ARCO and Fuelman/Gascard Network signed a marketing agreement Monday that will enable more than 20,000 of the fleet card’s customers to purchase gasoline at more than 1,500 ARCO retail outlets in California, Arizona, Washington, Utah and Nevada. ARCO will combine the ‘Fuelman/Gascard’ product with its own recently launched fuel card program, ‘GasPRO Plus’. The company launched ‘GasPRO Plus’ last summer in the six western states in which it sells gasoline, California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Utah. ‘GasPRO Plus’ customers use their fleet cards to make a debit card-type transaction. with all accounts automatically debited monthly from the fleet operator’s designated business bank account. Customers set daily limits on the number of transactions and purchase amount, per card. ARCO said yesterday the move is driven by new state and federal underground storage tank laws, taking effect at the end of this year, that will force fleet management groups to replace or phase out their existing onsite fuel storage tanks. The company estimates West Coast fleet gasoline retail market will climb to more than 2.3 billion gallons in 1999.Details
Clarus Corporation, formerly SQL Financials International, Inc., has been selected by The Container Store to provide electronic procurement, financial and HRMS applications for the growing retail chain.
The Container Store will use the Clarus solution to serve more than 1,500 employees at both its Dallas corporate office and at 19 stores throughout the U.S.
The Container Store plans to use Clarus(tm) E-Procurement to establish controls, automate requests and track usage of maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) supplies for its multiple locations. By leveraging the power of the Internet, Clarus E-Procurement will enable corporate users to electronically place supply orders with vendors and distribute these items to stores. Clarus E-Procurement reduces process costs and streamlines the supplier base to maximize contracted discount rates.
Store managers will use Clarus E-Procurement to electronically request specific supplies from the corporate office. For instance, managers will be able to order the correct quantities of store necessities such as The Container Store’s signature shopping totes, office supplies, forms, catalogs and even the light bulbs required to properly illuminate and merchandise the store’s array of products. With items such as light bulbs costing up to $20,000 every month, retailers recognize the significance of maintaining controls over MRO inventory.
Keath Hance, vice president of finance and information systems for The Container Store, explains, “Clarus has been successfully supporting our organization’s backoffice finance and human resource needs. Clarus will also be providing us with a comprehensive `procure-to-pay’ solution that offers purchasing control, online procurement and accounts payable for supplies that support our operations. We expect these solutions to help us gain control over inventory and realize cost and tax savings.”
“The electronic procurement system is ideal for retail because it allows each individual store manager to order only the quantities he or she needs to effectively run the operation. It will help accurately forecast and plan for purchasing requirements,” said Hance. “With this new solution, we can track each store’s history of supplies, monitor store needs and accurately manage the volume of equipment and supplies shipped to each store. Since stores are not designed to hold bulk MRO supplies, the new system will help us avoid having stockpiled inventory.”
Said Steve Hornyak, vice president of marketing at Clarus, “Clarus E-Procurement will provide a collaborative purchasing solution for The Container Store, giving both corporate managers and retail store managers an efficient solution to manage their operational supply needs. The comprehensive system provides a very intuitive user interface, direct access to corporate and supplier catalogs, and improved accounting controls.”
A residual effect of electronic procurement is the tracking of usage tax for supplies ordered by stores in different states. By using Clarus E-Procurement, The Container Store can track and take advantage of tax credits for which it may be eligible.
Using world-class applications that make efficient use of time and people resources, The Container Store continues to profit. The Container Store is a prime example of the type of value buyer that is such a good fit for the Clarus solution. The retail chain is growing at a steady pace and needs reliable software that can be implemented efficiently and will effectively complement its strategic objectives. In 1997, The Container Store’s year-end sales reached $140 million, with projections for FY98 to be $170 million.
The Clarus solution consists of financial, human resource, and corporate service applications; Graphical Architects(R) modules; the Clarus Methodology; Clarus Professional Services for customer implementation; and Clarus TotalCare services for on-going customer support. The Clarus solution is targeted for mid- to large-sized companies that need robust administrative applications with minimal resource requirements for implementation, maintenance and upgrades.
