GiftCertificates New CEO

GiftCertificates.com, a leading online marketplace for gift certificates and a provider of technologies and services, announced that Michael Ahern has been named chief executive officer. He will be succeeding the company’s founder, Jonas Lee, who will assume the position of vice chairman of the company’s board. These appointments are effective immediately.

“It has given me great pride to see GiftCertificates.com grow from an idea into a company with over 300 talented people and hundreds of thousands of consumers and businesses that use our services,” said Jonas Lee, vice chairman of the board. “With Mike’s leadership ability and execution experience, I am confident that the company will have the right guidance to ensure its continued success.”

“GiftCertificates.com has achieved a great formula for success in offering gifts to consumers and is in a very favorable position to capitalize on the trend toward businesses offering gift certificates for rewards, incentives and promotions,” said Michael Ahern, CEO of GiftCertificates.com. “I look forward to continuing to work with our management team to successfully deliver on our plans.”

Ahern assumes the day-to-day responsibilities of CEO from Lee who moves into an active advisory position as vice chairman of the board. He will be working closely with recently named chairman of the board, William Ackman, in addition to pursuing new entrepreneurial interests.

Ahern most recently served as the company’s chief operating officer with responsibility for directing all internal operations and overseeing all aspects of technology and product development for the company. He joined GiftCertificates.com after the company’s May 2000 acquisition of GiftSpot.com, where he had been co-founder, president and CEO. Previously, Ahern was an executive at Microsoft Corporation where he held various management positions and served as group project manager for Microsoft’s $350 million Project Management product line, as well as Microsoft NetShow, Commerce Server and SiteServer. Before his tenure at Microsoft, Ahern was a founding member of Autodesk’s Multimedia Division serving as product manager for Animator, 3D Studio and AutoCAD.

About GiftCertificates.com

Established in 1997, GiftCertificates.com(TM) is a leading Internet marketplace for gift certificates and a provider of related technologies and services. The company offers physical and emailable gift certificates for employee incentives, customer loyalty programs, marketing promotions, and consumer gifts. GiftCertificates.com also provides turn-key solutions that allow merchants of all sizes to outsource their physical and emailable gift certificate fulfillment requirements. The company represents more than 500 merchants, including luxury retailers like CHANEL, Neiman Marcus, and Tourneau; national retailers like Barnes & Noble, Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, and The Sharper Image; travel-related services like American Airlines(R) and Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites; and popular restaurants like the Palm, McCormick & Schmick’s, Benihana, and T.G.I. Fridays(R). The company also offers the SuperCertificate(TM), a flexible gift certificate that can be redeemed at GiftCertificates.com for original gift certificates to 100’s of participating merchants. For more information, visit [www.GiftCertificates.com][1].

[1]: http://www.giftcertificates.com/

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Associates 3Q

Associates First Capital reported this morning record third quarter earnings of $442 million, a 15% increase per share over the same period a year earlier. In the quarter, the company surpassed $88 billion in managed receivables. Associates reported $14.8 billion in credit card receivables compared to $13.5 billion for 2Q/00 and $11.1 billion for 3Q/99. During the third quarter, Associates formally launched its private label credit card partnership with Zale Corp. by acquiring $620 million in receivables and 840,000 active accounts. This brings to 23 million the total number of active Associates credit card accounts. Chargeoffs and delinquency both increased during the third quarter. Net chargeoffs grew from 5.77% for 2Q to 6.13% for 3Q. Delinquency (60+ days) also increased from 3.77% for the second quarter to 4.09% for the third quarter. For complete details on Associates’ 3Q/00 performance as well as historical data visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Zaxus Goes SafeDebit

NYCE Corporation Monday announced that Zaxus, Inc. (formerly Racal Security & Payments) has joined the team of technology companies supporting SafeDebit, the PIN-secured Internet payment product developed by NYCE. As part of its agreement with NYCE, Zaxus will modify its Hardware Security Module to securely process SafeDebit transactions using advanced data and PIN cryptography technology. The addition of Zaxus to the SafeDebit roster reinforces the collective efforts to bring optimum security to Internet payments.

![][1] SafeDebit, which has a patent pending, is the first convenient and portable way to make real-time PIN-secured purchases on the Internet with funds withdrawn directly from deposit accounts. It’s also the only debit payment method that can be used with any standard PC with a CD-ROM drive — and consumers do not have to install any special hardware. In essence, SafeDebit works just like an ATM card for the Internet.

