U.S. Bank and the Standard Insurance Company have teamed up to offer a stored value card to deliver long-term disability benefit payments. The ‘Standard SecureCard’ is the first and only card of its kind in group disability insurance. Monthly disability payments are automatically credited to the card on the scheduled benefit payment date. The VISA card can be used for purchases or ATM withdrawals and is reloaded with each new payment. Available in all states except New York, The ‘Standard SecureCard’ will be offered to disabled employees insured under long term disability policies that The Standard issued on or after January 1, 2001.Details
Citibank has joined with several other top U.S. companies in a new college savings program officially announced yesterday by MA-based Upromise Inc. Citibank will contribute 1% of purchases made on certain enrolled Citi credit cards for a $24.95 annual fee. Other companies, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, CVS/pharmacy, ExxonMobil, General Motors, McDonald’s, Toys”R”Us, AOL, Borders, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Countrywide Home Loans, Staples, and Starwood Hotels will also contribute a percentage of a customer’s spending to an Upromise college savings account. Anyone who enrolls in Upromise, via its Web site, will have a portion of his or her spending with contributing companies deposited in their Upromise college savings account. Families can multiply Upromise college contributions by building their own savings network of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, all directing their contributions to a child’s account. The Upromise service also offers the option of investing the contributions in a “529” college savings plan managed by Salomon Smith Barney or Fidelity Investments. Citibank is offering the program on its ‘Citibank Gold’, ‘Platinum Select’; ‘Driver’s Edge’; ‘Dividend’; ‘Premier’; ‘Citimiles’; ‘Sony Card’; ‘Citibank Visa Signature’; ‘Jack Nicklaus Cards’; and ‘Click Citi Platinum Select. Cardholders may earn up to $300 per year for their Upromise savings accounts. The Citibank Upromise annual fee is required for each enrolled Citibank card.Details
National Processing Company a leading provider of merchant credit card processing and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Processing, Inc. announced a five- year extension of its merchant processing contract with Universal Debit & Credit Corporation. UDC, a premier Independent Sales Organization based in Washington DC, markets merchant processing services to retail merchants and utilizes NPC as their exclusive credit card transaction provider.
“The Universal Debit & Credit relationship has been built on a similar vision that both companies possess — provide high-quality, superior products and outstanding service to the merchant community,” said Mark Pyke, executive vice president of Merchant Services for NPC. “ISOs in today’s market demand high-quality customer service — leading to minimized merchant attrition and maximizing the ISO’s residual potential. NPC will continue to provide value- added products and unparalleled service to our independent sales partners, making NPC the best choice for organizations looking for a long-term stable processor.”
“NPC provides unmatched service and product offerings to both ISO’s and their merchants,” said Lonnie D. Gaddy, co-founder of UDC. “NPC’s focus on the regional market, and its support levels for their independent partners have been critical to our company’s growth strategy. NPC brings economies of scale and unmatched professional expertise to this relationship, and we look forward to partnering with NPC for many more years to come.”
About Universal Debit & Credit Corporation
Universal Debit & Credit Corporation co-founded by Lonnie D. Gaddy and Carlos Gavidia, has been marketing credit and debit card acceptance, ATM services, EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer), and check services to merchants in the Mid Atlantic region since 1994. UDC currently supports over 110 bank locations and cumulatively represents more than 50-years of professional bankcard experience.
About National Processing Company
NPC is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing. NPC is 87 percent owned by National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC) ([http://www.nationalcity.com]), a Cleveland based $89 billion financial holding company, supporting over 500,000 merchant locations, representing nearly one out of every five Visa(R) and MasterCard(R) transactions processed nationally. NPC’s card processing solutions offer superior levels of service and performance and assist merchants in lowering their total cost of card acceptance through our world-class people, technology and service. Additional information regarding NPC can be obtained at [http://www.npc.net].
CheckFree Corporation announced revenues of $113.1 million for the third quarter ended March 31, 2001 compared to $79.7 million for the same quarter of fiscal 2000.
Total revenues for the quarter increased 42 percent over the comparative quarter of last year.
CheckFree reported a pro forma loss for the quarter of $3.5 million, or four cents per share, excluding the impact of acquisition-related amortization and one-time charges. This compares to a pro forma loss of $2.1 million, or four cents per share, for the same period in fiscal 2000. On a GAAP basis, the company reported a loss per share of $1.17, compared to $.07 in the third quarter of fiscal 2000, reflecting the impact of acquisition-related intangible amortization and a charge for the decline in value of investments in equity instruments.
