EasyPay Server

Atlanta-based NIIT introduced ‘EasyPay Server’ this morning. The new solution will enable service-oriented organizations, such as utilities and credit card companies, to directly present electronic bills to the consumer for payment via the Internet. Billers will also benefit from enhanced cross-selling revenue opportunities, improved bill and statement analysis and the flexibility to choose between two modes for implementing billing and payment solution: the ‘Biller Direct’ mode and the ‘Consolidated’ mode. The ‘Biller Direct’ mode allows the user to directly access the biller’s website, while the ‘Consolidated’ mode allows multiple billers to work through an Internet service provider to deliver one consolidated electronic bill to the consumer. NIIT says it is working closely with CheckFree to provide the consolidation and payments services to large billers, consumers and financial institutions.


Schlumberger 20 Years

Schlumberger celebrated 20 years of innovation in the smart card business at a press conference in Paris last week. Schlumberger manufactured the very first commercial smart card and lead the way for new mass-market applications such as with banking cards, GSM cards and phone cards. The company is now looking forward to the way this widely accepted technology will impact the way we work, travel, communicate and live in the twenty-first century.

The key benefit of smart cards remains the exceptional level of security and privacy they deliver in a personal and portable form. But accelerating performance and major advances in software mean they are no longer simply just ‘a better way’ of accessing networked services. They are the key enablers for a vast range of new services such as e-commerce and mobile banking.

“The first smart card dramatically reduced levels of bank card fraud,” says Olivier Piou, Schlumberger Vice President Smart Card Products. “Today’s smart card can secure complex e-commerce transactions. Tomorrow’s card will empower the individual and unlock the full benefits of the digital age.”

Market Catalyst

Today the smart card is already catalyzing markets around the world for example banks are reducing fraud and entering new markets such as on-line bill payments, secure stock trading and e-cash, telecommunications operators are delivering personalized online services to subscribers, corporations are securing access to PCs and networks, and transport operators are speeding operations with contactless electronic tickets.

The current rate of evolution of the smart card means that by 2005, cards will offer over 1MB memory – five times as much as the most advanced cards currently available – and processing capability will be an order of magnitude higher than today. On the software side we will see the increasing use of open systems and the introduction of enhanced security with cryptography and biometrics becoming standard. Smart cards will also be ‘network-friendly’ with their own IP number.

This will radically change the way that cards are able to interact with their owners, storing preferences and supporting multi-media communications and graphical interfaces. These developments will permit applications to be developed and introduced with astonishing speed, similar to that experienced over the past ten years with the PC.

Technological Convergence

At the same time we are seeing the convergence of technologies and communications methods: banking services are available over the mobile phone, soon Internet services will be available via a host of different media such as digital television, mobile phones and public payphones, and e-purse and city purse developments are seeing the integration of transport, retail,parking and other public services.

All these developments require a single portable identity system that can easily and securely recognize the individual user of the service.

This is where the smart card comes into its own. Smart cards have already been accepted as the most portable and secure system. With the introduction of biometrics and additional cryptographic capabilities to ensure even higher levels of security, individuals can carry their own personalized digital ID around with them: “smart cards maketh digital man.” Enter your smart card into your mobile phone, banking terminal or computer, present it to your doctor or at the airport security counter, and it will enable secure access to all the appropriate information in order to allow you to communicate, execute financial transactions, be reimbursed for medical expenses and travel freely.

“The 21st century will usher in the digital age and smart cards will provide the key to access its benefits,” says Olivier Piou. “The way that commerce has functioned for the last two millennia, via face-to-face contact, written signatures, handshakes and cash, will be fundamentally changed with electronic transactions. Smart cards are the solution and in the next twenty years every person on the planet will use the technology.”

Schlumberger believes it has a unique experience in all the different domains including smart cards, terminals, servers and systems integration expertise to facilitate this vision of the future. Irwin Pfister, Executive Vice President Schlumberger Test & Transactions, says, “With the objective of enhancing everyday life, improving mobility and communications, Schlumberger as been providing smart card-based solutions for twenty years and is uniquely positioned to meet the demands for ever more far-reaching applications.”

