UK Debit

‘VISA Debit’ transactions have, for the first time, surpassed the number of ‘Switch’ transactions in the UK. According to new data released this morning by the Association for Payment Clearing Service, ‘VISA Debit’ transactions for the month of April 2000 reached £2,956 million or 2% more than ‘Switch’. In the UK payment by check has declined considerably, by nearly 28% since 1990 says APACS. The on-line ‘Switch’ brand is limited to domestic acceptance whereas ‘VISA Debit’ has global acceptance. According to CardPlanet ([][1]), major ‘VISA Debit’, ‘VISA Electron’ and ‘VISA Delta’ issuers in the UK include Lloyds TSB, Barclays, Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Cooperative Bank.



ActivCard & Oberthur

ActivCard, a world leader in the provisioning of digital identity and electronic certification technology for e-business communications and transactions, announced a partnership with Oberthur Card Systems. The partnership will bring together Oberthur’s expertise in the field of advanced smart card e-business technology and ActivCard’s proven excellence in the development of digital identity software and management tools to develop a range of secure, integrated transaction solutions for e-business and e-commerce.

By linking the complementary technologies that Oberthur and ActivCard offer, the partners are able to offer clients an open platform smart card based high security solution incorporating ActivCard’s and Oberthur’s smart card management solutions to offer superior identity verification, password generation and authentication procedures.

Marc Bertin, Director of e-business for OCS said, “Oberthur works with a diverse portfolio of partners across the globe and we are delighted that we can now expand this portfolio by working with ActivCard. As our products complement each other it is a great opportunity to bring together our individual expertise in the fields of smart card and e-security technology, to provide secure and integrated transaction solutions for our corporate clients.”

The first project linking Oberthur and ActivCard is the delivery of a secure business-to-business on-line trading environment developed around the Identrus solution, the world’s first global public key cryptography infrastructure providing cast iron security for corporate customers trading over the internet. Using the Identrus infrastructure corporations can positively identify one another through their financial institutions ensuring their communications are secure and create an indisputable record of their transactions. This highly superior security infrastructure is reliant on the integration and co-operation of Oberthur’s superior smart card technology and ActivCard’s advanced client software.

“In the e-business and e-commerce marketplace fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Oberthur and ActivCard are delivering ‘confidence’ to on-line business environments,” commented Tom Arthur, Senior Vice President of worldwide sales and business development. “Our partnership brings tight integration to the design and implementation of solutions that offer greater ease-of-use, a higher level of security and reduced total cost of operations. Pooling our resources is accelerating the delivery of solutions that deliver businesses the ‘confidence’ to perform high-value communications and transactions online as they expand their e-business and e-commerce systems.”

About ActivCard

ActivCard, a leader in digital identity and electronic certification technology, delivers core components required to enable next generation e-Business communication and transactions. The ActivCard technology suite offers the ease-of-use of an ATM transaction with a security level better than face-to-face meeting, ActivCard solutions, in conjunction with the applications support for public key based data confidentiality and integrity, allow individuals and businesses to perform secure online transactions over the Internet. Today, more than 1.5 million people use ActivCard products for secure Internet banking, Web access remote access to corporate networks. ActivCard is headquartered in Fremont, California, with worldwide operations in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Singapore.

About Oberthur Card Systems

Formed in October 1999, from the merger of industry leaders Oberthur Smart Cards and De La Rue Card Systems, Oberthur Card Systems (OCS) is a company with an enviable heritage that is focused firmly on the future. With a portfolio that ranges from magnetic stripe cards to the most advanced smart card based solutions for banking, telecoms, transport and commerce, OCS already has a strong business foundation. It is the world’s #1 supplier of VISA and MasterCard cards, and a global leader in the development and delivery of electronic and mobile commerce solutions. It is also the #1 global supplier of Pay-TV smart cards. Committed to open standards, the company supports Java Card, the Visa Open Platform, MULTOS and Microsoft Windows Card. With an annual turnover of FF 2.5 billion in 1999, OCS has an established international base of 3000 employees located around the globe. The new company is majority owned by Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire, which is the largest instant lottery producer and one of the top security printers of bank notes, cheques, passports and identity cards world-wide.


PC Pay Patents and, provider of secure credit and debit card processing for Internet e-tailers, through its subsidiary Innovonics, Inc. was granted a patent for its revolutionary PC Pay card-swipe encryption device, PC Pay by Canada. The device is now patented in over 50 countries, including those received recently for Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

“As eCommerce fraud increases around the world, the value of our patents continues to increase,” said Dereck Clark, president of Innovonics Inc. “Hardware encryption external to the PC is key to providing virus-proof online authentication solutions.”

