EMS Goes ICE

Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS), one of the nation’s leading merchant processors, is deploying more than 3,000 Hypercom(R) card payment systems throughout its retail and restaurant network. The deployment includes Hypercom’s new ICE 5000 and T8 card payment systems, as well as the company’s popular T7P terminal. Concurrent with the deployment, EMS has named Hypercom Corporation its exclusive provider of card payment systems.

“Hypercom’s solutions allow us to deliver an array of easy to use, value-packed, revenue- enhancing features and greater options at the point-of-sale that are second to none,” said John Rahilly, President, Electronic Merchant Systems. “We are delighted to offer these powerful solutions to existing and potential customers, and equally pleased to designate Hypercom as our exclusive electronic payment provider.”

Hypercom’s ICE 5000 is a powerful, multi-function touch-screen terminal incorporating a high-speed thermal printer, paper cutter, and Hypercom’s new 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’s Ascendent(TM) Server Environment, the ICE 5000 also supports online advertising and electronic signature and receipt capture, storage and retrieval.

Hypercom’s recently introduced T8 is a low-cost, user-friendly card payment system that supports draft capture, debit, check and proprietary card processing and new payment vehicles such as chip card-based credit/debit cards and stored value cards, as well as PIN pads. Hypercom’s T8 is ideal for merchants seeking to upgrade from paper-based systems or who experience low transaction volume.

“Savvy processors, acquirers and merchants are quickly recognizing the need to add value to the basic card transaction, and that’s where Hypercom comes in,” said George Devitt, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales, US and Canada, Hypercom Corporation. “We are pleased to help EMS provide its merchants with state-of-the-art electronic payment solutions.”

Electronic Merchant Systems, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is a leading national provider of retail merchant services and turnkey E-Commerce solutions. EMS continues to drive the payment processing industry through a vast array of customized services and applications including EMS E-Commerce and EMS Create-A-Store. The EMS Internet address is [www.emscorporate.com][1].

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][2].

Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. ICE, FastPOS and Ascendent are trademarks of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.

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

Details

TripSaver

Metris Companies launched another fee-based membership club Tuesday. The ‘TripSaver’ club offers travel discounts and a lowest-price guarantee. Benefits include a 5% rebate on all travel arrangements booked through Metris Travel Services Inc.; airline, hotel, rental car and bus line discounts; a toll-free travel hotline with special promotional offers, discounts and packages; and opportunities to receive discounts at over 80 national adventure and theme parks. Other member benefits include gasoline rebates; discounts on pre-trip auto maintenance, photo finishing and travel guides; one free night at a select Choice hotel per year; and cabin upgrades on designated cruise lines. Metris has developed a number of fee-based services and now has established relationships with more than 4 million customers holding credit cards issued by five of the top 10 card issuers.

Details

SurePay

First Data introduced the industry’s first stand-alone payment gateway, ‘SurePay’, supporting credit, check and cash payments over the Internet. In addition, the company announced the creation of the First Data Internet Commerce group, established to focus on development and management of Internet-based electronic commerce solutions and related initiatives across all First Data subsidiaries. ‘SurePay’ enables Internet merchants to accept and process their customers’ credit card transactions in real time and support all standard credit card types; accept and process customers’ check payments electronically in real time via TeleCheck; accept customers’ cash payments for Internet purchases via Western Union retail agent locations; and access enhanced fraud screening and merchant reporting.

Details

Ad Spenders

American Express outspent VISA in advertising during the first half of this year according to data released Tuesday by Competitive Media Reporting. Industrywide, ad spending was up 6.9% for the first half of 1999 as compared to 10.6% in 1998, the increase was lower than any in the last five years. During the first six months of 1999, American Express spent $148.6 million on advertising, a 6.7% increase over the same period last year. However ad spending for the American Express card actually dropped from $83.0 million last year to $80.3 million this year. VISA USA shelled out $119.7 million this year, a 6.5% increase over 1998. VISA’s spending for credit cards dropped 16.7% over the past year, from $63.6 million to $53.0 million, according to CMR. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter spent $116.9 million so far this year on ads, about double what it spent last year. Of the $116.9 million MSDW spent, $34.1 million was advertising for the Discover brokerage. CMR did not break out expenditures for MSDW’s Discover card product.

Details

AmEx Brokerage

American Express Company announced Tuesday plans to launch American Express Brokerage — a service that combines innovative online investing and financial planning tools with access to a financial advisor and attractive online pricing, including free equity trades for account holders with minimum balances. American Express Brokerage will be available later this fall.

American Express Brokerage () provides the tools for online investing that customers value most, including the ability to open an account instantly, a broad choice of mutual funds, real-time quotes and comprehensive market research. In addition, American Express Brokerage provides access to financial planning and advice tools and services, online or in person, unparalleled in the online brokerage marketplace.

“American Express Brokerage lets our customers invest when, where and how they want,” said Doug Lennick, executive vice president, Advice and Retail Distribution Group, American Express. “Clients can ‘do-it-themselves’ with the help of our interactive tools and proprietary research, or they can use American Express Brokerage with the help of an experienced, professional American Express financial advisor.”

