AmEx EVP to Air Board

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. announced Friday the election of Ursula F. Fairbairn, executive vice president of human resources and quality for the American Express Company, to its board of directors.

Commenting on the board’s action, Air Products Chairman H. A. Wagner said, “Mrs. Fairbairn brings valuable and unique insight to our board, given her years of experience as a human resources and marketing executive.”

Mrs. Fairbairn, 55, joined the American Express Company in 1996 where she is responsible for compensation, benefits, diversity, employee development, employee relations, organizational and succession planning, quality and health services worldwide.  She also is a member of the American Express Planning and Policy Committee.

Mrs. Fairbairn is a member of the Business Roundtable’s Employee Relations Executive Committee, and  serves on the board of VF Corporation.

Prior to joining American Express, Mrs. Fairbairn was senior vice president of human resources at Union Pacific Corporation.  She also held several key marketing, personnel resources, and education and management development positions at IBM.  Between 1973 and 1974, Mrs. Fairbairn was a White House Fellow, serving as executive assistant to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. is an international supplier of industrial gases and related equipment, and selected chemicals.  The company has annual sales approaching $5 billion, operations in over 30 countries and more than 16,000 employees.  Corporate headquarters are in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, near Allentown.

1to1 Server

BlueGill Technologies, a leader in Internet bill presentment technology, will showcase its 1to1Server product and industry expertise at the Internet Billing conference presented by International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC). The interactive conference runs October 19-20 in Chicago, IL.

BlueGill’s 1to1Server enables billers to deliver a rich, interactive bill and statement format that improves customer care and can generate additional revenue through targeted marketing techniques. It is an open-architecture solution that offers flexible payment options through links to a wide range of Internet bill aggregators and other payment methods.

BlueGill’s president and CEO, Hal Davis, will lead an interactive workshop designed to give participants a hands-on opportunity to identify their specific Internet billing requirements on Wednesday, October 21st. This open forum will provide tools for understanding the benefits of, and implementing Internet billing. James S. Diggs, vice president of BlueGill, will conduct a workshop on “Interactive Applications in the Market space; The New Value Proposition” on Tuesday, October 20th.

BlueGill and IBM recently announced a reseller agreement for BlueGill’s 1to1Server product. Now billers have a comprehensive, flexible solution for e-business and Internet billing. IBM sales and service professionals can support companies move to Internet billing by integrating BlueGill’s 1to1Server with their legacy billing systems, payment systems and websites. This combination of BlueGill product and IBM services allows IBM customers to benefit from the reduced costs of electronic billing over traditional print and mail costs.

“Billers have learned that their monthly statements are a valuable way to build long-term customer relationships,” said Hal Davis, president of BlueGill Technologies. “The 1to1Server offers unparalleled access to target customers and offers dramatic cost savings over paper-based billing systems.”

About BlueGill

Founded in 1996 and based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, BlueGill Technologies is the premier provider of software that bridges the gap between legacy document systems and the Internet. BlueGill systems are installed at major service bureaus, telcos and banks around the world. For more information about BlueGill, visit [www.bluegill.com][1]

[1]: http://www.bluegill.com

Smart Card Research

The Smart Card Forum (SCF), a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of smart card technology, today announced that the final report of its comprehensive consumer research study on smart cards will be available starting December 15th. Those who subscribe to the new report are eligible to attend a preview presentation of its results at the Forum’s Work Group Meetings in Tampa, FL, on November 12th.

The Forum commissioned this study through FIND/SVP, a nationally known New York-based research and consulting firm, which designed the research study to capture consumer perceptions of smart cards as information storage devices and to ascertain the keys to their acceptance and use. To do this, the firm designed a qualitative (14 focus groups) and quantitative (telephone survey of 2,400 consumers) research study conducted in the United States and Canada.

The top-line results of this research released at the Forum’s Annual Meeting at San Francisco in September indicated that 76% of North Americans surveyed were interested in the smart card concept. The complete final report will analyze these findings in depth, and it will map-out the potential size and shape of the smart card market in detail.