One Universal Card

What stands in the way of progress? In the short term, it’s almost certainly simple issues such as arrangements that allow issuers to share multi-application cards; and a culture shift which will see individuals accept the benefits that networks bring, and put their trust and ‘digital secrets’ onto their personal smart card. A watershed will probably occur when users are able to buy and configure their own cards. That will make the ‘universal card’ a reality, and it’s technically possible today.

“We deliver the technology required for service providers to share one universal card today,” adds Olivier Piou. “It would be already technically possible in 1999 for individuals to download their personal selection of different services onto a card. What would be required for this to become the norm, is for individuals to recognize that it will bring value to their everyday life and encourage a change in the way cards are issued.”

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide, shaping the new world of smart solutions by providing leading-edge technology to enable innovative smart card and terminal applications that enhance the security and convenience of businesses and communities of all kinds. Schlumberger smart card solutions encompass a wide range of cards, terminals, development tools and support in open configurations for operators, developers, integrators and distribution worldwide. As part of the Smart Village(R) vision, the Schlumberger offer includes the milestone Cyberflex(TM) card, the industry’s first Java(TM)-based smart card. The Smart Cards & Terminals group operates 45 facilities in 34 countries across the globe. Additional information is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.slb.com/smart cards.

Schlumberger Test & Transactions is the parent division for Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals and Schlumberger Automated Test Equipment, leveraging the combined strengths of the two business units to provide leading-edge, cost-effective solutions to customers.

Schlumberger Test & Transactions is a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, a $11.8 billion global technology service company providing oilfield services, natural resources management, transactions-based technology and associated systems, and semiconductor test equipment.

Cyberflex and Cardlet are trademarks and Smart Village is a registered trademark of Schlumberger. Java and Java Card are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc.


Card Backs

Faced with immense pressure from major banks, VISA and MasterCard logos will likely drop off the front of some payment cards by the end of this year. MasterCard’s board voted last week to permit certain issuers to move the MasterCard logo to the back of their debit or credit cards. However, MasterCard is requiring that issuers making the move commit to issuing more MasterCards. MasterCard, which announced earlier this year it was re-focusing on the needs of key members, was expected to give in to the logo placement issue first. However, VISA took some of MasterCard’s thunder away, as its International board decided earlier this month to launch a pilot, whereby any issuer of VISA’s off-line debit product, the ‘VISA Check Card, could test moving the VISA logo to the card back. The VISA pilot will begin later this year. In January Citibank quit VISA’s U.S. board and began a migration to issue more MasterCards after MasterCard showed more responsiveness to Citibank’s agenda. Citibank’s agenda included lowering its costs associated with the card brand and gaining more flexibility in building its ‘Citicard’ brand.



CUNA Service Group, and EDS have just expanded their 20-year business relationship to include Internet-based services that simplify IRA program management for credit unions.

CSG is the only IRA administrator that serves credit unions exclusively. Therefore, most credit unions with IRA programs choose to have CSG manage their entire program administration. CSG handles all back-office administration, including tax reporting and periodic payment calculations. Whether managed by CSG or internally, CSG’s electronically-enabled products and services help credit unions become more efficient, effective and compliant with federal laws governing IRAs.

“Credit unions will find that processing time is dramatically shorter with this fully automated, paperless system — which is part of our long-term goal to offer the products and services to make credit union operations smooth and successful,” said Peg Nugent Rectanus, senior vice president for CSG. “EDS, using their electronic business expertise, is helping us connect systems to make accessing and sharing data with customer credit unions faster, more flexible and more dependable.”

