Smart Fun Cards

Smart cards on carnival midways is gathering momentum. WA-based The Pathways Group is expanding it smart card agreement with Funtastic Traveling Shows. The new agreement calls for Pathways to supply Funtastic with 14,000 additional smart cards, up to 75 additional terminals, and the necessary support services for the hardware and software. It is expected that visitors to the various Funtastic carnival sites will use the ‘Fun Card’ developed by Pathways to perform 300,000 transactions per month during the height of the season in July and August and to perform 60,000 transactions per month in the other months during the summer and fall seasons. With the launch of the Pathways’ midway smart card system last October in San Francisco, Funtastic became the first carnival in the USA to use smart card technology.

VirtualBank Opens

VirtualBank, a technology-based financial services company focused on innovative technology and customer service, announced its official launch and its first three affinity partners.

Designed to meet the needs of the technology-savvy professional, VirtualBank offers the convenience of banking on-line, plus a class of personalized, competent service unprecedented in banking today. Consumers can apply for VirtualBank’s full suite of deposit and lending products, account aggregation, bill payment and financial advisory services through a proprietary technical platform that is uninhibited by the product-centered bureaucracy and legacy systems of traditional banks.

Affinity Partnerships

In addition to offering banking services to consumers from its own site — www.VirtualBank.com — VirtualBank announced the industry’s first online banking model that targets knowledge workers within innovative companies. Today VirtualBank introduced its first affinity partners — EMC Corporation, Textron Financial Corporation and The Association of Compaq Employees.

“Technology professionals are the perfect customers for VirtualBank. They are the most discerning users of the Internet, attracted to companies with innovative technology and likely to appreciate and utilize VirtualBank’s value-added services. We feel that by developing products and services that meet the needs of the most sophisticated users of the Internet, our platform will appeal to everyone,” said Rory Brown, Chairman and CEO of VirtualBank.

VirtualBank is poised to implement its first affinity partnership with EMC Corporation, the world leader in information storage systems and a member of the Fortune e-50 index of companies leading the new economy. A co-branded affinity site — EMCVirtualBank — will reside on the EMC Intranet and provide the full suite of banking and financial services for over 18,000 EMC employees.

“We purposefully selected EMC as our launch partner because of its cutting-edge approach to business and forward-thinking leadership team,” said Courtney McCashland, Executive Vice President of Marketing and People Strategy at VirtualBank. “I’ve worked with top HR executives at more than thirty high-profile companies over the last few years. We believe EMC provides an ideal model as our pioneer partner to provide this service to its employees. EMC is a trendsetter that values its employees.”

“In this competitive job market, employee satisfaction and retention are key areas of focus. Our partnership with VirtualBank allows us to offer our employees an innovative, time-saving benefit that reinforces our commitment to our employees,” said Jack Mollen, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at EMC.

Textron Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., and Compaq Corporation, a Fortune Global 100 company and the largest supplier of computing systems in the world, will also offer VirtualBank’s services to their employees.

“I am pleased to announce that Textron Financial is entering into this exciting pilot program for our organization, for its success may lead to a much larger affinity relationship with Textron Inc.,” remarked John D. Butler, Executive Vice President Administration and Chief Human Resources Officer at Textron Inc. “This new benefit for Textron Financial’s employees further demonstrates our commitment to bringing the power of the Internet into our employees’ professional and personal lives.”

Service Offerings

VirtualBank uses its unique technology platform to allow customers to complete one application for the rest of their lives. VirtualBank’s technology enables customers to open additional accounts without reentering basic information. The Bank’s low cost structure allows it to offer better rates than traditional banks.

— Deposit Accounts — VirtualBank offers a complete array of deposit accounts, including Checking, Savings, Money Market, CDs and IRAs.

— Loans — VirtualBank offers a full array of consumer lending products, including credit cards, automobile loans, home mortgage loans, home equity loans and lines of credit and personal loans.

