Forrester Research released a new report yesterday that estimates consumers will obtain 8.9 million loans and credit cards over the Internet by 2003, representing more than $167 billion in receivables. Forrester says the explosion in on-line lending will be led by mortgages and credit cards. The researcher projects virtually every credit card issuer will be using the Web as a customer acquisition channel by the end of this year. In five years, one out of every six credit cards issued will be obtained on-line and Net-sourced credit card lines will approach $22 billion. More than 80% of the lending institutions interviewed indicated that they will offer on-line credit applications by early next year and more than 60% will approve or deny applications on-line before the end of the year.Details
Houston-based Rockport Healthcare Group, Inc. confirmed plans Friday for the regional launching of their medical access savings card April 1. Rockport Preferred, Inc., a subsidiary, will introduce a basic card and an expanded benefits card in the Texas market under the card name, ‘MAS’ and ‘MAS Plus’. The company said it chose the name “MAS” since it is Spanish for ‘more’ and also because it defines the card’s purpose as ‘Medical Access Savings’. The card will provide members with up to 30% reduction on service fees. The basic card sells for $120 per year per household and provides discounts on prescriptions, vision, dental, hearing and chiropractic as well as access to a nurse for information and assistance service. The ‘MAS Plus’ card sells for $180 per year per household and provides additional access to physicians. The company says nationwide, more than half of the doctors in the country and 40,000 retail pharmacies are participating in the program. The card will also be marketed as ‘Passport’ and ‘PassPort Plus’ and can be named and tailored for employer groups and associations under a private label.Details
CIBC makes foreign exchange transactions for small and mid-sized businesses as easy as a few mouse clicks with the launch of CIBC FX Web Dealing. Through this Internet-based product, business clients can get live quotes, transfer funds between accounts, purchase a draft, send a wire transfer or obtain transaction history, instantaneously and securely from their desktop.
CIBC FX Web Dealing is a leading edge, real-time, Internet-based application for small and mid-size companies that transact a minimum of $100,000 in foreign currency conversions each year. Now, these business clients can conduct their foreign-exchange transactions at their convenience.
“CIBC recognizes that time is a valuable commodity to Canadian small and mid-size businesses. With the increase in global trade and the advance of e-Commerce, we wanted to provide our clients with the ability to conduct their foreign exchange conversions in a quick, secure, and efficient manner,” explains Craig Ellis, managing director of North American Foreign Exchange Sales for CIBC World Markets. “Building on the strength and the security of CIBC’s network, we employed the latest Internet-encryption technology by partnering with Zero Base Development Inc. of Montreal to deliver this innovative and exciting solution to our clients.”
Information about CIBC’s Foreign Exchange Web Dealing is available on the Internet at [www.fxdealing.cibc.com].
CIBC is one of North America’s leading financial institutions. It offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking networks, branches and offices across Canada and around the world. Zero Base Development Inc. designs supports and markets its own treasury Foreign Exchange and Fixed Income applications from offices in Montreal and Bangkok, Thailand.
eCHARGE Corporation, a leader in electronic commerce billing systems, and Encore Multi Media, developers and resellers of consumer self-help software, announced the availability of the eCHARGE billing system on the Direct Credit.com web site last week. Billing the download cost to the consumer’s local phone bill is an alternative to credit card payments and increases access to this self-help software. The alliance between the two companies ensures that the ease of electronic commerce is extended to every online consumer.
“Partnering with eCHARGE gives small and medium-sized businesses a low-cost option for extending the reach of their online stores,” comments Dennis J. Smith, President and CEO of Encore Multi Media. “A segment of our target market includes people who may have erroneous credit history, and eCHARGE offers them an easy way to pay for this corrective software without using a credit card.”
“eCHARGE strives to give every person online the ability to shop in the growing e-commerce marketplace,” comments Erica Beyer, VP of Marketing for eCHARGE. “By offering eCHARGE, online retailers such as Direct Credit.com are leading the way to safer and easier methods of payment for their customers.”
