VISA USA named three new members to its Board of Directors and also named a new EVP of emerging markets and technology. James Dixon, BankofAmerica.com Executive at Bank of America; G. Kennedy Thompson, President of First Union; and, G. Joseph Prendergast, President and COO of Wachovia were added to the VISA Board. Yesterday’s board appointments are effective immediately, and bring the total number of VISA U.S.A. directors to 13. VISA USA also named Paul Vessey as EVP of emerging markets and technology. Vessey joins VISA from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, where he was a senior EVP overseeing card products, payment products and insurance.Vessey is also the former chairman of the Visa Canada Association and the former vice chairman of VISA International.Details
Associates First Capital completed its agreement to acquire and manage the proprietary credit card program of CITGO. The Associates has acquired $130 million in receivables and approximately 1.2 million active consumer accounts. The acquisition does not affect CITGO’s commercial or fleet credit card accounts. Associates says it will employ 112 additional customer service and collections people in its Des Moines, IA credit card facility to manage the new accounts. The Associates and CITGO began their relationship in 1986 when they launched a co-branded bank credit card program. With the acquisition, The Associates becomes the largest provider of oil private label credit cards to the US oil industry with $2.2 billion in receivables and 11 million active accounts. In 1999, The Associates handled 423 million transactions for oil card customers, supporting $7.7 billion in sales for the oil companies.Details
Diebold unveiled a self-service concept that allows access to real-time, Internet-based information and services on a terminal that adapts to the physical needs of the user. ‘Watson’ utilizes biometric technology to identify consumers as they approach the terminal. Accessing pre-registered data, the terminal automatically adjusts to the user’s physical needs. For example, for an exceptionally tall user, the interface raises and the monitor tilts back for easier viewing. For shorter users or even those in a wheel chair, the interface lowers and the monitor tilts forward to become nearly vertical. Using Diebold’s ‘OPTinet’ software, the interface provides Internet access to allow the user to retrieve real-time personalized information from any on-line agency or financial service provider. A built-in color laser printer enables the printing of items such as financial statements, local information or event tickets. The card dispenser allows other items of value to be dispensed such as phone cards, transit cards and smart cards.Details
Trans Union was ordered yesterday by the FTC to stop selling sensitive consumer data on 160 million Americans to target marketers. The FTC charged that Trans Union violated the FCRA. The FTC says selling consumer information to target marketers who lack one of the “permissible purposes” enumerated under the Act is illegal. The action applies to a number of Trans Union’s target marketing list products including its ‘Master File/Selects’ products, its modeled products, and its ‘TransLink’ /reverse append products. In reaching its decision that Trans Union’s sale of target marketing lists violated the FCRA, the Commission applied a two-pronged analysis. It determined: Trans Union’s target marketing lists qualify as consumer reports if they communicate information that: (1) bears on a consumer’s ‘credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living and (2); is ‘used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part’ to serve as a factor in determining credit eligibility. Because the Court of Appeals had already determined that “tradeline” information contained in Trans Union’s lists met the first prong of the definition, the Commission focused on the second prong and “reviewed record evidence detailing the various factors lenders use in evaluating and scoring credit eligibility. Trans Union argued the sections of the FCRA involved were unconstitutional and enforcing it violated the First Amendment.Details
Integrion Financial Network, a consortium established by the country’s largest banks and IBM in 1996, announced that its founding mission to develop and provide member financial institutions with a bank-centric operating platform for Internet-based financial services is complete. The organization will begin to transition the responsibility of managing the processing services related to the Interactive Financial Services platform to each member bank.
The IFS platform serves one of the largest online banking user bases in the world — six major financial institutions representing more than 1.7 million subscribers. This subscriber base continues to grow at more than 140,000 new users per month. Integrion, along with its technology partners IBM and CheckFree, was responsible for developing and implementing the first fully integrated Internet banking, bill payment and bill delivery system in the country. Additionally, Integrion took the lead to ensure early on that the banking industry was involved intimately in setting the message standards for electronic financial services through the creation of the GOLD standard and ultimately its participation in the development of Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX).
