OPC Signs 12th State

Official Payments Corporation announced Tuesday the company has reached an agreement with the State of Ohio to collect Individual Income Tax including Balance-Due payments, Estimated payments, and Extension payments, by credit card, via the Internet or telephone. Taxpayers in Ohio will be able to make these payments by visiting [www.officialpayments.com][1] on the Internet or by calling toll-free 1-800-2PAY-TAX(SM). The new payment channels for tax year 2000 are expected to go live later this year. Official Payments provides a variety of tax payment services to the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington.

“We are pleased to announce an agreement with Ohio, our twelfth state client,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Official Payments. “Over 5,000 Ohio citizens paid over $13 million in federal income tax through our systems in tax-year 1999. In tax year 2000, we will provide them with the same convenient service in making their state tax payments. On the state client front we are experiencing strong momentum, today we announced Ohio, last week an agreement with Washington State and the week before with Alabama.” Mr. Evans added.

“This new service gives our taxpayers a choice in satisfying their tax obligations,” said Thomas M. Zaino, Ohio Tax Commissioner. “For tax year 2000 payments, anyone with a telephone or Internet connection will be able to conveniently make their tax payments, 24 hours a day, from their home or business. These new payment channels are part of our ongoing effort to provide the highest level of service to our citizens,” Commissioner Zaino added.

Last year over one million taxpayers in Ohio made balance-due tax payments with an average obligation of $693 to the state treasury. Nearly 69,000 extension payments were made representing $60,581,920 and over 294,000 taxpayers made quarterly estimated payments representing $1.3 billion. In aggregate, this represents a total market of nearly $2.2 billion in government obligations in Ohio.

Official Payments will charge Ohio taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at [www.officialpayments.com][2]. For example, a taxpayer who owed Ohio $900.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $922.50 on their credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $22.50 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. 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.

About Official Payments Corporation.

Official Payments Corporation is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via telephone or the Internet, using their credit cards. The company has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service; several state governments, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Washington state; and over 550 municipal and county entities, in which it collects income taxes, property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines, sales and use taxes and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. In the 1999 tax year, Official Payments collected and processed over $575 million in federal income tax payments on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.

[1]: http://www.officialpayments.com/
[2]: http://www.officialpayments.com/


EBT Card Fraud

Government law-enforcement officials have uncovered a significant food stamp fraud scheme involving government-issued electronic debit cards. More than ten people were arrested yesterday in Louisiana, accused of stealing more than $20 million over the past year and half. Authorities raided a total of 12 grocery stores in New Orleans and Baton Rouge who participated in the scheme. According to government officials, store owners would debit the card for a fraudulent amount and then give the cardholder 20% to 50% in cash. The store owners then allegedly transferred the illicit funds to the Mideast. The scheme was uncovered after store owners reported EBT card sales of 52% to 115% of gross sales to the Louisiana sales tax agency. In the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area, the typical grocery store reported an average of 21% in EBT card sales. Federal officials says there are more than 20 investigations underway in other states for similar schemes. Nearly half of all food stamps are now dispensed through debit cards with an annual value of about $9 billion.


Sears Cardholders Pay Online

Sears, Roebuck and Co. , the largest proprietary credit card issuer in the U.S., and CheckFree, the leading provider of electronic billing and payment software and services, announced that Sears’ approximately 60 million credit card customers will be able to view and pay their Sears bills online through their choice of nearly 200 CheckFree-powered Web sites. The agreement between Sears and CheckFree represents the largest business relationship to date between a retailer and an electronic billing and payment provider.

![][1] Sears credit card customers can access bills online, view bill details and approve their bill payment in a matter of moments using CheckFree’s fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution. The approved payment is then made on the date selected by the consumer from the customer’s designated account.

Payments made electronically on Sears credit accounts will be processed by CheckFree Genesis 2000, the industry’s only fully integrated end-to-end electronic billing and payment engine. Customers who pay bills through this service are protected from unauthorized transactions and processing delays by the CheckFree Guarantee.

“With the rapidly expanding capability of Sears online business and our relationship with CheckFree, we will deliver world-class service to our customers where, when and how they choose,” said Kevin Keleghan, Sears Credit Services president. “Online bill presentment and payment is only one of the customer-responsive new Web initiatives that Sears Credit plans to introduce in the near future.”

“Electronic billing and payment services enable a customer-focused organization such as Sears to extend its tradition of customer service to the Internet in a safe, secure and reliable environment,” said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree Software Division. Through the CheckFree Guarantee, Sears can also extend its pledge to offer customers, ‘The good life at a great price. Guaranteed’ to online bill payment.”

