WHEREVER.net reported yesterday that its new ‘WHEREVER Card’, launched in April has been a huge success. The new prepaid Asian phone card has captured over 10% of the market share for IP telephony traffic to the Philippines and is now among the top 5 players in Hong Kong. In June WHEREVER.net launched a card for users calling Mainland China. During July the firm also launched a card for Indonesia. The ‘WHEREVER Card’ is available in various denominations and offers flexible zonal pricing. WHEREVER.net has 83 POPs around the world.Details
In terms of share of wallet, primary credit card accounts represent a very high-value to issuers. A new study released Monday shows that American cardholders are generally satisfied with their primary credit card accounts however some cardholder groups are more satisfied than others. PSI Global says this morning that it identified three cardholder segments: “High Satisfaction”, 47% of all cardholders; “Moderate Satisfaction”, 38% and “Low Satisfaction”, 15%. Overt dissatisfaction is low across all groups, but the study found varying degrees of satisfaction with primary card accounts among the segments. PSI also found distinct differences in satisfaction levels among different cardholder groups, such as “Transactors”, “Credit Revolvers”, “Internet Credit Card Users” and “Rewards” cardholders, as well as differences in satisfaction levels among life-stage segments. Interestingly, “Transactors” and senior cardholders are the most satisfied cardholder groups. The least satisfied groups are “Revolvers” cardholders under the age of 34. PSI said its study concluded that product features, such as interest rate, annual fee and grace period count most, but leveraging privacy protection and certain customer service attributes are also key to building or maintaining customer satisfaction. The PSI Global study, which is based on a survey of 4,082 U.S. households, evaluated 25 product or service attributes of credit cards.Details
Austin, TX-based ClearCommerce Corp announced Monday that its processing technology is performing real-time credit card authorizations in more than 50 currencies worldwide. Through the ‘ClearCommerce Engine’, merchants can permit credit card transactions in U.S. dollars, British pounds, French francs, German marks, Euro dollars and 46 other currencies. At the end of each day, merchants can be credited with U.S. dollars, or another native currency, after the bank or processor performs the currency conversion. The merchant needs only one merchant bank account in its own domestic currency. ClearCommerce has certified its ‘Engine’ to authorize and process multiple currencies with major processors, including First Data, Paymentech and NatWest.Details
The Sportsman’s Guide, Inc., a catalog retailer and Internet e-tailer of outdoor and general merchandise, and Metris Companies Inc., one of the fastest-growing direct marketing companies in the United States, today officially launched The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard. The new Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard allows customers to earn Guide Rewards, The Sportsman’s Guide’s proprietary loyalty program, on all purchases. The Sportsman’s Guide’s customers will be able to find card applications in August’s catalog, or use convenient, secure online functionality to apply for the card at [www.sportsmansguide.com]. Guide Rewards can be earned when using The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard for online and off-line transactions.
The Sportsman’s Guide Rewards Program allows customers to earn certificates in $10 increments that are valid toward purchases made at The Sportsman’s Guide, GuideOutdoors and Bargain Outfitters. Customers earn 3 percent in Guide Rewards for all Guide purchases (The Sportsman’s Guide, GuideOutdoors and Bargain Outfitters) and 1 percent for all other purchases.
Customers who use The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard for purchases over $99 have the option of receiving 90 days same-as-cash and deferring payments. All 90 days same-as-cash purchases are interest free for 90 days. If the transaction is not paid off on day 91, interest will then begin to accrue.
“We are excited to launch this program in partnership with Metris,” said The Sportsman’s Guide President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory R. Binkley. “The combination of Metris’ experience and expertise with The Sportsman’s Guide’s Internet and catalog model will provide great value to our customers.”
“The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard represents an exceptional value for customers, allowing them to combine credit card spending with reward-earning opportunities,” said Metris Chairman and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “We see this card as the centerpiece of a unique rewards program for customers who are passionate about the outdoors.”
Benefits and features of The Sportsman’s Guide MasterCard include:
— Customers earn Guide Rewards for everyday purchases both online and off-line.
— Customers can redeem Guide Rewards at three Internet sites: [www.sportsmansguide.com], [www.guideoutdoors.com] and [www.bargainoutfitters.com].
— Competitive fees and rates. Pre-approved customers will pay an introductory APR as low as 3.9 percent with an APR as low as 13.99 percent following the introductory period.
— No annual fee.
— Instant online application and approval process for those who qualify.
