American Express announced yesterday it will award double air miles to cardholders charging individual federal taxes this year. AmEx also announced a new third-party payment processor to handle the income tax transactions on its cards. Under a special promotion, holders of ‘Classic’, ‘Gold’ or ‘Platinum’ ‘Delta SkyMiles’ credit cards will earn double ‘SkyMiles’ when they use their card to pay individual federal taxes from Feb 15-Apr 16. Corporate cardholders and holders of the ‘Delta SkyMiles Options’ card will not be eligible for the extra miles. Participants in ‘Membership Rewards’ will likewise not receive bonus points for tax payments. AmEx also announced yesterday it has added a new third party payment processor for credit card tax payments. CT-based PhoneCharge, Inc. will be used for the first time this year by AmEx. Since 1999, AmEx has exclusively used Official Payments Corp. as its third party payment processor. In addition to charging federal tax payments AmEx cards can be used to charge state income taxes in 17 states and the District of Columbia, nearly double the number of states that accepted AmEx cards for tax payments last year.
CheckFree Corporation announced that Ravi Ganesan, vice chairman, will be leaving the Company February 9 to accept a position as chief executive officer at SingleSignOn.Net, Inc., an Internet security company headquartered in Virginia.
CheckFree also announced that Randy McCoy, formerly executive vice president, product management and development, has been promoted to chief technology officer, effective immediately. McCoy will assume the role Ganesan filled working with CheckFree Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pete Kight on strategic technology advancements.
Ganesan, 34, joined CheckFree in 1997 in the position of executive vice president and chief technology officer. He was named vice chairman in June of 2000. Prior to CheckFree, Ganesan served various roles at Bell Atlantic Corporation, including senior manager of the Center for Electronic Commerce, director of the Center of Internet Services, and vice president of Distributed Operations.
McCoy, 38, was vice president, corporate banking development of Servantis Systems Holdings, Inc. and had served in several other management positions over a six-year career there when CheckFree acquired that company in February of 1996. He subsequently earned promotions to vice president, bill payment development; senior vice president, Genesis platform development; executive vice president, electronic commerce development; and executive vice president, product management and development. Prior to joining Servantis, McCoy was a large systems architect at Bell South Corporation.
“Ravi has made tremendous contributions to CheckFree, including helping to consolidate development and operations of several acquisitions, which ultimately culminated in the development of our Genesis 2000 electronic billing and payment infrastructure,” said Kight. “Ravi is an entrepreneur at heart, and he holds a doctorate in cryptography, so this move to CEO of a growing venture in the Internet security space is a natural for him.
“I am highly confident in Randy McCoy’s abilities as both a keen technologist and a prudent business strategist,” Kight continued. “The 11 years he has spent advancing this industry, in positions of increasing technology and business management responsibility, have given him an expert understanding of strategies that can extend CheckFree’s market position, from both a technology and business model perspective. I am very pleased to have him lead the evolution of our next generation services,” Kight concluded.
CheckFree (Nasdaq: CKFR) is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded in 1981 and celebrating its 20th year in e-commerce, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution in 1997. Today, CheckFree enables 4.4 million consumers to receive and pay bills electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with 222 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through nearly 275 financial services organizations, including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree Software Services division provides solutions that are used to process more than two-thirds of the nation’s six billion Automated Clearing House payments, and reconciliation and compliance products and services to 400 banks and businesses. This division includes CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement software and services that enable companies to transform bills and statements into interactive conduits for customer relationship management, marketing and customer self service. CheckFree Investment Services provides a broad range of investment management services to thousands of financial institutions nationwide. The division’s clients manage more than 1,000,000 portfolios totaling more than $500 billion in assets. For more information visit [www.checkfree.com].
ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of enterprise e-payment solutions, has been selected to provide the software infrastructure for Ukrop’s gift card program. Ukrop’s is the largest grocery chain in Richmond, Va., with 27 stores located throughout central Virginia.
