The Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General from six states and state banking officials Thursday announced the results of ‘OPERATION ADVANCE FEE LOAN’. The latest crackdown on telemarketing companies and individuals allegedly engaging in advance fee loan scams netted eight cases filed and/or settled by the Commission, and ten cases filed by state Attorney Generals, including three cease and desist orders issued by state banking officials. The latest sweep also included the participation of Canadian law enforcement authorities who have taken criminal actions against more than 120 Canadian advance fee loan scam operators who prey on American citizens. In all of the FTC cases announced Thursday, the defendants were charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting that consumers would receive a credit card for an advance fee; by charging a fee in advance of consumers receiving the promised credit card; and in two of the cases, misrepresenting that consumers would receive a refund of their fee if they did not get the promised credit card. In conjunction with yesterday’s announcement the FTC and the state Attorneys General joined with their education campaign partners to issue tips and warnings to consumers. The FTC says it is also alerting commercial mail receiving agents that they may be involved in a fraudulent scheme when they are asked by a mailbox holder to forward large volumes of mail to other addresses within the U.S. or to other countries. Additionally, the FTC says it is writing to more than 7500 publishers of classified ads through the country to encourage them to warn their readers that ads promising loans or extensions of credit are likely to be scams.Details
While Advanta and First Union experienced a negative reaction from cardholders over its account closing fees, such fees are not dead. According to the latest pricing survey by CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com]) First National Bank of Brookings, SD, a secured card specialist, is not only charging a $25 account closing fee it has also instituted a $25 account handling fee. FNB’s account closing fee is assessed whether or not the account is closed by the issuer or the cardholder. The account handing fee is imposed whenever the cardholder is in default and FNB has to place restrictions on the account.
Los AngelesPayPoint Electronic Payment Systems has just signed a three-year deals to process credit transactions for Klickback.com, Inc., a loading Internet retailer and owner of the proprietary rewards currency, iRewards.
‘We needed a payment solution that was sophisticated, yet simple for our shoppers to use,’ said Peter Taylor, Executive Vice President for Klickback.com. ‘PayPoint created an e-payment processing system that file our immediate and future needs. We are left to focus on attracting and retaining a significant base name products, services and vacations at low prices, and the ability to earn iRewards from a variety of sources on and offline.’
‘Brick and mortar retail store fronts are giving way you e-commerce at a pace faster than a lot of retailing experts have predicted. The processing of Internet-based transactions for the e-merchant creates a new set of opportunities and challenges. With Klickback.com, PayPoint’s goal was to quickly provide new and reliable Internet payment processing products and services,’ said Fred Coblentz, PayPoint’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. ‘As part of the solution, we introduced Fulcra PayPoint SDK, a state-of-the-art NT software toolkit. This tool can significantly reduce development and certification time. Potential savings to the merchants in terms of time and money are tremendous!’
‘From start to finish, PayPoint was very professional and detail oriented. They were ‘in Sync’ with our payment processing needs and understood our e-commerce business model’ said Peter Taylor. ‘Klickback.com just closed a deal with Metrocall Inc., million of its 5.8 million customers with a self-funding loyalty program, so we expect transactions to begin ramping up rather quickly.’
Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems (http://www.paypointeps.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of ARCO, is a leading national electronic payment transaction processor and a pioneer in retail electronic payment systems. PayPoint introduced the first domestic point-of-sale debit processing capabilities at ARCO retail locations in 1984 and today continues to provide comprehensive and payment solutions that reflect the quality, innovation and cost efficiency that are the core of PayPoint’s retail heritage.
Klickback.com, Inc. based in San Diego, California, is a leader in e-commerce and on and offline incentives for consumers and corporate clients. Klickback is the owner of iRewards, an incentive and loyalty currency that is similar to frequent flier miles, except they can accumulate quicker both on and offline and have better redemption value. Each iReward equals a dollar, and can be redeemed for products and vacations at Klickback.com. iRewards are earned on all purchases at Klickback.com and customized Web sites and from a variety of other sources. Klickback.com is an online superstore that offers its members significant savings on a wide selection of brand name services and products, plus fast accumulation of iRewards. Service and products range from satellite TV and long-distance phone service, to electronics, books and CD’s.
