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

LevelUp Hits 1mm User Milestone

Over the past 4 months, LevelUp doubled its users to hit the 1 million user mark. In doing so, LevelUp implemented migration tools allowing merchants to transition their loyalty card programs over to LevelUp without losing any data. As more and more merchants ditch their plastic loyalty cards for LevelUp, their customers are eased into the mobile payment revolution. Also, when LevelUp users discover an offer on the LevelUp app, they can share it to Facebook for all their friends to claim seamlessly. Additionally, merchants are jumping on board with LevelUp White-Label, because it’s the first payment offering ever to give merchants a fully branded mobile payment app, along with the user scale and technology behind LevelUp. And again, as bigger merchants jump on board with LevelUp, so do their customers.

eProcessing Network Offers Enhanced Data Bill Payments

eProcessing Network announced its “ePNBillPay” online Bill Pay Solution is fully integrated with ePN Level III enhanced data processing. This allows merchants who want to expand their customer base to include large corporations (B2B) and Government entities (B2G to include Level III information as part of their invoicing and purchase order processes and qualify for some of the lowest interchange rates available. The Level III processing allows detailed transaction data passed through its Web Order Template for Level III processing and track Level III transactions. When a transaction is routed through any of the processing platforms compatible with the ePN Secure Payment Gateway, the system validates the pre-populated fields to determine Level III status.

Value-Based Card Pricing vs. Cost-Based/Market-Based Pricing

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] While some card issuers are offering special cardholder price discounting – no fees, low interest and balance transfers to raid competitors – none of these are really new initiatives. Given the lowering of outstanding card loans which many have suffered, we are surprised only that these strategies weren’t implemented far earlier.…

Co-operative Extends Contactless Payment Offering

The Co-operative Group is extending its contactless payment technology to almost 2,000 food stores, which allow customers to pay for goods worth GBP20 or less with a simple tap, will go live in 1,800 food stores nationwide. The Group installed contactless payment terminals in almost 170 food stores within the M25 and in Manchester city centre in time for last year’s Olympics, and has already got contactless payment facilities across its Pharmacy branch network. The Co-operative Bank has also commenced its roll-out of contactless debit and credit cards with around 700,000 cards issued to date. Contactless payment technology currently allows customers to make purchases without the need to enter a PIN number or insert their card into a payment terminal, which speeds up the paying process.

Equens Processes 1B SEPA Transaction

Equens processed its billionth Sepa transaction last week since the launch of the Sepa Credit Transfer (SCT) scheme in January 2008 and the introduction of Sepa Direct Debit (SDD) in November 2009. Equens’ systems has taken five years to reach the mark of 1 billion SEPA transactions, as many market participants have not yet prepared themselves for the SEPA migration. This despite the fact that the vast majority of the European payments market still needs to actually migrate. In 2012 SEPA payments accounted for only 4.3% (446 million out of 10.4 billion) of all payments processed by Equens. Equens processes SEPA transactions for banks and between clearing & settlement parties from sixteen countries, with Belgium, Finland and Germany delivering the highest volumes.

NCR Deploys POS Solution with Modell\’s

NCR Corporation is set to provide retail technology and services to the 154-store Modell’s Sporting Goods chain by 2Q/13. Modell’s will deploy 1,000 “RealPOS 82XRT” POS terminals and implement NCR services and support over a multi-year period, NCR’s first engagement with the Company. Selected to support Modell’s chain-wide strategy to enhance customer service and loyalty by offering a faster check-out experience along with content and offers at the POS, “RealPOS” terminals support high definition video and graphics on customer-facing displays, increasing the effectiveness of all loyalty program promotions and offers.

Discover Launches New Direct Banking Solution

Discover Financial Services launched its Discover “Cashback Checking” direct banking product. Featuring credit cards, home loans, student loans, personal loans, CDs, money market accounts and savings accounts, “Cashback Checking” accounts pay customers 10 cents for every debit card purchase, Online Bill Payment and check they write, automatically added to the account holder’s Discover card Cashback Bonus balance. With no monthly fees, no minimum balances, free checks and replacement cards; an app that lets customers easily bank on the go with mobile check deposit, mobile bill pay and an ATM locator; and $0 fraud liability for unauthorized transactions and bill pay protection, a full suite deployment is projected for 2014.

TIO Networks Partners First Data, Expands Services

TIO Networks bill payment processor expanded its services to First Data’s Money Network Prepaid Service to include bill payment as well as the purchase of prepaid telecommunication services. TIO’s platform enables Money Network prepaid account holders to pay their bills online as well as purchase minutes for their prepaid mobile phones. Money Network account holders are able to manage their bills online in one convenient place, viewing their payment history, making one-time payment or scheduling reoccurring payments for thousands of billers.

ACI Worldwide Sales Up 81% Y/Y

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] ACI Worldwide payment systems posted 4Q/13 sales of $309 million, up $138 million by 81% since the year ago figure, to which S1 contributed $81 million. Historical ACI sales increased $57 million by 33% from the year ago figure of $171 million. Meanwhile, 2012 sales totaled $766 million, up $210 million…

Datacard Group Enhances Passport Solutions

Datacard Group secure ID and card personalization solutions announced the Colombian government is continuing to enhance and expand their passport program with its passport issuance system. In partnership with Identificación Plástica S. A. “an Enterprise Solutions Provider (ESP) for Datacard Group, the combined integrated solution for the Colombian government includes Datacard high throughput passport issuance systems; desktop systems for regional issuance, as well as in-country local services and support provided by Identificación Plástica S. A. The Datacard PB6500 passport issuance system is utilized for the central issuance of the Colombian citizens’ passports. It is an automated, inline high-volume passport production system offering a flexible, modular design.

VeriFone and SK C&C Team On mWallet Acceptance

VeriFone Systems, and SK C&C IT services are partnering on the deployment of open interface standards and technology platforms for management of digital wallet services, acceptance solutions and mobile commerce. SKC&C adopted VeriFone’s OpenAPI common interface standards that govern communication between a mobile wallet and a merchant’s acceptance device. The OpenAPI standards ensure that value-added wallet data such as offers, coupons and loyalty, are universally accepted and flow seamlessly through merchant systems without disruption of traditional transactions. VeriFone’s “PAYmedia” Mobile Marketing Platform connects the independent ecosystems of issuance and acceptance into one fully integrated environment.

19 mPOS Solutions MasterCard ‘Best Practices’ Certified

MasterCard announced the availability of a global list of solutions that meet industry standards and MasterCard best practices for Mobile POS. Small businesses and retailers that have never accepted card payments and previously operated on a cash- and invoice-only basis are turning to mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) solutions to expand their customer base and sales. Established retailers are also adopting MPOS solutions to engage customers in-aisle and enhance the retail and payment experience. MasterCard introduced the MasterCard Mobile POS Program to provide guidance to Mobile POS solution providers and promote simple and secure transactions when consumers use their debit, credit and prepaid cards to pay merchants that use these devices.