Chase Card Head

Chase Manhattan confirmed this morning that card industry veteran Richard Srednicki will join Chase in January as Cardmember Services Executive. He will succeed Michael Urkowitz, who will retire in February after more than 25 years with Chase. Srednicki currently serves as President of the Home Services Division of Sears, Roebuck. Prior to joining Sears in 1998, he was President and CEO of AT&T Universal Card Services from 1997 to 1998. Srednicki was a senior officer of Citibank from 1983 to 1996 where he spent 10 years in the credit card business. During his tenure at AT&T he helped sell the Universal Card portfolio to Citibank. Urkowitz built Chase’s transaction processing services business to a leadership position via a joint venture with First Data. During his tenure at Chase, credit card outstandings grew from $24 billion to $33 billion.


Mercantec & ClearCommerce

Mercantec Inc., leading provider of Internet commerce software products and services, announced a strategic partnership agreement with ClearCommerce of Austin, Texas. As a result of this partnership, the ClearCommerce Engine will be an integral component of Mercantec’s Merchant Connection, giving merchants an automated, easy way to process their e-commerce payment transactions.

“Small to medium-sized e-businesses will greatly benefit from ClearCommerce’s strategic partnership with Mercantec,” said Robert J. Lynch, CEO of Austin, Texas-based ClearCommerce. “The ClearCommerce Engine’s automated, back-end purchasing process will offer SoftCart merchants reliable, scalable transaction processing and ensure that their orders are processed quickly and accurately.”

Announced in early November, Merchant Connection is a value-added service for merchants who are using SoftCart(TM). The Web site provides merchants with unprecedented, immediate and comprehensive access to e-commerce resources, service offerings and add-on products to make their online business a success. Mercantec’s Payment Center, one of the e-commerce resources on the Web site, will use ClearCommerce’s transaction capabilities to automate the process for activating merchants.

“This partnership agreement is part of our ongoing effort to make SoftCart a comprehensive e-commerce solution,” said Andrew Parker, Mercantec president and CEO. “By incorporating ClearCommerce’s online payment processing into our services, we are offering merchants one more way to save time and money.”

ClearCommerce Engine provides a robust and flexible interface between merchants and the financial networks responsible for authorizing online transactions. The service will initially be used for domestic transactions and will be expanding internationally in the near future.

Mercantec SoftCart is the leading virtual storefront software delivered through ISPs and Web hosting providers. SoftCart has been endorsed by many of the world’s leading Internet commerce service providers (CSPs), including EarthLink, MindSpring, Interliant and Verio/Hiway, and is deployed by thousands of merchants. SoftCart 5.0 is a robust, easy-to-use electronic commerce solution that offers Internet service providers maximum performance and security, making it easier than ever for them to deliver and support the electronic commerce demands of their merchants.

About ClearCommerce

Austin, Texas-based ClearCommerce is a leading provider of e-commerce transaction software for nearly 10,000 merchants. ClearCommerce software features real-time credit card processing and robust Internet fraud protection, as well as online reports, back-end integration, storefront 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. With high-profile venture funding, a four-year track record, world-class customers and a growing international presence, ClearCommerce is realizing its vision to provide secure e-commerce transaction solutions to more online businesses than any other company in the world.

For more information about ClearCommerce, please visit [][1].

About Mercantec, Inc.

Established in 1995, Mercantec, Inc. is a leading provider of software products and services that enable Internet commerce. Mercantec distributes complete e-commerce solutions through leveraged channels to small to medium sized businesses. Among those channels are service providers, financial organizations, and Internet content providers. Mercantec’s service provider channel is more than 165 strong and includes some of the industry’s leaders, such as Verio/Hiway Earthlink, MindSpring and Interliant. Among those in the financial channel are American Express and DataPro Software.



