Wireless All-Star

MasterCard, ARAMARK and U.S. Wireless Data teamed up at last week at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game FanFest to offer wireless payment services. MasterCard and ARAMARK operated more than twenty merchandise outlets during the ‘FanFest’. For these outlets, U.S. Wireless Data and MasterCard provided point-of-sale technology powered by USWD’s ‘Wireless Express Payment Service’.


eCode’s AutoFiller

eCode.com, the Internet’s first and only online identity management service, announced Monday the formal launch of AutoFiller, a Web form-filling utility that allows Internet users to instantly populate any online form with their contact information. eCode.com also announced today that eCode members can choose to have AutoFiller automatically enter their credit card information on online shopping forms.

Announced earlier this month as a beta product, AutoFiller saves users significant time and frustration in filling out lengthy registration forms.

The utility, free to everyone, is directly launched from users’ browsers or bookmarks and can reside on their desktops. Whenever users want to fill out an online form, they click the AutoFill button and the form is instantly populated. AutoFiller supports Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

“AutoFiller and its new credit card feature make Web surfing and online shopping faster and easier,” said Rohit Chandra, founder and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based eCode.com. “eCode.com is committed to providing its users with innovative features that enhance their Internet experience. We expect AutoFiller will become indispensable to Web users because it is secure, easy to use and works on any Web site.

Some of the most popular sites AutoFiller supports include Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN), America Online (NYSE:AOL), CBS MarketWatch.com (Nasdaq:MKTW), CDNOW (Nasdaq:CDNW), Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCH), Compaq (NYSE:CPQ), Dell (Nasdaq:DELL), E-Trade (Nasdaq:EGRP), eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY), Lycos (Nasdaq:LCOS), Infoseek (Nasdaq:SEEK), Priceline.com (Nasdaq:PCLN), and Yahoo (Nasdaq:YHOO).

Credit Card Feature Makes Online Shopping Simple and Secure

eCode users can start using the AutoFiller credit card feature by entering their credit card type, number and expiration date into their secure contact profile on the eCode.com Web site once. When users want to include their credit card information along with their contact information, they simply check the “fill credit card” box on the AutoFiller toolbar. By default, AutoFiller will not send any credit card information unless the users check the box. The contact and credit card information is secured each time users autofill an online form. AutoFiller sends all information using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol. SSL encrypts the information so that it cannot be read as the information travels over the Internet. SSL protocol utilizes multi-layer security, including data encryption, server authentication, message integrity and client authentication. eCode.com is a member of the TRUSTe program and respects the privacy of its members. The site follows the strictest guidelines for protecting and maintaining any and all information the members provide.

eCode.com’s Free Service and Innovative Features Help People Stay in Touch

eCode.com has become the Internet’s hub for contact information because of its unique concept of a single, permanent online user ID called an eCode. Internet users can sign up at: eCode.com also offers the following features:

— Online Business Card and Self-Updating Address Book — eCode.com users can create graphical Web-Enabled Business Cards called WEB Cards that they can attach to their emails or display on their own Web sites. Users can collect the eCodes of their colleagues, friends and loved ones and build virtual, self- updating Address Books. When a user’s contact information changes, the updates are automatically reflected in the eCode Address Books of all his contacts. eCode users control their contact information at all times. They decide with whom they share their eCodes and who has access to that information. Visitors and other members alike cannot access a member’s contact information unless they know his or her electronic Code.

— Zero-Data-Entry Maps and Directions — eCode.com members never need to give out directions. Their WEB Card has an automatic map link icon that provides one-click driving directions and maps to friends and associates. When eCode users view another member’s WEB Card, the system automatically recognizes the two addresses and displays the maps and directions. No manual data entry is required.

— Outlook(TM) and Palm(TM) Synchronization — eCode.com members can upload and download their eCode Address Books with Microsoft Outlook and 3Com (Nasdaq:COMS) Palm organizers.

Personalized URL and Self-Updating Guest Book — eCode.com also provides its members with their own personalized URL, e.g. http://JDoe.eCode.com, which includes their WEB Card, a self-updating guest book and a counter. Users can host their own guest books without even having a Web site.

About eCode.com

Founded in 1997, privately held and funded eCode.com is the first and only Internet User Identity Company. The company’s eCode.com online identity service allows computer users to create self-updating online business cards and virtual address books. The company can be reached by eCode at eCodeInfo, on the Web at [http://www.eCode.com][1], by email at info@eCode.com, by telephone at 408/845-9400, and by mail at 2350 Mission College Blvd., Suite 777, Santa Clara, CA, 95054.

