First USA has taken its e.card to the co-branding level. U S West and First USA rolled-out the ‘U S WEST e.card Platinum VISA’ card yesterday. The program offers cardholders a 5% cash-back reward for online purchases made at more than 20 Internet merchants including Amazon.com, Audiobookclub.com, CDnow.com, EToys.com, FlowersUSA.com, Garden.com, Outpost.com, SharperImage.com, ValueAmerica.com, Virtual Vineyards and more. The ‘U S West e.card’ also offers a local, long-distance and international calling card feature with step-by-step dialing instructions printed right on the back of the card. First USA also offers cardholders online access to account information. The no-annual-fee card offers a 3.9% fixed APR for the first five months on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a 9.99% fixed annual percentage rate. U S West has 25 million customers nationwide.Details
The Pathways Group, Inc. announced this morning that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SmartCard Solutions, inc., a privately held company based in Aspen, Colorado. Under the terms outlined in the Memorandum, Pathways and SmartCard Solutions will collaborate on the definition and implementation of a pilot project for a major theater chain. It is anticipated that the integration of the respective technologies of these two companies will result in a business solution that will deliver both services and products that have been unavailable in the marketplace to date. These include a fully integrated ticketing solution involving both attended and unattended vending along with Smart Card access.
Both Pathways and SmartCard Solutions have independently demonstrated their expertise in ticketing and smart card solutions in venues such as ski areas, amusement parks, movie theaters, destination resorts, and transportation services. Integrating the complementary technologies of both companies into a joint business solution is expected to result in a new and unique level of smart card products and services to the marketplace. Preliminary discussions indicate that the new systems will provide remote and unattended ticketing, customer loyalty, stored value, financial integration and the capability to interface with existing enterprise sales and accounting systems.
The Pathways Group, Inc. is a leading U.S. developer of smart card-based technologies offering smart card and transaction processing solutions for commerce, retail, education, recreation, amusement, government, and transaction. The Pathways Group also designs and manufactures SPRINTICKET unattended ticketing dispensers. Every SPRINTICKET systems operate on state-of-the-art hardware platforms using standard Microsoft operating systems and an SQL database. In addition to accepting all major credit cards, SPRINTICKET dispensers are designed to accept and recharge smart cards. Pathways perform the credit card processing for all SPRINTICKET transactions, including authorization at the time of purchase and end-of-day account reconciliation. SPRINTICKET dispenser are currently installed at ski areas, amusement parks, and transportation services across the United States.
SmartCard Solutions, Inc. is a Colorado corporation with offices in Aspen, Denver, and Colorado Springs. It is a technology-based company with expertise in enterprise systems design and development, telecommunication, financial systems and application development for ticket dales access control and rental/retail for destination resorts and campus style environments.
SmartCard Solutions focuses on delivery of turnkey solutions and services based on multiple year partnering relationships with its clients rather that typical vendor-vendee relationship. Through its technology partnerships, SmartCard Solutions offers a migration path to a higher level of management information and guest enhancement services facilitated through the application of bar codes, radio frequency, and smart card technologies. SmartCard Solutions services multiple vertical market including ski and golf resort, special events, cruise lines, college and corporate campuses.
MR Jay D. Lussan, CEO of SmartCard Solutions, Inc., was quoted as saying, ‘We at SmartCard Solutions, Inc. are excited about and anticipate significant market impact from the alliance with The Pathways Group, Inc. The integration of our two companies’ combined technologies and services for this initiative will give us a total enterprise management solution heretofore unseen in the marketplace. We look forward to expanding this technology-based solution into additional vertical markets, including destination winter and summer resorts, movie theaters, campus environments, and special events.’
Mr Bob Haller, Executive Vice President of The Pathways Group, Inc., added, ‘Our teaming with SmartCard Solutions in this endeavor is a natural progression of both groups core technological and market solution offerings, culminating in what we think will be new, advanced systems which will have a significant impact in movie theater operation, as well as other markets. We have been looking for some time to find a complementary company, both technically and philosophically, and a unique business opportunity which we can combine to develop and implement batter, more advanced solutions which take advantage of various technological advancements we have been putting together the past several years. We are very excited we have found those pieces and anticipate great acceptance and success in bringing new enterprise solutions to our chosen markets.
