First Data Direct banking is reaching out to small and mid- sized financial institutions with a new service that will deliver a full-featured, customized Internet banking solution in as little as thirty days with implementation costs of as little as $30,000. The new program is part of First Data’s ‘NetPrecision’ suite of Internet banking services. First Data says the service achieves economies of scale previously only enjoyed by the largest banks.Details
In just the first two days of the Nagano Olympic Winter Games, Worldwide Olympic Partner Visa Internationalâs exclusive ATMs located in Olympic Games venues and select hotels throughout Nagano dispensed nearly 60 million yen (US$500,000). The two leading transaction sites were the International Broadcast Center (IBC) ATM, where more than 21 million yen (US$170,000) was withdrawn in 659 transactions, and Visaâs Customer Service Center on Naganoâs Chou Dori, where nearly 10 million yen (US$80,000) was withdrawn in 425 transactions.
In addition to the ATM activity at Visaâs Customer Service Center, more than 2,000 visitors stopped by in the first weekend of the Centerâs operation. While the vast majority of these visitors stopped in for Visa Ispel pins and to view the Visa Olympics of the Imagination art displayed in the lobby, the center did fulfill six emergency card replacements, one travelerâs cheque refund and one Visa Travel Money refund over the weekend.
Volume on Visa cards merchants throughout the Nagano area has also increased significantly, with the largest Visa acquirers reporting increases in volume of more than 20 per cent.
As the worldâs best way to pay, Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and the global economy. As the leader in emerging technologies, Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 29 countries and on the Internet commerce. Visaâs 618 million cards, generating more than US$ 1 trillion in annual volume, are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 380,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network Visaâs Internet address is [www.visa.com].
Cendant Corporation announced yesterday the appointment of John H. Fullmer as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. The newly formed Cendant Corporation is the result of the merger between HFS Incorporated and CUC International Inc. announced on December 18, 1997. Mr. Fullmer joined CUC International in 1980 and most recently served as its Chief Marketing Officer.
As Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Fullmer will be responsible for assessing new marketing opportunities and channels of distribution as well as overseeing the marketing activities of all of Cendant’s companies and divisions.
Cendant is the world’s premier consumer and business services company with a focus on real estate, travel and membership services and a market capitalization of approximately $32 billion. The company reported 1997 revenues of $5.3 billion and net income of $872 million, excluding one-time charges related to the merger between HFS Incorporated and CUC International Inc. and other unusual charges. With more than 37,000 employees operating in over 100 countries, Cendant is headquartered in Stamford, CT and Parsippany, NJ.
Henry R. Silverman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cendant, said, “John Fullmer is the ideal person to help us maximize the growth potential residing in Cendant’s numerous global brands, 100 million annual consumer contacts and more than 66.5 million memberships. We are committed to the successful creation and implementation of our business development activities across Cendant business units. We are very pleased to have such an experienced executive leading these efforts, as well as our marketing activities, as we continue to establish Cendant as one of the world’s leading growth companies.”
Mr. Fullmer began his 18-year career with CUC International following 12 years at R.L. Polk, a Detroit-based direct response firm. While at CUC, Mr. Fullmer helped establish most of the membership services and market breakthroughs developed by the company. Among his accomplishments are
— Creating the first affinity bank card with BankOne in 1981, that helped to expand the bank’s portfolio from a regional credit card issuer to the position it holds today as a major national issuer;
— Helping create and launch Travelers Advantage(R) in 1986, a program that today boasts over 4.5 million members worldwide, thereby positioning Cendant as the largest membership travel organization in the United States;
— Creating and launching Privacy Guard(R), the nation’s largest provider of credit information, motor vehicle reports and Social Security benefits; and,
— Most recently, he has collaborated with his counterparts and colleagues at HFS and CUC to conceive and launch TransferPlus, in which customers calling HFS companies were offered value-added services from CUC, resulting in over one million new memberships sold in the first 12 months.
Cendant Corporation is a global provider of consumer and business services. The Company operates in three principal segments Membership, Travel and Real Estate. In Membership Services, Cendant provides access to travel, shopping, auto, dining and other services through more than 66.5 million memberships worldwide. In Travel Services, the Company is the leading franchiser of hotels and rental car agencies worldwide, the premier provider of vacation exchange services and the second largest fleet management company. In Real Estate Services, Cendant is the world’s premier franchiser of residential real estate brokerage offices, a major provider of mortgage services to consumers and a global leader in corporate employee relocation.Details
MCI is breaking new ground again with its latest online customer service innovation, Electronic Invoicing. Electronic Invoicing allows customers to pay their phone bill automatically online, simply by using their credit card.
