American Express has signed a content licensing and distribution agreement with Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch. AmEx will use citysearch.com content in its new travel and entertainment resource section of americanexpress.com. CitySearch.com will provide AmEx with local dining, shopping, arts, and entertainment information for more than 70 major U.S. cities from its city guides, which the card issuer and travel agency will make available at americanexpress.com. American Express customers will be able to use the information to plan for trips, researching and booking dining and entertainment outings and travel planning.Details
MerchantOnline.com and, provider of secure credit and debit card processing for Internet e-tailers, has enabled the first 300 merchants using the patented PC Pay system to accept internet payments from consumers as encrypted card-present transactions. The PC Pay card-swipe device, similar to those in retail stores and gas stations, plugs into home and office PC’s. PC Pay acts as a retail POS terminal for credit, ATM, debit and smart cards, that allows consumers to transact over the Internet in the most secure way possible, and could allow merchants to save over current processing rates.
“We feel PC Pay is the most important lifestyle innovation for consumers and merchants since ATM machines were deployed,” said Tarek Kirschen, MerchantOnline.com’s president and CEO. “Consumers can use our card-swipe device to safely shop online in the comfort of their home, office and business. Merchants will then enjoy the same level of security as POS devices used at retail stores, reducing fraud and chargebacks. Additional savings in transaction fees could range from 1-3% per transaction at the lower `card-present’ rate versus the higher rate charged for riskier transactions when customers enter card numbers into online order forms. This may dramatically add to a merchant’s profitability.”
PC Pay, developed by MerchantOnline.com subsidiary Innovonics Inc., incorporates patented “next generation” encryption technology using bank ATM network standards. Unlike other encryption technology for PCs, card data is encrypted within the secure device BEFORE entering a computer, offering a higher-level security.
A complete listing of PC Pay-enabled merchants can be found at www.MerchantOnline.com. Also at this website, new merchants can sign on to the PC Pay(R) system and consumers can order the PC Pay device.
“Until today, Internet consumers and merchants have had to settle for a less-than-perfect marketplace and worry about the security of their funds,” Kirschen said. “We have created the first extensive e-commerce marketplace where consumers are assured a secure and convenient shopping environment, and merchants can make sales with greatly reduced transaction fees. Although there are 300 stores open for business on the PC Pay system, it’s important to note that we are in our infancy and plan to grow.”
Founded in December 1997, MerchantOnline.com 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.Details
eConnect announced that Global Launch, viewable at the eConnect site ([http://www.econnectholdings.com]), now details eConnect’s business strategy for Bank Eyes Only transactions.
eConnect’s eCashPad electronic payment system also opens the Internet to consumers who do not have credit cards, by enabling purchases with PIN-secured bank ATM cards. The company believes that the simple action of swiping a credit card or ATM card will grow Internet commerce and expand business transaction opportunities for eConnect.
Separately, eConnect announced its latest unaudited financial results. During its first quarter ended March 31, 2000, eConnect’s investees, Power Click and Top Sports, were operational, while the Bank Eyes Only(TM) electronic payment systems products were in the development stage. The Company said that because its investees’ results are recorded on the equity method of accounting, the losses (net of revenues, less expenses) are reflected in eConnect’s first-quarter results as equity losses of investees.
eConnect said that in its first quarter, it recorded a net loss of approximately $19.2 million, and basic and diluted loss of ($0.14) per share, compared with a net loss of approximately $175,000, and basic and diluted loss of ($0.01) per share in the comparable 1999 period. Weighted average shares outstanding increased to approximately 136 million from approximately 14 million. Approximately $15.6 million of the most recent net loss resulted from the issuance of common stock as payment for services as the company expanded business relationships necessary to develop, manufacture and distribute its proprietary electronic payment systems.