CheckFree Chairman and CEO Pete Kight said, “I continue to be very pleased with the progress we are making this year. Our overall sequential quarterly subscriber growth rate of nine percent was at the high end of our expectations, and continues to be distributed across the range of financial services organizations and portals that offer electronic billing and payment. The sequential quarterly growth in the number of bills distributed per month continued at a greater than fifty percent sequential quarterly rate to about 350,000 in March, as more consumers are offered the convenience of viewing and paying their bills over the Internet. As we increase our subscriber and transaction volumes, we expect to continue to derive efficiencies from our operations,” Kight said.
Solid Performance on Core Electronic Billing and Payment Metrics
Performance across key operating metrics for the third quarter includes:
— Third quarter sequential quarterly subscriber growth was nine percent, modestly above the Company’s historic rate of six to eight percent, bringing the total subscriber count at the end of the quarter to about 4.8 million. The anticipated increase reflects the broader availability of electronic billing and payment in states served by Bank of America, and some increase in localized marketing by a number of financial services organizations.
— Nearly 300 sites are now live with full electronic billing and payment, up from nearly 275 at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2001 and compared to just over 150 at the close of the third quarter of fiscal 2000.
— The Company signed deals for electronic billing and payment with 23 targeted billers in the third quarter, bringing to 245 the total roster of bills that will be available on the Internet, which is up from 121 at the close of the third quarter of fiscal 2000.
— CheckFree distributed about 350,000 bills over the Internet in March, up from about 210,000 bills distributed in December, and up from 62,000 bills distributed in March of fiscal 2000. This equates to a run rate of more than four million bills per year.
— The Company processed about 21 million transactions in March, up from over 18 million transactions in December. The Company achieved an electronic payment rate of 62 percent, up from 60 percent in December and reflecting continued improvements in patented processes around risk management and payment routing, as well as improvements in exception prevention and electronic remittance connections.
— The number of primary billers with electronic bills live on the Internet increased by 12 in the quarter, bringing the total to 156, up from 76 at the close of the third quarter of fiscal 2000.
Pete Sinisgalli, CheckFree president and chief operating officer, said, “We planned to move 80 additional billers into production this fiscal year, so that by June 30 the average online consumer would be able to view and pay eight to 10 bills at their preferred site. Economic conditions are affecting implementations for some billers, which in turn is slowing the speed at which they are moving into production. We now expect to close this fiscal year having moved about 50 additional billers into production.
“We have therefore accelerated plans to bring as many as 30 additional bills to subscribers by leveraging new technology in our Genesis platform,” Sinisgalli continued. “Through a combination of distributed e-bills and aggregated biller-direct content, typical online consumers should be able to view and pay more than 10 bills by the end of the calendar year, at sites that have upgraded to the latest release of our services. For consumers, adding screen-scraped bills will assemble valuable content from some billers sooner than e-bill implementation will, but it falls short of enabling a richer relationship with the biller. Each person that elects to receive scraped content strengthens the business case for that biller to implement a distributed e-bill that can deliver interactive content and services to customers,” Sinisgalli concluded.
Solid Division Performance
CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce division reported revenue of $79.9 million for the quarter, representing 43 percent growth over the same quarter of fiscal 2000. The division posted a pro forma operating loss of $2.5 million, compared to a pro forma loss of $3.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2000.
“We expect operating efficiencies to continue to improve as we achieve higher volumes in the metrics most important to continuing our long-term market leadership,” Sinisgalli said. “Bank of America subscribers in 17 states now access electronic billing and payment through Genesis. We also are encouraged by the electronic billing and payment promotions and consumer incentives planned by Bank of America and our other financial services organization and biller partners for the remainder of the calendar year,” he added.
CheckFree Investment Services reported revenue of $17.9 million for the quarter, a 28 percent increase over the same quarter last year. Pro forma operating income for the quarter was $5.2 million, a 36 percent increase from the third quarter of fiscal 2000.
The Company’s Software businesses reported revenue in the quarter of $15.3 million, up more than 54 percent over revenue generated in the third quarter of fiscal 2000. This division had a pro forma operating loss of $0.4 million, down from pro forma operating income of $3.3 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2000, reflecting, as planned, continued investment in CheckFree i-Solutions, the Company’s e-billing and e-statement software and services unit.
