MasterCard Tuesday signed an agreement to make EmployeeMatters the preferred provider of human resource and administration services for the MasterCard ‘Small Business Connections’ website. MasterCard’s small business cardholders will receive a 50% reduction off the first month’s standard monthly service fee for EmployeeMatters human resource services. EmployeeMatters’ unique system will enable MasterCard’s ‘Small Business Connections’ clients to create their own virtual HR department, from payroll and insurance services to retirement and savings planning. In addition, business owners have the option of obtaining real-time service via the Internet or by phone.Details
Planet Payment, the leading provider of real-time, multi-currency payment solutions to merchants worldwide has announced the opening of its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. According to CEO Philip Beck, “We knew from the moment we launched Planet Payment that we would soon have to open an office to support our clients in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The demand for payment solutions in these markets is tremendous, but there are few viable solutions today aside from Planet Payment.”
Co-founder Dr. Mitch Leventhal heads planet Payment Asia Pacific. An expert in international trade and emerging markets, Leventhal noted, “Asia represents more than half of the world’s population. Within three years, nearly 100 million Internet users — over one quarter of the world’s total — will be from Asia, and it is not hard to imagine Asia becoming the dominant consumer market within the next two decades. As an Internet payment solutions company, it would be incredibly shortsighted to ignore the Asia Pacific market.”
Founded in 1998, Planet Payment began processing Internet credit card payments for merchant clients in October 1999. After only ten months of operations, the company processes transactions for businesses in thirty-two countries, including China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.
“We welcome international and regional Internet payment solutions providers, such as Planet Payment, which offers e-commerce services and applications in Singapore. These international companies provide additional multi-currency and multi-lingual Internet payment solutions for our local merchants, as well as merchants throughout the region. Such strategic moves will further help develop Singapore into a trusted and leading global hub in the new economy. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) welcomes such foreign initiatives in Singapore,” said Dr. Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA.
Planet Payment has entered into several agreements with important resellers and partners to further expand distribution of the Planet Payment services into Asia. Among these are First Ecom ([http://www.firstecom.com]), a leading provider of multi-currency payment processing solutions to banks, which has entered into a co-marketing arrangement with Planet Payment; Asiacoolnet.com ([http://www.asiacoolnet.com]), a Singapore startup which has developed a robust storebuilder application for merchants has partnered with Planet Payment and has integrated its technology to Planet Payment’s gateway; and, Speaketh.com ([http://www.speaketh.com]), a Singapore-based full service Internet publishing firm which specializes in launching e-commerce websites for small to medium size businesses has become a Planet Payment reseller.
Planet Payment plans an aggressive campaign throughout the region for the latter part of 2000. Says Leventhal, “We are attending major Internet trade shows in Australia, India, Hong Kong and Japan from August through December. Our mission is to make Planet Payment a household word for any business anywhere which seriously plans to sell its wares online.”
About Planet Payment
Planet Payment ([http://www.planetpayment.com]) is a global leader in providing multi-currency Internet payment solutions to merchants, technology companies and financial institutions worldwide. Planet Payment’s affordable solution enables Internet merchants to securely accept Visa(R), MasterCard(R), American Express(R) and other major debit and credit cards in a secure, real time environment, 24 hours a day and in over 140 currencies — whether the buyer is using a personal computer, mobile telephone, or other wireless device. The Planet Payment Gateway, powered by Authorize.Net, ([http://www.authorize.net]) is compatible with over 100 of the leading shopping cart technologies.
VISA announced yesterday it will begin offering m-Health services. Through a new partnership with MedicinePlanet, cardholders will have access to up-to-date travelhealth news, information and services. Also, VISA cardholders will receive a 20% discount on the purchase with a VISA card of any MedicinePlanet/SelfCare.com travel health kit through Nov. 3. A variety of specialized travel kits provide the essentials in one carrying pack, from pediatric and dental care to herbal products and women’s care, items not always available in some parts of the world. MedicinePlanet also offers a travel health store, travel insurance, global news and alerts, and travel health clinic information. The program is only available to U.S. VISA cardholders.Details
MasterCard International today announced that it has appointed Denise Fletcher as Chief Financial Officer. She will report to Robert Selander, MasterCard President and CEO, and will be a member of the Executive Management Group.
She joins MasterCard from Bowne & Company, the world’s largest financial printer, where she was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, with responsibility for finance and strategy. After joining Bowne in 1996, she was instrumental in negotiating and completing 20 acquisitions, including a tender offer for a public company, and a joint venture. These acquisitions included Internet, software localization and outsourcing companies, and enabled Bowne to “wrap itself around” its clients in the financial services and legal industries. She also re-engineered the strategic planning, reporting, and measurement systems.
“Denise is an accomplished financial executive with extensive knowledge and proven experience in the field,” Mr. Selander said. “Throughout her career, she has been credited with the development and implementation of strategies that enhanced the financial health and prosperity of the corporation, creating greater value for her customers. We think she will bring great value to MasterCard and its member financial institutions.”