Atlanta-based Clarus Corporation [www.claruscorp.com], formerly SQL Financials International, Inc., is the provider of Clarus, a comprehensive suite of world-class financial and human resource backoffice solutions and Web-based corporate service applications designed specifically for mid- to large-sized companies. Founded in 1991, the company’s applications create high lifetime value by delivering sophisticated functionality while substantially reducing the time required for implementation, maintenance and upgrades. Clarus serves such customers as First Data Corporation, MasterCard International, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Investment Technology Group, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Toronto Dominion Bank, The Container Store, HD Vest, Amtrak and Chartwell Re Holdings Corp.
Gemplus is celebrating the delivery of its 20th million ‘MultiApplication Payment Chip Operating System’ (MPCOS) card since its introduction in 1994. The recipient of the 20th million card was the Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), Singapore’s electronic banking services and financial payments service provider owned by seven local banks. While Asia has traditionally been the most important market for ‘MPCOS’ cards, the product range is used by more than 200 customers globally for a wide range of applications. The NETS ‘CashCard’, an e-purse smart card, currently has 1.5 million cardholders.Details
GE Capital and Bank One/First USA unveiled plans Monday to form a joint venture for private-label cards, complete a VISA/MasterCard credit card portfolio transaction and enter into a co-brand partnership. The private-label credit card joint venture will have approximately $2.6 billion in private-label credit card receivables: $1.6 billion from Bank One private-label accounts managed from Dayton, OH and $1 billion from GE private-label accounts. GE Capital will act as managing partner of the joint venture with each party owning 50%. The sale of $2.2 billion of GE Capital’s VISA/MasterCard receivables to First USA represents about half of GE’s bank credit card business. The portfolio includes mostly accounts from the ‘GE Rewards MasterCard’ and ‘Exxon MasterCard’ programs. It is estimated that First USA is paying a 10% to 11% premium for the VISA/MasterCard accounts. GE will retain its corporate card business based in Utah and continue to build its international bank credit card programs. Both companies also will enter a co-brand partnership under which for First USA will market and issue VISA and MasterCard credit cards featuring the GE brand. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of this month. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com]) yesterday’s transaction will solidify Bank One’s number one position among the top ten bank credit card issuers. GE Capital will drop from the nation’s 17th largest issuer to 21st.
TOP 10 SCOREBOARD (based on current receivables)
1. Bank One/FUSA $65.8 billion
2. Citibank: $63.8 billion
3. MBNA $50.7 billion
4. Discover $34.3 billion
5. Chase $31.7 billion
6. Bank of America $20.7 billion
7. Household $15.9 billion
8. Fleet $14.9 billion
9. Capital One $13.8 billion
10.Providian $10.1 billion
Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com]) data as of 12/15/98
The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday it will conduct a Spring workshop to examine how to protect online consumers when they do business with foreign firms. The public workshop will explore questions of what laws apply to direct, international business-to-consumer transactions, where disputes are heard, and which governments have authority to protect consumers. Notice of the meetings will be published shortly in the Federal Register and academic papers and written comments should be submitted to the FTC Feb. 26.Details
Over Thanksgiving weekend, nearly 100 shoppers at Best Buy stores nationwide received something extra to be thankful for — their purchases were free. Through Visa U.S.A.’s holiday promotion, Visa Magic Moments, each day from November 1 through December 31, 1998, Visa randomly selects a one-second “magic moment” when all Visa(R) card purchases are free. Winning cardholders receive a credit on their next possible statement. To create extra holiday cheer during the busiest shopping weekend of the year, Best Buy and Visa added one magic moment per hour on November 27 and 28, giving customers even more chances to win.
