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

Western Union Pilots Prepaid Card for Housing Benefits

Western Union global payment services is piloting a prepaid card that enables tenants of Moat Housing Association to receive their housing benefit and automatically pay the Registered Social Landlord (RSL). The trial is part of a scheme to evaluate the role of prepaid cards in supporting automatic rent payments, which would meet many of the challenges RSLs face when implementing Universal Credit. Western Union is currently providing tenants with MasterCard prepaid cards. The cards allow RSLs to automatically draw money from the tenant’s card, preventing rent arrears and giving both tenants and the housing association a record that the rent has been paid. The cards have no credit facilities, so the tenants cannot spend more than the value on the card, once the rent has been paid to the landlord, the cards can be used to pay for goods and services wherever MasterCard is accepted.

Payelp and Onebip Partner

Payelp Global, an international payment and business development platform representing thousands of merchants and hundreds of payment gateways, announced a partnership with Onebip by Neomobile, a global mobile payment service. Onebip, which started in 1995 as the first mobile payment service worldwide, is connected to over 250 carriers with 5 billion users in over 70 countries. Onebip, part of global mobile commerce group Neomobile, has offices in Rome, London, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Bogota, San Francisco and more. Onebip enables merchants to monetize digital goods and services to their users on a global scale using carrier-billing technology. As a leader in Europe and Latin America, Onebip has successfully supported the growth of many online gaming and entertainment businesses on mobile with an advanced technology platform.

Better ATM Services Launches Reseller Network

Better ATM Services has inaugurated a reseller network with the signing of its first agreement with Express Teller Services. Express Teller Services EFT financial service products for financial institutions and retailers can now allow third party ISOs and IADs to offer ATM-issued Visa gift cards and other prepaid products expanding their services to financial institutions. Express Teller Services becomes the exclusive reseller for credit unions in Arizona through the reseller accord. The pact builds upon the strong partnership between Better ATM Services and Express Teller Services, which began when Express Teller Services piloted Better ATM Services’ pioneering, patented technology with Arizona-area credit unions. Visa prepaid gift cards and Discover MyGift multi-merchant gift cards will initially be offered at three First American Credit Union locations in Southern and Northeast Arizona, and New Mexico.

1900 Pizzeria & NCR POS Hit MileMarker

NCR consumer transaction technologies announced 1900 Pizzeria is on its 20th anniversary year using NCR POS technology. With six stores in São Paulo, the pizzeria has relied on NCR to support its success and help manage all of its locations. 1900 Pizzeria is using NCR Colibri POS software to help the pizzeria with all of its business functions, from order to billing, management of tables, and cost reduction through various reports, in addition to expediting the service of the waiters. Additionally, 1900 Pizzeria uses NCR Colibri Back Office software for greater business insight and decision making including real-time management of stock, menu management, and a remote overview of all of its locations.

MoneyGram Reaches New Milestone

MoneyGram reached a new milestone by surpassing 10,000 locations in the Philippines. This makes MoneyGram one of the most widely networked global remittance companies in the country. With presence in nearly 200 countries and now over 10,000 locations in the Philippines, MoneyGram continues to bring families closer through its reliable services. Additionally, OFW family members can now send their remittances directly to loved ones’ bank accounts through MoneyGram’s cash to account service. This service enables customers to send needed funds directly into their family and friends’ bank accounts at any of the participating 20 banks in the Philippines.

Charge-Offs Sink

After peaking at 10.79% in the second quarter of 2010, credit card charge-offs have sunk three-fold to new lows. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, credit card charge-offs (seasonally adjusted) declined for four consecutive quarters to 3.23% in the third quarter of 2013. Among the nation’s largest issuers Citibank charge-offs are down 61 basis points from one-year ago to 3.54%. Chase credit card charge-offs have declined from 3.57% one-year ago to 2.86%, a 71 basis point decline. Bank of America reports third quarter charge-offs of 4.10% compared to 5.27% one-year ago, a whooping 117 basis point decline. Despite sluggish consumer spending, credit quality is slowly but surely improving. RAM Research projects credit card charge-offs (seasonally adjusted) will decline at least 10 basis points in the fourth quarter to approximately 3.10% industry-wide, a seven year low.

