Staples VISA Card

Staples and U.S. Bancorp have teamed up to offer a ‘VISA Business Card’. The card is the first credit card to be offered by an office supplies retailer and one of the only business cards to offer rewards with no annual fee. Staples is the number one issuer of VISA small business cards in terms of sales volume and number of cards issued. Under the VISA program, cardholders will earn points redeemable for free Staples products and services, free airline tickets, restaurant and movie certificates, hotel accommodations and rental car services. The points are accrued at the company level and can be used by the business or gifted to employees or customers. Nationwide rollout and marketing of the new card is underway in all 840 U.S. stores. Card applications will be available online at beginning March 1. The Staples private label credit card is currently issued by Associates.


AICPA Signs Paymentech

The AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) has selected Paymentech, the nation’s second largest acquirer and processor of credit card transactions, to provide exclusive credit card processing for 340,000 members and their respective firms and businesses. Paymentech has developed a business-to-business electronic payment program that will enhance cash flow.

AICPA participants in this special program can accept credit card payments at discounted rates while enjoying premium service levels. All AICPA members are eligible to receive reliable processing with low, qualified swipe rates through Paymentech’s merchant services.

The credit card program enables AICPA members to offer their clients and customers flexible payment options. Members can pre-authorize payments, such as monthly retainers, so recurring charges are automatically billed and collected. Card acceptance also allows AICPA practitioners to assist clients and customers in managing pay plans and expense tracking.

AICPA members can reduce overhead expenses and save time on management of billing, statements and receivables. AICPA members may also request a competitive analysis of their current processing costs. To obtain additional information about the AICPA program, members should contact Paymentech at 1-800-824-4313.

Founded in 1985, Dallas-based Paymentech ([][1]) delivers premier electronic payment solutions for merchant acquiring, point-of-sale processing and commercial card programs. The nation’s second largest processor and acquirer of credit card transactions is also a leader in Internet payments. Paymentech annually processes approximately three billion total transactions and $93 billion in bankcard sales volume.




American Express announced yesterday it has purchased 4,562 ATMS from EDS. The machines are located in 7-Eleven stores in 27 states and Washington, DC. With the acquisition AmEx will become the second largest ATM owner in the U.S. with 8,762 machines. American Express also announced Tuesday that it will begin branding its entire ATM network this year with the name ‘ATM Axis’. Each machine will carry the ‘ATM Axis’ logo and the American Express blue box logo by the end of the year. Under terms of the deal, EDS will continue to provide transaction processing, ATM driving and information management services for the machines.


Providian Online

Providian reports this morning that its Internet activities has produced more than 220,000 online credit card accounts and $750 million in Internet retail deposits. One year ago, Providian embarked on strategy to acquire online financial services firms such as Providian also launched last May. In just six months, Providian had opened more than 100,000 new Aria credit card accounts. The LookSmart directory and search engine has become the primary online advertising channel for the Aria brand. The company says Internet-sourced retail deposits increased by 800% in 1999. Providian says also achieved record numbers for fiscal 1999, with revenue growing by 150% and repeat customer transactions up 700% compared to the prior fiscal year.


TRM Expansion

Portland-based TRM Corp. reports this morning it has a backlog of 1,000 ATM sites set to deploy worldwide. Having launched ATM operations late in the first quarter of 1999, the company rapidly expanded its ATM business ending the year with 392 units deployed in the U.S. and 51 in Europe. TRM also reported that gross revenue for the fourth quarter increased to $17.9 million up from $17.5 million in the fourth quarter of 1998 with annual gross revenues of $68.3 million compared to $68.7 million in 1998.


SCF Set for Next Week

‘Retail Commerce and Smart Cards’

Smart Card Forum Conference to feature leading retailers and Internet giant Yahoo! Retail industry expert, Tony Surtees

What: ‘Retail Commerce and Smart Cards’ hosted by the Smart Card Forum in Salt Lake City, Utah. High profile retailers with a presence in both the physical and virtual environments will describe their business drivers, key business requirements, and their experiences with smart card solutions. The event has an impressive line-up of speakers who will discuss the application of smart cards in retail from all perspectives. Business cases will be studied and analyzed as a part of the session, with leading retailers talking about the issues and offering answers. The conference will be kicked-off by Tony Surtees of Yahoo! and will wrap up with a panel of business leaders from American Express, MasterCard and Visa who will talk about the financial industry view on retail applications of smart cards.