The largest “free purchase” during the two days was $1,777.86. A total of 97 customers received free purchases at 80 Best Buy locations, totaling $16,642.24. To date this holiday season, more than 135 customers have won more than $20,000 worth of purchases at Best Buy through the Visa Magic Moments promotion. Nationally, nearly 10,000 Visa cardholders have already won “magic moments” across the country, totaling more than half a million dollars in purchases.
“Since consumer electronics are one of the most popular holiday gifts, we’re happy to partner with Visa in this promotion to give customers the chance to win their purchases throughout the holiday season by shopping at our stores,” said Pat Brazil, Promotions Manager, Best Buy.
If the Visa processing time stamp for a cardholder’s purchase matches that day’s randomly selected, one-second Visa Magic Moment, they win. The winning cardholder will receive a special credit message (Visa Magic Moments Winner) on their next possible monthly Visa statement. No purchase or obligation is necessary to enter or win.
For more information on Visa Magic Moments, including information on how to obtain official rules with full details and instructions for entry without a purchase, consumers can call toll-free 800-266-6712, or visit the Visa Magic Moments web site at
As the World’s Best Way to Pay, Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 620 million Visa-branded cards, which generate over US$1.2 trillion in annual volume. Visa is accepted at more than 15 million worldwide locations, including at over 450,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is
Minneapolis-based Best Buy Co., Inc. is the nation’s largest volume specialty retailer of name-brand consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software and appliances. The Company is ranked 199 on the Fortune 500 with annual revenues of $8.4 billion. Best Buy operates 312 stores in 36 states. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol BBY. Visit the Company’s Web site at .Details
New Retail Merchants Ring In Holiday Season With Paymentech
Paymentech has added major retail merchant customer in the weeks preceding the holiday season. The nation’s third largest bankcard processor signed and implemented traditional storefront merchants as well as national cataloguers.
Paymentech is acquiring and settling piont-of-sale (POS) transactions for Fortunoff, headquartered in Uniondale, NY, and Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), based in San Francisco. These customers represent over $500 million in anticipated annual retail credit card volume to Paymentech. The combined new business also adds 100 merchant locations to Paymentech. The combined new business also adds 100 merchant locations to Paymentech’s Network Services POS system, which provides authorization and electronic draft capture services.
Paymentech is also implementing payment processing for such catalog retailers as the Direct Sales Division of Nordstrom, and the catalog unit of a major toy retailer. Paymentech’s direct response unit, located in Salem, NH, is the largest processor of non-face-to-face credit card transactions, offering customized services to direct marketers and electronic retailers.
“Fortunoff switched to Paymentech’s processing for its technological superiority,” said Leonard Tabs, chief financial officer for the value-oriented retailer. With a 75-year commitment to the New York City and New Jersey area, Fortunoff also sought a payment processor with strong local customer service. Paymentech maintains a major sales and client relations office in Manhattan.
“Paymentech has provided an extensive frame relay environment for Duty Free Shoppers, networking locations as far away as Guam for on-line credit card processing,” said Tao Fung, manager for worldwide store systems at DFS. “The delivery of consolidated merchant reporting will provide cost savings and reduce operational hassles related to reconcilement.”
Duty Free Shoppers operates many locations in the western United States, Hawaii, and U.S.- held territories in the Pacific.
Fortunof offers fine jewelry, watches, silver, domestics, tabletop and home furnishings at seven locations throughout the New York metropolitan area. The family owned and operated retailer presents quality, service and large inventory selection at fair, everyday low prices.
Paymentech, inc. founded in 1985, provides full-service electronic payment solutions in merchant acquiring, third-party transaction processing and commercial card payment and information programs. The company processed 1.9 billion total transactions and approximately $49.3 billion in sales volume in fiscal year 1998. Paymentech is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions in the United States and a leading issuer of commercial cards.
Paymentech Completes Acquisition of Mellon Bank’s Merchant Processing Business
Paymentech, Inc. announced Monday that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of the merchant processing business of Mellon Bank Corporation. The transaction satisfied all necessary regulatory approvals.
