The Pathways Group has signed agreements with several Turkish banks to develop smart card solutions. Under terms of the deal, Pathways will establish a transaction processing center that can process credit, debit and smart card transactions for all participating banks. In addition to providing the ‘Proton’ electronic purse, Pathways will assist the banks in creating loyalty and affinity programs to tie together related businesses such as restaurant chains, hotel chains, travel agencies, supermarkets, airlines, insurance companies and car rental agencies. As a part of this process, it is contemplated that a Turkish company will be formed and owned by participating banks and The Pathways Group. This company will purchase a ‘Proton’ operating license for Turkey.
An airline has come up with a program to issue stored value debit cards to passengers with lost luggage. Swissair and Sabena airlines are offering passengers who are waiting for lost luggage to be found, MasterCard debit cards to cover costs for immediate needs. The debit cards carry various amounts and are distributed to passengers who arrive at their final destination in the U.S. only without their checked bags. The airline says the majority of lost luggage is found and returned within 24 hours. The Swissair and Sabena MasterCard debit cards are valid until funds on the cards are depleted. The cards cannot be used at ATM’s or bank tellers for cash withdrawals. Swissair offers direct service to Switzerland from Atlanta, Miami, New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington,D.C., Montreal and Los Angeles.
Euronet is installing electronic transaction software for NovaBank in Greece, a new financial institution that entered the Greek retail banking market with the simultaneous opening of 45 branches last month. Euronet installed its core middleware product, ‘Integrated Transaction Management’, as well as modules for debit card system management, ATM network management, and ATM bill-pay. The middleware’s on-line connection with NovaBank’s back-office system allows new accounts to become active immediately and provides real-time transfer of data. Euronet also provided special software functionality enabling NovaBank branches to immediately issue ‘VISA Electron’ debit cards and PINs to new customers on site.
Tidel Technologies reported this morning an all-time high for ATM shipments in the third quarter. Tidel shipped 3,739 ATMs for its quarter ending Sept. 30, an increase of 36% over the 2,742 units shipped in the same quarter a year ago and an increase of 9% over the previous quarterly record of 3,419 units set in June 2000. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2000, the company shipped a record 12,426 units, an increase of 76% over the 7,061 units shipped in fiscal 1999 and an increase of 200% over the 4,140 units shipped in fiscal 1998. Fore more details on Tidel’s 3Q financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Miami-based Far East Ventures signed agreements to distribute CA-based Key Com’s ‘XTRAN’ electronic money transfer machines. ‘XTRAN’ allows the immediate transfer of cash from one point to another. Money transfers between the U.S. and foreign countries are expected to be the venture’s largest source of business. For example, approximately $6 billion per year is transferred from the U.S. to Mexico. Last year, almost $800 million was transferred to the island of Jamaica alone. Transfers to other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America account for this industry’s largest source of revenues. Bank One has agreed to provide cash transferring services under a multi-million dollar bond.
Standard & Poor’s expects that consumer credit quality will remain stable for the foreseeable future, according to Tom Warrack, a director in Standard & Poor’s Structured Finance Ratings group.
After analyzing average FICOÂ® scores and average loan-to-value ratios, Mr. Warrack demonstrated that credit quality trends in subprime home equity mortgages are staying consistent.
“We think credit quality trends are going to remain pretty stable,” Mr. Warrack said.
For instance, in the second quarter of 2000, the average FICOÂ® score was 600, compared to approximately 606 in the year-ago period. The average LTV in the same time frame was 76%, while it was 76.5% in the year-ago period.
These figures show that as FICOÂ® scores dropped, the average LTV also dropped, indicating that mortgage loan originators may be not be relaxing lending standards in order to generate borrower business.
This information and more is available in “Trends in Residential Mortgage Products,” a quarterly publication that is available via RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s premier, Web-based, credit analysis system.
