Credit Scores

The disclosure of FICO® scores may be required if a California bill becomes law. ‘SB 1607’ was approved yesterday by a vote of 31 to 1 and will now move over to be considered by the California State Assembly. The proposed legislation would require lenders to provide consumers with their specific credit score, the credit information used to compile the score, and an explanation of how credit scores work in the loan approval process. ‘SB 1607’ also will allow consumers to receive a copy of their credit score when they request copies of their credit file for a fee less than $4.00; compel reporting agencies to correct inaccurate information in a timely manner; and provide consumers additional legal recourse when credit-reporting agencies continue to report inaccuracies. Among organizations supporting the passage of ‘SB 1607’ are: E-Loan, the California Association of Mortgage Brokers, Consumer Federation of California, and Consumer Action.

Details

VeriFone Distributes ServerWallet

Globeset, the leading global supplier of secure ePayments infrastructure services and products for buyers, sellers, and financial-service providers, announced that VeriFone, a division of Hewlett-Packard Company, has joined Globeset’s channel partner program. HP will distribute Globeset’s ServerWallet to credit card issuers worldwide through its VeriFone Division.

“Globeset’s ServerWallet software is a strong addition to our suite of Internet commerce payment solutions,” said Ross Bardwell, general manager of HP’s VeriFone E-Commerce Software Division. “Globeset’s ServerWallet combines best-of-class financial transaction security in a re-brandable, user-friendly package.”

Globeset’s partner program allows companies to integrate Globeset services and products into their existing eCommerce solution packages.

VeriFone will market Globeset’s ServerWallet to its international customers requiring a wallet solution that uses the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol. ServerWallet offers retailers, communication companies, Internet providers and financial institutions an automated, secure payment process to help attract and retain customers.

“The ServerWallet product family revolutionizes online purchasing. It enables cardholders to conveniently participate in the security of using SET for payment transactions,” said Tony Reed, Globeset’s Chief Operating Officer. “The addition of VeriFone is an important strategic alliance, and additional verification of the Globeset family of services and products.”

About ServerWallet

Globeset’s ServerWallet is a server based ultra-secure electronic commerce solution for both consumers and financial institutions. Compatible with both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, consumers gain easy access to their credit card accounts via a simple, private password recovery system. The ServerWallet allows consumers to purchase online with confidence that their transactions will remain secure. Banks benefit by being able to offer a re- brandable centralized online purchasing solution that creates significant cost savings in technical support, administration and maintenance.

About VeriFone

VeriFone (http://www.verifone.hp.com), a division of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secure electronic-payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. The division has shipped more than seven million electronic-payment systems, which are used in more than 100 countries.

About Globeset

Globeset is the leading global supplier of secure ePayments infrastructure services and products for buyers, sellers, and financial-service providers.

Globeset delivers services and products directly and through resellers and system integration partners that supply financial-service providers, corporations and electronic marketplaces. Globeset supports its partners and customers with application hosting services, consulting, education, customization, maintenance and support.

Globeset’s ePayments infrastructure provides a globally consistent and secure connection — anytime, anywhere — among financial-service providers, electronic exchanges, buyers and sellers. This infrastructure simplifies process flows and reduces costs associated with ePayments.

Globeset was the first software provider to be awarded SET Mark for its Global Payment System by the SET Secure Electronic Transaction LLC, or SETCo. Globeset’s ServerPOS is the only client server-based virtual POS and the only company to have received the SetCo SETMark(TM).

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at: http://www.globeset.com.

Details

Recurring VISA

VISA and Wausau Insurance have teamed up to enable cardholders to pay their insurance premiums on the insurance company’s Web site using VISA payment cards. Under the program VISA cardholders can access the Wausau Web site, enter their data, and receive an insurance quote within one business day and choose the option to use Wausau’s new ‘Autopay’ function. ‘Autopay’ permits cardholders to use their VISA card to pay the entire premium or be automatically billed monthly. VISA reported in March that recurring payments is one of the hottest growing segments of card volume. VISA said recurring utility payments grew 22% last year while cable/pay TV exploded by 76%. In fact, card use for cable TV bills has doubled since 1994, as $1 billion was transacted on VISA last year. (See CF Library 3/13/00)

Details

Olympics Contest Extended

Visa International, Worldwide Olympic Partner and the official payment system of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, announced the extension of the U.S. program of its global children’s art competition, Visa Olympics of the Imagination, by a week to June 15 to allow U.S. children the same guidelines as other participating countries.

