CT-based BrandDirect reached a settlement last week with the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Washington State over its telemarketing activities conducted in association with many of the nation’s top credit card issuers. The firm, a merchandiser of discount buying clubs, agreed to pay $1.9 million in penalties, fees, and funds for consumer education, and about $11 million in restitution. The lawsuit, jointly filed in Federal District Court, alleged that the company, which is partly owned by Reader’s Digest and Federated Department Stores, violated federal telemarketing law and the two states’ consumer protection laws. The WA and CT AG’s maintain that BrandDirect misused private cardholder information provided by First USA, BP Oil, Capital One, Chase Manhattan, CitiBank, Household, MBNA America Bank, U.S. Bancorp, Texaco and GE Capital. Under last week’s settlement, the two states will share the $1.9 million in penalties, fees, and consumer education funds and current buying-club members nationwide will each receive three weeks free membership. The estimated value of the additional weeks of membership is $4 per member. There are 2.7 million current members of BrandDirect. In a related development, U.S. Bancorp announced Friday it became the first bank in the country to join the ‘Privacy Leadership Initiative’, a coalition of more than 20 corporate CEOs working to address consumers’ concerns about privacy.Details
Credit Card Solutions, Inc. , the developer of The P-Card Solution software, announced Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc. as its newest customer.
The P-Card Solution increases the efficiency of a company’s purchasing card (p-card) program. CCSi will customize The P-Card Solution to work in tandem with Burns and Roe’s existing set of business practices and accounting system. Following installation, cardholders will have the ability to automatically reconcile each p-card transaction and post those purchases directly to the general ledger, as well as track each purchase using a unique tracking number. A primary benefit of p-cards is the ease and speed at which staff members can purchase & receive low dollar goods & services. The P-Card Solution significantly reduces internal burdens related to managing p-card purchases, reducing the activity based costs associated with reconciliation & reporting often by as much as 50% to 70%.
“CCSi is proud to welcome Burns and Roe as a customer,” said Roy Wiprud C.P.M., president and chief executive officer of CCSi. “We look forward to helping them establish a state-of-the-art purchasing card program.”
Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc. is a full-service engineering, construction, operations and maintenance firm headquartered in Oradell, New Jersey. With over 1,700 personnel worldwide, Burns and Roe provides comprehensive services for private and governmental clients in the power, process, industrial, energy, and advanced technology industries.
Headquartered in Richland, Washington, CCSi was founded in 1995 to provide its customers with solutions to their purchasing card problems. CCSi’s flagship product, The P-Card Solution, significantly reduces the cost of purchasing card administration while substantially increasing the amount of information available about p-card transactions, and eliminates the redundancies inherent in typical reconciliation processes. The P-Card Solution has been licensed to clients nationwide. CCSi’s customers include Arthur Andersen, ARCO, Bechtel, The California Institute of Technology, Honeywell, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, the State of Alaska, and Warner Bros. For more information about The P-Card Solution, contact CCSi at 509-943-7998, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at .Details
Clarus Corporation, a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions, announced three key appointments to its management team, including chief strategy officer, vice president of business development and vice president of finance. The appointments are effective immediately and are part of the execution of the company’s strategies to aggressively grow its business – establishing a leadership position in the B2B e-commerce market. Steve Hornyak has been promoted to the position of chief strategy officer, reporting directly to Clarus president and CEO Steve Jeffery. Hornyak, who came to Clarus after sales and consulting positions at Oracle Corporation and Price Waterhouse, was one of the original visionaries of Clarus’ strategic shift to become a leader in the B2B e-commerce market. Hornyak was also key in the conception of Clarus eMarket(TM), the first true many-to-many platform to power B2B trading exchanges and winner of Microsoft’s Global e-Commerce Solution of the Year.
As chief strategy officer, Hornyak will continue to help drive the business strategies and execution for Clarus initiatives, and will evangelize those strategies to the financial community, industry analysts, associations and customers.
