U.S. Bancorp confirmed Friday it has settled two complaints involving consumer privacy, including the settlement of a consolidated class action suit and an agreement with a multi-state task force of attorneys general. In regards to the class action settlement, U.S. Bancorp has agreed to provide a settlement fund of $3 million to pay potential claims and will also pay the first $500,000 of plaintiffs’ attorneys fees approved by the Court. If the settlement fund is not used in its entirety, the balance will go to the University of Minnesota Law School or to non-profit human services agencies. Claim forms were mailed this weekend to claimants who had U.S. Bank checking or credit card accounts with the bank prior to July 1999. Claim amounts will range from $25 to $400, with most claims to be settled at $50. Last summer U.S. Bank voluntarily settled the attorneys general lawsuit and agreed to contribute $4 million to charities or public bodies in Minnesota and other states where the bank conducts business. The Minnesota portion of the settlement ($2 million) was paid in the third quarter of 1999, with the balance of the funds, an additional $2 million, earmarked to be divided between the additional states. The attorneys general lawsuit was filed June 8, 1999 for allegedly releasing customers’ private banking information to a telemarketing company in exchange for a fee of $4 million plus a 22% commission on each sale. The suit also alleged that some of commissions were generated through bogus, unauthorized charges by CT-based MemberWorks, the telemarketing company involved. Minnesota alleged that U.S. Bank violated the FCRA and engaged in consumer fraud and deceptive advertising by providing the telemarketing vendor with such private information as: SSN numbers, account balances, transaction history, credit limits, credit insurance status, year to date finance charges, automated transactions authorized, credit card type/brand, number of credit cards, cash advance amount, behavior score, bankruptcy score, date of last payment, amount of last payment, date of last statement, and statement balance. (See CF Library 6/9/99)Details
The online marketing battle between NextCard and Capital One continued during the week of August 21-27. According to the latest Nielsen/NetRatings survey, NextCard ranked as #4 and Capital One ranked as #9 among the top ten advertisers on the Internet for at-home surfers. NextCard reached 21.6% of the at-home audience by delivering 151 million ad impressions during the week measured. Capital One reached slightly more of the at-home audience, 22.2%, by delivering 71 million ad impressions or about half of NextCard’s ad volume. Meanwhile Capital One’s “How Fast do you want your credit decision?” banner ad ranked as #1 among at-home surfers and #2 among at-work users.
SLMsoft.com, Inc., a leading global provider of electronic financial transaction solutions for the e- commerce market, announced this weekend that it has closed an agreement with its long- standing client, Bank of China to provide BOC with debit card transaction management for local and international American Express clientele. SLMsoft.com’s current ATM service for BOC includes Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and JCB customers.
Since 1996, BOC has been deploying SLMsoft.com’s ESP-Link FTS Financial Transaction Solutions application across its 15,000 locations in 400 regional centers to facilitate inter-branch settlement within the bank and provide connectivity to card networks. Approximately 70% of all foreign credit and debit card transactions in China are currently processed by BOC using SLMsoft.com’s technology.
Being selected to assist BOC in expanding their services highlights the Bank’s satisfaction with SLMsoft.com’s products and service. Moreover, it represents a strengthening of SLMsoft.com’s foothold in the world’s most populous marketplace, where demand for convenient, quality financial services and credit transactions is rapidly growing. China’s plans to join the World Trade Organization will open the doors for foreign banks to enter the Chinese finance field. SLMsoft.com’s software solutions, which meet stringent international standards and have already been localized for the financial services market in China, should play a significant role in the market’s evolution.
“We are very pleased to be able to further our mutually beneficial relationship with the Bank of China,” said Govin Misir, Chairman and CEO of SLMsoft.com. “Our customer-focused, transaction management platform makes financial transactions more convenient for users and helps reduce operating costs at the Bank. We are particularly gratified that this important client relies on us to provide ongoing and expanded e-financial services.”
The American Express debit cards in China make up one of the largest foreign debit transactions in that country. Previously the BOC routed American Express debit transactions to MasterCard International for processing. SLMsoft.com’s new solution allows the BOC to send these transactions directly to American Express for processing, which reduces the Bank’s interchange fees.
“We are very pleased with SLMsoft.com’s products and service,” said Mr. Lu Zhang of the Bank of China. “SLMsoft.com is a quality solutions provider and we look forward to continuing our expansion of their e-commerce solutions in the years to come.”