The Pathways Group, Inc., which recently celebrated its 12th anniversary, provides clients with innovative and unique solutions for securely creating, capturing and processing data and electronic transactions using customer application software and hardware systems. The company, established in 1987 by Carey Daly, has evolved into a leader in the development of custom software and hardware for electronic banking, data and transaction processing, and smart card applications. Pathways’ creation of proprietary ‘back office’ systems allows for the capture and processing of data and transfer of funds via ‘ACH’ protocol, the standard used in the banking industry for transfer of funds in retail, medical and institutional environments.Details
UtiliSource Corp. Wednesday announced the addition of a new merchant service, the ATM Scrip Program, offered to retailers nationwide through the company’s merchant financial services division, Eastern Pacific Financial.
UtiliSource Corp., formerly known as Eastern Pacific Energy Corp., is a multi-utility service provider, offering low-cost electricity, natural gas and telephone services to primarily commercial customers.
“The ATM Scrip Program is a natural fit with our predominantly commercial customer base,” said James Lezie, CEO and president of UtiliSource Corp. “The retail companies that are the primary users of this program read like a Who’s Who of existing UtiliSource customers.
“This new generation ATM Scrip Program provides another profit center for us,” he added. “Our ATM Scrip Program will generate an additional source of fees and recurring revenues for UtiliSource.”
For commercial customers nationwide, UtiliSource provides merchant services including the new ATM Scrip Program. Through an alliance with a California-based company, UtiliSource is marketing the new generation ATM Scrip Program to retail merchants nationwide.
UtiliSource receives two sources of revenues through the program: a one-time, up-front placement fee and a recurring revenue stream, representing a percentage of the transaction fee charged each time a customer uses the ATM scrip machine.
The scrip is a coupon with a monetary value equal to its face amount that the customer redeems at the retailer’s cash register for merchandise. The customer uses an ATM debit card and PIN code to access an ATM-like machine that issues the scrip. Any balance left over after the sale is given to the customer in cash.
The ATM Scrip Program increases sales for the retail merchant and pays the merchant a fee for each transaction, while offering convenience and safety to customers. Merchants prefer scrip over a credit card or debit card sale because there is no transaction fee with the scrip. The customer pays a small transaction fee for the service through a bank account debit.
More than 71 percent of U.S. households use ATM cards and there are eight times more bank ATM debit cards in use than credit cards, according to the most recent industry statistics available. The number of ATM debit terminals at retailers grew from 155,000 in 1993 to nearly 529,000 in 1995, according to Debit Card News.
In addition, gas stations, supermarkets and other retail establishments showed the greatest gains in terms of ATM debit terminal growth by industry segment.
Primary target retailers for the ATM Scrip program include gas stations, truck stops, supermarkets, convenience stores, entertainment centers, theaters, public golf courses, bowling alleys, liquor stores, bars, lottery outlets, restaurants and night clubs.
“As we move closer to a cashless and checkless society, ATM debit cards are the logical solution,” Lezie said. “The ATM Scrip Program strengthens the relationship between UtiliSource and its retail commercial customers, providing us with the opportunity to offer additional merchant services as well as our low-cost electricity, natural gas and telephone services to commercial customers.”
UtiliSource, an industry leading multi-utility service provider, offers low-cost environmentally clean, GreenSource(SM) electricity to residential and qualified commercial customers in California as well as natural gas, telephone and merchant services. The company already has signed contracts with more than 22,000 commercial customers in California alone. UtiliSource currently has in place or is in the process of negotiating strategic alliances and partnerships with other major sources of electricity, natural gas, telecommunications and merchant services.
