Smile VISA Gets Smart

Smile, the UK’s first full-service Internet bank, has chosen Schlumberger to lead its charge into smart cards. Smile, from Co-operative Bank, said this morning it will use Schlumberger to supply all the smart cards for the new ‘Smile VISA Gold’ and ‘VISA Classic’ credit cards, and the Smile debit card. Internet-based credit cards and smart credit cards in this UK has drawn intense competition. In September Prudential launched the Egg credit card and last month, Household launched the Marbles credit card. Co-operative bank did not reveal yesterday what applications it will run on card chip.

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Bonds via Cards

The U.S. Treasury Department yesterday conducted the first purchase of a U.S. savings bond over the Internet using a MasterCard. The online transaction involved the use of the SET protocol. The new service is the result of a private sector-government partnership that includes MasterCard, Mellon Financial Services, IBM, and the U.S. Treasury Department. The government is using the new credit card option to enable Americans to buy the ‘Series I Inflation-Indexed Savings Bonds’. ‘I-Bonds’ are adjusted to ensure a real rate of return over and above inflation. The Treasury Department says transactions will be authorized instantaneously and the savings bonds should be delivered to the recipient in about a week. The payment gateway, which serves as the interface between the Internet and MasterCard’s authorizing network, was developed by IBM and is owned and operated by MasterCard on behalf of Mellon Financial Services and other MasterCard members worldwide.

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Phone Card Stickers

Cable & Wireless Global Card Services unveiled a unique way to transform a business card into a powerful marketing tool. The new ‘TeleStamp’ is a prepaid phone card in a peel and stick format. C&W says the new ‘TeleStamp’ is a prepaid phone card on a label, and can be used by a wide variety of business customers, including real estate agents, CPAs and attorneys, who typically distribute a large number of business cards.

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ICE in Philippines

Equitable Bank’s Philippines operations will deploy 1,400 Hypercom Corporation ICE 5000 touch-screen card payment terminals at merchant sites throughout the Philippines before year’s end. The deployment will enable Equitable Bank Philippines to significantly increase the number of transactions it processes.

“The deployment of Hypercom’s ICE 5000 terminals demonstrates our absolute commitment to provide Philippine merchants with the most technically-advanced, easy-to-use and value-packed card payment systems available,” said Mr. Tony Conway, office of the president, Equitable Bank Philippines. “That represents a win-win for Equitable, our merchants and their customers.”

Hypercom’s ICE 5000 is a powerful, multi-function touch-screen terminal incorporating a high-speed thermal printer, paper cutter, and Hypercom FastPOS(TM) 9600 bits per second (bps) modem technology that completes transactions in under six seconds. Hypercom’s ICE 5000 provides a highly interactive and intuitive user interface that allows the support of complex transactions with minimum user training. When used in concert with Hypercom(R) Ascendent(TM) software, the ICE 5000 also supports electronic receipt capture, storage and retrieval, and on-line advertising.

“Sophisticated financial institutions and merchants worldwide today more than ever recognize the need to add value and flexibility at the point-of-sale, and Hypercom’s ICE 5000 allows them to do just that,” said Mr. Jeremy Su, president, Hypercom Asia-Pacific. “We are pleased to help Equitable Bank provide its merchants with state-of-the-art electronic payment solutions.”

Equitable Card Network (ECN) is the leading card issuer, merchant acquirer, and third party processor in the Philippines. With over 500,000 VISA(R) and MasterCard(R) cards issued, ECN holds over 50% of the entire branded cardholder base nationwide. As the largest merchant acquirer, it continues to provide world class service and support to over 22,000 merchants all over the country. And as the largest third party service processor, it provides a complete processing solution for 22 other card issuing banks, numerous co-branded card partners and a variety of private label products.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is the single-source global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

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

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eCharge Names New CEO

eCharge Corp., the next generation online payments company, Tuesday announced the appointment of Truett Tate as chief executive officer of the company. A career Citibank executive, Tate brings more than 25 years of experience in International banking and financial services to eCharge. Most recently, Tate was the customer group executive responsible for both the Global Corporate and Investment’s Bank’s Marketing Division as well as for the group’s Emerging Market Region Heads worldwide.