About Bank of China
As the most profitable bank in China, Bank of China is a full-service bank that does nearly all of the foreign currency related banking in China. Bank of China has over 15,000 locations in Mainland China, including branches and sub-branches and has approximately 200,000 employees. In addition, BOC has over 300 overseas locations and 12,000 employees. The Bank owns over 3,000 ATMs, has issued approximately eight million debit cards and four million credit cards, and has signed up 68,000 designated merchants.
SLMsoft.com is a leading provider of end-to-end open system e-commerce solutions to financial institutions, governments, and healthcare organizations. Founded in 1986, SLMsoft.com delivers the world’s broadest array of electronic transaction management solutions to customers in 53 countries around the globe. SLMsoft.com provides all the software, services and infrastructure businesses need to offer complete B2B and B2C e-commerce services to their customers. The company is a single-source provider of in- house and outsourced solutions through its EC-street(TM) network of e-commerce products and services. The EC-street network includes Internet banking, ATM and kiosk networks and services, core banking systems, check imaging, telephone banking, electronic bill presentment and bill payment, point-of-sale and point-of-service management, debit and credit card solutions, web site design and hosting, and e-financial portal development. EC-street’s real-time connectivity is facilitated through SLMsoft.com’s ESP-Link(TM) middleware. The company has more than 620 employees in 22 offices worldwide.Details
Ansett Australia and the Universal Air Travel Plan, UATP, introduced Friday the ‘UATP Ansett Travel Account’. Ansett Australia decided to combine its existing Travel Account with the global benefits offered by UATP. Once issued, ‘UATP Ansett Travel Accounts’ will be used to purchase air travel on nearly every airline in the world. Ansett Australia is the second major airline in the Australasian market to emphasize UATP. Air New Zealand launched its UATP Travelcard program in August. Marketed globally for many years under the brand names ‘Air Travel Card’, ‘AirPlus’ and ‘PassAge’, a worldwide rebranding occurred earlier this year under the UATP name. UATP announced in June, ‘ATCAN’, a new global automated sales reporting network designed to assist UATP members with daily electronic central processing and reconciliation.Details
Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that on Aug. 21, 2000, the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, Central Judicial District, granted ECHO’s demurrers to four of the seven causes of action in a lawsuit filed against the company by Premiere Lifestyles International Corp. of Newhall, Calif. The surviving causes of action for alleged damages of $10 million include claims for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with business relations and tortious interference with contract. Management believes the lawsuit is without merit and intends to defend against it vigorously.
A similar lawsuit was previously filed in Texas and subsequently withdrawn by the plaintiff upon filings of motions to dismiss by ECHO. The California lawsuit is currently in discovery and, based upon discovery to date, legal counsel representing ECHO has informed management that there does not appear to be sufficient facts to support or justify liability against the company. Legal counsel is conducting additional discovery and investigation.
Electronic Clearing House Inc. provides credit card processing, cash advance services, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, inventory tracking and/or various Internet services to more than 41,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation. ECHO also designs, develops and integrates software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, inventory tracking devices and cash advance systems.Details
Hong Kong’s Dao Heng Bank Group Limited unveiled this weekend the ‘Dao Heng VISA Business Card’. This is the first business card in Hong Kong that offers an annual fee waiver, corporate liability waiver, and employee card misuse coverage. Dao Heng says a recent survey by Hong Kong Productivity Council showed that Hong Kong SMEs are spending between HK$30,000 to HK$200,000 per month on business expenses. Currently there are between 30,000 and 40,000, out of the 290,000 SMEs in the territory, that have business or corporate cards. Dao Heng projects it will capture 20% of the market within the next two years. The bank also says it has more than 100 exclusive commercial merchants, including over 20 B2B merchants dealing with computers, office equipment, Internet and ASP services, and over 90 T&E merchants offering up to 50% discounts on a variety of leisure facilities and dining.Details
eGlobe and Europay International have signed agreements to give Europay’s 243 million cardholders access to eGlobe’s ‘World Direct’ global telephone network and the ‘VoGo Unified’ messaging system. The move will give Europay International ‘Eurocard-MasterCard’ credit cardholders a global calling card enhancement. The service, to be called ‘MasterPhone’, will initially be implemented by Eurocard-MasterCard issuers in Europe. Later this fall, eGlobe will begin introducing its ‘VoGo Unified’ messaging system to all Europay member institutions. The ‘VoGo’ service will be available in 16 languages. Europay International has more than 9,000 member banks offering cards under the Eurocard-MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and eurocheque brands. eGlobe originates traffic in more than 100 territories and countries and terminates anywhere in the world.Details
Wells Fargo & Co. and VerticalOne, a wholly owned subsidiary of S1 Corporation and the pioneer of personal account aggregation and transaction services, Thursday announced an agreement that will bring Wells Fargo’s more than two million online banking customers instant access to their account information, without the hassle of logging onto multiple Web sites. The new service will be available to consumers in the fourth quarter.
