Diebold, Keyware and Visionics unveiled the world’s first fully intuitive ATM yesterday at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference underway in New Orleans. The super ATM features both facial recognition and voice verification technologies. As a user steps up to the ATM a camera captures an image of the user which is then located and identified within a fraction of a second by Visionic’s ‘FaceIt’ software. The user then speaks a pass phrase which is matched against a stored voiceprint using Keyware’s ‘VoiceGuardian’ technology. Last year Diebold installed the first live ATM using fingerprint verification technology in South Africa.
Online Resources & Communications Corporation, the leader in real-time interactive financial services, today introduced a major upgrade to its service that allows consumers access to the entire account relationship they have with their financial institution — in real-time – through the institution’s Web site, dial-up PC service, ScreenPhones and telephones.
For consumers, expanded account access means they can conduct transactions from any account accessible through their ATM networks and view not only checking and savings accounts online but also installment loans, mortgage loans, credit card accounts, lines of credit, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts and any other account they have with their financial institution.
Consumers will enjoy a higher level of customer service because customer service representatives, whether they are located in the institutions’ or Online Resources’ call center, can view all accounts, including the bill pay accounts, simultaneously with end-users. Together, they can see actions as they are conducted and work with real-time balances. Depending on the institution’s CSR procedures, modifications can be made online and in real-time. For example, end-users can change passwords and account nicknames and use them immediately. Moreover, each CSR session can be immediately logged, so for any subsequent session the CSR knows what has already happened.
Ray Crosier, executive vice president, client services, said no other provider of interactive financial services can offer such total access and state-of-the-art customer support experience. “The new features reflect our belief that the most effective service is one that makes the home banking experience comprehensive, easy-to-use, and centered directly around the financial institution,” Crosier said. “The more information we can provide the end-user, the more valuable the online service becomes — and the more loyal he or she becomes to the institution.”
Platform Upgrade Supports New Functionality and Scalability
The expanded access was made possible by Online Resources’ recent upgrade in its technology platform that now includes Tandem’s Himalaya server and ServerWare, a clustering software for the industry-standard NT platform. In addition, the platform upgrade also improved the reliability of the service and allows Online Resources to easily scale up operations as more end-users use home banking services.
Alex Seltzer, executive vice president, systems and technology, said the new platform provides for an unlimited growth path for the company. “In addition to the greater functionality, we can now easily handle the geometric increase in the number of transactions and end-users we are experiencing with our phenomenal growth,” Seltzer said. “Approaching 200 institutions signed and the rate at which we are launching them, we are experiencing a 10-20 percent per month growth rate in the number of end-users. And with improved account access, we expect even greater penetration of the customer base of our clients who have already launched.”
Financial Institutions Can Customize Service
A financial institution can set a profile for each type of account, determining the activity level that it wants to allow. Transactions are authorized through the ATM switch, leveraging Online Resources’ patented payment capabilities; other accounts will be “view only.” For ATM-accessed accounts, the institution can enable bill payments and transfers into or out of the account. For example, consumers will be able to pay, while online, mortgages and other loans it has through the institution, thereby decreasing costs for all parties concerned.
A key end-user benefit is that institutions can enable a line of credit or credit card account to fund bill payments or accept transfers. Thus, end-users can effectively get cash advances through their credit cards online to pay bills. They can pay off credit balances online.
Online Resources’ service has also been upgraded to provide institutions an unprecedented degree of control and flexibility in managing its CSRs. The institution can set a profile for each CSR, determining who can add, delete, edit or only view customer information, thereby providing for a high degree of internal security. “Our goal is to provide financial institutions with the greatest degree of flexibility to define the types of transactions they’ll support, the information they will provide and how it will be displayed,” said Carol Pirsch, director of product management. “This way each institution can customize its service to meet the needs of its customers.”
As with Online Resources’ current service, all data can be easily exported to personal finance management software such as Microsoft Money or Intuit’s Quicken. The company is planning to be OFX-compliant, further integrating its services with such front-end software.
The service is undergoing final testing and will be generally available after the first of the year. McLean, Va.-based Online Resources & Communications Corporation () provides electronic financial services to institutions for branding and resale to consumers. In addition to online banking, bill paying, securities trading, loan approval and electronic commerce solutions, Online Resources offers institutions support services such as consumer marketing, customer service, training, Web site design and hosting, network management, fulfillment, billing and technical support. Consumers access services through telephones, ScreenPhones or personal computers linked to the institution through private networks or the Internet. Online Resources, a privately held company founded in 1989, serves more than 165 financial institutions nationwide.
Seattle-based Internet services provider AccessOne, Inc. and electronic commerce solution provider CobWeb, Inc. announced today that their TransactionWEB service has been selected by IBM educational services company Edmark as the foundation for its fully integrated e-commerce Web site.
