Unisys Corp. and Drexler Technology’s LaserCard Systems Corp. have joined up to offer ‘ConciergeCard’. Under the agreement, LaserCard Systems will provide secure optical memory cards, which will contain all of a traveler’s personal identification and travel preferences while tying into state-of-the-art biometric systems being installed at leading airports worldwide. Unisys is developing the necessary information technology infrastructure to enable these cards to connect with Unisys aircraft boarding and baggage identification systems, as well as the reservation systems and customer loyalty programs of airlines and other major travel suppliers. The integration of the technologies will allow the frequent traveler to bypass delays at check-in and immigration, while providing benefits, recognition and rewards tailored to their stated personal preferences.Details
Default Proof Credit Card System announced it has entered into an agreement with Boca Raton, Florida based First Southern Bank. FSB will be licensed to issue prepaid, stored value debit cards purchased by users of the Company’s dynamic new INTERNET Web-Site ubuydebitcards.com in the World Wide Web. FIRST SOUTHERN BANK will issue the prepaid debit cards’ PIN required MasterCard. Pursuant to the agreement, as soon as possible, DEFAULT PROOF and First Southern Bank will launch ubuydebitcards.com on the WORLD WIDE WEB.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Default Proof’s Chairman and CEO Vincent Cuervo explained: “The Company believes that there is a substantial worldwide market for a prepaid, stored value debit card product that does not require a formal banking relationship. In the United States alone in excess of 50 million people are `unbanked.’ However, because of its many new features, our ubuydebitcards.com will appeal to any individual seeking the benefit of a debit card with: NO monthly statements, NO credit investigations, NO denials, NO interest charges, and NO penalties. This new concept in prepaid stored value truly marks the dawn of a new era in the debit card industry.”
The Company estimates that, over the next twelve months, earnings may exceed $3.5 Million in fees from its ubuydebitcards.com Internet e-commerce operation. The Web site may be preview at: [http://www.ubuydebitcards.com]
Answering several inquiries, the Company is expecting from the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office claims allowance on ATM debit cards Dispenser (patent pending) as well as in this ubuydebitcards.com (patent pending). Also Default Proof Credit Card System, Inc. would like to reaffirm that it is in full compliance with SEC reporting and that, as of this date, the total amount of shares issued and outstanding is 1,277,351.
Uniscape and Planet Payment announced a strategic co-marketing agreement which brings together two critical technologies to address the localization needs of e-marketers worldwide when faced with multiple languages and currencies.
“This agreement is a significant step in Planet Payment’s stated strategic plan to become the global leader in providing multi-currency credit card payment solutions to merchants and financial institutions,” said Philip Beck, CEO of Planet Payment. “We are very excited about our developing relationship with Uniscape because of their leadership in global Web site localization for the Internet economy. Planet Payment’s merchants, who have committed to implementing multi-currency payment processing, will all find Uniscape’s multilingual localization services of immense value; similarly, a large number of Uniscape’s customers will naturally require multi-currency capability to round out their localization efforts.”
Globalization, which encompasses technology internationalization, content localization and multiple currency exchange, is the key to success for the new global merchant. Both companies are focused on globalization: Uniscape on language and technology for multilingual Web sites and ebusiness solutions; Planet Payment on currency. Today 78% of all Web sites are still in English only, even though 92% of the world’s population speaks a language other than English. By 2003, more than 60% of all Internet users will reside outside of the U.S. and more than half of the 1 trillion dollars transacted in e-commerce will occur internationally. For this reason, 32% of all companies regard multilingual initiatives as central to their e-commerce strategies.
“Planet Payment and Uniscape offer complementary solutions that enable companies to create truly global ebusinesses,” said Alex Pressman, president of Uniscape. “Our partnership will combine Uniscape’s multilingual ecommerce and Web expertise with Planet Payment’s multiple currency processing capabilities to provide companies with a complete globalization solution.”
