Titanium Wars Ignite

With gold cards heading downscale and platinum cards becoming commonplace, the “Titanium” battle has drawn a few major players. MBNA has now entered the latest marketing war with a no-annual-fee ‘Titanium MasterCard’ featuring a 2.9% intro rate and a 13.99% go-to rate. MBNA Titanium cardholders also get online access to account information and access to Palladian Travel Services, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Fleet also introduced a ‘Titanium MasterCard’. Last summer the card featured a fixed 9.99% APR. However Fleet is now offering, online, its lowest interest rate, a fixed 7.99% for Titanium. Fleet is offering instant online approvals for the product. Meanwhile the pioneer of Titanium cards, First USA, may be toning down its offerings. Last summer, First USA offered a 1.9% fixed intro rate on its ‘Titanium VISA’ card with a go-to rate of Prime +3.9%. However Bank One and First USA have been re-pricing card offers, switching from a fixed 9.99% APR to a Prime +4.99% rate. FULL STORY:


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


Associates Names Investor Relations Head

Associates First Capital Corporation announced that Dianne Douglas, 43, will assume responsibility for investor relations. Douglas returns as senior vice president, investor relations after a one-year hiatus during which she gained operations experience as a key executive in the corporation’s business development and insurance division. She will report to Keith W. Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer.

“Dianne Douglas has a firm grasp of the financial services business, and is known and respected by the analyst community,” said Hughes. “The elevation of this position reflects the importance we place on assuring our shareholders’ perspective is reflected in our business. We expect the transition to be transparent.”

Douglas’ 16 years with the corporation includes positions in corporate planning, control and accounting. She was for more than two years the liaison with Ford Motor Company’s financial services group during the time The Associates was a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford.

She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has a Master of Arts degree in accounting from the University of North Texas. Douglas also is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute.

Associates First Capital Corporation, established in 1918, is a leading diversified finance company providing consumer and commercial finance, leasing, insurance and related services worldwide. The Associates has operations in the United States and 14 international markets. Headquartered in Dallas, it is the largest publicly traded finance company in the United States, based on total market capitalization. For more information, visit The Associates Web site on [http://www.theassociates.com][1].

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


Intuit Names CEO

Intuit Inc. announced Monday that its board of directors has selected Stephen M. Bennett as president and chief executive officer. Bennett assumes his responsibilities immediately, succeeding Bill Campbell, who had been acting chief executive since September. Campbell is retiring from day-to-day responsibilities but will remain chairman of the board of directors. Bennett was also named to the board.

Bennett, 45, was most recently an executive vice president and member of the Office of the CEO at GE Capital, the financial services subsidiary of General Electric Corp. GE Capital is the world leader in numerous financial industries, including private label credit cards, commercial equipment leasing and vendor finance. With $330 billion in assets, GE Capital provides 42% of General Electric’s overall profits and is among the world’s largest non-banking financial institutions.

“Steve is an outstanding leader from a company renowned for strong leadership,” said Campbell. “His experience is tailor-made to fit Intuit’s needs now and in the future. We wanted someone with service industry knowledge, who had led large, complex organizations and with proven ability to produce fast growth. Steve is the ideal choice to take Intuit to the multi-billion dollar level.” “Intuit is the leader in e-finance. Quicken.com is already the leader in online tax preparation and online mortgage origination,” said Bennett, who will relocate from Connecticut to the Bay Area. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue developing services for the Internet and take Intuit’s industry leadership to new heights.”

During his GE career, Bennett held significant leadership positions in six different businesses within the company, spanning both manufacturing and financial services. In his most recent position, he oversaw a portfolio of five different companies whose more than 20,000 employees last year generated $15 billion in annual volume. Prior to that, as president and CEO of GE Capital e-Business, he pioneered the company’s efforts to leverage the Internet across GE Capital’s worldwide portfolio of businesses.

Previously he delivered significant growth as the president and CEO of GE Capital’s more than 4,000-employee Vendor Financial Services business. Under his leadership, assets grew to more than $13 billion from $5 billion and net income increased to $200 million from $80 million in four years.

