Wachovia Digital Financial Services Division

Wachovia Corporation announced Thursday the formation of a Wachovia Digital Financial Services Division to focus on the delivery of Internet and electronic services for consumers.

“The new division demonstrates a commitment by Wachovia to Internet and related electronic consumer financial services that customers increasingly are using and demanding,” said Lawrence G. Baxter, executive vice president and head of the new division. “It will integrate and align existing Internet services and traditional financial services for electronic delivery through computers, laptops and TVs (with Internet access), as well as ATMs, debit and smart cards, and interactive kiosks.”

The division has responsibility for product management for the Internet and digital access devices, Internet alliances and marketing, and continued development of technology that supports Wachovia’s Internet presence and employee intranet. The division also will focus on web functionality, customer personalization, e-mail, privacy and security issues.

Wachovia’s Internet web site at http://www.wachovia.com, which includes Wachovia PC Access Online Banking and Online Investing, has been recognized by PC publications as among the leading financial services sites on the World Wide Web. Wachovia has more than 1,300 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The company also is a leader in banking and debit card services and has been among the pilot providers of stored-value cards.

Wachovia Corporation is an interstate bank holding company with headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C. At December 31, 1998, Wachovia Corporation had assets of $64.1 billion. Wachovia Bank, N.A., the principal banking subsidiary, has more than 750 offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Wachovia PC Access is a registered service mark of Wachovia Corporation.

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Las Vegas Deal

777WINS and eConnect (www.hpos.com) have signed a Letter of Intent for eConnect to acquire 777WINS by July 1999 with cash and stock.

777WINS.com has been consistently rated as one of the top 3 Internet casinos by Internet casino rating services.

777WINS.com is based in the free-trade zone of Costa Rica and enjoys current monthly earnings of $10,000 after having been in business for 4 months.

Over the next 60 days, 777WINS will increase its telecommunications bandwidth and will be able to service more than 300 players at any one time, which will result in a projected monthly earnings of $100,000-plus by the fourth quarter.

777WINS will generate additional revenues by acting as the Group Gate for PERFECT Internet Casino transactions, which are ATM card and smart card same-as-cash transactions being sent electronically from home and office terminals.

The 777WINS Internet Casino Group Gate will receive a transaction fee as competitor Internet casinos are being paid.

According to an eConnect spokesperson: “The next 24 months will show a global explosion of pay-per-play, same-as-cash electronic wagering by smart card and ATM card home and office terminals, which migrated into the home as a bill payment device but which will also be used to wager.

“The acquisition of 777WINS will not only bring the substantial earnings of 777WINS to the eConnect eGaming division, it will also position 777WINS to collect service fees for the eConnect eGate division (www.hpos.com) as it routes PERFECT Internet casino transactions to competitor Internet casinos.

“Over the next year, we will be acquiring a lottery, bingo and slots company that will service those respective gaming fields,” the spokesperson concluded.

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Sears

Sears, Roebuck and Co. and the International Credit Association are working together to educate consumers on credit literacy. Sears is the corporate host of “Train the Trainers,” a nationwide credit education program for Illinois high school teachers. “Train the Trainers” is an important component of National Credit Education Week, which is celebrated all over the United States and educates individuals on how to use consumer credit wisely. The seminar takes place on Wednesday, April 21 at the corporate headquarters of Sears in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

“We’re excited to host this program during National Credit Education Week. Sears has been a long-time supporter of the ICA and advocate for increasing credit literacy. This seminar provides teachers with the tools they need to prepare high school students for their economic future,” said Alan Lacy, president, Sears Credit.

The seminar contains nationally known speakers from credit, government and consumer groups. The seminar begins with opening remarks from Mr. Lacy. Topics covered include: credit reporting, social psychology of credit, types of credit and budgeting. Other participating speakers include: Ron Wilwerding, chairman and CEO, Omnium Worldwide; Patricia Kelly, division chief, Attorney General’s Office; Bill Williams, vice president, Equifax; Cate Williams, president, Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS); and Marty Callahan, vice president, Trans Union and ICA Chicago Chapter president.

