The Federal Open Market Committee voted yesterday to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5-3/4 percent. In a related action, the Board of Governors approved a 25 basis point increase in the discount rate to 5-1/4 percent. Overnight most of the nation’s bank boosted the prime rate from 8.50% to 8.75%.
CompuBank, the first Internet national bank, today announced a $36 million investment in its first institutional round of financing led by SOFTBANK FINANCE with GE Financial Assurance, The Goldman Sachs Group and Marsh & McLennan Capital participating.
“In its first year, CompuBank was the most widely recognized Internet bank and was rated the number one bank online by SmartMoney.com,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, President and Chief Executive Officer of SOFTBANK FINANCE, “We are confident that CompuBank will continue to be the leader in Internet banking,” said Kitao.
“Our world-class investors bring strategic relationships that will be instrumental in building on CompuBank’s success,” said Frank S. Goldberg, CompuBank’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “These strategic partnerships will fuel exponential growth for CompuBank in the year 2000.”
CompuBank, Member FDIC, offers a variety of depository products and services to both businesses and consumers, including: basic checking, interest checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposits, Visa check cards, direct deposit and transfers, free domestic wire services, online check re-order, free bill payment and free ATM services. In addition to free services and exceptional interest rates, CompuBank offers its customers the ultimate convenience and ease-of-use in banking.
CompuBank utilizes affinity-based marketing to businesses and consumers. By targeting Internet users, CompuBank has experienced tremendous account growth on an efficient marketing strategy. Over the past 12 months, CompuBank has experienced over 100% quarter-to-quarter growth in its account acquisition.
CompuBank plans to use the investment for customer acquisition, operational expansion and general capital requirements.
About the Investors
SOFTBANK CORP. has emerged as one of the world’s leading Internet market forces. Through its ownership positions in more than 100 Internet companies and its unique Internet-zaibatsu management concept, it is able to create market synergies for its family of companies on a global scale. In Japan its activities encompass distribution, publishing, Internet media platforms, a broad range of e-commerce businesses, and joint ventures with companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Yahoo!, the National Association of Security Dealers, and many other market leaders. In the U.S., SOFTBANK is the largest shareholder in leading Internet companies such as Yahoo!, E*Trade and ZDNet, and in Europe has established Internet joint ventures with News Corp. and Viviendi.
GE Financial Assurance
GE Financial Assurance is an integrated family of consumer-focused insurance and investment companies committed to helping people create and preserve wealth, protect assets and enhance their lifestyles. GE’s consumer financial product offerings are sold through multiple distribution channels and include: life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, retirement investment plans, long term care coverage, supplemental accident and health benefits, auto coverage, and life style enhancement products like travel and home shopping services, and automobile clubs. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, GE Financial Assurance has $80 billion of assets under management.
Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking and securities firm, providing a full range of investing, advisory, and financing services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base, which includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest and largest investment banking firms. The Firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.
Marsh & McLennan Capital
Marsh & McLennan Capital, a private equity firm with $2.5 billion under management, is focused on investing in the financial services industry. The firm’s venture fund targets investments in early stage technology companies that are involved in financial services, with an emphasis on B2B opportunities. The fund completed 10 transactions in 1999, including investments in LoanCity (an Internet platform for residential mortgage brokers), ChannelPoint (an exchange for the distribution and sale of insurance products), and LendingTree (an Internet-based loan marketplace).
Marsh & McLennan Capital is a subsidiary of The Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a global professional services firm with annual revenues in excess of $7 billion. MCC businesses include Putnam Investments, Mercer Management Consulting, and William M. Mercer.
As the first nationally chartered Internet bank, CompuBank brings together a wide range of banking and financial services for consumers and businesses, all day, every day. CompuBank offers a variety of depository products and services including: basic checking, interest checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposits, visa check cards, direct deposit and transfers, free domestic wire services, online check re-order, free bill payment and free ATM services. In addition to free services and exceptional interest rates, CompuBank offers its customers the ultimate convenience and ease-of-use in banking. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CompuBank is FDIC insured. For more information, email [email protected] or visit the Web site at .
Motorola teams with Trintech to deliver mobile virtual credit card. Motorola today made it easier to shop on the move by unveiling the industry’s first secure virtual credit card solution for making online purchases from mobile phones. Motorola has combined virtual credit card technology from Trintech for secure and convenient online purchasing, with their wireless devices to launch the solution at the GSM World Congress 2000 in Cannes. The innovation is the first in an ongoing collaboration between Motorola and Trintech to create solutions that enable wireless devices with virtual credit cards. Motorola plans to demonstrate a wireless credit card purchase over a mobile phone at the GSM World Congress 2000 in Cannes. When shopping on the Internet, the user merely has to invoke their virtual credit card by using the keypad on their phone or by using voice activated commands.