Intuit board member John Doerr said he was impressed by Bennett’s broad base of experience. “Steve knows business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer. He knows service businesses. And he gets the Net. Intuit’s product leadership and Steve’s ability to grow businesses are an ideal match for our future.” Bennett added, “Intuit’s management team is strong, stable and experienced and works well together,” he said. “This is one of the few management teams to successfully and rapidly transform a company to the Net. I’m glad to have the opportunity to lead Intuit’s continued growth and expansion.” Scott Cook, Intuit founder and chairman of its executive committee, said, “Steve shares Intuit’s values. He’s a straightforward, no-nonsense, results-driven executive who cares deeply about people. His values-oriented leadership style energizes organizations to great achievement, and I look forward to working with him.”

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) is the leader in e-finance, including financial software and Web-based services. Intuit develops and markets Quicken(R), the leading personal finance software; TurboTax(R), the best-selling tax preparation software; and QuickBooks(R), the most popular small business accounting software. Intuit’s Quicken.com (R) Web site ([www.quicken.com][1]) is a leading financial Web site, offering a comprehensive set of financial news, information and tools, including insurance, mortgage, investment and tax preparation services. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses.

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


Gold Lite

Gold cards continue to lose their luster as credit limits sink. Capital One has now introduced a sub-prime ‘VISA Gold’ card with credit limits between $200 and $1,000. According to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]), Capital One unleashed a pre-selected direct mail campaign for the new card last week. The Capital One ‘VISA Gold’ carries no-annual-fee and 19.8% APR. To sweeten the offer, Capital One is offering applicants a choice of a one year subscription to either Entertainment Weekly or Sports Illustrated. Cap One is making the free subscriptions offer on other card products including its ‘Designer VISA’ series. Since VISA and MasterCard have relaxed the minimum $5,000 credit limit of gold cards, several issuers have introduced low credit limit VISA and MasterCard gold cards. Some major issuers have dropped gold products entirely, replacing them with the platinum card.

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


Smart Mobile E-Commerce

Oberthur Card Systems will announce this morning the launch of Version 2 of its new Java-based ‘SIMphonIC Mini-Browser’, which enables mobile phone operators to make card modifications either “Over-The-Air”, transferring updates or changes via ‘SMS’ to the ‘SIM’ card, or at a point-of-sale terminal. Until now, card users have only been able to delete the last applet downloaded to the card. With ‘V2’, operators now have the ability to add, remove and list the card status with no interruption to normal GSM operation. Using the ‘Wireless Internet Gateway’, GSM mobile users can gain access to interactive web applications via their phone’s display. Written in HTML or WML, these applications can be stored on any www server. When users request a service, the gateway fetches the relevant application from the content provider, transforming the HTML/WML script into bit code. This is then received by the mobile phone’s SIM and is translated by the ‘SIMphonIC Browser’ into ‘SIM Toolkit’ commands. The users can then respond via their keypad, their responses being relayed back to the content provider’s server via the SIM. For operators, this opens the way to true wireless electronic commerce. With the ‘Mini-Browser’, mobile handset users will be able to make electronic payments, reserve and purchase tickets and undertake any number of other transactions.


Hilton Triple Dip

Hilton HHonors, one of the world’s leading guest reward programs, today announced that between now and March 31, 2000, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Members may earn triple the standard Rapid Rewards credits for every Double Dip stay at participating HHonors hotels.

HHonors is the only guest reward program that allows its members to simultaneously accumulate both Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credits and HHonors points with each business-rate stay — a benefit Hilton calls Double Dipping.

Whereas members normally would receive a Rapid Rewards half credit per stay, during the promotional period they will receive triple Rapid Rewards credit — that’s 1.5 credits per stay. (Rapid Rewards Members earn one free flight with 16 credits.)

“Building upon a great relationship between Hilton and Southwest Airlines, this promotion with Rapid Rewards is a great way for HHonors to further its commitment to offering members fast-track earnings options,” said Jeffrey Diskin, president and chief operating officer of Hilton HHonors Worldwide.

For a complete list of participating hotels offering this bonus, visit [www.hiltonhhonors.com][1], or call 800/552-0852, and request faxback document No. 124.

Southwest Airlines is the nation’s fourth largest carrier in terms of customer boardings, and serves 55 cities in 29 states. The airline currently has more than 29,000 employees and operates more than 2,500 flights per day.

Hilton HHonors(R) is a guest reward program that gives frequent travelers a faster way to earn the rewards they want most. Enrolled members can earn HHonors points in addition to airline miles for every business-rate stay at more than 450 participating Hilton and Conrad International hotels around the world.