Mellon Bank and Paymentech also entered into an exclusive marketing and referral agreement under which the parties will market Paymentech’s processing services to Mellon Bank’s merchant customers. As previously announced, this acquisition adds approximately 46,000 merchants with $5.3 billion in annual bankcard sales volume to Paymentech. The portfolio consists of processing business from retailers, cable television and cellular telephone providers, government agencies, independent sales organizations, and agent banks.
Paymentech, Inc., founded in 1985, provides full-service electronic payment solutions for direct merchant clients as well as third-party transaction processing. Paymentech also offers complete commercial card payment and information programs to businesses and other entities. Paymentech is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions in the United States and a leading issuer of commercial cards.
A broad-based financial services company with a bank at its core, Mellon Bank Corporation ranks among the nation’s largest bank holding companies in market capitalization. With approximately $2 trillion in assets under management or administration, including approximately $350 billion under management, Mellon provides a full range of banking, investment and trust products and services to individuals and small, midsize and large businesses and institutions. Its mutual fund companies, The Dreyfus Corporation and Founders Asset Management, place Mellon as the leading bank manager of mutual funds. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Mellon’s principal subsidiary is Mellon Bank, N.A. Press releases and information about Mellon Bank Corporation are available at on the Internet.Details
The nationâs leading credit card processing software company, Shift4, has released the latest in its $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ software line. Developed primarily to serve the needs of mail and telephone order businesses, small retail and hospitality merchants, $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Silver Edition, is an upgrade to the companyâs popular DOS application 4Sureâ¢. The latest in a series of editions, the Silver Edition allows emerging businesses to process transactions with same power and functionality as large corporations, but at a cost that meets their budgets. Companies can now leverage the power of a Windows®95/NT®âs 32-bit operating platform while enjoying a fully redesigned user interface.
The new Silver Edition of $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ gives merchants a fast efficient and flexible way to process credit card payments while eliminating the need for expensive stand-alone bank terminals. Merchants can reconcile and edit every transaction prior to settlement, ensuring a 100% accurate deposit. In addition, the software protects them from customer âcharge backs,â (charges that are disputed by card holders), by providing immediate access to all credit card transaction detail â including time, date, card number, electronic swipe information, and all authorization codes.
Shift4 is actively seeking to expand their reseller network through a series of incentive programs designed to maximize reseller return and proliferate Shift4âs software. Known for offering the best software in the industry, Shift4 is certified with every major credit card processor â some of whom currently act as resellers of $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Silver Edition.
âShift4 has vast experience in meeting the needs of the largest and most prestigious merchants in the world,â says President J. David Oder. âOur new Silver Edition gives any business, which does not require high-end point-of-sale integration, all the power and functionality of the big boys.â The company has worked closely with several of the largest hotels in the world â such as the Mirage, Luxor, Waldorf Astoria and U.S. Hilton-owned properties, as well as healthcare and telephone order companies like Baxter Healthcare CVG and Dial America Marketing â to facilitate immediate and measurable revenue improvements.
$$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Silver Edition supports all merchant types including hotel, mail order/telephone order, retail, food and beverage as well as auto rental. It boasts a wealth of new features that enhance the applicationâs usability, flexibility, and expandability allowing 5 users on a companyâs local network area to process authorizations simultaneously. Merchants are no longer limited to processing orders at a single PC. By using the optional WinTXâ¢ application, charge information can be entered at network connected PC workstations, with quick approvals sent directly to the userâs desktop.
