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/


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


New SCF Members

The Smart Card Forum, multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance and application of smart card technology, today announced that twelve new principal, auditing, government and university members have joined the growing ranks of the organization. The new members include:

Baltimore Technologies



Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

New York City Transit Metrocard Operations

Philips Semiconductors

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Rainbow Technologies

San Diego Metropolitan Transit

US Department of Treasury

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute


‘We are very excited to have these new members join the Smart Card Forum at this time,’ said SCF President & CEO Donna Farmer. ‘There are many activities for them to be involved in right now. Many of our new members are joining the forum to participate in our cutting edge programs and conferences. Due to the success of our recent ‘Cards on the Move’ event, we have 4 new members from the transportation sector. This arena is proving to be a key driver for the implementation of multi-application smart card technology in the United States We welcome these organizations to our growing membership base and look forward to a very exciting year!’

Baltimore Technologies, Certco and Xcert have joined the Forum as Principal Members. Rainbow Technologies and Philips Semiconductors have stepped up from Auditing to Principal Membership. Principal Members are entitled to serve as a voting member of the Board and Executive Committee, eligible to serve as a chairperson of any Work Group, free access to all working documents and complimentary registrations for general and special meetings. KeyCorp has joined as an Auditing Member and have access to copies of all working documents. They are entitled to one complimentary registration for meetings while other representatives attend at member fee.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Metrocard Operations, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, San Diego Metropolitan Transit and the US Department of Treasury have joined as Government Members. Virginia Tech has joined as a University Member. These new members are entitled to one complimentary registration for all general and special Forum meetings, and have access to copies of all working documents. These members are also eligible to chair any working group.

Baltimore specializes in the development and marketing of a complete family of products and services to secure business conducted via computer networks, whether for Internet, extranet or intranet applications. The Baltimore product range includes complete PKI Systems, cryptographic toolkits, security applications and security hardware.

CertCo is a leading on-line risk assurance authority, providing the world’s most secure e-business technology and systems. Our business solutions unleash the full potential of the Internet by enabling corporations and trust institutions with the capability to safely conduct global high value transactions over open networks. CertCo’s integrated product suites feature electronic authentication and assurance systems based on public key infrastructure (“PKI”) technologies.

Cleveland-based KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) is one of the nation’s largest multiline financial services companies, with assets of approximately $83 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. The company’s businesses deliver their products and services through facilities located in 46 states; a network of 2,600 ATMs; a robust Web site and telephone banking centers that provide account access and financial products 24 hours a day.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is the primary provider of transit-related services for the Southern California region. The MTA is dedicated to providing Southern California residents and visitors transportation alternatives and solutions.

Philips Semiconductors is a product division of Philips Electronics N.V., headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, the world’s sixth largest electronics company. With sales in excess of US$ 4.3 billion in 1997, Philips Semiconductors is one of the top ten semiconductor suppliers in the world (source: Dataquest). Like our parent company, we’re a truly international concern. We have offices on every continent, in over 40 countries and we have 27,000 employees worldwide. We manufacture over 50 million integrated circuits (IC’s) and discrete devices every day for a huge diversity of markets and applications.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s mission is to identify and meet the critical transportation infrastructure needs of the bistate region’s businesses, residents, and visitors. By providing the highest quality, most efficient transportation and port commerce facilities and services that move people and goods within the region, the Port Authority of NY/NJ provides access to the rest of the nation and to the world, and strengthens the economic competitiveness of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region.

Rainbow Technologies is a leading provider of security solutions for the Internet and eCommerce. Rainbow applies its core technology to a variety of Internet applications from securing software, to the acceleration of secure communication for eCommerce and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Rainbow’s products include secure Web server and VPN acceleration boards; USB-based authentication tokens; PKI-based security solutions; and voice, data and satellite security systems. Headquarters are located in Irvine, California, with offices located throughout the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, China, India, The Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan. Nearly 50 authorized distributors sell Rainbow products worldwide. For more information, visit our Web site at .

San Diego Metropolitan Transportation Authority began on July 3, 1886 when San Diego’s first streetcar made its way up Fifth Avenue from the waterfront. Two years later, San Diego became the first Pacific Coast city (the second in the nation) to replace the horse with the electric streetcar. The San Diego Streetcar Company received a new name — the San Diego Electric Railway Company — in December 1896 when it was purchased by leading San Diego developer and entrepreneur John D. Spreckels. By 1949 buses comprised the entire San Diego fleet, replacing all of the remaining streetcars. In 1948, Jesse L. Haugh, who had been executive vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad and the originator of the line’s streamlined trains, bought the company from Spreckels with a group of investors. The privately owned transit system changed hands again in 1967 when it was purchased by the city of San Diego, and in 1985, the city of San Diego sold San Diego Transit to MTDB which serves as the policy-setting and overall coordinating agency for public transportation in the San Diego metropolitan area.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has initiated research on the design, deployment and evaluation of electronic payment systems (EPSs) in transportation. This research focuses on toll road, parking, and rail and bus transit services. A special effort is being made to address the economic implications associated with EPSs in terms of their capital and operating costs and revenue streams. In addition, the usefulness of alternative business case strategies is being explored and the advantages and disadvantages of such strategies are being considered. This research is being conducted by Professor John Collura, Director of the Advanced Transportation Systems Program at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center and by Mr. Valeri Plotnikov, a VTTI Research Associate.

