China Prefers AmEx

Meanwhile American Express held a signing ceremony in Washington, DC yesterday with the China National Tourism Administration designating the American Express Card as the “Official Card of Tourism for China” from 1998 until the year 2000. AmEx first received the designation in 1994 and subsequently established a joint Tourism Training Center with China Tourism College training 600 tourism industry managers. AmEx currently has four proprietary offices and 30 representative offices throughout the country. Bank of China says AmEx cards account for 45% of all foreign card spending in China, representing 15% of China’s total tourism-related foreign exchange earnings.


Changing Top 10

The recent sale of the BONY portfolio to Chase and the sale of Advanta to Fleet will add 1.0% to the aggregate marketshare of the “Top 10” issuers by year end. If the AT&T portfolio is sold before year’s end it could alter the lineup further, possibly adding another 2% share if sold to another “Top 10” issuer. Based on historical fourth quarter activity and current growth rates, MBNA will be within $3 billion of unseating Citibank as the nation’s largest issuer by year’s end.

Top 10 Scoreboard (ranked by receivables in $billions)
Third Quarter 1997 Fourth Quarter 1997
1. Citibank 46.5 1. Citibank 48.4
2. MBNA 41.6 2. MBNA 45.5
3. Banc One 38.9 3. Banc One 41.4
4. Discover 34.9 4. Discover 37.1
5. Chase 27.4 5. Chase 32.4
6. Frst Chic 17.3 6. Frst Chic 17.9
7. Household 16.0 7. Household 17.5
8. AT&T 14.2 8. AT&T 14.7
9. Cap One 12.9 9. Fleet 13.5
10. Advanta 10.5 10. Cap One 13.2
Total: 260.2 281.6
Marketshare: 62% 63%
Source: Bankcard Barometer/Bankcard Update/CardData


AmEx to License Smart Card File Structure

American Express Corporate Services announced today that it will license its smart card multiple function file structure to other companies worldwide. By making it broadly available, American Express is encouraging widespread adoption of the file structure to achieve global interoperability among smart cards, particularly in the travel and entertainment industry.

Several large companies already have expressed interest in licensing the file structure. American Express also plans to cooperatively adapt the file structure for various smart card platforms and to enhance and upgrade it on an ongoing basis.

“With our American Express Smart Corporate Card, we have shown the value of convenience and control that multiple application smart cards provide business travelers and corporations,” said Ed Gilligan, President, American Express Corporate Services. “As more companies offer smart cards in the travel and entertainment arena, it is critical that the industry work toward standards to achieve interoperability.”

“The opening of our smart card development work to others in the industry demonstrates our unwavering commitment to interoperability, the single most important challenge facing the smart card industry today,” added David Boyles, Senior Vice President, Electronic Commerce at American Express. “Only through interoperability will we achieve a level playing field where competition spurs innovation and better products for our customers.”

American Express is a leader in developing smart card solutions, testing a variety of smart card applications that will speed travelers past check-in points at airports, hotels and car rental agencies, enhance loyalty and reward programs, and streamline the entire travel expense management process. The company introduced the first multiple function smart card test in the hospitality industry with Hilton Hotels Corporation and IBM in May of this year, and is conducting two of the largest smart card tests in the airline industry with Continental Airlines and American Airlines. American Express also is working with the government in a multiple application smart card test.

The American Express smart card file structure currently includes personal and corporate/government agency profile information, airline, hotel, car rental, charge, credit and physical access functionality. It incorporates existing open industry standards, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) standard for airline smart cards.

American Express Corporate Services, which includes the American Express Corporate Card, Business Travel Services and Corporate Purchasing Card, assists companies in managing and controlling their business travel expenses. It is a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. American Express () is a leader in charge and credit cards, stored value products, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.