PC Pay incorporates patented “next generation” encryption technology using bank ATM network standards. The swipe device, similar to those used by customers in retail stores and gas stations, plugs into home or office PCs to accept ATM, debit, credit and smart cards. Unlike other encryption technology for PCs, card data is encrypted within the secure device before entering a computer, offering a higher-level of security.

“The Canadian patent will give us the protection we need to implement our business plan in Canada,” said president and CEO Tarek Kirschen. “Now that we have patent coverage in over 50 countries around the world, we feel very confident about our ability to implement worldwide payment solutions consistent with our business plan.”’s subsidiary, Innovonics Inc. received Patent No. 2,185,697 from the Canadian Patent Office for “Methods and apparatus for interfacing an encryption module with a personal computer.”

Founded in December 1997, provides a secure transaction network that enables businesses and consumers to use one payment system for both their real world and virtual world needs utilizing credit card, ATM/debit card and other payment programs.



eCommony, Inc., a pioneer in person-to-person payment solutions, announced the debut of FundTransfer — the first person-to-person credit card payment application based on eCommony’s PayToCard Network infrastructure. FundTransfer is introduced at eCommony’s website ([][1]) and will be available to immediate deployment in the next month.

eCommony released FundTransfer only few weeks after announcing its initial PayToCard infrastructure. FundTransfer is almost an off the shelf solution, allowing every website to use it immediately. It is adapted automatically to the website configuration. Users just have to fill out an electronic form at the website, wait few seconds for approval — and the receiving party receives the money electronically, according to the transaction.

“FundTransfer is a significant component in our overall strategy to become the leading supplier of person-to-person payment solutions over the Internet,” said Saar Safra, Chief Technology Officer of eCommony. “This new solution addresses the rising demand for payments to individuals, in addition to payments to businesses, thus enabling every individual to use the Internet for his daily shopping.”

FundTransfer solves all current problems faced by people accepting person-to-person (P2P) transfers — electronically — such as complex sign-ups, difficult operations, frustratingly long user requirements and the inability to send money from one person’s credit card to another. “That changed completely today with the debut of FundTransfer,” said Mr. Safra.

“FundTransfer solves the thorny issue of instantly transferring money from credit card to credit card which greatly increases utility and reduces the complexity of using the Internet for P2P payments,” said Jim Nations, President and CEO of San Jose-based PocketPass.Com, Inc., which has developed and patented the world’s only combination of pre-paid telephone card and Internet payment system. Nations said that, “While PocketPass enables people without credit cards to make web purchases and P2P payments, we signed up with eCommony because their FundTransfer system is a significant advance that offers quick and easy benefits to PocketPass members who choose to make credit card transactions. We are pleased to offer this powerful new tool to our customers, enabling them to transfer funds between their PocketPass card and their personal credit card accounts.”

The key market of eCommony is the “Mediator Platforms” sector, such as auctions and classifieds web sites. FundTransfer will allow their customers to buy and sell each other with in a mouse click. Small and home businesses will be able to use eCommony’s online registration service that will register them as PayToCard customers within minutes. The online registration service will be launched next month.

About eCommony, Inc.

Founded in 1999, eCommony Inc. designs, develops and markets innovative, patent-pending solutions enabling Person-to-Person (P2P) e-commerce over the Internet. eCommony’s technology is best suited to serve any site providing Auctions, Classifieds, eConsulting, eService and Garage/Yard sales capabilities as well as private Shareware sellers. eCommony’s innovative, patent pending risk management technology, is desigend to fit the specific needs of the P2P market. For more information, please visit the company’s website [][2].

About PocketPass.Com, Inc.

Founded in 1999, PocketPass.Com is an Internet service and infrastructure company which has developed and is marketing the PocketPass, a dual-use, patent-pending, anonymous, pre-paid telephone card and Internet transaction system which offers online shopping without a credit card, offers person-to-person payments, an easy-to-use premium-cintent micropayment system and solves the serious payment issue that has prevented e-commerce from taking off outside the United States where fewer than 90% of the people have credit cards. For more information, please visit the company’s website [][3].



Discover Investing Rewards

Discover Business Services, a division of Discover Financial Services, Inc., is launching a program to encourage Discover Business Merchants to open accounts and invest with industry leader Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online. Discover Business Merchants can access Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online from [][1] and can open an account or view their portfolio. As an added incentive, Discover Business Merchants that open a Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online account through [][2] will receive a $75 credit to their account from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online.

“We’re very excited that our merchants can benefit from the excellent advantages of Discover Financial Services being a Morgan Stanley Dean Witter company,” says Tom Dailey, senior vice president, Discover Business Services. “The Internet is an important medium for trade and Discover Business Services is committed to providing our merchants with top of the line financial services, as well as tools for personal finance management.”