Prior to joining Bowne & Company, she ran her own enterprise, Fletcher Associates, Inc., which provided specialized consulting services to financial services companies and publishing firms. Her clients included The Chase Manhattan Bank and National Westminster Bank.
She was also Corporate Treasurer of the New York Times Company, with responsibility for investor relations, financing, acquisitions, banking, insurance, capital budgeting, and employee benefits administration. She led the financing strategy that enabled The New York Times to grow through acquisitions from a $500 million publishing company to a multi-billion dollar diversified communications company.
Fletcher earned a B.A. in Sociology from Wellesley College, and a Masters in City Planning with concentration in Economics from Harvard University.
About MasterCard International
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of 22,000 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 18 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$727 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [http://www.mastercard.com].
Atlanta-based Lynk introduced this week a new credit and debit application for the VeriFone ‘Ruby’ POS system. ‘Lynkpak’ is a network processing interface for the VeriFone ‘Ruby SuperSystem’ currently used in many independent and major oil company service stations and convenience stores. ‘Lynkpak’ interfaces with a wide range of fleet card networks and all of the major electronic dispensers, allowing the user to standardize operations for their petroleum and C-store sites. With Lynk’s direct network connectivity nationwide, authorization is faster, transactions are speedier and the petroleum marketer saves with the lowest cost network. Lynk also provides value-added services such as personalized online customer service and reporting features.Details
CompuCredit Corporation has hired Claude Suddreth, Jr. to the newly created position of chief technology officer. In this role, he will be responsible for providing technology leadership in the areas of database management, system infrastructure, Web development, system development and network operations.
“The rapid growth and success of our company is a direct result of our innovative proprietary technology,” said CompuCredit Chief Executive Officer David Hanna. “Given our growth and the speed at which technology is constantly changing, the time is right for us to have someone totally focused on this important aspect of our operations. We are fortunate to have someone with Claude’s background and experience join our team in this capacity. He will be a very effective leader.”
Mr. Suddreth’s experience includes past technical positions at CauseLink.com, an Internet start-up; S1 Corporation, a financial services software company; Alliance International, an international manufacturing company; Ball/Foster Glass, a manufacturer of glass containers; and Software Ventures Corporation, a software design firm specializing in applications for the automotive and financial markets.
Most recently, he served as vice president of information technology at CauseLink.com, an Internet company focusing on the nonprofit community, where he conceptualized and designed integrated systems, assisted in technical product selection, developed partner selection and relationship management.
Prior to CauseLink.com, Mr. Suddreth served as senior implementation and integration manager for S1 Corporation in Atlanta. There he oversaw the installation, implementation, testing, and production rollout phases of systems serving various financial institutions.
Mr. Suddreth holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology and a master’s degree in industrial engineering technology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses analytical techniques, including sophisticated computer models, to identify consumers who it believes are credit-worthy and are overlooked by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets unsecured Aspire(R) Visa(R) credit cards through direct mail, telemarketing and the Internet. In July 1999, CompuCredit launched its consumer web site, [www.aspirecard.com], through its Internet marketing services subsidiary AspireCard.com, Inc. Consumers can apply online and receive a credit decision within seconds. CompuCredit also markets credit life insurance, card registration, buying club memberships and travel services to its cardholders. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit completed its initial public offering in April of 1999 and was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July 1999 and the NASDAQ FIN-100 Index in May 2000.
Star Systems and eFunds announced a new multi-year agreement extending their 16-year relationship. Under terms of the contract, eFunds will continue to provide processing services for the STAR Western platform while also providing ATM terminal driving support services for the ATMs managed by STAR. STAR will continue to provide first-line customer service to its member financial institutions, retailers, and processors. Currently, eFunds switches approximately 120 million STAR transactions a month in the West.Details
Official Payments Corp. has signed an expanded contract with the State of New Jersey. The expansion enables New Jersey to collect and process credit card payments over the Internet for gross withholding taxes, as well as unemployment and disability contributions. The initial contract with New Jersey includes the credit card collection of individual balance due, fiduciary, estimated, extension, monthly and/or quarterly business sales and use tax, and deficiency tax payments. Over 240,000 New Jersey businesses and employers are required to file withholding taxes, unemployment and disability contributions quarterly.Details
ComSense announced the appointment of Ralph Browning as vice president of business development. Ralph Browning joins ComSense from MasterCard International, where he served as Senior Vice President of Mondex International, the smart card business of MasterCard.
“We are honored to have Ralph Browning join our management team,” said Alon Atsmon, president and CEO of ComSense. “We will leverage Ralph’s deep experience in the global payment card industry to guide ComSense’s growth and rapid penetration of this market.”