The Priceline ‘Blue Gas Card’ and ‘Green Grocery Card’ have run out-of-gas and are headed for the check-out. The Priceline WebHouse Club announced Thursday it is closing shop over the next 90 days after failed efforts to raise more working capital from investors. More than two million cardholders holding “name-your-own-price” grocery and gas cards will be affected. However, the WebHouse Club said that all customers with unredeemed gas and groceries would receive a full refund of any prepaid amount, plus extra money to cover the estimated savings they were expecting to receive at the grocery store and gas pump. All WebHouse Club customers will receive an e-mail detailing the automatic refund process. Customers owed a refund will automatically receive it on their credit card. Refunds will be processed no later than Friday, Oct. 20. The company said its cash reserves of approximately $50 million, as well as $20 million of additional working capital, would be more than sufficient to satisfy all obligations to customers, employees and suppliers. The WebHouse Club had a total of 7,200 grocery stores and 6,000 gas stations participating in the “name-your-own-price” program. Yesterday’s announcement does not apply to any services offered by priceline.com, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, mortgages, new cars, rental cars and long-distance services. The Priceline WebHouse Club is a privately-held licensee of priceline.com.
Effective in October, Sprint plans to offer products and services to college students through TheCampusHub.com, a company formed by the Nebraska Book Company, Haas Wheat & Partners, and MSD Capital.
TheCampusHub.com gives campus bookstores a turnkey e-commerce solution that allows them to provide textbooks, collegiate merchandise, and other goods and services online. In addition, TheCampusHub.com arms the college bookstore with a “click-and-mortar” strategy to effectively compete against online competitors.
“By working with industry leaders like Sprint, TheCampusHub.com helps to drive traffic through the college bookstore’s Web site rather than around it,” said Barry Major, president, TheCampusHub.com. “Bookstores are able to offer an exciting new product, while increasing revenues for the store, and students will enjoy the convenience of buying online.
“We believe the bookstores are in the best position to provide quality products and services that serve students’ needs, as well as improve store profitability. We will soon be announcing other services that will further make the bookstore’s Web site the preferred site of college students,” said Major.
TheCampusHub.com provides a campus bookstore’s Web site with inventory of name brand items the bookstore may not currently offer, without adding thousands of feet of floor space.
“We believe that the bookstore is our customer and the student is the bookstore’s customer. The CampusHub concept is centered around that belief,” said Major. “In the first 90 days of implementation, we have penetrated more than 20 percent of the 15 million student population by installing this software in bookstores that see this as a way to keep their customers shopping locally and improve store profitability. We think our business strategy has been validated by the overwhelming response thus far and the tremendous interest we have seen from the bookstore industry.”
According to Major, TheCampusHub.com allows every college bookstore to create a dominating presence in the e-commerce arena. The bookstore historically has been the place where commerce has been transacted with the college student. Through CampusHub, bookstore managers can build an online presence that becomes a natural extension of where college students have been shopping for decades.
Beginning this October, Sprint will offer “virtual” prepaid phone cards to college students across the nation. Through their college bookstore’s Web site, students may purchase a Sprint phone card on line anytime, day or night. The virtual prepaid phone cards are e-mailed immediately to the student and may be downloaded to a printer, or calling instructions may simply be written down for future reference.
“We are excited to team up with TheCampusHub.com to offer students the convenience of purchasing prepaid phone cards online and we look forward to bringing other Sprint products to CampusHub in the near future,” said Tom Murphy, director, Sprint prepaid phone card sales and marketing. “The college market is an attractive demographic for Sprint, and through CampusHub, we are able to bring a wonderful product to market quickly and effectively.”
TheCampusHub.com is based in Lincoln, Neb., and was formed by the Nebraska Book Company, Haas Wheat & Partners, and MSD Capital in May 2000. The company gives campus bookstores an integrated and turnkey e-commerce solution and allows them to serve students as the primary online buying source for textbooks, collegiate merchandise, and other goods and services. Haas Wheat & Partners is a private equity firm that invests in operating companies through friendly acquisitions in concert with company management. MSD Capital, the private investment firm of Michael Dell, engages in a broad range of activities, with a primary focus on investing in new, promising technology companies, traditional private equity activities, and investing in publicly traded securities.
About Nebraska Book Company
Based in Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska Book Company was founded in 1915 and is one of the nation’s largest used textbook wholesalers. Nebraska Book currently sells more than 7.1 million books annually to approximately 2,000 college bookstores, and owns or operates 100 bookstores. Nebraska Book also operates a cooperative buying program whose more than 400 member bookstores represent a large portion of the major universities in the country. In addition, Nebraska Book provides inventory management software to more than 300 college bookstore locations.
