While there are mounting concerns that personal bankruptcies will rise this year, the final tally for 2000 shows a 5% net decrease over 1999. According to data released Friday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the total number of bankruptcies filed during the 2000 calendar year totaled 1,253,444 compared to 1,319,465 for the previous year. It is the second year in a row that bankruptcies have decreased. The drop in filings was mainly due to fewer chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, particularly chapter 7 non-business filings. Of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the 2000 calendar year, there were 859,220 chapter 7 filings, a 7.3% decrease from the 927,074 filings from the same period in 1999. Chapter 7 bankruptcies represent 69% of all non-business bankruptcies during calendar year 2000. The next largest group of filings in 2000 was the chapter 13 filings at 383,894, which rose 0.4% from 382,214 in the 1999 calendar year. The total number of filings for the fourth quarter of 2000 was 310,169, slightly up from the third quarter 2000 by 0.48% but down 2.7% from the same period in 1999.Details
Advanta Corp. held a conference Friday with analysts and institutional investors to reiterate its increased focus on the business credit card business. Advanta Business Cards ended the year 2000 with managed receivables of $1.66 billion, as compared to $1.53 billion at the end of 3Q/00 and $1.04 billion at year end 1999. According to CardData (www.carddata.com), Advanta currently has about 600,000 MasterCard business card accounts, one of the largest such portfolios in the U.S. Advanta also projected Friday that expects its 2001 fiscal year operating earnings from Business Card and Advanta Partners to be approximately $1.41 per diluted share. Advanta is currently in the midst of selling its mortgage business to Chase. (CF Library 11/27/00; 1/22/01; 1/24/01)Details
The nation’s leading bank credit card issuer also leads all major players with the highest charge volume per active account. According to CardData, First USA/Bank One has the highest average balance per active account. Sub-prime leaders, Capital One, Providian and Household posted the lowest average balances and charge volume.
TOP 10 ANALYSIS
(as of 12/31/00)
RANK/ISSUER Avg Bal Avg YTD Vol
1. Citigroup $3322 $7121
2. MBNA $2488 $3724
3. First USA $3365 $6851
4. Discover $1979 $3786
5. Chase $2742 $4606
6. Providian $2342 $2307
7. BofA $2761 $6193
8. Cap One $1268 $2094
9. Household $1689 $3667
10. Fleet $2774 $3604
Avg Bal – per active account; Avg YTD vol – per active account
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement software applications, and Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the largest water utility in Hawaii, announced 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.
HBWS clients can now pay their electric bills faster and more easily than with conventional payments. Consumers can access their HBWS bills, view bill details and approve their bill payment in a matter of moments from a bank, credit union or brokerage account of their choice. The HBWS electronic bill is very similar to that of its paper-based counterpart but unlike paper bills, consumers who pay bills electronically are protected from unauthorized transactions or processing delays by the CheckFree Guarantee.
“Our organization is always striving to provide enhanced modern services to our customers, and the Internet offers us another way to offer such services,” said Clifford S. Jamile, manager and chief engineer of Honolulu Board of Water Supply. “By working with CheckFree, we are delivering a secure and efficient online bill paying system that provides our customers with the greatest selection of trusted financial services Internet sites where they can pay their bills online.”
“Electronic billing and payment enables companies like Honolulu Board of Water Supply to better communicate and interact with their customers while offering them a faster and more efficient way to view and pay their monthly bills,” said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree Software Division. “The solution provides consumers a guaranteed service and greater control over their bill payments while consolidating all of their records in one easily accessible online site.”
Customers will be receiving additional information about the program through inserts that will be included in their monthly bills. Additionally, customers can enroll at [www.hbws.org].
Honolulu Board of Water Supply will deliver electronic bills through CheckFree i-Processing, an electronic bill distribution and payment network of nearly 275 financial services organizations. Once enrolled at one of these sites, HBWS customers can receive and pay bills and also use “pay everyone” services to make payments from their computers today to anyone to whom they would write a check. This includes all bills, even day care centers or lawn maintenance providers, and individuals, such as children in college.