“Our new online brokerage represents an important step forward in establishing American Express as a leader in online commerce,” said Ruediger Adolf, senior vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development at American Express. “It is a key part of our Internet strategy and complements a series of recent introductions, including Membership B@nking — a direct bank with attractive rates and quality service — and Blue — a new card with special features for people interested in shopping online.”

Features of American Express Brokerage include:

* Low-cost equity trading. Online equity buys are free and sells are $14.95 with a minimum account balance of $25,000. For account balances over $100,000, online equity buys and sells are free. With an account balance of less than $25,000, buys and sells are each $14.95. All equity buys and sells over 3,000 shares have an additional charge of three cents per share. Bond and option trading will also be available.

* Mutual fund choice. Through American Express Brokerage, customers will be able to choose from more than 2,000 mutual funds from more than 260 of America’s best-known fund families.

* Comprehensive financial planning tools. The online financial planning tools provide comprehensive, interactive advice integrating the six areas of financial planning: retirement planning, financial position, investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, and protection planning.

* Access to American Express financial advisors. Clients can choose to work with an American Express financial advisor to get whatever level of advice and help they need. Advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning as well as advice on individual investments. Advisors will be able to offer American Express Brokerage as a tool for their clients, and Brokerage customers will be able to use an online advisor locator to find an advisor in their area.

* Cash management account. Customers with a minimum balance of $5,000 will have access to a cash management account. The account features free, unlimited check writing, unlimited debit card use and ATM access (with four surcharges per month reimbursed). Customers who have qualifying assets of $25,000 or more can receive an American Express Gold Card, with the $75 annual fee compliments of American Express. Gold Card charges will be debited from the cash management account monthly.

* Easy account opening. Qualified customers can open an account online immediately and begin trading in minutes.

* Information. Account holders will have access to real-time quotes, buy-side research from American Express Financial Advisors, and news and analysis to help make smart investment decisions.

* Service. American Express professionals will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer technical and investment questions at 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1.

* Other features include IRAs, competitive margin lending rates and free dividend re-investment.

American Express first introduced an online investing capability, Financial Direct, in 1996. Customers currently using that service will be automatically upgraded to the more comprehensive American Express Brokerage account.

To help investors make the most of these features, American Express Brokerage is the only online brokerage that provides comprehensive advice tools and the financial planning and advice expertise of American Express financial advisors.

“American Express Brokerage will be the only online brokerage backed by the level of comprehensive financial planning expertise available from American Express Financial Advisors,” said Lennick. “Comprehensive planning assures that our customers consider the impact of their investment strategies on their current financial position, tax situation, insurance needs, retirement plans and estate needs. Brokerage customers can work with a financial advisor to devise a comprehensive plan and can establish an ongoing relationship with their advisor as they use the tools and investments available through the brokerage to carry out their plan.”

American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) is one of the nation’s leading financial planning companies. Through a network of more than 9,300 personal financial advisors, the company provides ongoing, long-term financial planning and high quality financial products to more than two million clients throughout the United States. AEFA is a unit of American Express Company ([http://www.americanexpress.com][1]). Founded in 1850, American Express is a global travel, financial and network services provider.

American Express makes investment and financial planning services available through American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., member NASD and SIPC. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.

For more complete information on American Express Brokerage products, including fees and expenses, consumers may obtain a prospectus by calling 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1. Consumers should read before investing.

Investments are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of or guaranteed by a financial institution, involve investment risks including possible loss of principal. All deposit products and services are offered by American Express Centurion Bank, a federally insured financial institution.

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

Details

CSI+Lycos+KPMG

Cardservice International, Inc. announced Monday evening that it has agreed to provide payment processing services to Lycos Inc..The alliance will enable merchants within the Lycos shopping area to establish a payment processing relationship with CSI and be selling online within hours. CSI also announced that KPMG LLP and CSI have joined up provide eCommerce business solutions to the small-business marketplace. The effort combines KPMG’s eCommerce transactions capabilities with Cardservice International’s small-business payment-processing capabilities. The first commerce service provider to endorse the partnership is Nexgen Solutions, a small business based in Silver Spring, MD.

Details

Electronic Paycheck

Community West Bancshares announced Monday that its Electronic Paycheck subsidiary has filed a patent application covering a method of and system for making purchases over the Internet using an ATM card or credit card with a secure PIN. The company says it has been developing the technology for the past 15 months. Electronic Paycheck says it will unlock Internet purchases from untapped consumer segments such as teenagers because they do not have credit cards. The EP system will enable anyone to purchase a card, put money on it, and make secured Internet purchases utilizing a virtual PINPAD. The Electronic Paycheck software, which is based on Internet protocol, is currently being utilized for payments in the payroll, cruise line, network marketing, bill paying, check cashing and short-term consumer loan industries. In addition, Electronic Paycheck is now in the testing phase of a process to use its software and cards as part of a national loyalty card program, whereby customers earn reward points by patronizing participating merchants. Electronic Paycheck generates revenues based upon card issuance and ongoing transaction fees.

