FDC & Aether

First Data Corp., a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, and Aether Systems, Inc., a leading provider of wireless data services and systems, announced they will jointly develop and market payment products and services to businesses and consumers via wireless devices including mobile phones, Personal Digital Assistants and electronic pagers, as the first step in developing a comprehensive suite of mobile commerce (m-commerce) offerings.

This strategic alliance will leverage the existing expertise and technologies of both Aether Systems and First Data, as well as their leadership positions in the wireless and e-commerce payment markets, respectively. The companies expect to sign a definitive agreement within the next 60 days.

Products to be introduced through this alliance include a wireless wallet, a virtual point-of-sale terminal, and shopping portals. In addition, the companies will help make First Data subsidiary Western Union’s money transfer capabilities accessible to consumers through wireless devices. The first products developed through the relationship are expected to be delivered this year.

The wireless applications market is growing exponentially and represents significant business opportunities for both companies. By the end of 2002, more people are expected to gain access to the Internet through wireless devices than through personal computers, according to International Data Corp.

“The intent of this relationship with Aether is to quickly ramp up First Data’s efforts in m-commerce,” said John Duncan, executive vice president of Internet Commerce at First Data. “We view wireless commerce as yet another platform to enable businesses and consumers to pay anyone, anywhere, anytime, using any device. The market potential of m-commerce clearly provides opportunities to drive sales for merchants and value for consumers, to the benefit of our financial institution clients.”

Dave Oros, Chairman and CEO, Aether Systems, commented, “We are pleased that First Data selected Aether as a partner in the m-commerce space. By utilizing First Data’s existing Internet solutions and Aether’s enabling technologies, a market-commanding product set will emerge. Both Aether’s vertical markets and First Data’s financial institution client base represent the ideal distribution base for m-commerce offerings.”

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Serving more than two million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money wire. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

Aether Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of wireless and mobile data services allowing real-time communications and transactions across a full range of devices and networks. Using its engineering expertise, the Aether Intelligent Messaging (AIM) software platform, the ScoutWare family of products (resulting from the acquisition of Riverbed Technologies, Inc.) and its network operations and customer service center, Aether Systems seeks to provide comprehensive technology-independent wireless and mobile computing solutions. Aether develops and delivers wireless data services across a variety of industries and market segments in the United States and internationally. Aether is a joint principal owner, along with 3Com Corp., of OmniSky, Inc., a wireless Internet service provider based in Palo Alto, Calif. Aether headquarters are located at 11460 Cronridge Dr., Owings Mills, MD 21117. For more information, please visit the Aether website at [http://www.aethersystems.com][2].

[1]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com/
[2]: http://www.aethersystems.com/

TSA Buys WorkPoint

Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. announced it has acquired WorkPoint Systems, Inc., an Omaha-based technology company focused on business process automation software. WorkPoint Systems will become a part of Insession Technologies, TSA’s business unit specializing in e-infrastructure solutions.

About Transaction Systems Architects

Transaction Systems Architects’ software facilitates electronic commerce and e-payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money. Its products are used to process a wide range of e-payment transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, Internet banking services, checks and high-value money transfers, as well as e-payment clearing, settlement and management. Transaction Systems’ solutions are used on more than 3,550 product systems in 79 countries on six continents.

MerchantOnline Snags Dueweke

MerchantOnline.com named international electronic commerce expert Scott Dueweke its vice president of strategic development. Dueweke most recently held the same title with Cardservice International.

“Scott Dueweke comes to us with an outstanding international reputation for knowing what is happening in the Internet marketplace,” said Jim Gitney, MerchantOnline.com’s chief operating officer. “His expertise spans a tremendous range, including worldwide marketing, branding and development, international electronic payment systems and corporate communications. Scott is a key addition for MerchantOnline.com becoming the global trendsetter for integrated payment solutions.”