— VirtualView — VirtualBank’s VirtualView service provides customers with one-stop access to their personal accounts, including investments, bank and credit card statements, bills, reward programs and e-mail communications, saving them the time and hassle of logging into multiple sites.

— Financial Advisory Services — Each customer is assigned a Relationship Manager who has a complete picture of the customer’s finances and is available for individualized consultations. Sophisticated online planning tools also empower customers to make better financial decisions.

— Bill Payment & Presentment – VirtualBank is the first software installation of the new Checkfree “E-Bill” software which is the next generation of Electronic Payment Technology.

VirtualBank customers can withdraw cash at any of the 531,000 automatic teller machines nationwide displaying the PLUS logo.

VirtualBank’s Technology

VirtualBank’s banking system, which is based on EMC’s industry-leading enterprise storage systems and software for the management, sharing and protection of its information, operates on Microsoft Windows 2000, which enables seamless communication between applications and easy consolidation of information on an Internet-compatible platform. VirtualBank was featured in Microsoft’s “Voice of the Customer” campaign as one of four companies that are changing the way business is done, and was major partner in Microsoft’s Windows 2000 launch in February.

“Keeping all of our deposit and lending functions in-house on a completely integrated system built for the Internet allows VirtualBank to offer a level of convenience and customer service you just can’t achieve with legacy systems,” said Bill Decker, President of VirtualBank. “Controlling our technology also enables us to innovate quickly to enhance the customer experience.”

About VirtualBank

VirtualBank, a privately-held financial institution based in North Palm Beach, Florida, was founded in April 1999 to leverage the Internet to fundamentally change the way people bank. Utilizing the Internet, Windows 2000 and its core technology, VirtualBank provides consumers highly personalized financial services through a single point-of-contact for all financial transactions. More information about the company can be obtained by visiting its Web site at [http://www.virtualbank.com][1].

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

Household Online

Household is gearing up to expand its web presence for credit card marketing. Seattle-based Avenue A announced this morning it has been appointed the strategic partner for two of Household Credit Services’ credit card portfolios, Household Bank Card and Orchard Bank Card. The partnership with Avenue A represents Household’s first major digital marketing effort for these two products. Through Avenue A’s proprietary technology and reporting capabilities, Household will use dynamic digital advertising and e-mail marketing efforts to increase its online awareness and customer acquisition efforts.

SafeTPay Norway

SafeTPay (www.safetpay.net), a leader in providing secure e-commerce in the United States, announced the establishment of SafeTPay Europe.

“SafeTPay Europe expands online options for users in the International marketplace,” said Frode Thengs Vik, co-founder and director of SafeTPay Europe. “Europeans are accustomed to using ATM Cards for purchases in ‘brick and mortar’ stores; now they will be able to use one card for those as well as for Internet purchases from European and North American web sites.”

Based in Oslo, Norway, SafeTPay Europe will market the SafeTPay service and operate data centers (Internet payment gateways) throughout Europe. This will enable European Internet merchants to accept consumer payments via secure B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) ATM Card transactions with PIN over the Internet.

“Establishing SafeTPay Europe enables us to provide safe B2B and B2C Internet payments on an international basis,” said Harry Hargens, co-founder and CEO of SafeTPay USA. “Internet businesses on both continents will know that the payments they receive, whether B2B or B2C, are secure from tampering and free of the high fees, chargebacks, and fraud concerns merchants face today with credit card payments.”

SafeTPay uses a low-cost PIN Pad and card reader attached to the consumer’s PC, which enables safe, secure and private transmission of payment data to bank processors. With SafeTPay, merchants do not see or store consumer’s payment data. The first such device certified for use on the SafeTPay system is provided by Innovonics.

The SafeTPay system also supports credit card transactions as “card present.” This results in a lower cost to the merchant since credit card companies are fearful of fraud, and change higher for transactions “without card present.”

“With the rapid growth of e-commerce in the business world, we felt SafeTPay would definitely be the system that builds consumer confidence in the marketplace. SafeTPay Europe will certainly help advance e-commerce,” added Tom Kleppesto, co-founder and SafeTPay director.