ICA represents 10,000 credit executives from the entire credit card industry, including banks, savings and loans, financial institutions, retail credit companies, credit reporting agencies, consumer credit counseling services and many other credit-related organizations.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services. Over 60 million households in America have a Sears credit account. For more information on Sears, visit their web site at .

Media Inquiries should be directed to Rebecca Sullivan at Sears Roebuck and Co., 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, Ill. 60179, 847-286-3796. For more information on National Credit Education Week, or to register for the program, please contact Robert O’Neal at Sears, Roebuck and Co., 847-286-0798.

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Missed Market

About 70% of U.S. entrepreneurs use a personal credit card from an institution other than their primary provider, according to PSI Global. More than half of the nation’s 6.2 million small office/home office businesses pay for or finance business expenses with a personal credit card. In PSI Global’s recent national survey of the SOHO market, 58% of companies said that they are using a no-fee personal credit card for business purchases. Significantly more firms, 76%, said they should not have to pay an annual fee. And 65% of the SOHOs using personal cards for business viewed a rate under 12 percent as appropriate. According to PSI Global, 71% of SOHO companies reporting business use of personal credit cards within the last 12 months used them to pay for supplies, office equipment etc. Twenty-eight percent said they used their cards to finance the business itself, and 62% used the cards to pay for business travel.

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CheckFree Responds

CheckFree Corp. issued a statement Thursday in response to Intuit Inc.’s suit against Checkfree over the way it distributes E-bills. CardFlash carried the story in yesterday’s edition. The news drove CheckFree’s stock down more than 11% or $4 per share yesterday to close at $31.50 per share yesterday. CheckFree says the recent contract with Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. is not affected by Intuit’s action, and is not at risk. Regardless of the outcome of Intuit’s action, CheckFree says it is committed to supporting bill presentment and payment through Internet portals, and continue to be fairly compensated for its efforts. There is nothing in Intuit’s complaint against CheckFree that seeks to restrict CheckFree from continuing its success in signing electronic billing and payment contracts with billers.

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Key ATM

This morning a stretch limo will squire a Corona, California woman and her family to a local ARCO am/pm convenience store where she will be awarded a $25,000, 1999 Jeep Wrangler. The grand prize is the finale to KeyBank/ARCO’s “Key to Your Car” ATM sweepstakes. KeyBank’s says its network of 683 ATMs, located at ARCO am/pm convenience stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona is now producing a major impact for KeyBank. The bank also indicated the partnership with ARCO is significant because the KeyBank ATM network is recording 400,000 transactions a month in a region where KeyCorp does not have bank branches. Since their arrival in April, KeyBank ARCO ATM’s have recorded more than 4 million transactions. The ARCO partnership has expanded KeyBank’s ATM network by 30%. KeyCorp has 2,600 ATM units across the country. With 470 ATM’s, California now ranks third behind Ohio’s 504 and Washington’s 488.

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creditcards.com

The dot.com craze has spread to ISOs. Los Angeles-based Electronic Card Systems, Inc. announced Thursday it is changing its name to creditcards.com. The announcement was made in conjunction with the launch of ‘Virtual Terminal’. ‘VT’ allows merchants to key enter data directly on-screen, then instantly submit the data to their authorization and settlement processing networks via the Internet. The ISO has been a pioneer in non-face-to-face merchant banking services. For example, ECS claims it has created the first real-time risk-management system for credit card acquiring, which reduced chargebacks in the non-face-to-face environment by more than 90%. ECS was formed in 1992 after its founders had been serving as a credit card acquiring consultancy group since 1989. Company Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon is also the founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Commerce Association and serves as president of the Association of Internet Professionals.

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DataCard ID Works

DataCard Corporation significantly expanded its family of secure identity solutions Thursday when it debuted a new, modular photo ID software package.

The new DataCard ID Works photo ID software features a flexible, modular design. The initial release includes modules for designing photo ID applications and production of ID cards_including image capture, data entry, data retrieval and card printing. DataCard is also offering a complete ID Works software developer’s kit (SDK).

“The modular design of ID Works gives integrators, developers, resellers and end-users the ability to buy precisely what they need,” said Steve Blake, vice president of product marketing for DataCard’s enterprise company.

“They can buy a complete, fully integrated solution, including capture devices and card printers,” Blake said. “Or they can buy individual software components and integrate them into a solution.”

