MasterCard International and Preview Travel teamed up to create MasterCard’s ‘Millennium Celebration’ contest yesterday. The promotion will award eight winners and their guests with a trip to the Chateau de Courcelles in the Champagne region of France. The Grand Prize winner and a guest will fly to France on the Concorde. One winner will be selected monthly to spend New Year’s Eve 1999 with a guest at the Chateau in France. The Grand Prize will be awarded on Sep. 24, 1999. Customers who purchase air tickets with their MasterCard will be automatically entered. Consumers can also enter to win and find complete details at Preview Travel’s Web site. Consumer details of the program will also be available via CardWeb’s main consumer information channel, CardTrak (cardtrak.com). Last year, MasterCard and Preview Travel announced a marketing alliance in which MasterCard became a premier advertiser and the exclusive payment sponsor of the Preview ‘Travel Business Travel Center’.Details
NJ-based Global Telecommunication Solutions said Thursday that the new GTS phone card is now being sold in more than 1000 convenience stores across the country, including Sunoco Mid/America, DB Mart, Stop’N Go, Heritage Dairy, KwikFill/Red Apple and Shipley Stores. GTS says for the convenience store industry this category has accounted for more than $600 million annualized. The GTS phone card is one of the most attractive consumer phone card deals featuring no expiration date and six digit PIN codes for easy access.Details
Virtual Technology Corp. announced Thursday a multi-year marketing and advertising agreement with First USA.
The agreement makes First USA the exclusive marketer of credit card products throughout the VTC Internet properties, which include [www.virtual-world.com] and [www.vtcoauctions.com].
As part of this agreement First USA will offer a VTC co-branded credit card which consumers will be able to apply for on-line via VTC’s Internet sites. The co-branded “Virtual” card carries no-annual fee, and a low introductory rate followed by a competitive annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers.
Consumers submit an application on-line and receive instant credit approval notification for those who qualify. Other features include: co-branded card reward points, money saving balance transfers from another card, 24 hour on-line statement access, and an on-line shopping guarantee against unauthorized charges.
Greg Appelhof, president and chief executive officer of Virtual Technology Corp., said: “First USA is both a leader and an innovator in the credit card field and has been in the forefront of recognizing the potential of the online medium. We are committed to making the on-line shopping experience an enhancement to people’s lives. First USA enables VTC to make consumers everyday lives easier by providing them with the credit card resources they need all in one place in addition to the benefits and convenience that the online medium delivers.”
“Our relationship with VTC presents an exciting opportunity for First USA to continue to take advantage of the power of the Internet as a highly effective marketing channel,” said Kurt Campisano, senior vice president, Internet marketing, First USA.
ABOUT FIRST USA
First USA ([www.firstusa.com]), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION, is the nation’s largest Visa and MasterCard lender. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 1,500 marketing partners.
ABOUT VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY CORP. Virtual Technology Corp. is a publicly held Minnesota based company with offices in Minneapolis. VTC is an E-Commerce Internet retailer of high performance computer hardware, and with its recent acquisition of Graphics Technologies Inc. (GTI), is also a leading specialty distributor of premium computer and graphics products, software and peripheral products to sophisticated computer users.
Through its E-Comm Web site at www.virtual-world.com, the company offers more than 42,000 units of selective high-performance, brand name computer equipment. Such Web site and its contents are expressly not incorporated by reference into this press release.
VTC offers an online specialized store that is intended to provide one-stop shopping for its targeted domestic and international customers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company’s online store features a fun, easy to navigate interface, competitive pricing, extensive product information and powerful search capabilities.
In January 1999, VTC acquired substantially all of the assets of Graphics Technologies Inc., a 12-year old company with seven offices nationally and 1998 net sales of $65 million. GTI specializes in the wholesale distribution of high-end premium computers and graphics products such as notebooks, scanners, graphics cards, monitors and other peripherals.
Some of GTI’s vendor relationships are with companies such as Viewsonic, Matrox, Hitachi, Phillips, Okidata, Infocus and ATI. With a customer base of over 1,000 corporations, GTI specializes in business-to-business sales and offers unique purchase programs, solution-oriented sales, integration and configuration services and post-sales support.
GTI has been named as one of the top specialty distributors in Computer Reseller News’ Distributor Census 1998 and VAR Business’s Distributor 50 1998, two of the most prominent trade magazines in the computer wholesaling industry.