A sample of current online consumer service providers making the HBWS bill available electronically include:
— Bills.com at [http://www.bills.com — Charles Schwab at ]
— Citizens Bank at
— Merrill Lynch at
— Morgan Stanley Dean Witter at [https://www.dwdean.com]
— Navy Federal Credit Union at
— Prudential Securities at
— Quicken 98/99 software and Quicken.com at [http://www.quicken.com/banking_and_credit/]
— US Postal Service at
— WingspanBank at [http://wingspanbank.com]
— Yahoo! at [http://bills.yahoo.com]
(Please note that an “s” is required after the “http” on several of the Web sites in order to access the service. This indicates that the site is secure.) For a complete list of distribution partners offering CheckFree electronic billing and payment, visit [www.checkfree.com/freedom].
About the Honolulu Board of Water Supply
The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous agency of the City and County of Honolulu. It provides municipal water supply to over 150,000 residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural customers on the island of Oahu. It is currently undertaking a major program to improve and expand its services to customers, and the new E-Bill service is just one of many important new programs to be provided. The Honolulu BWS is one of the nation’s largest water utilities.
About CheckFree i-Solutions
As a software group within CheckFree Corporation, CheckFree i-Solutions is the leading provider of end-to-end business-to-consumer and business-to-business solutions for e-billing and payment and e-statement delivery. CheckFree i-Solutions offers CheckFree i-Series software for e-bill and e-statement creation, i-Processing services that include payment and distribution through nearly 275 financial services sites and customer care, and i-Hosting services that accommodate self-hosting or outsourcing. With 222 billers under contract, CheckFree i-Solutions is committed to helping billers, financial services organizations and biller service providers leverage electronic bills and statements as interactive conduits to customer relationship management, marketing and customer self service applications. For more information about CheckFree i-Solutions, please visit [www.checkfree.com/i-solutions].
CheckFree ([www.checkfree.com]) (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, CheckFree E-Bill, in March of 1997. Today, CheckFree services enable 4.4 million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The Company has multi-year contracts with 222 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through its network of partnerships with nearly 275 financial services organizations, including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites, and personal financial management (PFM) software.
Cardtronics, the Houston-based ATM deployment firm, announced that Duane Batcheler has joined the company as Vice President of Corporate Development.
Batcheler brings a wealth of industry experience to his position at Cardtronics. Formerly Director of Corporate Development for a major national ATM company, Batcheler managed all aspects of some thirty acquisitions. With experience in investment banking and financial analysis, Batcheler’s background makes him uniquely qualified for his current position with Cardtronics.
Cardtronics is a leading provider of ATM products and services, specializing in off-premise ATM deployment and management. Based in Houston, Texas, Cardtronics has sales and service representatives in 40 major markets. The company expects to more than double its currently installed base of 4,000 ATMs as it continues its expansion program this year. Cardtronics recently appeared as the 13th fastest-growing company in the Houston 100 Report on Private Companies, with estimated revenues of more than $27 million in 2000, an approximate increase of 100 percent over 1999. With this recent move to broaden their expansion through merger and acquisition of independent ATM deployers throughout the United States, the time was right for the addition of someone of Batcheler’s unique qualifications.
“We are proud to have Duane Batcheler as part of our team,” said Mike Clinard, Chief Operating Officer of Cardtronics. “We anticipate his experience, industry knowledge and reputation will enable him to make a major contribution to our acquisition program. Our continued growth through the existing internal marketing programs will be complemented by the efforts of our new Corporate Development division,” Clinard added.
Cardtronics is an integrated ATM management and services company located at 3000 Hayes Road Suite 101, Houston, Texas 77082. For further information, contact Doug Deitel, Executive Vice President, Business Development at (281) 596-9988 Ext. 137.Details
Shift4 Corp. announced its latest application interface certification AbleCommerce, a subsidiary of Able Solutions Inc.
