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:

Credit Card Cash Advance Uptick

While most U.S. consumers do not access the cash advance feature of a Visa or MasterCard credit card due to its inherently high cost, there has been a slight uptick in the third quarter of this year. Bank credit card cash advances only represent 4.9% of MasterCard’s U.S. gross dollar volume and 4.1% of Visa’s U.S. gross dollar volume. The average cash advance on a Visa bank credit card is consistently around $75, while MasterCard credit cash advances hover at $100.

Retailers Disappointed in Credit Card Swipe Fee Settlement

The National Retail Federation issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson’s approval of a controversial antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees:

“We are very disappointed that this deeply flawed settlement has been approved. It is not supported by the retail industry and would do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future. The settlement permanently ties the hands of thousands of businesses who wanted nothing to do with this misguided case, and a decision to approve it violates established law and common sense. We are reviewing the ruling and will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the rights of merchants and safeguard the pocketbooks of their customers.”

USA Technologies Announces Upgrades to Its Service Platform

USA Technologies announced broad-based enhancements to its “one-stop” service, ePort Connect. The enhancements further position USAT customers for the emerging trends in mobile payment, consumer engagement programs such as loyalty and rewards and expanded use of operational data as self-serve retail businesses continue to develop a valued network of connected, cashless payment consumer touchpoints in the years ahead. Enhancements include new features added to USAT’s recently launched prepaid and loyalty program, “MORE.”; added capability of the ePort Connect platform to accept mobile payment with mobile-based rewards; and Micro-market and other cashless payment applications that expand USAT’s ePort Connect service to a broader audience. The “MORE.” loyalty and prepaid program launched in August, has been improved for customer campaign management and now includes recurring campaigns, replenish bonus; and bonus cash rewards.

US PIN Debit Networks Announce EMV Alliance

US-based PIN debit networks partnered to forge the Debit Network Alliance, to provide a structure for the governance, deployment and implementation of the EMV debit standard. The goal of this collaborative effort is to help facilitate the adoption of an interoperable EMV standard for debit payments in the U.S. through a common governance structure that fosters regulatory compliance, equal access and ability to innovate for all debit networks, routing choice for merchants, and portability for issuers. The debit networks have a long history of collaboratively working together – especially with regard to improving security – to define standards that maintain the integrity and quality of the U.S. payment industry. In particular, the networks have been working together on chip standards under the support of the Secure Remote Payment Council’s Chip and PIN Work Group since April 2012.

First Data Partners Tim Hortons on mNFC payments

Tim Hortons announced new mpayment options, now available at participating restaurants throughout Canada and the United States guests using BlackBerry® 10 smartphones (including the BlackBerry® Q5, BlackBerry® Q10, BlackBerry®Z10 and BlackBerry® Z30 smartphones) will be able to register a Tim Card on the TimmyMe™ mobile app and use near field communication (NFC) tap-to-pay technology to complete their order. This is one of the first integrations of an NFC based stored value card solution with existing payment terminals. Future development plans will also see this platform expanded to Android 4.4 devices. Tim Hortons has also launched a barcode payment pilot program in the Niagara region in Canada and at select USA Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurants. Tim Hortons has partnered with First Data to deliver tap and scan payments through their mobile gateway technology.

Electronic Payments Coalition Issues Statement on Interchange Fee Settlement

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved a settlement in the legal dispute between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers over interchange fees and rules. The Electronic Payments Coalition subsequently issued the following statement:

“The long political conflict over interchange fees is finally over, settled by a well-established legal process, which brought together retailers and the card industry for a negotiated resolution. After years of mediation, dozens of meetings, and millions of pages of evidence, the parties involved have willingly agreed to settle their dispute. This settlement is in the best interest of all involved parties and that has been proven today with the court’s final approval.”

Tieto wins United Financial Corporation contract

United Financial Corporation (UFC) has switched to a new type of support services – Platinum support, ensuring highest quality support of Tieto Card Suite software, as well as additional value added services. The program now includes technical and operational audits, dedicated specialist visits, training, and other activities aimed at improving UFC’s internal processes. UFC’s goal was to establish a stable platform and bring innovative and reliable interbank processing services to the market. Since the start of using Tieto’s Platinum services in 2012, multiple audits have been conducted providing UFC with recommendations from technical as well as business point of view. New efficient change and problem management procedures have been established, and UFC have also enhanced their expert skills.

PayPal Announces Contactless Payment Service Available

Paypal announced participating merchants can offer their customers a walletless transaction. All that’s needed is a smartphone and the PayPal app. With the new “Shops” tab, customers show the merchant that they are in their place of business, whom then sees the customer’s profile image and can process the payment via the customer’s PayPal account. The customer then receives a confirmation of the amount they paid as well as a receipt. Merchants of all sizes can be an active part of the innovative future of commerce.

Vodafone Launches SmartPass

Vodafone Germany is launching its new mobile wallet with the integrated Vodafone SmartPass Visa payment application. The Wirecard Group will be handling all technical and financial services for the Vodafone SmartPass card solution from Vodafone. This includes issuing both plastic and digital Visa cards for the wallet through the Wirecard Card Solutions subsidiary. The Vodafone SmartPass payment app is now being launched in Dusseldorf, where there are already around 800 NFC acceptance points. In the first quarter of 2014, the service will be successively expanded across the whole of Germany. Customers with an NFC-enabled and wallet-certified smartphone receive a SIM card with the relevant NFC function and can then pay with their Vodafone SmartPass credit at all Visa-certified contactless terminals.

Fime Announces Eastward Expansion

Fime has expanded its global network with a new laboratory, allowing EMV payments and NFC stakeholders in to utilise Fime’s global secure chip and mobile device testing, and compliance expertise. FIME, an advanced consulting and test services provider for end-to-end secure transactions, has opened its Japanese operation in order to better service demand from its ever-growing customer base in the Asia-Pacific region. From launch the team will provide mobile payment device testing for compliance to EMVCo Contactless Level 1, MasterCard Mobile PayPass specifications and JCB’s new J/Speedy™ EMV contactless payment scheme. The laboratory will offer consultancy services to support EMV and NFC stakeholders in understanding the secure-chip testing and certification landscape to ensure new products are brought to market successfully and efficiently.


Delinquency for bank credit cards has declined to its lowest level in more than 20 years. After peaking at its highest level during the credit crisis of 2008-2009, bank credit card delinquency has decreased by more than 400 basis points to 2.45% in the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. RAM Research projects a further decline in the fourth quarter to 2.35%. Citibank reported credit card accounts 30 days to 89 days past due declined 13% from one-year ago to 0.94% in the third quarter.

First Data Analysis Shows November DVG Up 4.4%

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] First Data released its SpendTrend analysis for Oct. 31, 2013 through Dec. 2, 2013 compared to Nov. 1 through Dec. 3, 2012, tracking same-store POS data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations. November dollar volume growth of 4.4% marked a downtick…