MasterCard CFO

MasterCard International today announced that it has appointed Denise Fletcher as Chief Financial Officer. She will report to Robert Selander, MasterCard President and CEO, and will be a member of the Executive Management Group.

She joins MasterCard from Bowne & Company, the world’s largest financial printer, where she was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, with responsibility for finance and strategy. After joining Bowne in 1996, she was instrumental in negotiating and completing 20 acquisitions, including a tender offer for a public company, and a joint venture. These acquisitions included Internet, software localization and outsourcing companies, and enabled Bowne to “wrap itself around” its clients in the financial services and legal industries. She also re-engineered the strategic planning, reporting, and measurement systems.

“Denise is an accomplished financial executive with extensive knowledge and proven experience in the field,” Mr. Selander said. “Throughout her career, she has been credited with the development and implementation of strategies that enhanced the financial health and prosperity of the corporation, creating greater value for her customers. We think she will bring great value to MasterCard and its member financial institutions.”

Prior to joining Bowne & Company, she ran her own enterprise, Fletcher Associates, Inc., which provided specialized consulting services to financial services companies and publishing firms. Her clients included The Chase Manhattan Bank and National Westminster Bank.

She was also Corporate Treasurer of the New York Times Company, with responsibility for investor relations, financing, acquisitions, banking, insurance, capital budgeting, and employee benefits administration. She led the financing strategy that enabled The New York Times to grow through acquisitions from a $500 million publishing company to a multi-billion dollar diversified communications company.

Fletcher earned a B.A. in Sociology from Wellesley College, and a Masters in City Planning with concentration in Economics from Harvard University.

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 in 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 [http://www.mastercard.com][1].

[1]: http://www.mastercard.com/

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LynkPak

Atlanta-based Lynk introduced this week a new credit and debit application for the VeriFone ‘Ruby’ POS system. ‘Lynkpak’ is a network processing interface for the VeriFone ‘Ruby SuperSystem’ currently used in many independent and major oil company service stations and convenience stores. ‘Lynkpak’ interfaces with a wide range of fleet card networks and all of the major electronic dispensers, allowing the user to standardize operations for their petroleum and C-store sites. With Lynk’s direct network connectivity nationwide, authorization is faster, transactions are speedier and the petroleum marketer saves with the lowest cost network. Lynk also provides value-added services such as personalized online customer service and reporting features.

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CompuCredit CTO

CompuCredit Corporation has hired Claude Suddreth, Jr. to the newly created position of chief technology officer. In this role, he will be responsible for providing technology leadership in the areas of database management, system infrastructure, Web development, system development and network operations.

“The rapid growth and success of our company is a direct result of our innovative proprietary technology,” said CompuCredit Chief Executive Officer David Hanna. “Given our growth and the speed at which technology is constantly changing, the time is right for us to have someone totally focused on this important aspect of our operations. We are fortunate to have someone with Claude’s background and experience join our team in this capacity. He will be a very effective leader.”

Mr. Suddreth’s experience includes past technical positions at CauseLink.com, an Internet start-up; S1 Corporation, a financial services software company; Alliance International, an international manufacturing company; Ball/Foster Glass, a manufacturer of glass containers; and Software Ventures Corporation, a software design firm specializing in applications for the automotive and financial markets.

Most recently, he served as vice president of information technology at CauseLink.com, an Internet company focusing on the nonprofit community, where he conceptualized and designed integrated systems, assisted in technical product selection, developed partner selection and relationship management.

Prior to CauseLink.com, Mr. Suddreth served as senior implementation and integration manager for S1 Corporation in Atlanta. There he oversaw the installation, implementation, testing, and production rollout phases of systems serving various financial institutions.

Mr. Suddreth holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology and a master’s degree in industrial engineering technology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses analytical techniques, including sophisticated computer models, to identify consumers who it believes are credit-worthy and are overlooked by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets unsecured Aspire(R) Visa(R) credit cards through direct mail, telemarketing and the Internet. In July 1999, CompuCredit launched its consumer web site, [www.aspirecard.com][1], through its Internet marketing services subsidiary AspireCard.com, Inc. Consumers can apply online and receive a credit decision within seconds. CompuCredit also markets credit life insurance, card registration, buying club memberships and travel services to its cardholders. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit completed its initial public offering in April of 1999 and was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July 1999 and the NASDAQ FIN-100 Index in May 2000.

[1]: http://www.aspirecard.com/

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Star & eFunds

Star Systems and eFunds announced a new multi-year agreement extending their 16-year relationship. Under terms of the contract, eFunds will continue to provide processing services for the STAR Western platform while also providing ATM terminal driving support services for the ATMs managed by STAR. STAR will continue to provide first-line customer service to its member financial institutions, retailers, and processors. Currently, eFunds switches approximately 120 million STAR transactions a month in the West.

