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

Chase Announces VIP Lounges for United MileagePlus Card Members

Chase and United Airlines will again kick off the holiday season with a VIP Lounge experience, where Chase United MileagePlus Card members relax and take a break from shopping in two United hub cities: Short Hills, N.J., and San Francisco, CA. From November 23 to December 24, 2013, Chase United MileagePlus Card members are welcome-along with up to three guests-to visit the VIP Lounges at two major malls that features refreshments, gift wrapping, bag and coat check, café seating, flat screen televisions as well as periodic special events exclusively for cardmembers. The VIP Lounges will be located in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, CA, and The Mall at Short Hills, N.J., located just miles from Newark Liberty International Airport, this holiday season. United MileagePlus Club Card members receive exclusive benefits, such as United Club membership; Premier Access travel services; First and Second checked bags free with the purchase of a ticket; No foreign transaction fees; and Luxury hotel and resort collection, while United MileagePlus Explorer Card members receive even more special privileges.

Fiserv a Finalist for INFORMS App in Analytics Award

Fiserv has been named a finalist for the Innovative Applications in Analytics Award, presented by The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Other finalists include Ford Motor Company and IBM, with the winner to be announced at the Spring 2014 Analytics Conference in Boston, Mass. Analytics and Business Intelligence Services from Fiserv helps financial institutions harness the power of data in financial systems to improve decision making, manage cost proactively, drive revenue growth and reduce customer attrition.

MasterCard Allows Prepaid Users to Reload @ WalMart

MasterCard (MA) and Green Dot (GDOT) announced an expanded relationship that allows all U.S. cardholders with MasterCard rePower-enabled prepaid cards to reload their cards via the Walmart Rapid Reload service. Walmart Rapid Reload utilizes the Green Dot Network to provide cardholders with a way to load funds directly to their cards by swiping their cards at any register at participating Walmart stores. Cardholders can add funds directly to their prepaid account by using cash or a pre-printed payroll or government check. Cashier-added funds will be available for use by MasterCard rePower-enabled cardholders within minutes.

AmEx Chairman/CEO to Partake in the Goldman Sachs Conference

American Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth I. Chenault, will participate in the Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Conference in New York City, on Wednesday, December 11. Chenault will participate in a question and answer session relating to the company’s business strategy and results. American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.

Amazon Coins Embarks on New Market

Amazon announced that Amazon Coins will now be available for customers in the UK. The Amazon Coins program allows customers to purchase Coins and to redeem those for the purchase of apps, games and a broad range of in-app items on the Amazon.co.uk Appstore and on Kindle Fire. To celebrate the launch, existing and new Kindle Fire customers in the UK will receive 400 free Coins – with a value of £4 – deposited into their Amazon accounts today. For customers, Amazon Coins is an easy way to purchase apps and in-app items on Kindle Fire, and for developers it’s another opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increased monetization. With discounts of up to 10% for purchasing Coins in bulk, it’s also an opportunity for customers to save money on their app and game purchases.

UIC-FlagPay Terminal WinEpts Approved

Uniform Industrial Corporatio (UIC), a worldwide payment solution provider and FlagPay, an Italian company focused on payment solutions, have achieved the compliance for PagoBANCOMAT on the Terminal TS890, with focus on the Italian debit card scheme of Consorzio Bancomat. UIC, FlagPay and NCR have closely cooperated to make the TS890 available and approved into the NCR-WinEpts product family. WinEpts is a Consorzio Bancomat CB2 approved application, thus, the FlagPayTS890 terminal is going to be listed into the supported devices from NCR-WinEpts and Consorzio Bancomat. In this way FlagPay can provide a powerful and scalable payment solution to merchants based on the WinEpts products suite which allows payment acceptance not only through international acquirers but also through Italian operators that manages the domestic debit scheme.

RBS Deploys NCR SelfServ ATMs

NCR is helping the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) deliver convenient banking services for its customers. NCR’s Dundee Centre of Excellence is delivering advanced NCR SelfServ ATMs across the U.K. to meet RBS’s customers’ banking needs in new and more convenient ways. NCR will subsequently install more than 2,000 NCR SelfServ ATMs over the next 3 years, including a large percentage that will enable cash and cheque deposit alongside traditional cash withdrawal capabilities. The program will enable RBS to respond to the demands of today’s tech-savvy consumers by providing access to technology, such as advanced ATMs, on their terms. Another example of RBS delivering convenient banking services for its customers is a new innovative business zone deployed in partnership with NCR at RBS’s Dundee chief office. NCR installed its SelfServ ATMs with scalable deposit module (SDM).

Vodafone & GlobalPlatform Launch NFC mWallet

Vodafone announced the launch of its mobile wallet service that will enable customers to make a wide range of everyday transactions with a simple wave or touch of their smartphone. Vodafone’s mobile wallet is the first European mobile payment service built on the GlobalPlatform open standard, which makes it easy for organisations, including banks, retailers and transport companies, to host services in the wallet. The Vodafone Wallet allows customers to leave their cards and coins at home and manage their daily transactions efficiently and securely using their smartphone. In addition to enabling customers to pay for everyday goods, the Vodafone Wallet will also be able to hold travel cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and vouchers, complementing and over time replacing the plastic cards in a customer’s wallet or purse. Vodafone SmartPass, a service developed in partnership with Visa, is the first mobile payment app available for the wallet.

TawiPay Announces Remittance Fee Comparison

TawiPay is addressing decisive excessive fees incurred by remittance users, who pay an average 12% in fees. A fair transfer fee of 5%, proposed by independent organizations would save $3 billion inflow of money in the Sub-Saharan African countries by increasing competition in the transfer services market, and by making the already operating service providers more cost transparent. Four European entrepreneurs founded TawiPay with the objective of closing this unfair cost gap, having launched a clear, transparent and easy to use money transfer comparison website, showing users a reliable list of options to send money abroad. This is to decrease remittance fees dramatically and therefore allow more money to arrive abroad. Users can see all established money transfer services, their respective fees and money reception channels on a single page.

Visa Partners i2c on Prepaid Cards

Visa has announced a strategic alliance with global prepaid processor i2c, committing to the growing prepaid market in Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East & Africa (APCEMEA). As part of the alliance, Visa and i2c will support the demand for prepaid cards in the region with a focus on a wide-range of product offerings, such as Government Disbursement and Virtual prepaid. The global growth in the prepaid market is forecasted to rise by 44 percent in the next five years, between 2013 and 2018. i2c’s best-in-class, flexible prepaid processing platform will allow Visa prepaid issuers and partners to develop and manage the full suite of prepaid products throughout the region. i2c, a global prepaid processor that supports programs in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa, is committed to expanding in the APCEMEA region to provide Visa issuers and partners with robust, end-to-end prepaid processing solutions

BMA to Endorse First Data Banking

First Data Corporation announced that BMA Banking Systems has agreed to endorse First Data Online Banking to its financial institution clients. BMA provides banking software and processing solutions to financial institutions ranging from de novos to large industrial loan corporations.The agreement will provide BMA’s clients with access to First Data Online Banking – which includes personal financial manager (PFM), mobile and online bill pay services. The company will fully integrate the solution into its core banking platform.