— Online account access. Cardholders can access their credit card account information 24-hours-a-day by visiting [www.directmerchantsbank.com]. They can view and download account statements, make electronic payments, and contact customer service online.
— Online credit limit increase requests.
Metris will also market its enhancement services to The Sportsman’s Guide credit card customers. These services include DirectAlert(SM), a credit-monitoring program; Fraud Alert Services(SM), a card registration service; Home ServiceEdge(SM), a home warranty program that covers 10 home appliances; PurchaseShield(R), a product purchase protection program; and TripSaver(SM), a travel club with discounts and a lowest-price guarantee.
Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and enhancement services. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; White Marsh, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs more than 4,200 people.
Wachovia Corporation announced that Mickey W. Dry, chief credit officer and senior executive in charge of Loan Administration, is retiring after 39 years of service. Donald K. Truslow has been named to succeed Dry in the newly created position of chief risk officer and will lead an expanded function with oversight for Wachovia’s operational, credit, interest rate, balance sheet and market risk.
“Mickey Dry has served Wachovia with distinction for 39 years,” said L.M. Baker Jr., Wachovia chairman and chief executive officer. “His strong presence has been felt throughout the organization as he led our credit function for 11 years. He will be greatly missed, but has amply earned this opportunity to have more time for family and personal pursuits.
“Wachovia is fortunate to have an exceptionally skilled and experienced professional in Don Truslow to assume responsibility. His duties will bring together risk oversight activities across the company.”
Dry, 60, joined Wachovia in 1961 and has held positions in Charlotte, Kinston, Greenville, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. In 1985 he moved to Winston- Salem as senior loan administration officer for Wachovia’s corporate banking activities. He was elected executive vice president and assumed his current position in 1989 and was elected senior executive vice president in 1997.
Dry is a native of Albemarle, N.C., and a graduate of Lenior-Rhyne College and the School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University. He also completed The Executive Program at the Colgate Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Dry serves on the boards of trustees of Lenior- Rhyne College and the Old Hickory Council of Boy Scouts of America and the board of directors of Piedmont Regional Trauma System Inc.
Truslow, 42, joined Wachovia in Winston-Salem in 1980. He worked in International Banking and General Loan Administration before moving to the U.S. Corporate Division of Wachovia Corporate Services in Atlanta as a loan administration officer in 1986. He was elected senior vice president in 1987 and became loan administration manager for the International Group later that year. He returned to North Carolina in 1988 with responsibility for loan administration for the bank’s Piedmont Triad Region in Greensboro. He served as executive vice president and chief credit officer of Wachovia Bank of South Carolina from January 1992 to September 1995. He was manager of the Middle Market Corporate Banking Group of Wachovia Corporate Services Inc. in Winston- Salem before becoming comptroller in 1996. He was elected executive vice president of the corporation in 1997, treasurer in 1998 and senior executive vice president in April 1999.
Truslow is a native of Summit, N.J., and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He has served on the boards of directors of the Virginia-Carolinas Chapter of Robert Morris Associates, the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra and the Central South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross. He currently serves as vice president on the Forsyth Technical Community College Foundation Development Board and is a member of the Financial Services Roundtable.
Wachovia Corporation, with dual headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C., is a leading financial holding company serving regional, national and international markets. At June 30, 2000, Wachovia had assets of $70.8 billion. Member companies offer consumer and commercial banking, bank card, asset and wealth management, capital markets and investment banking, brokerage and insurance services. Wachovia Bank, N.A., the principal subsidiary, has nearly 700 offices and 1,300 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Wachovia’s highly rated web site is located at http://www.wachovia.com .Details
Sears, Roebuck and Co. will continue to protect the Sears credit accounts of more than 60 million credit customers from fraud with the Falcon Retail fraud detection system from HNC Financial Solutions, a division of HNC Software Inc.. Due to the significant reduction in fraud losses brought on by its use of the Falcon Retail system, the nation’s largest retail card issuer renewed its agreement with HNC to protect its retail card portfolio, which includes the Sears Card and Sears Premier Card.
“We have been pleased with the performance of our Falcon Retail system over the last three years, and we see value in continuing our relationship with HNC through this new long-term arrangement,” said Bill Redmond, director of fraud and bankruptcy management for Sears Credit.
“Sears’ renewal of its agreement with HNC confirms that Falcon Retail is a valuable fraud detection solution for retail card issuers,” said Michael Chiappetta, group vice president of risk management products for HNC Financial Solutions. “We’re honored to be continuing our relationship with a premier retail leader like Sears, which has been very proactive in protecting the accounts of its customers.”