“You haven’t seen it all until you’ve seen the final report,” says Forum President William J. Barr. “This new phase of consumer research breaks important new ground through its discovery of the consumer mindset towards smart cards. It will help answer many crucial questions that are key to smart card business success — who, what, where, why and how. It is data-driven market intelligence — ‘actionable results’ designed for any organization serious about learning today how to serve the market for smart card technology tomorrow.”

The report will be organized into several sections, each of which will examine the sample as a whole and also a wide range of subgroups: geographic, economic, attitudinal, and more.

Overall interest in smart cards

At the heart of the study is its projectable measure of smart card “purchase interest” in North America. The result will be an identification of who the immediate target market is for smart cards — and why. A detailed analysis (with supporting statistics) will be presented as to why people would or would not want a smart card. Perceived advantages, disadvantages, and attitudes will all be presented.

Ideas for smart card use

Research respondents easily and eagerly generated potential uses for a “card-sized unit with a memory that can hold just about any kind of information but requires some sort of reader to input or output data.” Far more than 100 smart card application ideas were generated for both personal and business use. The report will contain all these suggestions, with a full analysis of how each might work and the potential advantages and disadvantages of all the viable proposals. This section will also map out how consumers would expect a smart card to work — types of card readers, security concerns, lost and stolen card replacement, and in general how the smart card would integrate into their lives.

Ideas for smart card distribution

The report will contain detailed analysis of a number of consumer-generated means by which smart cards might be distributed and supported (with rationales for each plus supporting statistics). Ideas include, for example, both a “trusted-agent concept” and a “decentralized market-oriented method.” Consumer-identified methods of encouraging initial and repeated use will also be presented.

Smart card integration

The report will address a key smart card issue: how many cards the typical consumer would want, and what combinations of services and products are preferably combined on a single card.

Ideas for smart card design, appearance, and shape

The report will show what consumers would want a card to “look like, feel like, and act like.”

Pricing

The study will indicate the amounts consumers are willing to pay for smart cards, including both initial and maintenance fees. The result will be effective data that can be used to project potential income from smart card sales and service across a range of assumptions.

Business use

Although the emphasis in the report is on consumer use and acceptance, significant data on business applications will also be identified and discussed.

Current smart card use

The sample includes a number of current smart card users; experience with current smart cards of various sorts will be described and suggestions based on past experience will be made.

“Smart card technology is evolving from emergence to commercialization,” says Barr. “Organizations that want to capitalize on the rising tide of consumer knowledge and acceptance of smart cards will find the Forum’s new market research a valuable ally and a powerful business development tool.”

Alan Kornheiser of FIND/SVP will formally present and explain many of the research study’s results at the Smart Card Forum’s Joint Work Group Meetings on the afternoon of Thursday, November 12th in Tampa, FL. Auditing and Government Members of the Smart Card Forum, as well as Non-Members, may purchase the final report, which will be available for free to the Forum’s Principal Members. For more information, please contact Karen Silberman at SCF headquarters: (703) 610-9023, or visit the Forum’s Website at [www.smartcardforum.org][1].

The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of 200 members working together to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors.

[1]: http://www.smartcardforum.org

Consummation

SPS Transaction Services said Friday it has concluded its previously announced sale of substantially all of its assets, consisting of the capital stock of its subsidiaries, SPS Payment Systems Inc., and Hurley State Bank, to Associates First Capital Corporation. In order to distribute the net proceeds of the sale to its public stockholders, SPS Transaction Services merged Friday with Sail Acquisition Inc. SPS Transaction Services was the surviving corporation in the merger and each outstanding share of SPS Transaction Services common stock was converted into the right to receive $32.02 in cash.

Third Quarter Stats

Travelers Bank continues to post strong growth with receivables now growing 49% annually and quarterly volume increasing 62% annually. Navy Federal Credit Union also continues to beat industry averages. NationsBank edged toward the $10 billion mark in receivables during the third quarter. Here is a sampling of third quarter statistics from large issuers reporting thus far in CardWeb’s ‘Third Quarter Portfolio Survey’. Current and historical stats are available via [carddata.com][1].

