West Marine Launches Card

West Marine, Inc., the nation’s largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and services, has announced the launch of a new credit card program that offers its customers the option of deferring payments on qualifying purchases. In announcing the program, West Marine CEO John Edmondson said, “We believe that this program offers a tremendous benefit to many of our customers because it enables them to outfit their boat at the beginning of the season, without having to pay for everything all at once.” According to Edmondson, the West Marine program is unique in the boating supply industry and has proven to be extremely popular in pre-launch testing, especially with customers making major purchases.

“In conjunction with our West Advantage customer benefit program, our new credit card program affirms West Marine’s commitment to finding innovative ways to serve our customers better,” Edmondson said. The company recently announced that over 500,000 customers had joined the West Advantage program since it was launched in March of this year.

In addition to providing customers with a package of discounts on a variety of merchandise and services, the West Advantage program enables customers to earn $10 in credit on future purchases for every $250 they spend at the company’s 233 stores, through its mail-order catalogs or at its online store at [www.westmarine.com][1].

“For convenience, our customers will have the option of having their West Advantage program number printed right on their new credit card if they so choose,” said Edmondson. Customers can apply for the card or join the West Advantage program in person at any West Marine store or online at the company’s website.

West Marine is publicly owned and traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol WMAR. The Company sells through 233 specialty retail stores, the Internet, catalogs, and a wholesale division, Port Supply. The Company’s on-line store, press releases and financial information are also available at [www.westmarine.com][2].

[1]: http://www.westmarine.com/
[2]: http://www.westmarine.com/


Keyware on Litton’s Team

Keyware, the world’s leading provider of biometric identification solutions, announced Monday they are a partner on Litton PRC, Inc.’s core team to provide smart card technology to all agencies of the U.S. government. Litton PRC, a subsidiary of Litton Industries, was one of five prime vendors selected by the General Services Administration for its government-wide Smart Access Common ID program. The GSA program has an estimated total value of $1.5 billion over a 10-year period of performance.

Keyware’s layered biometric solutions, mixing traditional authentication tools with one or more biometric elements, will offer agencies both high security and convenience. The focus initially will be to provide employee identification and building access, as well as computer network access to federal agencies. Biometrics is the technology of identifying an individual by their personal characteristics, such as fingerprint, face and voice. “Keyware’s biometric smart card technology will be an integral part of helping us bring advanced security offerings to federal agencies,” said Barry L. Rhine, president of Litton PRC. “Litton PRC is honored to have been chosen for this ground-breaking program.” “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring the benefits of biometric technology to the U.S. government,” said Danny Chu, managing director of Keyware. “As smart cards grow in popularity it’s vital that appropriate security measures be included to assure their proper usage. The government is playing a leading role by securing smart cards with biometric technology such as Keyware’s.”

About Keyware

Founded in 1996, Keyware Technologies is a pioneer in the field of biometrics, the technology of verifying an individual’s identity by means of personal characteristics such as voice, face and fingerprints. Co-headquartered in Belgium and Woburn, Mass., Keyware is the world’s leading provider of intelligent biometric solutions for real world business applications. The solutions optimize security and convenience for physical locations, e-commerce, network and telecommunications applications. Keyware’s award-winning technology is sold globally through an extended network of OEMs, system integrators and VARs. For more information, please visit our web site at [www.keyware.com][1].

About Litton PRC

Litton PRC is a leading provider of scientific, engineering, and information technology-based solutions for public sector clients. Litton PRC is one of the divisions that comprise Litton’s Information Systems Group (ISG). Litton PRC has achieved the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) capability maturity model (CMM) Level 5 rating, the highest software development process improvement level a company can earn. This rating indicates that Litton PRC has achieved an “optimizing” level of maturity, which translates to reduced risk for their customers. Litton ISG, headquartered in Woodland Hills, California, employs more than 9,200 in 150 offices nationwide, and is ranked as one of the Federal government’s top 10 Information Technology contractors. For more information, visit Litton PRC’s web site at [http://www.littonprc.com][2].

Litton is one of the nation’s leading shipbuilders for the U.S. Navy and the largest builder of non-nuclear ships. Litton designs, builds, and overhauls surface ships for government and commercial customers, worldwide. The company is a leading information technology (IT) contractor to the U.S. government and provides specialized IT services to commercial customers and government customers in local/foreign jurisdictions. Litton provides defense and commercial electronics technology, components, and materials for customers, worldwide. Headquartered in Woodland Hills, California, the company has more than 40,000 employees, and is expected to have more than $5 billion revenue. For more information, visit Litton’s web site at [http://www.litton.com][3].

[1]: http://www.keyware.com/
[2]: http://www.littonprc.com/
[3]: http://www.litton.com/


Delinquency Edges Up

After declining steadily for most this year, credit card delinquency has turned up slightly during July. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]) overall delinquency (30+ days) now stands at 4.74% compared to 4.86% in February.