The Zaxus HSM is a back-office processor that combines tamper-resistant hardware and data/PIN cryptographic software. Widely used by debit processors, the HSM leverages the latest security technology to provide PIN encryption and decryption, and message authentication capabilities for securing transactions in electronic payments networks.

Zaxus will modify its HSM standard software to support SafeDebit on two levels:

when the SafeDebit CD-ROM “card” is created, and then whenever the card is used. At level one (residing at the card production facility), the HSM will “lock and secure” the encrypted PIN and cardholder data before they are recorded to the CD-ROM. At level two (residing at the IIP), the HSM will “unlock” and verify the PIN, extracting the appropriate PIN block and data elements from the encrypted SafeDebit data block to complete a secure and successful transaction. SafeDebit transactions are triple DES encrypted, a higher level of security that is newly employed to the electronic payments arena, where single DES encryption is considered standard.

NYCE developed SafeDebit with the support of participating software vendors and operators around the globe, including Australia-based QSI Payment Technologies, which supplies merchant Web site software, U.S.-based eFunds and France-based GlobeID, which both contribute IIP (Internet Intercept Processor) components to SafeDebit. Other contributors include Media Services, which provides CD-ROM production services, and Metavante, supplying card personalization services. Zaxus joins Atalla in contributing to SafeDebit’s encryption/decryption technology. “Security and privacy are leading concerns among consumers on the Internet, and we keep these factors top-of-mind as we assess new products,” said Paul Turgeon, senior vice president with NYCE. “NYCE’s expertise in risk management and Zaxus’ heritage in security solutions will help consumers, financial institutions and retailers all feel confident that their transactions are in good hands.” “Zaxus has been at the forefront of providing products and solutions for the secure exchange of payment data,” said Cynthia Provin, chief operating officer of Zaxus, Inc. “And the agreement with NYCE and our role in SafeDebit are instrumental for our continued success in the expansive e-commerce arena.”

About NYCE

Headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, NYCE Corporation is one of the largest electronic payments companies in the U.S. The NYCE Network provides financial institutions and retailers with shared network services for automated teller machines (ATMs), on-line debit point-of-sale and electronics benefits transfer transactions. Currently, the Network has 2,400 financial institution participants and services more than 45 million cardholders through 38,000 NYCE-branded ATMs and 224,000 point-of-sale retailer locations. The company processes nearly 83 million transactions each month. In addition, NYCE Corporation provides financial institutions with real-time processing services that support ATM management and monitoring services, as well as debit card issuance and authorization solutions. Innovations such as SafeDebit(TM), a real-time PIN-secured Internet debit payment solution, have established NYCE as a frontrunner in the payments industry. NYCE’s web site address is [http://www.nyce.net][2].

About Zaxus

Zaxus, a Thomson-CSF Racal company, provides e-business security solutions to several thousand customers worldwide. Over half of the world’s banks, together with the majority of the busiest stock exchanges, currently use Zaxus technology. Operating in three main markets – card payments, e-security and network security – Zaxus addresses the business security needs of corporations and governments alike. For more than 20 years the company has been at the forefront of security and payment technology, co-operating and contributing to establish the industry standards used globally for financial transactions and electronic commerce.

The HSM is designed for the ATM interchange environment and is in use in many of the world’s major ATM networks’ data centers. It is used for 70 percent of the world’s card transactions and is used by all major card associations. For more information, visit the company’s Web site located at or call Cynthia Provin at 1-888-744-4976, 1-954-846-5103, e-mail: cindy.provin@zaxus.com or Brendan Jones, Director Marketing, Card Payments and E-Security, at 011-44-1844-201800, e-mail: brendan.jones@zaxus.com.

[1]: /graphic/zaxus/zaxus.gif
[2]: http://www.nyce.net/

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Citi 3Q/00

Citigroup reported this morning a strong 5.3% increase in North American credit card receivables between the second and third quarter. However credit card volume slipped slightly between 2Q/00 and 3Q/00, but remains 17% above last year’s activity. At the end of the third quarter Citigroup held $83.7 billion in North American card receivables compared to $79.5 billion for 2Q/00 and $71.0 billion for 3Q/99. (For the U.S. segment Citi reported 2Q/00 receivables of $79.1 billion according to CardData.) Credit card volume for the North American sector logged in at $48.0 billion compared to $48.7 billion for the prior quarter and $41.2 billion one year ago. (For the U.S. segment Citi reported 2Q/00 volume of $48.4 billion according to CardData.) North American gross accounts hit 43.9 million for 3Q compared to 42.7 million for 2Q and 41.0 million for 1999’s 3Q. (For the U.S. segment Citi reported 2Q/00 gross accounts of 42.1 million according to CardData.) Net chargeoffs declined from 3.96% in 2Q/00 to 3.50% for 3Q/00. However, delinquencies (90+ days) edged up from 1.18% to 1.23%. Internationally Citigroup reported 11.8 million accounts that produced $11.9 billion in receivables and $9.3 billion in 3Q charge volume. For complete details on Citigroup’s 3Q/00 performance as well as historical data visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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ePIC ICE 7000CE

