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

AmEx App Allows Cardmembers to Redeem Points for Charges

American Express launched a new Use Points for Charges feature available in the American Express mobile app that gives eligible Card Members the option to redeem Membership Rewards® points for practically any purchase, from gas and groceries to clothing and manicures, all on their smartphones. Unlike rewards programs that only allow customers to redeem from a pre-selected list of options, Card Members now have the power to design their own rewards program and treat themselves by redeeming points for almost any purchase with an eligible American Express Card.

hyperWALLET to Integrate with PayNearMe on Cash-Payment Acceptance

hyperWALLET Systems global payment solutions is integrating its payment services with the PayNearMe electronic cash-transaction network. PayNearMe allows consumers to use cash to buy goods online, pay utility bills, make rent payments and repay loans, all via convenient printable or mobile barcode technology. PayNearMe’s innovative cash-payment option is processed at nearly 10,000 participating 7-Eleven® and ACE Cash Express® stores across the US. The integration with PayNearMe will enable hyperWALLET, whose global payment solutions and brandable prepaid-card products are utilized by over 150 corporations worldwide, to offer cash as a payment acceptance option for the first time. This new cash-payment acceptance capability will be available to hyperWALLET’s customers in early 2014.

Customer Bank Deploys Fundtech ACH Automation

Fundtech enlisted Customers Bank and its 14 branches to deploys its “ACHplus” to improve ACH automation. Fundtech’s ACHplus automates mission-critical ACH processes to allow U.S. banks to scale up the volume of their ACH business significantly, while at the same time reducing cost, improving customer service and increasing customer loyalty and profitability. With ACHplus, Customers Bank gets a single ACH research facility, enabling the bank to streamline ACH processing and reduce risks, such as human error and potential fraud.

Acculynk Gateway Allows Chinese Union Pay PIN Acceptance

Acculynk is now offering U.S. merchants the capability to accept China’s Union Pay PIN debit cards on their Chinese websites using the PaySecure International graphical PIN pad for UPOP authentication. U.S. e-commerce merchants interested in tapping into the large number of consumers in China must be able to accept Chinese payment methods, as well as authenticate a Chinese cardholder in order to make the sale. PaySecure International provides U.S. merchants the ability to accept and authenticate Union Pay cards with the same PaySecure PIN pad used for internet PIN debit transactions with U.S. cardholders. Airbnb, the world’s leading marketplace for booking, discovering, and listing unique spaces around the world, will be the first U.S.-based merchant to leverage PaySecure International to access the more than 3 billion UnionPay PIN debit cardholders. Chinese customers can now use their UnionPay debit cards to secure accommodations at one of Airbnb’s 300,000 listings worldwide.

CPI Card Group SCA-Certified

CPI Card Group EMV and commercial card production received recognition in a new member program from the Smart Card Alliance called the Center of Excellence. The Smart Card Alliance Center of Excellence is a new recognition established by the Alliance in 2013 to acknowledge member companies who reach the highest level of active participation in the Smart Card Alliance. Inclusion in this elite level is directly related to a number of accomplishments and involvement companies have demonstrated in 2012-2013, including: Industry Council recognition for Honor Roll membership or Top Contributor to one or more of the Alliance’s Industry Councils; council officer position elected by peers; LEAP/CSCIP training and certification; corporate CSCIP training and certification participation; and supporting membership in the EMV Migration Forum.

ProPay Deploys Secure Donation Process

ProPay, a TSYS company, will provide nonprofits and organizations using Little Green Light LLC (LGL) online donation solutions with simple, secure and complete end-to-end payment processing services. So far in 2013, there has been a 21-percent increase in online donations in the U.S.*, and the trend is expected to continue in 2014. This growth will dynamically impact the need for processing and administration solutions in the donations space. With this new technology, nonprofits will be able to create customizable “donate now” forms for one-time and recurring donations via all major credit cards ” both U.S. and international ” as well as ACH transactions from U.S. banks.