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


ATM Market Study

A new study by Atlanta-based Speer & Associates found that average monthly ATM transactions per terminal decreased by 30% to 3,491, reflecting the impact of continued off-premise terminal deployment on the number of monthly ATM transactions per terminal. ATM transactions per card grew slightly to 62 in 1998, up 7% from 58 transactions per card in 1997. Speer also found that the number of ATMs per institution increased 24% overall, as banks focus on establishing larger proprietary programs to service customers while also taking advantage of revenue-generating opportunities. Foreign transaction fees continue to be prevalent among debit card issuers, as many larger issuers now charge $1.50 for foreign withdrawal transactions, compared to an overall industry average of $1.22. In the study Speer projects that after growing at a 25% to 30% clip for the past several years, ATM terminal deployment is slowing, and the research firm expects the rate to continue to drop, with a 10% to 12% annual growth rate through 2000. S&A expects ATM transactions to grow at 11% per year through 2003 to 24 billion, while on- and off-line debit POS volume will expand at 24% per year to reach 13 billion transactions.


Chase 2Q/99

Chase Manhattan added 200,000 accounts during the second quarter while outstandings grew about $800 million, according to 2Q/99 results gathered by CardData (www.carddata.com). However Chase’s overall portfolio is about two million accounts less than last year. Chase will release its 2Q/99 earnings report tomorrow.


2Q/99 1Q/99 4Q/98 2Q/98
RECV: $32.2b $31.4b $32.2b $31.4b
Q-VOL: $13.7b $11.9b $13.1b $11.3b
ACCTS: 20.8m 20.6m 21.0m 22.8m
ACTIVES: 12.6m 12.5m 12.8m 13.8m
CARDS: 28.4m 28.9m 29.0m 31.9m

Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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


Equifax 2Q/99

Equifax Inc. reported Monday record 1999 second quarter results driven by double-digit revenue growth, keeping pace with the company’s long-term business objectives.

Second quarter highlights, led by the strong performance of Equifax Payment Services, include:

* Revenues for the quarter ending June 30, 1999, climbed 12.5 percent to $442.6 million compared with the prior year period.

* Operating income was $96.9 million versus $92.2 million in second quarter 1998.

* Second quarter earnings per share increased 6 percent from $.35 to $.37.

“Equifax continued to demonstrate solid operating results in the second quarter and first six months of 1999,” said Thomas F. Chapman, Equifax’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We remain focused on delivering results to meet our long-term business objectives even though certain business and market factors may impact our results during a particular quarter. We continue to make strategic investments to expand our capabilities to other markets through Equifax Knowledge Engineering, Equifax Secure and Equifax Consumer Services, our newest business focused on delivering products and services directly to consumers.”

During the quarter, the company’s stock repurchase program remained active, with the Company purchasing over 900,000 shares of stock for $33.2 million. Approximately $217 million remained available for repurchase as of June 30, 1999. Equifax has continued to repurchase its stock during the third quarter of 1999.

During the quarter Equifax incurred Year 2000 readiness expenses of about $5.0 million after tax, or $.035 per share. The 1998 acquisitions in Brazil diluted earnings by about $.02 per share. Revenue growth for the quarter, excluding acquisitions and divestitures, was in the mid-single digits.

“Equifax also announced several strategic initiatives to position the company for the future,” Chapman said. “We strengthened our executive management team in key areas of our business and signed agreements with several new customers, including Fininvest and GE Capital in Brazil. We also entered into partnership with the Sun-Netscape Alliance and introduced server certificates to help businesses secure their web sites for e-commerce over the Internet.”


“Payment Services turned in a strong quarter with excellent performance from Card Solutions and Check Solutions,” said Lee Kennedy, Equifax’s president and chief operating officer. “Our core information business in the United States continues to demonstrate operating leverage and strong expense management. We are pleased with the improved performance in Europe. The economy in Brazil is strengthening, and both our processing and information businesses are performing well. And we are committed to more than doubling the number of cards processed in Brazil by year-end.”

Payment Services, which operates globally through Card Solutions and Check Solutions, increased revenue 23.5 percent to $163.6 million in the second quarter. Global Card Solutions is the leading provider of third-party, full-service processing solutions to credit unions and independent banks in the United States and commenced operations in the United Kingdom in June. The revenue increase in Payment Services was driven primarily by growth in new accounts, new customers and transactions processed in U.S. Card Solutions, as well as our card services business in Brazil which contributed revenue of $14 million for the quarter, and Check Solutions. Operating income of $30.6 million increased 27.7 percent as a result of continued growth of both Card Solutions and Check Solutions.