Ron Erickson, the former CEO of eCharge, has been appointed chairman of the company’s board of directors. Erickson will actively work with Tate and the Board of Directors in developing key strategic alliances around the world.

The founders of eCharge Corporation, George Fleming and Rob Hutchison, issued the following statement: “We are thrilled with the addition of Truett to our executive team. He will be instrumental in driving our strategy to be the leading global online payments company. His vast experience in managing large scale financial business with major multinational and foreign based corporations, combined with his understanding of the telecommunication and retail industries, makes him uniquely qualified to lead our strike into this market.”

“eCharge has the vision and the talent to revolutionize e-commerce payment systems on a global scale,” said Truett Tate, eCharge’s newly appointed CEO. “George Fleming, Rob Hutchison and Ron Erickson have assembled a talented staff and established a long list of first-tier strategic partners to make this vision real. The combination of the vision, the talent and the partners, has them poised for tremendous success. I am delighted with the prospect of working with such a dynamic and capable team.”

Background on Truett Tate’s Career

As a career Citibank executive, Tate held a variety of senior management positions, almost all being “regional” responsibilities for the Global Corporate Banking businesses. He has been based in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe. He joined Citibank in 1972 and after three years Tate was selected by Citibank’s CEO to join a team tasked to develop a new strategic vision for the company. In 1978, as vice president, Multi-Nationals Team, Tate participated in the opening of a new office in Cleveland, Ohio to manage large account relationships with locally headquartered multinational companies including TRW, Mead, Eaton and, Proctor and Gamble.

In 1982, after completing Harvard’s Professional Management Development program, Tate led the Corporate Banking business in Sao Paulo, Brazil through both a strong economic period and the mid-80’s economic collapse. Beginning in 1987, Tate transferred to Asia and eventually settled in Hong Kong where he set up new Citibank World Corporation Group operations for Asia Pacific. As the WCG Asia division executive, Tate led operations in 17 countries.

After five years in the Asian market, Tate became the division executive for Citibank’s European World Corporation Group based in London — and subsequently Frankfurt, Germany — and managed its operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa — 48 countries in all. In 1997, Tate was transferred to Citibank’s World Headquarters in New York, where he assumed his current role as customer group executive and Group Relationship Banking marketing director as well as leading the group’s Emerging Market Region Heads. His responsibilities included recruiting, training, advertising, public affairs, the financial analysis units and technology initiatives as well as CIO functions for the front end of the marketing and sales processes.

Tate will work from the eCharge headquarters in Seattle, Washington. He joins Mark Tremont, executive vice president operations and chief financial officer, in managing the day-to-day operations of the company. Tremont, a 30-year banking and finance veteran, joined eCharge in August from Visa International where he managed and directed the company’s worldwide financial operations.

Tate is active in several community activities including the New York Ronald McDonald House. He has served on a variety of industry related boards including a number of overseas Chambers of Commerce, the Far Eastern Economic Review Board (Asia) and is currently chairman of the Global Marketing Council for the Conference Board. He is also a member of the board of directors for a number of companies including Chase Cost Management Corporation.

About eCharge Corporation

Founded in 1997, eCharge Corp., the next generation online payments company, is improving global online payment methods by offering Internet users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases. eCharge Corp.’s payment solutions are used by Internet merchants, telephone companies and Internet Service Providers worldwide. Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., eCharge has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, London, UK and Tokyo, Japan. For more information go to [http://www.eCharge.com][1].

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

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ETC Plus

Hypercom Corp. and First Data Corp., through its subsidiary First Data Merchant Services Corp. , have developed an enhanced ETC Plus application on First Data’s Omaha platform to support the new processing requirements for all VISA and MasterCard transactions. The proprietary ETC Plus application will allow merchants to qualify for the best interchange rates and better safeguard merchants and consumers against fraudulent transactions.

Designed to reduce the overall cost of processing transactions, First Data’s ETC Plus application includes features such as mail order address verification and retail address verification for manually entered transactions at the point-of-sale. Additionally, ETC Plus supports the new data capture requirements for debit transactions, enabling First Data to report on the debit activity of its clients’ merchants.