Mark Ledbetter has been appointed vice president of business development, after serving as director of Clarus eMarket where he led market penetration efforts for the B2B trading exchange framework. In his former position at Clarus, Ledbetter focused on Clarus eMarket from a sales and business development perspective, working with product development and marketing through the product’s conception and June 30 release. Ledbetter’s work prior to Clarus included six years at Oracle Corporation where he served as director of application sales for the company’s Southeast region.
Ledbetter is charged with the aggressive growth of sales channels, the development of new strategic alliances, revenue contributions through forging and maintaining indirect sales channels and the support of rapid international expansion through strategic distributor relationships.
“The rapidly evolving market in which we compete demands skill and experience at the highest levels within the company, as well as a sharp understanding of the importance of key partnerships and strategic direction,” stated Steve Jeffery, president and CEO of Clarus. “Steve and Mark have made invaluable contributions to Clarus in their time here, and in their new roles will add excellence to the executive team and to its aggressive growth plans.” James McDevitt has joined Clarus as vice president of finance. McDevitt, bringing 18 years of financial and administrative management expertise, joins the Clarus executive team after holding executive positions at companies including Geac Computer Corporation, Georgia-Pacific Corporation and Bausch & Lomb. Most recently, McDevitt was CFO of Geac Computer Systems and spent nine years with Bausch & Lomb as vice president and controller of multiple business units.
McDevitt’s responsibilities include all aspects of finance, accounting, applications management, contracts, facilities, purchasing and technical services.
“The addition of Jim McDevitt is critical as we add to our existing strength and strategic direction in the financial end of our business,” added Jeffery. “Jim has consistently shown success in a number of top-level management positions before joining Clarus, demonstrating the quality of contributions he’ll make as we execute our business plan.”
Atlanta-based Clarus Corporation , a leader in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, provides B2B procurement software and trading services that exploit the global marketplace of the Internet to manage corporate purchasing and enable digital marketplaces.
ClarusNet(TM), a fully managed service portal, provides a comprehensive range of critical trading services such as payment settlement, supplier enablement, auctions, integration, and analytics. Designed to provide unprecedented interoperability, ClarusNet enhances the value and speeds delivery of any B2B trading platform including Clarus(TM) eProcurement and Clarus eMarket(TM). Clarus solutions are being deployed at customer sites including Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., Cinergy, Comcast Corporation, First Data Corporation, Gjensidige NOR, MasterCard International, MetLife, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Perot Systems and Wachovia.Details
Datacard Group announced that ScanSource Inc. has agreed to become an authorized distributor of value-priced Datacard card printers and integrated photo ID systems. Specifically, the Greenville, South Carolina-based company will distribute Datacard Magna, Select and Express Class card printer models, along with Datacard ID Works, QuikWorks and Preface photo ID software packages and the Datacard digital camera. All these products work together seamlessly in any combination, enabling ScanSource to offer fully integrated photo ID systems to its reseller customers.
“We’re pleased to have ScanSource distributing our products,” said Elaine Bliss, senior vice president and general manager at Datacard Group. “The company’s responsive delivery capabilities, excellent sales history and commitment to resellers make it a strong new addition to the Datacard distributor network.”
! Scott Benbenek, ScanSource’s Vice President of Merchandising in charge of the Datacard Group product line, added, “We remain committed to providing resellers with total solutions for the markets they serve, whether they focus on manufacturers, healthcare, retailers or other areas. By adding Datacard to our product lineup, our customers can now include one of the industry’s most innovative and fast-growing technologies – photo ID systems – into the solutions they provide.”
ScanSource Inc. is an international value-added distributor of specialty technologies, including automatic identification (auto-ID) and point-of-sale (POS) products and, through its Catalyst Telecom division, telephony products. Serving only the value-added reseller (VAR), ScanSource is committed to growing specialty technology markets by strengthening and enlarging the VAR channel. ScanSource’s commitment to VARs includes offering a broad product selection, competitive pricing, fast delivery, technical support, sales training, customer financing and qualified leads.