As a result of having achieved a critical mass of customers, Integrion’s banks are now well positioned to independently address their Internet banking needs. As the landscape of the Internet and electronic financial services continues to change, each of the Integrion banks will be able to pursue strategies that fit with its overall strategic plans, and they will have a more direct role in their relationships with their Internet service partners.
Kenneth T. Stevens, Chairman of the Bank One Retail Group, said, “In the early stages of Internet banking, no one bank was in a position to buy or build the operating platform necessary for a robust, scaleable online presence. Integrion made it possible. Now, at Bank One, we have a leading Internet capability and the ability to manage our platform distinctly and independently.”
“Integrion served the interests of the Bank of America and the interests of the financial institution industry very well at a time when shared resources were greatly needed,” said James D. Dixon, Group Executive for Bank of America.com at Bank of America. “Today, there are different challenges that require different approaches. We, the owners of Integrion, remain steadfastly committed to maintaining a leadership role for the banking industry in electronic financial services and intend to remain a strong presence in the world of Internet commerce.”
While there will be some near-term staff reductions at Integrion, the majority of the Integrion team, including its managing director and chief operating officer, will remain in place.
“This consortium took on an initial task of building an online banking system for financial institutions at a time when Internet financial services was in its infancy. Integrion overcame many obstacles to develop a platform that would scale to today’s overwhelming metrics,” said Maurice St. Jean, Managing Director of Integrion. “We fully expect the individual financial institutions to continue to build upon the work that Integrion has completed.”
In addition to the Integrion Board of Managers (consisting of Bank of America, Bank One, Washington Mutual and Visa USA), PNC Bank, ABN AMRO and Michigan National also use the IFS platform to accommodate their interactive banking customers. All customer banks will be working closely with Integrion and IBM to determine their optimal transition plans that range from an internally run model to an alternative outsourcing scenario.
“We are focusing on ensuring a seamless transition of platform oversight to our member banks and anticipate zero disruption to customers,” said Christopher F. Schellhorn, Integrion Chief Operating Officer. “The IFS platform will continue to perform as it has in the past — handling a critical base of users that is growing exponentially.”
“In the four years since Integrion was formed, we have seen tremendous innovation and creative work by the member banks on behalf of their customers,” said Paul Loftus, General Manager, Solutions and Integration, IBM Software Group. “IBM is proud to have been involved in the creation of an Internet banking platform, IFS, which now supports nearly 2 million consumers. Going forward, IBM will work directly with each of the member banks to determine how to best support their ongoing needs in the ever changing consumer market.”
Additionally, financial institutions using the IFS/CheckFree banking, bill payment and presentment platform will establish and maintain direct relationships with CheckFree for their services.
“Over the last three years, Integrion clearly has accelerated the adoption of on-line financial services for the US banking industry,” said Pete Sinisgalli, President and Chief Operating Officer. “CheckFree applauds the accomplishments of Integrion and will be fully committed to serving our mutual customers through the transition of the IFS platform to the individual financial institutions.”
The Visa Interactive banking and bill payment platform, which was acquired by Integrion in August 1997 and currently serves approximately a half-million subscribers, was scheduled to “sunset” in mid-2000 as users move to other platforms. That schedule remains in place and on target.
Integrion Financial Network is a leading provider of interactive banking and electronic commerce services to US financial institutions. Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor. Technology partnerships with IBM and CheckFree Corporation allow for the delivery of flexible, high-utility applications that can be employed at a financial institution for the benefit of end customers.
Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit. For more information, visit the Integrion web site at [http://www.integrion.net].
Deluxe Corporation announced that Paul H. Bristow, 57, will join eFunds Corporation as its chief financial officer.
Bristow’s most recent position was with Galileo International, Inc., where he was executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Galileo, headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. is one of the world’s leading providers of electronic global distribution services for the travel industry. Bristow, a Canadian and British national, has previously held executive positions with Apax Partners, London International Group plc, ITT-Europe, ITT-Canada, Philip Morris, Inc. and Arthur Andersen & Company, during his 34-year career.