NextCard CD-ROM

NextCard is gearing up to deliver an interactive CD to new NextCard cardholders to provide an overview of the benefits and services of the NextCard Internet VISA, as well as a suite of free tools, software and resources for the active online consumer. A collaborative effort with Biz2Net, the NextCard Desktop CD is a connected gateway to NextCard’s e-commerce platform. The interactive CD introduces cardholders to the Internet VISA’s services and benefits, such as the ‘NextCard Concierge’, ‘GoShopping!’, and ‘Click Pay’. The CD also provides live links to over $500.00 in savings from leading online brands and includes a FREE digital video camera and secure 128-bit browser from Earthlink. Each issue of the ‘NextCard Desktop CD’ will feature new discounts and services exclusively for the active Internet consumer.


Paymentech Canada Expansion

Paymentech Canada, a unit of Paymentech, is launching credit card and electronic payment programs for major Canadian direct marketers that includes expanding Internet credit card processing. The new clients are BUY.COM, a leading Internet superstore offering a wide range of goods, and, a top Internet real estate service provider of 360-degree virtual home tours.

This recent business is projected to add approximately C$75 million in annual processing sales volume to Paymentech Canada’s portfolio. Paymentech currently processes electronic payments for over 120 Canadian direct marketers and e-tailors.

In addition to secured credit card transaction processing and settlement, Paymentech partners with top electronic commerce-enabling solution providers such as CyberSource to provide end-to-end payment services. Paymentech also utilizes proprietary email and on-line reporting and administration tools for Canadian merchants.

“Security and consumer convenience are critical to our Internet retailing operation,” said Jeff Damron, chief financial officer for BUY.COM. “For the launch of our Canadian market, we wanted to ensure an easy and efficient payment function was in place to make a favorable impression with new shoppers.”

“Ensuring safe and fast credit card transactions on the Internet involves a chain of partners that must work together,” said Chad Markle, director of business systems at “Paymentech has significant relationships with all key e-commerce software providers as well as the necessary understanding of needed banking services.”

Based in Palo Alto, CA, is a leading provider of 360-degree virtual tours on the Internet. maintains key relationships with major real estate Web sites and multiple listing service (MLS) providers, including,,, Microsoft HomeAdvisor,,, LoopNet, Moore Data SErvices and GTE. As a result of these alliances, bamboo Virtual Tours can currently be view on America Online (AOL), Yahoo!, Microsoft Network (MSN), Excite, Netscape Netcenter, GO Network/InfoSeek, NBC, The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition and others. For more information about, visit [][1].

Paymentech ([][2]), founded in 1985, is a major provider of full-service electronic payment solutions and the top processor for direct marketing and Internet merchants such as cataloguers, telemarketers, and on-line service providers. Paymentech is the second largest processor of bankcard transactions.



Industrial Strength B2B

VISA is going after small- and mid-sized industrial suppliers to begin accepting e-commerce transactions. Yesterday VISA signed an agreement with the Thomas Regional Directory Company to lay the foundation for fully transactive business-to-business e-commerce in the industrial sector, which has been slow to adopt Internet solutions despite its growth potential. VISA projects this sector will produce nearly $16 billion in e-commerce sales by 2003. Under terms of Tuesday’s deal, VISA will add payment card acceptance to Thomas Regional’s Internet solution to automate and streamline the buying and selling process for virtually any type of small- to mid-sized business. Thomas Regional will market the program through its nationwide sales channel which serves an established network of over 12,000 industrial clients. VISA noted that accepting the ‘VISA Purchasing Card’ will open a host of new business opportunities for Thomas Regional advertisers, as more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies, the Federal Government, more than 30 state governments, and colleges and universities use purchasing cards.


Fair Isaac Board

Fair, Isaac confirmed Tuesday that Larry Rosenberger has resigned from the company’s Board of Directors. In early September, Rosenberger, who formerly served as CEO of Fair Isaac, was replaced by Tom Grudnowski, formerly of Anderson Consulting. Rosenberger continues to head the research and development unit. Fair, Isaac also announced yesterday that Peggy Taylor and Tony Christianson have been elected to the Board. Taylor is the CEO of Venture Builders. Christianson is a founder and managing partner of Minneapolis-based Cherry Tree Investments.