The Visa Olympics of the Imagination (VOI) challenges children, ages 9-13, to use their imaginations to create an original piece of art that represents what the Olympic motto of “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) means to them. All children, ages 9-13, can enter the program individually and are not required to be a part of any school program to compete.

“Because of the extraordinary number of entries the program worldwide is receiving and the deadlines of other countries, we saw the need to revise the U.S. program deadline from May 31 to June 15 to allow the U.S. children the extra two weeks to be competitive with the rest of the world,” said Michael T. Sherman, Visa International’s Vice President, Global Corporate Relations.

Contest Information

The winners of the program and a parent or guardian will attend the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as the guests of Visa in Sydney, Australia, from September 14-19, 2000. While at the XXVII Olympiad, they will attend a number of Olympic events and activities, and will participate in special Australian-themed activities. Contest entry information is available through www.visa.com/visakids. The site features all rules and regulations and lists dates and deadlines as well as where to submit the artwork for judging. The contest information also can be accessed by clicking on VOI promotional banners or simply by searching for the keyword “visakids” on Yahoo! Web guides. The banners and search results provide direct links to the VOI Web site (www.visa.com/visakids/).

Details

MBNA & Ameritrade

MBNA America Bank, N.A., and Ameritrade Holding Corporation, one of America’s leading online brokerage firms, announced an innovative strategic alliance that will provide reciprocating services to the Customers of both organizations. MBNA’s credit card services will be provided to Ameritrade’s brokerage Customers and Ameritrade will offer its online brokerage services to MBNA’s cardholders. It is the first time a bank and an online broker will offer such a reciprocal relationship to their Customers.

Under the multi-year contract, MBNA will be the exclusive issuer of credit cards to Ameritrade’s more than 1 million brokerage Customers. Ameritrade will offer a preferred on-line brokerage service with special features for MBNA. Linkages will connect the web sites of the two companies to provide joint marketing opportunities. Enhanced services and features will continue to be developed.

“This strategic alliance between Ameritrade and MBNA is beneficial to customers of both companies,” said Tom Lewis, chief executive officer of Ameritrade, Inc. “Ameritrade’s customers will now have access to a high quality Ameritrade branded credit card. MBNA’s Customers will be able to invest with the speed provided by one of the fastest websites on the Internet, and will have the confidence that comes with 24 hour 7 day a week customer service.”

“Ameritrade is a dynamic, fast growing, Customer oriented company and we are glad to be working with them,” said John Cochran, chief marketing officer of MBNA. “This agreement allows MBNA to market to a group of people with characteristics similar to those of our existing Customers.”

Ameritrade Holding Corporation (http://www.amtd.com) is a pioneer in the discount and online brokerage industry. The Company provides brokerage services and clearing services to self-directed individual consumer investors and to financial institutions through its subsidiaries. Subsidiaries of Ameritrade Holding include: Ameritrade, Inc. (http://www.ameritrade.com), a leading online deep discount brokerage firm; Accutrade, Inc. (http://www.accutrade.com), a discount brokerage delivering superior levels of personal service and support to its clients; AmeriVest, Inc. (http://www.amerivestinc.com), a provider of third-party discount brokerage services and other financial services to commercial banks, credit unions and thrift institutions; Advanced Clearing, Inc. (http://www.advancedclearing.com), a securities clearing firm providing clearing services to each subsidiary as well as other financial institutions; as well as OnMoney (http://www.onmoney.com), which provides financial information aggregation for investors.

MBNA Corporation, a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank, N.A., a national bank, has $73 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products. MBNA.com (http://www.MBNA.com) provides credit card, consumer loan, retail deposit, travel, and shopping services.