Ukrop’s will use ACI’s WinStoredValue authorization software to power its Valued Customer gift card program. Features of the WinStoredValue system include:
— Batch- or single-card activation to reduce fraud
— Full or partial redemption of value
— Fixed-value, variable-value and one-time-use card support
— Fund transfer from one card to another
— Issuance, redemption, replenishment and balance inquiry transaction processing
“Since 1937, Ukrop’s mission has been to serve our customers effectively while treating them the way we’d like to treated. ACI’s software helps us fulfill our mission by providing a flexible, user-friendly platform for our gift card program,” said Scott Ukrop, vice president of marketing for Ukrop’s. Ukrop added that ACI’s proven capabilities were also a factor in the decision. Ukrop’s chain uses ACI’s WinPayment(TM) solution to manage debit card, credit card and check transactions, and returned-check processing.
ACI’s WinStoredValue and WinPayment operate on the Windows NT(R) operating system.
“Ukrop’s helped us beta test our WinStoredValue solution, and we are extremely pleased they’ve chosen to put it into full production,” said Mark Vipond, president of ACI Worldwide. “We rely on our customer’s market experience and input as we build the products they need to meet their business objectives. Ukrop’s was instrumental in helping us determine the additional functionality needed to make WinStoredValue the solution to power their gift card program.”
About ACI Worldwide
ACI Worldwide (Nasdaq:TSAI) helps the world move money. Every minute of every day, financial institutions, retailers and networking industries rely on ACI solutions to manage e-payments and information. As a leading international provider of e-commerce and e-payment solutions, ACI maintains operations in the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia/Pacific. More than 2,400 customers in 80 countries use ACI distributed solutions. Visit ACI Worldwide on the Internet at [http://www.aciworldwide.com].
Official Payments Corporation announced Monday the company has signed an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide a service which will enable Virginia citizens to make balance-due tax payments, by credit card, via the Internet or telephone. Taxpayers in Virginia will be able to make these payments by visiting [www.officialpayments.com] on the Internet or by calling toll-free 1-800-2PAY-TAX(sm). These new payment channels for tax year 2000 are expected to go live early next year. Virginia will publish information about the service in tax instruction booklets which will be mailed to taxpayers in January. The new contract with Virginia represents the company’s 15th state client. Official Payments provides a variety of tax payment services to the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington.
“We have all the bases covered in Virginia, as we collect federal, local and now state taxes. We are very pleased with our progress and momentum,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments, Corp. “Our systems process tax payments for over 50 counties and municipalities in Virginia . In our Federal program during the 1999 tax season, we collected over $18.5 million in Individual Income tax payments from over 6,000 Virginia taxpayers. Now those same citizens will be able to use our systems to make their state tax payments,” Mr. Evans added.
“This new payment method is part of our on-going effort to provide our citizens with a high level of service,” said Danny M. Payne, Virginia’s Tax Commissioner. “These Internet and telephone payment channels will give Virginia citizens an additional payment choice and the ability to make their tax payments to the Commonwealth 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week from the comfort of their home or business,” added Payne.
Official Payments will charge Virginia taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at [www.officialpayments.com]. For example, a taxpayer who owed Virginia $900.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $922.50 on their credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $22.50 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.
About Official Payments Corporation.
Official Payments Corporation is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via telephone or the Internet, using their credit cards. The company has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service; several state governments, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma And Washington state; and over 550 municipal and county entities, in which it collects income taxes, property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines, sales and use taxes and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. In the 1999 tax year, Official Payments collected and processed over $575 million in federal income tax payments on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.
Capital One Financial Corporation and Sprint PCS have entered into an agreement to test direct marketing initiatives for growth potential in incremental customers for Sprint PCS.
Capital One, through its telecommunications subsidiary, America One Communications, will use its proprietary Information-Based Strategy (IBS) to identify and test new market segments for Sprint PCS. Using IBS, Capital One links one of the world’s largest databases with highly sophisticated analytics to create offers tailored to customers’ individual needs. Sprint PCS will provide wireless services, billing and network infrastructure for accounts developed through this marketing agreement.
“We’re pleased to be working with a wireless industry leader like Sprint PCS,” said N. Andrew Cohen, president of America One. “We can leverage their nationwide, all-digital network and powerful brand identity while focusing on Capital One’s core strength, which is targeted marketing using our information-based strategy.”
