Credit cardholders or AAdvantage members can now access the ‘OneStop Self-Service’ check-in at Houston’s airport. Passengers with electronic tickets traveling domestically are now able to check in, select a seat and obtain a boarding pass with the swipe of a credit card or an AADVANTAGE ‘EXECUTIVE PLATINUM’,’PLATINUM’ or ‘GOLD’ card. Passengers with bags also have the option of checking their own luggage through the self-service kiosks. American also offers a telephone check-in service whereby AADVANTAGE members can now check-in for domestic itineraries within three hours before departure. The ‘OneStop Self-Service’ check-in is currently available in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, San Jose, and Seattle. American says it will expand the program to more than 30 airports within a few months.Details
In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the AAdvantage Travel Awards Program, Diners Club cardholders receive a 20 percent mileage bonus from American Airlines when they transfer Club RewardsÂ® points to their AAdvantage account from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2001.
For example, ordinarily Diners ClubÂ® Cardmembers exchange 100,000 Club RewardsÂ® points for 50,000 AAdvantage miles. During the promotional period, 100,000 points are exchanged for 60,000 miles, an additional 10,000 miles. To register for the promotion, visit the American Airlines Web site, , reference DC20B. Members must register to be eligible for the promotion. To convert Club Rewards points, Diners ClubÂ® Cardmembers should call (800) 234-4034.
About Diners ClubÂ®
Diners ClubÂ®, creator of the multi-use charge card industry in 1950, is issued in more countries and currencies than any other charge card. The Card serves more than 8 million Cardmembers worldwide who, in 2000, charged more than $35 billion at 6 million establishments that welcome Diners ClubÂ®.
American’s AADVANTAGE Travel Rewards Program – the first and largest of its kind – began in 1981 with 283,000 members and has grown to more than 43 million members worldwide. The AADVANTAGE program has more U.S. fliers than any other frequent traveler program, and it provides more opportunities to redeem miles than any other program, including the two most popular redemption options, AAnytime, Awards and PlanAAhead, Awards. AAnytime Awards, available ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ there is a vacant seat, carry no restrictions, such as limited seat availability or travel embargo dates. PlanAAhead awards – best for times when customers can plan in advance – have restrictions, such as limited seat availability and some travel embargo dates, but can be claimed for fewer miles than AAnytime Awards.Details
CT-based MemberWorks signed an agreement Friday to sell iPlace, Inc. in a deal valued at approximately $150.0 million. Homestore.com, Inc. will pay MemberWorks approximately $52.0 million in cash and up to an additional $36.0 million in Homestore.com stock. iPlace, Inc. has 62,000 affiliated websites, more than 600,000 paying subscribers and 6 million+ unique visitors per month to its Web properties. The company was the first to put credit reports, credit monitoring services, credit scores, individual neighborhood demographics and home value data online. MemberWorks offers membership programs for healthcare, personal finance, insurance, travel, entertainment, computing, fashion and personal security. At mid-year, the company had 7.9 million members.Details
Coinstar reported last week that an Alaska man has broken the national all-time penny cash-in record at the company’s supermarket-based coin collection machines. The man cashed in 792,141 pennies. It took nearly 27 hours to cash in the pennies through the machines. He began by taking $5,000 worth of pennies in $500 batches to Coinstar machines throughout Anchorage. Coinstar says it takes the average person 1 hour to count $13.50 worth of pennies. The Coinstar machines count coins at the rate of 600 per minute. The company maintains a network of more than 8,800 coins-to-cash machines nationally. The company is currently developing a deal to issue a MasterCard-branded prepaid card through its network. (CF Library 2/21/01)Details
The “perfect Internet gift certificate” may be a thing of the past as another dot-com suspends operations. NYC-based Flooz.com announced Friday it has temporarily pulled the plug on its Web site pending efforts to locate a merger partner. The company offered an everyday gift-giving currency for consumers and businesses on the Web that was sent by e-mail and accepted at a variety of online stores. Flooz.com also offered a free, personalized reminder service for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions and online account access. CA-based Internet credit card pioneer, NextCard, was a minority investor and marketing partner. Besides NextCard, Flooz has signed acceptance agreements with online stores including Barnes&Noble.com, Toysrus.com, Godivachocolatier.com, TowerRecords.com, Starbucks.com, Gymboree.com, Fogdog.com, and at least sixty others. During Feb 2000, Nextcard and Flooz.com had signed an e-commerce marketing alliance whereby NextCard would integrate Flooz.com’s online gift currency into NextCard’s e-Commerce platform, cardholder services and ongoing promotions. In return, Flooz would exclusively market and promote the NextCard to its customers and pay NextCard a referral fee for each new Flooz customer generated from either NextCard’s application process or current cardholder base. NextCard also agreed to make a significant minority investment in Flooz.com. It represented the first equity investment in an e-commerce company by NextCard. Flooz raised approximately $35 million from investors and spent about $8 million in an ad campaign featuring Whoopi Goldberg. (CF Library 2/9/00; 7/5/00)Details
NTT DoCoMo and Coca-Cola will deploy 25 vending machines in Tokyo during
September to enable consumers to buy Coke using electronic tokens stored on
their mobile phones. The new vending machines will also enable users to
surf the Internet, buy tickets and print out local maps. Mobile phone
operators are looking for additional revenues streams in the wake of market
saturation and experimentation with electronic transactions.
