In response to the news of the first lawsuit filed over processing problems with credit cards expiring after 1999, VISA and MasterCard reportedly indicated yesterday they will continue with plans to lift restrictions on issuing such cards, effective October 1. InformationWeek magazine says VISA will be 100% year 2000 compliant and MasterCard will be 99.9% compliant by year’s end. The magazine says American Express and Discover indicated they will not be compliant by October 1, but should be by the end of this year. InformationWeek quoted an official of the National Retail Federation who says retailers will take a big hit overhauling POS systems and small shops haven’t got a prayer to comply.Details
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and American Express announced Monday an agreement to launch the new ‘Banco Popular American Express Card’ in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and many other Caribbean islands. The card will be available in early 1998. This is American Expressâs first network agreement in the Caribbean.Details
MECA Software, a leading manufacturer of home banking software, announced today that it has launched a French version of its Managing Your Money (MYM) program to make the award-winning software accessible to a larger number of consumers.
! Royal Bank of Canada is currently rolling out the French version to Canada’s seven million French-speaking residents.
MECA said it is likely to introduce the software in other languages such as Spanish over the next few years.
“The French version of MYM is the first in a series of alternative language titles aimed at helping large financial institutions better meet the needs of their diverse customer populations,” said Paul Harrison, president and CEO of MECA. “By becoming a multilingual provider, we are helping banks better serve their customers, and that improvement ultimately strengthens their position in the highly competitive arena of financial service provider.”
MECA said that developing MYM in French and other languages is driven by the firm’s commitment to providing banks with practical, effective solutions to their electronic banking needs. “Just as we have worked with banks to customize MYM software to meet their marketing and technical demands, such as enabling access to special services or adding bank marketing messages, we are now working with them to customize it for what the customers want, which is a program written in their preferred language,” Harrison said.
Royal Bank of Canada currently uses MYM as the foundation of its successful “Royal Direct” PC and Internet banking package. Given that an estimated 24 percent of Canadians speak French as a primary language, the French version of MYM is expected to significantly increase the number of Royal Direct users. Royal Bank, which launched MYM in December 1996, anticipates the enrollment number to reach approximately 150,000 by the fall.
“Through MYM and Royal Direct, Royal Bank of Canada has been able to offer customers an easy-to-use way to take care of financial needs without going into a branch,” said Maurice St. Jean, Royal Bank vice president, delivery channel strategies and strategic alliances. “By being the first institution to offer a French version of MECA’s software, we are proud to offer that convenience to all our customers.”
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s premier global financial services group with leading market shares in personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, and wealth management. As one of North America’s largest financial institutions, Royal Bank and its key subsidiaries, Royal Trust, RBC Dominion Securities, RBC Insurance, and Royal Bank Action Direct have 55,000 employees who serve 10 million customers through 1,600 branches and offices in 35 countries.
MECA Software, L.L.C., a 350-employee firm, jointly owned by Bank of America, NationsBank, First Bank System, Fleet Financial Group, Royal Bank of Canada, and The New England provides customizable, brandable versions of Managing Your Money(R) software to financial institutions to enable their customers electronic access to account and product information. MYM is the foundation for personal computer-based solutions and provides users with effective personal financial planning management tools as well as the ability to transfer funds from account-to-account and to other institutions, making today’s banking as seamless and smooth as possible. The only bank-friendly, electronic banking software provider, MECA helps financial institutions maintain and enhance the bank-customer relationship.
Boots The Chemists has announced the nationwide roll-out of its Advantage Card smart card operated by technology partner AT&T. Eight million customers are expected to join in the first year, creating one of Europeâs largest loyalty programs. Each Advantage Card will have a micro chip, which will allow the holder to use the card instantly to collect and redeem points against purchases. AT&T says the system will have the capacity in the first 12 months for processing well up to 150,000 card applications in a single day and is likely to generate 0.7 terabyte of data. BTC has 1,268 stores in the UK and serves, 14.5 million customers, each week.Details
BUYPASS Corporation announced today that it hit an all time high of 17 million debit POS transactions in June which represents a 70% increase in debit POS over second quarter 1996.
