MBNA Endorsed by Carnegie Hall

MBNA announced today Carnegie Hall’s endorsement of MBNA’s credit card services to its supporters. Carnegie Hall has, for more than a century, set the standard for excellence in performance. The world’s outstanding classical artists, as well as the greatest popular musicians, dancers, politicians, authors, and public figures have appeared on its stage. It stands as the embodiment of the aspirations of all those who have sustained our musical culture and convey it to future generations.

“We are pleased to have the endorsement of a great organization like Carnegie Hall,” said John Cochran, chief marketing officer of MBNA. “We look forward to providing their supporters with high quality products and customer service.”

Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, said, “We are thrilled to be able to work with MBNA to develop close relationships with people both nationally and internationally.” Jay Golan, Carnegie Hall’s Director of Development and Planning, added, “We see the development of a close relationship to card-holders as a means of to broaden our reach, as well as a much needed revenue base for operation of the Hall into the 21st Century.”

MBNA Corporation, a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America, N.A., a national bank, has $72.3 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products.


Discover The Slopes

Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., today announced the latest in a series of merchant initiatives– “Discover the Slopes.” The program offers participating ski area restaurants, sporting goods, lodging and recreational services providers in Colorado, Utah, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, free Discover/Novus Network discount fees for the month of February.

A mailing was distributed by Discover Card that details the offer to merchants that currently accept Discover Card as well as to those who do not. All merchants that enroll in the program will receive a full rebate of their discount fees for the month of February along with complimentary signage, customized check presenters and tip trays, as appropriate. The merchant’s obligation is to simply use the promotional products and display promotional signage to encourage the use of Discover Card.

“The Discover the Slopes program is the latest step in our initiative to strengthen our relationships with merchants,” said Tom Dailey, senior vice president, Discover Financial Services, Inc. “This program gives merchants a direct benefit from working with Discover Card and it is helping expand the reach of our Network even further.”

Last year, Discover Card launched a series of initiatives to help merchants reduce the costs of credit card transactions and urged merchants to shift their business away from Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The Discover the Slopes program is the latest in a series of efforts to increase acceptance of the Discover Card while working with merchants to build their own businesses.

The Discover the Slopes program will benefit Discover Cardmembers with a double Cashback Bonus award of an additional 1% during the month of February when they use their cards at participating merchant locations. Also, Cardmembers can redeem coupons for 20% off the lowest marked price of any ski or snowboard equipment or apparel at Sportmart or Gart Sports when they use their Discover Card. Cardmembers who use their Discover Card to reserve lodging at participating merchants will receive a complimentary Discover the Slopes Survival kit, including items such as lip balm, a hand warmer, an energy bar, hot cocoa packet and Discover Card application.

Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., operates the Discover 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.


Summit Bank Renews FDR Agreement

First Data Resources today announced that Summit Bank has signed a five-year contract extension for First Data to process the bank’s 1.3 million off-line debit cards. As of Dec. 31, First Data processed over 1.16 billion off-line debit card transactions-a 56.5 percent increase in the number of transactions handled during the same period for the previous year. The significant growth is due to the growth of First Data’s existing debit card issuing partners and the overall industry growth in debit card transaction volume. First Data currently provides off-line processing for more than 56 million debit cards issued by over 500 financial institutions.


AmEx Membership B@anking Enhancements

American Express announced today a series of enhancements to its online bank, Membership B@nking, including:

Free Quicken TurboTax Deluxe software for new customers who open qualifying accounts by March 8, 2000. This offer is part of a new marketing agreement with Intuit in which both companies will promote Membership B@nking and TurboTax Deluxe to their respective customer bases through co-branded online advertising, direct mail and other marketing initiatives;

5.65% annual percentage yield on Money Market Accounts-up from 5.00 percent APY – making it one of the most competitive rates in the country and more than double the national average; and

No-fee interest checking account, earning a 2.00% APY and offering free unlimited electronic bill payment and ATM surcharge rebates. No-fee interest checking is available only to customers who are taking advantage of the TurboTax offer.

American Express Membership B@nking will mail new customers free TurboTax Deluxe software when they open a Money Market and/or No-Fee Interest Checking account with an initial deposit of $500 or more by March 8, 2000. New customers who open an account with $1,000 or more will receive a $50 bonus deposited into their account in addition to the free copy of TurboTax software.


Telephone Pioneers Endorse MBNA

The Telephone Pioneers of America, who have enjoyed a successful partnership with MBNA America since 1985, have recently entered into an agreement to endorse MBNA Canada’s credit card services to its Canadian membership.

The Pioneers organization was founded in 1911, and represents 80,000 members in Canada and nearly 800,000 members across North America. These members are current employees and former employees of telecommunications companies, and together they have become major contributors to their communities. With a primary focus on education, Pioneers also serve their communities in numerous other ways, from improving the quality of life for the disabled to preserving the environment to forming the critical support required during times of disaster.

The Telephone Pioneers join more than 200 groups such as the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Football League and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons that have endorsed MBNA Canada’s credit card services since 1998.

