FDC Signs Category 5

Category 5 Technologies, Inc. announced it has entered into a credit card transaction processing account with First Data Corporation. The addition of First Data to the various payment processing platforms offered by Category 5 will enable Category 5 customers to benefit from a decentralized platform that is global and highly reliable.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary ePenzio, Inc., Category 5’s bankcard processing relationships have expanded to now include this highly scalable platform, which will benefit current and prospective small- and medium-size business clients by allowing them access to more robust and international payment systems. Payment processing is one of several core product and service suites offered by Category 5. In addition to payment processing, Category 5 offers web design, web hosting, e-commerce technology such as shopping carts and payment plug-ins, and marketing and promotions software and services.

“Our new relationship with First Data allows us to further extend our service offering for our customers,” said William Gibbs, CEO of Category 5. “We identified that small- to medium-size enterprises need to be able to process transactions on multiple platforms, and followed through with a full-service package from the premier institution providing this service. We are very pleased with the addition of First Data, since this change allows us to meet the needs of customers who have either a terminal or processing gateway that is platform specific,” he added.

About Category 5 Technologies

Category 5 Technologies is a leader in using technology to make small and medium-sized businesses more efficient in their marketing and profitable in their operations. The Company provides marketing tools and commerce enabling technology and services to small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States and internationally. From e-commerce platforms, web sites, shopping carts, merchant accounts and payment plug-ins, to communications and promotions tools, Category 5 enables both brick and mortar as well as Internet businesses to operate more efficiently and profitably, and to gain and retain new customers. Category 5 continues to seek synergistic companies, technologies and platforms for acquisition.

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Rate Cut

As the Federal Open Market Committee convenes today it is expected that another 50 bps reduction in short-term interest rates will materialize. The rate cuts have pushed average credit card portfolio yields up by nearly 200 bps this year. If the 3.0% federal funds rate is cut to 2.5%, it will be the lowest level since 1962. A 2.5% rate would effectively produce a negative real interest rate, as inflation in August stood at 2.7%. This would also be the ninth rate cut this year, and the second rate change since the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks. Yesterday, the Commerce Department reported that personal income was flat in August, while after-tax income rose slightly due to recently issued tax rebate checks. Personal consumption increased 20 bps in August which pushed up savings for the first time in two years. According to RAM Research’s Bankcard Barometer, average portfolio yields, among issuers with at least $100 million in receivables, have increased from 14.87% in January to 16.81% in August.

PORTFOLIO YIELDS
(Gross Interest income/Average Receivables)
Jan 01: 14.87%
Feb 01: 14.86%
Mar 01: 14.86%
Apr 01: 15.01%
May 01: 15.44%
Jun 01: 15.76%
Jul 01: 16.21%
Aug 01: 16.63%
Sep 01: 16.81%
note: based on previous month’s performance
SOURCE: RAM Research’s Bankcard Barometer

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CAP ONE & AMEX

Capital One and American Express have announced an agreement, that will see Capital One issue a range of Capital One American Express branded Credit Cards to customers in the UK during August.

This alliance brings together the unique strengths of two major players in the credit card industry. It will lend significant strategic advantages to the two institutions in jointly tapping the vast potential of one of the world’s largest card markets.

The Capital One American Express Cards that will be available directly from Capital One, will operate on the American Express global merchant network. Capital One, as issuer of the products, will be responsible for all servicing of the Card including billing, accounting, customer service, authorizations, as well as for all marketing activity.

Capital One is the 78th partner to join American Express’ group of Card-issuing partners, illustrating the success of the Company’s strategy to open up its merchant network to card-issuing institutions around the world.

Since its inception, Capital One has grown dramatically due to the success of its sophisticated card acquisition programs, which have enabled it to acquire more than 38 million customers globally and close to two million Cardholders in the UK since 1996.

Rob Habgood, Vice President, Capital One, said, “This partnership has been made between two global financial service brands that share the same ambitions for growth and for excellence in customer service. Capital One recognises the unique strengths of the American Express brand and we are confident that this partnership will augment our reputation as a card issuer that is dedicated to offering a range of financial products that are closely tailored to the needs of consumers in the UK.”