Sprint is a global communications company — at the forefront in 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 business and residential customers.
Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc. announced the appointment of Emilie Herr to sales manager for key accounts in the company’s financial systems market.
In her new role, Emilie will manage the sales team and key accounts among the top 100 banks and savings and loans. She also will oversee all new direct accounts and be responsible for expanding distribution of the company’s offerings, including Fujitsu Series 7000 Advanced Platform automated-teller machines and cash dispensers.
“Emilie brings a deep knowledge of the financial services industry and extensive experience with many product lines,” said Neill Collins, vice president sales, financial systems. “Her rejoining Fujitsu-ICL at this time underscores the exciting future we see for Fujitsu products in the financial systems and ATM markets.”
Emilie worked previously for Fujitsu from 1985 to 1990, and from 1997 to 1999. Most recently, she was Western Region sales manager for Austin, Texas-based Siemens Nixdorf, now called Wincor Nixdorf. From 1990 to 1996, Emilie served as sales manager of the western region for Alltel, a software company headquartered in Little Rock, Ark.
Prior to joining Alltel, Emilie worked from 1974 to 1985 in the San Diego offices of Dayton, Ohio-based NCR, where, in 1983, she was named one of the top 10 sales employees worldwide.
Emilie lives in Los Gatos, Calif., with her husband, Jerry.
About Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc.
Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc. is a joint venture between Fujitsu, a leading provider of Internet-based IT solutions for the global marketplace, and ICL, a $4.4 billion e-Business services company wholly owned by Fujitsu.
The company targets retail, financial and e-Business services markets. Its Fujitsu Products group has almost 30 years experience in providing hardware/software solutions and services for retail point-of-sale (POS), specialized handheld computing and ATM applications. Its Retail Software and Services group provides development and customization services and support for retail POS software applications. Its Fujitsu Business Solutions group provides consultancy-led e-services and customer relationship management (CRM) that enable its clients to build high-value, personalized relationships with their customers.
Dollar Tree Stores signed agreements yesterday to install an estimated 15,000 NCR POS workstations in its stores through Dec. 2004. The POS hardware will be provided by Data Business Systems, NCR’s authorized dealer in Virginia Beach, VA. Dollar Tree has also signed a five-year customer support agreement directly with NCR for all in-store systems. Dollar Tree, which currently operates more than 1,600 stores offering merchandise at the fixed price of $1.00, selected the NCR ‘7448 POS’ workstation. The workstations will be used with multiple software packages including NCR’s ‘Advanced [email protected]’ application. Dollar Tree also plans to install NCR in-store desktop computers for back office functionality and NCR ‘7880’ barcode scanners in selected stores.
Philips Digital Networks and Trintech Group Plc, a leading provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions, have formed a strategic partnership to provide a t-commerce payment solution allowing TV audiences to securely pay for products purchased via their set-top boxes.
Philips manufactures digital set-top boxes for cable, satellite and terrestrial reception, which support interactive TV applications and Internet access. Combined with Trintech’s PayWare” eIssuer’ and PayWare mAccess’ payment technology, consumers can purchase products, made available to their TV screens from online merchants, via the set-top box. t-commerce provides a whole new channel of sales opportunity for online merchants, with the ability to present products in new and exciting ways through the cable/TV channel. In addition, service operators can benefit from their participation in this new e-commerce value chain, with additional revenue streams generated from sales commissions based on t-commerce transactions.
Commenting on the newly-formed partnership, executive vice president of Royal Philips Electronics and CEO of Philips Digital Networks, Rob van Oostenbrugge, said: “With service operators constantly searching for new revenue streams through eCommerce, they can now look to Philips and Trintech for an elegant payment solution that is both secure and convenient for consumers.” Compared to other existing interactive TV commerce applications, the Philips/Trintech solution is unique. For consumers, it combines the convenience of a few button clicks on the remote control with the ability to use their personal payment information for a wide range of applications, including interactive TV commerce, home shopping and the Internet. In combination with Philips’ CryptoWorks conditional access (CA) technology, transaction security is even further enhanced.
John McGuire, Trintech’s CEO, added: “With Forrester Research estimating that the total market for t-commerce will grow to $20-25 billion by 2005, it is a significant channel for B2C e-commerce. The power and flexibility of Trintech’s PayWare eIssuer and mAccess, coupled with Philips set-top box technology puts in place the payment infrastructure essential to fully enable t-commerce.”
