Shout! Card

MCI introduced a customized prepaid card Thursday geared toward families, especially children. The ‘MCI PrePaid Shout! Calling Card’ offers two key features: speed-dial and an anti-theft system. MCI ‘Speed Dial Express’, a key feature of the new prepaid phone card, allows parents or caregivers to pre-program up to six frequently called numbers that are easily retrieved and dialed with the push of a single speed dial button. The prepaid card itself includes six lines on the card’s front panel allowing adults to write the programmed calling destinations.  The printed card holder, with an enclosed key ring that can be attached to backpacks, sports bags or purses, is included with each Shout! purchase. Once programmed, calling is limited to those six numbers, eliminating the potential for theft, fraud or misuse.  The MCI ‘Speed Dial Express’ numbers can be changed or deleted anytime by using a passcode, without deducting calling time from the card. The MCI ‘PrePaid Shout! Card’ is available at Wal-Mart, or by calling a toll-free number or via MCI’s Web site.


Online Credit Services

The Huntington National Bank introduced ‘Online Credit Services’ yesterday to its Web visitors. The enhancement enables any Huntington personal credit card or credit line customer with Internet access to view credit card and credit line information online. From the Huntington home page, three mouse clicks brings customers to the ‘Online Credit Services’ section of the site.  No application is necessary.  Customers simply enter their social security number and ‘Direct Bank’ PIN; or account number and PIN.  Account summary and statement information is continuously available and includes account activity for up to three prior statement periods; account information in a shorter or longer time frame, up to three months; ability to find transactions by date, description or amount; and the ability to export account transaction information into a personal financial management software for expense reporting.


Paperless Florida

The Florida Department of Banking and Finance received its first electronic invoice yesterday through a new system expected to save the state millions of dollars over the next five years. The paperless process involves EDI by COMSYS, which allows state vendors to bill the state, with payment to follow, through EFT. The FL DBF has been working for the past year with Florida Power & Light to fine-tune the process. This is the second phase of the state’s initiatives to eliminate paper and reduce the administrative costs of running government. Last year, an electronic purchasing card system was implemented as the first step. FP&L will be the first vendor to seek payment through the new EDI system. FP&L currently issues 10,000 invoices to the state, totaling about $33 million.


CBANYS  Endorses ACS

CO-based ACS Merchant Services announced last night that the Community Bankers Association of New York State has endorsed the fast-growing ACS MS to process merchant credit and debit card transactions for merchant customers of CBANYS member banks.  CBANYS is a New York trade association representing approximately 100 financial institutions with assets exceeding $160 billion. ACS says it has more than 350 agent banks now on board.


Gemplus Testifies

John Landwehr, director of information technology product marketing for Gemplus, testified this week before the House Commerce Committee on the topic of global electronic commerce.

In his testimony, Mr. Landwehr stressed the importance of a global electronic marketplace and explained that in order for this marketplace to grow, banks, corporations, and consumers must trust electronic commerce technology enough to use it. This trust can be established by providing a secure environment in which to transmit information, and smart cards can help establish this environment.

Mr. Landwehr pointed out that Gemplus has solutions to e-commerce security concerns, but bringing the solutions to market is often hindered by international intellectual property issues. He stated that opening lines of communication within corporations would reduce time-to-market delays considerably for international companies.

“As a global merchant and supplier of technology, Gemplus certainly wants to see electronic commerce succeed,” Mr. Landwehr testified. “For this to happen, the United States must first learn that not all of the great products in the world are made in the U.S.A., and we need to facilitate better technology transfer and global product development strategies.”

As director of the information technology and product marketing division, John Landwehr develops and markets smart card solutions for IT security and electronic commerce customers around the world. Mr. Landwehr travels internationally to educate corporations on the use of smart cards for securing transactions within a business and to consumers. This has included seminars, trade shows, and press and analyst events. He also directs the software strategy for products within the division. Mr. Landwehr is based in Redwood City, CA at Gemplus’ Internet and information technology group headquarters.

For a complete transcript of John Landwehr’s testimony, please visit the Gemplus Website at: .

About Gemplus

Gemplus () is the world’s leading provider of conventional and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over US$590 million in 1997, Gemplus employs more than 4,100 people, in ten manufacturing facilities, five R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control, and information technology.