“No other telecommunications company — long-distance or local — offers this Electronic Invoicing service,” said David Slovin, director of new media communications at MCI. “MCI’s reputation of quality customer service is unmatched once again.”
In addition to the convenience of paying bills without the aggravation of checks and stamps, MCI online customer service allows customers to get complete control over their accounts. Complete and secure information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers can review their bill, get credit for wrong numbers, apply for calling cards, and more, all from the comfort of their own computer. MCI customers can also interact with customer service representatives online, handling all questions a customer may have right on the Web.
Along with comprehensive Online Customer Service — the MCI Web site allows customers to access other features such as sending numeric and text message pages over the Web. Yet another way MCI is utilizing cutting-edge technology to bring customers the most advanced, affordable and time saving products available today.
MORE THAN JUST THE “FAQs”
Most online customer services provided by other telecommunications companies provides little more than a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to their customers looking for online assistance. Often, at the bottom of many of these lists, there is little more than a phone number or a mailing address for more information.
With comprehensive billing and account information, as well as the Electronic Invoicing, MCI Online Customer Service has gone above and beyond what any competitors have done on the Web.
“We are providing our customers with what they are looking for — convenience,” said Slovin.
In fact, a study conducted by Forrester Research that asked consumers what they liked best about doing business on the Web showed that the number one answer was “convenience.”
POINT, CLICK AND SERVE
By providing this cutting-edge technology to its customers, MCI also finds itself at the head of a business trend. The American Management Association predicts that by 1999, the number of U.S. firms relying on the Internet will increase by more than 500 percent.
And according to Vint Cerf, co-founder of the Internet and an MCI senior vice president, the Internet will forever change the relationship between companies and their consumers. “As the Internet takes on a serious infrastructure role, it will become more and more essential that its users be able to rely on it in the normal course of daily life, in the same way they have come to rely on the telephone, electric power and the road system.”
MCI Online Customer Service and Electronic Invoicing can be found on MCI’s Web site at [http//www.mci.com].
MCI, headquartered in Washington, D.C., offers the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of communication services. With 1996 revenues of $18.5 billion, MCI ranks as one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. MCI is also the world’s second largest carrier of international traffic and operates one of the world’s most advanced Internet networks. Since its founding in 1968, MCI has been a leader in bringing the benefits of long distance competition to businesses and consumers and is now leading the charge to open U.S. local calling markets to competition. On November 10, 1997, MCI announced a definitive merger agreement with WorldCom, Inc. to form a new company called MCI WorldCom. For more information on MCI, visit the company’s Web site at .
The wide use of credit cards as the preferred method of payment for many consumers is putting increasing pressure on credit card issuers to better understand their cardholders’ buying patterns and level of profitability.
The ability to provide a joint solution to address these needs is the driving force behind the partnership between MicroStrategy, the largest relational on-line analytical processing (ROLAP) vendor, and HNC Software, a world leader in the development and delivery of predictive software solutions in client/server environments.
The two companies are teaming to leverage MicroStrategy’s decision support technology as part of ProfitMax(r), an HNC solution that allows credit card issuers to manage the profitability of card portfolios with intelligent scoring and strategy deployment.
ProfitMax uses neural networks and HNC’s cardholder behavior profiling technology to analyze each cardholder account and predict its future profit. Three neural network-based models-Credit Risk, Revenue, and Attrition Risk-are used along with historical data to give a well-rounded picture of the expected profitability of each account in an issuer’s portfolio. Incorporating MicroStrategy’s technology into ProfitMax will allow HNC to provide its customers with a complete data warehousing solution containing valuable transaction-level information. MicroStrategy’s product suite will enable ProfitMax users to interactively analyze cardholder activity, thereby increasing card portfolio profitability.
By documenting and validating their scoring activity, card issuers can better understand their profitable customer base, design improved promotions, and identify market trends.
According to Patricia Brown, Vice President of Product Development at HNC, credit card issuers typically have warehouses of summary data, which do not include the rich, detailed information contained in the transaction data that ProfitMax automatically warehouses. “That is why we chose to team with MicroStrategy. When integrated into ProfitMax, MicroStrategy’s ROLAP products give credit card issuers the flexibility to report on any aspect of their customer base, enabling card issuers to better understand the drivers of their business and the direction of the market.”