EDS helps IRA program administration become faster, easier and more efficient with an electronic data delivery service that links credit unions to CSG via the Internet. This Web-based technology, called Connect One, can accept any data from any type of system in any format that needs to be shared between one financial institution and another. Connect One electronically reformats the data, then transmits it safely to its destination without having to make even a tweak to current systems. Credit unions handle data in many formats, including credit card transactions, share drafts, checks, settlements with U.S. Central and Federal Reserve transactions, that Connect One transmits electronically. Credit unions can access the IRA system through Connect One Link, the Internet doorway to both systems.

“Through our long-standing relationship with CSG, EDS has built in-depth knowledge of CSG’s products, services, customers and the industry,” said Dana Rowlett, president of EDS’ Credit Union Industry Group. “Based on our relationship and that knowledge, we hope to continue to leverage EDS’ core credit union products to build end-to-end electronic interfaces to CSG products to better enable electronic business across the industry.”

Connect One is part of an EDS-developed technology that moves data from one company to another without making system changes, which makes system implementation a breeze. EDS processes 139 million transmissions per month between different types of businesses: between one financial institution and another, between doctors’ offices and insurance companies, and between retailers and suppliers, to name a few. This along with the new 20,000-employee E.Solutions organization supports EDS’ focus on electronic business.

With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves more than 90 percent of America’s 11,200 credit unions, which are owned by more than 77 million consumer members. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life. For more information on CSG and CUNA, visit the CUNA and Affiliates Web site at http://www.cuna.org.

EDS, a leader in the global information technology services industry for more than 35 years, delivers management consulting, electronic business solutions, and systems and technology expertise to improve the performance of more than 9,000 business and government clients in about 50 countries. EDS reported revenues of $16.9 billion in 1998. The company’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Visit EDS via the Internet at http://www.eds.com.


CreditDesk in Poland

Warsaw-based PKO PB, the largest network of bank branches in Poland with 465,000 sub-branches, 176 external outlets and nearly 6,000 agencies, will install Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc.’s CreditDesk origination and underwriting software to improve operational efficiency and risk management, and increase profitability in its consumer lending operations.

“CreditDesk’s functionality will enable us to enhance our risk assessment and provide faster processing of our customers’ applications,” said Jacek Oblekowski, director of Retail Banking at PKO BP’s Head Office. “We’re looking to streamline our operations and improve management of our consumer portfolio to increase profitability.” PKO BP has plans to use CreditDesk on other portfolios — such as retail, auto loans and mortgages — to speed up decision-making when processing loan applications, to improve the quality of its lending portfolio by reducing the number of bad loans, and to centralize and ensure consistency of credit risk management throughout the bank.

The company currently uses Fair, Isaac’s CrediTable International credit application models and FastTrack data analysis and reporting software.

CreditDesk provides credit grantors with a cost-effective, empirical method to increase acceptance rates, reduce losses and improve productivity. CreditDesk’s easy-to-use Microsoft Windows-based system assesses credit origination risk, retrieves and analyzes credit bureau reports, performs accept/decline letter generation and other processing functions, and produces a series of management reports.

Fair, Isaac (http://www.fairisaac.com) helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Fair, Isaac delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries.

PKO BP offers a comprehensive range of banking services for enterprises, institutions, civic organizations, consumers, and local government agencies. The bank maintains more than 30 percent of the combined savings of Polish households, manages over 50 percent of all personal accounts, and was the source of 80 percent of all housing loans in Poland.


AMS & NDS at E-Gov

American Management Systems and NDS Americas, Inc. announced that they will team to demonstrate a world-class solution for public key smart card security in support of government web-based procurement at the e-Government Conference and Exposition; in Washington, DC tomorrow. The demonstration, which combines AMS’ expertise in Federal procurement applications with NDS Americas’ experience in smart card technology provides an industry-leading authentication solution for Government-to-Business transactions, enabling secure electronic commerce for the Federal government.

