Deluxe Corp. announced Monday that its board of directors has approved a plan for a strategic realignment of Deluxe that will create two independent companies. Under the plan Deluxe will combine eFunds and iDLX Technology Partners businesses into a separate, independent publicly traded company, to be called eFunds Corporation. Meanwhile, Deluxe Paper Payment Systems will continue to operate under the Deluxe Corp. name. Deluxe intends to sell a minority interest in eFunds to the public through an initial public offering. Under yesterday’s plan, J.A. Blanchard will become chairman and CEO of eFunds Corporation while Debra Janssen will become president and COO. Lawrence Mosner, currently vice chairman of Deluxe Corp., will become chairman and CEO of Deluxe Corp. and Ronald Eilers will become president and COO.
On Track Innovations Ltd. is acquiring SoftChip Israel Ltd. and SoftChip Technologies (3000) Ltd. SoftChip is a chip design house that has developed certain proprietary technology in the field of chip design, smart card’s microprocessor design, CPU simulators, development of Operating System for Smart Cards, power line modems, Internet security as well as capabilities in the design of architecture for semiconductor products. On Track Innovations Ltd. is a pioneer in microprocessor-based contactless smart card technology.
Credit related ads continue to dominate Web advertising. For the week ending Jan. 23, AmeriDebt.org’s ‘Bill Problems’ ad was the second most viewed banner ad on the Internet according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Getsmart.com’s ads rank #3 and #7. NextCard’s ‘Breakthrough Advantages’ ad was the #10 most viewed banner ad. Nielsen says 56.3 million people surfed the web last week and the average click rate for top banners was 0.32%. Meanwhile Bank of America, First USA, People’s Bank and NextCard have renewed consumer ad contracts with CardWeb.com’s consumer channels for year 2000. First USA will enter its fifth year of consumer ads with CardWeb.com. Bank of America (and former NationsBank) and People’s Bank have advertised for four years. NextCard will enter its third year this spring. CardWeb.com’s consumer channels connect with 3 to 4 million consumers per year and produce the highest response rates among personal finance focused web sites.
Standard Register has packaged up one million gift cards for Michaels Stores nationwide. The cards are available in $10, $25 and $50 denominations. There are 564 Michaels stores in 47 states.
MBNA International Bank Limited has selected ACI products to process e-payments, including ATM and POS transactions. The products include ‘BASE24’ which forms the core of MBNA’s card processing operation, and enables the issuer to process transactions based on the Euro monetary standard and smart card transactions initiated in the APACS ICC message format. ‘BASE24’ operates on ‘Compaq NonStop Himalaya’ systems to provide MBNA with true fault-tolerant processing power that is scalable to handle ever-increasing transaction volumes. MBNA processes ATM and POS transactions for more than 2 million cardholders in the UK.
The Pathways Group, Inc. last week announced two new appointments to its senior management team. The executives, Monte Strohl, 48, senior vice president sales and marketing, and Christopher R. Miller, 55, senior vice president business development, have joined Pathways to broaden the management team as it steps up marketing and implementation of the proprietary smart card technology.
Carey Daly, founder, president and CEO of Pathways said, “We are fortunate indeed to have two more strong players join our team. Both Monte Strohl and Chris Miller can hit the ground running because they already know this business and the other members of the team.
“Chris Miller previously served Pathways as outside general counsel. He will oversee business development and continue to be our chief negotiator. That we were able to entice him to leave his very successful law practice speaks volumes about his strong belief in Pathways’ future. Monte Strohl and I co-founded the original Pathways in 1987. Having launched his own successful technology business in 1994, he rejoins us to lead our sales and marketing effort at a time when businesses and consumers around the world are only just beginning to recognize how smart card technology can simplify their lives.
“Over the past 12 years, we have woven Pathways’ proprietary technology, object-oriented programming and transaction processing capabilities into a complete end-to-end solution. This has given us a tremendous time-to-market advantage over competing smart card systems. With a strong team now in place, it is time to translate all of this ingenuity into value for our shareholders.”
Most recently, Mr. Miller served as Pathways’ legal counsel while of counsel to Lanahan & Reilley, LLP, a California law firm. Prior to Lanahan & Reilley, Mr. Miller was managing partner (1991 through 1999) of Miller, Mailliard and Culver, LLP of Santa Rosa, CA, a firm he founded as a partner in 1982. During his nearly 17 years with the firm, his law practice focused on business litigation, corporate transactions, contract negotiation and drafting, and domestic and international IP licensing. He received his BA degree in Philosophy/ Psychology from Sonoma State University in 1971 and a JD from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 1975.
Prior to joining Pathways, Mr. Strohl was president and CEO of MS Digital, a company he founded in 1994. MS Digital, which specializes primarily in corporate communication and cable broadcasting, provides hardware and software solutions to facilitate communications over cable systems or Intranets. MS Digital’s clients include universities, municipalities and Fortune 500 companies. Before founding MS Digital, Mr. Strohl was vice president of sales for OMNI International, which provided video production solutions internationally. Mr. Strohl is one of the original founders of Pathways International, Ltd., a corporate predecessor to today’s Pathways Group.