“We are very happy to fill this key management position with a person who has the industry experience and business leadership that Paul brings,” said J. A. Blanchard, chairman and chief executive officer of Deluxe Corporation. “Paul is a proven CFO with extensive international experience. We are pleased to have him join the eFunds team.”
In a related announcement, Deluxe’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Thomas W. VanHimbergen, 51, has decided to leave the company as of April 30. “Tom has been a tremendous asset to the shareholders of Deluxe since he joined the company in 1997,” said Blanchard. “He was instrumental in the divestiture of more than 15 non-strategic businesses, was the driving force in installing financial discipline, and helped us formalize our strategic planning process. We are grateful for his leadership during Deluxe’s restructuring, and we are a significantly stronger business for his contributions.”
Deluxe also announced that Lois Martin, 37, currently vice president and corporate controller, will serve as interim senior vice president and chief financial officer following Mr. VanHimbergen’s departure. Ms. Martin joined Deluxe in 1993 and has served as vice president and controller since 1997.Details
Official Payments Corporation announced the appointment of Mitchell Gordon as Vice President & General Counsel. Mr. Gordon fills a new position at the firm and reports directly to Official Payments Chairman & CEO, Thomas R. Evans. His responsibilities will include managing the firm’s internal legal staff and various outside legal counsels.
“We conducted an extensive search to fill this key position on our management team,” said Mr. Evans. “Mitchell Gordon’s impressive business background, proven legal acumen and strong character make for a great addition to our team,” Mr. Evans said.
Mr. Gordon comes to Official Payments Corp. after a distinguished tenure as a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, and Meagher & Flom LLP, concentrating in mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. He has been involved in a number of complex, high-profile transactions, including representing Salomon Smith Barney in its pending acquisition of the investment banking business of Schroders PLC; Cendant Corporation in the recent sale of its software business to Havas S.A.; Travelers Group Inc. in its acquisition of Salomon Inc.; Paymentech Inc. in the joint acquisition of the company by Bank One Corporation and First Data Corporation; International Paper Company in its acquisition of The Weston Paper and Manufacturing Co.; and First Interstate Bancorp in its merger with Wells Fargo Company. Earlier in his career, Mr. Gordon held positions at M&T Bank and IBM Corporation.
Mr. Gordon graduated with honors from The University of Michigan Law School and received both his Masters in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees with distinction from Cornell University. Among Mr. Gordon’s community activities, he is a sponsor in the Student/Sponsor Partnership, a tax-exempt program that helps disadvantaged youths to earn their high school diplomas through a combination of personal and financial support.
Official Payments Expands New Jersey Contract
Official Payments Corporation ([www.officialpayments.com]) (Nasdaq: OPAY) announced it has been awarded new business with the State of New Jersey, which is incremental to the firm’s existing contracts with the state. The Internet firm’s previous agreements gave New Jersey taxpayers the ability to pay their individual return balance-due, extensions, and estimated tax payments by credit card over the telephone. The new award adds an Internet payment option to the existing contract and two new tax payment categories: New Jersey Monthly and/or Quarterly Business Sales Tax and Deficiency tax payments. Official Payments Corp. also has contracts with the United States Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, and Oklahoma and over 450 counties and municipalities in 23 states to collect taxes fees and fines by credit card.
“It’s highly gratifying when an existing client affirms your relationship by significantly increasing the scope of your business,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments. “Our earlier contracts offered toll-free telephone tax payments channels. The new award expands our offering with the Internet payment option and two additional tax payment categories,” Mr. Evans added. Official Payments, Corp made a similar announcement in January when the state of California awarded the firm incremental business.
“We are pleased to offer the credit card payment option on business sales tax as a convenient option to New Jersey’s business community,” Patricia Chiacchio, Director of the Division of Revenue said.
New Jersey Tax Statistics by Category:
Individual Taxpayers in New Jersey 4,000,000
Projected 1999 (tax year) Balance Due and Extension Payments Collected $6.7 Billion
Projected year 2000 Estimated Payments $1.6 Billion
Number of Projected FY2000 Business
Sales Tax Revenue $5.5 Billion
Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. All of the aforementioned payments can be made by calling 1-888-2-PAY-TAXSM. The New Jersey Internet payment channel is expected to go live in March. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at [www.officialpayments.com]. For example, a taxpayer who owed the government $990.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $1015.00 on their credit card statement: $990.00 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.