Official Payments Corporation, (www.officialpayments.com), announced new agreements with seven separate North Dakota county governments to provide a service where taxpayers can pay their property tax obligation by credit card over the Internet or telephone.
These new agreements represent Official Payments first business in North Dakota. By adding these North Dakota counties Official Payments now does business in forty-eight states. Cass County, McLean County, Morton County, Grand Forks County, Richland County, Ramsey County, and Sargent County are the North Dakota municipalities who have entered into agreements with Official Payments. The combined County authorities collected approximately $109.8MM in taxes last year. Property tax second installment is due October 15, 2001. 2001 property tax bills will be distributed December 15, 2001. Property tax payers who pay their bills by February 15, 2002, will receive a 5% reduction in their total tax bill. The service is expected to go live later this year.
“We are pleased to have established a foothold in North Dakota,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments. “We have had great experience in growing our business organically in other states. We think this is a good start in gaining business in other North Dakota counties and with other mid-west municipalities,” added Mr. Evans.
Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at www.officialpayments.com. For example, a taxpayer who owed a current tax of $500.00 in property taxes and charged their taxes, would find a total of $516.00 on their credit card statement: $500.00 for the tax bill and $16.00 for the convenience fee. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back on airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.
About Official Payments Corporation
Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments, the District of Columbia, and over 900 county and municipal governments in 48 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state and local government payments.
Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company’s success in new client acquisition, increasing business with its existing clients and in building consumer awareness can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.Details
Precidia Technologies Inc. announced a business relationship with Cisco
Systems Canada to market solutions to
help Canadian retailers reduce networking costs and increase the
functionality of their existing POS equipment.
The solution combines the strength of Cisco’s network router technology with
Precidia’s access devices targeted to the retail payments industry. By
coupling products from both companies, merchants may recognize savings in
their current communications costs, while harnessing the benefits of new and
exciting services for customer retention and loyalty.
“This relationship is a natural fit for Cisco,” said Nitin Kawale, Director
of Operations, Enterprise Sales, Cisco Systems Canada. “Cisco prides itself
on providing end-to-end enterprise network solutions. With Precidia’s access
devices complementing Cisco network products, we create an excellent team
that makes end-to-end retail solutions a reality. We admire Precidia’s
in-depth understanding of the protocols and needs of the POS market.
Together we provide a solution to merchants that maximizes their return on
investment, while reducing the risk and complexity in migrating to a new IP
Deepak Wanner, President of Precidia Technologies, says the solution is
geared to the needs of Canadian retailers. “Until now retailers have been
reluctant to implement IP technology because of the cost of replacing aging
legacy equipment. Precidia makes the older equipment part of the new
solution. Together Precidia and Cisco offer existing retail equipment a new
lease on life by migrating it onto modern IP networks. Overcoming this
hurdle is only the beginning; the future holds an even stronger value
proposition as new services are brought to the checkout counter, from the
advanced network connectivity solutions that Cisco and Precidia are
offering,” said Mr. Wanner.
Retailers have already begun to take advantage of the bundled offering.
