Less than one week after settling a class action complaint out-of-court over the premature termination of promotional interest rates, First USA could face a similar action originating from Oregon. In a press conference yesterday a Portland, OR woman announced she is suing First USA after she watched her card interest rate jump from the promotional rate of 5.9% to the punitive rate of 21.99% within one year. The suit, filed by Pozzi Wilson Atchison, seeks class action status.Details
A Pittsburgh-area phone card firm is facing a lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Attorney General for deceptively tricking consumers into applying for its card. The suit, seeking up to $200 million in penalties, alleges HSS Telecommunications set up booths at public events nationwide offering applications for a $96,500 contest but instead used the contest entries to bill consumers for its calling card program. The suit also notes the contest prize was never awarded.Details
Alamo Rent A Car has teamed up with American Express to offer something extra at a great price for American Express(R) Cardmembers. From now until December 15, 1997, American Express Cardmembers can rent a Luxury car or a Sport Utility Vehicle, for just $49 a day. All they have to do is rent for two or more days and pay with their American Express Card. As an added Travel Smart(SM) Extra, Alamo is including a free tank of gas and unlimited free miles with this offer. Alamo is also waiving its $50 Quicksilver(SM) enrollment fee for American Express Cardmembers, allowing renters to complete their car rental transaction at the kiosk in less than 60 seconds. To join, just call 800-992-9824 and mention ID# 526986.
“Alamo is pleased and excited to join together with American Express to make this special offer available to those American Express Cardmembers who appreciate a higher level of comfort and service,” said Karen Beard, Alamo’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Premium cars are also available for $46 a day and full size cars for $43 a day, including a free tank of gas. All reservations are based on availability. Offer valid in the contiguous U.S. Lower rates are available in Florida. Holiday blackouts may apply.
For more information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, American Express Travel at 800-AXP-0644, or Alamo Rent A Car at 800-992-9824. Be sure to mention ID# 526986 and rate code 3X.
Alamo currently serves more than 15 million travelers a year through 240 locations in the United States and Canada, and more than 190 international locations in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Malta, and Mexico.Details
The first government multi-application smart card pilot with worldwide financial capabilities was launched Wednesday involving American Express Government Services and the U.S. Marine Corps. The pilot marks one of American Expressâ first implementations of Banksysâ electronic purse technology, ‘Proton’. Besides the e-purse application, Marines can use ‘The Marine Corps Smart Technologies Card’ for a variety of functions. To effectively track the issuance and retrieval of weapons, the Marines are using the smart card to enhance the process of checking weapons in and out of the armory. A food service application, also stored on the smart card chip, lets food service providers automatically identify a Marineâs meal plan and whether payment is due. In addition, the smart cards improve the manifesting process, identifying and tracking Marines as they board designated transports, such as buses, ships or helicopters. A travel application permits military forms and tickets to be electronically transferred between the smart card and various Marine databases. The Marine Corps Smart Technologies Pilot will run through September 1998 and is taking place at Marine Corps Air Station New River and Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. Card issuance began this week at New River where approximately 1,000 Marines received GovernmentFunds or Government Cards from American Express.Details
The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA) announces the addition of 16 new members since CardTech/SecurTech East in May, further demonstrating consistent growth and interest of smart card technology in the marketplace.
The following companies have joined SCIA as Principal members: American Banknote, a producer of security documents and secured products; Diebold, an ATM manufacturer and integrator; Digicard, a plastic card manufacturer and integrator; IC-One, a card integrator; NBS Card Services Inc., a card manufacturer; ORGA, a smart card integrator and manufacturer; Sandia Imaging Systems, a manufacturer of smart card hardware and software; Giesecke & Devrient, a card manufacturer; ActionTec Electronics, a manufacturer of PC cards and readers; and MagTek Inc., a manufacturer of card readers and encoders.
SCIA’s new Associate members include: Citicorp Development Center, a global financial services organization; Quadagno & Associates Inc., a card-based technology consulting firm; and Villanova University, an institute of higher education currently utilizing smart card technology.
New Contributing members are: Clean Team Company, a developer and manufacturer of cleaning cards for smart card readers; Identix, a producer of biometric personal identity verification systems; and Random Specialties, a manufacturer of plastic promotional products.
SCIA is a global trade association active in the smart card industry which strives to stimulate the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace. SCIA is also a co-founder and sponsor of CardTech/SecurTech, the leading advanced card and security technology conference.
For more information, contact SCIA at 191 Clarksville Road, Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648; tel: (800) 848-7242 or (609) 799-5654; fax: (609) 799-7032; or access SCIA’s web site at [http://www.scia.org.]
The Vision Factory Inc. today announced the availability of Cybercash’s (NASDAQ:CYCH) Internet Payment Service with its popular Internet storefront builder, Cat@log 2.0.
Catalog 2.0 greatly simplifies the creation, operation and management of sophisticated online catalogs. With the integration of real-time payment processing, The Vision Factory is able to offer merchants an efficient and highly secure process for online purchases.
