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

Welch ATM signs SeaWorld deal

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment the parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens has partnered with Welch ATM to provide ATM services in the company’s parks nationwide. The partnership includes ATM equipment, management, financial institution branding and services for the SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® parks throughout the U.S. Headquartered in Peoria, IL, Welch ATM currently manages a network of over 22,000 ATMs nationwide. Welch’s company focus is customer satisfaction. They have earned the “Best Practice ATM Deployer” award from the ATM Industry Association and were ranked the #1 ATM Help Desk by NCR. SeaWorld ATMs will have colorful wraps, screens and toppers making it that much easier for park customers to find easy access to cash.

Comdata Enhances FleetAdvance

Comdata has released a new advisor tool within its FleetAdvance solution. FleetAdvance Advisor enables customers to proactively plan fuel stops with the best pricing opportunities along a route to help fleets make smarter fueling decisions. Comdata FleetAdvance provides customers with real-time transaction data to help guide informed purchasing patterns, better manage fuel costs and improve driver behavior.

MasterCard Expands MasterPass to New Market

MasterCard’s new digital payment platform is debuting in Italy with Mediaworld, Trenitalia and Vodafone. The “MasterPass” solution will shortly be joined by Esselunga. 3,500 more retailers are also active through Banca Sella, the first acquirer bank to offer the MasterPass service to all its online clients. With MasterPass, consumers, don’t have to enter their card and shipping details each time they make a purchase from an online retailer, which is particularly important in the growing area of purchases made from smartphones and tablets. Consumers can simply click on the “Buy with MasterPass” button and enter their username and password to complete payment for a purchase. MasterPass optimizes the mobile check out experience making the small screens easier to navigate and offers the same benefits for online purchases made from PCs and tablets too.

MoPowered Partners Realex Payments, Offer mChannel

MoPowered mcommerce and Realex Payments e-retail payment service provider partnered to let online merchants create new sales opportunities with the rapidly growing mobile channel. The Realex Payments partnership with MoPowered will ensure that mutual customers have the benefit of working with industry leading mobile software alongside PCI-DSS level 1 compliant payment solutions allowing retailers to provide a seamless payments experience for their clients. The payments industry is seeing exponential growth in m-commerce which cannot be ignored. Realex Payments already provides payment solutions to thousands of retail businesses across the UK alone, supporting small businesses as well as large corporates. Well known retail clients include notonthehighstreet.com and Chain Reaction Cycles. Realex Payments has seen a 55% increase in transaction volumes in the online retail sector between Q3 2012 and Q3 2013, due to the success and increased adoption of its sector specific payment solutions, supporting the needs of online retailers.

More Americans Increasing Holiday Spending

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] More Americans say they will increase spending and fewer say they are cutting back on expenses, according to the results of a recent Citi national survey, with only 35% planning to spend than in 2012. Of those surveyed, 63% plan to spend more (11%) or the same (52%) on holiday shopping…

Picking Up New Accounts

New bank credit card account openings are finally picking up after three years of very sluggish growth. Chase opened 1.7 million new credit card accounts in the third quarter, compared to 1.5 million in the second quarter, and 1.6 million one-year ago. Bank of America reported it opened more than one million new credit card accounts in the third quarter, compared to 957,000 in the prior quarter and 857,000 in the prior year quarter. While Citibank does not break out new account openings, its Citi-branded card base grew 3% since last year from 23.1 million accounts to 23.8 million accounts in the third quarter of this year.

Datacard to Acquire Entrust on Transaction Security

Datacard Group signed an agreement to acquire Entrust. The acquisition builds on the strengths of each company to enable its customers and partners to deliver better services in highly connected environments. The acquisition is expected to close on December 31, 2013, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. The combined entity will employ nearly 2,000 professionals, leveraging hundreds of channel partners to serve tens of thousands of customers. Together the company will enable its customers to issue over 10 million physical identities daily, handle over 200 billion transactions a year, and manage billions of identities, including the majority of payment cards and identification solutions in more than 100 countries.

NFC Forum Announces New Vice Chairmen

The NFC Forum announced two newly elected Vice Chairmen of its Board of Directors, Trevor Pavey of Broadcom Corporation and Alexander Rensink of NXP Semiconductors. A senior product line manager at Broadcom, Trevor Pavey is a seasoned high tech marketing executive with eight years of RFID and wireless expertise coupled with 17 years of experience in semiconductor technology, marketing, business development, applications, and design. During his tenure at Broadcom, Pavey has been responsible for ecosystem management, including Broadcom’s relationships with the major payment associations and mobile carriers. Earlier in his career, he was instrumental in launching the NFC business at Texas Instruments. Alexander Rensink is strategic marketing director in the Identification business unit at NXP, which he joined in 2007. At NXP, Rensink focuses on the significant potential for identification technology in the mobile market with the goal of expanding the deployment of NFC-based solutions into mobile phones and tablets. In this role, he has had considerable experience in working with both infrastructure suppliers and application developers to deliver end-to-end solutions for vertical markets.

Visa Asia Pacific PDV

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] After two Q3 blips since 2006, the payments dollar volume (PDV) for Visa cards in the Asia-Pacific (AP) region has been on the rebound. According to CardData, Visa posted a year-on-year gain in the third quarter of 13.5%, compared to 8.2% in the third quarter of last year. Growth through the…

Starbucks Anticipates Busiest Starbucks Card-Buying Day

Starbucks is projecting record purchases and activations of Starbucks Cards on Thursday, December 19. Last year, more than 2 million Starbucks Cards were purchased in the U.S. and Canada on the Thursday before Christmas – representing nearly 1,500 cards purchased per minute in the U.S. and Canada. According to the National Retail Federation, eight in ten shoppers will purchase a gift card this holiday season. Since the Starbucks Card launched 12 years ago, $16 billion has been loaded on 450 million cards in 27 countries worldwide. Of that $16 billion, $4 billion was loaded onto Starbucks Cards worldwide in the past year. Starbucks offers many ways to give the gift of coffee. Starbucks Cards can be purchased in a variety of designs or holiday imagery.

Spindle and iPayMobil Forge Payment Partnership

Spindle mobile commerce signed strategic agreements with iPayMobil m-payment ecommerce solutions, allowing the partnership to provide a convenient, efficient and secure way to offer micro-lending services to merchants as part of Spindle’s existing payments product suite. Merchants will be able to offer Spindle’s free, downloadable mobile wallet app to their customers to facilitate credit approvals for time payments at competitive rates. iPayMobil will license seven of its ecommerce patents to Spindle to augment its product and service offering to merchants. The iPayMobil micro-lending service deployed through Spindle’s commerce platform is targeted for release in the first quarter of 2014, and will be offered to MeNetwork’s 400,000 mobile application consumers.

First Data Announces $500mm of Senior Subordinated Notes

First Data intends to offer $500 million aggregate principal amount of its 11.75% senior subordinated notes due 2021 (the “Notes”), subject to market conditions, of which the proceeds will be used, together with cash on hand, to redeem a portion of its outstanding 11.25% senior subordinated notes due 2016 and to pay related fees and expenses. The Notes are expected to be treated as a single series with, and will have the same terms as those of, $750.0 million aggregate principal amount of the existing 11.75% senior subordinated notes due 2021 previously issued by First Data on May 30, 2013 and $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of the existing 11.75% senior subordinated notes due 2021 previously issued by First Data on November 19, 2013 (collectively, the “existing 11.75% notes”).