Chapters, Canada’s largest bookseller, deployed Precidia’s Ether3201 product
with their Cisco Powered IP VPN in over 78 of its locations. Anuj Jaitly,
Manager, Communications Services, Chapters Inc, says “The solution has
performed flawlessly since its deployment in Fall 2000. Installation was
simple and seamless to existing systems, allowing Chapters to substantially
reduce our communications costs while enhancing our network management
About Precidia Technologies
Precidia Technologies Inc., based in Ottawa, Canada, is a global leader in
the design and manufacture of IP enabling technologies for a wide range of
industries, including retail payments. Precidia’s advanced IP technology
seamlessly migrates retail payment terminals and other equipment onto more
sophisticated IP networks. Precidia’s unique product line consists of
cost-effective access devices, both wired and wireless, and chip technology.
For more information, visit Precidia on the Web at
About Cisco Systems Canada
Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.
Established in 1990, Cisco Systems Canada Co. has over 375 employees across
Canada dedicated to sales and service. In addition, Cisco has approximately
400 employees at its research and development site in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Internet is changing the way people work, live, learn and play – and
Cisco Systems is a primary agent of this change and a compelling example of
the power of this revolution. By widely deploying business solutions based
on the Internet, Cisco Systems realizes over $1.35 billion (US) per year in
saved operating costs and increased productivity Cisco produces networking
solutions for enterprise organizations, service providers and small/emerging
businesses. Additional information on the company and its products can be
found at .
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc., a leader in wireless transaction processing, has announced the consolidation of its technical operations into the company’s Palmer Lake, Colorado facility.
The consolidation is a major milestone in USWD’s integration of its facilities and operations from recent acquisitions, including NXT Corporation, acquired in December of 2000, and Cellgate Technologies, acquired in November of 2000. USWD’s consolidation process began in January of this year and the latest integration efforts are scheduled for completion by November 30, 2001. The recent consolidation announcement will result in a reduction of 33 employees, bringing the total reductions since January 2001 to 47 employees or nearly 50% of the workforce. The acquisition of NXT brought together complementary technologies that provide a full array of services related to credit card, debit card, and other point-of-sale transactions. Although similar in many ways, the services acquired with NXT utilize landline networks, whereas USWD’s Synapse(SM) services utilize wireless networks. By fully integrating operations, administration, sales and support, USWD will achieve significant cost savings and can offer a seamless package of wired and wireless transaction products and services, creating the only “one-stop-shop” in the transaction processing industry.
Dean M. Leavitt, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Wireless Data, explained, “These actions reflect our commitment to increase shareholder value by consolidating our operations while at the same time maintaining the quality service and technological expertise that our customers expect.”
“Our integration efforts since January 2001 have reduced operating expenses by 32%, which represents $8.4 million in annual cost savings, moving us substantially closer to our goal of breakeven cash flow from operations in early calendar year 2002. On the revenue side, we have grown our revenue sevenfold to $4.1 million in the past fiscal year as the number of retail locations that we serve continues to expand monthly.”
In conjunction with the latest integration activities, USWD recorded pretax charges totaling $2.4 million, or $0.20 per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year ended June 30, 2001, related to the consolidation for moving costs, disposal of assets not used in the primary operations facility, and the estimated impact of vacating the unused facilities, net of potential subleases. In addition, the company will record $1.2 million or $0.10 per share in the first fiscal quarter of 2002, related to employee severance, benefits, and relocation costs.
ABOUT U.S. WIRELESS DATA
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. ([www.uswirelessdata.com]), founded in 1991, markets Synapse(SM), its proprietary technology for wireless point of sale (POS) and ATM transactions. By providing a seamless interface among all parties including terminal manufacturers, wireless carriers, and payment processors, Synapse enables payment card and ATM transactions to be processed extremely fast, without the cost and inconvenience of a telephone line. Synapse’s Internet-based tools offer on-line, real-time transaction monitoring, remote diagnostics and automated terminal activation. NXT, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, provides landline transaction and data transport solutions to the transaction industry, and processes more than 500 million transactions each year. U.S. Wireless Data is headquartered in New York City.
Banks, insurance firms, and utility companies are just some of the sectors to benefit from Consignia’s latest technology, with bill payment services going from the high street into the virtual world, as it prepares to launch its Bills OnlineÂ service.