The Fulcra PayPoint SDK provides POS and other software developers an easy way to interface to PayPoint’s payment authorization network. It provides a simple programmer’s interface, which hides all of the complexities of message formats, network protocols, and transaction processing business rules. Fulcra, which is located at 5252 Balboa Avenue, Suite 401, San Diego, California, develops and markets Microsoft Windows based Point-of-Sale (POS) and store management software applications for the retail industry. For more information about Fulcra, please visit their web site at .Details
ReleaseNow.com, a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions for software publishers and resellers, this week announced a strategic business agreement with eCHARGE Corp., the next generation online payments company. Under terms of the agreement, users purchasing software through vendors in ReleaseNow.com’s network can elect to charge digital goods and services to their local telephone bills rather than to a credit card by using eCHARGE MY PHONE. eCHARGE is improving online payment methods by offering users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases.
“By allowing consumers to buy products over the Internet and charge the purchases to their phone bills, eCHARGE MY PHONE is opening up e-commerce to an entirely new group of potential customers,” said Carolyn Rogers, chief executive officer of ReleaseNow.com. “This agreement lets our clients — who include the top software publishers in the world — tap into a previously unreachable e-commerce market.”
“We are committed to eliminating the barriers to e-commerce by empowering Internet users with convenient and secure ways to shop online,” added Ron Erickson, chief executive officer of eCHARGE Corp.
eCHARGE MY PHONE is gaining widespread acceptance from on-line customers who are reluctant to use credit cards over the Internet due to security and privacy concerns, as well as from potential customers who don’t use credit cards. eCHARGE MY PHONE is also more convenient than other payment options because it eliminates the need for customers to enter shipping and other personal information with each purchase.
About eCHARGE Corporation
Founded in 1997, eCHARGE Corporation, the next generation online payments company, is improving global online payment methods by offering users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases. eCHARGE’s payment solutions are used by Internet merchants, telephone companies and Internet Service Providers worldwide, including BFD Productions, AT&T, BCTelus, Telia, Cable & Wireless, Intershop Communications, OpenMarket, Classmates.com, MPlayer.com, Gamestorm.com, DirectCredit.com, Cindy.com (Cindy Crawford Fan Club Site), Homeworkhelp.com and Canadian Cancer Society. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, eCHARGE has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia and London, UK. For more information go to ([http://www.eCHARGE.com]) or call 1-800-766-4677.
ReleaseNow.com is a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions for software publishers and online resellers. The company enables its customers to market, sell and deliver more software through a comprehensive line of e-commerce services, including online store creation and operation, transaction processing, marketing and merchandising. ReleaseNow.com’s broad selection of e-commerce delivery options enables software publishers to customize the online buying experience. ReleaseNow.com is headquartered in San Carlos, California. The company can be reached at [http://www.releasenow.com].
Integrated Merchant Services, Inc., an Interactive Technologies.com, Ltd. company, announced Thursday that it has a four year revenue sharing agreement with Union Planters Bank to provide Visa and MasterCard services to select Internet businesses and other industry related merchants that do not meet the bank’s current underwriting criteria, including commercial and retail storefronts, to the Central and South Florida region branches of Union Planters Bank.
IMS offers a complete array of bankcard processing services for merchants. The IMS processing services include acceptance and processing of all major credit cards, both face-to-face and Internet e-commerce sales. Additional services include check verification, debit card processing and ATM machine sales, and IMS’s most recent e-commerce clearing gateways over the Internet. The IMS Internet e-commerce gateway solution allows merchants to accept credit cards on the Internet, protect the credit card number of the customer, through a simple and secure web site form, and receive notification of the transaction in real time. IMS also provides a unique product which allows merchants to log on to their own Internet web site to process or authorize a transaction that is not Internet related, eliminating the cost of the traditional credit card terminal hardware.
IMS anticipates a significant increase to its merchant portfolio, generating in excess of five million additional credit card transactions per month, by year-end 2000. Revenues, based on five million transactions, are expected to exceed $250,000 per month in net proceeds.
In addition to transactions revenues, Merchant Processing Hardware and Software application sales for replacement, upgrades, and Y2k compliant bankcard equipment are expected to generate gross receipts exceeding $1 million.