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online accounts provide merchants with a number of available investments including stocks, bonds, options and thousands of mutual funds. Merchants can choose to invest over the Internet, with a touch-tone telephone, via a hand-held wireless organizer, or with a registered representative. Additionally, funds can be transferred electronically from any bank or other institution to the merchant’s Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online accounts. Merchants can learn more by visiting [][3] or calling Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online at 1-800-58-INVEST.

“Being a part of the MSDW global financial network allows Discover Business Services merchants access to the best-in-class products and services and a one-stop shop for their online financial/brokerage needs,” said Glenn Tom, senior vice president marketing, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online. “Through this relationship, MSDW Online in turn extends its reach to the largest independent credit card network in the United States, comprising more than 3.5 million merchant locations.”

Merchants with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online accounts are also offered the benefit of extended hours trading through MarketXT(TM) which allows customers to trade the most widely held NYSE and Nasdaq stocks after the closing bell, as well as real-time online municipal bond trading 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., operates the Discover(R) Card brands with more than 48 million Cardmembers and the Discover Business Services network. Discover Business Services is the largest independent credit card network in the United States with more than 3.5 million merchant and cash access locations.



Hungary Euronet

Euronet Services announced this morning it has signed a new 10-year ATM outsourcing agreement with Budapest Bank of Hungary. Under terms of the agreement, Euronet will continue to provide complete ATM outsourcing services for Budapest Bank’s entire network of 145 ATMs. In addition, Euronet will take over ownership of the ATMs, which will remain branded with the Budapest Bank logo. This long-term strategic contract restructures and extends the existing agreement between Budapest Bank and Euronet Services, solidifying a longstanding customer relationship. Budapest Bank is 27% owned by GE Capital.


Umbrellabank Card

Chicago-based Argo Federal Savings Bank launched this week and will add an instant approval VISA card program in August. The savings bank is initially offering a VISA ‘HELOC’ debit card which offer access to a home equity line of credit. M&I Data Services is providing the virtual banking site with a comprehensive business process outsourcing solution. The web site offers online decision-making for its deposit products and online origination functionality for home purchase loans, refinance loans and second mortgages. The new site will add instant approval of credit cards, retirement accounts and small business products between now and the end of this year. Under the terms of the agreement, M&I Data Services’ Origins division will provide with the business processes and technology to deliver its services of deposits, credit cards, loan origination and servicing, back-end transaction processing and customer call center capabilities to its online customers. The Origins technology solution will also enable to offer consumers instant approval for credit card accounts as well as automated online banking services for both consumers and small businesses. Argo Federal is a wholly owned subsidiary of Argo Bancorp, a $391million holding company.


LiveCapital Gets Smart, the leading online marketplace for consumer and business borrowing, announced a strategic partnership agreement with LiveCapital, the leading business-to-business e-marketplace for small business financing. The agreement makes LiveCapital the exclusive business financing provider on Through this arrangement,’s customers will have instant access to competitive business financing offers from LiveCapital’s lender network of more than 30 leading financial institutions, including American Express, U.S. Bank and Heller Financial.

Businesses that click on the “Business Finance” tag on will be able to secure financing of up to $20 million, including loans, lines of credit, equipment leases and credit cards. In less than five minutes, businesses can complete an application, have it screened against the lending criteria of more than 30 financial institutions, and instantly secure multiple financing offers.

“There is an increasing demand for access to capital among the 22 million small businesses in the U.S.,” said Lauri Kober, CEO of “Partnering with LiveCapital enables us to meet this demand, while connecting our customers with an even broader range of financing options and strengthening our marketplace model.”

“When people think of financing on the Internet, one of the first places they think of is and its expansive marketplaces,” said Mike Grossman, CEO of LiveCapital. “We’re excited about this partnership because it allows us to substantially expand our reach to a very targeted audience.”

About is a leading online marketplace, providing information and connections between consumers and over 160 financial institutions that offer credit cards, first mortgages, home equity loans, consumer loans, business financing and consolidation loans. Founded in 1996, is based in Burlingame, California and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Providian Financial Corporation (NYSE: PVN).

About Providian Financial

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the U.S., Providian Financial was recently named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine.

Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, secured cards and membership products. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. Providian has more than $27 billion in assets under management and more than 13 million customers.



