CheckFree OFX-Compliant

CheckFree announced Friday that its next-generation electronic banking and payment transaction processing engine now supports the standards specified in the currently approved Open Financial Exchange (OFX) specification.

OFX was co-developed by Intuit, Microsoft and CheckFree, and is the industry’s technical standard specifying how electronic banking and bill payment transactions should be structured, which facilitates interoperability among solutions provided by different vendors who support OFX. These include personal financial management software such as Microsoft Money(R), Intuit’s Quicken(R) and Intuit’s financial Internet portal, as well as electronic banking and payment software from companies such as HFN, Edify, Corillian and Security First.

CheckFree’s newest transaction processing platform, “Genesis,” was developed to ensure the quality and scalability required to support large-scale consumer adoption of electronic billing and payment. The system is designed to support electronic transactions from as many as one-third of all households in the United States.

Today, CheckFree’s Genesis system processes electronic banking and bill payment transactions on behalf of 400,000 users who have enrolled in electronic banking and bill payment services offered through financial institutions who contract with CheckFree to process and track the transactions. By December 31, transactions from almost 3 million users supported by CheckFree services will be processed on the Genesis platform.

Pete Sinisgalli, CheckFree’s chief operating officer, said, “Today is the culmination of work we began with Intuit and Microsoft more than two years ago to outline standards that would facilitate overall industry growth. Our in-production support for OFX is very important to our large financial institution customers, who want the flexibility and choice inherent in a solution that supports an open industry standard.”

Randy McCoy, CheckFree’s senior vice president of electronic commerce development, said, “Having an in-production system that supports OFX transactions ensures our financial institution and technology partners that our services can support transactions initiated from any OFX-complaint software they choose.”

“For consumers, OFX means being able to access the same financial transaction data from a telephone, PC, or web site,” McCoy added.

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 2.6 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.


Smart Card Terminals

CA-based SCM Microsystems has developed two new smart card terminals for the German and European e-commerce and home banking markets. SCM’s new terminals allow entry and verification of a smart card’s PIN without compromising its security by incorporating a keypad and a microprocessor. One of the new smart card terminals utilizes a PIN pad and the other incorporates both a PIN pad and an LCD display. The terminals are ‘Plug and Play RS-232’ devices. The new terminals meet the security requirements of the German Digital Signature Law and also support the demands of German banking transactions made with the chip card-based electronic purse ‘GeldKarte’. The terminals are being demonstrated this week at CeBIT ’99 in Germany.


Echo & U-Haul

Electronic Clearing House Inc. Thursday announced that its wholly owned equipment subsidiary, Computer Based Controls Inc. has completed delivery of 2,440 CBC terminals to Phoenix-based U-Haul International. In addition to generating rental contracts, tracking inventory, and providing financial reconciliation between dealers and U-Haul corporate, the system provides full credit card authorization and capture capability. CBC has also designed and delivered money order dispensing devices under a pilot program with the United States Postal Service.


Check Cashing Machine Update

Greenland Corporation announced Thursday the successful completion of beta testing on its first, production ready, automated check-cashing machine. The machine, a freestanding kiosk with automated payroll check-cashing capability, full ATM functionality, and money order dispensing services was installed in a multi-service food market, La Loma Market, in Santa Ana, California.

Lee Swanson, CEO of Check Central, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenland that has developed this technology, indicated that the base machine functionality was tested in the areas of scanner, printer, money dispenser, camera, card reader and telephone efficiency. Mr. Swanson said, “Based on hundreds of transactions, the machine has performed superbly. The machine’s functionality has been excellent and has exceeded our performance expectations during the beta test period. In addition, utilization of the machine’s services through the multi-lingual touch screen system has been received most favorably by the customer.”

John Abajian, owner of La Loma Market, said word of the machine is spreading, “a lot of store owners are coming here and looking, and asking me a lot of questions.” He also said customers in the past asked him to cash paychecks. He never knew if the checks would bounce — and keeping a lot of cash on hand was dangerous.

Lou Montulli, CEO of Greenland Corporation, has indicated that there has been widespread national interest by individuals and groups in purchasing or acquiring right to distribution of the machine. He expects a national distribution agreement to be concluded in the next thirty days.