CGI Signs Laurentian

Montreal-based CGI Group Inc. and the Laurentian Bank of Canada announced an agreement based on which CGI will provide electronic commerce and electronic funds transfer services to the Laurentian Bank, including support for debit card shared cash dispensing and point-of-sale direct payment. The agreement also includes services such as automated teller machine management and overall support of electronic card services. CGI expects the contract to generate $20 million in revenue over its five-year term.


Euroweb Banking

NY-based Euroweb International Corp. will make its first venture into electronic banking in September. The company said Thursday it expects to have online the initial 400 corporate customers, of Postabank by September 1.  The company will provide Internet access to these customers which will enable each of them to engage in electronic banking services.  The remaining 800 bank corporate customers will go online prior to November 1 at the approximate rate of 400 per month.


Enterprise Relationship Management Tool

Inforte Corp., one of the nation’s leading and fastest growing system integration consultancies, announced Thursday the first integrated FileNET/Siebel enterprise-wide solution for enterprise relationship management.  Inforte developed the conduit that bridges Siebel Enterprise Applications with FileNET’s Panagon integrated document management (IDM) software in response to the growing need for universal access to enterprise information.  The sales information solution, which integrates sales force automation, call center management and document access with mission critical processes, provides complete enterprise functionality to companies in the insurance, banking and telecommunications industries.

The integrated FileNET/Seibel customer management solution is Microsoft Windows-based and provides a total customer view with complete information across lines of business and distribution channels.  The solution improves customer service and client retention by offering access to electronic documents such as policy applications, claim forms, correspondence, photos, email, reports and contracts.  Additional improvements that translate into a distinct competitive advantage include:

—    A complete customer profile to enhance cross-selling and up-selling opportunities

—    A sophisticated product and competitor information system for intelligent selling

—    A means to capture customer profile information for improved target marketing and campaign planning

—    A best-of-breed workflow solution for application processing: credit cards, loans, and insurance

—    Consistent and accurate customer information for improved customer satisfaction

—    Reduction in customer request and turnaround time

—    100 percent compliance with regulation and legal requirements

“Inforte has partnered with industry leaders, FileNET and Siebel Systems to provide a best-of-breed solution that leverages enterprise information,” said Phil Bligh, founder and CEO of Inforte.  “These partnerships allow us to provide a solution that links structured and unstructured information sources seamlessly and programmatically — presenting a unified level of service, quality and image.”

“Inforte, one of our ValueNET business partners, provides integration and delivery of the FileNET/Siebel solution, offering a significant new value proposition to our joint customers in the enterprise relationship management arena,” said Lewis Carpenter, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at FileNET.  “As competition in the insurance, financial services and telecommunications industries grows, the need for universal access to mission- critical information becomes critical.  Inforte’s solution, integrating FileNET’s IDM capabilities with Siebel’s customer management solution, provides users with immediate integrated access to front office and back office operations.”

The FileNET/Siebel solution will be showcased July 29-30 in the Siebel pavilion at the DCI Field and Sales Force Automation Conference, Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, N.Y.

About Siebel Systems

Siebel Systems, Inc., is the world’s leading supplier of Enterprise Relationship Management systems for organizations focused on increasing sales, marketing and customer service effectiveness in field sales, service organizations, telesales, telemarketing, call centers and third-party resellers.  Siebel Systems’ corporate alliances include Andersen Consulting, Compaq Computer Corporation, Microsoft, Inc. and Price Waterhouse.  Additional Siebel Systems product and service information is located on the World Wide Web at .

About FileNET

FileNET Corp. ([][1]) is a proven leader in delivering integrated document management software to unleash the power of information for corporate and government organizations.  FileNET’s Internet and client server solutions provide standards-based workflow, document imaging, electronic document management and report management (COLD) software for managing information and enhancing productivity.  Costa Mesa, Calif.-based FileNET markets its innovative products in more than 60 countries through global FileNET sales, professional services and support organizations, including its ValueNET partner program of resellers, system integrators and application developers.

About Inforte Corp.

Headquartered in Chicago, Inforte operates regional offices in Southern California and Dallas.  The company provides advanced information technology solutions to businesses across a wide range of industries. Inforte defines advanced solutions as those incorporating innovative approaches, business process engineering and the deployment of new technologies.  Inforte is recognized by its clients for its high professional standards and its rigorous, methodic approach using information technology to dramatically enhance their competitive and operational positions.  Since its founding, Inforte has recorded exceptional growth, achieving revenue increases of 150 percent annually in each of the past three years.  For more information about Inforte, visit the company’s web site at .