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 the Internet or telephone (1-888-2-PAY-TAXSM), using their credit cards. The Company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia and over 450 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, traffic fines and other government fees by credit card over the Internet and the telephone. The Company does business in 23 states and is publicly listed on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.
Clubcharlie.com and CyberMark have teamed up to provide Clubcharlie members with a multi application smart card to be used both on-line and at merchant locations. Using the ‘Clubcharlie’ smart card, members will be able to use the card for banking, debit card functionality, calling card/telephony electronic cash, ID functions and many other features that can be added from the clubcharlie.com web site. Clubcharlie.com is an independent multimedia marketing company integrating e-commerce database development and loyalty marketing with motion picture and television production designed and tailored to meet the needs of “TWEENS” and their families.Details
X.com Corp. and PayPal.com, both specialists in person-to-person payment services, announced a merger this morning. The agreement to merge as equals creates the world’s largest secure network for instant, online payments. The two companies offer free online payment services that enable customers to send money or request payment online from an individual or group, to settle online auctions instantly, and to track online payments and shipping. The combined company will have an immediate customer base of more than 500,000 users. The combined company will assume the X.com corporate name and continue to offer instant and secure person-to-person payments under the PayPal service name.Details
TransPoint LLC and GE Capital announced that GE Card Services, a company of GE Capital, is now offering the TransPoint e-bills service to its customers. As part of the agreement, GE Capital will act as a reseller of the TransPoint e-bills service. On Jan. 26, 2000, the Exxon credit card was the first GE Card Services portfolio to be brought live on TransPoint’s e-bills service.
“TransPoint’s system will help us provide a valuable new service in response to our clients’ emerging online needs,” said Michael Bucheit, vice president of E-Commerce at GE Card Services.
Through TransPoint’s online payment service, consumers can view and pay bills that arrive electronically through TransPoint, pay bills that arrive through the U.S. Postal Service, and pay nearly anyone else. With one fully integrated and convenient service, consumers with Internet access and a secure Web browser can pay all of their bills with a few clicks of a mouse. Companies that deliver bills electronically through TransPoint benefit from targeted marketing, greater control over the billing process, and personalized customer care. Their customers benefit from an easy, convenient service that is fast, flexible and credit-secured.
“By enhancing the consumer experience, TransPoint e-bills enable GE Card Services to strengthen its customers’ relationships at multiple levels,” said Ralph Young, executive vice president, TransPoint. “This agreement is a strong indication of the rapid growth TransPoint and the industry will experience this year.”
Currently, the TransPoint e-bills service is available to consumers through the MSN MoneyCentral online personal finance service at , the TransPoint Web site at , the Compass Bank Web site at , and the InterWest Bank Web site at .
About GE Capital and Card Services
With assets of more than $345 billion (U.S.), GE Capital is a global, diversified financial services company with 28 specialized businesses. A wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric Co., GE Capital, based in Stamford, Conn., provides equipment management, midmarket 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 manufacturing, technology and services company with operations worldwide.
GE Card Services is a leader in providing credit services to retailers and consumers. Formed in 1932 as a provider of consumer financing for GE Appliances, Card Services provides private-label credit cards, commercial programs and card-related financial services for hundreds of retailers and manufacturers across North America. Card Services also issues and services corporate cards for commercial customers, including purchasing, travel and fleet vehicle cards. Card Services offers clients a full range of operational, financial and analytic support, and develops customized marketing programs designed to increase sales and customer loyalty.