IMS will promote a “Real Time” secured credit card processing center to all merchants who desire to sell their products via the Internet. The encryption takes place on the merchant’s web site host, who then dials through a secured processor to obtain an authorization from the card issuer. The transaction takes only seconds to approve, and notifies the merchant to fulfill the “End User or Customers” purchase.
“We have created a complete solution for merchants accepting credit cards for their products and services over the Internet. Offering this one-stop solution to our merchants, positions our company to take advantage of this emerging sector, and we are excited to be associated with Union Planters Bank,” said William R. Becker, CEO of Interactive Technologies.com.
About Interactive Technologies. com, Ltd.
Interactive Technologies.com, Ltd. is a leading provider of high-technology Internet business solutions. Its Internet company, Web Classified.net, is an international provider of auto-generated high-technology Web sites in an Internet yellow page-like format. Web Classified.net hosts its operations at Florida’s only Internet Network Access Point (NAP), through United Interactive Technologies, Inc. (“UIT Net. World”), another Interactive Technologies.com company. The UIT Net.World NAP is not congested and utilizes high-speed fiber-optic connection to the Internet. UIT Net.World is a leading provider of high technology Internet business solutions and e-commerce business solutions.
Another subsidiary, Ubuy.com, Ltd., is a nine year-old online membership benefit and service company that offers over 30 different money-saving online benefits and services to consumers, businesses, employees, fund raising organizations and large associations and their members. Ubuy.com’s database contains over 15 million households and approximately 500,000 businesses. Integrated Merchant Services (IMS), another INTR subsidiary, provides merchants with the ability to accept credit cards, debit cards, smart cards and check transactions. IMS specializes in issuing merchant accounts for mail order, in-home and Internet services. For additional information, please visit the company’s investor relations web site at [www.intrinfo.com].
IVI Checkmate signed an agreement Thursday, valued at over CDN$1 million, to supply Soft Tracks Enterprises of Vancouver, British Columbia, with IVI Checkmate’s ‘Elite 780 RF’ portable payment terminals. Under terms of the deal Soft Tracks will become a service bureau and value-added remarketer for the ‘Elite 780 RF’ terminal with CDPD communications. The ‘Elite 780 RF’ is a portable, lightweight, long-range radio frequency transaction terminal capable of handling secure PIN entry for debit and EBT transactions, as well as credit transactions that require no PIN entry. The terminal comes complete with rechargeable batteries and an integrated thermal receipt printer. The Canadian market for portable, wireless transaction devices is estimated to be over 100,000 units and growing.Details
HNC Financial Solutions, a division of HNC Software Inc. (nasdaq: HNCS), today announced that WesBanco Inc., a West Virginia based multi-bank holding company, has selected ProfitVision for enterprise-wide profitability analysis.
ProfitVision is a comprehensive solution that calculates the profitability of customers, relationships, products, and business units, and distributes the results to decision-makers throughout the organization. The system incorporates an interface to core accounting and banking systems, and ensures the integrity of profitability measurement through matched-maturity funds transfer pricing and sophisticated cost-allocation methods, including activity based costing. ProfitVision offers its powerful analytical capabilities on a choice of client-server platforms, including Oracle, MS SQL, DB2/UDB, and OS/400 to support remote access, end-user simulation, and enterprise-wide reporting.
‘We selected ProfitVision because of its superior technology platform, as well as HNC’s professional project management team that will be implementing our system,’ said Paul Limbert, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of WesBanco. ‘ProfitVision is an ideal solution that fulfills our desire to provide superior performance information to out branches, and to improve product and customer information flow throughout the entire bank.’
‘Accurate profitability information is critical to the successful management of customer relationships, which is essential for survival in today’s increasingly competitive market,’ said Patricia Brown, Vice President and General Manager of HNC Financial Solutions Chicago office. ‘We share WesBanco’s vision of providing complete, timely and accurate profitability information to key decision makers, and we look forward to helping them prosper in the years ahead.’
WesBanco currently operates four banks through 60 banking offices in the states of West Virginia and Ohio. Its principal banking subsidiaries include WesBanco Bank Wheeling, WesBanco Bank Fairmont, WesBanco Bank Parkersburg, and WesBanco Bank Charleston. In addition, WesBanco operates a mortgage company, WesBanco Mortgage Company, and an insurance agency, Hunter Agency, Inc. Other affiliates include WesBanco Securities, Inc. and Hometown Finance Company. On June 30, 1999, WesBanco had consolidated assets of $2.3 billion, deposits of $1.8 billion and shareholders equity of $283 million.