HHonors is the only hotel program that allows its members to simultaneously accumulate both airline miles and hotel points with each business-rate stay — a benefit Hilton calls Double Dipping(R).

Due to the unmatched flexibility, generosity and value offered by HHonors program features, as well as the many aggressive promotions that HHonors offers each year, the program has been recognized with numerous travel industry awards.

Membership in Hilton HHonors is free. Travelers may enroll online by visiting the HHonors section of Hilton’s Internet site at [www.hiltonhhonors.com][2]. Or, to enroll instantly in the program and make reservations, consumers in the United States and Canada may also call 800/HILTONS.

Outside the United States and Canada, travelers may call the Hilton Reservations Worldwide office in their area. Travelers also may pick up an enrollment form with a temporary membership card at any participating Hilton or Conrad International hotel worldwide.

[1]: http://www.hiltonhhonors.com/
[2]: http://www.hiltonhhonors.com/


India’s I-Based VISA

India’s ICICI Bank is launching the country’s first Internet-based credit card this week. ICICI, which opened the first Internet bank in India last year, says Internet cardholders will be able to view, print statements, obtain details about their payments, outstanding amount and due date, request a duplicate PIN mailer, send instructions, apply for new cards as well as add-on cards, all on the Internet. ICIC also says cardholders will also be able to choose a sub-limit for add-on cards, enabling the customer to specify different individual credit limits at both the primary as well as individual add-on card levels. These limits will be refreshed at monthly billing cycles. The new I-based ICIC VISA cards will come in three colors: ‘True Blue’, ‘Sterling Silver’ and ‘Solid Gold’. The ‘Sterling Silver’ will also offer a balance transfer rate of 1.75% monthly and ‘Solid Gold’ will offer a balance transfer rate of 1.5% monthly. All the new cards will carry annual fees ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 1200.


New Rate Battle

While Bank One/First USA has phased out its 9.99% APR offerings with a Prime +4.99% rate, competition among other issuers continues to be intense. American Express, Citibank, Capital One, and Providian are now offering 0% intro rates followed by fixed APRs, as low as 7.99%, on some products. Many of the most aggressive offers are only available via the Internet. CardTrak and USA Today released a survey Friday that shows how intense the competition is among Internet-centric credit cards.

(all cards are no-annual-fee)

1. Providian/Aria VISA Platinum Premium* 0% 7.99% 25 days
2. Fleet/Titanium MasterCard* NA 7.99% 20 days
3. American Express Blue 0% 9.99% 20 days
4. NextBank/NextCard Plus VISA* NA 9.99% 25 days
5. Citibank/Click Citi Platinum Select* 0% 9.99% 20 days
6. Wells Fargo/Platinum MasterCard * 5.9% 12.50% 20 days
7. Discover Platinum NA 12.99% 25 days
8. First USA/e.card Platinum VISA* 2.9% 13.49% 20 days
9. Bank One/Wingspan Platinum VISA* 2.9% 13.49% 20 days
10. Chase/i.card Platinum MasterCard* 3.99% 13.99% 22 days

* also offers instant approvals
Source: CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com)


Women Flock to Web

Nielsen//NetRatings, the Internet measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc. reported on the state of the Internet market for 1999.

Last year the total Internet universe (those who had access from home, but did not necessarily go online) increased from 97 to 119 million U.S.-based users from February to December, marking a 22.7% increase. In addition, people spent more time surfing the Internet, the Internet gender gap narrowed with more women jumping online, the top advertising domains garnered an even larger share of Internet advertising, and Q4 1999 proved to be hot for e-tailers.

Online Gender Differences

The gender gap is leveling out on the Internet, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. In February, women accounted for 47 percent of all active users while men dominated the Web with a 53 percent audience share. In December the gap equalized to an audience profile of 50 percent female and 50 percent male.

From February to December, as overall user numbers rose, the number of women online jumped 32 percent, outstripping the 20 percent pace of growth for men. Males, however, are still spending more time online than females and that gap is growing, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. While men spent one hour and 35 minutes more online per month than women in February, the difference increased to two hours, 12 minutes in December.

“As the gender gap closes, we still continue to see men and women differ in their use of the Web,” said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services for NetRatings. “Men tend to flock to news and information sites that present deep and rich information while women gravitate toward sites that provide topics related to health and well-being, with an accent on efficient use.”

