Vital Hat Trick

Vital Processing Services launched three new products Wednesday as part of its Retail Solutions and eSolutions suite of services.

“These three product announcements reflect Vital’s ongoing commitment to understand the emerging opportunities in electronic payment processing and related merchant services, and to delivering solutions that help our clients exploit those opportunities,” said Jon Palmer, president and CEO of Vital Processing Services.

VirtualWebuilder Vital is introducing its signature eSolutions product, VirtualWebuilder. Developed exclusively for Vital by Kinzan, VirtualWebuilder is a turn key web site hosting and web site development solution for businesses of all sizes and types. Vital formed a strategic alliance with Kinzan to develop and co-market VirtualWebuilder. Kinzan is a provider of a brandable suite of applications for content management, commerce and communications.

VirtualWebuilder is a quick, easy and cost-effective way for businesses to create an information-type web site or a commerce-enabling site that sells goods and services. Merchants can develop an online extension of their business in as little as 15 minutes using a template-driven, point-and-click wizard application. VirtualWebuilder enables Vital’s acquiring clients to reinforce relationships by bringing a rich and robust web solution to current customers, while also building new retail relationships.

To enhance Vital’s comprehensive Retail Solutions offering, Vital is delivering two new products to the merchant acquiring industry that will enable Vital’s clients to maximize opportunities in the business-to-consumer markets.

Vital EPS, powered by Vital recently signed an exclusive contract with, a business-to-business retail solutions provider, to combine Vital’s processing and support services with MEI’s EPS point-of-sale (POS) software. Vital Electronic Payment System (Vital EPS) is a fully managed software package for credit, debit, EBT card and check payment processing. Vital EPS is tailored to meet the needs of Vital’s acquiring clients and their multi-lane/multi-store merchants, smaller chains, general retail and supermarket merchants.

Vital EPS is the solution for multi-lane/multi-store retailers who have problems with downtime, limited reporting, billing inaccuracies or slow transaction approval.

Vital Wireless Solution

Vital has teamed up with CellGateTM Technologies, a provider of wireless IP cellular digital network services for transaction processing, to offer a low-cost, high-performance transaction processing service that enables merchants’ existing POS terminals to communicate with Vital’s host via wireless Internet Protocol (IP) instead of the traditional dial line. When the CellGate service is combined with Vital’s “dial and hold” terminal application, typical transaction processing time is four seconds.

“Vital is one of the first major processors to deliver CellGate’s wireless IP solution to acquirers for their merchant customers. Giving our clients this speed to market advantage will allow them to generate a new revenue stream. Merchants can capitalize on the fact that CellGate’s wireless IP technology is faster, less expensive and more secure than traditional business lines used today,” said Palmer

About Vital Processing Services ([][1])

Arizona-based Vital Processing Services® (Vital®) is a leader in technology-based commerce-enabling services. Vital’s clients include acquirers and merchant service providers that offer electronic payment processing services to merchants, such as POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; VirtualNet’ Internet-commerce services; clearing, settlement and exception processing; accounting, billing and reporting; operational fulfillment services; risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of VISA® USA and Total System Services Inc. ® (NYSE: “TSS”

About Kinzan ([][2])

Kinzan provides a leading platform for central organizations to extend and manage their network of business relationships on the Internet. The company’s platform enables a central organization to quickly, easily and cost-effectively deploy a large network of affiliated web sites with a consistent look and feel, while offering the flexibility to meet local market needs. The Kinzan platform includes a brandable suite of content management and e-commerce applications, configurable hardware, scalable hosting services, development and deployment capabilities and customer care programs., Avon, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Chase Merchant Services, Knight Ridder Real Cities, Maytag and YMCA are among those that have chose the Kinzan platform to extend and manage their offline business relationships networks online.

About ([][3]) is an established business-to-business company that offers a virtual private network, business process applications and professional support that use the Internet to lower operating costs, efficiently manage communications and operations, and generate business for industries worldwide.

