TSYS Canada Opens

After a succession of new client announcements with leading Canadian financial institutions and retailers, Total System Services, Inc.formally established its presence in Canada by opening TSYS Canada, Inc.

TSYS Canada will be headquartered in Welland, Ontario, Canada, and will be a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS, established to provide support for TSYS’ newly signed Canadian clients.  TSYS Canada will initially employ programmers, who will assist with the conversion of Canadian Tire Acceptance Limited’s (CTAL’s) six million private-label and MasterCard accounts from the retailer’s in-house system to TS2(R), TSYS’ state-of-the-art, Year 2000 compliant software system.  TS2 is the complete rewrite of TSYS’ Cardholder System.  The card processing system offers exceptional levels of service and performance beyond any application in today’s card processing domain.

A wholly owned subsidiary of the country’s largest hardgoods retailer, CTAL is the fourth largest MasterCard issuer in Canada.  Canadian Tire has 430 stores across Canada.  Forty percent of Canadians visit a Canadian Tire store each week, and 85 percent of Canadians live within a 15-minute drive of a Canadian Tire store.

TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson said, “We are excited about the events that have taken place in Canada in the past year.  The opening of TSYS Canada, Inc. culminates a year of successfully building relationships in the region. TSYS Canada, Inc. will provide our Canadian clients the assistance necessary to successfully be converted to our TS2 card-processing platform.”

CTAL President Tom Gauld said, “The opening of TSYS Canada, Inc. affirms TSYS’ commitment to our business, and we expect the transition from our in- house processing system to TSYS’ TS2 system to be seamless.  We look forward to the enhanced levels of product and service offerings that TS2 will afford us and our customers.”

Located in Welland, Ontario, Canadian Tire Acceptance Limited (CTAL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. CTAL currently provides a variety of credit and other financial services to more than 6 million Canadian Tire customers. Services include the Canadian Tire Credit Card, the Options MasterCard, the Canadian Tire AutoClub, a Long Distance Savings Plan and a selection of insurance products.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS is one of the world’s largest credit, debit, commercial and private-label card processing companies, serving card- issuing institutions throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, representing more than 92 million cardholder accounts. TSYS provides a comprehensive on-line system of data processing services marketed as THE TOTAL SYSTEM(R). In 1996, TSYS formed a joint venture with Visa(R) U.S.A. to create Vital Processing Services L.L.C. (), a leading full-service merchant services provider. TSYS’ 1997 revenues totaled $361.5 million; the company is an 80.7 percent owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE SNV) (), a $9.3 billion asset, multi-financial services company and a component of the Standard and Poors 500 Index.  Synovus also includes 34 banking affiliates in four Southeastern states, a full-service brokerage firm, a comprehensive trust services provider and a mortgage services company. TSYS’ Internet address is .


CDPD Catches On

AT&T Wireless Services announced that U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. and Unicard Systems, Inc. have begun using the AT&T Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) network to provide rapid verification of customer information for hundreds of Texas restaurants.

The wireless system enables operators of private clubs to quickly verify the membership status of patrons, reducing verification time from 20 or more seconds to just 2-3 seconds.

In many Texas counties, restaurants serving alcoholic beverages must form a private club and certify that customers are members. To facilitate business, restaurants have formed a network which honors card-carrying members from participating clubs. Using standard dial-up verification technology, it takes 20 seconds or more to receive verification once a member’s card is swiped through a card-processing terminal. Busy signals and other delays often lengthen the process and result in unhappy customers and the temptation to bypass the process, putting merchants at risk. The wireless verification system is used in over 200 Texas clubs, with a goal of 600-800 by year-end 1998.

Leveraging AT&T’s CDPD Network

The Texas system utilizes Unicard’s new SUN System which employs U.S. Wireless Data’s proprietary software and TRANZ(TM) Enabler units to convert Unicard’s Verifone dial-up card processing terminals into high speed wireless terminals. The SUN System transmits data between the card-processing terminals and a central verification server via the AT&T wireless network. The same technology can be used for credit card transactions.

“We feel absolutely confident in our choosing to go with the AT&T network,” said Rod Stambaugh, chairman of U.S. Wireless Data. “Reliable and cost-effective, the AT&T CDPD network gives us the ideal platform to provide our customers with the level of service and dependability they have come to expect from U.S. Wireless Data.”

“The fact that our CDPD network was chosen as part of this dynamic package proves once again how AT&T Wireless plays a major role in the competitive business-to-business market by adding value through our exceptional network technology and capabilities,” said Andy Willett, director of product management for the AT&T wireless data division. “Like other value added resellers and solutions providers, U.S. Wireless Data and Unicard Systems have found that they can leverage our network to help their customers connect quickly and cost-effectively. While wireless verification is relatively new, I think it will rapidly become a widespread solution for transaction processing.”

Wireless Verification Offers Value to Business

CDPD technology through the AT&T network enables membership verification, credit card transactions and many other types of data transmission. Wireless verification eliminates the need for a dedicated or shared telephone line, allowing businesses to expedite transmissions, therefore eliminating delays, busy signals and the recurring costs of monthly telephone service. The AT&T CDPD network covers 70 of the top 100 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. For developer information about leveraging the AT&T nationwide CDPD wireless network, contact [www.attws.com/nohost/data/var/][1] or call 425/803-4602.

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc., (OTCBB USWDA) has developed, tested and is now delivering compelling new proprietary products, programs and standards for the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilize wireless networks such as the AT&T CDPD network.

