e.Card

First USA unveiled the ‘First USA e.Card Platinum VISA’ credit card Thursday. The new ‘e.Card’ offers 5% cash back for all online purchases from participating merchants. Participating online merchants include: Amazon.com; CosmeticsCounter.com; GardenEscape.com; FlowersUSA.com; ValueAmerica.com; eToys.com; Dean-Deluca.com; Fragrancecounter.com; Reel.com and 800Spirits.com. First USA says using the ‘e.Card’ is simple. When cardholders make a purchase online at any one of the participating merchants, they will receive 5% cash back on their next statement. In addition, cardholders have a variety of timesaving service options available to them  such as electronic statements, online bill payment, online account access and online customer service. First USA is offering online applications at [www.getecard.com][1] or by calling an 800 number.

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

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ECHOfaxpay

Electronic Clearing House Thursday announced ‘ECHOfaxpay’, a new service allowing a fax machine to process credit-card transactions. Based upon the signing of a nonexclusive three-year processing agreement with ProPay USA of Alpine, UT, ECHO will be able to accept credit-card transactions from any fax machine. The service will be available to merchants in approximately 90 days after beta site testing has been completed. Designed specifically for small businesses doing fewer than 100 credit-card transactions per month, ‘FaxPay’ allows manual paper-based merchants or merchants not currently accepting credit cards for payment to do so using their fax machine. The small-business owner simply fills out information on the ‘ECHOfaxpay’ sales slip and faxes it directly to ProPay USA. ProPay USA then uses a direct connection to ECHO to process the transaction through the various credit-card networks. A confirmation is faxed back to the merchant within two minutes, and the funds are deposited in the merchant’s account within two business days.

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Monarch Catalog

Monarch Marking Systems has introduced its new, on-line Monarch Catalog for Retailers at , featuring products for retail stores.  Customers will be able to purchase labelers, printers and supplies; promotional marking products; garment tags, tag attachers and fasteners; clothes hangers, store security products; merchandise bags; forms, shopping baskets and many other essential in-store products that help retailers run their stores more efficiently and profitably.

According to Jim Martin, VP of Monarch’s IPS Division, “We developed the on-line Monarch Catalog for Retailers to make it easier to do business with us.”  The easy-to-use catalog contains complete descriptions, photos, and illustrations of a broad range of products and supplies.  Color choices will be shown when available.  Customers can order plain, in-stock tags and labels, or have them custom-printed with company names, logos or promotional messages.

“On-line ordering Monarch retail products from your PC is a new way for us to meet our customers’ needs.  It’s easy, it saves time and, it’s available anytime, day or night — a real convenience,” said Dave Drake, Monarch Director of Direct Marketing.

The new on-line Monarch Catalog for Retailers explains complete terms and conditions, as well as shipping information.  Monarch accepts Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

Monarch Marking Systems, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paxar Corporation of White Plains, New York.  Together, Monarch and Paxar provide identification, pricing and tracking solutions and comprehensive label compliance programs for retail and commercial customers in more than 75 countries.

For information on any Monarch product or service, or to obtain a free, full-color catalog, call toll-free: 800-543-6650 or visit our Web site at .

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JC Penney Card Bonds

JCP Receivables, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. announced Thursday a $650 million public offering of credit card receivables-backed certificates issued by the JCP Master Credit Card Trust.

The 5 1/2 per cent Series E certificates were priced at 99.418 to yield 5.70 per cent and have a five year maturity.  The size of the transaction reflected strong investor demand for the certificates.  The certificates are rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s and Aaa by Moody’s Investor Service.

The Company will use the proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes.

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State Dept LaserCards

Drexler Technology Corporation announced Thursday the receipt of a $3 million purchase order for LaserCard optical memory cards primarily for use as “Laser Visa” cards by the U.S. State Department.

The cards under the new purchase order are scheduled for delivery from December of 1998 through April of 1999. Prior to the new order, the Company had sold 300,000 optical memory cards for the State Department’s “Laser Visa” (border crossing card) program.

In its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 16, 1998, Drexler Technology Corporation disclosed the following related information:

“Under a U.S. law amended in late October 1998, more than 5 million Mexican citizens currently holding the old type of border crossing cards, plus Mexican citizens applying for ‘Laser Visa’ cards for the first time, will be required to display their ‘Laser Visa’ cards upon entering the United States after September 30, 2001.”

