e*Payments Research

To guide financial service institutions and retailers through the choices and challenges of accepting payments in the Internet environment, Meridien Research announced the launch of its new e*Payments research service, a division of the firm’s e*Financial Services practice. The inaugural report of the e*Payments group identifies a card-fraud trend that threatens to undermine the profitability of Web-based commercial initiatives. Meridien finds that the most effective solutions available today are intelligent fraud-modeling systems, often based on artificial intelligence, which are successfully reversing fraud increases for certain retailers and financial institutions.

The new report, titled “Fighting Fraud on the Internet: An Advanced Approach,” examines how purchaser anonymity and real-time delivery of “soft goods” — such as software, reports, entertainment media and gift certificates — create a fertile ground for online payment fraud, now estimated at $1.5 billion and expected to grow exponentially as consumer spending on the Internet continues to grow. The research details the inadequate risk- management approaches used by many merchants today, and the more sophisticated techniques available, including profiles of vendor solutions and options for installation and usage.

“Over the past decade, financial institutions have proven the value of advanced risk-modeling tools in fighting back the steadily rising tide of credit-card fraud. The same technology approach is already being tested with good results in the e*commerce world as well,” says Deborah Williams, research director at Meridien Research. “With online payment fraud ballooning to as much as 20 percent of sales for some retailer categories, there is no question that a significant investment in technology will be required before the Internet can truly be a safe channel for merchants as well as buyers.”

The report includes three case studies of technology implementations to reduce Internet fraud. Seattle-based Vitessa Corporation (formerly EC Direct), a provider of e*commerce solutions and payments processing, deployed a neural network solution to enable its merchant clients to detect online credit card fraud. Flooz, an online provider of “currency” for gift certificates, is integrating its own experience with fraud with an intelligent predictive solution to stem fraud rates. The third case study details how, after running without protection for a few months to test fraud rates, a well- known active wear company deployed a fraud screening service that has delivered a 50 percent reduction in bad transactions.

About the Meridien Research e*Payments Service

Meridien’s e*Payments Service provides research, analysis and advice targeted to the needs of financial services firms and other types of companies initiating, accepting or processing electronic payments, especially over the Internet. The service is designed to help clients choose and manage their technology investments in the e*commerce environment. Within the framework of identifying trends, opportunities and risks, Meridien will focus on the characteristics and potential of new payment media, detection and prevention of online fraud, and the business promise of value-added services such as financial EDI, electronic lockbox, online bill presentment and personal identification techniques.

About Meridien Research

Meridien Research of Newton, MA provides analytical research services to users and providers of financial technology. Meridien Research targets three technology segments of strategic importance to financial services firms: e*Financial Services (which includes e*Payments), Risk Management and Customer Management.


Major Nixdorf Deal

Siemens Nixdorf confirmed Wednesday the sale of 1,000 ‘ProCash Compact’ ATMs to National Equipment Providers. The systems will be deployed primarily to grocery and convenience store sites nationwide. NEP has a management agreement with International Technology Systems to manage, install, service and perform transaction processing for the ATMs. The Siemens Nixdorf ‘ProCash’ ATM products are based on the Windows NT operating system and WOSA/XFS standards. This provides the ability to enhance revenue with advanced advertising functionality such as full motion video and e-commerce applications. The thermal printer also facilitates the dispensing of alternate media such as coupon advertising. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts agreed to purchase Siemens Nixdorf from its parent, Siemens AG in October and will begin operating independently as Wincor Nixdorf by the end of this month.


Providian & PNC

PNC Bank has entered into an agreement with GetSmart.com that will allow consumers to shop for a PNC Bank home equity loan after visiting the GetSmart.com site. This unique alliance matches a premier national lender with a popular Internet site. Now when visitors to GetSmart.com are matched to PNC for a home equity product, they will have the option to hyperlink to PNC’s online home equity loan application at http://www.pncbank.com where applications can be conditionally approved in as little as 30 seconds. The application takes only about 10 minutes to complete and it can cut down the home equity loan decision process from the typical 10 days to as little as one day. Industry research shows consumers are demanding faster response by online providers. This alliance between PNC and GetSmart combines the capabilities of each organization to meet the expectations of millions of online loan shoppers.

“The linkage with GetSmart.com is part of PNC’s overall e-commerce strategy designed to give our customers online banking options,” said James DeFoggia, vice president of consumer lending at PNC Bank. “PNC has anticipated how e-commerce solutions can revolutionize the way its customers conduct business online and has developed innovative Web-based loan approvals and speedy check-delivery capabilities.”