Hypercom yesterday rolled out the ‘ePic ICE 7000CE’ payment terminal for the high-end multi-application market. The new terminal is specifically geared to healthcare, government, payments and other industrial-commercial sectors requiring custom applications such as prescription adjudication, interactive e-mail, access to Internet-based services or complex on-line, and advanced server-based applications. The new terminal incorporates a 32-bit processor, 33.6Kbps integrated modem and Microsoft ‘Windows CE’ operating system. The multi-function ‘ePic ICE 7000CE’ features a large 6″, 256-color 1/4 VGA touch graphics and pen input screen. The terminal incorporates the Hitachi 32 bit CPU running at 128MHz, up to 32Mbyte of Flash ROM and up to 32Mbyte of RAM. It incorporates all of the features of Hypercom’s ‘ePic ICE’ terminals including: multi-application operating system with firewalls, EMV chip card compatibility, built-in HTML/HTTP web browser and integrated printer/paper cutter. In addition to its embedded applications, the device supports a range of value-added services including: e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, electronic receipt capture, user e-commerce function and cash management reporting through a standard browser, as well as secure credit, debit and smart card payment functions. The ‘ePic ICE 7000CE’ offers communication options including Hypercom’s 9600 bps ‘FastPOS’ dial modem for fast financial transactions, a 10BaseT Ethernet interface and a 33.6Kbps integrated modem. The modem is also backwards compatible with 300/1200/2400 bps POS dial services.

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Schlumberger-Convergent Merger

Schlumberger Limited and Convergent Group Corporation announced Monday the execution of a definitive merger agreement whereby Schlumberger has agreed to acquire a majority interest in Convergent Group for cash consideration of $8.00 per share, for approximately $276 million.

The transaction will be structured as a tender offer to be commenced within ten business days from October 13, 2000 for any and all outstanding shares of Convergent Group common stock, followed by a merger cashing out any untendered shares at the same $8.00 per share price. The executive management of Convergent Group and an affiliate of Convergent Group’s largest client Cinergy Corp. (NYSE:CIN), representing approximately 28% of the Convergent Group outstanding shares will become stockholders of the new entity, Convergent Holding Corporation. Glenn E. Montgomery will remain President and Chief Executive Officer of Convergent Group, which will continue to operate as a separate company. The merger agreement and the tender offer were negotiated and approved by a committee of independent directors of Convergent Group.

Before goodwill amortization the effect on Schlumberger 2001 operating income is expected to be slightly accretive. The anticipated effect on 2001 net income and earnings per share is not material.

Convergent Group is a leading builder of digital enterprises, providing business consulting, software engineering, system integration and project management services that enable utility and local government clients to increase operational efficiencies, improve customer service and implement Internet-based business systems.

“Convergent Group’s unique professional services offering and knowledge of the utility industry is a natural fit complementing the Schlumberger value-added solution approach to business in the utility sector,” said Clermont Matton, executive vice president of Schlumberger Resource Management Services. “Convergent Group’s expertise in system integration, combined with CellNet’s fixed-network and data management technologies, positions Schlumberger as a leading provider of business solutions to the increasingly competitive utility sector.”

“We are very excited to be joining forces with Schlumberger,” said Glenn E. Montgomery, chief executive officer of Convergent Group. “The combined services portfolio of Convergent Group and Schlumberger will allow our companies to bring a new level of service and technology to the marketplace and significantly enhance our ability to expand Convergent Group’s presence in the global digital economy.”

About the companies

Schlumberger Limited is a global leader in technical services spanning the oil and gas, utility, semiconductor testing, smart cards, and network and Internet solutions industries. Schlumberger revenue was $8.4 billion in 1999. Additional information is available from Realtime [[www.slb.com][1]], the Schlumberger corporate website.

