After protracted litigation, passing twice through the U.S. Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, American Airlines has settled two separate class action lawsuits involving its frequent flyer program. The total relief for the cases has been estimated to exceed $100 million and will affect some holders of Citibank’s ‘AAdvantage’ co-branded credit card. American introduced the ‘AAdvantage’ program in 1981 and subsequently instituted capacity controls on miles already earned by members of the program. Plaintiffs claimed that the miles vested when they were accrued and American diminished the value of the miles by limiting the availability of seats for frequent flyer tickets. Then in 1995, American raised the number of mileage credits needed to claim a domestic ‘Plan AAhead’ coach awards from 20,000 to 25,000 mileage credits. Plaintiffs alleged the change breached the program contract because American was obligated to keep the rules the same as to each of those members for as long as the members held miles in their accounts. The claim affected only miles accumulated in 1992 and 1993. The settlement, announced this week, affords both class members the opportunity to claim the type of awards they allege they were denied as a result of changes to ‘AAdvantage’ program. About four million ‘AAdvantage’ members are affected by the settlement.Details
Bluefish Technologies a leading supplier of SIM cards and wireless solutions has made two key appointments at its newly established Asia Pacific operation headquartered in Singapore.
Andy Chew who joins Bluefish as Technical Manager has a degree in Electronic Engineering and over 6 years experience working with smart cards. Well known to wireless operators in the region Andy until recently worked for Giesecke & Devrient where he was responsible for GSM product and project management, a technical department that grew under his direction. This department was responsible for the development of SIM based applications for network operators including Wireless Internet Browsers. Prior to this Andy worked for Asia Chip Card as an application engineer for smart cards including contactless cards. Andy’s team will provide project management support and application development facilities to Bluefish’s customers in the region.
Benjamin Wee who joins Bluefish as Technical Consultant has a degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering. Formerly with Giesecke & Devrient Benjamin has several years experience developing applications for the GSM sector. Benjamin will provide direct technical support to the sales team and act as a direct link to Bluefish’s customers on technical issues.
“Bluefish is committed to being able to offer network operators throughout the region a wide range of SIM based solutions on a variety of open, non-proprietry platforms including Java and MULTOS. We now have the technical team in place to deliver on this commitment and to provide network operators with the innovative applications that will secure tomorrow’s revenue streams.” Said Anthony Ong, General Manager of Bluefish Asia.
Bluefish Technologies is a SIM solutions provider founded in 2000, with backing from ACG AG, and is the only smart card supplier to focus entirely on the wireless telecommunications industry. With offices in Germany and the UK, and more to follow worldwide, Bluefish pioneers a “virtual” approach to SIM card production and draws upon over 150 years experience of the GSM sector.
SIM applications are currently in their infancy but are already a key differentiator and revenue generator for network operators. As mobile networks progress from providing predominantly voice based services (2G) towards third generation (3G) technology the nature of applications and services will change radically. It will be these SIM enabled applications at the heart of the wireless future, operating on open platforms with high levels of security.
ACG AG with its headquarters in Wiesbaden and Munich is a high-tech broker for chips and chip cards as well as technology- and market leader for contactless chip applications. The company’s turnover in the business year 2000 up to December 31st amounted to 362.8 million Euro. The operating profit (EBITDA) amounted to 13 million Euro. ACG has more than 500 employees and is represented in 32 international locations in 17 countries. ACG achieved in the first three months of the fiscal year 2001 a turnover of Euro 105.69 million. EBITDA rose in the same period to 3.94 million Euro.Details
Same-store retail sales grew 2.4% over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services. The Mid-Atlantic region led the nation, followed by the Southeast, the Southwest, the West and the Midwest (tied) and the Northeast. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck ‘s 272,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment.Details
Police have broken up a large criminal ring specializing in pay TV smart card fraud. Police in Hungary arrested five people, including one Briton, in connection with fraud that involved smart cards used for French pay TV. According to police reports, two French pay-channels, Canal+ and Viaccess, lost more than 64 billion forints last year due to the fraud. More than 800 counterfeit cards were confiscated in the search of the Briton’s house. The black-market value of the cards is 80,000 forints each. Those arrested have confirmed the cards were primarily sold abroad. They produced the cards in Hungary since it was outside the European Union. The group openly advertised the cards on the Internet. All five face up to eight years in prison for computer fraud.Details
Diebold, Incorporated announced it has named Jack E. Finefrock vice president of its Retail Solutions Group, where he will be responsible for promoting Diebold solutions in the retail marketplace.
