ACI Worldwide announced this morning the launch of its second-generation software for electronic statement delivery and electronic bill delivery and payment. ‘M-Statement’ and ‘M-Bill’ enables companies to create, track and securely deliver content-rich statements and bills directly to their customers via e-mail and other delivery channels. Customers can electronically pay the billing company from within the bills they receive using payment types accepted around the world. Billers using ‘M-Bill’ can continue to accept the same methods of payment, clear payments via the corporate bank or payment-clearing provider they already use, and utilize existing payment infrastructures and national payment clearing services.Details
MasterCard International today announced the selection of the “Are You Credit Wise?” class of 2001, a group of outstanding peer-educators who will execute this award-winning financial education initiative. These individuals will lead a semester-long, campus-wide effort to educate their fellow students about fundamental money management skills, from basic budgeting to bill payment, to responsible use of credit and debit.
Developed in 1999 with the support of national student leaders, MasterCard’s “Are You Credit Wise?” is designed to train students to become peer-educators and help the student body, especially college freshmen, in understanding key financial concepts.
“Student focus groups and campus pilot projects have demonstrated to us that there is strong value in equipping college students to deliver financial facts to their peers,” said Catherine Cummings, MasterCard’s vice president of consumer affairs. “In many ways, students are better able to communicate in a variety of campus environments, without lecturing, and they understand the financial challenges and other pressures of campus life,” she said.
In 2001, students attending University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State University, Florida State University, Duke University, University of Virginia, Rutgers University, Howard University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and others will lead “Are You Credit Wise?” programs on these campuses. Over the last two years, students at dozens of other selected schools have distributed these educational materials.
Recognizing that money is a critical issue for most undergraduate students, the program seeks every available opportunity to offer smart money management tips. The peer-educators typically hold campus workshops, host informal financial presentations, distribute informational fliers and hang posters around campus. Also, they coordinate with professors, deans, orientation directors, resident advisors and campus organizations to identify additional opportunities.
Cummings continued, “Once we explain that our consumer education information contains no sales or marketing messages, campus officials have been eager to help us spread the word because they understand, as we do at MasterCard, that many students are managing money full time, for the first time. While we all experience a degree of trial and error, we don’t want that process to be the only education college students receive on their finances,” she said.
When students need more in-depth information, the peer-educators refer them to MasterCard’s non-commercial, education web site, www.creditalk.com, which offers a glossary of financial terms and interactive features that help students establish a workable budget and calculate credit charges. The web site also provides links to additional resources and credit counseling organizations.
“Are You Credit Wise?” is one of several MasterCard education programs for the college consumer. Another is the Money Talks initiative, cosponsored by College Parents of America. The Money Talks brochure and on-campus seminars are designed to encourage and support parents so that they can teach the financial facts of life to their high school and college students. Since its initial printing, more than 75,000 copies of Money Talks have been distributed directly to parents, or to colleges for their parent orientation programs. The Money Talks brochure also can be viewed online at .
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCardÂ®, CirrusÂ® and MaestroÂ® logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. With more than 19 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1999, gross dollar volume exceeded US$725 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .Details
FleetBoston Financial announced it is expanding its foreign language capabilities and functionality at ATMs throughout its Northeast network of 3,400 ATMs. Former Summit Bancorp ATMs will expand their foreign language access following systems conversions scheduled later this summer, bringing the total Fleet ATM network to more than 3,800 machines.
Today’s announcement also introduces a new language preset option, a feature that enables ATM users to select the language they prefer to use in all future transactions. Once selected, this language automatically appears each time the customer accesses a Fleet ATM.
Dramatically expanding its repertoire of foreign language capabilities, Fleet ATMs can now provide screen instructions in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese or French depending on market needs. Russian will be added by early July, 2001. The languages available on particular ATMs will vary based on the region.
“Today we are again demonstrating our commitment to serving the diverse needs of our customers. Whether it’s through our ATMs, branches, call centers, or web banking, we continue to set the benchmark for our entire industry for inclusive community outreach. We want to ensure that all sectors of our society can share in the benefits of today’s financial mainstream,” said Robert B. Hedges, Jr., Managing Director of Retail Distribution at Fleet.