The Pathways Group, Inc., a world leader in smart card technology, provides clients with innovative, secure, individually tailored solutions for capturing and processing data and electronic transactions, with particular focus on Chip Card technology as it is applied to the Worldwide Web.
Founded in 1987, Pathways is today a leading developer of smart card applications offering clients custom software and hardware solutions for electronic banking, e-business and transaction processing. Pathways’ proprietary back office systems coupled with their long standing core competencies in electronic transaction processing, allow clients to efficiently capture and process data, and transfer funds via “ACH” protocol. This protocol is the De Facto standard for the Banking Industry, used for funds transfer in retail, medical and institutional environments.
NDC eCommerce announced last week an agreement with the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association to market electronic payment services to more than 1,500 retailers throughout the USA. Under the agreement, NDC eCommerce will provide card processing and check guarantee services to the retail association’s member base.
Proton World and Croatia’s MBU signed agreements last week to make MBU a Proton licensee for Croatia. MBU is a consortium of 27 Croatian banks that manages and operates a network of ATMs and POS terminals. Under the agreement, MBU will start replacing existing POS terminals in February with new Java-based ‘C-ZAM/SMASH’ multi-application terminals from Banksys. MBU will begin to replace mag stripe cards with smart cards later this year.
In Miami, National Airlines announced that it has joined the LatinPass frequent flyer program providing both LatinPass members as well as its own National Comps frequent flyers with increased air rewards.
The announcement was made at a breakfast by National Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Conway as the carrier celebrated its inaugural service between Miami and its Las Vegas hub.
LatinPass members traveling on National Airlines can include their LatinPass account numbers in their reservations and receive mileage credit in their LatinPass accounts. By mid-February, members of National Airlines’ frequent flyer program, National Comps, will be able to redeem their account points for travel on any of the Latin American carriers belonging to LatinPass. In addition, LatinPass members may redeem their LatinPass mileage for travel on National Airlines.
“As Miami is one of the major U.S. gateways to Latin America, it is fitting to make this exciting announcement here,” Conway stated. “With literally tens of thousands of LatinPass members residing in the U.S., we believe this agreement will benefit not only National Airlines, LatinPass partners and our respective frequent flyers, but cities such as Miami where many international connections to Latin America are made.”
Conway noted that the original National Airlines was based in Miami, and said, “We are well aware of the stellar reputation for customer service that the original National Airlines created and we are making every effort to live up to the standard they set.” The CEO then presented Irma Baker-Lyons with a scale model of the Las Vegas-based airline’s Boeing 757 aircraft. Baker-Lyons is the widow of the original National Airlines founder George T. (Ted) Baker.
“The addition of National Airlines to the all-star LatinPass lineup of member airlines is a welcome one,” said Robert C. Booth, Chairman of AvMan, creators and administrators of the LatinPass program. “National will conveniently link its hub of Las Vegas, the world-renowned entertainment center of the U.S., with key U.S. gateways for Latin American travelers, and do it in style and with outstanding onboard and ground service. All of us at LatinPass are excited with the new benefits National brings to our members.”
The Latin American member-carriers of LatinPass include: ACES, Aeropostal, Avianca, Aviateca, COPA, LACSA, NICA, SAETA, TACA and TACA-Peru. More information about LatinPass is available through its Web site at [www.latinpass.com].
With the initiation of service between Miami and Las Vegas on January 27, National Airlines now offers daily nonstop service to its Las Vegas hub from Chicago Midway, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of 757 jet aircraft, each equipped with 175 seats including 22 in first class.
Poland’s Kredyt Bank is using IFS International’s ‘TPII’ system to support the issuance of VISA ‘Smart Debit Credit’. KB is one of the most advanced Polish banks with currently around 300,000 active cardholders, 500 ATMs and 1,000 EFT/POS devices. ‘TPII’ was originally installed at PBI in 1997, and since then the system has been significantly extended. Over the past 2 years since PBI’s merger with Kredyt Bank, the Bank embarked on a major customer-focused payment card strategy using ‘TPII’.
As the GSM World Congress opens this week in Cannes, France, Bull says it will announce that it has signed up more than ten GSM customers on three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Customers include Unicom in China, Centertel in Poland and Vodacom in South Africa. Under client contracts Bull Smart Cards & Terminals will develop a new card for third generation mobile phones; supply 32K Java cards for a number of European operators; develop Java applications for large European operators who are leaders in the deployment of this open system; and develop dedicated security mechanisms for SIM cards, allowing them to run banking applications.
ATM cards and PINs will hit the Internet soon following a licensing agreement and strategic alliance between eFunds Corp. and eConnect . eConnect will use eFunds’ ‘CONNEX on IBM’, and ‘CONNEX Management System’ software to process ATM with PIN card transactions resulting from consumers running their cards through an eConnect card-reading device attached to their home computers and driven by the eConnect ‘Linux Transaction Server’. eConnect merchant customers in the Dominican Republic will be the first to benefit from the new service. The service is expected to expand to eConnect Ireland, eConnect Hong Kong, and eConnect Australia over the next few months. eFunds is a subsidiary of Deluxe Corp.