While at Cardservice International, Dueweke was responsible for the creation and branding of NanoMerchant. Prior to joining Cardservice, Dueweke was marketing manager for IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) Internet Payments and Digital Certificates group, heading the brand management and technical marketing efforts for the CommercePOINT family of products. From 1994 to 1996 Dueweke was senior national account executive with NaBANCO (now Chase Merchant Services) (NYSE:CMB), where he led the company’s charge into the e-commerce age. Throughout his career, Dueweke has spoken at numerous high-tech conferences as a leading e-commerce authority.

“MerchantOnline.com is in a unique position to enable the e-commerce marketplace with products that redefine security, ease of use and functionality,” Dueweke said. “No other company can match its ability to combine secure e-commerce solutions such as micropayments and merchant processing with a secure hardware device and proprietary ATM/debit network. This combination will lead to MerchantOnline.com emerging as the dominant provider of back-end secure payment products and services. It’s an exciting time to join this team.”

After earning his International Relations degree in 1986 from Michigan State’s James Madison College, Dueweke was appointed by the Reagan Administration to the U.S. Department of State. While at the Department of State, Dueweke acted in roles including the Department’s liaison with the Soviet Embassy during the relief efforts for the Armenian earthquake, the U.S. Congress, and as spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International development.

Founded in December 1997, MerchantOnline.com provides a secure transaction network that enables businesses and consumers to use one payment system for both their real world and virtual world needs utilizing credit card, ATM/debit card and other payment programs.

ORR Offers iPlace Services

Online Resources & Communications Corp. announced it now offers a credit monitoring service through a new alliance with iPlace, Inc. (formerly ConsumerInfo.Com). The alliance is the latest in a series of Online Resources’ Internet partnerships that expand the range of services financial institutions can offer their customers while providing another source of online revenue for the company and its client institutions.

iPlace’s CreditCheck Monitoring Service enables institutions to offer their online customers a free copy of their credit report with a free trial membership. Customers are invited to purchase a membership to receive continued benefits beyond the trial period. Regular members receive unlimited free credit reports along with ongoing monitoring of their credit files so that they can check their credit status at any time during the paid membership period. Online Monthly Monitoring Alerts, a highlight of the service, inform members of important changes to their credit files, including new derogatory information, recent inquiries and several indicators of possible credit fraud. (For those customers who prefer to receive their reports through U.S. mail, Monitoring Alerts are provided on a quarterly basis.)

The CreditCheck Monitoring Service also offers many additional features and benefits. Members receive the quarterly CreditCheck Newsletter, either online or through the mail, with helpful information about managing credit. Knowledgeable customer service representatives provide assistance via a toll-free number. For members who wish to dispute inaccurate information on their credit reports, the service gives online guidelines on how to do this. Membership also includes access to Members-Only extra tools and features such as neighborhood and home sales’ reports.

‘This CreditCheck Monitoring Service empowers online customers who want to make sure their credit status is always up to date and correct, and at the same time, generates a new revenue opportunity for institutions, which will receive a percentage of the membership fee paid by their customers,’ said Ron Bergamesca, Online Resources’ senior vice president of marketing. ‘We will seamlessly integrate the service into an institution’s Web site, providing their customers with yet another reason to use the institution’s site as their online financial hub.’

‘Because of Online Resources’ leadership in the community bank market, we’re very excited to have our service offered through its clients Web sites,’ said Ed Ojdana, president of the credit division of iPlace, Inc. ‘We believe our CreditCheck Monitoring Service is an important ‘value-add’ for institutions looking to leverage the power of the Internet.’

Over the past few months, Online Resources has signed agreements with the industry’s leading Internet companies to provide services such as personalized consumer start pages bearing a financial institution’s brand, brokerage services, Web-based data mining to improve customer service and marketing, and sophisticated cash management solutions for institutions’ commercial clients.