AccessOne provides the fully-secured, scalable TransactionWEB service, which is built on CobWeb’s Merchant Gateway product. To provide customers with downloads and online ordering of its educational software products, Edmark will use TransactionWEB to create a secure environment facilitating all aspects of Web commerce and electronic order processing, including credit card transactions, electronic software distribution and hard goods fulfillment and distribution.
“TransactionWEB provides us with a turnkey e-commerce solution with extensive capabilities at a low cost,” said Anthony Kong, Director – Information Technology Services of Edmark. “AccessOne and CobWeb have leveraged their collective Web and application development expertise to provide top-notch technological solutions that complement where the emerging market of online electronic commerce is going. TransactionWEB is a prime example of that.”
Between the fall and the holiday season, Edmark plans to introduce over the Internet seven software titles in creativity, education and reference. “The breadth of our fall software products demonstrate our momentum in this market, and TransactionWEB facilitates our commitment to bring families the best educational information directly to the home,” said Kong.
Additional TransactionWEB benefits include high volume, high speed credit card transactions, fraud detection and tax calculations. The user-friendly service also features the EDI business-to-business standard for formatting purchase orders and allows customers to pay per transaction.
“Electronic commerce is most definitely the force behind the Internet’s growth as a must-have, mainstream business operation,” said Colleen Coady, Marketing Director for AccessOne. “We and our partners at CobWeb understand that business customers need easy-to-use, highly integrated packages that make showcasing, demonstrating and selling a product over the Internet as simple for the customer as walking into the store. TransactionWEB creates this online storefront at a very reasonable cost.”
The TransactionWEB Internet site ( ) provides merchants with an overview of the process and components required to give a commercial Web site the capability for transaction processing, and offers a real-time online demonstration.
“Our mission is to provide the very best in transaction processing to online merchants,” said Richard J. Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer of CobWeb. “We built Merchant Gateway to be independent of the different catalog platforms, so TransactionWEB can be interfaced to any Windows NT, UNIX or Mac-based storefront or catalog Web sites.”
As a member of the Verio Inc. group of locally and regionally managed Internet service providers, AccessOne offers business customers Verio’s unique combination of hands-on, local service backed by a national infrastructure that includes a high-speed national backbone, peering relationships, engineering support and 24-hour customer service as well as access to enhanced service Internet applications including Web hosting, electronic commerce and virtual private networks.
AccessOne, Inc. was founded in April 1994 and is a full-service provider of Internet services and solutions throughout the Puget Sound area. AccessOne currently serves more than 8,000 customers. With points-of-presence and customer service operations in the greater Puget Sound area, AccessOne delivers secure, reliable connectivity and a full range of Internet applications for business and institutional customers, including Web hosting and co-location services, commerce and transaction services and security solutions. AccessOne’s Web site is at ( http://www.accessone.com ). Corporate offices are located in Kirkland at 11321 NE 120th Street, Suite B, 98034, phone number 425-814-9100, fax number 425-814-9105.
Edmark Corporation, an IBM company, is a leading developer and publisher of educational software with more than 25 years experience applying proven educational concepts to the development of educational products for children. The company develops products that run on Macintosh and Windows computers for both consumer and education marketplaces. Edmark’s award-winning line of educational software includes: KidDesk Family Edition and the Early Learning Series. Edmark’s Web site is at ( http://www.edmark.com ) and the company is located in Redmond at 6727 185th Avenue NE, 98052, phone number 425-556-8400.
CobWeb, Inc. was founded in 1994 and specializes in electronic commerce applications, high-end Web development, Internet hosting services and product development for corporations and customers who require real-time, accurate and concise interaction with their target audiences. CobWeb’s clients include Microsoft, Entercom, NetStock Direct, Electric Lightwave and more than 200 Puget Sound businesses. CobWeb’s Web site is at ( http://www.cobweb.com ). Corporate offices are located in Issaquah at 1065 12th NW, Suite E-3, 98027, phone number 888-4COBWEB.
For people who would rather not spend their time cruising supermarket aisles, OnCart has a genuine alternative. This pioneer in phone/fax and Internet grocery shopping today introduced a new, national Internet-based shopping and delivery service that enables people to order their groceries electronically from the comfort of their home or office.
With thousands of products to choose from including most national brands, OnCart presents the first real shopping alternative for new moms, busy parents, working singles, active seniors, and those with limited mobility. It offers pricing and services that present greater benefits to consumers, who spend $400 billion a year on groceries, than other electronic supermarkets.
With the new national offering, delivery anywhere in the U.S. is free for orders over $50, which means the cost to shop through OnCart is comparable to buying through a local supermarket — without having to carry home the bags. Other time-saving features include weekly special email alerts and pre-made shopping lists of the popular items. And unlike some other online grocery services, there is no membership fee.