Australia Prefers VISA

VISA International announced from London yesterday it has become the preferred payment card for Sydney, New South Wales and Australia. The Sydney agreement also covers the ‘2000 Olympic Games’. Specifically VISA signed marketing partnership agreements with the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tourism New South Wales and the Australian Tourist Commission. As part of the agreements VISA will offer customized Australia Travel packages exclusively to cardholders, and discount rates for travel, hotel, dining and purchases via VISA’s ‘International Destination Program’.


ICVERIFY & Merchant Builder

ICVERIFY Inc. today announced that its electronic transaction processing software now integrates with The Internet Factory’s electronic commerce software, Merchant Builder 2.2. Also today, The Internet Factory announced Merchant Builder 2.2, the new version of its online store creation package.

Together Merchant Builder and ICVERIFY enable merchants to build online stores that process credit card transactions and deposit funds to merchant accounts at over 99% of all U.S. banks. Using ICVERIFY, merchants can process Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards. Merchant Builder and ICVERIFY will be of particular interest to VARs and ISPs because the products offer the ability to manage multiple stores located on a single server. With appropriate licensing, multiple merchants can process transactions with a single copy of ICVERIFY and each merchant can have drafts captured to their own bank account.

“The integration of ICVERIFY’s credit card processing solution continues our commitment to allow our customers to choose from among the best third-party tools,” said John Murray, vice president of marketing at The Internet Factory. “Our integration of ICVERIFY’s software also provides an easy way for their current customers to expand their businesses to include an online store.”

“We’re pleased that The Internet Factory has decided to build an integration to ICVERIFY for this latest release of Merchant Builder,” said Karen Tate, Director of Internet Markets for ICVERIFY Inc. “As this product continues to gain momentum in the marketplace, The Internet Factory’s customers will be able to add transaction processing functionality to their Web storefronts easily and affordably. Because ICVERIFY software has processor certifications covering more than 99% of US banks, merchants can choose from the best available discount rates for e-commerce. ICVERIFY software is offered as a one-time software license so merchants will never pay an additional per-transaction fee for using ICVERIFY.”

Key Merchant Builder Features:

1. Fully Customizable. Full Site Magic eXpansion (SMX) source code so that store functionality can be changed for industry and customer needs.

2. Remote Store Management via the Web. All store functions can be managed from within a Web browser using online forms. Last minute store updates and product changes also can be created remotely over the Web.

3. Fully Integrated Payment Solution. Merchants with existing credit card processing accounts can accept and verify credit card payments using ICVERIFY or Cybercash.

4. Enhanced Customer Management. Merchant Builder automatically retains customer addresses, phone numbers and email information as orders are processed. This data can be printed as reports or exported to other programs.

5. Enhanced Product Types. Merchants can configure multiple “SKU sets” for products that have many variable attributes such as size, color and material.

6. Enhanced Order Notification. Order notification can be made using email and automatic fax notification (requires third party product).

7. Enhanced Reporting. Sales, sales tax liability, and customer order activity can be aggregated into a variety of reports. Information can be printed or exported to any word-processor, spreadsheet, or database mailing list.

Merchant Builder 2.2 is shipping with a single store price of $1,495.


ICVERIFY Inc., a privately held, venture capital-funded corporation with U.S. headquarters in Oakland, Calif., and European headquarters in Munich, Germany, is the leading software solution for authorizing credit, purchase, debit/ATM card and check guarantee transactions and is used by more than 250,000 physical and virtual points of sale.

ICVERIFY supports more than 100 major card processing networks and has certifications covering the retail, restaurant, hotel, mail/telephone order, auto rental, travel and gasoline industries. The software processes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards, with automatic draft capture to the merchant’s bank account. ICVERIFY’s functionality includes the ability to support multiple merchant environments. Its reporting and query features enable the merchant to track and to edit transactions efficiently and effectively. ICVERIFY can be reached through the Internet at or by calling 800-666-5777.

About The Internet Factory

The Internet Factory, founded in 1995, is a software solutions developer focused on creating Internet applications for building electronic stores and selling wares on the Internet. The company has developed Merchant Builder 2.2, an easy-to-use electronic commerce solution for ISPs, developers and non-technical merchants, and Commerce Builder 3.0, a sophisticated Web server suite with HTTP, proxy, and chat servers.


