Discover & Switchboard

Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and Switchboard Incorporated, the popular Internet directory and local merchant network, today announced an expansion of their existing relationship that is focused on helping Discover/Novus Network merchants promote their businesses online. now features a custom-designed version of Switchboard’s acclaimed yellow pages directory highlighting Discover/Novus Network merchants participating in the Switchboard Local Merchant Program. Discover/Novus Network merchants participating in Switchboard’s Local Merchant Program will have access to a broad range of cost effective services to help them establish, manage and expand their online presence and reach qualified customers. Based on Switchboard’s “What’s Nearby?” guides, this custom designed version of Switchboard’s yellow pages directory features a series of guides that will make it easier for Discover Cardmembers to find Discover/Novus Network merchants.

Switchboard’s “What’s Nearby?” guides on are designed to help consumers locate shopping and entertainment options and explore college life across the U.S. These provide Discover/Novus Network merchants an additional level of Internet exposure to help them connect with consumers who are ready to buy as they search for products and services in their local market or across the country.

The guides each have a different area of focus. The Campus Guide, which is tightly integrated with the StudentCenter, lets any college student enter their campus address and quickly get access to local merchants in their area. The Entertainment Guide allows Discover Cardmembers to simply enter their home or work address, or the address of a travel destination, and then easily find a variety of entertainment oriented businesses that are nearby including restaurants, theatres, museums, golf courses, video rental stores and ice cream parlors. The Online Shopping Guide provides Cardmembers with a categorized index of online merchants to help with all of their shopping needs.

“We are extremely interested in providing easy-to-use online services for our Discover Cardmembers to encourage them to do business with our merchant network,” said Colleen Zambole, vice president, Electronic Commerce, Discover Financial Services, Inc. “This directory of businesses is the latest in a series of online initiatives to provide substantive benefits to our Cardmembers and merchants.”

“We are pleased to see our relationship with Discover Financial Services grow in new directions. The Discover directory and guides bring a new level of exposure to the Discover/Novus Network merchants in our local merchant network while simultaneously introducing a new audience of consumers to the power of Switchboard,” said Switchboard president, Dean Polnerow.

About Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., operates the Discover(R) Card brands with more than 48 million Cardmembers and the Discover/Novus Network. The Network is the largest independent credit card network in the United States with more than 3.5 million merchant and cash access locations.

About Switchboard Incorporated

Headquartered in Westboro, Mass., Switchboard Incorporated, is a leading Internet-based local merchant network interconnecting consumers, merchants and national advertisers. Its flagship website, CBS ([][1]) offers a broad range of functions, content and services including yellow and white pages, E-mail and website directories, and interactive maps and driving directions. Viewed more than 50 million times each month, CBS connects consumers searching for specific products and services with the merchants that provide them. Switchboard also provides local merchants with efficient, cost-effective services to help them establish, manage and expand their businesses online. Banyan Worldwide (NASDAQ: BNYN) and CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) own approximately 41% and 31% of the outstanding shares of Switchboard, respectively. Switchboard is a registered trademark of Switchboard Incorporated. “CBS” and the CBS “eye” device are registered trademarks of CBS Broadcasting Inc.



STAR Partners

Paymentech announced plans Wednesday to implement comprehensive rating criteria for VARs with whom the company works to deliver payment processing solutions. The ‘STAR Partners’ program will focus on a three-tiered VAR classification program. Paymentech will assess payment related issues such as connectivity (Dial, IP, ISDN, etc.); market-specific product lines; AVS and CVV2; purchase card level II; debit (MasterSession or DUKPT); American Express and Discover Card split dial capabilities; and payment options supported within applications, including card types and check services. The project will enhance Paymentech’s ISO and agent bank sales and client relation efforts to identify and determine VAR payment integration offerings as well as the support from Paymentech’s Advance Products Group. Paymentech also announced yesterday the launch of a ‘Top Tier Help Desk’ to provide call and install resources for agent bank and ISO field personnel. A technical staff has been directed to address specific sales and merchant set-up questions.


EC-Karte System

Cubic Transportation Systems completed the installation of Germany’s first full-scale, fully integrated contactless smart card fare collection system for mass transit. The system, which ties 11 independent bus operators to a single fare medium, has just gone into operation in Freiburg. Cubic’s newest contactless ticketing application automatically processes payments, letting bus riders carry different types of tickets on a single card, and allowing payment by the German ‘EC-Karte’ credit card. Cubic’s latest-generation Mobile Fare Computer enables SudbadenBus GmbH to use the ISO-compliant ‘Type A’ contactless card platform. Several cities in Germany have or plan to have transit smart card pilots. Freiburg represents the production implementation of contactless smart card technology. The project was awarded to Cubic in March 1998.


