Oberthur Card Systems

Oberthur Smart Cards, the card division of Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire, announced Thursday that it finalized the acquisition of De La Rue Card Systems, the card division of the De La Rue group.

This acquisition results in the creation of a new company called Oberthur Card Systems.

Following the approval of the American authorities, the agreement between the Francois-Charles Oberthur and De La Rue groups by which Oberthur Smart Cards was to acquire De La Rue Card Systems became final on Oct. 1, 1999.

The result of this acquisition is the creation of Oberthur Card Systems, one of the world’s smart card leaders with estimated revenues of approximately 2.8 billion French Francs (U.S. $466 million) and 3,000 employees worldwide.

“We are extremely pleased with this acquisition,” explained Thomas Savare, general manager of Oberthur Smart Cards. “Oberthur Card Systems, the new entity we just created will benefit from De La Rue Card Systems’ know-how and will be among the top three players in the market. Our goal is to eventually become number 1 in the smart card market.”

About Oberthur Smart Cards

Oberthur Smart Cards, a leading manufacturer, technology and solutions provider of microprocessor cards and systems, is the card division of Groupe Francois-Charles Oberthur, one of the world’s leading high security printers. Oberthur manufactures and personalizes smart cards and magnetic stripe cards in three production centers in the United States and Europe.

Oberthur Smart Cards produced over 225 million cards worldwide in 1998, including 30 million microprocessor cards and 45 million memory cards. Founded in 1987, Oberthur Smart Cards has become the world leader in microprocessor transaction cards and is also present in other market segments such as telecommunications, GSM, Internet, e-commerce, government, healthcare, pay-TV and transit.

About De La Rue Card Systems

De La Rue Card Systems, whose 1998 turnover was 139.1 million pounds, is a major supplier of VISA and MasterCard products world-wide and a world leader in the development and delivery of electronic and mobile commerce solutions. De La Rue is also a major supplier of Pay-TV smart cards. As a leading provider of smart card solutions to customers in banking, telecoms, loyalty, transport, and Pay-TV, De La Rue Card Systems is committed to open standards and supports Microsoft Windows Card, the Visa Open Platform, Java Card and MULTOS.


Chase Lands BlueGill

MI-based BlueGill Technologies has been selected by Chase Manhattan to provide the technology engine for Chase’s electronic bill presentment services for its corporate customers. Chase’s credit cards are currently using the service with Chase employees and will offer it to Chase credit card customers next year. BlueGill ‘i-Banker’ software allows billers direct access to their customer base, with the ability to remotely manage individual accounts and target personalized messages within the context of branded bills and statements. BlueGill’s flagship product, the ‘i-Series’, provides industry-specific applications that enable companies to transform paper bills and statements into highly interactive customer communications while establishing an extensible Web-based platform for e-commerce, interactive marketing and integrated customer care.


MBNA Machine

The MBNA machine continues to crank out cold, hard, cash. During the third quarter the nation’s third largest bank credit card issuer entered into 100 new affinity programs and added 3.1 million new accounts. MBNA reported yesterday that net income for the third quarter of 1999 rose 25.9% compared to 3Q/98. Total managed loans grew $2.8 billion during the third quarter to end up at $67.4 billion. MBNA has approx. $2.0 billion in non-card loans and about $5.0 billion in international card receivables, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). Delinquency on total managed loans was 4.67% at Sept. 30, 1999 compared to 4.69% for 3Q/98. Managed charge-offs for the third quarter logged in at 4.34% compared to 4.42% last year. MBNA says 3Q/99 charge volume, which includes purchases and cash advances, tallied up to $27,745,666 compared to $21,953,559 for 3Q/98. The firm’s net interest margin stood at 7.33% for 3Q/99 from 7.55% for 3Q/98. For complete current and historical financials for MBNA visit CardData ([http://www.carddata.com/][1]).