Details

USPS Fleet Card

U.S. Bancorp has snagged one of the largest fleet card programs in the US. The U.S. Postal Service confirmed this morning it has awarded U.S. Bancorp’s Payment Systems division a two-year task order, with two one year options, to provide a comprehensive national fleet card program for its fleet of 170,000 vehicles. The task order was awarded under the ‘GSA SmartPay’ contract. The USPS anticipates about $170 million in fleet card charge volume annually. The cards will be issued and serviced by U.S. Bank Voyager Fleet Systems. U.S. Bancorp acquired Voyager last September. U.S. Bank will provide card issuance, billing, payment processing and customer service, as well as detailed transaction reports. The cards will capture all the details of the transactions including date, time, location, product type, grade, quantity, driver ID, vehicle identification number, account number, taxes and odometer reading. The data is compiled and provided in transaction reports that can be used to negotiate discounts and monitor card usage.

Details

Wireless Greece

Euronet Services Inc., a leader in the development of electronic financial transaction and payment systems, announced two separate agreements with Bank of Cyprus to provide the bank’s branches in London and across Greece with its new wireless banking solution.

The announcement of this contract comes just weeks after Euronet introduced its wireless banking product at more than a half dozen seminars across Europe and the Middle East. The Bank of Cyprus system is expected to be installed in Greece by the end of July 2000, less than four months after the agreement was reached, and in London by the end of this year.

Referred to as the fastest-growing technology in the industry, analysts predict that the number of wireless banking customers worldwide will surpass 600 million by 2001 and one billion by 2004. With an established presence among banks in more than 60 countries, Euronet is well positioned to take advantage of this burgeoning industry.

Michael Brown, Chairman and CEO of Euronet Services stated, “When you look at this market you can see that the stage is set for an explosion in wireless banking. There is a very sophisticated customer base already in place, and now we have the technology and the applications to make wireless banking a reality. We’re pleased to enable the Bank of Cyprus to be one of the first to bring true wireless banking services to their customers.”

“Investing in new technologies is a key part of our customer service strategy,” according to Leonidas Isodiou, Group Companies Information Technology Manager at the Bank of Cyprus. “In the current banking environment, market distribution strategies are as important as the products we offer,” Isodiou explained, “requiring a mixture of strong physical high street presence supported by increased ATM usage and new direct delivery channels, such as Internet and wireless banking. Euronet has consistently been able to provide solutions that enable us to deliver customer-driven products.”

Euronet’s wireless banking solution, marketed under the name Arrowzsm, utilizes currently available Short Message Service (SMS) technology to send and receive information and text messages to the user’s wireless phone. Euronet is leveraging the existing Integrated Transaction Management (ITM) system at Bank of Cyprus to provide a personalized wireless solution for the bank’s customers.

Established in 1899, Bank of Cyprus is the largest financial institution in Cyprus, with US$ 5 billion in assets and 250 branches worldwide, including operations in Cyprus, London, Greece, Australia and New York. The bank expects to increase its number of branches in Greece from 20 to a network of 120 by end of 2004.

Euronet Services Inc. is a global leader in the rapidly evolving arena of electronic financial transactions. The company provides banks and retailers with an advanced infrastructure for connectivity and transaction processing. The company’s Arksys Software Division offers a suite of integrated retail banking products that include ATM management, POS and Merchant systems, credit and debit card systems, internet banking, telebanking, and wireless banking. Euronet operates the largest independent ATM network in Europe and is building a growing electronic transaction processing capacity in the United States. The company serves customers in more that 60 countries around the world.

Details

XpressCheX Inc.

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission has approved and filed a change in name of ECHO’s subsidiary, Magic Software Development Inc. (Magic) to XpressCheX Inc., effective May 15, 2000.

The name change was deemed desirable for two reasons: 1) XpressCheX is a name under which ECHO has operated its check-related services for many years and allowing Magic to assume the name maintains continuity and market recognition, and 2) the services offered by Magic center around the electronic processing and collection of checks, therefore, XpressCheX is believed to better reflect the activities of Magic and allow for a better understanding in both the marketing and sales activities of the Company.