Unicard Systems, Inc. is a service provider delivering credit card verification and transaction systems to the restaurant and nightclub industry.

About AT&T

The Wireless Data Division of AT&T Wireless Services is a recognized leader in the development of wireless data communications networks designed to meet the entire spectrum of business data communications requirements, from short transactions, such as messaging, data entry and dispatch, to longer sessions typical of file transfers and interactive computing. Customers can contact the Wireless Data Division at 1-888-DATA-ATT (328-2288), ext. 164. For more information on AT&T Wireless data solutions, check the AT&T Wireless Web site at [www.attws.com][2] and click on the wireless data icon.

[1]: http://www.attws.com/nohost/data/var/
[2]: http://www.attws.com


TransAlliance Tx Vol Up 49%

TransAlliance, operator of the West Coast Exchange Network and provider of third-party processing services, announced dramatic transaction volume growth for 1997. Total volume processed by TransAlliance for 1997 was 396,098,778 transactions, a 49 percent increase from the year before.

Year-end statistics included substantial growth in the area of on-line and off-line Point-Of-Sale (POS) transactions. Off-line POS transactions achieved a 111% increase over 1996 followed by an 81% increase in on-line POS transactions. TransAlliance has processed off-line Visa Check and MasterMoney transactions since 1992, and today supports these programs for more than 200 financial institutions.

The number of direct connect ATMs driven by TransAlliance increased by 750 in 1997, marked by recent deployments of dial-up cash machines for major retail clients.

“TransAlliance’s diverse transaction processing product mix allows us to meet the needs of our financial institution clients,” said Denny D. Dumler, President and CEO. “Through its service offerings, TransAlliance is enjoying the benefits of the tremendous growth of card bases and terminals achieved by our members. We will continue to provide value-added services to support our client base.”

TransAlliance provides a wide variety of EFT processing services for financial institutions throughout the Western Region of the U.S. and Canada, including The Exchange/ACCEL branded network; cardholder authorization services for ATM, POS, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) transactions; shared branching; home banking & bill payment services; direct connect and dial-up ATM driving; card production; and ATM servicing.


New IDRC Call Center

IDRC (International Data Response Corporation), announced the opening of its newest U.S. call center in San Diego, CA.

In October, IDRC opened a newly constructed, state-of-the-art inbound call center facility in San Diego, CA.  The 350-workstation center, operated by IDRC USA, showcases the firm’s leading edge technology for its rapidly expanding inbound teleservice and customer care business, and utilizes workstations with dual inbound and outbound capabilities.  The facility is expected to employ more than 600 at capacity, the majority of whom will be full-time teleservice representatives, with an average wage of approximately $8.00 per hour.  In addition, as many as 10% of the positions will be managerial and professional.  All full-time employees will qualify for company benefits and vacation packages.

Bill Strauss, EVP Operations, said that San Diego was chosen from among several other cities for many reasons  “We are a rapidly growing company pursuing the expansion of our operating facilities nationwide.  We typically look for markets with a vast labor pool, strong work ethic, a track record of employee loyalty, support from within the local community, and a favorable political, economic, and business climate.  We found all of this in San Diego,” said Strauss.  Strauss also cited the spirit of cooperation jointly demonstrated by the government and business communities as a significant factor in the decision to locate to San Diego.

John D. Weil, President & CEO of IDRC USA added, “While our U.S. operations have experienced significant outbound growth over the past few years, our new San Diego facility represents a significant increase in our ability to provide inbound teleservices and customer care programs.  These types of programs represent an opportunity to demonstrate superior customer service while enhancing the lifetime value of our client’s customers.”

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.  ProMark One Marketing Services, IntelliSell Corporation, Telnet Systems, and the new San Diego facility operate as integrated business units of IDRC USA, while S&P Data Corporation is the operating unit of IDRC International. 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.


GSA Contract

The U.S. General Services Administration moved closer to providing government agencies with a single payment system for multiple services yesterday, by awarding six contracts to deliver the next generation of federal government charge cards. Currently the GSA has three separate contractors providing purchase, travel or fleet card services to more than two million federal charge cardholders. Under the new agreements contractors may provide more than one of these services which the GSA hopes will lead to an integration of services or a single system. The new contracts, which are effective November 30 of this year, will run for five years, with five additional one-year options. The GSA says card volume for fiscal 1997 exceeded $8.5 billion.

                                NEW GSA CARD SERVICES CONTRACTS
CONTRACTOR                   PURCHASE              TRAVEL                FLEET
American Express                X                     X                    X
Citibank                        X                     X                    X
U.S. Bank*                      X                     X                    X
NationsBank                     X                     X
First Chicago                   X                   
Mellon Bank                     X
       * formerly contracted under Rocky Mountain Bankcard


30/30 Service

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.


VISA Olympic Volume

In just the first two days of the Nagano Olympic Winter Games, Worldwide  Olympic Partner Visa International’s 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 Visa’s Customer Service Center on Nagano’s Chou Dori, where nearly 10 million yen (US$80,000) was withdrawn in 425 transactions.

In addition to the ATM activity at Visa’s Customer Service Center, more than 2,000 visitors stopped by  in the first weekend of the Center’s 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 traveler’s 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 world’s 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.  Visa’s 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 Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][1].

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


Cendant Names Chief Marketing Officer

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.


MCI E-Invoicing

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.


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.”


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][1].

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 .

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


New Card Management Tool

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.

About HNC

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.


Belco Patent

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.