MyPoints Passes 5 Million ([][1]), a leading developer of Internet direct marketing and loyalty infrastructure, announced that it has experienced a 46% increase in transaction volume as the holiday season progresses. The Company also announced today that it has surpassed the five million member mark.

In October and November 1999, processed on average 6.7 million transactions a month, an increase of 46% over an average monthly transaction volume of 4.6 million in the third quarter ended September 30, 1999. A transaction is defined as any point-earning action taken by a member, including enrollment, responding to direct marketing offers from advertising clients and shopping with e-commerce partners. As of November 30, 1999, also saw membership increase to 5.1 million, up 21%, or 900,000, from 4.2 million at the end of the third quarter.

“We are experiencing a healthy increase in member activity and member growth across the MyPoints(R) Network and the private label Internet loyalty programs that we manage,” said Steve Markowitz, Chairman and CEO of “In addition to growing larger, we are also growing deeper as we continue to enhance our database with demographic, behavioral and transactional data on our members, building a direct marketing infrastructure to deliver highly targeted media on the Internet.”

As of November 30, 1999, four million of’s 5.1 million members were registered in the MyPoints(R) Network, including the MyPoints(R) direct marketing membership service and co-branded versions of that program managed by the Company on behalf of Excite@Home,, GTE, Talk City, USA.NET and other partners. The remainder were members of private label programs managed by the Company on behalf of NextCard, Prodigy and (NBCi).

About is a leading developer of Internet direct marketing and loyalty infrastructure, serving more than five million members and hundreds of leading advertisers and partners. The Company’s database-driven direct marketing service, MyPoints(R), offers direct marketers an approach to Internet advertising that integrates targeted email and Web-based offers with incentives to respond to those offers. Points earned in the program may be redeemed for a wide variety of products and services, such as travel awards, gift certificates, and prepaid phone cards, from more than 50 brand-name rewards providers. also offers a line of business-to-business e-commerce infrastructure products, including custom Internet loyalty programs based on the Company’s proprietary rewards technology-the Digital Loyalty Engine(TM). has been chosen to power custom loyalty programs for leading Internet companies such as Excite@Home, NextCard, Prodigy, USA.NET and (NBCi). has sales offices in cities nationwide. For direct marketing and loyalty product information please call toll-free 800-890-9351, 212-699-8050, ext. 702 from outside North America, or visit [][2].



FDC & Reciprocal

First Data Corp., the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, and Reciprocal, the leading provider of global digital rights management services and solutions, announced a strategic agreement to help address the growing payment-related demands of digital content distribution on the Internet.

The initial focus of the agreement calls for Reciprocal to refer its customers to First Data for Internet payment processing services and other commerce-enablement tools. At the same time, the companies will collaborate on innovations to facilitate payment and related services for digital content purchases, as well as explore opportunities to provide DRM solutions to First Data’s financial institution clients and their base of merchants.

This announcement builds on the existing relationship between the two companies; First Data recently participated in Reciprocal’s latest round of financing, reflecting its commitment to help address the electronic commerce payment challenges created by the rapidly growing market for digitally distributed media.

“Reciprocal is thrilled to work with a leader like First Data,” said Duncan Shaw, Reciprocal’s senior vice president and head of global business development. “Together, Reciprocal and First Data will help address specific areas like fraud/risk management and stored value payments, and ultimately expand the range of services we offer our clients.”

“Digital commerce is poised for explosive growth and will be a major driver of electronic payment and transaction processing opportunities,” said Matt Golub, senior vice president, Internet Commerce at First Data. “Reciprocal is extremely well positioned to help companies capitalize on the promise of digital commerce, and we believe it will be a great partner.”

About First Data

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) helps move the world’s money. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [][1].

About Reciprocal

Reciprocal offers a full-service digital rights management (DRM) business service solution, making it easy for businesses to take advantage of the growing digital content economy. Reciprocal, one of the leaders in DRM, provides clearinghouse and back office solutions for the music, publishing, film, and entertainment industries.