This news release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties. These include, but are not limited to, quarterly fluctuations in results; timely availability and customer acceptance of new products; the impact of competitive products and pricing; general market trends and conditions; and other risks detailed in the company’s SEC filings. Actual results may vary materially from projected results.Details
HNC Financial Solutions said yesterday it has completed a pilot study to investigate the application of its proprietary ‘Content Mining’ technology to the ‘Falcon’ fraud detection system. The study analyzed unstructured text data available in payment card transactions to determine whether it improved the ‘Falcon’ system’s fraud detection abilities. HNC says by applying new modeling techniques along with its capabilities in analyzing unstructured text the company plans to build new ‘Falcon’ models that detect fraudulent activity faster and with greater efficiency. Preliminary findings suggest that this methodology can provide up to a 30% increase in the frauds detected in accounts receiving high fraud scores. HNC says these enhanced ‘Falcon’ models will be complementary to and distinct from ‘RiskFinder’, HNC’s fraudulent transaction prediction system developed jointly with MasterCard.Details
Total System Services de Mexico S.A. de C.V.(TSYS de Mexico) Wednesday announced the appointment of Jesus Navarro Torres to serve as its new Director General. TSYS de Mexico is a joint venture company of Total System Services, Inc., a global processing leader, and Controladora PROSA, S.A. de C.V. TSYS de Mexico currently processes one-third of the Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts issued in Mexico.
Mr. Navarro was formally approved by the TSYS de Mexico(R) board of directors at its July meeting in Mexico City. A seasoned business leader and a native of Mexico, Mr. Navarro has nearly 20 years experience in the financial and information services industries. He has served as the chief financial officer (CFO) of TSYS de Mexico since the formation of the company in 1995.
“Mr. Navarro has proven his leadership abilities managing the financial policies and procedures as CFO,” said TSYS de Mexico President Jorge Alfaro. “His appointment emphasizes the joint venture’s continued commitment to provide quality processing services to our clients in Mexico.”
H. Lynn Drury, TSYS group vice president, international services, said, “TSYS is very pleased to welcome Mr. Navarro as Director General. We began our international expansion in Mexico, and it continues to be an important market for us.”
“I am excited about the opportunity to take TSYS de Mexico to the next level and to increase our market presence. We are committed to strengthening our ties with our customers, refocusing on their individual needs and maximizing the value they receive from our services,” Mr. Navarro said. “We already provide our clients with a dynamic processing platform and state-of- the-art production services, and we plan to offer new services to help our customers remain competitive and grow their businesses,” he added.
Prior to joining TSYS de Mexico, Mr. Navarro served as the director of planning and financial control for Promocion y Operacion, S.A. de C.V. (Prosa/Carnet/Red) where he participated in the formation of TSYS de Mexico. As a certified public accountant in private practice, he managed auditing, accounting and tax projects for such clients as American Express, Diners Club, Grupo Interacciones and Probursa.
TSYS, through its 49 percent ownership of the joint venture, is the only non-Mexico based processor with production facilities in Mexico. The 52,000 square foot state-of- the-art facility in Toluca, approximately thirty-five miles west of Mexico City, is the only ISO 9002 certified card processing facility in Mexico. In addition to its processing facility in Toluca, TSYS de Mexico also operates a business office in Mexico City.
Headquartered in Toluca, Mexico, TSYS de Mexico is the processor of choice in Mexico, processing for one-third of the Mexican card market. TSYS de Mexico processes private label, Visa and MasterCard accounts and provides printing, statementing, card embossing and distribution services for financial and non-financial institutions throughout Latin America.
TSYS is one of the world’s leading information technology processors of data, transactions and payments for domestic and international issuers of credit, debit, commercial and private-label cards. TSYS’ sophisticated systems offer online accounting, data processing, electronic commerce services, portfolio management, account acquisition, credit evaluation, risk management and customer service. Through our family of companies, TSYS services the entire lifecycle of card accounts and processes more than 192 million accounts, making it possible for an estimated 269 million cardholders to use their cards any time, anywhere. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com] ) is an 80.8 percent owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com] ) named the Best Company to Work for in America by FORTUNE magazine.