ProMark Extends Major Issuer Contract

ProMark One and one of the nation’s largest and most reputable credit card issuers recently cemented their 1½-year relationship by signing a long-term telemarketing services agreement.

The agreement constitutes a 3-year, multi-million dollar commitment, whereby ProMark One will become one of a select group of contracted vendors providing telemarketing services in support of the client’s marketing of credit card products. These telemarketing services include outbound telemarketing in support of the acquisition of new credit card customers. The agreement contains certain hourly guarantees, which are contingent upon meeting pre-established performance and quality standards.

ProMark One, a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Response Corporation (IDRC), is a leading provider of outsourced teleservices, specializing in customized telesales solutions for the financial services and banking industries, among others. One of the nation’s largest and fastest growing teleservices providers, ProMark One has nearly 3,800 employees and 2,400 workstations in 15 locations. Through the IDRC network of companies, ProMark One has access to over 1,600 additional workstations in 17 locations throughout the US and Canada.

ProMark One will continue to open new centers and dedicate resources as needed to support the agreement and the growth of the project. Currently, the client’s programs are being conducted in five ProMark One call centers, located in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

ProMark One and its client entered into this strategic alliance to support the increased demand for the client’s credit cards that has resulted from an industry-wide acceptance of telemarketing as an efficient marketing channel for credit card-related products and services. All involved parties should benefit substantially, as the agreement means additional capital and resources for the continued growth and expansion of both companies’ marketing efforts.

Jeff Stiefler, Chairman and CEO of IDRC (ProMark One’s parent company) said, “This agreement cements our partnership with this client, and represents a source of stability and growth for both ProMark One and IDRC.”


Gemplus Supplies BAI Conf Cards

Gemplus Corporation today announced that it is supplying smart cards and software development for the “Global Village Game” at the Bank Administration Institute’s (BAI) Retail Delivery `97 conference. Retail Delivery `97, to be held December 1-5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, is the retail banking industry’s largest conference. It is the first banking conference to use smart card technology.

The “Global Village Game” is designed to encourage attendees to visit as many booths as possible. Each attendee will receive, upon registering, a smart card that can be inserted into the smart card reader present in the booths of participating exhibitors. At each booth, attendees will receive 1 loyalty point when their card is inserted into the reader. Loyalty points will be stored in the card’s chip.

At the end of the conference, attendees will be able to redeem the accumulated points for prizes by inserting their card into a reader attached to a PC at the game redemption center. Attendees with 25 or more points will have the opportunity to earn additional bonus points by correctly responding to a series of multiple choice questions, the answers to which will have been displayed as “factoids” at exhibitor booths. Prizes will be presented to winning attendees on the final day of the conference.

Exhibitors participating in the game will receive a smart card reader and a “Global Village Game” sign for their booths that will display the retail delivery “factoid.” Valuable attendance tracking data downloaded from attendee smart cards will be provided by show management to participating exhibitors at the end of the conference.

In addition to providing 5,000 1-kilobyte PCOS (payment chip operating system) cards, Gemplus is writing the redemption application and providing the card mapping that will determine how the card is to be formatted.

“It is very important for Gemplus to have the opportunity to demonstrate the viability of smart card technology outside the realm of smart card industry shows. Retail Delivery `97 is especially important because BAI hosts the retail banking industry’s biggest, most influential trade shows,” said Charles Cagliostro, director of Emerging Markets for Gemplus. “We will continue to reinforce our commitment to the trade show and exhibit hall market where the business case for smart cards is strong.”

About Gemplus

Gemplus Corporation is the North American subsidiary of Gemplus Group (Gemplus), the world’s leading producer of magnetic stripe and smart cards. Gemplus manufactures and sells memory cards, microprocessor cards (both contact and contactless), magnetic stripe cards, as well as electronic tags. It also designs and markets software, terminals and systems; and provides personalization, consultancy and training services to offer its customers comprehensive solutions.