American Express is pursuing a strategy of opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to other card issuers around the world, as a major growth initiative for the company. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of the American Express brand, American Express aims to become the premier global network and gain wider reach to customers worldwide. In the last several years it has developed 78 card-issuing relationships in 75 countries. In Europe alone, American Express has established 30 such alliances.

Peter Wright, Senior Vice President, Global Network Services, American Express, said, “Today’s announcement represents a significant milestone in American Express’ strategy to partner with world leading financial institutions. We are delighted that Capital One, which has an outstanding reputation in the marketplace, will soon launch a range of American Express branded Cards in the UK.”

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Fleet Goes CLSO

Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc., said that Fleet Credit Card Services, a subsidiary of FleetBoston Financial, the nation’s seventh-largest financial services company, has purchased its Credit Line Strategy Optimization service to manage its credit card portfolio–a development that now places CLSO squarely within three top U.S. lending institutions representing more than 50 million customers.

CLSO was introduced by Fair, Isaac three months ago expressly to help credit card issuers improve account profitability through optimal credit line assignments. CLSO automates this complex process for the first time and optimizes the results down to the individual customer’s account. It is the first application of the company’s breakthrough Strategy Science–termed the “third revolution” in decision analytics because it enables customers to model the decision itself. Through CLSO, strategic options are clearly and concisely defined and openly identified. As a result, portfolio managers can fully understand how their choice of a particular strategy will play out against the business objective they seek to optimize. By using CLSO, a lender can experiment with any number of “what if” scenarios before settling on precisely the right strategy to meet the stated business objective.

“We are very pleased that Fleet Credit Card Services has decided to work with Fair, Isaac in this new area of strategy optimization,” said Tom Grudnowski, CEO of Fair, Isaac. “As one of the country’s most progressive financial institutions, it’s not surprising to find Fleet very much on the leading edge of technology that brings empirical judgement to the critical process of setting precise business strategies,” he said.

“We are excited about the benefits CLSO can provide us in portfolio management strategy optimization,” said Chaomei Chen, Executive Vice President at Fleet Credit Card Services.

About Fair, Isaac

Fair, Isaac and Company is a global provider of customer analytics and decision technology. Widely recognized for its pioneering work in credit scoring, Fair, Isaac revolutionized the way lending decisions are made. Today the company helps clients in multiple industries increase the value of customer relationships. Fair, Isaac has made the Forbes list of the top 200 U.S. small companies eight times in the last nine years. Headquartered in San Rafael, California, Fair, Isaac reported revenues of $298 million in fiscal 2000.

For more information about Fair, Isaac and CLSO, visit the company’s Web site at [www.fairisaac.com][1].

[1]: http://www.fairisaac.com

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WorldPay & ClickPay

WorldPay, Inc., the global leader in multi-currency transaction processing and eCommerce, announced the continued expansion of its global market presence with the purchase of key assets of ClickPay, a managed services eCommerce solution enterprise owned by Professo, Inc.

Under the agreement, WorldPay will acquire all commercial assets of ClickPay from Professo, including the ClickPay name, Web site, domain name, customer base and reseller network. ClickPay’s business operations and payment gateway, which integrates e-merchant accounts with real-time credit card processing and shopping cart systems, will be transitioned into WorldPay’s eCommerce platform by December 2001.

As part of this agreement, Professo will integrate WorldPay’s payment gateway technology and Click and Build shopping cart into its flagship Hostflow product, formerly Appstreamer. Hostflow is Professo’s comprehensive end-to-end automation software platform for Hosting Service Providers (HSP) and Internet Data Centers (IDC).

The deal will enable WorldPay to expand its global reseller base with the addition of ClickPay’s partner network, and will give Professo privileged access to a large number of WorldPay’s service and telecommunications clients.

“This move enhances WorldPay’s position as a formidable eCommerce brand throughout global markets, augmenting our sales channels through ClickPay’s strong reseller network,” said WorldPay CEO Nick Ogden. “We are delighted to serve ClickPay’s customers and are committed, together with Professo, to ensuring a smooth transition.”

