BMW Card

MBNA America and the BMW Car Club of America teamed up late last week to issue an affinity credit card to more than 47,000 BMW members. MBNA says more than 1.5 million customers have chosen an MBNA credit card connected to the more than 300 motorsports groups that endorse MBNA, including NASCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the National Hot Rod Association.  MBNA offers more than 70 credit card programs designed for automotive enthusiasts and car club members.

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E-Commerce Ed

A pioneering effort to help build industry consensus around new ways to charge for digital information delivery was announced last week by University of Massachusetts researchers.

The Internet Information Payments Collaborative ([IIPC.NET][1]) is part of a broader electronic-commerce research center formed by computer science, business and economics faculty, researchers say.

“Internet development is a group effort, and we think public- private collaboration among academic and business researchers is to everyone’s advantage,” says Dr. Leslie D. Ball, a professor at the Isenberg School of Management who is co-directing both initiatives.

The info-payments effort is the first of a broader research initiative at UMass called the Interdisciplinary Center for Electronic Commerce (ICEC). International Business Machines Corp. has contributed “significant hardware and software resources” to the ICEC, Ball added.

“Publishers are confused by the array of unproved options for managing and selling information on the Internet,” says Stephen C. Mott, IIPC’s other co-director. “We provide a way to pool research- and-development around finding a common infrastructure for on-demand purchase of digital information, including words, sounds and pictures.”

The payments collaborative plans a summit conference Feb. 28- March 2. (See: [www.iipc.net/conference/][2]). It will also study and market-test information-payment technologies, including one offered by a Massachusetts-based startup, Clickshare Service Corp., which is an IIPC technology collaborator.

Both Mott and Ball said they saw the need for the IIPC emerging from the failure of several pioneering information-payment protocols to gain a critical-mass of commercial adoption.

They said it is clear the market for information sales needs a forum for developing consensus on an operating structure. The network operating structure needs to support competitive yet interoperable marketing and pricing beyond subscriptions and advertising sales, they added.

Ball says the collaborative plans an initial budget of $400,000 derived from a three-tiered corporate sponsorship structure. It will assess after a nine-month research-and-trial program whether to disband, continue or merge with an existing standards body.

Ball joined UMass in September after more than a decade with Computer Sciences Corp., most recently running a multi-million dollar practice group within the El Segundo, Calif.-based information-technology consultant.

Mott is a consultant and former senior vice president for electronic commerce with MasterCard International Corp. who preceding his business career with a stint in journalism at Dallas and Washington, D.C. dailies. He is also a director of Clickshare.

Clickshare has provided initial resources to help establish the IIPC but the company will not control IIPC’s research or recommendations, and relationships with other technology partners are likely, said Ball. He said publishers, banks, telcos and ISPs are among potential sponsors expressing interest in joining the collaborative.

An established, not-for-profit technology-transfer organization chartered and controlled by UMass faculty will manage IIPC’s technical work at the direction of IIPC’s member steering committee. The Applied Computing Systems Institute of Massachusetts Inc. (ACSIOM), is based adjacent to the Amherst campus.

The Internet Information Payments Collaborative c/o The Applied Computing Systems Institute of Massachusetts Inc. Massachusetts Venture Center 100 Venture Way Hadley MA 01035 (413) 587-2180 [info@iipc.net][3]

[1]: http://www.iipc.net
[2]: http://www.iipc.net/conference
[3]: mailto:info@iipc.net

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Mondex Anniversary

Mondex Asia, Hong Kong Bank and Hang Seng Bank celebrate the first anniversary of the commercial roll-out of Mondex electronic cash in Hong Kong this morning. This represents the world’s largest Mondex electronic cash implementation. Over 165,000 cards are currently in circulation with more than 700 ATMs available for loading value onto those cards.  Mondex electronic cash is now accepted in over 7,000 merchants across Hong Kong Island. Mondex indicated this morning that it expects to issue multi-application MULTOS cards in Hong Kong, during 1999. Mondex says in contrast to other e-cash programs, the people of Hong Kong are actively signing up as opposed to being issued a card.  More importantly, people are re-loading their cards, using them regularly and making them part of their everyday life. The company says with success in places like Hong Kong, and Chile and France, Mondex and MULTOS are looking to the global markets.

