Providian – El Paso

Citing the continued strong growth of its credit card business, Providian Financial Corporation, the fifth largest bankcard issuer in the United States, announced that the Company would open a new customer service center in El Paso, Texas. In fact, this is the fourth new center the Company has opened in the past 12 months. Providian’s 126,000 square-foot El Paso location is expected to employ more than 900 people and be operational in early 2001.

In the past year, Providian’s customer base has risen to more than 14 million, while the number of employees has increased to over 12,000. In order to deliver the industry’s highest level of customer service to an increasing number of Providian customers, the Company signed the lease for the site at 1440 Goodyear in El Paso.

“We are delighted to welcome Providian to El Paso,” said Mayor Carlos Ramirez. “We are very proud of the positive business climate in El Paso, which has an outstanding pool of talented individuals from which Providian can recruit.”

Providian’s El Paso customer service center will be the fourth Providian site in Texas, joining operations in Arlington, Austin and San Antonio. The latter two locations, along with Henderson, Nevada, were all opened by the Company in 2000. Including El Paso, Providian will have operations at 24 locations in six states in the U.S., United Kingdom and Argentina.

In El Paso, Providian was represented by CM Realty in cooperation with Sonny Brown & Associates.

El Paso area residents interested in learning more about employment opportunities with Providian can contact its Human Resources department toll free at 888-228-0867, or fax their resume to 877-796-6058.

San Francisco-based Providian Financial ([][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States and offers credit cards in the United Kingdom and Argentina. Providian Financial was recently named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine, and the nation’s top financial institution by US Banker magazine. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian helps customers build, protect and responsibly use credit. The Company has more than $27 billion in assets under management and over 14 million customers.



Critical Mass

The latest Internet tracking data shows that 52% of the U.S. home population is surfing the Web. Nearly 144 million people in the U.S. had access to the Internet from home during July, compared to 106.3 million a year ago, a growth rate of 35% over the past year. U.S. Internet users spent nearly ten hours a month online, an increase of 26% over the past year. Page views have doubled over the past year from 353 to 709 page views per month, According to Nielsen/NetRatings, lower prices for personal computers and competitive rates for high-speed Internet access has been driving the growth towards critical mass. Even though Web usage has increased, the number of sites people visit has dropped in the past year. This means that the barrier to entry is higher for new Internet ventures as companies vie for surfers’ attention. Nielsen/NetRatings says this underscores the power of branding online to amass a captive and loyal audience. Credit card marketing online continues to be among the most actively marketed products on the Internet. In the first half of 2000, MBNA added 500,000 new accounts via the Internet and expects 1 million new accounts to be added through this source in 2000. Among the top 25 advertisers: NextCard, Capital One, and Providian/Aria. Nielsen/NetRatings collects real-time data from more than 65,000 panel members which consists of 57,000 at-home users and 8,000 at-work users.

Top 25 Advertisers, At-Home
Advertiser Impressions (000) Reach %
1 TRUSTe 2,465,096 39.5
2 Microsoft 1,483,345 52.1
3 Yahoo! 1,054,654 40.1
4 AllAdvantage 822,747 8.9
5 America Online 631,260 44.1
6 Amazon 548,685 49.4
7 eBay 528,266 29.2
8 Casino On Net 446,592 24.6
9 Next Card 410,769 36.1
10 Ad Council 347,545 21.1
11 Barnes and Noble 325,537 36.3
12 Capital One 265,356 34.2
13 Enews 263,588 15.3
14 Gamesville 242,088 6.5
15 SexTracker 236,911 10.6
16 National Discount Brokers 222,538 5.4
17 Aria 202,636 22.9
18 Netscape 197,602 29.2
19 Uproar 191,716 22.2
20 E*TRADE 189,071 14.9
21 Lycos 174,678 10.6
22 uBid 170,080 29.4
23 Datek 168,955 7.1
24 Network Solutions 168,156 29.1
25 Pogo 166,441 6.2
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings


eCommony P2P

eCommony, Inc., provider of person-to-person payment solutions, announced a P2P credit card payment wizard enabling every website to provide its visitors with an immediate P2P credit card payment service.

The wizard, available at eCommony’s website ([][1]), installs eCommony’s FundTransfer P2P payment application after a short online registration process. The online registration service takes fewer than three minutes to fill out, and the applicant’s request is instantly processed.