Time Spent Per Month/Sessions

Average time spent online per month per person increased 10.9 percent to eight hours and 17 minutes between February and December. Nielsen//NetRatings data for the past year indicates that users went to fewer unique sites, but viewed more pages. The number of unique sites visited per month in the beginning of the year decreased 40 percent from 15 to 9 sites in December, while the number of page views seen per surfing session increased 68 percent from 19 to 32 during the same period.

“As people become more familiar with the Web, we’re finding that people prefer to visit a smaller set of specific sites. They tend to spend more time on fewer sites, but view more pages, suggesting that the larger sites are becoming broader and deeper,” said Weiner.

Internet Advertising Impressions, Q3-Q4 1999

The number of ad impressions delivered by the top advertising domains grew significantly from Q3 to Q4. Yahoo!, the largest advertising domain on the Web, delivered ad impressions to more than 42 percent of the active Internet users in December, as compared its 39 percent reach in September (see Table 1).

Table 1.

Top 10 Advertising Domains, End of Q3 as Compared to End of Q4

Sep-99 Dec-99

Rank Domain Reach % Rank Domain Reach %
1 yahoo.com 38.7 1 yahoo.com 42.4
2 aol.com 27.4 2 aol.com 36.3
3 msn.com 22.2 3 msn.com 28.7
4 netscape.com 18.7 4 netscape.com 16.8
5 go.com 15.4 5 lycos.com 16.6
6 geocities.com 13.6 6 go.com 16.5
7 lycos.com 11.1 7 bluemountain.com 13.4
8 ebay.com 10.3 8 geocities.com 11.8
9 excite.com 8.9 9 ebay.com 11.3
10 looksmart.com 7.2 10 excite.com 10.3

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, January 2000

“Internet advertising made steady increases from Q3 through Q4. In fact, ad impressions jumped 63 percent from November to December alone and was the largest monthly increase during this period,” said Weiner.

“We saw rankings of the top advertising domains change rapidly from Q3 to Q4. Blue Mountain.com, unranked in September, became a strong advertising force in December,” noted Weiner. “Following Excite’s acquisition of the company, ads and commerce opportunities quickly took hold, taking advantage of the power of greeting card sites as multi-powered revenue generators.”

Top Properties for Q4 1999

Holiday shopping sites led the fastest growing properties during the last quarter of 1999, with eToys topping the list and followed by Sears, JCPenney and The Gap (see Table 2). UPS found its web site affected by the holiday season, as gift orders were delivered.

“Among the top holiday commerce sites we find a number of popular brands from the offline world,” said Weiner. “Sears, CBS, JC Penney and The Gap are learning how to exploit the universal power of their brand names on the Web.”

Table 2.

Fastest Growing Properties Among Top 100 Properties During Q4

Property Sep-99 Oct-99 Nov-99 Dec-99 % growth

1. eToys 872,183 1,833,065 4,060,897 4,693,226 438.1
2. Comet Systems 780,776 1,288,291 3,460,421 4,159,167 432.7
3. BizRate 445,406 699,851 1,234,688 1,815,476 307.6
4. Sears Roebuck & Co 506,389 743,542 1,111,608 1,746,148 244.8
5. CBS 1,244,722 1,818,519 4,204,237 4,191,478 236.7
6. JCPenney 715,429 1,253,266 1,712,633 2,216,625 209.8
7. Auralis 590,704 961,109 1,006,092 1,772,573 200.1
8. The Gap Inc. 628,413 828,547 1,410,573 1,847,281 194.0
9. CJB.NET 574,820 1,310,772 1,489,016 1,683,527 192.9
10. Alexa 814,535 1,716,577 2,151,308 2,294,231 181.7
11. Buy.com 781,091 996,682 1,675,191 2,076,033 165.8
12. Launch 704,595 1,404,062 1,657,913 1,760,800 149.9
13. Mplayer

Network 1,652,955 2,130,935 2,874,217 3,874,917 134.4
14. Macromedia 2,530,196 5,003,443 6,254,560 5,826,428 130.3
15. United Parcel
Service 751,298 806,018 1,102,650 1,715,421 128.3

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, January 2000

Holiday E-Commerce Season: Lessons for Next Year

As seen throughout the holiday season, brand rules on the Web. The top 10 domains for the season are a mix of the best known Web names (Amazon, eToys) and time-honored “brick and mortar” names (Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble) (see Table 3).

