VeriFone has added two new members to its EMEA management team. Richard Crookston, formerly with ACI Worldwide and past chairman of several of the APACS standards development committees, has been named Head of Marketing. Robert McLaughlin, formerly with Cybernet and Hypercom, has been named Sales Director. Next week, VeriFone will feature fourteen “VeriFone SC 5000 Partners” at the Retail Solutions conference and exhibition. The partners will showcase their “Chip and PIN” smart migration solutions alongside VeriFone. VeriFone software partners include Anderson Zaks, Anker, BCP, Commidea, Comms XL, Mosaic, and Epsilon. “SC 5000 Partners” in the UK also include Alphameric, Fujitsu, Integral, NSB, Retail Logic, Servebase and Torex.Details
The Trust Company of New Jersey has introduced the first instant-issued photo/signature debit card. The bank digitize and emboss both a photograph and signature within minutes. While the headquarters is offering the new service, Trustcompany will use a phased implementation, with 30 branches offering the service by July and all customers of the Bank are expected to have access by the end of the summer. Trustcompany Bank’s technology partners include Dynamic Solutions International, SQN Banking Systems, Aurum Technology, and NYCE.Details
Barclaycard has inked a five-year contract to deploy Computer Sciences Corporation’s merchant acquiring and card issuing solution. The agreement marks the first time that Barclaycard has moved responsibility for the technology behind its merchant acquiring business to a third party. As the largest independent card processor in Europe, Barclaycard will implement CSC’s “CAMS II” solution as well as incorporate “CSC e4” integration architecture to create a universal business process management environment. The “CAMS II” platform supports multiple products including debit cards, credit cards, smart cards and consumer loans. Because of its open architecture, it can support future strategic initiatives involving practically any card or electronic-oriented transaction, including payroll cards, stored-value cards and virtual cards for Internet purchases. In 2001, 1.4 billion purchases were made with credit and debit cards in the 230,000 outlets belonging to Barclaycard Merchant Services’ customers in the UK. Their PDQ terminal base is over 160,000.Details
Bank One is expanding its 1999 co-branding agreement with The Reader’s Digest Association. Under a new licensing program, “Taste of Home,” a cooking magazine, “Birds & Blooms,” a gardening publication, and “The Family Handyman,” a home improvement magazine, will offer their 7.6 million combined subscribers an exclusive “Platinum MasterCard” for the respective magazines. The “Taste of Home” and “Birds & Blooms Platinum MasterCards” will offer free shipping and discounts on selected products; discounts on select items from the company’s popular Country Store mail-order catalog and Web site; special discounted vacation packages, and travel news from the company-owned World Wide Country Tours. The “Family Handyman Platinum MasterCard” offers free balance transfers, cash back rewards, including gift certificates to The Home Depot, handy hints and tips in each statement and free e-newsletters. In September 1999, Bank One’s former First USA division inked a deal to issue a Reader’s Digest credit card to the Association’s customer database of approximately 50 million names. (CF Library 9/22/99)Details
Vancouver-based Fincentric has released “Wealthview Banking 3.6.” The new version delivers more depth of functionality in the core banking, deposits and lending applications, providing financial institutions seamless integrated information across multiple delivery channels. Rainier Pacific Bank, headquartered in Tacoma Washington, was instrumental in the development of “Wealthview Banking 3.6.” Rainier is currently in the system integration phase of its implementation and is on schedule to go live in the third quarter. Among the new features: “Automatic Event Notice” which automatically delivers event notifications through any channel (email, letter, PDA, cell-phone, personal portal) and “Automatic Benefit Changes” that automatically updates customer and account benefits once a customer reaches the age threshold for a benefit-type set by the financial institution. This ensures appropriate product offerings, pricing programs, service charges, interest rates, and fees are applied to each customer.Details
American Express Company has been named one of three leading companies in Working Mother’s inaugural survey of the “Top Companies for Women of Color.” This new initiative by Working Mother tracks corporate progress on advancement and workplace culture for women of color, including work/family practices.
“We are delighted to receive this recognition from Working Mother for our advanced efforts to recruit, retain and develop talented employees from all backgrounds,” said Ursula Fairbairn, executive vice president of Human Resources and Quality at American Express. “Having a talented, diverse workforce is one of our strongest competitive weapons. Quite simply, the best people produce the best results, which in turn enables us to win in the marketplace.”
