Better Homes Picks IDT Card

Better Homes and Gardens Vacations has selected IDT’s GlobalCall prepaid calling card as a service provider for its new travel and tourism business.

IDT is a leading multinational carrier and telecommunications company. Better Homes and Gardens Vacations is a joint venture between Global Vacation Group and publisher Meredith Corporation.

“IDT is excited and proud to be a service provider for Better Homes and Gardens Vacations,” said Jim Courter, IDT President and Vice Chairman. “The Better Homes and Gardens brand is synonymous with fine quality and outstanding value.”

The IDT GlobalCall phone card lets people call for up to a 90 % savings from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using any touch tone telephone. It’s price and portability make it the must have phone card for travelers. And when used to make a domestic long distance call, the rate is an incredibly low 6.9 cents per minute.

“Our goal is to give people exciting, yet affordable vacations,” said Bob Mate, Meredith Corporation’s Vice President and Publishing Director, “and IDT’s GlobalCall card is a great value, allows travelers to bypass high hotel telephone rates and not worry about carrying around a cell phone.”

“Vacationers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the IDT GlobalCall card, it’s also great for business travelers,” added Keith Mendelson, Vice President of IDT’s domestic Telecom Division, “since, the GlobalCall card offers enhanced services like VoiceMail and FaxMail. These services are available at the same low rates 24 hours, 7 days a week.”

IDT ‘s GlobalCall prepaid calling card will be the exclusive phone card offered in Better Homes and Gardens Vacations promotional campaign. As part of the promotion, Better Homes and Gardens Vacations will give a 60 minute IDT GlobalCall phone card to everyone who purchases a vacation package from Better Homes and Gardens Vacations. In addition, the Better Homes and Gardens Vacations promotion will include the IDT GlobalCall calling card logo on a 200-thousand piece direct mail campaign and will also be part of a 4-page magazine insert to be included in 5 Meredith publications from January through March, 2000. The magazine titles include Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Ladies Home Journal, Traditional Home and Golf For Women.

The IDT GlobalCall calling card will be the only prepaid phone card featured on the Better Homes and Gardens Vacations website at [www.bhgvacations.com][1]

For more information about the GlobalCall prepaid calling card, consumers can call 1(800) 346-6664 or visit [www.global-call.net][2].

IDT is a leading multinational carrier that combines its position as an international telecommunications operator with its experience as an Internet service provider to provide a broad range of telecommunications services to its wholesale and retail customers worldwide.

Through its own national telecommunications backbone and network infrastructure IDT provides its customers with integrated and competitively priced international and domestic long distance, pre-paid calling cards, Internet access and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service.

[1]: http://www.bhgvacations.com/
[2]: http://www.global-call.net/

VISA – elcom.com

MA-based elcom.com and VISA International EU have entered into a ‘Co-Marketing Memorandum of Understanding’. Under the agreement VISA will recommend ‘PECOS Internet Procurement Manager’, elcom.com’s remotely-hosted automated procurement system, to its member banks for internal use, or for a member bank’s commercial customers. The solution combines elcom.com’s flagship product, ‘PECOS Internet Procurement Manager’, with VISA’s commercial electronic payment and data delivery mechanism. The system is a host-based Internet automated procurement system application accessible via a web browser, offering end users e-click purchasing, low cost of entry, rapid ROI, and speedy pilot implementation.

VISA XML Spec

VISA International introduced the new ‘VISA Global Invoice Specification’ using ‘Extensible Markup Language’ yesterday. The new XML spec will enable users to exchange invoice and payment data across industries and technical processing platforms. Implementation of the specification enables corporations to negotiate prices and control costs, as well as increase productivity by eliminating manual processes. It is being introduced to encourage its adoption as an open standard in the global commercial marketplace. The new ‘VISA Global XML Invoice Specification’ was developed with VISA technology partners Commerce One, IBM, Sun Microsystems and ValiCert.

GE Biz Marketplace

GE Capital announced this morning it is launching an Internet-based system that integrates corporate card program management and online purchasing for large-sized and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Available for a March beta release, the first module of the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support the administration of travel, purchasing and fleet vehicle corporate charge cards on a Web-based system hosted by GE Capital. The reporting module, called ‘GE NetReport’, allows users to access their accounts online and integrates to the customer’s general ledger system. In addition, the module supports exception reporting, automatically alerting managers to transactions that are outside of the customer’s business policies. In a future e-commerce release, the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support online business-to-business buying, custom catalog integration, and workflow approval. Transaction activity for travel, purchasing, and fleet card programs, as well as e-commerce transactions, will be integrated into the ‘GE NetReport’ reporting engine.

Mellon Multi Card

Mellon Global Cash Management yesterday introduced the ‘Mellon Multi Card’, a new corporate MasterCard program that allows companies and government agencies to consolidate individual credit card purchasing, travel, entertainment and fleet expenses into a single card solution. The new card program combines functions of separate credit card programs into a single, multi-purpose card that offers the same level of control, one monthly invoice and single reconciliation process.