With the sale of ClickPay commercial assets, Professo completes its transition into a leading software company focused on the development and distribution of OSS (operations support systems) and BSS (business support systems) software tools to the network-based services sector.

“The ongoing partnership will benefit both companies, boosting WorldPay’s North American profile, while expanding Professo’s reach and strengthening the features of Hostflow, our flagship software platform,” said Christophe J. Arroyo, Chairman and President of Professo, Inc.

About Professo

PROFESSO is an Internet infrastructure software company focusing on automating BSS (business support systems) and OSS (operations support systems) for Hosting Service Providers and Internet Data Centers. Professo’s flagship software, HostFlow, is an end-to-end software platform that automates critical business and operation processes, including the creation, customization, provisioning and billing of service packages, with full support for multi-tiered sales channels. Professo, founded in 1998, is headquartered in New York City and has its European offices located in Saint-Etienne, France. Professo can be reached on the web at [www.professo.com][1].

About WorldPay, Inc.

WorldPay ([www.worldpay.com][2]) was founded in 1993 and throughout its history has consistently developed innovative and secure Internet-based products and services.

Today, as the globally acknowledged and trusted leader in secure, multi-currency Internet payment solutions, WorldPay enables over 11,000 customers in 109 countries to sell to shoppers around the globe – in the language and currency of their choice.

Through its unique Guarantee, WorldPay makes international online transactions easy, safe and reliable by offering online businesses protection against card fraud, and shoppers peace of mind that they are buying with confidence from WorldPay Guaranteed online stores.

WorldDirect, WorldPay’s multi-currency payment system, is integrated to all the leading eCommerce store-building applications, including its own Click and Build. Other WorldPay services include micro-payments e-wallet solution WorldAccount, and repeat billing solution FuturePay.

Based in Cambridge, UK, WorldPay’s Americas center is located in metropolitan Washington, DC, in Sterling, Virginia, USA, and its Asia Pacific regional center is in Singapore.

WorldPay shareholders include NatWest Bank Plc, Energis Plc and PSINet.

[1]: http://www.professo.com
[2]: http://www.worldpay.com

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BASICCARD ZC4.1

ZeitControl has released ‘BasicCard ZC4.1’, a smart card that can be
programmed in Basic ad which sells for US$10. The new card has 32kBytes of
Eprom. For encryption the card supports DES as well as Triple-DES with a
key length of 1024 bit. Because of the powerful RISC-CPU the new BasicCard
is about four times as fast as the version 3. Baud rates from 9600 to
38,400 are supported. Development software can be downloaded at
www.basiccard.com.

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NetFlip Signs Issuers

NetFlip, a leading rewards-based marketing network, announced the addition of several leading direct marketers to its client roster including American Homeowners Association, AOL Time Warner, AT&T, Dell, eBay, First USA, Fleet Credit Card Services, JCPenney, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch Direct, Metris Companies, MSN, The New York Times, Providian, USA TODAY, the University of Phoenix, Vivendi Universal and Worldcom.

NetFlip’s performance-based marketing products deliver superior customer acquisition results for traditional offline direct marketers searching for cost-effective online marketing channels. “Historically, offline direct marketers were reluctant to allocate large budgets online. They simply couldn’t find online channels that could deliver new customers at a reasonable cost. Impression-based online channels, including large portals and networks, have struggled to produce a positive ROI for direct marketers,” said Erik Larson, NetFlip Co-founder and President. “Our clients know exactly how much they can afford to spend to acquire each new customer. At NetFlip we have built the technology and tools to guarantee our clients a great ROI on their marketing budget while delivering a large number of new customers.”