Metris Companies and HealthCare Credit.Com unveiled the new co-branded ‘Trilogy Family Benefits MasterCard’ Wednesday. HealthCare Credit.Com will market the ‘Trilogy Family Benefits’ program to its corporate clients. Currently, HealthCare Credit.Com distributes the program through organizations whose employees have little or no health care coverage. The program offers discounted pharmaceuticals, dental, chiropractic and vision services. Metris is also making an investment into HealthCare Credit.Com.Details
CheckFree, the leading provider of financial electronic commerce processing and electronic billing and payment, yesterday announced that Matthew (Matt) S. Lewis, Randal (Randy) A. McCoy, and Stephen (Steve) Olsen each have been promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president of CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce division. Lewis oversees CheckFree EC Product Management and Marketing, while McCoy and Olsen supervise the Company’s electronic commerce and EBP products and services as head of EC Development and Chief Information Officer respectively.
All three executives will continue to report directly to CheckFree President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Sinisgalli.
“During CheckFree’s fiscal 1999, Matt successfully established a core Product Management organization and began the process of centralizing all of these functions to ensure the Company meets its long-term objectives,” said Sinisgalli. Lewis also successfully integrated Marketing efforts with Product Management.
Under McCoy’s leadership, the EC division’s software development group continued to deliver market-leading, quality products on very aggressive schedules. “Randy’s extensive knowledge of the electronic commerce processing industry is a tremendous asset to our development organization and to CheckFree overall,” added Sinisgalli.
“Steve has successfully led our Information Technology Operations (ITO) group over the past year and has established the framework for our long-term technology infrastructure and operating practices. His proven ability to manage complex environments and establish operating disciplines will ensure we meet our quality objectives for the ITO organization,” said Sinisgalli.
Founded in 1981, CheckFree ([http://www.checkfree.com] ), the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corporation, is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable nearly 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.
After more than a year of beta testing, CheckFree launched the nation’s first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution, CheckFree E-Bill, in March of 1997. Today, the Company has multi-year contracts with more than 60 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through the CheckFree distribution network.
Michael Brown, Chairman and CEO of Euronet Services Inc., has announced the appointment of Alex Groenendyk as the company’s Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Groenendyk will be responsible for sales and market development on a worldwide basis. He will also develop the relationships of ARKSYS, Euronet’s wholly-owned subsidiary, with other providers of complementary core banking software such as Fiserv, MKI and Datapro.
Mr. Groenendyk was most recently President of the CBS (Comprehensive Banking System) International division of Fiserv, one of the world’s largest core retail banking software suppliers. During his four-year tenure at CBS International, the division grew by more than 400% — exceeding budgeted profits for 18 consecutive quarters — to become one of Fiserv’s largest divisions. While at Fiserv, Mr. Groenendyk was twice selected as President of the Year within the Fiserv group.
Mr. Brown stated, “We are very pleased to have attracted Alex. He is an example of the outstanding pool of talent and industry experience we are building within Euronet to position our company as a leading provider of e-commerce and electronic transaction solutions for the financial industry.”
Mr. Groenendyk was educated in the United Kingdom and received an Honors Degree in Economics and an MBA from the University of Lancaster. Prior to his post as president of Fiserv’s CBS International division, Mr. Groenendyk was a regional manager for CBS covering Europe, Central Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Before working with Fiserv, Mr. Groenendyk served as worldwide sales director for IBIS, which provides wholesale banking solutions for the IBM AS/400 platform. He has also held the position of branch manager with BIS Banking Systems (now MKI) in Asia and Europe.
Mr. Groenendyk added, “In an environment where both the traditional financial organizations and the new entrants are heavily focusing on attracting, retaining and cross-selling their customers in the new e-commerce era, Euronet’s strategy of providing tailor-made electronic financial services to their customers is right on target.”
