In response to the fact that only 3.5% of all European retail purchases in 1999 were made by credit card and that less than 20% of Europeans own credit cards, Seattle-based EuroDebit Systems announced this morning a new service to provide online debiting of European checking accounts. ‘DirectDebit’ processing services provides U.S. online merchants with the gateway necessary to conduct financial transactions with European buyers. Automatic debit is more widely accepted in Europe than personal checks for nearly all transactions and is ideal for purchases over the Internet. EuroDebit says that since U.S. e-Commerce companies do not have direct access to the European banking system or its debit approval processes, online merchants in the U.S. and Canada need a service like ‘DirectDebit’ to handle real-time, online debit-processing in addition to traditional credit card transactions. The online consumer market in Europe grew by 200% in 1999 and accounted for nearly US$3.5 billion in sales.Details
Incurrent Solutions ([www.incurrent.com]), a leading provider of web and wireless “cardmember relationship management” solutions for the payment card industry, announced that Fleet Credit Card Services has implemented Incurrent’s CardSite CRM suite. Fleet went into production with CardSite in May, providing over eight million of its customers with real-time Internet access to this exciting new service site.
CardSite is a comprehensive cardmember relationship management (CRM) solution that provides cardholders with Internet and wireless access to customer self-service, billing, personal financial management, and personalized e-mail messaging capabilities. With Cardsite, Fleet customers can manage their personal finances 7 days a week, 24 hours a day via the Internet.
“Fleet Credit Card Services has grown to be the number eight bank card issuer in the last two years by being aggressive and delivering outstanding value and service to their customers,” said Loren Hulber, President and CEO of Incurrent Solutions. “We’re extremely proud that CardSite is a key component of FCCS’ e-commerce strategy,” he added. Consumers can access the site at www.fleetcards.com and new customers can apply online at www.fleetapplynow.com.
“Fleet Credit Card Services’ new customer service platform provides an interactive channel for the delivery of cardmember conveniences, such as real-time access to statement information, reports, alerts and numerous other customer requests” said Warren Wilcox, Executive Vice President. “Incurrent’s CardSite platform offered a customer care solution that was implemented rapidly and significantly enhanced the value of our product. We are confident our customers will be pleased with this enriched, user-friendly platform,” he added.
Fleet Credit Card Services, headquartered north of Philadelphia in Horsham, PA, is a wholly owned subsidiary of FleetBoston Financial with approximately $14.5 billion in managed receivables and more than eight million customers. FleetBoston Financial is the eighth-largest financial holding company in the United States. An $187 billion diversified financial services company, it offers a comprehensive array of innovative financial solutions to 20 million customers in more than 20 countries and territories. Among the company’s key lines of business are: retail banking, with over 1,250 branches and over 3,400 ATMs in the Northeast; commercial banking, including capital markets/investment banking and commercial finance; investment services, including discount brokerage; and full-service banking through more than 250 offices in Latin America. FleetBoston Financial is headquartered in Boston and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FBF) and the Boston Stock Exchange (BSE: FBF).
Founded in 1997, Incurrent Solutions ([http://www.incurrent.com]) provides advanced Internet and wireless services to card issuing banks and transaction processors. The company’s flagship CardSite solution provides a cutting-edge, web-centric service solution that enhances the cardmember experience and cultivates account loyalty. Cardmembers enjoy real-time access to account information, statements, bill presentment, secure email, reports, searches, interactive sessions and other service enhancing tools over web, wireless and voice channels. CardSite can be delivered via a partial or complete Application Service Provider (ASP) delivery model.
In addition to Fleet Credit Card Services, Incurrent currently provides interactive customer care solutions to industry leading card companies such as Alliance Data Systems, NextCard, and 1stFinancial Bank. With offices in Parsippany, NJ and Orlando, FL, Incurrent combines its industry leading CardSite application with client-defined operating services, complete creative design, and integration services to form a cohesive, Internet and wireless cardmember solution.