Table 3.

Nielsen//NetRatings E-Commerce Sites During the Holiday Season Based on Total Visits

Domain Total Visits

1. ebay.com 128,858,697
2. amazon.com 48,959,535
3. etoys.com 14,463,273
4. barnesandnoble.com 12,965,303
5. cdnow.com 12,377,844
6. toysrus.com 12,106,833
7. sony.com 8,081,621
8. buy.com 7,420,125
9. kbkids.com 6,328,258
10. jcpenney.com 5,892,491
11. qvc.com 5,846,332
12. egghead.com 5,193,455
13. beyond.com 4,563,815
14. ubid.com 4,562,820
15. quixtar.com 4,532,455

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, January 2000

“While a fortune was spent on traditional media advertising during the holiday season, many new Web players entered the game too late to make an impact on the Internet consumers,” said Weiner.

Although many e-tailers were able to have a “green” holiday, the Internet did not experience much last minute shopping. The issue is a mix of consumer concern and confidence as well as infrastructure issues. “Expect to see more advertising campaigns for Holiday 2000 focusing on the Internet as a last-minute shopping resource,” said Weiner.

The Nielsen//NetRatings audience measurement service collects data from more than 38,000 panelists as they use the Internet. The Nielsen//NetRatings panel is the largest media research sample of at-home Internet users currently under measurement. Nielsen//NetRatings uses unique technology capable of measuring both Internet use and advertising to provide the most timely, accurate and comprehensive Internet usage data and advertising information in the industry.


Sybase Acquires HFN

InteliData Technologies Corp. a leader in Internet banking and bill payment technology, reported that Sybase, Inc. has closed on the transaction reported on December 1, 1999, and has acquired Home Financial Network establishing it as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sybase. HFN was formed in 1995 with InteliData as its initial outside investor. Subsequently, other investors were added, reducing InteliData’s ownership to approximately 25 percent.

Under terms of the purchase concluded on January 20, Sybase acquired HFN for a combination of cash and stock. InteliData will receive approximately $5.8 million in cash and 1,773,000 shares of Sybase common stock. Using the January 20 closing price for Sybase stock, the transaction will provide InteliData with approximately $39 million in cash and stock.

InteliData founder and Chairman William F. Gorog, commented on the transaction, “The sale of our interest in Home Financial Network is a huge step forward for InteliData, providing a level of financial stability and capital that helps ensure our long-term viability as we grow our organization to handle the new business opportunities on the horizon.”

Gorog continued, “As banks are moving past Y2K issues, we hope to see the financial community accelerating their entry into the electronic banking arena with industrial strength solutions. As the only company that provides mainframe software applications for Internet banking, InteliData is well positioned to be the leader in this sector.”

About InteliData ([http://www.intelidata.com][1])

InteliData, with headquarters in Reston, Va., is a leading supplier of Internet banking and bill payment solutions. Eight of the top 100 U.S. banks are customers of InteliData’s current generation of Internet banking products and services, and twenty of the top 100 U.S. financial institutions and financial service providers have chosen InteliData’s products and services for their electronic financial delivery. The Company’s products provide financial institutions with highly scalable and reliable Internet transaction and payment processing solutions that give them total control of customer information and payment processing. These services allow consumers to securely and reliably check account balances in “real-time”, view account transaction history, transfer funds between accounts, and do online bill payment to any of the consumers’ billers. The Company’s products include the Interpose(TM) Transaction Engine, Interpose(TM) OFX Gateway, and the Interpose(TM) Payment Warehouse.

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


bCentral Processing

Cardservice International, Inc., an independent credit card processor and Internet payment technology company, and Austin, Texas-based ClearCommerce Corp., a leading provider of online transaction processing software, announced that they were selected by bCentral, Microsoft’s small business portal to provide payment processing for Microsoft’s new merchant e-commerce solution. Cardservice International’s services, coupled with the ClearCommerce Engine, will provide Microsoft bCentral merchants with secure transactions, reliable, scalable technology and fraud protection.