About Planet Payment
Planet Payment ([www.planetpayment.com]) provides ebusinesses anywhere — with the ability to accept credit cards online, in real-time, in almost any currency. To get up and running, ebusinesses need a credit card merchant account and secure payment gateway. To maximize the global opportunity presented by ecommerce, merchants will need to accept payments in multiple currencies. Planet Payment’s affordable solution enables Internet merchants to accept Visa(R), MasterCard(R), and American Express(R) credit cards and is compatible with most shopping cart technologies using its state-of-the-art payment gateway powered by Authorize.Net ([www.authorize.net]).
Uniscape is the leader in multilingual solutions for ebusiness, providing globalization technologies that empower ebusiness across 42 different languages. More than 100 global companies have relied on Uniscape’s technologies to globalize their Web sites, ecommerce solutions, and enterprise content. Uniscape’s broad range of sophisticated globalization solutions include: an online localization management solution, an open marketplace of worldwide localization providers, and Web globalization technologies that drive down the cost and time to market in reaching global customers. Customers include: Hewlett Packard, Lycos, Commerce One, Vignette, GE Information Services, Phone.com, PeopleSoft, Oracle and Broadbase Software. For more information about Uniscape’s solution, call (888) 464-4186 or (650) 596-1430 or visit Uniscape on the Web at [www.uniscape.com].
Senator John McCain has raised more than $2 million in presidential campaign funds via online credit card contributions. Former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley raised about $1.6 million from Web site credit card contributions. CyberCash is providing the payment processing technology for McCain, Bradley and dozens of other candidates with CyberCash’s ‘CashRegister’ service. Aristotle, a company that provides candidates with Web fundraising tools, is using ‘CashRegister’ to power payments for more than 150 candidates in local, state and federal elections. The CashRegister payment processing service provides customers with real time, online authorization and settlement of transactions. CashRegister allows online merchants and candidates to accept payments at Web sites and securely process these payments through a financial institution and credit card processor. Wachovia Bank, recommended CyberCash to Aristotle. CyberCash has 20,000 merchant customers.Details
Biometric smart cards are being introduced in Europe to fight patrons who create problems in nightclubs. Belgium/US-based Keyware Technologies announced this morning it is partnering with Interstrat, a strategic systems integrator, to embed its biometric technology into smart cards that will be used by 15 nightclubs in the Netherlands. Patrons of each nightclub will receive a biometric membership card. The club-goers will go through a short enrollment process to put their face and finger bio prints onto the membership card. Each time a patron attends a club, his or her physical characteristics will automatically be verified against the bio print information on the smart card and the nightclub database. When a person is found to have caused trouble, nightclub management will flag that person in the database and not allow him or her access. The biometric technology on the card ensures that the troublemaker will not be able to forge an identity and regain access to a club where he or she has caused trouble. Keyware says violence and illegal drug use in nightclubs is a disturbing trend in Europe and the U.S. which smart cards can manage. Both firms also plan to distribute the system in other sport and entertainment-based franchises. The smart cards can also be used for marketing purposes such as distributing disco-dollars or points to members.Details
VA-based E-Pass Technologies filed a federal lawsuit against 3COM yesterday, alleging patent infringement by 3Com’s ‘Palm Pilot’ over the storage of account numbers such as credit cards. According to the company, 3Com’s popular ‘Palm Pilot’ electronic organizers infringe on its 1994 E-Pass patent for a multifunction, credit card-sized computer that allows users to securely store a multitude of account numbers, PIN codes, access information and other data from multiple credit cards, check cards, identification cards and similar personal documents. 3Com is spinning-off Palm in a $736 million IPO this Thursday.Details
NextCard and MyPoints.com have teamed up to roll-out the ‘MyPoints MasterCard’. Yesterday’s agreement also includes a multi-year alliance for MyPoints.com to be the preferred rewards provider for NextCard and its co-branded credit card partners. The ‘MyPoints MasterCard’, powered by NextCard, will be offered to the six-plus million members of the ‘MyPoints’ loyalty program and is scheduled to be available in the second quarter. The new MasterCard offers one point earned for each dollar spent on the card. Points earned on the card are aggregated with points earned through by filling out surveys, reading and responding to targeted email, visiting Web sites, shopping online, and more.Details