Quantum Card

The next level of bank credit cards arrived this morning. MBNA America lifted the curtain on a new MasterCard offering a credit line up to $1 million and with an optional air mileage program. ‘Quantum’ cardholders who qualify can access lines of credit totaling $1 million. The first $250,000 of the ‘Quantum’ account is completely available by card, check, or cash. Beyond that a check-accessed line of credit can be arranged for an additional $750,000. An optional ‘Quantum Rewards’ program allows well-heeled cardholders to earn up to one million miles per year, good for unlimited worldwide redemptions. Pricing for the ‘Quantum MasterCard’ varies, but the account typically features a 2.9% introductory rate and a fixed 13.99% rate thereafter. There is no annual fee, but the optional ‘Quantum Rewards’ program costs $75 per year. There are no over-the-credit-limit-fees and no ATM transaction fees. ‘Quantum’ clients also have access to preferred rates on MBNA CDs and MMAs. The program also features a top-of-the-line concierge service called: ‘Quantum Assist’.


AmEx Gets SAPed

American Express Company announced a strategic agreement with SAPMarkets, the SAP AG subsidiary dedicated to creating and powering globally interconnected business-to-business marketplaces, to integrate the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card platform into the SAP Business-to-Business Procurement application. The announcement was made at SAPPHIRE 2000, the annual SAP Americas customer conference being held in Las Vegas this week.

![][1] As part of the agreement, SAPMarkets will interoperate with the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card to enable a streamlined payment and reconciliation process for online purchases between buyers and sellers. The American Express Corporate Purchasing Card extends the benefits of the SAP BBP solution by automating the payment, reconciliation and data integration processes, enabling an end-to-end electronic purchasing solution. This interoperability will facilitate the process of order placement, fulfillment, reconciliation, data management and program maintenance.

“As both an American Express and SAP customer, BASF is excited about this interoperability agreement. We look forward to the additional functionality in the areas of data capture and reconciliation that will enable BASF to better manage the online procure-to-pay process,” said David Rice, Manager, Supply Programs, BASF Corporation, Mt. Olive, NJ. “BASF will benefit from the integration of the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card with the SAP BBP.”

“American Express is pleased to expand its relationship with SAP. To serve our mutual customers, we have provided integration between our reconciliation and reporting tool, AccountingLink, and SAP Financials(TM) for several years. Interoperability between the leading inter-enterprise software solutions provider and the leading commercial card provider is a natural extension and evolution of both companies into the new economy — enabling a comprehensive online procurement and payment solution,” said Mac Schuessler, Vice President, Corporate E-Payment Services, American Express.

The American Express Corporate Purchasing Card offers a single-network advantage, which results in enhanced levels of data capture because American Express has direct relationships with both buyers and sellers. This single network enables American Express to provide the best data accuracy rate of any purchasing card, which is critical for effective reconciliation of purchasing records to financial systems and for robust reporting.

About the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card

The American Express Corporate Purchasing Card (CPC), introduced in 1994, helps companies take charge of the purchasing process with a streamlined, detailed and easy-to-use system. For buying organizations and suppliers alike, the Corporate Purchasing Card can help cut costs, reduce paperwork, leverage data and expedite order delivery. Ten e-purchasing application vendors participate in the interoperability program. A complete list of these systems and more information on the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card are available at the following Web address: .

About American Express

American Express ([][2]) is the leading global provider of commercial cards and expense management solutions. Through its Corporate Services group, formed in 1982, 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 and Corporate Purchasing Card programs. In 1996, a unit called Corporate Services Interactive was formed to develop Internet-based products and services for large and mid-sized companies, including American Express @ Work for online Card program administration; AXI Travel and Corporate Travel Online for online corporate travel reservations; and the B2B Commerce Network. The American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

About SAP Business to Business Procurement

SAP Business-to-Business Procurement includes direct links to Marketplace and other Internet marketplaces through the XML-based Business Connector, enabling one-step business transactions between buyers and sellers. As a result, customers can execute multiparty transactions with a single click. The SAP Open Catalog Interface supports local as well as hosted catalog scenarios. Other updates include sophisticated vendor and material analysis, bidding and procurement card capabilities, tailored user roles and flexible back-end integration with SAP and non-SAP systems.

SAP, and SAP Business-to-Business Procurement are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG .

Other product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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


Pinnacle FastRewards

Fast PayCheck Advance introduced ‘FastRewards’ this week, a new feature of its ‘Pinnacle’ smart card program. The free ‘FastRewards’ program offers cardholders the ability to earn one point for every dollar they spend online paying bills, making purchases and loading electronic cash to their smart cards through the Fast PayCheck web site. ‘FastRewards’ will be offered to both instant-issue and full-service cardholders at online, self-service kiosks and via cardholder PCs with Internet access, equipped with optional card readers. Under the online program, cardholders can register for the program, view ‘FastRewards’ point balances, browse the coupon catalogue and barter points for other rewards. The Florida-based firm specializes in issuing debit cards for so-called payday advance loans.