Authentic Introduced

De La Rue Card Systems, one of the world’s leading suppliers of smart cards, electronic transaction solutions and identity systems, builds upon its heritage in banking and secure transactions with the introduction of AuthentIC – a family of smart card solutions specifically designed to meet the growing demand for secure electronic commerce transactions.

Providing the highest levels of security, AuthentIC smart cards meet the key requirement for secure access to information and protection of individual rights. With security issues varying from country to country, cultures and markets, De La Rue has created a smart card that is a trusted electronic identification system by using electronic keys and certificates.

Designed to support different cryptographic technologies, such as RSA algorithms, identification technologies, and the latest in high secure technology -Elliptic Curves, the AuthentIC range of cards is designed to meet current and future market requirements with the capability to support future industry standards.

Comprising three cards, the AuthentIC range of smart cards offers varying levels of memory capacity on the Java platform for digital identification and secure transactions in electronic commerce applications. By coupling Java technology with the latest innovations in cryptographic technology, AuthentIC provides the ultimate solution for high security transactions.

Compliant with EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa)

standards, AuthentIC offers digital signature, encryption and strong authentication capabilities to ensure secure and confidential transactions over the Internet and can be used to load and secure encryption keys and encrypt data directly.

Marc Bertin, Group Product Manager, Electronic

Commerce, De La Rue Card Systems, “We see smart cards as driving the future of electronic commerce. The combination of our position as market leader in providing innovative, secure solutions and our trusted expertise in cryptographic technology, ideally places De La Rue to meet the needs of market sectors moving into electronic commerce.”

With AuthentIC, De La Rue brings consumer choice and flexibility. For example, the move from paper-based signature to electronic digital signature on sensitive or confidential documents, now allows transactions to be carried out in minutes. This releases the consumer from traditional timely, administrative processes and high levels of paperwork associated with secure document transactions.

The future of electronic commerce is being witnessed today with the introduction of De La Rue’s OSCAR program. Comprising a digital signature smart card, European lawyers are now able to digitally sign legally binding documents using public key cryptography for secure transmission to notaries.

De La Rue Card Systems, part of De La Rue the ‘cash to cards’ group whose 1998 revenues were GBP 790.2m, is the No.1 supplier of VISA and MasterCard products world-wide. A leading provider of smart card solutions to customers in banking, telecoms, loyalty, transport, health, Pay TV and identification, De La Rue’s vision is “that by 2005, 10% of the world’s population will possess a De La Rue smart card”. Coupling its heritage in banking and security with its expertise in technology innovation, De La Rue is delivering solutions today for electronic and mobile commerce applications. De La Rue is committed to open standards and supports Microsoft Windows Card, Java Card and MULTOS.


Real E-Shopping

Atlanta-based AIM Smart Corp. announced the introduction of its ‘Smart Shopper Network’ and ‘Free Shopping Spree/ Smart Option Program’ in three physical shopping malls. The company provides advertising for mall retailers and free Internet access to mall shoppers through its subsidiary, Smart Aim. Member shoppers have the ability to browse any store located in the three malls, and make purchases from their home computers. After a product is ordered, it can be delivered to the home or office in as little as 30 minutes. In addition, the purchases can be paid for with rebate credits earned from long distance telephone calls, and members are given free Internet access. The three participating malls include The Mission Mall in Mission, Kansas; The Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Illinois; and The Hickory Point Mall in Decatur, Illinois. The proprietary shopping system uses a combination of CD-ROM technology and the Internet.


Airline Privileges

American Express is launching a new program next month to encourage its European cardholders to visit other European cities. ‘European Airline Privileges’ entitles AmEx cardholders to buy two business class tickets for the price of one business class full-fare ticket. The new program is initially being launched in the UK and Italy during April to over 300,000 ‘Platinum’ and ‘Gold’ cardholders via direct mail, statement inserts and joint offer mailings. AmEx indicated this morning it will launch the program in the other participating markets later this year. Participants in the ‘European Airline Privileges’ program include Lufthansa, Alitalia, Air France, Aer Lingus and Sabena. The new program is an extension of AmEx’s current ‘International Airline Program’ which was developed in 1996 across Europe for American Express’ ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ cardholder base. A similar program was launched in the USA during 1993 for AmEx ‘Platinum’ cardholders. In Europe the ‘IAP’ has generated more than $15 million (Euro 16.2 million) in airline ticket sales each year.


