El BodyGuard Card

Daly City, CA-based Edward Price Company announced Friday a Spanish language version of its new healthcare savings card, the ‘BodyGuard Card’. The English language version of the program was launched in January. The program gives consumers discounted access to preferred provider organizations for most ancillary healthcare services including prescription drugs, vision care, dental, chiropractic, podiatry, acupuncture, hearing aids, and alternative medicine. The cost of the card is $69 per year for an individual and $89 for a family. BodyGuard’s network consists of seven separate specialty PPOs with more than 78,000 pharmacies and providers nationwide.


Sausage & Telstra Sign

Sausage Software Thursday announced it had signed a contract with Telstra Corporation as part of the company’s strategic move to develop e-commerce solutions for major corporations.

This contract represents the company’s first corporate alliance since establishing its e-commerce division, and recognises Sausage’s unique software assets and capabilities.

The Telstra contract is the latest in a series of significant announcements made by Sausage since company founder Steve Outtrim teamed up with new director Wayne Bos in January of this year.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Outtrim said Sausage had the experience and expertise to handle major projects for corporates such as Telstra.

“Signing this contract with Telstra, one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies, confirms the credibility we have developed in the marketplace in terms of our e-commerce experience,” said Mr Outtrim.

“We now have the people, the infrastructure, and the customers to position Sausage Software among the leading players,” he said.

It is clear that the Bos/Outtrim partnership is succeeding — demonstrated by Telstra coming on board as a customer, and the recent acquisition of multi media business, Electric Alchemy.

“Telstra is a world’s best practice company, and offers Sausage the opportunity to leverage its range of technologies, and be promoted by Telstra’s significant marketing capabilities,” said Mr Bos.

About Sausage Software

Formed by Steve Outtrim in 1995, Sausage Software exports 97% of its product and is a globally recognised Internet tools developer. HotDog, the company’s flagship Web authoring tool has been consistently the most popularly downloaded Web authoring tool in the world over the last three years. Sausage has recently moved into the booming business of e-commerce with the establishment of a new division to develop e-commerce solutions for major corporations and SMEs.


TSYS – 1Q/98

Total System Services reported Thursday that revenues for the first quarter of 1999 were $115.3 million, an increase of 19.7%, compared with revenues of $96.3 million for the first quarter of 1998. During the first quarter TSYS signed Principal Bank to a long-term contract to provide consumer card processing services; signed Scotiabank of Canada to a multiyear agreement to provide credit card processing services to Scotiabank’s Caribbean accounts in 15 countries. TSYS also said yesterday it expects to convert the remaining 50% of the Sears card portfolio to ‘TS2’ during the second quarter. So far TSYS has converted 31 million Sears private-label card accounts to ‘TS2’. More 1Q/99 financial details are available via CardData. ([www.carddata.com][1])

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


PTI Goes Level III

Paymentech announced earlier this week it has launched a ‘Level III’ purchasing card acceptance program for its direct marketing clients. ‘Level III’ information includes full invoice details such as freight and duty amount, product description, ship-to zip code, unit cost, quantity, discounts, etc. One of the first Paymentech clients to go ‘Level III’ is WearGuard, which serves more than three million businesses.


AmEx Canada

American Express rolled out the ‘American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card’ in Canada yesterday. The new, no annual fee card, offers credit lines up to $50,000 and a 6.9% intro rate. The new Canadian biz card also offers one ‘AIR MILES’ reward mile for every $20 in purchases. Other key benefits and features include an activation bonus of 100 miles, up to nine free supplementary cards for employees, $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, ‘Assured Reservations’, and ‘Front Of The Line’ preferred ticket access. There are 9,600 ‘AIR MILES’ Sponsor locations across Canada. ‘AIR MILES’ participants include AT&T Canada, UPS, Holiday Inn, NEBS Business Forms, and Liberty Health.


Tax Charges

As the deadline approaches for filing personal income tax returns in the USA, the credit card option has drawn a limited response. The IRS reports that, so far, nearly 5,500 taxpayers have used credit cards to charge taxes averaging about $1500 each. The IRS also indicates that more than 33,000 taxpayers have also used the direct debit option this year. MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards are being accepted by the IRS this year through U.S. Audiotex. Discover cards are also accepted through Intuit’s ‘TurboTax and ‘MacIntax’ personal software. Reportedly the main motivation to charge taxes is to earn rewards. However the March issue of CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com) points out that most taxpayers will usually come out on the losing end of the deal unless they can maximize the redemption value of the reward earned. CardTrak notes that the 2.5% service charge levied by U.S. Audiotex more than wipes out the typical 1% to 2% rebate offered through bank credit card rewards programs. CardTrak cited exceptions such as using air miles for international upgrades, whereby the value of each tax dollar charged could equal more than 80 cents.


Equifax Renames Goldleaf

Equifax today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Goldleaf Technologies, Inc., has changed its name to Equifax E-Banking Solutions, Inc. Equifax purchased the company, one of the nation?s largest providers of electronic banking software, in December 1997.