First Quarter 1998 110 1.7 million $149.4 million
Second Quarter 1998 111 2.5 million $172.0 million
Third Quarter 1998 121 2.4 million $216.6 million
Fourth Quarter 1998 133 2.7 million $238.3 million
First Quarter 1999 81 1.7 million* $186.0 million
Second Quarter 1999 99 1.4 million $227.2 million
Third Quarter 1999 100 3.1 million $291.5 million

*excludes 3.3 million accounts from PNC portfolio acquisition and
200,000 accounts from First Virginia portfolio acquisition.
Source: CardData (http://www.carddata.com/) 301-631-9100

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


Instant Merchant Accounts

OH-based Electronic Merchant Systems has come up with a program to provide online instant merchant account approval and activation. The ‘EMS I-Affiliate Program’ for ISP’s, portals, and Internet companies provides the ability to offer their customers an instant online merchant account with immediate activation to securely process credit cards on their respective websites within minutes. ‘I-Affiliates’ can direct merchants to a secure online application linked to their site. The application instantly approves and activates the merchant account. EMS encryption codes directly integrate into the merchant’s site allowing the merchant to process credit card transactions in real-time. EMS currently processes credit card transactions on behalf of 20,000 merchants.



Microsoft announced Thursday the expansion of ‘Windows for Smart Cards’ to include support for the ‘Global Systems for Mobile Communications’. MS says GSM carriers will not only be able to choose from multiple smart card vendors for their solutions but they will also be able to leverage the extensive developer community for Windows. Microsoft ‘Windows for Smart Cards’ is an 8-bit, multiapplication operating system for smart cards. The Microsoft ‘Windows Smart Card Toolkit’ is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter, and support for GSM is expected to be available in an ‘Option Pack’ early next year.


NextCard Banner Ads

The following Internet audience and advertising information is from Nielsen//NetRatings, the Internet measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc. The information includes: Top 25 Web Properties, Top 10 Internet Advertisers, Top 10 Ad Banners and Average Internet Usage statistics for the week ending October 3, 1999.

Noteworthy this week:

— Visitors to AOL Websites (NYSE:AOL) increased 10.8% to 20.2
million as compared to last week’s 18.2 million unique audience
members. Surfers to the Lycos Network (NASDAQ:LCOS) increased
3.7% to 9.0 million from last week’s 8.7 million unique visitors.

— No. 1 clicked-on ad banner with a 12.8% click rate was Qwest’s ad
featuring its phone rates. Qwest (NASDAQ:QWST) is an Internet
communications company.

— The top site this week for females was MarthaStewart.com. Of
those Web surfers visiting the site, 85.7% of them were female.
Last week’s top female site was MarthaByMail.com. For the second
week in a row, the top site for males was Nettaxi.com, an online
community. Men accounted for 90.8% of those visiting the site.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top 25 Web Sites by Property
September 27-October 3, 1999
Ranking of the Most Visited Web Properties

Property (Ticker Symbol) Unique Audience (000) Time Per Person
1. AOL Websites (NYSE:AOL) 20,159 0:10:44
2. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) 17,875 0:26:31
3. MSN (NASDAQ:MSFT) 11,573 0:19:15
4. Lycos Network (NASDAQ:LCOS) 9,022 0:07:52
5. GO Network (NASDAQ:SEEK) 6,677 0:14:29
6. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) 5,201 0:06:49
7. Excite@Home (NASDAQ:ATHM) 4,881 0:15:24
8. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) 3,861 0:09:11
9. AltaVista (NASDAQ:CMGI) 3,481 0:05:45
10. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) 3,345 0:53:42
11. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) 2,921 0:08:08
12. Blue Mt. Arts 2,600 0:10:37
13. CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) 2,124 0:06:40
14. Snap 2,119 0:08:11
15. LookSmart (NASDAQ:LOOK) 2,065 0:03:49
16. Go2net Network (NASDAQ:GNET) 2,029 0:07:44
17. ZDNet (NYSE:ZD) 1,856 0:09:36
18. Xoom (NASDAQ:XMCM) 1,814 0:05:55
19. Real Networks (NASDAQ:RNWK) 1,750 0:03:53
20. AT&T (NYSE:T) 1,582 0:09:24
21. About.com (NASDAQ:BOUT) 1,543 0:05:09
22. CBS Sportsline (NASDAQ:SPLN) 1,450 0:12:13
23. CNN (NYSE:TWX) 1,417 0:12:40
24. GoTo.com (NASDAQ:GOTO) 1,409 0:02:29
25. InfoSpace (NASDAQ:INSP) 1,330 0:05:09

Example: The data indicate that approximately 1.3 million home
Internet users visited at least one of the InfoSpace-owned sites
during the week, and each person spent, on average, a total of five
minutes and nine seconds at one or more of their sites.
Notes: Rankings are based on audience measurement of people who
have access to the Internet from home. A property is defined as a
consolidation of multiple domains and URLs owned by a single entity.
Reach is a measure of the unduplicated audience that visits a
property. The data are expressed as the percent of the total universe
of Internet users who logged onto the Internet at least once during
the reporting period.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top Ten Advertisers
September 27-October 3, 1999

Top advertisers, ranked by banner impressions, are based on data
from BannerTrack(SM), Nielsen//NetRatings’ syndicated advertising
research report. An impression is counted each time an ad banner is
fully loaded onto a user’s screen.