Through OnCart, formerly known as Shoppers Express, a consumer can condense a 90-minute shopping expedition into an enjoyable 30-minute experience, done from the convenience of their home. To speed up the process, this easy-to-use Web service keeps records of previous orders to make reordering easy — experience shows that over 70% of grocery items are bought again and again. OnCart also offers express shopping lists that include the most commonly ordered items for new parents, kids, calorie conscious buyers, and the holidays.
In coming months, OnCart’s users will be able to get a full range of services that take advantage of the Internet’s interactive ability — services that just aren’t available to those who only shop in stores. These include customized meal planning, use of an extensive recipe database, receive dietary planning, consult with top chefs, and ask questions of nutritionists.
“Why pack the kids in the car, drive to the store and negotiate the supermarket aisles when in far less time you can get the same groceries delivered to your doorstep?,” said Allison Abraham, CEO of Chicago-based OnCart, who speaks from experience. Abraham, a former executive at American Express and Ameritech, juggles 90-hour work weeks with nearly daily travel, a husband, and a three-year-old who often accompanies her in her trips.
For the past 10 years, OnCart has provided phone, fax, and more recently Internet-based grocery shopping. This new, national service builds on the company’s success in providing home shopping and delivery in six major cities: Atlanta, Columbus (Ohio), Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Orange County, Phoenix, and Seattle. The average on-line order is about $100 — nearly five times the size of an in-store order. Internet statistics cite that 32% of online users are working women, many of which are working from home. Some 80% of service users are full-time workers.
Those cities will continue to enjoy local service, which allows residents to order perishables as well as staples and receive same day delivery from OnCart’s own fleet of trucks. Local service is done in conjunction with the nation’s largest supermarket chains such as Kroger and Pavilions, a division of Vons/Safeway. Four to six more cities are planned to get the same level of service in 1998. Other cities will benefit from the new national service, which delivers staples via UPS from OnCart’s centrally located facility.
OnCart represents the ultimate consumer electronic commerce application on the Web — is there any activity more common to us all than grocery shopping? According to Abraham, electronic grocery shopping is catching on because the need is so great. Some 60% of consumers say they find supermarket shopping inconvenient. And enough consumers are now familiar enough with the Internet to make using this service easy.
“The Internet can enable people to create a standard shopping list that can be checked off in a matter of minutes, receive information on nutrition, and pick out a recipe and automatically order the ingredients,” says Abraham. “The possibilities of personalizing and customizing the shopping experience are endless.”
But all online grocery services are not the same, Abraham points out. OnCart’s deep roots in serving consumers via phone orders and electronically over the Internet allow it to offer a broader, more consumer friendly, service than other Web-based grocery stores. For example, OnCart requires no special software to be downloaded to use the service.
OnCart is the nation’s largest and most experienced phone/fax and online grocery shopping and home delivery service. Founded 1987, the company currently delivers thousands of orders every month in six major markets including Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angles & Orange County, Phoenix, and Seattle. OnCart Corp., is headquartered in Lombard, Illinois.
ICentral, Inc., a developer of e-commerce site creation and management tools for the smaller business, today announced ShopSite Pro v3.2, the top-end member of the ShopSite family of commerce products. ShopSite Pro meets the needs of merchants with large inventories and sophisticated merchandising requirements at a price within reach of the first-time user. ShopSite Pro is fully compatible with ShopSite Manager, and includes new features such as real-time credit card authorization and a site search engine.
ShopSite Pro’s key features fall into three main areas: transaction handling, site management/navigation, and product ordering.
ICentral and Online Analysis, Fremont, California, worked together to provide a fully integrated, easy to implement, online credit card processing solution. A Pro site can accept credit card information securely and deliver real-time authorization while the shopper is online. No host provider involvement is required to use this feature. (See for more information.)
“Through the combined strengths of this partnership, merchants now have a low-cost entry point into electronic commerce that allows them to compete without the high startup costs traditionally associated with implementing a complete electronic commerce solution,” said Chuck Ramey, president of Online Analysis.
PRO EXTENSIBLE TO OTHER APPLICATIONS ShopSite Pro provides a real-time interface into the ordering process. Using this interface, web developers can write custom programs that grab the order information from ShopSite Pro and deliver it in real-time to other applications, such as a credit card clearing application, an accounting package, a fax application or a fulfillment company’s order processing system. “Using the ShopSite Pro CGI-interface, we wrote a real-time interface into the Royal Bank of Canada’s ‘do_pay’ application”, says Catherine Clark, president of Strategic Profits, Inc., Vancouver, B.C. company providing turnkey e-commerce solutions. Strategic Profits is the first company to offer Canadian Internet merchants a real-time credit card authorization and payment processing service through a Canadian bank.
