According to the upcoming issue of Bankcard Barometer the top ten issuers have racked up $54.7 billion in charge volume for the first two months of 98 among 212.2 million total accounts representing $275 billion in outstandings. Slightly more than 60% of accounts were active last month with an average daily balance per-active-account of $2087 and an average YTD volume per-active- account of $430. With the consummation of its Advanta deal, Fleet moves to the #9 spot with $13.8 billion in outstandings followed by Capital One at $13.4 billion.Details
First Data Corporation announced Thursday that Joan Edelman Spero has been named a board member of the Company, a leading provider of electronic payment services worldwide.
Mrs. Spero was named president of the Doris Duke Charitable foundation in January of 1997. As president, she is responsible for establishing and directing the activities of the more than $1.3 billion foundation, which is dedicated to supporting a variety of charitable causes, including the performing arts, environmental preservation and the advancement of medical research.
Mrs. Spero was formerly Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, a position to which she was appointed by President Clinton in 1993. As Undersecretary, she played a central role in formulating the Clinton Administration’s foreign economic policy. She advised Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and led the work of the State Department on issues ranging from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round Agreements, to the work of U.S. embassies around the world in promoting U.S. exports and investments. She also served as a top advisor on the G7 Economic Summits.
“Joan’s broad knowledge base, with experience in both international affairs and the financial services industry, will help us achieve our goal of establishing First Data as the leader in making electronic payments the payment method of choice worldwide,” said Ric Duques, president of First Data Corporation.
Mrs. Spero was an assistant professor at Columbia University from 1973 to 1979. She is the author of The Politics of Economic Relations and The Failure of the Franklin National Bank Challenge to the International Banking System. >From 1980 to 1981, during the Carter Administration, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. From 1981 to 1993, she was an executive at the American Express Company, where her last position was Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications.
Mrs. Spero graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin. She holds a Master’s degree in international affairs and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. She also studied at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and is fluent in French.
Active in professional associations in foreign affairs and economics, Mrs. Spero is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. She serves as a trustee of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Brookings Institution.
Hackensack, N.J.-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 further information about First Data, please visit the Company on the Internet at .Details
Fifty percent more Americans have made a personal on-line purchase than one year ago. According to a study released this morning by San Francisco-based Odyssey, 30% of on-line households have made a purchase from home in the last six months. Odyssey’s semi-annual ‘Homefront’ survey also found that 23% of U.S. households are now on-line compared to 17% a year ago. Odyssey says this means 7.0 million households made a purchase on-line in the last six months of 1997, or more than double the 3.2 million households making on-line purchases in the last six months of 1996. The study of 6,000 consumers also found that 55% of on-line households reviewed information about a product or service on-line prior to making a purchase through a traditional retail channel, and that 41% of on-line households indicated they have made a purchase decision, in the last six months, because of something they learned on-line.Details
Wells Fargo Bank and Hawaiian Airlines announced yesterday they are about to launch a co-branded MasterCard that will permit cardholders to pool their earned frequent flyer miles. The ‘HawaiianMiles MasterCard’ will be released this coming Monday, March 16, with take-one applications available at all Hawaiian Airlines ticket counters. The new program allows up to three individuals to pool their frequent flyer miles toward free travel awards. Cardholders will earn one air mile for each dollar charged. Hawaiian Airlines operates 12 daily widebody flights from the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.Details
Priority One Electronic Commerce Corporation of Akron, PA and Commerce Payment Systems Corporation of Orlando, FL today jointly announced the formation of a Strategic Alliance between the two Electronic Commerce companies.
ABOUT PRIORITY ONE
Priority One’s proprietary BILL COLLECT(TM) system provides automatic collection of receivables and payment obligations via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from checking accounts or credit cards.
Priority One’s target customers are businesses who need to collect regularly occurring accounts receivables from their customers. This is accomplished through either a direct dial up phone gateway or an internet access gateway.
Priority One is a privately held corporation whose principal shareholder, Sid Lieberman, is a successful entrepreneur with a CPA background who saw the need and the opportunity to provide a more reliable, timely and cost effective way for businesses to collect their receivables.
