FreedomCard, Inc., and Planet411.com Inc. introduced a historic joint venture designed to bring innovative credit and e-commerce solutions to millions of consumers and small businesses across the nation.
Led by chairman and CEO Wesley R. Buford and buttressed by a high-profile board and shareholder group that includes Jack Kemp, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate; John S. Chalsty, chairman of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc.; and Leticia Herrera, US Vice Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, FreedomCard aims to meet the growing credit demands of over 76 million minorities and other underserved consumers nationwide who currently have little or no credit.Â Simultaneously, the FreedomCard-Planet411.com partnership has the potential to begin to bridge the country’s “digital divide.”
Planet411.com will supply a scalable, secure and fully integrated package of e-tailing services to FreedomCard Inc.Â This agreement leads the way for the upcoming launch of FreedomOnramp.com, a B2B and B2C e-commerce portal and procurement system for both multicultural and general market web-sites, ISPs, portals and search engines.Â By empowering its clients to shop as well as sell products and services through this e-business solution, FreedomOnramp.com will tap into the purchasing power of the millions of Americans who currently have little or no credit, a market estimated at $1 trillion.
“Many people have talked about closing the digital divide in this country, but we’re actually doing something about it,” Buford said.Â “Until now, financial institutions and technology companies have not worked together to bridge the digital and credit divides that make it impossible for millions of individuals and small businesses to effectively compete in today’s economy. We are delighted to introduce one of the most creative and significant alliances ever conceived that will offer world class solutions to two crucial problems in our society: inadequate access to credit and insufficient access to e-commerce opportunities.”
Planet411.com’s world-class technology platform and service offering will spare FreedomOnramp.com two years of R&D, allowing it to reap the benefits of e-commerce possibilities much sooner, according to Buford.
“We are very enthusiastic toward the challenge of assisting FreedomCard — which we see as a visionary business endeavor — in maximizing its presence in the North American marketplace,” said Serge Bujold, president and CEO of Planet411.com.Â “The magnitude of this project will have a profound and long- lasting impact on the development of our company in the United States.”
Jack Kemp, long a champion of urban home ownership and enterprise zones, said, “FreedomCard is the first real effort to truly bridge the ‘credit divide’ where all Americans, regardless of their credit history, have an opportunity to access credit via FreedomCard, the digital currency of the “new economy.”Â As a result, FreedomCard will increase the customer base of the entire Internet world by equipping customers with digital currency, the FreedomCard MasterCard.”
FreedomCard is a California-based credit card company that provides credit card products to the sub-prime and prime consumer as well as a range of merchant services for small businesses.Â FreedomCard, a wholly owned subsidiary of Freedom Financial Services, Inc., provides its products through its association with Cross Country Bank of Wilmington, Delaware and MasterCard.
“For the past four years we have positioned our bank to serve a broad spectrum of the American marketplace,” said Rocco Abessinio, chairman and CEO of Cross Country Bank.Â “Our relationship with FreedomCard allows us to reach further across this spectrum and provide a full range of credit products to consumers and businesses.Â We are delighted that Freedom Card and Planet411.com have formed this new alliance that will benefit millions of consumers.”
John S. Chalsty, chairman of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc., one of the largest banking firms in the world, and a shareholder in FreedomCard, Inc., said the FreedomCard provides a valuable service in the urban communities.
Beth Horowitz, V.P. ofÂ Global Co-Branding for MasterCard International stated, “We are delighted with our relationship with FreedomCard Inc. which helps us to further extend our reach into important small business and minority markets.Â We applaud this creative effort which we believe will positively impact consumers and small businesses.”
“A great many people today have no previous credit history or have something in their history that prevents them from accessing credit,” Chalsty said.Â “FreedomCard gives them a chance to establish credit and become part of the credit system.Â This is a way for people to climb the first rung of the credit ladder.Â FreedomCard could be their “brass ring.”
FreedomCard Inc., intends to offer Planet411.com’s complete e-business solution, as a nationally-authorized reseller, to millions of businesses which will’, enable those merchants to sell their products and services on the Internet.Â In addition, FreedomCard would promote Planet411.com’s services on an exclusive basis, and offer various incentives to FreedomCard members to shop online through merchants who utilize the FreedomCard/Planet411.com platform.Â The service is expected to go live within approximately three months, and remains subject to agreement on formal closing documents.
Planet411.com (OTC Bulletin Board: PFOO) enables companies to implement a scalable e-commerce platform and to evaluate their business performance with real-time data.Â The Montreal-based company’s solution is characterized by limited financial risk, since clients pay Planet411.com a percentage of their e-commerce revenues instead of an up-front charge.Â Planet411.com services feature world-class components from both the technologyÂ and business sectors. The company’s services include e-store and catalog creation; website hosting on EMC’s (NYSE: EMC) servers; e-commerce application software; shipping arrangements through UPS (NYSE: UPS) and real-time marketing strategy.Â Visit 
About FreedomCard Inc.
FreedomCard Inc., a subsidiary of Freedom Financial Services, Inc., is the nation’s first minority-owned unsecured credit card designed specifically to meet the growing demands of over 76 million African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and other underserved consumers nationwide who currently have little or no credit.Â Visit and