“We had very good results across our operating divisions this quarter, with continued revenue growth and new account signings across each of our divisions,” said Sinisgalli. “Our Electronic Commerce division continues to make important strides in both market-leading innovation and operating efficiency. Innovations in the latest release of our WebPay service recently won the `Best of Show’ award at InternetWorld, the leading Internet technology trade show, for the advances in consumer convenience that integrating e-mail access to our core electronic billing and payment infrastructure enables. Through technology available today, consumers can use e-mail invitations to send or receive money, and can elect to view and pay their bills through e-mail access, while maintaining the security, routing, tracking and customer care of their trusted financial services provider,” he concluded.
Fourth Quarter Expectations
“We are forecasting revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001 to be in the range of $116 million to $121 million, with a pro forma loss per share of around one to three cents,” said David Mangum, CheckFree’s chief financial officer.
“In addition, we expect sequential quarterly subscriber growth for the fourth quarter to again be in the range of seven to nine percent, reflecting the increased availability of electronic billing and payment in states served by Bank of America and the continually increasing size of our subscriber base,” Mangum continued.
CheckFree Corporation is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products. Through its operating subsidiaries, CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable nearly five million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically through a variety of bill aggregation points, including banks, brokerage firms, portals and interactive content sites on the Internet, and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree’s range of services and products are focused on enabling customers to receive electronic bills and statements, make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure Internet transactions.
Third Quarter Highlights
April 19 — CheckFree i-Solutions announced an agreement with Malaysian-based KnowledgeBaze, a customer relationship management (CRM) software and service provider, to offer electronic billing and payment (EBP) capabilities to customers in Malaysia.
April 17 — Stephen Olsen is promoted to executive vice president and general manager of CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce Division, reporting to Pete Sinisgalli, president and chief operating officer of CheckFree.
April 10 — CheckFree Investment Services unveils CheckFree APL Plus, a new graphical user interface (GUI) and client/server extension of the UNIX-based CheckFree APL platform. CheckFree APL Plus emphasizes easy access to trading tools for portfolio managers and brokers. Merrill Lynch’s Personal Investment Advisory (PIA) Program is an early adopter of the solution.
April 9 — Southwest Bank of Texas, the largest independent bank in Houston, Texas, will use CheckFree RECON-Plus(TM) for Windows(R) to automate and support daily account reconciliation and daily deposit verification. Southwest Bank of Texas has been a customer with CheckFree since 1997, using its WebPay solution.
April 3 — EDB Teamco Dialog, Norway’s largest bill consolidator, added one of the country’s major electricity providers to its pioneering e-Billing service. EDB is using the CheckFree i-Series electronic billing and payment software platform. To date, EDB generates over 1.3 million consolidated summary pages a month for its e-billers.
March 19 — Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse announced that Lowe’s credit card holders will be able to receive and pay their bills online. Through a relationship with CheckFree i-Solutions, Lowe’s six million credit card holders can view and pay their Lowe’s credit card bills at their choice of nearly 275 financial services sites and Internet portals.
March 15 — Internet World Names CheckFree’s E-Bills and E-Payments through E-Mail “Best of Show” at Spring Internet World 2001. CheckFree is recognized among leading Internet companies for innovative use of technology and product leadership in business applications.
March 14 — National Life Insurance company selects CheckFree RECON-Plus(TM) for Windows(R) to automate manual processes and support daily account reconciliation. National Life is also implementing CheckFree APECS(TM) to ensure compliance with abandoned property reporting requirements nationwide.
March 13 — CheckFree debuts two extensions to its electronic billing and payment capabilities, aimed squarely at accelerating the convenience of Internet billing and payments for consumers. The first enhancement is the ability for consumers to receive and pay e-bills over e-mail. The second is the ability for consumers to exchange money with each other using e-mail “invitations” to send or receive money.
March 6 — DST Canada selects CheckFree RECON-Plus for Windows to support daily account reconciliation for its Transfer Agency Operations. DST Canada develops advanced back office software solutions and provides transfer agency services for financial institutions worldwide.
February 26 — CheckFree and Edward Jones, the only major financial services firm advising individual investors exclusively, today announced that electronic billing and payment is available to Edward Jones’ nearly five million investors. The implementation of CheckFree’s WebPay 3.1 strengthens Edward Jones’ commitment to offering Internet services tailored to the needs of individual investors.
February 23 — CheckFree i-Solutions and Honolulu Board of Water Supply (HBWS), the largest water utility in Hawaii, announce that electronic billing and payment is now available to over 150,000 HBWS customers. HBWS utility customers in Oahu can save time while increasing control over bill payments by receiving and paying their monthly electric bills online.