Details

September Benchmarks

Delinquencies, chargeoffs and attrition edged up in September while annual fees, fraud and bankruptcy losses declined according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Nevertheless bank credit card portfolio yields continue to rise as they have all year. Among issuers offering the lowest APRs Platinum cards now average 10.45%, Standard cards 11.29%, Gold cards 11.51% and Sub-Prime cards 17.41%.

SEPTEMBER BENCHMARKS
Standard APR: 18.04% Delinquencies: 4.70%
Gold APR: 17.05% Chargeoffs: 5.08%
Platinum APR: 14.63% Attrition: 8.47%
Standard Fee: $18.40 Yields: 13.98%
Gold Fee: $36.16 Fraud Losses: 0.17%
Platinum Fee: $68.45 Bankruptcy: 41.3%

For explanation of methodology see CardData (special access fee applies)

Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/
[2]: http://www.carddata.com/

Details

Helms Joins UTM Board

UTM Systems Corp. (), a developer of electronic commerce payment facilitation technology, Monday announced that Luke Helms has joined its board of directors.

An industry veteran and vice chairman at Cleveland-based Key Bank, Helms will provide strategic leadership and industry insight to UTM Systems Corp. by drawing from his over 30 years of executive-level experience in the banking sector. UTM Systems Corp. is the developer of the UTM Machine, a first-of-its-kind hardware device that, when inserted into the floppy drive of any Internet-connected computer, works like an ATM to facilitate convenient and secure online transactions using a debit or credit card. The UTM Machine interfaces directly with banking institutions via the existing worldwide ATM networks and can be used with any existing e-commerce Web site. UTM Systems Corp. is currently in negotiation with several national banking institutions that will provide the UTM Machine free to customers.

“Luke Helms is among the most respected executives in the banking industry today,” said Robert Lee, president and founder of UTM Systems Corp. “His deep insight into the needs of the banking community will allow UTM Systems to better serve our bank partners, and to provide banking institutions with flexible technology that will help them grow their business in the Age of the Internet. We are honored and privileged to have Luke Helms join the UTM Systems board of directors.”

Currently responsible for commercial lending in the western U.S., as vice chairman Helms is an instrumental contributor to Key Bank strategies for expansion in the western U.S., including acquisitions and alternate delivery systems. Helms formerly served as vice chairman at San Francisco-based Bank of America where he was responsible for out-of-state banking activities in 11 western states with a combined customer base of 11 million and total deposits of $70 billion. Prior to that, Helms served Seafirst Corporation of Seattle as chairman and CEO, where he lead all bank operations and oversaw assets of over $12 billion.

Helms banking industry experience is coupled with extensive work in the Internet and technology arenas. Helms is a founding director of LibertyBay.com, an Internet service provider offering high speed and low cost Web service in 16 major U.S. markets, as well as a director at CCS Corporation, the leading independent nationwide supplier of non-bank ATMs in the U.S. He also is a past director of GetSmart.com, an originator of financial products such as home loans and credit cards; GetSmart.com was acquired by Providian Corp. in 1998.

About UTM Systems Corp.

UTM Systems Corp. (), based in Seattle, is focused on the delivery of Internet payment technology. The mission of UTM Systems Corp. is to bring the security and convenience of the ATM (automatic teller machine) experience to electronic commerce. The flagship product of UTM Systems Corp., the UTM Machine, is a hardware device that slides into any computer’s floppy drive to facilitate e-commerce payments at any existing online merchant site. The UTM Machine conveniently and securely facilitates online credit and/or debit card transactions directly with the cardholder’s financial institution via the existing worldwide ATM networks. UTM Systems Corp. can be contacted at 425/451-8585.

Details

Marbles Game

A small British public relations firm, called Marbles, is standing firm in the face of a multi-million dollar launch of a new Internet credit card for the UK, also called marbles, by Household Finance Corporation’s UK arm, HFC Bank.

“We’ve always known it’s a good name – we’ve traded successfully with this brand for more than eight years,” says Jan Stannard, joint managing director of Marbles, “so we’re not surprised that someone else has decided to use it.”

“However, it is interesting they have launched marbles as an online brand when we own the domain name, [www.marbles.co.uk][1]. We will not be changing our brand or Internet domain, and we do regret the confusion that will inevitably be created when consumers come to our site by mistake, through no fault of ours.

“We are surprised that, from the initial press coverage we’ve seen, they have used a visual identity for the card that is remarkably similar to our logo, which has been in continuous use for eight years.”

Marbles is one of the country’s best-performing PR agencies, known for its work in the consumer and technology sectors. The Internet is a particular strength.

[1]: http://www.marbles.co.uk/

Details

Web Merchants

Books, CDs and bidding services continue to dominate the top Internet merchant rankings according to NextCard’s ‘eCommerce Index’. The NextCard index is a monthly listing of the top 25 online merchants and the top 10 movers based on the number of online purchase transactions by approximately 100,000 ‘NextCard VISA’ customers.

September Top 5 Online Merchants
Rank Movement Merchant
1. +1 AMAZON.COM
2. -1 AOL ONLINE SERVICE
3. +2 CD NOW/MUSIC BOULEVARD
4. — EARTHLINK NETWORK
5. -2 BUY.COM

Source: NextCard eCommerce Index

Details