Support for CyberCash’s merchant software, called the CyberCash CashRegister, is implemented through the use of wizards, allowing site developers to incorporate this advanced back-end payment processing system into Internet storefronts quickly and easily.
“Cat@log’s integration with CyberCash completes the picture for online merchants. It’s important that Websites are able to both accommodate thousands of different products, from a growing number of distribution points, and be able to process orders online so their customers get the security and fast turnaround they expect,” said Jeff Irby, vice president of sales and marketing at CyberCash. “Together, CyberCash and The Vision Factory hope to expand the market for online purchases by making it easier and less costly both to develop and to access an electronic catalog.”
“The Vision Factory is pleased to be working with CyberCash to provide our growing number of merchants a straightforward and commonly accepted payment processing solution,” said David Jones, president of The Vision Factory.
“As Cat@log becomes more widely adopted as the e-commerce development tool of choice among merchants and Web storefront builders, the demand for secure, instant back-end payment is mounting. While many merchants still process orders using traditional methods, others are realizing the value of instant online shopping and ordering. Consumers are beginning to see that using their credit card over the Internet presents no greater risk than other forms of credit card transactions.”
Cat@log 2.0 with support for CyberCash began shipping this week. Cat@log is a powerful, open and productive software package for building, operating and maintaining sophisticated business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce sites.
New features in Cat@log 2.0 include productivity enhancements to reduce development time, such as expanded support of wizards, remote site update, and increased native database support. User-specific access privileges, customization and personalization capabilities, and advanced statistics capture are included to provide more effective online marketing and selling.
The complete Cat@log Suite, which includes Builder, Manager, Commerce, and Statistics modules, is available now for a special introductory offer of $4995 through October 31, 1997 (suggested retail price is $6600).
CyberCash, Inc., of Reston, Virginia, founded in August 1994, is a technology-driven company that provides software and services to enable secure financial transactions on the Internet. The Company offers a complete suite of Internet payment solutions, including a credit card service, which handles payments using major credit cards; the Company’s innovative micropayment service, which enables cash transactions; and the secure electronic check service which allows consumer-to-business and business-to-business funds transfer via checking accounts.
CyberCash works with virtually all transaction processing institutions, and allows banks to offer secure Internet payment systems to their customers.
The Vision Factory is a privately-held company established in 1995 to serve the emerging online professional catalog marketplace. The company develops and markets intelligent software tools to serve the needs of professionals designing and operating high-volume Internet-based commerce sites.
Cat@log, the company’s flagship product, sets the standard for creating and maintaining live and appealing catalogs, supporting thousands of items and dynamically updating pages to reflect relevant database changes.
The Vision Factory Inc. can be reached at 269 Mt. Hermon Drive, Suite 105, Scotts Valley, CA 95066, 888/488-3228 (toll-free), or 408/461-2100 and by fax at 408/461-9255. The Company’s Web site address is [http://www.thevisionfactory.com.]
Traveling through an airport is enough. Imagine the added stress most business travelers experience in airports while lugging laptops, cellular phones and pagers to keep up with their business demands. At Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, the business world just became a little simpler.
On Friday, September 12, Atlanta-based Blueshift Geodesics, Inc. will unveil its first CyberOasis on the T Concourse of the South Terminal (Delta Air Lines). CyberOasis is a kiosk-based, fully automated business center which gives individuals fast, convenient and economical access to a wide range of services, including email, faxing, Internet access and popular business software. Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell will officially cut the ribbon and send the first Email to activate the kiosk’s services.
Hartsfield International Airport is a hub for millions of international and domestic business travelers. The airport has made a commitment to provide cutting-edge technology services to these travelers. Encouraging vendors such as Blueshift Geodesics to provide quality technology services is part of that strategy.
The comprehensive business services offered by CyberOasis set it apart from other Internet kiosk products on the market. While its competitors offer standard Internet access only, CyberOasis offers users a spectrum of services including:
High-speed Internet browsing AOL/Compuserve access Business applications (Microsoft, Corel, Lotus suites) Telephone Travel reservations News/Sports/Weather Email Fax services Laser printing FTP/Gopher/Usenet Financial updates
“Most current kiosk technology provides simple information retrieval or shopping,” said Hitesh Shah, chief executive officer of Blueshift Geodesics. “CyberOasis is industrial-strength business support for executives on the move. It is their office at their fingertips–right here, right now, when they need it.”
What about those business travelers who carry laptop computers? While laptops are an increasingly common piece of luggage for travelers, many are difficult to connect in airports for online communications. Most laptop modems only operate at 33.3 Kbps. The success of CyberOasis lies in its ability to meet the online demands of business users through its reliance on high-speed digital telecommunications — CyberOasis provides transmission rates from 128 Kbps to 512 Kbps, more than 15 times that of laptop computers.