February 15 — CheckFree i-Solutions opens its Asia/Pacific marketing, sales and service office in Singapore. The initial market entry for CheckFree i-Solutions is to support partner led engagements in the region with its i-Series platform. In addition to in-country partners, global partners include IBM, Xerox and EDS.
February 14 — CheckFree Health & Fitness introduces RCM Professional Services to provide club management and operations consulting to clients in the health club industry. RCM Professional Services will specialize in technology solutions and business growth development.
February 8 — Ravi Ganesan, vice chairman, leaves CheckFree to accept a position as chief executive officer at SingleSignOn.Net, Inc., an Internet security company headquartered in Virginia. Randy McCoy, formerly executive vice president, product management and development, is promoted to chief technology officer.
February 7 — CheckFree i-Solutions announces that electronic billing and payment is now available to Entergy’s residential customers in Louisiana. Entergy plans to roll out the service to its customers in Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas over the next 12 months.
February 5 — CheckFree Investment Services announces an agreement with Schwab Consulting Services, part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., that enables Schwab to leverage CheckFree APL WRAP to streamline trading, straight-through processing (STP) and portfolio reporting requirements of its new managed account service for independent, fee-based investment advisors.
January 29 — CheckFree i-Solutions and Amica Mutual Insurance Company, a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal excess liability insurance, announced that Amica’s 500,000 property and casualty insurance customers can now receive and pay bills online. As a leading insurance provider, Amica has chosen to implement integrated software and services from CheckFree i-Solutions.
January 16 — CheckFree Corporation (NASDAQ: CKFR), the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products, today celebrated 20 years of industry leadership and technology innovation. The company was founded in January of 1981 by Pete Kight, CheckFree Chairman and CEO, in space his grandmother let him use rent-free in the basement of her home in Columbus, Ohio.
January 8 — CheckFree Corporation (NASDAQ: CKFR) today announced it has named Tacio Carvalho, an executive with more than 20 years of experience in the investment management industry, as executive vice president and general manager of CheckFree Investment Services.
Second Quarter Highlights
December 19 — CheckFree awarded the “eward” for “Best Large Public Company in Georgia 2000” by the Technology Associate of Georgia (TAG) and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
December 7 — CheckFree Health & Fitness Services, a division of CheckFree Corporation, announces the redesign of its RCM2001 Club Management Software. Based on N-Tier computing models, the redesigned club management solution will offer additional scalability, performance, load balancing and flexibility to CheckFree’s industry-leading management software.
November 30 — New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) customers can now choose to conveniently receive and pay their monthly NYSEG bills at nearly 250 financial services Web sites that offer CheckFree services.
November 29 — CheckFree announced its new CheckFree WebPay for Small Business service that enables CheckFree financial services partners to deliver electronic bill payment services that are optimized for their base of small business customers. The new service provides the functionality small businesses need to let them quickly and securely pay all of their bills online.
November 15 — CheckFree i-Solutions announced an agreement with Taipei-based C+H Technology Corporation (C+H) that enables C+H to offer electronic billing and payment (EBP) capabilities to companies in Taiwan. C+H, a specialist in software for printing and mailing subsystems, will resell the CheckFree i-Series suite of electronic billing software products and provide service and support for its customers in Taiwan.
November 14 — Bank of America and CheckFree announced that Bank of America has launched its new electronic billing and payment service, using the CheckFree Genesis platform, in selected Midwest markets. This announcement marks the first stage of the implementation of the strategic alliance forged by the two companies in April 2000.
November 13 — CheckFree announced a strategic business alliance with Data Support Systems of Omaha, Nebraska, and US Dataworks of Houston, Texas, to provide the industry’s first end-to-end solution for the conversion of returned checks to Automated Clearing House (ACH) items. The solution will integrate CheckFree’s PEP+ (Paperless Entry Processing), US Dataworks’ Returnworks system and TRIPS Incoming, the image-based return item processing solution from Data Support Systems.
November 9 — CheckFree announced that The Bombay Company, Inc (NYSE: BBA), a specialty home furnishings and accessories retailer, will use CheckFree RECON-Plus for Windows to automate and support daily account reconciliation and daily deposit verification for its 400 stores in the United States and Canada, and its mail order and online retail operations.