In addition to its modular design, ID Works is a 32-bit, Y2K compliant application designed for Windows(R) NT operating systems. The software also offers a unique “private labeling” capability that allows developers to replace onscreen DataCard and ID Works logos with their own.

“The flexibility of the software and the thoughtfully designed SDK are critical for our channel partners, especially value-added resellers and systems integrators,” Blake said. “They can easily integrate ID Works with other enterprise solutions, such as access control or time-and-attendance systems. Or they can customize ID Works and create their own private-labeled photo ID systems.”

A quantum leap ahead of other photo ID software

ID Works expands on the capabilities of DataCard(R) QuikWorks(R) photo ID software, which had served as an industry standard for more than six years.

“ID Works is a quantum leap ahead of any photo ID software in the market,” Blake said. “You can see it in every detail of the product. The card designer is simpler. The cut-and-paste functions are easier to use. And the user interface is more intuitive.”

“End-users and developers who participated in usability tests told us ID Works offered a perfect mix of power and simplicity,” Blake said. “We’re confident it will quickly become the preferred photo ID software for both end-users and developers.”

Early applications include education, government and corporate ID

While the company expects rapid adoption of ID Works across multiple industries, much of the early interest in the product is coming from corporations, secondary schools, colleges, universities and government agencies at the local, state and national levels.

“Corporate users often want to integrate photo ID software with other automated systems, such as access control or time-and-attendance systems,” Blake said. “ID Works can be integrated easily with other systems_or serve as a stand-alone ID solution.”

The flexibility of the software also simplifies other ID related activities, such as issuing replacement or visitor IDs and retrieving images from a database for ID verification.

“Schools at all levels typically face peak enrollment times, where speed and simplicity are essential,” Blake said. “ID Works features, such as hands-free camera control and separate card design and production software, give schools the automation and flexibility they need to handle those peak periods.”

Government applications for ID Works include production of national IDs, benefits cards, driver’s licenses, employee badging and law enforcement IDs.

“Security is a paramount concern in many government applications,” Blake said. “ID Works can be configured to provide strict control over who can design cards, print cards or access image databases. So, it provides a perfect fit for those applications.”

A growing family of secure identity solutions

In addition to ID Works and seven new card printers, DataCard has also recently introduced a number of secure identity solutions_including DataCard(R) ViaNet(TM) identity information software for use on the Internet and a full-line of security systems based on smart card technology and biometrics.

“The world is changing. There’s an emerging need to positively identify people whether they enter your organization through the front door or via the Internet,” Blake said.

“We’re committed to developing products and services that allow people to work securely and productively in this new world,” he said. “ID Works, ViaNet, our new printers and our new smart card and biometrics based solutions have all been developed with this evolving market need in mind.”

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of card personalization systems, digital photo ID systems, photo ID printers and transaction systems. ([www.datacard.com][1])

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

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Datastrip Lands Zimbabwe ID Card

Datastrip’s two-dimensional printed code has been selected for Zimbabwe’s new national social security identity card project. The technology will provide the country’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA) with a secure means of verifying the identity of claimants as they collect their payments, in a form which can be printed onto ID cards at very low cost, and which may be read in the field using portable off-line terminals.

The new project, which is scheduled to begin roll-out during April 1999, provides claimants with a secure means of identification to store name, ID number and NSSA code, together with other personal details, using a unique two-dimensional barcode. Initially, this data will be used with Datastrip’s off-line card reader which reads and displays the card’s contents on its integral LCD screen. This will allow the local NSSA agent to verify the identity of the claimant, if required, by asking a question based on the coded information. It is expected that this information will be supplemented by further data, such as a stored photo and a biometric template of either a signature or fingerprint, at a later phase in the project.

The NSSA chose Datastrip’s two-dimensional printed code because of the sheer cost-effectiveness of the printed code for such a large-scale application, and also for its durability, and inherent security compared with other 2D barcode schemes. The system is also capable of working off-line, a major attraction for the NSSA as it allows the ID scheme to be set up both quickly and economically.