SITE MANAGEMENT AND NAVIGATION TOOLS A site search engine was added to Pro, enabling shoppers to quickly find and immediately purchase a product directly from the search results page. Says Jim Hurst, owner of Coyote Book Shop (http://www.coyotebooks.com), in Walnut Creek, California: “I am totally impressed with the search feature. Not only will it locate the book title, but it will also find the author by last name.”
For the more advanced user seeking a balance between easy site maintenance and maximum site customization, there is SmartHTML. This feature enables the site developer to deliver a highly customized site, while managing products and page information through ShopSite’s easy-to-use back office interface. The developer simply adds special tags to standard HTML. When the product database changes, so does the HTML – automatically.
ShopSite Pro offers several new advanced order functions that increase merchandising and upselling capabilities. Merchants can add a premium or apply a discount to any pull-down option associated with a product. This easy-to-implement, yet powerful feature enables the creative merchant to motivate shoppers to buy a particular “version” of a product or capture additional dollars on premium option items.
For wholesale situations, the “Order Another” feature enables a shopper to create multiple “incidents” of a single item, each with different options and quantities. For merchants seeking ways to motivate buyers, a shopper discount can be applied to the total merchandise dollars ordered.
WHAT’S NEW IN SHOPSITE MANAGER V3.2
In addition to the announcement of ShopSite Pro, ICentral announces a new revision of ShopSite Manager, which shares a common code base with ShopSite Pro. Among the many new features added to ShopSite Manager v3.2 is the ability to export orders information in tab-delimited format from the orders database. In addition, designers now have more control over colors and backgrounds when customizing the appearance of orders pages. (For a more detailed look at the differences between Manager and Pro, see [http://www.icentral.com/help/3.2-features.html.])
ICENTRAL IMPROVES SERVER RESOURCE USAGE
ShopSite hosting partners will benefit from several new features in the v3.2 code base that will enable them to host more ShopSite stores per server. For instance, the new 3.2 code protects against excessive CPU usage by monitoring the progress of the HTML generation process. If the process is interrupted by a CPU timeout or other cause, ShopSite picks up where it left off. ShopSite’s use of server disk space was also improved. For example, one ShopSite Manager v3.1 test site with 12,877 items went from 14 MB to 10.5 MB, an improvement of 25%, when upgraded to the new v3.2 code base.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICING
ShopSite Pro v3.2 is priced at $1295 (list); ShopSite Manager v3.2 is priced at $495 (list). Both are shipping now. There is no upgrade charge to move from ShopSite Manager v3.1 to ShopSite Manger v3.2. The upgrade price from Manager to Pro is $800 (list).
ICentral Products can be purchased through ShopSite authorized sales partners. Visit [http://www.icentral.com/spartner_list/index.html] for a list of ShopSite sales partners or call ICentral sales at 888-373-4347 for assistance in locating a qualified web designer or certified hosting partner.
ICVERIFY Inc. today announced that its electronic transaction processing software now integrates with The Internet Factory’s electronic commerce software, Merchant Builder 2.2. Also today, The Internet Factory announced Merchant Builder 2.2, the new version of its online store creation package.
Together Merchant Builder and ICVERIFY enable merchants to build online stores that process credit card transactions and deposit funds to merchant accounts at over 99% of all U.S. banks. Using ICVERIFY, merchants can process Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards. Merchant Builder and ICVERIFY will be of particular interest to VARs and ISPs because the products offer the ability to manage multiple stores located on a single server. With appropriate licensing, multiple merchants can process transactions with a single copy of ICVERIFY and each merchant can have drafts captured to their own bank account.
“The integration of ICVERIFY’s credit card processing solution continues our commitment to allow our customers to choose from among the best third-party tools,” said John Murray, vice president of marketing at The Internet Factory. “Our integration of ICVERIFY’s software also provides an easy way for their current customers to expand their businesses to include an online store.”
“We’re pleased that The Internet Factory has decided to build an integration to ICVERIFY for this latest release of Merchant Builder,” said Karen Tate, Director of Internet Markets for ICVERIFY Inc. “As this product continues to gain momentum in the marketplace, The Internet Factory’s customers will be able to add transaction processing functionality to their Web storefronts easily and affordably. Because ICVERIFY software has processor certifications covering more than 99% of US banks, merchants can choose from the best available discount rates for e-commerce. ICVERIFY software is offered as a one-time software license so merchants will never pay an additional per-transaction fee for using ICVERIFY.”
Key Merchant Builder Features:
1. Fully Customizable. Full Site Magic eXpansion (SMX) source code so that store functionality can be changed for industry and customer needs.
2. Remote Store Management via the Web. All store functions can be managed from within a Web browser using online forms. Last minute store updates and product changes also can be created remotely over the Web.