Boston-based Student Advantage announced this morning it is expanding its ‘SA Cash’ program following the successful results of pilot programs at Dartmouth College, UCLA and American University. The pilot program, in place for two years at Dartmouth and for a more abbreviated period at UCLA and American, resulted in more than 200,000 new transactions and generated more than $2 million in gross merchant sales through the 1999-2000 academic year. ‘SA Cash’ can serve as an enhancement to the university ‘One Card’, an on-campus stored value card in use at more than 750 colleges and universities. The university ‘One Card’ provides students with multiple services, from building access to the ability to purchase goods and services on campus. ‘SA Cash’ takes the university’s ‘One Card’ capabilities one step further by expanding the program off-campus and online. In the Hanover, NH area, ‘SA Cash’ accounted for more than half the total amount of estimated student spending at participating merchants. Eighty-five percent of the freshman class activated the ‘SA Cash’ account with an average deposit of $500. Overall, ‘SA Cash’ was used by 65% of Dartmouth’s student body.Details
Net2Phone Inc., a leading provider of Internet telephony services, and NextCard, the leading issuer of consumer credit on the Internet, announced an agreement to utilize the powerful customer base of Net2Phone to market NextCard’s credit cards. Under the agreement, NextCard will gain valuable access to the vast Net2Phone user base through direct marketing and advertising on the Net2Phone software.
Through this relationship, Net2Phone is capitalizing on its success in customer acquisition and further monetizing its customer relationships to deliver additional value-added services to its global, sophisticated Internet-savvy users.
“Net2Phone is a recognized leader in offering consumers new ways to communicate on the Internet, and we are excited about the opportunity to offer NextCard credit cards to Net2Phone’s technology-savvy, value-conscious customer base,” said David Schwartz, Vice President of Customer Acquisition at NextCard. “In the same way that Net2Phone users benefit from using the Internet to get the most out of the money they spend on telephone calls, they’ll benefit in taking advantage of NextCard’s suite of online credit and account management tools.”
“Like Net2Phone, NextCard provides users with instant authentication and approvals for usage, and we believe our customers will appreciate all of the real-time benefits of NextCard,” said Morris Berger, Chief Marketing Officer of Net2Phone. “Net2Phone is pleased to continuously provide our customers with best-of-breed services through NextCard and other companies, and further expand our mission of becoming the leader in voice enabling the web.”
NextCard, Inc. ([www.nextcard.com]), launched in 1997, was the first to offer instant online credit card approval, customized credit card offers, and personalized PictureCard designs. Today, NextCard is committed to providing the most robust consumer shopping experience on the Internet and has continued to innovate with its complete GoShopping!SM Web site, NextCard Concierge online wallet companion, comprehensive rewards program and exceptional online account management.
NextCard is considered one of the leading direct marketers on the Internet, operates a network of more than 40,000 online affiliates and has exclusive card relationships with key brands, including Amazon.com, priceline.com and DILBERT. The Company also owns minority stakes in Flooz.com, the premier online gift currency and Paytrust.com, the leader in online bill payment.
In 1999, NextCard was ranked the No. 1 credit card brand Internet consumers would consider for use according to ZDNet’s BrandIQ research study. It was also named a Top 50 Financial Web site by Money magazine, a HOT 100 Company by Upside magazine and one of The Standard 100 most important and influential companies in the Internet economy by The Industry Standard. NextCard was recently nominated for a 2000 Webby Award in the finance category. NextBank N.A. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextCard, Inc.
Net2Phone is a leading provider of voice-enhanced Internet communications services to individuals and businesses worldwide. Net2Phone enables people to place low-cost high quality calls from their computer, telephone, or fax machine to any telephone or fax machine in the world. Net2Phone develops and markets technology and services for IP voice and e-commerce solutions for the web and other IP networks. For more information about Net2Phone’s products and services, please visit [www.net2phone.com].
Wells Fargo & Co. launched Monday the Wells Fargo EasyOrder online shopping service for use at any online store. The service is now available free at [www.wellsfargo.com].
The Wells Fargo EasyOrder service stores purchasing information — multiple billing, shipping and credit card data — in one location for use at any online store, which means shoppers no longer need to re-enter data each time they make online purchases. Wells Fargo is providing the service in partnership with Brodia, a leader in personal ecommerce technologies.
The service comes just in time for Father’s Day shopping, which is expected to be significant this year online, based on several indicators:
— Mother’s Day shopping online soared nearly 1,400% from last year, rising from $14 million in 1999 to $190 million in 2000, according to BizRate.com. This year’s spending was more than double the $80 million that BizRate originally projected.
— Overall, consumers will spend $42 billion on the Internet this year, up from $26 billion in 1999, according to International Data Corporation.
In celebration of Father’s Day, shoppers can receive $20 off a purchase of $40 or more at select online retailers using the Wells Fargo EasyOrder service through June 15th.
“The Wells Fargo EasyOrder service will speed up online shopping checkout the same way credit card swipes at the gas pump made it easy to fill up your tank and get back on the road,” said Cathy Graeber, senior vice president of Consumer Internet Services for Wells Fargo.
