Robert McKinley
Payments Expert
                           ROBERT MCKINLEY BIOGRAPHY

Robert McKinley is considered one of the foremost authorities on payment products and systems with 32 years of experience in the day-to-day analyses of the payments industry.

Robert McKinley was born, educated and raised his family in Maryland. He is the father of six children and grandfather of ten. His wife of 36 years passed away unexpectedly in late 2009.

Robert assembled award winning science exhibits on emerging transistor technology at age 12, passed the top FCC broadcast engineering license at age 15, developed a commercial radio personality by age 16, assisted in building a commercial television station, doing on-camera commercials, and directing at age 18. He launched his first business, a background music business, at age 19.

Between 1980 and 1985 Mr. McKinley developed a modeling system for tracking the volatility of mutual funds and launched a service to assist fellow "baby boomer" investors meet their long-term goals. However, he stumbled onto a vast void of competitive information on retail banking products, especially the burgeoning field of general purpose credit cards. In 1986, with the advent of desktop publishing, he launched RAM Research® to assist consumers select the best product for their personal needs. Within two years the business expanded into gathering competitive and financial intelligence, coupled with analysis, for banking and financial institutions.

Between 1986 and 1995 Robert McKinley’s RAM Research® grew exponentially as it developed new services. In 1991 he launched CardTrak®, the first consumer newsletter focused entirely on credit cards. His company was publicly recognized as the leader in payment card news and data by 1992.  Mr. McKinley was also publicly recognized as an expert in payment cards in 1992*.

In September, 1995 Robert McKinley became an Internet pioneer with the launch of CardWeb.com® and CardTrak.com®, announced in conjunction with the annual ABA National Bank Card Conference in New York City**. He also developed the first daily news service for the payment card industry called CardFlash®. Additionally, he assisted several large banks establish their first public Internet presence.

Robert McKinley is the most widely quoted and interviewed payments expert with more than 9,000*** interviews published in U.S. newspapers, magazines and scores of on-camera TV and live radio interviews.

The Associated Press****, The New York Times***** and American Banker****** ran major personal features on Robert McKinley’s RAM Research®, CardWeb® and CardTrak® businesses.  Every newspaper in the U.S. has repeatedly carried his quotations regarding the payments business. When General Motors announced its MasterCard product in September 1992, Mr. McKinley handled more than 100 interviews in one day.

Among the hundreds of on-camera television interviews he is best known for his appearances on PBS’ Frontline documentaries, NBC’s Today Show, CNN News, and all the network evening newscasts. He hosted the half hour CardWeb® TV program and was a regular on Businessweek’s weekly national Money Talks program. In 1995 McKinley handled more than 30 TV interviews in one day via satellite in Pittsburgh.

On national radio Mr. McKinley is best known for his live interviews on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He was a regular on CBS Radio News.

In 1992 Robert McKinley was the first witness to take the stand for Visa in the Discover vs Visa antitrust trial in Federal Court in Salt Lake City. Mr. McKinley was subsequently retained for many other significant litigation cases including filing affidavits and amicus briefs for New York State Attorney Eliot Spitzer.  In 1999 he was intensely deposed as a witness for the U.S. Department of Justice in its antitrust credit card and debit card litigation against Visa and MasterCard.

Robert McKinley is the author of dozens of books including the popular Managing Credit book published by Dorling Kindersley for its Essential Finance series.  He also authored and published payment card directories for seven U.S. regions, all 50 states and one international version.  He has assisted other personal finance and business book authors including Jean Chatzky, Suze Orman, Robert Manning, Ken & Daria Dolan, Bill Griffeth, Terry Savage, Andrew Tobias, Gerri Detwiler and Humberto Cruz.

Mr. McKinley has been a speaker, chairman and sponsor of many payments related conferences in both the U.S.  and abroad. In 1996 he followed Henry Golub, then Chairman/CEO of American Express, in a speech on Electronic Commerce at the Thomson Media Credit Card Conference in Atlanta, GA. He was Chairman  of the WRG Internet Strategies Conference in Washington, DC.  He was also a featured speaker at the annual Society of Business Editors and Writers convention in Chicago, following a speech by Vanguard's John Bogle. Robert McKinley, though his companies, sponsored payment related conferences in London, Sydney, Singapore, Paris, and Dubai, as well as many in the U.S.

Robert McKinley was retained as a special projects consultant for GE Capital, RCA, Discover, Visa, PNC Bank, Toyota Financial, MCI, Diners Club, Wachovia, Great Western Bank,  Household Bank, Bain & Company, the Armed Forces Benefit Association, to name a few. He served U.S. clients from offices in New York, San Francisco, and Frederick, Maryland. Mr. McKinley served international clients from his Kent Street office in Sydney, Australia and his Piccadilly office in London, UK.

Mr. McKinley has assisted several lawmakers regarding legislation to reform business practices in the payments industry including Senator Christopher Dodd, Senator Charles Schumer, Representative Joe Kennedy, and state lawmakers in Maine, Minnesota, New York, California, North Carolina and Colorado, among others.

Robert McKinley provided major input to the U.S. Government Accounting Office for its U.S. Credit Card Industry report to Congress. He has also provided input to the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Department, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Presidential Consumer Advisory Panel, Federal Reserve Board and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Credit Card Panel.

In 1997, Robert McKinley developed the monthly online CardData® service for financial institutions to track and forecast critical financial metrics of the payment business including delinquencies, chargeoffs, gross profit margins, net interest margins, business costs, bankruptcies, return-on-assets, etc. CardData evolved from Mr. McKinley’s monthly RAM Bankcard Update and RAM Bankcard Barometer paper reports.  

In mid-September 2008, Robert McKinley introduced CardQue, the first service to deliver payment industry news as it happens (24X7X365) to his subscribers and clients.

In early May 2009, Robert McKinley transferred the CardWeb® and CardTrak® businesses to two of his sons. Following the sudden death of his wife in December 2009, Mr. McKinley retired shortly thereafter from the RAM Research executive committee to devote time to his surviving family, continues to provide private consulting services to his long-term clients and increase his family's support of non-profit causes in New York City, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida. 

* Washington Times 9/10/92 and KSL Channel 2 Salt Lake City 10/27/92

VIEW WASHINGTON TIMES STORY

VIEW SALT LAKE CITY KSL TV COVERAGE OF 1st DAY OF ROBERT MCKINLEY'S TESTIMONY IN FEDERAL COURT FOR 6PM NEWS

VIEW SALT LAKE CITY KSL TV COVERAGE OF 1st DAY OF ROBERT MCKINLEY'S TESTIMONY IN FEDERAL COURT FOR 11PM NEWS

VIEW SALT LAKE CITY KSL TV COVERAGE OF 2nd DAY OF ROBERT MCKINLEY'S TESTIMONY IN FEDERAL COURT FOR 11PM NEWS

** ABA National Bank Card Conference Daily 9/11/95

VIEW ABA BANK CARD CONFERENCE DAILY COVER

VIEW ABA BANK CARD CONFERENCE DAILY STORY

*** 9,259 references as 7/2/12 -- based on (robert mckinley + ram research), (robert mckinley + cardweb), and (robert mckinley + cardtrak); NewsLibrary.com, NewspaperARCHIVE.com;  and ProQuest Archiver results.

***** Associated Press 3/2/97

VIEW THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FEATURE ON ROBERT MCKINLEY


***** New York Times 7/18/01


VIEW THE NEW YORK TIMES FEATURE ON ROBERT MCKINLEY

******  American Banker front page 6/7/96


VIEW THE ABSTRACT AND ACCESS THE AMERICAN BANKER FEATURE ON ROBERT MCKINLEY