3. Fully Integrated Payment Solution. Merchants with existing credit card processing accounts can accept and verify credit card payments using ICVERIFY or Cybercash.
4. Enhanced Customer Management. Merchant Builder automatically retains customer addresses, phone numbers and email information as orders are processed. This data can be printed as reports or exported to other programs.
5. Enhanced Product Types. Merchants can configure multiple “SKU sets” for products that have many variable attributes such as size, color and material.
6. Enhanced Order Notification. Order notification can be made using email and automatic fax notification (requires third party product).
7. Enhanced Reporting. Sales, sales tax liability, and customer order activity can be aggregated into a variety of reports. Information can be printed or exported to any word-processor, spreadsheet, or database mailing list.
Merchant Builder 2.2 is shipping with a single store price of $1,495.
About ICVERIFY Inc.
ICVERIFY Inc., a privately held, venture capital-funded corporation with U.S. headquarters in Oakland, Calif., and European headquarters in Munich, Germany, is the leading software solution for authorizing credit, purchase, debit/ATM card and check guarantee transactions and is used by more than 250,000 physical and virtual points of sale.
ICVERIFY supports more than 100 major card processing networks and has certifications covering the retail, restaurant, hotel, mail/telephone order, auto rental, travel and gasoline industries. The software processes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards, with automatic draft capture to the merchant’s bank account. ICVERIFY’s functionality includes the ability to support multiple merchant environments. Its reporting and query features enable the merchant to track and to edit transactions efficiently and effectively. ICVERIFY can be reached through the Internet at or by calling 800-666-5777.
About The Internet Factory
The Internet Factory, founded in 1995, is a software solutions developer focused on creating Internet applications for building electronic stores and selling wares on the Internet. The company has developed Merchant Builder 2.2, an easy-to-use electronic commerce solution for ISPs, developers and non-technical merchants, and Commerce Builder 3.0, a sophisticated Web server suite with HTTP, proxy, and chat servers.
Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd., a global leader in information security and licensing, today announced the availability of the new generation ASE II – Aladdin Smartcard Environment. ASE is fully compliant with the PC/SC standard, which provides a uniform model for interfacing smart card readers and cards with PCs, and has been approved by Microsoft as a PC/SC Partner.
“We are excited that Aladdin Knowledge Systems is delivering the ASE II Kit for smart card development,” said Microsoft’s Edmund Muth, Group Product Manager for Windows NT Server and Infrastructure Products’ Marketing. “Windows smart card developers will benefit from the comprehensive and easy development environment provided by this toolkit.” Aladdin’s ASE II is listed as a Microsoft PC/SC Partner at [www.microsoft.com/smartcard].
With its industry-leading smart card reader, and full compliance with the PC/SC standard created by Microsoft, HP and Bull and others, ASE continues to be the number one provider of rapid PC-based smart card development tools.
Aladdin VP of Smart Card Products, Dov Sharon confirmed the company’s commitment to maintaining ASE II’s leadership in this market: “Internet growth is fueling a huge demand for security solutions because of the boom in electronic commerce. The latest research from Jupiter Communication shows that by the year 2000, 26% of Internet transactions will be done with smart cards.” He continued: “There are a host of other applications already in use for smart cards, and to exploit this market, developers need a single, easy-to-use and comprehensive tool kit. In developing ASE as the ‘Smart Card Solution in a Box’ Aladdin fully meets this demand, and we are delighted with Microsoft’s recognition of the excellence of our product.”
Aladdin’s ASE II will be useful for designers of virtually all kinds of Internet-based commerce. Successful applications developed and deployed with the first generation of ASE products include Access Control, Prepayment Vending Systems Authentication, Digital Signature, Health Care and Software Distribution. Further details of such applications can be seen on Aladdin’s Web site.
The key components of ASE II are:
–ASEDrive Pro, the most versatile smart card drive on the market with highly secure architecture supporting industry standards, internal and external connection interfaces and various power options. Other new features include support for additional memory card protocols, optional real-time clock for time signatures, and a new ergonomic design.
–ASESoft, the smart software environment is PC/SC compliant. ASESoft offers same host multi-drive and multi-application support, asynchronous tracking of reader/drive events, a comprehensive library of administrative, diagnostic and script tools as well as card editing utilities. ASESoft is designed so that even a relatively inexperienced programmer can easily develop applications and bring them rapidly to the market.
–ASECards include memory, protected memory, CPU and Crypto cards, all of which can be accessed via a single base Application Programming Interface (API). This facilitates the easy integration of various card types into user applications.
Aladdin Knowledge Systems is a global leader in secure software licensing, distribution and management. Aladdin develops, manufactures and markets software security, license management and smart card systems. Aladdin’s products include the HASP(R) and Hardlock(R) hardware/software platforms, which manage and monitor software licensing and prevent unauthorized use of computer programs; and ASE(R) – The Aladdin Smartcard Environment – a suite of smart card application development tools for integrating smart cards with PCs.
