Kroger Returns

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

Swiss Phone Card

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

Fixed Rate vs Intro Rate

As some issuers focus on fixed rates, while others focus on promotional rates, PSI Global discovered that the choice between teaser rates and fixed rates should not be viewed as an either/or proposition. The finding comes from a new PSI study of account acquisition and attrition which shows that focusing exclusively on either introductory-rate offers or fixed rate-offers cuts a card issuer’s acquisition potential in half. During the 12-month period covered in the survey, about 81% of the 17 million households that opened a general-purpose credit card account were offered an introductory teaser rate. Of such accounts 52% accepted the offer, but nearly as many rejected the concept. PSI says introductory rates and fixed rates appeal to distinct customer preferences. PSI also said that 70% of households owning general-purpose cards maintained the status quo, neither opening nor closing a credit card account. These households received an average of four solicitations during the 12-month study period, which is equivalent to the average number of solicitations received by all households owning a general-purpose card account. According to PSI, understanding the dynamics of account change behavior is critical in order to maximize marketing resources. The PSI Global study also found that age was an important predictor of account change activity. Younger households are more likely both to open and close accounts than older households.

Details

NextCard Goes Golfing

NextCard, Inc. , creator of The First True Internet Visa, and chipshot.com, the Internet’s direct source for tour-quality golf equipment, Wednesday announced a strategic card marketing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the NextCard Internet Visa becomes the exclusive credit card on chipshot.com. Golf lovers who apply for the card at [http://www.chipshot.com][1] will receive a $50 credit towards custom clubs or merchandise and be eligible for on-going promotions.

“In a continuing effort to enable commerce on the Internet, NextCard is excited to collaborate with chipshot.com to design distinctive credit card products for the avid golf community,” said Dan Springer, chief marketing officer at NextCard. “Golf lovers will now be able to design a completely customized golf credit card the same way they can design their customized golf club at chipshot.com.”

“We are pleased to work with NextCard to provide our customers with the latest and greatest in online customization,” said Amar Goel, chief executive officer of chipshot.com. “Our customers are people who love the game of golf, we expect they will enjoy having the opportunity to show off their love of the sport, as well ass being able to take advantage of discounts and promotions on chipshot.com.”

About NextCard, Inc.

NextCard, Inc. ( [http://www.nextcard.com][2] ), creator of the First True Internet Visa, is considered the industry’s leading issuer of consumer credit on the Internet. Since its launch in December 1997, over 2 million people have applied for the NextCard Internet Visa, making it one of the premier online credit cards. The Company continues to innovate with its Double Rewards program, complete GoShopping! tools, personalized PictureCard design, a one-click digital wallet, and exceptional online customer service. NextCard was recently named a “HOT 100 Company” by Upside Magazine.

About chipshot.com

chipshot.com is the Internet’s direct source for tour-quality golf equipment, accessories, apparel and information. chipshot.com’s vertically integrated manufacturing and retailing e-commerce model bypasses traditional channels to sell high-quality equipment directly to the consumer at significant savings. With chipshot.com’s “PerfectFit” customization tool, golfers can research and order tour-quality golf clubs, customized to their physique and style of play, for less than half the price of comparable brand names. In addition, chipshot.com sells the best brand name equipment and hundreds of great accessories, and offers site visitors a comprehensive library of golf tips, lessons and tutorials. chipshot.com was founded in August 1995, and is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. The company’s investors include Sequoia Capital, Oracle Venture Fund and others. The company has marketing agreements with top Web properties, including AOL, Lycos and Yahoo!. For more information, see the company’s Web site at [http://www.chipshot.com][3].

The Safe Harbor Statement Under The Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

Information contained herein as to NextCard’s expectations and goals are forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ from those projected in these statements due to portfolio characteristics, economic conditions, competition in the industry and other factors detailed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

[1]: http://www.chipshot.com/
[2]: http://www.nextcard.com/
[3]: http://www.chipshot.com/

Details

AmEx & SFX Sign

SFX Entertainment, Inc. and American Express have reached a multi-year marketing and sponsorship agreement that will create a major presence for American Express at SFX music venues nationwide. The deal was announced Wednesday by Mike Ferrel, Chief Executive Officer of SFX Entertainment, and Nancy Smith, vice president, global media and sponsorship marketing at American Express.

Through this agreement, American Express will become the “Official Card” for all SFX music venues nationwide. The American Express(R) Card will be welcomed at all SFX venues for ticket, concession and merchandise purchases. The partnership ensures American Express will have a highly visible on-site presence at SFX music venues, as well as point-of-sale signage at all payment sites.

As part of the agreement, there will be a number of branded marketing programs developed by SFX and American Express, offering Cardmembers a number of exclusive benefits, including:

— Gold Card Events ticket program, providing Gold and Platinum Cardmembers with special access to premium and reserved seating;

— Exclusive performances for American Express Cardmembers held in each SFX venue market;

— In addition, starting this summer in select markets, American Express Cardmembers will have special access to the best lawn seats for designated shows.