As is the case in all U.S. government procurement, the government reserves the right to change specifications, delay deliveries, and cancel all or part of the order.

Drexler’s patented LaserCard optical memory card is a recordable, credit-card size, digital-data-storage device that offers multiple data-security safeguards and resistance to counterfeiting.

LaserCard commercial and government applications include immigration cards, cargo manifests, access control cards, healthcare records, high security/interactive ID cards, automotive records, medical image storage, portable records with audit trails, and consumer transaction systems.

Drexler has been granted about 50 U.S. patents plus 75 foreign counterpart patents on laser recording materials, on laser-recordable optical memory cards used for images and digital data, on related data systems and equipment, on storage and reading of digital data on rolls of film, and on PC systems architecture for optical data storage media.

Based in Mountain View, Drexler Technology Corporation manufactures LaserCard optical memory cards. Drexler’s wholly owned subsidiary, LaserCard Systems Corporation, develops system software for PC-based optical card systems.

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Smart Card Assn Workshop

The Smart Card Industry Association completed its first Technical Workshop, “IC Card & System Security,” this week at the Crystal Gateway Marriott.

“We are quite pleased with the response we have received from the attendees,” said Dan Cunningham, SCIA’s president and chief executive. “There has been a lot of discussion about card and system security in the industry, and our speakers did a great job of providing comprehensive and practical information on the subject.”

Some of the industry’s leading authorities shared their perspectives of the latest developments. Gilles Lisimaque of Gemplus and Michel Ugon of Bull, PTS spoke about card system security, smart card crimes were addressed by Jeff Shaffer of the U.S. Secret Service and Peter Honeyman, of the University of Michigan, talked about security solutions.

Visa’s Ken Ayer spoke about standardization in chip card security while Julie Krueger of SPYRUS talked about the use of smart cards in e-commerce applications. Cryptography was covered by Bryan Ichikawa of Certicom Corp. and Burt Kaliski of RSA Laboratories.

“I was impressed with the quality of speakers SCIA was able to attract and found the workshop to be quite informative,” said Howard Mandelbaum of Hypercom Inc. “The speaker presentations were first-rate. This is exactly what the industry needs.”

The Technical Workshop attracted representatives from such companies as Microsoft, Oracle, Nortel, Sandia National Laboratories and Siemens Microelectronics. Attendees from Canada and the United Kingdom were also present. Plans are underway for the next technical workshop, which will be held in the spring.

“The feedback has been tremendous,” Cunningham said. “This will be used as a springboard to provide more information to smart card developers, implementers and support personnel.”

Copies of the Workshop Proceedings may be purchased by writing SCIA, 191 Clarksville Road, Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648; or calling 609/799-5654 or 800/848-7242. Or you may visit the SCIA Web site at .

SCIA is a global trade association active in the smart card industry which strives to stimulate the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace. SCIA is also a co-founder and sponsor of CardTech/SecurTech, the leading advanced card and security technology conference.

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VisionPLUS + Falcon

HNC Software and PaySys announced yesterday a strategic alliance that will be anchored by the development of standard interfaces between PaySys International’s ‘VisionPLUS’ and HNC’s ‘Falcon’ and ‘ProfitMax’ products. The two companies are targeting the international credit card issuing market for introduction of integrated product offerings that will help contain implementation costs for new customers. ‘VisionPLUS’ is an integrated card management system that handles consumer loans, retail, and bankcard functionality. HNC Software’s predictive software solutions, ‘Falcon’ and ‘ProfitMax’, use neural networks to analyze card transactions in real time to predict fraud, credit risk, bankruptcy, attrition, and overall profitability.

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Biz Card Bank

Nordstrom revealed Thursday its intention to establish a unitary thrift charter bank in Scottsdale, AZ.  The fashion retailer filed its application with the Office of Thrift Supervision on Tuesday of this week. Nordstrom currently owns and operates the Nordstrom National Credit Bank based in Englewood, CO where it issues a ‘VISA’ card and a retail card. Nordstrom officials said yesterday the thrift bank charter will enable the company to extend new financial product and service offerings to its customers while operating in Arizona’s more favorable statutory environment. The newly formed thrift bank may offer such services as business credit card accounts, home equity lines of credit, and money market checking.  Other products under consideration include private label check cards and some limited mortgage lending.