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Natl Online Shopping Week

The Association for Interactive Media (AIM), a subsidiary of the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA), will co-sponsor the first annual National Online Shopping Week (NOSW), November 27 – December 4, 1998.  This joint effort with MasterCard International (), EZSpree (), and FamilyPC Magazine ([http://www.familypc.com][1]), was developed to raise consumer awareness about safe Internet transactions, and promote the fun and convenience of shopping online. You can link to the National Online Shopping Week web site from the AIM Web site at .

“Our members are committed to promoting consumer confidence on the Web and utilizing ethical business practices,” said Andrew L. Sernovitz, president of AIM.  “All consumers should know that shopping on the Internet is as safe as any other way to shop.  Plus, nothing beats the convenience and efficiency of shopping online.”

Participating members include BigYellow, BuyItNow!, Discovery Channel Shopping, BMG Music Service, CDnow, Crutchfield Stereo, First Auction, Fragrance Counter, Impulse! Buy Network, Music Boulevard, Office Depot, Omaha Steaks, PC Flowers & Gifts, The Sports Store @ CBS Sportsline, Sony Pictures Studio Store, Spree.com, Travelocity, and Universal Studios.

“This is a terrific opportunity for online retailers to show consumers that shopping online is safe and efficient,” said Robin Lebo, director, customer acquisition, Crutchfield Corporation.  “By delivering a positive and secure shopping experience, we are building consumer confidence in the Internet and developing this as an efficient channel for trade in the next millennium.  As a member of AIM, we commend them for sponsoring this strategic initiative.”

AIM members participating in NOSW are required to adhere to the latest in secure transaction protocols, have a consumer privacy policy that is accessible online, and offer consumer incentives during National Online Shopping Week.  AIM members are offering interesting incentives to online shoppers; for example, Crutchfield will offer free shipping to shoppers who link to its site from the NOSW site; and First Auction is offering Click Rewards to all auction winners which can be redeemed as frequent flyer miles or for other goods and services; PC Flowers & Gifts will offer 10% off on purchases; and CDnow is featuring a $5 discount on purchases.

Companies participating in the NOSW program can be identified by the National Online Shopping Week logo on their Web sites.  Links to these web sites can be found at .

The Association for Interactive Media, a subsidiary of The DMA, was founded in 1993 and is the largest Internet trade association.  AIM’s more than 300 member companies are committed to maximizing the value of the Internet to businesses and consumers.  AIM’s mission centers on defending the industry in Washington; promoting consumer confidence; and providing business-to-business networking opportunities.  AIM delivers unmatched benefits to members such as power lobbying, conferences, insider-only news services, and the best source of business leads available to the industry.

[1]: http://familypc.com

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Brownstone Card

NY-based Diplomat Direct Marketing Corporation announced Tuesday that it has launched the ‘Brownstone’ private label credit card for use in its Brownstone Woman and Brownstone Studio catalogs. The ‘Brownstone’ card follows the introduction of the ‘Lew Magram’ private label credit card in the Spring of 1993. The company now has a total of over 130,000 private label credit holders between its Lew Magram and Brownstone brands.

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Smart/Crypto Builder

Bull announces Smart Builder and Crypto Builder, two development tools that will enable personal computer users to create their own custom smart card applications in a Microsoft Windows environment. Included in the tool-box are examples which make it easy for users to build and validate their own scenarios.

With its “cryptographic” cards, Crypto Builder can be used to develop applications requiring the highest level of security. This is because the TB Crypto smart card that will embody the application provides strong security mechanisms protecting the card holder’s identity.

For example, with Smart Builder and Crypto Builder, value-added resellers or company departments can develop applications dedicated to:

— Identification — the smart card secures access to Internet, Intranet, Extranet and protects information that is considered sensitive — Transportation — the card stores information such as ticket type, date of validity and destination — Education — the smart card protects course content in remote learning environments. — Secured use of Microsoft’s Outlook Express(tm) and Internet Explorer 4.0(tm) software — the card implements a digital signature capability to ensure the integrity and non-repudiation of messages.