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
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, Retek Retail Solutions, Insurance Solutions, eHNC, and Telecommunications Solutions.
HNC suite of predictive software solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationship based on transaction-level data, helping business-to-consumer companies manage their relationships with individual customers By accurately predicting customer behavior, 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. For more information, visit HNC’s web site at http://www.hnc.com/ or contact Jane Leonard, HNC Software Inc., 5935 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, 858-799-3880. For the investor relations hotline, call 800-396-8052Details
BannerDirect of New York, NY, announced today that Janine Rogers has been named Account Manager for the South Eastern Region, effective Aug. 11, 1999. In this position, Ms. Rogers will be reporting to Susan Lasley, Senior Vice President, and Director of Marketing. ‘Janine’s extensive background in direct marketing will be a great asset to us in both developing new business and adding a new dimension addressing our current clients needs,’ says Ms. Lasley.
Based in Charlotte, NC, Ms. Rogers will be responsible for all marketing, promotion and sales for financial institutions in the South Eastern region and opening up new industries in the region as well.
‘BannerDirect is poised to expand its strategic marketing expertise into new and exciting industries outside our historical niche of financial services and entertainment,’ said Christine Fontana, President. ‘Janine will be a vital asset to our expansion.’Details
CheckFree Holdings Corporation announced revenues of $70.8 million for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 1999 compared to $63.5 million for the same quarter of 1998. Total revenues for the quarter increased 19 percent over the comparative quarter of last year, adjusted for the effects of acquisitions and divestitures. Revenues for the year ended June 30, 1999 were $250 million, up 21 percent over the prior year, adjusted for the effects of acquisitions and divestitures.
Excluding a net gain on the disposition of assets and one-time charges related to the Company’s secondary stock offering which was withdrawn in June, real estate transactions, and the service disruption the Company experienced in April, CheckFree reported net income for the quarter of $2.8 million, or 5 cents per share, diluted, compared to 3 cents per share, diluted, for the same period in fiscal 1998.
Excluding non-recurring gains and charges for fiscal 1999, the Company reported a profit of $2 million, equating to 4 cents per share, compared with a net loss of just over $2.8 million, representing a loss of 5 cents per share, in fiscal 1998.
CheckFree Chairman and CEO Pete Kight said, “These results are directly on our expectations. While our financial performance was solid, I am even more pleased with how we extended our leadership in non-financial metrics, such as subscribers, signed biller contracts, bills distributed on the Internet, live distribution sites on the Internet, and improvements in electronic processing efficiency.”
Kight noted that after increasing subscribers by 6 percent in the fourth quarter, the Company ended the year with nearly three million subscribers, up from 2.4 million at the close of fiscal 1998. Kight also said that sequential quarterly growth in Internet-based subscribers in the fourth quarter continued to exceed 20 percent, as it did in the third quarter.
“Consumers want to get on the ‘Net to access financial services, including billing and payment,” Kight said. “Financial institutions are listening. At the close of 1998, four of our financial institution customers offered our services over the Internet. Today, 34 — including banks, credit unions, brokerage firms and Intuit’s Quicken.com Internet portal — do. This year, banks and other financial institutions have made strong progress in connecting with consumers on the ‘Net, and we expect this to continue in 2000.”
Kight also noted that the Company continues to enjoy relationships with more than 350 financial institutions, including nine of the top 10 and 23 of the top 25. He also noted that major retail brokerage firms — including market heavyweights Schwab and Merrill Lynch — are in market with Internet services, and are offering their customers electronic billing and payment solutions powered by CheckFree services.
During the quarter, the Company transitioned processing for 71 additional financial institutions to its state-of-the-art electronic billing and payment platform, Genesis. The Company began these migrations in September of 1998 to improve quality and operating efficiencies, and to enable the Company to focus development on a single platform. The Company is now processing transactions for more than two million subscribers on Genesis, up from 5,000 at the beginning of the year. All planned migrations will be completed by the end of August, according to CheckFree President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Sinisgalli.