GemSAFE Extended

Gemplus Software, the recently announced group from Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of smart card solutions, Thursday announced a major extension to its GemSAFE family of smart card-based network security products. The new products, GemSAFE 2.0 and the GemSAFE Software Development Kit (SDK), are fully Windows and Netscape interoperable and provide an easy to use network security solution designed to meet the burgeoning needs for secure access and exchange of electronic information in the enterprise.

Designed for corporations seeking to secure Internet-based services, intranets, extranets, and companies looking to build on and deliver scaleable network security solutions, the new GemSAFE 2.0 version incorporates features such as external loading of keys and certificates, new tools for simplified installation, and an option for on-board key generation. GemSAFE has already gained significant marketplace momentum as reflected by the support and GemSAFE-based solutions offered by companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Baltimore and many others.

The GemSAFE SDK provides ease of integration and adaptability to organizations wanting to integrate a smart card solution into their network security platform. GemSAFE SDK can be used for creating access control, network authentication and data confidentiality — all applications which allow developers to implement the most secure framework for their organizations.

“With GemSAFE 2.0 and the GemSAFE SDK, Gemplus is continuing to drive the development of next-generation smart card-based applications,” said Donna Jeker, vice president of Gemplus Software, Information Technology Solutions. “These product releases reinforce our commitment to providing partners and customers with the best solutions for securing network platforms that integrate seamlessly with existing enterprise infrastructures. Because it is compatible with Microsoft and Netscape Internet suites, GemSAFE is the ideal complement to a company’s existing network security implementation.”

About GemSAFE

Because a user’s digital identity can be stored on the card and combined with password protection, GemSAFE smart card-based security solutions provide stronger security for access to corporate networks than traditional software-only solutions. GemSAFE is the first and only smart card solution available internationally that is compatible with both Microsoft and Netscape Internet suites, as well as Windows 2000 logon. GemSAFE is a computer security product that augments the software capabilities of these popular web and email products by securely storing private encryption keys with industry-standard digital certificates.

GemSAFE 2.0

To provide businesses with greater flexibility and management capabilities over security-sensitive applications such as network access, extranets, and e-commerce, GemSAFE 2.0 provides a broader range of digital key management options and improved Card Details Tools for simplified installation, easier diagnostics, and un-installs.

GemSAFE 2.0 comes in both a US-only and an international version and includes GemSAFE cards with an option for on-board key generation and with keys already on-board, GCR410 Serial Port and GPR400 PC Card smart card readers, and software — including the latest version of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT) and Netscape Communications (Nasdaq:NSCP) browser software suites.

GemSAFE Software Development Kit (SDK)

The GemSAFE SDK delivers a software platform that enables developers to seamlessly integrate the latest standards for Web access and email and provides compatibility with future releases of the PKCS and CryptoAPI standards and future Gemplus smart card enhancements.

GemSAFE SDK integrates seamlessly with popular PKI. Gemplus has incorporated the PKSC No. 11 and CryptoAPI standards, and is offering three versions of the SDK, including a North American-only version and two international versions, to ensure compliance with international encryption regulations. The GemSAFE SDK will contain GemSAFE cards with the option of on-board key generation or with keys externally loaded, a serial port, and a PC Card smart card reader and software. Each SDK includes e-mail and web-based technical support. Additionally, Gemplus can provide the tools and services necessary to deploy the smart card application from card management and personalization tools to consulting, training, on-site technical support, and custom software development.

What Companies are Saying About GemSAFE 2.0


“Partnering with Gemplus is an excellent opportunity for us,” commented Matthew Bowcock, Executive Director of Marketing. “The future of smart cards and Public Key Infrastructures (PKI) are inextricably linked and we expect smart cards to be an integral enabler of e-commerce. We are delighted to be working closely with Gemplus to integrate our UniCERT Certificate Authority system with their smartcards, to deliver the best security solutions available today.”

France Telecom

“Authentication is a necessary component to hasten the adoption of Internet business opportunities. Based on Public Key Infrastructure and on smart card technology, Gemplus’ GemSAFE provides Internet and corporate network users with an easy-to-use, portable solution for secure access to online services and therefore provides the confidence to participate in secure online communications,” said David Arditti, Development Group of France Telecom.