French smart card manufacturer, Bull, announced Wednesday plans to open a new manufacturing facility in the UK before the year’s end. The environmentally friendly plant will use non-pollutant plastics such as chlorine-free PET-g, which produces only water and carbon dioxide on combustion. On the Greenpeace cleanness scale, from 1 to 10, PET-g scores between 9 and 10. The facility is expected to produce 30 million microprocessor cards next year. The four-acre site will be located at Fareham, between Southampton and Portsmouth. Bull says the UK’s recent decision to switch from mag stripe cards to smart cards for banking transactions was a major factor in its decision to locate in the UK.Details
STC announced that Visa International, the leading credit card and payment company, has purchased STC’s flagship product, e*Gate Integrator, to enhance its ability to manage and distribute data within its global network. With the implementation of e*Gate, Visa will be able to support the growing data management needs generated by VisaNet, the most sophisticated consumer transaction processing system in the world.
One of the most challenging obstacles associated with eBusiness lies with the integration and processing of tremendous volumes of data — data that must flow seamlessly within an enterprise and among its trading partners in an integrated, near-real time fashion. Currently, VisaNet must support more than 3,200 transactions per second, and handle 250 million payment transactions per day. The implementation of e*Gate will enable Visa to more efficiently convert, manage and distribute this data to downstream information systems, and provide a scalable solution as the business expands.
“The Visa system is continually growing to keep up with the rapid increase in electronic transactions–spurred in large part by the growth of electronic commerce and consumers’ preference for payment cards over cash and checks,” said Terry Poore, senior vice president for Inovant, Visa’s processing and IT subsidiary. “STC’s e*Gate solution will help us manage that growth, while also giving us greater flexibility in the use of the data generated from VisaNet. We expect to see greater efficiencies in data management and a more efficient infrastructure.”
Visa must provide its global organization with an information network that allows easy and timely access to mission critical data. Vital downstream applications, such as fraud detection systems and data warehousing applications, rely on real-time information feeds, which must be accessible from anywhere around the world. STC’s e*Gate will help Visa to maintain its leadership with timely information, new payment methods, and new technologies to the benefit of its members and their cardholders.
“As the leading payment company across the globe, Visa precisely exemplifies what STC can do for an eBusiness,” said Jim Demetriades, founder, chairman and CEO for STC. “Market factors like varying global economies, proliferation of consumer payment options, 24-hour markets and Euro convergence intensify the complexity of the financial services sector. Since STC’s inception nearly a decade ago, we have demonstrated an ability to anticipate and support requirements like Visa’s, enabling eCommerce leaders to respond effectively and with agility on a global scale.”
About e*Gate(TM) Integrator
e*Gate Integrator, the foundation of STC’s new product suite, is the fourth-generation product, installed at more than 1,500 customer sites worldwide. This open, distributed and proven eBusiness integration platform provides accelerated deployment of true eBusiness, and makes optimal use of the network to provide parallelism, extensibility, scalability and high availability, while avoiding processing bottlenecks or any single point of failure. As the foundation of Global 2000 companies’ IT backbones, e*Gate delivers competitive advantage as the only integration platform to provide a real-time view, in conjunction with centralized management and deployment capabilities, across the global enterprise and out to the extended enterprise of trading partners and business networks.
STC (Nasdaq:STCS) is the leading global provider of eBusiness Integration (eBISM) solutions that enables the seamless flow of information within and enterprises. With its flagship solution, e*Xchange eBusiness Integration(TM) Suite, STC provides the industry’s first comprehensive strategic eBusiness infrastructure to unlock the true potential of eBusiness with unprecedented performance and reliability. Since shipping its first product in 1991, STC has successfully integrated more than 1,200 leading organizations worldwide.
