Aria Upgrade

Providian announced Thursday it is now offering an online shopping service and a digital wallet for its ‘Aria VISA’ web site. The new services are the result of a partnership with San Francisco-based Brodia. Aria’s digital wallet is compatible with over 1000 major Internet merchants. The ‘Aria Personal Shopper’ is an Internet shopping portal that offers a variety of discounts with popular online merchants and allows comparison shopping across the Web. Providian says the Aria website has signed up more than 100,000 accounts in less than six months. According to CardWatch ([][1]) most of the new accounts are sub-prime accounts with interest rates as high as 23.99%. Brodia also has partnerships with Capital One and Wells Fargo.



Water Smart Card

Imagine yourself dispensing fresh and sparkling drinking water out of a vending station run on plastic cards, much like you would with cash and your ATM card. Incredible?

Again, imagine this: you are having that plastic card refreshment in the uplands of a province in the Philippines some 350 miles from Manila, and accessible only by a half-day grueling hike.

Get lost, you’d say.

Wake up, we tell you. The situation we describe is hardly make believe at all.

At a launching of the Cebu Potable Water Project, that scenario was laid out by Dr. Anand Rangarajan, Vice President of WorldWater Corp. of New Jersey, USA.

Founded in 1984 by Quentin T. Kelly, who himself holds patents on water applications, WorldWater has proprietary products in solar power that defy convention and open photovoltaic technology to more practical applications.

How does one draw water without a pump? How do you run a water pump if you have neither diesel generator nor a connection to a power grid?

In fact, even when you can draw water manually, where do you get the power to operate a water dispensing machine that could read credits in a magnetic strip?

Key to all the questions are the proprietary products and technology of WorldWater.

First, WorldWater rendered redundant the cumbersome and expensive storage batteries that had been key to the practical use of solar energy, i.e., collect the energy through photovoltaic panels to store them in batteries, convert to AC, then use.

Truly a cumbersome process that padded the costs.

Second, WorldWater established a “smart card” which, when inserted into its solar pumps even in the most remote locations, brings forth a liter of clean water delivered from the well.

WorldWater’s solution simplifies the pumping as well as the payment collection process, and allows the use of solar energy in real time. People buy the “smart card” for a specific numbers of liters (or gallons) from the WorldWater solar pump, like a telephone charge card.

With its proprietary controller box, an off-the-shelf AC pump or other associated equipment can run directly and smoothly on the power from the photovoltaic cells.

Significantly, the most practical application of this product is for remote location sources of water not accessible to conventional power supply.

With WorldWater technology, the self-contained pumping and “smart card” systems, removed and isolated from the conventional grid power source, can still operate pumping, storing, dispensing, recording and auditing/bookkeeping functions solidly on solar power.

So, next time you see a country boy brandishing a plastic card, don’t be too hasty with your judgment.

He could simply be out to get a glass of water.


LifeMinders Hires FUSA Exec named David Mahony as Chief Operating Officer. Mahony is formerly a Senior Vice President at First USA, where he was a leader in building and leveraging one of the credit card industry’s largest membership marketing databases consisting of more than 60 million customers.

Mahony, of Newark, Del., will be responsible for managing all operational aspects of, the nation’s largest membership-based online direct marketing firm. The company has 85 employees and distributes more than 15 million customized e-mail messages each week to a membership base of more than 6 million. e-mail messages provide pertinent information such as identifying the right time for a member to fertilize the rose garden to the release date of a favorite video. The service can also track the behavioral and cognitive development of a child from birth to 15-years-old.

“Dave Mahony and I worked alongside each other at First USA and helped establish one of the largest membership marketing databases in the financial services industry,” said Stephen R. Chapin, Jr., President and CEO of “I am very pleased that we will be working together again to build into an industry leader.”

In addition to his work on the First USA data warehouse, Mahony increased portfolio revenue by over $60 million annually by spearheading system and business changes in the card operations system. First USA is the nation’s largest VISA card issuer and its credit card division has amassed $65 billion in assets.

Mahony received his MBA from the University of Delaware. He was awarded a Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University.

“I am very, very pleased to have the opportunity to join this exciting, dynamic and growing company,” Mahony said. “I look forward to using the skills I developed in the financial services industry to this exciting new field of online direct marketing.” Inc. (Nasdaq: LFMN) is the largest membership based online direct marketing firm. The company sends free personalized e-mail reminders and timely tips to more than 6 million members. The company began trading publicly Nov. 19.

About, Inc.

Founded in 1996,, Inc. is the nation’s largest membership based online direct marketing company. The firm sends highly personalized e-mails each week to six million members with more than 25 million profiles as of December 8, 1999. A free service,, helps members keep track of all the important areas of their lives, including Family, Entertainment, Home, Personal Events, Pet, Auto, Personal Finance, Health & Fitness, Travel and Shopping. Key advertisers include The Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark (Huggies brand),,, InsWeb,, NextCard and Starwood Hotels., LifeMinders and the logo are trademarks of Inc.