Advertiser(a) Impressions (000) Reach %
1. TRUSTe 204,646 14.2
2. Yahoo! 73,438 22.8
3. Microsoft 68,763 25.0
4. Amazon 40,750 21.3
5. Netscape (NYSE: AOL) 36,371 15.1
6. America Online 31,159 15.8
7. Discover Brokerage 28,802 5.0
8. Next Card (NASDAQ: NXCD) 28,785 12.7
9. E*TRADE (NASDAQ: EGRP) 22,683 3.5
10. TD Waterhouse (NYSE: TWE) 22,580 3.2

(a) Impressions reported include house ads, which are ads that
run on an advertiser’s own web property.
Example: An estimated 22.6 million TD Waterhouse ad banners were
completely loaded on users’ computers during the surfing week. These
banners were delivered to 3.2% or 1.4 million home Internet users.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top Ten Ad Banners Viewed
September 27-October 3, 1999

Top Banners, ranked according to reach percent, are cited from
BannerTrack(SM), Nielsen//NetRatings’ syndicated ad research service.

Advertiser(a) Reach % Creative
1. Autoweb (NASDAQ: AWEB) 4.3 GET A PRICE
2. Autoweb 4.1 BUY IT; SELL IT
3. TreeLoot 4.0 Punch The Monkey and Win $20!
4. Bonzi Software 3.9 Speed Up Internet Connection
5. eBay/First USA 3.7 eBay Visa; Apply now!
6. Sprint (NYSE: FON) 3.3 The point of contact. Sprint.
7. PageNet (NASDAQ: PAGE) 3.3 You@airport.com. PageNet.
8. Capital One (NYSE: COF) 3.0 Visa Platinum; Credit Limit,
Fixed APR, Apply Online, Submit
9. Launch (NASDAQ: LAUN) 2.9 Play Now. Watch Britney Spears
10. Acceleration Software 2.9 Find the ball and win a free
Internet Telephone AND a web

(a) Ad banners that run predominantly on an advertiser’s own
property or house ads are not included in the above.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Average Internet Usage
September 27-October 3, 1999

Data below represent activity for the average Internet user
during the designated weekly period.

Current Week Last Week % Change
Number of Sessions per Week 6 6 0.0
Number of Unique Sites Visited 6 6 0.0
Page Views per Week 175 177 -1.1
Page Views per Surfing Session 31 31 0.0
Time Spent per Week 2: 46: 15 2: 44: 47 +0.9
Time Spent per Surfing Session 0: 29: 14 0: 28: 59 +0.9
Duration of a Page Viewed 0: 00: 57 0: 00: 56 +0.9
Average Click Rate for Top Banners 0.40 0.49 -18.4
Active Internet Universe 44.7 million 43.8 million +1.9
(actually surfed)
Current Internet Universe
Estimate (had access, but did not
necessarily go online) 111.1 million 110.7 million +0.3

Nielsen//NetRatings, the joint audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc., collects data from more than 33,000 panelists as they surf the Web at home. The Nielsen//NetRatings panel is the largest media research sample of at-home Internet users currently being measured in real time. Nielsen//NetRatings uses unique technology capable of measuring both Internet use and advertising to provide the most timely, accurate and comprehensive Internet usage data and advertising information in the industry. For more information, please visit [www.nielsen-netratings.com][1].

[1]: http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/


Woo Joins Metris

Metris Companies Inc., one of the fastest-growing direct marketing companies in the nation, has announced the addition of another seasoned finance executive.

Benson Woo has joined Metris as senior vice president-finance, responsible for operations finance and treasury, reporting to David Wesselink, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“Having Benson on board gives Metris another seasoned financial veteran with a record of action and results,” said Metris President and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “He provides further bench strength on an already solid management team.”

Woo most recently served as vice president and CFO at York International. He began his career at General Motors, where he spent 15 years in various financial positions, including finance director during the launch of the GM MasterCard. He also was vice president and treasurer at Case Corporation.

Woo earned a B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Metris also has operations in Phoenix, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; Baltimore, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs more than 3,000 people.