Datacard Group is a world leader in innovative plastic card personalization and identity management solutions. The company provides its customers with integrated systems for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. A diverse solutions portfolio features a broad range of card-related products and services, including the world’s best-selling card personalization and printing systems. Datacard Group also offers smart card personalization systems, custom solution development and products designed to enhance card issuing operations. Datacard Corporation, doing business as Datacard Group, is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries. ()
Alameda, CA-based Virtual Purchasing Card, Inc. is in the process of a second round of financing. Founded last year, VPC offers a new online payment system that combines the speed and efficiency of the credit card buying process with the control and security of traditional check-and-invoice systems. VPC says financial institutions are realizing that credit cards don’t meet the needs of their business customers but lack an industrywide platform that provides an effective electronic alternative. The virtual purchase card is a secure, electronic identification, authorization, settlement and reporting tool. VPC’s system consists of a secure clearing and settlement method among buyers, sellers and banks, linked by VPC’s secure server. VPC was founded by two Wells Fargo Bank veterans, Alan Holroyde and David Kurrasch. Wells Fargo Bank and FleetBoston Financial Group will begin testing the virtual card this fall. The first round of financing included San Francisco-based Plantagenet, Wells Fargo Bank and Zurich-based Invision AG, a venture capital firm.Details
Diversinet Corp., a leading provider of m-commerce security infrastructure solutions, announced with Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of smart card-based solutions, the completion of a joint development project for a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) smart card implementation. The product embeds Diversinet PKI technology on Gemplus’ GemXplore Trust PK-enabled SIM cards. The product is expected to be commercially available at the end of September.
! Under the alliance, Gemplus will offer the Diversinet PKI client on the memory-rich GemXplore Trust SIM card, delivering to Diversinet partners and customers the capability to deploy secure applications utilizing the GSM network through the user’s phone handset.
The GSM market has about 330 million subscribers and 366 operators worldwide, and continued exponential growth is expected. Mobile operators are dealing with growing competitive pressure to offer innovative services to their customers, and deployment of secure applications addresses this issue directly. By supporting the GSM market, the product provides Diversinet with a large base of potential new users of its security solution, with a total of 330 million GSM devices currently deployed. Diversinet’s security infrastructure provides end-to-end (client-to-application) security for applications that require strong authentication, encryption and digital signatures in order to conduct business transactions in a completely secure environment that mirrors the security models being used in the bricks and mortar world today.
“Diversinet is a leading company developing end-to-end security solutions in the wireless PKI space, and the alliance with Gemplus supports our position as a leader in providing PKI technology for the constrained-device environment,” said Nagy Moustafa, President and CEO, Diversinet. “This product will add another channel for Diversinet to offer total solutions for operators.”
“We are pleased to announce the first step of a relationship with Diversinet,” said Philippe Martineau, Vice President, Wireless Business Strategy at Gemplus. “As the number of m-commerce applications being deployed continues to expand, mobile operators will need to offer high value transaction based services that are both attractive and capable of offering maximum return on network occupancy, without sacrificing security.”
About Gemplus Gemplus ([www.gemplus.com]) is the world’s number one provider of smart card based solutions for security, wireless and e-business applications. Offering consulting services, design, software, hardware, personalization and full implementation, Gemplus works with its customers around the world to deliver comprehensive, integrated and tailor-made smart card based systems.
The Group’s customers use Gemplus memory and microprocessor smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags, smart objects and magnetic stripe cards to simplify and secure a wide range of applications. From Web based and mobile commerce to financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education healthcare, identity, pay TV and physical and logical access control, Gemplus provides intelligent end-to-end solutions that bring security, convenience and ease-of-use to millions of people worldwide.
Founded in 1988, Gemplus had sales of over 767 millions of Euro ($US 817 millions) in 1999, and employs almost 6,300 people in 17 manufacturing facilities, 7 R&D centers and 44 sales and marketing offices located in more than 37 countries.