Mike Ferrel, Chief Executive Officer of SFX Entertainment, said, “This is a significant addition to our growing list of partners. It is also a validation of our strategy to offer brand-conscious companies the medium of live entertainment for the delivery of powerful marketing programs. As a leader in the development of strong branded products, American Express represents one of the major categories of sponsors whom we have always thought would especially benefit from the opportunities SFX can offer. For our audiences, acceptance of the American Express Card throughout our system will provide ease of payment as well as access to special seating and exciting performances. In turn, American Express will be able to reach our millions of patrons through innovative marketing programs designed to take advantage of the unique on-site presence which only SFX can provide on such a large national scale. We are proud to welcome American Express as our newest corporate sponsor and look forward to providing its Cardmembers with exciting and innovative programs.”

“Carrying an American Express Card is all about the value of membership and the benefits only American Express can provide. This relationship with SFX enables us to provide Cardmembers special access and treatment at top venues across the country,” said Nancy Smith, vice president, global media and sponsorship marketing at American Express. “This sponsorship is also an excellent way for us to continue heightening our entertainment-category presence both on-site and through SFX music websites,” she added.

American Express is the latest company to take advantage of SFX’s national, year-round live entertainment distribution. SFX has recently signed deals with Levi’s, Clairol, VH1, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, and the Las Vegas Convention Visitors Authority, among others.

SFX Entertainment is the world’s largest diversified promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. SFX owns and operates the largest network of venues in the country used principally for music concerts and other live entertainment events. SFX has 82 venues including 16 amphitheaters in all of the top 10 markets and owns or operates venues in 31 of the top 50 markets overall. Some of the venues under the SFX umbrella, include Tweeter, First American, Fleet, PNC Arts Center and Jones Beach. SFX also develops and manages touring Broadway shows, selling subscription series in 38 markets that maintain active touring schedules. Through its large number of venues, its strong market presence and the long operating histories of the businesses it has acquired, SFX operates an integrated franchise that promotes and produces a broad variety of live entertainment events locally, regionally and nationally. Pro forma for all acquisitions, during 1998, approximately 37 million people attended approximately 13,200 events promoted and/or produced by SFX, including over 6,250 music concerts, 5,800 theatrical shows, over 800 family entertainment shows and over 350 specialized motor sports shows. In addition, SFX is a leading fully integrated sports marketing and management company specializing in the representation of athletes and broadcasters, integrated event management, television programming and production and marketing consulting services in the sports, news and other entertainment industries.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company – a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information about the company, visit [www.americanexpress.com][1].

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

Details

Diebold Buys Campus Card Firm

Diebold, Incorporated announces the acquisition of Pioneer Systems, Inc., a company specializing in the development and operation of campus ID card-related interfaces to financial institutions. Pioneer Systems developed and operates the first “Open Banking” system that allows students, faculty and staff to link to an existing account at a participating financial institution to their university identification card. Implemented in August 1998 at Penn State University, the system currently offers services to more than 100,000 cardholders on 23 campuses.

“Our multi-bank interface allows colleges and universities to establish relationships with more than one financial institution, which benefits both the school and the user,” said Wendy Buterbaugh, general manager of Pioneer Systems. “Besides the convenience of using a single card both on and off campus at any MAC or PLUS automated teller machine, users can add stored value to the smart chip on their cards from their checking accounts within seconds.”

Pioneer Systems, which utilizes a magnetic stripe card with an embedded computer chip combined with Diebold’s iq(R) Transaction Processing Software(TM) (iqTPS) System, offers the ability to link to multiple financial institutions, off-campus merchants and the on-campus system. The iqTPS system provides the network functionality that processes the transactions for ATMs and point-of-sale terminals on campus. This system gives financial institutions the necessary link to the network and also gives retailers the capability to take debit payments from a student’s regular bank account using only the student’s campus ID card.

“Diebold’s Card System customers will be able to take full advantage of this unique multi-bank system approach, while reaping the benefits of Diebold’s entire suite of CS Gold applications and products,” said Bartholomew J. Frazzitta, vice president, physical security and card systems for Diebold. “Pioneer will continue to make its system available to all universities and campuses, irrespective of the applications and card products deployed.” Diebold, Incorporated is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 7,000 employees in more than 135 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.diebold.com][1].

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

Details

CIBC Aerogold Online Incentives

Advantex announced its plans Wednesday to launch the first Internet Shopping Portal linking all CIBC Aerogold VISA cardholders to major e-commerce retailers. CIBC Aerogold cardholders will earn DOUBLE Aeroplan Miles on all purchases when shopping on-line at participating e-commerce retailers, by linking through the CIBC Advantex Shopping Portal. The CIBC Advantex Shopping Portal will be launched prior to the busy Holiday shopping season.