For this survey, Working Mother evaluated companies’ formal compensation policies that reward managers for helping women of color advance; inclusion of women of color in succession plans; employee surveys on diversity issues; and, supplier diversity initiatives and lobbying efforts that focus on women of color, among others.
“Similar to our signature ‘100 Best Companies’ list, this new research will set the benchmark for other companies and jumpstart progress for women of color around the country,” said Working Mother Editor-in-Chief Jill Kirshenbaum. “We salute American Express for their efforts.”
American Express provides programs and policies for advancing women and has created a culture where diversity is valued. For example:
* Since 1993, American Express has tracked overall employee satisfaction on a number of diversity-related categories, which helps create an understanding of the company culture regarding diversity.
* The availability of manager training on diversity issues teaches leaders to: understand the impact of diversity in the workforce and the marketplace; recognize and examine biases, stereotypes and assumptions about others; and understand how to apply appropriate behaviors in the workplace.
* A senior-led diversity council supports and integrates a companywide diversity strategy.
Working Mother is the latest publication to acknowledge the company’s efforts to value diversity and provide a quality and supportive work environment. Through the first half of 2003, American Express has been recognized on 12 workplace quality lists in six countries. Working Mother reaches more than three million readers monthly. A complete report of its “Best Companies for Women of Color” can be found in the magazine’s June issue or by visiting .
American Express Company () is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.Details
New York City metro residents will begin receiving Shell gas cards and in some cases, a “Shell MasterCard,” to replace their Texaco cards. More than 100 Texaco stations throughout the market will convert to the Shell brand. As part of the conversion program, more than 240,000 Texaco credit card holders in the area will receive Shell credit cards. The conversion is expected to be completed by year end. Shell initiated the conversion of Texaco stations following Chevron’s merger with Texaco.Details
VISA USA is launching a new TV commercial next week featuring the verbal jousting between Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and George Steinbrenner. The “George and Derek” spot plays off the highly publicized “feud” between Jeter and Steinbrenner. This “war of words” reached national headlines after Steinbrenner made critical comments during the offseason about his shortstop’s commitment to the team after being spotted out late at restaurants and parties throughout New York City. The spot opens with Steinbrenner having a heart-to-heart with Jeter, wondering how he could possibly afford to keep up with his baseball schedule and dine, dance and party seven nights a week. As an answer, Derek simply pulls out his VISA card. What follows is a rapid-fire tour through some of New York’s most exciting hotspots, ending with George and Derek apparently putting their differences behind them while dancing together in a nightclub conga line. The spot is through BBDO New York with Michael Karbelnikoff as Director and HKM producing.Details
Fiserv Credit Processing Services, a unit of Fiserv Inc., announced two major achievements: surpassing more than 10 million customer accounts on file, and a major capital investment in state-of-the-art IBM disk storage technology. “We’re not just excited that we’ve passed the 10 million account mark,” said Steve Baker, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “We’re excited because these 10 million accounts represent a significant growth rate in the last 12 months. And, what’s even more encouraging, these aren’t simple mono-line accounts. They’re made up of a variety of portfolio types, including traditional bankcard, private label, commercial and installment loans.”
Fiserv Credit Processing Services manages accounts receivable processing for major credit issuers, including John Deere Credit and Shoppers Charge Accounts.
The announcement is particularly noteworthy because all 10 million accounts are processed on a single software platform – VisionPlusÂ®, which Fiserv Credit Processing Services uses as the core component of The PLUS(TM) System solution, Baker said. In addition, he said Fiserv Credit Processing Services has made a significant investment in IBM technology in an effort to effectively manage continued growth opportunities.
Baker credited the growth of Fiserv Credit Processing Services during the last 12 months to the organization’s emphasis on providing an end-to-end credit management solution to the financial services industry. Features of the Fiserv Credit Processing Services offering include target marketing, credit decisioning, account acquisition, account processing, fulfillment, risk management and management information for decision support across the entire value chain.
“Our sole focus is on how we can improve services to our large and diverse client base,” he said. “That is why the investments we made with IBM were so critical in supporting Fiserv Credit Processing Services to successfully pass the 10 million account mark. It gives us the ability to manage any type of credit solution or size portfolio a client wishes to issue.” After careful analysis of available technology, Fiserv Credit Processing Services chose the IBM TotalStorage(TM) Enterprise Storage Server (codenamed Shark) to support The PLUS System(TM). Using redundant hardware with scalability to 27.9 terabytes of physical capacity, it is designed to provide ultra high availability. The technology also allows for non-disruptive upgrades and has a “snap-in” design to easily add performance, capacity and connectivity upgrades, while maintaining 24/7 productivity. ESS also increases performance, decreases response times, and provides for greater throughput.
