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 [][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.



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 ([][1]) is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([][2]), No. 5 on Fortune magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2000.



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.


DotsConnect Hosting Head

DotsConnect, a wholly owned TSYS e-payments subsidiary, named Nicol Lloyd Woodard as director of its hosting unit. Woodard is a former Southeast Regional Manager of Compaq Computer Corp., Enterprise Consulting Services.

“Nicol is an experienced IS professional with more than ten years consulting, managing multiple client engagements and implementing global distributed systems,” said Gaylon Jowers, president and CEO of DotsConnect. “Nicol will be a valuable team member, and his enterprise-wide consulting experience will greatly benefit DotsConnect.”

“I am excited to be joining DotsConnect,” said Woodard. “I look forward to leading the hosting initiatives for DotsConnect and contributing to its advancement in the electronic payment arena.”

Woodard will be responsible for all hosting activities, including strategic planning, sales, product development and operations. DotsConnect’s hosting activities will include hosted application services for internal product development and third-party hosting of client applications.

As a former manager for Compaq, Woodard was responsible for leading a team of senior consultants to assist Compaq with the delivery of $3 billion in hardware and service sales for the Southeast Region. Previously, he was an engagement manager for Coopers & Lybrand LLP, handling accounts that included management of a Global Technical Architecture to support systems development initiatives, order and inventory management and distribution logistics for Avon worldwide.

Woodard has also served as site manager for IS infrastructure at Marion Merrell Dow, manager of distributed systems for MMD World Headquarters, manager of information center for Glaxo, Inc., supervisor of office systems for ITT Telecom, project leader of information systems for Gulfstream Aerospace and system engineer for IBM Corp.

About DotsConnect

DotsConnect is an e-payments company that facilitates commerce between buyers and sellers via the Internet by providing software and processing for online credit application, customer service and fulfillment processes for financial services companies and e-businesses. DotsConnect offers a single e-commerce solution that includes online credit application, scoring, decisions and customer service — all in real time.

With DotsConnect, e-businesses are given a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining customers by providing them the ability to apply, receive and manage their credit accounts in real time via the Internet. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Total System Services, Inc. ([][1]), one of the world’s leading paperless commerce solutions providers, DotsConnect continues a quarter century of innovation by providing tailored, secure, and reliable payment solutions.

About Total System Services, Inc.

TSYS (NYSE: TSS) provides global commerce solutions. With more than 179 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the payment exchange between buyers and sellers. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of business services from credit application to collections for credit, debit, commercial, stored-value and retail accounts. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([][2]) is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([][3]), No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000. For more information, contact .




The worldwide e-commerce market is expected to grow to annual volume of $4.3 trillion by 2004 or at an annual growth rate of 82%. Business Communications Co. also projects that e-commerce in the U.S. alone will grow to $3.2 trillion by 2004. Consumer expenditures in the U.S. are expected to grow from $22 billion last year to $157.4 billion by 2004, or at an annual rate of 48.2%. BBC also expects the number of households with Internet access to grow from 27.4 million in 1999 to 44 million in 2004. The average annual expenditure per household is expected to increase from $801 last year to $3,577 in 2004. The projections are part of a new e-commerce study to be released by BCC during July.


Strange Bedfellows

Testimony heard last week in the antitrust trial of VISA and MasterCard identified some of the bank credit card issuers who expressed an interest in issuing American Express cards. Among the three dozen prospects American Express attracted: MBNA, First USA, KeyCorp and Advanta. In May 1996, the head of American Express made a sales call on credit card issuers via the podium at Faulkner & Gray’s annual ‘Credit Card Forum’ in Atlanta. Harvey Golub, AmEx CEO, had invited bankers to personally call him to discuss the possibility of issuing American Express cards. Golub also used that opportunity to attack VISA for what it considers anti-competitive practices. To date, AmEx has formed more than 60 card issuing partnerships internationally, but has found no takers within the US.