The service provides a one-stop-shop for bill management, so in ‘two clicks’ customers can view, pay and store a range of bills via a single, secure, easy to use website, free of charge – with the added convenience of accessing the service on any PC, in any home, at any time, anywhere in the world.
Bill issuers, such as utility companies, will pay a small fee per presentment and payment of their bills to Consignia covering their use of the service and management of the system as well as an initial establishment fee.
“We have developed this technology to enable billing companies to offer their customers another choice for how they view, pay and store their bills,” said Jim Pang, Consignia’s Director of Electronic Services.
“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, bill issuers recognize the need to provide value-added services which meet their customers’ needs. Consignia’s Bills OnlineÂ service will provide customers with the convenience of accessing their bills in one place rather than visiting billers’ sites individually and we believe that this will be their preference.
“The service will have the trust and integrity of the Post Office brand and clients will not need to invest in their own systems, although companies who want to add to their own e-commerce site by offering bill presentment and payments on-line can do so through our Biller Direct service option,” said Mr Pang.
“We are talking to a number of large companies keen to offer their customers more viewing and payment choices. They recognize that this is a long-term investment and is another way to enhance customer loyalty and stay ahead of competition through the provision of a relevant and valued service.
“With Bills Online Â companies have the potential for more interactive customer relationships through targeted one-to-one online marketing. They can offer their customers significant benefits including storage of billing history, customer meter reading, and the ability to control how and when payments are made.
“Consumers have been paying their bills at Post Office branches for many years, with 28 million people visiting one every week. As the UK’s biggest cash handler, handling #140bn annually, and with a massive 500 million bill payment transactions made via Post Office branches every year, we’re experts at handling bills.
“Our research proves that consumers feel Post Office branches are a trusted and reliable bill payment service provider. Eight out of 10 businesses surveyed consider us to be an excellent choice for this service.
“Bills OnlineÂ is a natural extension of our current bill payment service offering, giving customers the choice of when and where to view and pay their bills – at home, on holiday, or abroad, “24-7”. Bills OnlineÂ offers them a free, convenient, controllable bill payment option – the convenience of direct debit with the control of a cheque.
“Nearly 7 million UK households now have Internet access and this figure is expected to double within two years. We have the technology and are ready now to cater for billers who want to offer their customers the choice to pay their bills online and at their convenience,” said Mr Pang.Details
Childcare centers in the Bay Area and in Arlington, Texas are looking to score big in the upcoming NFL season with high-powered offense from the Raiders, 49ers, and Cowboys. Thanks to Providian Financial Corporation and its Providian Cares community giving efforts, childcare centers in those areas will receive donations from the Company when the three teams move the football. Every touchdown by the Raiders and 49ers and every passing yard by the Cowboys will mean dollars from Providian for these childcare centers.
Through “Touchdowns for Tots,” a program Providian Cares successfully introduced last season in partnership with the Oakland Raiders; the Lakeshore Children’s Center in Oakland will receive $500 for every Raider touchdown during regular season play. The program was expanded this year to include the rival 49ers across the Bay — whose every touchdown this year will provide $500 for the Frandelja Enrichment Center in San Francisco. In Arlington, Texas, through a new effort called “Putting Kids Yards Ahead,” Providian Cares will donate $5 to the YWCA Development Center there for every passing yard the Cowboys rack up. A 300-yard passing game, for example, translates to $1,500 for the Arlington-based center. Last year, the program generated $40,000 from Providian for the Harriet Tubman Early Childhood Center in Oakland.
“Given the offensive achievements of these teams, we expect the kids to score big in all three cities,” said Jim Wunderman, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs for Providian. “Each of these teams is capable of exploding offensively. We’ll be rooting hard for touchdowns and long bombs from these teams all year.”
Over the years, Providian Cares has funded more than 800 community programs with a special emphasis on childcare. The touchdown and passing yardage programs conducted jointly with the three NFL teams will generate funds for childcare centers in areas where Providian’s employees live and work.