Discover Financial Services today announced the launch of the innovative Discover Desk$hop virtual credit card, which provides Discover Cardmembers with one-click access to their online account, a convenient drag-and-drop mechanism for shopping on the Internet and real-time available credit balance information. Trintech is powering the Discover Desk$hop’s form filling functionality with its PayGate NetIssuer virtual credit card solution. Discover Desk$hop fully supports the Electronic Commerce Modeling Language standard. The privacy of consumer’s card details is protected with the highest level of Secure Socket Layer encryption and credit card security is enhanced by the PIN-protected access used when Cardmembers invoke their Discover Desk$hop virtual card.
Hypercom Corporation today announced the opening of its new sales and service office in Puerto Rico and the appointment of Jaime Arroyo as managing director, Hypercom Puerto Rico. Headquartered in San Juan and led by Mr. Arroyo, Hypercom Puerto Rico will introduce the company’s just-announced ePic Internet based retail countertop commerce and information system to Puerto Rico’s banking, retail and business communities. Immediately prior to his new appointment, Mr. Arroyo served as director, Hypercom Network Systems.
“Hypercom’s new sales and service office in San Juan ensures that our customers continue to receive the most innovative products and unparalleled service as Hypercom’s business continues to experience solid growth throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean,” said Jairo E. Gonzalez, senior executive officer, Hypercom Corporation.
Hypercom’s ePOS-infocommerce, is the industries first Internet enabled POS payment terminal and server system that lets merchants support a range of Internet based functions via Hypercom’s ePic ICE series touch screen terminals. When used in concert with Hypercom’s e-commerce web merchant-hosting software, ePic cost effectively bridges physical retail payments and web-based e-commerce. ePic enables merchants to set up centrally hosted web stores which can be operated via the terminal. ePic supports e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, interactive loyalty, electronic receipt capture, branding programs and e-commerce — in addition to traditional secure payment processing functions.
The new Hypercom office is at Number 268 Munoz Rivera Avenida, Suite 200, Hatorey, PR 00918, telephone 787.763.5537.
Hypercom Corporation is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is www.hypercom.com.
Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. e-POSinfocommerce and Hypercom ICE are trademarks of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.
Another electronic innovation for Canada, the Bank of Montreal MasterCard Wallet, was launched today and will make online shopping fast, safe and easy. The Bank of Montreal MasterCard Wallet allows Internet shoppers to enter their credit card information once and store it securely in an icon, or wallet, for use when shopping on the Internet. The Bank of Montreal MasterCard Wallet features 128-bit encryption to ensure the security of transactions.
Intuit Inc today announced that it will expand its “My Accounts” by Quicken service; giving consumers even more power to create a truly consolidated view of their personal finances from one single location on the Web. The ability to access data from more than 40 leading bank, brokerage and credit card providers to the “My Accounts” service is designed to provide consumers with anytime, anywhere access to their own personalized financial portfolio. The expanded “My Accounts” by Quicken service is expected to be available on Intuit’s leading e-finance site, Quicken.com, as well as on Excite and WebCrawler by Spring 2000.
Schlumberger today announced that it has successfully transitioned the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s (IUP) campus-wide ID card from a magnetic stripe card into a smart card-based infrastructure. The new ID system enables secure offline, stored-value purchases; integrated banking features for stored value/debit/credit for off-campus merchants; and card loading from student bank accounts. As part of the solution, PNC Bank provided financial and merchant-related services, which allow acceptance of the upgraded card for debit and chip payment options.
PULSE EFT Association has become an equity participant in the SafeCheck Payment Service which will create an online debit switching system for check transactions at point-of-sale locations.
The system will standardize a way for merchants to accept checks that are read electronically and authorized and settled, revolutionizing check processing. The payment system is being developed by Small Value Payments Company (SVPCo), an industry leader in developing solutions for streamlining payments and providing consumers with the best choice of payment options. PULSE, along with other electronic funds transfer networks, a number of leading banks and check processing and authorization services, is a partner in the development of the SafeCheck service. Here’s how the process will work:
— The customer will write a check at the point of purchase.
— The cashier will swipe the check through an existing terminal to read the MICR, or information encoded along the bottom of the check, and will input the amount of purchase.
— This data will be transmitted via PULSE to the financial institution where the checking account is held, and the transaction would be either verified or guaranteed.
— The merchant will stamp the check “void” and return it to the customer.
PULSE intends to participate in a SafeCheck prototype planned for this summer. “The PULSE Board unanimously endorsed participation in the SafeCheck effort,” said Stan Paur, president and CEO of PULSE. “The application of the proven technology and settlement capabilities of the PULSE network are a natural fit with the SafeCheck program.”