Reciprocal offers the only scalable, digital clearing service that is multi-platform, multi-vendor, and multi-content compatible, and capable of handling millions of transactions per day. Partners and licensees include Microsoft Corp., InterTrust Technologies Corporation, Xerox Corp., Reuters, Bertelsmann Storage Media Group,, TVT Records, and Digital Medical Systems.

Privately held, the company maintains offices in New York City, Buffalo and Research Triangle Park, NC.

Reciprocal, the Reciprocal symbol and Driving the Content Economy are trademarks of Reciprocal, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other products and companies mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information on Reciprocal, visit its web site: [][2].



Y2K Browser Bug

The first evidence of a Y2K problem is already emerging as millions of Internet users begin bumping into an online message that says the Web site’s security certificate has expired. The problem centers around browser versions that contain old VeriSign digital certificates which were issued three years ago with two digit dates. The message recommends upgrading the browser to a new version. Since the process of replacing a browser can take as long as two hours, there is the potential that many consumers will simply abort their online credit card transactions at the checkout point. Other consumers may find the message confusing and become unnecessarily concerned about all Internet transactions. Estimates vary as to how many Internet users will be affected. VeriSign indicates only 4% of users will see the message while other surveys indicate the number could be as high as 11%. Based on NetRating’s current data for the Internet universe, this means between 1.3 million and 3.4 million online households or between 5.0 million and 12 million individual users will be affected by the Y2K browser bug. The browsers affected include the Netscape Navigator browser, version 4.05 or earlier, and the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, version 4.01 for Macintosh. Most online bank sites will not support these expired browsers and will therefore block access to secure pages.


Hong Kong Card

GE Capital signed an agreement Monday with Hang Seng Bank to provide Hong Kong Dollar-denominated MasterCard corporate credit cards, Chinese- or English-language statements and customer service, and other in-country cardholder services. The ‘MasterCard Corporate Card’ alliance is targeted at large multinational corporations which have operations in Hong Kong. GE says the deal is part of the company’s alliance strategy to issue corporate cards in local currencies with local cardholder support for GE’s multinational clients. Hang Seng Bank will provide system support to supply card transaction data in a format that allows consolidation of global spending data via GE Card Service’s ‘Synergy 2000’ reporting system. Hang Seng has 156 local branches and consolidated assets of HK$435.5 billion.


Excess Spread Widens

Excess spread on U.S. securitized portfolios rose to record levels and there was a strong rebound in portfolio yields last month. Fitch IBCA’s monthly report shows the excess spread index tacked on 19 bps in advancing to a record 6.10% for November. Industrywide excess spread, which is defined as trust income (portfolio yield) less expenses (bond coupons, servicing and chargeoffs), has bettered the 5% threshold for 13 months and is now more than 17% above year-ago marks. Meanwhile the portfolio yield index, which was the driving force behind the excess spread advance, rose 85 bps to 19.63% but fell short of November 1998’s 19.99%. The gain was helped by the 50 bps of summer interest rate increases, finally showing their full effect on cardholder balances. The most recent 25-bp increase will not fully impact portfolios until February. Near term, Fitch IBCA expects portfolio yields to trend in the 18.5%-20% range as more rational pricing policies take hold. The chargeoff index rose a slight 7 bps to 5.28% from its month-earlier level but extended its string of year-over-year improvements to 16 consecutive months. Delinquencies continued their upward trend adding 9 bps as the index registered 3.19%.



Memphis-based Payment Transaction Services has signed a marketing partnership with NBC Merchant Services which is a division of TransPlatinum Service Corp., which is a subsidiary of National Commerce Bancorporation. Under terms of the deal PTS, as an ISO, will manage NBC Merchant Service’s third party distribution channels, selling credit card services to merchants and managing agent banks and independent sales offices. In return NBC will provide merchant credit card transaction processing services to PTS. Through this partnership with PTS, NBC Merchant Services expects to acquire in excess of 4,000 new merchant locations next year. Payment Transaction Solutions, with seven employees, is led by CEO Steve Demaree and President Bruce Schratz. Demaree and Schratz began PTS as a start-up company in January of this year following respective 15-plus-year careers in transaction processing.