As part of the agreement, Sears will implement an additional, credit card-specific Falcon model to protect its forthcoming co-branded MasterCard offering against fraud. Sears will also explore expanding its use of the Falcon system for fraud protection in its e-commerce operations.
“We see our relationship with HNC resulting in continued refinements as we apply Falcon’s proven fraud detection technology to these additional domains,” added Redmond.
Using retail-specific statistical models developed with HNC’s proprietary neural network technology, Falcon Retail can determine the probability of fraud with each card transaction. When the probability of fraud reaches a critical threshold, Falcon Retail can either block the transaction at the point of sale or send the case to one of the retailer’s fraud analysts for action. Actions can range from changing the authorization response code to initiating an inquiry to the cardholder. Falcon Retail includes the Falcon Expert rules subsystem that allows users to streamline fraud prevention operations and increase the efficiency and success of fraud analysts.
About Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home, and automotive products and services with annual revenue of nearly $40 billion. The company serves families throughout the U.S. through approximately 860 department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings, accessible through the company’s Web site at [www.sears.com].
About HNC Financial Solutions
HNC Financial Solutions is a leader in the development of intelligent customer value management software solutions for the financial services and e-commerce industries. Its powerful suite of real-time decision platforms and predictive business solutions allows firms to automate new account decisioning, optimize marketing efforts, detect fraud, predict profitability, and manage the customer lifecycle. HNC Financial Solutions supports this suite of solutions with a full range of consulting services. About HNC Software
Headquartered in San Diego, California, HNC Software Inc. is a leading provider of predictive software solutions for the financial, insurance, telecommunications, and e-commerce service industries. HNC’s suite of predictive software solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationships based on transaction-level data, helping companies manage their relationships with individual customers. By accurately predicting customer behaviors, these companies can create initiatives to mitigate risk and attrition; improve customer service; develop marketing programs to enhance profitability; and detect fraudulent customer transactions. For more information, visit HNC’s Web site at [http://www.hnc.com]
Euronet Services Inc. recorded revenues of $12.9 million for the second quarter of 2000, an increase of 21% over second quarter 1999 revenues of $10.7 million. Euronet’s second quarter revenues also represent an increase of 8%, or $1 million, over first quarter 2000 revenues of $11.9 million.
The ATM Network Services Division posted a strong performance with revenues for the quarter of $8.9 million, up 51% over revenues of $5.9 million in the same period of 1999. The operating loss for the division was cut sharply to $1.6 million in Q2 2000 from $4 million in Q2 1999 and $2.8 million in Q1 2000. The EBITDA result for this division also improved significantly to positive $400,000 from negative $2.3 million in Q2 1999 and negative $800,000 in Q1 2000.
The Software Division continued its strong rebound from the Y2K slowdown. Software revenues increased by 8% over the first quarter of 2000, to $4.0 million in Q2 2000. This increase comes on top of a 40% increase in software revenues between the last quarter of 1999 and the first quarter of 2000. The software sales backlog has also increased to $3.4 million at June 30, 2000, from $2.7 million at March 31, 2000.
“We are very pleased with the ATM Network Services Division’s performance in improving both the operating loss and EBITDA by $1.2 million in just one quarter,” said Michael Brown, Euronet’s Chairman and CEO. “We are also pleased with our software contract sales which reached a record level in the second quarter. As these contracts were signed late in the quarter we have not been able to recognize the revenue in Q2; however, future quarters will benefit from recognized revenue as the software is implemented. We also believe our new e-commerce and m-commerce products, such as the recently released wireless banking software, should provide further opportunities for sales growth.”
The Company has shown continued improvement in its operating results. The operating loss for this quarter was $6.3 million, reduced from $7 million in Q2 1999 and $7.2 million in Q1 2000. EBITDA improved by 23%, from a loss of $4.7 million in Q2 1999 to a loss of $3.6 million for Q2 2000, and by 20% over Q1 2000’s negative EBITDA of $4.5 million. The Company’s net loss was $10.5 million for Q2 2000 as compared to $11.3 million for Q1 2000 and $6.9 million for Q2 1999.
The number of ATMs owned or operated by Euronet Services increased by 53% over the past year, from 1,644 ATMs at June 30, 1999 to 2,518 ATMs at the end of this quarter. Quarterly transactions on the network increased by 87%, from 6.9 million in Q2 1999 to 12.9 million in Q2 2000. As the growth in transactions outpaces the growth in ATM numbers, the average transaction level per ATM is increasing.