Vik and Kleppesto is the initial executive Norwegian tandem that secured funding to launch SafeTPay Europe.

Launched in the fall of 1999, SafeTPay’s mission is to provide a new, secure way for people to make payments over the Internet. SafeTPay has applied for a patent for its process for securely transmitting transactions (including ATM-card transactions with PIN) over the Internet.

For more information, visit [www.safetpay.net][1] or email [email protected] For Europe: [email protected] For information on the Innovonics PIN Pad, visit [www.innovonics.com][2].

[1]: http://www.safetpay.net/
[2]: http://www.innovonics.com/

New I-Fraud Fighter

UT-based Digital Courier Technologies unveiled a new service this morning to provide key fraud detection data in real-time to help merchants intervene, in many cases, before fraud occurs. DCTI’s Web-based service features advanced fraud control through DCTI’s real-time authorization request and card activity tracking. The new service protects merchants against such Internet fraud schemes as “cramming”, when hackers flood credit card companies with authorization requests. DCTI’s tracking tool monitors the velocity or number of requests on a merchant account and instantly alerts the merchant when unusual levels of activity are detected, proactively halting the fraud before it occurs. In addition, DCTI’s card activity tracking analyzes purchasing history for unusual patterns to help warn merchants against possible identity fraud. The new service also offers other premium functionality for e-merchants such as tiered-levels of security and reconciliation reports.

Mag-Tek ISO

Mag-Tek, an internationally known card reader and check reader manufacturer since 1972, recently achieved ISO 9001 status, the most comprehensive of the five ISO 9000 certifications.

First developed in 1987 by the International Standards Organization (ISO), ISO 9000 is a series of quality standards which outline the requirements for Quality Management Systems. It is an internationally accepted system of rating Quality Management and Quality Assurance.

ISO 9001 standard represents superior manufacturing and design practices, and establishes guidelines for organizations whose operations range from design and development, to production, installation and servicing. ISO 9001 helps companies consistently deliver products and services that meet customer quality requirements.

“ISO 9001 certification will increase overall efficiency, assist in on-time delivery of products and allow us to exceed customer expectations,” said Mag-Tek CEO Tom McGeary. “This important certification insures that we provide our customers with the greatest product value possible.”

ISO 9001 compliance is a voluntary practice, and includes a family of standard requirements that businesses must meet relative to their particular industry. Mag-Tek’s certification is the initial step of an ongoing commitment to quality.

Mag-Tek, Inc. ([www.magtek.com][1]) manufacturers an ever-expanding line of magnetic stripe and smart card readers, encoders, motorized readers and MICR check readers for financial institutions, retailers and OEMs. Mag-Tek also offers comprehensive solutions for card issuance, customer selected PINs and ATM card activation. Mag-Tek has headquarters in Carson, CA with sales offices throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, along with international distribution networks in over 40 countries.

Mag-Tek technology is used in millions of financial and point-of-sale (POS) transactions utilizing debit cards, credit cards and checks; at banks and other financial businesses, retail checkouts, automated gas pumps, kiosks, pay phones and airplane seat phones throughout the world. For more information on Mag-Tek and Mag-Tek products, call 888/624-8350 or visit [www.magtek.com][2].

[1]: http://www.magtek.com/
[2]: http://www.magtek.com/

Trial Feedback

Americans apparently believe that VISA and MasterCard do not compete against each other and are divided over whether or not the credit card industry is intensely competitive. According to a online poll launched last week by CardWeb.com, most Americans would overwhelmingly choose VISA over any other card and most believe it does not make any difference whether or not an AmEx card was issued by a bank. The data are based on responses by 308 visitors received as of this morning. CardWeb.com averages between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors per day with about 80% of the traffic coming from consumers. Robert B. McKinley, CEO of CardWeb.com, Inc. says the low response is indicative of the public yawn over the VISA/MasterCard antitrust trial. The perception among consumers is this is a big guy fight with little to offer consumers.