Issuer               98-3Q RECV      (Chng)        98-3Q VOL      (Chng)
NationsBank    $9,883,905,862    (+14%)      $6,129,046,000    (+6%)
Wachovia        $6,245,449,138    (+15%)      $1,793,377,558   (-20%)
First Union      $5,109,480,366    (-18%)      $1,009,456,783   (-22%)
Frst Natl NE    $3,355,577,000    (+11%)      $1,091,972,000    (+8%)
Travelers         $1,758,769,112    (+49%)      $1,369,309,481  (+62%)
Marine Mid      $1,305,240,000    (-27%)      $  411,189,000   (-66%)
Norwest            $1,203,850,955     (+3%)      $  594,374,841   (+12%)
SunTrust           $1,018,754,000     (-4%)      $  530,942,000    (-4%)
Navy FCU         $  871,585,366    (+13%)      $  487,738,742   (+17%)
Mercantile         $  621,196,702    (-43%)      $  188,674,692  (-166%)
Chng- percentage of change since third quarter 1997
    Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)  1-800-260-7448

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Pascarella Award

Mr. Carl Pascarella, President and CEO of Visa U.S.A. received this weekend the Special Achievement Award in Business from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF).  Pascarella was among seven honorees at the 1998 NIAF annual gala dinner in Washington, D.C.

“There are so many Italian-American businessmen and women whom I admire greatly, I am honored to be singled out for this year’s NIAF special achievement award in business,” Pascarella said.  Pascarella, who is the grandson of Italian immigrants, was presented with the award by Mr. Lawrence Auriana, Chairman of the Kaufmann Fund.

The National Italian American Foundation began the Special Achievement Award program in 1976 to recognize the positive contributions of Italian Americans in a variety of fields, including business, literature, sports, entertainment and humanitarian service.  Other honorees at this year’s NIAF awards event included:

* Angelo Mozilo, Chairman and CEO, Countrywide Home Loans Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service

* Gay Talese Special Achievement Award in Literature

* Leonard Riggio, Chairman and CEO, Barnes & Noble Special Achievement for the Promotion of Literacy

* Tommy Lasorda Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports

* Anjelica Huston Special Achievement Award in Entertainment

* Barbara Sinatra The NIAF Hope for Children Award

Carl Pascarella was named president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A. in 1993.  Before assuming his current position, Pascarella was president of Visa International’s Asia-Pacific region and director of the Asia-Pacific Regional Board of Visa.

As the world’s best way to pay, Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined.  Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and the global economy.   As the leader in emerging technologies, Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 31 countries and on the Internet, with 22 million Visa chip cards, including 8 million Visa Cash cards.  Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction programs to enable and advance Internet commerce.  Visa’s 642 million cards, generating more than US$1 trillion in annual volume, are accepted at over 15 million worldwide locations, including more than 400,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network.  Visa’s Internet address is .

Corn Card

Gemplus and CORN CARD International announced agreements Thursday to promote and develop markets for a biodegradable card as an alternative to the billions of non-recyclable plastic cards. The material that is being used in the card, ‘MAZIN’ resin, is made from environmentally friendly materials, including corn by-products. The University of Nebraska developed the material that is used in the cards, CORN CARD International holds the trademark for the name (MAZIN) and holds distribution rights for commercial deployment of MAZIN, and Austria-based Digicard is the one of several companies to experiment with printing the cards. MAZIN is completely biodegradable when introduced into a composting environment. The biodegradation process is affected by temperature, humidity, pH, and substratum activity. Effective biodegradation rates will vary, but while still offering the same physical characteristics of today’s PVC cards. The new cards, when left in a compost pile for 3 to 5 weeks, will totally disappear after a bacterial process reduces the material to hydrogen, carbon and water.

CCMC &  FD Direct Banking

CCMC and First Data Direct Banking have joined forces to sell the industry-leading NetPrecision Home Banking and Card Services programs, the two firms announced Thursday.

CCMC Inc. is an information technology consulting firm that focuses on providing technology solutions for community banks. The agreement is CCMC’s first partnership with another bank technology vendor.