FundTransfer is a person-to-person credit card payment application based on eCommony’s PayToCard Network infrastructure. With FundTransfer, individuals can complete e-commerce transactions and receive secure and private credit card payments at the website of their choice.

Simultaneously, eCommony announced a strategic agreement with Achex, a provider of a new payment service that leverages the Internet and existing payment networks to transfer funds directly to and from personal checking accounts via e-mail.

According to the agreement, FundTransfer will integrate the Achex consumer-to-consumer payment solution, thereby broadening its P2P credit card payments service offering to include online checking account payments. Under the terms of the partnership, Achex also has the option of integrating certain FundTransfer payment functionality into the Achex payment product.

“With the launch of the new wizard application and the agreement with Achex, eCommony can now allow any website to become a full service consumer-to-consumer e-commerce site, within a few minutes,” said Saar Safra, Chief Technology Officer of eCommony. “Surfers can complete secure financial transactions with other individuals as well as with SOHO businesses, which can now offer a comprehensive payment service akin to that of big enterprises.”

“The integration of eCommony’s FundTransfer and Achex opens to individuals and small businesses eCommerce payment opportunities that are usually reserved for larger merchants and businesses,” said Terry Allen-Rouman, President and CEO of Achex. “We believe this additional choice in payment options will expand eCommerce markets significantly.”

eCommony also announced that in its effort to become an international accepted enabling technology for person-to-person payments, it will establish European operations in the 4th quarter of 2000.,

About eCommony, Inc.

Founded in 1999, eCommony Inc. designs, develops and markets innovative, patent-pending back-office infrastructure enabling Person-to-Person (P2P) e-commerce over the Internet. eCommony’s technology is best suited to serve any site providing online banking, auctions, classifieds, e-consulting, e-service and garage/yard sales as well as private shareware sellers. eCommony’s innovative, patent pending risk management technology is designed to fit the specific needs of the P2P market. For more information, please visit the company’s website [][2].

About Achex, Inc.

Achex, Inc. ([][3]) is an Internet payments company that enables simple and secure Internet payments for buyers and sellers. Achex’s new payment service leverages the unique opportunities created by electronic commerce. The Achex service, based on a patent-pending infrastructure and business processes, leverages the Internet and existing payment networks to transfer funds online in a simple, convenient and highly secure manner. Founded in 1999, Achex is a privately held company with funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, First Data Corp., RRE Ventures, IncuBay LLC, Greyhound Crossover Fund and other investors. Achex co-founders are experts in payment systems; their experience includes designing and implementing major payments products and transaction processing architectures for major commercial banks, investment banks and credit card companies. The company’s advisory board is composed of payments experts, security experts, online merchants, venture capitalists and angel investors.



AmEx & StarCite

StarCite, Inc., innovators of the Internet’s leading global business-to-business E-Commerce meetings and events marketplace ([][1]), announced a strategic alliance with American Express to provide customized Web-based meeting sourcing and management tools to American Express customers.

StarCite’s services will be provided through American Express One, a business unit of American Express Corporate Services dedicated to serving the travel needs of small and mid-sized companies.

Under the agreement StarCite and American Express One will create a co-branded version of and offer customized sites for individual corporate customers. Using the co-branded StarCite Web site, American Express customers will be able to initiate and manage much of the meeting planning process online, in conjunction with American Express One’s Meetings & Incentives group’s traditional meeting planning services.

These Web-based tools will allow customers to find destinations, choose properties, issue electronic RFPs and participate in online reverse auctions for meeting space and other related services.

The agreement with StarCite complements American Express One’s existing suite of corporate group travel and incentive services, which cover corporate business meetings, incentive programs and special event planning, with services including consolidation of meeting expenditures, registration services, site searches and destination analysis.

American Express One Meetings & Incentives employees will also utilize a co-branded version of to support their worldwide corporate meeting planning activities. American Express is the latest addition to StarCite’s strategic partners program.

“By using the Internet to manage many stages of a corporate meeting, for everything from searching for and seeking bids from hotels to registration services, companies can cut the cost of meetings and improve the administrative processes they employ to manage events,” said Jay Roseman, Vice President of American Express One Meetings & Incentives. “Working together, StarCite and American Express will deliver customized, powerful solutions to help our customers transform meetings management.”

“Both StarCite and American Express have earned reputations for providing comprehensive services that enable customers to achieve process efficiencies and cost savings,” said John Pino, chairman and chief executive officer of StarCite. “By joining forces, we have created a powerful offering that builds on the achievements of both companies.”

