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:

MoneyGram Hits 200-Country Milestone

MoneyGram reached a company milestone and is now offering services in 200 countries and territories worldwide. The achievement follows new agreements with agents in Equatorial Guinea and Myanmar. The move to include MoneyGram services in Equatorial Guinea and Myanmar strategically targets previously underserved customers, and aims to bring customers closer through money transfers that can be made to and from locations across the globe.

CashStar Announces Latest Gift Card Program Client

CashStar launched its eGift card program with Hacienda Colorado, giving consumers the option to personalize and send digital gift cards online and via mobile devices from the restaurant known for its signature Mountain Mex cuisine. The restaurant selected the CashStar platform because of its best-in-class platform and ease of implementing promotions to drive purchases and incremental revenue. The CashStar platform enables consumers to easily select the design and denomination for each eGift card, include a personal message, and determine delivery date and time all through Hacienda Colorado’s website. In addition to CashStar’s high-quality Web-based gifting experience, the platform also provides a specifically designed user interface for mobile devices.

Brazil CPI

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Brazil’s economy is projected to increase by 2.3% in 2013 and 2.0% next year. However, the Consumer Price Index is headed downward (good news for consumers), by 20 basis points in the fourth quarter, according to RAM Research. Hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, Brazil is gearing…

MoneyGram Announces Latest Agreement Renewal

MoneyGram renewed an agreement with Albertsons LLC to offer services at more than 600 locations across the U.S. The renewed agreement with Albertsons LLC includes provisions for a system upgrade which will allow customers to interact face-to-face with customer care agents while completing their MGI transactions. The agreement also includes provisions for fresh signage that will direct customers to the service desk for all MoneyGram support.

Q2 Deploys Virtual Banking Platform

Q2 secured virtual banking and Urban Partnership Bank deployed upbAnywhere for online and mobile banking. Using the Q2platform, Urban Partnership Bank account holders can now securely access their bank accounts and manage money whenever and wherever they want using a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Q2’s technology offers Urban Partnership Bank convenient, round-the-clock banking for the underserved and under-banked populations of Chicago and Detroit. Q2 helped Urban Partnership Bank implement Anytime, Anywhere Access, mBanking and Better Record Keeping.

SmartAction’s Artificial Intelligence IVR Solution PCI Certified

Smart Action Company has been awarded PCI DSS certification from the independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) firm, Tevora Business Solutions. The certification comes after a lengthy audit of every aspect of the technology and operations of SmartAction. The certification process verified that the company meets all Payment Card Industry security requirements (PCI DSS 2.0) as a service provider. SmartAction first earned PCI certification in 2011. The artificial intelligence based system handles many types of voice self-service including: order processing, customer service, scheduling, and billing-related calls in natural speech at a fraction of the cost of live agents – all within the industry-recognized security guidelines established by PCI.

DNA Opens EMV Toolbox to Providers

The critical mission to develop a common solution for EMV in the U.S. received a significant boost last week as the Debit Network Alliance was founded. In a much-needed move, 10 of the country’s 18 PIN-debit networks came together to provide a structure for the governance, deployment and implementation of the EMV debit standard. This is a first step to the crucial collaboration that can propel EMV forward quickly, efficiently and in a way that protects the interests of all the parties that keep our complex payments system humming. To truly realize the value EMV can bring the U.S. payments system, all networks must participate in the development of a communal ” and compliant ” standard. Without it, three “must-haves” ” merchant routing choice, issuer portability and healthy industry competition ” are at risk. DNA aims to make each of the EMV tools in the payments toolbox accessible to everyone. Offers Insight on how Consumers Can Avoid Holiday Debt

Holiday gift lists are often behind overspending – but a poll finds food and travel expenses account for between $500 – $1,000 in additional costs for a quarter of Canadians. The personal finance comparison site introduces the Holiday Rewards Challenge, an interactive tool to help consumers identify their top holiday spending stresses – and whether their credit card is best suited to their shopping habits. For less debt burden in 2014, cash in rewards where it counts, seek credit cards that offer low balance transfer options provide interest breaks for a limited time and buy gifts with cash.

Non Cash Payment Up 5% Since 2009

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Card payments now account nearly 70% of all noncash payments, while the number of checks paid continued to decline. A 2013 Study by the Federal Reserve now shows the total number of noncash payments, excluding wire transfers, was 122.8 billion, a growth rate of 4.4% annually from 2009 to 2012. The…

Credit Card GDV

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] U.S. credit card gross dollar volume (GDV) is poised to drop around 120 basis points in the fourth quarter due to rocky retail sales. After a terrible 2008 and 2009, holiday retail sales volume are slowly crawling back. This year fourth quarter credit card GDV is projected to grow 6.5%, compared…

FIS Mobile Earns Best-in-class Awards

FIS earned best-in-class mobile awards from two leading analyst group, named 2013 Best in Class Mobile Banking Vendor Overall by Javelin Strategy & Research and Best in Class ranks from CEB TowerGroup in the areas of Customer Experience, Interface Development and Integration & Management in its Mobile Banking Solutions Technology Analysis report. FIS Mobile received Javelin’s highest honor, winning Best in Class overall from its 2013 survey and was voted No. 1 in Top 3 Mobile Banking Vendor Standards and Customized Solutions and No. 1 in Top 3 Mobile Banking Standard Solution. It was ranked based on best in class in customer experience, interface development and integration management.