Equifax E-Banking Solutions, located in Hahira, Ga., will continue operating as a division of Equifax Payment Services. David Peterson, founder of Goldleaf, will continue serving as senior vice president and general manager of the newly re-named entity.

“The name-change was part of our strategy from the onset of the purchase,” said Lee A. Kennedy, Equifax executive vice president and group executive, payment services. “Goldleaf is a very well known company, and we wanted to maintain the name through the transition into the Equifax family. At this point we are confident that Goldleaf?s clients and prospects are well aware that it is an Equifax company.”

“The change of name is a positive step,” added Peterson. “We want to combine the capabilities and capital of Equifax with the innovations that made Goldleaf special. This new name clearly defines what we are about.”

Equifax E-Banking Solutions opens yet another avenue for the multi-faceted Equifax, continually recognized as one of the world?s top technology companies. Equifax E-Banking Solutions is one of the largest providers of electronic banking software in the U.S., with approximately 7,000 licensed programs in more than 1,400 financial institutions worldwide. Its most recent venture is a three-year reseller agreement with CheckFree for electronic billing and payment (EBP) services. This will enable Equifax E-Banking Solutions to expand their outsourcing services including EBP to more than 5000 community banks in the U.S

Taking advantage of Microsoft Windows NT and SQL, a powerful, relational database language that not only simplifies, but actually speeds up the interchange of information between databases, Equifax E-Banking Solutions recently began re-launching a number of improved electronic banking solutions known as the CustomerLink family of products. These electronic banking solutions are designed to revolutionize the use of electronic databases. The new software allows for highly segmented databases, bringing a high level of ?personalization? to the often faceless electronic banking arena.

Equifax (www.equifax.com), 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 (NYSE: EFX) 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 more than 14,000 associates in 18 countries with sales in nearly 50 and has more than $1.6 billion in revenue.


USTT Expansion

USA Technologies’ self-serve credit card-activated business centers are now reaching into apartment communities. The company announced yesterday it is installing its ‘Business Express’ center in a Baltimore, MD apartment complex with nearly 1,000 housing units and 3,000 residents. The company has largely focused on the hotel industry. To date, more than 300 hotels have set up a USA ‘Business Express’ center. USA says there are about 23,000 large apartment complexes in the US.


New Destiny Client

Destiny Software Corporation, a leading provider of Internet financial services systems, announced Thursday that it is developing a comprehensive Internet system for The Northern Trust Company. The system combines banking, credit, mutual fund, brokerage and trust information to provide high net worth clients with a consolidated view of their entire relationship with Northern Trust through the Internet.

The initial phase of the Private Passport Internet system delivers “customer-centric” access to all Northern Trust accounts. The system enables high net worth clients to create customizable account and transaction reports, transfer funds, purchase, redeem and exchange mutual funds and initiate customer service requests online. Northern Trust expects to roll out the initial phase of its new Private Passport system in May of this year.

“The diverse financial needs of our clients require Internet services way beyond basic retail banking,” stated Lori Nerenberg, Vice President of The Northern Trust Company. “Destiny Software’s robust technology, quality people and proven implementation process have enabled us to develop our unique Internet system in the tight timeframes that we required.”

Northern Trust’s new Internet system uses Granite Foundation(TM), Destiny’s object-oriented platform for financial Internet solutions. The new offering contains over 200 Web screens and consolidates data from 8 different back-end systems to securely process Web-based transactions across a full range of financial account types. The new Private Passport system will complement Northern Trust’s existing online banking product, which provides basic banking and bill payment capabilities.

“Northern Trust is widely recognized as an innovator in the high net worth marketplace,” commented Lucinda Duncalfe, chief executive of Destiny Software. “Their commitment to high-quality and high-touch customer relationships has led Northern to develop leading online services that have put them at the forefront of this expanding market. The new Private Passport offering, with its comprehensive reporting and transactional features, sets a new bar for the delivery of financial services over the Internet.”

Northern Trust and Destiny are already working on the second phase of Private Passport, which they will roll out in the second half of 1999. This phase will include access for Microsoft Money and Quicken through OFX, Spanish language support, expanded transaction capabilities, including the ability to open new mutual fund accounts online, and access for authorized service providers, such as accountants and investment managers.

Northern Trust will continue to enhance its Internet offering with additional transactional features, such as online trading and bill payment and presentment, new access channels including the telephone and Personal Digital Assistants, and one-to-one marketing and financial planning capabilities. Destiny Software and Northern Trust will discuss current and future phases of the new system in detail during their presentation on April 12th, 1:15 to 2:00 PM, at BAI’s Internet Banking Conference in Atlanta.

About The Northern Trust Company

The Northern Trust Company is the principal subsidiary of Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS), a bank holding company and one of the country’s largest trust and treasury management institutions. The company has subsidiaries in Illinois, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Georgia and Connecticut, as well as offices in Toronto, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. As of December 31, 1998, total assets of the Corporation were $27.9 billion and trust assets under administration were $1.3 trillion. Northern Trust’s web site is located at [www.northerntrust.com][1].