Other highlights for the second quarter include:
— BUYPASS reported 241.6 million total transactions in the second quarter for growth of 29%, over second quarter 1996. BUYPASS also reported within that total, a record 48.5 million debit POS transactions for the second quarter, which represents a 70% increase over second quarter 1996.
— Early in the second quarter BUYPASS signed Pennzoil in a deal that includes a processing agreement with its subsidiary Jiffy Lube, the largest quick change oil company in the United States. The agreement is for 850 locations encompassing Pennzoil gas stations and company owned Jiffy Lube stores. Pennzoil will also offer BUYPASS POS services to an additional 900 franchise stores.
— BUYPASS recently added the states of Georgia, Iowa and Missouri to its EBT program. The addition of these states brings the total number of EBT states available through BUYPASS to 19. EBT volume continues to grow at a rapid pace with over 5 million transactions in the second quarter for a 28% increase over second quarter 1996.
Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS), a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is a leading electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor in the United States, with over 2 billion transactions annually. EPS is the holding company for BUYPASS Corporation and MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC.
BUYPASS Corporation, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a major third-party POS processor and debit transaction acquirer with annual transaction volume of over 900 million. BUYPASS provides processing for 50 of the top 200 grocery store chains in the United States. One out of every ten debit POS transactions performed in the United States is processed by BUYPASS.
BUYPASS also provides gateway access to over 46 debit and credit gateways and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) programs in 19 states.Details
BofA Launchs Comprehensive HomeBanking and Pay by Phone Services in New Mexico; Free Managing Your Money Software available to New Mexico customers until October 31
Bank of America today announced that it has launched its HomeBanking and Pay by Phone services throughout New Mexico — bringing the convenience of PC and telephone banking to the state’s consumers.
The HomeBanking service allows customers to access their Bank of America accounts anytime day or night using BofA’s customized version of Managing Your Money software, a popular personal financial management program.
With HomeBanking, personal checking account customers with a Windows-based PC and modem can access account information, review balances, see when checks have cleared, transfer funds between BofA accounts, pay bills online, and pre-schedule bill payments and transfers up to a year in advance. Customers can pay virtually anyone with this service — from their mortgage, credit cards, and utility bills to their neighborhood dentist or daycare provider.
The Pay by Phone service allows New Mexico customers who don’t have a PC or who are traveling to pay bills to virtually any payee using a touch-tone telephone.
“At Bank of America, we are committed to giving our customers the tools they need to conduct their banking transactions when they want and how they want,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President Laura Fitch. “Our HomeBanking and Pay by Phone services provide BofA customers throughout New Mexico with a whole new level of convenience — allowing those customers to pay bills and manage their personal finances using either a personal computer or a basic touch- tone telephone.”
In addition to account access and bill payment features, BofA’s HomeBanking service offers New Mexico customers many other convenient tools. A built-in e-mail feature enables customers to send comments or questions to Bank of America’s HomeBanking customer service representatives who are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Plus, customers can use the Managing Your Money software to create budgets, track investments, and build reports and graphs that can be printed for quick reference.
BofA New Mexico customers can enjoy the basic HomeBanking service free of charge, allowing them to link as many BofA checking, savings and money market accounts to HomeBanking as they like, view account balances, see which checks have cleared and which deposits have posted, and transfer money between accounts.
Additionally, New Mexico customers can add HomeBanking’s unlimited bill payment option for a monthly fee of $5.95 — about the price of a book of stamps. Customers signing up for HomeBanking with the bill payment option will receive the first three months free. The HomeBanking with bill payment monthly fee is waived for customers with BofA Prima checking accounts.
As part of its launch of HomeBanking in New Mexico, Bank of America also is offering customers in the state free copies of its customized Managing Your Money software until October 31. (A $4 shipping/handling charge and applicable taxes will be applied to all orders for the free software.) After October 31, the customized software can be ordered for $9.95 — 50 percent off the suggested retail price of $19.95. To obtain more information about HomeBanking or to sign up for the service, customers can call 1-800-363-BofA (1-800-363-2632) or stop by a Bank of America branch to pick up an enrollment form.