FileNET and ValueNET are registered trademarks and Panagon is a trademark of FileNET Corp. Siebel is a trademark of Siebel Systems, Inc. and may be registered in certain jurisdictions.  All other product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners and are mentioned for identification purposes only.



8 Billion E-Bills by 2000

The global volume of repetitive bills presented to consumers electronically is about to surge beyond its current small base of pioneers, growing to almost 8 billion annually in the year 2000.

According to a new study released Thursday by Killen & Associates, the volume of electronic bills will make up 12% of the worldwide total within the next two and a half years.

“Repetitive billings and payments, especially those for telephone companies and other utilities, insurance companies, large retailers, and services merchants are made for Internet delivery,” stated Michael Killen, president of the research firm. “Repetitive billers now spend 70c to $1.50 per conventional bill, while electronic bill presentment can reduce that cost by as much as two thirds. When electronic bill payment is combined with bill presentment to close the loop electronically, many of the hidden costs in receivables are eliminated. Improved cash flow management is a also a big incentive for large billers.”

The new Killen & Associates study, Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment Markets: Business Opportunities and Threats, examines the growing market for electronic processing of repetitive billings and payments.

The study provides a global and regional forecast for electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) markets, quantifies the benefits of EBPP, identifies likely winners and losers, quantifies the value proposition for all stakeholders, describes the approach that major banks in Asia/Pacific, Europe, and North America are taking to this market, and analyzes third-party processor roles in the new delivery scheme.

The study is the first in an in-depth, three-volume set of analyses, Electronic Bill Presentment and Payments Markets: Strategic Impact of Integrion, Microsoft, and the Internet Portal Companies, which explores how the Integrion and MS/FDC (Microsoft/First Data Corp.) camps and the Internet portal companies will change the rules of the billing and payments markets for all stakeholders.

Additional details are available at the company’s Web site, For more information contact Jules Street: [][1], Tel: 1 650 617 6130, Fax: 650 617 6140.

Killen & Associates is a leading market research and consulting firm whose studies, seminars, and television programming enable clients in the telecommunications, banking/financial services, and information technology industries to identify business opportunities created by technology advances, public policy changes, and market forces.



Spree Card

Sprint announced Thursday that its ‘Spree’ prepaid ‘Foncard’  will now be available in all Kmart and Food Lion stores.  The additional retail outlets increase ‘Spree’s’ presence in the marketplace by more than 3,200 stores, bringing the total to nearly 35,000 locations where ‘Spree’ cards are sold. The prepaid card will be sold in more than 2,100 Kmart stores and at nearly 1,100 Food Lion supermarkets nationwide. In May, Sprint placed its 200 millionth card in the market, making Sprint the first prepaid card provider to reach this milestone.


Handsfree Card

Frontier Corp. introduced a new voice-activated phone card service yesterday that allows users to make hands-free calls. With a ‘Frontier SpeedLink Card’, customers simply dial a toll-free number, speak their PIN, and choose from a menu of options.  By speaking the code number or phrase associated with each option, customers may check voice mail, make travel reservations, schedule or join a teleconference, or call home or work — all without the touch of a button. Future ‘Frontier SpeedLink’ applications will include Internet access with text-to-voice e-mail.


Faster POS Modems

Hypercom said Wednesday it is seeking to upgrade electronic payment transactions from the existing 1200/2400 bps transmission rates to 9600 bits per second (bps). Beginning in October, Hypercom POS terminals will be available with the ‘FastPOS 9600’ bps modem technology at no extra cost. Although the PC industry is rapidly migrating to 56K bps modems, POS terminals currently operate at 1200 bps or at most 2400 bps. Modem technology used in PC’s is unsuited to the POS environment due to the long training time and high cost of these modems. PC modems require 8-15 seconds just for training — the time spent by the modem before it can send data — but POS transactions typically need to be completed within 8 seconds. With FastPOS, transactions can be completed in as little as 3.6 seconds from the time of connection, a reduction of nearly 50% over 1200 bps modems. The difference is even greater for batch loads. A batch of 15 transactions will load with FastPOS in 6.7 seconds from the time of connection, compared with 26 seconds using the old 1200 bps technology. FastPOS will be first supported by Transaction Network Services, Inc.’s nationwide transaction transport network.