Aladdin is an ISO 9002 accredited company with headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, with 5 international offices and distributors in more than 40 countries, serving over 20,000 clients worldwide. For more information, visit the Aladdin home page at .
HASP, Hardlock, and ASE are registered trademarks, and Privilege is a trademark, of Aladdin Knowledge Systems, Ltd. All other product and/or company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Digital Equipment Corporation today announced the Client Services Support Card, a prepaid debit card that enables customers to purchase telephone support service conveniently in time increments of 30, 60, 120 and 180 minutes. A new concept in desktop application support, the Client Services Support Card offers customers the same ease of use as a prepaid telephone calling card in buying and accessing services at any time, from any location. It offers an uncomplicated, affordable solution to the support needs of an increasingly mobile workforce in a multivendor, networked world.
“Anyone who has had a presentation crash at 2 a.m. with no help desk to call can appreciate Digital’s Support Card,” said Patrick O’Connor, director of marketing for Digital products and services at Pioneer-Standard Electronics, a Digital reseller. “Digital recognizes the fact that today’s PC users range from traditional, nine-to-five corporate users to road warriors and telecommuters, and the amount of application support they need is just as diverse. Digital is focusing the support on the user, not the hardware.”
Easy-to-Buy, Easy-to-Use Services
The Client Services Support Card takes its cue from popular debit cards similar to those offered by banks and phone companies. Individual users in small and large enterprises simply dial a toll-free number and enter a personal identification number (PIN). The service can be purchased and renewed over the phone with a credit card, and is available exclusively through Digital’s authorized resellers.
Customers can access service on more than 200 of the most popular desktop applications. The wide array of business software applications supported includes word processing, electronic mail, Internet access, spreadsheet, graphics, and presentation packages from major vendors such as Microsoft, Lotus, Adobe, and Netscape. Time is not debited until the customer is connected with a support expert, and satisfaction is guaranteed or Digital will credit the customer’s card.
Changing Face of Today’s Workforce
Large and small organizations today increasingly share a common end-user profile, the COHO (company office/home office) or mobile user. Moreover, as most companies rely on rapidly changing technology in a networked world in order to achieve their business objectives faster, the demand for available, high-quality service is also burgeoning.
“The Client Services Support Card is another innovative concept from the world’s leading multivendor, lifecycle services provider,” said Peter Mercury, vice president and general manager of Digital Worldwide Services’ multivendor customer services business. “This new service supports our strategy to address the service needs of an expanding audience of technology users while reducing the complexity of buying and using services. Digital is applying the expertise and sophistication gained from more than 10 years’ experience providing multivendor services to many of the world’s largest enterprises. Now, many more users can take advantage of Digital’s world-class support in an uncomplicated, packaged service offering.”
Managing IT Support Costs
Large and small enterprises alike face escalating costs and infrastructure issues in conducting business. The Digital Support Card helps companies improve productivity, reduce costs and manage technology to meet their business objectives by providing:
— A cost-effective alternative to fulfilling the off-hour service needs of an increasingly mobile workforce.
— Flexibility to obtain desktop application support anywhere, any time. Users control the amount of support time and pay only for the support they use.
— A world-class multivendor solution for companies that do not need annual, comprehensive service contracts or wish to supplement them with flexible departmental alternatives.
— A means to complement, supplement or, for smaller companies, replace the help desk, potentially reducing overall IT support and administrative costs.
— Accountability users can track and manage service usage.
Availability and Pricing
The Client Services Support Card is available now in the U.S. and Canada, and in select markets in Europe. Per-card prices in North America:
30 minutes @$69 $97 Cdn.
60 minutes @$119 $167 Cdn.
120 minutes @$219 $307 Cdn.
180 minutes @$319 $447 Cdn.
For more information about obtaining the Client Services Support Card, call 1-800-311-3821.
Digital Equipment Corporation, recognized for product and service excellence, is a leading supplier of high-performance, Web-based computing solutions which help enterprises compete in the global marketplace. Digital gives its customers a winning Internet advantage through a comprehensive portfolio of Internet solutions based on award-winning systems, advanced networking infrastructure, innovative software, and industry applications — including those from its business partners. The expertise and experience of Digital employees help customers plan, design, implement, manage and support Internet solutions in countries throughout the world. For the latest company information, visit Digital on the World Wide Web at .
NOTE: Digital, the Digital logo, and Client Services Support Card are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.
