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

Card Assets

Combined, Visa and MasterCard hold total assets of nearly $50 billion as of the third quarter of last year. Visa reported total assets of $36 billion for Q3 while MasterCard reported total assets of $13.7 billion. One-year ago Visa’s total assets stood at $40 billion. The Visa decline was due to the release of cash in its litigation escrow account of $4.4 billion. MasterCard’s total assets have grown over the past year from $12.1 billion to $13.7 billion.

AT&T and Vantiv Announce New Mobile Payments Solutions

AT&T and Vantiv, Inc. announced the availability of new payment products that deliver highly secure, integrated and speedy on-the-spot mobile transactions to businesses of all sizes. Mobile payments represent a market opportunity with significant upside as businesses implement new, more integrated ways to manage their operations and sell to customers. In fact, Forrester Research projects that U.S. mobile payments will reach $90 billion in 2017, representing a 48 percent compound annual growth rate from the $12.8 billion spent in 2012.

Net Element’s Aptito Achieved Visa Ready

Net Element, Inc. is pleased to announce today that Aptito, LLC (“Aptito”), has achieved Visa Ready status for their mPOS solution. Aptito is a next generation, cloud-based point of sale payments platform, operated through TOT Group, Inc. (“TOT”) the mobile payments and transaction processing subsidiary of Net Element. Aptito helps restaurants drive consumer engagement via tablet, mobile and all other cloud-connected devices. Aptito’s mPOS system provides hospitality merchants with tools to increase sales, productivity, and customer loyalty. The solution is a tablet-based POS that combines traditional POS functionality with mobile ordering, payments, social media, intelligent offers, mobile applications, loyalty, and transactional data all in one solution supported by Aptito’s cloud-based payments platform.

TD Go Card For Parents

TD Bank has launched TD Go, a reloadable prepaid card for teenagers that can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Adults can open and fund the card for their teenagers online using a debit or credit card or via direct deposit. Once activated, parents can monitor spending online and receive email and text alerts on balances, transactions and adult-oriented purchases. The TD Go Card allows teenagers to spend only available funds unlike credit cards and if a card is lost or stolen it can quickly be cancelled and replaced unlike cash.

Vantiv and MasterCard

Vantiv, Inc. and Microsoft announced an agreement to deliver a new range of solutions for mobile POS and cloud-connected payments that can help businesses maximize their customer reach at any scale, end-to-end. From simple mobile payment collection in the field, to individual direct sales transactions, to retail store operations and more, the combination of Microsoft’s technology with Vantiv’s processing services and support will make it easier for businesses to take full advantage of their most important asset – their people – to offer seamless best-in-class experiences.

NearBytes Launches Payment Solution

NearPay is a solution that can be integrated into Mobile Wallet applications for mobile payments, but it’s not a wallet application in itself. By using several features that are available on NearLogin, NearPay is a service that allows payment applications to perform transactions on mobile devices both online and offline, with all the safety features that are necessary in financial applications. The NearPay system includes a server and security structure, and by using the NearBytes technology, can be used on various POS devices, and in physical and online stores. With NearPay, transactions can be completed using smartphones, tablets and computers, while online or offline.

Tay Two Visa Prepaid Card

i2c, Inc. announced that it is partnering with CardFlex Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tay Two Corporation and licensee of CardFlex, Inc., and Shinsei Bank to launch a new prepaid card in Japan. The card will bear the brand of Tay Two Corporation, a leading Japanese retailer of games, videos, music and books with more than 100 retail locations across the country. i2c will serve as prepaid processor, CardFlex Japan as program manager and Shinsei Bank, working closely with its holding company APLUS Co., Ltd., as BIN sponsor for the program. The Tay Two Visa prepaid card will provide Japanese consumers with a new payment option that combines the flexibility of cash with the convenience of card payments. Consumers will be able to load money onto the cards online and via mobile app and make payments online or in person anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

Holiday Retail Sales Increase for 2013

Severe winter weather did not dampen December retail sales as shoppers took advantage of heavy promotions and last-minute deals. According to the National Retail Federation, December retail sales, which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Total holiday retail sales, which includes November and December sales, increased 3.8 percent to $601.8 billion, which was in line with NRF’s projected forecast of 3.9 percent and $602.1 billion. In addition, non-store holiday sales, which is an indicator of online and e-commerce sales, grew 9.3 percent to $95.7 billion. December retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.1 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Chase Earnings Drop As Expected

JPMorgan Chase & Co reported net income for the 4th Quarter 2013 at $5.3 billion. This was a slight increase from 4th Q 2012 which was reported at $5.2 billion. Revenue for the quarter was down 1% to $24 billion compared to the same period in 2012. Legal costs associated with a number of issues was noted as a reason for the drop in profits. Adjusted for the significant items disclosed in our earnings press releases this quarter and in the fourth quarter of 2012, EPS would have been $1.40 this year compared with $1.35 in the prior year and ROTCE would have been 15% this year, flat compared with the prior year.