AbleCommerce, a leader in e-commerce software solutions, such as shopping cart applications, utilizes Shift4’s free plug-in for ColdFusion environments. This plug-in allows operators and developers of e-commerce Web stores and auction sites to quickly integrate high-speed, secure e-payment acceptance and management functionality through Shift4’s $$$ ON THE NET(R)(TM).
$$$ ON THE NET is an Internet payment gateway and application service that allows brick & mortar and e-commerce businesses to securely process real-time electronic payments, such as credit, debit and private label cards, utilizing the Internet in place of dial-up lines.
$$$ ON THE NET utilizes high-bandwidth connectivity to major bank processing hosts, which delivers sub-5-second authorizations to Web, POS, PMS, kiosk and wireless order processing applications, eliminating the need for dedicated leased lines.
$$$ ON THE NET is enhanced by a browser-based application service called NetAudit(TM), which allows management to view individual or batched transactions, generate printer-friendly .PDF reports, make deposits and access archived data for charge-back defense for all company locations.
Shift4 provides 24/7 technical support for this comprehensive e-payment solution, and data security is provided by Shift4’s NetAPI(TM) software module, utilizing a patent pending encryption algorithm called DUKPT w/MTE(TM) (derived unique key per transaction with moving target encryption).
“We are very excited about integrating $$$ ON THE NET with AbleCommerce,” stated Keven Newling, vice president of AbleCommerce. “Merchants who implement $$$ ON THE NET as their e-payment solution will be impressed with its secure high-speed authorization and settlement service, fraud control, and browser-based management capabilities.”
“AbleCommerce has been very helpful in the development process of the $$$ ON THE NET(TM) credit card gateway interface and since AbleCommerce is written in ColdFusion (Allaire), as is the user interface side of $$$ ON THE NET(TM), it was a natural fit,” stated Steven M. Sommers, vice president Applications Development for Shift4.
“The interface between Shift4 and AbleCommerce has created the unique capability to automatically flag invoices for settlement once the order ships, while other interfaces require either manually flagging invoices or setting up the merchant as host capture, which, in many cases, can cause regulatory issues with the various card associations and increased credit card transaction fees.
“We see the interface between Shift4 and AbleCommerce as a unique benefit to merchants and as a true win/win situation,” Sommers concluded.
AbleCommerce, a division of Able Solutions Corp., is located in Vancouver, Wash., and was founded in February of 1995. AbleCommerce is the premier electronic commerce solution provider. Internationally, AbleCommerce has established sales and marketing operations in The Benelux, Chile, France, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
With an international network of partners, AbleCommerce aims to provide comprehensive solutions for all nationalities of the Internet. For more information on Able Solutions, call 360/253-4142, send e-mail to info@AbleSolutions.com, or visit its Web site at [www.ablesolutions.com].
Shift4 is a privately held corporation based in Las Vegas, and is a leading provider of enterprise electronic payment technology for merchants, application developers and merchant service providers in various industries, including e-commerce, hospitality, direct/catalog sales and retail.
Shift4 solutions provide connectivity to leading third-party payment processors including First Data Corp. (FDC), Paymentech, Visanet (Vital), NDC eCommerce, First Tennessee Bank (First Horizon), Chase Merchant Services, Nova Information Systems, Alliance Data Systems, Novus (Discover Card), American Express and TeleCheck.
More than 2,500 merchants process more than 100 million electronic payment transactions annually via Shift4-powered systems. For more information, visit Shift4’s Web site at [www.shift4.com].
Coinstar Inc. clarified information in a Feb. 21, 2001, press release in which Coinstar, DataWave Systems, and Michigan National Bank announced that Michigan National would issue a MasterCard branded prepaid card through the Coinstar and DataWave networks.
Michigan National has received approval from MasterCard to issue MasterCard branded prepaid cards through the Coinstar network using DataWave technology, and Coinstar and DataWave have agreed to develop add-on equipment to Coinstar’s machines for the issuance of prepaid cards. While Coinstar has not yet reached a final agreement with Michigan National and DataWave, Coinstar expects to reach an agreement within the next few months for an in-store pilot with Michigan National and DataWave for the delivery of MasterCard branded prepaid cards.
About Coinstar Inc.
Coinstar Inc. (Nasdaq:CSTR) owns and operates the only nationwide network of supermarket-based machines that offer coin counting and other electronic services. Linked by a sophisticated interactive network, the company has more than 8,500 machines throughout the United States as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom. Meals.com, the company’s majority-owned subsidiary, is an infrastructure provider that helps supermarket retailers and packaged goods manufacturers communicate directly to consumers through the use of online and in-store technologies.Details
CheckFree Corporation, the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products, and Edward Jones, the only major financial services firm advising individual investors exclusively, 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.
