Euronet Worldwide this week has sealed a second deal for the distribution of wireless banking solutions overseas. London-based Sila Communications will market Euronet’s suite of solutions to its customer base. Sila will offer ‘Account Access’ and ‘Event Messaging’ as a wireless ASP solution in Europe and throughout Asia/Pacific. ‘Account Access’ enables a customer to make a balance inquiry, retrieve a mini-statement, perform an intra-bank transfer, change a password, report a lost or stolen debit card, pay bills, forward information requests and add or delete alerts right from the palm of the hand. The wireless ‘Event Messaging’ capability is driven by the individual customer’s preferences as established through their financial institution’s website. Once activated, the program immediately notifies customers with information, such as account balances, confirmation of direct deposit to accounts, status of checks or loan rates reaching specified targets. Sila is owned 60% by Aether Systems and 40% by Reuters Group. Earlier this week Euronet inked a deal with Gemplus Monday to distribute Euronet’s suite of wireless payment solutions to GSM mobile operators around the world. (CF Library 2/13/01)
MIST Inc., a global leader in wireless transaction technology, Tuesday announced that is has signed a significant agreement with The Horizon Group, one of the largest U.S. distributors of POS equipment, to distribute MIST Freedom II terminals in the United States.
Horizon, a Hypercom company based in St. Louis, chose MIST’s Freedom II wireless POS terminals to meet its growing customer base desiring wireless solutions. Horizon is also uniquely equipped to provide specific deployment services, such as software loading and encryption using the Freedom II terminals.
MIST’s wireless, direct-payment technology delivers leading-edge capabilities in Point-of-Sale (POS) transaction terminals. MIST Freedom wireless terminals allow businesses on the go, such as mobile merchants or taxi companies, to offer customers the convenience, flexibility, security, and revenue benefits of direct payment.
“MIST is an innovative leader in wireless electronic transaction solutions, and we can immediately benefit from this new relationship, as well as from synergies between their wireless transaction solutions and our existing customer base,” said Scott Rutledge from The Horizon Group. “We are pleased to add the MIST Freedom line to our product base offering.”
“Our agreement with Horizon Group opens new markets for MIST’s wireless payment terminals in the United States,” said Linda Horwath, vice president, MIST, U.S. Sales. “The POS market can benefit from our innovative technology with a truly hand-held mobile system. As the need for wireless continues to grow in the U.S., so does the need for more flexible, faster and reliable wireless payment solutions.”
MIST’s Freedom II is a wireless portable device that allows a merchant to perform credit or debit card transactions from any location. What sets the Freedom II apart is its ease and flexibility of use because integrated within each device is a wireless modem supporting multiple platforms including, CDPD, Mobitex and Ardis/Motient.
This broad variety of wireless communication methods allows the merchant to select one technology that best fits their geographical area. In addition, there is a built-in thermal printer supporting seven lines per second printing, and a Nickel Metal Hydrite battery provides approximately two hours of constant use or 12 hours standby.
About MIST Inc.
MIST Inc., a leading global provider of wireless transaction-enabling technologies, is in the business of designing, manufacturing, and distributing wireless and wired Point-of-Sale (POS) solutions. With facilities in Toronto and Montreal, MIST has an installed base of more than 550,000 POS terminals.
MIST’s clients include Canadian and international banks, financial institutions, credit and debit card processors, as well as retail, hotel, restaurant, healthcare and loyalty customers. The “MIST Freedom” family of wireless transaction terminals was developed to complement its range of existing products.
MIST has business offices in Canada and the United States. For more information, visit [www.mistwireless.com]. Investors may contact [email protected]
PubliCARD has snagged a deal whereby its ‘Infineer’ smart card readers will be used in a pilot project involving patient information and the U.S. Postal Service’s new NetPost Certified service. The Health Care Financing Administration plans to use NetPost.Certified for Medicare filings initially from End Stage Renal Dialysis facilities in its ‘Vital Information System for Improved Outcomes in Nephrology’ pilot project, which is expected to involve over 4,000 facilities. It is estimated that one smart card reader will be required per participating physician. The NetPost.Certified system has broad potential applications throughout the nation’s health care reimbursement/information networks, where protecting the security of sensitive patient records is legally mandated. The NetPost.Certified system, through CKM encryption software provided by TecSec and PubliCARD’s smart card readers, delivers critical privacy benefits of selective access and granular encryption.