November 6 — CheckFree and GPU Energy, which operates the largest electric distribution system in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, announced that electronic billing and payment is available to GPU Energy’s customer base of more than two million customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
October 31 — CheckFree i-Solutions announced CheckFree i-Series 3.0, the first industrial strength software platform for high quality, high volume business-to-consumer and business-to-business electronic billing and statement applications. With the release of i-Series 3.0, CheckFree i-Solutions is delivering an advanced version of its flagship software product enabling billers to confidently deploy secure and reliable B2B and B2C e-billing applications for greater customer interaction.
October 24 — CheckFree announced revenues of $90.8 million for the first quarter ended September 30, 2000 compared to $69.0 million for the same quarter of 2000. Total revenues for the quarter increased 31 percent over the comparative quarter of last year.
October 2 – CheckFree announced that its strategic agreement with Bank of America has closed. CheckFree and Bank of America announced their intention to forge the strategic alliance on April 27, 2000 and began working together on plans to make electronic billing and payment services available to the Bank of America customer base.
First Quarter Highlights
September 28 — CheckFree shareholders approved the issuance of 10 million restricted shares of CheckFree Common Stock and performance-based warrants to purchase up to an additional 10 million shares of CheckFree Common Stock to Bank of America.
September 19 – Sears, Roebuck and Company’s approximately 60 million credit card customers will be able to view and pay their Sears bills online through their choice of CheckFree-powered Web sites.
September 18 – CheckFree’s client base of professional money managers and financial advisors is now running in excess of one million portfolios on the CheckFree APL platforms.
September 12 – EDS announced it is adding electronic billing and payment capabilities from CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of electronic billing and payment software and services, to its wide range of e-commerce solutions.
September 7 – CheckFree named Pitney Bowes docSense as a Premier Certified Partner through its CheckFree Partner Certification Program. The Certification Program is designed to offer partner organizations CheckFree’s leading distribution and payment systems as a complement to the partners’ products and services.
September 5 – CheckFree and TransPoint announced that the merger of the two companies has closed. On September 1, 2000, CheckFree shareholders approved the issuance of 17 million shares of CheckFree Common Stock in connection with the merger with TransPoint. The two companies announced their plans to merge in February 2000.
August 15 – CheckFree announced that it is providing EBP to SBC Communications, Inc. companies Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell. Customers in California, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Kansas can view and pay their monthly Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell bills online.
July 31 – CheckFree and AT&T announced that AT&T’s 60 million long distance customers can now view and pay their long distance phone bills online at their choice of CheckFree-powered web sites.
July 27 – Yodlee.com and CheckFree announced an agreement that will enable users to experience the convenience of CheckFree’s billing and payment services directly from Yodlee-powered services across the web.
July 27 — DocuCorp announced that electronic bill presentment and payment services are available for 155,000 residential and commercial members of Cobb Electric Membership Corporation (Cobb EMC) of Marietta, GA.
July 24 — Reliant Energy’s (NYSE:REI) 1.6 million electric and natural gas customers in the Houston area can eliminate their paper bills by viewing and paying their bills online at www.reliantenergy.com.
July 17 – Phillips 66 credit cardholders can now access their statements and pay their accounts online.
July 13 – CheckFree and APS, Arizona’s largest electric utility, announced an agreement to make electronic billing and payment available to APS customers.
July 12 – CheckFree will incorporate the Equifax Secure authentication engine into its electronic and billing payment enrollment process to more quickly and securely verify customer identity when signing up for service to view and pay bills electronically.
July 11 -Internet infrastructure developer 724 Solutions and CheckFree agreed to make EBP over wireless devices available to financial institutions that use CheckFree and the 724 Solutions Financial Services Platform.
July 10 – TIAA-CREF has selected CheckFree RECON-Plus for Windows to support daily account reconciliation for its growing transaction volume base.
For details on CheckFree’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
World Wireless Communications announced that FreedomPay.com has selected its X-traWeb embedded Internet technology as the key enabling component of its cashless, cardless vending network.
FreedomPay.com will employ World Wireless’ X-traWeb miniature web servers, Internet gateways, and radio technologies to allow customers to purchase products without the need for coins or paper currency at a variety of locations including vending machines, quick-serve restaurants, and convenience stores. FreedomPay.com’s service allows registered customers to fund online accounts with a traditional credit or debit card and receive a unique PIN number and password, as well as a FreedomPay Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wand, which can then be used at any facility or vending machine that is equipped with a FreedomPay sensor or terminal.
! Consumers’ purchases are automatically deducted from their account through FreedomPay’s network via the Internet.
“FreedomPay.com’s mission is not only to provide consumers and businesses with new ways to interact and conduct business, but foster long-lasting relationships which extend beyond the simple transaction.
