First Tennessee Merchant Services Inc. will process credit card transactions for MeriStar Hotels & Resorts under an exclusive new three-year agreement. MeriStar Hotels & Resorts Inc. is the nation’s largest, independent, multi-brand hotel operating company with more than 215 hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Among the national brands represented in MeriStar’s portfolio are Hilton, Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Embassy Suites and Doubletree.Details
Chicagoland Bridgeview Bank & Trust has selected Concord EFS, Inc. to provide processing services for their merchant acquirer business beginning early next year. The exclusive multi-year processing agreement calls for Concord to provide accounting, settlement and reporting services for over 14,000 Bridgeview B&T merchant clients. Historically, Concord has marketed back-end processing services directly to merchants, or via an agent bank program offered through its own merchant bank, EFS National Bank. The agreement with Bridgeview signals a new focus on providing processing services to large principal merchant banks as well as smaller agent banks. Bridgeview B&T is adding new merchants at a rate of 600-800 per month.Details
Last month Flowers USA was chosen to participate in the First USA eCard television advertising campaign. The 15, 60 and 120 second television spots will be running on ten national cable stations between the 16th and 30th of August 1999. The 60 radio spots will be running in national markets during the same time period.
The eCard Platinum Visa from First USA is a first — all the convenience, value and benefits of a traditional First USA Platinum Visa credit card plus 5% cash back for all purchases made from select online merchants, including Flowers USA. For additional information visit [http://www.firstusa.com].
Building and maintaining a relationship by accommodating the largest credit card issuer in the world is very important to Flowers USA. In a recent letter to Flowers USA regarding the campaign, Matthew Kovacevich, Producer, Transaction Information System stated “Thank you for the quick response to the request we made for graphics. Without your help our project would have never gotten off the ground.”
Flowers USA continues to be one of the fastest growing floral companies with commitments to providing the best customer service and top-notch quality products. “Meeting these commitments requires tough standards, good people, and constant attention to each individual customer,” stated Dave Adams, CEO of Flowers USA.
About Flowers USA
Flowers USA ([http://www.FlowersUSA.com]), is located in Centerbrook, CT, and is the largest privately held floral company in the United States. Specializing in flowers and gifts for all occasions and events, Flowers USA is dedicated to providing high quality products with unparalleled customer service. Flowers USA offers 24-hour ordering capabilities both, offline at 800-225-3232 and online at [http://www.FlowersUSA.com]. Flowers USA plans to continue its success and strengthen brand image both on and offline through marketing channels in banks, agencies, alliances, corporate discount programs and other related promotional efforts.
The leading Hong Kong mobile network operator SUNDAY, is to upgrade its 250,000+ subscribers’ phones to user-programmable multi-service terminals, using Simera 32 Java-compatible SIMs (subscriber identity modules) and an Aremis application management server from Schlumberger. The system — the first in Asia to allow subscribers to download services over-the-air — effectively establishes a new business model for mobile operators and is expected to have a substantial impact in the highly competitive Hong Kong market. SUNDAY’s new service will roll out from Q3 1999.
SUNDAY has pioneered Phase 2+ SIM Toolkit applications in Asia, and has built a unique brand of mobile communications which emphasises the phone as a lifestyle tool. The new service range takes the company’s lifestyle concept to a new level of flexibility by providing state-of-the-art Simera 32 SIM cards with 32kbytes memory — enough for typically five to eight value-added services — combined with a management system that allows users to personalise the phones to their needs by loading and deleting services over-the-air. The service range, which is being developed for SUNDAY by Schlumberger, will include mobile commerce, mobile banking, information on demand and entertainment.
“The SIM toolkit is driving mobile operators to find and develop the ‘killer’ application”, says SUNDAY’s group director of network operations, Dr Henry Wong, “but in fact the real killer application is the ability to personalise the mobile terminal. Memory-rich Simera SIMs and the Aremis server from Schlumberger provides the flexibility to create that personalisation environment today, allowing us to take a major step towards the realisation of 3G-style mobile terminals”.
The new mobile data services concept will provide users with a menu-driven interface to a library of applets, with description of functions and file sizes, and a dynamic view of what the user currently has loaded and what free space is left. The user can select applets for download into free memory, deleting existing ones as required. Once a user has registered, this service will operate over-the-air via SMS (short message service) data transfer, and also by calling into one of SUNDAY’s shops and inserting the SIM card into a PC.