MasterCard & Captura

While VISA has Extensity, MasterCard has Captura. MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions and Captura announced an agreement to provide MasterCard member banks and their multinational customers with a web-based, integrated, comprehensive corporate credit card payment and expense management system. ‘Captura Expense’ allows global enterprises to allocate payment using single card and electronic payment solutions with the MasterCard card programs. Captura Expense electronically captures accounting data for systematic approval processing, final disbursements, and key business analysis through automated downloads of all credit card transactions.



Ross Perot and PNC Bank have teamed up to deliver a business-to-business digital marketplace for electronic bill presentment and payment. Under terms of the deal PNC Bank and Perot Systems Corp. will own the joint venture 50/50. ‘BillingZone’ will offer a payer-focused EBPP service to business clients. Up to now, EBPP solutions have been primarily driven by the needs of billers, often requiring payers to move from one biller site to the next in order to pay their bills online. PNC Bank is the ninth largest provider of treasury management services in the nation. Time0, a business unit of Perot Systems, is building the venture’s EBPP digital marketplace platform, slated for release this summer. The new organization will be headquartered in Pittsburgh. BillingZone’s EBPP service will be demonstrated at the NACHA conference next month.


Metris Jobs

Metris Companies Inc., one of the nation’s fastest growing direct marketing companies, announced today a recruiting effort to fill approximately 500 positions in the company’s new Scottsdale operations center. Interested candidates are invited to attend a company-hosted job fair on Monday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the new Metris facility at 17600 Perimeter Dr. in Scottsdale.

Metris expects its new Scottsdale facility to accommodate more than 600 collections, customer service, information technology and management employees by year-end. The company currently employs more than 120 people in the Scottsdale area.

“We’re excited to be a growing member of the Scottsdale community and think that we stand a notch above the competition based on our compensation and benefits package, the quality of our facilities, the services we offer and the care we show our employees,” said David R. Reak, executive vice president. “Metris offers a fast track for advancement and an opportunity to work with a highly experienced management team.”

Metris’ expanded growth in Scottsdale reflects the company’s aggressive growth, marked recently by the opening of new facilities in Tulsa, Okla., and Jacksonville, Fla. Later this year, the company will open a new corporate headquarters in suburban Minneapolis.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate-income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; Baltimore, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. It employs more than 3,300 people.

Visit Metris on the Internet at [][1], [][2], [][3], [][4], [][5], [][6], [][7].



Card Debt Soars

The 1999 holiday shopping season pushed revolving consumer credit significantly higher during January. According to preliminary figures released Tuesday afternoon by the Federal Reserve, Americans piled on $7.5 billion in outstanding revolving credit during January. Last year, American cardholders added $6.2 billion during January 1999. Over the past twelve months consumers have added a total of $37.6 billion to revolving credit. Revolving credit is mostly credit card debt. Overall consumer credit is now growing at a 14.6% rate, according to the FRB. At the end of January American consumers were $1.412 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

Jan 00 Dec99 Nov99 Oct99 Sep99 Aug99 Jul99
%GRWTH: 15.1% 12.5 10.2 -0.5 0.0 2.5 12.1
$OWED: $603.5 596.0 589.8 584.3 584.5 584.5 584.6

Jun99 May99 Apr99 Mar99 Feb99 Jan99
%GRWTH: 13.8 4.5 5.6 -0.9 3.4 11.6
$OWED: 578.5 572.2 569.9 567.3 567.5 565.9

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 3/07/00;
For complete historical data visit


MBNA Wedding Loans

An online wedding resource called, The Knot, announced yesterday a three-year partnership with MBNA to provide financial-related services to brides and grooms. As part of the new program, MBNA will sponsor a special editorial section on The Knot, geared towards helping couples plan their wedding budget. This area, set to launch next month, will feature articles on budgeting and finance-related topics. In addition, couples will be able to find out more about the services that MBNA offers to engaged couples, including loans to help them pay for their wedding. This section on The Knot will link to an MBNA website where to-be-weds can apply on-line for a special wedding loan and receive an instant decision. Applicants who are approved will receive checks from MBNA which can be used for any or all wedding-related expenses.


Princivalle to (, a global Internet marketplace for business surplus, announced Tuesday that it has named Karin Princivalle as its Vice President of People.