Software Technologies Corporation (STC) is headquartered in Monrovia, Calif., with marketing and sales headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. For more information, please visit www.stc.com.Details
Total System Services and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc are in the process of signing agreements for TSYS to process Royal’s seven million consumer and commercial card accounts. The agreement will run for 10 years. Earlier this year while TSYS was independently in negotiations with NattWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland, The Royal Bank of Scotland acquired NatWest. The Royal Bank Group is the second-largest credit card issuer in the UK. TSYS will provide complete processing services for The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank and Coutts portfolios, all of which are part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. TSYS opened its European office in September 1999 and will commission its European data center by year-end 2000.Details
American Management Systems and Bank of Montreal confirmed this week that J.P. Morgan is the leading investor in a group providing $15 million in new equity funding for Competix.com, the joint venture established by AMS and Bank of Montreal to market automated, web-based lending solutions to small and mid-sized financial institutions. Trans Union LLC, a major provider of credit information, risk and portfolio management services, is another member of the group and is providing its credit reporting services to Competix.com customers. AMS and Bank of Montreal remain the majority shareholders in Competix.com.Details
Official Payments Corporation announced a new business award with Champaign County, IL to provide a service that will allow county residents to pay their real estate taxes by credit card over the telephone. Real estate taxes are due on June 15 and September 5 in Champaign County. To use the new payment service, taxpayers may call toll-free 1-877-ILLEPAY (1-877-455-3729). American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard and Visa are the cards accepted by the program.
The program will assist Champaign County in collection of $155 million annually in real estate taxes; the average bill is $2,300. “This new payment option is part of our commitment to provide the taxpayers with a high level of customer service and convenience,” said Champaign County Treasurer Dan Welch. “The new service allows our taxpayers to make their payments 24 hours a day and seven days a week from the comfort of their home or workplace – anywhere they have access to a telephone,” said Mr. Welch.
Official Payments has similar agreements with over 500 government entities across the country. The company has contacts with the Internal Revenue Service and several state governments, including Illinois, to collect taxes, fees, and fines by credit card over the Internet and telephone.
Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at [www.officialpayments.com]. For example, a taxpayer who owed Champaign County $2,300 and charged their taxes would find a total of $2,356 on their credit card statement: $2,300 for the tax bill and $56 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.
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 California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Oklahoma; and over 490 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.
First Ecom.com announced that Wing Hang Bank will be the first bank in Hong Kong to offer its merchants the benefits of the First Ecom payment processing solution.
This outsourcing arrangement will give Wing Hang Bank the ability to offer its merchants real-time authorization for Internet credit card purchases by using First Ecom’s solutions. The encryption standard used by First Ecom includes 128-bit SSL and OpenPGP, providing high-level security to consumers by preventing card, buyer, and merchant fraud.
“This is a landmark step in the provision of secure and efficient Internet payment processing in Hong Kong,” said Gregory Pek, president and CEO of First Ecom. “By outsourcing Internet payment processing to First Ecom, Wing Hang Bank will not only give its merchants fast access to markets, but also avoid the significant time and expense in both technology and human resources, which would otherwise be required to develop an in-house processing system.”
“Thanks to this strategic partnership, we are allowing our customers to enjoy online shopping without worrying about payment security. We expect to launch this service in the next quarter,” said Patrick Fung, Chairman of Wing Hang Bank.
About Wing Hang Bank
Founded in 1937, Wing Hang Bank is now one of the leading financial institutions in Hong Kong offering a diverse range of banking services to meet the needs of its customers. To date, the Bank has a network of over 40 branches in Hong Kong, Macau and China with total assets of over HK$50 billion (US$6.4 billion). The Bank strives to become “The Preferred Bank” for its customers and commits to continually improving its service quality. For more information, visit: [http://www.whbhk.com].
About First Ecom.com
As a global provider of electronic payment processing, First Ecom.com provides secure, easy-to-implement and low-cost online payment processing services to banks and their merchants worldwide. Through strategic partnerships with banks, ISPs, e-commerce product suppliers, system integrators and storefront solution providers, First Ecom.com will process credit card transactions made over the Internet in multiple currencies, either domestically or offshore in a tax-neutral jurisdiction.
The “Olympians Reunion Centre,” a joint venture designed to host all Olympians at the upcoming Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, was officially launched this week in Sydney, Australia, by worldwide Olympic sponsor, Visa International, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and the City of Sydney.
Pre-eminent Australian Olympians Herb Elliott, Murray Rose, Raelene Boyle, Ilsa and John Konrads today joined Rafer Johnson, to celebrate the launch of the Olympians Reunion Centre. Mr. Johnson won silver in the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games and gold in Rome 1960 Olympic Games. He also had the honor of lighting the cauldron for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.