Fair, Isaac revealed Monday the development of a Web-based solution that harnesses the company’s gold standard analytics and decisioning technology to offer instant credit to consumers. ‘LiquidCredit’ instantly evaluates applicant risk; returns suggested credit decisions based on product-matching analytics and the grantor’s strategy; and, for brokers, matches scored applicants to various credit grantors’ lending criteria, presenting applicants with a variety of credit options. The new FI solution offers a Web-based decision engine, credit reporting agency interface, associated transaction management tools, and the ability for businesses to design their own decision criteria and strategies. ‘LiquidCredit’ can also create a common platform for B2B and B2C credit origination. It facilitates seamless interaction between e-marketplaces and e-tailers who initiate credit-driven transactions, and sources of financing like banks, finance and leasing companies. The company plans to have the product generally available beginning May 17.Details
Century Bank announced that it has joined SUM, a selective surcharging program managed by the NYCE Network. As a SUM program member, Century Bank joins forces with other financial institutions who agree to pool designated automated teller machines and allow all other program members’ customers to use them surcharge-free. Surcharges are convenience fees that some financial institutions charge non-customers for ATM use.
When asked why Century joined the SUM Program now, Marshall M. Sloane, Chairman and Founder, elaborated that “we have many customers with ATM cards and although we are currently in the process of expanding our ATM network, our customers need access to their money without a secondary fee being assessed. The Program has proven to be very successful and we wanted to be a part of the success.”
The SUM Program, began as a Massachusetts pilot, and is available to all NYCE Network participants in 15 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Currently, there are 283 participating financial institutions with over 1,900 ATMs. This total includes 243 Massachusetts Banks and Credit Unions with 1648 ATMs.
The SUM name and service mark logos were developed to help consumers readily identify participating ATMs. Consumers can also obtain information about participating SUM financial institutions and designated ATM locations by visiting the SUM web site at [www.sum-atm.com].
Century Bank and Trust Company, a subsidiary of Century Bancorp, Inc., is a state chartered, full-service commercial bank. Century Bank operates sixteen full-service branches in the Greater Boston area and offers a full range of Commercial, Consumer, Cash Management and Investment products.
Headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, the NYCE Corporation provides financial institutions and retailers with processing services that support automated teller machines (ATMs), point-of-sale (POS) and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) transactions. In addition, NYCE provides financial institutions with electronic funds transfer processing services that support ATM terminal deployment, debit card issuance, and home banking/bill payment solutions. NYCE’s web site address is [www.nyce.net].
Century Bank is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Opportunity Lender.
Gemplus Corporation and Nextel Communications, Inc. announced a multi-year agreement under which Gemplus will provide smart card-based Subscriber Identity Modules that will enable Nextel to offer international roaming service using dual mode GSM900/iDEN mobile phones.
SIM cards are widely used internationally by mobile phone services to secure access to the communications services, store network information in the phone, and manage personalized subscriber data and applications. Nextel will utilize Gemplus SIM cards to provide its customers with a dual-mode phone that can access iDEN (integrated Digital Enhanced Network) 800 MHz in North and South America and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) 900 MHz-based networks that are prevalent in, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia.
“International roaming capabilities are a crucial requirement for today’s business travelers seeking greater mobility to operate in the global economy. By working with Gemplus to integrate smart card technology, Nextel plans to begin offering its worldwide service during 2000 with one phone, one number, worldwide,” said Mark Schweitzer, vice president marketing, Nextel Communications.
Since 1988, Gemplus has provided over 250 wireless operators with SIM cards, services and software. Initially specified as part of the GSM international telecommunications standard, SIM technology today is used to customize mobile phones utilizing various telecommunications standards including PCS, satellite, and others.
