Case for Corp Cards

A new study from VISA reveals major corporations that utilize purchasing card programs are reducing their invoice processing costs by an average of 73%. According to the study, which was conducted by Deloitte & Touche, corporations that adopt purchasing card programs slash the processing cost from an average of $83 per transaction to an average of $23 per transaction. The study, which reviewed practices of 18 leading multinational corporations, identified 37 specific “best practices” for purchasing card programs that lead to significantly greater efficiency. Among the most effective practices identified “Establish Program Objectives”; “Obtain Senior Management Support”; “Adopt a ‘Marketing Focus’ Strategy”; “Actively Encourage (Mandate) Card Usage”; and “Minimize Use of Merchant Category Blocking to Restrict Purchases”.

Details

SmarTalk Suit

A class action lawsuit alleging violations of the federal securities laws was filed yesterday against SmarTalk Teleservices. On Monday SmarTalk announced that it was postponing the release of its second quarter results due to certain accounting issues raised by SmarTalk’s auditors.The complaint alleges, among other issues, that SmarTalk’s management was encountering severe difficulties in integrating the companies acquired and had improperly accounted for the acquisitions. The suit also alleges SmarTalk executives were artificially inflating the price of SmarTalk’s stock by disseminating to the public statements about SmarTalk’s “record revenues and earnings,” while selling off $50 million worth of personal holdings.

Details

Wireless Demo

BellSouth Wireless Data will be demonstrating four new wireless transaction terminals in their Technology Suite at the San Francisco Hilton tomorrow. The company will demo the Hypercom ‘T7PRR’, the Intellect ‘9770’, the Lipman Nurit ‘2090’ (joining the model ‘2070’) and the Elite ‘700’ Series from IVI. BellSouth and Transaction Network Services recently signed an agreement to provide low-cost wireless transaction authorizations across the nationwide BellSouth Intelligent Wireless Network.

Details

CFS Buys Unison Systems

Davox Corporation announced yesterday that Commercial Financial Services (CFS), the nation’s largest buyer and collector of credit card debt, has purchased licenses for and completed implementation of 14 Unison call center management systems. The systems are being used in the company’s Tulsa and Oklahoma City-based call centers. Unison is an open system, unified software solution that enables call centers to automate a wide range of mission-critical customer contact activities, resulting in significant improvements in agent productivity, call center efficiency, and customer services.

The Unison system enables CFS to automate and streamline its collections calling processes as well as enhance the overall productivity of its more than 2,500 call center account officers. “Unison is helping us to place nearly 1.5 million calls per day,” commented Chris Horrocks, chief information officer at CFS. “The flexible nature and power of this system has really enabled our staff to achieve significantly more productive phone time. In addition to these bottom line benefits, we have been extremely pleased with the genuine commitment of the entire Davox team. They have been truly committed to the success of this project and to ensuring that we achieved a smooth implementation of our overall system.”

“We are proud that CFS has selected Davox and our powerful Unison call center solution,” said Davox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alphonse M. Lucchese. “We look forward to a long-standing relationship with CFS and to delivering technology that will enable them to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and productivity throughout their call centers.”

Davox’s award-winning Unison system automates a broad range of call center activities. It integrates with existing voice and data systems, manages outbound and call-blending applications, and provides high-productivity tools to increase the number of calls handled and the quality of each customer contact.

About Davox

Davox Corporation is a leading supplier of call center software solutions for businesses involved in collections, telemarketing, customer service, fund raising and other mission critical customer contact activities. Its Unison family of call center management solutions combines open system, client/server, and relational database technology with sophisticated applications and superior customer support.

In May 1998, Davox acquired AnswerSoft, Inc., a Richardson, Texas based developer of inbound call center software solutions. The merger resulted in AnswerSoft becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Davox. For further information, please visit the Davox web site at [www.davox.com][1] and the AnswerSoft web site at [www.answersoft.com][2].

About Commercial Financial Services

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Commercial Financial Services began in 1984 with the purchase of $13,000 in bad loans and a vision to revolutionize the debt collection industry. Today, it is the nation’s leader in the acquisition, securitization, and collection of bank charged-off credit card loans. It employs more than 3,700 collection and operations professionals and has achieved unprecedented collection rates through the strategic use of technology. More information about CFS can be found on the company’s web site at [www.cfs.com][3].