The announcement follows the signing of an agreement with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Air Canada. CIBC Aerogold is the number one gold credit card in Canada. Air Canada’s Aeroplan Program is Canada’s most popular frequent flyer program.

“E-commerce retailers face the same challenges of building new and repeat customers as their traditional storefront counterparts. The new CIBC Advantex Shopping Portal will deliver the built-in buying power of several hundred thousand high net worth individuals with high disposable incomes who spend billions of dollars on the credit card each year,” stated G. Randall Munger, Chairman and CEO of Advantex.

CIBC Aerogold cardholders represent a very sophisticated audience who are predisposed to shopping on the Internet, who will now bookmark and pass through the CIBC Advantex Shopping Portal to earn bonus Aeroplan Miles on their purchases. Advantex and CIBC expect high demand from major e-commerce retailers seeking to generate new and repeat customers from the CIBC Aerogold cardholder base. DOUBLE Aeroplan Miles represents a very compelling offer that will drive new business to the participating e-commerce retailers.

“We are very pleased to provide our Aerogold cardholders with an exciting new way to earn incremental Aeroplan Miles,” stated Cheryl Longo, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, CIBC Card Products Division. “CIBC Aerogold cardholders are early adopters of the Internet, conversant with on-line shopping by virtue of their income and education. We believe the opportunity to earn DOUBLE Aeroplan Miles, on-line, will be a valuable and useful benefit for our cardholders.”

“Expanding into e-commerce is a natural extension of our core business, building on the tremendous success of our CIBC Aerogold Advantex Benefit program with CIBC Aerogold cardholders and merchants alike. There are over 400 participating merchants across Canada, including restaurants, golf courses, country inns and resorts,” stated Munger. “Advantex has a proven track record in creating and managing coalition customer loyalty programs that reach and influence the purchasing behaviour of large consumer groups, in favour of our merchant partners.”

To earn bonus Aeroplan Miles, CIBC Aerogold shoppers will link to leading e-commerce retailers through the CIBC Advantex Shopping Portal, making their purchases directly from the retailers using their CIBC Aerogold card. The bonus Aeroplan Miles will appear automatically on the cardholder’s monthly CIBC Aerogold statement.

Advantex will earn its income from third party referral marketing fees and banner advertising. North American on-line retail revenues are expected to top $36 billion by the end of the year, with a projected growth rate of 145% in 1999, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group for Shop.org, a trade association focussing exclusively on Internet retailing.

“On-line shopping is exploding and Advantex is well-positioned with all of the necessary components firmly in place to capitalize on this emerging market,” says Munger, “a large captive user base, a well-established loyalty program and, importantly, an effective low cost means of promoting the Advantex Shopping Portal to cardholders every month through the credit card statements.”

Advantex Marketing International Inc. is a leader in the marketing service field, creating and managing value-added coalition customer loyalty programs for its North American client base for the past 15 years. The company’s customer base is extensive, including large financial institutions, packaged goods manufacturers, daily newspapers, retailers, independent and chain restaurant operators, golf courses, inns and resorts. The Company excels in matching the relative strengths of large and small businesses, creating marketing programs that compound the value for all participating parties. Advantex is a public company, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “ADX”.

Details

Latin Fleet Card

ESSO Brasil (EXXON) and Hypercom have created the first network to support a multi-national fleet card program with online authorization to transportation businesses throughout Latin America. The new EXXON network and multi-national fleet card program will use Hypercom ‘PINPads’ and ‘Ascendent’ software to allow gas stations to accommodate an array of transactions and payment options. Under the terms of the agreement, more than 1,000 Hypercom ‘S7C PINPads’ will be deployed at petrol stations in Chile, Brazil and Argentina. Following the initial deployment, the enhanced EXXON network will be rolled out to other countries in Latin America, and ultimately is expected to handle more than 250,000 transactions per month for over 500 gasoline stations.

Details

Jensen & Yesil Advises Trintech

Trintech yesterday announced the addition of industry leaders Edmund P. Jensen, former president and CEO at Visa International, Magdalena Yesil, a high-tech venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and a founder of CyberCash, and Robert Schneider, CEO of SCM Microsystems, to its Advisory Board.

Trintech created the Advisory Board earlier this year to assess market changes and add payment industry heavyweights to help define the company’s future.

“We are fortunate to have the knowledge and experience of our three new Advisory Board members in helping shape the vision of Trintech,” said John McGuire, co-founder and CEO of Trintech.

“It is crucial for Trintech to leverage their invaluable market insight and know-how to compete in today’s market. Ed, Magdalena and Robert also bring with them a wealth of management experience and proven track records.”