“A powerful complement to GTE CyberTrust Certification Authority products and services for enterprises, GemSAFE supports rapid deployment of PKI for secure Internet-based communications and transactions,” said Ron Langill, vice president of global channels and strategic alliances at GTE. “GemSAFE offers a secure solution that is easy to implement and requires almost no network administration.”


“With GemSAFE, we are able to provide additional security to our existing Netscape and Microsoft programs by storing user keys and certificates on smart cards, rather than on the computer network which could be compromised,” said Sorin Bonde, Technical Manager for Smart Cards at Hewlett-Packard Denmark.


“We are preventing misuse and fraud by incorporating GemSAFE technology into our SmartCard Security Kit to store an employee’s confidential information and digital identity on a smart card. Employees can now simply insert their smart card into our PCs, type their personal identification number to ensure identification, and securely access confidential data,” said Joe Preisser, worldwide marketing manager, IBM SmartCard Security Kit.

Indigo Cards

“GemPlus and Indigo have read the market signals and acted on the rising demand for secure internet applications, including email. GemSafe is a good example of how security products can be easy to install and end-user friendly. Customers finally see their security concerns addressed in an elegant way, which is flexible because it can be seamlessly integrated with any web-application,” said Niek Hoogenhout, marketing director of Indigo Cards.


“We require complete security for all our online transactions. With the GemSAFE solution we are assured of the highest level of security because it offers stronger user authentication than traditional software-based solutions,” said Tibor Hajdu, technology consultant Information Security of Intesa.


“Security is still the number one concern for companies doing business over the Internet which is why every company should investigate implementing a smartcard strong authentication solution based on GemSafe to secure access to corporate Intranets, Web sites and popular e-mail systems,” said Fabrice Bourdeix, CEO of MATRAnet, a leading European security vendor that developed M-WallCard, a GemSafe-based smartcard authentication solution.

Security Dynamics

“By integrating Gemplus products into our network security infrastructure, we are guaranteed to satisfy our enterprise customers with their security requirements,” said Bill McQuaide, Director of Product Marketing. “The Gemplus GemSAFE solution is ideal for corporations seeking to secure their Internet-based applications or corporate Intranets/extranets.”


“We require complete security for all financial transactions and with GemSAFE, we are assured of the highest level of online transaction security because GemSAFE smart cards offer stronger user authentication than traditional pure software-based solutions,” said Rudolf Klos, senior consultant Internet at Telecash.


“Electronic Business using public and private networks is projected to grow exponentially, however ‘trust’ is a requirement for commercial growth. Security is the key ingredient for ‘trust’ using networks, especially public networks. By developing Unisys Single Point Security solutions in conjunction with Gemplus, based on GemSAFE, Unisys is confident that we are providing the best solution available for securing eBusiness,” said Barry Keyes, Unisys Marketing Director for the Single Point Security program.


“By combining fingerprint biometrics technology with smart cards, Gemplus and Veridicom provide OEM’s and end-users with the highest level of security in an easy and convenient way,” said Michael D’Amour, President and CEO of Veridicom, Inc. “Gemplus and Veridicom have the same goal: driving innovation in order to deliver the next generation of easy-to-use and secure smart card-based solutions required by today’s organizations.”

Pricing and Availability

On a price per unit basis, GemSAFE 2.0 is priced at US$99, with volume discounts available. For enterprise customers, deployment packages are available upon request.

GemSAFE 2.0 and the GemSAFE SDK will begin shipping in late April, and will be available through the Gemplus direct sales force, and from the Gemplus Web store at

About Gemplus

Gemplus ( is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags, and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training, and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over US$590 million in 1997, Gemplus employs more than 4,100 people in ten manufacturing facilities, five R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control, and information technology.


Mobile Banking Pilots

De La Rue Card Systems has extended its lead in the delivery of solutions for mobile banking convergence with the announcement of new ground-breaking trials with two of Europe’s leading financial organisations and cellular phone networks.

Pilot schemes with Barclaycard and Cellnet in the UK, and France Telecom and Cartes Bancaires in France, have consolidated De La Rue’s position as the leading SIM card provider and driving force behind secure mobile banking.

One of the world’s leading suppliers of smart cards, De La Rue brings its heritage in banking and expertise in providing innovative solutions to offer a host of new value added services to banks, GSM operators and their customers.