In 1996, Gemplus’ total sales were $440 million. By the end of 1997, the company will have a production capacity of 900 million magnetic stripe and smart cards.

Gemplus sells its products worldwide for such applications as public and cellular telephony, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, gaming, identity, access control, pay TV, security for computer networks and electronic commerce. Information about Gemplus’ products and services can be found on the World Wide Web at: .

About BAI

BAI is the leading professional organization devoted exclusively to improving the competitive position of banking companies through strategic research and a broad range of educational offerings. Headquartered in Chicago, BAI is not a lobbying organization. BAI’s mission is to establish banking companies as the preeminent providers of financial services by offering high quality, relevant, objective information and educational programs.


One to One Financial Released

BroadVision, Inc. of Los Altos, Calif., the leading supplier of enterprise-class solutions for personalized, one-to-one business applications on the global Internet, today shipped the BroadVision One-To-One Financial WebApp(TM), to address the business needs and explosive growth of the Internet financial services market.

One-To-One Financial is an end-to-end application solution that delivers secure and personalized Internet banking, brokerage and asset management business systems. The software reduces costs by up to seventy-five percent and speeds application time-to-market for banks, brokerages, and mutual fund companies by offering a packaged application that enables companies to exploit the Internet as a powerful new channel for conducting large-scale online retail financial services. One-To-One Financial enables financial institutions to generate more revenue and increase assets under management through increased cross-selling, upselling, and customer retention.

“The BroadVision technology has revolutionized the way we interact with our customers,” said Joseph Montero, director of Virtual Financial Services for Argentaria bank, one of the largest banks in Spain. “Not only were we able to offer 55 online banking transactions to our customers, we are simultaneously able to make them feel better served by our institution. For instance, when we immediately alert our customers either via pager, email or cellular phone when an account balance gets to be a certain amount, they are given treatment that could not even be replicated by bank personnel before now. This is an amazing example of the true power of one-to-one marketing.”

Argentaria recently won the Comdex Internet award for Best Internet Transaction Application for its Web banking site.

“BroadVision has been helping customers in the financial services market place since the company’s first product, BroadVision One-To-One, came on the market in 1995,” said Pehong Chen, CEO and president of BroadVision, Inc. “We have taken what we’ve learned working with more than 20 financial institutions worldwide and have instilled our knowledge of the marketplace into the One-To-One Financial product. As such, the product is the most comprehensive offering in this market available today.”

Comprehensive Software Features for Turnkey Financial Services Applications

BroadVision’s family of One-To-One WebApps builds on the BroadVision One-To-One(TM) flagship application system and provides the open architecture needed for easy integration to legacy systems, personalization, and business tools for dynamic application control that are essential for doing business on the Net.

In addition, the One-To-One Financial application solution includes Financial Sense(TM), pre-configured objects, templates, business rules, and transaction framework needed to rapidly build, dynamically operate, and easily maintain a high-end, personalized Internet application for the financial services industry, including:

* Consolidated portfolio statement

* Checking, savings, and credit card account transaction history

* Mortgage account history

* Mutual find portfolio summary and transaction history

* Stock portfolio transaction history

* Retirement funds transaction history

* Transfer funds between checking, savings and mutual funds accounts

* Portfolio management

* Account alerts

* Transaction alerts

* Stock and news alerts

* Calendar alerts

* Profile alerts

* Content alerts

* Incentive alerts

* Site alerts

* Complete financial transaction framework

* New checking, savings, credit card, and mortgage account applications

* Online customer care

* Quote services

* Security features

Security measures are a key issue throughout the industry. The BroadVision One-To-One Financial WebApp has been built to enable the most secure transactions, including:

* Support for SSL and S-HTTP for secure connection from client browser to web server

* Support for SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) standard for processing credit card transactions