About American Express

American Express One, created in 1999, is a division of American Express Corporate Services specializing in travel management services for small to mid-sized companies. American Express Corporate Services is the leading provider of commercial cards and the largest travel agency in the U.S. The company counts more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500, along with tens of thousands of mid-sized companies, as customers of its Business Travel, Corporate Card, Corporate Purchasing Card and Consulting Services group.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.

About StarCite, Inc.

StarCite is using its proprietary web-based technologies and services to re-shape the supply chain purchasing and management processes for the $300 billion global meetings and events industry. Custom versions of enable more effective buying and vendor management on a company-wide and global basis.



Nestor & CardGuard

NestorCommerce, a division of Nestor, Inc., in conjunction with its alliance partner, Total System Services, Inc., announces the availability of new fraud detection models for TSYS’ card issuing clients in the U.S. and Canada, as well as issuers of commercial, or purchasing cards. The new neural network models have been integrated within the TSYS CardGuard fraud detection system and are available through TSYS immediately.

“We are pleased to partner with Nestor to deliver advanced fraud control solutions to our clients throughout North America,” said Skeet Rolling, vice president of Fraud Control Services for TSYS. “By adding the U.S. and Canadian-specific models and the commercial card fraud detection model to CardGuard, we can provide targeted solutions to more of our card-issuing customers.”

NestorCommerce’s neural network models provide a predictive fraud score by comparing transactions to the model’s learned memory of fraudulent patterns. High scoring transactions can be queued for review and delivered to banks through TSYS’ CardGuard system.

“These new systems have been benchmarked extensively to optimize detection rates while minimizing the number of false-positive alerts,” said Sushmito Ghosh, president of NestorCommerce. “We are excited to continue to provide TSYS, and our banking partners and customers throughout the world, with targeted, neural network-based fraud solutions.”

About Total System Services, Inc.

TSYS (NYSE:TSS) provides global commerce solutions. Facilitating the payment exchange between buyers and sellers, TSYS’ systems capture and deliver more of the right information to our clients allowing them to make wiser business decisions, currently yielding portfolio growth more than twice the industry average. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of business services from credit applications to collections, allowing our clients to focus on building their brands and managing their portfolios. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS is an 80.8-percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV) ([][1]), No. 5 on Fortune magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000.

About NestorCommerce

NestorCommerce is a division of Nestor, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent decision-support solutions for the financial services and e-commerce industries. Nestor’s client/server products incorporate innovative pattern-recognition technologies ideally suited for data-intensive, real-time decision applications. The company’s products provide predictive fraud detection and case management for e-commerce fraud, credit, debit, retail and commercial card fraud, as well as merchant fraud, money laundering and customer relationship management. Nestor products are sold direct and by selected partners worldwide. Through its affiliate, Nestor Traffic Systems, Inc., the company also applies its technologies to a suite of video-based intelligent transportation systems that promote enhanced traffic management and improved safety. For more information, call 401-331-9640 or visit [][2].



Planet Payment China

Planet Payment and chinadotcom announced this morning they have formed an alliance to offer one-stop e-commerce payment related services to China’s e-commerce sector. Under the terms of the deal, Planet Payment’s multi-currency payment solution will be bundled with the e-business products offered by chinadotcom. Chinadotcom offers web solutions, portal and online advertising services.


Cross Country Bank – Kentucky

Applied Card Systems will add an additional 70,000 square feet of office space to its location at the Ashland Corporate Center, company officials announced. The expansion will bring nearly 1,000 new jobs to the Tri-state area.

Applied Card Systems services VISA and MasterCard customers primarily for Cross Country Bank, a leading national credit card issuer. The company launched its Kentucky operation late last year, and has since become one of the Tri-state area’s largest corporate employers. Applied Card Systems opened its first location in the Tri-state area in October 1998. With this most recent expansion, the company anticipates employing over 2,000 Associates in the Tri-state region.

The company is actively recruiting personnel for Information Technology, Human Resources, Learning and Development, Accounting, Financial, Internal Audit, Settlement, Payroll Processing, Card Security, Credit, Customer Service, and Collections. Applied Card Systems’ expansion is no surprise in light of the fact that the company has experienced dynamic growth since its inception in 1987. “Our choice to expand in the Tri-state area is also due, in large part, to the outstanding efforts of our Associates, along with our confidence that we can continue to attract and retain quality Associates in the region,” said Rocco Abessinio, Chairman and CEO of Applied Card Systems.