The project is being managed by Silke Computers, the Harare-based systems integrator, who are providing the Datastrip cards and DSView card reader terminals, plus a card production system based on the DataCard 9000 printer and its Quik-Works ID card generation software with an interface to the NSSA’s database. Silke has been involved in numerous large-scale card schemes in Zimbabwe, including projects for banks, and a loyalty scheme for a supermarket chain.

“The Datastrip code allows governments to protect against fraud and to automate their procedures very cost-effectively,” said Patrick Gilmore, Datastrip’s Business Development Manager. “Such systems can also be configured and deployed extremely quickly, as NSSA’s application demonstrates admirably. This system has been designed and will begin roll-out within the space of around three months”.

“Flexibility for future upgrade and development is a key element of our design for NSSA,” added Silke Computers Project Manager Terry Miles, “and the Datastrip code supports that goal though its exceptional data storage density”.

A Datastrip is a two-dimensional barcode which may be added to a card or document in a printed format. In this application it will be used in the form of a 3-inch long stripe, which provides more than 1k bytes of data. This is enough for a text record, a photo, or further biometric templates, making it an extremely economical platform for automating government services and administration.

Another unique factor is the Datastrip code’s built-in security. Unlike other 2D systems, the coding algorithm is not in the public domain, and is post-processed to ensure that the same data results in different printed codes – making it extremely difficult to decipher. Additionally, this scrambling-like facility can be customized for a user to ensure that their Datastrip codes are unique, and can be read by only specifically-authorised readers – as is the case in this application for the NSSA. Data can also be stored in modular fields, making it easy to build multi-application cards which can be shared across government departments if required, with each field assigned a different security level, isolating each application.

The card reader that NSSA has selected for this application is the DSView. This is a compact desktop unit which decodes cards ‘on the fly’, as they are inserted, displaying the information on its integral LCD. It is planned to install the readers in up to 50 sites in Zimbabwe during 1999. In addition to working from any standard mains voltage, the reader will operate from a 12V DC supply, providing the flexibility to process transactions from an automobile, for example. The reader can be interfaced with signature or fingerprint verification peripherals, allowing automatic comparisons to be made by the standalone system.

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Hidden Charges

New York City-based PT-1 Communications agreed Thursday to pay $300,000 in monetary relief as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in regard to PT-1’s failure to fully disclose charges associated with its prepaid phone card. The FTC alleged the company regularly advertised its prepaid phone cards as providing 19 cents per minute calling within the United States, while imposing undisclosed connect fees on card users. The FTC also charged that PT-1 imposed a 25 cents maintenance fee on all cards outstanding for more than a month without disclosing that fee. In addition, the FTC’s complaint alleges that PT-1 imposed a service fee, reducing the value of its pre-paid phone cards 25 cents per card for each month after the first month of active use, without disclosing this fee to consumers.

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MasterCard Purchasing Solutions

In conjunction with the Microsoft Commerce Solutions Briefing held for press and analysts in San Francisco Thursday, Microsoft Corp., MasterCard International Inc. and Clarus Corp. announced plans to cooperatively market integrated Internet-based corporate purchasing solutions. Together, the three companies plan to provide Internet buyers and sellers with an integrated solution for streamlined purchasing, payment and procurement reporting. Microsoft contributes its globally recognized, robust and proven Commerce Platform, based on the Windows operating system. MasterCard, one of the world’s leading providers of corporate payment solutions, provides global merchant acceptance, corporate purchasing card control features and line-item data reporting. And Clarus offers leading Web-based commerce solutions, including its business-to-business electronic procurement product.

“We are very pleased to be working with companies of MasterCard and Clarus’ caliber,” said Rich Tong, vice president, applications marketing at Microsoft. “Microsoft Commerce Platform, combined with Clarus(TM) E-Procurement and the MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card, offers our joint customers a unique opportunity to reduce the cost of corporate purchasing while making Internet commerce a strategic asset to their organization.”

Making Corporate Procurement Easier

The cooperative marketing plans between Microsoft, MasterCard and Clarus are designed to make corporate purchasing easier, less expensive and more efficient. Instead of issuing requests for proposals (RFPs), poring over catalogs and calling dozens of suppliers to investigate product availability and pricing, corporate buyers will be able to shop for goods and services easily and securely from their intranet using the Clarus E-Procurement solution, built on the Microsoft Commerce Platform. Using the MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card, employees can find approved goods and services over the Internet, conduct workflow and approval processes, and execute payment. Suppliers can easily create commerce-focused Web sites that seamlessly integrate transactions and product updates with their corporate buyers’ systems.