In conjunction with CommerceNet, an international non-profit consortium of companies developing and delivering electronic commerce solutions on the Internet, the software demonstration is part of each company’s role as a champion for Phase 2 of the Federal Government Catalog Interoperability Pilot. AMS is collaborating with multiple Federal agencies to define the entire ‘procure to pay’ process that will enable government workers to buy goods and services through interoperable electronic catalogs. NDS Americas is providing sophisticated security technology, including smart cards coupled with digital certificates that support a Public Key Infrastructure.

The Catalog Interoperability Pilot gives Federal buyers a powerful tool for electronically searching thousands of products now located in separate Federal and business online catalogs. When fully operational, the pilot system will allow Federal shoppers to quickly compare products, find the best price, and make secure purchases with a smart card.

“NDS Americas believes that procurement solutions based on AMS’ vision and technology, incorporating the NDS smart card system as a component, are the ideal way to deliver future Web-based procurement systems to its customers,” said NDS Americas’ Vice President and General Manager, Dr. Dov Rubin. “We believe that together we have an attractive product that can provide an excellent security solution for Government-to-business applications.”

“We are very pleased to have worked closely with NDS Americas to meet the strict requirements of the initial government pilot,” said Gregg Mossburg, manager of AMS’s e-Commerce initiatives for procurement solutions. “NDS AccessGear(TM) Smart cards make PKI secure and manageable.”

About AMS

AMS is a world-class international business and information technology consulting firm. As one of the 20 largest consulting firms worldwide, AMS provides a full range of services and solutions: eCommerce, customer value management, business re-engineering, change management, knowledge management, systems integration, and systems development and implementation. Founded in 1970, AMS is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with over 8,000 employees and 57 offices worldwide. AMS had 1998 revenues of $1.06 billion, with eCommerce- related revenues representing 20%, an increase of almost 150% over 1997. Forbes magazine ranked AMS number 94 out of 400 of the best-performing big companies in the U.S. in their “Best of the-Biggest.”

AMS can be found on the World Wide Web at amsinc.com.

Information about AMS’s procurement solutions can be found at http://www.procurementdesktop.com.

About NDS Americas, Inc.

NDS provides open solutions that enable the delivery of entertainment and information to TVs and PCs. The company supplies the leading technology, products and services to enable businesses to profit from the emergence of interactive digital television, and its intersection with the Internet via data broadcasting and e-commerce. NDS’ solutions are built on its recognized leadership in smart-card based security, encryption, video compression and digital software control and management systems and are supported by its extensive systems integration and customer support capabilities.

NDS, headquartered in the UK with offices world-wide, is providing its advanced technologies, products and services to many of the current and planned cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting systems around the world. Over 12 million subscribers around the globe use NDS conditional access systems to receive Pay-TV satellite and cable services. The company continues to make a major commitment to R&D, with over 700 of its 1,500 plus employees dedicated to its pioneering development work at research centers in Israel, the U.S. and the UK.

NDS is a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS), a leading global media company. NDS is on the World-Wide-Web at: http://www.ndsworld.com. More information about AccessGear(TM) is available at http://www.securegear.com, or send an email inquiry to info@securegear.com. NDS Americas, Inc., located in Newport Beach, CA, handles relationships with a wide range of customers and partners in the United States.


MAS Cards

Rockport Healthcare Group announced this weekend the first revenues from the sales of their medical access savings cards sold. Rockport Preferred has introduced its basic and an expanded benefits card in the Texas market under the card name, ‘MAS’ and ‘MAS Plus’. The card provides members with up to 30% reduction on medical service fees. The basic card sells for $120 per household per year while the plus version sells for $180 per year per household.


NextCard Branding

NextCard unveiled this morning a national branding campaign posing the question “What’s on your NextCard?” This first phase of the 10 million dollar strategy, developed with San Francisco’s Arnold Ingalls Moranville, emphasizes the personalization and customization made possible with the ‘NextCard Internet VISA’. The new campaign begins with a series of print ads featuring the personalized ‘PictureCards’ of actual NextCard customers. The ads, which will debut in leading publications nationwide, stress the fact that the ‘NextCard Internet VISA’ is the card you can get online and use anywhere, and promote NextCard’s customizable features and risk-free online shopping guarantee. NextCard, which recently went public, has processed more than two million card applications since December 97.


