Online Ads

Providian and NextCard continue to dominate the online credit card ads war. According to the latest Nielsen//NetRatings audience measurement survey, Providian purchased 504 million ad impressions during March while NextCard purchased 163 million. Overall, nearly $280 million was spent on online advertising in March . Nielsen noted that traditional companies spent an estimated $123.3 million or 44% of the total dollar spent on Web campaigns. The company says traditional offline companies have caused a seismic shift in the sheer number of companies opting to do online campaigns and the amount of money they spend, signaling a healthy forecast for the industry as the year progresses. Recent online campaign announcements from Pepsi, Diet Coke and Ford suggests renewed interest in the medium by traditional advertisers and agencies.

Top Five Traditional Online Advertising Spenders
Company Impressions
1. Equifax Inc. 636,045,000
2. Providian Bank Corp. 503,597,000
3. E*Trade Group Inc. 253,667,000
4. JP Morgan Chase & Company 200,532,000
5. Nextcard Inc. 163,097,000


Wachovia Deal

There is speculation this morning that the Bank One/First USA acquisition of Wachovia’s card portfolio will come apart. The trouble is centered on the agent relationship for future credit card accounts. Wachovia agreed to sell its $8 billion credit card portfolio to Bank One/First USA on April 9 and enter into a long-term agent bank relationship. One week later Wachovia announced plans to merge with First Union. On August 14, First Union agreed to sell its remaining credit card portfolio to MBNA and signed a long-term agent bank relationship. Therefore the question remains as to who will issue cards to the merged bank. Wachovia indicates it is seeking a solution but analysts see a real tug-of-war between MBNA and Bank One/First USA over the deal. One possibility is that Bank One/First USA could acquire the Wachovia portfolio but relinquish its right to issue future cards under the agent relationship. The MBNA/First Union deal in August involved a consumer revolving credit portfolio of $5.3 billion in loans and more than 3 million accounts, and a commercial credit card portfolio of $215 million in loans and approximately 300,000 accounts. At the end of the first quarter, Wachovia had $7,657,390,682 in receivables and 2,483,924 active accounts, according to CardData ([][1]). (CF Library 8/15/00; 4/19/01)



Online Dining

American Express introduced a new online restaurant reservations service which allows users to make and instantly confirm online restaurant reservations at hundreds of restaurants throughout the USA. Users of the service also can conveniently access restaurant ratings and reviews while making their online dining reservations. With the new ‘American Express Online Restaurant Reservations’ service users first select a city. They can then search by cuisine, neighborhood and cost, or they can choose to see all the restaurants that take online reservations in that city. Users automatically receive an email confirmation regarding the details of their reservation. The service is powered by OpenTable’s real-time reservations network and also includes Zagat Survey’s consumer-based restaurant ratings and reviews.


The Gasper Advantage

Gasper Corporation, a leading provider of automated teller machine management software, announced that it has completed an implementation of Gasper Manager for Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares, Incorporated, increasing the uptime percentage across the system to 98.7%. Gasper Manager monitors the ATM network of 1,400 machines, and dispatches services calls based on parameters specified by Huntington Bank.

“Gasper Manager has increased our uptime across the network, enabling our customers to use the ATM they want, when they want to use it,” said Melissa Altic, Assistant Vice President and Section Manager for ATM Customer Support. “That’s very important to us as a customer-service oriented bank.”

Gasper Manager automatically sends an electronic message to the first-line service provider when a problem is detected. If a technician does not arrive within the time parameters established by Huntington, the problem is escalated to a higher priority until a technician arrives. Huntington Bank management set the parameters for response time, escalation, and other service level issues, customizing the system in accordance with its own priorities for vendor management.

In addition to improving the bank’s relationship with its customers, Gasper Manager has improved the relationship with the first-line service providers. “They get updated and consistent information, and they get it faster,” says Altic. “This helps them dispatch more efficiently, and they do a better job for us.”

To speed the deployment of the new methodologies prior to deploying Gasper Manager network-wide, Huntington Bank designed and implemented a stringent testing program to make sure that the system would work the way it was designed, and that it could be deployed seamlessly, with no interruption of service. Gasper Corp.’s engineers and analysts worked closely with bank personnel to design and implement the test plan.

Gasper Manager is the leading ATM management solution, used by over 170 ATM deployers to manage approximately 170,000 ATMs. It interprets ATM status codes, taking appropriate action based on business rules defined by the customer; opens and manages trouble tickets; notifies appropriate personnel; and reports ATM network and service team activity.

The Gasper Manager solution enables increased ATM availability, reduced service costs through the reduction of first and second line service calls, and reduced operational costs due to improved help desk productivity.

About Huntington Bank

Since 1866, Huntington has been a sound provider of financial products and services. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Huntington is a $29 billion regional bank committed to providing quality, differentiated products and to delivering legendary customer service.