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 Arksys 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 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.
For more information on Euronet’s 2Q/00 data and previous quarters visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Charolotte, North Carolina-based First Union Corporation has expanded its participation in the NYCE Network.
Under the new agreement, First Union will include all of its automated teller machines and ATM access cards in the Network. Previously, First Union’s participation in NYCE was limited to only those cards and ATMs associated with the Corporation’s state banks located north of Maryland.
! “First Union continuously looks for opportunities to help our customers better manage their money. Since joining NYCE in 1996, we have seen the Network significantly grow in terms of geography, resources, and technology – providing our customers with greater and more convenient access to their money,” said Ralph Perry, senior vice president, with First Union.
With assets of $258 billion at June 30, 2000, First Union has more than 3,800 ATMs and 16 million customers, from Florida to Connecticut. The NYCE mark will be added to all First Union ATMs by the end of this year.
“First Union’s decision to expand its relationship with NYCE is a solid acknowledgment of the strength of our Network, both in terms of geographic footprint and relationship building,” added Susan A. Zawodniak, vice president with NYCE Corporation and executive director of the NYCE Network. “We’re pleased that our consistent focus on customer service and technology has earned the trust of such a prominent financial services player.”
First Union (NYSE:FTU), with $258 billion in assets and stockholders’ equity of $14 billion at June 30, 2000, is a leading provider of financial services to 15 million retail and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation.
The company operates full-service banking offices in 12 East Coast states and Washington, D.C., and full-service brokerage offices in 41 states. Online banking products and services can be accessed through [www.firstunion.com].
Headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, NYCE Corporation is one of the largest electronic payments companies in the U.S. The NYCE Network provides financial institutions and retailers with shared network services for automated teller machines (ATMs), on-line debit point-of-sale and electronic benefits transfer transactions.
Currently, the Network has 2,400 financial institution participants and services more than 47 million cardholders through 38,000 NYCE-branded ATMs and 224,000 point-of-sale retailer locations. The company processes nearly 83 million transactions each month.
In addition, NYCE Corporation provides financial institutions with real-time processing services that support ATM management and monitoring services, as well as debit card issuance and authorization solutions. With innovations such as SafeDebit(TM), a PIN-secured debit payment solution, NYCE is a frontrunner in the payments industry. NYCE’s web site address is [www.nyce.net].
With the sluggish start of online banking such as American Express ‘Membership Banking’, Juniper Financial has come up with a way to overcome the biggest online obstacle. Juniper announced last week an alliance with Mail Boxes Etc. that will enable Juniper customers will be able to walk into most of MBE’s 3,400 U.S. locations, overnight their deposits to Juniper free of charge, and receive a tracking code receipt. Juniper is the new online financial services venture started former First USA executives Richard Vague and Jim Stewart. Upon the Juniper service launch, anyone can walk into an MBE location and request a deposit be mailed to Juniper by either UPS 2nd day air or overnight. MBE will process the order and issue a UPS tracking number so the shipment can be tracked online at the Juniper Web site or the MBE Web site. This service is provided at no cost to the customer. Privately held, Juniper Financial is based in Wilmington, DE and its funding partner is Benchmark Capital. (CF Library 5/25/00)Details
WebMiles Corporation, the first company to offer an unrestricted, mileage reward program to help businesses attract and retain long-term customers, announced its first offline Partner, Avis Rent A Car, a member of Avis Group Holdings, Inc.. Through a national exclusive partnership with WebMiles that begins on August 15, Avis will reward its customers with 50 WebMiles rewards per day for qualifying car rentals at more than 1,000 Avis rental locations in the U.S. and Canada.
“We are extremely excited to partner with WebMiles and offer our loyal customers additional value. We chose the WebMiles program based on the expertise of their management team, as well as the simplicity and uniqueness of their offering,” said F. Robert Salerno, President and Chief Operating Officer, Avis Rental Car Group. “Avis is committed to providing our customers with exceptional value and is always seeking new ways to achieve this goal. We believe that by offering them the means to earn unrestricted free travel quickly and easily, we’re doing just that. We were further impressed with WebMiles’ policy of exclusive partnerships, which assures us we are offering our customers a program that our competition does not.”
The WebMiles program allows Members to redeem WebMiles rewards for travel on any airline and any flight without the common restrictions of airline frequent flyer programs such as blackout dates, limited number of frequent flyer seats, required Saturday night stays, cost caps or the expiration of miles. Redemption begins with as few as 8,000 WebMiles rewards, which entitles the consumer to dollars off the price of any airline ticket.