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OPC NJ

Official Payments Corp. has signed an expanded contract with the State of New Jersey. The expansion enables New Jersey to collect and process credit card payments over the Internet for gross withholding taxes, as well as unemployment and disability contributions. The initial contract with New Jersey includes the credit card collection of individual balance due, fiduciary, estimated, extension, monthly and/or quarterly business sales and use tax, and deficiency tax payments. Over 240,000 New Jersey businesses and employers are required to file withholding taxes, unemployment and disability contributions quarterly.

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Mondex SVP to ComSense

ComSense announced the appointment of Ralph Browning as vice president of business development. Ralph Browning joins ComSense from MasterCard International, where he served as Senior Vice President of Mondex International, the smart card business of MasterCard.

“We are honored to have Ralph Browning join our management team,” said Alon Atsmon, president and CEO of ComSense. “We will leverage Ralph’s deep experience in the global payment card industry to guide ComSense’s growth and rapid penetration of this market.”

Ralph Browning joins ComSense from MasterCard International, where he served as Senior Vice President of Mondex International, North America. Mondex is the financial smart card business of MasterCard. Previously based in London, Ralph was instrumental in the creation of the U.S., Australian and Canadian Mondex franchises and the formation of Mondex International. Ralph has been a career banker with Citibank and National Westminster Bank, where his responsibilities have included strategy planning and the development of new product and service businesses in both investment and retail banking.

About ComSense

ComSense(tm) is the maker of Comdot(tm) — the world’s first reader-free Internet card technology. ComSense card-based products create value for card issuers and on-line services through their unique user authentication and loyalty functionality. For end users, ComSense cards introduce unprecedented ease and security to online shopping, banking, and Internet and communications services. Founded in mid-1998, ComSense Technologies has its international headquarters in New York City, with research and development at its home office in Tel Aviv, Israel, and manufacturing in San Jose, California.

For additional information please visit our Web site:

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Alibaba Enters China

Alibaba.com ([www.alibaba.com][1]), business-to-business marketplace for global trade and host to China’s largest domestic online B2B community, announced an agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to jointly develop and promote Alibaba.com’s online B2B payment solution in China.

The partnership, the first of its kind for a B2B marketplace in China, will allow Alibaba.com’s over 170,000 members in China to conduct online transactions with buyers and sellers nationwide through the Alibaba Payment Center.

The agreement, signed today, brings together China’s largest B2B marketplace with the largest commercial bank in China for a long-term strategic partnership. ICBC accounts for half of the annual total settlement volume of the entire banking system of China and is aggressively developing and promoting B2B payment solutions.

“Alibaba.com and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are making online B2B transactions a reality in China,” said Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba.com. “We are pleased to partner with the largest commercial bank in China to offer our members online transaction capabilities. Alibaba.com is leading the way for China’s businesses to conduct transactions with buyers and sellers online.”

According to the agreement, Alibaba.com and ICBC will roll out Alibaba.com’s payment solution in two phases. The first phase will allow Alibaba.com members to pay online for Alibaba.com services, such as advertising and promotional opportunities on the Alibaba China website ([www.china.alibaba.com][2]). The second phase will allow Alibaba.com’s over 170,000 buyers and sellers in China to settle payments online through the Alibaba Payment Center, a fully integrated payment solution to be provided by Alibaba.com and ICBC on the Alibaba China website. The two partners will also devote resources to co-marketing efforts to promote Alibaba.com’s online B2B payment solution.

To settle payments online, Alibaba.com members will use an IC (Integrated Circuit) card system developed by ICBC. To guarantee highly secure transactions, users will first swipe an IC card through a card reader connected to a user’s computer and then enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN). After positive identification, members will be allowed to transfer funds, track and verify payments online. After receiving a payment order, the bank will send confirmation and progress reports to Alibaba.com and the two parties executing the transaction, which can then trace the order through the Internet.

“The IC card system best meets the current online payment needs of China’s businesses,” said Jack Ma. “The system is highly secure and simple to install. Buyers and sellers in China will soon be able to settle payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Alibaba.com Payment Center.”

About Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest commercial bank in China and has long-standing cooperation with over 40,000 major companies. It accounts for half of the annual total settlement volume of the entire banking system of China.

About Alibaba.com

Alibaba.com is the leading online business-to-business marketplace for global trade and host to China’s largest domestic online B2B community. The company is focused on facilitating trade among small and medium sized enterprises through its web-based information and e-commerce platform. Alibaba.com’s web properties have a combined membership of 300,000, with over 170,000 members in China.

Alibaba.com is headquartered in Hong Kong with R&D and customer service operations in Mainland China, branch offices in Silicon Valley and London and a joint venture with SOFTBANK in Seoul.

Alibaba .com’s institutional investors include SOFTBANK, Goldman Sachs, Transpac Capital, Fidelity Capital, Venture TDF, Pte Ltd of Singapore and Investor AB of Sweden.

