CheckFree & Cox

CheckFree and Cox Communications, Inc., one of the nation’s leading broadband communications companies, this week announced an agreement that will soon provide nearly 3.8 million Cox customers access to online electronic billing and payment (EBP) through a central Web site of their choice.

With this new agreement, the first of its kind in the cable industry, Cox Communications customers will be able to receive their monthly cable, local and long-distance telephone statement electronically on their personal computers and pay it with a click of the mouse.

Starting September 1st, consumers will be able to send their Cox Communications payments electronically by visiting the CheckFree E-Bill(SM) Web site (https://www.mybills.com/ebill ) or the many other financial service providers’ Web sites that offer EBP.

“With this agreement, Cox demonstrates innovation in meeting customer needs and delivering leading technology among providers of communications services,” said Scott Hatfield, vice president and chief information officer for Cox Communications. “As we continue to advance our long-standing strategy to be a full-service telecommunications provider to businesses and residences, we want to ensure that we offer customers the highest level of service and convenience.”

As part of its high commitment to customer service, Cox Communications will install the automated customer care component offered by CheckFree E-Bill’s third-generation version, launched last December.

According to Matt Lewis, senior vice president of Electronic Commerce Product Management and Marketing for CheckFree, “Electronic bill delivery turns the typical monthly bill into another powerful customer communications instrument. Cox will be able to deliver customer-specific information in each e-bill, establishing an interactive communication with their customers.”

With the Cox Communications signing, CheckFree now has contracts with 49 of the nation’s top 100 billers, including Ameren (Union Electric), American Electric Power, AT&T, Avista Utilities (Washington Water Power), BellSouth, Boston Edison, Chase Credit Card & Chase Mortgage, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Consumers’ Energy, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., CUNA Mutual Group, Florida Power & Light, GPU Energy, GTE, HomeSide Lending, Illinois Power, International Billing Services, MCI WorldCom, Nevada Power, Northeast Utilities (Connecticut Light & Power and Western Massachusetts Electrical Company), Northern Illinois Gas (Nicor), Public Service Company of New Mexico, PGE, Small Business Administration, Southern California Edison, Southern Co., and Total System Services Inc. (TSYS).

About Cox Communications

Cox Communications, Inc. is among the nation’s leading broadband communications companies, serving 3.8 million customers. As a full service provider of telecommunications products, Cox offers an array of services, including cable television under the Cox Cable brand; local and long distance telephone services under the Cox Digital Telephone brand; high speed Internet access via Cox@Home; advanced digital video programming services under the Cox Digital TV brand; and commercial voice and data services via Cox Business Services. Cox is an equity owner of Sprint PCS, the nation’s first national wireless personal communications service (PCS); and also is an investor in numerous programming networks, including Discovery Channel.

About CheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree, the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corp., is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2.8 million consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet.

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First Ecom & Sun

First Ecom.com, Inc., the first company dedicated to providing Internet credit card processing services to non-US merchants, Thursday announced an agreement with Sun Microsystems to help build awareness and usage of FEC’s payment gateway services among Sun’s North Asia customer base.

The move is seen as a significant step forward to bringing true e-commerce capabilities to Asian merchants as it means that they will no longer have to rely on US banks or other American based organizations to facilitate their on-line merchant accounts.

Under the terms of this agreement, Sun’s customers in North Asia will be able to fast track the issuance of Merchant IDs and offer multi-currency solutions, fraud detection technology and a host of other e-commerce functions never before available outside of the US.

“It is very exciting for us to enter the Asian market with such a significant partner as Sun,” said FEC President and Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Pek. “This is a very strong endorsement for our service and goes a long way to paving the way for our future in the region.

“The FEC payment gateway is powered by Sun. To stay on the forefront of technology we feel it is important to have access to the latest JAVA solutions like the JAVA CARD technology. This will ensure that our payment gateway can handle more complex future applications beyond simple credit cards transactions such as debit cards and smart cards,” said Mr Pek.

“Both companies are committed to making e-commerce a reality in Asia. With the First Ecom.com system for on line multi-currency credit card processing and Sun’s commitment to the JAVA and JINI technology, I’m sure that e-commerce in this part of the world can reach US proportions very quickly.”

According to Paul Li, Director of Marketing for Sun Microsystems North Asia, which provides core systems for more than 80 percent of Internet Service Providers in the region, the company is repeatedly asked by its customers to provide an on-line credit card authorization solution. “We feel that the payment gateway provided by First Ecom.com is ideally suited for Asia as it offers the ability to transact in multiple currency and is easy to implement across the region,” said Mr Li.