Established in 1994, Euronet is a provider of electronic financial solutions and transaction processing for retail banks and companies. Euronet operates an independent ATM network in Europe and owns a US-based software subsidiary, ARKSYS, specialized in electronic payment and transaction delivery systems. The company offers ATM network participation, outsourced management solutions, and comprehensive software solutions to financial organizations around the world. Euronet ATMs accept transactions for a wide range of bank cards through agreements with Visa and MasterCard/Europay sponsor banks and international card issuers such as American Express and Diners Club International. ARKSYS software fully integrates all aspects of electronic financial transaction processing for the retail financial environment, including payment and transaction delivery for ATM systems, credit and debit card management, POS transaction, comprehensive card and client management, e-commerce and Internet banking. ARKSYS currently has more than 200 customers in over 60 countries.Details
First USA signed a multi-year strategic marketing partnership with Road Runner Power Media Services yesterday. RPM is the largest broadband media sales group in the nation selling against the largest network of U.S. affiliate systems. By aggregating Road Runner’s 320,000+ subscribers into a national network, RPM provides an opportunity for advertisers to tap the broadband environment. RPM currently has more than fifteen clients learning about broadband ad effectiveness by targeting promotions on the Road Runner service.Details
NY-based Cardholder Management Services L.P. announced yesterday that it has formed a new holding company called: CardWorks, L.P.. The company says the formation of the new holding company will help the firm achieve its short and long term goals in the non-prime credit card business. CMS, established in 1986 and now employs 500 people, provides third-party customer service, collections and portfolio management for more than one million card accounts from approximately 50 issuers. In 1996 the firm received an equity investment from Hyperion Partners II to capitalize on the non-prime credit card business. In 1997, CMS launched Merrick Bank in Salt Lake City to purchase distressed card portfolios and to issue non-prime VISA and MasterCards to its non-prime customers.Details
PayForView.com announced Tuesday it has joined the iPIN payment network for the processing of online, transaction-based billing for purchases made on the PayForView Web site. By joining the network, PayForView will be able to process “micro payments” — payments under $20 — for video and audio streams, downloadable content and any merchandise up to $20. Joining the iPIN network, in addition to using standard credit card transactions, gives PayForView the ability to cost-effectively process transactions of all sizes and gives the consumer more choice in how they want to pay.
New Online Transaction Model
The iPIN solution represents a new model for billing on the Internet as it is based on a Personal Identification Number (PIN) similar to that of an ATM, and is billed through the user’s ISP. This eliminates the need to send personal information such as credit card numbers over the Web. For example, when a user visits a site that has joined the iPIN network, they simply present their PIN number in order to purchase merchandise or content, have the transaction totals tallied and sent to them through their ISP (who is also part of the iPIN network) as part of their normal bill.
“In addition to providing a wide variety of content, we also want to give our users a complete and easy-to-use Web experience and an important part of that is a variety of options for payment,” said Marc A. Pitcher, president of PayForView. “The iPIN solution gives us a cost-efficient alternative to conventional payment methods, such as credit cards, and gives our customers an easy way to conduct transactions on the PayForView site, as well as numerous other Web sites.”
PayForView.com is an Internet based entertainment company that will distribute movies, music, sports and live events direct to viewers on a pay-for-view, retail and e-commerce basis. The company is in the process of acquiring content and creating programming and broadcasting specifically for the Internet. Additionally, the company has “off line” sources of revenue, through Hip-Hop music label Street Solid Records, which is releasing four albums over the next four months through K-Tel Distribution. Voyager International Entertainment is currently developing and acquiring entertainment products for the PayForView portal and for distribution through traditional channels.
Certain information included in this communication (as well as information included in oral statements or other written statements made or to be made by PayForView.com) contains statements that are forward looking, such as statements relating to the future anticipated direction of the internet industry, plans for future expansion, various business development activities, planned capital expenditures, future funding resources, anticipated sales growth and potential contracts. These forward looking statements are subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual operations or results to differ materially from those anticipated.Details