Sears is joining a growing number of U.S. companies that offer not only electronic bill payment but also presentment, or online viewing of the statement and detail, to those who subscribe to the service. Customers of the company’s Sears Card, Sears Premier Card and Sears Charge PLUS accounts may utilize the new service by enrolling to pay bills online with Web sites that offer CheckFree EBP services including banks, brokerages, credit unions, Internet portals and personal financial management software. These sites include Summit Bank, Citizens Bank, First Union, NetBank, Wingspanbank.com, Charles Schwab, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Prudential Securities, Navy Federal Credit Union, the U.S. Postal Service, Yahoo!, Quicken.com and Quicken Personal Financial Management Software. A complete list of distribution partners offering CheckFree electronic billing and payment is available at .

About CheckFree

CheckFree ( [http://www.checkfree.com][2]) is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded as an electronic payments processor in 1981, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated EBP solution in early 1997. CheckFree services enable 3.5 million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with nearly 190 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through its network of partnerships with nearly 200 consumer service providers (CSPs), including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites, and personal financial management (PFM) software.

About Sears

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of nearly $40 billion.

The company serves families throughout the country through approximately 860 department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company’s Web site, [http://www.sears.com][3].

[1]: /graphic/checkfree/checkfree.gif
[2]: http://www.checkfree.com/
[3]: http://www.sears.com/


WebAuthorize 1.3

CyberCash released a new upgrade to its marquee electronic payment software product. ‘WebAuthorize 1.3’ now supports two new security standards for Internet commerce. It features VISA’s ‘CVV2’ and MasterCard’s ‘CVC2’, providing additional fraud prevention for Internet and mail orders when a card is not physically present. It also supports ‘Electronic Commerce Indicators’, meeting the latest VISA regulations for transactions that occur when a credit card number is keyed into an Internet browser. The new version also enables B2B payment processing through VISA/Mastercard ‘Level 2’ purchasing card support, and is certified with AmEx ‘Corporate Purchasing Card’. A Sun ‘Solaris’ version of ‘WebAuthorize 1.3’ is the first CyberCash product designed specifically for the Solaris platform. ‘WebAuthorize 1.3’ is available with dialup, leased line and secure Internet connectors to the major credit card processing networks. It supports an expanded list of payments processors and e-commerce servers such as Microsoft ‘Commerce Server’ and applications such as ‘SAP R/3’.


Gemplus Buys French P-CRM Firm

Gemplus yesterday announced its intention acquire SLP InfoWare Inc.

SLP InfoWare, established in 1989 and based in Paris, is a worldwide leader in Predictive Customer Relationship Management (P-CRM) software solutions for the telecommunications and mobile e-commerce industries. SLP InfoWare’s P-CRM applications are currently used to predict the behavior of more than 20 million mobile phone users around the world.

SLP InfoWare is expanding rapidly, enjoying a 95% annual growth rate over the last three years with sales being driven from offices in Boston, Singapore, London and Frankfurt.

The major challenge facing telecommunications operators today is managing relationships with subscribers in a manner that builds customer loyalty. Predictive CRM systems can help reduce subscriber churn (customer non-renewal), a phenomenon that costs operators an average 25% of annual sales.

SLP InfoWare’s P-CRM platform uses proprietary automated modeling technology called Automated Data Driven Discrimination (A3D(TM)) that enables marketing professionals to build accurate customer behavioral models in minutes, as well as to automate and optimize one-to-one marketing campaigns. This modeling engine generates Knowledge Objects(TM) containing customer knowledge that can be distributed throughout an organization’s enterprise to different customer touch points, including call centers, e-commerce web sites, and mobile portals.

“Thanks to SLP InfoWare’s solutions and its Churn/CPS application, we are able to quickly determine the causes of non-renewal and are thus in a position to move from a reactive approach to proactive retention programs,” explained Dominique Foucart, customer service manager for Mobistar, Belgium.

This agreement strengthens the technological synergies already existing between SLP InfoWare and Gemplus, both of whom share a common vision of development trends in the mobile telephony and electronic commerce markets.

The buyout of SLP InfoWare enables Gemplus to complete its range of solutions for its traditional customers and to increase still further the group’s software expertise, particularly in the areas of CRM and datamining. Each of these skills also find multiple applications in the smart card solutions developed by Gemplus.

“SLP InfoWare is a leader in its own market, as is Gemplus. The association of the two leaders should enable us to respond more and more effectively every day to our customers’ concerns,” said Gilles Michel, Senior Vice President, director of Strategy and Mergers/Acquisitions.

Gemplus will bring to SLP InfoWare its knowledge of the operators, its customer base and its capacities for software integration, enabling SLP InfoWare to distribute its products more quickly and more effectively via Gemplus’ many international offices. “With the Gemplus and SLP InfoWare customer profiles being identical, we can use their international distribution networks to strengthen our position as world leader in the field of P-CRM,” said Jean Schmitt, SLP InfoWare CEO.

The agreement between the two companies should be finalized by mid-October.

About Gemplus

Gemplus ([www.gemplus.com][1]) is the world’s number one provider of smart card based solutions for security, wireless and e-business applications. Offering consulting services, design, software, hardware, personalization and full implementation, Gemplus works with its customers around the world to deliver comprehensive, integrated and tailor-made smart card based systems.

