Diebold Addresses Supply Chain & Cash Issues

To address some of its supply chain problems, Diebold says it is combining its procurement, manufacturing engineering and manufacturing groups into a single organization. Newly named CEO Thomas Swidarski says this is the first step in creating an infrastructure with better communication and coordination. VP George Mayes has been named to lead the supply chain unit. Additionally, Diebold is forming a global order-to-cash improvement team. The Company says the objective is to shorten the amount of time between customer order and customer payment through reduced lead times, improved demand planning and forecasting and simplified product offerings and configurations. Diebold reported in October that its net income for the third quarter plunged 45% to $26.4 million. (CF Library 10/26/05)

HSBC Mexico Wins 2005 Gartner CRM Excellence Award

SSA Global has announced that HSBC Mexico has won the “2005 Gartner CRM
Excellence Award” based on its comprehensive customer relationship
management strategy. HSBC Mexico currently utilizes SSA CRM to
deliver targeted marketing offers via e-mail and direct mail channels, and
to drive intelligent interactions in their call center, automatic teller
machine networks and bank branches with a 33% offer acceptance rate
and enables HSBC Mexico to send event-driven communications across
outbound and inbound touch points. A review team of Gartner analysts
selected the “CRM Excellence Award” finalists based on extensive
applications outlining the finalists’ CRM initiatives. SSA is a provider
of extended ERP solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail,
services and public organizations worldwide.

VISA International Invests in INSIDE Contactless

IDE Contactless has secured euro 9 million ($10.6 million) in a financing
round led by three new top tier investors: Sofinnova, Vertex Venture
Capital (Israel) and VISA International. Prior round investors GIMV,
Vertex Singapore and Siparex have also participated. These top names in
the venture capital world bring strong financial and strategic value to
INSIDE at a critical period in its growth. INSIDE intends to use these
funds for the expansion of its business in the key growth markets for
contactless payments and mobile NFC (near field communication) and
strengthen its management team. INSIDE Contactless is a provider of
semiconductor chips and hardware platforms.

CARTE BLEUE GIFT CARD

Carte Bleue has launched a pilot for the first prepaid EMV gift card for the consumer market in France. Le Credit Lyonnais is the first bank to join the pilot and Axalto has been selected as the card supplier. Axalto is also the only provider of the related personalization services. Under the program, customers go to the bank branch to place their order and select from a wide range of designs and customization. The gift-wrapped and personalized cards are then sent with a greeting message to recipients on the date requested by the giver. The cards are valid for one year. The program was launched under a tight deadline to capture the holiday shopping season for 2005.

Futuretrust MasterCard Signs Card Retailer

American Greetings’ Carlton Cards Retail subsidiary has joined the Mothers Work “Futuretrust MasterCard” program. Futuretrust is a MasterCard linked college savings program that enables families and friends to get an easy “headstart” on college savings. The Futuretrust program has no membership fee or caps to the amount of rebates a member can earn. Rebates are automatically contributed to tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan of the member’s choice. Members earn 1% every time they make a purchase with the Futuretrust MasterCard and earn additional college savings when they use the Futuretrust MasterCard at over 500 retail partners in the Futuretrust Preferred Merchant Network. Mothers Work is the world’s largest designer and retailer of maternity apparel. Carlton Cards Retail,a wholly owned subsidiary of American Greetings owns and operates approximately 500 specialty retail stores.

Experian Acquires PriceGrabber for $485MM

Experian has acquired Los Angeles-based PriceGrabber.com for $485 million plus expenses. PriceGrabber.com will become part of Experian Interactive, which currently includes LowerMyBills.com, MetaReward, Affiliate Fuel, ClassesUSA.com and Experian Consumer Direct. The PriceGrabber.com database contains millions of products in more than 20 categories, such as consumer electronics, clothing, photography, computers, office products, software, toys, home and garden and video games. The company also powers comparison shopping on more than 300 Web sites. This year, PriceGrabber.com estimates sales to be $60 million. PriceGrabber.com was founded in 1999 and employs 140 people.

E-Plus Inks Deal to Use Redknee’s mCommerce Gateway

Redknee has secured a contract to provide its new
“mCommerce Gateway” to mobile network operator E-Plus. “MCG” will
provide subscribers with the ability to make mobile payments for retail
goods, content and media via their mobile handsets, so they can better
manage and control their expenditures and provides a secure interface
for managing multiple content partnerships, accepting credit and debit
cards and pre- and post-paid accounts, allowing the operator to define a
monthly maximum limit for mobile retail spending. Redknee is a provider
of mobile phone infrastructure software.

Near-Field Pilot Scheduled for Atlanta

A major “Near Field Communication” pilot for mobile phone applications including contactless payments is set to launch in Atlanta. Chase, Cingular Wireless, Nokia, Philips, VISA, ViVOtech, and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena will participate in the trial. Approximately 150 contactless POS readers have been deployed by ViVOtech throughout Philips Arena in Atlanta. Fans will also be able to access and download mobile content such as ringtones, wallpapers, screensavers, and clips from favorite players and artists by holding their NFC-enabled phone in front of a poster embedded with an NFC tag.

DIRECTV Pays Largest DNC Fine To-Date

Satellite television provider DIRECTV has agreed to pay a $5.3 million fine to settle FTC charges it violated the “Do Not Call” rules. This is the largest civil penalty the FTC has ever announced in a case enforcing any consumer protection law. The complaint alleges that telemarketers calling on behalf of DIRECTV contacted consumers on the National DNC Registry. In addition, the complaint alleges that one of the telemarketers – Global Satellite, directly or through another entity – abandoned calls to consumers by failing to put a live sales representative on the line within two seconds after the called consumer completes his or her greeting, as required under the law. The complaint also alleges that DIRECTV provided substantial assistance and support to Global Satellite, even though it knew or consciously avoided knowing, that Global Satellite was violating the TSR.

SmartPay and Pudong Development Offer M-Payment

SmartPay and Pudong Development Bank will jointly cooperate to allow
banking customers to register for SmartPay mobile payment services.
SmartPay allows mobile phone users to conveniently pay for
goods and services through their phone. The simplest application for
this service is payment or top-up of phone bills. Users register for
the service, and then will be alerted when their prepaid account is low,
or when their post-paid account is due. The user can then pay via SMS.
SmartPay is the provider of a mobile payments service in China, allowing
consumers to purchase pre-paid credits, pay utility bills, transfer
credit and make purchases. SmartPay is launching additional
direct-to-consumer (D2C) and peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services to its
userbase on a regular basis.