CardWeb.com’s Online Poll – Government’s Credit Card Lawsuit

In your opinion, is the credit card industry intensely competitive? YES 47% NO 45%

Do you believe VISA and MasterCard compete against each other? NO 60% YES 33%

If you had to choose between a VISA credit card and MasterCard credit card then which one would you choose? VISA 44% MC 17%

Would it make any difference if you could obtain an American Express or Discover credit card from a bank rather than directly from American Express or Discover? NO 52% YES 35%

If your bank offered you the same interest rate, annual fee and benefits on a VISA, MasterCard. Discover and American Express card, which one would you choose? VISA 37% MC 13% DIS 10% AMEX 18%

note: balance of responses to each question were “unsure”

Source: CardWeb.com, Inc

Top Banners

Providian topped the list of the most viewed credit card banner ads for the week of June 12-18. Providian’s ‘Aria’ bank credit cards reached 6.5% of at-home Web viewers and 9.4% of at-work surfers. Providian’s ‘GetSmart’ online credit card/loan comparison service ranked #5 among at-home surfers and #6 among at-work viewers. The data are based on Nielsen/NetRatings weekly Internet audience measurement service.

Top Banners Viewed At-Home
Advertiser Reach % Creative

1. Aria 6.5 Instant Approval — Instant Savings — 0% Intro APR
2. NextCard 4.8 New Internet Visa — 8 breakthrough advantages
3. NextCard 4.7 How about a 9.9% fixed APR from NextCard
4. AmeriDebt 4.4 Danger! Bill Problems? We Can Help You Save $!
5. GetSmart 4.4 Find a mortgage. On your terms.

Top Ad Banners Viewed At-Work
Advertiser Reach % Creative
1. Aria 9.4 Instant Approval — Instant Savings — 0% Intro APR
2. NextCard 7.3 New Internet Visa — 8 breakthrough advantages
3. NextCard 7.0 How about a 9.9% fixed APR from NextCard
6. GetSmart 6.3 Find a mortgage. On your terms.
9. AmeriDebt 6.1 Danger! Bill Problems? We Can Help You Save $!

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings

New WAP Transaction System

Network Commerce Inc., a leading provider of technology infrastructure, services, and networks for businesses, merchants, Internet sites, and wireless networks conducting commerce online, announced the launch and immediate availability of the Network Commerce Wireless Transaction Processing system.

As one of the industry’s first WAP-enabled (Wireless Application Protocol) systems for small businesses and individuals combining both transaction processing and fraud protection, the Network Commerce Wireless Transaction Processing system extends the company’s ePayment and eFraud commerce services to WAP-enabled phones and devices.

“This service opens up new possibilities for mobile merchants, since transaction processing is less limited by location and time,” said Dwayne Walker, chairman and chief executive officer of Network Commerce Inc. “Small businesses and mobile merchants now have the ability to fraud score and accept card payments via the Internet through cell phones and other wireless devices.”

Through the Network Commerce Wireless Transaction Processing system, mobile merchants can now process credit and charge card payments in real time using wireless organizers, cell phones, and other WAP-enabled devices. Users may also continue to transact from their workstations through the transaction processing gateway.

Millions of mobile merchants and mobile service providers in the United States can benefit from the ability to process credit and charge card transactions and detect fraud at the point of sale. According to Jupiter Communications, the number of global wireless Internet users is expected to reach one billion in 2003, up from 300 million in 1999.

“We now offer a seamless cross-platform payment and billing solution,” Walker said. “Small businesses and mobile merchants will enjoy the mobility, immediacy and security of our wireless transaction system, and will benefit from offering their customers integrated wireless fraud and payment processing solutions.”