“This is a natural partnership, combining CCMC’s extensive knowledge of the banking industry, experience with leading-edge technology and its focus on branch banking with First Data Direct Banking’s Internet banking products,” said David Willis, president of CCMC. “It provides us with a key tool necessary to assist community banks in maintaining their competitive position.”

Internet banking “is rapidly becoming a required extension of the branch environment,” according to Willis. “The use of dial-up software for home banking is being replaced by Internet connections that offer a full array of functions for the bank’s customers. Internet banking systems are the next evolution in branch automation, and will be as vital as the teller and CSR,” he predicted.

“We are excited to welcome CCMC into the First Data Direct Banking Partners program,” said Randy Kahn, President of First Data Direct Banking. “The combination of CCMC’s existing banking technology solutions and NetPrecision Internet services offers banks a complete arsenal for competing in tomorrow’s technology-driven financial services marketplace.”

CCMC selected First Data Direct Banking after reviewing several Internet banking providers. “NetPrecision offered the best functionality of any of the products available,” Willis said. “We believe First Data Direct Banking has the experience and the staying power to outlast the young software and Internet companies that currently populate the market.”

A significant factor in the decision was First Data Direct Banking’s ongoing commitment to the security of its Internet services, Willis said. In May, the company became the first financial services provider to earn Web Host Compliant certification from the International Computer Security Association, an independent agency that audits and verifies network security.

First Data Direct Banking Partners Program members have been particularly successful marketing the NetPrecision 30/30 Home Banking product, which offers a fully functional, scalable and completely branded web site in 30 business days. The 30/30 product, which can be customized to include any features or functions desired, has proved popular among community banks because of its affordability and speed to market. To date, more than 40 financial institutions have chosen NetPrecision as their Internet banking and credit card platform.

About CCMC

CCMC is an information technology consulting firm dedicated to helping banks implement leading-edge technologies to solve real-life, mission-critical business issues. CCMC provides technology consulting services to financial institutions and industry vendors, including strategic technology planning, technology integration, custom solutions and educational services. The company has developed solutions for branch automation environments, including teller functions, account opening functions, sales management functions and referral processing. Founded in 1994, CCMC has headquarters in Altamonte Springs, Fla. For further information about CCMC, please visit the company on the Internet at [www.ccmcinc.com][1].

About First Data Direct Banking

First Data Direct Banking builds and hosts customized Internet financial service solutions for financial institutions of all sizes.

Using the NetSpeed process, financial institutions can have fully functional, branded web sites up and running in just 30 business days with the NetPrecision system.

Los Angeles-based First Data Direct Banking ties leading-edge online financial services partnerships and template, custom-built or existing web sites into transaction processing provided by electronic payments processing leader First Data Corp.

Direct Banking can be found on the World Wide Web at [www.netprecision.com][2].

Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corp. is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money. For further information about First Data, please visit the company on the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com][3].

[1]: http://www.ccmcinc.com
[2]: http://www.netprecision.com
[3]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com

FUSA Free Ship

First USA is offering free shipping and handling for items purchased from a variety of premier catalogs. First USA will promote its credit cards as “The Card That Ships It For Free”. Participating catalogs include The Company Store, Harold’s, JCPenney “Best Gifts” Catalog, Omaha Steaks and Orvis. The offer is good for purchases made from 16 select catalogs by December 31. In order to take advantage of the free shipping offer, First USA and Bank One cardholders must use the appropriate purchase codes when the order is placed with the catalog company. Purchase codes can be obtained from First USA Customer Service. The free shipping and handling program covers standard delivery only. First USA will offer the new service to its 1,300 affinity and co-branded programs.

Mondex Chile

Chile’s six leading banks announced Thursday the purchase of the franchise rights for Mondex electronic cash in Chile using the ‘MULTOS’ operating system. The franchise gives the banks: Banco de A.Edwards, Banco de Chile, Banco de Credito e Inversiones, Banco Santiago, Banco Sud Americano and Banco Santander, exclusive rights to commercially develop Mondex electronic cash in Chile and represents a major step both in Mondex’s roll-out plans across South America following the recent sale of franchises in Central America and Uruguay. The franchisees will use ‘MULTOS’ to develop electronic cash, debit and credit functions on a single card, in addition to a range of public and private sector services such as loyalty programs and electronic ticketing. Mondex projects it could have more than two million smart cardholders in Chile.