America One will discontinue its operations as a wireless reseller. The company has sold 72,000 wireless customer accounts to Sprint PCS in a transaction that closed prior to September 30, 2000, and is in the process of selling its remaining accounts over the next several months to other telecommunications network service providers.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ([http://www.CapitalOne.com]) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 29.4 million accounts and $24.2 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 2000. Capital One is one of the major financial services providers on the Internet, with on-line account decisioning, real-time account numbering, on-line retail deposits and a growing number of customers serviced on-line. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 index.
About Sprint PCS
Sprint PCS operates the largest 100 percent digital, 100 percent PCS nationwide wireless network in the United States, already serving the majority of the nation’s metropolitan areas including more than 4,000 cities and communities across the country. Sprint PCS has licensed PCS coverage of nearly 270 million people in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit the Sprint PCS web site at [http://www.sprintpcs.com]. Sprint PCS is a wholly-owned tracking group of Sprint Corporation trading on the NYSE under the symbol “PCS.”
Sprint is a global communications company at the forefront in integrating long distance, local and wireless communications services and a large carrier of Internet traffic. Sprint built and operates the United States’ first nationwide all-digital, fiber optic network and is a leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $20 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 20 million business and residential customers.
NYC-based InternetCash Corp. has signed agreements to expand its distribution to 5,000 retail locations by year’s end. Friday, the Company formed an alliance with In-Person Payments of America to sell InternetCash throughout the New York area and eventually to 1,400 IPP locations in 12 eastern states and the District of Columbia. InternetCash is a prepaid Web-based payment system and is available in $25, $50, and $100 denominations. InternetCash can be used online to purchase products and services from more than 170 Web sites including WWF.com and Sunglasshut.com.
Capital One reported yesterday that net income between 3Q/99 and 3Q/00 increased 28.0%. For the third quarter, Cap One’s managed consumer loan balances increased by $2.3 billion to $24.2 billion. During the third quarter, Cap One added 2.3 million net new accounts, bringing total accounts to 29.4 million. On the Internet, online account originations and online account servicing increased to 760 thousand and 1.2 million, respectively, as of the end of the third quarter. Marketing expense rose to a record $233 million compared to $212 million in the second quarter of 2000 and $175 million in the comparable period of the prior year. The managed net charge-off ratio for 3Q/00 stood at 3.80% compared 3.97% one year ago. Delinquency (30+ days) edged slightly lower to 5.32% compared to 5.35% for 3Q/99. For complete 3Q/00 and prior quarters’ data for Cap One visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The battle of building a national EFT network gained more intensity as TX-based PULSE and OH-based Money Station announced Tuesday they have agreed to merge. The news follows on the heels of the merger between the MAC and STAR networks. The PULSE acquisition will extend its footprint to the central, south, midwest and southwest regions of the United States, with a primary service area covering 20 states stretching from Tennessee to Colorado and from Texas to Minnesota and Pennsylvania. It will serve more than 2,500 member financial institutions, and expects to process more than 50 million EFT transactions monthly. Organized in 1983 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Money Station is owned by Dollar Bank, Fifth Third, Firstar, Huntington National Bank and Mellon Financial. Its membership includes more than 560 banks, savings institutions and credit unions with operations in IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, MO, OH, PA, TN, WV and WI. PULSE, the fourth largest EFT network, serves more than 2,000 banks, credit unions and savings and loans. The PULSE system links an estimated 45 million cardholders with more than 46,000 ATMs and 254,000 POS terminals throughout the USA.
CyberSource Corporation, a leading provider of mission-critical eCommerce transaction services, announced that Wachovia Merchant Services will begin offering CyberSource payment and value-added eCommerce transaction services. Wachovia Merchant Services is a venture between an operating subsidiary of Wachovia Bank, N.A. — the principal subsidiary of Wachovia Corp. — and First Data Corp..
! CyberSource payment and value-added transaction services include the CyberSource Internet Fraud Screen enhanced by Visa, which tracks eCommerce transactions, measures the level of risk associated with each transaction, and returns a real-time related risk score to the merchant. This service provides more efficient risk management and tighter online security for merchants.