About Diversinet Corp.
Diversinet is enabling m-commerce services with its wireless security infrastructure solutions. The company is a leader in delivering end-to-end wireless security infrastructure solutions to wireless device makers, ASP’s and operators, application software developers and network infrastructure providers. As a leader in securing m-commerce applications, Diversinet is actively participating in the development of security standards with; WAP, The Open Group, PKI Forum and Radicchio. For more information on Diversinet, visit the company’s web site at [www.dvnet.com].
Cookies, which are used by many online credit card issuers and B2C firms to enable Internet communications and collect customer data, have come under fire recently both for abuse by companies that sell the data and for opening the back door to identity and credit card thieves. Microsoft recently announced a software patch to enable its browser users to disable cookies, but it prevents users from accessing applications that depend on cookies to provide “state management” on the Internet. However a Concord, MA-based firm has come up with a better solution. MaxSol’s ‘DbLive@Web’ technology utilizes patent pending “dual context state management” to provide client/server power on the web browser. Developed for use by U.S. Military logistics in Europe, ‘DbLive@Web’ replaces cookies, plug-ins and applets. It allows filtered data access so information owners can control access to data from browsers to back-end systems, by group and down to the database field level. ‘DbLive@Web’ also supports authorization, PKIs and digital certificates, authentication, encryption, firewalls, secure socket layers, port-level security, and secure URLs.Details
If the same pricing and benefits were offered across the four major general purpose payment card brands, twice as many Americans would choose an American Express card over a MasterCard. The finding comes from a poll conducted by CardWeb.com pertaining to the current VISA-MC antitrust trial. The poll, launched shortly after the trail got underway in June, continues to confirm that Americans are split in their opinion as to whether or not the industry is competitive. However Americans, 2-to-1, believe that VISA and MasterCard do not compete against each other. In response to the question: ” Would it make any difference if you could obtain an American Express or Discover credit card from a bank rather than directly from American Express or Discover?”, 48% responded “no”, “39%” said “yes”, and the rest were “unsure”. CardWeb.com averages between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors per day with about 80% of the traffic coming from consumers. Results of the poll are available, in real time, via CardWeb.com’s homepage.Details
American Express and Ventro Corp. announced yesterday an agreement to create a new company to build and operate an Internet-based marketplace offering business products and services. The new company, to be called MarketMile, will endeavor to serve the buying needs of companies seeking an affordable e-purchasing solution for everything from office and industrial supplies, computers and peripherals, to business services such as temporary labor. The new company will initially target mid-sized companies. MarketMile will be using Ariba technology as a core element, building on the work AmEx has already undertaken with Ariba in developing the ‘B2B Commerce Network’. Ventro licenses Ariba technology as a major component of its platform for all of its marketplaces. The new company represents American Express’ first separate e-commerce start-up. Initially, AmEx will have a 65% ownership stake in MarketMile, and Ventro the remaining 35% stake.Details
Exxon Mobil announced Thursday that for the first time, consumers nationwide will be able to use the ‘Speedpass’ payment system to purchase products inside participating convenience stores at Mobil-branded service stations nationwide. The company also confirmed plans to extend ‘Speedpass’ to 1,800 Exxon-branded service stations and convenience stores in early 2001. By the end of the summer, more than 3,500 Mobil convenience stores will be equipped to offer ‘Speedpass’ for purchases inside the store. Introduced at fuel pumps in 1997, the ‘Speedpass’ program has been welcomed by more than four million customers, and enrollment continues to grow. The service is provided free to customers who enroll in the program. Purchases are charged to the credit card or check card selected by the customer at the time of enrollment.Details