For the quarter, revenue in North American Information Services of $196.8 million increased 1.4 percent versus second quarter last year. Revenue performance benefited from growth in U.S. Reporting Services, with increased sales across all industries served, partially offset by slightly lower revenue from marketing services. One risk management services customer elected to take its collections business in-house which impacted revenue during the quarter. Canadian revenue was down due to increased competition within its reporting business as well as the exchange rate. North American Information Services had operating income of $71.7 million, increasing 5.3 percent versus second quarter 1998. This group’s operating income growth was in the low double digits, excluding our investments for the future with Knowledge Engineering and Equifax Secure, the business that enhances the security and privacy of Internet transactions.

Revenue in Equifax Latin America (which does not include the Company’s Payment Services operation in Brazil) was $32.5 million for the second quarter, with the recent acquisition of SCI in Brazil contributing revenue of $16 million. Operating income of $5.0 million in the second quarter of 1999 increased 16.1% versus second quarter 1998. The overall performance of the information business in Brazil exceeded expectations in local currency as Equifax is successfully integrating and managing the operations of this 1998 acquisition. Operating income in Chile and Argentina declined versus 1998 results due to the exchange rate in Chile and lower revenue.

Equifax Europe revenue was $47.2 million versus $46.5 million in the second quarter 1998. This group’s reported loss of $1.3 million for the quarter, although impacted by severance costs, continues the improvement from fourth quarter 1998 and first quarter 1999. Equifax is making progress in lowering the expense base in the U.K. and expects continued improvement throughout 1999 with a return to profitability in the third quarter.

In addition, the sale of its minority interest in the Brazilian company Proceda, the sale of three small, non-strategic risk management offices in the United States, and interest income from dollar denominated deposits in Latin America resulted in a gain recorded as “Other Income” during the quarter which was partially offset by a higher effective tax rate associated with the sale of Proceda.

Equifax ([http://www.equifax.com][1]), a worldwide leader in shaping global commerce, brings buyers and sellers together through its information management, transaction processing and knowledge-based businesses. Atlanta-based Equifax serves the financial services, retail, credit card, telecommunications/utilities, transportation, information technology and healthcare industries and government. Equifax adds knowledge, expertise, convenience and security to provide value-added solutions and processes for its customers wherever they do business, including the Internet and other networks. Entering its second century in business, Equifax employs about 13,000 associates in 18 countries with sales in almost 50 and has more than $1.7 billion in revenue.

For complete 2Q/99 financials for Equifax please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

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


People’s 2Q/99

People’s Bank reported Friday that results for the second quarter showed a $1.2 billion or 11% increase in average managed assets, led by growth of $733 million or 9% percent in average managed loans. The loan growth was led by an increase of $527 million or 16% in average managed credit card receivables, including strong contributions from the U.K.. Average UK credit card balances increased $82 million, or 45%, to $267 million. CT-based People’s managed card loans stood at $3,933,000,000 at the end of 2Q/99. Credit card net charge-offs (as a percentage of average managed receivables) equaled 4.00%, representing a decrease of 11 basis points compared to the second quarter of 1998 and an increase of three basis points compared to the first quarter of 1999. Delinquencies as a percentage of quarter-end managed receivables declined 61 basis points to 2.58% from 3.19% at June 30, 1998 and decreased eight basis points from 2.66% at March 31. For complete 2Q/99 financials on People’s Bank visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


PMG Appointment

PMG Systems, a leading provider of advanced profitability measurement and management software solutions that empower institutions worldwide with the knowledge and tools to achieve sustained profitability and growth, announced that it has appointed Robert L. Wagner as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Gregory J. Nolan, PMG Systems’ Chairman and CEO, will turn over President and COO duties to Mr. Wagner and will look to Wagner’s much-admired management abilities and financial services industry knowledge to help PMG Systems implement a global expansion plan and work to meet market demand for its industry-leading profitability measurement and management software. Currently, PMG Systems’ software solutions are being used by 30% of North America’s top 30 financial institutions.

“Bob’s extensive background in financial services will be an enormous asset to PMG Systems as we continue to build our business of providing profitability solutions to the financial services industry,” Nolan said. “In addition, Bob’s proven experience in growing businesses quickly and guiding them through tremendous growth periods will be a significant benefit to PMG Systems during its high-growth phase. I am delighted to have Bob join the senior management team at PMG Systems as we enter a new era in the history of our company.”

Wagner was previously Executive Vice President of SEI Investments, where he led the reengineering of their investment systems and services business, which achieved annual, compounded double-digit revenue and profitability growth. During his 12 years at SEI Investments, Wagner was responsible for sales, customer service, operations, product management/development, business strategy, and overall business-line profitability.