“We are very excited about our partnership with HNC Software and the impact we will have on the financial industry,” said Sanju K. Bansal, Chief Operating Officer at MicroStrategy. “Our product suite is uniquely suited for performing sophisticated analysis against the full depth and breadth of the data warehouse. By combining our OLAP technology with HNC’s transaction-based neural network and predictive modeling capabilities, we are arming credit card issuers with information to better understand their customers’ current behavior and anticipate future trends. Such knowledge is critical for companies to effectively serve their customers and remain profitable in such a competitive industry.”
About MicroStrategy, Inc.
MicroStrategy is the leading provider of industrial-strength decision support products for developing and accessing data warehouses. As the Relational OLAP (ROLAP) industry pioneer, MicroStrategy has delivered a series of technology breakthroughs including high-performance, multidimensional OLAP analysis directly from relational databases; VLDB drivers for terabyte-range scalability; a multipass SQL generation engine; fully functional OLAP and decision support over the World Wide Web; and the first management and monitoring tool for administering VLDB and web-based DSS applications.
MicroStrategy’s worldwide customer base includes hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, MCI, CVS, Glaxo Wellcome, Sprint, AT&T, American Express, USAA, Victoria’s Secret, United Airlines, and Hallmark. In addition, MicroStrategy has developed strategic partnerships with value-added resellers and leading software and hardware companies. More information about MicroStrategy can be found on the World Wide Web at or by calling 1-800-927-1868.
Headquartered in San Diego, California, HNC Software Inc. (NASDAQ HNCS) is a world leader in the development and delivery of predictive software solutions in client/server environments. HNC provides innovative predictive software systems in the financial services, retail, insurance information, and electronic commerce markets. For more information, contact Patsy Campbell, Director of Marketing, HNC Software Inc., 5930 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, (619) 546-8877, . For investor relations hotline, call (800) 396-8052.
MicroStrategy is a registered trademark of MicroStrategy Incorporated. ProfitMax is a registered trademark of HNC Software Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners and should be treated as such.Details
Belco System Technologies filed for patents in Canada, Mexico and Europe yesterday for its ‘Personal Reader Contact Technology’. Belco currently holds a U.S. patent on the ‘PRCT’ product which is a remote card reader that connects directly to a consumer’s telephone, utilizing the same voice line to transmit data to the merchant simultaneously with voice interaction. Belco says its technology will eliminate the fraud problem of stolen credit card numbers overheard verbally.Details
A 7-Eleven store in Austin, Texas was the site yesterday for the introduction of 7-Eleven’s ‘Financial Service Center’. The new, self-serve technology cashes checks, sends money transfers and accepts cash or bank cards for purchases of items like money orders and phone cards, in addition to providing standard ATM services. To create the ‘FSC’ 7-Eleven collaborated with Affiliated Computer Services, NCR Corp and Western Union Financial Services. 7-Eleven says it will install the new machines in all 37 Austin stores to test the concept before moving to a nationwide rollout. As a promotion 7-Eleven is waiving the check-cashing sign-up fee during the first month of operation and allowing customers to cash their first six payroll checks free.Details
Beneficial Corporation announced Tuesday afternoon a definitive agreement to sell its Canadian subsidiary, Beneficial Canada Holdings Inc., to Associates First Capital Corporation. The sale is subject to corporate and regulatory approvals. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although Beneficial expects to record a net aftertax gain of more than $100 million in the first quarter.
Beneficial Canada has 105 offices and C$1.1 billion in net receivables.
In October, Beneficial Corporation announced that, as a result of a recent strategic review, it would sell its Canadian and German consumer finance subsidiaries and focus on its core U.S. consumer financial services businesses, including consumer finance, related credit insurance, private-label credit card, and its highly profitable United Kingdom and Irish operations. The company also plans to sell certain real estate holdings in New Jersey and Florida. A contract for sale of 580 acres of land in Peapack Gladstone and Bedminister, N.J., was announced on Jan. 30.
Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the core business, which is currently in the midst of a major reengineering project designed to improve loan growth, increase efficiency and significantly improve profitability. The proceeds will also effectively finance the company’s current 3 million-share equity repurchase program.
Beneficial Corporation is a $17 billion, New York Stock Exchange-listed financial services holding company. Subsidiaries of the Company provide financial services through their various consumer finance, credit- card, banking and insurance operations located throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM ASSOCIATES
Associates First Capital Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Beneficial Canada Holdings Incorporated, the Canadian consumer finance subsidiary of Beneficial Corporation. The acquisition is subject to regulatory and corporate approvals. Terms were not disclosed.