Chase Merchant Services, L.L.C. , a joint venture between Chase Merchant Ventures, Inc., a subsidiary of The Chase Manhattan Bank and First Data Merchant Services, a subsidiary of First Data Corp., an agreement with Intuit, Inc., a leading provider of small business accounting and management solutions, to become part of Intuit’s QuickBooks Internet Gateway. Under the agreement, Chase Merchant Services becomes a provider of payment processing capabilities to users of Intuit’s QuickBooks(R) accounting software. QuickBooks users can apply online to receive an Internet merchant account and approved users can process real-time credit card transactions through Chase Merchant Services, the nation’s largest merchant acquirer.
! The QuickBooks Internet Gateway launched in October of 1999, enables thousands of small businesses to take advantage of innovative services offered by leading e-services providers. Nearly three million small businesses utilize QuickBooks to manage their companies.
“Intuit created the QuickBooks Internet Gateway to bring valuable Web-enabled services to our customers to help them run their businesses better,” said Dan Nye, vice president for Internet Small Business. “We’ve chosen to work with Chase Merchant Services because of the high quality of their service, a valuable addition to the Gateway and our customers’ businesses.”
“Chase Merchant Services is very excited about becoming part of the QuickBooks Internet Gateway. This gives us the opportunity to become a valuable provider of eCommerce merchant processing solutions to the top tier segment of small office — home office merchants,” said Diane Vogt, chief executive officer of Chase Merchant Services. “Intuit’s QuickBooks has nearly three million small businesses utilizing their software in the U.S. This represents a significant opportunity for CMS to reach a new, non-traditional market.”
About Chase Merchant Services
Chase Merchant Services, L.L.C., is the nation’s largest merchant acquirer and the provider of Internet-based solutions for merchants and can be reached on the Web at [http://www.chasemerchantservices.com]. Chase Merchant Services processes over 2.5 billion transactions a year and more than $175 billion in annual credit and debit card sales volume at the point of sale and over the Internet. Chase Merchant Services is a joint venture between First Data Merchant Services, a subsidiary of First Data Corp., the leading bankcard transaction processor, and Chase Merchant Ventures, Inc., a subsidiary of The Chase Manhattan Bank, the fourth largest bankcard issuer in the United States. The Chase Manhattan Bank is a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) ([http://www.jpmorganchase.com]), a premier global financial services firm with assets in excess of $705 billion and operations in over 60 countries.
Sallie Mae’s Nellie Mae released a report this week showing that students are drowning in credit card debt which may eventually contribute to student loan defaults. The research revealed that average credit card debt among students rose from $1,879 to $2,748 between 1998 and 2000. The study showed that nearly one in four students with credit card debt owe more than $3,000 and that nearly 10% of students owe more than $7,000, down slightly from 1998. The study, which analyzed the credit card behavior of Nellie Mae student loan applicants last year, also found the percentage of students with credit cards rose from 67% in 1998 to 78% in 2000; the average number of credit cards per student fell from 3.5 cards to three cards in two years; the percentage of students with four or more credit cards rose from 27% in 1998 to 32% in 2000; and the percentage of graduate students with credit cards remained unchanged for the past two years at 95%.
MA-based TowerGroup has launched a new research service focused on U.S. consumers and small businesses. The new ‘Voice of the Customer’ research service will provide in-depth insight into how these customer groups conduct-and plan to conduct-their financial services business, with a particular focus on technology adoption and usage. Topics to be covered in 2001 will range from consumers’ views on cyberbanking, to small businesses’ concerns regarding electronic bill presentment/payment and employee benefits, to how financial services firms can better serve the fast-growing wealth market. Research will be based on a sample of approximately 8,000 US households and 1,000 small businesses, as well as 1,000 members of the small office/home office segment. TowerGroup’s ‘Voice of the Customer’ service will encompass three products: ‘Consumer Financial Services’; ‘Commercial Financial Services’; and the ‘Wealth Market’.
American shoppers may soon be filing customer loyalty cards designed by New Zealanders among their credit cards and driver’s licences as a result of a multimillion-dollar deal by Auckland-based card technology company Visible Results.
The $14.4 million buy-up of Kansas-based Graphicard will make Visible Results the world’s largest provider of rewritable loyalty card programmes and earn the company US$30 million (NZ$67.8 million) a year for business done in the United States alone.
New Zealanders will be most familiar with the work of Visible Results in the form of Mobil Max cards.
Though the acquisition means 80 per cent of Visible Results’ revenue will now come from overseas, management says it has no plans to move overseas.