With the ClearCommerce Engine and CSI technology, Microsoft bCentral will provide small businesses with a web based e-commerce solution. Cardservice International’s credit card processing capabilities and the ClearCommerce Engine guarantee that merchants at Microsoft bCentral will be provided secure transactions from two proven leaders in the payment processing arena. This comprehensive product suite from CSI and ClearCommerce will help Microsoft continue its tradition of creating a compelling e-commerce environment for businesses.

“The partnership of Microsoft, CSI and ClearCommerce is a beneficial solution for all,” said Chuck Burtzloff, president and chief executive officer of Cardservice International. “CSI will add customers to our existing customer base of over 50,000 Internet merchants, ClearCommerce will provide the means of secure transaction processing and Microsoft bCentral will provide small business customers a secure solution for online payment processing.”

“A key factor in our decision to offer Cardservice International’s solutions under the Microsoft bCentral brand to our merchants is that CSI uses ClearCommerce software, which we have recognized as a reliable and proven technology for high volume e-businesses,” said Jonathan Weinstein, Group Product Manager, Microsoft bCentral. “By partnering with ClearCommerce, CSI has committed to providing our merchants with the highest level of service and payment technology for online transactions.”

“Microsoft, with its large presence on the Internet, is taking a step to make the Internet a simple place for consumers to shop and merchants to sell,” said Robert J. Lynch, chief executive officer of ClearCommerce. “The ClearCommerce Engine has proven to be reliable for thousands of e-retailers. Microsoft will find the same value in providing the ClearCommerce Engine and Cardservice International transaction processing to its small business customers.”

Cardservice International is one of the fastest-growing transaction processing companies in the United States. CSI offers a complete range of traditional and Internet consumer payment options, including processing for: bankcards, ATM/debit cards, travel and entertainment cards, paper and electronic checks and business-to-business authorizations.

The ClearCommerce Engine capabilities include: real-time transaction processing with the credit card processors, fraud analysis and protection, business reports for merchants, shipping and tax calculation, application programming interfaces (APIs) to businesses’ existing enterprise resource planning or inventory systems, and electronic softgood downloads.

About Cardservice International:

Cardservice International, Inc., is a global leader in providing real-time secure credit card transactions to merchants. Cardservice offers merchants a cost-effective service branded to their businesses, enabling them to provide credit card processing over the Internet as well as to the traditional marketplace. The company’s LinkPoint Secure Payment Gateway(SM) utilizes state-of-the-art Secure Sockets Layer technology and is easily scalable to any size business. The gateway is designed to communicate in real time with a business’ core data processing system to allow online transactions to be posted immediately. The gateway also delivers a full range of capabilities, including sales, returns, authorizations and comprehensive real-time reports for easy Web management.

More than 170,000 merchants have contracted with Cardservice International. Of those, 50,000 are actively using Cardservice/LinkPoint Secure Payment Gateway as their Internet solution. For more information about Cardservice International, go to [http://www.cardservice.com][1].

About ClearCommerce:

Austin, Texas-based ClearCommerce is a leading provider of e-commerce transaction software. Included among its thousands of merchants are Apple Computer, E-Stamp, Cooking.com and Chase Merchant Services. ClearCommerce software features real-time credit card processing and robust Internet fraud protection, as well as online reports, storefront integration, back-end integration, shipping/tax calculation and delivery of digital merchandise. Online businesses and commerce service providers alike rely on ClearCommerce’s capacity to supply the essential transaction processing component that is required for full automation of the online sale. For more information about ClearCommerce, please visit [http://www.clearcommerce.com][2].

[1]: http://www.cardservice.com/
[2]: http://www.clearcommerce.com/


Rosetta Card Certification

SPYRUS, the Internet ID company for secure e-business, announced the expected FIPS 140-1 Level 2 certification of its Rosetta Smart Card, enabling the highly secure hardware token to be used in government and commercial implementations.

Smart cards, which include an embedded microprocessor to store data, are quickly being adopted by U.S. government agencies to provide highly secure identification services. The General Services Administration (GSA) has embraced the technology, recently releasing its Smart Access Common ID Card procurement to implement a solution that provides access to both physical buildings and computer systems. The Department of Defense has also mandated use of a common smart card as the standard identification card for both active duty and civilian personal. In addition to access services, the department is planning to integrate the smart cards into its public-key infrastructure (PKI) as the primary platform for authentication tokens.