Jan00 2.06% 1.15% 0.72% 0.88% 4.81%
Feb00 2.08% 1.16% 0.73% 0.89% 4.86%
Mar00 2.04% 1.12% 0.71% 0.88% 4.75%
Apr00 2.06% 1.14% 0.72% 0.89% 4.81%
May00 2.05% 1.14% 0.72% 0.89% 4.80%
Jun00 2.02% 1.12% 0.71% 0.88% 4.73%
Jul00 2.03% 1.12% 0.71% 0.88% 4.74%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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


Citi Picks Fallon

Citigroup announced it has named Fallon Minneapolis its agency of record for Citibank’s U.S. consumer business, including retail banking and credit cards. Six agencies, including the incumbent agency of record, competed for the U.S. brand campaign and Citibank’s U.S. consumer advertising.

“We undertook this process to find an idea with the magnitude to help build Citi into a stronger consumer brand. We wanted advertising that would communicate our expanded capabilities and our focus on providing consumer solutions,” said Marge Magner, senior executive vice president for Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group. “The best agencies in the business were involved in the process. We saw very good work. Fallon presented the most comprehensive idea and exciting ways to integrate the diversity of our product offerings with the power of the Citi brand.”

“This is a hugely significant, momentous win for us against some excellent agencies. This win speaks to our history of developing big brand ideas that come from deep consumer truths, stand out creatively and get results,” said Pat Fallon, chairman of Fallon Worldwide. “In the end, it came down to the right strategy, the right people and the right creative approach; a three-pronged victory for our organization. We are very proud to be Citibank’s partner.” While more than 80 Fallon staffers contributed to the winning presentation, the agency was represented by Pat Fallon and Mark Goldstein, chief marketing officer; David Lubars, Fallon Minneapolis president/creative director; Anne Bologna, director of planning; Maggie Shea, account group director; and Lisa Seward, media director.

Citibank is a member of Citigroup (NYSE:C), the premier financial services company, which provides some 100 million consumers, corporations, governments and institutions in 100 countries with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage and asset management. Additional information can be found at: [www.citi.com][1].

Fallon Minneapolis manages the consumer voice of some of the world’s leading brands. With billings of approximately $575 million, the agency’s clients include BMW of North America, drugstore.com, EDS, Holiday Inn, International Truck and Engine Corp., The Lee Company, Nordstrom, Nuveen Investments, PBS, Ralston Purina, Starbucks Coffee Company, Timex and United Airlines. Fallon Worldwide is the newly formed second global network of Publicis Group, based in Paris. Additional information can be found at: [www.fallon.com][2].

[1]: http://www.citi.com/
[2]: http://www.fallon.com/


Echo Exits Gaming

Electronic Clearing House said Monday it signed an amendment to its processing agreement with innoVentry under which innoVentry will pay $1,000,000 to acquire the exclusive rights to the software and kiosk and cage-based systems that ECHO developed and supported for cash advance services to the gaming community. The amendment also terminates ECHO’s contractual processing obligations under its agreement with innoVentry over the next 60 days. Subsequent to the signing of the amendment with ECHO, innoVentry, last week, entered into an agreement to sell its ‘Atreva’ product line and suite of financial services, which includes cash advance services, to Global Cash Access. (See CF Library 8/2/00). Transition of the cash advance services presently provided through ECHO will be assumed by Global Cash Access over the next 60-day period.


Card Adds Octane

Priceline for Gasoline announced that effective yesterday, it is waiving the $3 monthly processing fee on the new ‘Blue Gas Card’ due to the strong support it is receiving from more than 5,000 gas retailers nationwide. The program will also be available to all consumers as soon as they come to the priceline.com Web site. In July, the first 250,000 charter customers priced over 6 million gallons of gasoline at an average savings of 12 cents a gallon off the pump price. Priceline says it has mailed cards to all 1.2 million charter customers with the remaining 500,000 to arrive in homes by end of this week Priceline for Gasoline allows customers to name their own price per gallon and fill up at a gas station selected by Priceline from the customer’s list of favorites. Additionally, while all retailers get the full pump price from customers using the blue ‘Priceline Gasoline Card’, many gas stations pay Priceline for Gasoline a marketing fee to attract additional customers. In addition, Priceline generates revenue from third-party sponsors and other companies. Priceline for Gasoline is currently available in 46 of the 48 continental United States. Priceline for Gasoline is not available in New Jersey and Missouri because of state regulations.


Internet SafeDebit

NYCE Corp. confirmed Friday the successful completion of the first Internet payment transactions made with the new ‘SafeDebit’ card. The patent-pending ‘SafeDebit’ enables PIN-secured debit purchases on the Internet from any standard PC with a CD-ROM drive. The proof-of-concept was completed with the support of participating software vendors and operators around the globe, including Australia-based QSI Payment Technologies, which supplies merchant Web site software, as well as U.S.-based eFunds and France-based GlobeID, which both contribute ‘IIP’ (Internet Interceptor Processor) components to SafeDebit. Other contributors include Media Services, which provides CD-ROM production services, and Metavante, supplying card personalization services. Four financial institutions participated in the proof-of-concept test including: Citibank, HSBC Bank USA, Michigan National and North Fork Bank. NYCE says all four are considering plans to issue ‘SafeDebit’ cards to their customers.