About Gasper Corporation

Gasper Corp., a leading provider of ATM management software, offers comprehensive solutions that are specifically tailored to solve ATM management problems. The company’s solutions monitor ATMs and manage the entire ATM support process to maximize ATM availability, profitability and customer satisfaction for ATM networks worldwide. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, the company’s solutions are used to manage more than 170,000 ATMs worldwide. Visit the Gasper Corp. web site at [][1].



Competix CEO

Competix, a leading provider of automated, web-based lending solutions to small and mid-sized financial institutions, launched the next phase of its growth with the announcement of new management and additional funding support from its principal investors.

Michel Chalifoux has been named Chief Executive Officer and Paul Adams has been named Head of Business Development.

Mr. Chalifoux will bring his extensive experience in technology-driven businesses, most recently managing the lending technologies of Bank of Montreal. Paul Adams, who comes from InsideOut Technologies, brings more than 20 years of experience developing and marketing consumer lending and credit management solutions to the financial world.

“This is an exciting time to be with Competix,” said Mr. Chalifoux. “We will continue to grow our customer base of more than 100 small and mid-sized banks and we will look for alliance partners to enrich our product base and extend our distribution channels.” Mr. Chalifoux said that Competix was also pleased to have all of its strategic investors participating in this next phase of its growth. Competix was initially established as a joint venture between American Management Systems (NASDAQ:AMSY) and Bank of Montreal (NYSE,TSE:BMO). J.P. Morgan Corsair joined the company as a strategic partner almost one year ago.

About Competix

Competix is a leading provider of automated lending solutions to issuers of credit nationwide. Credit Manager and Business Manager, the company’s ASP (Application Service Provider) lending solution, is a turnkey credit decision service based on proven, state-of-the-art lending technology developed by American Management Systems, Inc., a $1.24 billion international information technology firm and Bank of Montreal, one of the largest banks in North America.

The Credit Manager service supports a wide range of personal loan products including installment loans, credit cards, mortgage loans, overdraft protection, and home equity loans. The Business Manager service supports a wide range of small business loan products including installment loans, revolving credit lines and indirect lending. Both Credit Manager and Business Manager are offered as cost-effective alternatives to traditional large-scale lending software and expensive hardware systems.

For more information about Competix, please visit their web site at [][1] or call (650) 373-3700.



ECHO 1Q/01

Electronic Clearing House reported second fiscal quarter net earnings of $167,000, compared to a net loss of $219,000 for the same period last year. Total revenue for the quarter ending Mar. 31 was $7,380,000, an increase of 12.3% over the same period last year. Bankcard processing and transaction revenues increased 10.3% from $6,363,000 in the second fiscal quarter 2000 to $7,019,000 for this fiscal quarter. Check-related revenue increased 93.6% from $544,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2000 to $1,053,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2001. Terminal sales decreased from $161,000 in the second fiscal quarter 2000 to $108,000 for this fiscal quarter. Overall, gross margins from processing and transaction revenue increased from 28.8% in the second fiscal quarter 2000 to 35.9% for this fiscal quarter. For more details on ECHO’s latest quarterly results visit CardData ([][1]).



Biometric Suit

VeriStar Corp. announced Wednesday it has filed a patent infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for Northern California against Biometric Access Corporation of Round Rock, Texas. In the filing, VeriStar claimed BAC has willfully and knowingly developed and offered for sale a payment system that directly infringes multiple patents that have been issued to VeriStar. VeriStar’s fully voluntary service enables a cashless, checkless, cardless payment environment in which consumers will use their own unique physical characteristics to complete their daily payment transactions securely, conveniently, and efficiently.


Hypercom 1Q/01

Hypercom said this morning it expects to return to profitability during the latter part of the year. The company reported first quarter net revenues of $71.1 million compared to $77.3 million in the year-ago period. The net loss for the quarter in the core point-of-sale unit, exclusive of the losses incurred for currency translation and banking charges related to the forbearance and seeking new financing, was $4.2 million. However demand for the advance technology Internet-enabled ‘ePic’ terminals has produced a backlog of $163 million, up from $158 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2000. For the three months ended March 31, research and development expense decreased 22% to $8.3 million from $10.7 million in the year-ago period. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 6% to $21.5 million from $22.8 million in the year-ago period. Gross margins were 35.4%, down from 39.7% in the year-ago period. For more details on Hypercom’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([][1]).



EPHONE Card Order

ePHONE Telecom, Inc., a global Internet telephony services carrier for businesses and individuals, announced that it has secured its first significant prepaid calling card order from a calling card marketing organization headquartered in North America.

The purchase order calls for the mid-May issuance of approximately 560,000 prepaid calling cards of differing denominations to be distributed among the marketing organization’s customer base, which is largely North American customers calling globally. The distribution will take place over the next quarter and is anticipated to yield revenue of approximately $2.5M to ePHONE. This order is consistent with the business priority outlined in ePHONE’s recently amended 10k and executed by ePHONE’s new President, Carmine Taglialatela, which stresses the goal of generating immediate revenue utilizing applications like prepaid calling cards.

