NJ-based Virtel and UK-based Crystal International Travel Group launched the ‘Crystal Holidays Phone Card’ yesterday. The new phone card offers users enhanced communication services and savings of up to 70% on standard international rates to more than 95 countries around the world and is simply activated through local free phone numbers, staffed by multilingual operators. The contract with Virtel enables Crystal to issue 30,000 prepaid calling cards providing their customers with enhanced service calling cards, with voice, fax and email capabilities. Crystal is the UK’s largest ski tour operator and its brands include Jetsave and American Holidays.
CyberBills, Inc., the first company to offer total bill management over the Internet, and BlueGill Technologies, a leader in Internet bill presentment, announced this morning that CyberBills will incorporate BlueGill’s technology into its CyberBills service. As a result, CyberBills will be able to receive electronic billing data from billers, enabling them to significantly reduce the costs associated with bill processing.
According to Booz, Allen & Hamilton, U.S. companies spend more than $10 billion each year, or 40 to 60 cents per bill, just for printing and mailing. With Internet billing, a company can reduce those costs to 10 cents per bill, or even less for high volume.
“By incorporating BlueGill’s technology into our service, CyberBills can now play a critical role in accelerating the adoption of electronic bill presentment by helping billers drastically reduce the costs of billing their customers,” said Murali Chirala, president of CyberBills. “In addition, billers will benefit from being able to build new value-added, electronically enabled features into their billing presentment process.”
“We are excited about CyberBills’ approach to the market and are pleased that they have selected BlueGill as their technology partner,” said Hal Davis, president of BlueGill. “Billers will be impressed with how quickly and easily they can convert customer documents to an electronic format through the BlueGill-enabled CyberBills Service.”
BlueGill’s software product builds personalized, Web-enabled, interactive customer applications from existing mainframe print data streams, allowing companies, such as telcos, utilities, banks and service bureaus, to incorporate legacy applications into Internet-based systems. Unlike other bill presentment systems, BlueGill’s technology supports the CyberBills aggregator biller model. In addition to enabling Internet delivery of bills, BlueGill software will enable CyberBills to receive any document that is part of a customer’s statement cycle, including mortgage interest statements, brokerage statements, 1099s, and NSF notifications.
CyberBills expects to begin beta testing the new version of the CyberBills service in May 1999, with production following in June 1999.
CyberBills’ bill presentment and payment services allow consumers and businesses to access, manage and automate all their bills — whether paper or electronic — on the Internet. CyberBills offers its customers a range of service levels based on their monthly usage level and payment patterns. With each service, consumers benefit from total online bill receipt and viewing, customized bill payment capabilities which support manual, automatic and recurring payments, customized billing notification features through e-mail, and full reporting on all their bills and payments.
Founded in 1996, BlueGill Technologies is an international software development company with solutions that enable companies to transform legacy systems into interactive Web applications for managing customer relationships. BlueGill software is installed today at financial service institutions, telecommunications companies, utilities and service bureaus in North America and Europe. For more information, contact BlueGill at 734-205-4100 or on the Internet at .
Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., CyberBills is the first and only company to offer its subscribers 100 percent total bill management over the Internet, regardless of whether bills are electronic or paper. Founded in 1998, CyberBills has rapidly developed methods and technology to support a single interface that allows consumers to view, pay and manage all their bills over the Internet. CyberBills offers its service directly to consumers, as well as to channel partners. For more information about CyberBills, log on to the company’s Web site at .
[email protected], , the largest FDIC-insured bank operating solely on the Internet, announced today that it opened a record 8,000 new accounts during the company’s first quarter this year, which ended March 31, 1999. Officials at the bank credit this growth to their new advertising campaign, which highlights the bank’s outstanding deposit rates, free checking and free unlimited online bill payment services.
“Our goal was to sign accounts at a rate of 2,000 per month by the end of 1999,” said D.R. Grimes, CEO of [email protected] “We have greatly surpassed this goal thanks in large part to our new advertising campaign, but also because consumers are finding that [email protected] is a smart personal finance decision. Our customers earn higher yields on their deposits, and they can avoid paying high monthly fees. It’s an unbeatable combination.”
According to Bank Rate Monitor, an industry research company, the national average monthly charge on an interest-bearing checking account is over $9.00. [email protected]’s NetValue Checking Account is free to its customers and pays an APY of 3.05% while offering free unlimited online bill payment, ATM use and unlimited online account access.
[email protected]’s uncommon offer to provide free checking to its customers, in addition to convenient online services and higher deposit yields on checking accounts, is attracting a sizable number of core account customers. “About 66 percent of our total accounts are checking and money market accounts, which tells us that our customers are now using [email protected] as their primary full-service financial institution,” said Grimes. “We’ve become very successful in building longer term relationships with our customers because we provide them convenient 24-hour access to our full range of attractive financial services.”
