money wallet ecosystem. The summit comes at a time when big questions are being asked about the future of mobile technology in money and banking. With the near-collapse and scandal surrounding the crypto-currency BitCoin, and a huge rise in contactless payment systems, the mobile payments’ industry now faces tough questions and challenges. APS has recently been recognised as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 companies to inspire Britain. In ten years, Richard has built APS up to be one of the most awarded electronic banking providers in Europe providing smart, fast, digital and mobile solutions which make it simple to send and receive payments.

Shareight mCommerce Startup raises GBP600k

SHAREIGHT highlighted the growing importance of mobile commerce as an investment opportunity by raising £600,000 in 24 hours from over 240 investors through the equity crowd funding platform Seedrs. The round is currently in an overfunding period and is expected to exceed £600,000 (US $1,000,000) today. SHAREIGHT has set new records for the speed and amount raised on the platform – excluding Seedrs’s own campaign in 2013. SHAREIGHT was founded to overcome the challenges faced by consumers who want to shop via their smartphone to aggregate everything on the high street into one designed-for-mobile platform that provides easy-to-use browsing, shopping, saving, communicating and sharing of products.

Contactless Transactions Up 400% in 2013

Throughout 2013 Visa cardholders used their contactless cards to make more than 94.3 million purchases in the UK, simply by tapping their cards, compared to just under 25 million contactless purchases in 2012, showing that UK consumers are embracing the ease and speed of contactless payments. Contactless purchases were not just up in the UK but across the whole of Europe, with Visa cards used to make a staggering 340.1 million contactless purchases across Europe last year. The number of contactless terminals has also risen by almost 200% and independent retailers making contactless payments available to customers with the number of terminals now over 300k. The stats also show a massive 125% increase on the number of Visa contactless cards in circulation compared to December 2012 to now 32.1 million Visa contactless cards in circulation in the UK with the European total reaching 80.6 million, a 158% increase on 2012.

Payza Announces EU Payment Partnership

Payza has formed a strategic relationship to provide credit and debit payment service to European Union merchants based on its highly successful, fully-featured Payza as a Platform enterprise solution. The company announced its Payza Merchant Gateway service in the U.S. last month. Payza as a Platform is currently being used in nearly every country around the world by over 75,000 merchants. The service offers highly competitive pricing, a wide range of supported payment methods, built-in security and fraud protection, strong merchant support, and a host of tools, features, and reporting options. Payza’s online payment platform also offers a recurring billing service for subscription based billing cycles, at no additional charge. The recurring billing feature has a variety of intervals and billing terms and is created at a product level so additional products can complement the basic subscription. Unlike other payment processors and merchant accounts that charge monthly, gateway and other service fees on top of transaction fees, the Payza Merchant Gateway only charges for the processed transactions.