In May 2000, Diebold’s Board of Directors named Finefrock a corporate officer as vice president of North American Sales and Service, Central division. Five years prior, Finefrock was promoted to vice president of Diebold’s Midwest Division, where he supervised sales, service, systems and administrative functions for the Chicago-based operation.
Finefrock joined Diebold in 1977 as a systems analyst, and has held various other positions with the company, including manager of marketing research, sales representative, account manager, regional sales manager and re-engineering team leader.
A graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, Finefrock holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration. His new office will be located in Green. Family members include his wife, Kathy and their three children: Kyle, 21; Nicole, 18; and Scott, 14.
Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Diebold employs more than 10,000 associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of $1.7 billion in 2000 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [www.diebold.com].
724 Solutions Inc. announced preliminary results for the second fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. Revenues for the quarter will be approximately $14.1 million, a 255 percent increase compared to the same period of fiscal 2000. Pro forma loss per share for the quarter is expected to be $(0.27) to $(0.29), an improvement of approximately 30 percent compared to the same period of fiscal 2000. Pro forma loss is net loss for the period, adjusted for amortization of intangibles, equity in income (loss) of affiliate, stock-based compensation and certain non-recurring expenses, including one time costs incurred in connection with the integration of TANTAU Software, and the realignment of 724 Solutions’ business. These adjustments are expected to be in the range of $5.0-6.0 million. (All amounts in U.S. dollars.)
“Our global pipeline of opportunities is the strongest it has ever been, but the economic uncertainty is causing some of our larger license deals to take longer to close,” said John Sims, Chief Executive Officer, 724 Solutions. “Given the uncertain economic outlook — and the potential that this may continue to affect our sales cycle on large strategic contracts — we believe that it is prudent to adjust our revenue expectations for the year to $67.0 million.”
About 724 Solutions Inc.
724 Solutions Inc. is a leading global provider of Internet infrastructure software that enables the delivery of secure financial services applications and mobile transaction solutions across a wide range of Internet-enabled devices. The 724 Solutions suite of products and services enables companies to realize value through the mobile Internet by building, deploying, and integrating personalized and secure mobile commerce and lifestyle applications. With dual headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and Austin, Texas, the company has development and sales offices around the world. 724 Solutions’ common shares are listed on the NASDAQ National Market (SVNX) and The Toronto Stock Exchange (SVN). For additional information visit www.724.com.Details
API, Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., and NBDS/CHEXpedite Payment Solutions of Fort Worth, Texas, have formed a strategic alliance to focus on the delivery of e-mail billing, payment, and settlement services for corporations focusing on communications, transportation, finance, manufacturing, and distribution. The new e-mail billing service is currently being implemented with two large airlines air cargo divisions, and several other corporations are now evaluating its use.
“This new billing, payment and settlement service is a natural extension to API’s business outsourcing solutions, specifically for corporate billing and accounts receivable departments,” said Gary Halleen, President and CEO of API, Inc. “We’re excited to be working with CHEXpedite. The CHEXpedite payment and processing product adds value to our services by allowing for payment by check or credit card of bills sent via e-mail, and can be used for business-to-business or business-to-consumer transactions.”
“API’s comprehensive approach provides a superior, integrated strategy that strengthens the business case for corporations to transition to e-mail billing, payment, and settlement,” says Mike Boggs, NBDS/CHEXpedite Executive Director of Business Development. “We believe that this model will accelerate product acceptance.”
The API/CHEXpedite process allows corporations to bill business clients and/or individual customers by e-mail, and provides the recipient with a detailed online bill. The recipient can select a payment choice, determine payment timing and amount, and authorize the payment, all while online. This process differs from traditional aggregator strategies, and follows the traditional consumer behavior model for bill receipt and payment in the world of paper invoicing and payments.