“With more than 10 million customer accounts and growing, Fiserv Credit Processing Services understands the need for an integrated storage computing infrastructure that can help it respond flexibly to expanding customer demands,” said Tom Simonson, Vice President of Storage Sales for the IBM Systems Group. “IBM is providing this infrastructure that can help Fiserv Credit Processing Services improve customer service by dynamically meeting new demands and easing overall data management.”
Fiserv Credit Processing Services also installed the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Library and Virtual Tape Server technologies designed with the flexibility to allow incremental growth.
“This combination of technology, along with our industry-leading attention to customer service, gives us a tremendous competitive advantage in providing solutions that are flexible, reliable and delivery-focused,” Baker said. “We’re looking at supporting a very diverse product suite of portfolios and extremely large numbers of accounts on the same operating platform.”
Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) provides industry leading information management systems and services to the financial industry, including transaction processing, outsourcing, business process outsourcing and software and systems solutions. The company serves more than 13,000 clients worldwide, including banks, broker-dealers, credit unions, financial planners/investment advisers, insurance companies and agents, self-insured employers, lenders and savings institutions. Headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Fiserv reported $2.3 billion in processing and services revenues for 2002. Fiserv can be found on the Internet at [www.fiserv.com].
The summer travel season is here, and more small business owners are planning to take time off, according to the OPEN Small Business Network 2003 Semi-Annual Monitor from American Express.
In all, 66% of business owners are planning summer vacations of at least a week this year, an increase of 15% over 2002. Three-quarters (74%) of business owners in the South cite summertime travel plans, followed by business owners in the West (67%), Northeast (66%) and North Central (53%). Overall, 31% say they try to link vacations with business trips to save time and money.
While more business owners plan to get away this summer, it also appears most will not be able to escape completely. Among business owners with summer vacation plans, 73% anticipate grappling with business worries while they travel.
The top business worry among business owners with summer vacation plans is that an important client or customer will not receive appropriate service (24%); followed by concerns over who will manage the business while they are away and missed opportunities to land new business (tied, 18%); staff judgment calls (15%); equipment or operational breakdowns (12%) and the security of their facilities, offices or stores (8%).
“Business owners are often reluctant to take vacations because they fear the company will suffer if they are not minding it. The irony is that vacations can be a long-term investment in the success of the business by helping owners re-charge and return to work invigorated,” said Alice Bredin, Small Business Advisor for OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express. “Since business owners don’t always have the luxury of time, it is important for them to do some careful planning to ensure they can create the time they need to get away.”
Vacation Plans Vary by Size of Business
According to the OPEN Small Business Network 2003 Semi-Annual Monitor, annual revenues and business tenure appear to drive the greatest differences in vacation plans and business concerns while traveling. For example, only 56% of businesses with under $200,000 in annual revenues plan to vacation this summer, compared to 74% of their larger counterparts.
In addition, smaller businesses with summertime vacation plans are nearly twice more likely than larger companies to be worried that an important customer won’t receive the service they are used to (34% vs. 20%) and that they will miss an important new business opportunity (26% vs. 13%). Larger companies with vacation plans report being more worried about the operational side of their businesses, including who will manage their companies while they are away (23% vs. 13% for smaller companies) and staff judgment calls (20% vs. 7% for smaller companies).
Companies in business for five or fewer years are less likely than more tenured companies to have vacation plans this summer (59% vs. 69% for companies in business for six or more years). In addition, less tenured companies were also more likely than older businesses to be worried that an important client would not receive the appropriate type of service (37% vs. 21%); that they would miss a new business opportunity (25% vs. 16%); who will manage their business while they’re away (23% vs. 17%) and staff judgment calls (24% vs. 12%).