[email protected]’s total number of accounts has now reached 24,634, almost three times the number of accounts this time last year. “After recording incredible growth in 1998, there were questions about maintaining that pace, but we’ve proven that we can sustain high growth levels,” said Grimes. He attributes the bank’s ability to handle such rapid growth to a recent significant upgrade of its banking technology platform and to the Internet-only structure of the bank. “If a traditional bank were to open more than 3,000 accounts in a month, it would have to open one or two new branches to service those accounts,” he added. “Operating solely on the Internet affords us the advantage of tremendous growth without sacrificing customer service.”
Industry research indicates that online banking in the United States should grow to reach over 17 million households by 2002 with the vast majority utilizing Internet-only banking.
[email protected], Inc. (Nasdaq: NTBK), is the first profitable Internet-only bank in the country, having achieved profitability in the second, third and fourth quarters of 1998. With almost 25,000 accounts and customers in all 50 United States and 20 foreign countries, [email protected], Member FDIC (), is the largest FDIC-insured bank operating solely on the Internet. In addition to checking and money market accounts and certificates of deposits with exceptional interest rates, [email protected] offers its customers the ultimate convenience in banking. Products and services include account access any time, anywhere, free unlimited online bill payment, free unlimited ATM use, VISA(R) Check Card, VISA(R) and MasterCard(R) credit cards, online brokerage services, mortgage lending and business equipment leasing services. For more information on [email protected], its products and services, visit the web site at , or call 888-256-6932.
IFS International pledged its commitment to the Common Electronic Purse Specifications initiative to develop common specifications for electronic purse systems globally.
The CEPS specifications have been developed by Europay International, Visa Espana/SERMEPA Visa International, and ZKA, to enable domestic and international interoperability of electronic purse programs world-wide. Organisations from 22 countries, representing more than 90 per cent of the world’s electronic purse cards, have agreed to implement CEPS.
IFS International has agreed with Visa International to act as a partner in enhancing the TPII product in respect of the specifications currently under development. In addition, IFS has committed to the parallel development of the CEPS functionality within the TPII family of EFT products. It is anticipated that TPII will be Visa CEPS ready very shortly after the final versions of the CEPS Specifications are released, enabling IFS customers to be amongst the first in the world to support CEPS.
The Common Electronic Purse Specifications require compatibility with the EMV Specifications for smart cards and terminals. CEPS will define the smart card application, the terminal application for point of sale and load transactions, data elements and recommended message formats for transaction processing, as well as functional requirements for various electronic purse scheme participants. CEPS has been developed to ensure compatibility with the card/terminal interface defined by the European Committee on Banking Standards (ECBS).
IFS International, which played an important role in the development of Visa Cash, is very pleased to, once again, be working with Visa International in support of CEPS. In addition, IFS customers will also benefit from IFS’ commitment to the Visa Smart Debit/Credit and COPAC programmes.
David L Hodge, CEO of IFS International, commented “IFS are pleased to be associated with the development of the common electronic purse specifications. We are committed to providing support to Visa International in this important project that could accelerate or otherwise positively contribute to the successful development of the common specifications. The commitment that we have made to parallel development of the TPII product will allow Visa members world-wide to implement the CEPS functionality, by using TPII, almost immediately after the specifications are finalised.”
Gaylon Howe, senior vice president, Chip Products, Visa International, said: “IFS will play an important role in providing support for Visa members as they start to implement Visa Cash electronic purse programs based on CEPS. By working with us on Visa’s implementation of the CEPS specifications IFS is helping to maximise the potential of this new technology and to encourage its growth around the world.”
IFS International, Inc. develops, markets, and supports software products for the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) market. IFS International’s products are used to provide ATM, POS, smart-card, debit card management, bank teller, bank platform, home banking and call-centre solutions to the EFT industry. Its family of software products, marketed under the name TPII, serves as a manager of EFT systems for automated teller machines (ATM), point-of-sale (POS) and voice authorisation. IFS also provides a turnkey system for smart- card implementation. IFS’ subsidiary, NCI International, Inc. adds complementary products to IFS’ family of products, such as NCI Business Centrea, an enterprise-wide retail banking solution designed to automate all traditional, as well as Internet/Intranet, transactions.
As the World’s Best Way to Pay, Visa is the leading 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 and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 630 million Visa-branded cards, which generate over US $1.3 trillion in annual volume. Visa is accepted at more than 15 million worldwide locations, including at over 450,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com].
IFS is headquartered in Troy, New York, with offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Singapore. IFS securities are traded on the Nasdaq SmallCap: IFSH Common Stock; IFSHW Series A Convertible Preferred Stock Purchase Warrants. For additional information in the U.S., call 518-283-7900, FAX 518-283-7336, E-mail [email protected], web page .
Financial software and services leader M&I Data Services has finalized its acquisition of the Electronic Banking Services Division of Automatic Data Processing, Roseland, N.J. The company projects that annual revenue generated by this new business unit will initially be $40 million, accretive to the earnings of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation in 1999.
The ADP software products and outsourcing solutions acquired by M&I include Business Express, FORTE/FORTExpress and CashExpress. These comprehensive E-commerce products, delivered via outsourced or in-house networks, provide business clients access to their banking information and transactions via Internet web browser, direct PC connection or telephone.
