The Discover Card is launching a national tour this weekend to promote shopping and a new sweepstakes. The Discover Card Shops America with Lucky Magazine will include a 12-city national tour and a chance to win a $5,000 “Shopping Spree.” Tour highlights include an information center, a “Style Station” featuring Sephora, Nine West, and GUESS?, and a VIP tent, where Discover cardholders can take a break to rejuvenate their spirits. Exclusive cardholder benefits at the VIP parlor include mini-makeovers, hair consultations, special discounts and other merchandise. Cardholders can also enter a national sweepstakes for a chance to win a $5,000 pre-loaded Discover Card and a trip to New York City for a shopping spree with a Lucky magazine editor. The tour will begin in Los Angeles tomorrow. Lucky Magazine is a publication solely devoted to shopping.
Imagitas has named Michael R. O’Brien to its Board of Directors expanding an already distinguished group of public and private sector leaders. Co-founder of Catalina Marketing Corporation, O’Brien was the company’s Chairman and CEO from its inception in 1983 until 1992.
“Imagitas is honored to have Michael O’Brien join our Board of Directors,” said Brett Matthews, CEO of Imagitas. “His knowledge and business experience in targeted marketing and building fast-growth profitable businesses make him exceptionally qualified to help guide Imagitas to continued success.”
Imagitas provides targeted marketing solutions to national, regional and local advertisers by forging public and private partnerships, including the United States Postal Service and state department of motor vehicles. The company’s unique life-stage marketing approach provides service for over 200 advertisers and provides important public service information and savings to more than 50 million people annually.
Mr. O’Brien joins fellow Board members: Stephen Clearman, Managing Partner – Geocapital; Patricia McGinnis, President and CEO- Council for Excellence in Government; Glenn Youngkin, Managing Director -The Carlyle Group; Charles Farber, Senior Investment Officer – Liberty Mutual; Chris Hessler, President and Brett Matthews, Chairman and CEO – Imagitas.
Lauded as a “pioneer” by Business Week magazine, Michael O’Brien has received numerous honors including being named one of Orange County, California’s Entrepreneurs of the Year in 1991. Prior to his involvement with Catalina, Mr. O’Brien founded TRIM, Inc. a successful marketing research company. He also served on the Board of Directors for Memberworks, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBRS).
About Imagitas: Imagitas is a privately held, marketing solutions firm based in Waltham, Mass. Founded in 1992, the company is focused on creating public and private partnerships that help government save money, help advertisers reach customers during major life events and provide consumers savings on products related to those events. Imagitas blue chip list of advertisers include: Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, ATT, SBC, AOL/Time Warner, Sprint, Verizon, DirecTV, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Geico, Garden State, AAA, Ryder, TransWorld Van Lines, Visa, Bank One, Bank of America, Staples, Blockbuster, Wakefern Food Corp, A&P.
Imagitas has won two Hammer Awards from the Vice President of the United States for helping to create a government that works better and cost less while serving the needs of its citizens.
For more information, about Imagitas visit .
PayStar Corporation and Paybox Global Holdings have formed a joint venture to test a wireless payment system with a national pizza franchisee. ‘PizzaFone” enables mobile merchants like pizza delivery, to make deliveries to a customer’s door and accept payment through the use of just the cell phone. The transaction is completed with the assistance of a short sequence of voice prompts and a predetermined PIN. Merchants receive their payment via an automatic credit to their bank account and the customer receives their purchase without handing cash, check, or credit card to the delivery person. ‘The PizzaFone’ solution is built on the Paybox technology which is already deployed in Europe. Deutsch Bank is a key partner, providing the infrastructure in transactions. PayStar in involved in prepaid phone cards, and provides service and maintenance of ‘Cashless Teller Machines’ and Internet enabled kiosks.