Easy to install, Smart Builder and Crypto Builder each come in a box containing two plug and play smart card readers running in the Microsoft 95, 98 and NT5 environments. Smart Builder and Crypto Builder comply with specifications developed by the Personal Computer/Smart Card (PC/SC) consortium, of which Bull is a founding member.

Smart Builder

Smart Builder includes two SmarTLP3 “plug and play” card readers, ten TB cards (seven pre-customized and three customized cards), a Secure Access Module (SAM), a CD-ROM containing the documentation and development tools. Recommended retail price for Smart Builder is 4,000 FF

Crypto Builder

Crypto Builder includes two SmarTLP3 “plug and play” card readers, five customized TB Crypto cards, a Secure Access Module (SAM), a CD-ROM containing the documentation and development tools. The TB Crypto card can contain personal information, public and private access codes and two X.509 or higher certificates. Recommended retail price for Crypto Builder is 4,800 FF

Bull: Founding Member of PC/SC Consortium

The PC/SC Consortium was set up in May 1996 in partnership with the biggest suppliers to the micro-computing and smart cards market, including Bull. The group’s main aim was to develop specifications to solve problems of interoperability. In December 1997, version 1.0 of these specifications was published. As its name suggests, the PC/SC specification provides a non-proprietary interface through which a PC-based application can communicate with card readers and smart cards.

About Bull Smart Cards & Terminals

Bull Smart Cards & Terminals is the industry leader in the field of secured financial transactions. Bull designs, develops and markets global smart card solutions for financial, loyalty, transport, telecommunications, healthcare and other applications. Products include contact-contactless cards plus a full range of general purpose and EFT/POS terminals, automated teller machines, as well as associated software and services.

Bull Smart Cards & Terminals is the acknowledged industry leader in research, development and security related to smart cards & related terminals. The company is also the worldwide leader in electronic purse cards. Since inventing the microprocessor smart card in 1976, Bull has obtained more than 1200 patents in the field, and has received certification for smart card security that is the highest level ever achieved by a smart card.

In 1997, Bull Smart Cards & Terminals earned revenues of 1416 million of FF ($280 million). By relying on Bull international network, the division achieves 80% of the revenue abroad.

About Bull

Bull is an international I.T. group based in Europe with 21,000 people and operations in nearly 100 countries. In 1997, Bull earned revenues of $4.2 billion including over 65% outside of France, its country of origin.

Bull offers a wide range of systems, infrastructure software and I.T. services, through focused innovation, alliances with the best partners and its own integration expertise. In its industry, Bull is recognized for innovative products including Escala family of open servers, smart cards and software such as OpenMaster for secure management of systems and networks. In I.T. services, Bull is ranked in Europe as the third largest systems integrator and fifth in maintenance and support services. Information on Bull is available at:     More information on these activities can be found on the World Wide Web at: , on Groupe Bull at:

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USA Tech 3Q

USA Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday that revenues for the three months ended September 30, 1998 were $792,459, compared with revenues of $359,413 for the same period last year.  The company also reported a net loss of $(670,481), or a net loss of ($0.03) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 1998, compared with a net loss of $(660,524), or a net loss of $(0.06) per share, for the same period last year.

“We are quite pleased to report another quarter with triple-digit revenue growth, as it is another indication  that USA is on-track toward profitability,” said George R. Jensen, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of USA Technologies.  “In addition we are confident that the results of the current quarter will far surpass the numbers for our first quarter. We are currently expecting second-quarter revenues of approximately $1.8 million, which would equal the entire revenue intake for our 1998 fiscal year.”

Incorporating its patented TransAct technology, USA Technologies markets a variety of credit card-activated products to the hospitality industry.  These products include MBE Business Express, a 24-hour, full service business center; Laptop Dataport Express, a functional workstation featuring 24-hour, laptop connectivity to a dataport, printer and public telephone; and, Public PC, a state-of-the-art IBM computer and printer. All products are serviced and maintained by IBM Global Services.

“Our substantial growth is driven by a strategic execution agreement with IBM Global Services to install and support our patented technology,” continued Jensen.  “IBM Global Services provides a variety of critical services for our product line, including installation, financing of inventory, procurement, configuration of computer systems, equipment service and maintenance and operation of a customer support call center.  This agreement has allowed USA to execute rapidly on a national level.”