With the Philips and Trintech t-commerce payment solution, consumers can automatically provide their payment information so that when they wish to pay for a product they simply select which card they want to use and the requested data is sent to the merchant. With built-in security features to authenticate the cardholder, PayWare eIssuer provides a secure and convenient payment solution for t-commerce.
Philips Digital Networks – a business group of the Philips Consumer Electronics division – is a world-leading provider of advanced digital system solutions for Service and Network providers in broadcasting and video distribution. Philips Digital Networks offers product and service solutions for customers in both the professional side of the distribution chain, as well as for consumers to use in the home. In the consumer domain, Philips Digital Networks is a leading provider of set-top boxes for digital television and Internet delivery, as well as personal video recording. A pioneer in the development of Internet-enabling technologies, Philips Digital Networks is playing a key role in the introduction of MPEG4-based media streaming solutions. The broad professional product portfolio includes a comprehensive range of television cameras, studio and compression equipment, conditional access systems and transmission systems for broadband cable networks to deliver a full array of interactive services. A flexible customer support program and active involvement in the bodies setting tomorrow’s entertainment and information delivery standards makes Philips a natural partner for the digital broadcast era.
The Check Cashers Association of New York, Inc. announced new officers and board members elected at its annual general membership meeting. All assume office on January 1, 2001.
Officers elected for a one-year term are:
James Eustace, president. Mr. Eustace, 45, was re-elected to serve a second term. He had been CCANY treasurer since 1994, and was secretary for two years prior. A CCANY board member for 12 years and member of the check cashing industry for 17 years, Mr. Eustace is owner and president of West Side Trading, Inc., with two locations in Manhattan.
Matt Bardach, vice president. Mr. Bardach, 42, was re-elected to a second term. He has served as a CCANY board member for 12 years. He is president and chief operating officer of David’s Financial Corp., which operates David’s Check Cashing Inc. with 15 locations in the New York City area, and David’s Financial Services, with five check cashing locations and on-site payroll locations in New Jersey and Rockland County. The combined companies employ 125 people.
Andrew Boisselle, secretary. Mr. Boisselle, 38, a CCANY board member for 8 years, was re-elected secretary for a third term. Owner and vice president of CEBCO Check Casher Corp. for the past 12 years, Mr. Boiselle operates four locations in Brooklyn and Queens, with 20 employees.
Jay Brodsky, treasurer. Mr. Brodsky, 39, was re-elected to a second term. He is owner and president of Challenger Check Cashing Corp. with one location in Brooklyn, and six employees.
Eleven directors were also elected for a two-year term. They include:
1. Edward Toledano, president, Uneeda Check Cashing Inc., New York City
2. Ray Mustafa, president, The Pay-O-Matic Corp., Syosset, N.Y.
3. Stephen Wolf, treasurer, The Pay-O-Matic Corp., Syosset, N.Y.
4. Brian Wertling, vice president, Fortune Check Cashing Inc., Brooklyn
5. Martin Goldstein, president, A&T Check Cashing Corp., Brooklyn
6. Stanley Laxer, vice president, Samceil Check Cashing Service, Inc., Brooklyn
7. John Winters, president, Ridge Check Cashing Corp., Brooklyn
8. John Davila, president, Alivad Associates, Inc., Brooklyn
9. Sam Brevdeh, president, Uribea Realty Corp., New York City
10. Wayne Schwartz, secretary/treasurer, MTW Check Cashing Corp., Staten Island
11. Robert Egan, president, G&R Check Cashing/MVMM Corp., Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
About the Check Cashers Association of New York CCANY ([http://www.ccanyinc.org] ) represents over 600 licensed check cashing stores statewide, employing over 4,000 residents and cashing checks with a face value approaching $14 billion. The industry is regulated by the New York State Banking Department, and charges a 1.4% check cashing fee — the lowest in the nation. Check cashers also offer payment of utility bills, sales of MetroCards and subway tokens — it is the second largest purveyor after the Metropolitan Transit Authority, pre-paid telephone cards, postage, money orders, wire remittances and cash advances, to cite a few of the many financial services available.