Scopus Technology unveiled its new call center solution today, staking the claim as the world’s first call center solution speciallfy tailroed to adress the customer acquisition and retentio challenges faced by financial services organizations. ‘Scopus Finance Central’ is a pre-packaged suite of customer care applications including automated workflow, seamless intetgration and intelligent call guides. The package also incorporates best practices and relationship-centric sales processes. Scopus says ‘Finance Central’ builds on its current customer care systems experience with VISA, Bank of America, Fleet, ABN Amro, Bank of Indonesia and Nedcor.
National Comm Link, LLC (NCL) is introducing a national prepaid wireless program that requires no retailer activation or programming and makes wireless service available to anyone without the hassles of credit checks, deposits, contracts, or monthly bills.
Marketed as Wave Communications, the service will have particular appeal to credit-challenged consumers who otherwise would not qualify for traditional post-paid wireless service. Wave Communications’ products (phones and prepaid phone cards) will be available in over 40 retail locations in the greater Philadelphia and South New Jersey markets.
Juan Moragas, V.P. of Sales and Marketing, said: “The program is designed to make wireless service as simple as any other retail transaction for the distributor and end-user. Non-traditional wireless distributors such as check-cashing and convenience stores should find Wave Communications particularly attractive.”
After purchasing the “Wave” phone for about $99, customers call a toll-free number to activate the phone. The initial purchase includes $25 of free airtime. Airtime cards are then purchased from the retailer for $30, $60 or $100. Customers call a toll-free number to redeem the value of the card and replenish their account.
“With the phones priced at around $100, including $25 of airtime, and no programming or involvement required by the distributor in the activation process, we feel we have an affordable and easy-to-use product that can now be sold by any non-traditional wireless dealer,” added Moragas. “And with the customer returning to the retailer to purchase airtime cards, there is an attractive ongoing revenue stream.”
NCL is a national provider of wireless voice services having completed reseller agreements with most of the major cellular providers including AT&T Wireless, BellSouth Mobility, and Comcast Cellular. NCL is also a long distance provider as a reseller of MCI service. NCL plans on a build-out of a national network installing switches and providing prepaid wireless service in over 30 top markets within the next 18 months. NCL’s strategy is to leverage its national network and distribution system to provide seamless prepaid wireless service to the underserved credit-challenged market segment, which is currently estimated to be 15 million potential users with a projected growth to 24 million by the year 2000.
Intuit Launches QuickenMortgage On The Internet
Intuit Inc. announced today it has launched QuickenMortgage (at ), a web service offering consumers one-stop shopping for great mortgages from a set of the nation’s leading lenders.
“By comparison shopping online, consumers can save time and money and make a more informed mortgage decision,” said Bill Harris, Intuit executive vice president. “At Intuit, we strive to make financial decisions easier, by providing objective information and interactive tools on all aspects of household and family finances. In this case, we have created a new channel for mortgage lenders to communicate directly with their customers and prospects.”
QuickenMortgage’s unique Pre-qualification Interview helps consumers make apples-to-apples comparisons of different mortgage loan products, customized to their particular property and financial situation. Potential home buyers and customers seeking to refinance can pre-qualify in minutes with one of the six charter lenders, and even start the mortgage application process online.
Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, HomeSide Lending, North American Mortgage Company, PNC Mortgage, and Principal Residential Mortgage, six of the nation’s top 25 lenders, are offering loans electronically via QuickenMortgage. These lenders, and others to be added in the future, will offer a wide range of products, including conventional and jumbo loans with fixed or adjustable rates, or balloon payment loans, directly to customers visiting the QuickenMortgage site. Also available are Veteran’s Administration (VA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.
For consumers who are not yet ready to get a loan, QuickenMortgage offers three interactive tools:
* “How Much House Can You Afford?” calculates the loan amount a consumer can afford and how to afford an even bigger loan.
* “Should You Refinance Today?” assesses a homeowner’s current mortgage and suggests whether refinancing makes sense, based on the current lending rates.
* “What Are Today’s Rates?” displays the current average rates available for different types of loans in each state.
Consumers can also use QuickenMortgage to get real estate and mortgage news from independent services such as Inman News and Mortgage Market Information Services. Expert advice is also available as well as a comprehensive directory of web resources featuring the best home and mortgage web sites.
QuickenMortgage is free to all users and can be accessed from the Internet at or directly from their Quicken 98 software. QuickenMortgage is also available through Excite’s Business & Investing Channel and Intuit’s Quicken.com.
Harris said that in the future QuickenMortgage will provide consumers the ability to complete a full application online, lock in rates, obtain a credit report, and use “best-fit” analysis tools that will allow visitors to calculate the impact of various mortgage options on their current financial situation.
“Chase is excited to be a Charter Lender for Intuit’s QuickenMortgage,” said Gregg Gorman, executive vice president of Chase Manhattan Mortgage. “Blending Chase’s strength in the mortgage industry with Intuit’s experience in software development will create a powerful combination that can benefit all of our mutual customers.”