“PNC has some of the most advanced and efficient credit scoring technology in the country,” said Stephen Semprevivo, GetSmart.com’s president. “The addition of PNC means that loan shoppers who visit GetSmart will now have the ability to get home equity loans nationwide quickly and efficiently. We are pleased to have this respected institution become part of our rapidly growing financial marketplace.”

PNC’s alliance with GetSmart is another in a series of alliances the bank has recently entered into as part of its overall Internet strategy. The bank has also announced that it will become the exclusive provider of certain financial products for iVillage.com, the leading women’s network online. PNC also will provide financial products for CollegeLink.com Incorporated, a subsidiary of Cytation.com Incorporated (OTC Bulletin Board: CLNK) and has signed an agreement with iCat, a division of Intel, to offer small businesses an e-commerce store-building service for a nominal initial fee.

PNC’s online home equity loan is another innovative feature of http://www.pncbank.com. The site also includes online auto loan applications with 15-second responses; online bill payment; access to deposit applications; AccountLink(R), which gives up-to-the minute account information and allows the transfer of funds between accounts; and Learning Link featuring consumer information on a series of financial topics.

About PNC Bank Corp.

PNC Bank Corp., headquartered in Pittsburgh, is one of the largest diversified financial services organizations in the United States. Its major businesses include Regional Community Banking, Corporate Banking, PNC Advisors, Mortgage Banking, Secured Finance, Asset Management and Mutual Fund Servicing.

About GetSmart.com

GetSmart.com is the borrower’s marketplace, providing loan information and connection to lenders, all in one location. In 1998, over eight million visitors to its popular site resulted in over 450,000 completed loan inquiries. These inquiries covered home loans, credit cards, debt consolidation products, student loans and small business financing, offered by hundreds of lenders participating in the GetSmart marketplace. Founded in 1996, GetSmart.com is based in Burlingame, California, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Providian Financial Corporation (NYSE: PVN).


New Ops Centers

Providian Financial announced that it plans to open two new operations centers during the first quarter of 2000 to support the growth and expansion of its E-Commerce and Credit Card businesses. Leases were signed last week for facilities in Henderson, Nevada and San Antonio, Texas, and Providian expects to create 600 new jobs at each facility over the next year. Both facilities, which offer 63,000 and 60,000 square feet of space, respectively, are expected to open in February 2000 and will support customer service for Providian’s Internet-based Aria Visa, as well as its other credit card products.

“The tremendous growth momentum of Aria Visa, which established more than 100,000 new customer accounts within the first six months of its launch, and the continued growth of our Credit Card business has created the need for additional employees to provide service to our customers,” said Providian Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Shailesh J. Mehta. “Henderson and San Antonio each offer a very positive business climate and a very strong and qualified labor force. Both will enable us to add to our talented employee population, who will support Providian’s commitment to 100% customer satisfaction.”

Providian Financial has over 10,000 employees in the U.S. and the U.K., with facilities in Arlington, Texas; Fairfield, Oakland, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Louisville, Kentucky; Concord and Tilton, New Hampshire; and London, England. With the growth of current initiatives, Providian expects to create additional jobs in 2000 and is currently considering additional locations for facility expansions.

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers nationwide and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, home equity loans, secured cards and membership services.

With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help its customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. Providian has $20 billion in assets under management and over 11 million customers.

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


Falcon in UK

Global information solutions provider Experian, one of the world’s leading card processors, has taken direct action in battling the growing payment card fraud trends in the United Kingdom, where plastic card fraud losses were estimated at £140 million ($226 million US) in 1998 and are expected to rise 33% in 1999. HNC Financial Solutions, a division of HNC Software Inc., announced today that Experian has successfully implemented the Falcon(tm) fraud detection system and Falcon Expert subsystem to guard its customers’ card portfolios from fraud activity. Experian is now using Falcon to protect the card portfolio of a major card issuer to safeguard its newly launched card product offerings. “We’ve been impressed with Falcon’s proven track record in bank card protection, as well as with HNC Financial Solutions’ ability to assist us in ensuring that the tight implementation timetables of this significant account were met,” said Bill Hislop, Managing Director of Experian’s Management Systems Division. “Another important factor in our selection decision was Falcon’s ability to operate in real-time-an ability we hope to make use of in the near future.”