The new service will enable Wells Fargo to provide its online customers with a private and secure single point of access to all their investments, credit card and bank accounts, as well as travel and hotel reward programs and e-mail communications. Single sign-on will eliminate the time-consuming effort currently required to log onto multiple sites and remember numerous passwords. “Our Web-savvy customers with multiple online accounts are tired of having to log on to a myriad of sites to manage all of their financial and personal information,” said Catherine Graeber, senior vice president, Consumer Internet Services at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo recognizes the potential to provide the convenience of consolidating a customer’s financial information, without sacrificing security or privacy. VerticalOne, the industry pioneer, will provide us with the advanced technology to deliver this solution. This is the next stage in giving customers control over all their financial data with a single click of the mouse.”
Piper Jaffray analysts predict the number of consumers who use aggregated financial services will rise from approximately 800,000 in 2000 to nearly 4 million by 2002. Capitalizing on the growing trend of consumers seeking all their financial information in one place, Wells Fargo will provide added convenience to its customers all within a highly secure and private environment.
“Wells Fargo pioneered Internet banking while VerticalOne pioneered account aggregation, so it makes sense that our two companies would team up to bring this valuable new service to Wells Fargo customers to help them simplify their online lives,” said Gregg Freishtat, CEO of VerticalOne. “Account aggregation is such a powerful application on the Internet and we are excited to see how quickly it has taken off and how more and more financial institutions are embracing it.”
As the first major financial services company in the U.S. to launch Internet banking services in 1995, Wells Fargo blazed the trail for interactive tools and features for customers. Gomez Advisors and Nielsen/Net Ratings recently ranked Wells Fargo the top Internet bank in terms of market share of active online banking customers and total monthly Web site visitor count.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a $234 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance services through 5,300 stores, its Internet site and other distribution channels across North America as well as internationally.
About VerticalOne Corporation
VerticalOne created the account aggregation space in October 1998 with the vision of offering consumers a greater level of convenience when accessing their personal account information online through a multitude of devices including PCs, Internet appliances and wireless devices. VerticalOne built the information infrastructure that empowers Internet destination sites to offer their online customers a single point-of-access to a wide variety of personal content and account information. With 20 sites deployed, VerticalOne continues to lead the industry in most live sites and greatest consumer adoption with over $2.4 billion in accounts being tracked through the VerticalOne service. VerticalOne’s Privacy Statement is certified by both TRUSTe(sm) and BBBOnLine(R), and the company is certified by Internet Security Systems (ISS) and VeriSign(TM). VerticalOne is a wholly owned subsidiary of S1 Corporation (Nasdaq: SONE). More information about VerticalOne can be obtained from the World Wide Web at [http://www.verticalone.com]
About S1 Corporation
S1 (Nasdaq: SONE) is today’s leading global provider of innovative Internet-based financial services solutions. S1 offers a broad range of applications that empower financial organizations to increase revenue, strengthen customer relationships and gain competitive advantage by meeting the evolving needs of their customers across various lines of business, market segments and delivery channels. Through its professional services organization, S1’s applications can be implemented in-house or outsourced to the S1 Data Center. Additional information about S1 is available at [http://www.s1.com].
Citibank is outsourcing ATM management to Euronet Services in the Czech Republic. Under the terms of a new five-year contract between the two companies, Euronet will install and operate Citibank-branded ATMs offering consumers the ability to perform cash withdrawals and balance inquiries. The ATMs will also accept deposits from Citibank accountholders.
The agreement in the Czech Republic, which builds on a growing relationship between Euronet and Citibank, marks the fifth country in which Citibank has chosen to outsource ATM management to Euronet. Earlier this year, Citibank contracted with Euronet to install and operate 250 ATMs in Greece under an eight-year agreement. Euronet also provides Citibank with ATM outsourcing services in Hungary, Poland, and the UK under multi-year agreements.
“To build a strong retail banking business for Citibank in the Czech Republic, it is essential to have a branded ATM network that our customers can rely on around the clock,” noted David Kay, Citibank retail business manager in the Czech Republic. “We knew that Euronet provides the ATM functionality and quality of service that we require.”
“Euronet’s presence in eight European countries makes our ATM services a natural choice for global banks like Citibank,” added Miro Bergman, Euronet’s managing director for the EMEA region. “As more and more banks and retailers are choosing to outsource this part of their business, we’re pleased to have earned the confidence of Citibank in so many countries.”
