United Cerebral Palsy VISA

United Cerebral Palsy and First USA announced the United Cerebral Palsy Platinum Visa credit card. Each time the credit card is used, a portion of all purchases is donated to UCP, providing a new way for people to support initiatives to help children and adults with disabilities.

“Everyone associated with United Cerebral Palsy is delighted that First USA has partnered with us to issue an affinity credit card,” said Charles H. Moses, III, Esq., President UCPA, Inc. “This alliance with First USA is a wonderful opportunity to help people with disabilities lead strong, independent lives, one person at a time. We look forward to a long relationship.”

“First USA is excited by this new partnership,” said Patrick Regan, Senior Vice President, partnership marketing, First USA. “It has given us a unique opportunity to continue our strong commitment to our partnership-marketing strategy, offering a compelling consumer product with competitive pricing and quality customer service, while supporting UCP’s initiatives through the card’s usage. It’s a winning proposition for everyone.”

The no-annual-fee United Cerebral Palsy Platinum Visa card offers a competitive interest rate. And for those who transfer a balance, the United Cerebral Palsy Platinum Visa card offers special savings with a low 2.9% introductory APR. Applications for the credit card are offered via direct mail and will soon be available through the UCP and First USA websites ([http://www.ucp.org][1] and [http://www.firstusa.com][2]).

Cardmembers receive exclusive Platinum privileges, including automatic purchase protection, exceptional travel accident insurance, emergency cash and airline ticket replacement, auto rental collision coverage, and lost luggage protection. The card features a credit line from $5,000 to $100,000; a money- saving balance-transfer option; and 24-hour, toll-free customer-service support.

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)([http://www.ucp.org][3]), founded in 1949, is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the country with 144 affiliates nationwide. UCP provides programs and services to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of children and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities and their families. UCP uses its funds efficiently, with 85 cents of every dollar spent directly on programs and services.

First USA ([http://www.firstusa.com][4]), a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa credit cards. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of its marketing partners. Bank One is the nation’s fifth-largest bank holding company with assets of more than $270 billion.

[1]: http://www.ucp.org/
[2]: http://www.firstusa.com/
[3]: http://www.ucp.org/
[4]: http://www.firstusa.com/


MasterCard bCentral Deal

MasterCard International Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced the formal rollout of an advertising and marketing agreement to help small businesses stay ahead of the competition. The Microsoft bCentral small- business portal and MasterCard’s Small Business Connections sites will connect small businesses with the Internet’s top business services and MasterCard’s best-in-class payment solutions.

MasterCard will today begin its rollout of the full capabilities of Small Business Connections. Through this agreement, small businesses visiting bCentral will have direct access to credit financing and flexible payment solutions from the MasterCard Small Business Connections site.

“Microsoft bCentral helps small businesses get started on the Web as well as manage and market their businesses online,” said Jonathan Weinstein, director of marketing for Microsoft bCentral. “With the services MasterCard provides, such as payment solutions, business tools and leading-edge information, this program is a great extension of the services available to small businesses on bCentral.”

“MasterCard is looking to align with corporations that share our strategy for supporting the small-business community. Like MasterCard, Microsoft has also committed significant resources to help ensure the best available information for small businesses,” said Steve Abrams, senior vice president, Corporate Payment Solutions, MasterCard International. “This relationship empowers the small-business owner through a rich and unprecedented resource of information.”

About MasterCard Small Business Connections

MasterCard is committed to creating initiatives to meet the needs of the small-business customer through the Internet. MasterCard Small Business Connections is a unique initiative that connects small businesses with top business-to-business Internet resources such as Microsoft bCentral, ZDNet, previewtravel.com and SBTV.com. The site offers small businesses financial resources to manage expenses, industry news and information, special discounts, better buying opportunities for programs and services, technology solutions for marketing and sales, Web design, hosting and e-commerce. The following are among the small-business programs available through MasterCard Small Business Connections:

— Business Bonuses. This flexible rewards program offers a unique combination of benefits, including points for airline miles with no blackout periods, designed especially for growing businesses.

— Business Savings Program. On behalf of small businesses, MasterCard has negotiated savings of 10 percent to 42 percent on key goods and services in categories that include legal, personnel, financial, office supplies, business travel, communications, business planning, marketing and public relations.

— MarketAccess. This program serves as a marketplace where small-business cardholders buy and sell goods and services online. MarketAccess provides a secure, one-stop shopping resource for small businesses by introducing offers from a growing list of suppliers, including barnesandnoble.com Business Solution, Egghead.com, OfficeMax.com, PaperDirect Online, PC Flowers & Gifts, and TigerDirect.com. MarketAccess also enables businesses to create a Web site with storefronts at no charge, helping them build or expand their e-commerce initiatives.