“Falcon has been heralded around the globe as a leading fraud detection solution and has been credited with helping to slow the rise in worldwide credit card fraud losses,” added Dave Johnson, HNC Financial Solutions Vice President of Fraud Products. “We’re confident Falcon will do an outstanding job in protecting Experian’s customers, as it has with our other European clients.”

Falcon, a neural network-based predictive software system that examines transaction, cardholder, and merchant data to detect a wide range of payment card fraud, currently protects more than 300 million payment card accounts worldwide.

Experian is a global information solutions company that specializes in helping organizations make informed business decisions. The company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of consumer, business, motor vehicle, and property information. By combining its databases with advanced technology and consulting services, Experian assists its clients in targeting and acquiring new customers, building successful customer relationships, and managing financial risk. The company employs 12,000 people in the UK, USA, Continental Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Annual sales are approximately $1.5 billion. The company’s headquarters are in Nottingham, UK, and Orange, California. Experian is a subsidiary of The Great Universal Stores P.L.C., a UK-based holding company that includes home shopping, retailing, property investment, finance, and information services. For more information, go to the Experian website at http://www.experian.com http://www.experian.com> .

About HNC Financial Solutions HNC Financial Solutions is a leader in predictive customer relationship management (CRM) software for the payment card and consumer lending industries. Its powerful suite of proven decision platforms and predictive business solutions address the mission-critical, customer-lifecycle needs of financial institutions. About HNC Software Inc. Headquartered in San Diego, California, HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq: HNCS) is a leading provider of complete Predictive CRM solutions for service industries. HNC divisions include Financial Solutions, Insurance Solutions, eHNC, and Telecommunications Solutions. HNC’s suite of Predictive Software Solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationships based on transaction-level data, helping business-to-consumer companies manage their relationships with individual customers. By accurately predicting customer behaviors, these companies can create initiatives to mitigate risk and attrition; improve customer service; develop marketing programs to enhance profitability; optimize store replenishment activities; and detect fraudulent customer transactions.


Gum PhoneCard

Toronto-based Phonetime International is partnering with Wrigley Canada Inc. to distribute a free package of ‘Extra’ gum with Phonetime’s ‘Millennium’ pre-paid long distance phone card. The special bundle called ‘Millennium Extra’ will be sold through 5,000 retail outlets across Canada. The total value of the promotion will be $750,000. The card and gum combination will feature aggressive international long distance rates and be marketed as the “Long-distance card with something Extra”. Wrigley says the target group for a phone card user matches the demographics of the ‘Extra’ brand consumer. The gum company says it views the ‘Millennium Extra’ card as a unique advertising program since it provides a mini-billboard in consumers’ pockets and which includes a pre-recorded Wrigley greeting that will generate an average of eleven impressions per consumer purchase.


Faceless Trx Soar

Half of the 32 billion retail banking transactions this year will be conducted via ATMs, telephones and personal computers. The new study by PSI Global also found that 7% of U.S. households now use online banking, 67% more than in 1998. PSI expects that 20% of U.S. households will use online banking services by 2002. The survey found that transactions across all delivery channels will average 15 per month per household in 1999, the highest ever. While the retail point-of-sale environment is still dominated by cash and checks, usage of checks at the point-of-sale has decreased 25% from 1998. Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. households now use a debit card an average of 11.2 times per month. Together, debit and credit cards account for 25% of all point-of-sale payments, compared to 36% for checks and 38% for cash.


CoolSavings Card

First USA and CoolSavings, an online shopping club, launched the ‘CoolSavings’ Platinum VISA’ credit card yesterday. During the online application process, members have the opportunity to choose one of four gift certificates including $25 from The Sharper Image, Red Lobster, or The Olive Garden, or a $100 gift certificate for use at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Cardmembers also receive $200 worth of bundled coupons from CoolSavings’ advertisers such as furniture.com, CDNow and BUY.COM. The ‘CoolSavings’ VISA’ card features the company’s piggybank CEO icon and is available in purple or silver.


Corillian OneSource

Corillian Corporation announced Corillian OneSource, a service that enables banks, brokerages and financial portals to provide their customers a complete, holistic view of their personal finances via open standards.

