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

INSIDE Secure Element IP Solution

INSIDE Secure introduced a new approach to embedding a robust security platform in mobile devices to fortify and protect them against system integrity attacks. The first of its kind, the power-optimized INSIDE Secure VaultIP solution provides a set of certification-ready hardware IP modules that chip makers can use to quickly and cost effectively embed hardware secure elements in their mobile designs, either stand-alone or for use in an ARM TrustZone® architecture. With VaultIP security, mobile devices are better able to protect data in banking, payment and ticketing applications, secure identity and communications in enterprise, health care and government applications, and support content protection and DRM systems in media and entertainment applications, among other use

Mobile Wallet SEQR Signs Agreement with Visita

Seamless has signed a frame agreement with Swedish hospitality industry- and employers’ organization Visita regarding the mobile payment solution SEQR. The agreement means that approximately 6400 hotels, restaurants, amusements parks, camp sites, hostels and ski-and spa resorts in Sweden can benefit from significant savings in transaction costs. Offering SEQR as a payment method is very easy. The technology is integrated with the cash register system and requires no hardware installation. The only thing members of Visita need to do is apply a sticker with a QR-code at the cash register. Compared to other mobile payment solutions, SEQR offers a number of value-added features for users such as digital receipts and coupons and connection to loyalty programs within the app.

EVO Finalize Purchase of eService

PKO Bank Polski and EVO Payments International successfully completed EVO’s acquisition of a 66 percent interest in eService, PKO’s existing merchant acquiring business. In addition, the parties also entered into a 20 year strategic alliance under which the parties will continue to develop eService as a leading merchant acquirer in the region. The strategic alliance entered into between PKO Bank Polski and EVO will allow further development of eService’s business in Poland, as well as support the expansion of eService’s business into foreign markets, in particular Central and Eastern Europe.

Sionic Mobile Add Board Member

Sionic Mobile, an mCommerce company providing mobile gifting, payments and rewards, named William “Bill” Lamar, Jr., to its board of directors. Lamar brings more than 32 years of executive expertise in the quick service restaurant (QSR), package goods and transportation industries to the Sionic Mobile board. Prior to McDonald’s USA, Lamar was vice president of Burrell Advertising, brand manager at the Quaker Oats Company, and also managed the Hawaii business for United Airlines. Additionally, Lamar was named one of the most powerful African Americans in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine, and is a sought-after speaker and industry panelist.

Consumer Debt

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The latest figures from the Federal Reserve show consumer revolving debt is now rising more than than 6% year-on-year, for the first time since the “Great Recession.” The latest monthly figures indicate total consumer credit card grew 6.1% in October, compared to -0.3% in September and 1.4% in August. However, RAM…

Infinea BluePad mPay Solution Launced

Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) today introduced the Infinea BluePad, a mobile payment solution that includes PIN entry, a contact chip smart card reader and a magnetic stripe reader with Bluetooth connectivity. Compatible with iOS and Android (OS 2.1 or higher), the Infinea BluePad can operate either as a stand-alone mobile device or as a companion to IPC’s mobile peripheral devices, including the Linea Pro® and Infinea Tab,® which work with Apple®’s iPod touch®, iPhone® and iPad®. The Infinea BluePad features a tactile keypad with 10 numeric and six functional keys, as well as smart card and magnetic stripe readers with three-track hi-coercivity bi-directional reading capabilities. One of the key differentiators that makes the Infinea BluePad product line versatile yet affordable is that IPC does not require a transaction or fee-based contract in order to acquire the device.

Gemalto Launces Next Gen M2M at CES

Gemalto today announced at CES, the addition of next generation Oracle Java™ ME Embedded version 8 solutions based on Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) chipsets to its Cinterion® portfolio of cellular modules and devices. With support for Java and for the SensorLogic cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform, the new products enable Gemalto to launch next generation embedded solutions and services that simplify Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology and speed up application development to expand the growing Internet of Things (IoT). The new products(1) will target applications from medical devices, automobiles and smart meters to shipping containers, home appliances and alarm systems. Gemalto’s new Java enabled products join an existing portfolio of QTI-based modules that span the full range of cellular technologies, from CDMA to LTE.

M&T Bank Executive Changes

M&T Bank Corporation announced today that Vice Chairman Michael P. Pinto, 57, has resigned from M&T’s board of directors due to a serious medical condition. However, Mr. Pinto will continue as Vice Chairman of M&T Bank, M&T’s primary banking subsidiary, on a part-time basis in an advisory role. In addition to this change President Mark J. Czarnecki has also been named Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Furthermore, M&T announced that Chief Financial Officer Rene F. Jones and Executive Vice President Kevin J. Pearson have been named Vice Chairmen of M&T Bank, and with expanded roles, will now report to Mr. Wilmers as well.

Payelp Partners with Fortumo

International business and payment platform Payelp Global announced its partnership and integration with Fortumo, which offers merchants “one-click” mobile payments in 79 countries worldwide. Fortumo, which has offices in the U.S. (San Francisco), Europe, China and India, not only offers mobile payments in the U.S. and Europe, but focuses on emerging regions and “hard-to-monetize” regions such as Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. Over 100,000 developers have already signed up to offer Fortumo mobile payments, including top developers such as Rovio, Electronic Arts (EA) and Gameloft.

Asta Funding Acquires CBC Settlement Funding

Asta Funding, Inc. today announced the acquisition of an 80% ownership interest in CBC Settlement Funding, LLC (“CBC”) On December 31, 2013, the Company, through a subsidiary acquired 100% of the ownership of CBC and its affiliate, CBC Management Services, LLC, for approximately $5.9 million. At the closing, the operating principals of CBC, namely William J. Skyrm, Esq. and James Goodman, were issued a 20% interest in CBC (10% to Mr. Skyrm, and 10% to Mr. Goodman). William J. Skyrm, Esq. and James Goodman, have over 30 years combined experience in the structured settlement industry. CBC purchases periodic payments under a structured settlement and annuity from individuals in exchange for a lump sum payment. In addition, the Company, through another subsidiary has agreed to provide financing to CBC of up to $5 million.

MasterCard APMEA

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] MasterCard’s payment dollar volume (PDV) in the Asia-Pacific-Middle East-Africa region is flattening in the fourth quarter to 23% year-on-year. RAM Research is projecting a 20 basis points drop in the first quarter of 2014. The economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are hinged on the global economy, thus…

Mercury StoreCard

Mercury Payment Systems, LLC, today announced the launch of Mercury StoreCard™, a gift, rewards, mobile payments and promotions card all in one. Consumers can use the Mercury StoreCard as a gift card or a reloadable stored-value card to earn cash back loyalty rewards on every StoreCard purchase. The Mercury StoreCard can also be converted into a digital gift card via Apple® Passbook® or an Android marketplace app, allowing consumers to pay for purchases with either their physical card or smartphones, creating mobile payment convenience. Consumers can also use their smartphones to view their Mercury StoreCard’s balances, manually or automatically reload their cards, send custom-printed gift cards to their family and friends, and share promotional gift cards via social media.