“The new ETC Plus application reinforces First Data’s commitment to continuously enhance the processing services and products our clients require to remain successful in the industry,” said Kurt Strawhecker, senior vice president, First Data Merchant Services.

“Hypercom’s goal is to provide industry leaders such as First Data with the most advanced, innovative and value-added electronic payment solutions,” said John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, Hypercom(R) North America POS. “We have a long and valued relationship with First Data, and we are pleased to support this latest initiative.”

The ETC Plus application on First Data’s Omaha platform supports credit, debit and check transaction processing, including dial authorization and settlement directly with the First Data host system. In addition, the application supports split dial functions for check services and American Express(R) transactions through the First Data ETC Plus host.

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, please visit the company’s web site at [www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

Hypercom Corp. (NYSE: HYC) is the single-source global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][2]

[1]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com/
[2]: http://www.hypercom.com/

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Chase Shopping

Chase Manhattan launched an Internet shopping site that features over 30,000 merchants and more than one million products listed by store and product category. The new service, powered by ShopNow.com, offers Chase customers an automatic 5% discount on brand-name products when they use their Chase credit or debit card for ChaseShop.com purchases. The 5% Chase cardholder discount applies only to purchases made through the Products or Brands section of ChaseShop.com. Purchases made through the Stores section do not qualify for the discount. Chase cardholders can also take advantage of exclusive money-saving discounts offered on the ‘Chase Extras’ section of the site.

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CompUSA Magic Moments

CompUSA Inc., America’s Largest Computer Superstore retailer, is proud to announce its participation, for the second year, in Visa’s Magic Moments promotion. Each day from November 1 through December 31, 1999, Visa will randomly select a one-second moment when U.S.-issued Visa card purchases are free — regardless of the amount.

Last year 17 CompUSA customers won amounts ranging from $9 to over $1600. If the processing time stamp of a customer’s Visa purchase matches that day’s Visa Magic Moment, a credit will appear on the cardholder’s next statement. No purchase or obligation is necessary. For more details, including consumer sweepstakes official rules, visit [http://www.visa.com][1].

“Because this promotion extends through the holiday season, our customers could really win big when they use their Visa card at CompUSA,” said CompUSA president and CEO Jim Halpin. “The more purchases they make, the higher their chances of winning.”

About Visa

Visa is the leading card brand and the largest payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1.4 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [http://www.visa.com][2].

About CompUSA Inc.

CompUSA Inc. ([http://www.compusa.com][3]) is one of the nation’s leading retailers and resellers of personal computers and related products and services. CompUSA Inc. currently operates 213 CompUSA Computer Superstores in 83 major metropolitan markets across the United States that serve retail, corporate, government and education customers and include technical service departments and classroom training facilities. CompUSA also offers its own build-to-order personal computer series, the CompUSA PC(TM).

[1]: http://www.visa.com/
[2]: http://www.visa.com/
[3]: http://www.compusa.com/

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Pathways Acquisition

WA-based The Pathways Group confirmed late yesterday that it has agreed to acquire CO-based SmartCard Solutions. Privately held SmartCard Solutions is a technology based company with expertise in enterprise systems design and development, telecommunications, financial systems and application development for ticket sales, access control and rental/retail for destination resorts and campus-style environments. SmartCard Solutions currently has its POS system installed in several prominent rocky mountain ski areas, including the four mountains of Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado where the system processes approximately 3.5 million transactions per season. The Pathways Group is a developer of smart card-based technologies and manufactures ‘SPRINTICKET’ unattended ticketing dispensers. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31.

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Sears’ Card Head

Sears, Roebuck and Co. named Kevin Keleghan president of Credit Services yesterday. Keleghan will assume responsibility for the strategic direction and leadership of Sears Credit Services, including Sears Card, Sears Premier Card, Sears Charge Plus, Sears Commercial One, Sears Home Improvement Card and Sears Gift Card. Keleghan, formerly of GE Capital, joined Sears as vice president of credit risk management in 1996.

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