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AssuredCard

A tiny Silicon Valley firm has rolled-out the ‘AssuredCreditCard’ which “assures” consumers a credit card regardless of credit history and requires no security deposit. Milinx Marketing Group, Inc., an associate company of Assured Card Corporation, has the exclusive rights to market the ‘Assured Card’. The ‘AssuredCredit Card’ is a line of credit from $750 to $5,000 with interest as low as 6.9%. Milinx is also offering qualified marketing associates a credit line for as low as 2.9% with an expanding credit limit in proportion to sales.

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VISA Fashionmall

Fashionmall.com and VISA signed a strategic alliance yesterday.  As part of the agreement, VISA will receive preferred status and prominent branding throughout the Fashionmall.com site and will be the default payment card on the site’s checkout page.  Fashionmall.com and VISA also will collaborate on several consumer promotions. One such promotion, “Fashionmall.com VISA Exclusives,” will showcase unique designer fashions that are available online only at Fashionmall.com and, for an initial four-week period, can be purchased only with a VISA card. In addition, Fashionmall.com will feature the ‘VISA Gift Guide’, an online resource to help holiday shoppers find the best gifts and top sellers within Fashionmall.com’s extensive offering of apparel, accessories and beauty products for men and women.

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Cendant Rewards Expands

Cendant Business Services announced Thursday they have expanded the ‘Cendant Rewards’ program to include fleet fuel and vehicle maintenance purchases. The rewards program is linked to a MasterCard/Cendant Card. Under the program cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent on T&E and fleet purchases, one bonus point  for each dollar spent doing business with a key vendor and another bonus point if dealing with a Cendant-owned company such as Avis, Days Inn and Ramada. The reward points are redeemable towards hotel discounts and free airline tickets. Free domestic airline tickets require 25,000 minimum points, while tickets to Hawaii require 40,000 minimum points and tickets to Europe require 50,000 points minimum.

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NCI Demo

Network Controls International, Inc. (NCI) will demo the Virtual Banking channel of NCI Business Centre, an innovative, browser-based retail delivery solution suite that takes full advantage of Internet/Intranet technology, at BAI Retail Delivery ’98 in Las Vegas.

An enterprise-wide solution designed for the financial services industry, NCI Business Centre provides banking automation for all delivery channels using on a single technology.

The Virtual Banking channel, the Internet banking component of NCI Business Centre, provides support for smart card technology for delivery to Internet-connected PCs, kiosks, web TVs and personal digital assistants.

“We’ll demo the smart card function of our sample home banking application from the NCI Business Centre’s Virtual Banking channel, providing transfer of funds to and from the smart card.

“We will also demo live Internet banking functions, such as transferring funds between accounts and accessing an EFT authorization system installed in Albany, New York, using the TPII product from our parent company, IFS International,” says Per Olof Ezelius, NCI president and CEO.

The smart card demo will show how a banking customer inserts a stored value card (SVC) and transfers money to and from the card, crediting and debiting selected customer accounts.

The Virtual Banking channel also provides the standard functions provided by Internet banking channels, such as the ability to view balances, pay bills, execute transactions and balance their checkbooks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

NCI Business Centre makes use of the most powerful network and database technology available, such as Windows NT Server, Windows NT/95/98 clients, browser-based delivery, Internet/Intranet protocol (TCP/IP) and a centralized Oracle database.

NCI Business Centre has been designed as a server-centric solution that automates all delivery channels, including Marketing, Branch (teller, platform and back office), Call Center, Kiosks and Virtual Banking (those banking services available to customers through Internet access) based on a single technology.

This server-centric design permits easy scaling and configuring of the system throughout the enterprise. Furthermore, it provides superior operational advantages in maintaining and supporting the system at a fraction of the cost compared with traditional systems.

This new offering by NCI will complement a bank’s existing core banking host systems, such as Alltel Systematics, Hogan, Jack Henry, Fiserv, and EDS Newtrend Miser2.

Established in 1983, NCI provides information technology solutions for the financial services industry with innovative, server-centric and browser-based retail delivery products.

NCI’s operations include wholly owned European subsidiaries in London, UK and Viersen, Germany and an Asia-Pacific branch office in Melbourne, Australia. NCI Holdings, Inc., the parent company of NCI, was acquired by IFS International, Inc. earlier this year.

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