VISA’s Olympic Youth Contest

Visa International, a worldwide partner and the official payment system of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Thursday announced it would continue its highly successful “Visa Olympics of the Imagination” youth art competition to select 35 children from 25 countries to attend the Olympic Games as guests of Visa in Sydney, Australia.

“The Visa Olympics of the Imagination program gives children who might not otherwise have a chance to attend the Olympics, the opportunity to experience the thrills and beauty of the Games through art,” said P. Scot Smythe, Visa International’s Vice President of Event Marketing. “VOI is a unique youth program that combines education with visual art to create involvement for children in the Olympic dream. We are proud to be sponsoring this program again.”

For the Sydney Olympic Games, VOI will challenge school children, ages 9-13, to use their imaginations to create an original piece of art that represents what they think the Olympic motto of “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) means to them. Visa expects more than 200,000 entries for the 2000 Olympic Games.

The program will run globally from January through May 2000 in most of the 25 participating countries. Specific country information will be available at a later date. The winners will be announced in May 2000. Visa has conducted the program at the past three Olympic Games, bringing a total of 82 young artists from 28 countries to Lillehammer, Norway; Atlanta, USA, and Nagano, Japan.

“Olympic athletes must first have the imagination to win at their sport before they can excel physically and mentally. This ability is developed at an early age and Visa Olympics of the Imagination fosters that thinking,” said Richard W. Pound, First Vice President of the International Olympic Committee. “Visa is encouraging involvement of youth in the Olympic Movement at an early age and we fully support their efforts. We look forward to seeing the artwork from this contest and meeting the children in Sydney.”

Children from the following countries are eligible to enter the program: the Antilles, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, United States and Uruguay.

For the first time, Visa International has teamed with the global Internet media company, Yahoo!, to promote the program through banner promotions and direct links to [][1] through Yahoo!’s network of World properties.

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 [][2].




Mobius Management Systems Inc. yesterday unveiled plans to build a consortium of bill and statement providers for its new e-billing and e-statements solution. Mobius says it believes goes well beyond the current EBPP products on the market. The service is a free product and there is no third party between the biller/issuer and the customer. The biller/issuer maintains the relationship, thus eliminating the issues about who owns the customer information, the customer relationship, and the ability to sell to the customer. Mobius also announced it has teamed up with ALLTEL Information Services to develop Click-n-Done.



The new e-bill clearinghouse created by Chase, First Union and Wells Fargo has picked up eight more major bank participants. Spectrum’s new participants include: Michigan National, Comerica, First Tennessee, HSBC USA Inc., Mellon Financial, Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Summit Bancorp, and Wachovia Corp. Chase, First Union and Wells Fargo formed Spectrum earlier this year to fill a gap in the electronic bill presentment market. Spectrum functions like a hub, allowing participants to route electronic bills through a single connection to other participants. Spectrum became operational as an independent company with full funding from the founding banks in mid-October. The Spectrum technology platform has been in production since the end of November, and bills are now being exchanged between the founding members. The company plans to add payments capability in the second quarter of 2000.


Instant Target Credit

As part of its ongoing effort to provide unmatched guest service and convenience, Target Stores announced that guests may now apply for instant credit online at If approved, guests may immediately use their new line of credit to complete on-line purchases.

“We want our on-line guests to experience the same level of service and convenience as our in-store guests,” said Jerry Storch, president of credit and new businesses at Dayton Hudson Corporation, Target’s parent company. “Now, on-line guests can not only apply for a Target Guest Card, but they can use it immediately and save 10 percent on either their first on-line purchase at or their next purchase in any Target store.” Storch added that the on-line application process is secure and all financial information is confidential.

When applying for a Target Guest Card online, guests may begin participating in Target’s Take Charge of Education – School Fundraising Program, which allows guests to designate the K-12 school of their choice to receive an amount equal to 1 percent of all of their in-store or on-line Target Guest Card purchases. Since the program began in 1997, more than 4 million program participants have helped Target donate $13.5 million to schools nationwide.

“Target is very committed to education and supporting our nation’s schools,” said Storch. “We are delighted that so many Target Guest Card holders have elected to participate in our School Fundraising initiative.”

Target Guest Card holders may use their Guest Card to purchase any of the thousands of items offered at, including toys, holiday gifts, home decor items from the Michael Graves Design Collection, Stiffel and Robert Abbey lamps, Calphalon cookware, and much more. Guest Card holders may also use their Card at any of Target’s 914 store locations.

About Target Stores

Target Stores, together with its parent company, Dayton Hudson Corporation, gives more than $1 million a week to communities in which it does business. Since it was founded in 1962, Target has contributed 5 percent of its federally taxable income to its communities — through grants, special programs and team member donations — to strengthen and enrich family life.

Minneapolis-based Target Stores is a quality discount retailer. It is the largest division of Dayton Hudson Corporation, one of the nation’s leading retailers, and currently operates 914 stores in 44 states nationwide. To learn more about Target Stores, visit the web site at [][1].



Phonetime, Inc.

Beverly Glen Capital Corporation announced that it has changed its name to Phonetime Inc. Shareholders voted in favor of the change at the Company’s Annual General Meeting in October. The Company’s symbol has changed from BGCC to PINC effective immediately.

