SILA Goes Java SIM

Aether Systems, Inc. announced that its European venture with Reuters, SILA Communications, has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Schlumberger, a major manufacturer and designer of smart-card-based solutions.

SILA, owned 60 percent by Aether and 40 percent by Reuters, is a leading provider of wireless application services for mobile devices in Europe and Asia. The agreement means that Schlumberger Simera’s Java SIM cards will host SILA’s software allowing large volumes of data, such as market and share changes, to be transmitted to mobile phones and other wireless devices quickly and at minimal cost.

The compression software that SILA has developed means that high volumes of data and broadband services can be compressed into small packages and sent to any device over the limited amounts of bandwidth currently available. Schlumberger Java card technology enables both easy integration of the SILA software into the mobile environment and brings end-user interactivity. The Simera card decompresses the information and allows mobile subscribers to adjust their shares portfolio.

SILA Communications is initially targeting its broadband service at the financial sector, providing users with up to date information on movement in the markets, fast-breaking news and sports to any wireless device.

“Up until now, traders have been able to view stock movements using paging devices but have been unable to react to them,” says Bo Kroll, president of SILA. “The deal with Schlumberger means that mobile devices will soon be fitted with decompression software that will enable us to offer up to the minute financial information enhanced with full two way transaction capability alongside other broadband services. ”

Eric Claudel, Vice President Mobile Communications for Schlumberger in Europe, comments. “The agreement with SILA is another milestone in our commitment to provide a wide portfolio of value-added services within an open Java environment. In less than a year, most mobile devices will be fitted with the capability to receive and display a range of information in a format that is cost effective for operators to provide and easy for customers to use.”

Although the focus is currently on the financial sector, the decompression software embedded in the SIM card will enable SILA Communications to offer a range of personalised services and information from sports fixtures and latest scores to local entertainment guides.

SILA Communications, formed in May 2000 with an initial capitalization of $167 million, is in the process of granting a number of operating licenses to mobile phone network operators for the commercial use of the SILA system.

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Citi-AOL Deal

Citigroup and America Online formed a major multi-year strategic alliance to offer users of AOL, CompuServe, and other of the AOL brands a wide range of financial products and services and new payment capabilities. Under terms of the agreement the two companies will build new payment and money transfer features across AOL, AOL.COM, CompuServe, Netscape Netcenter, AOLTV and Digital City, as well as AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ. Citigroup will also become a preferred provider of a full range of financial products and services , including Citibank credit cards. Consumers will be able to access Citigroup’s payment capabilities and products through the AOL brands beginning in the fall. Also as part of the agreement, Citigroup will also promote AOL products and services on Web sites and through other customer outreach.

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PayToCard Hosting

PSINet Inc. and eCommony Inc., a provider of person-to-person (P2P) payment solutions, announced a global partnership agreement. Under the terms of the alliance, eCommony will use PSINet’s hosting services for it’s PayToCard international payment infrastructure, while PSINet will leverage eCommony’s infrastructure to offer a full range of payment solutions to its e-commerce customers.

The PayToCard Network ([http://www.paytocard.com][1]) offers every website, host, portal and Internet service provider (ISP) a complete drop-in person-to-person credit card payment infrastructure. Any website can enable P2P e-commerce in hours, and for the first time, individuals can electronically accept secure credit card payments at the website of their choice, without registering at third party websites.

“PayToCard is the best available infrastructure for P2P payments processing,” said Daniel R. Meltzer, PSINet branch director in New York. . “We are very excited at the opportunity to cooperate with eCommony and intend to participate in their upcoming round of financing.”

According to Saar Safra, chief technology officer of eCommony, “Since we’re the first P2P financial infrastructure for websites, we wanted the most substantial player in the ISP market to host our production servers. After checking various alternatives, we found that only PSINet offers the three most important elements a financial infrastucture needs: availability, credibility, and service.

eCommony is currently using PSINet’s hosting services on both coasts of the U.S. By the end of the year, eCommony will open more production centres, first in Europe, then around the world.

About PSINet

Headquartered in Herndon, VA, PSINet is an Internet Super Carrier offering global eCommerce infrastructures, end-to-end IT solutions and a full suite of retail and wholesale Internet services through fully-owned PSINet subsidiaries.

Services are provided on PSINet-owned and -operated fibre, satellite, Web hosting and switching facilities, providing direct access in more than 900 metropolitan areas in 29 countries on five continents. PSINet information may be obtained by e-mail at info@psi.com, by accessing the Web site at [http://www.psinet.com][2], or by calling +1 800-799-0676 within the continental US. PSINet Transaction Solutions, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a fully-owned subsidiary that provides data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

About eCommony, Inc.

Founded in 1999, eCommony Inc. designs, develops and markets innovative, patent-pending solutions enabling Person-to-Person (P2P) e-commerce over the Internet. eCommony’s technology is best suited to serve any site providing auctions, classifieds, e-consulting, e-service and garage/yard sales as well as private Shareware sellers. eCommony’s innovative, patent-pending risk management technology is designed to fit the specific needs of the P2P market. For more information, please visit the company’s website at [http://www.ecommony.com][3] To see the contact details for this release click here. Contact information for releases is available to registered visitors only.