E-Check Proc Deal

First American Payment Systems, one of the fastest growing merchant credit card processing acquirers, announced an agreement with Global eTelecom to utilize that company’s proprietary electronic check processing technology. “We are very pleased to have a company of First American’s stature and reputation choose us to provide their electronic check conversion services. They have an excellent reputation for service and providing cutting-edge payment solutions to our industry,” said John H. Beebe, chairman and chief executive officer of Global eTelecom. “We look forward to a long relationship with them.”

“We chose Global eTelecom because of their robust systems for electronic check conversion, which we believe are far superior to the competition,” said Neil L. Randel, president and chief executive officer of First American Payment Systems. “Partnering with Global eTelecom will allow us to deliver another quality product to our national sales force.”

About First American

First American Payment Systems L.P., a privately owned company founded in 1990, provides full-service electronic credit card authorization and payment systems to restaurant, retail, mail order, telephone order, Internet and home-based merchants throughout the United States. First American’s other divisions include national ATM deployment, Secur-Chex(TM) check guarantee, FirstPay. Net e-commerce payment gateway and Merimac Capital point-of-sale equipment and ATM leasing. For more information on First American Payment Systems, visit the company’s Web site at .

About Global eTelecom

Global eTelecom owns the first approved technology by the National Automated Clearing House Association for electronically processing checks at the point-of-sale. Global eTelecom provides its proprietary electronic check processing services to a network of banks, independent sales agents, and credit card processors nationwide. Other electronic check services include: mail order, telephone order, lockbox conversion, recurring debit, represented check collection (RCK), and complete check image capture. For more information on Global eTelecom, visit the company’s Web site at .


Neuristics Spinoffs

Baltimore, MD-based Neuristics announced Friday it intends to spinoff its incubator of companies which apply artificial intelligence to emerging marketplaces. So far this year, Neuristics has seed-financed two start-ups. The first company to emerge from the Neuristics laboratory is CreditXpert, a pioneer in providing personalized Web content for the consumer credit management industry. The second potential spinoff, Seraphim, brings personalized shopping and customer service on the Web through a groundbreaking AI application. Neuristics is an AI service provider to the credit card industry. The firm also announced Friday that Michael Cooper, previously President of Pitney Bowes Software Systems, has been named CEO. Cooper joined Neuristics in 1999 as COO. Andrew Krause will remain Chairman, and has taken on the role of Chief Scientist. Krause founded Neuristics in 1993.


ABSA Picks Gasper ATM

Gasper Corp., a global provider of innovative automated teller machine management software, has been engaged by ABSA Bank of South Africa to provide Gasper Manager ATM management software for integration in the bank’s network of more than 2,000 ATMs.

“To have ABSA, one of the four major banks in South Africa, adopt Gasper Manager for their ATM network speaks highly of us because the worldwide banking community recognizes that ABSA is a leader in technology,” said Douglas Daggett, Sales Director, Gasper Corp. ABSA is known for using the most advanced technology to operate their network of more than 2,000 ATMs and non-cash self service devices. When the bank wanted to integrate an ATM-specific management tool into their highly advanced self-service delivery channel, the bank looked to Gasper Corp. as the leader in this area.

“With the Gasper Manager system, we can now more accurately detect and track any problems within the ATM network, as well as more closely manage and monitor the responsiveness of service personnel on both a real-time and historical basis,” said Andre Senekal, ABSA. “In addition to this, the Gasper Manager System has highlighted some interpretation problems relating to the actioning of error events emanating from the ATMs, making an already strong self-service network even more reliable and responsive to our customers’ needs.”

Gasper Corp. also provides its Medallion Services customer care support to ABSA. Medallion Services encompass a new, higher level of value-added customer care services that offer both off-site and on-site support, including regular remote help desk services and periodic on-site consultations with Gasper system experts. These consultations can include customer training sessions on Gasper software tools to ensure that customers are getting the most technical and business value from their Gasper investment.

About Gasper Corp.

Gasper Corp., a leading provider of ATM management software, offers comprehensive solutions that are specifically tailored to solve ATM management problems. The company’s solutions monitor ATMs and manage the entire ATM support process to maximize ATM availability, profitability and customer satisfaction for ATM networks worldwide. The company’s solutions are used to manage 50 percent of the ATMs in the United States, and more than 170,000 ATMs worldwide. In addition to its headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, the company maintains offices in Clifton Park, NY; West Chicago, Illinois; Mexico City, Mexico; and London, England. Visit the Gasper Corp. web site at .