Online Resources & Communications Corporation ([http://www.orcc.com][1]) is a leading outsourcer of privately-branded Internet financial services for regional and community banking institutions. The McLean, Virginia-based company has more than 400 institutional clients nationwide. It provides consumer bill paying and banking services and aggregates lending, insurance, securities trading and investment services. Online Resources performs real-time processing through its patented EFT gateway and full customer service for client institutions, giving them a comprehensive ‘hub’ solution from a single vendor. Client consumer marketing programs are conducted under the bankonline.com co-brand.

iPlace,Inc., ([http://www.iplace.com][2]) created by the merger of eNeighborhoods and ConsumerInfo.com, provides consumers with access to recent home sales, neighborhood information, credit education & services, and information on maintaining protecting and improving the value of consumer’s homes. Within its auspices are eNeighborhoods, a provider of timely neighborhood and home value information software for real estate professionals. [http://www.freecreditreport.com][3], a site offering users online delivery of their credit report and a credit monitoring service. [http://www.creditmatters.com][4] , site offering expert information on consumer credit reporting.

[1]: http://www.orcc.com/
[2]: http://www.iplace.com/
[3]: http://www.freecreditreport.com/
[4]: http://www.creditmatters.com/

UPP Deploys ePic ICE 5500

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) — Universal Payment Processing is deploying Hypercom(R) ePic ICE(tm) 5500 touch-screen based payment terminals to enhance its Universal Total Check(tm) and Universal Connect(tm) products. The number of terminals initially planned is 3,500. Universal Payment Processing is a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor.

“Hypercom’s ePic ICE 5500 card payment terminals are extremely user-friendly devices that allow us to support the many new value-added services that we are taking to our merchant base, which translates into more revenue and profit opportunities for the company,” said Florian DeVitis, senior vice president of Sales, Universal Payment Processing. “We are partnering with Hypercom to differentiate ourselves in the industry with the first touch screen point-of-sale solution that along with ePic applications and solutions, will change the course of payment processing completely.”

Packed with value-added features, Hypercom’s ePic applications and ICE 5500 terminal platforms form a powerful, multi-function payment system incorporating high-speed communications using Hypercom’s FastPOS modem technology and screen-based operations, an absolute requirement in supporting Internet browser access. This browser capability will allow the management of Hypercom’s or any other vendor’s e-commerce web storefront, cost-effectively bridging the merchant’s physical retail payments needs and the merchant’s web-based e-commerce storefront management needs. ePic (ePOS-infocommerce(tm)) will also enable merchants to access a range of Internet-based services via their in-store ICE terminals, including e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, electronic receipt capture, access to DDA account information and cash management reporting — in addition to traditional secure payment processing functions.

“We are pleased that Universal has chosen the ePic ICE 5500 terminal platforms for its merchant customers,” said John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, Hypercom North America POS.

“Touch screens are the new medium in point-of-sale transaction technology, and form the minimum basis to move forward with all of the new value-added services that Universal’s customers are demanding from their point-of-sale platform in the 21st century,” Marshall said.

Universal Payment Processing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Savings Bank, F.A., a federally chartered savings bank, is a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor. Universal provides transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to over 45,000 business clients nationwide. Universal offers credit and debit card processing, electronic check processing, time/attendance and payroll processing, pre-paid phone products, electronic gift cards, and e-commerce solutions. Visit Universal online at http://www.usb.com.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is www.hypercom.com.

CFN Funding

The Consumer Financial Network announced this morning it has received investments totaling $130.5 million. This is one of the largest rounds of equity funding for an Internet company. New CFN investors include: Capital Research and Management Company; Chase Capital Partners; Royal Bank of Canada; First Union; Hearst-Argyle Television; J. & W. Seligman & Co.; Equifax Communications, Westway Capital; and several private investors. These companies join original CFN investors GE Capital Equity Investments Group and iXL Enterprises.

