TX-based ACE Cash Express has installed its first automatic check cashing machine in Irving, Texas. The project was developed using the ‘1062ix’ advanced function ATM with the optics professional platform from Diebold. The ATM utilizes technology, developed by ACE, that identifies typed and computer printed checks, and extracts information from the various components of each check. It offers more than 4 million ‘ACE Gold Card’ consumers the ability to cash checks at an automatic check-cashing machine for speed and convenience. ACE’s proprietary system then records the check details and sends the information to ACE’s network information system. When the verification process is complete, the customer’s cash is dispensed. ACE has placed an order with Diebold to expand its test to other stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.
Although Citibank has been pounding mailboxes this month with its new virtual credit card that runs on the MasterCard network, the nation’s largest issuer officially announced ‘ClickCredit’ yesterday. ‘ClickCredit’ is a separate line of credit to be used exclusively for online purchases. Citibank is offering two versions of the program: ‘Click Citi Platinum Select’ and ‘Click Citi AAdvantage’. While these lines of credit are not issued in the form of a credit card, they carry many credit card features such as cash back rewards, airline mileage rewards and purchase/protection guarantees. ‘Click Citi Platinum Select’ members will receive 2% cash back on all Internet purchases made through May 31, 2000; thereafter they will earn 1% cash back. ‘Click Citi AAdvantage’ members will earn two American Airlines ‘AAdvantage’ miles for every dollar spent online, through May 31, 2000; thereafter they will earn one mile for every dollar spent. ‘ClickCredit’ customers also receive ‘Price Protection’ and ‘Extended Warranty’ protections. ‘Click Citi Platinum Select’ customers also receive ‘Purchase Assurance’. The ‘Platinum Select’ version offers a 0% APR for three months followed by a Prime +1.65% APR. To review solicitations for Citibank’s new product visit CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]).
NCR Corp. revealed Tuesday it has decided to accelerate its transformation from a computer hardware and product company, to a technology solutions and services provider by focusing its growth in data warehousing, retail store automation and ATMs. The decision will result in a restructuring charge in the range of $200-$250 million for the fourth quarter. NCR expects to realize annual savings of approximately $75 million as a result of the initiatives, beginning in 2000. The changes will include the elimination of approximately 1,500 positions.
HealthSaver Club, a health benefit discount card, debuted this week with a full-scale marketing program that includes an infomercial, direct mail, and the launch of its web site, [http://www.healthsaverclub.com]. The site is fast, easy to navigate, and provides descriptions of the plan’s features, benefits, costs, and participating providers. Most importantly, visitors to the site can become members instantaneously online and receive immediate discounts with the click of a mouse.
HealthSaver Club was created to provide discounted health care services and bridge the gap between what regular health insurance companies cover and do not cover, including Medicaid, Medicare, and managed care companies. The nationwide network consists of more than 75,000 healthcare providers with projections to exceed 300,000 by the end of the year. Currently, the network includes 40,000 pharmacies, 19,000 dentists, 12,000 eye professionals, 18,000 chiropractors, 20,000 alternative medicine providers and many more.
Unlike any other card in the marketplace, HealthSaver Club covers basic medical and preventative procedures including prescription drugs at discounted prices for all ages, especially seniors. It also covers “elective” treatments. For example, members receive unlimited dental, vision, eye laser surgery, hearing, chiropractic, holistic and alternative services, weight loss, smoke cessation, magnetic therapy, dermatology, plastic surgery, mental and substance abuse counseling and much more.
“It’s a unique health discount card, one that is setting a new standard in Florida as well as the rest of the country. It is designed to help people get the care they deserve and at prices they can afford, from the 44 million uninsured people in the nation to HMO members facing reduced benefits, says Leila Chang, Executive Director of HealthSaver Club.
HealthSaver Club can be used either in conjunction with existing health insurance or as a stand-alone plan. It’s easy to use and requires no paperwork. Members receive a card (the size of a credit card) to present at participating providers for discounts on products and services at the point of purchase. There are no pre-existing condition restrictions and HealthSaver Club is available to everyone. “Individuals can purchase the card for their own personal or family use. Companies can also purchase it to offer employees an added benefit to their core insurance programs,” says Chang.
Membership costs $89 per person, per year or $109 per family, per year with unlimited dependents. If members join online, they receive an additional $10 off the annual premium. “It’s a small investment with a big return of 10% to 60% in healthcare savings, and the card pays for itself after only using it a few times. With the launch of our website, HealthSaver Club is now not only the healthiest way to save money, but the easiest and fastest way, too,” says Chang.
In tandem with the launch of [http://www.healthsaverclub.com], a marketing program totaling in excess of $5 million is being implemented and includes a thirty minute infomercial airing on cable and Paxson channels throughout Florida. In addition, a direct mail campaign to over 700,000 households in the state is also being implemented. The campaign is designed to increase awareness and build brand equity while capitalizing on the opportunity of being one of the first cards of its kind on the market.
