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

Amazon Coins-Spend and Earn On Android Devices

Amazon this morning announced that customers in the US, UK and Germany can now buy, spend and earn Amazon Coins on their Android phones and tablets. Previously available for use exclusively on Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Coins can now be used to buy the latest apps, like Ridiculous Fishing, purchase extra lives within Candy Crush, or unlock Red’s amazing Super Roaster in Angry Birds GO directly from their Android device. Customers simply need to download the latest version of the Amazon Appstore and their existing Coins balances automatically appear. Existing Android customers can upgrade to the latest version of the Amazon Appstore on their mobile device by visiting www.amazon.com/updateappstore and new customers can download the Amazon Appstore on their mobile device by visiting www.amazon.com/getappstore.

Meritus Payment Solutions Names New CTO

Mark Adams has joined Meritus Payment Solutions as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Adams brings extensive expertise in product development, application engineering, and the building of highly scalable cloud based infrastructures. In his role at Meritus, he will oversee product engineering, application development, IT infrastructure, and information security. A proven leader with 19 years of technology experience, Mr. Adams comes to Meritus from HireRight where he served as CIO and VP of Engineering. Before joining HireRight, Mr. Adams led the development of financial and contact center applications for Auto Club of Southern California. His prior experience also includes serving as Vice President of Information Technology for Lending Tree Loans where he focused on the delivery of highly scalable mortgage processing infrastructure and applications.

MASTERCARD MEA 2013

The Middle East and Africa segment of MasterCard’s Asia-Pacific-Middle East-Africa region (APMEA) exploded in 2013 with a number of new cards entering the market, proliferation of mobile payments and Shari’a compliant MasterCards. At the end of the third quarter there were 410 million cards issued in the APMEA region. Gross dollar volume for the third quarter was $410 billion. MasterCard will release fourth quarter and annual results on January 31 before the market opens.

Datacard Announces EMV Services Unit

Datacard Group secure ID and card personalization solutions announced it will be providing financial institutions, retailers and service bureaus with guidance and best practices to help simplify the transition to the industry-wide EMV smart card standards, including the 2015 liability shift in the U.S. The new EMV Professional Service offerings – provided by Datacard Group – give organizations a wide-range of educational material, technology tools and resources designed to help them make calculated decisions on what they need for EMV smart card programs.
Assessment & Planning Services – including existing infrastructure analysis, card type selection and management, authentication and authorization requirements, customer service and expert-by-your side consulting to help ease the transition to EMV smart card programs. Implementation Services – this includes project planning, scripting services, data preparation, chip personalization, key management, and central or instant issuance.

Dot Hill Enlisted for Managed Services and e-commerce Infrastructure

Dot Hill Systems SAN storage announced that Osiris Trading selected its AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series hybrid array with RealStor real-time autonomic tiering to support their managed services and hosting infrastructure. The RealStor software seamlessly enables application demands for high throughput spikes while promising future capacity expansion without additional costly license fees. Osiris Trading is incorporating the AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series into its clustered Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 based infrastructure supporting over 40TB of SQL database and web services applications. The AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series features seriously smart RealStor software that responds to dynamically changing data autonomically without human intervention or policy settings. RealStor software takes tiered storage in a hybrid array to a new level ” beyond other tiered storage systems that rely on off-hours batch migration, and into a new era of autonomic, real-time tiering.

PCS Launches Powered Card Technology

Powered Card Solutions, LLC (PCS) today announced the availability of its embedded technology for use in secure debit and credit cards. This technology embeds electronics, a SolicoreTM thin-film battery and a display within a credit or debit card to generate unique rolling passcodes that can prevent high-profile card security breaches recently experienced at Target, Marriott, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, as well as Hilton, Sheraton and Westin. By capturing static card holder data, a fraudster can create a duplicate card or authorize a fraudulent transaction. PCS’s solution protects consumers from fraud by generating a rolling security code. The embedded display in the credit or debit card shows a unique number for verification of each and every transaction. As a result a defrauder can have the card number and key personal information, but they will not know the ever-changing security code required to authenticate a transaction. This solution combined with the highly secure chip technology, creates a powerful combination that can eliminate consumer’s fear of using their credit card and/or debit card online, over the phone or at point of sale.

VISA ASIA-PACIFIC 2013

Payment cards in the Asia-Pacific (AP) region continue to be a red-hot market for Visa as gross dollar volume (GDV) is the highest Visa region outside the U.S., excluding Visa Europe (not part of Visa, Inc.). South Korea also continues its love affair with Visa cards, with the distinction of the highest household debt rate in the world, quickly approaching the $1 trillion milestone. Bank of Korea data show the consumer debt service ratio in South Korea is more than 150% of disposable income.

THE LINE ITEM SOME CARD ISSUERS (STILL) DON’T GET RIGHT

Every year we analyze this metric, and some issuers respond that they do invest in R&D (Research and Technical Development); it’s just plugged into other larger areas of the P/L, like “G&A,” or “Operating Expense.” Yet, if it is so important to the long term survival of any organization, why is it “buried,” or “plugged;” why not exposed to the light of day? A buried expense cannot be a function truly (or well) managed.

Mercury Payment Hires CTO

Mercury Payment service appointed Andrew Patterson Chief Technology Officer. Here he will be responsible for software engineering, technology infrastructure, business intelligence, quality assurance, and architecture for the organization. With over a decade of technology and management experience, Patterson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role as CTO at Mercury. Patterson most recently served as the vice president of payments software and emerging products for Moneris Solutions where he led a number of key technology initiatives, including the design and development of many of their products and processing systems. He was also the director of software development at the same company. He holds a B.S. from Dalhousie University and an MBA from Queen’s University.

MasterCard Teams Points International on Reward Options

MasterCard enhanced cardholders options to redeem, exchange and trade their rewards points. Delivered through a relationship between MasterCard and Points International, the new options are based on the popularity of travel and experiences and expected to drive engagement and value to rewards programs offered by issuing banks participating in the MasterCard Rewards Platform. Following the initial integration, it is anticipated that program functionality will be available later this year.

MANGOPAY Accepts Seven New Currencies

MANGOPAY crowdfunding platforms and collaborative economy players is strengthening its offering with new functionalities and accepting seven further currencies (British pound, American dollar, Swiss franc, Polish zloty, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish krone) in addition to the euro. The Australian and Canadian dollar will also soon also be accepted. In-app payment using card “tokenisation” which allows merchants to receive payments without users leaving their platform. Meanwhile, test accounts for merchants and the option to go live directly via mangopay.com. MANGOPAY helps clients accept third-party payments, create and manage e-wallets (white label), split funds and collect fees in a simple, secure and transparent way.