PROCARD Acquired

Equifax announced an agreement to acquire PROCARD, Chile’s second largest credit card processor. Under the agreement, Equifax will acquire PROCARD, which had $6 million in revenues for 1999 and provides account maintenance, authorizations, data capture, transaction processing, bankcard and private-label card issuer posting services. PROCARD also provides application input, embossing, statement and collection letter printing and mailing, co-branding, reward administration and retailer acquirer services.

MBNA UK

MBNA now has a 12% share of the U.K. credit card market. Yesterday MBNA and AOL (U.K.) announced the launch of a new co-branded credit card and joint marketing program. Under the multi-year agreement, MBNA will be the exclusive issuer of both AOL and CompuServe branded credit cards in the U.K., and MBNA’s credit card services will be marketed through the AOL (U.K.) Service. AOL and CompuServe have a combined U.K. membership of more than 1 million. MBNA International Bank, established in the U.K. in 1993, now has more than 3 million cardholders. MBNA also has signed more than 750 affinity card deals, such as the Royal College of Surgeons, and sporting groups such as Manchester United.

GE Aussie Corp Card

To extend the business travel and purchasing card products and services available to its customers, GE Capital has signed an agreement with Commonwealth Bank of Australia to support large multinational corporations with operations in Australia.

Through the alliance, Commonwealth Bank of Australia will provide Australian Dollar-denominated MasterCard corporate charge cards, statements and other in-country cardholder services. To streamline global program management, GE Capital will serve as the primary contact for corporations taking advantage of the program.

“We have chosen Commonwealth Bank of Australia due to their strong banking network in Australia and their outstanding Business Card track record. This partnership is in line with our alliance strategy to issue cards in local currencies with local cardholder support for our multinational clients,” said Jeffery R. Dye, senior vice president, GE Card Services.

Nick Kennett, Chief Manager Cards at the Commonwealth Bank, said, “The Commonwealth Bank will work closely with GE Capital and its corporate clients to develop mutually beneficial card programs. We will be able to provide considerable expertise throughout the program analysis and implementation phases and thereafter with customer service excellence.”

Commonwealth Bank of Australia will develop the ability to report card transaction data in a format that allows consolidation of global spending data via GE Capital’s Synergy 200O(TM) reporting system. Consolidation of global data allows multinational companies to have a better understanding of how their travel dollars are spent. This data consolidation leads to more effective vendor negotiations and policy compliance, ultimately driving savings to a company’s bottom line.

The Commonwealth agreement is one in a series of alliance agreements reached by GE Card Services. These alliances complement GE Capital’s existing capabilities to issue and support cards denominated in U.S. and Canadian dollars, Euro, Pound Sterling, and Irish Punts.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been issuing commercial cards in Australia since 1991, and has achieved over 40 percent annual growth over the last three years. Commonwealth Bank of Australia also manages the largest banking network in Australia, and is Australia’s largest credit card issuer.

GE Card Services develops and markets corporate bankcards designed for medium- and large-sized, multinational companies and organizations. It also creates and operates private label credit card programs for retailers across North America.

GE Capital, with assets of over US$300 billion, is a global, diversified financial services company with 28 specialized businesses. A wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital, based in Stamford, Conn., USA, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialized financing, specialty insurance and a variety of consumer services, such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world. GE is a diversified manufacturing, technology and services company with operations worldwide.

Chase & NatWest

Chase Merchant Services and National Westminster Bank are forming a strategic alliance to provide credit card acceptance services for corporations who want to centralize their international credit card processing activities. The alliance is intended to provide an opportunity to increase business volumes significantly by joining Chase’s major international corporate customer base with NatWest’s extensive multi-currency capability and experience as the first multi-currency global card acquirer. Corporate customers of the alliance will be able to accept card transactions in 145 currencies across the world and will also be able to receive reimbursement in up to 22 settlement currencies. This will benefit multinational companies that trade internationally across the globe, but who want to receive settlement for their trading activities in, for example, their own currency. Chase Merchant Services and NatWest will jointly promote the alliance’s service to both new and existing customers. CMS and NatWest Merchant Services together process 3.2 billion card transactions per year with a total value of over $220 billion.

Hong Kong Card

GE Capital signed an agreement Monday with Hang Seng Bank to provide Hong Kong Dollar-denominated MasterCard corporate credit cards, Chinese- or English-language statements and customer service, and other in-country cardholder services. The ‘MasterCard Corporate Card’ alliance is targeted at large multinational corporations which have operations in Hong Kong. GE says the deal is part of the company’s alliance strategy to issue corporate cards in local currencies with local cardholder support for GE’s multinational clients. Hang Seng Bank will provide system support to supply card transaction data in a format that allows consolidation of global spending data via GE Card Service’s ‘Synergy 2000’ reporting system. Hang Seng has 156 local branches and consolidated assets of HK$435.5 billion.