“People are tired of having to re-type their shipping and credit card information each time they want to buy something from a different Web site,” added Graeber. Twenty-seven percent of Web shoppers give up on their purchases when faced with filling out online forms, according to a 1999 Jupiter Communications study.
The service should be especially attractive to online banking customers:
— Online banking customers are more comfortable making online purchases than general Internet users, according to a 1999 survey of Wells Fargo customers.
— In fact, 77% of Wells Fargo’s online banking customers have made purchases online, compared to 42% of general Internet users.
“For the 1.8 million customers who already enjoy the convenience, reliability and security of Wells Fargo online banking, the Wells Fargo EasyOrder service will be the clear choice to simplify their online shopping,” said Graeber.
Unlike the “online wallet” products currently available to automate the entry of shoppers’ shipping and credit card information, the Wells Fargo EasyOrder service provides consumers with a comprehensive set of tools to manage every phase of their online shopping experience. These tools include password management, product research, pricing comparison, merchant evaluation, and record keeping for online purchases. In addition, the Wells Fargo EasyOrder service gives shoppers control over Internet commerce with features that allow them to define their own community of favorite shopping sites and to block unwanted merchant email. The service also presents special offers and discounts for popular products from leading online merchants in accordance with the shopper’s selected preferences.
To shop with the Wells Fargo EasyOrder service, shoppers link directly to the online store of their choice and select items for purchase. At the “check-out” section of the online store, customers are requested to fill out an order form with credit card and shipping information. Instead of typing in information, customers simply click on a button, and the form is automatically completed using information stored by the service.
“The Internet offers enormous value to consumers in managing all aspects of commerce,” said Ron Martinez, chief executive officer of Brodia. “By partnering with Brodia, Wells Fargo makes it easy for their customers to take full advantage of the Internet with the quality service and security they have come to expect from the Wells Fargo brand.”
As the first major financial services company in the U.S. to launch Internet banking services in 1995 ([www.wellsfargo.com]), Wells Fargo has blazed the trail for interactive tools and features for customers. Wells Fargo started online services in 1989, and over the last decade has introduced a wide range of easy-to-use online services for customers. Both Gomez Advisors and Nielsen/Net Ratings recently named Wells Fargo the top Internet bank in terms of market share and total monthly visitor count.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is a $222 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance services through almost 6,000 stores, its Internet site ([www.wellsfargo.com]) and other distribution channels across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo is the leading Internet bank in the world.
Brodia ([www.brodia.com]) is redefining the way consumers manage their personal commerce on the Internet with an integrated suite of applications that dramatically simplifies purchasing and payments across the Web. The company’s advanced online commerce platform delivers a rich array of services, from password management, product research, pricing comparison and merchant evaluation to automatic form fill, enhanced payment security, transaction record keeping, privacy protection and rewards programs. Offered in partnership with leading financial institutions, the Brodia Personal Commerce Manager transforms the traditional plastic payment card into a powerful consumer tool for the new, networked economy. Brodia is the market leader in bank-branded ecommerce services with access through current partnerships to more than 100 million credit card holders. Based in San Francisco, the company is funded by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Capital Z.
U. S. Wireless Data announced that another major card transaction processor, Lynk Systems, Inc., has contracted to offer USWD’s Wireless Express Payments Service to its merchants.
This agreement will expand the reach of WEPS to Lynk’s 400 sales representatives in 34 offices nationwide, serving more than 53,000 merchants.
WEPS provides a seamless interface among a merchant’s wireless point-of-sale terminals, wireless carriers, and credit card transaction processors. It enables credit, debit, and other card transactions to be processed almost as fast as cash, without the cost and inconvenience of being tethered to telephone or electrical lines. In fact, WEPS is opening new markets for card payments among merchants and venues for which telephone dial-up is not feasible, by providing both the speed and mobility needed to make card transactions practical. These include taxis and limousines, delivery services, quick service restaurants, home maintenance and repair services, outdoor fairs and markets, sports stadiums and arenas, performance halls, and outdoor recreational facilities such as golf courses and amusement parks.
“Now that we have the ability to offer WEPS to our merchant base, we can give them transactions that don’t require ties to phone lines or electricity and are faster than cash,” said Wayne Damron, senior vice president of national sales for Lynk. “This opens up new markets and also completes our point-of-sale offering. With WEPS, we now can provide on-line, real-time reporting to our wireless merchants, which is an invaluable tool. We also are excited to have the ability to offer our merchant base access to Motient, the most state-of-the-art data network available today.”