“This represents a tremendous commitment by a U.S. mobile network services provider to adopt SIM technology and expand its reach to accommodate the needs of international travelers,” said Jean Louis Carrara, director Telecom Marketing for Gemplus Americas. “Smart cards are at the heart of much of the world’s mobile telecommunications services, providing not only secure network access and roaming, but also the ability to provide secure value-added services. New applications are being developed rapidly to utilize SIM cards to enable wireless Internet browsing, mobile commerce and banking applications. We are pleased to have been selected by Nextel Communications to help them benefit from this value-adding technology.”
Gemplus has a record of innovations in the mobile phone market, including products and technologies such as the development environment GemXplore CASE, the remote SIM management platform, GemXplore Suite and Java Card(TM) SIMs.
Nextel Communications Inc., headquartered in Reston, Va. is a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications and has built the largest guaranteed all-digital wireless network in the United States that covers thousands of communities across the United States. Nextel and Nextel Partners Inc. currently serve 94 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The Nextel National Network offers a fully integrated wireless communications tool with digital cellular, text/numeric paging and Nextel Direct Connect(R) — a digital two-way radio feature. In addition, through Nextel International Inc., Nextel has wireless operations and investments in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Peru, Japan and Shanghai, China. Please visit our web page at [http://www.nextel.com].
Gemplus S.A. ([www.gemplus.com]) is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions with 37% market share (by units sold, source: Dataquest 1998). Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners and customers.
With sales of approximately $US800 million in 1999, Gemplus employs more than 5,600 people in 14 manufacturing facilities, 7 R&D centers and more than 40 sales and marketing offices located in more than 30 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology. For more information: [www.gemplus.com].
Baltimore-based Creditrust failed to impress investors yesterday with its delayed fourth quarter earnings report. In heavy trading Creditrust’s stock price fell about $2.00 per share to close at $8 per share. Last week the company said it would release its earnings report and report a favorable material corporate development. The news sent the stock from $7 to $10 per share. In July the stock peaked at $34 per share. For the fourth quarter, net earnings, prior to special charges, were $4.7 million versus net earnings of $6.3 million for the third quarter. Creditrust, a credit card collection firm, incurred three non-recurring special charges in the fourth quarter including $1,300,000 payable to a seller in connection with a reduction in a forward flow; $436,000 for legal and accounting costs associated with our financing activities; and $322,000 for legal and accounting fees related to the Form 8K investigation. In October a former management employee misdirected $500,000 in corporate funds by submitting an unauthorized check request and then seeking to redirect those funds through Creditrust’s collection payment stream. Creditrust also announced Monday it has entered into final negotiations, based upon an agreed upon term sheet, for $55 million in additional secured debt. The company says it has terminated all forward flow agreements or allowed them to expire and does not believe that there are any remaining purchase commitments. Creditrust says it anticipates purchasing opportunistically in the open market as the pricing has been more advantageous recently. For complete 4Q/99 and full-year 1999 financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
UICI announced that United Credit National Bank (an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of UICI) had agreed to the issuance of a Consent Order by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The terms of the Consent Order will govern for the indefinite future the capitalization, funding activities, growth and operations of United Credit National Bank, a special purpose national bank headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Consent Order requires the Bank within thirty days to submit to the OCC for approval a near term and three year capital plan, the terms of which will demonstrate the ability of the Bank to maintain Tier I capital at levels no less than 10% of risk weighted adjusted assets and 7% of actual adjusted total assets. The capital plan will also set forth the Bank’s plans and projections for the maintenance and sources of adequate capital in future periods.