The Network Commerce Wireless Transaction Processing system is comprised of the wireless ePayment and eFraud services. Merchants can use ePayment to authorize, capture, settle, and credit sales to their account in real time. eFraud enables merchants to detect fraud using a sophisticated neural network combined with a powerful rules engine. For more information on the Network Commerce Wireless Transaction Processing system visit http://wireless.networkcommerce.com/transaction.html.

About Network Commerce Inc.

Network Commerce Inc. ([http://www.networkcommerce.com][1]) is a leading provider of technology infrastructure, services and commerce networks for Internet sites, wireless networks, businesses and merchants. Network Commerce’s core commerce infrastructure technology, services and commerce applications are known as the Network Commerce CommerceSuite. Built on the CommerceSuite are the Network Commerce Business Network and the Network Commerce Consumer Network. The Network Commerce Consumer Network is comprised of ShopNow.com ([http://www.shopnow.com][2]), a leading shopping network and directory featuring over 60,000 merchants; BottomDollar.com ([http://www.bottomdollar.com][3]), a comparison shopping network; and SpeedyClick.com ([http://www.speedyclick.com][4]), a leading commerce-enabled entertainment community; and over 23,000 affiliate sites. The Network Commerce Business Network is comprised of b2bNow.com ([http://www.b2bnow.com][5]), a business-to-business marketplace and directory featuring over 610,000 businesses in 260 international markets; FreeMerchant.com ([http://www.freemerchant.com][6]), a business and merchant store builder with over 80,000 hosted businesses; and Ubarter.com ([http://www.ubarter.com][7]), a business-to-business barter exchange. Network Commerce Inc.’s eBusiness Services division provides consulting, custom commerce solutions, and integrated marketing services. Network Commerce Inc. has over 600 employees and is headquartered in Seattle with offices in California and Georgia.

[1]: http://www.networkcommerce.com/
[2]: http://www.shopnow.com/
[3]: http://www.bottomdollar.com/
[4]: http://www.speedyclick.com/
[5]: http://www.b2bnow.com/
[6]: http://www.freemerchant.com/
[7]: http://www.ubarter.com/

AmEx Gameplan

According to documents admitted into evidence Friday, American Express assembled a report two years ago to show the impact if VISA and MasterCard’s policies were modified to permit members to issue competitors’ cards. AmEx projected it would have realistically signed up nearly nine million cardholders through two dozen bank partners over a three year period. However the AmEx estimates ran from 6 million cards and 15 partners to 21 million cards through 50 partners over the same period of time. Another top secret AmEx document was admitted into evidence Friday entitled “Trench Warfare: A Battle Plan vs Citibank, First USA and VISA”. FULL STORY:

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Creditrust Bankruptcy

Baltimore, MD-based Creditrust Corp. confirmed yesterday it has filed for a Chapter 11 Reorganization despite a significant positive cash flow. The credit card collection firm, exclusive of the non-filed subsidiaries, has assets of $116,288,000 and liabilities of $27,587,000 as of April 30. Many of Creditrust’s receivables were sold in pools to wholly owned subsidiary limited liability companies. Recently, the insurer of three of the subsidiaries’ notes, Asset Guaranty Insurance Company terminated Creditrust’s servicing rights in two pools representing almost half of the company’s accounts. This sudden loss of almost fifty percent of Creditrust’s servicing inventory prompted an immediate re-evaluation of staff and facility requirements. At year-end 1999, Creditrust managed two million accounts with a charged-off amount of approximately $5 billion. Creditrust’s total revenue for last year was $81 million with a net income of just over $17 million. The company currently has 350 employees. For previous Creditrust developments visit CF Library (2/23/00; 2/29/00; 4/6/00; 4/24/00; and 5/31/00).

Oasis in Eastern Europe

Oasis Technology Ltd., a leading provider of ePayment software for mobile commerce, the Internet and real world payments, and Enterprise Consulting International, a key supplier of information management systems in the Ukraine, recently signed an agreement in which ECI will distribute Oasis products and solutions in Central and Eastern Europe. In conjunction with this effort to further reinforce Oasis’ position in the European region, the two companies will attend the Banking Systems and Networks Conference in Yalta, Ukraine, exhibiting Oasis’ ePayment software solutions and ECI’s information management systems.