* Support for X.509 based digital certificates for strong authentication

* Incorporation of RSA Bsafe encryption technology for protection of sensitive customer information

* Perimeter security and access control located behind a firewall

* Partnerships with leading security providers

Services and Technology Partners

A complete end-to-end solution includes products and services from BroadVision partners along with BroadVision One-To-One Financial. BroadVision has best-in-class systems integrators, technology companies and creative agencies as its partners. Systems integrators that bring specific expertise in financial services include Andersen Consulting, Cap Gemini, CMG, CTP, Debis, DiaLogos, Dimension, Excel, GranVia, ICON CMT, IDD, KPMG, Medidata, National Computer Systems, NTT Data, Price Waterhouse, Sage Solutions, Sema, Siemens Business Solutions, Stark Business Solutions, and SVIP. BroadVision refers customers to Modem Media, R/GA Interactive and Northern Lights for marketing and creative services.

BroadVision’s technology partners include Argus, BBN, BROKAT, Checkfree, Cybercash, ESD, Hewlett-Packard, Iona, Informix, Innovision, Integrion, JCP, MECA Software, Microsoft, Netscape, Oracle, Reuters, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, VeriFone, and VeriSign whose products, technologies, and expertise help to extend the One-To-One Financial WebApp to create best-in-class financial services solutions.

About BroadVision

Founded in 1993, BroadVision, Inc. is the leading supplier of application solutions for enterprise class, personalized business on the global Internet. These end-to-end solutions enable companies to rapidly deploy and cost-effectively operate secure, scalable, intelligent, and flexible electronic business and knowledge management applications for the retail/distribution, financial services, high technology and telecommunications industries. BroadVision is headquartered in Los Altos, Calif. and maintains an extensive network of subsidiaries and licensed resellers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The company can be reached at 650-943-3600 or on the World Wide Web at .


IDRC Ranked #168

International Data Response Corporation (IDRC), a leading provider of outsourced teleservices to Fortune 1000 companies, ranks #168 on the 1997 Inc. 500. In its special Inc. 500 issue, Inc. Magazine released its annual list of America’s fastest-growing, private companies. This special issue features firms whose rapid five-year growth places them in an elite group of small and mid-sized business owners. IDRC has grown 1,300% over the past five years.

This is the 16th year that Inc. has charted the progress of America’s most successful small businesses. Companies on the 1997 list had an average of 121 employees and sales of $17.9 million. Rankings are based on percentage growth of revenue over a five-year period. All revenue information is confirmed using tax forms and financial statements from certified public accountants.

The IDRC family of companies includes wholly-owned subsidiaries ProMark One (Scottsdale, AZ), S&P Data Corp. (Toronto, ON), IntelliSell Corporation (Omaha, NE), and Telnet Systems Inc. (Fergus Falls, MN). On a stand-alone basis, IDRC’s ProMark One was most recently ranked #228 on the 1996 Inc. 500 list, while IntelliSell ranked #84 in 1995.

IDRC specializes in providing inbound and outbound telephone and Internet-based solutions that target businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Insurance, among others. IDRC uses customized, state-of-the-art computer and telephone-based technologies in its operations. By incorporating progressive human resources methodologies, IDRC is also able to attract, motivate, and retain a top caliber team of professionals. Today, IDRC has close to 6,500 employees, and operates 4,500 workstations in 30 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

IDRC’s corporate headquarters are located at 6041 La Flecha, Suite B, P.O. Box 7130, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. For more information about IDRC, please contact Jill Ward, EVP Business Development, at 619-759-3300.


ACE Cash Express Update

Ace Cash Express, Inc., held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Friday, November 14, 1997. At the meeting, the shareholders re-elected the Company’s Directors as nominated, approved an amendment to the Company’s Restated Articles of Incorporation to increase the number of authorized shares of Common Stock from 10 million to 20 million, and approved the Company’s 1997 Stock Option Plan for employees.