[1]: http://www.paytocard.com/
[2]: http://www.psinet.com/
[3]: http://www.ecommony.com/

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NPC 2Q/00

National Processing reported net income for 2Q/00 was $11.5 million compared to net income of $8.5 million for the same quarter of 1999. Revenue for the Merchant Card Services business line, currently the largest business line, was $76.1 million and $147.0 million for the quarter and six months ended June 30, representing increases of 18% and 19% over the comparable periods for 1999. Merchant Card Services revenue represented 73% of total company revenue for both the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2000. For complete details on NPC 2Q/00 results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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OPC Signs AR

Official Payments Corporation announced the company has signed an agreement with the State of Arkansas to collect Balance-Due Tax Payments, Estimated Tax Payments, Extension Tax payments, Payments and Sales & Use Tax Payments by credit card, via Internet and telephone. Taxpayers in Arkansas will be able to make these payments by visiting or [www.officialpayments.com][1] on the Internet or by calling toll-free 1-888-2PAY-TAX. The new payment channels for Tax Year 2000 are expected to go live later this year. Official Payments provides similar services to the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

Official Payments will charge Arkansas taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at . For example, a taxpayer who owed the Arkansas $900.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $925.00 on their credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $25.00 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes. The State of Arkansas will only accept credit card tax payments over the telephone or Internet. In-person credit card payments will not be accepted. Official Payments expects to announce Q2 2000 financial results, after the close of the equity markets on Tuesday, July 25, 2000.

About Official Payments Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via telephone or the Internet, using their credit cards. The company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma, Minnesota and over 500 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.

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

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GE PrePaid

GE Capital announced its subsidiary, GE Capital Communication Services, will sell prepaid wireless phones and airtime cards under the GE Prepaid brand name. The prepaid wireless products will be available in retail locations nationwide.

GE Prepaid wireless phones and airtime cards will provide customers access to Shared Technologies Cellular, Inc.’s, prepaid platform and services including airtime redemption, transaction processing, 24-hour voice response system and call center services, and point-of-sale activation. STC is located in Wethersfield, CT.

The new GE Prepaid wireless airtime cards offer highly competitive rates to customers and will be sold in several denominations. Long distance calls from a customer’s local area are priced at the same low rates as local calls. “Customers will now have the convenience of prepaid wireless and avoid the hassles of an annual contract, service deposit and activation fees. GE Prepaid’s wireless services adds another dimension to our prepaid product offering. It brings us closer to being a complete prepaid services provider,” said Gregg Haddad, president, GE Capital Communication Services Corporation. GE Capital, with assets of more than US$345 billion, is a global, diversified financial services company with 28 specialized businesses. A wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital, based in Stamford, CT, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialized financing, specialty insurance and a variety of consumer services, such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world. GE is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with operations worldwide.

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Internet Fraud

A new survey of more than 160 companies reveals that 12 times more fraud exists on Internet transactions and that e-tailers are paying credit card discount rates that are 66% higher than traditional retailer fees. The research also found that Web merchants bear the liability and costs in cases of fraud, while credit card companies generally absorb the fraud cost for traditional retailers. The Gartner survey shows e-tailers are paying an average credit card discount rate of 2.5% plus about 30 cents a transaction versus an average for traditional retailers of about 1.5% plus 30 cents a transaction. Gartner also found that e-tailers are spending about four times more to resolve and process chargebacks than brick and mortar retailers do. Gartner says e-tailers must pay for Internet payment gateways and fraud detection, which can add another 50 cents to each transaction. The research suggests that credit card companies have failed to offer e-tailers a cost-effective solution for fraud prevention.

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Real Smart Wallet

WearLogic and Welcome Real-time announced this morning they have joined up to offer a screen and keyboard embedded in a standard leather wallet to enable consumers to view e-Coupons stored on a smart card inserted in the wallet. WearLogic’s first products, the ‘SmartWear Electronic Wallet and Clutch’ utilizes ‘FleXML’, the company’s next-generation computing interface. The combination of the WearLogic and Welcome Real-time technologies creates a platform for an entirely new class of data-driven consumer and industrial applications that were not previously feasible, such as pocket-ATM’s, industrial-strength privacy management, and web-based PDA’s. With a single smart card, Welcome Real-time’s ‘eXtended Loyalty System’ allows consumers to replace the dozens of cards and paper coupons being carried today.

