Move over ‘SpeedPass’ — VeriFone reported yesterday it has equipped its first convenience store chain with the new VeriFone smart card key fob. The ‘VeriPASS’ system has been deployed at fourteen Pumper’s Premium Stores in Greenville, SC. Since mid-December, over 4,000 Pumper’s customers are using the smart card key fob for payment as well as participation in Pumper’s club and loyalty programs. ‘VeriPASS’ software, which uses VeriFone’s ‘Ruby’ POS system as a controller, supports payment via the ‘VeriPASS’ key fob by associating the data of any of the stores currently accepted magnetic strip cards to the customer’s key fob. Up to two cards can be stored. Payment is made by presenting the key fob in front of an outdoor ‘VeriPASS’ reader located next to the gasoline fueling point, or by presenting the key fob to an indoor ‘VeriPASS’ terminal located inside the store. ‘VeriPASS’ also supports three CRM functions. These include a prepaid club program in which points are put onto the ‘VeriPASS’ key fob to redeem for items at a later time; an electronic punch card program that rewards frequent purchases or visits; and a loyalty program that rewards points per dollars spent. Pumper’s markets ‘VeriPASS’ under the name ‘Pumper’s Pass’.Details
Datacard Group and Logica announced that they have signed a formal agreement to jointly deliver, market and maintain Datacard’s pma multi-application smart card management system.
The smart card management system, pma (platform management architecture), enables smart card issuers to handle the card’s entire lifecycle, from preparation and issuance to tracking and maintenance of multiple applications. The pma system automates the process of loading, deleting and changing applications, without needing to recall or replace the cards. Furthermore, the pma system enables the cardholder to update and modify applications in real time over the Internet and other consumer touchpoints, whether they concern credit/debit, loyalty scheme details, medical records or identity information.
! Under the agreement, Logica will act as a reseller of the technology to its clients around the world. The combination of Logica’s project management, delivery and integration skills with the unique functionality of the pma system provides a complete solution to organizations wanting to issue multi-application smart cards. Logica offers the technical expertise needed to integrate the pma system with existing systems, and can enable access to different card-acceptance channels such as the Internet, mobile phones and multimedia kiosks.
The partnership is based on a long-standing relationship between Logica and Datacard. The companies initially worked together eight years ago to design and implement the security infrastructure for the MULTOS operating system. The resulting application was the world’s first non-military project to achieve an ITSEC level E6 accreditation.
The global market for chip cards is growing rapidly, driven primarily by a number of programs instigated by the main card schemes to replace existing magnetic stripe cards with secure smart cards built on the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) standard. The key business issue in initiating smart card adoption programs is the increasing level of card fraud. Furthermore, the commercial successes of financial institution smart card programs are expected to stimulate competition to release new chip-based cards.
According to Martin Kearsley, senior vice president and managing director of the Datacard Solutions Division, “Companies are beginning to realize the potential of smart cards and how they can be exploited. Using the pma system, issuers can offer consumers a unique mix of applications on their cards or can lease space on them to host third party applications, giving rise to all kinds of new revenue streams. Our partnership with Logica will add value to our existing propositions, and will give us the ability to jointly offer innovative technology and integration expertise to our customers.”
Tim Brew, Logica’s e-payments director, said: “We have noted an increasing number of opportunities for smart card management systems in our dealings with customers over the last year, and have evaluated the various market offerings. We consider Datacard’s solutions to be best of breed, therefore it was a logical step to formalize our relationship with Datacard and add the pma system to our card solution portfolio. Multi-application smart cards are a growth area, and by forming this partnership we will ensure our place at the forefront of the coming card revolution.”
Datacard Group is a world leader in innovative plastic card personalization and identity management solutions. The company provides its customers with integrated systems for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. A diverse solutions portfolio features a broad range of card-related products and services, including the world’s best-selling card personalization and printing systems. Datacard Group also offers card life cycle management software, smart card personalization systems and applications, custom solution development and products designed to enhance card issuing operations. Datacard Corporation, doing business as Datacard Group, is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries.
More information on Datacard can be found at [www.datacard.com]
Logica is a leading global solutions company providing IT consultancy, systems integration, products, services and support. Logica’s clients operate across diverse markets including financial services, telecoms, energy and utilities, industry, distribution and transport and the public sector. Founded in 1969, Logica has over 10,000 staff in 27 countries worldwide and is listed on the London Stock Exchange where it is part of the FTSE100 index of the largest UK listed companies.
Upgrade International Corporation announced it has delivered notice to The Pathways Group, Inc. terminating the merger agreement between the two companies.
Commenting on the termination, Daniel Bland, President of Upgrade, said, “After a careful review of the past performance and the future prospects of Pathways, our Board of Directors made the strategic determination to terminate our merger agreement with Pathways.”