“By offering our members the convenience of cashless transactions with loyalty and other special incentives, while at the same time, improving the quick and efficient service of customers, we can offer a greater value proposition to all parities, and it is World Wireless and its X-traWeb technology that enables us to do this,” said Tom Durovsik, chief executive officer, FreedomPay Inc. Following highly successful launches of FreedomPay in its North Carolina and Connecticut facilities last year, Canteen, the world’s largest vending company and a subsidiary of Compass Group North America, has signed an exclusive agreement to progressively install FreedomPay systems which incorporate X-traWeb technology in 50,000 vending machines by the end of 2002.
Compass Group is currently installing FreedomPay-powered vending machines in facilities throughout Boise, Idaho. Additionally, FreedomPay has recently introduced its services to quick-serve restaurant operators including a test market at 29 McDonald’s restaurants in southern Idaho.
David D. Singer, president and chief executive officer of World Wireless Communications, stated, “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with FreedomPay.com, a company which clearly shares our vision for the connected world.
“With the incorporation of our X-traWeb technology, FreedomPay and its business customers are demonstrating how integrating the Internet into their businesses can improve customer service, enhance the end-user experience, as well as create new service opportunities.”
The ability to use the Internet to communicate from virtually anywhere was key to the selection of X-traWeb’s web-enabling technologies. X-traWeb is a critical advancement for the next evolution of Internet application — creating an eLifestyle whereby many commonly used products will be easily and quickly monitored and controlled remotely through the Internet from anywhere in the world.
Unlike most competing technologies, no proprietary protocols are used in X-traWeb’s open architecture solutions. X-traWeb is fully TCP/IP compatible and meets current and emerging international Internet communications standards. The X-traWeb system consists of two components. The X-Node(TM) is a miniature HTTP web server available on a one-square-inch embeddable board or as licensed firmware, which is attached to devices. The X-Gate(TM) is a small, rugged Internet Gateway device that replaces the more common Internet gateway: the PC.
The connection between the X-Nodes and X-Gate can be either wireless or wired.
FreedomPay Inc., headquartered in Wayne, Pa., is the leading provider of cashless payment and rewards systems that leverages the Internet to provide a ubiquitous, micro-payment solution for its members and retailers. Working in conjunction with all existing payment channels and industries, FreedomPay provides a seamless, transparent payment and direct marketing outlet that allows retailers and manufacturers to build brand loyalty by reaching their consumers with highly targeted promotions and rewards at the point-of-purchase. Leading investors include Nokia Venture Partners, Sun America/AIG and Kellett Investments. For more information about FreedomPay, its partners and how it works, visit [www.freedompay.com].
About World Wireless Communications Inc.
World Wireless Communications Inc. is a leading developer of wireless and Internet systems. The company develops and distributes components for its X-traWeb(TM) network, a convergence technology for the monitoring and control of remote systems through the Internet. XWC also focuses on spectrum radios in the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz Bands. X-traWeb is a critical advancement for the next evolution of Internet application — creating an eLifestyle whereby many commonly used products will be easily monitored and controlled remotely through the Internet from anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at [www.worldwireless.com].
Toronto-based 724 Solutions yesterday unveiled its new ‘Alerts Platform 3.0-Enterprise Edition’, which enables card issuers to offer an internally-based personalized alerts service for their cardholders. The new edition allows card issuers to instantaneously notify cardholders about suspicious credit card activity. The solution is available in several languages, including Japanese, Korean, French and Spanish. ‘Alerts Enterprise Edition’ can be fully integrated into a card issuer’s existing databases and legacy applications. The collected data from the alerts services can provide a customer with valuable insights into its customer base and can help enable the development of additional targeted services.Details
Advanta announced yesterday it will now focus all its operating activities on the business credit card operation and small business market. The news follows the closing of several deals to unload other Advanta businesses including its mortgage business. First quarter net income for Advanta Business Cards was $8.3 million, representing an after tax return on average managed receivables of 2.0% on an annualized basis. Business Cards ended the quarter with managed receivables of $1.78 billion, as compared to $1.66 billion at year end 2000. Delinquencies (30+ days) were 5.2% for 1Q/01 compared to 3.44% one year ago. Charge-offs for the first quarter were 6.5% on an annualized basis compared to 4.42% for 1Q/00. For complete details on Advanta’s 1Q/01 and previous performance please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The Spiegel Group announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001. The company reported a net loss of $12.2 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to earnings of $20.2 million, or $0.15 per share, before the cumulative effect of an accounting change, in the first quarter of 2000. Results were consistent with previous guidance and First Call consensus estimates.