BofA’s New Mexico Pay by Phone service is available for $3.95 per month, with the first three months free. The monthly fee is waived for Prima checking account customers. To obtain more information about Pay by Phone or to sign up for the service, customers can stop by a Bank of America branch to pick up an enrollment form.
Bank of America operates more than 40 branches and 100 Versateller ATMs in New Mexico.
Bank of America Launches Comprehensive New HomeBanking Service in Arizona
Bank of America Monday announced that it has launched its HomeBanking service throughout Arizona, bringing the 24-hour ease and convenience of online PC banking to the state’s consumers.
HomeBanking allows customers to access their Bank of America accounts anytime day or night using BofA’s customized version of Managing Your Money(R) software, a popular personal financial management program.
With HomeBanking, personal checking account customers with a Windows-based PC and modem can get account information, check balances, verify when checks have cleared, transfer funds between BofA accounts, pay bills online, and pre-schedule bill payments and transfers up to a year in advance.
Customers can pay virtually anyone with this service — from their mortgage, credit card and utility company to their neighborhood dentist or daycare provider. Now paying bills will take minutes, not hours.
“At BofA, we’re committed to giving our customers the tools they need to do their banking when, where and how they want,” said Kathy Munro, president of Bank of America in Arizona and manager of the bank’s Southwest Region retail and business banking network. “We’re very excited about introducing our new HomeBanking service here in Arizona.
“It’s going to provide our customers throughout the state with a whole new level of banking convenience — giving them the freedom to pay bills and manage their personal finances from one easy-to-use, central location on their personal computers.”
In addition to account access and bill payment features, BofA’s HomeBanking offers Arizona customers many other convenient tools. A built-in e-mail feature enables customers to send comments or questions to Bank of America’s HomeBanking customer service representatives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Plus, customers can use the Managing Your Money software to create budgets, track investments, and build reports and graphs that can be printed for quick reference.
Bank of America customers in Arizona can enjoy the basic HomeBanking service free of charge, allowing them to link as many BofA checking, savings and money market accounts to HomeBanking as they like, view account balances, see what checks have cleared and which deposits have posted, and transfer money between accounts.
Arizona customers can add HomeBanking’s Bill Payment option for a monthly fee of $5.95 for unlimited bill paying — about the price of a book of stamps. Plus, during this introductory period, customers who sign up for HomeBanking with Bill Payment will receive the first three months free. For customers with BofA Prima(R) checking accounts, Bill Payment is free.
Customers who take advantage of HomeBanking’s Bill Payment feature will also receive another convenience service absolutely free: Pay By Phone. When customers are away from their computer, with Pay By Phone, they can still pay their bills and check their account balances quickly and easily over the telephone. Pay By Phone is a $3.95 monthly value.
As part of its introduction of HomeBanking to Arizona, Bank of America is also offering free copies of its customized Managing Your Money software until Oct. 31, 1997. (A $4 shipping/handling charge and applicable taxes will be applied to all orders for the free software.)
After Oct. 31, the customized software can be ordered for $9.95, a 50 percent savings off the suggested retail price of $19.95.
For more information about HomeBanking or to sign up for the service, customers can call 1-800-363-BOFA (1-800-363-2632) or stop by a Bank of America branch to pick up an enrollment form. Customers can mail or fax in their completed signup forms at no charge to them.
Bank of America operates 150 branches throughout Arizona and over 2,000 across 11 states. The bank has more than 450 Versateller(R) ATMs in Arizona and over 7,000 nationwide. At the end of second quarter 1997, BankAmerica (NYSE:BAC) reported assets of over $258 billion and deposits of over $173 billion.Details
ICVERIFY Inc. announced today that George Ziemba, a seasoned executive with extensive experience in selling to high-tech and financial services markets, has joined the company to lead its expanding sales and business development efforts as VP of Sales. ICVERIFY is the leading supplier of software solutions that authorize credit card, debit/ATM, purchase card, and check guarantee transactions. More than 250,000 physical and virtual points of sale are currently using ICVERIFY to process transactions in retail stores and over the Internet.