USA Technologies is the developer and owner of TransAct, a proprietary technology that allows consumers to purchase items costing as little as one dollar, using their credit cards.  These transactions were once cost- prohibitive, but USA’s TransAct technology is quickly making the “cashless revolution” a reality.  TransAct’s patented technology is already in use nationwide in the form of MBE Business Express, a joint venture product with Mail Boxes Etc. Activated with a credit card utilizing TransAct, Business Express is a self-serve, automated business center, allowing the use of a computer, the internet, a photocopier, printer and fax machine 24- hours per day.  In addition to Business Express, USA also markets the Public PC and Laptop Dataport Express.

USA Technologies is a leading owner and licensor of networked credit card- activated control systems for the personal computer, photocopier, facsimile and laptop printing capabilities.  The company’s proprietary technologies make available unattended, point-of-sale control systems for credit card payments. Visit the USA Technologies message board at and USA’s web site at .

USA Technologies
Condensed Statement of Operations
(unaudited)

                                             Three Months Ended
                                                September 30,

                                     1998                    1997
    Total revenues               $712,294                $310,311
    Net loss                    (670,481)               (660,524)
    Loss per common share          (0.03)                  (0.06)
    Weighted avg. number of
     common shares outstanding 40,229,122              27,287,669

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Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving, dubbed “Black Friday” by the retail industry, may be the best day for retail sales in four years. The National Retail Federation has projected an 8% rise in retail sales this year. The December issue of CardTrak, released this morning, says the combination of a high stock market and low interest rates may produce an epidemic of plastic fever beginning this Friday. CardTrak says the peak shopping day of Nov 27 will see consumers using their credit cards more than 6,000 times per second generating charges of nearly $450,000 per second. According to the American Express Retail Index on holiday shopping, 39% of shoppers plan to hit the stores on “Black Friday”, slightly higher than the 34% last year. AmEx says the hottest gift items for kinds this year will be: Teletubbies, Spice Girls merchandise, Rugrats dolls and toys, Beanie Babies, Tigger/Winnie-the-Pooh items, Star Wars items, Godzilla and action figures.

Holiday Card Purchases By The Clock
Per Day Per Hour Per Min Per Sec
Major Credit Cards $2.96 b $124.0 m $2.1 m $34,309
Store Credit Cards      $ 511 m     $ 21.3 m    $355,000   $ 5,911
Natl Debit Cards        $ 471 m     $ 19.6 m    $327,381   $ 5,456
Total                   $3.95 b     $164.6 m    $2.74 m    $45,717

Holiday Card Transactions By The Clock
                        Per Day     Per Hour    Per Min    Per Sec
Major Credit Cards      41.8 m     1.74 m      29,017      484
Store Credit Cards        8.6 m      357,143      5,952       99
Natl Debit Cards         12.6 m      526,785      8,779      146
Total                    63.0 m       2.6 m      43,775      729
m-millions  b-billions  Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Macy’s Online

Federated Department Stores says it is has partnered with IBM to re-launch its Internet site in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The new macys.com site includes more than 250,000 merchandise items from across the Macy’s department store assortment. The online store offers other unique options such as a ‘Gift Wizard’ to help customers find gifts for family and friends; ‘E-Club’, which provides a more personalized online shopping experience by storing birthdays, anniversaries, shipping       addresses and other pertinent information for customers; and an updated and expanded ‘Bridal Registry’ that for the first time encompasses couples registered at all 186 Macy’s stores nationwide.

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Smart Phones

U.S. West says this morning it is enhancing its advanced payphone system by installing more than 5,000 Nortel Networks new ‘Millennium MultiPay MultiApplication’ payphones. The new terminals provide an advanced service delivery platform that is capable of offering future services such as acceptance of multiapplication smart card schemes, smart card reloading, sophisticated dialing features, and promotional and loyalty programs. The terminal will also support U.S. West’s goal of obtaining global smart card interoperability with several major emerging smart card schemes. There are currently more than 160,000 ‘Millennium’ payphones throughout North America.

