Silicon Valley-based Confinity launched ‘PayPal.com’ yesterday. The new Web-based servic enables consumers to transfer money via email, Palm organizers, cell phones, pagers and other web-enabled devices. After registering online for the free service, consumers enter the recipient’s email address and a dollar amount. The money is debited from payor’s credit card or bank account, and credited to the recipient. If the recipient is not yet a PayPal user, he or she simply registers on the PayPal.com site after receiving an email notification, and is immediately credited with the amount in the new account. Funds may be withdrawn at any time by electronic transfer to a bank account or a personal check from PayPal.com. Users may also opt to transfer the money on to others. The company says its web-based solution allows customers to own the access points to the payments system through their PCs, cellular phones, and handheld devices, and potentially eliminating bank fees.
American Express revealed plans Monday to develop the ‘American Express B2B Commerce Network’, an open digital marketplace solution for purchasing and catalog management. AmEx will team up with two key partners: TRADEX Technologies and ec-Content. TRADEX will provide the platform for the network while ec-Content will bring its expansive database on board. The network will enable small, mid-sized, and large suppliers to create an online presence quickly and to maintain customizable catalogs efficiently. ec-Content’s existing online database has more than five million maintenance, repair and operation items. AmEx says it also working with ten of the leading electronic purchasing systems vendors to provide full interoperability with the ‘Corporate Purchasing Card’ to streamline payment, reconciliation and reporting processes.
WebTV Networks also introduced a prepaid gift card for the Microsoft WebTV Network service. The card is for friends and family who are either receiving a WebTV unit or already have one. WebTV service gift cards are available in denominations of $75, $100, $150 and $300, and can be purchased through the new WebTV online store. The WebTV service gift card is inserted into a slot on the front of the WebTV receiver.
Concord EFS announced this morning it has reached an agreement to acquire Phoenix-based Virtual Cyber Systems, Inc., an Internet software development company specializing in user-friendly solutions for non-technical users. Concord executives said that today’s agreement to acquire VCS is the final piece of the puzzle in their three-tiered strategy to provide vertically-integrated e-commerce services to retailers of all sizes. VCS’ core software product is the ‘SiteMerger’, which is designed for use by small business owners to build and maintain their web sites without third-party help. The VCS transaction is expected to be completed by year-end.
eToys Inc., the leading Internet retailer of children’s products, and Visa U.S.A., the leading payment brand, are spreading holiday cheer to underprivileged children throughout the country through an easy, innovative online toy donation program.
For the second year in a row, eToys and Visa have partnered to create a convenient online location where consumers may contribute a toy to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots national holiday toy drive.
From now through Dec. 20, online shoppers may donate to Toys for Tots by logging on to the eToys site ([www.etoys.com/toysfortots]) and selecting from a number of popular toys, such as Koosh Catchers, Deluxe Art Sets and basketballs. Toys are available for donation at 50% off the regular retail price when purchasing with a Visa card.
During last year’s online holiday drive, 15,000 toys were donated to Toys for Tots over a seven-week span. eToys and Visa are predicting a substantial increase in this figure through the 1999 online donation program.
“eToys is in the business of bringing smiles to children. Together with Visa, we are proud to support such a worthy cause as Toys for Tots to help make a difference this holiday season,” said Toby Lenk, chief executive officer of eToys.
Based on a recent study conducted by Forrester Research, online shoppers will spend more than $10 billion this holiday season. Charities, such as Toys for Tots, are hoping that some of this new age consumer spending will trickle their way through online giving programs.
“eToys and Visa are helping bring the spirit of giving online,” said Major Bill Grein, vice president of the Toys for Tots Foundation. “Since people are pressed for time during the holidays, yet still want to give, the Internet is an easy way for people to help us make the holidays a little brighter for needy children.”
Based in Santa Monica, eToys Inc. ([www.etoys.com]; AOL keyword: eToys; and [www.etoys.co.uk]) is the leading Internet retailer for children’s products, carrying more than 100,000 items, including both nationally advertised and specialty toys, software, videos, music, video games, books and baby-oriented products.