“What we’re providing is really a one-stop shop for financial service providers to retrieve and deliver their consumers’ financial data over the Internet” said Ted Spooner, Chairman and CEO of Corillian Corp. “Our client banks, and the industry at large, have been seeking a solution for consumer aggregation services built upon the OFX standard to ensure a stable and scalable offering. We are delivering on these key criteria via OneSource.”

Corillian OneSource acquires, or “sources,” consumer financial information from multiple banks, brokerages and other financial service providers via the Open Financial Exchange standard (OFX). It then aggregates the data and provides it to subscribing financial providers who also access the information via OFX. For institutions that are not yet accessible via OFX, OneSource works with the institution to retrieve the data via a variety of proprietary methods, and then converts the data to OFX for subscribing institutions.

“Our research shows that online consumers want to see all of their accounts aggregated in one spot, where they also have the ability to execute transactions like bill payment. Consumer aggregation features enable banks to finally make their online banking services compelling to the average Web user,” said Avivah Litan, senior analyst at Gartner Group.

Corillian OneSource will initially focus on consumer banking and brokerage data such as account balances, statement information, and positions. The service will ultimately deliver the full spectrum of transactions found within the OFX standard including bill payment, presentment and transfer capabilities.

“In order to scale this business, we had to focus on delivering via open standards,” said Matt Cone, chief marketing officer of Corillian. “What we have created in Corillian OneSource is in essence the OFX network. This approach will allow us to scale to the needs of multiple institutions servicing millions of consumers.”

OneSource will be operational by the end of this calendar year.

About Corillian

Based in Beaverton, Oregon, Corillian is a leading provider of next generation Internet-based technology solutions that fulfill the eFinance needs of the Financial Services industry. The Voyager Application Server is built on the Windows NT operating system. The Voyager eFinance Suite supports Internet-based banking, bill payment, brokerage, bill presentment, one-to-one marketing, and small business transactions. The Voyager Consumer Banking Suite includes a customizable browser-based (HTML) interface, and support for OFX-enabled personal financial managers like Quicken(R) and Microsoft(R) Money. For more information on Corillian, visit ( [http://www.corillian.com][1]).

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


UltraCard Deal

Upgrade International Corp. is pleased to announce that UltraCard, Inc. has signed an exclusive licensing agreement, subject to satisfying the terms and conditions of the agreement, with Ampex Corporation (Redwood City, California) for use of the patented Keepered Media technology on magnetic cards.

The agreement is for use of Keepered Media technology on magnetic cards, not hard drive disks. The agreement positions UltraCard as the sole provider of credit card storage technology that offers 5 megabytes of storage (20,000 times the storage capacity of magnetic stripe cards) in a secure, rugged, read write format.

UltraCard’s adoption of Keepered Media will virtually eliminate accidental erasure and corrosion of data stored on the card due to exposure in the harsh consumer credit card environment, as well as prevents fraudulent duplication of information contained on the card. Keepered Media, a patented, special magnetic conductor material, is designed to protect information magnetically stored on the UltraCard. Combined with UltraCard’s credit card storage form factor, the technology package represents a significant advance in the way consumers and businesses will utilize portable data in the near future.

According to UltraCard’s Chief Technical Officer Don Mann, the agreement to license the Ampex Keepered Media technology signifies the most comprehensive suite of intellectual property for credit card technology today. “The credit card has not evolved at the same pace of other technologies, it is basically the original technology that was in use 30 years ago. Our agreement with Ampex rounds out the technology needed to complete our revolutionary storage medium, a hard drive in a credit card format,” explained Mann.

Upgrade International Corp., through its 50% ownership interest in UltraCard Inc., is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented, revolutionary data storage technology. The UltraCard technology is a combination of proprietary magnetic and non-magnetic layers deposited on the card’s surface in place of or in addition to the magstripe. The card consists of a specially formulated base material, followed by magnetics and topped off by a cohesion of extremely durable protective layers, including the addition of the Ampex Keepered media. The resulting UltraCard product has a mechanical durability many times greater than any other card storage device. Additionally, the card is between eight and ten times more resistant to demagnetization than ordinary magstripe cards.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors,

Daniel Bland, President


Wallet War

The nation’s second largest issuer, Bank One, and e-Visa, the Internet unit of VISA U.S.A., Tuesday unveiled the bankonewallet, a new service designed to save time for customers when they shop on the Internet. The new service streamlines the online shopping experience by storing account numbers, billing and shipping information in one virtual wallet, as well as transferring payment instructions to a point of sale with a few simple clicks.