During the meeting, Donald H. Neustadt, President and Chief Executive Officer, reviewed the Company’s results for its fiscal year ended June 30, 1997 and discussed the Company’s plans for fiscal 1998. The plan includes additional new store openings (De Novo), Acquisitions, and Franchising. Also included is the expansion of the small loan business, the ACE Plus program and the Company’s bill payment services. Jay B. Shipowitz, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, presented ACE’s vision and potential products related to introducing its customers to card based banking related services.

Following the meeting, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a three-for-two stock split. The split will be effected as a stock dividend by distributing one additional share of common stock for each two shares of common stock outstanding. The record date for determining holders entitled to receive the stock dividend will be November 30, 1997, with a delivery date on or about December 15, 1997. The Company will pay cash for any fractional shares based on the closing price as of the record date as quoted on The Nasdaq Stock Market.

“We are taking this action because of management’s long-term confidence in ACE’s financial performance and to demonstrate the Board’s continued commitment to enhancing shareholder value,” stated Donald H. Neustadt, President and Chief Executive Officer.

ACE Cash Express, Inc., headquartered in Irving, Texas, is a significant provider of retail financial services. It is the largest owner and operator, and one of the largest franchisors, of check cashing stores in the United States. Founded in 1968, the Company today has a total network of more than 700 stores, including over 615 Company-owned stores and 79 franchised stores in 26 states and Washington, DC. ACE offers a broad range of financial services, which includes check cashing as well as MoneyGram wire transfer services, money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services and telecommunications services, including prepaid long distance cards and local phone service.

Safe Harbor Disclaimer

This release may contain certain forward-looking statements regarding the Company’s expected performance for future periods and actual results for such periods may materially differ. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including risks of changing market conditions in the overall economy and the industry, consumer demand, the opening of new stores, the success of the Company’s acquisition strategy and other factors detailed from time to time in the Company’s annual and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Bell Atlantic’s Prepaid Wireless Prog

Beginning Monday, November 17, Bell Atlantic Mobile will offer a new wireless service that lets consumers pay in advance for their wireless phone calls. Called MobileMinutes(SM), this service will appeal to many first-time wireless users, families who want a second wireless phone and people who prefer a pre-paid option like the increasingly popular highway toll passes, commuter tickets and bank debit cards.

MobileMinutes is convenient and predictable because it offers consumers control over what they spend on wireless service throughout Bell Atlantic Mobile’s high quality East Coast footprint. There’s no contract to sign, no monthly access fee and no bills — features that make the service a logical choice for people with hectic lifestyles. MobileMinutes also is a great gift idea because the wireless phone and service can be purchased all-in-one and are ready to use instantly.

“MobileMinutes is a welcome option for people with a fast-paced schedule who want a streamlined service and for those looking for the latest holiday gift idea,” said Julie Dobson, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile’s NY/NJ metro region. “MobileMinutes is a true pre-paid service because you never pay more than you choose to, unlike other offerings in the market which are really price plans in disguise.”

A customer pays $149.99 for a package that includes a wireless phone and a MobileMinutes phone card, good for close to an hour of local wireless calling. Local calls are debited at $.85 per minute and wireless long distance calls at an additional $.25 per minute.

A “whisper tone” announcement alerts customers to the balance remaining on their MobileMinutes card each time they make a call and a reminder tone alerts them as their account balance hits the four-minute mark, with one long reminder tone every minute thereafter.

Once you purchase the phone, additional MobileMinutes cards are available in $50 increments.

Customers can buy MobileMinutes at more than 40 Bell Atlantic Mobile Communications Stores and kiosks, and at hundreds of company retailers and agents. Additional cards may be purchased at any of those locations, too.

Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the United States. The company owns and operates the most extensive network in the East, covering 111,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets offering a full range of wireless personal communications services, including voice, data, and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has more than 5 million customers and 7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company is the chief wireless subsidiary of the new Bell Atlantic, formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) and NYNEX (NYSE: NYN) corporations. SOURCE Bell Atlantic Mobile