Throughout the upcoming pro football season, radio broadcasters will acknowledge Providian’s $500 contribution on-air each time the 49ers or Raiders reach the endzone. Dallas Cowboys radio broadcasters will read a 15-second public service spot acknowledging Providian’s contribution through the passing yardage program. Additional public service announcements featuring player-spokesmen Tim Brown of the Raiders, Ray Brown of the 49ers and Tony Banks of the Cowboys — along with parents whose children attend the centers — will also air during the games. Providian will present checks to the centers when the regular season ends in December and player-spokesmen are scheduled to visit with the children at the respective centers.
About Providian Financial
Providian () is part of another winning proposition. The Company was named winner of the 2001 Rochester Institute of Technology/USA Today Quality Cup for excellence in customer service. The San Francisco-based company is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States, and offers credit cards and deposit products in the U.K. and Argentina. Providian Financial has also been named one of America’s Most Admired Companies in a survey by Fortune magazine, one of the nation’s top financial institutions by U.S. Banker magazine, and one of the most technologically innovative companies in the U.S. by Information Week magazine. The company has more than $36 billion in assets under management and nearly 18 million customer accounts.Details
Ernex Marketing Technologies Inc. launched a new product capability
called ERNEX Instant Email. Ernex’s clients now have the ability to deliver
real-time marketing through email-capable devices, in response to specific
customer transactions at any point-of-sale. This new offering enables
credit card issuers, retailers, restaurateurs and marketers to deliver
real-time marketing and promotional information directly to a customer’s
mobile or desktop device. The real-time automated-delivery of emails can
include points-updates, integrated online/offline campaigns, personalized
coupons or messages, and other promotional offers – to enhance the customer
contact experience. For onsite managers, ERNEX Instant Email improves the
response time of customer-care initiatives, by providing real-time customer
transaction information through email.
The introduction of ERNEX Instant Email underscores Ernex’s ongoing
commitment to deliver innovative, real-time marketing solutions to the
market. To capitalize on the growing popularity of multi-channel retailing
and wireless technology, Ernex has leveraged its existing robust and
flexible infrastructure to launch this value-added capability for its
clients. There is a need to balance the desire of businesses to maintain
top-of-mind with customers, and the “email-fatigue” that customers receive
from spam-mail. By tying ERNEX Instant Email to transactions based on
customer loyalty or gift card programs, Ernex ensures that only relevant
and targeted messages are delivered to customers. This will increase the
response rates and success of email campaigns.
DETAILS AND HIGHLIGHTS OF INSTANT EMAIL
Utilizing the same rules-engine that Ernex uses to manage its
clients’ customer loyalty or gift card programs, ERNEX Instant Email now
provides businesses with the ability to tailor a message and deliver it to
the email account of a customer – which could be a desktop computer, a
wireless phone or wireless device. Typically, Ernex’s programs interact
with customers at the point-of-sale through promotional coupons, messages
or sweepstakes contests. In a bricks-and-mortar environment, these
real-time promotions are printed directly on the customer’s receipt.
ERNEX Instant Email can also be used by onsite managers. For
instance, store or restaurant managers can utilize ERNEX Instant-Email to
receive critical real-time customer information and close the customer
service loop. Customer transactions over a certain dollar value, customer
transactions from the location’s top 50 customers, and the awarding of
instant sweepstakes prizes, can all trigger these email notifications. The
power of this new delivery mechanism is in the immediacy that a store
manager has in reacting to certain customer information. For example, a
store manager may be notified that one of the most valuable customers at
that location just made a purchase. The manager reacts by coming to the
front counter to personally thank the customer, along with a special gift
The key differentiation between this product and other email
marketing tools is that the email is delivered as part of the real-time
Ernex transaction. Within a fraction of a second, both the point-of-sale
and the email account of the customer can be updated. Emails can even be
delivered that are customized depending on the product that is purchased by
the customer – for example, the purchaser of an office desk could be
emailed information about what office accessories might go well with the
product, an 800 number to call for questions about the product, and so on.
For more information on ERNEX Instant Email, visit http://www.ernexinc.com/loyalty_programs/ernex_promotional_tools.html.
ABOUT ERNEX MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES
Ernex Marketing Technologies is a provider of innovative real-time
marketing solutions for merchants, credit card and bankcard issuers, and
large membership organizations. Its solutions include loyalty programs,
stored-value gift card programs, and loyalty database hosting services. For
more information, contact Ernex at 877-GO-ERNEX or visit www.ernexinc.com.
Ernex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.