Advanta is approaching $1 billion in business card receivables according to the company’s 3Q/99 earnings report. Managed receivables for Advanta Business Cards at the end of the quarter were $930 million, up 4.9% from last quarter and 19.5% from the same quarter last year. The Business Card division also reported yesterday that $6.0 million in net income for the third quarter compared to $5.6 million last quarter. The average yield on the company’s business credit card portfolio, including fee income, increased this quarter to 22.35% from 21.72% last quarter due to increases in rates and higher fee income. Credit quality continues to improve as over 30 day delinquencies decreased from 3.74% last quarter to 3.42% this quarter. The net managed charge-off rate on business credit card loans of 5.25% this quarter was comparable to 5.22% last quarter. During the third quarter Advanta developed instant online approval for its business cards. For more details on Advanta’s 3Q/99 financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Portfolio growth between the second and third quarters continues to be stagnant according to data gathered by CardData ([www.carddata.com]). Among major issuers reporting this week: US Bancorp and HSBC.
US BANCORP HSBC
Recv: $6,225,377,000 $1,113,558,000
Q Vol: $7,874,836,000 $ 412,803,000
Accts: 3,921,000 741,577
Actives: 2,612,000 397,148
Cards: 4,710,000 898,637
Source: CardData’s 3Q/99 Portfolio Survey
Atlanta-based CompuCredit Corp. reported Tuesday it signed up 311,000 new customers for the third quarter, raising the total number of new accounts added in 1999 to 638,000. The sub-prime card specialist had a total of 801,000 originated accounts as of Sept. 30. Company earnings increased 52% from $5.8 million for 3Q/98 to $8.8 million for 3Q/99. The managed net interest margin increased to 23.1% for the third quarter versus 21.0% for 2Q/99. The managed net charge-off rate increased to 5.0% for 3Q.99 compared to 4.1% for the prior quarter. At the end of September, the 60+ day managed delinquency rate increased to 6.6% from 6.4% as of June 30. CompuCredit markets the ‘Aspire VISA’ card issued through Columbus Bank & Trust. CompuCredit went public in April. For more details on CompuCredit’s 3Q/99 financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Furthering its standard-setting role for securing electronic business transactions, ActivCard S.A. announced it has received Level 1 EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) approval for its ActivReader handheld smart card reader. Level 1 EMV approval represents a high degree of trust and a major step towards establishing global interoperability for e-commerce transactions of all types. The approval positions ActivCard’s e-business digital identity technology as a new platform for secure business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic transactions and online banking, among other high growth markets.
ActivCard, a leader in strong authentication and electronic certification technology, passed Level 1 EMV testing and received approval through Visa (CAA Ref. No: ITACTI0001A-1). The approval also fulfills Level 1 requirements of Europay and MasterCard, through reciprocal agreements between these well-recognized payment associations. As a result, the ActivCard ActivReader solution set is now a recognized cross-platform transaction tool for B2C and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce. Businesses and consumers can use the single ActivReader device to register transactions through all three financial channels.
The result will be an accelerated deployment of next-generation Internet-based e-business systems and services. ActivReader enables a single connection between customers, vendors and financial service providers previously offered independently by Europay, MasterCard and Visa. This functional integration through ActivCard digital identity technology will enable the evolution of e-business into a truly secure transaction space, which in turn will improve the confidence of vendors that customers are who they say they are. On the other side of a transaction, customers are ensured they are talking to a legitimate vendor and that their personal data, including credit card information, remains private. In effect, a shield of certification and authentication is raised, protecting against fraud on both sides of an electronic transaction.
“ActivCard is a recognized industry innovator, and Visa is very pleased to approve the ActivReader as a Visa smart card acceptance device,” said Philip Yen, senior vice president, Internet and access channels at Visa International. “As the size and importance of the electronic transaction space continues to grow worldwide, ActivCard’s patented authentication technology, with its chip card-generated single-use passwords and other important innovations will play a major role in the developing technology of e-commerce.”
“E-business, whether B2B or B2C, comes down to a question of identity,” said Thomas Arthur, senior vice president of worldwide sales and business development for ActivCard. “Our partnership with Visa and our ActivReader Level 1 EMV approval enables our solutions to play a central role in the explosive growth occurring in the e-business marketplace.”
ActivCard S.A, a leader in digital identity and electronic certification technology, delivers core components required to enable next generation e-business communication and transactions. ActivCard’s technology suite offers the ease-of-use of an ATM transaction with a security level better than a face-to-face meeting. ActivCard’s solutions, in conjunction with the applications support for public key-based data confidentiality and integrity, allows individuals and businesses to perform secure online transactions over the Internet. Today, more than 1 million people use ActivCard products for secure Internet banking, Web access and remote access to corporate networks. ActivCard has corporate headquarters in Fremont, Calif.; Suresnes, France; and Singapore.