Wachovia Merchant Services is the first merchant services organization in the Southeast to sign a reseller agreement with CyberSource. Merchants will be able to sign up for the CyberSource eCommerce Transaction Suite(SM) directly through their WMS sales representative. The entire CyberSource suite includes payment, fraud screening, gift certificate and promotional services, as well as sales tax calculation, fulfillment management and distribution control, and it is designed to help businesses achieve more efficient and successful online sales.
“CyberSource, with a full suite of eCommerce transaction services, provides an ideal fit for our corporate clients,” said Kevin Gallagher, director of e-business strategies for Wachovia Merchant Services. “CyberSource maintains a strong reputation for service reliability, and we believe that its risk management service is the industry leader. We are pleased to offer this service to help our merchants succeed in their eCommerce endeavors.”
“CyberSource is very pleased to enhance its long-standing relationship with Wachovia Merchant Services,” said Steve Klebe, vice president of payment industry alliances for CyberSource. “Through streamlined sales, registration and ongoing support processes, the goal of this reseller relationship is to offer a one-stop shop for Wachovia clients who need eCommerce solutions quickly.”
Wachovia Corporation is a $70.8 billion asset interstate financial holding company with dual headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C. Wachovia Bank, N.A. has nearly 700 offices and 1,400 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Wachovia Bank Card Services is the nation’s 12th largest credit card issuer. Wachovia Merchant Services, [http://www.wmssolutions.com], provides business customers with bank card processing services for every major credit or debit card and a full complement of related and supporting services. In 1999, WMS served more then 30,000 customer locations and processed $6.5 billion in transaction volume. Wachovia’s Web site is located at [http://www.wachovia.com].
About First Data
Atlanta-based First Data Corp. helps move the world’s money. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With more than 30,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit and stored- value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. In addition, its Western Union network includes approximately 90,000 agent locations with operations in 182 countries and territories. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at .
CyberSource is a leading developer and provider of enterprise eCommerce transaction services, and a pioneer in the area of Internet fraud detection. More than 2,200 businesses throughout the world have chosen to use the CyberSource eCommerce Transaction Suite(SM). The CyberSource eCommerce Transaction Suite offers customer-controlled, real-time services including, Payment, Tax Calculation, Stored Value, Risk Management and Fulfillment Management. CyberSource Global Professional Services develops comprehensive eCommerce solutions that are built upon CyberSource’s mission-critical transaction services and tailored to each customer environment to provide security, reliability, and extensibility for rapid growth. Customers and partners of CyberSource include leading Internet etailers, retailers, manufacturers and businesses selling online including Ashford.com, BUY.COM (U.S. & U.K.), Compaq Computer, Home Depot, Mercata.com, MotherNature.com, Nike.com, Priceline, Remedy and VerticalNet. CyberSource Corporation is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and has offices in Japan and the United Kingdom, as well as various other locations throughout the Unites States. The company can be found on the World Wide Web at . CyberSource information is also available via email at [email protected] or [email protected]
Dollar Tree Stores signed agreements yesterday to install an estimated 15,000 NCR POS workstations in its stores through Dec. 2004. The POS hardware will be provided by Data Business Systems, NCR’s authorized dealer in Virginia Beach, VA. Dollar Tree has also signed a five-year customer support agreement directly with NCR for all in-store systems. Dollar Tree, which currently operates more than 1,600 stores offering merchandise at the fixed price of $1.00, selected the NCR ‘7448 POS’ workstation. The workstations will be used with multiple software packages including NCR’s ‘Advanced [email protected]’ application. Dollar Tree also plans to install NCR in-store desktop computers for back office functionality and NCR ‘7880’ barcode scanners in selected stores.