LendingTree reported 4Q/01 revenue of $18.8 million, 9% more than the third quarter and 95% greater than the revenue for the fourth quarter of 2000. LendingTree’s net loss for the fourth quarter was $4.5 million, which is 70% less than the net loss for the same quarter in 2000. The company now has 145 participating lenders, representing an increase of 27% over last year. The number of consumer loan requests transmitted to lenders increased to more than 412,000 in the fourth quarter. During 2001 the number of transmitted loan requests increased to more than 1.4 million, nearly double the 716,000 loan requests transmitted in 2000. The 2001 growth in transmitted loan requests over the previous year was 116% for auto, 109% for mortgage, 98% for credit cards, and 53% for home equity loans. For complete details on LendingTree’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The first implementation of ‘CEPS’, demonstrating international interoperability of different CEPS-based e-purse technologies has been completed, according to ‘The RAM Report’ ([www.ramreport.com]). The ‘Ducato’ project included as partners: Banksys, Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, Europay International, Interpay Nederland, Proton World, Sermepa, Sistema 4B and VISA. Following publication of ‘CEPS’ in 1999, a number of tasks, such as the establishment of type approval procedures and the upgrading of international networks, network simulators, terminal and host specifications and issuing systems needed to be completed to enable the implementation of ‘CEPS’-based systems. Card and terminal manufacturers also needed to develop ‘CEPS’-based components that are retro-compatible with existing e-purse technologies, to facilitate migration to ‘CEPS’-based systems. The two ‘CEPS’-compatible smart card technologies used in the ‘Ducato’ project are Sermepa’s Advantis, applied by Sermepa and Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, and Proton World’s ‘Proton Prisma’, applied by Banksys and Interpay. Banksys and Interpay used ‘C-ZAM/Smash’ terminals from Banksys for ‘CEPS’ load and payment transactions.
The PGA TOUR has moved its credit card sponsorship to MBNA from Bank One/First USA. MBNA confirmed yesterday it has signed a long-term agreement to issue the ‘PGA TOUR MasterCard’ and ‘SENIOR PGA TOUR MasterCard’, effective January 1. MBNA has been involved in golf through its financial support of ‘The First Tee’, a World Golf Foundation initiative dedicated to introducing golf and its values to young people.The tax-exempt membership PGA TOUR organization will produce more than 125 events on three tours next year. First USA rolled out the first ‘PGA TOUR MasterCard’ and ‘Senior PGA TOUR MasterCard’ in early 1997. MasterCard is the “official card” of the ‘PGA TOUR’ and ‘SENIOR PGA TOUR’, making it the preferred method of payment at ‘PGA TOUR’ shops, Tournament Players Clubs and other locations. American Express launched its first golf card in 1996. The ‘American Express Golf Card’ offers a points reward program and advance tee time reservations at selected courses. In Canada, Bank of Montreal issues the ‘Canadian PGA MasterCard’ which offers discounts on greens fees and lessons. (CF Library 7/16/96; 1/31/97)
Hypercom introduced the payment industry’s first two-part, clamshell printer technology that offers virtually jam-free, but high-speed, operations. The ‘SureLoad’ printer will be available on a new terminal that Hypercom will introduce in Q1/2002. Hypercom says terminal printer jams and other printer-related problems account for at least 35% of all merchant calls to help desks. With ‘SureLoad’, the clerk simply lifts the cover, which then opens the printer along the thermal head and an open paper path. The secret to ‘SureLoad’s’ jam-free operation is a new two-part, clamshell-style printer architecture that allows the terminal to continue working even when receipts are pulled or aggressively torn during printing. The new printer has a compact 2.5 x 3-inch footprint and prints with speeds up to 10 lines per second. For a demo of the new ‘SureLoad’ printer visit CardFlash Online ([www.cardflash.com])
** Choose one of the formats at the left to view a video demonstration of SureLoad printer from Hypercom. The view is 1min 30sec long.**
Sony Corp this week announced plans to introduce a new credit card next year in Japan. Sony Finance aims to issue two million cards in three years with a targeted volume of 450 billion yen, according to ‘The RAM Report’. It hopes to sign up 20,000 participating online merchants by 2004. The company will begin issuing cards to Sony employees in early 2002 with plans to take the program to the general public during the second calendar quarter. Sony currently has a number of co-branding relationships with bank issued credit cards. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that in addition to the normal credit functions, the new cards will likely adopt ‘Edy’, the electronic money standard that the company has been promoting. The new credit cards will be accepted at all locations currently accepting cards issued by Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. For international acceptance Sony is expected to sign a deal with VISA in association with Sumitomo.