The 70,000 square feet of new space Applied Card Systems will occupy is adjacent to the company’s existing facility at the Ashland site. The expansion will provide Applied Card Systems with over 130,000 square feet of corporate office space in Kentucky alone. “This really was a collaborative effort between Applied Card Systems, Ashland Alliance, the Kentucky Development Office, Addington Inc. and Ashland Inc. This transaction serves as a terrific example of public, private and governmental offices working toward the common goal of economic development and expansion in Northeastern Kentucky,” said Charlie Albano, ACS General Manager of the Kentucky and West Virginia sites.

Applied Card Systems, founded in 1987, services nontraditional VISA and MasterCard customers. Applied Card Systems’ national headquarters, located in Wilmington, Delaware, services approximately three million cardholders. Additional corporate offices are located in Boca Raton, Florida and Huntington, West Virginia.


10th MC RPPS Member

Derivion, the first application service provider to deliver comprehensive e-billing solutions designed for the Internet, announced an agreement that will open access to MasterCard’s Remote Payment and Presentment Service for Derivion’s increasing customer base of more than 60 billers.

The agreement increases biller selection to electronically deliver, present and provide access to bills online.

Derivion’s agreement with MasterCard clears another path to a primary distribution channel for Derivion’s e-billing customers. Developed specifically for the Internet, Derivion’s ASP platform accepts all types of billing data to electronically transform any output for online presentment and payment enabling billers to adopt a viable e-billing solution that is a better way to communicate with customers. Customers have the option to manage their bills directly on the biller’s Web site or choose from a wide range of online access points provided through distribution channels such as MasterCard’s RPPS network.

“Derivion has demonstrated it can enable billers of all sizes with its unique, Internet-based e-billing solutions,” said Cathleen Conforti, vice president, RPPS, MasterCard International. “The agreement with Derivion further streamlines the electronic nature of the RPPS process by expanding our connection to more billers enabled by Derivion. In turn, we offer these billers a direct electronic connection for presenting their bills to their customers via the Internet.”

MasterCard RPPS provides participants with flexible connectivity to process transactions. Through this agreement, MasterCard will continue to act as a bill presentment and payment distribution network, offering Derivion’s billing customers the ability to present bills through MasterCard’s extensive connections and endpoints.

“MasterCard has 14 years of proven experience in remote payments and further strengthens Derivion’s strategy by providing a single entry to multiple distribution channels with the most flexible, dynamic e-billing network on the market today,” said Mark Dugan, senior vice president for Derivion. “Through the robust network of MasterCard RPPS, Derivion’s e-billing clients now have even more choice for streamlining and digitizing the entire cycle of the e-billing process from bill origin to the numerous destinations and payments returned to the biller.”

Derivion currently has multiple strategic agreements with major billing consolidators, processors and distributors giving billers a broad range of Web sites to manage and deliver bills for consumers to view and pay.

About Derivion

Derivion is the only e-billing ASP that fully leverages the flexibility and power of the Internet to automate the bill delivery, payment and customer care processes for companies driven by recurring billing such as telecommunications, utility, insurance and financial services companies. Derivion’s inetBiller(SM) service provides complete e-billing implementation including electronic bill design, e-mail notification, bill presentment, payment processing, enrollment marketing and customer care for the business-to-consumer and business-to-business environment. These capabilities provide billers with a competitive advantage, enabling them to make bill delivery and bill payment simple and convenient for their customers and providing a path to e-bill consolidation at consumer access points as needed. The Atlanta-based company was founded in 1998 and maintains research, development and additional sales offices in Toronto. For more information about Derivion, please visit [][1].

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of 22,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. With more than 18 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1999, gross dollar volume exceeded US$727 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [][2].




FoneCash Inc. announced it has formed a joint venture with the Chinese group, Universal Information Technology Limited, to create a new Hong Kong company, Limited.

The new company, Limited, will be 50% owned by each group. In return for its ownership interest, FoneCash Inc will grant to the new company an exclusive license to its proprietary technology, the “FoneCash Terminal”; and Universal Information Technology has agreed to provide operating capital upon the completion of a contemplated $3 – $5 million private placement. The private placement is projected to be completed within 6 months. It is anticipated that will apply for listing on the Hong Kong GEM board after two years of operating history.

Under this agreement FoneCash Inc. will receive royalties from the sale/rental of the FoneCash Terminals in China, according to Daniel Charboneau CEO of FoneCash Inc. “The challenge of building a new company, and marketing in China presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me personally,” stated Charboneau, “and the growth potential for the company and the benefits to the Chinese consumer are enormous.”