“As expected, the first quarter presented a more challenging economic environment as well as difficult comparisons to last year’s strong first quarter results,” stated James W. Sievers, office of the president and chief financial officer of The Spiegel Group. “We experienced higher charge-offs in our credit card businesses and customer response in each of our merchant companies was relatively weak. Clearly, the economy has negatively affected consumer behavior and our financial results.”
Operating income declined by $47.2 million for the quarter, including a $51.8 million decrease in income for the merchandising segment and a $4.4 million improvement in the bankcard segment.
Total revenue for the quarter declined 3 percent to $749.6 million reflecting a 3 percent decrease in net sales and a 10 percent decrease in finance revenue.
Net sales for the quarter included a 2 percent decline in direct sales and a 3 percent drop in retail store sales. Direct sales are comprised of a 94 percent lift in e-commerce sales and a 13 percent decrease in catalog sales. The drop in retail store sales was due to a 10 percent decline in Eddie Bauer’s comparable-store sales offset somewhat by sales growth in its outlet stores.
The decline in finance revenue was primarily attributable to lower securitization income, which includes retained-interest income from securitized receivables and net pretax gains on the sale of receivables. While the yield on receivables rose in the quarter along with the level of receivables serviced, higher charge-offs negatively impacted the performance of the credit card business, particularly in the private-label programs, resulting in lower excess cash flows from the securitization of receivables, which reduced finance revenue. In addition, due to lower receivables sold during the quarter, net gains on the sale of receivables were $8.4 million in this year’s first quarter compared to $15.5 million in the same period last year. The $7.6 million decrease in finance revenue reflects a $15.1 million, or 34 percent, decline in revenue from the private-label credit card programs net of a $7.5 million, or 24 percent, increase in bankcard revenue.
The gross profit margin as a percent of net sales decreased in the first quarter to 35.0 percent from 35.9 percent in the year-earlier period. Margin growth achieved by the company’s Newport News and Spiegel divisions was offset by lower margins at Eddie Bauer. Eddie Bauer’s margin decline was driven by higher markdowns versus last year.
Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent to total revenue increased by 530 basis points to 47.0 percent for the quarter. This increase resulted from lower productivity on catalog circulation for each of the Group’s merchant companies and weaker performance from private-label credit card programs compared to the prior year.
Commenting on the company’s outlook, Michael R. Moran, chairman of the office of the president, stated, “Given the challenging economic environment, we have intensified our efforts to reduce expenses and conservatively manage our inventory commitments going forward. Although the economic outlook for the second half of the year is uncertain, we have taken important actions in our credit business and our Eddie Bauer division that are expected to positively impact earnings.”
The company confirmed its previously issued guidance for the second quarter, calling for modest revenue growth and earnings of $0.02 to $0.05 for the quarter ending June 30, 2001.
For more details on Spiegel’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com])
IVI Checkmate announced Tuesday the chainwide rollout of ‘e(N)-Touch 1000’ terminals by Home Depot as well as a migration to online debit by Home Depot. IVI also announced an additional order for 15,000 ‘e(N)-Touch 1000’ units that will complete the chain-wide rollout. Home Depot will use the ‘e(N)-Touch 1000’ to implement credit card payment signature capture and customer line item display at all checkouts and customer service counters. As a second phase, Home Depot will implement online debit, which costs significantly less to process than a credit card. The touch screen technology also enable retailers to implement graphically based consumer payment and value-added services.Details
MasterCard International, an official sponsor of Major League Baseball, will make it more affordable for families and friends to enjoy a day at the ballpark by offering the “MasterCard Grand Slam Ticket Pack” to cardholders in 15 markets around the country.
Each Grand Slam Ticket Pack will include four game tickets and vouchers good for concessions. The Ticket Packs will offer discounts of up to 45% and are available for more that 230 home dates at ballparks around the country. MasterCard Grand Slam Ticket Packs are available exclusively to MasterCard cardholders.
“As a long-time MLB sponsor we wanted to create a program that had a direct impact for baseball fans,” said Bob Cramer, vice president, Global Sponsorship & Event Marketing, MasterCard International. “For the past four years, we’ve celebrated the `Priceless’ moments of baseball through our ad campaign. Now, we’re supplementing that concept with a tangible offer that will make it easier for our cardholders to experience those `Priceless’ moments first-hand.”