About the companies:
API, Inc. automates the integration of technologies for the centralization of business processes like shipping, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. The company focuses its efforts on providing turnkey solutions for instant access, retrieval and distribution of information. These solutions exist for the life cycle of the document and extend these capabilities to the end user and the customer.
NBDS/CHEXpedite, Inc.’s primary focus is to provide merchants with electronic payment solutions that reduce cost and increase cash flow and profit, while also improving customer satisfaction. These payment solutions work in the vast majority of business environments including retail point of purchase, back office truncation, mail order/phone order sales, payment of recurring accounts receivable and the Internet.Details
Dione plc has appointed Tim Dean as Alliances Manager for the European
Market. The appointment is part of Dione’s continuing expansion following the
development of its new range of EMV certified terminals and the move by
banking organizations away from magnetic stripe to smart card technology.
At Dione, who is the UK’s largest manufacturer of stand-alone EPOS/EFTPOS
terminals, Tim will be establishing new reseller channels throughout
Europe. Tim Dean joins Dione with over 20 years of experience of the IT
sector holding several marketing and sales management positions during this
time. This includes experience as a channel manager for Tetra/Sage both
internationally and in the UK and as Director of Tetra operations in South
Africa. More recently Tim worked for CPIO one of Sage’s largest UK resellers.
DataWave Systems, Inc. announced the appointment of Marc L. Belsky, up to now a member of the Board of Directors, as the new Chief Financial Officer for the Company. “Marc will be a major asset to DataWave as we position ourselves to enter new prepaid markets and provide new and innovative solutions to the financial marketplace,” said CEO Josh Emanuel. “Marc’s impressive track record within the financial community and the important international relationships that he has formed will bring many new ideas and opportunities to DataWave today and in the future,” said Josh.
Marc has over 20 years of experience in the financial marketplace both as a financial services executive and a CPA. He has held senior level strategic, financial and line positions at National Australia Bank and its previously owned US subsidiary, Michigan National Corporation. His most recent position was Senior Vice President, Payment Products and Services, U.S. Region. Previously, Mr. Belsky was Head of Strategy for National Australia Bank’s Asia Pacific Cards Group.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to join DataWave. Having worked with DataWave in the past, I have first hand experience with its dedicated executive employees and I look forward to joining this excellent team full time. DataWave is poised to offer new prepaid products and to move into new and exciting markets internationally both by organic growth and acquisition, and I look forward to being involved in this transition,” said Marc Belsky.
Concurrent with Mr. Belsky’s appointment, John Gunn, who previously served as DataWave’s CFO, will remain as General Manager, responsible for all North American Operations. John will assume new responsibilities for the DataWave Prepaid Card Company. John will also continue on as Secretary for the company.
“John has been a very important part of our executive team at DataWave since November 1997, and I am very excited that he has decided to take on a new role with our newly acquired DataWave Prepaid Card Company,” said Josh Emanuel.
John has more than 20 years experience in senior positions in operations, information technology and finance. His strong technical and systems background, coupled with financial experience, will be instrumental in developing the infrastructure needed as the Company moves to the next stages of growth with the acquisition of the AT&T Prepaid Card Company.
About DataWave ([www.datawave.ca])
DataWave Systems designs, develops, produces, owns and manages a proprietary, intelligent, automated direct-merchandising network, comprised of free-standing intelligent machines (DTMs) and over the counter “swipe” units (OTCs) connected to the gateway and database software through a wireless and/or landline wide area network. This unique leading-edge technology provides for point-of-sale activation, cash/credit card acceptance, detailed reporting and 24/7 remote self-diagnostic troubleshooting, making it virtually maintenance-free. The Company has proven enabling technologies that have allowed it to enter new markets and generate additional revenue streams with innovative prepaid and financial services products. In addition to its successful prepaid calling card business, the company is testing the distribution of the Michigan National Bank Prepaid MasterCard together with Coinstar.
DataWave is now poised to capitalize on the flexibility of its System by augmenting its product range to meet the diversified and changing needs of the prepaid market and in further developing strategic partnerships.