Designed as a hospitality facility for Olympic alumni athletes, the Olympians Reunion Centre will be located in Sydney’s historic Customs House at Circular Quay adjacent to one of Sydney’s Olympic “Live Sites”. The Centre will be open from 10:00 a.m. until midnight each day during the Olympic Games.
“Visa is proud of our role in creating this Centre,” said Tom Shepard, senior vice president, International Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorship, Visa International. “We have sponsored many sports programs over the past decade but none so important as this. It is a salute to these living legends of sports and our way of thanking them for their undaunted spirit, their devotion to teamwork and Olympic ideals, and to the many great moments in Olympic history they have provided,” Shepard noted.
The Olympians Reunion Centre will provide a hospitality oasis in a club-like setting for Olympic alumni athletes worldwide while they are in Sydney. The Centre will offer meeting areas, refreshment services, communications and video facilities, and assistance with special reunion functions. “The City of Sydney is privileged to host the greats of the Olympics at the Olympians Reunion Centre,” Lord Mayor Frank Sartor said.
“It is terrific that Customs House, located at one of the Olympics Live sites where hundreds of thousands of people will experience the Games atmosphere, can become a home away from home for the World’s Olympic Alumni, to gather and celebrate,” the Lord Mayor said.
The Olympians Reunion Centre is the property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is being supported by Visa International (the presenting partner), the Australian Olympic Committee (appointed as project manager by the IOC), the City of Sydney, the World Olympians Association and by the National Olympic Committees worldwide.
An earlier version of the centre was actually created during the 1996 Atlanta Games when Visa opened what was then called the Visa Olympic Reunion Centre. Working with Olympians worldwide and spearheaded by 1968 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist, Bill Toomey, and four time Olympic Gold Medalist Al Oerter, the Centre was open during the entire Atlanta Olympic Games.
Rafer Johnson said, “As an Olympian it is important to be able to renew old acquaintances. By creating the first Olympian Reunion Centre in Atlanta, Visa made it possible to have a place at the Olympic Games to do just that. I had the chance to meet many fellow decathletes at the Centre who competed before, after and with me. For me personally, it was one of the best things that happened at the Atlanta Games. I look forward to being in Sydney in September to once again be a part of this special facility.”
The Atlanta Centre proved successful among many Olympic alumni with more than 1,400 Olympians and 1,300 of their guests using the Centre as a place to renew friendships and reminisce.
With the AOC acting as host and with the support of the World Olympians Association, the Olympian Reunion Centre concept will continue to grow and expand into future Olympic Games.
The World Olympians Association is an independent global organization founded in 1995, to represent the interests of the 60,000 living Olympians around the world and strengthen their involvement within the Olympic movement.
“The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games will attract a large number of Olympians from previous Olympics from all around the globe. One of their pleasures while in Sydney will be to catch up with their contemporaries and rekindle memories of their own Games experience. The Reunion Centre will be the place where this all happens,” said 1960 Olympic gold medallist and AOC Director of Athlete and Corporate Relations and Executive Director WOA, Mr. Herb Elliott.
Like the athletes who will be hosted at Sydney’s Olympic Village, Olympians worldwide now will have their own place to relax, renew friendships and reminisce about their Games experiences.Details
NYCE Corporation announced that National Data Corporation plans to offer NDC eCommerce customers SafeDebit, the first PIN-secured debit option for Internet payments that does not require special hardware for consumers. Developed by NYCE Corporation, SafeDebit relies on a PIN-secured debit card that fits into the CD-ROM drive of a PC and leverages the advantages and features of the existing ATM and POS infrastructure.
“Recognizing NDC’s tremendous leadership and strength in the electronic payments industry, we are pleased that NDC eCommerce will be offering SafeDebit to their merchants as a secure PIN-based option for Internet payments,” said Paul Tomasofsky, Vice President, NYCE Corporation.
“As a pioneer in the card processing industry, NDC eCommerce is pleased to be involved in the early introduction of SafeDebit. We believe that SafeDebit offers a win-win opportunity for the retailer and the consumer for making purchases over the Internet,” said Paul R. Garcia, CEO of NDC eCommerce.
National Data Corporation (NYSE: NDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce solutions and health information services that add value to customers’ operations.