Miami-based, dining card specialist, Transmedia Network, says this morning its two year old makeover plan is now complete. This week, Transmedia’s national dining programs, recently rebranded under the name ‘iDine’, have all been united under the registered card format where, instead of using a separate charge card, consumers simply use their existing credit card to access benefits. Transmedia also this week launched the test of ‘iDine Choice’, which enables restaurateurs to create special incentives and promotions through the ‘iDine’ website on specific days of the week and times of the day. Consumers will have their choice of savings benefits in points or cash and may convert the points into either complimentary dining or frequent flyer miles. The website also allows for on-line reservations, national restaurant listings and access to reviews and maps. During the past two year the company acquired its largest competitor, ‘Dining a la Card’, and in the process acquired the registered card technology. On June 30, Transmedia completed the acquisition of its last remaining and most successful franchise, Potomac Dining in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, for approximately $5 million. Transmedia Network Inc., by selectively issuing and marketing the ‘Transmedia Card’ and the ‘Dining A La Card’ registered card, presently offers its over 3.0 million members a variety of savings programs at more than 7,000 restaurants throughout the United States. For complete details on Transmedia’s 2Q/00 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
MyTurn.com, Inc., a provider of Internet-based, e-commerce computing products and services, and NextCard, the number one Internet credit card, announced that GlobalPC users will have access to NextCard’s instant credit card application process and innovative online shopping tools. NextCard is the only featured credit card offered to GlobalPC users. The GlobalPC is the first truly easy-to-use, full-featured computer (bundled with a complete suite of personal productivity tools including Internet and email access capabilities, word processing, spreadsheets, database, home banking, address book, a calendar, and games) priced at $299 MSRP.
“We partnered with NextCard to allay first time computer users’ apprehensions about shopping online. In addition to making the Internet accessible to the more than 50 million U.S. homes without a computer, the GlobalPC now provides easy and instant access to NextCard’s credit card services featuring fraud protection guarantee and security features making them the obvious choice for GlobalPC users,” said MyTurn.com Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer, Michael Fuchs.
The GlobalPC is the first computer designed for the millions of consumers who do not yet have computers and Internet access. The GlobalPC now features a direct link to NextCard on its homepage .
GlobalPC users will have convenient access to the NextCard application, be able to apply for credit and, if they are approved, immediately begin experiencing the convenience and excitement of shopping online. In the coming months, users will also be able to access NextCard services through GlobalPC’s online registration process. “The credit card is the predominant way people make purchases online,” said Rich Goebel, NextCard’s Vice President of Business Development. “We’re confident that GlobalPC users, who are new to exploring the Internet, will enjoy NextCard’s safe and secure online shopping tools.” The GlobalPC is currently available in select cities at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Montgomery Ward, Fred Meyer, Babbage’s, and Electronics Boutique stores. Many other retailers are expected to begin selling the product soon.
MyTurn.com is a provider of easy-to-use, inexpensive Internet-based, e-commerce computing products and services targeted at providing a complete solution to the millions of American households without computers and access to the Internet. Offering the first fully integrated PC for under $300, MyTurn.com’s GlobalPC features an easy-to-use interface for the first time computer user and comes with a complete operating system, Internet browser, e-mail package and office suite of software applications (word processor, spreadsheet, database and graphics program). With the touch of a single button, consumers will be able to send and receive e-mail, file attachments and surf the Web using GlobalPC’s online service, built in high-speed modem and enhanced Internet software. MyTurn.com is headquartered in Alameda, California. For more information, visit .
About Nextcard, Inc.
() was named the No. 1 online credit card in 2000 by Gomez Advisors, was ranked No. 1 credit card that Internet consumers would consider for use in ZDNet’s 1999 BrandIQ study, and was nominated for a 2000 Webby Award in the finance category. Launched in 1997, the Company was the first to offer instant online credit card approval, a choice of customized credit card offers, personalized PictureCard(SM) designs, and exceptional online customer service. NextCard is committed to providing the most robust consumer shopping experience on the Internet and has continued to innovate with its complete GoShopping!(SM) service, NextCard Concierge(SM) one-click shopping assistant, online bill payment services, and comprehensive rewards program. NextCard is also one of the leading direct marketers on the Internet and operates a network of more than 60,000 online affiliates.Details