Other features include Address Verification to protect merchants from fraud; Automated Periodic Billing; Purchase Card Support that provides merchants with more options for their customers to pay; Supports 5 profit centers (of the same type) to expand accounting flexibility; Import/Export options to easily move transactions to and from billing and accounting applications, and an Unlimited Transaction History Archive that provides quick access to transaction detail. As always, Shift4 software products are CPS/ICP Compliant so merchants have the flexibility to reap lower interchange rates. In addition, all Shift4 software is fully Year 2000 compliant.
$$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Silver Edition is a powerful, reliable, and easy to operate electronic payment solution with all the features needed to support a busy merchant and the flexibility to grow with it. Shift4 has developed two other $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ editions for merchants with more advanced transaction processing needs; $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Gold Edition and $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Platinum Edition.
$$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Gold Edition meets the needs of businesses such as large hotels that typically operate multiple POS systems and mixed merchant outlets. In this environment, $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ functions as a Universal Transaction Gatewayâ¢ for all their credit card accounting and communication needs. $$$ IN THE BANKâ¢ Platinum Edition adds multiple processor support, leased line and WAN connectivity to a companyâs electronic card payment solution.
Shift4 provides its clients with world class customer support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The department is run by a staff that is fully conversant in all aspects of credit cards, PCs, networks, the processing center, and point-of-sale interfaces.
The Las Vegas-based company stands at the forefront of the credit card processing industry, developing an unparalleled line of processing products for merchants that want to achieve a distinctive competitive advantage and dramatically improve profitability.Details
Atlanta-based Southern Company, the largest producer of electricity in the U.S., and CheckFree announced Monday an agreement whereby Southern Company will offer customers the option to receive and pay their utility bill via the Internet. As part of the CheckFree ‘E-Bill’ implementation process, Southern Company will conduct an internal testing program to allow its employees the opportunity to visit the Southern Company Web site to both view and pay bills electronically using their PCs. The service will be rolled out to Southern Company’s nearly 11 million customers in most of Georgia and Alabama, southeastern Mississippi and the Florida panhandle.Details
Paragren Technologies today announced the forthcoming release of version 2.5 of its One-By-One® suite of marketing software for customer-centric, one-to-one marketing. One-By-One is an integrated suite of applications designed for the tactical and strategic marketing needs of Fortune 1000 organizations in a variety of highly competitive industries such as communications, financial services, retail and energy. Scheduled for a 1Q99 release, One-By-One v.2.5 gives businesses enhanced capabilities to discover, establish and grow profitable customer relationships through optimized relationship marketing.
âHigher costs and increased competition are fueling a heightened focus on gaining better insight and the real-time intelligence that can have a dramatic impact on marketing programs,â explains Dan Lackner, Paragren’s chief operating officer. âCompanies are asking for relationship marketing solutions that offer increased flexibility and power. Weâve responded to this need by providing leading-edge, high-performance tools that let users further automate the marketing process for optimal results.â
Paragrenâs One-By-One suite of marketing applications empowers marketers to execute targeted customer acquisition, expansion and retention strategies. The suite comprises Data Discoverer for integrating exploration, analysis and data mining; Campaign Manager for planning and designing customer acquisition and retention programs; and Interactive Marketer for real-time, one-to-one marketing execution.
Version 2.5 provides users with more options to explore, analyze and model customer data from within the Data Discoverer module. Users will now have access to an increased number of statistical and data mining packages. Using Data Discoverer, marketers can select data from the customer data warehouse using a variety of techniques (random, every Nth, etc.), create a list and automatically load the information into the data analysis tool of choice for further exploration. With version 2.5, users can build predictive models using programs such as SAS or SPSS, and then use those models to score the database either on a scheduled basis, or dynamically in real-time. These scores can then be used for sophisticated customer analysis, as well as for creating segments for marketing campaigns designed within the Campaign Manager module.
Automatically scoring and deploying predictive models in real-time within a campaign significantly reduces the time and effort required for marketers to implement campaigns, tailor marketing efforts for specific customers, and adjust strategies to respond to changing market conditions. In addition, by scoring the database dynamically, users can use less storage space and avoid the lost processing time and inconvenience involved in accessing scores stored in the database.
One-By-One v.2.5 empowers businesses to implement enterprise-wide customer contact strategies that are consistent with the overall corporate strategy. By coordinating contact attempts for the same customer across different groups in the organization, businesses can avoid customer fatigue, prevent contradictory messages and leverage controlled, focused contacts to optimize the customer relationship and improve the bottom line.