“Every party involved will benefit from electronic check truncation, the shortcutting of tedious paper check processing by converting and transmitting data electronically,” said Hank Farrar, COO of SVPCo. “This is not just a win-win proposition where two parties benefit, but a new way of doing business in which everyone involved in the process comes out ahead, including the merchant and the consumer,” he said.
Farrar explained that merchants lose approximately $11.5 billion annually from bad checks. Verification service companies have significant losses on checks they guarantee for their merchant customers and banks have tremendous costs associated with processing the estimated 18 billion paper checks written at retail locations alone this year.
“All these cost-cutting measures for businesses could mean reduced prices and fees for consumers, complementing the bonus of having a convenient new way of making payments,” Farrar said.
“SafeCheck represents an exciting concept that leverages existing delivery channels to enhance the acceptance and processing of checks,” Paur said. “Our association believes this application will serve to benefit the financial industry, merchants and consumers.”
PULSE is a not-for-profit cooperative serving more than 2,100 banks, credit unions and savings and loans in a nine-state primary service area including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The network processes in excess of 40 million transactions monthly and features more than 52,000 ATMs and 229,700 PULSE PAY point-of-sale terminals in all 50 states. For more information, visit the PULSE Web site at [www.pulse-eft.com].
SVPCo was created as a limited liability company in 1998 by 12 of the largest banks in the United States; ownership has since expanded to 21 banks. As a bank-owned, private sector payment system, SVPCo works to institute innovations in technology and to react quickly to payment system opportunities. A goal of SVPCo is to advance Electronic Check Presentment (ECP) by creating the first standardized nationwide multilateral electronic exchange of checks in accordance with standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and rules adopted by the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization (ECCHO).
College students nationwide will now be able to use the Memolink Discount Card as a Sprint long-distance calling card by signing up for the card online. A newly announced agreement between Sprint and Memolink allows college students who visit the Memolink Web site to use the Memolink Card as a long-distance calling card and earn additional Memolink points.
Memolink, a leading college Web site with more than 175,000 members, currently sells the discount card to college students across the country. Students receive discounts at select retailers on everything from school supplies to food, music and much more.
Students sign up for the card by visiting the Memolink Web site, http://www.memolink.com, where members can earn points for surfing the Web, filling out surveys, and purchasing certain products. Memolink points can be redeemed for gift certificates with a wide array of companies.
Through its agreement with Memolink, Sprint will provide domestic calling card functionality on the Memolink Card. To use the card, students call 800-2SPRINT and follow the voice prompts. There is also a collect calling option.
Best of all, as a special limited-time promotion, students can go to Memolink.com and get the Memolink Card for free. The card normally costs $12.50. Students who activate the Sprint calling card portion of the Memolink Card online will get up to 60 free minutes of domestic long-distance calling. As a special bonus, for every full dollar spent using the calling card, students will receive Memolink points. Students receive this special offer only by visiting the Memolink.com Web site and signing up for a Memolink Card.
“College students looking for an innovative way to make the most of a points-based reward program will find great value with the promotion we’ve created between Sprint and Memolink,” said Keith Gallagher, director of Sprint College Marketing. “Students can take their long-distance with them wherever they go — they’ll get great rates and there are no monthly fees to pay.”
The Sprint calling card portion of the Memolink card can be used to make calls from almost anywhere. It’s perfect when you’re on the go, when you need to make a call in an emergency, or when you are short of change for a pay phone. There is a 26-cent charge for calls originating from a pay phone. The card also provides a convenient way to keep track of long-distance calls. There’s no need to split the phone bill with roommates because you get your own bill.
“The Sprint calling card element provides students the perfect way to stay in touch with family and friends during the school year and all year long,” added Gallagher. “Memolink provides a great opportunity for Sprint to reach college consumers with a unique promotion in an online environment.”
Memolink.com offers advertisers a unique and cost effective mechanism to target and reward college students for their actions. Memolink has also introduced several unique marketing vehicles such as a premium dry-erase message board with imprinted advertisements, customized collegiate market research available via Memolink.com, a Memolink Discount Card Program and collegiate tours featuring on-campus promotional events. For more information, please contact Memolink at 800-563-6654 or visit .
Sprint is a global United States-based communications company — at the forefront of integrating long-distance, local and wireless communications services and one of the largest carriers of Internet traffic. Sprint built and operates the United States’ first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and is a leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $20 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 20 million businesses and residential customers.
Over one half of all on-line shoppers in the U.S. have a favorite credit card for Internet purchases. Among these consumers, 12% favor their American Express card, according to an independent study completed in 1999 by Brittain Associates. With the introduction of its Blue card, American Express’ share could increase dramatically. According to Bruce Brittain, president of Brittain Associates, his company is currently designing an independent Blue card evaluation to measure the success of this new product. Card industry subscribers are being signed-on to this 12-month tracking study which will include three phases involving over 9,000 consumer interviews collected on-line and by telephone. With American Express reportedly spending over $20 million to promote the Blue card in a nationwide roll-out, the focus of the study will be on key strategic issues such as ownership incidence and growth rate, card sales volume on and off-line, competitive card cannibalization, balance payment behavior, and perceived benefits of the Internet-friendly smart card.