The electronic billing and payment feature will be provided as an add-on service to Edward Jones AccountLink, which offers online account access, access to proprietary research and investments statements. CheckFree’s service offers Edward Jones individual investors greater convenience by consolidating the management of monthly bills and investment accounts at a single Web site and serving as a money management tool. The new service allows individual investors to pay their bills faster and more easily than with conventional paper-based payments.
Consumers can view bills and approve their payments in a matter of minutes with each specified payment amount deducted electronically from the customer’s brokerage account. Consumers can also use “pay everyone” services to make payments from their computers to anyone to whom they would write a check. Edward Jones investors can access secure payment history information online for six months, then all payment records are maintained offline for seven years. In addition, customers who pay bills electronically through this service are protected from unauthorized transactions or processing delays by the CheckFree Guarantee. Individual investors can access AccountLink from their Edward Jones investment representative’s homepage. Once they’ve logged on to the site, they can choose to enroll in AccountLink Bill Payment.
Individual investors who use Edward Jones AccountLink can access a variety of financial information and services through a single interface. Consumers can view all householded accounts, current holdings, 45 days of account activity as well as amounts invested and gain/loss information. Edward Jones also offers research opinions by company name, industry, suitability, or opinion rating in addition to daily market commentary and historical stock price graphs.
“Our focus has always been on building bonds with each of our individual investors, and many of these individuals want greater account access and variety of services through a single site,” said Bill Welborn, manager, Cash Management Accounts at Edward Jones. “We believe that a strong electronic billing and payment solution is a crucial piece of our overall Internet strategy that offers our individual investors the control and convenience they want. We are also confident that our investors will benefit from the security and service quality that comes from CheckFree’s 20 years of experience.”
“Edward Jones is known for providing highly personalized service to individual investors,” said Lynn Busing, executive vice president of CheckFree. “Our electronic billing and payment solution offers a higher level of convenience and control for bill payments than traditional paper-based processes. With the new service, Edward Jones is enhancing its already strong Web presence and customer service focus.”
CheckFree WebPay 3.1 gives financial services organizations and portals an easily branded user interface that ties into the CheckFree Genesis processing engine, which supports a fully integrated, end-to-end electronic billing and payment cycle–from delivery and viewing of electronic bills and the ability to “pay everyone” to the handling of payments, event tracking and customer care. This solution offers enhanced scalability, increased speed to market as well as access to the most advanced suite of electronic billing and payment services available.
About Edward Jones
Edward Jones, the only major financial services firm advising individual investors exclusively, traces its roots to 1871 and currently serves nearly 5 million clients. The firm offers its clients a variety of investments including certificates of deposit, taxable and non-taxable bonds, stocks and mutual funds.
The largest firm in the nation in terms of branch offices, Edward Jones currently has nearly 7,000 offices in the U.S. and, through its affiliates, in Canada and the United Kingdom. Plans call for expansion to 10,000 offices by 2003.
The Edward Jones interactive Web site is located at [www.edwardjones.com].
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].
OH-based Gasper Corp. announced an agreement with Banamex to provide ATM management services for 3,500 ATMs throughout Mexico. As part of a combined agreement, Gasper will install/support its ‘Gasper Manager’ ATM management solution and NCR Corp. will provide ‘First Line Maintenance’ and ‘Second Line Maintenance’ for the Banamex NCR ATMs. ‘Gasper Manager’ has four components. The ‘Core Manager’ interprets ATM status codes, takes action based on customer-defined rules, opens and manages trouble tickets, notifies appropriate personnel and reports on network and service team activity. The ‘Automated Service Manager’ executes and manages service team notification, tracks performance, and escalates based on customer-defined parameters. The ‘Automated Command Manager’ enables and manages host commands to ATMs and other elements. ‘Transaction Monitor’ thresholds ATM transaction and reversal & denial rates, detecting and acting upon potential problems with switch and host links, card bases and ATM terminals. Gasper management systems manage over 170,000 ATMs worldwide.Details
VISA has launched a public attack on American Express in Hawaii, running full-page ads in the Honolulu Advertiser to emphasize the disparity in merchant acceptance between the two competing brands. The attack precedes the planned conversion of more than 200,000 Bank of Hawaii VISA/MasterCards to American Express cards. In late December, Bank of Hawaii agreed to sell its $226 million, 148,000 account, VISA credit card portfolio to American Express. It is the first purchase of a significant U.S. VISA/MasterCard portfolio by American Express. The deal is expected to close shortly with the brand conversion set for this summer. Pacific Century Financial, the parent company of Bank of Hawaii, has been selling off assets to strengthen its balance sheet. VISA began its attack in January by leaking two internal memos to the press which showed the Bankoh deal likely to be unprofitable for AmEx as the majority of Bankoh cardholders will opt not to use AmEx cards. According to yesterday’s Honolulu Advertiser, American Express said the reaction to the Bankoh deal is more evidence that VISA is truly on the defensive. (CF Library 2/9/01; 12/21/00)Details
Hitachi Cable Ltd. will begin to manufacture contactless smart cards this year.