About Encore Multi Media
Encore Multi Media develops and resells consumer self-help software. These innovative programs assist consumers in resolving their personal credit reports by communicating with the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Encore MultiMedia’s flagship software program, Direct Credit.Com, provides a central source of information for consumers with credit-related issues. With over 50% of all credit reports in the US containing mistakes, Direct Credit.Com brings together the necessary components to restore credit ratings. For more information, visit About eCHARGE Corporation
Founded in 1996 and based in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C., eCHARGE Corporation is a leading provider of transaction processing systems on the Internet. eCHARGE is an Internet payment technology that enables consumers to charge digital goods and services to their phone bills in one seamless and secure transaction. eCHARGE offers payment solutions to Internet merchants worldwide in the ISP, ESD, subscription, information download, online games, and donations categories. For more information, visit or call 1-800-766-4677.Details
A major controversy is brewing in the U.S. card industry since one of the nation’s top five issuers decided to stop reporting credit limit and/or high balance information to the leading consumer credit reporting firms. The bank credit card issuer currently reports only payment history and current balance data. The unilateral move has turn competitors’ scorecards upside down. Most U.S issuers rely on credit utilization as a key measure of risk. By design, credit scoring will show a 100% credit utilization if no credit limit information is given. As a result, a large number of applicants for competing card products are automatically being denied. The action has been particularly frustrating to mid-level players. The absence of high balance information may also impact fraud prevention. Many issuers look for any history of balance boosting, whereby a cardholder exceeds the credit limit by 50% or more. The issuer’s decision to limit cardholder data was apparently made in response to claims that credit bureaus were, upon special request, providing targeted, key data on the issuer’s cardholders to its competitors. Sources indicate the controversy has led to on-going and very high level discussions between the issuer and the credit bureaus. As of this morning no resolution has been reached.Details
Ericsson and Telenor Mobil have created a solution for offering wireless phone users simple and user-friendly services for mobile e-commerce. The first service to be launched makes it possible to buy cinema tickets, using a mobile phone as the e-commerce terminal, with the cost charged directly to a credit card, bank account or an e-commerce account. The solution can be easily adapted to the purchase of a variety of other services and products.
In April, mobile phone users in Norway will test the solution. The ticket service gives the user a menu on the mobile phone display, showing information about movies that are being shown. The user orders and pays for tickets, receives a confirmation number for the purchase, and can arrive at the cinema at show time to pick up the tickets, which have already been paid. For cinemas, ticket sales are more efficient, and moviegoers do not have to arrive early to claim bookings.
To make use of this service – and others to be developed – users will be equipped with a new GSM mobile phone that supports the SIM application toolkit feature and Telenor Mobil’s SIM card. A new type of SIM card, with extended memory and security features, makes it possible to present a user-friendly menu in the display. Most of the new mobile phones being launched this year will support this functionality. The solution is open for evolution into the new Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standard. The SIM-card and the GSM technology make it possible to include a payment solution that enables secure transfer of money.
The service offers three alternatives for payment: credit card, bank account, or an e-commerce account. All necessary information about a card or account is registered and linked to a GSM subscription. Payment is handled by the service, which takes care of transferring money from the user’s bank or credit institution. This means that the mobile phone can be used as a “wallet,” complete with credit card, bankcard and/or cash. Users are ensured high security, because sensitive financial information isn’t sent via the phone.
Ericsson and Telenor Mobil are co-operating with Filmweb, a company that is a content provider on behalf of the Norwegian film and cinema business. Filmweb is responsible for the integration of this service into the cinemas’ ordinary ticket systems. For more information about Telenor, please see
Ericsson is the leading provider in the new telecoms world, with communications solutions that combine telecom and datacom technologies with freedom of mobility for the user. With more than 100,000 employees in 140 countries, Ericsson simplifies communications for its customers – network operators, service providers, enterprises and consumers – the world over.Details
American Express said Friday that, starting next month, Regal Hotels International will begin awarding double ‘Membership Rewards’ points to American Express cardholders enrolled in the ‘Membership Rewards’ program. To earn double points, cardholders must spend $75 or more on their eligible, enrolled American Express Card for stays at Regal from April 1 through December 31, 1999. A maximum of 1,000 ‘Membership Rewards’ points will be awarded with each Regal stay.Details
San Francisco-based GS Telecom, Ltd., will announce this week the ‘ATTM Universal Card’, the first-ever anonymous currency card that makes possible instantaneous, anonymous transactions over the Internet. The ‘ATTM card’ is a pre-loaded, hybrid, smart card, that will enable transactions in 53 currencies. In addition to Internet transactions, the ‘ATTM Card’ will provide secure, anonymous, low-cost transfer of funds around the world. The company says this will be the first truly-global currency, for international travelers, Internet users, and retail consumers, worldwide. GS said Friday it will unveil other applications of the card this week including significant developments in affinity programs and transaction-usage revenue sharing programs. GS says it has made a closely-held technology breakthrough with the cooperation of its strategic partners, namely, Zebec, a division of Southwestern Bell, and Chase Manhattan.Details
Card rate competition is entering another round in the UK as Capital One introduced, last week, a fixed, long-term interest of 11.9% to new customers. Like the USA, the UK market has recently been flooded with short-term promotional interest rates. However, in the USA, Capital One and First USA have led the successful charge to offer fixed, long-term interest rates of 9.90% and 9.99% respectively. In the UK, USA-based People’s Bank (CT), Advanta and Capital One have been aggressively pitching six-month teaser rates of 6.9%. According to London’s Financial Times, the marketing strategies of the USA banks has forced market leaders Barclaycard, NatWest, Lloyds TSB and Midland to cut rates and drop fees.Details
The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) announced Friday that it has, subject to due diligence, selected Baltimore Pty Ltd , specialist in e-commerce and enterprise security systems, as the preferred vendor to supply it with digital certificate technology and Certificate Authority services.