MBNA Corporation (NYSE: KRB), a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America, N.A., a national bank, has $72.3 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products.


Windows Smart Cards Gaining

At the GSM World Congress, Microsoft announced that within three months of the launch of Microsoft Windows for Smart Cards at Cartes 99, it has received orders for over 15 million Windows Powered Smart Cards solutions from card manufacturers. The first companies to use the Windows for Smart Cards operating system include British Telecommunications PLC, which is taking part in a pilot program aimed at bringing one-touch remote network access to mobile workers, and BRED Banque Populaire in France, which will offer a full authentication and security solution for business-to-business Internet commerce. At the conference, Microsoft will demonstrate phone calls on GSM cards using Windows for Smart Cards with customized services for carriers such as e-mail, calendar, stock quotes and other Internet applications.


Canadians & Cash

ACNielsen Canada, an operating unit of ACNielsen Corporation, reported that cash is still the preferred retail payment method among Canadian adults. According to the recent telephone survey of 2,000 primary household grocery shoppers age 18 or older, cash was used in six out of their past 10 retail transactions. Debit cards were used for three transactions, while credit cards accounted for one transaction. Cheques and all other available payment methods were used in just two percent of all retail transactions.

Each payment method was used most often by different demographic and geographic groups. Younger consumers used debit cards more frequently than other groups, with the highest use reported in Quebec and in the Prairies. Credit cards registered the highest usage rates among baby boomers, especially those living in Western Canada. Use of both debit and credit cards was highest among more educated and wealthier consumers. Less educated, poorer and older consumers were most likely to use cash.

According to Tim Hodapp, vice president of ACNielsen DJC Research, consumers clearly have safety concerns about payment cards. “In the eyes of the consumers, no payment method is absolutely safe, but they are especially concerned about debit and credit cards. Thirty-nine percent of all respondents said they were either concerned or very concerned about the safety of debit cards — perhaps a result of recent publicity about debit card scams. Thirty-six percent reported safety concerns about credit cards.”

Concern over debit cards was highest in Quebec (47.7 percent). As for credit card safety, residents of the Prairies registered the most concern (40.8 percent).

ACNielsen, offering services in over 100 countries and with 1998 revenues of $1.4 billion, is the global leader in delivering market research, information and analysis to the consumer products and service industries. ACNielsen Canada is based in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices in Vancouver and Montreal.


DCT Joins GlobalPlatform

Digital Courier Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of advanced e-payment services specializing in fraud and risk management, announced that it has joined GlobalPlatform, a global smart card standards organization.  A cross-industry enterprise which represents the interests of smart card issuers, acceptance device suppliers, card vendors, public entities, industry groups and technology companies, GlobalPlatform will develop and implement dynamic, multiple application smart card technical standards for use around the globe.

“Our membership in GlobalPlatform will help ensure that DCTI remains on the forefront of electronic payment service technology,” stated Don Marshall, DCTI’s President.  “With the continued expansion of Internet commerce worldwide and the growing popularity of smart cards in Europe, we see smart cards playing an increasingly important role in payment transactions throughout the world.  DCTI is prepared to meet that demand,” Marshall continued.

As a member of GlobalPlatform’s Business Committee, DCTI will participate in strategy and policy development for the group’s Open Platform.  “The Business Committee will help influence the speed and ease of smart card technology adoption,” said Steve Brown, GlobalPlatform’s Chairman.  “As a leader in the Internet payments industry, DCTI will be an important contributor to the development and implementation of this important commerce medium.”

GlobalPlatform’s objective is to promote an open smart card standard and includes some of the world’s largest technology and processing leaders including Motorola, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Toshiba and ACI.  DCTI recently announced an agreement with Mondex, a MasterCard International subsidiary, to collaborate on a strategic worldwide alliance for integration of Mondex’s electronic cash payment capabilities with DCTI’s Internet payment products and services.  DCTI’s active involvement in both programs is intended to enhance and secure the company’s smart card strategy.

DCTI is at the forefront of Internet payment technology.  A recognized specialist in risk management and fraud control, DCTI provides highly- scalable, reliable and fully-integrated payment software and systems for businesses, Internet merchants and financial institutions.  DCTI understands its customers’ critical success factors and has made aggressive investments in equipment and worldwide infrastructure to deliver an unparalleled platform to the electronic commerce environment.  Payment features of the DCTI system include advanced authentication, validation, fraud screening, payment authorization, settlement and real-time reporting.  DCTI’s notable client base and affiliations include U.S. and international banks and merchants, and ongoing development partnerships with industry leaders that include Mondex, National Australia Bank Group, TSAI and GlobalPlatform.  For more information about DCTI, visit the website at [http://www.dcourier.com][1].

GlobalPlatform’s efforts to advance common specifications will be accelerated by the transfer of the Open Platform card specifications and terminal framework developed by Visa International.  Open Platform technology can be implemented with the Java Card(tm) platform from Sun* Microsystems and Microsoft* Windows* for Smart Cards.  GlobalPlatform will manage, promote and evolve the Open Platform specifications to ensure that card issuers are provided with a wide choice of card technologies with common back-end systems for application loading and management.