Statements in this Press Release that are not purely historical are “forward looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements regarding VTC’s expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future generally, VTC’s growth strategy, future sales and anticipated trends in VTC’s business. All forward looking statements included in this Press Release are based on information known to VTC on the date hereof, and VTC assumes no obligation to update any such forward looking statements. It is important to note that actual results could differ materially from those in such forward looking statements as a result of a number of factors, most of which are out of the control of VTC, including, but not limited to, VTC’s early stage of development, its lack of profitability and cash flows and competition for the sale of hardware and software products both on and off the Internet.
Providian Financial says yesterday’s acquisition of GetSmart.com is part of an aggressive push into E-commerce. The company recently acquired the ‘WebCard’ portfolio from H&R Block. Providian also announced yesterday it has formed an E-commerce division to be headed by James Rowe, a Providian SVP. Rowe will also serve as CEO of GetSmart.com. The E-commerce division will develop the GetSmart.com service, the ‘WebCard’ portfolio, Providian’s credit card Web site and its existing on-line money market account business. The company says its on-line, real-time approval for loan products will be its main attraction. Providian, a sub-prime specialist, utilizing price-to-risk credit card products, will likely use the GetSmart.com consumer database to generate leads for its broad range of loan and deposit products. In order to preserve GetSmart’s client base, Providian announced it will operate GetSmart as a stand-alone entity. GetSmart’s current client list includes such issuers as Bank One/First USA, Crestar, Norwest, American Express, Wachovia, Chase, and the Money Store. According to CardData (carddata.com), based on year-end 1998 data, Providian ranks as the tenth largest bank credit card issuer with $11.6 billion in receivables, 10.9 million gross accounts and 6.1 million active accounts. One of Providian’s largest competitors, Metris Companies, announced this week the formation of an E-commerce division.Details
Las Vegas-based NetBet.com announced Wednesday it has signed a letter of intent to merge with Atlanta-based Internet Gaming. IGI has developed proprietary Internet gaming software that allows customers to play games using telephone debit cards. This technology permits customers to access the gaming system using a telephone, if they don’t have access to a computer, or via the Internet and retrieve their winnings from any ATM machine. The company is working on joint ventures with casinos to broadcast ‘Casino TV’ on the Internet, cable TV and overseas television networks.Details
FL-based Audio Book Club Inc. announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement with First USA to offer its members the VISA e.Card via a direct link to First USA’s Web site. The E.Card Platinum Visa offers 5% cash back for all purchases made at Audio Book Club’s Web site as well as other premier online merchants, including Amazon.com, eToys, Flowers USA, and Dean & Deluca. Audio Book Club Inc. currently has a combined membership and audio buyer database of over 1,300,000 names.Details
Paymentech, Inc. announced last night that it signed a letter of intent for merchant processing services with First Data Merchant Services. Paymentech is in negotiations to outsource to FDC certain processing functions for Paymentech’s general merchant acquiring business. PTI says changing its merchant processing outsourcing relationship will enhance Paymentech’s retail service offerings with feature-rich products on a new merchant processing platform. The firm anticipates completing the conversion by mid-year 2000.Details
Nation’s Largest Independent ATM Company Opens Five Regional Sales Offices
Card Capture Services, Inc., a leading independent provider of ATMs nationally, recently opened five regional sales offices in major markets. The new offices are located in Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; Tampa, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; and Portland, Oregon.
Sites were selected based on the company’s long-term sales strategy, says David Grano, CCA president and CEO. ‘The new offices will allow us to support existing clients as well as develop new accounts in the region. We will continue to target both independent businesses and regional chains,’ he said. Opening the regional offices will help the rapidly growing company continue to provide high quality customer support and service to its existing clients.
With the opening of five new offices comes the appointment of five business development managers who will lead each office. John Bunce heads the Northwest territory, which encompasses Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Canada; T. I. Diaz runs the Tampa, Florida office; David Liperote manages the Denver, Colorado office; and Judy Shimizu-Martinez oversees Southern California territory. She also will explore CCS business opportunities in Mexico. Bob Waterloo operates, the Chicago office.
John Bunce knew he wanted to work for CCS shortly after relocating from Chicago to Portland. Now in charge of the Northwest region, Bunce plans to grow the customer base by demonstrating how CCS adds value to carious businesses and financial institutions. ‘My goes is to make sure merchants understand the investment CCS has made to their business, and that they are satisfied with how we honor our obligations.’