[1]: http://www.davox.com
[2]: http://www.answersoft.com
[3]: http://www.cfs.com

Details

Settlement

Litigator Meridian Enterprises of St. Louis announced yesterday it has reached settlements with Sun Co. and BankAmerica, charging infringement of a Meridian patent. The company holds a patent for administering an incentive award program using a credit card as the redemption mechanism. Previous settlements were reached with Exxon and GE Capital; Associates National Bank and their co-branding partners Unocal, Amoco, Phillips Petroleum and Total Petroleum; VISA USA; Banc One and their co-branding partner British Petroleum; and Mastercard. Meridian says it is still fighting Chase Manhattan Bank and their co-branding partner Shell Oil Co.

Details

CCS Community Bank ATMs

Card Capture Services, Inc., a leading independent provider of ATMs nationally announces an ATM program designed for community banks. To date ten community banks have partnered with CCS to provide ATM convenience for their customers. Seven of the ten banks’ machines were installed in July.

Banks include: Bank of Eastern Oregon with 4 ATMs; Snohomish, Washington based First Heritage Bank with 5 off-premise ATMs; and Monterey, California based Monterey County Bank with 3-off premise machines. Counted together, the ten banks have installed a total of 26 ATMs.

Emerging market segment

According to CCS banking manager Brian Thompson, “Community banks have been very successful in providing personalized customer service to their customers. However, the cost of convenience services such as ATMs are typically prohibitive for these banks.”

Recognizing the need for a low-cost ATM solution for community banks, CCS has developed a program which enables community banks to build an ATM network without the corresponding infrastructure cost. The program is designed to enable community banks to establish a complete ATM network, install additional equipment, or develop off-premise placement programs for commercial customers. Says Thompson, “In essence, CCS becomes the community bank’s off-site ATM division.” For information about the CCSExpress ATM program for banks, bankers should contact Brian Thompson, banking manager for CCS at 800-783-8366.

Non-interest income

According to Sherri Williams, vice president of First Heritage Bank, “CCS has partnered with our bank to provide the additional revenue source an ATM can add, without the corresponding increase of infrastructure. As a result, we improve our customer service and profitability.

Portland, Oregon based Card Capture Services, Inc. (CCS) offers turn-key ATM programs which include transaction processing, machine maintenance, customer service, accounting and reporting to a growing base of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide. Founded in 1993, the company currently has 60 employees and a nationwide network of 30 independently contracted dealers.

Details

Suit Dropped

A federal court in Los Angeles dismissed a multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuit yesterday that was filed against First Data’s Western Union Financial Services unit last November. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of consumers who used Western Union to transfer money from California to a foreign country. The suit alleged discrimination and claimed that Western Union charges an undisclosed commission when it transmits customer’s funds to foreign countries. In a 33-page opinion, the court also rejected claims that Western Union’s practices violated other federal statutes.

Details

E-PASS  E-Banking

The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority has selected Brite Voice Systems to deliver telecommunications technology that will enable E-PASS customers to check their balance and complete other routine transactions automatically by phone, 24 hours a day.

“With nearly 100,000 E-PASS customers, we have been experiencing a very high volume of calls,” said Steve Pustelnyk, Manager of Communications and Marketing for OOCEA. “By making information available through an automated system, E-PASS customers will have quick, convenient access to frequently requested information. This will free our customer service representatives to work with people requiring more in-depth help.”

Brite’s interactive voice response (IVR) solution will enable E-PASS customers with a touch-tone phone to check their account balance and receive a statement via fax and update credit card information. The service will be available to E-PASS customers this fall.

“Brite is very pleased to partner with OOCEA,” said Kevin L. Hooper, Brite’s Area Sales Director for Florida. “They will be a model showcase for other expressway systems across the country and exemplifies their commitment to our community.”

About Brite

Brite, which relocated its world headquarters to Heathrow, Fla. last year, has implemented millions of dollars worth of similar customer management systems for companies throughout the world as well as a variety of local, state and federal agencies including the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Brite’s customer list reflects a large presence in Florida where it serves organizations such as Bell South, Walt Disney World, the University of South Florida, and the Florida Retirement System. Earlier this year, Brite implemented a system for the Orange County Clerk of Court that will enable citizens to remit payments for traffic citations and child support by using a touch-tone telephone and credit card.

Brite is a world leader in providing enhanced telecommunications systems and interactive information systems. Brite’s products include prepaid and enhanced calling card systems for wireless and wireline communications companies, and IVR-CTI for businesses and organizations. The company also provides managed service capabilities for these products as well as telecommunications management services. Contact Brite at 1-800-SEE-BRITE, or visit the web site at [www.brite.com][1].