With sales of 5,029 billion francs in 1999 (767 billion Euros), Gemplus has over 6,300 employees in 17 production sites, seven R&D centers, and 44 sales and marketing offices situated in 37 different countries all over the world. Established in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card solutions to simplify such varied applications as public and cell telephony, financial transactions, consumer loyalty, transport, education, health, games, identification, pay-TV, electronic commerce, Internet network security, access control and information technologies.

About SLP InfoWare

SLP InfoWare ([www.slpinfoware.com][2]) is one of the world leaders in Predictive Customer Relationship Management software (P-CRM) for the telecommunications, electronic commerce and mobile electronic commerce sectors. The SLP InfoWare P-CRM platform enables marketing professionals to build precise customer behavior models and to use the analysis to automate targeted marketing operations, to retain customers and guide one-to-one marketing actions which personalize offers and product groups. SLP InfoWare software is used to predict the behavior of over 20 million customers in the telecommunications, electronic commerce and banking sectors in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Based in Paris, SLP InfoWare also has offices in Boston, London, Frankfurt and Singapore.

[1]: http://www.gemplus.com/
[2]: http://www.slpinfoware.com/


Smart Card Initiative

The Smart Card Industry Association and the Smart Card Forum announced Tuesday they have launched a joint effort to stimulate the rapid adoption of smart card technology in North America. The ‘Smart Card Security Initiative’ will promote the critical role of smart card technology in securing e-business, enterprise systems and consumer Internet applications. SCIA and SCF have committed initial funding of $500,000 to the ‘Smart Card Security Initiative’ effort in its first two years. A full-time executive director will guide the day-to-day activities of the initiative, augmented by internal staff, volunteers from member companies and outside experts. Several US government agencies, including the DOD, have indicated that they will soon require smart card readers to be included on all newly acquired PCs. Others are expected to follow suit as the GSA rolls out its new $1.5 billion Government-wide ‘Smart Access Card’ program. Numerous financial institutions are also looking for PC suppliers to provide smart card ready equipment. Under smart card programs launched by American Express, Fleet and Providian, the issuer supplies the PC card reader.



OH-based National City Corporation became the third issuer to offer the new ‘VISA Buxx card’. Last week Bank of America became the second issuer to offer the new prepaid ‘VISA’ card for teenagers. National City says it will use its one year marketing agreement with AOL’s ‘Digital City’ to promote the card in its core marketing area. VISA announced the development of the parent-controlled, re-loadable payment card in August. Parents are able to monitor how much money their teen spends by viewing current or past account statements on the ‘VISA Buxx’ website or by a toll-free number that details where and when purchases were made. The teen’s name is embossed on the card, and all materials are mailed directly to the parents’ address. U.S. Bancorp became the first ‘VISA Buxx’ issuer with the release of its card on Aug. 21. (See CF Library 8/10/00; 9/11/00 & 9/14/00)


Barclaycard & Paysys

The largest credit card issuer in Europe has selected PaySys’ commercial card application for its business card division. Barclaycard will roll out the new system in two phases, with phase one scheduled to go live in November and phase two in fourth quarter 2001. Phase two will completely replace Barclaycard’s existing commercial card system and provide flexible hierarchies and billing options, multi-lingual/currency capabilities and the full integration of real-time posting and servicing. PaySys’ commercial card application is slated to be the first application in the marketplace built on PaySys’ ‘dBB’ software platform. ‘dBB’ is able to combine real-time transaction processing, unlimited hierarchies, in any language, currency and dialect, and independent of standards and operating.


Wireless FDC

First Data Merchant Services announced Monday it has selected U.S. Wireless Data to offer wireless credit card transaction solutions to two million merchant locations. The USWD ‘Synapse’ solution, formerly known as ‘Wireless Express Payment Service’, provides a seamless interface among wireless POS terminals, wireless carriers, and credit card transaction processors. It will enable First Data to expand its wireless offering in the U.S. and to provide new regions with wireless solutions, such as Canada and the Caribbean. FDMS will offer the ‘Synapse’ solution across all distribution channels, including banks, ISOs, and other merchant acquirers. Through the arrangement with USWD, FDMS will also gain access to the CDPD and Motient networks. Motient owns and operates an integrated terrestrial/satellite data-only network and provides a wide range of two-way mobile and Internet communications services principally to B2B customers and enterprises.


Kmart MasterCard

Capital One is hitting mailboxes across the country this week with solicitations for its new ‘Kmart MasterCard’. The card offers a 0% interest rate on all new Kmart purchases for six months. The APR for non-Kmart purchases and for Kmart purchases after the intro period is prime +10.3%. There is no annual fee for the new MasterCard. However accounts 30+ days past due will incur a $4 monthly membership fee. Cap One also imposes a punitive 25.9% APR on seriously delinquent accounts. The Wal-Mart MasterCard from Chase was launched in October 1996.