Minority business owners (66%) and women business owners (64%) are just as likely as the average business owner (66%) to report vacation plans of at least a week this summer. Among those with vacation plans this summer, minority business owners are most likely to be worried about:
— Missing new business opportunities (33% vs. 19% for women business owners and 18% overall);
— An important client not receiving appropriate level of service (30% vs. 28% for women business owners and 24% overall) and
— Staff judgment calls (25% vs. 10% for women business owners and 15% overall)
Make Vacationing Easier
To assist business owners in planning summer vacations, Alice Bredin, the OPEN Network Small Business Advisor offers the following tips:
— Schedule a vacation well ahead of time. Especially important for those who think there is never a “right time” to get away, putting a vacation on the calendar early will enable you to appropriately prepare for it. This includes preparing your staff to cover while you’re away.
— Consider using a professional to handle your travel plans. Working with a travel counselor to book your trip can save you time and money and make planning a vacation easier. Travel professionals can find good values and can also help if plans go awry.
— Schedule breaks during business downtimes. Consider planning some time away this summer when your business may be slowest – or the least hectic. If your business is seasonal, consider vacationing during the off-season.
— Commit yourself financially to your vacation. Consider putting a deposit on a rental house or a trip. Committing to take that time off and setting up financial consequences if you back out (lost deposits, cancellation penalties, etc), can help ensure you actually take the vacation.
— Budget your workload. Once you decide how long you’ll be away, figure out exactly what needs to be done before you leave and build in this extra work into the days or weeks leading up to your vacation. By leaving with a “clean plate,” you can reduce your anxiety about leaving the office and give yourself a greater chance of relaxing.
— If you must work on vacation, do it in brief spurts. Ideally, you don’t want to take work with you on vacation, although working on vacation is better than no vacation at all. If you must work, do it in short spurts, perhaps in the early morning, so you can quickly get back to the business of relaxing.
For more tips on planning vacations, business owners can visit [www.open.americanexpress.com] and click on the “Inform Your Decisions” link.
The OPEN Small Business Network Semi-Annual Monitor, conducted each March and October, is based on a nationally representative sample of 781 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. The survey was conducted via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR) from March 10-March 24, 2003. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
About OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express
OPEN: The Small Business Network is the dedicated division of American Express (NYSE:AXP) that offers small business owners a wide range of tools, services and savings designed to meet their evolving needs, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital and credit information, enhanced online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an enhanced lineup of partners. To obtain more information about the OPEN Network, visit OPEN.americanexpress.com or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.
As the recent off-line or signature debit card lawsuit settlement winds its way toward approval, the new online or PIN debit card war has begun. MasterCard announced this morning it will now permit a waiver of ATM surcharges on its 350,000 ATM “Cirrus” network in the USA, thus becoming the first national ATM network to facilitate formation of a national surcharge-free ATM alliance. MasterCard says its research indicates that SFAs are attractive to financial institutions as a means to expand DDA accessibility for ATM/Debit cardholders beyond the localized boundaries of a singular proprietary ATM network. Today’s news comes on the heels of other MasterCard debit enhancements, recently announced. Stand-in processing for “Maestro” PIN-based POS transactions goes into effect October 1, 2003. Maestro acquirers can also now designate non-member entities such as merchants to connect directly to the “MasterCard Debit Switch.” Additionally, issuers and acquirers now have the option of specifying “Maestro” and “Cirrus” as the network of choice for transaction routing. Earlier this year, MasterCard’s U.S. Board approved an increase to the “Maestro” interchange rate structure which will go into effect July 1st. The rate will apply to domestic transactions. MasterCard has added four new rate categories within the “Maestro” structure: a supermarket/warehouse rate; a convenience rate category (for small ticket transactions such as those in convenience stores, gas stations, fast food restaurants and movie theaters), a category for all other merchants, and a cash back rate. Globally, “Maestro” is accepted for purchases at more than 7.3 million merchant terminals in 93 countries and territories, at 821,766 MasterCard/Maestro/Cirrus ATMs around the world and has 505 million cardholders worldwide. (CF Library 4/3/03)Details
With MasterCard’s contactless “PayPass” U.S. pilot well underway and expanding, VISA announced yesterday a major alliance with Royal Philips Electronics to promote and develop the application of contactless chip technology for payment transactions. VISA has been active in Asia with contactless payment pilots and has been especially active in the development of infrared payment technologies. The collaboration is part of VISA’s “U-Commerce” initiative enabling payment transactions anywhere, anytime and through any device. Philips says its vision of the future is a world connected in which everyone can always securely access multi-rich information, entertainment and services. Under the MOU between VISA and Philips, both firms are looking to identify joint business partners, such as hardware manufacturers and content providers, and to investigate developing business and technical models.Details