Starting today, fans can access the MasterCard Grand Slam Ticket Pack by pointing their Web browsers to MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball and clicking on the MasterCard logo and following the on-screen instructions. MasterCard will offer Grand Slam Ticket Packs for the following cities/clubs:
— Arizona Diamondbacks — Los Angeles Dodgers
— Atlanta Braves — Minnesota Twins
— Baltimore Orioles — New York Mets
— Boston Red Sox — Pittsburgh Pirates
— Cincinnati Reds — San Diego Padres
— Cleveland Indians — St. Louis Cardinals
— Colorado Rockies — Texas Rangers
— Kansas City Royals
Fans wishing to purchase tickets for Baltimore, Cleveland, Boston, San Diego and Atlanta can call their local club box office and ask for the MasterCard Grand Slam Ticket Pack. All other participating MLB Clubs’ offers are available for online purchase; teams may charge a service charge for each order.
“MasterCard has always supported its sponsorship of Major League Baseball in innovative ways, and this new Grand Slam Ticket Pack is a great way for fans to benefit from Major League Baseball’s relationship with MasterCard,” said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president, Business, for Major League Baseball.
The introduction of the Grand Slam Ticket Pack follows the launch of MasterCard’s latest baseball-themed advertising, which debuted on network television on April 9th. The new creative, entitled “The Trip,” tells the story of two “twenty-somethings” who truly love the game of baseball and have decided to embark on the journey of a lifetime by visiting every Major League ballpark.
The story celebrates the institution of baseball by delving into the tradition and pageantry of the game, fans’ passion for the sport, and the shrines that are ballparks. The new baseball spot is the latest in MasterCard’s award-winning “Priceless” advertising campaign produced by McCann-Erickson. “MasterCard’s new ‘Priceless’ creative really captures the essence of the millions of baseball fans who follow the game with such passion and enthusiasm,” said Brosnan.
MasterCard has been an official sponsor and the Official Card of Major League Baseball since 1997. MasterCard also has affiliations with local clubs including the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners.
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1.7 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. MasterCard’s award-winning Priceless(R) advertising campaign is now seen in 81 countries and in more than 36 languages, giving the MasterCard brand reach and scope unrivaled by any competitor in the industry. With more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 2000, gross dollar volume exceeded US$857 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [http://www.mastercard.com].
American Express TRS reported first quarter net income of $522 million, up 16% a year ago, on net revenues of $4.5 billion, an 8% 1Q/1Q increase. The net interest yield on U.S. card lending activities increased from 7.8% to 8.3% over the past twelve months, reflecting a smaller percentage of credit card loan balances on introductory rates and a benefit from declining interest rates during the quarter. Marketing and promotion expenses were lower as TRS scaled back certain marketing efforts. Other operating expenses were flat, as the cost of cardholder loyalty programs and business growth were offset by the benefit of reengineering and cost-control efforts. Delinquency and chargeoffs rose significantly up during 1/01. For complete details on American Express current and historical statistics visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
1Q/01 4Q/00 3Q/00 2Q/00 1Q/00 Ann Chng
Volume $55.6b $59.0b $56.2b $55.8b $50.6b +10%
Loans $30.2b $28.7b $27.1b $25.9b $24.2b +25%
Cards 34.2m 33.3m 32.9m 32.5m 31.4m + 9%
Delinq* 2.9% 2.8% 2.6% 2.4% 2.6% +12%
Losses 5.1% 4.4% 4.3% 4.4% 4.6% +11%
Yield** 8.3% 7.7% 7.8% 7.4% 7.8% + 6%
* 30+ days past due; ** net interest yield
Sub-prime specialist CompuCredit reported Monday that it added 199,000 accounts and posted a $50 million increase in credit card outstandings during the first quarter. Earnings for 1Q/01 were $6.4 million, compared to $11.3 million in 4Q/00 and $24.0 million in the first quarter of 2000. As of Mar 31, the 60+ day managed delinquency rate was 9.4% as compared to 9.5% for 4Q/00 and 6.9% one year ago. The pro forma net charge-off rate was 14.8% in the first quarter as compared to 13.2% for the fourth quarter of 2000 and 8.4% for 1Q/00. The managed net interest margin also declined from 23.8% one year ago to 21.6%. At the end of the first quarter, CompuCredit outstandings for its sub-prime ‘Aspire VISA’ card stood at $1.6 billion and total accounts logged in at 2.3 million. CompuCredit issues credit cards through Columbus Bank & Trust. For complete details on CompuCredit’s current and historical statistics visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).