The Smart Card Forum Educational Institute, the industry leading program on smart card system educational will lead the conference off. A special tutorial entitled ‘Retail and Smart Cards 101’ will be held on the afternoon of 22 February. See [][1] for the full program.

Who: ‘Retail Commerce and Smart Cards’ is hosted by The Smart Card Forum, a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members and the largest smart card industry organization.

Where: Salt Lake City Hilton; Salt Lake City, Utah

When: Educational Institute: Monday 21 February from 1-5; Tuesday from 8:30-5:00 Retail and Smart Cards 101: Tuesday 22 February from 1:15-5:00 Retail Commerce and Smart Cards Conference: Wednesday 23 Feb 8-6; Thursday 24 Feb 8-4.

Registration: Registration and other information, including a complete program agenda, can be found at [][2]



BofA Natl Ads Break

Bank of America launched a new national advertising campaign that is aimed at communicating the Bank of America brand promise: to make banking work in ways it never has before.

The campaign, which appears nationally on television, radio and in print, emphasizes the bank’s customer-centered approach, reflecting the commitment of Bank of America associates to fully understand their customers’ financial status and to help them find the most suitable solutions to their financial needs.

According to Barbara Desoer, director of Marketing for Bank of America, the advertising campaign is part of an integrated marketing program that not only represents a major investment in the Bank of America brand, but also leverages the bank’s new strategy.

“During the past 20 years, our strategic focus was on building out our national presence through mergers and acquisitions,” said Desoer. “Today, our franchise is built,” she said. “Our mission now is to realize our full potential. As our advertising illustrates, we will begin to achieve this goal by building customer/client relationships.”

The Bank of America advertising campaign focuses on the recognition that customers have different financial needs and opportunities and approach the bank in many ways, such as at banking centers and online, and in varying roles, such as investors, small business owners and commercial clients. “With this campaign, the bank will demonstrate that the company aims to set a new standard in banking — raising the bar for people’s expectations for the bank,” said Desoer.

“In short, we’re telling customers that they don’t have to accept ill- fitting solutions with which they have to ‘make do,'” she said. “We want to make sure they are aligned with the right services, using the bank products or investments that are most advantageous to them.”

The advertising campaign, which was created by Bozell Temerlin McClain, Dallas and New York, uses several straightforward, humorous vignettes to spotlight that Bank of America takes the time to understand all the important nuances of a customer’s financial situation in order to provide just the right financial solution.

The campaign’s underlying strategy is to dispel the common notion that banks generally offer their customers products that are in the institution’s own best interest rather than the customer’s best interest. Bank of America associates, however, seek to understand the full range of a customer’s financial situation to be able to recommend the most appropriate financial products and services, often including solutions the customer had not thought about.

The campaign, which includes television, radio and print advertising in major business and news publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Money and Fortune, will continue through the end of May. Several radio and print ads in selected markets will focus exclusively on small-business customers and clients, and will appear in Newsweek, Time, and The Wall Street Journal regional editions, as well as local business journals.

Some ads will specifically target African-American, Asian and Hispanic market segments. The ads for the Asian and Hispanic markets will be in their native languages, including Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish.

Bank of America, with $633 billion in assets, is the largest bank in the United States. It has full-service operations in 21 states and the District of Columbia and provides financial products and services to 30 million households and two million businesses, as well as providing international corporate financial services for business transactions in 190 countries. The company’s stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges, and certain shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.



Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced the expansion of an agreement with National Bank Drafting Systems Inc. to include the full set of ECHO credit card services.

These services include:

– ECHONLINE and ECHONET — ECHO’s two Internet-based processing services

– ECHOTERM — ECHO’s point-of-sale terminal-based services

– ECHOWARE — ECHO’s PC-based processing services

– ECHOFAXPAY — ECHO’s fax-based processing service

– ECHOTEL — ECHO’s telephone-based processing service

In October, 1999, ECHO and NBDS signed a five-year agreement for ECHO to develop and process online check services for NBDS. This agreement has been expanded to include the credit card services offered by ECHO. In December, 1999, ECHO and NBDS announced the first check product developed under the agreement, CHEXpedite, a fully Internet-based check processing service.

NBDS, a sales and marketing organization, is composed of more than 1,700 licensed affiliates nationwide.