Last month, Fleet announced plans to introduce 1,420 “talking ATMs” for visually impaired ATM users during the next two years throughout its Northeast retail service area, from Maine to Pennsylvania. Fleet is investigating now with manufacturers the feasibility of meeting the foreign language needs of the visually impaired for future use.
Language Preset Option Also Introduced
As an added enhancement, all ATM users are also now able to select a one-time preset option to indicate a preferred language for future transactions, thereby bypassing the screen that currently asks users to select a language at the beginning of each new transaction. “We are listening and responding to our customers’ interests in the customized, efficient delivery of our services. Wherever and whenever possible, we want our customers to enjoy sophisticated yet highly personalized services that are easy to use,” said Hedges.
Fleet made its determination to introduce the language preset option based on research among its customers. Both English-speaking and foreign-language customers indicated strong preferences for the option. “Our research told us that our customers appreciated this option as a user-friendly and time-saving convenience. It is a small, but telling, step in our progress to make Fleet the bank of choice in every market we serve,” said Nandita Bakhshi, director of Fleet’s ATM/Self-Service Banking group. Today’s ATM technology can accommodate up to four foreign languages per machine. Approximately 75% of Fleet’s 3,400 ATMs now offer four languages. Spanish and Chinese are the most frequently installed second languages, now available in all machines accommodating four languages, or nearly 2,600 Fleet ATMs; Korean follows, in nearly 2,400 ATMs at Fleet. Where particularly diverse communities require more than four languages at a single locale, Fleet will offer additional alternative languages at nearby machines.
Fleet first introduced a second language in select ATMs — Spanish — beginning in 1991. It added French in 1993. It later introduced Chinese and Korean in 1994. Portuguese was added in 2000. Russian will be added this summer. Today’s announcement means that over 3,000 Fleet ATMs now offer a minimum of two languages at each machine. Based on 1990 Census data, nearly six million residents 18 or older speak non-English at home, representing about 20% of the population, within Fleet’s Northeast market.
FleetBoston Financial is the seventh-largest financial holding company in the United States. A diversified financial services company with assets exceeding $200 billion, Fleet offers a comprehensive array of innovative financial solutions to 20 million customers in more than 20 countries and territories. Among the company’s key lines of business are: retail banking, with nearly 1,700 branches and more than 3,800 ATMs in the Northeast; commercial banking, including capital markets/investment banking and commercial finance; investment services, including discount brokerage; and full-service banking through more than 250 offices in Latin America. FleetBoston Financial is headquartered in Boston and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FBF) and the Boston Stock Exchange (BSE: FBF).Details
There are rumors circulating this morning that Citigroup and Discover are mulling a potential purchase of American Express. This week’s issue of Businessweek says AmEx could fetch between $50 and $70 per share. AmEx is trading, in the pre-market this morning, at $38.50. American Express’ stock traded at nearly $63 per share in late September. AmEx has assets of $155 billion and a market capitalization of $53 billion. Citigroup has assets of $900 billion and a market value of $230 billion. Last summer, AmEx CEO Kenneth Chenault revealed details of a previous merger attempt with Citibank during his testimony in the DOJ antitrust trial against VISA and MasterCard. (CF Library 6/30/00)Details
MasterCard released data yesterday showing its gross dollar volume in the USA soared by 20.2% last year to $423 billion. The nation’s second largest payment card association also showed an explosion in cards issued during 2000. The number of MasterCard-branded cards issued in the USA jumped 16% last year, more than five times the 1999 growth rate of 2.8%. The surge in cards-issued is attributable to the increase in card solicitations for MasterCard-branded products. BAI Global says MasterCard had a 57% U.S. bankcard mailshare last year compared to 45% for 1999. Also the nation’s two largest issuers, Citibank and MBNA, are squarely in MasterCard’s court. MasterCard ended 2000 with 235.1 million cards-in-force and $212.7 billion in outstandings in the USA. Globally, MasterCard-branded products generated $857 billion in gross dollar volume, a 21.5% increase over 1999. Global purchasing volume (excluding cash transactions) rose 17.3% to $633.5 billion for 2000. In Canada, the gross dollar volume increased 16.6% to CDN $37 billion. For complete details on MasterCard’s international data visit RAM Research Group ([http://www.ramresearch.com]). For historical details on MasterCard’s USA data visit CardData ([http://www.carddata.com]).