By combining this extensive selection, an attractive, easy-to-use Web site and excellent customer service, eToys offers consumers a unique one-stop source for children’s products. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, BabyCenter Inc. ([www.babycenter.com]), eToys offers Webby-award-winning content and community for new and expectant parents.
About Visa U.S.A.
Visa is the leading card brand and the largest payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1.4 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year.
Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com].
About Toys for Tots
For more than 50 years, Toys for Tots has been the U.S. Marine Corps’ premier community action program and one of the nation’s flagship holiday charitable causes. Toys for Tots has donated more than 240 million toys to 120 million needy children since 1947.
American Express Company launched American Express Brokerage () – a service that combines attractive online pricing, including free equity trades for account holders with minimum balances, innovative online financial planning tools and access to American Express’ 9,300 financial advisors. The company announced plans to launch American Express Brokerage Oct. 5.
“With the launch of American Express Brokerage, there is now one place on the Web where all kinds of investors, from the beginner to the most sophisticated, will find what they need to help achieve their financial goals,” said Doug Lennick, executive vice president, Advice and Retail Distribution Group, American Express.
American Express Brokerage provides access to the tools for online investing that customers value most, including:
Low-cost equity trading. Online equity buys are free and sells are $14.95 with a minimum account balance of $25,000. For account balances of $100,000 or more, online equity buys and sells are free, although online sells are $14.95 if the stock was bought the same day. With an account balance of less than $25,000, online buys and sells are each $14.95. All equity buys and sells over 3,000 shares have an additional charge of three cents per share.
Instant online account opening. Qualified customers can open an account online and begin trading in minutes.
Financial planning tools. A comprehensive online financial planning tool will be available in the coming weeks. This tool helps investors set their goals and evaluate their financial situation through an interactive, easy-to-use “roadmap” integrating all areas of financial planning, from tax planning to estate planning to retirement and investment planning and more. Investors who use the tool will have a deeper understanding of their overall financial needs and will be able to ask smarter investment questions and make better investment choices.
The site will also include: An online asset allocation tool that helps investors determine the percentage of stocks, bonds and cash to keep in their portfolios and provides specific mutual fund selections to help clients meet their goals. An online equity evaluation tool that evaluates stocks to determine if they are a good fit for an investor’s overall portfolio based on the investor’s goals and risk tolerance.
Access to American Express financial advisors. Clients can choose to work with an American Express financial advisor to get whatever level of advice and help they need. Advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning as well as advice on individual investments. Advisors are able to offer American Express Brokerage as a tool for their clients, and Brokerage customers can use an online advisor locator to find an advisor in their area.
A choice of close to 2,000 mutual funds. These include funds from many well-known fund families, as well as the American Express index funds.
Free electronic bill payment, unlimited check writing and an American Express Gold Card. With a minimum balance of $5,000, clients have access to a cash management account featuring free, unlimited check writing, unlimited debit card use and ATM access at more than 94 percent of the ATMs in the United States, with automatic rebates for surcharges — up to $1.50 per transaction, four times per month. Customers who have qualifying assets of $25,000 or more can receive free electronic bill payment and an American Express Gold Card, with the $75 annual fee compliments of American Express. Gold Card charges will be debited from the cash management account monthly.
Professional research. Buy-side research from American Express Financial Advisors is available online, plus company profiles from Standard and Poor’s, earnings estimates from Zack’s and news and analysis from SmartMoney.com and TheStreet.com. Free real-time quotes and email price alerts are also available.
Service. American Express professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer technical and investment questions at 1-800 AXP-8800.
“Our aim is to be a leading destination site in financial services online,” said Ruediger Adolf, senior vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development, American Express Company. “Now, with just the click of a mouse, customers can move from American Express Brokerage, to Membership [email protected], to personal or Corporate Card accounts, and even book a trip – all at americanexpress.com.”
American Express first introduced an online investing capability, Financial Direct, in 1996. Financial Direct customers have been automatically upgraded to the more comprehensive American Express Brokerage account.
