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:

Spending Intentions, Confidence Up in November

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor was up 1.1 points in November to 89.0 along with consumer confidence in the economy and spending intentions. There was a significant increase in the number of respondents anticipating they will spend more during December, leading up to the holidays. The Monitor is a 6-year-old daily…

ACL Launches P-Card Fraud Tool

Procurement cards (P-Cards), ACL has made available its P-Card Fraud procurement card solution. Designed to prevent fraud, improve policies, and promote cost management, ACL’s all-in-one package provides the tools, training, and consulting expertise to manage more than 20 fraud-related risks inherent in the use of P-Card programs. According to ACL’s 2013 GRC Technology Pulse Survey of 2,200 audit, risk management, and compliance professionals, risk related to internal fraud and abuse is an area of highest concern. Fraudulent use of P-Cards ranks among the most commonly occurring types of employee fraud.1 If any risk exists for this type of activity to become widespread within an organization, not only can the total monetary losses become considerable, but a culture that promotes fraudulent behavior can also become prevalent.

TSYS Named to The Civic 50

TSYS has been recognized as one of America’s most community-minded companies in The Civic 50, an annual initiative that identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. The survey was conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and Points of Light, the nation’s definitive experts on civic engagement, and published by Bloomberg News. This year’s Civic 50 applicants were evaluated and accrued points based on several criteria, including financial and human resources applied to civic improvement, how broadly community engagement is supported and institutionalized within a company’s policies, systems and incentives, and how a company measures the social and business value of its community engagement programs.

Western Union ATM Transfers Hit New Market

Western Union global payment services now has more than 80,000 ATMs and self-service terminals around Europe and CIS with Eastern Europe being the strongest contributor to this number. In Russia, Western Union has recently successfully launched Western Union money transfer sending service through Petersburg Social Commercial Bank (PSCB) payment terminals and Comepay self-service terminals network. According to these new agreements, the Western Union Money Transfer service is available at 1,400 PSCB payment terminals mostly in St. Petersburg region and more than 30,000 Comepay self-service terminals across Russia. Across Europe and CIS Western Union works with partners from the banking industry offering money transfer service at over 33,000 ATMs of Privatbank in Ukraine, Banca Transilvania and BRD in Romania, Garanti and Akbank in Turkey, Banca Intesa and Unicredit in Italy, Bank Zachodnyi in Poland, Bank of Georgia and at self-service terminals of Erste Bank in Austria.

WesPay to buy Viewpointe Regional Payments

Viewpointe payments provider reached an agreement with WesPay (Western Payments Alliance), a membership association promoting the best use of electronic payments, whereby WesPay will acquire the assets of Viewpointe’s Regional Payments Association (RPA). Both organizations are working diligently to complete the conditions of closing by year end. When closing conditions are met and the deal is completed, WesPay will retain full ownership of the assets. The expanded association will continue to do business as WesPay. Viewpointe’s Regional Payments Association provides education on the latest payments topics and certification preparation for payments professionals; offers expert-led ACH audit and compliance services for financial institutions, payments processors and businesses using ACH; and provides industry-level member advocacy and input into the ACH Rules-making process as a voting member of NACHA”The Electronic Payments Association.

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.