CommercePay provides INSURED real time processing of credit card payments over the Internet. CommercePay is the only Transaction Service Provider (TSP) that provides fully insured Internet credit card processing.
CommercePay’s target customers are businesses who need to accept and process credit and debit card payments securely and in real-time from their online stores or from any location where Internet access is available.
According to Abner Weintraub, President of CommercePay, “Fully insured transactions allow Internet consumers to use their credit cards with complete confidence against loss or fraud.”
The first joint usage of both CommercePay and Priority One’s services will be to process donations for the world’s largest charitable fund raising telethon The Children’s Miracle Network. The jointly provided services of CommercePay and Priority One will enable the Children’s Miracle Network to implement the new “Single Interface Solution(SM).”
The “Single Interface Solution(SM)” is a special web page that enables donors to quickly and safely contribute with their credit cards, debit cards, personal or business checking accounts using one simple form. In addition, donors can apply these payment methods to a variety of recurring payment plans (i.e. the “Dollar-A-Day Club”). These automated payment options are easy for donors and will cost less to process, leaving more money to help the children.
Randall King, President of Priority One (formerly President of Premenos) stated that, “By forming this strategic alliance, Priority One and CommercePay can provide a full array of Electronic Payment Processing Services to any business. Businesses can process payments in real time for purchases of goods or services that occur in both the regular course of their business or via a web page at their ‘electronic store.’ In addition, businesses can electronically collect recurring payments for goods and services, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional collection processes.”
A NEW NETWORK OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Last year Priority One and CitX formed a strategic partnership to provide Electronic Commerce solutions for businesses. In this partnership Priority utilizes the CitX SETX network and Intrapay platform, exclusively for all Internet-based transactions. In turn CitX uses the Priority One Payment Collection service exclusively for EFT payment collection.
Last week NCR Corp. announced a strategic partnership with CitX Corporation. This relationship involves exclusive embedding of the NCR’s TOP END Middleware and other related systems into the CitX Intrapay platform. Intrapay enables universal access to complete end-to-end Internet-based E Commerce services. Priority One, as a strategic partner of CitX, will be involved in providing its Bill Collect service, via Intrapay, to the NCR clients who use the CitX Intrapay platform.
The Intrapay platform can be used by businesses to sell their products, and collect payment in the form of EFT or Credit Card, via the Internet. In this example, CitX develops and maintains the secure Web Site for a merchant to sell their product on the Internet, and transports transactions via its unique SETX network, securely, between the customer, merchant and the Payment Processing Center operated by Priority One.
Priority One then processes the payment transaction, collecting money in the form of EFT or Credit Card payment. NCR provides the transaction servers and middleware engine that automates the entire order fulfillment process, enabling simplified interface to EDI platforms and any legacy system.
Bernie Roemmele, CEO of CitX, said, “We are in the business of Internet- based Electronic Commerce, and have established a coalition of interrelated high tech strategic partnerships to promote a universal platform that enables Internet-based Electronic Commerce. This coalition will offer businesses a ‘total solution’ for electronic commerce and payment collection using EFT and credit card processing and our Intrapay Platform.”Details
AT&T rolled out its ‘One Rate Online’ service that offers customers a low, flat rate on long distance calls with the ability to order service, review billing and communicate with customer service over the Internet. The new service requires customers to have their long distance charges automatically billed to a credit card. There is also a $1 per month fee. AT&T is charging a flat rate of 10 cents-per-minute for direct dialed, state-to-state calls.Details
Vital Processing Services announced it has installed the 5,000th merchant POS-partner PC system. Power of ease is exactly what this desktop payment system provides to its end-users, merchants who have the power to manage their payments business with tremendous flexibility because POS-partner is Windows-based.
POS-partner easily accommodates the unique industry requirements of merchants across the United States, and was designed with retailers, restaurateurs, hotels, direct marketers and billers in mind. Vital launched POS-partner in June of 1996, and the current software demand is approximately 500-600 merchant systems per month. Currently, Vital has a total of 139 financial institutions utilizing POS-partner, including U.S. Bancorp and Harris Bank.