Kris Winckler, President of XpressCheX, stated: “Our business has grown from a software development firm to a complete, one-stop processing center. Our products are sold to wholesalers as well as directly to retailers.” XpressCheX’s current products include check verification, electronic check conversion, imaging, electronic re-presentment, Internet checking, lockbox processing, and traditional collections.

About XpressCheX: XpressCheX has been a leader in the development and deployment of electronic check services for nearly a decade. Since the acquisition of XpressCheX in April of 1999, ECHO and XpressCheX have worked together to develop a suite of check processing services and products to offer merchants.

The benefits to retailers of using electronic checks at the point of sale include reduced costs from the elimination of paper handling, faster and more effective redeposit and return item processing, simplified reconciliation, detailed settlement and transaction reporting, improved customer information flow, and a lower incidence of fraud.

About ECHO: Electronic Clearing House provides credit card processing, cash advance services, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, inventory tracking and/or various Internet services to more than 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.

Details

Coinless Slots

San Diego’s Barona Casino will be the first casino in the world to introduce a fully integrated coin-less slot machine. Last year Barona teamed up with International Game Technology, Bally Gaming Systems and Sierra Design Group to develop the next generation slot machine. The Barona system uses ‘Voucher In-Voucher Out’ technology and cost approximately $30 million to develop. To begin play on the new machines, customers simply insert cash or a voucher into the machine. When cashing out, players receive a printed voucher that can be used in any machine throughout the casino floor.

Details

Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard

Metris Companies Inc. and The Sportsman’s Guide, Inc., a catalog retailer and Internet E-tailer of outdoor gear and general merchandise, have signed a contract under which Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, a Metris subsidiary, will offer The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard and Metris’ enhancement services to The Sportsman’s Guide customers.

Under the terms of the five-year agreement, The Sportsman’s Guide and Metris will promote the co-branded The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard to The Sportsman’s Guide’s 3.2 million customers. This co-brand agreement will also feature a 90-day, interest-free purchase program, in addition to an ongoing incentive program designed to reward The Sportsman’s Guide customers.

“This truly is a win-win situation that plays to the strengths of both companies and provides an opportunity to build stronger customer relationships,” said Metris Chairman and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “This is a great opportunity for our credit card and enhancement services businesses.”

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and enhancement services. Metris Direct, Inc., a Metris subsidiary, has more than 4.9 million enhancement service customer relationships and does business with three of the top 10 bank card issuers.

The Sportsman’s Guide is a catalog retailer and Internet e-tailer of outdoor gear and general merchandise, with a special emphasis on outdoor clothing, equipment and footwear. The Sportsman’s Guide was named one of the nation’s leading Internet e-tailers by the Center for Internet Commerce: and in January of 1999, the Internet Stock Review named the Company as one of the top 20 Internet stocks to watch.

Metris Companies Inc. is based in St. Louis Park, Minn. Metris also has operations in Champaign, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Tulsa, Okla.; and White Marsh, Md. Metris employs more than 3,400 people.

Details

AmEx – Winner

A Senate hearing Thursday got hot and heavy as VISA and MasterCard asserted that the DOJ’s proposed remedies in the upcoming federal antitrust trial would only serve the interests of a single industry competitor. VISA/MC said if the DOJ prevails in its case the end result would be a victory not for competition and consumers, but for American Express. The U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs’ Subcommittee on Financial Institutions held the hearing yesterday to examine the competitive nature of the payments card industry. However all the witnesses focused on the upcoming DOJ antitrust trial which gets underway the week of June 5th in New York City. VISA’s EVP and General Counsel, Paul Allen, and MasterCard’s SVP and General Counsel, Noah Hanft, testified on behalf of the card associations. Hanft said: “By allowing American Express to “free-ride” on the investment of MasterCard and its members and cherry-pick select members from MasterCard’s only distribution channel, the consumer misses out on the benefits of competition.” Allen testified: “It is no secret that American Express, claiming that it cannot compete with VISA, has long exhorted the Division to bring this action.” The complete transcript of Allen’s and Hanft’s testimony will be available this morning via CardFlash Online ([www.cardflash.com][1]).

[1]: http://cardflash.com

Details