American Express Company ([http://www.americanexpress.com]) gives consumers, small businesses and corporations access to a range of Internet products and services:
Through My American Express, consumers can tailor the American Express Web site so that those services of particular interest will automatically appear on the start page. Options include the ability to view and pay American Express Card bills online; view Membership Rewards program points; consolidate and track travel rewards programs in a single, centralized location; make travel reservations and find last minute travel bargains; and receive special online offers.
Consumers interested in online financial services can conduct online banking with free bill payment and ATM rebates.
Resources for small businesses include tips on incorporation, managing staff, and franchising business opportunities. Corporate customers can choose from retirement planning, purchasing, travel and expense management services.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network, and financial services provider founded in 1850. American Express Company and its subsidiaries are leaders in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit [http://www.americanexpress.com].
American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. Member NASD and SIPC. Insurance products are issued by IDS Life Insurance Company, except in New York, where IDS Life Insurance Company of New York is the issuer. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.
For more complete information on Investment products, including fees and expenses, consumers may obtain a prospectus by calling 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1. Consumers should read the prospectus before investing or sending money.
Investments are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of or guaranteed by a financial institution, involve investment risks including possible loss of principal. All deposit products and services are offered by American Express Centurion Bank, member FDIC.
American Express Travel related Services Company, Inc., offers charge cards, credit cards and travel services.
Baltimore Technologies and Gemplus announced both the integration of their technologies and a sales and marketing agreement. Baltimore has incorporated Gemplus ‘GemSAFE’ smart cards into its PKI solutions portfolio, offering customers the choice of using this integrated technology for added security and manageability in a variety of e-commerce applications. Baltimore products such as ‘UniCERT’, ‘MailSecure’ and ‘PKI-Plus’ will support Gemplus ‘GemSAFE’ smart cards in future versions.
Mercantec Inc., a leading provider of Internet commerce software products and services, and Paymentech, the merchant processing solution for Bank One, have teamed up to make implementing credit card processing easier for businesses selling goods and services over the Internet. The online payment processing leaders will help commerce service providers deploying Mercantec’s industry leading SoftCart e-commerce software to offer simple and instant credit card processing set-up.
The Mercantec and Paymentech solution allows small-to medium-sized merchants to establish a merchant account ID online and configure the SoftCart storefront for Internet credit card processing. Merchants link directly from SoftCart to the payment application via Mercantec’s Merchant Connection Web site to apply for their merchant ID. The remaining configuration and setup happens automatically and requires no involvement from the merchant or their CSP.
The joint e-commerce solution greatly reduces the time it takes for merchants to open up shop. In addition, the only effort required by the merchant is executed from within the Mercantec store management environment, which is part of SoftCart.
“Until now, each individual business went to separate vendors in order to secure credit card services,” said Andrew Parker, Mercantec president and CEO. “Through this system, we bring the bank to the merchant with one click. It is part of our larger goal to make it very easy to do business over the Web. We’re happy that Paymentech, as Bank One’s merchant processing solution, shares our vision and commitment to e-commerce.”
“This will be a prosperous combination because together we make it easier for merchants to get paid,” said Pamela H. Patsley, CEO and president of Paymentech. “Mercantec is the e-commerce software leader, as evident by their strong network of service providers.”
Mercantec SoftCart is already the leading e-commerce software delivered through ISPs and Web hosting providers. SoftCart has been endorsed by many of the world’s leading Internet commerce service providers (CSPs), including EarthLink, MindSpring, Interliant (Sage Networks) and Verio, and is deployed by thousands of merchants. SoftCart 5.0 is a robust, easy-to-use electronic commerce solution that offers Internet Service Providers maximum performance and security, making it easier than ever for them to deliver and support the electronic commerce demands of their merchants.
The solution is available at the Mercantec Merchant Connection Web site. Merchant Connection is an added value service for merchants of Mercantec’s service provider customers who are using the SoftCart. The Web site will provide merchants with unprecedented, immediate and comprehensive access to e-commerce resources, services offerings and add-on products to make their online business a success.
“This solution fits well into our overall vision of Perpetual Commerce,” Parker said. “We believe the future of e-commerce among these smaller businesses is dependent on our ability as a provider of software and services to make establishing that business as easy as possible for the merchant. This solution is a step in the process to deliver on that vision.”
