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.Details
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.Details
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.Details
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.
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]).
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, PresidentDetails
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.Details
The SmartCard Group, a division of Amdahl Corporation, announced that it has joined Europay, the premier international payment system service provider in Europe, as part of their vendor program. Amdahl will now have access to the fast growing European payment card market through Europay’s brands and services.
“Amdahl is showing its commitment to the European payments market by joining the Europay vendor program,” said Joe Casola, President of Amdahl’s SmartCard Group. “This will be an opportunity to build relationships with more than 9,000 Europay member banks, as well as to develop new business opportunities in emerging European markets.”
The Amdahl SmartCard Group provides consulting, systems integration and comprehensive IT solutions for clients offering services based on integrated chip card technology.
Europay manages and markets cashless payment instruments and electronic payment systems for private individuals, companies and banks.Details
The Better Business Bureau system Tuesday released a draft of its new Code of Online Business Practices and began seeking public comment on the code. December 30 is the deadline for comment on the proposed code, which can be viewed at [http://www.bbbonline.org/bu sinesses/code/draft].
The proposed code builds on the Better Business Bureaus — eight decades of experience in fostering ethical business practices. The code also draws on the experience BBBOnLine has gained while reviewing more than 5,000 commercial Web sites to evaluate their qualifications for participation in the BBBOnLine Reliability Seal and BBBOnLine Privacy Seal Programs. The BBB system has a long history of developing codes of business practices and a respected reputation for working effectively with consumers, businesses and government to build trust in the marketplace.
“This new code will be a roadmap for businesses engaged in e-commerce, including many that are new and inexperienced,” said Kenneth J. Hunter, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for the 132 BBBs in the United States and Puerto Rico. “We believe the best way to protect consumers is to develop common business practices that reflect high standards of conduct, and to encourage the business community to adopt them.”
The Better Business Bureau system is actively seeking input from the e-business community, the government and the public to help make sure the new code reflects the best practices in e-commerce. To maximize public participation, the Web site provides an easy-to-use email response system.
“We look forward to comments from those merchants that are actively involved in offering a quality shopping experience to online consumers,” said Russell Bodoff, senior vice president and COO of BBBOnLine, a subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “At the same time, we would welcome input from consumers — those who have enjoyed a safe online shopping experience, and those who have suggestions for improving the Internet marketplace.”
In conjunction with posting the proposed code, BBBOnLine and Better Business Bureaus will host three regional meetings to discuss the new code face-to-face with interested consumers, regulators, trade association leaders and business executives. The meetings will take place in Denver, Colorado, on December 1; Palo Alto, California, on December 2; and Washington, D.C. on December 9. Registration for the regional meetings is available online at [http://www.b bbonline.org/businesses/code/register/default.cfm].
Bodoff said that government officials and regulators, here and abroad, have encouraged development of the code. BBBOnLine will be working with global corporations to solicit input from businesses, consumers and government officials in other countries.
The BBB’s new code of online business practices is the latest effort to give consumers confidence in doing business online and follows the creation of the BBBOnLine Reliability Seal and Privacy Seal Programs. Five basic principles drive the proposed Code’s detailed recommendations:
* Disclose, Disclose, Disclose. Online businesses shall disclose to their customers and prospective customers, clearly, conspicuously and in easy-to- understand language, accurate information about the business, any goods or services offered through an online transaction and, if applicable, the transaction itself.
* Tell the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth. Online businesses shall not engage in deceptive or misleading trade practices with regard to any aspect of electronic commerce, including advertising, marketing, or in their use of technology.
* Aim to Please. Online businesses should make online shopping a positive consumer experience and shall seek to resolve disputes that are raised by their customers, clients, or licensees in a timely and responsive manner.
* Take Special Care with Children. If online businesses target children under the age of 13, they shall take special care to protect them.
For additional information on the Better Business Bureau, visit: [http://www.bbb.org]. For additional information on BBOnLine, visit: [http://www.bbbonline.org].
Borders has introduced an ‘Explorers ‘Electronic Gift’ card for children, a prepaid card that can carry any amount of buying power from $5 to $500. The card is good for anything at Borders including books, CDs, videos and many other items available throughout the store. It even features the cool Borders Explorers mascot, so it looks as fun as it is. There are multiple ways to track and check the balance including calling an 800 number, a balance inquiry done at the register or simply by checking your receipts when the card is used to pay for the child’s selections.Details
The Credit Store, Inc. Tuesday announced today it has completed the sale of its three special-purpose subsidiaries, which hold approximately $19 million in performing credit card receivables. This sale is expected to generate a pretax gain of approximately $5.0 million, depending on confirmation of final settlement amounts, the Company said, which will be reflected in financial statements for the second quarter, fiscal year 2000, which ends today.