The company recently opened a production plant in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The new plant which cost 200 million yen is capable of producing 50,000 smart
cards per month. The company indicated this week it plans to invest another 1
billion yen by the end of fiscal 2003 to increase capacity ten fold.
The smart cards will use a frequency of
125KHz and will operate up to 50cm from a terminal.
TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company and a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp. announced that it is providing Ultimate Electronics, Inc., a specialty retailer of home entertainment and consumer electronics, with the TeleCheck Electronic Check Acceptance service and its Eclipse payment terminal.
The TeleCheck Electronic Check Acceptance service converts a customer’s paper check into an electronic check at the point-of-sale and delivers funds directly to the merchant’s account, improving cash flow. Merchants benefit because they can consolidate bank accounts, streamline operations and reduce paper handling. Any check approved by TeleCheck is guaranteed for the full amount, allowing merchants the convenience and safety of accepting low-numbered, out-of-town, even out-of-state checks with confidence.
TeleCheck has settled more than 65 million electronic transactions since the nationwide introduction of ECA(R) in June 1998, and has electronically processed nearly 5 billion dollars. The company’s Eclipse(TM) integrated payment terminal processes all non-cash payment options including checks, credit cards and debit cards. TeleCheck’s ECA(R) service and Eclipse(TM) terminal automate the approval and processing functions, making it safer and more convenient for merchants and their customers to pay by check.
“Outsourcing check processing to TeleCheck allows Ultimate Electronics’ employees to spend more time taking care of customers rather than filling out deposit reports,” said Alan Kessock, Chief Financial Officer of Ultimate Electronics. “The ECA(R) service will reduce our bank, operating and check- handling costs, and it will save our managers time in processing deposits. The Eclipse(TM) terminal does most of the work for us, making processing a check fast and easy.”
“TeleCheck is pleased to bring its Electronic Check Acceptance(R) service to Ultimate Electronics,” said Randy Rutledge, chief marketing officer of TeleCheck. “Adding ECA(R) to over 30 Ultimate Electronics locations enhances TeleCheck’s presence as the foremost provider of electronic check commerce services, and helps Ultimate Electronics’ check approval service evolve into the digital age.”
About TeleCheck Services, Inc.
TeleCheck is the world’s leading provider of paper and electronic check services, helping over 228,000 retail, financial institution, grocery and other industry clients to increase their profitability, reduce risk and streamline operations. TeleCheck’s check acceptance and electronic commerce solutions help businesses safely and efficiently accept payment at the point of sale, by telephone, over the Internet, and through timed or recurring ACH payments. TeleCheck services are offered through a sales and service network in more than 90 cities in the United States and in Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 1999, TeleCheck authorized more than $155 billion in checks, representing 3.1 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, please visit the Internet site at [http://www.telecheck.com].
About Ultimate Electronics, Inc.
Ultimate Electronics, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of home entertainment and consumer electronics in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah. Ultimate Electronics, Inc. had sales of over $475 million in the year 2000. The Company operates thirty-six stores including eleven stores in Colorado under the trade name SoundTrack, seventeen stores in Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah under the trade name Ultimate Electronics and eight stores in Minnesota under the trade name Audio King. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.ultimateelectronics.com].
About First Data Corp.
Atlanta-based First Data Corp. is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Serving more than two million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com].