NetFlip leverages the NetFlip TransACT Technology Platform, a sophisticated direct marketing system that uses incentive, optimization and personalization technologies to drive superior conversion rates for NetFlip’s marketers and publishers. Unlike most online marketing technologies that optimize based on impressions or clicks, the NetFlip TransACT Technology Platform optimizes on completed transactions, fully closing the marketing loop. This ensures that NetFlip delivers the offers that the individual consumer is most likely to take at that time, resulting in conversion rates for NetFlip clients that are 5-10 times higher than industry average. The success of NetFlip’s solutions have resulted in substantial growth for NetFlip, which recorded 9.1 million unique U.S. visitors and 17.7 million unique worldwide visitors according to netScore’s July Internet Traffic report. NetFlip offers Marketers a wide selection of marketing channels: — NetFlip’s high-volume, targeted email solutions — NetFlip FlipMail Email — NetFlip FlipMail Newsletter — NetFlip and NetFlip Network website solutions — NetFlip Fast Cash — NetFlip Lead Generation — NetFlip Keyword Search — NetFlip Direct Mail solutions — NetFlip FastDirect Mail

About NetFlip

NetFlip, a leading rewards-based marketing network, provides top marketers including American Express, AT&T, Columbia House, and JP Morgan Chase with performance-based marketing solutions. The NetFlip TransACT Technology Platform enables marketers to reach consumers with compelling rewards and drive transactions on a Cost-Per-Action basis. NetFlip drives completed transactions for marketers including customer acquisition, registrations, downloads, website visits, member registrations, purchases, applications or any other action required by the marketer. NetFlip is a privately held company based in Palo Alto, California. The company achieved profitability and became cash flow positive in November 2000. For more information please visit [www.netflipnetwork.com][1].

[1]: http://www.netflipnetwork.com

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TNS names Environics

Transaction Network Services, Inc., the leading provider of communications services for financial and data transactions, has selected Environics Communications as its new U.S. public relations agency.

Environics will provide public relations strategic counsel and tactical implementation to TNS, which is headquartered in Reston, Va. and has operations worldwide. The account will be serviced primarily by Environics’ new Washington, DC office, which opened just this summer. Environics’ Stamford, Conn. office will also assist with U.S. public relations efforts. TNS was founded in August 1990 by Jack McDonnell to build and operate a communications network focused on the needs of the point-of-sale transaction processing industry. Today, TNS provides data communications for financial transactions such as point-of-sale processing of credit and debit cards, remote ATM networking, processing healthcare and other electronic benefits, approving telephone calling cards and wireless prepaid calling cards, and the processing of financial exchange transactions.

TNS has more than 70 percent of the U.S. transaction communications market, is the market leader in the U.K., and is also rapidly expanding operations in other countries around the world.

TNS joins several long-term Environics clients that are based in the Washington Baltimore market and serviced out of the agency’s Toronto, Stamford, and new D.C. offices. These clients include the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, BITS (the banking consortium working toward e- commerce initiatives), the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and Sylvan Learning Centers.

Founded in 1994 and now with nearly 70 staff in the United States and Canada and annual fee income over $6 million, Environics Communications, Inc. ( or ) is a full-service, management-owned and tri-lingual public relations agency. Environics provides breakthrough communications solutions for clients in the advanced technology, financial services, healthcare, multicultural, consumer, e-commerce, and communications and media sectors. The firm’s offices are located in Montreal, Toronto, Stamford and Washington, D.C.

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PPI EFT

CheckFree and Payment Processing have sealed a deal to enable PPI to offer B2B electronic payment processing services through CheckFree EFT technology. The CheckFree ‘e-Money’ ASP model is a Web-based product that allows subscribers to manage the movement of money through various accounts. When integrated with PPI’s custom ACH-compliant software, CheckFree’s EFT will enable B2B payment services for PPI customers in the USA. Because the solution is hosted at CheckFree, PPI has instant viewing access to the processing status of customer accounts.

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Debit Card Poll

More than half of Americans believe that merchants should not have the right to require the use of a PIN when making purchases with a VISA or MasterCard debit card. Nearly 60% say they would opt to sign for debit card purchases, instead of using a PIN, if they were rewarded with points or air miles. According to CardWeb.com’s ‘Online Poll’, 56% are not aware of the cost to the merchant for signature versus PIN debit card transactions. More than 15% of consumers say the cost for a PIN transaction is the same as a signature debit card transaction. More than half are not aware of any differences in the legal rights between signature and PIN-based debit card transactions. When it comes to using debit cards, 34% say the prefer to use PIN only, while 33% say they use signature only. The poll, conducted in August and September, comes in advance of an anti-trust trial between major retailers and VISA/MasterCard over acceptance of off-line debit cards which require significantly higher transaction fees than on-line debit cards. The trial is expected to get underway next year. Wal-Mart is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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Giant Eagle Gets ACM

IBM, Productivity Solutions, Inc. and Giant Eagle announced that Giant Eagle is installing the new ACM Self Checkout Solution from PSI and IBM in its grocery stores throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania.