“Consolidating most of our transaction processing on a single, state-of- the-art platform has been one of our most important accomplishments this year,” Sinisgalli said. “With an infrastructure built to support transactions for 30 million households, Genesis is the largest electronic billing and payment processing engine operating in the U.S. today, and is a tremendous strategic advantage. Genesis represents years of experience and talent from three pioneering electronic bill payment companies, and we are pleased with its performance. We also are pleased to be completing the migration plan months ahead of our December goal.”
Sinisgalli noted that CheckFree processed more than 125 million transactions in 1999, up from just under 100 million in 1998, and that the Company exited the year with a processing run rate of more than 12 million transactions per month.
Biller Momentum Continues
CheckFree signed contracts for electronic billing and payment services with 43 billers during the year, two-and-one-half times as many as the Company signed last year. CheckFree now has contracts with 64 of the nation’s top billers, and 29 of these enable their customers to receive and pay bills on the Internet today. The Company said another 21 are in the process of implementing solutions now.
“To the best of our knowledge, our nearest competitor can manage the distribution and payment of electronic bills for five billers. This gives us a tremendous market lead that we plan to extend in 2000,” Kight said.
Kight noted that during the year CheckFree signed contracts with billers that increased the Company’s ability to manage the distribution and payment of bills for leading companies in the telecommunications industry from 56 percent to 70 percent of bills, in major credit cards from 14 percent to 28 percent of bills, in leading mortgage servicers from 8 percent to 22 percent of bills, and in targeted utilities from 7 percent to 24 percent of bills.
Kight said the count of actual bills that CheckFree distributed for review and payment over the Internet increased 44 percent in the quarter, to more than 13,000 in the month of June. “This is just a fraction of the bills we have under contract,” Kight said. “Getting billers and distribution points live in 2000 to continue this growth is a top priority.”
Divisions Perform As Expected
CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce division reported revenue of $46.5 million for the quarter, representing 20 percent growth over the same quarter of fiscal 1998. The division posted an operating profit of $1.3 million, after adjusting for the financial impact of a service disruption the Company experienced in April, compared to a loss of $500,000 for the same period last year. The number of subscribers to CheckFree services grew 6 percent, bringing the total to nearly 3 million.
CheckFree Investment Services reported revenue of $12.3 million for the fourth quarter, a 31 percent increase over the same quarter last year, after adjusting for the acquisition of Mobius Group. Revenue for the year was $39.3 million, a nearly 26 percent increase over fiscal 1998, again adjusted for the acquisition of Mobius Group. Operating income was $2.9 million for the quarter and $8.1 million for the year, adjusted for the effects of writing off in-process research and development related to the acquisition of Mobius Group. These results represent increases of 42 percent and 30 percent respectively over the fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 1998. During the quarter the division grew the number of portfolios under its management to 715,000, up more than 13 percent for the quarter, and up more than 46 percent for the year.
The Company’s Software division reported revenue in the quarter of $11.9 million, an increase of five percent over the $11.3 million generated by these same businesses in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998. For the year, retained businesses in CheckFree’s software division generated revenue of $39.6 million, a six percent increase over the $37.4 million reported for these same businesses last year. Operating income was $5.9 million for the quarter and $16.2 million for the year, representing increases of 44 percent for the quarter and 52 percent for the year.
Sinisgalli said consolidated revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2000 should be in the range of $65 to $70 million, with a loss per share of around 8 to 10 cents.
CheckFree, the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corp., is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable three million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically through a variety of bill aggregation points, including banks, brokerage firms, portals and interactive content sites on the Internet, and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree’s range of services and products are focused on enabling customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure Internet transactions.
Fourth Quarter 1999 Highlights
* June 30, 1999 — Navy Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest credit union, signs contract with CheckFree for electronic billing and payment powered by CheckFree.
* June 15, 1999 — CheckFree takes aim at 100 million Internet consumers. Free introductory offer, growth in electronic billers, customer care capabilities and payment offerings outlined.
* June 2, 1999 — Hawaiian Electric to become first Hawaiian utility to offer EBP through agreement with CheckFree.
* May 12, 1999 — Pete Sinisgalli promoted to president and chief operating officer of CheckFree. Sinisgalli served as executive vice president and chief operating officer since October 1996.