Intuit Inc., the leader in e-finance, and TransPoint, a leader in the online bill payment and presentment industry, today announced that the two companies have signed a non-binding letter of intent to bring more electronic bills to a greater number of consumers.
The teaming of these two industry leaders will offer consumers one of the most comprehensive and intuitive services through which consumers can view and pay their bills online. TransPoint’s online billing and payment service will be available through Intuit’s broad distribution channels including Quicken, Quicken.com (www.quicken.com/bills), AOL and Excite (www.excite.com). TransPoint is working with more than 50 major billers for electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP), including major telecommunications, utility, credit card and other financial services and cable television companies. By the end of 2000, TransPoint expects to have more than 100 companies issuing electronic bills through its service. As a result of the relationship, Intuit will be able to offer consumers easy, convenient and secure access to TransPoint’s ever-increasing number of online billers. In return, TransPoint will gain distribution through several additional Web channels, enhancing its efforts to make e-bills available at multiple popular Internet locations.
“Enabling consumers to use the Web to pay many of their bills makes it even easier for these users to manage their day-to-day finances,” said Mark Goines, senior vice president for Intuit’s consumer division. “Through our proposed relationship with TransPoint, we will be able to offer consumers a single location where they can easily manage their bills in the context of their larger financial lives.”
“Our strategy is to provide consumers with the richest, most intuitive electronic bills and make them available at convenient, frequently traveled Internet destinations,” said Lewis Levin, president and CEO of TransPoint. “Our relationship with Intuit will give consumers an extremely convenient e-bill service at several popular, multi-service Web sites. With this significant distribution boost, TransPoint continues to stimulate industry growth.”
About Intuit’s EBPP Service
Intuit’s electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) service is the first Web-based online billing service to provide a central point of access for consumers to view, track and pay all their bills from the same site they use to manage the rest of their financial lives. For consumers, this means not having to access multiple billers’ sites to manage bills. Through its relationships with TransPoint and other electronic-bill processing providers, Intuit will be able to offer consumers more electronic bills than any other EBPP service.
Intuit offers electronic bill presentment and bill payment services through Quicken and Quicken.com and will offer this service through other portals and financial institution sites pursuant to a license agreement between Intuit and a joint venture company in which Intuit is a participant. About TransPoint’s EBPP Service
The TransPoint online payment service is available at multiple locations on the Internet, including TransPoint’s Web site (www.transpoint.com). Through its service, consumers can view and pay bills that arrive electronically through TransPoint, pay bills that arrive through the U.S. Postal Service, and pay nearly anyone else. With one fully integrated and convenient service, consumers can pay all of their bills with a few clicks of a mouse.
Commitment to Open Standards
Intuit and TransPoint have agreed to use OFX to interface their systems. As part of both companies’ long-term commitment to open standards, Intuit and Microsoft Corp., one of TransPoint’s parent companies, are actively engaged with the Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) Working Group to support the creation and rollout of the IFX standard.
Intuit Inc. is the leader in e-finance, including financial software and Web-based financial services for consumers and small businesses. Intuit develops and markets QuickBooks, the most popular small business accounting software; Quicken, the leading personal finance software; and TurboTax, the best-selling tax preparation software. An innovator in delivering Web-based financial tools, Intuit is the leading provider of online tax preparation and filing and online mortgages. Intuit is also breaking new ground as a leader in online bill presentment and payment, and in the delivery of its QuickBooks Internet Gateway platform of connected e-services for small businesses.
Intuit’s Quicken.com Web site (www.quicken.com) is a leading financial site, offering a comprehensive set of financial news, information and tools, including insurance, mortgage, investment and tax preparation services. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses. About TransPoint
TransPoint, established in June 1997, is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp., with Citibank Corp. as a minority equity investor. TransPoint is a leader in the emerging electronic bill presentment and payment industry with a completely new, seamless e-bills service built from the ground up. The TransPoint system uses innovative technology and integrates easily with billers’ and banks’ existing payment systems. Launched commercially in April 1999, the TransPoint service is designed to be the fast, easy way for consumers with Internet access to make all of their payments online from a single, secure Web site. Consumers can pay their bills at multiple Internet locations, including the MSN MoneyCentral personal finance online service and directly through the TransPoint Web site. TransPoint e-bills are also scheduled to be available at the Web sites of many leading financial institutions in the coming months. TransPoint is based in Englewood, Colo. More information about e-bills is available at [www.transpoint.com].