Brite is certified ISO 9001/TickIT, a globally accepted quality management recognition. Brite’s certification includes the design, development, manufacture, installation and support of computer-based voice and multimedia systems. The certification also includes the company’s associated managed services, information services and training services.

About OOCEA

The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, established in 1963 by the Florida Legislature, is responsible for planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 79-mile limited access expressway serving the metropolitan Orlando area. The Expressway Authority’s system includes State Road 408 (East-West Expressway) as well as portions of State Road 417 (Central Florida GreeneWay) and State Road 528 (Bee Line Expressway.)

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

Details

GE Invests in DataMark

GE Capital Retailer Financial Services has announced its acquistion of an equity stake in Datamark Technologies, Inc., one of North America’s leading providers of customer loyalty and electronic gift certificate programs.  Concurrently, they have entered into a marketing partnership with Datamark to jointly provide loyalty services, further enhancing GE Capital’s vast offering of special incentives to its retail clients.

Datamark, based in North Brunswick, NJ, is a marketing-driven technology firm currently serving the retail, restaurant, oil and gas, travel and entertainment, and telecommunication oriented organization to generate sales growth, and will add new avenues for RFS to capture customer demographic and purchase data.

Datamark’s extensive library of innovative customer loyalty products includes:

Patron Plus, an electronic customer loyalty and tracking program

Customer Allegiance, a PC-based database analysis tool

E-Gift, an electronic gift certificate/stored value program

“Retailer Financial Services is always exploring new ways to provide innovative, value-added services to retialers,” said Thong Nguyen, Senior Vice President, RFS Sales.  “Given Datamark’s creative product offerings of loyalty services, we are confident this relationship will support our retail clients’ objective to identify and retain their best customers.”

“Datamark is very excited to have formed a partnership with an organization with the outstanding reputation of GE Capital RFS,” said Jack Kaplan, President and co-founder of Datamark.  “We expect that GE Capital’s worldwide resources will greatly enhance our capability to serve our growing client base.”

GE Capital Retailer Financial Services (RFS) is a leader in providing credit, customer service, billing and payment processing services for retailers and consumers in the Unted States and Canada.  It provides private label credit cards, proprietary credit services and database marketing solutions to more than 300 retailers and 70 million cardholders in North America.  Retailer Financial Services is one of 28 specialized businesses within GE Capital.

GE Capital, with assests of over US$250 billion, is a global, diversfied financial services company.  A wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital, based in Stamford, CT, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialized financing, specialty insurance and a varity of consumer services, such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world. GE is a diversified manufacturing, technology and services company with operations worldwide.

Details

Citibank Net Portal

Netscape and Citibank announced a major, worldwide agreement Tuesday that will make Citibank the anchor tenant of the upcoming ‘Personal Finance Channel’ on Netscape Netcenter.  The new channel will debut on Netcenter this fall as part of Netcenter’s fall line up of new consumer channels.  Citibank will receive exclusive branding and positioning on the front screen of Netcenter and its ‘Personal Finance Channel’, with additional semi-exclusive sponsorships on sub-channels devoted to financial services.  For Netscape, the agreement secures a primary anchor tenant for the new Finance channel and marks the first time Netscape will debut a new primetime channel in conjunction with a major sponsorship.

Details

Net.B@nk

Atlanta Internet Bank, Member FDIC (), announced Tuesday it plans to change its name to Net.B@nk, unifying the branding with its holding company, Net.B@nk, Inc. Company officials said the name change better reflects the national and international scope of the bank.

The name change will be accompanied by a new corporate identity campaign that will include a completely redesigned web site that will debut within the next several weeks.  The new name and logo will also begin to appear on customer statements, ATM, debit and credit cards, company stationery, as well as in all advertising.  Customers will be able to use all existing checks and cards anywhere, anytime.

“Our customers come to us from all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries around the world, so we think it is appropriate to give the bank a name that reflects its expansive reach through the Internet, and ties back to our holding company,” said D.R. Grimes, CEO of Net.B@nk, Inc.  “Even though our name and logo are changing, Net.B@nk will continue to provide the same quality products and services and superior interest rates that Atlanta Internet Bank is known for.”

Net.B@nk, Inc. recently announced that the bank achieved profitability for the second quarter 1998, making it the first profitable Internet bank in the country.  The bank also recently announced the addition of online brokerage services and mortgage lending to its range of services.

Net.B@nk has quickly become the world’s leading provider of online consumer retail banking and financial services, offering checking, money market accounts and certificates of deposits with exceptional interest rates. Atlanta Internet Bank is a Member, FDIC.  For more information visit the web site at , or call 888-256-6932.

Details