The prepaid calling card application is a logical target given the versatility of ePHONE’s wholly owned Internet gateways which are capable of supporting multiple points of access. The prepaid calling card market is increasingly attractive, given the demographics of individual global calling communities throughout the U.S.

The ethnic market continues to be the main force behind the growth of the prepaid card industry as more ethnic communities adopt the use of prepaid cards. This has been validated by significant growth in the marketplace, as Atlantic – ACM, a global research consulting firm headquartered in Boston, has determined in a recent study.

The study found a base of 30 million cards in North American circulation in 1993, which grew to 400 million in 1998 and is expected to grow to 700 million cards in 2003. Atlantic – ACM also anticipates prepaid revenues to approach $6-7 billion by 2005.

Carmine Taglialatela, ePHONE’s President commented as follows: “We’re finding that an aggressive approach to the prepaid calling card market is well-timed in the current environment. We see this order as the first in a series of upcoming announcements over the next quarter as we continue to generate revenue and build shareholder value.”

About ePHONE Telecom

ePHONE Telecom is a global full service telecommunications provider for businesses and individuals. ePHONE enables long distance calling at local pricing via access devices that connect customers to ePHONE’s network built on its award winning Internet Protocol (IP) technology. For more information about ePHONE Telecom, please visit [][1].



Online Promotion

VISA U.S.A. launched the “Win What You Spend x 10″ Sweepstakes” yesterday. The sweepstakes has been designed to drive traffic to merchant Web sites and increase online payment card usage. Over 20 leading online retailers and over 60 VISA member banks are participating in the promotion. Each time cardholders use their VISA card to make an online purchase at participating merchants between May 1 and May 31, they will be automatically entered to win ten times the amount of their purchase, with the opportunity to win up to $10,000. During the promotional period, a total of 31 lucky winners will be selected. The sweepstakes will be supported through a comprehensive marketing program, including online advertising on popular shopping-related sites, email and viral marketing campaigns, and online merchant point-of-sale signage.


Gemplus 1Q/01

Gemplus International said yesterday it is making changes to become more financially competitive. The smart card manufacturer reported first quarter revenue of 294 million Euros, up 27% from the same quarter a year ago and a net 1Q/01 loss of 7 million Euros. Operating loss was 2.5 million Euros, compared with an operating profit of 14 million Euros for the same quarter a year ago. The company announced plans to restructure its operations and forecasted a 35 million Euro charge in the second quarter. The restructuring includes a project to close its Seebach, Germany facility and a rebalancing of its worldwide production facilities. The company also said it would organizationally combine its Financial Services business with its E-business Security business while continuing to maintain a distinct focus on each of these important market segments. Gemplus indicated that it expects revenue for its second quarter to increase 7% from the same quarter a year ago with operating income at about the breakeven level before restructuring. For more details on Gemplus’ 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([][1]).



Cabela’s Deal

U.S. Bank Merchant Payment Services announced it has signed a multi-year payment processing agreement with Cabela’s, Inc., the World’s Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. Based in Sidney, Neb., Cabela’s distributes its products through catalogs, the Internet and seven retail showrooms in the United States.

![][1] U.S. Bank Merchant Payment Services is one of the nation’s top 10 merchant payment processors with over $30 billion in processing volume and 90,000 merchant locations. U.S. Bank will provide Cabela’s with all merchant credit card processing services, in addition to banking services currently provided which include cash management and foreign currency services as well as inventory financing.

“Cabela’s has enjoyed a long relationship with U.S Bank. We selected U.S. Bank because of their commitment to technology and their past support of our business,” said Dave Roehr, vice president of planning and marketing for Cabela’s.

“We are excited to be working with Cabela’s and are pleased they recognize our commitment to technology through industry-leading products such as Merchant CARE, our online reporting system. We look forward to providing them with the best banking services as we build the best bank in America,” said Richard Davis, vice chairman of consumer banking and payment services at U.S. Bank.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with assets in excess of $160 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,242 banking offices and 5,208 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of Firstar Banks and U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at [][2] and Firstar Bank at [][3].

Cabela’s, founded in 1961 is the World’s Foremost Outfitter(R) of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear. Today, Cabela’s produces over 75 million catalogs each year offering reasonable prices and high quality gear to outdoor enthusiasts in all 50 United States as well as 120 countries around the world. Currently, Cabela’s operates retail showrooms in Sidney and Kearney, Neb.; Owatonna and East Grand Forks, Minn.; Prairie du Chien, Wis.; Mitchell, S.D.; and Dundee, Mich. The Company, which is headquartered in Sidney, Neb., has approximately 6,000 employees. Visit Cabela’s on the web at [][4].

[1]: /graphic/cabelas.gif