Ralph Browning joins ComSense from MasterCard International, where he served as Senior Vice President of Mondex International, North America. Mondex is the financial smart card business of MasterCard. Previously based in London, Ralph was instrumental in the creation of the U.S., Australian and Canadian Mondex franchises and the formation of Mondex International. Ralph has been a career banker with Citibank and National Westminster Bank, where his responsibilities have included strategy planning and the development of new product and service businesses in both investment and retail banking.
ComSense(tm) is the maker of Comdot(tm) — the world’s first reader-free Internet card technology. ComSense card-based products create value for card issuers and on-line services through their unique user authentication and loyalty functionality. For end users, ComSense cards introduce unprecedented ease and security to online shopping, banking, and Internet and communications services. Founded in mid-1998, ComSense Technologies has its international headquarters in New York City, with research and development at its home office in Tel Aviv, Israel, and manufacturing in San Jose, California.
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Alibaba.com ([www.alibaba.com]), business-to-business marketplace for global trade and host to China’s largest domestic online B2B community, announced an agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to jointly develop and promote Alibaba.com’s online B2B payment solution in China.
The partnership, the first of its kind for a B2B marketplace in China, will allow Alibaba.com’s over 170,000 members in China to conduct online transactions with buyers and sellers nationwide through the Alibaba Payment Center.
The agreement, signed today, brings together China’s largest B2B marketplace with the largest commercial bank in China for a long-term strategic partnership. ICBC accounts for half of the annual total settlement volume of the entire banking system of China and is aggressively developing and promoting B2B payment solutions.
“Alibaba.com and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are making online B2B transactions a reality in China,” said Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba.com. “We are pleased to partner with the largest commercial bank in China to offer our members online transaction capabilities. Alibaba.com is leading the way for China’s businesses to conduct transactions with buyers and sellers online.”
According to the agreement, Alibaba.com and ICBC will roll out Alibaba.com’s payment solution in two phases. The first phase will allow Alibaba.com members to pay online for Alibaba.com services, such as advertising and promotional opportunities on the Alibaba China website ([www.china.alibaba.com]). The second phase will allow Alibaba.com’s over 170,000 buyers and sellers in China to settle payments online through the Alibaba Payment Center, a fully integrated payment solution to be provided by Alibaba.com and ICBC on the Alibaba China website. The two partners will also devote resources to co-marketing efforts to promote Alibaba.com’s online B2B payment solution.
To settle payments online, Alibaba.com members will use an IC (Integrated Circuit) card system developed by ICBC. To guarantee highly secure transactions, users will first swipe an IC card through a card reader connected to a user’s computer and then enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN). After positive identification, members will be allowed to transfer funds, track and verify payments online. After receiving a payment order, the bank will send confirmation and progress reports to Alibaba.com and the two parties executing the transaction, which can then trace the order through the Internet.
“The IC card system best meets the current online payment needs of China’s businesses,” said Jack Ma. “The system is highly secure and simple to install. Buyers and sellers in China will soon be able to settle payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Alibaba.com Payment Center.”
About Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest commercial bank in China and has long-standing cooperation with over 40,000 major companies. It accounts for half of the annual total settlement volume of the entire banking system of China.
Alibaba.com is the leading online business-to-business marketplace for global trade and host to China’s largest domestic online B2B community. The company is focused on facilitating trade among small and medium sized enterprises through its web-based information and e-commerce platform. Alibaba.com’s web properties have a combined membership of 300,000, with over 170,000 members in China.
Alibaba.com is headquartered in Hong Kong with R&D and customer service operations in Mainland China, branch offices in Silicon Valley and London and a joint venture with SOFTBANK in Seoul.
Alibaba .com’s institutional investors include SOFTBANK, Goldman Sachs, Transpac Capital, Fidelity Capital, Venture TDF, Pte Ltd of Singapore and Investor AB of Sweden.
Another process patent will be issued this week. The latest one covers the automated processing of financial accounts. Columbia, SC-based Affinity Technology Group says it will be issued a patent tomorrow that gives Affinity proprietary rights concerning the establishment of financial accounts in a fully automated manner. The patent covers the process of receiving application from a remote computer interface, having the identity of the applicant verified and having the account processed and established in real time, all without human intervention. However the company admitted yesterday that the U.S. PTO has issued a second preliminary rejection of the company’s previously issued claims concerning Affinity’s first patent covering automated loan processing.Details
The PA Attorney General has levied penalties against a Canadian telemarketer that used deceptive tactics to market a credit card protection program. American Fraud Watch Services Inc., of White Rock, British Columbia allegedly conducted a telephone solicitation to sell Pennsylvania consumers a $299 credit card protection program. The company allegedly misled consumers by falsely claiming that the failure to report a stolen or lost credit card within 48 hours would result in the consumer accepting responsibility for certain amounts of the unauthorized charges. The firm also allegedly gave consumers the impression that they were being contacted by credit card company.Details