Beneficial Canada has 105 offices and C$1.1 billion in net receivables. The acquisition will significantly expand The Associates consumer finance network across Canada, according to Keith W. Hughes, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“Beneficial has a branch distribution network that serves consumers in all 10 provinces. Its diverse portfolio and emphasis on quality customer service fit well with our existing consumer and commercial finance operations in Canada,” Mr. Hughes said. “Beneficial has experienced management and an excellent employee base that we are pleased to welcome to our organization.”
The Beneficial portfolio includes mortgage loans, personal loans, private label credit card and sales finance receivables.
The Associates has had lending operations in Canada for more than 20 years. It currently provides consumer and commercial financing in Canada, including the financing and leasing of trucks, heavy equipment and telecommunications equipment. In 1997, The Associates acquired Superior Acceptance Corporation, which added 91 offices to the consumer branch network.
With the acquisition of Beneficial Canada, The Associates will have 635,000 customers and total net receivables of C$2.8 billion in Canada. It will be the largest foreign-owned diversified finance company in Canada.
Associates First Capital Corporation is the largest publicly traded finance company in the United States, providing consumer and commercial finance, leasing and related services through 2,265 offices in the U.S. and internationally. Based in Dallas, it is a majority-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.Details
IDRC (International Data Response Corporation), a world-class provider of outsourced Teleservices and Internet-based solutions to a variety of industries, is proud to announce that its operating divisions rank among the top 10 telemarketing service agencies on Telemarketing & Call Center Solutions magazine’s annual Top 50 outbound and inbound service agency rankings. On the Top 50 outbound ranking, IDRC’s USA division was listed as the nation’s 3rd largest service agency, while IDRC’s International division was ranked as the 8th largest international agency. On the Top 50 inbound listing, IDRC’s International division ranked as the 10th largest international agency.
The Top 50 outbound telemarketing service agencies will appear in the March issue of Telemarketing & Call Center Solutions, while the April issue will showcase the Top 50 inbound agencies. This marks the 13th year the Telemarketing & Call Center Solutions has charted the progress of America’s telemarketing service agencies. To qualify for inclusion in the Top 50, agencies were required to answer a questionnaire detailing the nature of their business and listing the total number of billable long distance transport minutes between November 1995 and October 1996, verified by the signature of the company’s President/CEO. In addition, each agency was required to submit a letter for each of its telephone service providers certifying the accuracy of the billable minutes submitted. The Top 50 ranking is generally considered to be the industry’s benchmark for selecting the nation’s leading telemarketing agencies
This marks the eighth year in a row that an IDRC affiliate has appeared on this ranking. Last year, on the Top 50 outbound listing, IDRC subsidiary ProMark One ranked 5th and IntelliSell ranked 30th, while S&P Data ranked 11th on the international list. On last year’s Top 50 inbound ranking, S&P Data ranked 9th on the international list.
Based in the San Diego area, IDRC specializes in providing inbound and outbound telephone and Internet-based solutions that target businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, and insurance, among others. IDRC uses customized, state-of-the-art computer and telephone based technologies in its operations. IDRC’s focus is to work with selected business partners, helping them and to maximize the lifetime value of their customers through the effective use of telephone and Internet-based support systems. IDRC is dedicated to developing the combined potential of all of its operating companies by offering fully integrated services to clients throughout North America. IDRC is a portfolio investment of Menlo Park, CA and New York, NY based McCown De Leeuw & Co., a private venture-banking firm, committed to building companies that make a difference in their respective industries. IDRC is organized geographically into two operating units, consisting of IDRC USA, based in Scottsdale, AZ and IDRC International, based in Toronto, ON. IDRC USA consists of ProMark One Marketing Services, IntelliSell Corporation, Telnet Systems, and IDRC USA’s newest call center facility in San Diego. Through the combined resources of these companies, IDRC is able to offer a wide spectrum of fully integrated services to clients throughout North America. The IDRC network of companies currently has nearly 6,800 employees and 4,500 workstations in 31 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
IDRC USA’s headquarters are located 7272 E. Indian School Road, Suite 350, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. For more information about IDRC USA, please contact Dawn Wahler, Marketing Manager, at 800-933-0233 or 602-941-6200. IDRC International’s headquarters are located at One Concorde Gate, 9th Floor, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3C 3N6. For more information about IDRC International, contact Darius Knight, VP Sales & Marketing, at 416-445-5663.Details