Supporting credit and ATM cards, POS-partner is tailored for mid-sized to higher-end merchants. This software system operates on a personal computer, as a stand-alone authorization and settlement unit, in a local area network (LAN) of PCs, or with dial terminals linked throughout the merchant’s property (HUB). It has the power to support every type of card payment transaction, including full point-of-sale, for Visa(R), MasterCard(R), Discover(R)/ NOVUS(sm), Diners Club(R), American Express(R), JCB(R) and private-label transactions. In addition to taking advantage of standard dial technologies at speeds of up to 9600bps, POS-partner can take advantage of newer technologies such as ISDN and asynchronous lease lines.
“We are excited POS-partner is in such high demand among merchants and is bringing efficiencies to our financial institutions and their merchants,” said Fred Gumbel, president and CEO of Vital. “Tailored for retailers, restaurants, hotels, direct marketers and billers, POS-partner has proven to provide outstanding service, control and flexibility to all merchants. This product reinforces our position in the marketplace of understanding merchants’ most pressing business challenges and proactively providing the innovative technology solution.”
Linda DeLude, product manager at U.S. Bancorp said, “POS-partner offers us the first all-in-one, windows-based product for our merchants, and the fact it can be used as a stand alone PC as well as in a HUB or LAN environment creates a huge advantage over other systems available to us. Merchants like the ease of installation and the flexibility POS-partner provides, including the dedicated POS-partner help desk access. Equally as important is the comfort level merchants have knowing that Vital and U.S. Bancorp will update them with any future regulatory changes.”
Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, one of the preferred hotels in the world, was involved in Vital’s POS-partner pilot program, and has been using POS-partner since 1995. Windsor Court Hotel is a merchant of Harris Bank, one of Vital’s largest clients and distributors of POS-partner.
“POS-partner has had a major impact on streamlining our payment operations. It provides superior speed and accuracy for the transmission of our data. We were literally a day behind with our old system,” said Alledia Tubbs, assistant comptroller for Windsor Court Hotel. “Integrating and automating our systems by linking them into a central PC significantly decreases the amount of time our night audit staff would have normally spent manually reporting and submitting transaction data. In addition, it helps curb the level of fraudulent activity. Vital knows our needs and satisfies them with exceptional customer service.”
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE USB), is the result of a merger between First Bank System, Inc. of Minneapolis and U.S. Bancorp, formerly headquartered in Portland, Oregon. With $72 billion in assets, USB is the 14th largest bank holding company in the nation operating more than 1,000 banking offices in 17 states Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Wyoming. The company provides comprehensive banking, trust, investment and payment systems products and services to consumers, businesses and institutions. It operates a network of 4,500 ATMs throughout the U.S. and 24 hour, seven days a week telephone customer service centers. The company is the largest provider of Visa corporate and purchasing cards in the world and one of the largest providers of corporate trust services in the U.S.
The Harris Bank provides banking, trust and investment services to individuals, small and mid-market businesses and not-for-profit and government entities within Chicago and surrounding communities. With $21.5 billion in assets, Harris is a leading provider of corporate banking services, primarily in the Midwest, and trust, cash management, investment management, private banking and credit card services throughout the U.S. Harris Bank is wholly owned by the Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest and one of North America’s largest banks. With 140 locations open, Harris is one of Chicago’s largest community bank networks and its third largest banking organization.
Windsor Court Hotel is owned by Orient-Express Hotels, based in London, England. It is part of a luxury group of hotels, restaurants, trains, and cruises. As members of both Leading Hotels of the World and Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Windsor Court Hotel has twice been named the number one hotel in America by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.
Vital Processing Services (Vital) is a leading full-service merchant processing company. Its clients include financial institutions that provide credit card processing to their merchant customers. Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital offers financial institutions operational services that enhance business solutions without competing for their merchant business. Its services include merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; operational fulfillment services (including the outsourcing of chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) U.S.A. and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE TSS) (TSYS(R)) (). Vital’s Internet address is .Details
Voice Integrators Inc. and Integrion Financial Network announced yesterday the availability of an engine that connects telephone voice response units to Integrion’s Interactive Financial Services platform.