Karin joins from Citigroup’s credit card business, the largest credit card business in the world with 53 million accounts and 90 million cards in circulation. In this role, Karin had responsibility for approximately 15,000 employees located throughout North America. She brings over 20 years of human resources experience from Citigroup, Frito-Lay and Kaiser Aluminum.

During Karin’s tenure with Citigroup, she was involved in business start-ups in Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas; led the integration of the AT&T Universal Card acquisition and managed the human resources activities in Citigroup’s emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“Karin has a strong track record of developing strategic Human Resources frameworks focusing on leadership development and building high performance work environments,” said CEO George Samenuk.

Princivalle joins after 15 years with Citigroup. She received her BS in Labor Relations from LaSalle University and her MA in Industrial Relations from St. Francis. ([][1]), a privately held company based in Ardsley, New York, is a business-to-business Internet marketplace for excess inventory and idle assets. offers a fast and easy way to buy and sell business surplus, and features products for sale from a wide variety of industries, from consumer products to utilities. For more information about, visit [][2], send an e-mail to or call 1-888-525-TRADE.



Faster & Smarter

Schlumberger unveiled a new modem option for its ‘MagIC 6000’ POS terminal that provides the retail industry with the fastest connectivity on the market. The new modem provides a choice of 9600 and 14400 baud full-duplex transmission rates in both asynchronous and synchronous operation. Schlumberger has also extended the scope of the ‘MagIC Management System’ with remote maintenance capabilities, giving banks, distributors and maintenance organizations the capability to fine-tune performance while reducing maintenance costs. ‘MagIC terminals’ continually log operational information, which can now be accessed remotely and analyzed. Banks and card issuers can now monitor authorization response times, file transfer times and details of any failed transactions to ensure that terminals continue to deliver fast and efficient transactions for both the card user and retailer. There is also capability for detecting potential problems, such as an increase in the number of swipes required to read a magnetic stripe card. Schlumberger also announced Tuesday it has gained certification for its ‘MagIC 6000’ POS terminals for use in health applications in the next phase of France?s national electronic health card program, ‘Vitale’.


Citi Invests in Paytrust, the service that lets consumers receive, review, pay and organize all of their bills online, announced Tuesday that it will receive an investment from Citigroup’s e-Citi unit, pending regulatory approval. The funds will be used to continue to expand marketing and operations. This private placement brings the total amount of funds raised over the past year by to nearly $50 million.

The service harnesses the power and efficiency of the Web to deliver 100 percent of consumers’ bills to a single, secure Web site and direct payments from users’ pre-existing checking accounts. Paytrust customers simply decide which bills they want to receive online and the bank accounts from which they want payments made. Like a personal assistant, manages a consumer’s bills and payments. Paytrust’s SmartBalance(TM) feature aggregates a customer’s bank account information with Paytrust payment information to automatically balance their checkbook.

“Receiving an investment from one of the world’s leading financial services companies is a testament to the strengths of,” said Edward G. McLaughlin, CEO of

Leveraging proprietary, patent-pending technology, as well as the ability to work with any biller and any bank, delivers on the promise of consumer-focused electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP). Customers have quick and easy access to to view and pay all of their bills anytime, anywhere. As an added incentive to try the service, consumers who visit the site can enroll for a three-month trial period. Following the trial, subscribers simply pay a monthly fee of just $8.95.

About is the flagship service of Paytru$t, Inc., a privately held company based in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in October 1998, the company is financially backed by American Express, AT&T Ventures, GE Equity, SOFTBANK Venture Capital, and Spectrum Equity Investors. More information on the company can be found on its web site located at [][1] or by calling 1-877-PAYTRUST.



Green Stamps Card

Fleet Credit Card Services and S&H, Inc. have teamed up to offer co-branded credit card. Incorporated in 1896, S&H introduced ‘Green Stamps’. In early 1999, S&H was re-acquired by a group of investors led by a member of the founding Beinecke family (Sperry) to reinvent the company for the digital economy with the launch of S&H, Inc. and ‘S&H greenpoints’, a branded digital rewards currency. Under the Fleet deal consumers can earn ‘S&H greenpoints’ in three ways: through any purchase on the S&H greenpoints Fleet co-branded credit card, through an authorized bricks and mortar merchant, and while purchasing online from more than 60 merchants through S&H’s consumer shopping portal. S&H cardholders can redeem or save these points for rewards like computer and electronic products, retail merchandise, and travel, or donate them to charitable community partners.