Schlumberger has been SUNDAY’s preferred supplier of SIMs for several years, because of the smart card supplier’s track record of innovation. “Success in the mobile business demands rapid time to market, and Schlumberger provides us with a technology edge in SIMs that has allowed us to pioneer SIM Toolkit-based data communications services in the Asia-Pacific region”, adds Dr Henry Wong. “The company’s Asian-based development resources have been of particular help in rapidly prototyping and evaluating new service ideas, in this case allowing us to conceive and structure this new mobile service concept in just three months”.
The easy programming associated with the Java cards will play a key role in SUNDAY’s service concept, allowing it to rapidly expand its portfolio of applications. At the moment, the applets are being developed by a Schlumberger team located at the company’s Asia Technical Centre in Hong Kong. However, Schlumberger is training a team of programmers from SUNDAY in SIM Toolkit and the Java Card APIs, so that they can continue expanding the service range.
“The mobile phone is not a limited tool anymore”, says Jean-Claude Deturche, Smart Cards Marketing Director for Schlumberger Test & Transactions Asia. “To date, the relatively limited memory space on SIM cards has restricted the number of value-added services that users can deploy. SUNDAY’s concept sweeps that away, allowing mobile users to download applets as and when they need them – such as e-ticketing for example. Schlumberger has been promoting the one-to-one marketing concept of Java SIMs aggressively and this is the first practical implementation of that technology in Asia. We believe it will have an enormous influence on the mobile network business”.
Launched in September 1998, the Unix-based Aremis administration system for mobile network services has brought a new degree of flexibility to mobile operators through its dedicated software modules for SIM card subscriber and application management.
Options include the OTA Service Manager for over-the-air service activation and delivery; STK Service Manager which supports SIM Toolkit deployment and execution management; Card Applet Manager which enables operators to register, download, erase and configure Java-based applets on a subscriber’s SIM card; and the Content Server Gateway which can interface applets with their respective content servers, and provide billing functions.
In addition to this range of functions, which provides the catalyst for operators to provide new services such as mobile banking and commerce, games, and location-specific information, the software features what is believed to be a unique capability with its CORBA-compliant ‘object request broker’ architecture. This makes it both easy to interface to existing IT systems, and highly scaleable to cope with expansion of the subscriber base.
For further information please access:
[www.slb.com/smartcards] and [www.sunday.com]
3G – or the third generation of wireless communications – promises to create a portable terminal which can perform a wide range of functions from voice communications to data services such as e-mail and e commerce. Although this advance will rely on the provision of multi-media technologies and much higher data communications rates than current mobile phones, ‘multi application’ capability is at the heart of the concept, and Sunday’s new Java SIM and phone combination starts to create that kind of product, providing a stepping stone to the next generation.
CORBA stands for Common Object Request Broker Architecture, which is a standard designed to support the distribution of objects implemented in a variety of programming languages. This is made possible by making an interface definition language that can be mapped to a number of existing languages. Further information is available from: [http://vaxa.clarion. edu/~students/s_cabower/corba.html]
Schlumberger is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide. Drawing on 20 years experience in pioneering smart card innovations, Schlumberger is continuing to evolve the new generation of smart cards, parking terminals, ticketing machines, payphones, banking terminals, servers, software, applications and systems integration that will play a key role in the 21st century’s digital age. Additional information is available at .
In Asia, Schlumberger Test & Transactions has set up the Hong Kong Cards Industrial Centre (HKCIC), a world class smart card manufacturing facility, and the Asia Technical Centre, a smart card application development centre in Hong Kong. Recently, it has also invested in the building of the Korea Technology Centre which will focus on design and manufacture of test systems for semiconductor devices. Schlumberger Test & Transactions employs some 1,400 people in over 30 operations spanning 10 Asian countries.
Schlumberger Test & Transactions provides smart card-based solutions and semiconductor test systems and services to customers across the globe. It is a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, a $11.8 billion global technology services company.
Citibank retains its #1 ranking as the largest U.S. card issuer based on second quarter 1999 receivables and year-to-date volume. Citibank added $900 million in outstandings during the second quarter, according to preliminary figures gathered by CardData ([http://www.carddata.com]). Household slipped to #10 during the second quarter. Household’s 2Q/99 outstandings fell to $12,609,310,000 from $12,939,604,000 for 1Q/99. Household’s account base also declined more than 160,000 accounts during the second quarter. Meanwhile Chase Manhattan added 200,000 accounts during the second quarter and realized an $800 million increase in 2Q/99 outstandings. Industry leader MBNA added more than $2 billion in outstandings during the second quarter while Capital One, another market leader, added 1.2 million card accounts. For complete information on more than 350 major card issuers visit CardData ([http://www.carddata.com]).