U.S. Wireless Data’s CEO, Dean M. Leavitt, explained that, “We are focused on establishing WEPS as the standard for wireless point-of-sale transaction processing. Partnering with processing leaders like Lynk enables us to reach a broad merchant base that is in need of the solution that WEPS provides.”
About U.S. Wireless Data
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. ([www.uswirelessdata.com]), founded in 1991, has developed and is marketing its 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 technology provides a gateway among all of the parties within a wireless point-of-sale transaction; and enables businesses that require mobility and/or faster transaction speed to accept wireless point-of-sale payments. 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.
Lynk ([www.lynksystems.com]) is a national provider of electronic payment, cash dispensing and e-commerce services. The company processes transactions initiated by credit and debit cards, checks and EBT cards from merchant point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and via the Internet. Lynk also provides ATM cash management and monitoring services, card issuing, electronic funds distribution and Internet-based storefront management, design and hosting.
Lynk controls the entire processing sequence, including sales, end-user equipment, transaction authorization, capture, settlement and customer service. This “in-sourced” model facilitates a truly integrated solution that gives Lynk customers one-call support for all their processing needs. Lynk’s proprietary technology and comprehensive network connectivity offer merchants of all sizes unsurpassed processing performance. Founded in 1991, Lynk is located in Atlanta, Georgia and has earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry.
Diebold, Incorporated announced the promotion of Charles E. Ducey to vice president and corporate controller. He will play an integral role in developing e-tools for streamlining the company’s financial processes and implementing high-tech financial systems to improve productivity and speed the flow of information within the organization and between Diebold and its customers. As a corporate officer, he reports directly to Gregory T. Geswein, the company’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Ducey joined the company in 1978 as a cost analyst and has held various field and home office positions. Most recently, he held the position of vice president, service operations and finance for the North American Sales and Service division. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Akron in Ohio and a master’s degree in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio.
Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, Diebold employs more than 10,000 associates with representation in more than 75 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of $1.3 billion in 1999 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.diebold.com] .
Coinstar Inc. announced it will use its nationwide network of more than 7,500 supermarket based machines to deliver printable items ordered over the Internet. The service will give consumers a convenient place to pick up tickets to entertainment or sporting events, as well as coupons and other high value items. Coinstar plans to begin offering these added services early next year.
“Today’s announcement is an important step toward unlocking the tremendous power inherent in our coast-to-coast network,” said Dan Gerrity, president and CEO of Coinstar. “Coinstar will soon be in a position to deliver printable items securely from the Internet to supermarkets nationwide and the more than 100 million people who walk by a Coinstar machine each week. In this way, we will be adding more value to our customers.”
In addition to having machines in one of the most convenient places on earth, Coinstar also has a secure printing system. This means tickets, coupons, and other items are only printed once and on paper that cannot be copied or altered in any way. Already, Coinstar has printed more than $2.3 billion through this system.
Coinstar has received positive reaction to this new service from consumers and the supermarket industry. Today’s announcement follows news late last week that Coinstar is exploring the delivery of pre-paid cards such as debit, credit and phone cards through its network.
Coinstar’s 89 percent-owned subsidiary, Meals.com Inc., will become the first company to utilize this new service. Meals.com will use personalization technology to offer relevant coupons to consumers visiting its recipe and meal planning Web sites. Consumers can pick up those coupons at any one of Coinstar’s 7,500 machines. Once they arrive at the supermarket, all consumers would enter a special number into the Coinstar machine. The Coinstar machine would then call an Internet server, retrieve the coupons, and present the consumer with a print out containing their selections.
“Research indicates that 70 percent of brand decisions are made once consumers are in the store,” said Jens Molbak, CEO of Meals.com. “Meals.com’s ability to target coupons to people thinking about food and then deliver those coupons in the supermarket is a winning combination for consumers and packaged goods manufacturers.”
Coinstar is in discussions with several companies that are interested in distributing products through Coinstar’s secure in-store network.
About Coinstar Inc.
Recently ranked the country’s eighteenth fastest growing technology company, Coinstar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) and its subsidiaries, Meals.com and Coinstar International, use technology to deliver time and money saving services to consumers in their local supermarkets. Coinstar’s 7,500 strong network of machines is currently available to 125 million consumers in 40 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom. Consumers can visit [http://www.findcoinstar.com].