[1]: http://www.alibaba.com/
[2]: http://www.china.alibaba.com/

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Automated Process Patent

Another process patent will be issued this week. The latest one covers the automated processing of financial accounts. Columbia, SC-based Affinity Technology Group says it will be issued a patent tomorrow that gives Affinity proprietary rights concerning the establishment of financial accounts in a fully automated manner. The patent covers the process of receiving application from a remote computer interface, having the identity of the applicant verified and having the account processed and established in real time, all without human intervention. However the company admitted yesterday that the U.S. PTO has issued a second preliminary rejection of the company’s previously issued claims concerning Affinity’s first patent covering automated loan processing.

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Card Protection

The PA Attorney General has levied penalties against a Canadian telemarketer that used deceptive tactics to market a credit card protection program. American Fraud Watch Services Inc., of White Rock, British Columbia allegedly conducted a telephone solicitation to sell Pennsylvania consumers a $299 credit card protection program. The company allegedly misled consumers by falsely claiming that the failure to report a stolen or lost credit card within 48 hours would result in the consumer accepting responsibility for certain amounts of the unauthorized charges. The firm also allegedly gave consumers the impression that they were being contacted by credit card company.

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First Union Sale

First Union announced late Monday it has signed an agreement for MBNA to acquire its consumer and commercial revolving credit businesses. The deal involves a consumer revolving credit portfolio of $5.3 billion in loans and more than 3 million accounts, and a commercial credit card portfolio of $215 million in loans and approximately 300,000 accounts. As a result of this transaction, First Union expects to record a gain of approximately $1.0 billion before taxes and expenses. The deal also includes an agent relationship whereby MBNA will market personal, business, corporate, and purchasing cards to First Union’s 16 million customers. MBNA says the acquisition will give it a 22% penetration of the eligible market in the twelve East Coast states and Washington, D.C.. MBNA said it is paying for the deal by selling 50 million shares of newly issued common stock to Goldman, Sachs at $32.50 per share less a fee. The transaction enables MBNA to increase its capital ratios by raising common equity in excess of the amount required by this portfolio purchase without altering its non-dilution policy. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter. According to CardData (www.carddata.com) MBNA had $61,141,000,000 in card receivables as of June 30.

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ComSense Card

A new Internet payment card was unveiled Monday that uses ultrasonic technology for secure transactions and account access. The new ‘ComSense’ card is equipped with technology known as ‘Comdot’. ‘Comdot’ is the world’s first bankcard technology that does not require a card reader, because it uses sound, a capability that is highly standardized and pervasive on PCs. Pressing the flat ‘Comdot’ button, which is identified by a printed logo on the card, causes the Internet card to talk with a PC. Cardholders simply browse to a ‘Comdot’-ready Web site that automatically equips a multimedia PC to communicate with the cards. The ComSense technology is not limited to access and security, since each Web page can carry different instructions that are activated when the consumer clicks the ‘Comdot’ button. One of the first implementations of ‘Comdot’ technology will be for use with credit cards. The company says it is working with VISA to explore opportunities for its member banks and their cardholders. Towards that end, ComSense also announced Monday that VISA International president/CEO, Malcolm Williamson, has joined its board of directors as non-executive chairman. ComSense says it plans to place bankcard association approved cards into circulation with its first set of major credit card issuers during the fourth quarter of 2000. Founded in mid-1998, ComSense Technologies has its international headquarters in New York City, with research and development at its home office in Tel Aviv, Israel, and manufacturing in San Jose, CA.

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[1]: /graphic/comsense/comsense.gif

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OPC’s New CFO

Official Payments Corporation announced the appointment of Edward J. Dimaria, CPA as the firm’s new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Dimaria is expected to commence his employment with Official Payments Corporation in late August.

“Ed Dimaria has an outstanding skill set and background for the job. We were deliberate in our search and selection of a CFO,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Official Payments. “Ed Dimaria’s hands-on experience, fiscal skill-set and communications acumen are precisely what we need to lead and manage our finance operations. Moreover, Ed’s drive, dynamic personality and entrepreneurial spirit fit very well with our corporate culture. Two criteria were paramount: skill-set and personality. We have hired the ideal candidate,” Mr. Evans added.

Prior to his appointment at Official Payments Mr. Dimaria was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Best Friends Pet Care, Inc, a venture-backed consumer service company. In that position Mr. Dimaria was in-charge of all financial operations including the marketing, negotiation and close of $42 Million in private equity capital. During his tenure Mr. Dimaria managed a cost-containment program that resulted in an annual cost-savings of $2.7 million and turned Best Friends Pet Care, Inc. profitable.

Earlier in his career Mr. Dimaria was Controller and Director of accounting for a regional airline, Business Express, Inc. and was Controller & Treasurer of Advanced Network & Services, Inc a high speed Internet service provider. Previously, Mr. Dimaria served in a variety of positions over a five-year period at KPMG Peat Marwick. There he gained extensive experience in SEC reporting and compliance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring and financial auditing. Mr. Dimaria is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Pace University, Pleasantville, NY from which he holds Bachelor of Business Administration/Certified Public Account Degree.

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 Internal Revenue Service; several state governments, including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Oklahoma; 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.

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