Convergent Group, founded in 1985, is a leading end-to-end business transformation provider for utilities and local government. The company engineers, builds and manages digital business solutions that allow utilities and local governments to transform their organizations into digital business enterprises where employees, contractors and customers can transact business on a real-time basis using the Internet. The company has offices in Denver, Boston, London and Brisbane. Visit Convergent Group on the World Wide Web at [www.convergentgroup.com][2].

[1]: http://www.slb.com/
[2]: http://www.convergentgroup.com/

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beenzCodes

Beenz is branching out into the offline market. Beenz.com announced Monday the launch of ‘beenzCodes’, following the acquisition of a patent that provides beenz with the exclusive right to place alphanumeric codes on or inside product packaging in conjunction with the purchaser earning beenz by submitting that code through a website. ‘BeenzCodes’ are simple-to-enter codes issued inside product packaging by manufacturers or given to the purchaser at point of sale. They may also be used in direct mail to increase response rates or in print media to track performance. Each code is unique and allows the merchant to track the product from its point of manufacture to its purchase by the ultimate consumer. The purchaser enters a code at a specified website, along with personal information that might be requested by the manufacturer, to earn beenz. The beenz earned by the consumer can be spent on products and/or services offered by the manufacturer, in online stores worldwide that form part of the beenz network, or transferred to the consumer’s ‘beenz rewardzcard MasterCard’.

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MBNA ShopSafe

MBNA America introduced a new Internet-based security feature that generates a substitute card number when cardholders purchase online. The new MBNA ‘ShopSafe’ service mirrors the American Express ‘Private Payments’ security program and the pseudo account number systems available from third parties such as Cyota. However, MBNA Customers will have even more control over any online purchase by setting a specific dollar amount and time limit for the substitute credit card number. Under the MBNA program the customer’s actual credit card number is never revealed and never travels on the Internet, eliminating any threat that the credit card account could be compromised either during a transaction or while residing in an e-merchant database. The new security service will be available to MBNA Customers this fall. The ‘MBNA ShopSafe’ service is offered under a licensing agreement with Orbiscom.

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Customized eFalcon

Paymentech, the largest processor of credit card payments for direct response marketers, has launched a proprietary, customized version of the eFalcon fraud detection system from HNC Financial Solutions, a division of HNC Software Inc., to further protect its direct marketing and e-tailing clients from payment card fraud. Paymentech adds the leading, real-time fraud detection solution to its suite of risk management techniques and tools geared specifically to non-face-to-face merchants. This tailored offering can significantly reduce credit card fraud losses. The company announced the fraud reduction service at the Direct Marketing Association 83rd Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

While utilizing the core eFalcon solution, Paymentech has developed an exclusive deployment manner that fully integrates it with the merchant’s normal processing data stream. This offering appreciably trims a retailer’s development time and costs, and simplifies the flow of the online transaction and reporting. The unique implementation will assist a broad base of direct marketing and Internet merchants in lowering credit card fraud losses particular to their operations.

eFalcon uses sophisticated neural networks, scores, and rules to distinguish legitimate shoppers from fraudulent purchasers. eFalcon employs the world’s largest consortium of payment transactions to predict the likelihood of fraud. The consortium is made up of 80 billion payment transactions, 100 million of which are online transactions.

“Online fraud presents serious challenges to direct marketers. Our experience with Paymentech gave us confidence in exploring this service,” said Gary Flaks, controller for Seta Corporation. Founded in 1955, Seta Corporation has been a worldwide leader in providing individualized promotional opportunities to a host of syndicated partners. SETA’s Palm Beach Jewelry Catalogs and websites ([http://www.palmbeachjewelry.com][1]) are available for clients’ personalized promotions.

“With minimal technical changes, Seta can integrate eFalcon with current detection methods. Paymentech makes it easy to incorporate this product into our normal course of business,” said Flaks. “They add Seta’s payment transaction history with eFalcon to create risk categories expressly for us. This can reduce false-positives while assimilating all data into our existing processing stream.”

“Ease of implementation and broader application sets apart our offering,” said Larry Bouchard, group manager for Paymentech’s direct response product development. “Card-not-present merchants take orders via mail, Internet, and telephone. A customized fraud reduction service must protect multiple channels and provide comprehensive, consolidated reporting. We translate a general application into a specific merchant’s processing ‘language.’ The merchant avoids laborious programming for new message formats and data.”

“This addition to Paymentech’s risk management arsenal increases the client’s confidence in taking orders,” said Bouchard. “Because Internet and direct marketing merchants absorb the costs of fraudulent transactions, they often abandon legitimate sales due to perceived risk.” Paymentech’s direct response unit decreases the fraud control burden for clients by embedding services in the payment process.