1ClickCharge, the pioneering single-click micropayment service, Thursday announced its 1ClickIncentives Program, which enables merchant partners to generate new customer leads and drive traffic to their sites through co-marketing agreements sponsored by 1ClickCharge. This innovative program is designed to help 1ClickCharge’s network of partners grow their businesses and expand the market for premium content as 1ClickCharge gears up for its launch in the first quarter of 2000.

“1ClickIncentives is a great idea. WOWFactor provides premium content created by the hundreds of WOWFactor women business owners. Through this program, 1ClickCharge markets WOWFactor content to the audiences that will find it most useful,” said Lauren Diamond, VP of Business Development, Frontline Communications Corporation (developer of the WOWFactor site).

Web merchants who join the program simply allow 1ClickCharge to distribute some of their premium content for free to customers of other partner sites. In return, merchant sites will benefit from increased traffic and, most importantly, 1ClickCharge will help the merchant build a list of potential customers who opt-in for content.

“This is a win-win situation for merchants,” commented Heidi Goff, president and CEO of 1ClickCharge. “Any web site with content to offer can easily join this program and begin reaping the benefit of wider distribution through the 1ClickIncentives program. We plan to partner with web merchants looking for new customer channels and additional revenue streams from selling premium content using the 1ClickCharge payment service.”

1ClickCharge has currently teamed up with over 30 merchants as 1ClickIncentives and launch partners, including Hoovers, Zacks, Institutional Investor, MaMaMedia, Frontline Communications, BizWiz, MusicHall 2000, NetSonic, WorkingSolo and others.

Spearheading the program will be John Youle, VP of Business Development and Sales. Mr. Youle joined 1ClickCharge on October 4 from his position as Principal Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers Information, Communications and Entertainment management consulting practice. Previously, he was a law associate in Squire, Sanders & Dempsey’s Telecommunications group where he had an integral role in the practice’s global business development efforts. Youle has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.

“John’s expertise in developing business and sales channels makes him a tremendous addition to our talented executive team,” added Goff.

John joins start-up veterans, Brian Smiga, SVP Marketing and Business Development, formerly co-founder of software companies Actioneer.com and DaytoDay, and Scott Samios, VP Partner Development, previously with AirMedia.com and EarthWeb.

About 1ClickCharge(TM)

1ClickCharge’s Web Payment service makes credit cards perform like cash on the Internet. With its patented authentication technology, 1ClickCharge gives consumers the ability to easily purchase web content on a pay-per-use basis in small dollar amounts. Because 1ClickCharge is 100% outsourced, merchants will quickly realize profits without the technical hassles typically associated with setting up their own Internet payment service. 1ClickCharge’s mission is to lead the industry in single-click Internet payments under $20, a market space it calls Convenience e-Commerce(TM). The company is led by Heidi R. Goff, President and CEO, a 20-year senior management veteran of MasterCard, GlobalPay, ADP and IBM; and Brian Smiga, SVP of Marketing and Business Development, formerly co-founder of software companies Actioneer.com and DaytoDay. 1ClickCharge is a trademark of Cha Technologies Services, Inc., a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI). Visit the company’s Web site at [www.1clickcharge.com][1].

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


Skipjack and MPS Team

Evolv Adaptive Technology, the providers of Skipjack Merchant Services, announced that it will work with Midwest Payment Systems to provide electronic transaction processing capabilities to State agencies in Ohio as they begin to offer payment options via the Internet.

Skipjack Merchant Services enables merchants to accept credit cards for the sale of goods and services in a highly secure transactional environment while safeguarding account providers from excessive risk.

Evolv will supply the electronic commerce component for Midwest Payment Systems (MPS), Fifth Third Bank’s data processing subsidiary, to process payments received for various State services. The Accountancy Board of Ohio will be the first to take electronic payments and will accept professional license renewal fees via the Internet. License renewal notices will be mailed in November to approximately 12,000 Ohio residents. Each renewal notice will include a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will act as a valid electronic signature, permitting residents to renew their licenses with a credit card through the Accountancy Board’s Web site. Credit card transactions will be processed on a secure electronic commerce server maintained by Midwest Payment Systems and Skipjack Merchant Services.

The State of Maryland’s Accountancy Board successfully implemented a similar project in 1998 with 73 percent of licenses being renewed via the Internet.