Upgrade International Corp., through its ownership interest in UltraCard Inc., Efornet Corp. and cQue Corporation is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented ultra high capacity portable data storage technology. UltraCard’s patented method for using existing hard disk storage technology provides both highly durable media in a credit card format and an inexpensive read/write device that together will become the next generation in personal portable data storage for a broad range of existing and new markets. Management believes that the UltraCard technology will potentially provide numerous industrial users with a combination of high levels of security and a vastly greater amount of personal transportable data storage at the lowest cost in the industry. In addition the acquisition and development of existing SmartCard solution providers represents a strategic market strategy designed to accelerate the integration of the vastly superior technology inherent in the UltraCard into existing and newly developing markets.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors,
Daniel Bland PresidentDetails
Euronet Worldwide reported yesterday fourth quarter revenue of $13.9 million, an increase of 29% over Q4 1999. The ATM network produced a positive EBITDA of $1.5 million for the full year 2000 and a positive EBITDA of $1.3 million for the fourth quarter. As of Dec. 31, Euronet owned and/or operated a total of 2,634 ATMs, compared with 2,283 ATMs at the year-end 1999. Euronet owns and/or operates ATMs in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, the U.K., Greece and the U.S.Details
MN-based Fargo Electronics announced this morning it has been selected to supply an additional 1,253 card personalization systems for the U.S. Department of Defense ‘Common Access Identification Card Project’. Last year and in January, Fargo supplied a total of 299 systems for the beta test of the DoD project. When the current order is fulfilled, Fargo will have manufactured a total of 1,552 systems for the project. Under the deal Fargo will also provide proprietary supplies, such as printer ribbons and overlaminate materials, to produce the new cards. The Fargo systems will be incorporated into the DoD’s multi-purpose identification card project by Telos Corp. of Ashburn, Va., a systems integrator specializing in large government contracts. The deal is worth between $5 million and $8 million for Fargo.Details
Despite the trend of reining in credit card rewards program, a new program has emerged that gives cardholders maximum redemption options, extra points for interest charges, and MasterCard’s top card product. Citibank USA and Travelocity.com have launched the ‘Travelocity.com World MasterCard’. The new card enables cardholders to earn ‘Travelocity Rewards’, points redeemable for any travel product available on Travelocity with no advanced purchase rules, for more than 400 airlines, more than 50,000 hotels and more than 50 car rental companies. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent and three additional points for every dollar accumulated in finance charges. Cardholders also receive 4,000 points with their first purchase or a balance transfer. For every 8,000 points earned, a $100 reward certificate is issued. Citibank is charging a prime +8.4% APR and no annual fee.Details
Official Payments Corporation announced the company has launched an Internet credit card tax payment service for the State of Kansas to collect individual income tax payments and retailer’s sales tax. Taxpayers in Kansas will be able to make these payments with their credit cards on the Internet by visiting [www.officialpayments.com]. The service is authorized by a contract with the state of Kansas. Official Payments provides similar services to the Internal Revenue Service, 17 state governments and over 700 counties and municipalities across the United States.
The new payment service for tax year 2000 is now live and accepting payments. In 2001, Kansas taxpayers can use the American Express Card, Discover Card, and MasterCard to make their tax year 2000 balance due, tax year 2000 extension, and tax year 2001 estimated and retailer’s sales tax payments by visiting [www.officialpayments.com] on the Internet. Official Payments will charge taxpayers a convenience fee of 2.5% of their tax payment for the service. For example, a taxpayer who makes a $500 tax payment would be charged a total of $512.50; $500 for the tax payment, and a 2.5% fee, or $12.50, to cover the cost of the service. As a bonus, taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.
“For tax year 2000, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to conveniently make his or her tax payments, 24 hours a day, from either home or business,” said Stephen S. Richards, Kansas Secretary of Revenue. “The Internet payment service will be available to taxpayers who file either paper or electronic tax returns. The service is part of our sustained effort to provide the highest level of service to our citizens, while engaging in safe and sound financial practices,” Richards added.
Last year, more than 600,000 taxpayers in Kansas made balance-due income tax payments with an average obligation of $890 to the state treasury. Nearly 460,000 quarterly estimated payments were made, representing $219 million. The Kansas Department of Revenue collects nearly $5.2 billion for the state.
In addition to the service for the state of Kansas Taxpayers can now make their Federal Form 1040 Balance Due Payments, Form 4868 Extension of Time to File, and Form 1040ES Estimated Payments (beginning March 1) by credit card, on the Internet [www.officialpayments.com] or by calling 1-800-2PAYTAX . Official Payments charges a flat 2.5% fee (minimum payment of $1.00), which the lowest price available from the two companies that are listed in IRS instructions as providing credit card tax payment services to taxpayers
About Official Payments Corporation
Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments is the incumbent in contracts with the Internal Revenue Service, 17 state governments, and well over 700 county and municipal governments in 41 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state, and local government payments.
Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company has experienced rapid and sustained growth over the past six reported quarters in revenue, new client acquisition, and addition of incremental services to existing clients. The company’s success can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.
Competition in the UK market is heating up again with a shift away from the APR battle to reward cards. Halifax and ipoints have introduced the first Internet credit card in the UK market that enables cardholders to earn points towards free rewards. The new program aims squarely at the ‘NatWest/Airmiles’ and ‘Barclaycard’ credit cards. Under the program, cardholders earn one percent of all card purchases charged online or offline, and bonus points with purchases charged from more than 50 ipoints partners. Customers who apply online will also receive 100 bonus ipoints upon activation. ipoints.co.uk is the UK’s largest Internet reward program and has over 30 different reward categories covering over 2 million items for online shoppers to choose from. The new ‘Halifax/ipoints VISA’ offers a five month 3.9% intro APR followed by a 17.9% rate for purchases. The ‘NatWest/Airmiles’ credit card charges a 7.9% intro rate with a 19.4% go-to APR. ‘Barclaycard’ charges a 5.9% APR for balance transfers followed by an 18.9% go-to rate.Details
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association estimates that 32 million paper checks were converted into electronic checks at retail locations in 2000. Electronic checks are processed through the Automated Clearing House Network, an electronic payments system commonly used for Direct Deposit and Direct Payment.
“Electronic check volume is higher than what was expected,” said Stephen A. Schutze, Chairman of NACHA’s Electronic Check Council and Director of eStrategies at the American Bankers Association. “Previously the Electronic Check Council predicted that 25 million checks would be converted in 2000. NACHA’s estimate shows that retailers are beginning to take advantage of the savings and efficiencies inherent in electronic payments rather than paper processing, and that this method of check conversion is growing rapidly.”
In an electronic check transaction, a consumer presents a merchant with a check. The merchant runs the check through an electronic reader, capturing the bank account number and routing information on the check as well as the check serial number. The merchant then returns the check to the consumer marked or stamped “Void,” or similar language.
The consumer signs a receipt authorizing the electronic transaction and keeps a copy as a record of the purchase. The merchant uses the check information, along with the transaction amount, to initiate an ACH debit, which is processed electronically through the ACH Network. A complete description of the transaction appears on the consumer’s monthly statement.
The estimate for electronic check volume in 2000 is based on a survey conducted by the Electronic Check Council as well as an actual count of transactions processed by ACH Operators for the 4th quarter of the year, the first period for which statistics are available.
In related news, NACHA statistics also show that 3,125,627 re-presented check (RCK) entries were processed through the ACH Network during the 4th quarter 2000. An RCK entry is a returned consumer check that is re-presented for payment electronically rather than through the paper check collection system.
NACHA publications are available to help retailers implement both electronic check and re-presented check programs. Visit NACHA’s online publications catalog at [http://www.nacha.org] , or call NACHA at 800-487-9180.
About NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association
NACHA is the leading organization in developing electronic solutions to improve the payments system. NACHA represents more than 12,000 financial institutions through direct memberships and a network of regional payments associations, and 600 organizations through its six industry councils. NACHA develops operating rules and business practices for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network and for electronic payments in the areas of Internet commerce, electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP), financial electronic data interchange (EDI), international payments, electronic checks, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT).
MS-based Triton has released a new version of its software that enables managers to control their Triton ATMs remotely. The new ‘Triton Connect 3.3’ allows managers to automate many maintenance tasks from an offsite PC. The application also allows preset notification, for service needs, to an alphanumeric pager or by email. The new software maintains ATM programming records and has a terminal status feature which allows managers to track messages, downtime, and status history from a central location. Changes can be made for individual ATMs or for groups. To meet new international needs, ‘Triton Connect 3.3’ supports UK surcharge screens, as well as Euro and Rand currency symbols. It also supports multiple time zones. Triton is the largest manufacturer of off-premise ATMs with more than 50,000 installations in over 15 countries worldwide.Details
CA-based MIPS Technologies introduced a new smart card architecture and has joined with Gemplus to introduce a new processor based on the new technology. The new ‘SmartMIPS’ architecture is based on 32-bit chips. MIPS also introduced the new ‘MIPS32 4KSc’ smart card core, a high-performance embedded 32-bit processor, jointly defined with Gemplus, that implements the new ‘SmartMIPS’ architecture for ultra-low power advanced smart card applications.The introduction of the ‘MIPS32 4KSc’ smart card core follows the July 2000 announcement by MIPS Technologies and Gemplus to create an architectural standard for next-generation smart card chips. As such, the ‘SmartMIPS’ architecture is optimized for open operating system platforms such as Sun Microsystems’ Java Card technology and Microsoft’s ‘Windows for Smart Card’.Details