The agreement is designed to help meet the growing market demand for Internet payment processing from dot-com companies, e-tailers, retailers, financial institutions and third-party processors in the European region. Currently available in more than 70 countries around the world, Oasis ePayment products already have a strong foothold in the European marketplace. With this new agreement, Oasis and ECI will benefit from the explosive eCommerce growth in this region, revolutionizing the processing landscape in the Internet and mobile payments markets.

European eCommerce is expected to grow over 100 per cent through 2003, to top USD 1.5 trillion, according to a recent report by Forrester Research. Similarly, Europe is leading the U.S. in the wireless Internet market.

“Our new partnership with ECI will allow Oasis to build on the already strong ePayment industry infrastructure we have implemented in the Eastern and Central European regions,” said Ashraf Dimitri, president and CEO of Oasis. “Together ECI and Oasis will utilize the tremendous opportunities available in the rapidly growing eCommerce and mobile commerce marketplace to enable clients to deploy payment systems that process transactions in a fast, secure and reliable real-time environment.”

“Oasis ePayment technology has a long history of enabling high-performance ePayment systems all over the world,” said Ivan Zinchenko, ECI Chairman of the Board. “This strategic distribution agreement will allow a new generation of global mCommerce and Internet customers in Central and Eastern Europe to accelerate business growth and reduce the costs associated with deploying and maintaining their ePayment systems and delivery channels. Oasis and ECI bring together proven expertise that gives businesses in the region a first-mover advantage and accelerates their time-to-market with global ePayment solutions.”

ECI and Oasis will also attend the annual Banking Systems and Networks Conference, which brings together banking officials and technology developers to strengthen relationships by sharing leading-edge industry information. During the conference, scheduled from June 18 – 24 in Yalta, Ukraine, Andrey Lyubimov, e-business technology consultant of ECI, will speak about Internet Banking solutions. ECI and Oasis are also exhibiting at the show (booth 24) and will demonstrate Oasis Internet Banking, Oasis iCard, and Oasis Internet Payments software solutions.

About Oasis Technology Ltd.

Oasis Technology Ltd. delivers leading mCommerce, Internet and real-world ePayment software products to Internet and traditional banks, e-tailers, retailers, and processors in more than 70 countries worldwide. Today, Internet payment systems powered by Oasis software process more than four billion transactions annually. Oasis Internet payment software products are designed for end-to-end payment processing throughout the entire payment lifecycle, bridging the virtual and real worlds of electronic payments. The company’s international client base includes ABN Amro, American Express, The Bank of Montreal, Citibank, Credicard/Redecard Brazil, Diners, Europay, Golden Card (China), MasterCard and Visa International. With corporate headquarters located in Toronto, Canada, the company also operates offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Miami, Florida and San Jose, California, and supports an extensive network of international distributors and sales representatives. Oasis is ISO 9001 registered. Visit Oasis online at [www.oasis-technology.com][1].

About Enterprise Consulting International (ECI) Since 1995, ECI has been providing consulting, development and implementation services for IT solutions throughout the Ukraine. ECI’s primary business objective is to deliver custom IT solutions that cover a broad range of business needs. ECI has four subsidiaries: “Inmers,” delivering corporate networking solutions (Internet, Intranet , Extranet); “SQL-Solutions” – data management and business intelligence solutions; “ETS” – eCommerce solutions; and “ECI-Ukraine” – ERP-systems consulting and implementation. ECI representatives are highly skilled and dedicated people who have implemented IT projects for Ukrainian State Committee on Statistics, National Bank of Ukraine, Prominvest Bank, First Ukrainian International Bank, Privat Bank, and “Sirena-2,” an Internet based modernization of the air tickets booking system. ECI’s main office is located in Kyiv, Ukraine.

[1]: http://www.oasis-technology.com/