Precidia Technologies Inc. announced the certification of its Ether3201-202
product by Bell Canada, for
Packet3201 service (commonly known in Canada as Datapac) connectivity. This
milestone is the culmination of several months of development and laboratory
The Ether3201-202 product was originally designed to migrate existing
payment terminals from the Packet3201 service to newer IP networks. However,
in this configuration, the Ether3201 will act as the adapter linking newer
payment systems to the existing Packet3201 service network. Packet3201 is
the network of choice to connect payment terminals to Canadian financial
institutions. When merchants and processors migrate to an end to end IP
solution, the same unit will act as the gateway adapter to handle routing
information and transaction management functions. Not only is this solution
cost competitive with existing Packet3201 service network adapters, but with
the migration path it provides, it becomes a key component to the solution
merchants are looking for to address their needs for today and the future.
‘The Ether3201-202 conforms with the Asynchronous Polling Interface (API)
protocol for use on Packet3201 Service’, said Wayne Fontaine, Packet
Services Consultant for Bell Canada. ‘This device can respond to one or more
of 48 poll codes with each poll code running a unique session, a feature
vital for load sharing or sending data to multiple hosts. This product has
been rigorously tested and is proven to offer a successful solution in
environments requiring Packet3201 service connectivity.’
Precidia President Deepak Wanner says the certification is an important step
in the company’s strategy to offer a full suite of connectivity solutions to
Canadian retailers: ‘Bell’s certification of the Ether3201-202 allows us to
provide an IP front end to Packet3201 service today. Legacy networks will
not disappear overnight. Merchants changing their payment systems today need
a transition path that meets not only their needs today, but also in the
future. Not only does this solidify our position as the leader in Point of
Sales networking, but it is also an important milestone in our relationship
with Bell Canada, a valued partner. We are pleased to have received this
The Ether3201 product is already deployed in several Canadian retail
environments, such as Chapters Book stores. It is a cost effective and
innovative solution for retailers who require network connectivity for
retail payment terminals. The Ether3201 has been designed to work with every
major financial institution and processor in Canada.
Precidia Technologies Inc., based in Ottawa, Canada, is a global leader in
the design and manufacture of IP enabling technologies for a wide range of
industries, including retail payments. Precidia’s advanced IP technology
seamlessly migrates retail payment terminals and other equipment onto more
sophisticated IP networks. Precidia’s unique product line consists of
cost-effective access devices, both wired and wireless, and chip technology.
For more information, visit Precidia on the Web at
Visa International Asia Pacific announced new policies and a US$25 million
regional investment to accelerate the
migration from today’s magnetic stripe payment cards to EMV-standard smart
cards. Regionally, Visa and its Members will concentrate their initial
investment and efforts in countries that have already started work on smart
cards or expressed concerns about escalating fraud levels.
Under the scheme approved by the Visa International Asia Pacific Board of
Directors in October 2001, the investment has been allocated to support a
range of regional initiatives that will benefit Visa card-issuing banks,
acquiring banks, retailers, technology providers and consumers. The funds
will be available over a seven-year period, beginning 2002. The goal is to
increase member readiness for EMV chip issuance and acquiring. The
Â· Training programs for banks, vendors and industry partners
Â· Enhancement of EMV testing facilities and services
Â· Support to vendors to increase their range of EMV products and
At the country level, a framework has been agreed and established to
address local initiatives such as domestic policies and funding based on
market readiness, fraud rates and other parameters. Visa will play the
primary role in coordinating activities with its members to achieve
domestic chip migration.
According to Rajiv Kapoor, executive vice president and general manager,
Marketing and Product Sales, Visa International Asia Pacific, ‘The move to
chip will have considerable savings in fraud related losses. Therefore,
our members have established an aggressive timeline to migrate cards and
infrastructure to EMV global standards. A number of our major countries,
such as Japan, Taiwan and Korea, have already embarked on this accelerated
migration, and we expect other countries to follow suit rapidly as the
benefits are magnified.’ Kapoor added that Visa members had expressed
their support to help drive this changeover in individual countries. He
added, ‘This broad ranging consensus from our members on the proposed
smart card migration is testament to the importance of implementing
payments using chip technology. Our combined proactive approach will
clearly lead to a snowball effect, with local, country, and subsequently
industry-wide backing of this strategically important investment.’