TransPoint, established in June 1997, is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp., with Citibank as a minority equity investor. Englewood, Colo.-based TransPoint is a leader in the emerging electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) industry with a seamless e-bills service built from the ground up. The TransPoint system uses innovative technology and integrates easily with billers’ and banks’ existing payment systems. The TransPoint service is designed to be the fast, easy way for consumers with Internet access to make all of their payments online from a single, secure Web site. Consumers can pay their bills at multiple Internet locations, including the MSN MoneyCentral personal finance online service, the TransPoint Web site, and at the Web sites of participating financial institutions. On Feb. 15, TransPoint entered into a definitive merger agreement with CheckFree Corp., a leader in electronic billing and payment. The combined technologies and relationships of the two entities are expected to accelerate moving the billing and payment process from paper to the Internet and to advance the rate at which consumers sign up for electronic billing. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase by CheckFree and is expected to be final in four to six months. More information about TransPoint is available at .Details
Hypercom Corporation introduced its comprehensive Internet based retail countertop commerce and information system to the Japanese market. Dubbed ePOS-infocommerce or ePic, the industry’s first Internet enabled POS payment terminal and server system enables merchants throughout Japan to support a range of Internet based functions via Hypercom ICE series touch screen terminals. Hypercom’s ePic also enables merchants to set up centrally hosted web stores and operate them via the terminal. ePic supports e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, interactive loyalty, electronic receipt capture, branding programs, and e-commerce — in addition to traditional secure payment processing functions.
“Until now the substantial benefits offered by the Internet have not been realized by the majority of Japan’s merchants. It has simply been too costly, too inconvenient and indeed, often not practical for many merchants to get involved with Internet based selling and promotional programs. Most importantly, virtual commerce has been all too foreign to most retailers. Hypercom’s ePic uses the familiar, ubiquitous POS payment terminal to bring the benefits of the net to the merchant. ePic also bridges the gap between brick and mortar retail and the virtual storefront,” announced George Wallner, president and CEO, Hypercom Corporation in a speech to attendees of Retail Technology Japan 2000. “We are delighted to introduce this advanced solution to the Japanese market.”
The End of ‘Little Gray Boxes’
“With ePOS-infocommerce, Hypercom transforms the little card-swipe ‘gray box’ into a networked, screen-based customer-activated platform. ePic makes possible not only secure and fast card payments but also transforms the card payment device into a platform for merchants to deliver valuable information to shoppers, whether in the physical store, in the virtual store, or in the broader Internet commerce community. With ePic, the terminal essentially becomes a narrowcast consumer channel that accepts payments,” Wallner said.
“Most importantly, ePic will expose non-Internet users to Internet content, and thus expand the reach of the Internet into an entirely new domain, to a consumer market segment that may not get on the net for years to come,” added Wallner.
Broad Industry Support for ePic
Hypercom has worked closely with industry partners spanning all aspects of the financial transactions industry, including Visa International, MasterCard International, Paymentech and other industry leaders to ensure it delivers a solution that supports the key points in the financial transactions chain.
“Hypercom’s ePic product strategy is a major step in integrating the physical and virtual payment worlds,” said Scott Thompson, executive vice president, Visa USA. “Hypercom is providing a truly innovative platform with which large numbers of retail merchants will be able to embrace the electronic commerce world.”
“ePic from Hypercom strategically converges the physical and virtual worlds, and transforms POS terminals into everyday information delivery and program access platforms that give transaction-based service providers the potential to build incremental revenue, streamline their operations, and provide consumers with an array of new services,” said Fred Gore, senior vice president, North America Acceptance, MasterCard International.
“ePic represents a new paradigm for merchants that will improve customer retention,” said Laura Rogers, group executive for product management at Paymentech, the nation’s second largest credit card processor. “Many merchants either do not have PCs, or do not have ready access to them in their stores. With Hypercom’s ePic, merchants greatly increase the functionality and programs they can perform with their ICE card payment terminals. As the first major payment network to endorse Hypercom’s ICE, we are tremendously excited about the new opportunities ePic can afford our clients who use ICE terminals.”
“ePic is a technology that can add value to the shopper’s experience at the point-of-sale,” said Bruce J. Brittain, president, Brittain Associates. “Added value creates loyalty and retention. We’ll be tracking ePic’s progress with interest.”