AirTran announced that it is now accepting the Air Travel Card as a form of payment for air travel on existing routes. The Air Travel Card, or Universal Airline Travel Plan, is widely used by major U.S. corporations to pay for and manage travel expenses.
“Since many of our key corporate clients prefer to use the Air Travel Card, we are pleased to announce that AirTran has expanded its payment options to include this user-friendly card,” said Tad Hutcheson, director of marketing. “We consistently strive to meet the needs of all of our customers, and this is simply one example of our commitment to service.”
The Air Travel Card provides corporations with travel information and greater control and flexibility over air travel expenses than any other travel card. Some specific expense management benefits include management reports that detail travel expense patterns, budget analysis and forecasting of air travel.
Other general benefits of the Air Travel card include centralized billing and customized billing options, which break down expenses by department, project, client, employee and any other category desired. In addition, the Air Travel Card makes reconciling expenses easier by keeping air travel charges separate from other corporate travel-related expenses.
The Air Travel card also provides benefits for AirTran. It’s expected to boost sales, as it is very popular among corporate clients with more than 75 Fortune 100 companies using the card. The card will also be cost effective for AirTran due to its lower interchange fee compared to other credit cards.
Offering the convenience of easy, same concourse connections in Atlanta, systemwide, AirTran operates over 275 daily departures to 30 cities. AirTran operates over 130 daily departures from Atlanta Hartsfield, the “World’s Busiest Airport,” as designated by Airports Council International.
AirTran provides everyday, affordable air travel throughout the eastern United States and Midwest. Unlike other airlines, AirTran never requires a roundtrip purchase or Saturday night stay. Currently operating a fleet of 48 jet aircraft, AirTran is the launch customer for the new Boeing 717, the newest, most innovative commercial aircraft to date. AirTran is a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:AAIR).
Diebold, Incorporated Tuesday announced that Walden W. O’Dell has been named president and chief executive officer and elected to the board of directors effective November 1. O’Dell, a long-time executive of Emerson Electric Co., has broad experience in international operations and business expansion in a variety of technology industries. Robert W. Mahoney will remain chairman until April 2000, when it is anticipated the board will elect O’Dell chairman following the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
O’Dell comes to Diebold with a successful 33-year career, which includes running operations on four continents and the manufacturing, distribution and sales of a variety of electronic equipment and services. O’Dell has demonstrated a consistent ability to stimulate growth by employing a variety of management skills ranging from streamlining operations and reducing costs to increasing organizational effectiveness and introducing new products and services. O’Dell has held a series of high-level positions, including heading up a variety of operations of Emerson, a $13.5 billion global provider of electrical, electromechanical and electronic systems and services. Emerson employs more than 100,000 people in 150 countries.
“We have been searching for someone with proven leadership and business management skills and a background in technology and global operations. We are confident that Walden is exceptionally well suited to guide Diebold to its objective of being the leading global provider of self-service solutions,” said Mahoney. “We’ve been initiating crucial changes in recent years — moving from a focus on hardware to emphasizing a customer-focused, end-to-end solutions approach, and expanding significantly and simultaneously in numerous international markets. Walden has had experience in places as diverse as Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, the Middle East, Europe and Canada. His background in technology and hands-on knowledge of product development, sales, services and distribution, coupled with a proven record for leading solid growth and outstanding performance, prepare him well to lead this company.”
Originally from St. Louis, O’Dell earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University, before earning another master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. O’Dell and his wife have four adult children and will be relocating to Canton, Ohio from Columbus, Ohio.
Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, Diebold employs more than 9,000 associates with representation in more than 75 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.diebold.com].
First National Bank of Omaha announced it will issue the first electronic wallet for processing electronic checks for ‘Internet Bill Presentment and Payment’. First National is also the first bank to establish a new business unit devoted solely to providing IBPP services with wallet technology. The bank has selected CyberCash and edocs as partners in this new business. First National will utilize CyberCash’s ‘InstaBuy Agile Wallet’ platform to load and manage payment information for billers. First National also has entered into a strategic alliance with edocs to provide an integrated development environment for billers. edocs’ flagship product, ‘BillDirect’ software application enables companies to deploy and manage their own IBPP solution to deliver personalized, interactive bills, statements and invoices through the biller’s own Web site and other portals.
First USA announced this morning the debut of ‘First USA Connections’, an online shopping destination created exclusively for First USA cardholders. The new service connects First USA’s 65 million cardholders to exclusive offers and savings from about 50 merchants and service providers. From any page within the ‘First USA Connections’ shopping site, cardholders can access product information, recommendations and side-by-side features comparisons through a consumer product guide. Cardholders may also search special deals by category or keyword. Savings range from free gifts to discounts of as much as 50% on various products and services. Special offers on the ‘First USA Connections’ website include: a free gift from jcrew.com with a purchase of $80 or more; 50% off bestsellers from coolsavings.com; 10% off any purchase plus free shipping from Computer Furniture Direct; and $10 off any purchase of $25 or more from wine.com.