About CellGate Technologies ([][4]) CellGate provides Wireless IP network services to financial institutions, financial transaction processors and independent sales organizations. The CellGate Service provides POS terminals, POS PC systems, and dial ATM’s a faster transaction while reducing dial phone line and installation costs. CellGate’s patented solution requires no change to the merchant’s terminal hardware or software. For additional information visit the CellGate web site at [][5]. CellGate is headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. with network operations located in St. Louis. CellGate is an AT&T Wireless Data ‘Value Added Reseller.’



TSYS Japan

TSYS has purchased an equity position in an electronic payments company which captures about 20% of Japan’s credit card transaction market. The company has purchased 51% ownership in GP Network Corporation, a payments gateway for more than 100,000 merchants in Japan. TSYS named Hitoshi Kondo President of GP Net and Managing Director of TSYS Japan. Kondo has managed the GP Net operation since its inception. GPNet will have 12 to 15 full-time employees and expects to increase to 20 by the end of 2001.



Oasis Technology, G&D Security Card Systems and CIT will release this morning an Internet banking solution powered by PKI security on a smart card. The new solution, ‘iBanking’, is designed to provide financial service and investment customers with a full range of retail, corporate and investment banking services protected by the industry’s most advanced PKI security. The solution combines Oasis’ ePayment technology, CIT’s PKI-based security architecture and G&D’s smart card infrastructure.


AmEx B2B Directory

American Express announced that it has launched an online business-to-business directory that enables American Express Corporate, Purchasing and Small Business Cardmembers to quickly and easily search for and find business-to-business suppliers. As a result, millions of business decision-makers now have easy access to a database of American Express merchants nationwide and American Express merchants have the opportunity to build new relationships with a large number of American Express Cardmembers.

“Our new Online Business-to-Business Directory fulfills an important business need. More and more companies of all sizes want to purchase their supplies, inventory and even raw materials with credit and charge cards. It simplifies their administrative work and allows them to better manage their expenses. And because American Express Cards are so prevalent, there is a large demand for suppliers that accept our Cards,” said Tom Pojero, Vice President, Merchant Acquisition, American Express.

The American Express Online Business-to-Business Directory ([ m/b2bdirectory][1]) currently includes more than 400,000 business-to-business suppliers. Traditionally, companies have had to go through a lengthy research process to identify suppliers. Now, with the American Express Online Business-to-Business Directory, it takes just a few minutes to identify multiple resources. Cardmembers can easily search the Directory for suppliers according to a wide variety of criteria including general industry categories (i.e., business services, chemicals, computers and electronics, office supplies, construction, etc.), Standard Industry Code (SIC), company name, location, legal structure or ownership status.

For instance, a mid-sized manufacturing company searching for industrial machinery suppliers would be able to quickly identify appropriate businesses by simply identifying the industry category (business and industrial goods), choosing a sub category (industrial machinery) and creating a customized region. Results might show 75 suppliers in the area, and the user could then choose whom to contact, based on location or capabilities described in the company profile. Search results can also be downloaded to a user’s desktop or emailed to a designated account. The American Express Online Business-to- Business Directory also includes hyperlinks to merchants’ websites (where provided) as well as links to MapQuest for interactive maps and driving directions.

American Express merchants in business-to-business industries are automatically listed in this Directory, free of charge, providing them with the opportunity to increase their exposure among potential buyers. In fact, 70% of Fortune 500 companies provide American Express Corporate Cards to their employees and more than 2.5 million mid-sized companies and small business owners rely on American Express for their purchases. Suppliers listed in the Directory have the opportunity to customize their company profile and to add unique information about their products and services. Merchants who wish to be deleted from the Directory may do so by contacting American Express at 800-528-5200.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network, and financial services provider founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit [][2].



MPS Processes Nordstrom

Fifth Third Bank announced that Nordstrom, Inc. has chosen Midwest Payment Systems to provide processing for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington with retail locations across the United States, Nordstrom sells apparel, shoes and accessories for women, men and children through specialty and clearance stores.

Nordstrom, Inc. will also utilize MPS’ back-office imaging technology, Mvision, to improve operations. Mvision enables retailers to scan receipts, handwritten notes, or other documents into the system for responding to inquiries from customers or financial institutions. The Java-based system has enabled many of Fifth Third’s large retail customers to fully automate their back office credit card operations.