Paymentech ([http://www.paymentech.com]), founded in 1985, delivers premier electronic payment solutions for merchant acquiring, point-of-sale transaction processing and commercial card programs. Jointly owned by Bank One and First Data Corporation, the company is the nation’s second largest processor of bankcard transactions, a leader in Internet payments, and the merchant processing solution for Bank One. Paymentech processes approximately 2.5 billion bankcard transactions annually with $75 billion in credit card sales volume.
About Mercantec, Inc.
Established in 1995, Mercantec, Inc. is a leading provider of software products and services that enable Internet commerce. Mercantec distributes complete e-commerce solutions through leveraged channels to small to medium sized businesses. Among those channels are service providers, financial organizations, and Internet content providers. Mercantec’s service provider channel is more than 160 strong and includes some of the industry’s leaders, such as Verio/Hiway Earthlink, MindSpring and Interliant (Sage Networks). Among those in the financial channel are American Express and DataPro Software. For additional company or product information, visit the Mercantec Web site, [http://www.mercantec.com].
Equitable Bank’s Philippines operations will deploy 1,400 Hypercom Corporation ICE 5000 touch-screen card payment terminals at merchant sites throughout the Philippines before year’s end. The deployment will enable Equitable Bank Philippines to significantly increase the number of transactions it processes.
“The deployment of Hypercom’s ICE 5000 terminals demonstrates our absolute commitment to provide Philippine merchants with the most technically-advanced, easy-to-use and value-packed card payment systems available,” said Mr. Tony Conway, office of the president, Equitable Bank Philippines. “That represents a win-win for Equitable, our merchants and their customers.”
Hypercom’s ICE 5000 is a powerful, multi-function touch-screen terminal incorporating a high-speed thermal printer, paper cutter, and Hypercom FastPOS(TM) 9600 bits per second (bps) modem technology that completes transactions in under six seconds. Hypercom’s ICE 5000 provides a highly interactive and intuitive user interface that allows the support of complex transactions with minimum user training. When used in concert with Hypercom(R) Ascendent(TM) software, the ICE 5000 also supports electronic receipt capture, storage and retrieval, and on-line advertising.
“Sophisticated financial institutions and merchants worldwide today more than ever recognize the need to add value and flexibility at the point-of-sale, and Hypercom’s ICE 5000 allows them to do just that,” said Mr. Jeremy Su, president, Hypercom Asia-Pacific. “We are pleased to help Equitable Bank provide its merchants with state-of-the-art electronic payment solutions.”
Equitable Card Network (ECN) is the leading card issuer, merchant acquirer, and third party processor in the Philippines. With over 500,000 VISA(R) and MasterCard(R) cards issued, ECN holds over 50% of the entire branded cardholder base nationwide. As the largest merchant acquirer, it continues to provide world class service and support to over 22,000 merchants all over the country. And as the largest third party service processor, it provides a complete processing solution for 22 other card issuing banks, numerous co-branded card partners and a variety of private label products.
Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is the single-source 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, Arizona, 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, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com].
NCR yesterday launched a complete standards-based family of software solutions for ATMs. With NCR ‘APTRA’, companies can more rapidly develop and use business applications across multiple electronic channels through Web-enabled ATMs. The new software allows financial institutions to link all aspects of the transaction cycle, from gathering information at the ATM to delivering back customized messages to the consumer. ‘APTRA Edge’ is an open architecture and a comprehensive set of components supporting a fully integrated Web-enabled application. ‘APTRA NDC’ is a plug and play application, which emulates the legacy NCR application currently running on OS2. ‘APTRA Studio’ is an NT based workbench that allows the novice to define, build, edit and deploy targeted marketing, advertising, and survey campaigns for ATMs. ‘APTRA Link’ is an NT server-based tool used to download files to ATMs. It can track, inquire, and report status and fault management via the electronic journal feature.