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, which could significantly affect expected results in the future from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of the Company. Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, without limitation, risks relating to the Company’s continued ability to create or acquire products and services that customers will find attractive and the potential for increased competition which could affect pricing and profitability.

[1]: http://www.dcourier.com/


eFunds IPO

Deluxe Corp. announced Monday that its board of directors has approved a plan for a strategic realignment of Deluxe that will create two independent companies. Under the plan Deluxe will combine eFunds and iDLX Technology Partners businesses into a separate, independent publicly traded company, to be called eFunds Corporation. Meanwhile, Deluxe Paper Payment Systems will continue to operate under the Deluxe Corp. name. Deluxe intends to sell a minority interest in eFunds to the public through an initial public offering. Under yesterday’s plan, J.A. Blanchard will become chairman and CEO of eFunds Corporation while Debra Janssen will become president and COO. Lawrence Mosner, currently vice chairman of Deluxe Corp., will become chairman and CEO of Deluxe Corp. and Ronald Eilers will become president and COO.


Infobank Gets VISA Blessing

Infobank International Holdings PLC today announced that it has become one of the first European e-procurement software vendors to be named by Visa EU as an approved solutions provider. This enables users of Infobank InTrade, the company’s flagship business-to- business e-commerce software suite, to conduct electronic payment transactions through the Visa Purchasing international payment network.  It also allows seamless integration between InTrade and users of Visa Purchasing.

The integration of the Visa Purchasing functionality into Infobank InTrade provides large organizations with electronic access to a global network enabling the settlement of transactions and the delivery of data.  The combined solution offers a seamless end-to-end electronic process, providing organizations with substantial cost savings in the purchasing and accounts payable areas.  By integrating Visa Purchasing with InTrade, Visa is also able to provide enhanced management information, delivered in real-time, allowing corporate clients to make better informed purchasing decisions.

Alain Falys, senior vice president for commercial products at Visa EU, said, “It is critical for the growth of the business-to-business electronic commerce market over the coming years that users are provided with simple payment methods.  Through our integration with Infobank’s InTrade product suite, we have taken another step towards opening up the benefits of electronic commerce via the Visa Purchasing network to thousands of businesses throughout the world.”

Graham Sadd, CEO of Infobank said, “We are delighted to have completed this integration and to have secured this endorsement from Visa.  Our ability to offer to Infobank InTrade’s corporate customers and suppliers the world’s leading international payment processing service adds significant additional value to our offering and further enhances the international capabilities of the InTrade product suite.  This further develops our strategy of integrating with best of breed vendors in all aspects of business to business e-commerce to optimise the efficiency of our customers’ supply chains on an international basis.”

In a separate development, Infobank announced that a leading UK supplier of industrial and commercial supplies and equipment has signed an agreement with BT to use BT SupplyCentre.  It is anticipated that the customer will go live on SupplyCentre in the next few weeks.

BT SupplyCentre offers a trading system that removes current inefficiencies from the supply chain and adds new benefits.  Using secure Internet technology, both buyers and suppliers operate within an on-screen trading environment accessing current availability and prices on-screen, in real time.  In addition, suppliers can electronically update product information, special offers and up-to-the-minute availability, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for customers anywhere in the world.

As the world’s best way to pay, Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer 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 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over 8 million Visa Cash cards.  Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce.

There are more than 800 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate nearly US$1.4 trillion in annual volume.  Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than 16 million worldwide locations, including at over 480,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network.  Visa’s Internet address is [http://www.visa.com][1].

Founded in 1994, Infobank International Holdings PLC is a world leader in the provision of electronic procurement and delivery systems.  InTrade(TM) is the company’s flagship e-Commerce suite of integrated e-Procurement software. InTrade is the only business-to-business e-Procurement system that provides multiple currencies, Euro, multiple languages, multiple suppliers and multiple location support across the whole spectrum of the supply chain, from the largest corporate purchasers to the smallest suppliers.  Infobank InTrade is based on standard browser technology and is developed on open, non-proprietary technology, which provides organizations with a future-proofed solution for both buyers and suppliers worldwide.  The InTrade product suite consists of InTrade e-Hub(TM), InTrade Purchaser and InTrade Supplier.

[1]: http://www.visa.com/



Motorola will unveil this morning the next generation of contactless smart cards for mass transit that will set new transaction speed records and security levels. The ‘M-Smart Mercury MM4000L’ cards also offers a 70% increase in reading distance, superior multi-application capabilities and ISO standards compatibility. The ‘M-Smart Mercury MM4000L’ is the first contactless smart card with built-in DES processor, the first to achieve sub-100 millisecond transactions with triple-DES, the first ASIC card to achieve ISO 14443B compatibility, and the first ASIC card to provide options for eight different memory configurations. In addition to the DES security and eight different memory configurations, the card has other features that position it to support multiple applications. The multi-application and security features create the possibility for new uses of the card, such as the secure re-loading of transit fares over the Internet. Or, transit operators can start with the ‘M-Smart Mercury’ card for automated fare collection as a first step, and then recruit partners to add applications to the system.