APCA will use Baltimore’s UniCERT software to generate digital certificates and utilise associated services to underpin its CA. In addition, elements of APCA’s CA will be outsourced to Baltimore’s CA service, Certificates Australia. This agreement will facilitate secure, authenticated e-commerce for APCA members.
APCA’s charter is to co-ordinate, manage and ensure the implementation and operation of effective payments clearing and settlement systems, policies and procedures for Australia’s financial system. It is currently responsible for establishing and managing a range of payments clearing systems. APCA’s framework governs the movement of in excess of A$80 billion per day between banks and other financial institutions in Australia.
“APCA’s decision to act as the central CA for the payments industry is a significant development in the spread of e-commerce in Australia,” said John Palfreyman, Chief Executive of Baltimore’s Asia Pacific operation.
“APCA’s decision to appoint Baltimore as the preferred vendor for the payments industry reaffirms our strategy of investment into ITSEC E3 certification for our PKI products, and in achieving the high standards required for evaluation by the Federal Government’s Gatekeeper accreditation body,” said Mr Palfreyman.
APCA is a public company owned by the banks, building societies and credit unions. It has been in existence since February 1992 and has specific accountability for key parts of the Australian payments system, particularly payments clearing operations.
APCA’s charter is to co-ordinate, manage and ensure the implementation and operation of effective payments clearing and settlement systems, policies and procedures. It is currently responsible for establishing and managing four payments clearing systems. Three of these clearing systems have been established, and the fourth, the consumer electronic system, is in the process of being established. Clearing systems provide a single, clear body of rules and decision-making structures governing the conduct of clearing and settling.
Currently APCA’s framework governs the movement of in excess of A$80 billion per day between banks and other financial institutions in Australia.
Baltimore develops and markets security products and services for a wide range of e-commerce and enterprise applications. Its products include Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) systems, cryptographic toolkits, security applications and hardware cryptographic devices.
Baltimore Certificate Authority systems feature a modular, scalable, policy-driven architecture to issue and manage digital certificates for a wide range of applications including email, browsers and virtual private networks. Baltimore PKI-Plus is a developer toolkit to PKI-enable legacy and new applications by providing support for a wide range of cryptographic, directory, smartcard and CA systems. Baltimore’s PKI products are available both directly and via global Trusted World partners. All products are supported by professional services comprising of system integration and consulting.
Baltimore was formed by the merger in January 1999 of Zergo Holdings plc and Baltimore Technologies Ltd. It has customers in over forty countries world wide including some of the world’s leading financial, e-commerce, telecommunication companies and government agencies.
Baltimore is the operating name of Zergo Holdings plc, a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (ZGO). Intel Corporation is a minority shareholder in the company. Baltimore operates from 10 cities worldwide with main offices in London, Sydney, Dublin, and Plano (Texas). In the Asia Pacific region Baltimore has branch offices in Canberra, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Baltimore made e-commerce history in 1998 when President Clinton and Ireland’s Prime Minister Ahern digitally signed an inter-governmental communique using security technology provided by Baltimore.
For press information & press releases on Baltimore, please visitDetails
Security First Network Bank announced Friday it has upgraded its Internet banking system to now offer on-line consumers instant approval for credit cards. SFNB also now provides customers with up-to-the-minute, real-time, account balances and a secure area where customers can exchange messages with customer care specialists. The Internet bank’s ‘Customer Care Center’ was enhanced by WebTone, a developer of systems that integrate data, voice and video communications for call centers.Details
Business Bank of Nevada reported Friday it took a $2.3 million hit in December from a diversion of funds through its electronic funds transfer system. The bank says it detected the fraud by the daily monitoring of its ATM and ACH electronic settlements. As of last week, about $300,000 of the diverted funds have been retrieved. A criminal investigation is underway. The bank said it has taken a charge to 1998 earnings and has received a $1 million infusion from its holding company, Business Bank Corporation. The bank was formerly known as Las Vegas Business Bank.Details