“Fifth Third’s processing services, especially the unique Mvision product, are enabling us to get top-notch, cost-effective processing,” said Lisa Harris, Merchant Services Manager, Nordstrom Credit, Inc.

Fifth Third Bank Executive Vice President Barry L. Boerstler, adds, “Fifth Third is excited about providing Nordstrom, Inc. with customized processing solutions. We look forward to being their successful business partner.”

Fifth Third Bank processes 4.8 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 65,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide, including The Kroger Co., Circuit City, Office Depot and CompUSA. Fifth Third Merchant Services processes over $50 billion in credit card sales annually.

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company has $45 billion in assets, operates 14 affiliate banks with 639 full-service Banking Centers, including 116 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and 1,400 Jeanie(R) ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Michigan and Illinois. A leader in e-commerce, Fifth Third was named #1 e-business innovator by PC Week. Fifth Third’s financial strength continues to be recognized by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and Aa2 and commercial paper ratings of A1+ and P1 from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors, and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank’s data processing subsidiary.



MasterCard International is expanding its ‘Chip Vendor Services Program’ through the formation of a new subgroup focused on the development and global deployment of digital ID-based smart card applications to authenticate cardholders in mobile and electronic commerce transactions. Eleven key industry leaders have already committed to joining the new program. The current baseline ‘CVSP’ program provides extensive training conducted by experts at MasterCard and Europay International to educate vendor partners about the global EMV specifications, the ‘MULTOS’ operating system, and MasterCard’s M/Chip credit/debit application. To date, employees from 23 organizations have been trained and are actively participating in the CVSP program. Additional digital-ID vendor participants include: ACI Worldwide; Bull Smart Cards & Terminals; CMG; CardsEtc.; Dione plc.; Giesecke & Devrient; Gemplus; ICL; Schlumberger; and Unisys.


AmEx Buys MasterCard Portfolio

Valley National Bank announced that it has signed a definitive contract to sell its cobranded ShopRite MasterCard credit card portfolio to American Express. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2001. ShopRite card customers may continue to use their ShopRite MasterCard credit card during the interim period and they will receive information about the transition in the coming months.

Valley National Bancorp is a regional holding company headquartered in Wayne, NJ. Valley National bank, its principal subsidiary, currently operates 117 offices located in 76 communities serving 10 counties throughout northern New Jersey. Valley’s website can be found at [][1].

American Express ([][2]) founded in 1850, is a global travel, financial and network services provider.



E-Payments Surpass Checks

Global payment volume projections for developed countries call for electronic payments to finally surpass paper-based transactions this year. The projections reflect a CAGR in excess of 11% for electronic payments, and the beginning of a slow decline in US check volume. The findings are part of a new service focused on global payments by MA-based TowerGroup. The research shows that global non-cash payment volumes in developed countries now exceed 170 billion payments annually, reflecting a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.4% over the past 6 years. TowerGroup expects this growth trend to continue, with 200 billion non-cash payments expected in 2003. The displacement of paper-based transactions by payments initiated, cleared, and settled electronically is due largely to the development of electronic commerce in both the retail and wholesale sectors of the global economy, which is driving increased demand for payment capabilities that are more automated and integrated with purchasing processes. TowerGroup projects that nearly 1 billion electronic money transactions will occur by 2003.


Proton Gets Pep

Proton World announced this morning that PEP Bank has become the ‘Proton’ licensee for South Africa. PEP Bank’s ‘Proton’-based smart card pilot will launch Nov.1st, and will involve 25,000 cards in the Cape Town area. The first application on the card will be the ‘Proton’ e-purse. PEP bank will issue 10,000 of the cards to its customers, who will be able to load value from it at bank ATMs by transfer from their bank accounts. The other 15,000 cards will be issued to selected individuals without bank accounts, who will be able to load them against cash at load terminals in the railway stations, local banks, shops and other public areas. The cards will have a 500-Rand (EUR 78.25 USD 74) load limit. All the cards will carry the ‘VISA Cash’, PEP Bank and Metrorail brands, making South Africa the first country where Proton-based ‘VISA Cash’ cards have been issued.