The recent Fed action to lower interest rates has caught at least one issuer off guard. In direct mail solicitations printed up in December, MBNA is now scratching out, via a buck slip, the 2.7% intro APR originally offered, replacing it with a 1.7% promo rate. According to CardWatch, the special rate is being offered this month on MBNA’s ‘Platinum Plus MasterCard’ and also on ‘Preferred’ MBNA card accounts. The promo rate runs through the June billing cycle and applies to both purchases and cash advances. The 1.7% rate has given MBNA a marketing edge as three major issuers continue to pound mailboxes with a 1.9% intro APR. CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]) found Citibank ‘Platinum’, Discover ‘Gold’, and First USA ‘Titanium’ are marketing a 1.9% intro rate this month. Capital One and Providian continue to battle it out with a 0% intro rate.
Plug’ N Pay Technologies signed an agreement this week to offer TeleCheck’s ‘Internet Check Acceptance’ service to its e-commerce clients through its payment gateway. The TeleCheck ‘ICA’ service offers a real-time means for consumers to pay by check over the Internet. After completing an online payment form, the check data is encrypted and transmitted to TeleCheck where the payment information is matched against TeleCheck’s positive and negative databases and evaluated for fraud. The funds are guaranteed. Plug’ N Pay Technologies, Inc. provides online credit card and electronic check processing services to more than 4,000 businesses.
Ascential Software, Inc. announced that Juniper Bank, an online and wireless consumer financial services company and a division of Columbus Bank and Trust Company, is using DataStage to quickly access, consolidate and transform customer data into valuable business intelligence. DataStage helps Juniper Bank track customer activity data to quickly provide personalized customer service and products.
! Juniper Bank came to Ascential Software looking for an enterprise business intelligence infrastructure platform to manage and integrate massive amounts of information assets for a comprehensive view of customer activity including, but not limited to, click-stream and Web traffic data. DataStage allows Juniper Bank to organize all customer records and individual account information, speeding transaction time and refining services to tailor customized offerings for individual preferences.
“Our goal is to make banking easier for our customers by offering innovative products and services that simplify their financial lives, and Datastage provides us with the business intelligence we need to achieve this goal,” said Robert Goodman, director of data warehousing at Juniper Financial Corp. “DataStage enables us to collect and process information that is critical to tracking the performance of our marketing initiatives and implementing our proactive customer notifications, affiliate programs and other services.”
DataStage, the industry’s leading set of integrated components for transforming, verifying and unifying the diverse structured and unstructured data dispersed throughout an enterprise for competitive advantage. Companies such as Juniper Bank rely on DataStage’s powerful data integration capabilities to extract, transform and integrate enterprise data into their data warehouses, analytical applications, and e-Business solutions. Ascential Software’s relationship with Juniper Bank continues to demonstrate its strategic vision to offer customers open solutions that easily integrate with complementary products in distinct vertical markets, including financial services, telecommunications, wireless and several others planned for 2001.
“Forward-thinking companies such as Juniper Bank understand the value of collecting raw customer data and converting it into information assets to increase the speed of customer service and product development. DataStage enables Juniper Bank to use their customer information to provide innovative new services,” said Mike Wipperfeld, vice president of marketing, Ascential Software. “We are proud to welcome Juniper Bank to our roster of financial services clients.”
About Juniper Bank
Juniper Financial Corporation, a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, operates Juniper Bank as a division of Columbus Bank and Trust Company of Columbus, Georgia. With the aim of creating a bank that empowers consumers with greater flexibility and control over their finances, Juniper offers a wide array of financial products and services and the ability for consumers to access account information, transfer funds and pay bills via the Internet, phone or wireless devices. The company has received more than $114 million in funding from such investors as Benchmark Capital, J&W Seligman, Sonera Corporation, Total Technology Ventures, Aether Systems, Fifth Third Bancorp and others. Additional information about the company, its products and services, and employment opportunities can be found online at [www.juniper.com].
Ascential Software, Inc. is the leading provider of Information Asset Management solutions to the Global 2000. Customers use Ascential products to turn vast amounts of disparate, unrefined data into reusable information assets that drive business success. Ascential’s unique framework for Information Asset Management enables customers to easily collect, validate, organize, administer and deliver information assets to realize more value from their enterprise data, reduce costs and increase profitability. Headquartered in Westboro, Mass., Ascential has offices worldwide and supports more than 1500 customers, including Fujitsu-Siemens; Towers Perrin; Pfizer, Inc.; BizRate.com and Subaru of America, Inc., in such industries as telecommunications, insurance, financial services, healthcare, media/entertainment and retail. Ascential is an independent operating company of Informix Corporation (NASDAQ: IFMX) and can be found on the Web at [www.ascentialsoftware.com].
Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. announced that it recently signed a contract with the National Safety Depot of Canada.
The contract guarantees Leapfrog $100,000, and the potential of $250,000 in its first year. Over three years, it will cumulatively be worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000.
The NSD is the safety training and certification provider to the Maritime Provinces in Canada. The Company has contracted Leapfrog to implement its eMEMBER application. The NSD will use eMEMBER to track the certification status for each piece of equipment its customers’ employees are certified to operate. The Canadian government currently makes random appearances on job sites to perform spot checks of employees’ certification statuses while on the job. Leapfrog’s application will provide the government official with offline readers that check the certification status of an employee’s Smart card and verify their legal ability to operate the piece of machinery currently in use.
The card also tracks employer, certification type, certification status, certification expiration date, annual continuing education status, certification course, course trainer and emergency medical information. In case of the latter, job foremen and managers will have readers to access the protected area in order to provide pertinent information to EMS personnel. The employee retains the card until he changes employers, at which time a new card is issued with current certifications and employment information. Upon installation of eMEMBER, the NSD will also become a reseller of the application to other associations similar to itself throughout Canada.
Vince Ley, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, stated, “I feel our eMEMBER application will greatly aid in the efficiency and reliability with which NSD’s customers can track certification statuses for their employees. We look forward to the opportunity to apply this technology to other associations.”
About Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc.
Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. is a world-class leader in Smart card software development, biometrics and system solutions integration. Located in Maitland, Florida, Leapfrog is dedicated to creating wide sweeping applications for Smart cards. Smart cards are credit card-sized pieces of plastic with a computer microprocessor embedded within. Current applications of Smart card software include personal identification, e-purse transactions, loyalty point storage, physical and logical access, as well as portable storage of medical records. Leapfrog, through its General Services Administration (GSA) master contract, is also certified as a contractor with the United States Federal government. Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. is publicly traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol “FROG.”
LendingTree, Inc., the leading online loan marketplace and loan exchange technology provider, today announced that Bank of America will soon be offering credit cards to qualified consumers at [http://www.LendingTree.com]. This agreement increases the scope of the relationship that LendingTree has with Bank of America. Bank of America also uses LendingTree’s loan exchange technology, Lend-X, to power its online mortgage lending channels.
LendingTree currently enables consumers to obtain multiple loan products by visiting the site, filling out one simple loan request form, and comparing multiple loan offers they receive within one business day. To date, more than 80,000 consumers have received credit cards through LendingTree.com.
Bank of America
One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of our people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including more than 4,400 domestic offices, 13,000 ATMs, 38 international offices, a telephone banking network that handles more than a half billion calls a year and an Internet Web site that provides online access for more than 3 million customers, more than any other bank.
Bank of America stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges. The company’s Web site is [http://www.bankofamerica.com]. News, speeches and other corporate information may be found at .
About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree (Nasdaq: TREE) is the leading online loan marketplace and loan exchange technology provider. LendingTree’s unique loan technology, Lend-X, powers the online loan marketplace at LendingTree.com, as well as the online lending resources of other institutions. At LendingTree.com qualified consumers may receive multiple loan offers, within one business day, in response to a single loan request for home mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans, automobile loans, and credit cards. The site also provides access to small business loans. More than 100 banks and lenders compete for consumers’ business in the LendingTree loan marketplace at [http://www.lendingtree.com], providing consumers with an unprecedented level of control over the lending process, by enabling them to compare and review multiple loan offers and accept the loan offer that is best for them. The banks and lenders in the LendingTree marketplace generate new business that meets their specific underwriting criteria at reduced acquisition costs. For more information, or for a full listing of the more than 100 banks and lenders in the LendingTree marketplace please go to [http://www.lendingtree.com].
Lend-X(SM) is LendingTree’s online loan exchange technology that enables companies to quickly and easily embed a customized private label or co-branded loan marketplace into their site. Lend-X(SM) technology has the flexibility to support a variety of different business models. Lend-X provides a fast, adaptable and reliable online lending solution for lenders and non-lenders alike with valuable access to LendingTree’s online lending exchange with more than 100 banks and lenders. In conjunction with LendingTree’s services, Lend-X can be used to provide access to loans for customers of lenders and non-lenders alike. Lend-X(SM) clients include: Bank of America, Freddie Mac, S1 Corporation, priceline.com, Sallie Mae, CNBC.com, Home Account, MSN Money Central, Autobytel.com, Wachovia, EDS’ Wendover, Fleet Bank, Citizens Bank, and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.