“George brings to IC VERIFY more than a decade of experience and a high level of expertise in coaching individuals and building sales organizations that have met the changing needs of the financial services and high-tech markets,” said F. Thomas Aden, president and chief executive officer of ICVERIFY. “His deep understanding of the Internet market-space and the critical security issues surrounding electronic commerce will be a significant advantage to ICVERIFY as electronic commerce continues to grow. His charter will be to strengthen and expand our leadership positions with financial institutions, software developers, systems integrators, Internet Service Providers and web hosting services.”
Before joining ICVERIFY, Mr. Ziemba served as vice president for sales and business development at VeriSign, Inc. In this position he was instrumental in achieving their success with SSL protocol-based electronic commerce and in establishing that company as the leading certificate authority for the new Secure Electronic Transaction standard.
Mr. Ziemba also served as vice president of sales and support for the Atalla Division of Tandem Computers, Inc. Atalla is a leading supplier of cryptography-based security systems to both domestic and international markets in banking, ATM, retail payment networks, and the Internet.
Born in Diddington, England, Mr. Ziemba resides in Danville, CA with his wife, Linda.
About ICVERIFY, Inc.
ICVERIFY, Inc., a privately-held, venture capital-funded corporation with world headquarters in Oakland, California, and European headquarters in Munich, is the leading software solution for authorizing credit, debit/ATM card, purchase card and check guarantee transactions over the Internet and at traditional points of sale. ICVERIFY supports more than 100 major card processing networks representing 99% of all merchant banks. It has certifications covering the retail, restaurant, hotel, mail/telephone order, auto rental, travel and gasoline industries. The software processes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards, with automatic draft capture to the merchant’s bank account.
For more information about ICVERIFY, call 800-666-5777. ICVERIFY’s World Wide Web address is (URL) [http://www.icverify.com/.]
Rosenbluth Vacations has been selected as the exclusive travel agency for Comcast Rewards, an innovative loyalty program for Comcast Cellular and Cable customers which combines the traditional benefits of a Visa credit card with a localized approach to delivering customer rewards. Points earned by members for their cellular, cable or credit card use can be redeemed for a wide range of rewards in the areas of sports and entertainment, travel and dining, shopping and communications. The Program was developed by Comcast Corporation and Advanta Corporation, the issuer of the VISA credit cards.
“Rosenbluth Vacations shares many similarities with both Comcast and Advanta. They are headquartered in Philadelphia, are respected and recognized for providing superior service and they are innovative marketers,” said David Taber, director of Pricing and Retention for Comcast Cellular. “We are excited to offer our customers a highly professional travel service that provides them with vacation values and significant Comcast Rewards points.”
As the exclusive travel agency for the Comcast Rewards Program, Rosenbluth Vacations offers members the opportunity to earn big points whenever they travel. From an airline ticket to a world cruise or a family vacation — every time members make their travel arrangements through Rosenbluth’s Comcast Rewards Travel Program, they earn up to 10 points per dollar spent. The points earned depends on the type of travel purchased through Rosenbluth Vacations:
— Members will earn 5 points per dollar on airline tickets.
— Members will earn 10 points per dollar on vacation packages and
— Members paying for their airline tickets and vacation packages or
cruises with the Comcast Rewards Visa Card will earn even more points
— 6 points per dollar on airline tickets and 11 points per dollar on
vacation packages and cruises
For every type of travel booked through Rosenbluth Vacations, the absolute lowest prices are offered.
“We are delighted to have been chosen as the exclusive travel agency of the Comcast Rewards Program,” commented Lee M. Rosenbluth, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rosenbluth Vacations. “Comcast and Advanta are leading companies and we are proud to be a partner in this innovative marketing initiative.”
To take advantage of the Comcast Rewards Travel Program provided by Rosenbluth Vacations and begin earning thousands of points, members can call the special toll-free Comcast Rewards Travel Line at 1-888-TAKE A TRIP, or call or visit the nearest Rosenbluth Vacations office. Members must provide their Comcast Rewards membership number or their Comcast Rewards Visa card account number at the time of making a reservation. Those who are not yet members of the Comcast Rewards Program can call 1-888-515-2273 to apply for the Comcast Rewards Visa card.