To make CyberOasis not only fast but also easy, the service combines magnetic stripe credit card readers and easy-to-read, point-and-click instructions on the user interface. Users simply slide a major credit card through the reader, click the desired service and CyberOasis is ready to go to work. While some services are free, the basic price for CyberOasis usage is 33 cents per minute. Domestic faxes are $1 per page, sent or received. Laser printing is 50 cents per page. CyberOasis will also print a receipt if necessary. CyberOasis services at Hartsfield will be free for two weeks, from September 12 through September 26.
The CyberOasis at Hartsfield is one of two of the first installations in Blueshift Geodesics’ national strategy. A kiosk at Kern County Airport in Bakersfield, Ca., will also launch on Friday. The company plans to launch 10 more locations this year and several hundred locations during 1998 at airports and convention centers. Blueshift Geodesics plans to dominate this burgeoning market by offering the most services in a variety of locations.
Blueshift Geodesics, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., was launched in 1996 by its parent company, Atlanta-based Blueshift, Inc., a five-year-old provider of information technology solutions. Its primary focus is software development services and consulting to corporations ranging from mid-sized regional companies to Fortune 500 clientele.Details
GTE and Schlumberger Electronic Transactions today announced a strategic alliance for the development and marketing of security solutions for use with smart cards. The resulting products will combine the security features enabled by public key cryptography – digital certificates, digital signatures and data encryption – with the convenience and portability of smart cards.
Smart cards look like credit cards, but contain an embedded computer chip that provides processing power and memory for storing information. They can be used for such applications as network security, mobile telephone communications, electronic banking, retail shopping and much more. When used in conjunction with a password or personal identification number (PIN), smart cards are suitable where access control and data security are critical issues, such as in online banking. Digital certificates provide smart cards with a verifiable form of identification.
“Because of their portability and processing power, the new generation of smart cards allows secure, user-friendly applications to be conducted from almost anywhere. Smart cards will be used for such diverse activities as purchasing a cup of coffee or identifying oneself to a corporate network for remote access from any location,” said Tom Carty, vice president of Marketing and Business Development, GTE CyberTrust Solutions Incorporated. “Together, GTE and Schlumberger seek to deliver this kind of versatility along with the peace of mind that goes with secure transactions.”
“Reliable identification and establishing trust are the keys to the growth of online business activities and electronic commerce,” said Louis Bisasky, general manager of Schlumberger Smart Cards and Systems, North America. “Digital certificates provide identification suitable for this environment, and smart cards, which are small, personal and portable, are the ideal place to store them.”
The two companies plan to integrate GTE’s CyberTrust(TM) digital certificates and Safekeyper(R) Certificate Management System with cryptographic smart cards from Schlumberger. Schlumberger’s Cryptoflex(TM) smart card, announced late last year, will be used in the initial product offering. It is a specialized smart card that supports cryptographic functions, such as digital signatures, as well as secure private key and digital certificate storage, which can be used to secure electronic mail and other communications.
GTE CyberTrust digital certificates provide electronic transactions with a verifiable form of identification and data integrity. Distributed by a trusted third party known as a Certification Authority (CA), digital certificates contain identifying information that cannot be forged or altered and a private encryption key unique to the certificate. Any information exchanged in a transaction is protected by encryption and a digital signature.
The GTE Safekeyper Certificate Management System (CMS) is a fully integrated family of products that provides high-assurance security to create, issue, renew, validate and revoke digital certificates. Developed by BBN, a wholly owned subsidiary of GTE, Safekeyper CMS is designed around a flexible, distributed highly secure architecture and provides all the elements required to manage an effective public key infrastructure.
Using a smart card is similar to using a bank ATM card. The card is inserted into a special reader that interfaces with the embedded chip, and the user enters a password or PIN. As long as the card is in the reader, the user can log into his or her corporate network, access files, open private documents, send encrypted messages, and update the information contained in the smart card.
With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer “one-stop shopping” for local, long-distance and Internet access services. Outside the United States, where GTE has operated for more than 40 years, the company serves approximately 7 million customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications. Additional information about GTE can be found on the Internet at [http://www.gte.com.]
About Schlumberger Electronic Transactions
The Schlumberger Electronic Transactions group of Schlumberger, Ltd. (NYSE:SLB) is the world’s largest supplier of cards, terminals, development tools and management systems across the entire range of magnetic and smart card applications. The company offers its customers The Smart Village(R), a flexible portfolio of smart card-based solutions for businesses and communities of all sizes, including the telecom, banking, retail, mass transit and parking, and healthcare sectors.
Schlumberger is a pioneer and leader in smart card technology, recently introducing Cyberflex(TM), the first ever smart card to use the Java(TM) card API from JavaSoft, and Cryptoflex(TM), the first smart card to support strong public key cryptography.
The North American operations of Schlumberger Electronic Transactions are headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey. The company has its US-based research and development, marketing, and manufacturing operations in Austin, Texas, San Jose, Calif., Owings Mills, Md., and Chesapeake, Va. Additional information about Schlumberger Electronic Transactions can be found on the Internet at [http://www.slb.com/et.]