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

Prepaid Industry Leaders Set for Convention

The Prepaid Press Expo announced its slate of speakers for “The Prepaid Press Expo ’13” to be held at in Las Vegas August 12-13. Starting with a Keynote Address by Eric Dumois, Sr. Product Manager, Financial Services, MetroPCS. Dumois manages and executes the MetroPCS Financial Services portfolio, which includes general purpose reloadable products, mobile banking solutions and mobile commerce strategy. He has successfully created and launched numerous prepaid card products including personal use and gift cards, international long distance programs, and custom prepaid programs. Other sessions will include speakers from a diverse group of companies that bring first-hand expertise and knowledge of the prepaid market, including AccountNow, American Express, CARD.com, InComm, iSend, NetworkIP, Nielsen, Plastyc, Transaction Wireless, and many other prepaid providers and professionals.

Jardon Bouska of Fiserv to Keynote NACHA Council

Fiserv financial services technology solutions announced Jardon Bouska, president, Biller Solutions, Fiserv will deliver the keynote address at NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association’s Council for Electronic Billing and Payment (CEBP) Meeting in Chicago. This will bring together industry members to share ideas and collaborate in an open forum while discussing developments and trends in electronic billing and electronic payments. Bouska will offer his vision of the future of digital billing and payments, sharing new consumer and industry data from Fiserv that is predictive of industry direction. He will discuss changes that will impact billing organizations, financial institutions and consumers in a rapidly evolving payments landscape and outline how innovations, such as wearable technology, will help create a new era in paperless, real-time mobile bill presentment and payment.

MasterCard Announces Travel Currency Card

MasterCard Canada and subsidiary Access Prepaid Worldwide announced the launch of Cash Passport Prepaid MasterCard Currency Card. It allows users to pre-load travel money for safe and convenient use at millions of ATMs, shops and restaurants worldwide. For travellers, prepaid cards are a more secure alternative to the once-popular Travellers Cheque or large sums of cash. The card is secured with the latest chip and PIN technology and features straightforward pricing and up-front foreign exchange . Users can also use the reloadable card to withdraw local currency at millions of ATMs worldwide and use it wherever MasterCard is accepted.

Apply Financial Launches Global Payments Validation

Apply Financial launched their Validate service online at applyfinancial.co.uk. The new Validate service is designed to provide high-quality global payments validation, enrichment and account conversion in combination with data that is updated daily. It is easily accessible either through an online user portal or API integration into payments, ERP and accounting systems. Validate is an automated, cloud-based service that allows any size financial institution, business, or individual that send international payments to check and enrich client payment data before it is communicated to, or transmitted by the bank. Not only does this minimize errors, but Validate is also much more cost-efficient than traditional data vendors, manual cross-checking or other directories.

Midpoint launches P2P FX Matching

A new peer to peer Foreign Exchange Service and International Payments Platform was announced. Midpoint.com enables businesses and individuals to save money by using a currency exchange matching service, providing industry low rates and a flat, transparent fee structure. For example, a business exchanging £5,000 into Euros each week could typically experience savings of more than 2% – a £100 saving per transaction. This activity level would offer customers around £5,000 a year saving over traditional currency exchange methods. Midpoint’s patented technology was the first to ‘match’ foreign exchange requirements for individuals and companies in Euros, US Dollars and Sterling By directly matching businesses and individuals with opposite currency needs, Midpoint is able to eliminate the ‘spread’ or ‘margin’ component from all transactions. At the time of the match both parties receive the same exchange rate – the mid point – the real time Interbank buy and sell rate.

MPR Drops Significantly from April Figure

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] Fitch’s May Monthly Payment Rate(MPR) Index continues to sit above the 20% mark, currently at 23.52%. Up over 10% since the year ago period and down nearly 4% from the April figure, MPR has consistently remained well above the historical average of 16.55% since 2009. MPR, which measures how quickly cardholders…

The Mobile App Market Slated at $27B by 2014

ABI Research projects the mobile app market will value at $27 billion in 2013, as mobile apps continue to be a critical factor in the battle between the mobile OS. BlackBerry and Windows are slowly augmenting their apps catalogue as they compete for the 3rd ecosystem, but are still far behind Apple and Android. An interesting aspect of the mobile app market is revenues generated by smartphone versus tablets. App revenues generated from smartphones have significantly dwarfed app revenues from tablets. However, tablet revenues are quickly catching up and it is projected tablet app revenues will overtake smartphones by 2017. The inclination for tablet users to pay more for apps than their smartphones because of the larger screen size and better user experience for gaming and reading are the primary drivers.

InstaLoan & FactorTrust Partner on Consumer Credit Options

FactorTrust underbanked consumer data, analytics and risk scoring solutions on those underserved by traditional banking channels announces a new relationship with InstaLoan, one of the fastest growing consumer loan companies in the U.S. Utilizing FactorTrust’s proprietary data and custom scoring models, InstaLoan can now better qualify customers, providing each individual with the best, most customized type of loan for their personal situation. FactorTrust has been providing alternative credit data, analytics and risk management solutions regarding consumers that lack traditional credit options for short-term lenders since 2005. The company has millions of data points on this consumer segment and works with its customers to provide instant and informed lending decisions utilizing its comprehensive scoring platform.

Opus Bank Appoints EVP, Chief Operating Officer

Opus Bank announced that Romolo “Ron” Santarosa has joined Opus Bank and has been appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and a member of Opus Bank’s Executive Committee. As the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Santarosa is responsible for leading, managing, and directing the operational and support functions of Opus Bank, including Banking Operations, Information Technology, Project Management, Corporate Real Estate, and Vendor Management and Procurement, as well as being responsible for acquisition integration, and process improvement and efficiency management. Mr. Santarosa, a 22-year banking veteran, joins Opus Bank most recently from First California Financial Group and its bank subsidiary First California Bank (together “FCAL”), where he served as Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Santarosa is a graduate cum laude of Ithaca College and a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the California State Society of CPAs.

EPC Set to Host Cross-Border BIC-to-Iban workshop

The ‘International Bank Account Number (IBAN) only’ rule introduced on the basis of Article 5 (7) of the European Union (EU) ‘Regulation (EU) No 260/2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro’ adopted by the EU legislator in February 2012 prohibits payment service providers (PSPs) to require that payment service users (PSUs) provide the Business Identifier Code (BIC). Article 5 (7) states: “After 1 February 2014 for national payment transactions and after 1 February 2016 for cross-border payment transactions, PSPs shall not require PSUs to indicate the BIC of the PSP of a payer or of the PSP of a payee.” PSPs however, will have to continue to indicate the BIC of the account to be debited or credited when processing a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payment transaction in the interbank space. The EPC intends to host a workshop on 24 September 2013 in Brussels to initiate a dialogue on the minimum requirements for cross-border ‘BIC from IBAN derivation’ solutions.