Rosenbluth Vacations has annual sales of over $90 million and offers a variety of vacation services for consumers worldwide through online services, the Internet, cable television, direct mail programs, and 25 wholly owned retail Vacation & Cruise Centers.Details
With millions of potentially impacted users, Dallas-based S2 Systems, Inc., today announced general availability of its ON/2(R) Version 2.3.2 software that will ward off its customers’ potential problems associated with the numeric change to the Year 2000. ON/2 is used by numerous Fortune 5000 retailers, financial services organizations, healthcare companies and more where continuous online transaction processing (OLTP) applications and services are required.
According to the Gartner Group, 90 percent of all applications will be impacted by the Year 2000 problem, costing a medium size organization up to $5 million to support Year 2000 changes. To offset some of this time, pressure and expense, S2’s ON/2 software licenses will be free of charge to its current maintenance customers running the Stratus Computer VOS(R) operating system.
“Imagine a customer walking up to an ATM after midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, and the screen is blank. Consider how you would feel if your local supermarket can’t take your check, debit or credit card on Jan. 1, 2000,” said Ivan Koon, president of S2 Systems, Inc. “With this new investment in ON/2, we ensure that our existing and future clients keep their businesses running smoothly — all day, every day, no matter where they are around the world.”
ON/2 is a continuously reliable OLTP system that drives retail payments, electronic banking and other electronic funds transfer services. “Literally millions of individuals globally would be affected if organizations like S2 did not support Year 2000 changes,” Koon added. ON/2 Version 2.3.2 is certified under Stratus VOS 12.2.1f for RISC systems and VOS 13.3.Ob for Continuum systems. The software is scheduled for general availability Aug. 29.
S2 Systems, Inc., is a world-leading supplier of business electronic commerce software and professional services. S2 Systems focuses on electronic commerce gateway, electronic banking/payments, healthcare transaction processing and decision support systems for retail, financial services, healthcare and evolving industries. With headquarters in Dallas and offices in Atlanta, Hong Kong, London, and Sydney, S2 Systems products are used by customers in more than 60 countries. S2 Systems is a wholly owned, independent subsidiary of Stratus Computer (NYSE: SRA). S2 is at 15301 Dallas Parkway, Suite 600, Dallas, TX 75248, Phone: 972-458-3800, Fax: 972-458-3870, [http://www.s2sytems.com.]
International Verifact Inc. (Nasdaq: IVIAF; TSE: IVI) announced today that it is providing Scotiabank with the first Canadian, all-in-one debit, credit, cheque authorization and smart card solution for use with VISA Cash.
IVI will be supplying Scotiabank with a new product called the ‘chip farm’, a peripheral that sits under IVI’s existing point-of-sale (POS) terminals. The chip farm provides added POS terminal flexibility by allowing for several smart card formats to be accepted as well as providing additional POS application memory, if necessary. IVI’s chip farm and software application have already received Visa International’s certification and Mondex certification will be pursued in the near future. “The chip farm will protect the bank’s or merchant’s hardware investment by allowing them flexibility never before offered in a POS device” said Geoff Bowen, Vice President of Sales, IVI.
“We are very pleased to be working with VISA Canada and IVI on this exciting new payment method” said Edward Lomax, Scotiabank’s Assistant General Manager of Merchant Products. “VISA brings high market awareness and acceptance to smart card payments, while IVI brings its strong technical resources and reliability to the transaction terminal. IVI and Scotiabank are working closely in developing a new approach to stored value acceptance from the transaction terminal perspective.” “This approach is very innovative,” said Mr. Lomax. “It provides additional memory to existing POS terminals, providing VISA Cash capabilities and the flexibility of accepting new stored value card schemes such as Mondex in the future.”