“I joined PMG Systems because of the company’s people, vision, and superior software solutions,” said Wagner. “With an excellent track record, referenceable client base, and tremendous potential for growth in both its traditional market and new market opportunities, I saw unlimited potential for future growth and success.”

Wagner has also held management positions at Bank America Corporation, American Express, and Xerox Corporation and most recently as president of the institutional markets division of Pilgrim Baxter & Associates.

About PMG Systems

Based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, PMG Systems offers leading-edge profitability measurement and activity-based costing software that enables financial institutions worldwide to better understand their business, their products, and their customers. Its principal products are the Customer Profitability Management System, Integrated Profit Management System, Cost Management Workstation, and Profitability Workstation. Leading banks licensing PMG software include First Union, PNC Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Wilmington Trust Company, Bank of Ireland, and Thomas Cook Financial in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit PMG Systems on the Web at [www.PMGsystems.com][1].

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


Mondex Venezuela

Mondex announced last week that five financial institutions in Venezuela have purchased the franchise rights for Mondex e-cash. Banco Mercantil C.A.S.A. (Banco Universal), Banco Union C.A., Consorcio Credicard C.A., Banesco Banco Universal S.A.C.A., and InterBank C.A., will have exclusive rights to commercially develop the Mondex electronic cash application on ‘MULTOS’ in Venezuela. The deal represents the 10th Mondex franchise sold in Latin America, adding another 22 million potential cardholders to the already 70 million in the region who are eligible to receive the cards. Other Latin America countries with established Mondex franchises include: El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua; Panama; Belize; Costa Rica; Uruguay; and Chile.


Home Account

Home Account, the leading developer of Internet-based financial services, announced today that it has created a Community Bank Division to extend its focus on delivering affordable, state-of-the-art web services to the nation’s community banks.

Home Account pioneered the concept of delivering sophisticated, secure, transactional web services, deployed by the nation’s largest banks to the community bank market.

“This new division will further strengthen and focus Home Account’s efforts to help community banks leverage its broad set of Internet financial service solutions,” said Randy Kahn, Executive Vice President of Home Account. “Our first community bank installation was singled out as the best Internet bank site in North America last year. This action demonstrates our renewed commitment to this vital market segment.”

(Amarillo National Bank, a mid-sized community bank using Home Account’s Canopy First Internet banking product, was recognized last December as having the “Best Internet Banking Site” by the prestigious Retail Delivery News, beating out many submissions from banks that were dozens and even hundreds of times larger.)

Last year the company introduced the revolutionary NetPrecision 30/30 product which delivered a fully functional transactional web site to banks in 30 business days. Since its introduction over a year ago, more than one bank a week across the country has signed up for the 30/30 program. Since then, many similar products have been introduced, although none have matched the growing speed, efficiency and unparalleled service delivered by Home Account.

“Because we also have many large financial institution customers, we do not want to lose our focus on the very important community bank market,” said Charles A. White, President and Chief Executive Officer of Home Account. “Establishing this new division ensures that we will continue to develop and offer high-quality, affordable Internet solutions tailored to the particular needs of community banks.”

About Home Account

Home Account delivers home banking, financial management and electronic commerce solutions to banks, brokerages and other financial institutions. Home Account’s products include: Canopy Server(, an OFX (Open Financial Exchange) financial services platform that allows distribution of services through multiple channels; Canopy Advisor(, a strategic financial planning system for use by individuals and financial professionals; Canopy FirstTM, a family of outsourced, scalable and brandable Internet products and services for financial institutions, card issuers and brokerages; Canopy Card(tm) innovative Internet account access programs for card issuers; Canopy Business(tm) Internet-based cash management services for business customers; and Canopy Clients(, a series of financial management user interfaces.

Although Home Account’s products are designed as components which can operate separately, the Home Account product suite when combined provides an integrated customer relationship management system, the Canopy Continuum(, that assists financial institutions in building profitable, long-term relationships with their customers. Using the Canopy NetSpeed(tm) process as a template, financial institutions can have fully functional, branded web sites up and running in just 30 business days.

Home Account is headquartered in Emeryville, Calif., with offices in Charleston, S.C., Omaha, Neb., Los Angeles and Atlanta.