“We’re thrilled that Avis has selected WebMiles to enhance its customer loyalty programs,” said Bill Meade, President and CEO of WebMiles. “Acquiring and retaining customers is imperative for every business today, including Avis. We have developed a program that provides businesses with a cost-effective means to better understand and market to their customers, while simultaneously rewarding them with a proven and desired reward — unrestricted airline miles. A fundamental differentiation of our program is the fact that consumers can earn WebMiles rewards with both online and offline merchants. This announcement is the first of many new offline partnerships with leading companies that we will be launching over the weeks to come.”
Becoming a WebMiles Member
Membership in WebMiles is free, fast and easy. Consumers can receive up to 3,100 WebMiles rewards for both signing up (100 miles) and referring friends and family (150 miles per referral). Members continue to earn rewards by shopping at online and offline Partners and by using the WebMiles MasterCard. When Members use the WebMiles MasterCard at the Partners, they can earn multiple miles for every dollar they spend. Members can check their balances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Becoming a WebMiles Partner
WebMiles is building a solid network of Partners from a variety of industries. The company’s strategy is to be selective and limit the number of Partners within any given industry to ensure companies can differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace and gain a strategic advantage. Partners pre-purchase WebMiles rewards and then distribute them to customers who engage in any type of desired activity, including making purchases, giving referrals or participating in surveys. The WebMiles program is flexible and can be implemented by Partners according to their own specifications and business objectives.
Avis Group is one of the world’s leading providers of comprehensive automotive transportation and vehicle management solutions, with strengths in car rental, vehicle leasing, and vehicle management services. Avis Group operates the second largest general-use car rental business in the world, with locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Latin American/Caribbean region. Avis Group operates the vehicle management and fleet card businesses through three separate units: PHH North America, PHH Europe and Wright Express. The services of these units consist of vehicle leasing and a broad range of vehicle related fee based services. The Company manages a fleet of approximately 1 million vehicles and has over 4 million fuel and maintenance cards outstanding. Annually, on a pro forma basis, the Company generates approximately $4.0 billion in total revenue. For additional information and news call Company News on Call (1-800-758-5804, access code #078975).
WebMiles Corporation is a leading customer loyalty company featuring free travel rewards without the common restrictions of traditional frequent flyer programs. The patent-pending WebMiles program gives both online and offline businesses the means to reward customers with a proven tool for inspiring repeat business — free and discounted travel. WebMiles rewards can be redeemed for free travel on all airlines and all flights, without blackout dates, seating limitations, 21-day advance notice, required Saturday night stays, expiration of miles, or cost caps. Consumers earn WebMiles rewards for shopping within the Partner network as well as for using the WebMiles MasterCard. Launched in January, 2000, the WebMiles program features more than 60 network Partners. By offering a compelling, low-cost and customizable customer loyalty solution, WebMiles Partners have the ability to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. WebMiles, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a trademark of the WebMiles Corporation. The web site URL is [http://www.webmiles.com]. For more information on how to become a strategic partner with WebMiles, please visit .
Move over VISA and MasterCard, Yahoo! this morning launched ‘Yahoo! PayDirect’. The new, online person-to-person payment solution was created in cooperation with CIBC National Bank and through Yahoo!’s acquisition of Arthas.com. The new free service enables U.S.-based Yahoo! consumers to request, receive, send and make payments over the Internet. The new Yahoo! payment service enables individuals to electronically send and receive money via email by linking their credit cards, debit cards or bank accounts to their secure online Yahoo! ‘PayDirect’ account. Registered Yahoo! consumers who are 18 years or older with a credit card or debit card and a U.S. billing address can establish a Yahoo! PayDirect account. CIBC National Bank will provide the banking and fund transfer capabilities that enable the secure movement of consumer money through Yahoo! ‘PayDirect’.Details
Teaser rates are declining again despite the uptick in general interest rates. This week Discover is flooding mailboxes with offers of a modified 2.9% APR. Depending on the solicitation the new offer for the ‘Discover Platinum Card’ varies from 0% to 1.9%. The 0% intro APR offer applies to new purchases through the Jan 2001 billing statement. The 0$ APR offer also includes a 5.9% intro APR on balance transfers. Meanwhile, according to CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com), the 1.9% APR offer applies to both purchases and balance transfers through the Jan 2001 billing statement. Both offers carry a go-to APR of 14.99% fixed and the two-cycle average daily balance method of calculating interest charges.Details