A national survey released Thursday revealed that the cost of using another bank’s ATM machine has nearly tripled over the past five years. In 1996 consumers paid only a single foreign ATM fee to their own bank, averaging $1.01, to use another bank’s ATM. The new study shows consumers pay both a foreign fee plus a surcharge that, combined, average $2.86 in 2001. The new U.S. Public Interest Research Group survey says the nation’s biggest banks charge the highest combined ATM transaction fees and are leading the way in charging a new annual ATM card fee. Nationally, 94% of all banks surveyed imposed surcharges averaging $1.47. Average foreign fees were $1.39. Big bank ATM fees averaged $3.07. Nationally, 97% of big banks charged surcharges averaging $1.55. Big bank foreign fees averaged $1.52. Ohio banks charged the highest combined fees of $3.49. The report also found that 18% of all banks imposed annual card rental fees averaging $13.76 on either ATM card or ATM debit card holders or both. The U.S. PIRG used the report to attack the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. PRIG says the OCC has a long history of preempting state low-cost lifeline banking laws and ATM surcharge bans, even when Congress tells it not to do so.Details
As American Express is gearing up for the transfer of Bank of Hawaii VISA cards to AmEx cards, the company announced yesterday a series of philanthropic and marketing activities in support of the Hawai’i Nature Center. To start, AmEx is making a $100,000 grant to support a new coastal curriculum and field program for fifth graders that will serve approximately 3,500 additional students each year. AmEx is also hosting the ‘Chip for Charity Challenge’ to raise additional funds. The ‘Challenge’ centers around a short chip shot –complete with sand trap and water hazard on which participants can take their best shot at a hole-in-one. For everyone who succeeds, American Express will donate $100 to the Nature Center, up to a total of $10,000. The third component of the campaign in support of the Nature Center is a cause-related spending program that will begin in the second quarter of this year. AmEx will make a donation to the Hawai’i Nature Center for every American Express transaction that a cardholders makes at any merchant location in Hawaii, up to $100,000. AmEx is acquiring the $226 million BOH VISA credit card portfolio. (CF Library 12/21/00)Details
Western Union Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp., and Publix Super Markets, Inc., one of the nation’s top 10 supermarkets, announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to offer the Western Union Money Transfer service at the nearly 650 Publix locations throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The addition of these locations significantly expands Western Union’s presence throughout the Southeastern United States.
! The five-year agreement comes on the heels of a successful pilot program in 16 Publix store locations in Atlanta and Miami. Publix, which had not previously offered money transfer services, received excellent customer response to the pilot and will be rolling out the Western Union Money Transfer service at the rest of its locations over the next several months.
“Publix has always sought to provide our customers with a premier shopping experience. That means supplying products and services of the highest quality and value,” says Publix spokesperson Lee Brunson. “The positive response to our pilot program tells us that our customers find money transfer a significant added value and that Western Union is a name they know and trust.”
“The addition of Publix to the Western Union agent network will provide customers with even more convenient locations to conduct money transfers,” said Mike Yerington, president, Western Union North America. “This partnership is a definite win-win proposition. Western Union services have the proven ability to attract repeat customers, giving Publix an opportunity to increase store traffic, and the addition of nearly 650 premium locations will significantly grow our agent network in the Southeast.”
About Western Union
Western Union Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), is a worldwide leader in consumer money transfer services. Consumers can quickly, safely and reliably transfer money at approximately 101,000 agent locations in more than 185 countries and territories using the Western Union and Orlandi Valuta money transfer networks. Famous for its pioneering telegraph service, the original Western Union dates back to 1851 and introduced electronic money transfer service in 1871. Western Union is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2001. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.westernunion.com].
About First Data Corp.
Atlanta-based First Data Corp. is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Serving more than two million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com].
About Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the country, with 2000 sales of $14.6 billion. Currently Publix has 648 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. It has been named one of America’s top 10 places to work in the book, “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” as well as one of the top companies in Fortune’s recent list of best workplaces. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.Publix.com].
The U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, Thursday, dismissed the shareholders class action suit against bankrate.com in its entirety with prejudice. The lawsuit was filed against the Company on March 28, 2000. FL-based Bankrate.com has been trying to reduce its cash burn rate as it seeks profitability. Last year, the online personal finance web site lost $12.4 million, cut staff, and pulled the plug on its previous acquisitions. The company also changed its name and stock symbol to bolster investor interest. This year, the Web site lost its NASDAQ listing and now trades on the OTCBB around 50 cents per share. (CF Library 11/9/00; 12/22/00; 1/29/01)Details
USA Technologies Inc. announced it had negotiated an OEM agreement to supply its unique e-Port embedded systems technology to Automated Merchandising Systems, one of the Nation’s premier glass front merchandising equipment manufacturers supplying the global vending industry.
The AMS alliance is USA Technologies’ first OEM agreement for e-Port and has the potential of generating $5 million in sales for the Wayne-based Technology Company over the next five years.
The agreement comes within a week of USA Technologies announcing a multi-million dollar Intelligent Vending strategic alliance with global communications giant, Marconi Online Systems.
The alliance is to convert traditional vending machines dispensing beverage and packaged snacks into intelligent “store fronts”, connected to the Internet, and capable of communicating operational data to operators, conducting cashless transactions and providing interactive media at point of sale.
Stephen P. Herbert, President and COO of USA Technologies, said the OEM contract with a leading vending machine manufacturer such as AMS, was an important milestone and endorsement for the USA Technologies/Marconi Alliance.
“Vending machine manufacturers, suppliers and dealers the world over are recognizing the potential of e-Port. Our goal is to assist partners like AMS in providing greater value to their customers,” Mr. Herbert said. “This latest agreement will see our e-Port built into the AMS product on the assembly line.”
AMS considers the inclusion of e-Port in their products as a differentiator from their competition, and could provide AMS distributors with a point of difference in the marketplace.
“AMS is an innovator in the vending industry and it’s our objective to constantly bring to our customers the latest technologies that will add value and satisfaction to their offerings,” said Sharon Shull, President, AMS. “e-Port, with its ability to collect supply chain-or-‘route’ data, allow consumers to make purchases with a credit card, and to view interactive media such as news, sports and weather, will not only improve the value we bring to AMS customers, but will help generate greater revenue for AMS through increased sales of our vending machines.”
e-Port is the world’s first non-PC e-commerce device that can be embedded into vending machines, gas pumps, office equipment and almost any kind of point-of-sale terminal. It comes fitted with an interactive, video screen that features rotating banner advertisements, giving vending machine owners the ability to operate electronic “storefronts” and provide free access to media such as news, sports and weather. e-Port is also a cashless transaction device, allowing consumers to make self service, micro credit card transactions, for as low as $1.00. Marconi’s Intelligent Vending service provides remote monitoring capabilities for vending machines. The service delivers marketing, management and maintenance reports overnight straight to the vending operations’ office. Inventory, cash and damage information is securely transmitted over a wireless network and helps vending operators increase revenue through machines that always are cleaned, filled and working. The combined USA Technologies e-Port/ Marconi Online solution has the potential to fundamentally change the global vending industry.
About USA Technologies
USA Technologies is recognized as a leader in cashless transaction and interactive media technology and associated financial services. USA Technologies provides credit card-activated and other cashless systems, allowing end users, ranging from consumers to business professionals, to communicate, conduct business or make ordinary commerce transactions, outside the home or workplace. USA Technologies is an IBM (NYSE: IBM) Business Partner and an inaugural member of the Sprint Enabling Application Service Provider Program for e-commerce. It also has established relationships with a number of global IT, multimedia and telecommunications companies, including RadiSys Corporation, Double Click, Inc., and Xerox Corporation. Visit the USA Technologies home page at [http://www.usatech.com].