Sears Biz One

Transamerica Distribution Finance Corp. and Sears launched Friday the ‘Sears Commercial One’ credit program. With the ‘Sears Commercial One’ account, commercial customers can purchase by phone, fax, via specialty catalogs, through their Sears account manager or at any Sears retail outlet. They can also use their account when purchasing from Sears Contract Sales, Sears Industrial Tools, Sears Hardware, Sears Auto Centers, Sears Parts and Services, The Great Indoors, Sears dealer stores, Orchard Supply and Hardware and at National Tire and Battery. Rather than receiving separate invoices for each purchase, Sears ‘Commercial One’ customers receive monthly statements with transaction detail. TDF will own the receivables and will convert over 226,000 existing Sears commercial credit accounts. TDF will manage all processing and servicing including credit underwriting, transaction processing, customer servicing, billing and collections. Sears handles about $1 billion annually in commercial sales.


DE Expansion

Associates National Bank dedicated its new headquarters in Newark, DE last week. The 80,000 square foot facility will support the bank’s existing credit card operations. The new facility will house 440 employees. Located in Pencader Corporate Center, the bank currently has two buildings, the new Credit Card Operations Center and the Card Personalization Center. Associates set up operations in Delaware in 1991. In honor of last week’s occasion, Associates donated $50,000 to the Latin American Community Center to assist in providing affordable housing for the Hispanic community in Delaware.


Netroscope Silicon Alliance

In a move to integrate market research and consulting services, Netroscope Inc., the leading Internet market research company, last week announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Silicon Summit Technologies (SST), the leading provider of Internet development and support services.

In today’s customer-centric market, Netroscope and SST’s alliance offers organizations a one-stop source for acquiring both market intelligence and consulting services. It is designed to help organizations systematically manage their business risks with a well-defined process to follow. It also offers a competitive pricing model that spans the entire project cycle, from initial research to development and deployment.

Netroscope forecasts the U.S. market for the Internet and e-commerce research, consulting, and outsourcing services will exceed $30 billion by 2002. Netroscope and SST are working together to develop and market a family of integrated market research and consulting services that support the growing needs of customers for customized integration and outsourcing solutions.

“This agreement is an outstanding progression for both Netroscope and SST as it allows us to join forces to develop and deliver compelling outsourcing and integration solutions that will put us at the top of the Internet consulting ladder,” said Natalie Shaheen, President, Netroscope. “The addition of SST to our resources adds another exciting dimension to our firm’s capabilities and expands our research range to meet every aspect of the strategic market planning top to bottom. The strategic priorities of this partnership include leveraging and expanding existing client relationships, further identifying a competitive pricing model, and combining extensive skill sets in existing and emerging technologies.”

“Our customers want tightly integrated and complete project life-cycle services and a strategic alliance with Netroscope allows SST to deliver just that,” said Larry Gusto, President, Silicon Summit Technologies. “Netroscope has quickly become recognized as a premier Internet market research firm and perfectly complements SST’s existing development and support organizations. By combining and leveraging the strengths of both companies the big winner here will be the customer.”

Among the industries that would benefit from the Netroscope and SST alliance are financial services and securities industries. Commenting on the alliance, John Valente, Senior Vice President in charge of the Information Application Development Division for Visa International, said, “As we implement the Internet into our strategic business processes, deploying comprehensive and cost-effective e-commerce solutions and infrastructure become critical issues. By linking market intelligence with consulting know-how, Netroscope and SST are well equipped to better serve the industry’s outsourcing needs. They can help organizations take a more efficient approach for rapid deployment and development of eBusiness solutions.”

“With the financial services industry operating more and more on Internet time, the SST-Netroscope alliance will be invaluable in helping ePIT offer trading on a level playing field to the Internet community,” said Steven Smith, Vice President of Business Development at ePIT, Inc. “This alliance will give ePIT a leg up as we work closely with existing financial institutions to bring their customers the experience and benefits of trading shoulder to shoulder with other traders over the Internet.”

About SST

Silicon Summit Technologies, Inc. () develops, implements and supports technically progressive systems for the world’s largest companies in the Securities Brokerage, Card Payment Systems, Banking and Legal Services industries.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Silicon Summit Technologies’ expertise lies in keeping abreast of the latest technology and utilizing this technology to the benefit of their clients. Since 1988 SST has specialized in the development of leading-edge applications for the securities industry. The majority of current products are written in Java and provide valuable business solutions based on the Financial Information Exchange (FIX) communications protocol.

About Netroscope

Netroscope, Inc. () is the leading Internet market research and consulting company focused on evaluation and assessment of leading-edge technologies and market trends, with the objective of supporting strategic business requirements of the industry. Netroscope’s services include syndicated and customized research, marketing and sales support services, assessment of corporate and vendor trends, “thinking council” advisory services, monthly newsletters, and daily alerts.