Russian Federation CPI

Payment card activity in the Russian Federation is a mixed bag as consumer lending is rising sharply as well as inflation, however there are long-term concerns over consumer loan losses. The debt service ratio among Russians is lower than nearly all Western countries. The recent spat over the Ukraine EU free trade deal is fueling concerns it may drive unemployment higher. There is also weak business demand, with Russia projecting its economy will grow no more than 2.5% annually through 2030.

Collis Discover Qualified

UL announces that Discover has qualified both, the Collis Brand Test Tool and the Collis Smart Link Box, for acquirer end-to-end testing. In order to process EMV transactions on the Discover Network, acquirers are required to execute the Discover D-Payment Application Specification (D-PAS) Acquirer End-to-End test cases. The Collis Brand Test Tool is now qualified to be used for certifying against the latest 12.2 specifications. This qualification includes the D-PAS Issuer Response Simulation, which allows testers to run the complete Acquirer E2E testing with the Collis Brand Test Tool, without the need for an external host simulation. A key characteristic of the Collis Brand Test Tool is that it covers the test plans for all relevant payment scheme brands. The Collis Brand Test Tool has the ability to simulate any test card.

CU Wallet Selects Promote Product Launch, PR Efforts

CU Wallet credit union-owned and directed mobile payments technology provider will promote the launch and ongoing strategic public relations and marketing efforts for its mobile wallet application. In partnership with William Mills Agency, the campaign for credit unions to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile membership base, attract a new generation of members and generate sustainable streams of revenue. At the time of the launch, 15 credit unions, ranging from $400 million to more than $5 billion in assets and representing more than 2 million members nationwide, have signed agreements with CU Wallet. Since the launch in late September, an additional 20 credit unions, ranging from $100 million to more than $6 billion in assets and representing more than 2.0 million members nationwide, have signed agreements.

SIX hits 1mm Customer eBill mark

Over 1,000,000 e-banking customers of PostFinance had signed up for e-bill by the end of November 2013 while over 15,000 new e-banking customers are registering for e-billing each month. All customers need to receive e-bills is an e-banking account with a Swiss bank or PostFinance. They can sign up for e-billing and register with billers directly in e-banking in a matter of minutes. Bills can then be received, checked and paid electronically in just a few mouse clicks from within e-banking, at any time of the day or night. E-bills can be dealt with quickly and conveniently as there is no need to type in the payment information. If anything is unclear, customers can also reject an e-bill. Not only are e-bills secure, they are free for retail customers and are also more environmentally friendly than paper bills. E-bills are not just popular with e-banking customers, but also with companies and public authorities.

REALSEC Cryptographic Solutions

From EMV migration to email protection and Public Key Infrastructures, REALSEC’s solutions enable US financial institutions to dramatically reduce the time of deployment from months to weeks, increasing security level and ROI. The use of cryptographic technologies in the banking and financial sector is both a regulatory requirement, as well as a customer requirement. Customers’ increasing concerns about identity theft and the latest security breaches nationwide are boosting the deployment of additional security measures to help protect customer data and transactions. To address todays’ needs, REALSEC offers a number of unique solutions to protect financial-related operations EMV migration, ATM/POS remote key loading, digital signature, etc.

Lloyds Banking Refines Talking ATMs

Lloyds Banking Group has this week introduced Talking ATMs across Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland to make it easier for blind and partially sighted customers to withdraw cash and check balances. The Group has worked closely with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to ensure that the machines serve the needs of those who are visually impaired. Lloyds Banking Group will have a total of nearing 1,300 Talking ATMs working across the UK by the end of 2013. Those with other accessibility problems, such as literacy issues and dyslexia, will also benefit from the changes.