About FoneCash Inc.

The Company has developed, under an exclusive licensing agreement with a U.S. Patent holder, a system of processing credit cards for low volume merchants and in-home salespersons. This device utilizes established communications networks, both wired and wireless, for processing the data from credit and debit cards. Settlement occurs when the collected data is sent to the card issuing bank, charging the customer’s account and electronically depositing payment in the merchant’s bank account, usually within 24 – 48 hours. The Company intends to market a complete processing system that is high quality and simple to operate. Revenues will be generated from sales/rentals of the terminals and from transaction charges. The current size of this market exceeds $500 million dollars. FoneCash Inc. soon expects to enter into the global market place.


Food Stamps at Farmers Markets

U.S. Wireless Data and Lockheed Martin IMS announced that participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Stamp Program will soon be able to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to purchase produce and other foodstuffs in open-air farmers markets.

A pilot program coordinated by Lockheed Martin IMS, the program features the debut of the first-ever wireless EBT transaction. Beginning in New York City this summer, the pilot could potentially roll out to thousands of farmers nationwide.

This new initiative is made possible thanks to technology provided by U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. (USWD) (OTCBB: USWDA), the leader in wireless payment services; Tillsmith Systems, a leading manufacturer of wireless point-of-sale terminals; and Buypass, a subsidiary of Concord EFS, Inc., the industry leader in EBT processing.

With the federally-mandated move away from paper coupons in favor of electronic debiting of food purchases, New York State has been searching for technological alternatives to allow recipients to purchase food at sites that lack telephone or electrical access. Wireless provides an optimized solution that addresses this access problem. New York currently allows vendors to utilize EBT vouchers in these settings.

“This technology solution will benefit both farmers and consumers participating in the Food Stamp Program,” said Audrey Rowe, senior vice president and managing director of Children & Family Services for Lockheed Martin IMS. “Most open-air markets lack the telephone and power lines needed for standard EBT transaction processing equipment. Plus, the authorization speed provided by U.S. Wireless Data enables EBT transactions to be as fast as cash.”

Tillsmith’s hand-held, battery-powered wireless payment terminals, enabled by U.S. Wireless Data’s high-speed Wireless Express Payment Service(sm) (WEPS(sm)) platform, will be provided to qualified farmers authorized by the USDA under the Food Stamp Program. The USWD solution will enable the farmers to accept EBT card payments from Food Stamp Program benefits recipients. The wireless payment terminals will be on loan from Tillsmith for a four-month period to farmers who agree to assist in evaluating their usefulness. EBT transaction processing will be provided free of charge by U.S. Wireless Data and Buypass during this trial period.

Although the project is intended to facilitate EBT (Food Stamp) transactions, the wireless terminals also can accept standard credit cards (Visa/MasterCard/American Express) and debit (ATM) cards. Farmers will have the option to activate these functions on the terminal for the duration of the demonstration pilot, for a standard card processing cost.

“The Farmers Market Wireless EBT Project illustrates the huge potential market for wireless payment processing,” stated Dean M. Leavitt, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Wireless Data. “Through this and other programs, WEPS is opening new markets for card acceptance at venues in which telephone dial-up is not feasible.”

“We are pleased to be involved in the wireless pilot project,” said OTDA Commissioner Brian J. Wing. “We, along with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, will monitor its usefulness and cost effectiveness to determine whether it has the potential to become a statewide system.”

Part of an effort to explore workable solutions for EBT cards at farmers markets, the initiative is a collaborative venture among the Council on the Environment of New York City/Greenmarket Program, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York State’s EBT prime contractor, Citibank EBT Services, and its retail service provider in New York, Lockheed Martin IMS. Citicorp made its system available and helped facilitate the project, consistent with the company’s commitment to support the USDA in finding ways to extend EBT services to farmers markets. This project is one of the first in the United States to enable Food Stamp customers to use their EBT cards in open-air venues.

About U.S. Wireless Data, Inc.