— Smart Data Online. This Web-based tool assists small businesses in organizing, consolidating, analyzing and managing financial data through the Internet. Accessed through a Web browser in real time, Smart Data Online helps small businesses improve efficiency in reconciling expenses and eliminating time-consuming paperwork.

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 composed 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 $727 billion (U.S.). MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .

About bCentral

The Microsoft bCentral online business service is a Web-based portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. bCentral provides a comprehensive, affordable and integrated suite of services to help companies move their businesses forward on the Web. bCentral focuses on three core areas:

— Getting a business started online (includes connecting to the Web and building a business Web site)

— Promoting and marketing a business online

— Managing a business more effectively

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.


Pre-Paid Cards Working

While VISA and MasterCard branded gift cards are struggling for consumer acceptance the majority of national retailers are finding prepaid phone and gift cards to be an excellent marketing and promotional product. Two-thirds of the nation’s leading retailers now issue prepaid phone cards, 44% offer gift cards and 30% have loyalty cards. The statistics, released this morning, come from Standard Register’s ‘2000 Survey of National Retail Card Issuers’. The study also found that 62% of retailers reported that prepaid phone, gift or loyalty cards programs have been extremely or very successful. Of those retailers, 77% have created more sales and revenue and 15% have been successful in responding to consumer demand by issuing cards. The most popular reason to offer prepaid cards, as a way to boost sales and profits, was cited by 45% of retailers that offer phone cards and 36% of gift card issuers. The second most common reason retailers feature these cards, consumer demand, was mentioned by 30% of respondents. Generating repeat business was the leading reason for offering loyalty programs at 47%. The survey also showed that point of purchase displays, at 98%, rank first among the ways retailers market such cards. Other methods include in-store signage, 88%; paid advertising, 57%; and direct marketing, 41%. The majority of prepaid phone and gift cards, 60%, have a pre-designated dollar amount, while 29% of retailers give customers the option of cards with set denominations or customizable amounts.



Electronic Clearing House, Inc. announced the signing of an agreement with TRAMS, Inc., Los Angeles, to integrate ECHO’s Internet processing service, ECHONLINE, with their TRAMS Back Office System. The inclusion allows client agencies to process their travel-related service fees through ECHO at a greatly reduced cost. TRAMS will market the new payment option to their existing client base of more than 11,000 travel agency locations.

TRAMS software is currently utilized by 31 percent of all travel agencies nationwide. “TRAMS’ systems assist agencies in three key areas: accounting, management reporting and marketing,” commented Jack Wilson, Vice President of ECHO. “TRAMS is far and away the dominant system being used today among travel agencies so ECHO is honored to be chosen by TRAMS to provide a payment option that each agency will find profitable, reliable and easy to use.”

About TRAMS, Inc.

TRAMS, Inc. develops and supports accounting, management and marketing software for retail travel agencies in the United States and worldwide to help travel agency owners and employees become more efficient and productive. TRAMS is growing at a rate of 150 new agencies per month and is endorsed by every leading agency consortium, cooperative and franchise. (See [www.trams.com][1] for more information.)

About ECHO

Electronic Clearing House, Inc. provides credit card processing, cash advance services, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, inventory tracking and/or various Internet services to over 41,000 retail merchants, U-Haul dealers and casinos across the nation. ECHO also designs, develops and integrates software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, inventory tracking devices, and casino cash advance systems.

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


Samsung Card

Samsung Card, one of Korea’s largest credit card issuers, is launching a one click e-commerce payment tool called ‘Baropay’, utilizing Trintech’s ‘PayWare eIssuer’ technology. Samsung is rolling out the solution across Korea to its 7.2 million MasterCard and VISA cardholders. Samsung customers can activate their virtual credit cards by visiting the Samsung secure Website and accessing their accounts by entering unique personal information, such as date of birth or PIN. Trintech’s ‘eIssuer’ then automatically downloads, installs and launches the virtual credit card on the consumer’s PC. The cardholder then chooses a personal password, shipping address, telephone number and e-mail address.


TSYS Debit/STV Head

Total System Services, Inc. announced it has named Debra Wohlrab Group Executive of Pre-funded Products, responsible for debit and stored value initiatives for TSYS. Ms. Wohlrab’s executive responsibilities for TSYS include the development of the overall strategy to drive the company’s growth in both the domestic and international market segments.

Prior to her move to TSYS, Ms. Wohlrab was responsible for managing global sales, marketing, customer service and professional services, and for establishing the product management group for PaySys International, Inc. She also served as vice president and senior operations officer for MasterCard International Inc.’s Latin America and Caribbean regions, where she was responsible for operating and implementing products and services to include debit, credit, electronic commerce and chip cards, as well as training activities of the regions and identifying key strategic markets.

TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson said, “Debbie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry, more specifically, in the international markets and in debit and stored value. The Pre-funded Products Group will be vital to the success of our company over the next several years. Debbie arrives in the midst of exciting times in the stored value marketplace. TSYS recently introduced a new stored value platform and expects to make several announcements soon regarding new customers and initiatives. We expect great things from the Pre-funded Products Group under Debbie’s leadership.”

Ms. Wohlrab said, “I am proud to be a part of a great organization that has continued to meet the needs of its clients for more than 17 years. This is a time of great evolution in the industry and TSYS stands in the center of it all ready to meet the challenge. The vision for TSYS’ Pre-funded Products Group is to continue its growth and leadership position in the industry by providing our current clients and prospective clients with the best solutions for debit and stored value. The debit and stored value markets present immense growth opportunities for our clients, and TSYS will present the solutions to allow them to maximize those opportunities.”

Ms. Wohlrab is a graduate of William Paterson College with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Industry affiliations include participation in the American Bankers’ Association, Latin America Banking Groups and speaking engagements regarding debit and the international market to industry groups like Lafferty. Prior to leaving Florida, Ms. Wohlrab was involved in various volunteer organizations in the Orlando and Miami areas.

About TSYS:

TSYS provides global commerce solutions. With more than 179 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the payment exchange between buyers and sellers for approximately 250 million consumers. Our systems capture and deliver more of the right information to our clients allowing them to make wiser business decisions, currently yielding portfolio growth more than twice the industry average. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of business services from credit applications to collections, allowing our clients to focus on building their brands and managing their portfolios. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com][1]) is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com][2]), No. 5 on Fortune magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2000.

[1]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[2]: http://www.synovus.com/


Providian Settlement

Providian Financial confirmed Monday afternoon it has agreed to pay the state of Connecticut a total $1.6 million as a settlement in a probe over the firm’s credit card business practices. The nation’s top sub-prime issuer also announced this morning it is revising its earnings projections for the second quarter to reflect the CT settlement and other upcoming settlements. The Connecticut Attorney General’s office launched a probe last year into charges that Providian failed to credit payments in a timely manner, posted charges to customers’ accounts for unauthorized services and provided inadequate disclosure of interest rates and fees. Providian said last night it will decide if individual Connecticut customers are entitled to any restitution. Providian also indicated that it expects to release, within the next two weeks, an update on the status of its talks with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The issuer’s ongoing discussions with the OCC and the San Francisco DA’s Office have centered on certain marketing and sales practices, primarily but not exclusively within Providian’s ‘Platinum’ credit card business. Providian said this morning it anticipates it would have to make payments consisting principally of restitution to customers, pay a fine, and modify certain business practices. In July, 1999 Providian admitted that the consumer lawsuits were primarily related to a “programming error”. Providian stated in its 2Q/99 earnings report that the “programming error”, which occurred over a period of months, resulted in the erroneous billing of late fees related to specific weekend days. Providian said it was refunding $20 million in wrongly charged penalty fees. (See CF Library 7/23/99). Providian announced last August it was establishing a pay-by-phone service to enable cardholders to avoid bumping into late fees. Providian also hired Ernst & Young in June 1999 to review its six payment processing operations. (See CF Library 8/25/99).



Supercom Ltd., an Israeli high-tech company listed on announced that its US subsidiary, Supercom Technologies Inc., has signed a contract with AutoSmart Inc. of Fairfax, Virginia for a comprehensive contactless smart card system. AutoSmart Inc. will offer to its customers worldwide a unique contactless smart card for their cars. The OTTOSMART card will include: key information on the car, ownership (past and present), maintenance and service history. Initial revenues for Supercom will consist of $2.0 million for database software development, infrastructure and first supply of smart cards and card readers. The huge US and Canada car market and the expansion of the service to the global market, represent a very large potential for Supercom’s contactless smart cards and smart card readers. According to Sami J. Jadallah, President of AutoSmart Inc., the potential for Supercom is between $20 to $40 million in the next four years. Supercom has been chosen as the integrator of the system and the exclusive technology supplier, including software development, contactless smart cards, contactless smart card readers/writers and a central server installation.

The AutoSmart contract represents Supercom’s first contract on the commercial market in the United States. The company’s US subsidiary, Supercom Technologies Inc., has been selected by AutoSmart Inc. for the delivery of a comprehensive contactless smart card system. AutoSmart Inc. is a US company with a global scope focusing on the car industry and offering to its customers a contactless smart card for their cars.