“After working closely with the NBDS management team for several months, I continue to be impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment to their customers and their licensees,” stated Dave Griffin, vice president of ECHO. “We are truly honored to have such a motivated and competent sales team taking ECHO’s credit card services to the street,” stated Griffin.

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.


Self Checkout

Montreal-based Optimal Robotics unveiled two new systems yesterday that extend the application of self-checkout to virtually any retail checklane. ‘U-Scan Solo’ is a free standing self-checkout system that will be marketed to drugstores and similar sized retailers. The compact system is also well suited for smaller retail outlets that are short on space. The ‘U-Scan Carousel’ is an expanded version of the ‘U-Scan Express’ that accommodates shoppers making large order purchases. The new system will feature six bagging racks uniquely placed on a circular platform making self-checkout easily for large order shoppers while occupying the same amount of space as a ‘U-Scan Express’ system. Like the ‘U-Scan Express’, both new U-Scan systems will accept cash, coins, credit cards and debit cards, and feature touch-screen monitors and voice prompts to guide shoppers through the transaction process. The systems will also come equipped with built-in security controls, including video cameras and bagging platforms that recognize the weight of each scanned item within 1/100th of a pound.


Leveling Off

Delinquency dropped last month and chargeoffs remained fairly level among $212 billion of card-backed securities. Fitch IBCA says it anticipates slow receivable growth, ongoing consolidation and higher interest rates to resonate as key themes throughout the industry in 2000. Based on Fitch IBCA’s latest ‘Credit Card Index’ the delinquency index reversed course from the prior month, snapping a string of five consecutive increases during which the index rose 10.5%. Taken with declining bankruptcy filings, the latest results could portend improved chargeoff performance in the months ahead as delinquencies pull back from their recent highs. As anticipated, the chargeoff index rose slightly versus month-earlier levels, adding four basis points to settle at 5.53%.

Jan00 5.53% 19.36% 16.71% 3.17% 5.89%
Dec99 5.49% 19.17% 16.05% 3.26% 6.05%
Nov99 5.28% 19.63% 16.29% 3.19% 6.10%
Oct99 5.21% 18.78% 16.84% 3.10% 5.89%
Sep99 5.58% 19.62% 16.99% 3.00% 5.81%
Aug99 5.55% 19.04% 16.56% 2.96% 5.80%
Jul99 5.75% 18.86% 16.44% 2.95% 5.63%
Jun99 5.95% 19.71% 16.36% 3.03% 6.04%
May99 5.91% 18.65% 15.96% 3.02% 5.64%
Apr99 5.94% 20.24% 16.87% 3.14% 5.92%
Mar99 6.05% 19.49% 15.44% 3.25% 5.69%
Feb99 6.10% 19.23% 15.82% 3.28% 5.37%
Jan99 6.00% 19.57% 15.62% 3.15% 5.34%

CO-chargeoffs; GY-gross yield; MP-monthly payment rate; DL- 60+ day
delinquency rate; SP-3-month excess spread
Source: Fitch IBCA Credit Card Index


Peregrine Sets Up UK Shop

Peregrine Systems, the world leading provider of exception management software solutions to the card payments industry, Monday opened a new sales office in Birmingham to serve the UK market. Dramatic growth and a threefold increase in its UK customer base led to the expansion of Peregrine into the UK. This is the first of three planned overseas locations and will be followed by offices in the USA and Germany. The company, headquartered in Ireland, sees the opening of its first regional office as a real milestone as it embarks on an international expansion strategy.

To spearhead this initiative, Nigel Eades has been appointed as UK general manager. With over twenty years’ experience in the IT sector, Eades joins Peregrine from IKON Office Solutions (ISS), where he was european managing director. In this new position, Eades has responsibility for developing the UK marketplace for Peregrine’s range of solutions and professional services.

Eades said, ‘My immediate priority is to get to know our existing customers and to ensure they are receiving the attention they merit. Longer-term, my objectives are to grow the business and build up a team of experts to represent Peregrine here in the UK. This is a challenging but exciting opportunity to join Peregrine at such a opportune time in its evolution.’

The UK is a primary market for Peregrine who will be focusing on medium to large card issuers, acquirers and processors. Brian Caulfield, managing director, is confident that the next twelve months will see a heightened presence of the company and its products in the region.

Caulfield said, ‘When you have a growing number of customers it’s obvious that you need someone on the ground to manage those relationships. Our local presence positions us to take advantage of a fast-growing and thriving marketplace. We are sure that our customers in the UK will benefit greatly from the extra support the UK regional office can provide.