In the United Kingdom, Barclaycard and Cellnet have introduced the first consumer trial of ‘mobile electronic cash machines’ using De La Rue’s SIMphonIC SIM Toolkit solution, a customised Motorola mobile phone and m- Commerce server software from Logica. The trial will enable 1,000 customers to download e-cash over Cellnet’s GSM network on to their Barclaycard by inserting it into a Motorola StarTAC mobile phone. Customers can also use the card as part of the on- going Visa Cash UK trial in Leeds.

To use the new mobile electronic cash machine, a Barclaycard with the added Visa Cash functionality is inserted into a Motorola StarTAC mobile phone. The phone then asks the user to enter the ‘withdrawal’ required, up to a limit of GBP 50, and a bank PIN for security, as with any normal cash dispenser. The e- cash is then deposited onto the Barclaycard via the Cellnet GSM network, and debited from the user’s account, in under a minute. Customers can also check their credit card details, and download e-cash at anytime and in any place where they can use their Cellnet GSM mobile phone. The trial will be rolled out from April 1999.

The whole Mobile Cash service trial has been certified by Visa to ensure the maximum security for customers’ financial and account information.

John Eaton, managing director at Barclaycard said: “This is the third innovative mobile telephony product that has emerged from our partnership with Cellnet. This new service builds on the success of the mobile phone launched in 1997 that allowed customers access to their Barclays Bank and Barclaycard accounts. We are pleased to be working with Cellnet and three of the UK’s leading technology companies to bring mobile cash machines to the marketplace.”

Cellnet’s managing director Peter Erskine commented: “Withdrawing e-cash over your mobile may seem a futuristic idea – but within five years it will be commonplace. We’re delighted that our relationship with Barclaycard has yielded yet another world first.”

Commenting on Visa’s role, Jon Prideaux, Visa’s executive vice president for new products said: “Visa is committed to fulfilling the promise of chip technology, providing real flexibility and convenience to consumers. A cash machine in your pocket really does represent the ultimate in convenience. Downloading Visa Cash via a mobile phone means that you will always be able to obtain the right change for the car park or a bus fare. Today Barclaycard and Cellnet have brought us a step closer to achieving this goal.”

In France, France Telecom Mobiles has developed the first mobile commerce service using De La Rue’s SIMphonIC SIM Toolkit card and Motorola’s StarTAC D mobile phone.

Following an initial trial during the second quarter of 1999, France Telecom Mobiles customers will be able to make secure transactions for goods and services such as gifts and travel scheme tickets ‘over the air’ to merchants. By conforming to Cartes Bancaires security specifications, De La Rue’s SIMphonIC card will provide users with enhanced functionality, convenience and peace of mind.

Didier Quillot, Sales Director of France Telecom

Mobiles explains, “Thanks to this new service, our customers will be able to use their mobile phone for access to day to day goods and services. This mobile commerce service reflects the future of convergence between mobile and banking services.”

Yves Randoux, Administrator of the Cartes Bancaires Group adds, “With this mobile commerce solution, we are offering a new method of payment to our 33 million CB credit card holders. The credit card proves its capacity to adapt to all methods of commerce, including the most modern distribution channels, and by integrating De La Rue’s SIMphonIC card and using PIN codes we are able to provide the highest levels of security and integrity of transactions.”

Christophe Dolique, Business Director GSM, De La Rue

Card Systems, concludes, “By establishing a leadership position in SIM Toolkit applications based on Java card technology, we are able to make mobile commerce a reality today. The card is seen as the essential link between operator, subscriber and bank, ensuring a secure dialog throughout.”

Joachim Hoffmann, Director – Mobile Commerce

Business, Motorola Cellular Subscriber Group, EMEA,

“Motorola is one of the worldwide leaders in telecommunications and has created StarTAC D to bring together the world of mobile phones and smart cards to offer new mobile services to smart card holders.”



De La Rue Card Systems, part of the De La Rue, the ‘cash to cards’ group whose 1998 revenues were GBP 790.2 million, is the number one supplier of VISA and MasterCard products worldwide. A leading provider of smart card solutions to customers in banking, telecoms, loyalty, transport and health, Pay TV and identification, De La Rue’s vision is “that by 2005, 10% of the world’s population will possess a De La Rue smart card.”

