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

Cellum Launches Subway Passenger mPayments

Vivacom and Cellum Bulgaria has held a joint demonstration of a technology for purchasing and using e-tickets via mobile phones on Bulgarian subway lines. The mobile payment solution is based on QR codes and can be implemented in the next 7-12 months. It was pointed out by Stoyan Bratoyev, CEO of Sofia Metropolitan that the first positive step has been made and the technical solution has proven to be reliable. The next step to take concerns procedural decisions for bringing the solution and the current regulations of the Municipality in line with each other. Cellum Group has launched its first complex mobile payment solution in Bulgaria, named CellumPay, merely half a year after the founding of its Sofia-based subsidiary. Following the first few months of the introductory phase, this new announcement marks a new milestone in the company’s history. The e-ticketing service will be integrated into CellumPay, thus users will be able to purchase subway tickets through the application.

Banamex Partners Ingenico on Contactless Payment Offering

Ingenico payment solutions will support, along with Banco Nacional de México, Banamex, one of the leading financial institutions in Mexico, the deployment of the new contactless payment technology. After some months performing on-field tests with different technology providers, Banamex will continue with the massive introduction with the Ingenico countertop iCT220 and iCT250, portable iWL220 and the PIN Pad iPP320. Making this technology available for 30 thousands retailers and customers during 2013, this initiative will allow the retailers from the different productive sectors serving sundry segments of the population to accept over 1.000.000 contactless cards recently issued in the country.

MasterCard and Western Union Partner on Small Biz Payments Service

MasterCard and the Western Union Company announced a dedicated international payments service that will increase the flexibility with which small and medium-sized businesses can conduct cross-border trade. The new direct foreign-exchange capability will be provided by Western Union Business Solutions and available to all companies that use the MasterCard Business Network, an online resource that helps streamline business operations and enhance productivity for small and mid-sized businesses. Customers will have access to a dedicated online foreign payments portal at www.mastercardbusinessnetwork.com, which will feature the ability to send international payments in over 135 currencies directly from their bank account to a foreign recipient’s bank account from a computer, tablet or mobile phone; Real-time quotes and transparent and competitive foreign-exchange pricing; Dedicated customer service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Seattle Small Business Owners More Positive Than Nationwide

Seattle area small business owners believe that the Seattle economy is stronger than the national economy, according to the 2013 Chase-Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Pulse of the Small Business Survey. With this, 83% of Seattle area small business owners feel that their local economy is stronger than the national economy compared to 55 percent nationwide while 56% of Seattle area small business owners believe the national economy is getting better, compared to 34% nationwide. Additionally, 34% expect their businesses’ revenue to increase by more than 10 percent while 52% reported an increase in revenue over the past 12 months, compared to 44 percent nationwide, fueling Seattle area small business owners’ positive economic outlook. The survey results were released today by Chase at a Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce event. Also, 42% of Seattle area small business owners believe that their local economy has had a positive impact on the growth of their business, which is 22 percentage points higher than those nationwide. Over the past year, Seattle area small business owners have increased contracts and their customer base (34 percent), expanded products and services offered (33 percent) and hired more employees (22 percent) – all signs of a strong local economy.

ACI Worldwide Survey Shows EMV Adoption to mCommerce

ACI Worldwide payment system released the results of a new survey of banks, retailers and payment processors that sheds new light on industry trends related to EMV, mobile payments and banking, fraud and innovation. With this, ACI found that those intimately involved in banking and payments believe that EMV is poised to drive the adoption of mobile technology with 49% indicating the U.S. migration to EMV will result in consumers turning away from card-based transaction in lieu of mobile payments. Moreover, 32% noted that rolling out hardware updates (like POS terminals, ATMs, etc.) would present the largest issue; 26% believed the biggest challenge would be educating and training business constituents along with driving consumer awareness and adoption; and 24% said they were most concerned about meeting compliance and liability shift deadlines. When asked what trend would have the biggest impact on the banking and retail, 19% disclosed it would be the adoption of mobile banking; 12% believed more banks will offer online/mobile bill pay services; and 11% believed that industry and regulatory mandates will slow mobile rollout.