“The agreement with Microsoft and Clarus will provide unparalleled opportunities for our corporate customers to quickly and easily take advantage of e-commerce for purchasing,” said Steve Abrams, senior vice president, corporate products at MasterCard International. “Corporate purchasing cards have been embraced because they reduce costs and enhance data capture. With this program, we will integrate these strengths with the real-time benefits that the Internet provides.”

MasterCard has implemented this integrated Web-based procurement solution in its own organization, allowing the company to slash the average time required to fill a purchase order by 70 percent and cut the cost of processing purchase orders from $125 to $40. (To read the full case study, see .)

Three Leaders Come Together

Microsoft, MasterCard and Clarus offer customers leadership status in their respective businesses. Microsoft today announced plans for extending its popular Commerce Platform, which currently consists of the Microsoft Windows NT(R) Server operating system version 4.0, Microsoft SQL Server(TM) version 7.0 and Site Server Commerce Edition version 3.0, to include three new software products and services: Microsoft BizTalk Server, Small Business Commerce Services and Microsoft Commerce Server. (See the related press release for more information on Microsoft’s platform announcements.)

MasterCard is accepted at over 16 million merchants worldwide, and, in a recent study conducted by Gunn Partners of Fortune 500 companies, was ranked as the card brand chosen most often when companies implemented corporate purchasing card programs.

Clarus E-Procurement, built entirely on the Microsoft Commerce Platform, is a leading-edge Web-based solution for managing the procurement of all operational goods and services. It includes advanced features such as event-based purchasing, flexible business rules modeling and a robust approval-routing engine. The product also supports comprehensive catalog content management, corporate back-office system integration, the Microsoft Commerce Interchange Pipeline for supplier integration and MasterCard’s Corporate Purchasing Card for streamlined payment and reporting.

“The Microsoft Commerce Platform provides a scalable and flexible foundation that is paramount for broad-based deployment of strategic solutions such as Clarus E-Procurement,” said Steve Jeffery, CEO and president at Clarus. “Teaming with MasterCard and Microsoft will help us bring advanced corporate purchasing solutions to a broader market of Internet buyers and sellers.”

The three companies plan to comarket their integrated Internet corporate purchasing solutions and services to corporate customers and prospects through a national campaign. The solution will be implemented through MasterCard’s network of financial institutions; by Microsoft’s network of solution providers, system integrators and Internet service providers; and by Clarus Professional Services and its partners. More details of the marketing agreement and the integrated solution will be available at the upcoming Gartner Group Internet and Electronic Commerce Conference and Exposition (iEC) and National Association of Purchasing Management conferences in April and May.

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. Nearly 700 million MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and Mondex cards are accepted at more than 16.2 million locations worldwide. In 1998, gross dollar volume exceeded $650 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .

Atlanta-based Clarus Corp. ( ) is the leading provider of Business Resource Management (BRM) solutions through its Web-based Commerce applications. These products enable organizations to get control of their operational resources at the front lines, which dramatically contributes to its bottom line. Since 1991, the company’s Web-based Commerce, Financial and Human Resource Management solutions have served such customers as First Data Corp., MasterCard International, Hyatt Regency Chicago, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Investment Technology Group, Toronto Dominion Bank, The Container Store, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, H.D. Vest Financial Services, Land’s End Inc. and Chartwell Re Holdings Corp.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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EBT Interoperability

Interoperability among state EBT programs became a reality this week. EBT recipients of states that use the ‘Quest Operating Rules’ now have access to their benefits at any ATM or POS terminal throughout the country that bears the Quest service mark. As of March 1, forty states and the District of Columbia have implemented full-scale or pilot EBT programs, 22 of which are using the Quest rules. The ‘Quest Operating Rules’ were adopted in April 1996 by the EBT Council of the National Automated Clearing House Association. The EBT Council negotiated an agreement, effective this week through Aug. 31, with the contractors that provide EBT transaction processing services to the states.

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