The Credit Store said that the special-purpose subsidiaries sold were formed by the Company during FY 1999 to securitize three separate pools of seasoned performing credit card receivables. At the time of the securitizations, the Company recorded a total $8.0 million pretax gain. The approximately $5.0 million gain is in addition to that initial $8.0 million gain, and resulted from the sale of all remaining equity interest in each subsidiary that had been retained by The Credit Store at the time of each securitization. The purchaser subsequently has sold the subsidiaries’credit card receivables and underlying accounts to a large independent credit card bank. No other details of the transactions were disclosed.
Separately, The Credit Store announced preliminary results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2000, which ended August 31, 1999. Total revenues for the first quarter were approximately $8.1 million and the net loss was $2.5 million. After the requirement for preferred dividends, the Company showed a loss applicable to common shareholders of approximately $3.0 million, which translated to a loss of approximately $0.09 per common share for the quarter. The net loss in the first quarter was primarily the result of the lack of the securitization or sale of any receivables portfolios in the quarter. The Company has noted previously that the lack of a securitization or sale in any given quarter can cause revenues and the level of profit or loss to fluctuate sharply from quarter to quarter as a matter of routine business.
The customary detailed results for the fiscal first quarter will be released in early to mid December, in conjunction with The Credit Store’s filing of its Form 10 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Company said. Based on today’s announced sale of the three special-purpose subsidiaries, the Company additionally said it expects to report a profitable second quarter. The detailed results for fiscal year’s second quarter are expected to be announced early next calendar year.
Martin J. Burke III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented: “Our business continues to perform well and profitably overall. It is very important to note that first and second quarter results remain well within the expected context of our business plan.”
Burke continued, “The sale of the special-purpose subsidiaries is an important event for The Credit Store. Our business has now reached the stage where our receivables are sufficiently seasoned to be attractive to other credit card companies. More importantly, the market has shown us that once sufficiently seasoned, our receivables trade in the market place at prices similar to standard credit card receivables. Our customers are of great interest to traditional credit card companies who are looking to grow their portfolios.”
The Credit Store, Inc. is a technology-based financial services company that provides credit card products to consumers who may otherwise fail to qualify for a traditional unsecured bank credit card. The Company reaches these consumers by acquiring portfolios of non-performing consumer receivables and offering a new credit card to those consumers who agree to pay all or a portion of the outstanding amount due on their debt. The new card is issued with an initial balance and credit line equal to the agreed repayment amount. After appropriate seasoning, the Company seeks to sell or securitize the credit card receivables generated by this business strategy.Details
Corillian Corporation Tuesday announced that Edmund P. Jensen, has been appointed to its Board of Directors. With this new appointment, the number of directors on the Corillian board expands to seven.
Mr. Jensen, was formerly President and CEO of Visa International for six years. Prior to Visa, Mr. Jensen spent 20 years at US Bancorp, serving in various capacities, most recently as Vice Chairman and COO. Other positions included Group Vice President of National Industries Inc. and Director of Financial Analysis at Dole Co., Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Jensen has also served as an Officer in the US Army.
Jensen graduated with a BA in Finance from the University of Washington and has performed significant civic leadership activities in the Portland, Oregon area.
“Ed’s tremendous knowledge and management experience in the payments industry and background in developing internet payment and security solutions for the financial services industry makes him a huge asset to our board,” commented Ted Spooner, Chairman and CEO of Corillian. “We expect his guidance to be extremely helpful as Corillian expands its sales channels and product offerings to meet the eFinance needs of financial institutions worldwide.”
“I have admired the management team and the progress Corillian has made over the past couple of years in our dynamic market of eFinance,” Mr. Jensen said. “Corillian is a real industry innovator, and I am excited to join such an experienced and talented group of professionals.”
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, as well as support for OFX-enabled personal financial managers like Quicken(R) and Microsoft(R) Money. For more information on Corillian, visit .Details
First Data Resources announced this morning that it has surpassed a record one billion off-line debit transactions processed to date this year. The one billion transaction mark represents a 59% growth in the number of debit transactions processed by First Data Resources for the same period in 1998. First Data currently provides off-line processing for more than 56 million debit cards issued by over 500 financial institutions. First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers.Details