First USA announced this morning the debut of ‘First USA Connections’, an online shopping destination created exclusively for First USA cardholders. The new service connects First USA’s 65 million cardholders to exclusive offers and savings from about 50 merchants and service providers. From any page within the ‘First USA Connections’ shopping site, cardholders can access product information, recommendations and side-by-side features comparisons through a consumer product guide. Cardholders may also search special deals by category or keyword. Savings range from free gifts to discounts of as much as 50% on various products and services. Special offers on the ‘First USA Connections’ website include: a free gift from jcrew.com with a purchase of $80 or more; 50% off bestsellers from coolsavings.com; 10% off any purchase plus free shipping from Computer Furniture Direct; and $10 off any purchase of $25 or more from wine.com.
VeriFone, a division of Hewlett Packard Company, announced This morning that Paymentech is one of the first major credit card processors to conduct full Class A certification of VeriFone’s Omni 3200 payment terminal with the powerful and flexible SoftPay 2.6 software.
Paymentech’s certification will support one of the most comprehensive payment menus for SoftPay software with credit, debit, EBT and check options. In addition, Paymentech is driving sales in the quick service restaurant (QSR) marketplace with Fast Pay, a feature that allows qualified retailers to configure how a transaction is handled based on card type. Developed by VeriFone to take advantage of regulations that eliminate authorization requirements for QSR transactions under $25.00, Fast Pay makes credit payment a fast alternative for QSR customers.
“The Omni 3200’s superior design, the strength of SoftPay and Fast Pay, and the expertise of Paymentech’s processing capabilities together create a powerful payment tool that will open the last frontier of credit card payment – fast food establishments,” said Laura Rogers, group executive for product management and marketing at Paymentech. “Such products provide our restaurant clients with increased service and efficiency. Offering leading edge solutions such as the Omni 3200 reinforces our long-standing commitment to the foodservice industry.”
The VeriFone point-of-sale (POS) solution will be offered on the Paymentech Network Services authorization and electronic data capture processing platform. As a component of Class A certification, Paymentech has trained help desk staff to provide merchants with support specifically for the Omni 3200 terminal. “This highly functional, cost effective terminal solution, joined with Paymentech’s expanded merchant help desk, delivers a high degree of customer care for traditional restaurants as well as the emerging QSR segment,” said Rogers.
“Customer requests to use credit cards are increasing at our restaurants,” said Jim Peterson, president and principal of FZ Developments, a Fazoli’s franchisee with seven Chicago area locations. Fazoli’s is a quick service Italian concept that also handles carry out and catering orders. “We wanted to pilot the Omni 3200 terminal because it addressed basic concerns like extra communication lines and counter space. It is also speedy, as the integrated thermal printer dramatically reduces the time it takes to produce receipts.”
A sleek, compact POS payment terminal, the VeriFone Omni 3200 with integrated thermal printer can lower the total cost of ownership, while occupying less counter space than comparable solutions. The intuitive ATM-like interface makes the terminal easy to operate.
“Paymentech and VeriFone have a long history in delivering powerful POS systems to merchants,” said Bud Waller, vice president and general manager, North America, at VeriFone. “The Omni 3200 with Fast Pay represents the beginning of a new generation of quick, easy-to-use solutions that support the speed and configuration requirements of the QSR market. VeriFone also designed the POS system to minimize cost of deploying and maintaining the terminals.”
Dallas-based Paymentech ([www.paymentech.com]), founded in 1985, delivers premier electronic payment solutions for merchant acquiring, point-of-sale transaction processing and commercial card programs. The company is the nation’s second largest processor of bankcard transactions and a leader in Internet payments. Paymentech processes approximately 2.5 billion bankcard transactions annually with $75 billion in credit card sales volume.
VeriFone ([http://www.verifone.hp.com]) is a division of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) and the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. VeriFone has shipped more than seven million payment systems used in over 100 countries.
Hewlett-Packard Company — a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services for business and home — is focused on capitalizing on the opportunities of the Internet and the proliferation of electronic services. HP plans to launch Agilent Technologies as an independent company by mid-calendar 2000. Agilent consists of HP’s test and measurement, semiconductor products, chemical analysis and healthcare solutions businesses, and has leading positions in multiple market segments. HP has 123,500 employees worldwide and had total revenue of $47.1 billion in its 1998 fiscal year. Information about HP, its products and the company’s Year 2000 program can be found on the World Wide Web at [http://www.hp.com].