“Hypercom’s ePic strategy is an innovative approach that will lead to a significant and valuable transformation at the point-of-sale,” said Paul Martaus, president, Paul Martaus & Associates. “We applaud the company’s progressive leadership.”
Convergence of the Point-of-Sale and Internet: The Next Generation
Hypercom’s “next generation” ePic information delivery and program access solution lets merchants access and conduct an array of Internet-based applications that generate revenues and streamline operations. With e-mail, merchants can consolidate and expedite their communication with banks and consumers directly at the point-of-sale.
By accessing the Internet at the countertop, merchants faced with charge-back disputes can quickly connect to a receipt-storage system, locate the receipt by date and card number, and send it directly to Visa or MasterCard by electronic mail, fax or electronic data interchange.
“ePic strategically converges the physical and virtual worlds, and transforms POS terminals into everyday information delivery and program access platforms that give transaction-based service providers an unprecedented opportunity to build revenues and streamline their operations, and provides consumers with an array of new services,” Wallner said.
Sophisticated interactive messages and revenue-generating incentives can be directed to shoppers when they are interacting with, and have their attention totally focused on, Hypercom’s graphics-based ICE terminal at the point-of-sale.
Immediate on-screen access to loyalty and coupon programs can translate into high levels of consumer participation and generate additional revenues for the merchant delivering these programs. E-commerce gives small merchants the power to tap into a huge market beyond their storefront and dramatically increase sales — all at the point-of-sale.
Industry-related studies indicate that electronic and payment card transactions will continue to grow as consumers embrace the convenience and speed of card-based transactions. Within six years, electronic transactions are projected to comprise from 24% to 48% of all consumer payments. Consumers will also accept and use more automated payment channels at a rapid rate.
“Even if the percentage comes in below that projection, it is essential that small merchants move now to establish their presence on, and extend their reach to the millions of consumers purchasing goods and services over the Internet,” Wallner said. “Selling over the Internet is the most cost-effective way for merchants to dramatically extend their reach and increase sales. Indeed, it is a business imperative if merchants are to maintain and build sales.”
Hypercom’s ePic will also provide financial institutions and merchants with a new core technology that will enable them to offer a wide range of electronic payment services that are customer-oriented, business integrated and available through Hypercom’s ICE platform.
ePic builds on Hypercom’s global expertise in developing end-to-end, value-added payment, networking and fast data systems to process electronic payments.
In addition to the Hypercom ICE terminals, ePic incorporates Hypercom’s e-commerce web merchant-hosting software and Ascendent(TM) RealPay(TM) payment gateway which allows merchants to quickly set up Web storefronts and begin processing orders literally within hours. Hypercom’s Ascendent RealPay is a versatile, high-performance transaction processing software solution that allows banks and other traditional transaction processors to quickly and easily become Internet payment processors.
Because Ascendent RealPay software resides between the merchant location and payment processing host, payment processors can add new payment protocols, applications and functions quickly and easily without having to change existing legacy systems.
The rollout of Hypercom’s ePic platform components is underway now. The company will work closely with merchants who use Hypercom’s more than three million terminals to quickly transition to the new ePic system, and with millions of other merchants worldwide.
Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com].
Millionaire madness has moved to the Web! America Online and Visa U.S.A. awarded one million dollars to Franza Giffen Newsom of the San Francisco Bay Area as the lucky winner of the AOL and Visa “You’ve Got a Million” Sweepstakes.
The promotion was designed to encourage registration and use of Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout “wallet” technology, a cutting-edge online payment solution that enables consumers to pre-enter data to avoid continuously re-entering their personal and credit card information for each purchase.
“My family has been on AOL ever since we first started using the Internet six years ago, and my son, William, and I have been shopping online for quite a while. In fact, he’s the one who convinced me to sign up for AOL’s Quick Checkout because of the Visa promotion. I never expected to win one million dollars and it was a surprise to win it by shopping online,” said Franza Giffen Newsom.
Shoppers received one entry when they registered for Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout (AOL Keyword: Million) between November 1 and December 20, 1999. One grand-prize winner was chosen via a random drawing and awarded the one million dollars.