About Destiny Software

Destiny Software is a leading provider of Internet systems to the world’s premier financial institutions. The company’s software and consulting services enable these organizations to build sophisticated Internet systems, rapidly and reliably. Destiny’s fixed price, fixed time project methodology, backed by a track record of success, eliminates the risks in implementing complex Internet solutions. Destiny’s clients include Bank of America, Fleet Financial, GE Capital and First USA (a Bank One subsidiary). The company’s web site is located at [www.destinysoftware.com][2].

[1]: http://www.northerntrust.com
[2]: http://www.destinysoftware.com


New Meridien Research Services

Gathering intelligence about retail customers is only the first of two core competencies required to prevail in today’s financial services market, according to Meridien Research, the Newton, MA based research and advisory firm. Market leadership will also require the ability to harness information and leverage knowledge to promote profitable interactions with those customers.

Forecasting that investments in customer management technologies will continue to grow in importance for financial institutions of all kinds, Meridien Research has announced a new line-up of research and advisory programs to support buyers and vendors of these technologies. Beginning in May, Meridien will provide two new research services in its Customer Management practice area.

The first is Customer Knowledge, which will focus on technologies and information management techniques that support better understanding of retail customers. The other is Customer Interaction, which will explore interactive technology strategies and solutions that facilitate effective marketing and profitable sales of financial services.

“Our clients’ requests for new types of reports mirror our own research findings that investments in retail customer management technologies will continue to grow more complex and more strategic well into the next millennium,” said Bill Bradway, research director at Meridien Research. “In addition, risk management disciplines are coming out of the ivory tower to be integrated on a real-time basis into sales and marketing initiatives, delivery channel development, and product development and pricing. The realignment of our research and advisory practices will enable us to fully explore these trends and provide the most useful and forward-thinking analysis and opinion for financial institutions and technology vendors.”

The announcement was made at the first annual Meridien Research Financial Services User Conference held in Boston last week. This highly interactive, two-day forum focused on the technologies critical to providing financial services to retail customers.

The conference was designed for Meridien Research clients — technology leaders from banking, brokerage and insurance, as well as the vendor communities that serve them — to share their automation strategies, success stories, and plans for the future. Industry leaders giving formal presentations included Robert W. Lindemann, voice response program manager at United Services Automobile Association (USAA), on integrated, individualized customer interactions, Jim Carswell, vice president of credit scoring in the risk management division of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), on using customer information for risk management, and Donna Redel, CIO of Prudential Securities, on delivery of financial services via electronic channels.

In other sessions, Meridien Research updated its clients on key Meridien projections about future technology challenges and strategic business trends that will impact technology investments, including spending forecasts for financial institutions as Euro and Y2K projects wind down.

Meridien’s next user forum is scheduled for November 8-9, 1999. It will cover the technology research practices — Risk Management, Customer Management and Electronic Delivery — that support financial services for business and institutional customers.

Meridien Research of Newton, MA, provides analytical research and advisory services to users and providers of strategic technology in the financial services industries. Meridien Research specifically examines technology investments which may lead to competitive advantage, but are associated with difficult technology decisions, funding challenges and implementation paths. These technology areas include electronic delivery, risk management, and customer management in retail and commercial financial services. Meridien Research publishes quarterly reports and monthly briefs, which detail issues and challenges, provide real-world case studies, and offer projections and guidance in technology investments.

For more information about Meridien Research, call Amy Habeshian at 1-617-796-2800 or visit the Meridien Research Web site at .


ARKSYS in East Asia

ARKSYS announced its first agreement in the East Asian market with Banco Comercial de Macau of Macau. ARKSYS will provide the Macau-based bank with the company’s Integrated Credit Card System, an IBM AS/400-based solution for issuing credit cards and processing credit transactions.

In conjunction with the bank’s 25th anniversary, Banco Comercial de Macau sought to complete its retail banking offerings with an in-house credit card offering. ARKSYS’ products provided a seamless integration with the bank’s core retail banking system. ICCS will enable Banco Comercial de Macau to issue cards, acquire transactions and provide an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) connection to the Visa network.

ARKSYS offers Integrated Transaction Management, a suite of payment and transaction processing systems that allows financial institutions to provide customers online, real time transactions twenty four hours a day, seven days a week from a variety of delivery channels. ARKSYS ITM solution provides financial institutions with the ability to integrate and manage retail delivery operations including ATMs, POS terminals, credit cards/debit cards, merchant management, electronic funds networks, interactive voice response, Internet/Intranet personal banking, bill payment and commercial PC banking. The company’s solutions are established in more than 60 countries. ARKSYS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Euronet Services Inc. (Nasdaq: EEFT).

For more information, contact Tom Kleinsorge, Manager of Marketing, Voice 501-218-7188 (USA)/Fax 501-218-7302 (USA)/E-mail tkleinsorge@arksys.com or by mail at 17500 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR USA 72211. ARKSYS’ home page address is http://www.arksys.com.

SOURCE ARKSYS Web Site: http://www.arksys.com