Hypercom Revival

Hypercom’s stock rose sharply yesterday after release of it latest earnings report. While total revenues and net income remained significantly below last year the company did meet its expected earnings. The company says going into the quarter, it was aware of the three items that caused earnings per share to decline from last year. First, last year’s same quarter revenues included a one-time increase of $10 million associated with shipments made in the first quarter a year ago that were delayed from the 1997 fourth quarter, due to the startup of Hypercom’s manufacturing facility in Brazil. The second item is the Asian economic crisis which caused revenues there to decline 44%. Thirdly, the continued investment in new product development resulted in an increase of more than $3 million in research & development expense. Hypercom also said yesterday that the major challenge has been to reverse the losses posted in the company’s ‘Network Systems’ business unit. Hypercom Network Systems broke even this quarter.

NPC Commission Express

National Processing Co. is providing travel agencies with a new global service that electronically converts commission payments from one currency to the home currency of the travel agency, eliminating costly bank conversion fees.

This enhanced service to NPC Commission Express is provided at no charge to the travel agency.

NPC developed the new service, NPC Global Payment Network, with National City Corporation, its majority stockholder, and Deutsche Bank, the second largest bank in Europe.

With NPC’s Global Payment Network’s electronic deposit and NPC’s new Internet travel commission data reporting system — PortNPC.com — travel agencies that operate in 17 countries for the first time will be able to process commission payments and reports without paper. Those countries include the United States, Canada, and most European nations with near term expansion to Pacific Rim countries.

NPC Global Payment Network operates in conjunction with NPC Commission Express, a commission processing service that allows travel vendors, including hotels, cruise lines, car rental companies and others, to consolidate numerous commissions for travel agents into single,  weekly payments.  NPC Global Payment Network then ensures the commissions are paid to travel agencies in the appropriate currency.

“This provides significant savings for travel agencies.  In some cases, travel agencies can’t afford to cash a commission check because bank conversion fees amount to more than the commission itself.  This service converts the currency free,” said Tom Turi, NPC Senior Vice President.

A free electronic deposit option of NPC Global Payment Network provides travel agencies further savings and increased cash flow with timely access to their hard-earned commissions.

“They don’t have to wait for the mail service from country to country to deliver the payments with NPC Global Payment Network’s free electronic deposit option,” Turi said.  “The travel industry has worldwide breadth and to compete effectively, companies must be able to process efficiently from a cost and speed standpoint.  Our Global Payment Network makes that possible.”

Turi said that Deutsche Bank and National City were ideally suited to participate in the development of NPC Global Payment Network.

“We chose Deutsche Bank as a partner because of its global presence and willingness to co-develop this service so needed by the travel industry. Through Deutsche Bank and National City, we offer check and electronic deposit.  Today we operate in 26 currencies and have the ability to provide immediate access in 17 currencies through electronic deposit.  Additional currencies are being added on a regular basis.”

NPC is a leading provider of processing services for the travel industry, handling 402 million travel-related transactions annually that total $72.8 billion.  Each week, NPC processes $1 billion in airline tickets.  All airline tickets sold by travel agents are processed by NPC, which serves 147 airlines and 47,000 travel agents.

NPC is the operating company of National Processing, Inc. and is a leading provider of transaction processing services and customized processing solutions. Deploying technology and applications software, NPC provides products and value-added services which include processing of card and check transactions for merchants, outsourcing of administrative and financial functions, and ticket processing and settlement for providers of travel-related services. Approximately 88 percent of NPC is owned by National City Corporation.

The Deutsche Bank Group, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, is one of the world’s largest financial institutions with total assets exceeding $1.2 trillion. The group has about 2,300 offices in more than 50 countries and employs about 75,000 people.