The OTTOSMART card will include among others: manufacturers and technical data, specifications, key information like color, key code, engine numbers, warranty information, recalls, insurance, registration and repairs, maintenance and service history and ownership (past and present). The OTTOSMART card, which functions as a “car ID”, will give proof of the complete car’s history and will enhance the confidence in the car value when buying or selling a second-hand car. The OTTOSMART card will be distributed by automobile dealerships throughout the US, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world, and will allow vehicle owners to keep track of the service history of their car whether such a service was done at the dealerships or at any of the participating service centers. In addition, car owners will have access to the information from home, or at dealerships and service centers. The company is currently active in the United States and Canada, and is prospecting to launch its activities in other continents.

Supercom will be the exclusive technology provider, including database software development, contactless smart cards, contactless smart card readers/writers and a central server installation. Initial revenues will consist of $2.0 million, including database software development, infrastructure, and the first supply of smart cards and card readers. Supercom Technologies Inc. started its operation last May, in view of the siginficant potential in the contactless smart cards field in North America.

Sami J. Jadallah, President of AutoSmart, Inc. says, “OttoSmart is a unique and pioneering service, combining the latest contactless smart card technology from Supercom with the latest Internet technology. In the United States, with over 207 million registered vehicles, the market potential is huge. Last year over 17 million new vehicles/cars and trucks were sold in the US, and this number does not include the more than 35 million vehicles exchanging hands as used/pre-owned cars and the more than 40 millions vehicles under warranty. We carefully looked at the available technology and found the best solution for our potential customers within Supercom. We look forward to many years of successful co-operation with Supercom, not only in the US, but also worldwide, because we are convinced that this new and innovative product will receive acceptance from customers. For Supercom, this represents a business potential of $20 to $40 million in the next 4 years.”

“We are very pleased with the AutoSmart deal. It proves that our leading edge technology and solutions as well as our flexibility in meeting the client’s needs are well received by the American commercial market,” said Danny Gilboa, President of Supercom Technologies Inc.

Supercom has been listed on EASDAQ (SPRC) since April 23, 1999. The company employs about 80 staff. Supercom designs, develops, produces, markets and sells unique technologies for the National ID & professional Commercial smart cards markets – including rapidly growing e-commerce markets-, using its own unique, patented technologies and know-how. Among Supercom’s proprietary technologies are laser printing on thermally sensitive substrates, management software packages, contactless smart card technology and marked toner powder for securing printer applications. The identification documentation includes passports, visas, driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and national or regional identification cards.

Turnover for the year ending December 31, 1999 was $3.89 million. Supercom has sold its systems in numerous countries throughout the world, such as the UK, Hong Kong, Moldova, China and Israel.


NACHA Makeover

NACHA is undertaking an extensive reorganization to streamline the governance of the association, establish new voting rights for financial institutions on the operating rules for the ACH Network, and establish direct membership in NACHA for financial institutions. The new Board will consist of 19 directors with 10 directors representing payments associations, 5 directors representing financial institution members, and 4 members representing NACHA’s industry councils. Direct membership in NACHA will be opened to depository financial institutions. Direct financial institution members and payment-association members and their financial institution members will be eligible to vote on the NACHA Operating Rules.


Banco Rio AmEx Cards

Argentina’s Banco Río de la Plata launched the ‘Banco Río American Express Card’ yesterday. Under the program, Banco Río de la Plata will issue AmEx-branded standard and Gold revolving credit cards. Denominated in the Argentine peso and U.S. dollars, the new cards will be accepted globally. This is the first network partner for AmEx in Argentina. In the last several years AmEx has developed 62 such partnership arrangements in close to 70 countries. In Latin America, AmEx has established 18 partnership arrangements in 15 markets.


VISA 3-Domain

VISA International launched a new global e-commerce initiative that is expected to reduce Internet transaction disputes by up to 50 percent. The ‘VISA Secure e-Commerce Initiative includes two major components. First, the ‘Payment Authentication Program’ is designed to reduce the risk of unauthorized use of a cardholder account and to improve customer service for buyers and sellers on the Web. Second, the ‘Global Data Security Program’ establishes standards and best practices for e-commerce merchants allowing them to better ensure the security of cardholder data on their sites. The ‘Payment Authentication Program’ is based on a new “3-Domain” model recently approved by the VISA International Board. VISA’s European region announced this week it is deploying the ‘3-Domain’ model for implementation of server-based SET in the EU marketplace, with full implementation scheduled for 2001. The VISA Latin America and Caribbean region has also recently endorsed the ‘3-Domain’ model for server-based SET. VISA U.S.A. will pilot a new ‘3-Domain’ SSL-based authentication protocol beginning this summer. The second half of the initiative includes the ‘Global Data Security Program’ which will be rolled out later this year. The ‘GDS’ will include a series of standards and guidelines for e-commerce transactions that both buyers and sellers should follow.