Visa has already mandated that all new debit and credit cards utilizing
chip must be EMV-compliant, and that all existing chip programs must become
compliant by January 2004.
‘Smart cards are the safest, most reliable way to combat the escalating
counterfeit fraud in the marketplace today,’ Kapoor continued. ‘They are
also the most versatile payment tool available because banks can combine
different applications on a single chip to tailor and market their cards to
a consumer ‘segment of one’.’ With its family of low-cost smart cards,
Visa currently offers the widest, most cost-effective range of single and
multi-application products in the marketplace. Visa has also negotiated a
series of arrangements with global vendors and manufacturers to reduce
Kapoor said that Visa had conducted smart card research earlier this year
that indicated consumers’ desire to use chip-based cards as part of their
everyday lives. Under the banner of ‘Heart of Smart’, the research was
conducted in five key Asia Pacific markets and stressed the importance of
convenience, multiple applications on a single card and safety during
The interest in smart card products is borne out in statistics derived from
the Semiconductor Industry Association, San Jose, CA, USA, which forecast
demand for chip production to significantly increase during 2002, with full
recovery to follow in 2003. Banking applications are estimated to
constitute an important segment. Visa statistics validate this trend,
noting that the number of Visa smart cards in Asia Pacific should double to
12 million by 2002, with Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia contributing to
the majority of the growth.
Visa International Asia Pacific has established several key milestones to
underpin the migration to smart cards and global interoperability:
Effective January 2003
All new acquiring bank-owned smart card terminals are required
to be compliant with industry-wide EMV specifications and to meet
specifications for global interoperability.
An interchange incentive of 10 basis points has been established
transactions between countries in Asia Pacific to reward acquiring banks
and issuing banks who have invested in smart card technology.
Effective January 2006
Losses from fraudulent transactions will shift from card issuers to
merchant acquirers, whenever counterfeit arising from EMV-compliant cards
are used at non-EMV-compliant terminals between countries in Asia Pacific
EMV stands for Europay-MasterCard-Visa, a joint industry working group
created to facilitate the introduction of chip technology into the
international payment systems environment by developing joint
specifications for integrated circuit cards and terminals. EMV serves as
the global framework for chip cards and device manufacturers and is
designed to allow interoperability around the world.
Visa is the world’s leading payments brand and the largest payments system
worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate almost US$2 trillion in annual
volume and are accepted at over 22 million locations around the world. The
Visa organization plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products
and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and
their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet-based payments and is
pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce – the ability
to conduct commerce anytime, anywhere, over any type of device.
Visa in Asia Pacific
With a dominant market share of more than 56 percent in the Asia Pacific
region — more than all other payment brands combined, Visa reported card
sales volume for the 12 months ending December 31, 2000 reached US$332
billion. This figure includes US$246 billion in card sales volume, plus a
further US$86 billion of commercial activity using Visa cards in China, as
reported by Chinese member banks. In the same period, the total number of
Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS-branded cards on issue in the Asia
Pacific region increased 25 percent to 260 million cards. Visa’s Internet
address is www.visa-asia.com.
The New York Clearing House and the Euro Banking Association this week
announced a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow both organizations to
work together on a global electronic payment infrastructure that will enable
Internet-based, end-to-end electronic commerce for the first time. Both
organizations will begin immediately to establish joint working groups
dedicated to making geography and currency distinctions transparent to
‘We are very excited to be exploring these options together,’ said Olivier
Chairman of EBA. ‘Our goal is to share resources and expertise as we seek to
add critical new Internet compatibility to each of our payment platforms,
creating the basis for a coherent end-to-end straight-through processing of
clients’ payments independently of whether they are in dollar or in euro.’
‘This alliance is a natural for both organizations,’ said Jeffrey P. Neubert,
President and CEO of the New York Clearing House. ‘We share many of the same
bank members and a similar vision of where electronic payments need to evolve.
The true opportunities in e-commerce can only be realized if electronic
payments can flow across borders and transcend currency distinctions without
any human intervention.’