“We’re thrilled with the tremendous success of the AOL and Visa ‘You’ve Got a Million’ Sweepstakes, which resulted in a record number of Quick Checkout registrations during the promotion. Online shopping sales by AOL members surged to over $2.5 billion this holiday season and we were able to leverage the popularity of online shopping by highlighting the ease and convenience of Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout,” said Patrick Gates, AOL’s Vice President of E-commerce.
“Since more than 70 percent of new AOL wallet registrations during the promotion were made with Visa cards, this program was a tremendous success,” said Gerry Sweeney, vice president, marketing, e-Visa. “By making online shopping safe, easy and convenient for our cardholders, we continue to drive volume for our Member banks and establish Visa as the currency of the Internet.”
Recently, Visa backed their claim that its system is the safest way to pay on the Internet after announcing that overall card losses have dropped to an all-time low of 0.06%of total transaction volume – or just 6 cents for every $100 in transactions. That’s down from 0.07% in 1998 and 0.18% in 1992.
This April, the company will introduce a new zero liability rule for cardholders that virtually eliminates consumer liability in cases of Visa card fraud over the Visa system, thus making it even easier for consumers to shop online.
About AOL’s Quick Checkout
America Online, Inc. was one of the first companies to recognize the need for an express payment system for online purchases. In fall 1998, the Company launched “Quick Checkout,” a wallet technology that allows for a more streamlined shopping process and dramatically reduces the time during which transactions occur.
Customers enter routinely requested information, including up to 10 credit cards, billing information and up to 50 shipping addresses, allowing them to shop seamlessly across AOL’s participating merchant partners.
Quick Checkout is a complimentary shopping service available to users of the AOL Shopping destinations: Shop@AOL, Shop@AOL.COM, Shop@CompuServe, Shop@Netscape, Shop@Spinner and Shop@Digital City. Online shoppers using any of these destinations need to register for a Quick Checkout account only once to use it across each of the sites
AOL Member Benefits
AOL has always been dedicated to bringing members the most rewarding experience in cyberspace. Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout, coupled with other AOL premium service’s, including: seven screen names, Buddy Lists and Instant Messaging, built in Parental Controls, and round-the-clock customer service, have helped build America Online’s loyal audience of more than 21 million members. Recognizing the ever-increasing value of AOL membership, AOL subscribers are now averaging more than one hour online daily.
Additionally, AOL continues to take member benefits to the next level by aligning with premier companies to offer AOL Long Distance, AOL Visa and the AOL AAdvantage Rewards program, recently announced with American Airlines.
What’s more, on February 11, AOL launched the AOL Insiders Savings Club, an exclusive club enabling AOL members to save money on a wide range of goods and services through the purchasing power of the world’s largest online community.
By teaming with leading partners and merchants, the AOL Insiders Savings club aggregates the best bargains in cyberspace in one convenient location – AOL Keyword: Insider Savings – and delivers them directly to members’ mailboxes.
About America Online, Inc.
Founded in 1985, America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world’s leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies, and e-commerce services.
America Online, Inc. operates two worldwide Internet services: America Online, with more than 21 million members, and CompuServe, with approximately 2 million members; several leading Internet brands including ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Digital City, Inc.; the Netscape Netcenter and AOL.COM portals; the Netscape Navigator and Communicator browsers; AOL MovieFone, the nation’s No. 1 movie listing guide and ticketing service; and Spinner Networks and NullSoft, Inc., leaders in Internet music.
Through its strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems, the Company develops and offers easy-to-deploy, end-to-end e-commerce and enterprise solutions for companies operating in the Net Economy.
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 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 $660 billion in annual transaction volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 17 million locations worldwide, including some 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com].
A division of Visa U.S.A., e-Visa was created to accelerate mass adoption of electronic commerce and to position Visa as the currency of the e-economy. The division consolidates all of Visa’s e-commerce competencies, including brand marketing, processing systems, operations, business development and alliances and partnerships into one unit.
e-Visa is designed to enable Visa Member banks to better serve their customers – including cardholders, merchants and businesses – and to compete by differentiating themselves in the emerging e-economy.