TOP 10 U.S. ISSUERS – 2Q/99
RANK/ISSUER RECV ACCTS YTD-VOL
1. Citibank $70.3b 41.0m $77.6b
2. Bank One/FUSA $69.5b 46.1m $55.8b
3. MBNA $57.9b 27.7m $45.8b
4. Discover $32.8b 37.5m $32.5b
5. Chase $32.2b 20.3m $25.6b
6. Bank of America $21.1b 17.2m $25.4b
7. Capital One $14.1b 19.2m $16.1b
8. Fleet $14.0b 9.6m $ 9.2b
9. Providian $13.1b 12.6m $ 7.7b
10. Household $12.6b 14.2m $17.4b
Some data are preliminary figures subject to revision
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Cash Technologies, Inc. announced Thursday the formation of an alliance with BEA Systems, Inc., to provide the first e-commerce platform using BEA TUXEDO’s transaction middleware product and the Windows NT/Intel computing environment designed to achieve mainframe-caliber reliability for mission-critical applications. Specifically, the Company’s EMMA (E-Commerce Message Management Architecture) platform is designed to conduct multiple, simultaneous, complex financial transactions on virtually any system — from ATMs to desktop computers.
Cash Tech’s global financial services customers can benefit from the partnership by being able to offer a complex array of financial services from a single electronic source, such as an automated teller machine (ATM). For example, the system is designed to allow a customer to get a money order, a pre-paid phone card and a savings account withdrawal in the same transaction at an ATM. Typically, ATM systems use older and more costly mainframe computers, making it more difficult and costly to add new services. Using EMMA with BEA TUXEDO and Windows NT companies can quickly deploy new services and significantly reduce the cost of developing new ATM kiosks.
“Our partnership with BEA helps provide EMMA with the reliability and scalability of some of the world’s largest financial e-commerce applications that run BEA TUXEDO, including systems at Nasdaq, E*Trade, and Amazon.com,” said Bruce Korman, president and CEO of Cash Technologies, Inc. “But unlike those applications, which rely on mainframe systems each having a highly specialized purpose, EMMA uses BEA TUXEDO to provide an information pipeline to move multiple transactions across virtually any system — from ATMs and PCs to the financial networks and the Internet.”
Cash Tech’s EMMA system consists of the EMMA client and host platform. Through EMMA, hundreds of transaction types can be processed easily. These include: electronic bill payment; real-time activated pre-paid phone cards; money order issuance; event ticketing; check cashing; Internet based e-commerce products and services; currency deposits; interactive advertising; marketing data acquisition; biometric identification techniques, as well as traditional cash dispensing and other ATM functions.
“Cash Technologies’ EMMA platform is a premier example of how e-commerce unlocks the potential for new financial services never imagined a few years ago,” said Joe Menard, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for BEA. “This alliance is important in enabling BEA and Cash Technologies to deliver those services and make them convenient for the customer.”
About Cash Technologies, Inc.
Cash Technologies Inc. ([http://www.cashtechnologies.com]) develops and markets innovative e-commerce kiosks and systems, including the EMMA transaction processing software, the multifunction ATM-X(TM) automated teller machine (ATM) and the CoinBank(R) advanced self-service coin counter. The Company also provides computerized cash processing services to banks, armored carriers, rapid transit agencies and other cash-intensive businesses.
About BEA Systems, Inc.
BEA Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of mission-critical Web and transaction middleware solutions for the world’s largest enterprises. BEA’s product line enables end-to-end, integrated solutions for electronic commerce and business-critical systems. BEA products include BEA TUXEDO, the industry’s market share leader for distributed transaction management software; BEA WebLogic, a leading application server family providing CORBA, EJB, and enterprise Java solutions; and BEA eLink, a solution for integrating enterprise applications. BEA also provides a comprehensive suite of consulting, education, and customer support offerings to preserve and maximize technology investments in BEA products. BEA is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., and has 52 offices in 24 countries. The company’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol “BEAS.” Additional information on BEA is available on the Internet at [http://www.beasys.com].