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Mellon Goes PeriWeb

Customers at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Bank can now perform all of their banking transactions without ever entering a branch or even using a telephone. PeriWeb, a robust software environment for Internet-based transaction processing services from Periphonics Corporation , a leading worldwide provider of products and services for call processing solutions used in Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and Telecom Enhanced Network Services, has made all of Mellon’s telephone-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services available to customers accessing the bank’s website, [www.Bank-by-Web.mellon.com][1].

“We were anxious to offer Bank-by-Web and Web Bill-Paying in order to round out our interactive offering to our MellonDirect 24 banking customers,” stated David Spier, manager of Internet and PC banking at Mellon Bank. “We had been offering 24-hour touch-tone based service with an IVR system from Periphonics for a number of years. We needed to add a web access option in order to remain competitive. PeriWeb enabled us to make all of the bank’s telephone-based services available to customers accessing Mellon’s website.”

PeriWeb supports web browser-based access to new and existing IVR applications. Mellon was able to port all of its existing IVR applications over to its website with no need for re-programming. Using PeriProducer, Periphonics’ GUI development tool, new applications can be designed for phone and web access or for web access only.

In discussing PeriProducer, Spier said, “I can’t say enough about the ease of use of the Periphonics GUI tools that were used to build the web pages. Our staff programmer who built our web page had never even been on the Internet, let alone built a web page. Incredibly, she was able to take on the task immediately after minimal training.”

The system went live in June and was used by over one percent of Mellon’s customer base during the month of July. The average customer uses it three to four times a month. Recent statistics show that the Bank-by-Phone phone lines receive 147,000 calls each week, while the web site is visited an average of 9,000 times per week.

The advantages provided by web banking are not limited to the customers. When customers perform banking transactions via the web, agents are free to perform more complex or income-generating functions. Additional savings are incurred by the bank because of a reduction in use of the bank’s toll-free 800-number. Each time a customer performs a transaction by web instead of by phone, the bank saves eight cents a minute on access to their 800 number.

About Periphonics

Periphonics Corporation develops, markets and supports products and professional services for Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and for Telecom Enhanced Network Services using technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), speech input, messaging, fax and Web browsers. The Company’s products and services automate call and transaction processing, increase call center agent productivity, and often create new revenue streams for its customers. Headquartered in Bohemia, New York (Long Island), Periphonics has systems installed in more than 50 countries worldwide.

About Mellon Bank

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 $350 billion of assets under management and nearly $1.8 trillion of assets under administration, 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.

[1]: http://www.bank-by-web.mellon.com

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Aussie Smart Card Plant

American Banknote Corporation (NYSE: ABN) today reported that its subsidiary, Leigh-Mardon, Australia’s largest plastic and smart card manufacturer, has established a joint venture with French-based Gemplus, the world leader in smart card development and manufacture.

The Gemplus – Leigh-Mardon joint venture is being established to manufacture smart cards in Melbourne and market smart card based solutions in Australia and New Zealand.  This comes in response to growing demand for these products and solutions in the region.  Regarded increasingly as an important component in the information technology industry, the smart card is emerging to meet demands created by the explosive growth of digital computing, media and communications throughout the world.

The joint venture will have access to the latest products and technologies designed and developed by Gemplus, including those for banking, transportation, healthcare, and communications.  This will enable the joint venture to take an active and leading role in the applications where the smart card is experiencing dynamic growth.  Key areas for smart card growth include GSM/Mobile Telecommunications, Multimedia/Internet, and Payment and Multi-Application smart cards.

The Victorian government has embraced Gemplus smart card technology for its goal of placing all government and community services online by the year 2001.

Morris Weissman, Chairman and CEO, stated, “We look forward to working with Gemplus on smart card projects.  We believe that the market for these cards is already worth A$50 million and that it will double within three to four years.”

American Banknote Corporation is a leading global full-service provider of secure transaction solutions in carefully selected markets along three major product groups: Transaction Cards & Systems, Printing Services & Document Management, and Security Printing Solutions.  A combined strategy of operating along product lines and constant expansion of transaction activities worldwide reflects the rapidly changing field of electronic commerce.

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