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 electronics benefits transfer transactions. Currently, the Network has 2,400 financial institution participants and services more than 45 million cardholders through 35,500 NYCE-branded ATMs and 215,000 point-of-sale retailer locations. The company processes nearly 77 million transactions each month. In addition, NYCE Corporation provides financial institutions with electronic funds transfer processing services that support ATM deployment and debit card issuance solutions. A frontrunner in the electronic payments arena, NYCE innovated SafeDebit, the industry’s first PIN-secured debit payment solution for Internet shopping that requires no special hardware for consumers. NYCE’s web site address is [www.NYCE.net].
Creditrust Corporation announced financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2000. First quarter earnings per fully diluted share were $0.25, and collections for the first quarter were $25.5 million.
For the quarter ended March 31, 2000, net earnings were $2.6 million, or $.25 per fully diluted share, compared to $2.4 million, or $.28 per fully diluted share for same quarter in 1999. Earnings from operations for the first quarter of 2000 increased to $7.0 million from $4.4 million in 1999.
Collections on managed receivables reached $25.5 million for the quarter ending March 31, 2000 over $13.4 million for the same quarter a year ago. Creditrust made no purchases of finance receivables in the first quarter of 2000. As of March 31, 2000, the Company had over 2.0 million accounts under management with a face value of $4.9 billion.
Revenues for the quarter ending March 31, 2000 increased 79% to $21.5 million, from $12.0 million for the first quarter of 1999. Operating expenses increased 91% from $7.6 million to $14.5 million in the first quarter of 2000 over 1999 reflecting the increase in operating costs associated with the growth in revenue. Income from operations increased 59% to $7.0 million for the first quarter of 2000 from $4.4 million for the same period in 1999.
For the quarter ending March 31, 2000, earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $8.1 million from $4.7 million for the same quarter last year.
Cash collections and operating expenses are more fully detailed in the Portfolio-Based Data Table included as supplemental information herein. While the Portfolio-Based Data Table does not purport to present the Company’s operating results in accordance with GAAP, the Company believes the presentation provides additional information useful in assessing the Company’s performance.
The Company’s policy is to assess estimates against actual collections. For the first quarter of 2000, the Company reevaluated some of its remaining future collection estimates and revised them to reduce income on finance receivables by $1.4 million after tax. The resulting effect was to amortize more collections to return of capital and less to income.
Financing and Liquidity
The Company has not experienced any losses, but obligations to retire debt on its revolving line of credit, coupled with the contractual servicing fees on its Series 1998-2, warehouse, and Series 1999-1 credit facilities which are lower than the Company’s total cost of operations, and the Company’s inability to raise additional financing or sell significant assets has resulted in the Company’s inability to meet all of its debt service obligations. As a result, the Company was unable to meet its debt service payments to Sunrock Capital and a default has been declared. The default would enable the lender to accelerate the loan. No acceleration has been declared. In addition, this caused a cross default under the Series 1999-2 facility and the Series 1998-1 facility, which could also be accelerated. The servicing on Series 1998-2, 1999-1 and the warehouse has been terminated which directly effects the Companies resources to pay operating costs and debt service.
The Company’s default of the revolving line of credit and other defaults and occurrences described above may raise doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The Company is currently working with all of its lenders and investors to obtain the necessary waivers under the terms of the agreements and is negotiating with them to stabilize its lender relationships by establishing certain operating plans. The Company also retained the services of an outside consulting firm to assist it in accomplishing management’s objectives.
The Company has also evaluated the disposal of certain assets, raising new capital for future operations, and reducing operating costs by certain staff and other cost reductions. However, there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in achieving its objectives. The accompanying financial statements do not include any adjustments that might be necessary should the Company be unable to continue as a going concern.
Founded in 1991, Creditrust Corporation acquires, manages and collects delinquent consumer receivables utilizing an information-driven strategy. The Company uses proprietary technology to acquire receivables primarily consisting of charged-off Visa(R), MasterCard(R), and private label credit card accounts issued by major banks and merchants.
For more details on Creditrust’s 1Q/00 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).