About First Ecom.com

First Ecom.com, Inc, ( http://www.firstecom.com) is a US company trading on NASD OTC-BB under the symbol FECC. First Ecom.com provides online credit card transaction processing services for merchants outside of North America. Through a series of strategic alliances, First Ecom.com approves merchants and processes transactions in a tax-neutral jurisdiction without the need for using US banking institutions or US-based ISPs. Using First Data Corp.’s processing platform, First Ecom.com offers online credit card processing solutions for merchants in their preferred currency.

About Sun Microsystems

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision, “The Network Is The Computer(TM),” has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq:SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of high quality hardware, software and services for establishing enterprise-wide intranets and expanding the power of the Internet. With more than US$10 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 150 countries and on the World Wide Web at [www.sun.com][1].

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

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HPS & CyberSource

Heartland Payment Systems, a subsidiary of Heartland Bank, St. Louis MO., and CyberSource Corporation, a leading provider of eCommerce transaction services, this week announced they have partnered to provide Web merchants with a unique “one-stop” eCommerce solution. The solution offers quick and easy merchant account setup combined with secure real-time processing of credit card payments and other eCommerce transactions.

The HPS and CyberSource partnership enables service providers such as ISPs and CSPs to supply their merchants with a complete eCommerce transaction processing package. HPS provides the merchant account application system, called Merchant Provisioning System (MPS), which lets merchants apply online in a simple six-step process. When combined with the CyberSource eCommerce Transaction Services, MPS allows Web merchants to begin accepting VISA and MasterCard payments in as little as 48 hours.

“Our goal was to create a one-stop online credit card processing solution for eCommerce merchants,” said John Waldron, Vice President of Internet Marketing and Sales for HPS. “The combination of CyberSource services and HPS’ 48-hour online merchant account application process provides Web merchants with a significant time-to-market advantage.”

In addition to being able to offer merchants a comprehensive eCommerce transaction processing solution, ISPs and CSPs also benefit through HPS’ Value Added Reseller (VAR) Program. This program allows VARs to earn a signing bonus and ongoing residual payment for any merchant that joins the HPS and CyberSource merchant program.

“ISPs and CSPs get an incredible package that provides quick and easy account set-up and transaction processing for their merchants, plus a revenue stream for themselves,” said Waldron.

“The value-add that ISPs and CSPs can supply their merchants doesn’t end with rapid set up and secure payment processing,” said Tom Clements, director of channel sales at CyberSource. “CyberSource eTransaction services cover the full range of eCommerce functions, from fraud screening to delivery address verification, and are all available to merchants taking advantage of this new one-stop program.”

Once a merchant is set up through MPS, credit card payments are accepted via CyberSource’s GeoPay(TM) real-time payment gateway, part of the CyberSource eTransaction Suite. Merchants using GeoPay can access additional CyberSource eTransaction services at any time, without integrating additional software. These other services include CyberSource IVS(TM) Fraud Screen for managing the risk of credit card fraud and CyberSource SmartCert(TM) for digital delivery, as well as CyberSource services for automatic sales tax/VAT calculation, delivery address verification, fulfillment messaging, export control and global rights registry.

Becoming an HPS VAR

Companies interested in becoming a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Heartland Payment Systems or seeking additional information should e-mail jwaldron@heartlandcard.com or call 888-702-3321.

About Heartland Payment Systems

Heartland Payment Systems “HPS” is a subsidiary of Heartland Bank of St. Louis, MO., is one of the nation’s largest bank credit card processors. Founded in 1887, Heartland Bank is charted nationally, and is permitted to conduct business throughout the United States. HPS is a full-service merchant card processor (for credit, debit, ATM, and check cards), handling services that include fraud monitoring, reconciliation, compensation, ACHing of merchant funds, draft retrieval processing, and chargeback processing. HPS conducts business with all types and sizes of merchants.

For more information visit ( ), or email to jwaldron@heartlandcard.com.

About CyberSource

CyberSource is a leading developer and provider of e-commerce transaction processing services. Powering the buy buttons of over 400 Internet merchants worldwide, CyberSource provides mission-critical reliability with the CyberSource Internet Commerce Suite offering merchant-controlled, real-time services including tax services, payment services, risk management services, export control services, policy control services, fulfillment messaging, delivery address verification and secure digital delivery. Cybersource’s customers include Beyond.com, BUY.COM, Compaq Computer, Egghead.com, Fawcette Publications, MarketWatch.com, Remedy and Shopping.com.