‘With CCS, the customer always comes first and our infrastructure is designed to revolve around the customer.’ Say T. I. Diaz, business development manager for the Tampa office. ‘My goal is to build brand-recognition because we’re the good guys, the ones who get it right the first time. We offer a good product, but it’s the behind-the-scenes service for the life of the program we provide that sets us apart from the competition.’
‘I am here to assist banks create and develop their ATM programs, as well as provide merchants solutions for their ATM needs,’ says Dave Liperote, business development manager for the Denver office. Liperote is absolutely passionate about CCS and the services it provides. ‘I want to let people know that we have a physical presence in Colorado. I want to build a face-to-face relationship with the banks and merchants in the region, and to help match CCS products with their business needs.’
One as-yet untapped market is the Hispanic and Asian population of Southern California and parts of Mexico, a cultural territory that trio-lingual Judy Shimizu-Martinez hopes to educate about the advantages of using CCS as its ATM provider. ‘I want to open up the California market and increase brand recognition of CCS. My fluency in Japanese and Spanish will help me reach this audience.’
Bob Waterloo, a native of the Midwest, relocated from Portland to Chicago to take on what he calls, ‘an exciting entrepreneurial opportunity.’ Waterloo’s goal is to increase the presence of CCS in the Midwest by establishing relationships with small and medium-size businesses.
Card Capture Services, Inc. was incorporated in May, 1993 in Portland, Oregon. CCS offers turn-key ATM programs providing transaction processing, machine maintenance, customer service, accounting and reporting to a growing base of 5,770 merchant owned and operated Automated Teller Machines nationwide. The company currently has 119 employees and a nationwide network of 30 independently contracted dealers.Details
ACE Cash Express and Travelers Express Company have partnered to create the first universal bill payment service available to walk-in consumers across the nation. ACE said yesterday it has introduced electronic bill payment for retail customers at over 700 ACE stores. Before the launch of this expanded service, ACE accepted electronic bill payments for 23 companies. The firm says so far more than 22,000 customers have enrolled and used the new program. Founded in 1968, the check cashing company currently has a network of 865 stores, consisting of 754 company-owned stores and 111 franchised stores in 29 states.Details
Ireland-based Peregrine Systems Ltd. became the first company to receive compliance certification for its interface to Europay International’s ‘SuperFlow’ image gateway product. Peregrine Systems is a provider of solutions for chargeback processing to the card payments industry. ‘SuperFlow’ removes the need to print and scan the documents at both ends, and allows Europay’s electronic image processing system for retrieval requests and chargeback support documentation to interface with software like Peregrine’s chargeback processing environments, ‘ICS’ and ‘MERCS’.Details
Sub-prime specialist Metris Companies is gearing up to develop the Internet as a new distribution channel. Yesterday Metris named William Anderson, a 20-year direct marketing veteran, SVP of electronic marketing. Anderson comes to Metris from Bank of America, where he most recently served as EVP of Relationship Marketing. Prior to Bank of America, he was Director of Consumer Marketing for the ‘GM Card’ at General Motors Corp. Ronald Zebeck, Metris CEO, formerly managed the ‘GM Card’ at General Motors Corp. Metris now employs more than 2,000 nationwide.Details
MemberWorks Incorporated, a leading provider of innovative membership service programs, announced that it is expanding its operations into international markets with the launch of its first overseas office in London, England.
Beginning this month, MemberWorks will introduce three new membership service programs developed specifically for the UK market. The programs provide discounts to members in such categories as insurance, health, and shopping. MemberWorks has already begun marketing one of its programs to credit card holders through a credit card marketer, and hopes to expand its client base in the UK with other traditional marketers of its programs including banks, utilities and other companies that market products directly to consumers.
“This Company has experienced tremendous growth due to the success and innovation of our products and our ability to market these products to ever expanding distribution channels,” noted Gary Johnson, CEO of MemberWorks. “We conducted extensive market research in Europe over the past several years and believe it offers great, untapped potential with a promising new consumer base.”
MemberWorks has hired a management team that will work under Clive Archer, who was brought in as Managing Director of the London office. Mr. Archer has extensive experience in database marketing and client services. MemberWorks plans to expand further internationally, using its London office as a base.
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, MemberWorks Incorporated is a leading provider of innovative membership programs. MemberWorks offers its programs to increasingly sophisticated consumers seeking economy, efficiency and convenience in their purchase of products and services. As of December 31, 1998, there were some 4.4 million members enrolled in the Company’s 15 programs.Details