Working closely with Integrion’s technology partner, IBM, Voice Integrators has developed the engine to enable the Direct Talk 6000 VRU system to deliver standard Gold messages to IFS. Washington Mutual, Inc, an Integrion owner, will be the first bank to implement the Voice Integrator solution. However, the Gold engine can be used with any VRU system and can be customized according to bank specifications. Furthermore, the Gold engine allows for seamless connectivity between current VRU systems and IFS, causing no disruption to the bank customers’ experience.
As part of the Washington Mutual implementation, the Voice Integrator solution will become Gold-certified by Integrion. This certification process ensures that a technology provider has conformed to the Gold standard and has properly employed Gold messages.
“While the personal computer is generally thought to be the instrument that will spur the development of home banking, the majority of remote transactions today are conducted over the telephone. The Voice Integrators’ solution allows VRU systems to connect to IFS, allowing for the identical scalability and security that the PC channel enjoys today,” said Thomas Chisholm, President of Voice Integrators. “The combined strengths of the IFS platform and this new engine will offer a unique competitive advantage to financial institutions using this new technology. We are very excited and pleased about this strategic alliance with Integrion because of their leading position in electronic commerce services.”
David S. Fortney, Director of Product Development for Integrion, said, “Financial institutions will have to provide their customers multiple ways to do remote banking. IFS allows financial institutions to give their customers both telephone and PC options without having to develop and manage multiple connections. We are pleased to work with Voice Integrators, which has developed a valuable component of this system.”
Owned by 17 banks, IBM, and Visa USA, the Integrion Financial Network provides interactive banking and electronic commerce services to financial institutions. Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor.
Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit.
About Voice Integrators
Voice Integrators, Inc., is a supplier of enhanced electronic business call center solutions. Voice Integrators’ solutions are found in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, healthcare, utilities, and finance. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Voice Integrators is a global provider, and has been supplying enhanced call center solutions for more than 10 years.
For more information about Voice Integrators, Inc. and its products, please consult the World Wide Web at or call 201-818-6600. For additional information on Integrion Financial Network and its products, please consult the World Wide Web at or call 215-575-4520.Details
The world’s largest multi-bank smart card payment program will be launched this summer by a consortium of 19 Nigerian banks. Smart Card Nigeria also announced yesterday it has awarded the technology contract for the program to Dublin-based Card Services International. CSI will supply its ‘CardBASE2000’, a multi- application smart card platform, and will also supply the smart cards and POS devices. The first phase of the program, to get underway this summer, will involve 22,000 cardholders and 200 merchants. CSI says the program will be extended to millions of cardholders.Details
iMALL, Inc. , creator of the world’s first and largest independent Internet mall, Thursday launched the iMALL Electronic Commerce Reseller Program, leveraging its position as a leading provider of secure, online shopping solutions. The new program will greatly extend iMALL’s reach into the exploding e-commerce marketplace by empowering established Internet resellers to easily upgrade their clients’ online presence into fully transactional, commerce-enabled web sites. Denver-based Verio Web Hosting, Inc., a leader in Web hosting solutions with more than 1,800 resellers in 60 countries, was named the first master reseller in the new program.
“This program will provide resellers with an on-going revenue stream while offering merchants an extremely cost-effective, turnkey solution for establishing a secure Internet storefront,” said Richard Rosenblatt, chairman and CEO of iMALL, Inc. “For an additional fee, merchants can also promote their products to iMALL’s more than two million monthly shoppers to quickly attract a qualified base of customers who prefer to do their shopping online.”
A key to the new program is iMALL’s iStore(TM) e-commerce and Internet storefront software, which is being made available for reseller use for the first time. iStore is the primary tool that iMALL uses to create commerce- enabled Web sites for its popular online shopping mall at .
“More than four years of continuous internal use and development have gone into the making of iStore,” said Rosenblatt. “With this mature product and iMALL’s market reach behind them, resellers will be able to offer merchants an e-commerce solution that we believe is superior to anything else on the market. Throw in resellers’ value-added services and their long-term relationships with merchants, and you’ve got a formula that is going to make a lot of resellers very successful.”