Euronet Services Inc. is a global leader in the rapidly evolving arena of electronic financial transactions and wireless connectivity for banks and retailers. The company’s software division offers a suite of integrated retail banking products that include ATM management, POS and merchant systems, credit and debit card systems, wireless banking, internet banking, and telephone banking. Euronet also operates the largest independent ATM network in Europe and the Dash network in the US, and provides ATM management outsourcing and consulting services. Through Euronet’s two financial data centers in Europe and the US, the company offers an advanced infrastructure for financial transaction processing services and connectivity to global, regional, and national electronic payment networks. Additional information is available at the company’s web site, [http://www.euronetservices.com[.]]
Despite frustration by Australians over VISA’s exclusive Olympic card deal, VISA says its sponsorship of the Sydney Olympic Games has paid off. Overseas VISA cardholder spending in Australia grew 23% year over year to a record US$1.55 billion in 1999, while tourism numbers surged only 7%. VISA says spending by cardholders from the United Kingdom, increased by 31.5% last year. While spending by cardholders from the U.S. was up by 27%. Preliminary data indicates that these trends have continued into 2000 with spending by visiting VISA cardholders growing by 26% in February 2000 compared to February 1999. VISA also noted that since it began its Olympic sponsorship in 1986, more than 20 million VISA cards now bear the Olympic rings. More than 6 million new VISA cards with an Olympic theme were issued in the past two years. VISA will continue as a ‘TOP V’ global sponsor through the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, UT and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.Details
ICBA Bancard announced the election of its chairman and treasurer at the group’s recent quarterly meeting. Bill McQuillan, president and CEO of The City National Bank in Greeley, Neb., was elected chairman and George Astrike, chairman of German American Bank in Jasper, Ind., was elected treasurer and director of the Midwest region. Additionally, the appointment of Lynda Messick, president of Delaware National Bank in Georgetown, Del., as the director of the Southeast region and C.R. ‘Rusty’ Cloutier, president of MidSouth National Bank in Lafayette, La., as director of the Southwest region were confirmed. Both Messick and Cloutier were appointed to Bancard’s Board at a meeting of the ICBA Community Banking Network held in June.
Also reelected were David Ballweg, president and CEO of Community State Bank in Union Grove, Wis. and chairman of TCM Bank, N.A. in Tampa, Fla.; Holm Bursum, president, chairman, and cashier of First State Bank in Socorro, N.M., as director of the Western region; Robert Muth, president and CEO of Andover Bancorp, Inc. and the Andover Bank in Andover, Ohio, as director of the Northeast region; Arnie Schultz, chairman of Grundy National Bank in Grundy Center, Iowa, as director of the Northwest region; Thomas Sheehan, chairman, president, and CEO of Grafton State Bank in Grafton, Wis., as the ICBA executive committee representative; Chuck Doyle, chairman and CEO of Texas first Bank, in Texas City, Texas, as special advisor; David Hayes, president of Security Bank in Dyersburg, Tenn., as special advisor; Ken Guenther, executive vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America; and Linda Echard, president and CEO of ICBA Bancard.
ICBA Bancard is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). Since 1985, ICBA Bancard has provided more than 3,000 community banks with equitable access to payment system products and services. In addition to ATM, credit and debit cards, banks have access to merchant services, ATM driving, risk management services, Internet banking and marketing services. In 1998, ICBA Bancard created Total Card Management, a risk-free credit card option exclusively designed for community banks. For more information, visit the ICBA Bancard website at .Details
First Data’s Western Union Financial Services yesterday introduced the ‘PayCash’ service, which allows consumers to pay for Internet purchases with cash at participating Western Union agent locations. The new service leverages the size and strength of Western Union’s 90,000-location worldwide agent network. Initially, the service will be available in the U.S., with international capability being added incrementally within 30 days. In the U.S., the consumer can visit any participating Western Union agent location within three days, provide the transaction number and pay in cash for the item and the $2.00 transaction fee. The agent accesses the transaction via Western Union’s proprietary network and logs the payment electronically, which signals the Web merchant to release the merchandise. Western Union will forward the funds to the merchant electronically. Any additional cash the consumer wants to keep available for future purchases will be loaded on a stored value card that can be used at selected merchants. Western Union also announced that it has signed agreements with a series of Internet gateways, merchant aggregators and merchants that will offer the service as a payment vehicle on their websites, including Cardservice International. Western Union ‘PayCash’ is the latest in a series of Internet payment services, which also includes the ‘MoneyZap’ service.Details