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

Credit Card Spending Limits Highest Since 2008

Experian® today announced an analysis of bankcard trends from the Q3 2013 that showed a 29 percent year-over-year increase in bankcard origination volumes (limits), equating to a $16 billion increase in new bankcard limits issued. The Q3 2013 bankcard origination volume of $73 billion was higher than the conclusion of the 2008 recession, as origination volume in Q4 2008 was $70 billion.

Online Spending with Visa Fuels Solid Growth

UK consumers’ preference for electronic payments continued to increase in 2013 as Visa Europe announces that spending with UK Visa credit, debit, commercial and prepaid cards increased by 9.2% to £445bn. This is according to Visa Europe’s annual results for the year to 30th September 2013. Spending by UK cardholders with Visa debit increased by 9.3% on the previous year. Debit payments account for over 80% of Visa Europe’s business in the UK. More than £1 in every £3 spent in the UK is now spent using Visa. Growth was also strong in other core areas of the Visa Europe business, with spending on commercial cards increasing by 18.1% and on prepaid cards by 42.8%.

MasterCard and IDB Sign Agreement

MasterCard and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have recently signed a keystone agreement, as announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to work together in an effort to improve economic inclusion, transparency and financial formalization through the expansion of electronic payments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The five-year public-private partnership is intended to enhance access to information and promote the transition to electronic payment services in the region, which can help reduce transaction costs and increase the efficiency of financial disbursements. Replacing cash-based systems for electronic ones also can potentially reduce leakages, increasing the likelihood that payments and benefits end up in the hands of intended beneficiaries and recipients, helping to improve the lives of the underserved.

First eChecking Payment Processing App

Hybrid POS Inc. in alliance with Paysoft International, Inc. have teamed up and have designed the First eChecking Payment Processing App for today’s businesses on the Road. Now businesses Nationwide can use their iPhone or Android device to process a collection transaction, using eCheck21 technology. This payment method allows your business to see the deposit same day in your account.

Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case Uses NFC

Incipio announced today the launch of the Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case. The Cashwrap Case is available online for $69.99 starting January 24, and in AT&T company owned retail locations across the country starting on January 31. Using the Incipio Cashwrap Case, consumers with an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, and 5S can utilize the Isis Mobile Wallet to pay and save at stores with just a tap of their smartphone. The Isis Mobile Wallet holds participating payment and loyalty cards, as well as offers. The Incipio Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case is the only Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile solution for iPhone 5/5s.

HBC Partners with Pounce

HBC is partnering with Pounce, a consumer-facing mobile app to integrate traditional media with m-commerce, providing customers the opportunity to purchase merchandise displayed in print media using tablets and smartphones. Pounce is the only Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor approved mobile app that allows customers to instantly buy products seen in print by simply scanning an image.

Credit Card Reward Participation Declines

Mercator Advisory Group reveals that credit card reward participation in the United States declined from 76% in 2012 to 68% in 2013. Reward participation appears to be age dependent as 81% of seniors, 68% of 35-64 year olds, but only 57% of young adults participate in credit card reward programs, marking significant declines in participation among each age group during the past year. Credit 2013: Consumers Eye Cobranded Rewards, the latest report from Mercator Advisory Group’s Primary Data Service, shows that some consumers who are offered retailer or other corporate-branded reward programs (e.g., airline branded) that compete with bank-issued reward programs, consider these rewards better than bank-issued rewards. Cobranded reward programs are luring consumers who may not have otherwise applied for a bank-issued credit cards.

CoinFlash Demo New Bitcoin ATM

This weekend, the Coinflash team will be attending the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, giving attendees a sneak preview of the new Coinflash Bitcoin ATM. Coinflash is a San Francisco-based startup that plans on deploying 1000 ATMs worldwide by 2015. Team members will be conducting live demonstrations of the advanced functionality of the machine, which is based on the OpenWallet kiosk platform. The Coinflash ATM enables Coinbase and Ripple users to buy and sell bitcoins for cash, and even pay bills, transfer funds, and purchase gift cards with cash or digital currency.

Unemployment Dips Below 7%

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The unemployment rate declined from 7.0 percent to 6.7% in December, while total nonfarm payroll employment edged up (+74,000). The total number of unemployed persons declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million in December, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 6.7%. The number of unemployed persons and the…

BillingTree’s Mobile Payment For Auto Finance Industry

BillingTree® today announced a suite of new solutions that allow auto finance companies to expand mobile payment options to consumers, and to manage and extend customer relationships beyond their initial purchase through digital marketing promotions and value-added customer service. BillingTree’s mobile payment and lifecycle management solution enables customers to view and pay their bills by scanning a QR code from their smart phone and instantly access their account information and payment options. Lifecycle communications features allow auto lenders to automatically identify and execute upsell, cross-sell and promotional marketing opportunities to online and mobile customers based on their buying behavior. Both solutions are supported by BillingTree’s partnership with ZNAP™, a mobile payment and business automation platform provider.

Gamification to Bill Pay

Fiserv, Inc. this morning announced it has added several innovative features to its flagship CheckFree(R) RXP(R) electronic bill payment service, incorporating gamification principles to make the bill payment process more intuitive and engaging. The addition of three game-inspired elements – a progress bar, tutorial elements and a gradual introduction of more advanced capabilities – is designed to boost adoption and use of electronic bill payment among online banking users. A number of changes have been made to restructure the CheckFree RXP user interface to deliver a cleaner, more modern and intuitive user experience. Several gamification techniques – taking elements of electronic games, such as how they flow or how they are designed, and applying them to non-game applications – were used in order to instill confidence in the user during their first interaction with the product.

Paymetric Launches Fraud Management

Paymetric payment management has launched XiVerify Fraud Management Solution. For merchants looking to expand their online business while protecting themselves and their customers with a strategic fraud management services provider, Paymetric’s solution offers a securely integrated solution that maintains PCI compliance. Paymetric has partnered with industry leading fraud management solution providers to create XiVerify, its new securely integrated offering. Merchants can select the fraud management services provider of their choice and customize the solution to meet their specific needs, while Paymetric promotes a secure environment by removing all credit card data from the merchant environment. XiSecure On-Demand For Cardholder Data, Paymetric’s tokenization solution, offers companies the opportunity to eliminate the transmission and storage of sensitive cardholder data, which radically improves data security while minimizing the scope, effort and financial burden of PCI compliance.