About Automated Merchandising Systems
Automated Merchandising Systems, a premier manufacturer of glass front merchandising vending machines, is a privately held company headquartered in Kearneysville, West Virginia. AMS’s patented SENSIT(R) technology guarantees product delivery, eliminating the product hang-ups and misloading problems — thereby increasing reliability and customer satisfaction. AMS’s rugged, temperature controlled machines are cost-effective solutions for vending a wide range of products.
Capital One became the first company to join NACHA since direct membership was opened to financial institutions. Direct membership in NACHA for financial institutions became available this year after NACHA completed a reorganization in 2000. The reorganization was undertaken to streamline the governance of the association, establish new voting rights for financial institutions on the operating rules for the ACH Network, and establish direct membership in NACHA for financial institutions. NACHA now has 30 direct members consisting of nine financial institutions and 21 payments associations, which combined represent 12,000 financial institutions. The other financial institution members are Bank of America, Bank One, Citigroup, First Union, J.P. Morgan Chase, Mellon, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo; under the reorganization these institutions’ memberships were converted from single-bank ACH associations into direct financial institution members. (CF Library 6/20/00)Details
American Express announced this week Brokerage for Blue, a new benefit of Blue from American Express ([http://www.americanexpress.com/igot blue]). Brokerage for Blue is designed to help Cardmembers with Blue from American Express attain financial independence by providing online access to investor education. With Brokerage for Blue, cardmembers gain access to a wealth of information, tools and resources to help them make better investment decisions, regardless of their level of investment experience. Brokerage for Blue includes:
— Investor Strategies — Detailed information, tips, tools and articles to help clients plan to meet their investment objectives — with versions for both beginning and experienced investors. Within each of the investor strategies are direct links to American Express(R) online tools and an account application to help investors create their investment plan.
— Standard & Poor’s Resources — A collection of articles is also available for cardmembers who are seeking a greater understanding on a variety of investing topics including “How to Choose a Mutual Fund” and “How to Weather a Stock Market Correction.”
— Easy Account Opening — A step-by-step guide to opening an American Express Brokerage Account. Access to an online application is readily available for cardmembers to apply for instant account approval.
— American Express Brokerage Challenge, a risk-free trading experience which allows people to hone their skills in an environment that works just like an actual American Express Brokerage account.
“Cardmembers with Blue from American Express are among the most Internet-savvy consumers out there,” said Kathy Marryat, vice president, Blue product management, American Express. “But they may not have a great deal of experience in investing or financial planning. With Brokerage for Blue, we are reaching out to a group of potential investors who want to use the Internet to achieve their financial goals.”
“American Express is well known for helping our customers use the Internet to learn about personal finance, plan for their futures and invest,” said Francois Odouard, vice president, American Express Brokerage. “With Brokerage for Blue, we are taking the best of our financial planning tools and resources, integrating them with customized financial education, and bringing it all together in one place for Blue customers.”
Investing strategies outlined on Brokerage for Blue include:
— Prioritizing financial goals
— Risk tolerance assessment
— Asset allocation
— Researching stocks and mutual funds
— Monitoring investments
The strategies are organized into two “paths:” one for beginning investors, and one for more experienced investors. No matter which path investors choose, Brokerage for Blue can help them use the Internet to get started in investing and achieve their investment goals.
American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) 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.
At [http://www.americanexpress.com] , customers can choose from a range of Internet products and services. Options include the ability to check Card and Membership Rewards(R) account information; pay American Express Card bills online, consolidate and track travel rewards programs, make travel reservations, find last minute travel bargains, and receive special online offers. Consumers interested in financial services can conduct online banking, with free bill payment and ATM rebates, and take advantage of online brokerage services, including low-cost stock trades, comprehensive, integrated online financial planning tools, and access to financial advisors. Resources for small businesses include tips on incorporation, managing staff, and franchising business opportunities. Corporations can choose from merchant, retirement, purchasing and travel and expense management services.
American Express Financial Advisors makes investments, brokerage services and financial planning services available through American Express Financial Advisors Inc. (Member NASD and SIPC). American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., offers charge cards, credit cards and travel services. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.
Investments are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of or guaranteed by a financial institution, involve investment risks including possible loss of principal. All deposit products and services are offered by American Express Centurion Bank, a federally insured financial institution.