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: www.rbm4.com

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.

Americans’ Credit Bill Grows, Chargeoffs Continue to Wane

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Although cardholders continue to rack-up their credit card debit, at least they continue to pay their bills on time. Prime charge-offs are anticipated to decline for the seventh straight month to the lowest observation in the near 23-year history of the Fitch index, even as total outstanding revolving US consumer credit…

NCR Announces Strategic Acquisitions

NCR Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Digital Insight Corporation online and mobile banking solutions for $1.65 billion and completed the acquisition of Alaric Systems Limited for $84 million. These companies complement and extend NCR’s existing capabilities in the banking industry to form a complete enterprise software platform that will deliver a unique and compelling consumer experience across all digital and physical channels – mobile, online, branch, and ATM. The combination will help retail banks and other financial institutions reduce legacy costs and enable solutions for new, more nimble branches, by providing one platform for omni-channel services and all payment and transaction types. The acquisitions together will also position NCR to deliver an enterprise software stack that securely and seamlessly creates a differentiated consumer experience across all channels (online, mobile, ATM, branch) improving a retail bank’s growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. Alaric Systems payments processing and fraud prevention software allows financial institutions, processors and retailers to manage ATM, point of sale, ecommerce and mobile payment or banking transactions, deliver complex multi-channel payments integration and carry out enterprise fraud and risk management.