VISA Smart Cards

Smart VISA cards are finally coming to the U.S. Yesterday, First Data Resources announced it has become the first processor in the industry to be registered to personalize all VISA chip card products. FDR’s secure embossing facility in Omaha was audited in November and was recently granted the registration by VISA. First Data has the capability to encode the VISA chip with information such as credit limit, maximum dollar amount, and expiration date, depending on the card issuer’s needs and the type of card. First Data, one of the first 30 members of the VISA-led Global Platform consortium launched last year to create cross industry standards for multi-application smart cards, has been providing smart card personalization services since 1997. Internationally, the company provides smart card processing services for more than eight clients in the United Kingdom representing 2.8 million smart cards on file.

MasterCard US Board

MasterCard International announced this morning that its U.S. Region Board of Directors has elected Michael Rhodes as its new chairman. MasterCard also announced that John Klein, Richard Srednicki, and Patrick Swanick were named to the U.S. Board. Rhodes is a vice chairman of MBNA America Bank. He was named vice chairman and a member of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Region of MasterCard International in 1998. Rhodes will succeed Ronald Zebeck of Metris Companies, as chairman. John Klein is chairman of the Board, President and CEO of People’s Bank. Richard Srednicki is EVP of The Chase Manhattan Bank. Patrick Swanick is president and CEO of Key Electronic Services, the electronic commerce subsidiary of KeyCorp.

Associates Tractor Deal

Associates First Capital and Tractor Supply Company announced yesterday an exclusive private label credit card agreement. TSC is one of the largest and most rapidly growing retail farm and ranch store chains in the U. S. The firm has 282 stories nationwide. The program will be operated by Associates Commerce Solutions.

FUSA Signs ABWA

First USA announced that it has been selected as the new credit card provider for the American Business Women’s Association.

The program offers no-fee, low-interest Platinum Visa credit cards to ABWA members. The ABWA provides leadership, education, networking support and national recognition opportunities for businesswomen of diverse occupations. Revenue from the credit card program will be used to support the efforts of the non-profit organization.

Current ABWA cardholders are encouraged to make the switch to the new First USA program. Only the ABWA Visa credit cards issued by First USA will provide revenue to support the organization’s programs.

First USA serves the needs of some of America’s most prestigious professional associations including: the American Medical Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the National Association of Realtors.

First USA ([http://www.firstusa.com][1]), a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa credit cards. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of its marketing partners. Bank One is the nation’s fourth-largest bank holding company with assets of more than $265 billion.

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

Smart Canadians

The number of smart cards in circulation in Canada is expected to exceed 35 million cards by 2004, according to a report released yesterday by Ontario-based Technology Surveys International. The number of chip-cards issued in Canada in 1999 was in excess of 4.5 million units. Almost 85% of that was accounted for by smart cards issued by the telecommunications sector, encompassing cards for both payphone and GSM applications. The report says total investment into chip-card systems in Canada is expected to exceed $500 million over the next five years. This includes investment into chip-cards, terminals, software and professional services. VISA Canada recently gave the green light to its members for smart VISA cards.

ATM/Debit Card Usage

FL-based Star Systems released a survey of 8,486 financial account holders in 21 states served by the ‘STAR Network’. The report shows that in the 30 days prior to the survey, ATM/debit cardholders used their cards an average of 16.8 times, or about four times a week. Eighty-five percent of cardholders surveyed said they used their card at least once during the previous 30 days and 84% said they used the card for a POS transaction during that time. POS transactions accounted for nearly half of monthly usage as cardholders reported an average of 7.9 POS transactions in the previous 30 days, or about two such transactions every week. Half of those polled preferred the PIN-based transaction, while 31% prefer the signature-based transaction. Fifty percent of those who prefer the PIN-based transaction cited fraud protection as their major reason. Asked about other electronic services they’d like to try, a significant number of consumers indicated they would be more likely to use a personal computer for home banking services if the services were authorized by a PIN. More than two-thirds of those polled said a PIN code for home banking was “very important” and another 15 percent called it “fairly” or “somewhat” important.