To ensure the highest levels of security, the federal government has outlined in the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Pub 140-1 the security requirements that tokens, such as smart cards, must meet for use in government implementations, defining four levels of security. The Department of Defense has stated that all its tokens must meet Level 2 security requirements, improving physical security through the addition of tamper-evident coatings or seals. Although no smart card has yet to receive any FIPS 140-1 certification, SPYRUS is confident it will receive Level 2 certification for its Rosetta Smart Card in the first quarter of this year.

‘The U.S. government clearly values the powerful protection smart cards offer versus a software-only solution,’ noted Sue Pontius, SPYRUS President and CEO. ‘We are confident that the SPYRUS Rosetta Smart Card complies with FIPS 140-1 Level 2 requirements, enabling our product to provide government systems with the highest level of security available in the industry. We also believe commercial vertical markets with requirements for auditable risk management and legal liability mitigation will require smart cards to meet the same certification standards.’

‘CygnaCom Solutions is in the final stages of testing the SPYRUS Rosetta Smart Card. The product is being tested for FIPS 140-1 Level 2 compliance. We anticipate that CygnaCom will be submitting the conformance report to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and to the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) by the end of January,’ said Miles Smid, Vice President of CygnaCom Solutions, the government accredited company conducting the FIPS 140-1 evaluation of the Rosetta Smart Card. ‘Formal validation of the module will not be complete until NIST and CSE perform their review and confirm the analysis.’

NIST and CSE oversee the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), created to validate commercial products for conformance to FIPS 140-1 based on independent, third party testing by accredited laboratories. FIPS 140-1 Level 2 accreditation of the Rosetta Smart Card will enable SPYRUS to tap into the more than $1 billion estimated government demand for smart cards. The U.S. government is expected to purchase between 10 million and 15 million cards over the next few years.

SPYRUS is a leading supplier of public key-based solutions that provide the critical foundation for secure Internet commerce. The company’s flagship product, SPYRUS Internet Enabling Security (IES), is a comprehensive solution that gives companies the high-assurance security infrastructure required for e-business. SPYRUS IES enables companies to implement a single-vendor solution, integrating a wide range of security products – including the SPYRUS PKI, Rosetta Smart Cards, SPYRUS Personal Access Readers, and policies and procedures – to meet customer needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.

The SPYRUS Rosetta Smart Card offers the highest level of personal and portable security for individual users. In addition to its tamper-evident physical design, the Rosetta Smart Card is resistant to Differential Power Analysis, protecting the private keys from external exploitation. The device is also available with proximity chips that allow users to gain physical access to buildings. Priced at less than $10 in high volumes, the Rosetta Smart Card provides a cost-effective, high-security solution.

“As a worldwide supplier of high-end security controllers for the smart card industry, Infineon Technologies is very pleased to provide SPYRUS with our advanced SLE66CX160S cryptocontroller IC,” said Joerg Borchert, Infineon Technologies North America Corp. vice president for Security and Chip Card ICs. “Because SPYRUS has such a strong technology base for providing end-to-end security solutions, Infineon is excited to be working closely with them as they develop secure smart card solutions for potential deployment in the government sector.”

‘With our Rosetta Smart Card, we can offer a cost effective, high-value security solution that meets the government’s stringent standards,’ Pontius added. ‘We look forward to receiving the FIPS 140-1 Level 2 certification in the very near future.’


SPYRUS, the Internet ID Company, is the leader in securing the Internet as a medium of exchange for valued data and transactions for businesses and their customers, and for federal and local governments. SPYRUS’ public key system solutions are designed for organizations that have unique business policy management requirements, valued digital information content and transactions to protect and operations that require auditable risk/liability management. SPYRUS Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solutions have been deployed in health care, utilities, government, financial and law enforcement markets, with operational systems scalable to millions of users world-wide.

The company’s flagship product line is the SYRUS Internet Enabling Security (IES) solution. SPYRUS IES is an integrated public key product suite comprised of its SPYRUS PKI, Rosetta smart cards, PAR smart card readers, cryptographic tool kits and professional services. The SPYRUS IES provides timely and cost-effective deployments with customizable public key solutions to meet unique customer and industry requirements. SPYRUS, Inc. is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, with offices across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

SPYRUS has recently been named in the latest Deloitte & Touche ‘Technology Fast 500’ technology growth company list. For more about SPYRUS and its public key system solutions, please visit the Web site at [www.spyrus.com][1].

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