Xcert, International, Inc. is the leading provider of Internet based Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solutions that meet the business requirements of the Application Service Provider (ASP), Healthcare, Telecommunications, and Financial Services industries in securing business to business communications for electronic commerce. Xcert’s PKI solutions use digital certificates and secure directory services to provide business organizations with a private and authenticated method of conducting communications and transactions over the Internet.

About the Smart Card Forum

The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multi-application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. Established in 1993, the Forum includes representatives from leading companies in the banking, financial services, telecommunications, computer, technology, healthcare, retail and entertainment industries as well as government agencies and prominent universities. The Smart Card Forum also operates the Smart Card Educational Institute, the industry leading course dedicated to providing smart card education that has set the standard in the industry. The curriculum is based on leading edge education models and methodologies utilizing experienced instructors who are experts in the smart card industry. The Smart Card Forum is the leading organization for education and awareness in the development of the smart card. For more information about The Smart Card Forum, log on to the organization’s Web site at [www.smartcardforum.org][1].

[1]: http://www.smartcardforum.org/


Fraud Control

FDC’s TeleCheck Services and FL-based Internet Billing Co., Ltd. yesterday announced that they will combine their fraud control and billing expertise to provide products and services designed to help retailers reduce the risks of online credit card fraud. Under the terms of the agreement, TeleCheck and ibill will jointly develop and market an online credit card fraud control solution slated for release early next quarter. As a seamless part of online transaction processing, the solution will evaluate each transaction for evidence of fraud, enabling merchants to combat the direct costs of fraudulent purchases and reduce chargebacks.


VISA Hospitality

VISA U.S.A. announced the addition of Jackie O’Dell as Visa’s first Hospitality Manager. O’Dell fills this new position in Visa’s Event and Sponsorship Marketing Group, created to streamline the property hospitality inventory and coordinate events with the Visa Sales Department.

O’Dell’s responsibilities include ensuring a premier hospitality experience for Visa’s Members and Merchants at each of Visa’s sponsorship properties. Visa’s Event and Sponsorship Marketing properties include the Olympics, NFL, NASCAR, Visa Triple Crown and Live Broadway.

“With Jackie joining our group, Visa will be able to improve the hospitality component of our many sponsorships,” said Michael Lynch, vice president, Event and Sponsorship Marketing, Visa U.S.A. “Having Jackie on-site will ensure that all marketing assets within the Event and Sponsorship Marketing Group are being efficiently and fully utilized.”

O’Dell’s responsibilities will include coordinating with Visa’s Sales and Integrated Solutions group. The SIS group is the direct link between Visa and its Member banks and merchants to promote maximum visibility and usage of Visa’s consumer products. O’Dell will also manage the on-site executions of the events on the properties.

O’Dell comes to Visa from the AmericaOne Foundation, where she served as the Director of Hospitality and Sponsorship Fulfillment. She brings to Visa a wealth of experience in VIP hospitality, travel, entertainment and media relations. O’Dell graduated with honors from the University of Rhode Island and studied in London.

About Visa U.S.A.

Visa U.S.A. is the leading payment brand and the largest payment system in the United States, with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its more than 14,000 U.S. member financial institutions and their cardholders. There are more than 330 million Visa credit, commercial and check cards, which generate more than $720 billion in annual transaction volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 17 million locations worldwide, including some 625,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is .


MLS MasterCard

Capital One and Major League Soccer yesterday unveiled the ‘MLS MasterCard’ and the ‘MLS Cup Sweepstakes’. Earlier this year, MLS named Cap One the exclusive credit card issuer of MLS and its 12 member teams. MLS fans can choose from five design images, including the logos of three different MLS teams (D.C. United, Tampa Bay Mutiny or Los Angeles Galaxy) or soccer designs. Additional card designs will be added to the roster next season. The grand prize winner of the ‘MLS MasterCard Sweepstakes’ will receive two tickets to the ‘2001 MLS Cup’, a stadium tour, an autographed team jersey and hospitality passes to post-game events as well as two tickets to the 2002 season. Other MLS sponsors include: Budweiser, Honda, Kellogg’s, MasterCard, New York Life, Pepsi, and Yahoo!.