The following announcement is being issued Thursday in a letter to employees from Harvey Golub, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express:
“I am writing to let you know that Richard Goeltz, vice chairman and chief financial officer, has informed me of his decision to leave American Express. After more than 25 years of serving in senior financial positions with a number of large companies, Richard has decided to retire from corporate life. While I will miss his advice and counsel, I understand his desire to do other things after a long and successful corporate career.
“Richard will continue to serve as vice chairman and CFO until a new CFO has been selected. He will also participate in the recruiting process for his successor and work to assure a smooth transition. I know Richard will continue to work in the company’s best interests and with the same degree of extraordinary professionalism and integrity he has always demonstrated. We will begin an internal and external search for Richard’s successor immediately.
“Richard has made a number of important contributions to the company since he joined American Express in August of 1996. He has been responsible for leading the integration of our various finance functions into a worldwide utility that provides first-rate financial reporting and support services across the organization. He has also helped to strengthen and deepen our relationships with the investment community, a constituency of critical importance to our ongoing success. And, he has played a key role in sharpening the organization’s focus on the need to accelerate revenue growth. “Please join me in thanking Richard for his many contributions to American Express and in wishing him well in the future.”Details
VISA announced Thursday that its ‘VISA Magic Moments’ program will return this year. Beginning Monday merchants can go, for the first time, to VISA’s Web site to download banner ads and links, order POS material and official rules and register for the sweepstakes. Merchants can also order signage, including tent cards, counter cards, take-ones, restaurant check presenter inserts, register/window decals and posters by calling (800) 235-3580. This year, ‘VISA Magic Moments’ will include a merchant sweepstakes to help drive merchant involvement in the promotion. VISA will randomly select participating merchants to award a total prize pool of $75,000. If VISA mystery shoppers see ‘VISA Magic Moments’ signage displayed at these selected merchants, they could win. Merchants must enter the sweepstakes by November 24. For consumers the contest will basically be the same as last year’s, each day from November 1 through December 31, VISA will randomly select a one-second moment when U.S. issued VISA card purchases are free, regardless of the amount. Cardholders win if their VISA purchase’s processing time stamp matches that day’s ‘VISA Magic Moment’. A credit will appear on their next possible statement. Last year, nearly 17,000 VISA cardholders won over $1.2 million.Details
BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, officially opened the BITS Financial Services Security Laboratory at a grand opening ceremony in Reston, Va this week. Senior executives from the financial services and technology industries, along with government officials, attended the opening at the headquarters of Global Integrity Corporation, a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). The Security Lab will enable financial services companies and technology providers to work cooperatively to maintain the highest security standards for electronic banking and commerce. The major objectives of the BITS Security Laboratory, operated and hosted by Global Integrity, are early product influence, risk reduction, cost reduction, and security functionality.
“The new BITS Financial Services Security Lab is a bold and important step to ensure comprehensive security in electronic banking and commerce,” said Robert W. Gillespie, Chairman and CEO, KeyCorp, and Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable. “As more bank customers are choosing online financial transactions, security issues are becoming more prominent,” he continued, adding, “The BITS Laboratory has been `in the works’ for almost two years and is the financial services industry’s latest initiative to ensure that safety standards for electronic commerce and banking continue to be strengthened as new technologies are developed and the volume of digital commerce keeps growing.” The grand opening featured remarks by the Honorable Robert F. Bennett, US Senate, and the Honorable Sam Nunn, as well as other prominent industry leaders and dignitaries. Executives from major technology provider companies were also present. Richard Clarke, National Coordinator of the National Security Council; Jerry Hultin, Under Secretary of the Navy; and Gregory Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury also offered comments. Later today, from 5 to 7 p.m., a Congressional briefing and reception will be held on Capitol Hill.
Scott McNealy, Chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc., has said: “Sun strongly supports testing against open standards. The BITS Lab process will provide for cooperation among vendors and banks while protecting what each considers to be the proprietary aspects of their technology.” Mike Dusche, Product Manager, Smart Card for Windows, Microsoft Corporation, has said, “Microsoft supports the BITS Security Lab because we are committed to developing, testing and applying technology that further strengthens the safety and security of the electronic banking experience for consumers.” Catherine Allen, CEO of BITS, explained that, “The BITS Security Lab will test security features and capabilities of products in both stand-alone and distributed environments for select PC operating environments, browsers, servers, and applications software used for PC banking; anti-virus software, firewalls; and end-to-end security systems.” She added, “Products will be tested for their ability to meet specific criteria pertaining to security attributes such as authentication, integrity, confidentiality, privacy, auditability and authorization.” “Global Integrity is delighted to be working with the BITS organization on this landmark initiative and looks forward to helping the financial services industry strengthen the environment of electronic commerce,” said Harvey Weiss, President and CEO of Global Integrity Corporation.