Edmund P. Jensen has more than 25 years of experience in the financial and payment card sector. He served as president and CEO of Visa International from 1994 to 1999 and now works with several venture capital firms and as an advisor for several high-tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Prior to his tenure at Visa International, Jensen held the posts of vice chairman and chief operating officer at US Bancorp, where he worked for two decades. Jensen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Washington.

“There is great synergy with Trintech’s Internet payment strategy and my experience at Visa International and US Bancorp,” said Jensen. “I’m excited about being a part of Trintech’s future.”

Magdalena Yesil, a high-tech venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, is a world recognized expert in e-commerce and Internet security. She has been instrumental in developing the current Internet payment transaction paradigm as a founder of CyberCash and, later, MarketPay, a transaction aggregation engine that separated the financial transaction from the payment.

For her work in the payment space, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Red Herring Magazine in 1997. In the early 1990s, Yesil played a significant role in developing and evangelizing UUnet. Yesil holds a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, both from Stanford University.

“The stakes are high in the Internet payment processing market,” said Yesil. “My experience in the electronic payments industry and Trintech’s Internet vision makes a great fit for embracing e-commerce transaction processing.”

Robert Schneider founded SCM Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq:SCMM), a provider of smart-card reader and digital TV security products and technologies, in 1990 and is a world expert on smart-card systems.

Schneider today serves as CEO of SCM Microsystems. Schneider also serves as chairman of the board and managing director of SCM Microsystems GmbH, a German subsidiary of SCM Microsystems, Inc. Schneider earned a degree in Engineering from HTBL. SCM Microsystems is dual listed on the Nasdaq and the German Neuer Markt.

“I am very much looking forward to actively participating as an Advisory Board member at Trintech,” said Schneider. “As card payments move from magnetic stripe to chip and remote devices like set-top boxes proliferate, companies like Trintech and SCM can benefit from our mutual expertise.”

About Trintech

Founded in 1987, Trintech is a leading provider of secure electronic payment solutions for card-based transactions in the physical world and over the Internet. The company offers a complete range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications, as well as being a world leader in the deployment of payment solutions for Internet commerce that are fully SSL- and SET-compliant. Trintech’s range of scalable open systems architecture solutions for UNIX(R) and Windows NT(TM) platforms covers consumer, merchant and financial institution requirements for physical payments and the burgeoning world of electronic commerce. Trintech can be contacted at 2105 South Bascom Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008, USA (Tel: 408/879-1884). Trintech can be reached on the Web at [http://www.trintech.com][1].

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

Details

CompuCredit Surges

Atlanta-based sub-prime specialist CompuCredit Corp. reported Wednesday it signed up 277,000 new cardholders for the second quarter. CompuCredit’s increased marketing efforts during the second quarter resulted in 59% growth in the number of cardholders since the end of the first quarter. The managed net interest margin increased to 21.0% for the second quarter of 1999 versus 19.8% for the first quarter of 1999. The managed net charge-off rate increased to 4.1% for the second quarter of 1999 versus 3.3% for the first quarter of 1999. At June 30, the 60+ day managed delinquency rate fell to 6.4% from 8.2% as of March 31. The decrease in delinquency is attributable to better than expected collections and the increase in new receivables growth. For complete details on CompuCredit’s 2Q/99 visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Y2K Card Scam

The FTC reached a $100,000 settlement yesterday with a Canadian based company that offered a credit card protection program against potential Y2K-related problems. The FTC filed its complaint against NCCP Ltd., doing business as National Credit Card Protection Ltd., and Cary Title in federal district court. The FTC alleged that the defendants, in an effort to induce consumers to buy their credit card protection program, offered consumers a Y2K protection package that they said would obviate Y2K-related problems. The package consisted of nothing more than adhesive stickers. According to the FTC, the defendants told consumers that the adhesive stickers would safeguard against potential Y2K problems once they were applied to the consumers’ credit cards. The FTC further alleged that the defendants falsely stated that they represent the consumers’ card issuer. NCCP and Title have been permanently barred from engaging in the credit card protection business.

Details

Hotel Business VISA

The first business credit card offered by a hotel rewards program was released yesterday. The ‘Priority Club Worldwide Business VISA’, offered by Bass Hotels & Resorts and First USA, allows each company employee cardholder to earn points for free hotel nights, frequent flyer miles, merchandise and shopping rewards. The new card program also offers small business owners the opportunity to harness the financial leverage of quarterly management reports, consolidated billing statements to track company cardholders’ spending, and discounts on business products and services. Bass owns Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn. Cardholders receive one ‘Priority Club’ point for every U.S. dollar spent on purchases and an additional 5,000 bonus points with their first purchase or balance transfer. The no-annual-fee card carries a 3.9% fixed APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first five months, followed by a fixed 9.99% annual percentage rate. The card also features a credit line up to $35,000.

Details