‘Peregrine is delighted to have Nigel on board. His expertise and experience is invaluable to the team. His depth of industry knowledge coupled with his proven track record have made him uniquely qualified for this position – we found the right person at the right time,’ said Caulfield.

A team specialising in the areas of sales, customer support and account development will join Eades as the business develops. ENDS Photography Available on Request

About Peregrine

Established in 1992 and headquartered in Dublin, Peregrine Systems is the leading provider of exception management solutions to the card payments industry. The company focuses on ‘Making Payment Systems Pay’ – enhancing the profitability of card programmes with innovative software solutions. Its product suite consists of ICS (Issuer Chargeback System), ICS/Fraud and MERCS (Merchant Chargeback System). Peregrine Systems’ professional services division offers a comprehensive programme of consultancy, training, implementation and support services to its customers world-wide.

In the past three years, Peregrine has achieved an average year on year growth rate of over 100%. Peregrine serves its client base from Ireland and the UK and through a global network of strategic alliances. Clients include over 50 major financial institutions in Europe, The Middle East, Africa and the USA.


Extensity & VISA

Extensity Inc. announced an alliance with Visa International to integrate the Visa Purchasing card solution with Extensity’s Purchase Reqs application to increase the value of companies’ investments in Visa Purchasing and to make financial accounting for corporate procurement easier and more accurate.

Visa Purchasing is a corporate payment card solution that supports business-to-business procurement and is targeted at medium-to-large sized organizations and the public sector. Extensity Purchase Reqs is an Internet- based software application that automates the internal requisition and approval processes for the procurement of non-production goods and services, like office supplies, maintenance services, and computer accessories. Together, these products will automate the order, payment, reconciliation and data integration processes for corporate purchasing while sparing organizations complex and time-consuming paperwork for small purchases.

Three dramatic benefits are expected to result from the integration of Extensity Purchase Reqs with Visa Purchasing:

1) Customers will see more cost savings from their purchase card program, as Extensity Purchase Reqs automatically selects Visa Purchasing as the payment type for all appropriate transactions, increasing purchase card volume and associated savings.

2) Reconciliation of Visa Purchasing statement data will be faster and more accurate since all purchases requisitioned via Extensity Purchase Reqs will be automatically updated with the detailed line item cost allocation data captured at the time of requisition.

3) Visa InfoSpan(TM), a proprietary desktop reporting system for commercial card products, will provide enhanced reporting based on the detailed data provided by Extensity Purchase Reqs software. For example, InfoSpan will be able to produce more detailed cost allocation data, improved spending analyses and enhanced tax reporting for purchases made through Extensity Purchase Reqs.

“Visa Purchasing is a powerful solution for organizations looking to simplify corporate purchasing. Through data integration with Extensity Purchase Reqs, we’re providing customers with a solution that provides even more accurate data and less guesswork when it comes time to account for corporate purchases,” Keiron Lynch, Vice President, Visa International Commercial Product Platforms.

“This alliance further extends our vision of integrating online data with our applications to help make employees more productive and companies more efficient. As a result of this integration, customers will have better data, will spend less money on internal processes and have more time to focus on strategic business decisions,” said Elizabeth Ireland, Vice President of Marketing, Extensity. This integration follows the prior integration of credit card data feeds from corporate cards into Extensity Expense Reports, the Extensity’s travel and expense reporting solution.

The Extensity / Visa International alliance will be offered to companies throughout the USA and European Union regions. Visa International will also support Extensity as it expands its presence into the global marketplace.

About VISA

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay,” Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and the largest payment system worldwide 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 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 80 smart card programs in 35 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are over 880 million Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate more than US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 18 million worldwide locations, including at more than 530,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [][1].

About Extensity

Extensity provides Internet-based workforce optimization solutions designed to improve the productivity of employees across the enterprise and to enhance operating efficiency. Extensity’s solutions transform the way companies do business by automating routine and time consuming administrative tasks including management of: travel and expense, procurement and billable time, so that employees can focus on higher-value core business activities. As a result, enterprise organizations are able to realize a rapid return on investment. Extensity has over 300,000 seats licensed worldwide to 70 customers, including: BEA Systems, Cendant Business Services, Cisco Systems, Clarify, Documentum, Gelco Information Network, Genesys Telecommunications, Home Box Office and Sybase. More information about Extensity is available on its web site located at [][2].