A BITS Tested Process, including a BITS Tested Mark, will be implemented to evaluate security-related features of products against established criteria. For financial institutions and technology providers alike, the BITS Tested Process at the Security Laboratory will provide an unbiased third-party evaluation. The BITS Tested Mark will be given upon successful completion of the testing cycle. Mark issuance will be posted on the BITS Web site.
BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, was created in 1996 to foster the growth and development of electronic banking and e-commerce in an open environment that will encourage greater choice and efficiency in financial software, access devices, networks and processing capabilities for the benefit of financial institutions and their customers. BITS promotes safety and soundness in payments systems and in electronic banking products. BITS is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 14 Chairmen and CEOs of the largest U.S. bank holding companies as well as representatives of the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). For more information, visit the BITS Web site at [http://www.bitsinfo.org].
About Global Integrity
Global Integrity Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). It focuses on the rapidly growing worldwide business of enabling e-commerce through the information protection market. Headquartered in Reston, Va., Global Integrity provides a full complement of information protection, electronic commerce security, consulting and engineering services to global financial institutions and major corporations with electronic operations worldwide. More information can be found at Global’s Web site at .
Mandalay Resort Group’s Gold Strike properties – Motor City Casino (Detroit), Gold Strike Resort (Robinsonville, Miss.), Grand Victoria (Elgin, Ill.), Railroad Pass (Henderson, Nev.), Nevada Landing (Jean, Nev.), and Gold Strike (Jean, Nev.) – have joined Global Cash Access’s Responsible Gaming Partnership, a program launched this year that encourages patrons to “Think. Be Responsible.” before making cash access transactions.
“We are tremendously pleased to have Gold Strike properties involved in our program,” said Kirk Sanford, chief executive officer of GCA. “The fast acceptance of our program is strong evidence that our industry fully supports the promotion and encouragement of responsible gaming.” The Global Cash Access Responsible Gaming Partnership is a multi-tiered initiative to promote responsible gaming. Developed in cooperation with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), GCA launched the program in April of this year.
The program includes an array of point-of-decision messages that encourage gaming patrons to “Think. Be Responsible.” when gaming. The messages also include the NCPG 24-hour, toll-free help line number to encourage patrons who think they may have a gambling problem to seek help. All of GCA’s cash advance terminals (which represent more than two-thirds of all GCA devices) are equipped with telephone handsets with direct connection to the company’s 24-hour call center. Patrons who require call center assistance hear a brief pre-recorded program message and are offered immediate, confidential connection to the NCPG help line if they use the code word “Think” at any time during a call. Formed in 1998 through a joint venture of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), First Data CorpDetails
The Kroger bank credit card returns as the grocery chain agreed to partner with U.S. Bancorp to introduce the new ‘Kroger VISA Rewards’ card. The new co-branded rewards cards were introduced Wednesday to store customers in Cincinnati, Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The new card offer a range of awards including free groceries at Kroger stores, free airline tickets, free hotel accommodations, free movie rentals and free admittance to various local attractions in each market. The ‘Kroger VISA’ credits cardholders with two points for every dollar spent on the card at any Kroger location, and one point for every dollar spent on the card at any other retailer. Customers begin to earn rewards with as few as 2,000 points. There is no annual fee if the card is used three times in a 12-month period.Details
NY-based UTG Communications International’s wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary, Starfon Telecom Services AG, has launched the first postpaid telephone card in Switzerland together with the Manor group, the largest Swiss department store chain with more than 71 outlets. The Starfon-Manor calling card services were launched on July 19 in a national mailing campaign to over 500,000 holders of Manor credit cards. Starfon expects to receive up to 50,000 applications for the new calling card services within four weeks. The Starfon-Manor calling card can be used everywhere in the country for billed calls (postpaid) at up to 65% savings over the competition’s prices. In addition, Manor offers its card users the option of installment payments.Details