Wayne Silver, President of Phonetime Inc. said the name change is a logical and necessary step. “The name Phonetime places a clear focus and a message to the investment community that we are a telecommunications company,” he said. “The new name accurately reflects our core business, which offers pre-paid, long distance phone cards as well as other telecommunications products and services. We own a high capacity switching network to handle our rapidly growing phone traffic.”

“Revenues from our telecommunications sector, Phonetime International Inc. has grown at a rate of approximately 300% over the past couple of years and is now in excess of $10,000,000 and we expect our company’s revenues will continue growing in the next year. To accomplish our goal, we plan to develop Phonetime’s brand name on a wide range of prepaid products. We have also introduced a new stylized Phonetime logo that reflects a more mature company and are launching a new web site [][1] to reinforce our image. In the months ahead, you will see our site evolve as our company grows with many new and innovative telecommunications products and services,” added Silver.

Phonetime is an emerging telecommunications company with a Class A International Carrier license from the CRTC. It incorporates state-of-the-art VoIP (Voice over Internet Technology) for commercial applications, a high-capacity switching platform and an international network of carriers. Phonetime operates a multilingual, 24-hour/seven-day-per-week call centre dedicated to phone card customer service and sells its own branded cards under such names as Millennium, Bravo and Nuvo. It also provides phone cards to Blockbuster Canada, Business Depot/Staples, Future Shop and others.

Phonetime Inc. shares trade on the CDN under the symbol PINC. Currently there are 30,639,119 common shares issued and outstanding. Web Site [][2].



More Citi Clicks

Citibank’s online shopping portal, launched in conjunction with Citibank’s new virtual credit card ‘ClickCredit’ has added more online merchant partners and shopping aids. CitiPlaza now provides special shopping discounts and offers at 34 leading shopping sites on the Internet. Some of the new merchant partners include:;; Bigstar;;; Sheraton Hotels and Resorts; and Time Inc. CitiPlaza’s new online shopping services include;;; and Accompany, Inc.



[ ][1] NCR launched the ‘PersonaS 86’ and the ‘PersonaS 90’ ATMs yesterday. The ‘PersonaS 86’ is the first truly scalable web ATM with two dispensing units. ATM deployers can choose whether to reduce replenishment costs by doubling their cash dispensing capability or use the second dispenser to create additional revenue through dispensing other media such as phonecards and travel tickets. Existing ATMs can be replaced without rebuilding work since the ‘PersonaS 86’ fits exactly into NCR 5X85 full-function ATM and smaller 5X84 cash dispenser holes. The ‘PersonaS 86′ will also fit the hole in the wall of other vendors’ full-function ATMs. Designed to fit an existing 36-inch concrete pnuematic tube platform, the ‘PersonaS 90’ is more slender than other drive-up models, which normally require a 42-inch island or a building. The cost of servicing the ‘PersonaS 90’ may be as much as 75% lower than for other terminals, depending on service intervals, since the unit offers a dual-safe configuration, an industry first. One safe contains the depository for envelope deposits and payments, while the other contains the cash dispenser. The ‘PersonaS 90’ also offers two separate printers.

[ ][2]



VISA’s Check Service

VISA U.S.A confirmed this morning it has launched pilots of an electronic check-processing service for its member financial institutions and merchants. The pilots will evaluate the in-store performance of technology that processes check payments electronically at the POS, mirroring how credit- and debit-card transactions are now processed. VISA’s authorization network already reaches four million U.S. merchant locations and 90% of the country’s demand-deposit accounts. Midwest Payment Systems and payment processors Rocky Mountain Retail Systems and Kincaid Technologies are testing the service at the Remkes grocery store chain at stores in Ohio and Kentucky. Vital Processing and U.S. Bank are developing several pilots at retail merchant locations in the Midwest. Other VISA member financial institutions are expected to start tests of their own in early 2000.


The Eyes Have It

Iris recognition for bank tellers and ATMs has picked up serious support from industry suppliers as well as the blessing of consumers. This morning four major bank teller software providers and a teller systems provider announced plans to showcase Sensar’s iris identification products to financial institutions around the world. The four software providers include: The Broadway Seymour Group of SAIC; Fiserv; GetronicsWang; and Unisys. NM-based More, Inc., a provider of Windows-based teller systems, also announced the integration of Sensar’s iris recognition technology with the ‘MORETeller’ system. Currently, 15 banks in nine countries use iris identification at selected ATMs and teller stations. OKI Electric is currently running the world’s largest iris identification pilot at six branches of Japan’s Takefuji bank. UK-based Nationwide Building Society launched the first iris identification pilot at three branch teller stations in May, 1998. In the US, TX-based Bank United was the first financial institution to install iris recognition ATMs. After six months of use at three branches, consumer reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Bank United released a customer survey yesterday that shows 98% of the bank’s iris users described their first experiences as: “easy, great, cool, impressive, exciting, fast, convenient, and futuristic.” The Bank United ‘EyeTM’ survey also revealed that “many” users moved their account to Bank United because of the iris recognition technology.