For more information visit ( ) or email to info@cybersource.com

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MS Active Statements

Microsoft revealed plans Wednesday to ally with two of the nation’s 10 largest banks and one of the nation’s five largest credit card issuers to offer ‘Active Statement’ downloads. These new implementations will enable customers of Bank One/First USA and Fleet Financial to download statement data into ‘Microsoft Money’. ‘Active Statement’ technology uses the ‘Open Financial Exchange’ file format and does not require multiple steps to download as those based on the ‘Quicken Import Format’. ‘MS Money’ also supports the reconciling and balancing of existing transactions.

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Top Ten Scoreboard

As expected Citibank regained its #1 ranking in the U.S. market during the first quarter. Bank One/First USA’s first quarter receivables dipped by $1.7 billion, due to a seasonal contraction. According to CardData (www.carddata.com), seven of the top ten U.S. issuers experienced a decline in outstandings during the first quarter except MBNA, Capital One and Providian. As a group, the percentage of active accounts versus gross accounts declined from 63% at year-end 1998 to 60% at Mar. 31. The average daily balance per active account stood at $2,113 for the first quarter. The average first quarter volume per active account ranged from $484 to $1443 according to the April issue of Bankcard Update.

TOP TEN SCOREBOARD
(First Quarter 1999)

RANK/ISSUER OUT ACCT VOL
1. Citibank $69.4b 41.4m $36.8b
2. Bank One /FUSA $68.2b 45.3m $26.8b
3. MBNA $56.2b* 26.9m $20.9b
4. Discover $32.1b* 37.4m $13.8b
5. Chase $31.4b 20.6m $11.9b
6. Bank of America $20.7b* 17.2m $11.9b
7. Fleet $14.1b* 10.9m $ 4.3b
8. Cap One $13.9b 18.0m $ 7.4b
9. Household $13.0b 14.3m $ 8.7b
10. Providian $11.8b* 11.0m $3.0b

* MBNA includes international outstandings; Discover’s fiscal quarter
ending Feb.28; Bank of America, Fleet and Providian are preliminary figures;

SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com) and BankCard Update

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Euronet CFO

Euronet Services Inc. has named Daniel C. Stevens, a senior financial services executive with strong international experience, as the Company’s new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Stevens assumed his post with Euronet on April 20, 1999.

As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Stevens is responsible for the finance-related areas of Euronet’s entire operations, which comprise a European ATM network and a US-based software company. He is based in Overland Park, Kansas, together with Chairman and CEO Michael J. Brown.

“Dan Stevens brings an excellent mix of in-depth financial expertise and international experience to Euronet,” said Michael Brown. “His proven ability to manage growth will be a valuable asset to us as the Company continues to mature.”

Mr. Stevens was most recently a partner in Rochdale Principals, a new agricultural finance venture organized with other senior executives in the Kansas City area. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Chief Financial and Risk Officer for U.S. Central, a $25-billion AAA-rated financial intermediary and technology, operational and payment provider for the $350- billion U.S. credit union industry. He has also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer-USA for the trading, corporate finance and branch operations of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO, as well as Chief Financial Officer for the US operations of the French bank Credit Agricole. He began his financial career as a Certified Public Accountant in the financial services division of Arthur Andersen & Company in Chicago.

Established in 1994, Euronet is a provider of end-to-end electronic banking solutions and transaction processing for retail banks. The Company operates an independent ATM network in Europe and owns a US-based software subsidiary, ARKSYS, specialized in electronic payment and transaction delivery systems. Together with ARKSYS, Euronet offers ATM network participation, outsourced management solutions, and comprehensive software solutions to retail banks around the world. Euronet ATMs accept transactions for a wide range of bank cards through agreements with Visa and MasterCard/Europay sponsor banks and international card issuers such as American Express and Diners Club International. The ARKSYS subsidiary has over 150 active retail banking clients in 60 countries.

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No DOJ

The Independent Community Bankers of America has sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting an end to the DOJ investigation of anti-trust charges against VISA and MasterCard. The ICBA says the issues are moot given Ctibank’s announcement that it would resign its position on VISA’s board of directors. The group says the Citibank development has proven beyond all doubt that competition clearly exists between the two card associations. The ICBA contends that American Express would benefit from a quasi-government endorsement, should the DOJ prevail, which would eventually harm consumers. The letter concludes saying the only deals American Express will make will be with larger banks, seriously weakening the brands community banks rely on in order to compete. Separately the Independent Community Bankers of America announced this morning it has named Sean Perkins to the position of director of marketing.