Bluefin Payment Systems Announces SVP, Business Development

Bluefin Payment Systems announced the addition of Julie Counterman as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Sales to manage Integrated Software Vendor (ISV), E-Commerce, Inside Sales and Relationship Management teams. Ranked as the 6th fastest growing private company in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine in 2012, Bluefin is a leading payment processor in the U.S. and Canada, integrating their PayConexTM payment gateway with ISV, SaaS and enterprise management platforms, while serving major E-Commerce merchants directly. Most recently, Julie served as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Accelerated Payment Technologies (APT) where she was instrumental in increasing net revenues and EBITDA growth; Accelerated was acquired by Global Payments Inc. in October 2012. She was also the SVP of Sales and Marketing at Recordant, VP of Sales and Marketing for Harland Financial Solutions, Chief Marketing Officer at InterCept, Inc. (acquired by Pay By Touch) and Vice President of Marketing at Spectrum (acquired by Metavante).

Cognia joins PCI Security Standards Council

Cognia, a provider of global communications services for compliance, risk and productivity, joined the PCI Security Standards Council as a new Participating Organization. Cognia will work with the Council to achieve and improve payment data security worldwide through the ongoing development of the PCI Security Standards, including PCI DSS, PIN Transaction Security (PTS) requirements and PA-DSS. With this, Cognia adds its voice to the standards-setting process and will receive previews of drafts of standards and supporting materials in order to provide feedback to shape their final versions, as well as engage a growing community of more than 600 organizations united to improve payment security. Cognia will also have the opportunity to recommend new initiatives for consideration to the PCI Security Standards Council, participate in webinars and question and answer sessions with Council representatives.

Burger King Deploys NCR Pulse Smartphone App

NCR Corporation announced that Hybrid Dining, a UK Burger King Franchisee, has implemented the NCR Pulse Real-Time smartphone application, joining the 5500 other sites worldwide. Available for iOS® and Android™ devices, NCR Pulse Real-Time is a SaaS-based mobile analytics engine that helps restaurant operators and owners solve the everyday challenges of low visibility into current operational performance, lack of predictable data and inability to be in several places simultaneously. The application delivers up-to-the-second performance metrics and notifications directly to a user’s smartphone. Operational data is segmented for quick, easy review, such as voids and comps, net sales by hour, employee performance and overtime alerts.

MasterCard Appoints LAC Region President

MasterCard announced the appointment of Gilberto Caldart as president of its Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) business, effective August 1. Currently the head of MasterCard’s GeoSouth Division (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) for MasterCard LAC, Caldart succeeds Richard Hartzell, who will take on a new role as head of MasterCard’s business with merchants and acquirers across its international markets. He joined MasterCard in 2008 from Citi Brazil where he was Country Business Manager, overseeing Retail Bank, Consumer Finance and the Cards business. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting and an MBA from Duke University.

Gemalto Partner Deploys Contactless Cards

Gemalto digital security is providing SEB Latvia with Optelio payment cards to deliver the speed and convenience of contactless transport to schoolchildren and seniors in the city of Jelgava, Latvia. The SEB Group is a leading North European financial services group for 400,000 corporate customers and institutions and 5 million private customers. The card, issued by SEB Latvia on behalf of the Jelgava county government, enables speedier boarding and cash-free travel on local buses. Ultimately, the multi-application card will include contactless payment and will be extended to all of Jelgava’s residents. This is the first contactless payment cards ever deployed in Latvia and the Baltic States. Gemalto’s Optelio is a private label payment solution compliant with the EMV standard. Students are able to pay at school canteens, vending machines or at any city facilities, using standard, contactless EMV point-of-sales terminals. Parents can credit the SEB prepaid account at bank branches or online, and set limits on daily expenditure.

Three-Year High in Owners’ Take on Business Conditions

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] More small business owners say business conditions are currently good or excellent than at any point in years, according to the latest Citibank “Small Business Pulse.” Indicating 48% of small business owners rate conditions as good or excellent, up from 43% in May 2012 and twice the rate three years ago…