* May 6, 1999 — Home Account Network signs distribution agreement for CheckFree E-Bill(SM), to be offered with Canopy Internet banking software.
* May 4, 1999 — Cox Communications, one of the nation’s leading communications companies, signs agreement with CheckFree for electronic billing and payment.
* April 14, 1999 — Bank One becomes the first bank to offer fully integrated electronic bill delivery through the Integrion Financial Network, using CheckFree’s growing network of billers.
* April 13, 1999 — CheckFree announces EC Solutions, a new division that will provide consulting and professional services to prospective and existing clients, industry partners and other organizations.
Third Quarter 1999 Highlights
* March 22, 1999 — PNC Bank, Integrion Financial Network and CheckFree announce plans to pilot a fully integrated, Web-based electronic banking, bill delivery and payment service for PNC Bank customers. PNC Bank already uses CheckFree for its bill payment service via personal financial management software and telephone bill payment.
* March 19, 1999 — CheckFree rolls out the first large-scale system support for the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) specification for electronic banking and bill payment. CheckFree’s electronic payments engine now supports OFX for transactions processed on behalf of 400,000 users, making it the largest in-production OFX-compliant system in the industry.
* March 17, 1999 — CheckFree and Equifax E-Banking Solutions, one of the largest providers of electronic banking software in the United States, announce that they have signed a three-year reseller agreement. Under the agreement, Equifax E-Banking Solutions will resell CheckFree E-Bill(SM) services to their customers, which include banks, credit unions and savings institutions worldwide.
* March 16, 1999 — CheckFree’s Investment Services division reaches 600,000 portfolios on CheckFree APL and APL WRAP portfolio management system. These portfolios total more than $400 billion in assets.
* March 15, 1999 — Countrywide Securities Corporation selects CheckFree RECON Trade(TM) to automate reconciliation deposits throughout the company.
* March 8, 1999 — CheckFree Holdings Corporation announces the acquisition of Mobius Group, a leading provider of money manager databases and financial planning software to the financial services industry. The Mobius Group will allow CheckFree’s Investment Services division to offer the broadest suite of investment consulting services and products in the industry today.
* March 4, 1999 — billserv.com and CheckFree sign a service bureau agreement whereby billserv.com will transmit billing information from its base of biller customers to CheckFree, enabling CheckFree to provide electronic billing and payment services to the growing number of consumers who want to pay their bills electronically.
* March 3, 1999 — CheckFree’s Investment Services division announces that it has successfully implemented the necessary code enhancements to make both CheckFree APL and APL WRAP product lines “Y2K-ready.” CheckFree APL/APL WRAP is the leading portfolio accounting, performance measurement, trading and reporting system in the industry.
* March 1, 1999 — CheckFree and Nevada Power Company announce an agreement for electronic billing and payment. The service will be available to Nevada Power’s more than 550,000 electricity and energy services customers.
* Feb. 24, 1999 — MCI WorldCom, one of the leading global communications companies, launches its electronic billing and payment service for residential customers — backed by CheckFree’s infrastructure.
* Feb. 16, 1999 — Illinois Power, an electric and gas utility serving approximately 650,000 customers in Illinois, signs an agreement with CheckFree to offer electronic billing and payment using CheckFree E- Bill.
* Feb. 8, 1999 — CheckFree announces the installation and successful activation of a dedicated trading interface between its Investment Services division and Interstate/Johnson Lane, a Charlotte-based brokerage and investment-banking firm. This new trading interface provides Interstate/Johnson Lane with true “interactive” trading functionality, including the ability to electronically communicate trading information directly to the trading floor for immediate execution.
* Feb. 1, 1999 — CheckFree names Mike Meriton as the new president of Corporate Commerce Solutions, a unit of CheckFree’s Software division.
* Jan. 26, 1999 — CheckFree and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., the nation’s largest independent mortgage lender with nearly 2 million customers, sign an agreement for electronic billing and payment.
* Jan. 25, 1999 — CheckFree’s Investment Services division announces a new agreement with Boston-based State Street Research & Management Co to provide portfolio trading and accounting services.