Atlanta-based LDC Direct announced it has begun shipments of the new ‘LDC 384’ POS terminal – a system for delivering prepaid telecommunications services at the retail level. Using the ‘LDC 384’, retailers can simultaneously offer long distance cards, prepaid cellular and PCS service, prepaid paging and more from a single device with unprecedented levels of security. The LDC system consists of a credit-card style terminal with an integrated printer that is capable of printing a prepaid card in multiple languages and activating the card’s PIN number within 3 seconds at the time of sale. Because the cards have no value until they are activated, they are able to be displayed in high traffic impulse areas such as countertops and aisle displays without any fear of theft. This same level of security enables the retailer to have an unlimited inventory of PIN numbers yet only pay for what they sell. The LDC Direct system can process cards for a variety of prepaid services and because it doesn’t require a phone call to activate the card, the transaction takes only a few seconds saving time at the checkout stand. New services such as transit tickets, prepaid gasoline and overnight package delivery are easily added and prices can be changed almost instantly to adapt to specific market conditions.Details
Siemens Telecom Network is launching a new prepaid debit card service platform for telephone service providers. Unlike current add-on solutions, the Siemens prepaid debit card service is a network-wide solution, hosted on a single integrated platform that is industry standard AIN 0.1/0.2-based and can be connected to any switch with AIN capability, and can accommodate massive debit card volumes. Siemens’ ‘Prepaid Debit Card’ service will be available in March.Details
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation announced the launch of its new Internet Banking service and free personal web site promotion. M&I Internet Banking gives customers access to their account information on the Internet using a secure connection from the M&I Bank home page.
M&I Internet Banking allows customers to perform a variety of transactions including reviewing account balances, transferring funds between accounts and paying bills from the comfort of their home or office. M&I Internet Banking offers instant free access to account information 24 hours a day. When customers use the convenient automatic bill pay feature, they are charged only .35 per bill, just over the price of a postage stamp.
M&I Internet Banking users will connect to the Internet through their Internet Service Provider (ISP). They will then need a four-digit user name and a password to access their account information. Additional security is provided by the user’s browser (such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer) and a state-of-the-art virtual vault system supplied by M&I Data Services.
Free Personal Web Sites on MiWeb!
To promote the release of this new product, M&I is offering a free personal web site for anyone regardless of whether they are a current M&I customer. MiWeb is the first Internet community sponsored by a bank.
When current customers or non customers access MiWeb, on the Internet, they can set up their own personal home page and use it for 60 days. After this free trial period, people who sign up for either M&I’s free Internet Banking or PC Banking services will continue to enjoy the use of their free personal web site.
Signing up for a free, do-it-yourself web page is a simple web connection away! MiWeb gives Internet users the opportunity to set up their own personal web site quickly and easily. MiWeb users have complete control over how their web site looks. By using the edit feature, users will personalize their site to fit their needs. MiWeb contains a 12-image photo bank or users can download photos from their computer or the Internet. From their personal web site they can receive e-mails or post personal news and other information they want to communicate to their family and friends. They can also feature photos of their children, pets or family events to keep loved ones up to date and post important events such as birthdays and anniversaries on their web calendar. Additionally, they can take the opportunity to have a “chat” with other members of the MiWeb Community through the chat room feature. This capability to communicate on a real-time basis is of tremendous value to families and friends who are scattered throughout the world.
Features also include ease of use, ISP independence, and one megabyte of storage. MiWeb home pages are licensed for private use and entertainment. All MiWeb web sites are periodically scanned for inappropriate material.
Both M&I Internet Banking and MiWeb are designed to be very user-friendly products, with on-line help and easy-to-follow instructions. Additional technical support is also available by e-mailing M&I Bank or by calling M&I Direct, M&I’s 24-hour call service center at 888-464-5463 (press 9, then press 5).
PC Banking Charges Eliminated
In addition to the roll out of Internet Banking, M&I is no longer charging monthly access fees for its recently upgraded personal PC Banking product. Customers will only be charged .35 per bill when using the bill-paying feature. PC Banking offers the same features as Internet Banking through software installed on the user’s personal computer.
For more information on these products, access , , or call 888-464-5463.
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., has $19.5 billion in assets. The Corporation has 26 affiliate banks in Wisconsin with more than 225 offices, and a bank in Phoenix, Arizona with 12 offices. Marshall & Ilsley Corporation stock is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol “MRIS.”Details