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. ([][1]), founded in 1991, markets proprietary technology that brings together three large, rapidly growing industries-transaction processing, wireless data transport and the Internet-to enable wireless payment processing. The Company’s WEPS platform provides a gateway among all of the parties within a wireless point-of-sale (POS) transaction. This enables businesses that require mobility (i.e., not tethered to a telephone line) and/or faster transaction speed to accept wireless point-of-sale payments. By providing a seamless interface among merchants’ POS terminals, wireless carriers and card processors, credit, debit and other card transactions can be processed as fast as cash, without the cost and inconvenience of a telephone line. In addition, WEPS’ Internet-based tools offer on-line, real-time transaction monitoring, remote diagnostics and automated terminal activation. The Company is headquartered in New York City.

About Lockheed Martin IMS

Lockheed Martin IMS ( provides technology-based services to more than 200 state and local government customers, with a focus on transaction processing, program management and systems integration services. A wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, IMS has a 20-year history of successfully partnering with government agencies in such areas as child support enforcement, welfare-to-work services, electronic toll collection and other “intelligent” transportation services involving the trucking industry, photo enforcement of red-light and speeding violations, parking management, information technology outsourcing and electronic commerce services. In the area electronic benefit transfer, IMS last year served 3.7 million EBT recipients in 18 states, representing 44 percent of the national caseload. IMS’ EBT network encompasses more than 40,000 point of sale devices located at 62,000 retail sites.

About Tillsmith Systems

Established in 1989, Tillsmith Systems ([][2]) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian electronic commerce and smart card company, Keycorp Limited (ASX: KYC). Tillsmith is an ISO 9002 certified manufacturer of point-of-sale payment terminals for North American merchants. In addition to a range of both wired and wireless point-of-sale payment terminals and credit transactions, Tillsmith’s Nobil Secure Internet Payment System provides payment processing for e-commerce. Together, Tillsmith and Keycorp continue to design, manufacture and market a wide range of payment solutions to satisfy an evolving marketplace. Tillsmith is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.



Smart Card Lawsuit

The Federal Court of Australia this week rejected Catuity’s attempt to split the patent infringement lawsuit filed by France-based Welcome Real-time. Welcome Real-time filed the lawsuit against three Catuity group companies on July 20. The suit charges infringement of one of Welcome Real-time’s Australian patents that broadly covers the emerging use of smart cards to deliver, store and process frequent shopper incentives. The patent also covers the subject matter of Welcome Real-time’s French patent, filed in early 1996. In addition to Australia, Welcome Real-time’s extensive smart card loyalty patent portfolio covers numerous other regions, including the US, Europe and Asia. Catuity had applied to the Court asking whether it would hear the issue of infringement as quickly as possible and delay all other issues in the litigation, including whether the patent was valid, until later. Catuity must now offer its defense by August 30. The trial is set for March 2001. (See CF 7/24/00)



Electronic Clearing House, Inc. announced the initiation of a pilot program that allows merchants to accept multiple forms of payment on one platform. The program, referred to as ECHOTERM 2.0, gives ECHO merchants the ability to accept credit cards, debit cards and to verify checks against National Check Information Services, one of the top negative file databases in the nation.

“For the last few months, ECHO has been working on integrating all of the services of ECHO, RMRS, and XpressCheX, Inc. into one platform and the Verifone Tranz line of terminals is the first of several terminal types that will operate the new platform,” stated Joel M. Barry, CEO. RMRS, a national check verification provider, was acquired by ECHO in January of 2000 and XpressCheX, an ACH processor who also provides verification service, was acquired by ECHO in April of 1999. Verifone Tranz terminals are the most common terminals in use in the merchant marketplace today.

The new software also offers enhanced security features to protect merchants from fraudulent credit card transactions and allows full entry of commercial card data, lowering processing costs to ECHO merchants.

In addition to making ECHOTERM 2.0 available to all new merchants, a direct marketing effort and in-house cross-selling program using ECHO’s 24/7 customer support staff will be launched to encourage all existing ECHO merchants to install the new software and consider adding the new services to their credit card processing with ECHO.

The following services and enhancements make up the ECHOTERM 2.0 software:

— XPRESSVERIFICATION(sm) — A real time check verification of the NCIS database.

— Debit Cards — Using a PIN pad attached to the merchant’s terminal, ECHO merchants have access to Interlink, Maestro, and STAR networks for authorization of their debit card activity.

— Address Verification Service — Having the ability to confirm the home address of the cardholder eliminates unauthorized or stolen card use.

— Security Code Verification — By entering preprinted security numbers on the card, the merchant gains certain chargeback rights and minimizes fraudulent activity.

— Commercial Card support — By accommodating the data entry requirements related to accepting a Commercial Card, the merchant lowers his processing costs and satisfies his business-based customer.

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 over 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.