Meals.com helps consumers bridge the gap between the Internet and the store. Its network of branded and private label Web sites features more than 10,000 recipes, which can be sorted by theme and cuisine. The network also contains extensive search and scaling features, as well as helpful commentary and useful cooking tips. Meals.com’s Shopper kiosks serve as in-store consumer access points. Consumers can use the Shopper to print out meal plans, shopping lists, and to receive money saving offers. Consumers save time and money when planning meals and shopping for groceries while manufacturers and retailers receive the opportunity to communicate one-to-one with consumers through Web site advertising and the sponsorship of recipes, which highlight their products.
Opening statements were heard yesterday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in regard to the government’s antitrust lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard. The government said VISA and MasterCard violated antitrust laws by establishing rules that prevent banks from issuing cards from American Express and Discover. The government also said both card associations jointly decided not to compete thereby cheating consumers of lower costs and innovations. The government cited the smart card as one of the examples of innovative technology that was stunted in the US by the VISA/MasterCard conspiracy. The government said it took 15 years for smart cards to come to market in the US and it was not through VISA or MasterCard but rather American Express. VISA countered that the business case for smart cards does not exist in the US and that the American Express ‘Blue’ card is largely a non-functional smart card. MasterCard summed up yesterday by saying that “For all of the government’s arguments, consisting of four years of investigation, eight million pages of documentation and two hundred depositions, they can’t show any lack of competition. Somewhere along the line, the government has lost sight of the interest of consumers. They seem to have gotten the American consumer mixed up with American Express; and American Express, the largest card issuer in the United States, doesn’t need help to compete.Details
OH-based National City recently rolled out a new credit card that offers up to $2,500 in rebates on the purchase or lease of a new or used car, truck, SUV, van, or motorcycle. The ‘VehicleVantage VISA’ offers up to a 1% rebate on purchases. The no-annual-fee card carries a six-month prime +0% APR for purchases and cash advances. Thereafter the APR goes to prime +7.99%. For National City relationship customers, the APR is prime +6.99%. The new VISA card is available in the bank’s marketplace of PA, OH, MI, IL, IN and KY. The card is also available online from National City’s website. The card is patterned after the Citibank ‘Driver’s Edge’ program.Details
Zowi.com, the parent company of Cobaltcard, the buying card for the online generation, announced Monday that Randall M. Chesler will be its new president and chief executive officer. Chesler brings nearly 20 years of credit card-focused financial and sales experience and expertise to the Zowi.com team. The company, which launched its Cobaltcard Web site in April 2000, also announced that co-founder and former CEO, Roberta Jacobs, will continue to play an integral role with Zowi.com as chief strategy officer.
Before joining Zowi.com, Chesler served as executive vice president at Associates First Capital Corporation, where he was the general manager of their bankcard business and was responsible for significantly expanding the size of their portfolio. Prior to joining the Associates, Chesler was executive vice president of Visa, U.S.A., where he helped drive Visa’s market share to record levels. Previous to his term at Visa, Chesler was senior vice president at Citicorp where he held a variety of staff and line positions over 12 years with the company.
“Randy brings great depth of knowledge and a keen sense of what it takes to build a new financial service,” said Seth Neiman, managing partner at Crosspoint Venture Partners and Zowi.com board member. “As an investor and board member I have every confidence that under Randy’s leadership, Zowi.com will be the leader in this market.”
“Randy’s diverse background in credit card management, business development and operations makes him a great leader for our strong team of executives who are all committed to establishing Cobaltcard as the leading buying card to empower the online generation,” said Philippe Bouissou, general partner at Media Technology Ventures and Zowi.com board member.
Cobaltcard members can register themselves, fund themselves and monitor their spending through their own monthly statements. As a buying card, not a debit or credit card, Cobaltcard offers built-in protection from debt. Membership is free.
Cobaltcard is a product and service of Zowi.com. Cobaltcard ( [http://cobaltcard.com] ) is the buying card for the online generation. Cobaltcard empowers users to buy online and in stores, wherever Visa is accepted in the United States. Cobaltcard is free to get, free to use and free of debt. The registration process requires a social security number, driver’s license or State ID and a bank account. Once members receive their Cobaltcard account number and transfer funds online from their bank account into their secure Cobaltcard, they can make immediate online purchases by entering their Cobaltcard account number in place of the Visa number. For persons 15 years and younger, parental approval is required. The company is currently registering members through the Cobaltcard Web site.
Wawa Food Markets has signed a multi-year contract with Concord EFS for end-to-end credit and debit card payment processing. Wawa is a regional convenience store chain, operating over 500 convenience stores including 46 new prototype stores which include gasoline in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Wawa will use Concord for card-based payment transaction authorization, data capture, and settlement. Wawa said it chose Concord due to its long-time focus on the petroleum/convenience store industry.Details