OPC Signs Maryland

Official Payments Corporation announced the company has signed an agreement with the State of Maryland to collect individual tax year 2000 balance-due tax payments and delinquent tax payments by credit card, via the Internet and telephone. Taxpayers in Maryland will be able to make these payments by visiting [][1] on the Internet or by calling toll-free 1-888-2PAY-TAX. The new payment channel for tax year 2000 is expected to go live this fall. Official Payments provides similar services to the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

“We are committed to finding new ways to help our citizens. This new service does that,” said William Donald Schaefer, Comptroller of the State of Maryland. “The system will enable taxpayers to choose to make tax payments from the convenience of their home or office — 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Mr. Schaefer.

Maryland tax year 2000 balance-due tax returns are due no later than April 16, 2001. The state of Maryland projects $500 million in year 2000 balance due payments will be collected from 530,000 taxpayers, with an average payment of $943. In fiscal year 2000 (July to June), Maryland collected $187.6 million in delinquent tax payments.

Official Payments will charge Maryland taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. For example, a taxpayer who owed Maryland $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 Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a 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 United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma, Minnesota and over 550 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. 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.



Jarman to 724

724 Solutions announced the appointment of Chris Jarman to executive vice president, mobile commerce. Jarman formerly held positions with MasterCard International, the ORGA Group of companies, and TSB Bank, UK.

“With the addition of Chris to the 724 Solutions’ executive team, we are bringing on board the best expertise in the industry to drive our mobile commerce strategy forward,” said Greg Wolfond, chairman and chief executive officer of 724 Solutions. “Chris’s vision and leadership will help position 724 Solutions as a world leader in the mobile commerce arena.”

At 724 Solutions, Jarman will be responsible for overseeing the company’s growing mobile commerce unit and developing a blueprint for the delivery of a secure wireless payment solution to the nascent mobile marketplace.

Jarman brings to 724 Solutions in-depth knowledge of emerging technology markets as well as a keen understanding of the market opportunity for mobile commerce. Prior to joining 724 Solutions, he served as senior vice president of global mobile commerce for MasterCard International. In this capacity, Jarman was responsible for defining MasterCard’s Remote Services Strategy, tactical developments for emerging markets, and new delivery channels ranging from the Internet to mobile telephony to cable.

Jarman has spent 20 years in the emerging technology field, working with everything from personal computers and networks to smart cards and leading-edge Internet applications. Most recently, Jarman launched MasterCard’s Global Mobile Commerce Team and attracted a participation base of over 200 organizations in a six-month period. He also established a key industry partner-alliance program and forged agreements with Sonera SmartTrust, Obethur Card Systems, Intervoice Brite, Motorola and 724 Solutions to advance global adoption, standards and interoperability of mobile commerce.

About 724 Solutions Inc.

724 Solutions provides an Internet infrastructure solution to financial institutions that enables them to offer personalized and secure mobile banking, investment, and commerce services across a wide range of Internet-enabled wireless and consumer electronic devices. The company provides end-to-end customer support through its global application hosting and contact center services. 724 Solutions’ customers comprise world-class financial institutions whose combined customer bases total 165 million. 724 Solutions’ common shares are listed on the Nasdaq National Market (SVNX) and The Toronto Stock Exchange (SVN). Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company has offices in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sydney, and Tokyo. For additional information visit [][1].




Toronto-based Oasis Technology will announce this morning the launch of a new product suite offering a complete, customizable Internet card issuing solution. ‘iCard’ drives a virtual credit card solution that offers dynamic notification messaging to any Internet or mobile device, as well as user-driven authorization for large eCommerce and business-to-business transactions. ‘iCard’s’ functionality enables cardholders to define and customize their payment options according to their own preferences for card expiry dates, credit limits and funding sources, including cash, bank accounts or existing plastic credit cards. Users can also closely monitor their transactional histories from any mobile device. Furthermore ‘iCards’ are compatible with server side wallets and other payment storage devices including multi-application smart cards and SIMs on GSM-compatible mobile handsets.