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VISA NFL

VISA U.S.A. unveiled its fall lineup of consumer promotions and new merchant partners for its NFL sponsorship. This year, VISA and its partners will be giving away at least six trips to ‘Super Bowl XXXV’ in Tampa Bay Florida. Merchant partners include DirectTV, New York City Transit, Kroger, and NFLShop.com. VISA says it will conduct a supermarkets promotion beginning Sept. 1 that will automatically enter all VISA cardholders using their VISA card in a supermarket to win a trip to Super Bowl XXXV or one of forty $500 VISA NFL gift cards. VISA cardholders will also be automatically entered to win when they sign up for automatic bill pay with DirecTV for a trip to the Super Bowl, $500 VISA NFL gift cards and NFL leather jackets. In October and November, subway riders who use a VISA card to purchase NYC Transit Metro Cards will be automatically entered to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

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Snapple ATM

Snapple all-natural beverages are wrapping up ATMs across the country. ATM manufacturer Diebold signed agreements with Snapple to create the ‘Snapple Wrap Program’, which consists of covering ATMs in six states with a vinyl wrap that bears the Snapple logo. The program is the latest in Diebold’s ‘Advertise 2 Maximize’ program which secures advertisers for its customers on a local, regional and national level. Under the program, advertisers can choose to brand ATMs within close proximity of their products with vinyl wrapping, printed receipts, on-screen messages or signage at freestanding terminals. OR-based Card Capture Services locates the appropriate terminals for the program, which runs through September, on ATMs in Baltimore; Chicago; Indianapolis; Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pa.; Hartford and New Haven, Conn. and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

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First Retail Bank

Reeds Jewelers, Inc. has opened First Retail Bank, N.A. to handle credit transactions for its retail store locations. Reeds is the 9th largest specialty retail jewelry chain in the United States. First Retail Bank will handle applications and transactions for customers using Reeds credit cards. The bank will allow Reeds to offer enhanced credit services to customers, the same credit terms to its entire customer base, and prompt credit decisions. First Retail Bank, N. A., located in a suburb of Atlanta GA, is a nationally chartered credit card bank and a wholly owned subsidiary of Reeds Jewelers, Inc. The location was selected for its proximity to the Atlanta area as well as its central position with respect to the Company’s retail locations. Alan M. Zimmer, President and CEO of Reeds Jewelers, Inc., is Chairman of First Retail Bank, N.A. Experienced members of Reeds Financial Services, Inc. have relocated to the Atlanta area to manage the daily operations of the bank. First Retail Bank is yet another initiative by Reeds Jewelers to promote expansion of its business and enhance customer service.

Reeds Jewelers, Inc. is a specialty retailer presently operating 114 jewelry stores in enclosed regional malls in 19 states in the Middle Atlantic, Southeastern, and Midwestern regions of the United States. SOURCE Reeds Jewelers, Inc.

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Debix Rewards

Debix Systems, Inc., a leading marketing and technology solutions provider in the pre-paid debit card industry, has expanded its strategic marketing services. Debix now provides both online and brick-and-mortar companies with Customer Relationship Management and marketing solutions utilizing Debix Rewards, the company’s proprietary pre-paid MasterCard or Visa debit card platform. Debix Systems also launched its Debix Rewards e-payment infrastructure program with beenz.com, the creator of beenz, a powerful marketing tool designed to attract and maintain the loyalty of online consumers. Under the terms of the agreement, Debix Systems will create and service the beenz rewardzcard MasterCard, utilizing the Debix Rewards platform. The program will enable consumers to convert online rewards to dollars that are placed on a MasterCard.

“Debix Systems offers companies unique marketing and CRM solutions by leveraging the emerging technology of pre-paid MasterCard or Visa Cards,” said Mike Tumbarello, President of Debix Systems. “Our platform provides a turn-key link to the complete infrastructure of pre-paid debit technology, while also providing world-class customer service.

Utilizing the latest technology and leveraging leading marketing strategies, Debix Systems provides companies access to Debix Rewards(SM), a proprietary Web-enabled platform that can be easily configured to fit the needs of individual businesses. Debix Rewards(SM) is the link to a new suite of pre-paid debit card-based CRM tools, specifically designed to enhance loyalty and reward programs. Flexibility is a critical component of the platform, with many service options that are tailored to meet the specific needs of Debix System partners. The universal acceptance of MasterCard or Visa allows for a powerful and flexible reward component that can enhance the customer relationship for Debix clients.

The company also will continue its focus on corporate gift cards through its OmniGift(TM) platform, as well as enable retailers and gift companies to create and brand their own “universal” gift card, powered by MasterCard or Visa. Unlike credit cards or traditional bankcards, pre-paid debit cards are pre-loaded with a specific dollar amount. Both online commerce sites and brick-and-mortar retailers are guaranteed the availability of funds while customers enjoy a worry-free shopping experience.

“Debix Systems allows companies to execute marketing programs utilizing technology which was not previously available,” Tumbarello explained. “Privately-branded pre-paid debit cards are a great way to promote a business, acquire and retain customers, and increase brand awareness. Both e-commerce businesses and traditional retailers will benefit from a partnership with Debix Systems, as the debit platform solutions transparently cross over between the off-line and online worlds.”

About Debix Systems

Debix Systems, formerly known as Flexigift, Inc., was formed in February 1999 to develop a flexible prepaid debit card platform designed to satisfy specific corporate and consumer needs in niche markets. The organization’s product line has evolved from its flagship OmniGift prepaid gift card, created in Fall 1999, to a suite of technology and marketing solutions designed to serve online as well as brick-and-mortar companies. Debix Systems plans to launch additional platform enhancements that capitalize on traditional retailing and online applications later this year.

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