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Bankruptcy Reform Passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 833, the ‘Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999’, by a vote of 313-108 yesterday. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on its version of the legislation by the end of this month. The White House has indicated it will not automatically veto the House bill, however the administration has objected to the use of a means test to force some debtors into a Chapter 13 repayment plan instead of permitting them to erase their debts entirely through a Chapter 7 filing. The House Judiciary Committee tried to lessen the impact of the means test provision, through an amendment, but the it was turned down by a 184-238 vote. However House lawmakers did adopt an amendment requiring credit card issuers to clearly disclose fees, teaser rate/go-to interest rates and how long it takes cardholders to pay off balances by making minimum monthly payments. The amendment also requires issuers marketing credit cards on the Internet to fully disclose terms and conditions of their offers. Lobbying for bankruptcy reform has been “awesome” according to one House member. Public records indicate VISA and MasterCard jointly spent $5.4 million lobbying for bankruptcy reform last year. Meanwhile the White House issued a laundry list of proposed new consumer protection issues yesterday. The list covered consumer financial privacy, improving financial literacy, and expanding access to financial services.

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Online Merger

First Data and Home Account Network Inc. signed an agreement Wednesday to merge the operations of First Data Direct Banking with the Home Account Network. The new entity will operate under the Home Account name and will have more than 80 customers, ranging in size from community banks to some of the largest financial institutions in the country. Home Account Network develops software for Internet banking, bill payment and financial planning applications for banks and other financial institutions. First Data specializes in Internet development and operational capabilities for banks, credit unions, savings and loans, non-bank credit card issuers and brokerage houses. First Data will retain a minority equity ownership in the new firm and will provide ongoing data processing services under a long-term contract. Home Account Network also announced this morning that it has signed a re-seller agreement with CheckFree.

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AmEx Dominican Republic

Banco del Progreso and American Express announced Wednesday an Independent Operator agreement in which Banco del Progreso will issue American Express Cards in the Dominican Republic for local use in pesos, the country’s currency. Cardmembers will be able to use the Card at American Express establishments in the Dominican Republic and throughout the world.

“Banco del Progreso is proud to have been selected by American Express to be its partner in issuing the American Express card in the Dominican Republic,” said Pedro Castillo, Chief Executive Officer of Banco del Progreso. “This agreement will allow us to offer our clients an outstanding and wide variety of financial services through one of the most important credit card companies in the world.”

“We are delighted to be able to add Banco del Progreso to our growing family of Latin American and Caribbean partners,” said James Li, president of American Express’ Global Network Services Group. “Through strategic arrangements like this one with Banco del Progreso, we are matching the global strengths of the American Express brand and worldwide service with the marketing and operations experience of strong local partners committed to the same kind of high quality service standards American Express offers its customers around the world. ”

Under the agreement announced today, Banco del Progreso will conduct the American Express card issuing business as well as the merchant acquiring and processing business in the Dominican Republic. Banco del Progreso will be responsible for all operations supporting the American Express Card — including billing and payment systems, accounting, customer servicing, credit and fraud control, and charge authorizations as well as marketing the Card in the Dominican Republic.

Banco del Progreso will also take over responsibility for servicing local merchants accepting the American Express Card in the Dominican Republic. As a result of this agreement, the number of merchants accepting the American Express Card in the Dominican Republic will be expanded, significantly enhancing the relevance and utility of the Card to customers living in or visiting the country.

Dominican customers will have access to the American Express international service network and other travel and financial services. The company’s network has more than 1,700 owned and representative Travel Service Offices worldwide and more than 227,000 ATMs in its ExpressCash network.

American Express currently provides a U.S. dollar-denominated American Express Card to Dominican customers. Current American Express Cardmembers will have the option of converting their Card to the new product, retaining their dollar-denominated Card, or carrying both Cards. American Express Travelers Cheque and travel businesses are unaffected by this agreement.

Banco del Progreso, founded in 1974, is among the largest financial institutions in the Dominican Republic. It has 23 offices in 15 cities in the Dominican Republic, and one of the most extensive ATM networks in the country, all of which provide services to major financial and tourist centers.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) — a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It provides card, Travelers Cheque, travel and financial services in over 160 countries.

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