Gemplus has offered its 3,000+ French employees voluntary early
retirement in an effort to cut costs. Gemplus has offered its French staff
a bonus of 120,000 francs to take voluntary early retirement. The Company
also has closed a plant in Germany with the loss of 200 jobs, but the smart
card firm does not plan further cuts.
Gemplus cut its second-quarter and annual forecasts to reflect the slowdown
in the mobile phone market. The group is now forecasting a 2% to 5% rise in
2001 sales, down from 12 to 14% previously, and a second-quarter operating
loss between 10 million and 15 million Euros. Gemplus is also in the
process of finding a buyer for its identification and tracking division Tag
after selling its SkiData unit recently to raise cash reserves.
One year after three companies created a phenomenal loyalty program for their customers, the offer is getting even sweeter. From now through Sept. 15, 2001, America West Airlines FlightFund members can use their FlightFund Visa cards to earn triple miles for credit card purchases at 76 gas stations and Circle K convenience stores nationwide.
“We put this promotion into effect during the summer travel season to allow families to get the most miles for their purchases,” said Bernie Han, senior vice president, marketing and planning, America West Airlines.
“The triple miles offer is a terrific way to reward FlightFund Visa cardholders when they use their card to make everyday purchases at 76 gasoline stations and Circle K convenience stores,” explains Marc Flanary, manager of credit card marketing for 76 and Circle K.
“We thought cardholders would appreciate the convenience of using their FlightFund Visa card for summer travel expenses while earning extra miles toward their next vacation at the same time,” said Marino Orlandi, senior vice president, card services, Bank of America.
Members have earned more than five million miles in the first year of this program. Cardholders have received double miles for FlightFund Visa card purchases at 76 / Circle K stores since May 2000. After Sept. 15, through Dec. 31, 2001, the bonus mile offer will return to double miles. Miles accumulated through FlightFund Visa card purchases at 76 / Circle K stores are automatically credited to each member’s account.
76 and Circle K are registered trademarks of Tosco Marketing Company, the Tempe, Arizona-based retail division of the Tosco Corporation (NYSE: TOS). Tosco, which currently has over $28 billion in annualized revenues, is the largest independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products in the United States, and is the nation’s largest operator of company-controlled convenience stores. Additional information about Tosco is available at http://www.tosco.com.
One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including approximately 4,400 domestic offices and 13,000 ATMs, as well as 38 international offices serving clients in 190 countries, and an Internet Web site that provides online access for more than 3 million customers, more than any other bank. Bank of America stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges. The company’s Web site is [www.bankofamerica.com]. News, speeches and other corporate information may be found at [www.bankofamerica.com/newsroom].
FlightFund members who do not have a FlightFund Visa card can apply by calling 1-800-691-2933 or by enrolling online at . New cardholders will receive up to 5,000 bonus miles upon first-time approval of the FlightFund Platinum Visa card or receive 2,500 bonus miles upon first-time approval of the FlightFund Classic Visa card.
FlightFund, America West’s worldwide frequent flyer program, offers travelers a unique and flexible program with First Class upgrades and free domestic award travel beginning at 20,000 miles year-round. New members will receive 2,500 miles after their first flight. Customers who are not already FlightFund members can contact the FlightFund Service Center at 1-800-247-5691 to enroll or sign up on the Internet at [www.FlightFund.com].
America West Airlines, the nation’s eighth-largest carrier, serves 92 destinations with more than 900 daily departures in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Along with its codeshare partners, America West serves more than 180 destinations worldwide. America West Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of America West Holdings Corporation, an aviation and travel services company with 2000 sales of $2.3 billion.
As debit cards and reward programs link up, First Data Resources has introduced ‘Debit Rewards’. The new debit card product enables debit card issuers to develop, calculate and fulfill a variety of incentive programs for their cardholders, including cash back, rebates, merchant partnerships and travel programs. Debit issuers can assign an individual reward strategy that designates which programs are available to each cardholder, making it highly customizable according to the issuers’ needs. Reward information can be easily communicated to cardholders via their monthly checking account statement. First Data is one of the first third party debit card processors to offer an incentive program specifically designed for the debit market.Details