“By working with merchants and leading financial institutions like Scotiabank, IVI continues to provide the most flexible Smart Card options in North America today,” said L. Barry Thomson, President and Chief Executive Officer of IVI. “Scotiabank’s decision to utilize IVI’s Chip Farm will give merchants the ultimate flexibility in that the investment merchants have already made in existing terminals now have a clear product migration strategy for stored value card capability. The Chip Farm is already VISA Cash certified and we are aggressively seeking Mondex certification as well.”
To date, more than four million VISA Cash cards have been made available for approximately 3.7 million purchases worth approximately $12 million in 17 trials in 11 countries. Twenty-four VISA Cash programs are in progress worldwide with 75 Visa Member Institutions in 15 countries. Seven new trials including one in Barrie, Ontario, are planned to begin before 1998.
Scotiabank is one of North America’s premier financial institutions, with more than $176 billion in assets and more than 34,500 employees worldwide. It is also Canada’s most international bank with more than 1,468 branches and offices in 48 countries on five continents. Scotiabank is on the Worldwide Web at
IVI is engaged in the design, development and sale of electronic payment solutions for retailers, financial institutions, governments and other businesses. IVI’s hardware and software products include point-of-sale debit/credit/EFT/EBT terminals, check readers, smart card readers, POS printers, and secure PIN entry devices. Additional company information is available on the IVI website at [http://www.ivinet.com.]
Although the 1998 Winter Olympic Games are six months away, the Olympic spirit is already taking hold as children throughout the nation gear-up for the Visa Olympics of the Imagination international art contest. Like the exceptional athletic skills of Olympic competitors, these children’s artistic talents and imaginations can take them all the way to the Nagano Games.
The Visa Olympics of the Imagination international art contest challenges schoolchildren between the ages of 9 and 13 years old to create artwork that shows a person they admire participating in an Olympic Winter Games sport. No restriction is placed on imagination, so family members, movies stars, political figures, teachers and, in fact, the whole spectrum of people familiar to the young artists are fair game to their paints and brushes.
In addition to the United States, contest entries are being collected in India, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Germany, Sweden and Norway. Each of the 14 different nations is tailoring the contest differently. In the United States, artwork will be collected between August 15, 1997 and November 3, 1997. The San Francisco-based not-for-profit organization, International Children’s Art Museum (ICAM) is coordinating outreach to 3,500 schools and the collection and judging of entries. Judging of entries from the United States — based on originality, imagination and artistic merit — will be conducted by a prestigious panel of judges from the art community, as well as representatives from ICAM and local celebrities.
Four children from the United States, along with one parent or guardian each, will attend the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan from February 5 – 11, 1998, as guests of Visa. While in Nagano, the winning artists from the United States will join 22 other children from around the world at the Opening Ceremonies and as spectators at Olympic events such as Figure Skating and Speed Skating. During their stay, the children will also be involved in a number of Japanese cultural activities and exchanges.
On the evening of February 7, 1998, Visa will unveil an outdoor exhibit of the children’s art and, at a special medal ceremony hosted by a past Winter Olympian, will award gold medals to the children and name one top winner whose artwork has been chosen from among the 1998 grand prize winners as “Best of Show” for artistic merit. The “Best of Show” winner will earn a trip for two to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Rachel Carter, 13, of New Zealand, was awarded “Best of Show” during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games and will accompany this year’s winners to the Nagano Games.
Additional information on the Visa Olympics of the Imagination, including submission information, is available by calling ICAM at 415-772-9977, or by accessing the Visa Olympics of the Imagination Internet site, at http://www.visa.com/visakids/. The site features a teacher’s guide that integrates the contest into the classroom, artwork from past winners, a downloadable screensaver, and a children’s Olympic trivia quiz.
Founded in 1972, the International Children’s Art Museum’s mission of broadening viewer’s perspectives on art and world cultures through children’s art drives its annual exchange of over 10,000 pieces of children’s artwork worldwide and its permanent collection of children’s artwork at the International Children’s Art Museum in San Francisco.
Visa, a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Games since 1986, is the official payment system of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and will continue as the exclusive card and official payment system for the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It 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. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s nearly 600 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 370,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address inDetails