Reseller Program Details
Two designations are available under the Electronic Commerce Services Reseller Program reseller and master reseller. Master resellers, such as Verio Web Hosting, provide support for their resellers who offer Internet services to their business clients. Resellers may work directly with iMALL, but are encouraged to work through a master reseller. Discounts and support options vary based on the number of merchants a reseller or master reseller maintains. Training and sales/marketing support options will be announced at a later date.
Private-labeling of iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services is available exclusively to qualifying master resellers. For more details about iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services Program, please contact Gene Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Verio Web Hosting Signed as First Master Reseller
Leading Web hosting vendor, Verio Web Hosting, Inc., today became the first master reseller for the newly announced program. Under the terms of the agreement, Verio Web Hosting will offer a privately labeled version of iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services through its more than 1,800 reseller partners in 60 countries. Verio Web Hosting currently hosts more than 30,000 Web sites. (See separate announcement from Verio Web Hosting, Inc. at [http://newsroom.verio.net)].
“The majority of our resellers are ISPs and Web design shops who are looking for ways to diversify and expand their product offerings. Not surprisingly, electronic commerce is at the top of most of their lists,” said J. Kent Millington, president of Verio Web Hosting. “iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services Program offers us a simple, ready-made way to put our resellers in the e-commerce business, which will also help to stimulate more Web hosting business for us.”
About iMALL, Inc.
iMALL, Inc., is the creator of , the world’s leading independent Internet mall and one of the most frequently visited electronic commercial destinations. iMALL’s unique e-commerce architecture provides user-friendly search and purchasing features combined with the protection of secured transactions. iMALL’s shares are publicly traded on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “IIMLD”. For more information on iMALL, Inc. call 818-509-3600, send e-mail to info@.imall.com or visit on the World Wide Web.
iMALL and iStore are trademarks of iMall, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective holders.
Leading global designer and manufacturer of thermal label and plastic card printers, Eltron International yesterday announced shipment of its new long life printhead FBS (Floating Bracket System) architecture for the company’s popular plastic card printer product line. The new FBS extends the life of the printhead mechanism by 150 percent when used with Eltron recommended media and supplies. At 100K passes, Eltron printhead mechanism lasts longer than any plastic card printer in its class.
In addition to extending overall print head life, the new FBS printhead is extremely easy to replace and eliminates the need for printhead adjustments. It also reduces printhead vibration resulting in quiet printer operation. This makes the Eltron plastic ID card printers particularly well suited for use in ID card printing applications in facility lobbies and reception areas.
The FBS has been implemented in Eltron’s entire Privilege Series plastic card printer product line including the popular P300 (1000 monochrome cards/hour), the P300C (100 color cards/hour), the P400 (80 color cards/hour with dual sided printing), the P500 (100 color cards/hour with over lamination), and the P600 (180 color cards/hour). All Eltron card printers feature 300 dots per inch print resolution, resident fonts and bar code symbologies, Windows drivers, card design software, and parallel interface. Options include magnetic stripe encoding, smart card encoding support, and a serial interface.
ISO 9002 certified, Eltron International (NASDAQ NMELTN) is the leading designer and manufacturer of thermal label printers, plastic card printers, and secure ID printing systems. The company offers the broadest line of thermal printers, in the industry. Products include direct and thermal transfer bar code label and receipt printers, integrated verified printing systems, plastic card printers, secure ID printing system, pressure sensitive labels and tags, thermal ribbons, plastic cards and related accessories. Major users are in the healthcare, retail, manufacturing, automotive, package delivery, financial service, security and government markets throughout the world. Eltron has corporate headquarters in Simi Valley, Calif. and additional facilities throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East. More information about Eltron is available at .Details
American Express released results from its ‘Everyday Spending Index’ yesterday that shows 70% of American consumers routinely pay their credit or charge cards bills each month and that 33% of consumers use plastic more frequently today then five years ago. Convenience was cited as the number one reason for using cards more frequently. Other reasons cited for increased card usage reward programs (61%); greater spending flexibility (59%); less check writing (56%), ability to float until the next cycle (54%); preference to not carry cash (50%) and better spending management (45%). AmEx says its survey shows the average American spends up to $20,000 each year on typical household and recurring expenses.Details