Coupling its heritage in banking and security with its expertise in technology innovation, De La Rue is delivering solutions today for electronic and mobile commerce applications. De La Rue is committed to open standards and supports Microsoft Windows card, Java card and MULTOS.


Today’s announcement heralds another world’s first for Motorola, a new mobile phone category – the smart card phone. The new StarTAC D is the first integrated dual card cellular phone. More than just a phone, it is a personal transaction terminal – the revolution the smart card industry has been waiting for, overcoming the hurdles of access, convenience and infrastructure.

Motorola is a global leader in advanced electronic systems and services. It liberates the power of technology by creating software-enhanced products that provide integrated customer solutions and Internet access via wireless and satellite communications, as well as computing, networking and automotive electronics. Motorola also provides essential digital building blocks in the form of embedded semiconductors, controls and systems. Sales in 1998 were $29.4 billion.


Logica is a key player in the development of the mobile commerce market. Together with Cellnet it founded the Global Mobile Commerce Forum (GMCF) in November 1997. By integrating enhanced messaging, customer relationship solutions, improved transaction processing and end-to-end security, Logica has created the market leading m-Commerce tm. v3.1 server. Based on Postillion from Mosaic the server supports a range of electronic functions. Logica has 8,000 staff in 23 countries worldwide. For the financial year ending 30 June 1998, Logica’s pre-tax profits were GBP 41.8 million on a turnover of GBP 473 million.


Cellnet and Barclaycard have worked together since 1995 to provide their customers with a unique range of mobile phone banking services and cheaper mobile calls.

At launch Barclaycard/Cellnet customers were able to get 24-hour access to statement enquiries, credit limit increases and payment of bills.

Since 1997, following major technological advances, customers have been able to view Barclaycard and Barclays Bank account details like mini- statements, credit card limits, balances and next payment dates on their mobile phone display. These services and benefits are available over customised handsets available from Barclaycard.


Over 1,400 outlets in Leeds currently accept Visa Cash including McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Superdrug, WH Smith, and local NCP and Leeds City Council Car Parks. E-cash can be loaded at special loading machines situated in and around Leeds.

Visa Cash is a relatively new payment method that can either be added to re- issued credit and debit cards such as Barclaycard and Barclays Connect or can be issued as a separate card. It has been designed to pay for low value goods and services, typically those bought using loose change. This could be a newspaper, a chocolate bar or a car parking space.

Cardholders simply need to load the card before use by transferring money from either their current or credit card account via special load devices such as the new mobile telephone. They are then free to spend using their ‘cash’. There is no charge for using this facility, and for the first time Barclaycard is able to offer a Visa Certified secure transaction across a GSM network. The phone encrypts the information being sent across Cellnet’s network using a secret code (key) only Barclaycard will be able to decrypt the message.

The concept of stored value has been in existence for many years as a solution to the problems associated with cash handling. Even now, with automated payments, cheques, credit cards and debit cards being used in increasing numbers, the 1998 APACs Payments Market Report shows that cash still accounts for 46 per cent of transactions made in the UK. GBP 454 million of coin is used weekly in making low value purchases with retailers giving out over GBP 446 million of coin per week in change.


Dining Card Sold

Miami-based Transmedia Network Inc. and The Signature Group announced Thursday a definitive agreement whereby Transmedia will acquire the assets of ‘Dining a la Card’ from The Signature Group. The Transmedia purchase will create a dining savings program with more than 2.5 million cardmembers and 10,000 restaurant merchants across the USA. The combination of the two operations would more than double the revenue base of Transmedia Network. As part of yesterday’s transaction, The Signature Group, a major provider of fee-based membership services, would continue to acquire dining members from its airline frequent flyer partner programs as well as other client programs. Transmedia Network currently markets the ‘Transmedia Card’ and has 1.1 million members and more than 6,500 participating restaurants throughout the USA.


Sanwa Sale

Sanwa Bank California sold its card portfolio to MBNA and entered into an agent relationship this week. Terms of the sale agreement were not disclosed but it is estimated the $25 million portfolio sold for an 18% premium. Terms of the agent agreement call for MBNA to market ‘Preferred’ and ‘Platinum Plus’ VISA and MasterCard, personal/business card products under the Sanwa Bank California name. According to CardData ( Sanwa had $26,273,283 in outstandings at year-end 1998 and 34,198 gross accounts; 22,780 active accounts and 36,963 cards-in-force.