These ACM Self Checkouts are now in 35 Giant Eagle stores, as part of a previously announced 60-store project, and already have processed more than $100 million of groceries. The ACM solution from PSI and IBM makes self checkout available to all shoppers with its ability to allow shoppers with either large or small baskets to scan their order and — without the need for a cashier — pay with cash, credit cards or debit cards.

“At Giant Eagle, we are committed to provide our customers with the best possible service and convenience,” said Jack Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Retail Operations, for Giant Eagle. “The ACM, with its ability to handle both full and express-size orders easily, offers us enhanced customer service options. These new units now include IBM’s point-of-sale (POS) components as well as IBM’s services and support. Our customers are telling us that they value this new technology as an important part of their shopping experience because it is fast, convenient and fun to use every time they shop.”

“Giant Eagle, with its focus on customer service, is rolling out ACM Self Checkout because their customers like and use it regularly, as evidenced by the large dollar volume that these systems handle in their stores,” said Michael Persky, President of PSI. “In this competitive climate, supermarkets require self checkout systems that are easy to use and flexible to handle any size order. Our store surveys support the importance of this new self checkout technology in attracting and retaining customers, with one third of consumers actually choosing a store based on the availability of ACM Self Checkout.”

“The ACM Self Checkout fits exceptionally well with our industry-leading point-of-sale systems, giving retailers like Giant Eagle a powerful front end solution to improve both customer service and operations,” said Tom Peterson, General Manager, IBM Retail Store Solutions. “Retailers across all of the retail segments are looking to integrate POS, self-checkout and other technologies into a seamless system that benefits both their customers and their store and supply chain operations. As we work with supermarket retailers, we are seeing that self-checkout is becoming an important customer service option for them.”

The ACM (Automated Checkout Machine), with its patented conveyor-based lane design, closely resembles a conventional checkout lane, yet incorporates full-color touch-screen, multi-media instruction, and online lookup screens to make it customer friendly and the easiest self checkout system to use. This patented lane design also provides the flexibility to accommodate shoppers with full or express size orders, which means the ACM can handle significantly more sales and more items than regular checkout lanes and competing self checkout solutions. The ACM can be customized by the retailer, and fits easily into each retailer’s front-end checkout area. All these capabilities lead to an unsurpassed return on investment in the self checkout industry. The new ACM solution is now integrated with IBM’s high-function, retail-hardened POS components and comprehensive IBM services and support, offering maximum reliability to retailers. PSI and IBM signed an agreement earlier this year to co-market the new ACM solution to retailers.

About Giant Eagle

Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 111 corporate and 90 independently owned and operated stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north eastern Ohio, and north central West Virginia. By offering modern stores with a wide range of departments and services, Giant Eagle strives to find new ways in offering convenience to their customers.

About PSI

Productivity Solutions, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of automated self checkout solutions in the US. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the company provides retailers with industry-leading software and systems designed specifically to enhance productivity while improving customer service. PSI, a private company, is backed by venture capital partners including Canaan Partners and GE. For more information about ACM Self Checkout and PSI, please visit [www.ps-inc.com][1].

About IBM

IBM, the world’s leading e-business and information technology company, provides the Retail Industry with a full range of e-business solutions, including: hardware and software technology, point-of-sale systems and software, consulting focused on business transformation, IT strategy and planning, store operations improvement, and supply chain optimization, and with services, such as outsourcing, managed operations, systems integration, and application development and design. IBM has been the leader in retail point-of-sale systems for more than 20 years. For more information on IBM Retail Solutions, please visit [www.ibm.com/solutions/retail][2].

[1]: http://www.ps-inc.com
[2]: http://www.ibm.com/solutions/retail

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