North Carolina-based Harris Teeter, the 40th largest supermarket in the USA, is deploying Pay By Touch’s biometric payment service.Shoppers can use Pay By Touch after a quick one-time sign-up at a special kiosk located in Harris Teeter stores, or online at www.paybytouch.com. Signing up is simple and consists of providing identification, a voided check, a VIC card, and a finger scan. No one sees the account number, or the payment method used to make purchases, and no one can access an account without a finger scan and a seven-digit number, usually a phone number.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has expanded its contract with Official Payments Corp. to begin processing certain business tax payments made with a debit or credit card. Beginning in the second calendar quarter of 2006, Georgia businesses will have a new electronic way to make withholding, sales and use, and motor fuels tax payments securely and conveniently with their American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA cards.
Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed a 10-year contract renewal and expanded agreement for private label credit cards with Goody’s. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will continue to provide private label credit card services, and through the expanded agreement, will now provide an integrated co-brand credit card program and corresponding program servicing. Goody’s operates more than 380 retail locations nationwide with online and in-store revenue of more than $1.2 billion in 2005. Alliance Data is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services.
The County Information Resources Agency of the Texas Association of Counties has selected Official Payments as its exclusive electronic payment services vendor. Through this new agreement, Official Payments’ services are available to all CIRA members. CIRA is exclusively offering Official Payments’ convenient and secure options for member counties to accept credit card and electronic check payments made via the Internet, by telephone or through kiosks. CIRA provides central, cooperative and coordinated assistance and services to its member counties in all matters relating to information resources and technologies.
American Express is offering double rewards through April 17th for tax payments via its “Delta SkyMiles Card” and the “Starwood Preferred Guest Card”. Now through April 17, 2006, Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers can earn double SkyMiles and can also earn one mile for every eligible dollar spent when paying their state income taxes on the Card. Starwood Preferred Guest Cardmembers can also earn double Starpoints on the first $5,000 of their 2005 personal federal income tax payments when paying with the Card and can earn one Starpoint for every eligible dollar spent when paying state income taxes. This year marks the first time the IRS has allowed businesses to pay their balance due on their federal business taxes (Form 940 and Form 941) using an American Express Card. This is in addition to paying the balance due on state and local business taxes.
NACHA is gearing up for a pilot to test online transactions in which consumers would be authenticated by their own financial institutions, and initiate private, secure electronic payments via their financial institutions’ online banking Web sites. The pilot will involve online funds transfers, bill payments and purchases. In the test, a consumer would choose to complete an online transaction at a Web site using an authentication and payment method. The consumer would then be re-directed via a secure network to their financial institution’s online banking Web site, where they would log in using existing log-in procedures. Once securely within the financial institution’s Web site, the consumer would confirm the details of the transaction and authorize payment. Because the consumer would authorize payment via their own financial institution, they do not provide their financial account information to the business or a third-party; it remains private between the consumer and their financial institution. Because the business does not receive and store the consumer’s financial account information, it does not have the responsibility of securing the information from mishandling, misuse or theft. In addition to organizing the pilot, NACHA will also be developing business cases for bank-provided online authentication and payments in the business-to-business market and for bank-provided online authentication as a stand-alone service.
Tier Technologies, which owns Official Payments Corp, has hired Steven Beckerman, formerly with Certegy Card Services, as SVP of Government Business Process Outsourcing. Beckerman brings over 25 years of successful executive leadership and hands-on management experience in sales, operations, administration, cost containment and strategic planning in a number of diverse industries. Mr. Beckerman joins Tier from Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (formerly known as Certegy, Inc.), where he was Senior Vice President of Product Management for Certegy Card Services, Inc., Certegy’s card processing division. In this role he was responsible for the development and management of card issuing, loyalty and internet products for more than 6,000 financial institutions across North America. Prior to joining Certegy, Mr. Beckerman was Senior Vice President for First Data Oil Services, a division of First Data Corporation, where he managed the Oil Company and Private Label Credit Card Operations Center.
Capital One is furthering its expansion into traditional banking with a deal to acquire North Fork Bancorporation for $14.6 billion. The nation’s fifth largest bank credit card issuer will become one of the 10 largest banks in the country. North Fork has deposits of $36.6 billion and 355 branch locations throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is the third-largest depository institution in the greater New York region. Last year, Capital One purchased New Orleans-based Hibernia for $5 billion. After the North Fork deal, the combined company will have deposits of more than $84 billion, a managed loan portfolio of more than $143 billion, more than 50 million customer accounts and 655 branches. Capital One ended 2005 with $49.5 billion in U.S. credit card outstandings and $73.7 billion in annual purchase volume, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Fifth Third Bancorp has landed John Presley, formerly CFO of Marshall & Ilsley, to head up the strategic initiatives position. Prior to his role at M&I, Presley served as chief financial officer for National Commerce Financial in Memphis and prior to that was president and chief executive officer for First Market Bank in Richmond, Virginia. Earlier in his career, he served as controller and MIS manager at National Commerce Bancorporation. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Presley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Business Administration from Rhodes College in Memphis (formerly Southwestern at Memphis.)
Dallas-based RoomStore, with more than 70 stores in nine states and an annual sales of more than $330 million, has renewed its private label credit card program with HSBC Retail Services. Under terms of the agreement, HSBC Retail Services will continue to provide RoomStore with customized financing solutions for the company’s private label credit card program. Enhancements to the private label credit program include the installation of credit application kiosks in five RoomStore locations. Customers simply use a touch screen to apply for the RoomStore credit card. In less than two minutes, HSBC notifies customers whether they have been approved and a credit line is given immediately so the customer knows exactly how much purchasing power they have.
North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank has signed a five-year agreement with NCR for exclusive ATM upgrades, replacements and services. The agreement also establishes NCR’s APTRA Edge multivendor software as the platform of choice across the entire First Citizens network. First Citizens Bank operates 339 branches in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee. Its parent company, First Citizens BancShares, has $14.6 billion in assets.
The Wyoming Bankers Association has signed a five-year marketing agreement endorsing Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions for EFT services including ATM and debit card processing, terminal driving, network gateway transaction processing and card production to its association members. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions processes over 17 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 1,480 financial institutions and over 127,000 retail locations worldwide.