Capital One has taken over the BMG Entertainment co-branded bank credit card program from Wachovia. The new ‘Capital One/BMG VISA’ will enable cardholders to earn 3 points for every $1 spent in the BMG Music Service (CDs and other merchandise) and 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere. The points may be redeemed for free CDs, concert tickets, audio equipment, and gift certificates to buy from the BMG Music Service catalog. New cardholders also receive a free CD for their first purchase with the new ‘BMG VISA’. Until Jan. 1, 2001, a portion of every ‘BMG VISA’ transaction will be donated to the Christina Aguilera Foundation benefiting abused, homeless or sick children. Cap One is charging an intro APR of 3.9% through the May 2001 billing period followed by an on-going APR of 12.9% (fixed) for the ‘Classic VISA’ version of the program. Students applying for the card will be issued the ‘College Student VISA’ card which carries an APR of 19.80% (fixed). The cobranded credit card is part of a larger promotional marketing relationship between the two companies. BMG and Capital One will also participate in several cross-promotional initiatives, including direct marketing, online and events. BMG Entertainment signed its first co-branded bank credit card agreement with Wachovia in May 1997. It was also the first co-branded program for Wachovia. The ‘Wachovia BMG VISA’ was introduced in Sept. 1997, and offered the same rewards program as the Capital One version. However the Wachovia version offered an intro APR of 7.9% and an on-going APR of prime +7.9%. This is the second major co-branded card program announced by Capital One in the past month. On Sept. 19, Capital One unveiled the new ‘Kmart MasterCard’. (See CF Library 5/20/97; 10/1/97; 9/19/00: and 9/26/00)
Michigan credit unions have the answer for consumers interested in avoiding ATM surcharges — join a credit union.
Credit Union ATM Alliance, developed by Service Centers Corporation’s SC24 EFT network and the Michigan Credit Union League, has merged into Alliance One — the selective-surcharge ATM group based in Columbus, Ohio. The merger brings to more than 600 the number of participating financial institutions and more than 1,625 ATMs now in the Alliance One group. The merger has added almost 300 credit unions and more than 800 ATMs into the fold.
For consumers — specifically members of participating credit unions — the expanded alliance translates into double the access to surcharge-free ATMs. Alliance One network members enjoy surcharge-free ATM transactions in 22 states and Germany, with Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana having the most participating credit unions. Consumers can locate participating credit unions and surcharge-free ATM sites by logging on to [http://www.mcul.org] and clicking the “ATM Search Engine” button.
The alliance was formed to provide credit unions the ability to offer members access to surcharge-free ATM terminals — even when traveling, but now includes other types of financial institutions, such as, community banks and thrifts.
Members of participating credit unions now need only look for the deep blue and white Alliance One logo to locate a non-surcharging machine. Those members can use the ATM free of surcharges, even if the ATM owner decides to surcharge other cardholders.
“The overwhelming majority of credit union leaders are united in their support of forming non-surcharging alliances within the credit union community,” said Dan Balagna, president and chief executive officer for SCC, which operates the SC24 EFT network, a credit union-owned EFT network. “We think that Alliance One has become a strong Midwest selective-surcharge group that has potential to expand regionally and nationally.”
“Michigan credit unions are committed to improving service for credit union members everywhere,” said David Adams, president and chief executive officer for the MCUL. “Alliance One allows credit unions to cooperate to provide an expanded network of surcharge-free ATMs to the individual members. This alliance reinforces the value of being a credit union member.”
Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League is a statewide trade association representing Michigan credit unions. Based in Northville Township with a satellite office in Lansing, the MCUL offers credit unions assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, legislative advocacy, media advocacy, education and operational information. Visit the League Web site at [http://www.mcul.org] .
Service Centers Corporation is a not-for-profit credit union service organization (CUSO) owned and governed by over 240 credit unions with collective assets of over $18.9 billion and over 3.8 million members. In addition to its SC24 ATM network, SCC pioneered the nation’s first credit union shared branch network 25 years ago. SCC has 20 shared branches in Michigan and operates four shared branches in Virginia and Maryland near Washington, D.C., through a business alliance with Encore Branch Services Corporation, another CUSO based in Falls Church, Virginia. SCC’s SC24 ATM network serves over 200 credit unions with nearly 600 ATMs and can be found on its Web site [http://www.scc-sc24.org] . A list of the Alliance One ATMs is available on the Michigan Credit Union League Web site, [http://www.mcul.org] . SCC is an equal partner in the national shared branching network organization, Credit Union Service Centers Network, Inc. (CUSCNI), and a shareholder in Member Access, the national ATM network for credit unions.