“Intuit’s approach is consistent with Countrywide’s consumer direct strategy to provide easy direct access to home loan products,” said Stan Kurland, president of Countrywide Home Loans. “We feel Intuit’s expertise in personal financial software combined with Countrywide’s mortgage processing efficiency creates a great opportunity to serve the home loan needs of more consumers.”
“HomeSide Lending and Intuit are both proven leaders in the financial marketplace,” said Mark Johnson, Homeside’s executive vice president of Production. “Working together on QuickenMortgage, we believe we will provide new and exciting alternatives for consumers seeking to fulfill their dreams of homeownership.”
“The timing of North American Mortgage Company’s alliance with Intuit will allow us to showcase our expanded line of mortgage products, which was brought about by the recent merger of Dime Savings Bank and North American Mortgage,” explained Fred Koons, chairman and chief executive officer of North American Mortgage Company — now the eighth-largest residential lender. “QuickenMortgage will provide consumers with a convenient, cost-effective means to obtain one of our many mortgage products for the purchase or refinance of a home,” added Koons.
“Participation on Quicken Mortgage is a natural next step for PNC Mortgage,” said Rick Lovett, executive vice president of PNC Mortgage. “PNC Mortgage has extensive experience offering mortgages to customers anywhere in the United States through innovative and convenient channels that converge at its national telemarketing center. The Intuit QuickenMortgage web site is very customer friendly and we are pleased to be a charter participant.”
“Intuit is at the forefront of consumer direct software and marketing,” said Paul Bognanno, president and CEO of Principal Residential Mortgage, Inc. “Combining their skills with Principal Residential’s mortgage expertise will give online consumers a real edge when it comes to mortgage transactions. We expect the consumer to benefit tremendously from this powerful combination.”
“Enabling consumers is our top priority at Inman News Features,” said Kris Inman, executive vice president, Inman News Features. “Intuit is completely devoted to that mission.”
“We are looking forward to providing our information to Quicken’s Internet visitors to ease many of their concerns surrounding the complexity of mortgage loans,” said Jim De Both, president of Mortgage Market Information Services. “We take pride in our role as an advocate for consumer mortgage information. QuickenMortgage users will be able to use this information to make a more educated home financing decision.”
Intuit Inc., a financial software and Web-based services company, develops and markets Quicken, the leading personal finance software; TurboTax, the best-selling tax preparation software; and QuickBooks, the most popular small- business accounting software. Intuit’s Quicken.com Web site () offers a complete set of personal finance news, information and tools, including the leading mutual fund and insurance sites. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses.
Countrywide and Intuit Team Up to Provide On-Line Mortgages
Today, Countrywide Home Loans, the nation’s largest independent mortgage lender, and Intuit, Inc., a financial software and Web-based services company, began a new channel of originations for the home loan industry. Consumers now have on-line access to mortgage information, rates and applications through Intuit’s QuickenMortgage(TM) Web site, in which Countrywide is a charter lender. The Web site is available via the Quicken Financial Network, , or directly through Quicken 98 software.
With the mortgage information provided by Countrywide, and the easy-to-use interactive tools, consumers are able to electronically obtain mortgage advice, current rates, pre-qualify for loans and apply for loans on-line. A full range of mortgage products are available, including fixed-rate and adjustable, conventional, government and jumbo loans. Low downpayment programs with more flexible guidelines are also offered.
“This is a bold new step that provides the consumer with direct access to home loan products,” said Cameron King, executive vice president of Countrywide’s Electronic Commerce Division. “Countrywide and Intuit are two companies that have pioneered a creative and efficient new channel so more consumers can obtain the benefits of home ownership, economically. The future of the Countrywide/Intuit relationship will make applying and obtaining home loans as easy as home banking on a personal computer. Both companies believe the future will incorporate all aspects of home financing, including quick approvals and the automation of the closing process.”
Intuit’s Quicken Financial Network offers a complete set of personal finance news, information and tools, including the leading mutual fund and insurance sites. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses.
Founded in 1969, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., produces, purchases, sells and services loans for single-family homes. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California, and has more than 400 locations across the country.
Hypercom introduced a new wireless, portable POS terminal for restaurant waiters Monday at the International Foodservice Technology Exposition, underway in Philadelphia. The new terminal dubbed ‘ICE Portable’ (ICE for Interactive Customer Equipment) is about the size of a portable CD player and incorporates touch screen, electronic signature capture and wireless technologies. The terminal can handle all credit/debit payments and includes a captive card reader for smart cards that prevents the card from being inadvertently removed during the transaction, thereby avoiding data corruption. The new terminal integrates easily with Hypercom’s ‘T’ series terminals, with up to 16 portable devices operated by a single controller terminal. ‘ICE Portable’ can transmit up to 75 feet and holds a two hour battery charge.