âConsumers are being inundated with marketing messages through a variety of channels…direct mail, telemarketing, and now the Web,â continues Lackner. âUnfortunately, many of the messages perpetuate existing bad habits, like over investment in unprofitable segments. Even worse, many messages are contradictory. Enterprise-wide contact planning enables marketers to intelligently plan their investment in consumers ahead of time, and execute a stream of contacts designed to maximize overall corporate objectives.â
With version 2.5, users can set contact quotas, determine the expected benefit from each customer contact and then prioritize individual marketing campaigns based on those quotas and expected benefits. Also, One-By-One v.2.5 provides users with increased power and flexibility to plan, create and deploy automated longitudinal, or cascading, campaigns in which the next promotion depends on response to a prior promotion. Users can use decision tree logic to specify the base offer and all subsequent cascading offers. The offers can depend upon elapsed time, response or non-response to the base offer, past customer behavior/attributes as well as unexpected events. By establishing an enterprise-wide customer contact strategy and developing automated cascading campaigns to support that strategy, marketers can gain greater control over the marketing process while addressing each individual customerâs needs. Because the process is automated, marketers can run campaigns more efficiently and with minimal effort, knowing that each contact within the campaign is designed to optimize the customer relationship while respecting the individual.
One-By-One v.2.5 provides users with a visual diagram that maps a campaignâs structure. Users can create campaigns within the visual view using point-and-click and drag-and-drop technology to assemble the components, of a campaign. In addition, users can use the visual view to look at previously created campaigns. Because users can see a campaign in a diagram format, they can quickly and easily check the logical flow and structure of a marketing effort and make immediate corrections using the drag and drop features, thereby improving the campaign planning process and reducing the time and effort involved in setting up a campaign.
One-By-One v.2.5 includes new reporting capabilities that allow users easily view all campaign activity in one chart. Users can view campaigns that are scheduled to run on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily basis. Also, a report specifying all properties of a campaign, such as offers, segments, seed names, kick-off/close dates and waves, will be available. For more information send e-mail to email@example.com, or call 888-420-4213 or 703-995-1878.
Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Paragren Technologies, Inc. is the leader in Enterprise Relationship Marketing, helping businesses discover, establish and grow profitable customer relationships. By integrating innovative software, customer and market intelligence, and real world expertise, Paragren provides an optimized relationship marketing solution. The One-By-One® software suite, enhanced with professional services and unique consumer purchasing data, empowers marketers to execute complex marketing programs — quickly and easily. Paragren is a wholly owned subsidiary of APAC Customer Services. Additional information is available at [www.paragren.com.]
Founded in 1973 and headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois, with corporate offices located nationally and internationally, APAC Customer Services provides clients with end-to-end solutions for one-to-one success. Today with 87 customer contact centers with more than 20,000 employees, APAC is one of the largest and most technologically advanced providers of customer acquisition and customer care services. The company’s Web site address is [www.apaccustomerservices.com]
First Data Corporation last week declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.02 per common share. The dividend is payable on January 15, 1999, to shareholders of record on January 4, 1999.
Atlanta-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money. For more information about First Data, please visit the Company on the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com.]
Four Chicago area direct response firms signed a definitive agreement last week to merge their business into a single company to be called United Marketing Group LLC. The four entities include: The Hi-Tech Group, Inc.; Roy Thomas, Inc.; United Promotions, Inc.; and Mail Service, Inc.. All the firms have been involved in developing and managing database marketing and enhancement programs for credit card issuers including Mobil, Sears and Bank One. Collectively the firms mail out 1.3 billion marketing pieces, process 400,000 outbound calls and 1.5 million inbound calls annually. The newly formed firm has a 1.5 million membership base, 200 employees and annual revenues of about $120 million. The new firm will be headed by Alan Portelli.Details