Cendant & Extensity Team

Cendant Business Services and Extensity today announced a Web-based service for automating expense reporting, designed to help clients optimize employee productivity and maximize corporate financial performance. The new service, ExpenseWise, is an enhancement to Cendant Business Services’ integrated, one-card expense management system and allows customers to leverage the Internet and Internet technology to reduce expense reporting costs by as much as 50 percent.

Powered by Extensity Expense Reports, ExpenseWise is available to Cendant Business Services clients by subscription via the company’s Internet site. With total responsibility for all hardware, software, and service components of the expense reporting service, Cendant Business Services offers clients a single-source solution for a flat fee per expense report. It is the solution for companies that want the benefits of leading enterprise software without the implementation headaches or investment in hardware, software, and maintenance.

ExpenseWise is designed to streamline organizations’ business processes and reduce travel & entertainment expenses. In teaming up with Extensity, the leading provider of Internet applications for the e-business employee, to offer this service, Cendant Business Services expands its integrated, MasterCard-based payment system for travel & entertainment, purchasing and fleet expenses to a new level of effectiveness and flexibility.

Unlike other hosted offerings, Cendant Business Services offers clients the opportunity to apply their own policy and business rules to the expense report process. Clients can customize the database-driven model that dictates how expense reports move from creation to approval to payment. This workflow model also monitors all user activities and creates a detailed audit trail to ensure security and accountability.

In addition, ExpenseWise is a web-hosted automated expense reporting tool that can be used with any corporate purchasing card, not just Cendant Business Services’ Cendant Card. And it pre-populates expenses for any card transactions.

According to William Brooks, General Manager, “In an unusual move for the expense management industry, Cendant Business Services is offering the Extensity software by subscription via the Internet. Our clients do not need to make the major investment in hardware or database software — we’ve done that for them. In fact, it’s very cost effective and easy to implement — so much so, that we’re guaranteeing implementation within 60 days. All our clients need to do is access our website to get all the benefits of the Extensity system, which is one of the most effective on the market. For Cendant Business Services, ExpenseWise is the latest in a series of unique cost take-out solutions we deliver to our clients.”

“Our company has become a leader in Internet-based solutions,” said Mark Miller, Chairman and CEO of PHH Vehicle Management Services, Cendant Business Services’ parent company. “Our data warehouse and Internet management system have won several prestigious awards and our clients are enthusiastic about the productivity enhancements they realize through our online systems. Forty years ago, we were the first to introduce expense reporting to the fleet industry; now, Cendant Business Services is uniquely positioned to offer an outstanding Internet-based expense reporting system to the broader market.”

“As the Internet dramatically changes the way companies do business, our customers are rethinking how applications are deployed to optimize productivity and better manage costs. We are pleased to partner with Cendant Business Services, a leader in its space, to enable one of the first Internet-based services as a low-risk way to get up and running quickly and deliver immediate benefits to both companies and their employees,” said Bob Spinner, President and CEO, Extensity.

Other expense management solutions offered by Cendant Business Services

* Consultative expertise in expense management and corporate payment systems — identifying cost reduction opportunities and implementing solutions to increase profitability.

* Integrated one-card, one-database system that streamlines the management of T&E, purchasing and fleet expenses.

* Cendant Rewards(SM) program that aggressively motivates employees to purchase from their company’s preferred vendors, enhancing volume leveraging ability.

* Automatic rebate of up to 8% on vehicle maintenance purchases at preferred national suppliers.

* Automatic $0.02 per gallon rebate on gasoline purchases made at Shell and two other major fuel suppliers of the client’s choice.

* Electronic GL allocation and the ability to automatically map and split transactions between general ledger accounts.

* Online, real-time information and account management capabilities via the Internet.