Evo Payments International Acquires Encore Group

Evo Payments International acquired the Encore Group. The Encore Group, consisting of existing EVO strategic partners Encore Payment Systems, Prodigy Payment Systems and Momentum Payment Systems, is headquartered in Addison, Texas and provides payment processing solutions to small and medium sized businesses located throughout the United States and Canada. EVO has grown significantly by introducing leading payment solutions to the market, as well as acquiring domestic and international businesses. The Encore acquisition enables EVO to leverage Encore’s proven North American sales distribution strategies to drive further growth in EVO’s new international markets.

VeriFone Embarks on New Market with Portable Payments

VeriFone Systems announced its portable payment acceptance systems, the VX 680 and VX 675, have been deployed by e-finance to facilitate the state-sponsored transition of Egypt’s entire gasoline and petroleum products retail market to an electronic payment system. e-finance, Egypt’s first and largest payment gateway service, was awarded the modernization contract in May and has deployed one-third of an estimated 18,000 VeriFone portable payment solutions at gasoline stations throughout the country. The smart card-based system being implemented by e-finance ensures that Egypt’s Petroleum and Finance Ministries can control the quantity and value of gasoline being consumed. e-finance purchased the VX 680 and VX 675 from Systems Engineering of Egypt (SEE), VeriFone’s local distribution partner. The portable, handheld devices feature powerful processors and are designed for rugged environments where drops and spills are common and wireless connectivity options are required, enabling gasoline stations to reduce consumer wait times by quickly and reliably processing on the spot transactions, which are routed to e-finance’s gateway.

First Data Releases October 2013 Consumer Spending Analysis

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] First Data released its “SpendTrend” analysis for Oct. 1, 2013 through Oct. 30, 2013 compared to the year ago period, tracking same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations. Dollar volume growth in October was 6.8%, a healthy uptick from…

FreedomPay New Apps Offer Enterprise Value

FreedomPay is teaming up with Microsoft in an effort to extend mobility past the simplicity of a phone or tablet application and integrate mobility into the underlying business processes of enterprises through the use of their Payments Platform as a Service offering. To harness the power of mobility, enterprises must unify consumer and inventory data across disparate back end systems – CRM, POS, etc, and link a consumer’s identity across multiple outlets – Facebook, Skype, Xbox, mobile, and credit cards that will result in a 360-degree view of the customer. Enterprises can then deliver targeted incentives to consumers based on their interests and buying habits to drive the desired behavior. A simple app can’t do that; you need a platform. The FreedomPay Commerce Platform includes mobile payments and incentive technologies that work with live POS systems, a state-of-the-art gateway that transmits exceedingly detailed transaction data, and rigorous security tools.

VeriFone Solutions Meet Consumer Demand on Self-Service Payments

VeriFone introduced UX Solutions unattended payment devices to improve transaction security, speed and reliability for vending machines and other self-service environments, including parking meters, petroleum pumps and ticketing machines. VeriFone’s UX series of unattended payment devices enables merchants to meet growing consumer demand for self-service transactions by providing customizable payment systems that securely increase transaction volume and speed and accept payments from mobile wallets, EMV and mag-stripe cards. UX Solutions fulfills the latest security standards, including PCI PTS 3.1 and EMV Levels 1 and 2. Integrated LCD screens guide consumers through transactions and securely display payment amounts while providing merchants the ability to upsell through targeted messaging.

First Data Certifies NCR Interactive ATM Solution

NCR announced First Data certified NCR APTRA Interactive Teller for its network allowing First Data FI ATM clients to use the solution for standard ATM transaction processing. APTRA Interactive Teller gives a live teller remote control of an ATM to conduct two way audio/video transactions with customers. The efficiency and security created through the centralization of tellers enables financial institutions to transform their branch locations into more effective service and sales environments. APTRA Interactive Teller lets financial institutions offer access to teller services during non-traditional banking hours, build new small-footprint branches, and provide full teller services in areas not served by branches, all while taking advantage of the advanced features of NCR ATMs such as deposit automation, bill pay and new account and loan initiation.