* Jan. 11, 1999 — NIIT joins CheckFree Biller Alliance Program to speed time-to-market solution for billers that choose to house their own internal server to link to CheckFree E-Bill version 2.0.
Second Quarter 1999 Highlights
* Dec. 28, 1998 — Ameren Corp. selects CheckFree to provide electronic billing, distribution and payment option for its 1.8 million customers in Missouri and Illinois.
* Dec. 14, 1998 — CheckFree and Southern Company, the largest producer of electricity in the United States, sign agreement to provide CheckFree E-Bill to its customers.
* Dec. 9, 1998 — Data warehousing agreement is signed between CheckFree and Business Technology Alliance to provide Investment Services clients using CheckFree APL and APL WRAP the ability to store, integrate and present mission-critical data for internal and customer reports.
* Dec. 7, 1998 — CheckFree licenses bill creation Internet billing solution from BlueGill Technologies. Through the software/server solution, billers have an expanded choice of providers to convert existing print files to create electronic bills with enhanced marketing opportunities.
* Dec. 2, 1998 — Oracle partners with CheckFree for electronic billing and payment, which will be fully integrated with Oracle’s Internet Bill & Pay.
* Dec. 2, 1998 — CheckFree announces next generation of CheckFree E- Bill and “direct distribution” model to combine biller control, consumer ease-of-use, and quality service through enhanced security and complete event tracking and authentication.
* Nov.18, 1998 — HomeSide Lending launches E-Bill Payment Services to its 1.4 million customers through agreement with CheckFree.
* Nov. 12, 1998 — edocs completes BillDirect software integration with CheckFree E-Bill delivery and payment systems. BillDirect provides billers with a scalable Internet billing server, enrollment processing and bill creation.
* Nov. 11, 1998 — CheckFree Investment Services signs agreement with Vestek Systems Inc. to provide online performance attribution via an integrated data transfer of historical portfolio information from CheckFree APL and APL WRAP clients to the Vestek Portfolio Analyzer.
* Nov. 11, 1998 — CheckFree launches Electronic Banking Association Web site to educate consumers on electronic banking, billing and payment via the Internet.
* Nov. 10, 1998 — CheckFree Biller Alliance Program is launched to help billers deliver reliable, quick-to-market electronic billing and payment solutions to their customers.
* Nov. 10, 1998 — CheckFree and Mobius Systems, Inc. announce agreement to integrate and jointly market a bundled offering that includes Mobius’ DocumentDirect archiving and retrieval and CheckFree E-Bill presentment, distribution and payment solution.
* Nov. 10, 1998 — Malaysia Electronic Payment Systems selects CheckFree PEP+(TM) for real-time Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction processing for the country of Malaysia. CheckFree currently provides clearing and settlement systems for Australia, Chile, Panama, Guatemala and Colombia.
* Nov. 3, 1998 — CheckFree and EDS sign 6-year agreement to include CheckFree’s electronic bill payment solution with services EDS provides to its financial institution clients.
* Nov. 2, 1998 — CheckFree Investment Services expands strategic relationship with Schwab Institutional. The upgraded software interface will enhance the user’s ability to import account files containing balance, position and trade information from Schwab into CheckFree and will be available to download even faster from the Internet via the Schwablink Web site.
* Oct. 28, 1998 — Bell & Howell and CheckFree team to integrate paper and electronic billing systems into a seamless solutions.
* Oct. 27, 1998 — Dain Rauscher Inc. signs 3-year extension with CheckFree to provide sophisticated portfolio administration, trading measurement and reporting functionality to Dain Rauscher’s Private Client Group.
* Oct. 14, 1998 — CheckFree RECON-Plus(TM) for Windows(R) is selected by Cargill, an international agricultural, food, financial services and industrial company, to provide daily account reconciliation for Cargill’s disbursement accounts.
* Oct. 13, 1998 — Nicor Gas and CheckFree launch electronic billing and payment option to more than 1.9 million northern Illinois customers.
* Oct. 1, 1998 — First Union launches first fully integrated online banking, billing and payment Web site, Cyberbanking BillPay, founded on
CheckFree services. BellSouth and Florida Power & Light join the launch as highlights of the bills currently available through the First Union site.
First Quarter 1999 Highlights
* September 29, 1998 — CheckFree and the New Zealand Post sign agreement to provide Internet billing and payment services for the country of New Zealand.