The alliance offers many advantages for banks that participate in the Clearing
House and EBA payment systems. These include:
Â· Leveraged investments in existing infrastructure rather than creating new
systems from scratch
Â· Development of a private-sector platform for electronic payments to maximize
value and innovation
Â· Shared development expenses to reduce costs
Â· Simplified standards and operating processes to increase efficiency
‘This Memorandum of Understanding is the first important step for these two
leading organizations to create a roadmap for how best to improve their
infrastructures,’ said Martin Lebouitz, Vice President of J. P. Morgan Chase &
Co. ‘The banking industry is looking for a platform that will provide
value-added e-commerce solutions to our customers, and the NYCH and the EBA
the right people to get the job done.’
‘Having defined a common vision,’ said John Mohr, Chief Operating Officer of
the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), ‘our next task will
work together to set standards for payments and information-related processing
to be used by both payment systems, their participating banks and the banks’
customers. We will move quickly to establish working groups that will explore
options for interoperability between the Clearing House and EBA payment
‘There are many advantages in working together with the New York Clearing
House,’ said Gilbert Lichter, Secretary General of EBA and CEO of EBA Clearing
Company. ‘Both organizations share a vision of bank customers conducting an
exclusively electronic transaction all the way from the buyer’s desktop to the
seller’s desktop and flowing through all the banks in between. To do that in a
manner where the currency used is transparent to the transaction has
‘There has been so much news coverage of the dot-com failures that many people
don’t realize that electronic commerce is thriving and will continue do
develop,’ says Eric Sepkes, Deputy Chairman of EBA. ‘This joint approach to
finding ways that makes e-commerce easier to execute, more efficient, less
costly, and vastly more pervasive is very exciting.’
The Euro Banking Association (EBA), www.abe.org, includes
over 150 member banks from all EU countries, the United States, Switzerland,
Norway, Australia and Japan. EBA was founded in 1985 by 18 commercial banks
the European Investment Bank, with the support of the European Commission.
Today, the EBA acts as a forum for the European payments industry and fosters
the development of pan-European payment system initiatives.
The EBA Clearing Company, www.abe.org, was established in
June 1998 by the EBA as a separate entity to operate the EURO1 large-value
payment system and the STEP1 low-value payment system. EURO1 and STEP1 provide
an efficient, secure and cost-effective infrastructure to the banks in Europe
for channeling their commercial and large-value cross-border payments. EURO1
and STEP1 are based on the messaging infrastructure and computing facilities
provided by S.W.I.F.T. EURO1 settles at the end of the day via a settlement
account at the European Central Bank. The average number of daily transactions
processed by the EURO1 and STEP1 systems today amounts to over 125,000 for a
total value in excess of 200 billion euros. EURO1 comprises 73 direct bank
participants and 25 indirect participants; STEP1 includes 163 banks. EBA is
presently pursuing a project to create a pan-European mass payment system
(ACH), labeled STEP2.
The New York Clearing House, www.nych.org, is the
oldest and most innovative bank association and payments processor.
in 1853 to simplify the exchange of checks and improve the efficiency of the
payments system, the Clearing House is still a world leader in the payments
business. It operates the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS),
Electronic Payments Network (EPN) and SVPCo, and runs a well-respected
association that serves as a forum for its members to promote common interests
in the financial services industry. For more information, search
www.NYCH.org or call Chip Savidge at 201-319-5478
For 31 years the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS),
www.chips.org, has been an industry standard for
international payments in U.S. dollars. It has 59 participants from 22
countries that submit payments throughout the day for their corporate
and correspondent banks. CHIPS handles approximately 95 percent of all U.S.
dollar international electronic payments, and is a member of the New York
Clearing House family of financial services. For more information, search
www.chips.org, or call Chip Savidge at 201-319-5478.
Online consumer spending will hit $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter, a 20.2% increase over last year. Compared to last year’s holiday season, 14.1 million more people will buy online this year between October 1st and December 31st. In 2000, online Q4 spending rose 71% over 1999. NYC-based eMarketer yesterday said that the deteriorating economy will negatively impact online sales and as a result e-commerce this year will be more closely aligned with general patterns of consumer spending. eMarketer projected that 58.7 million US residents will buy online, spending an average of $182.25