Traditional direct marketing research indicates that over $100 million is lost through fraudulent consumer credit card transactions. In 1999, e-merchants lost an estimated $1 billion dollars, roughly 5% of online sales. (GartnerGroup) Meridian Research projects annual online fraud to rise to $9 billion by 2001.

“We’re pleased that one of the nation’s premier payment processors has selected our proven eFalcon solution as part of its end-to-end offering,” said Walter Lee, vice president of risk management for HNC Financial Solutions. “Integrating eFalcon with Paymentech’s processes offers its multi-channel, card-not-present merchants cost savings through lower chargeback fees and reduced fraud investigations.”

HNC Financial Solutions is a leader in the development of intelligent customer value management software solutions for the financial services and e-commerce industries. Its powerful suite of real-time decision platforms and predictive business solutions allows firms to automate new account decisioning, optimize marketing efforts, detect fraud, predict profitability, and manage the customer lifecycle. HNC Financial Solutions supports this suite of solutions with a full range of consulting services. The company is a unit of San Diego-based HNC Software Inc., a leading provider of predictive software solutions for the services industry, including financial, telecommunications, insurance and e-commerce.

Dallas-based Paymentech

([http://www.paymentech.com][2]), founded in 1985, is the leading provider of full-service electronic payment solutions to the direct response industry (Internet, catalogue, direct sale, etc.). Paymentech is the largest processor of bankcard transactions in the United States, annually processing approximately 3 billion bankcard transactions and $93 billion in bankcard sales volume.

[1]: http://www.palmbeachjewelry.com/
[2]: http://www.paymentech.com/

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RPM Deployment

InnoVentry Corp., which is developing the next generation of fee-based financial services and information access machines for the mass market by leveraging Internet and biometric technologies, announced that it will deploy its RPM cash management machines in 22 Albertson’s supermarkets and 3 Osco Drug stores in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

The RPM machines offer secure check cashing, utilizing advanced facial recognition technology to identify the customer, eliminating the need for cards or personal identification numbers (PINs). This technology extends the 24/7 convenience of traditional ATMs to the 40 million Americans who choose to cash checks outside of banks. The RPMs are touch screen activated for easy, intuitive interaction, and include a multimedia second screen that can deliver customized educational and promotional messages in English and Spanish. The machines are designed to eventually provide a complete range of financial services including traditional ATM functionality, money orders, money transfers and electronic bill-payment.

“We’re excited to enter into a relationship with one of the nation’s leading retail grocers,” said Jeff Rubin, president, retail division, at InnoVentry. “Albertson’s decision to install RPM machines in their stores is further evidence of their commitment to provide customer’s with one-stop shopping convenience making their lives easier.”

“We have been looking for a kiosk based provider of broad range financial services for years,” said Pat Steele, Albertson’s executive vice president of information systems and technology. “We believe InnoVentry’s RPM machines will be an excellent customer service tool and we’re pleased to have entered into this agreement with them.”

The initial installation of the RPM machines in Albertson’s and Osco are scheduled for October 2000, and pending the success of these machines, a larger roll-out of RPMs Nationwide is expected within the next four years. The Albertson’s installations will bring the current number of RPMs located in retail locations in the Phoenix area to more than 100.

About Albertson’s

Albertson’s, Inc. is one of the largest retail food and drug companies in the United States. Based in Boise, Idaho, the Company currently operates over 2,500 retail stores in 36 states across the United States. Albertson’s also owns and operates the Osco Drug store chain. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at [www.albertsons.com][1].

About InnoVentry

Backed by the wholesale bank of Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) and by Cash America International, Inc. (NYSE:PWN), InnoVentry combines Internet and face-recognition technologies to bring advanced cash-management and information-access machines to market. InnoVentry distributes these machines under the RPM(TM) brand to leading retail-store networks across the nation. Since its launch in 1998, InnoVentry has enrolled more than 760,000 customers, cashed over two million checks and established relationships with many of the nation’s leading retailers. The company is based in San Francisco.

[1]: http://www.albertsons.com/

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AmEx Travel Group

American Express Corporate Services announced that it is expanding its business travel services with the establishment of a new business unit, the Interactive Travel Group, to market online travel fulfillment and end-to-end interactive travel services to corporations and travel technology providers. This group will deliver a full range of online reservations capabilities, called Business Travel Interactive Services, including American Express’ proprietary booking products (CTO, AXI Travel, and RezPort) and low-cost ticketing fulfillment to companies that use any interactive travel product.