The current customer base for these products encompasses 120,000 small, medium and large corporate customers, through partnerships with 110 financial service institutions across the United States, including 18 of the nation’s 20 largest financial institutions.
This acquisition, together with the recent purchase of Moneyline Express — a bill payment solution from Travelers Express — expands our formidable capabilities in the developing E-commerce market, commented Mike Hayford, executive vice president, M&I Data Services.
“This acquisition is the latest step in our strategy to provide a wide range of E-commerce products to help our customers compete in this emerging marketplace,” said Hayford.
“M&I Data Services has a strong reputation for its depth of expertise in the financial services industry,” said Francine Miltenberger, Treasury Management Division executive at PNC Bank Corp. headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. “We are pleased that they are committed to expanding the capabilities of these products and to meeting the unique needs of large financial institutions.”
Jim Kennedy, senior vice president for cash management at Bank of the West, San Francisco, Calif., stated that, “Providing our customers the best tools available to manage their businesses is a key focus for us. The proven ability of M&I to leverage leading-edge technology, especially the Internet, ensures that we will be able to offer our clients the tools they need to have a competitive advantage in their marketplace.”
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., M&I Data Services is a division of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, a $21.6 billion holding company. M&I Data Services provides leading-edge technology solutions to the financial services industry, offering consulting, software and processing solutions for financial institutions worldwide.
The company’s rapid growth — 701 percent over the past ten years — is being fueled by innovative product development, strategic product acquisitions and strong growth of its customer relationships. The company had external revenue of $413 million in 1998. For more information visit the M&I Data Services Web site at
Portland, OR-based Carrier Services, Inc. and Sprint have joined up to offer America West Airlines frequent flyers the ‘FlightFund Global Phone Card’. This new service offers members a rechargeable phone card with 200 domestic minutes of calling time and 500 ‘FlightFund’ miles for $50.
Drexler Technology Corp. landed its largest ‘LaserCard’-related commercial order and its largest electronic commerce program yesterday. Drexler says it has received a $5 million production order for electronic commerce subsystems and ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards. The production order comprises more than 1 million ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards and 250 electronic commerce subsystems containing card reader/writer devices and incorporated systems software. LaserCard commercial and government applications include immigration cards, cargo manifests, access cards, healthcare records, high security/interactive ID cards, automotive records, medical image storage, portable records with audit trails, and consumer transaction systems.
Electronic Payment Services, Inc. confirmed Monday they have been selected by Portland, OR-based TRM Corp. as the exclusive provider of ATM processing services for TRM’s ATM division. TRM owns and operates over 31,000 self-service photocopy centers in retail locations in North America and Europe, and recently formed an ATM division to expand the services they provide through their retail channels. Last month, TRM announced an exclusive agreement with The Pantry and Lil’ Champ convenience store chain to install ATMs at up to 1,100 locations. EPS currently drives 33,500 ATMs nationwide, over half of which are dial-up ATMs located primarily in retail and other remote locations.
DataCard Corp. is transforming its three core business units into autonomous companies named Datacard Worldwide, Credentia and MedAssure. The three new enterprises will comprise Datacard Group. Datacard Worldwide provides financial institutions, retailers, loyalty marketers and service bureaus with the premier card personalization systems. Credentia offers identity systems based on digital imaging, biometrics, smart cards and other emerging technologies. MedAssure provides hospitals with patient ID systems and is developing an entirely new portfolio of technology-driven products for the broader healthcare market.
St. Louis-based Meridian Enterprises announced Monday a settlement resolving a suit it had filed against Chase Manhattan Bank and Shell Oil Co. related to Meridian’s U.S. patent for its ‘MeridiCard’ system. The ‘MeridiCard’ system, introduced in 1988, provides cardholders with the opportunity to earn points based on performance that can be electronically redeemed through the MasterCard and VISA merchant networks. Meridian Enterprises previously reached settlements were reached with BankAmerica Corp., GE Capital, Associates National Bank, Bank One, Fleet Financial, VISA USA, MasterCard and their co-branding partners Sun Co., Exxon, Unocal, Amoco, Phillips Petroleum, Total Petroleum, Gulf Oil and British Petroleum.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based SHC Venture LLC, marketer of ‘Momentum Mileage Programs’, has introduced an airline mileage shopping program with United Airlines ‘Mileage Plus’ Marketing and the First Card ‘Mileage Plus VISA/MasterCard’. It is the first mileage program to feature a broad nationwide base of retailers. Participating retailers include: Spiegel, The Sharper Image, Lillian Vernon, Jos. A. Bank, Hammacher Schlemmer and seven others. The United Airlines ‘Mileage Plus Shopping’ program offers cardholders up to 10 miles per dollar spent.
CO-based BSI2000, Inc and Italy-based Infodec Company announced this morning they have signed a contract, on an exclusive basis, to form a strategic marketing partnership to bring optical cards into the Italian markets. Infodec has also, as part of the agreement, purchased initial optical card equipment from BSI2000. BSI2000 designs and sells software/hardware products for the medical, EBT/social benefits, and drug & alcohol testing markets that substitute highly efficient and fraud-proof optical cards for older paper-based transaction systems.