Skipjack Merchant Services was created to address the needs of merchants, merchant acquiring organizations and financial institutions wanting to take advantage of the exceptional opportunities in e-commerce. An Internet payment gateway that performs the function of a standard credit card authorization terminal in a secure, real-time environment, Skipjack enables merchants to automatically accept, authorize and settle credit card payments on their Web site. Platform and browser independent, Skipjack features real-time authorization and settlement as well as e-mail receipts for customers and fulfillment entities. The service can be private-labeled for customized use by financial institutions, acquirers and third-party processors. Skipjack supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover card, Diners Club, JCB and debit cards. Bradley Madison Co. dba Evolv Adaptive Technology, is headquartered in Cincinnati. For additional information, visit the Skipjack Web site at [http://www.skipjackic.com][1].

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


CeloCom SC Reader

Celo Communications, a leading global provider of security products for Internet commerce and communications, introduced today the industry’s first truly secure, Internet-ready smart card reader. The CeloCom Smart Card Reader with built-in PIN pad attaches easily to most PCs and works out of the box with the leading email clients and Web browsers to enable highly secure online banking, stock trading, encryption and other e-commerce applications.

The CeloCom Smart Card Reader provides the most cost-effective, universal and highly secure interface between smart cards and PCs. PIN codes entered on the PIN pad are never accessible from the PC, where viruses or Trojan horses such as Back Orifice can capture and expose them to unauthorized parties. The CeloCom Smart Card Reader plugs in to CeloCom Web and CeloCom Mail companion software to instantly secure all email and Web-based transactions.

“Smart cards offer the best way to achieve security and non-repudiation for online transactions, but until now the readers were expensive, difficult to install and vulnerable to PIN theft by hacker programs” said Sven Hammar, president of Celo Communications. “Our new smart card reader is truly a breakthrough in price and in providing real application security.”

Designed and patented by Celo Communications, the CeloCom Smart Card Reader is manufactured by SCM Microsystems, a leading producer of smart card readers, under license from Celo. The reader simply plugs in between the PC and the keyboard and draws its power directly from the host PC, eliminating the requirement for bulky power converters. The device is plug-and-play compatible and conforms to PC/SC and PKCS#12, among other industry standards, to ensure it will work with all standards-based PC smart card applications and online payment systems.

Pricing and Availability

The CeloCom Smart Card Reader is available now from Celo Communications. The single unit price is $39, and volume discounts are available.

About Celo Communications

Celo Communications is a leading provider of strong, comprehensive security solutions for safely conducting global Internet commerce. Its scalable products employ public-key infrastructure (PKI) technology, and provide everything organizations need to securely Web-enable their legacy applications, including client deployment, smart cards, Web browser interfaces, X.509 certificate management, single sign-on for legacy applications, safe storage of digital signatures and centralized X.500 management of policies and closed user groups. Celo products integrate easily with legacy systems, reducing development time and expense while delivering important time-to-market advantages.

Celo’s customers include major Swedish banks and insurance companies, the Swedish national lottery, the Swedish telephone company (PTT), a leading European bank, the Dutch government’s tax network, NATO military networks and one of the largest German Internet service providers. Celo also sells its products to system integrators, who use the technology to provide complete PKI security solutions to their customers.

Incorporated in October 1997, Celo Communications has offices in the U.S., Ireland, Sweden, Holland and Germany. Visit Celo at [http://www.celocom.com][1].

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


Hypercom China

Hypercom will provide more than 1,500 card payment terminals and smart-card enabled PIN pads to The Agricultural Bank of China. The deal will allow this state-owned bank to expand its nationwide credit and debit card transaction processing retail merchant network. Hypercom’s ‘T77-GS’ high-performance terminal devices and ‘S7S’ PIN pads will be deployed at merchant sites throughout China. The Agriculture Bank of China is one of four state-owned commercial banks in China. In 1996, the bank commenced an electronic exchange system that today encompasses 6,000 branches.


Coinstar UNICEF

Coinstar has specially adapted approximately 5,000 of its 6,400 supermarket-based, self-service coin counting machines to accept donations on behalf of the “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” campaign. Last year, the “Trick-or Treat for UNICEF” campaign collected $371,000 through Coinstar machines. This was more than three times as much as Coinstar collected in 1997, when it raised $110,000 through its machines. Those who choose to donate their spare change to the U.S. Committee for UNICEF will receive a tax-deductible receipt, while those cashing in their coins receive a voucher redeemable for cash or credit at the checkout. The machines will accept donations through Nov. 30