* September 28, 1998 — AIB Govett Inc. selects CheckFree’s APL WRAP services to provide portfolio accounting services for AIB Govett’s growing “private client” and high-net work investment advisory accounts programs.
* September 22, 1998 — Washington Water Power signs agreement with CheckFree for Web-based electronic billing and payment through CheckFree E-Bill.
* September 14, 1998 — CheckFree announces new TCP/IP communication interface between CheckFree’s Investment Services Division and The Depository Trust Corporation — the world’s largest securities depository.
* September 9, 1998 — PNC Bank announces electronic billing and payment through CheckFree E-Bill.
* September 9, 1998 — CheckFree RECON Select(TM) and CheckFree A.R.M.(TM) are introduced at New York Cash Exchange.
* September 8, 1998 — CheckFree introduces client/server-based Windows version of CheckFree APL — the industry leading portfolio management system.
* September 1, 1998 — Southern California Edison selects CheckFree E- Bill to provide electronic billing and payment option to its 4.2 million customers.
* August 31, 1998 — National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators introduces SCOUT (State Clearinghouse of Unclaimed Treasures) Web site — central database for states to list unclaimed property records to be developed and operated by CheckFree.
* August 17, 1998 — American Payment Systems selects CheckFree RECON- Plus for Windows client/server solution to automate its more than 100,000 daily transactions.
* August 10, 1998 — Public Service Company of New Mexico selects CheckFree E-Bill for electronic billing and payment.
* July 28,1998 — CheckFree announces agreement to provide NationsBank with expanded ACH system support. NationsBank is the fifth largest originator of ACH transactions.
* July 15, 1998 — ABN AMRO North America selects CheckFree’s RECON-Plus for Windows to Reconcile 150,000+ Accounts.
* July 1, 1998 — CheckFree announces London Bridge Software Holding plc to acquire CheckFree Mortgage Products division.Details
For the first time in four years consumer bankruptcies have begun to decline. According to statistics released this week by Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, new bankruptcy filings during the second quarter declined from 373,460 last year to 345,956 this year. Over the past twelve months personal bankruptcies have declined 2%. Between July 1, 1998 and June 30, 1999, a total of 1,352,030 consumer bankruptcies were filed. During the same period 38,934 business bankruptcies were logged. The data also confirms the downward trend in overall chargeoffs this year. The percentage of gross charges involved in bankruptcy proceedings now stands at 42.1% according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
A new ATM study, to be released next week, reveals that consumers of all ages and both sexes use ATMs in real environments with about the same accuracy. The study also showed that college-educated users, although completing their entries faster, don’t necessarily do it more accurately than less educated ones. The new study conducted by Atlanta-based Practical Intelligence at Work, Inc., analyzed 65,000 customer visits to 342 ATMs. The research also found that 75% all ATM users conduct at least one withdrawal per visit, but less than 1% use the machines for paying their bills. Also 90% of ATM activity occurs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Practical Intelligence says these results suggest that banks could offer incentives to entice customers to do more diverse transactions through ATMs. One of the interesting findings of the research shows that certain ATM machines allow the same amount of time for both simple and complex transactions. Often, customers were timed out or the process shut down, when customers took too long on a complex activity, such as bill payments. When this happened, customers chose to abandon ATM activity, opting to take their business to the bank teller instead.Details
The leading membership wholesale club announced yesterday it will now accept credit cards and charge cards that carry the highest merchant fees. Costco, with four million business memberships and twelve million consumer memberships, will now accept American Express cards at Costco’s 200 U.S. locations. Costco, which also accepts the ‘Discover’ card, indicated yesterday it has no plans to accept VISA or MasterCard. Costco also announced Wednesday its plans to offer two new AmEx co-branded cards in November. The two new cards include one for business and one for consumers. The new co-branded cards will also act as Costco membership cards. The new consumer credit card will have no annual fee and will reward Card members with Costco rebates based on all spending placed on the card. The new small business charge card developed for Costco members will have no annual fee with a paid Costco membership and no pre-set spending limit. Last year Costco accounted for 47% of wholesale club sales. In June, 1996, Costco and Beneficial National Bank launched the ‘PriceCostco Credit Card’, a private label credit card.Details