Extensity, Inc. is the leader in Internet applications for the e-business employee. Extensity radically transforms the way companies do business by automating everyday processes to optimize employee productivity and business results. Today Extensity addresses expense reporting, business travel, billable time capture and procurement. Established by Scopus Technology co-founder Sharam Sasson, Extensity is funded by premier venture backers including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners; Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Java Fund; Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners; and Visa International. Extensity customers include Franklin Resources, Incyte Pharmaceuticals, International Home Foods, Reltec, University of California and the @Home Network. For more information about Extensity, go to http://www.extensity.com.

Cendant Business Services is the commercial card division of PHH Vehicle Management Services, a global leader in leasing, management and card payment solutions for corporate, government and utility fleets. Cendant Business Services markets the multi-purpose, MasterCard-branded Cendant Card for travel & entertainment, purchasing and fleet services, as well as niche private label and co-branded cards. The company’s expense management expertise and integrated corporate payment systems help clients manage purchasing, travel & entertainment and fleet costs more effectively.


Extensity 4.0

Extensity, Inc., introduced the ‘Extensity e-Business Application Suite 4.0’ this morning. The new release offers new applications such as ‘Extensity Purchase Reqs’ and the ‘Extensity Timesheets’. As part of the 4.0 release, ‘Extensity Expense Reports’, will now offers greater configuration options for credit card processing, including automatic reconciliation of employee balances owed the company against future expense report submissions for total automation of the expense reimbursement process. ‘Extensity Travel Plans’ also integrates with Runzheimer International’s travel cost benchmarking data to provide companies with valuable information for evaluating travel expenditures and budgets.


Library Cards

Diebold will demo its ‘CS Gold’ product line and its ‘CSVT’ terminal this week in New Orleans. ‘CS Gold’ is a card-based transaction system that stores personal identification, account and stored value information on smart chip or magnetic stripe cards. The product line is part of Diebold Card Systems, which is used by more than 300 colleges and universities across the country. The ‘CS Gold’ system relies on a multi-function photo identification card that includes a memory chip, a magnetic stripe, or both, depending on the functionality required by the library. The card can also contain a barcode for use in legacy library applications. The ‘CSVT’ is an automated value load station that allows library patrons to purchase stored value cards that can be used for fee and fine payment, copier and printer charges, vending, PC or Internet access fees, or to purchase other services or materials. The value terminal resembles an automated teller machine with a card dispenser to dispense smart chip or magnetic stripe cards. Patrons can purchase a card by inserting $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills into the CSVT. Customers can also use the terminal to inquire about a balance or add value to an existing card. The same card can be reloaded with value many times.


Rate Hike?

The consensus continues to build that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates tomorrow by at least 25 basis points, possibly 50 basis points. The rate hike will most likely force the Prime Rate to 8.00% or 8.25%. Since more than 80% of bank credit cards have variable interest rate structures, the Fed action will invariably raise card rates. Of the 400 million bank credit cards carrying variable rates, about 300 million are tied directly to the Prime Rate. (Other indices used by card issuers include LIBOR, T-bills and the Discount Rate.) The approximate 300 million Prime Rate-based cards represent nearly $300 billion in card receivables or outstandings. Therefore a 25 bp rise in the Prime Rate will generate a minimum of $750 million in additional interest revenue over the next year. A 50 bp jump will produce at least $1.5 billion in additional interest charges over the next twelve months. Tomorrow’s expected rate action is good news for issuers as it comes ahead of the start of the third calendar quarter, enabling issuers to pass on the new rates rapidly.


Citibank Prime Rate Quarterly
BankOne/FUSA Prime Rate Quarterly
MBNA Prime Rate Quarterly
Discover Prime Rate Monthly
Chase Prime Rate Monthly
Bank of America Prime Rate Quarterly
Capital One LIBOR Monthly
Fleet Prime Rate Quarterly
Household Prime Rate Monthly
Providian Fixed Rates NA
Source: CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com)