To immediately supplement the capital of the Bank and in order to maintain combined Tier I and Tier II capital at the Bank at a level in excess of 10% of total risk-weighted assets (as disclosed in the Bank’s December 31, 1999 Call Report as currently filed with the OCC), United CreditServ, Inc. (the Bank’s direct parent and a wholly owned subsidiary of UICI) contributed $10,065,000 in cash to the capital of the Bank on February 25, 2000. The OCC is currently conducting an ongoing examination of the operations and capital adequacy of the Bank, following the previous announcement by UICI in December 1999 of significant losses in the fourth quarter of 1999 attributable to charges to the credit card loan loss reserves at the Bank.
A liquidity and capital assurances agreement, dated May 15, 1998, provides that, upon demand by the Bank, UICI will purchase certificates of deposit issued by the Bank to assure sufficient liquidity to meet the Bank’s funding demands and will contribute capital to the Bank sufficient for the Bank to comply with its stated policy of maintaining Tier I capital at a level equal to at least 10% of total risk-weighted assets and a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 12%. Total risk-based capital includes both Tier I and Tier II capital.
Under the terms of the Consent Order, the Bank is prohibited from accessing the brokered deposit market and from soliciting or accepting deposits over the Internet. The Bank had, as of February 21, 2000, voluntarily suspended soliciting or accepting brokered deposits. As of February 28, 2000, the Bank has $310 million of certificates of deposits outstanding, the majority of which are scheduled to mature over the next 12 months. At February 28, 2000, the Bank held approximately $125 million in cash, cash equivalents and short term U.S. Treasury securities.
The Consent Order requires the Bank, until further notice from the OCC, to cease all activities with American Credit Educators, Inc. (ACE) and American Fair Credit Association, Inc. (AFCA), independent marketing associations through which the Bank has marketed its credit card programs to customers with limited or impaired credit records. The Consent Order further requires the Bank, until further notice from the OCC, to cease all transactions with affiliated parties (including UICI but excluding Specialized Card Services, Inc., the servicer of the Bank’s credit card accounts), and to conduct an immediate review of all agreements with all third parties to assess whether such agreements are on terms fair and reasonable to the Bank. The Bank, in particular, has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to independently review the terms of all agreements between the Bank and Specialized Card Services, Inc. (an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of UICI and the servicer of the Bank’s credit card accounts).
The Bank is further prohibited under the terms of the Consent Order from introducing new products or services, without accompanying policies and procedures reviewed and approved by the OCC providing for, among other things, appropriate risk management, internal control, management information and data processing systems. Under the terms of the Consent Order, the Bank is generally prohibited from increasing its assets in the future unless the OCC has approved a capital plan submitted by the Bank and the Bank is in compliance with the capital plan.
Separately, UICI announced that UICI and the Bank had been named as party defendants in separate suits filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado by American Credit Educators, Inc. (ACE) and American Fair Credit Association, Inc. (AFCA), the independent marketing associations through which the Bank formerly marketed its credit card programs. In the suits, ACE and AFCA have alleged, among other things, that UCNB has breached its marketing agreements with ACE and AFCA. ACE and AFCA are each controlled by Phillip A. Gray, the former head of UICI’s credit card operations. Neither UICI nor the Bank has yet answered the complaints. UICI believes that UICI and the Bank have significant counterclaims and meritorious defenses to the allegations, and UICI intends to vigorously pursue the counterclaims and assert those defenses.
UICI, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a diversified financial services company offering financial services, health administrative services and insurance through its various subsidiaries and divisions to niche consumer and institutional markets. UICI provides health insurance through its insurance subsidiaries, UGA-Association Field Services and Cornerstone Marketing of America; enrollment, billing and collection claims administration and risk management services for healthcare payors and providers through UICI Administrators; credit cards for individuals with no credit or troubled credit histories through United CreditServ; financial services and products for college, undergraduates and graduate students, including providing federally- guaranteed student loans through the Educational Finance Group; and manages blocks of life insurance and life insurance products to select markets through its OKC Division. UICI also holds a 44% interest in HealthAxis.com, Inc., a leading web-based insurance retailer providing fully integrated, end-to-end, web-enabled solutions for health insurance distribution and administration.Details