American Express has signed agreements with over 60 corporations and 1,000 small companies for centralized online ticketing fulfillment and has begun servicing many of those clients through new dedicated offices in Miami and Phoenix; additional centers are being planned.

These companies can expect to save 50-70% over their current transaction costs by using the back-office service provided by this new American Express unit.

“We have provided low-cost online fulfillment services for small and mid-sized companies since 1997. Building on this experience, we are scaling up to handle the growing number of large corporations that want to slash their ticket servicing fees by broadly implementing online booking — a lower-cost option,” said Rich Miller, Vice President and General Manager, Interactive Travel Group. “Our centralized fulfillment service can cut ticket transaction costs by about two-thirds and deliver the specialized servicing that has been lacking in the online environment.”

Honeywell, headquartered in Morristown, NJ, has already begun using the service, which American Express began offering in a pilot phase for large customers two months ago. Honeywell, which has used incentives to encourage travelers to book online, currently has 70% of its $135 million annual airfare budget handled through this online channel. “As a Six Sigma company, we’re very conscious of process improvement and increased productivity, which this new American Express service offers,” said Patrick O’Halleran, Manager, Travel Reporting and Communication. “We’re confident that this e-fulfillment process will help us significantly lower our travel transaction costs. We’ve seen evidence of this already.”

Another company with a high usage of online travel reservations is Jones Lang LaSalle, Chicago, IL, which books about 76% of its $18 million annual travel budget through American Express One’s RezPort+. Vicki Evers, Vice President Office Services, said, “We’ve been using American Express’ interactive fulfillment services for three and a half months and we’ve seen significant savings versus traditional reservations costs. And when employees need help, American Express’ specially trained customer service people can handle both technical and travel-related questions.”

In addition, TRW Inc. and The Thomson Corporation, as well as several other major corporations, are currently in the planning stages of implementing the centralized fulfillment service.

Support for Any Online Travel System

Additionally, this online fulfillment service will be offered to all the major third-party booking engines as a low-cost ticketing alternative for their customers using a travel agency other than American Express. GetThere, Inc., will offer American Express interactive fulfillment services including back-office support, automated file-finishing and agent services for online tickets. Companies that rely on one of these booking engines can receive American Express’ 24-hour customer service, which includes “navigation assistance” to travelers using the online systems.

American Express, which launched its first interactive booking system in 1997, understands the full scope of online travel fulfillment for businesses, according to Miller. “An online reservation does not end when the customer hits the ‘book it’ button. There is a substantial amount of back-office work and complex configuration of the automated file finishing tools supporting ticketing, and it’s critical that a company use an agency with the experience to provide a high-quality, low-cost booking process for these unique transactions. Customers are now understanding that these transactions are different from traditional travel transactions.”

In the aftermath of multiple airline commission cuts, the pricing of travel agency services has changed dramatically, with the majority of companies now paying agencies a transaction fee on each ticket. American Express offers clients a range of services, with the lowest cost associated with reservations made through its online channels.

“As companies implement an online travel system, they should expect to see their transaction costs come down,” said Miller. “Our online fulfillment service ensures that companies reap the savings from this technology and be confident that their travelers will receive help — at the office and on the road — from a worldwide travel leader.”

About American Express Corporate Services

American Express Company ([http://www.americanexpress.com][1]) (NYSE: AXP) is the leading global provider of commercial cards and one of the world’s largest travel agencies. Through its Corporate Services group, formed in 1982, the company counts more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500, along with tens of thousands of small and mid-sized companies, as customers of its Business Travel, Corporate Card, Corporate Purchasing Card and Consulting Services.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

[1]: http://www.americanexpress.com/

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Fingerprint Cards

Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards and Litronic are joining up to develop a new authentication solution combining fingerprint biometrics and smart card based digital signatures on the Microsoft ‘Windows Powered Smart Card’ platform. The new system will comply with the ‘FIPS 140-1′ security standard. To comply with requirements on this level of security, all management of security credentials must take place independently of any host PC or other computer system. This is achieved by using Fingerprint Cards’ patented, two-chip, fingerprint authentication technology, where the sensor and processor chips are integrated into the Litronic smart card reader. Comparison between the stored and the presented finger patterns takes place inside the smart card, thereby opening up the digital signature and associated personal credentials. These cards will be used in systems for e-commerce between government entities and commercial business, for computer access and for physical access to buildings, etc.

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