Discover Gets Penny Wise

Discover Financial Services, Inc., a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and Penny Wise Office Products announced a new merchant initiative, offering Discover/Novus Network’s merchants office supplies at special discounts.

The partnership allows Discover/Novus Network merchants to receive discounts off the retail price of office supplies, furniture and other related products by purchasing through Penny Wise. The program also offers Discover/Novus Network merchants free shipping through UPS with next-day delivery to almost every location in the United States, a no-hassle return policy, and a lowest price guarantee. Merchants can access the Penny Wise inventory through a variety of toll-free channels, including the Penny Wise Web site where customers receive an additional 3% discount.

“This program is the latest in a series of initiatives to provide merchants with direct benefits for being part of the Discover/Novus Network,” said Tom Dailey, senior vice president, Discover/Novus Network, Discover Financial Services, Inc. “The partnership with Penny Wise is another example of Discover Card’s overall commitment to providing smart, simple solutions to our merchants.”

Penny Wise, a leader in the office products industry, specializes in working with national membership organizations. Through its exclusive arrangements with nearly 300 trade associations, membership clubs and other organizations, Penny Wise offers special discounts and services to participants in its Partner Marketing program as an added benefit of membership.

“Everyone at Penny Wise is very excited to begin working with the Discover/Novus Network. We feel that our experience and business philosophy will truly benefit their merchants, and help them reduce cost and save time on this critical business function,” said Gary Luiza, Penny Wise’s President.

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

For more information on Discover/Novus merchant programs visit [www.novusnetwork.com][1] or for more information on Penny Wise Office Products, please visit [www.penny-wise.com][2]

[1]: http://www.novusnetwork.com/
[2]: http://www.penny-wise.com/

Details

Taiwan Goes Falcon

Taiwan is the latest country to adopt Falcon, the world’s leading bank card fraud detection system from HNC Financial Solutions, a division of HNC Software Inc.

HNC announced today that global information technology services leader EDS has deployed the Falcon fraud detection system in the Taipei data center of EDS Taiwan, one of Taiwan’s largest suppliers of information technology and consulting services. Falcon is now guarding the portfolio of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Taiwan, EDS Taiwan’s first client to use the system.

“We were able to detect numerous frauds with Falcon within its first hour of live operation,” said Chris Yao, senior manager of EDS Taiwan. “We are excited to be the first technology service in Taiwan to offer this premium fraud protection.”

“We created a customized Falcon system for EDS Taiwan by leveraging our worldwide Fraud Consortium data and our experience implementing Falcon systems in double-byte character environments. As additional card issuers in Taiwan join the Falcon family, we will be able to further enhance this custom solution,” added David Johnson, vice president of Fraud Products for HNC Financial Solutions. “We’re excited about the market potential for Falcon in Taiwan, where credit card use is growing at nearly 50 percent every year.”

Falcon, a neural network-based predictive software system that examines transaction, cardholder, and merchant data to detect a wide rande of credit card fraud, currenly protects more than 300 million payment card accounts worldwide.

Founded in 1989, EDS Taiwan operates the largest commercial data center in the entire country. With offices in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, EDS Taiwan has more than 80 customers and 400 employees.

Details

Diebold Acquisitions

Diebold is set to become the second-largest provider of financial self-service solutions in Europe. Diebold announced Wednesday an agreement to acquire the financial self-service assets and related development activities of Amsterdam-based Getronics NV and Groupe Bull, headquartered near Paris, for approximately US$160 million in cash. With annual revenue totaling approximately US$250 million, the acquired business includes ATMs, cash dispensers, other self-service terminals and related services primarily for the global banking industry. Additionally, Diebold is gaining many related European-specific applications and software development skill sets. While Diebold will have direct control over its distribution network, as part of this transaction the company will have strategic partnerships to cooperate on integrated delivery channel solutions for the financial industry with Getronics and Groupe Bull. The agreement includes SIAB, a manufacturing facility located in Cassis, France; Cable Print, a specialized financial self-service terminal manufacturer in Brussels, Belgium, and approximately 1,300 employees in manufacturing, management, sales and service in more than 20 countries. Getronics markets and services Olivetti-branded ATMs, which were purchased from Wang Global in 1998. Both Bull and Getronics’ self-service terminals are manufactured at the SIAB facility.

Details

TSYS Joins Smart Group

To demonstrate its commitment to emerging technology, Total System Services, Inc. has joined GlobalPlatform, a cross-industry membership organization created to advance standards for smart card growth. TSYS is a member of the systems infrastructure and business committees.

“The world is continually transforming into a place where multiple applications on a single card will become the norm for providing access to valuable services. This evolution begins with smart card technology, and TSYS will be on the forefront of developing and setting the standard by which the rest of the industry follows,” said Philip W. Tomlinson, TSYS president.

“By joining GlobalPlatform, TSYS is able to strengthen existing relationships, while creating new ones. We are pleased to play a part in setting the strategic vision for GlobalPlatform and all industries involved,” Tomlinson continued.

“As the smart card industry and multi-application support continue to mature, TSYS will be able to offer its current and future client base the best in class secure transaction processing,” said Richard Cogar, TSYS project manager, smart card technologies.

“GlobalPlatform’s Business Committee presents an opportunity for TSYS to provide influence and direction into the marketing and intellectual properties of smart cards through GlobalPlatform specifications. TSYS is also on the Systems Infrastructure Committee, where TSYS will assist in the development and influence of the back-office systems needed to support application and card management,” continued Cogar.

“We are delighted to have TSYS participate in the standards development efforts of GlobalPlatform,” said Steve Brown, head of smart cards at British Telecommunications plc (BT) and chairman of GlobalPlatform. “The tremendous potential of multiple application smart cards will only be realized through cross-industry cooperation by leading global organizations.”

By joining GlobalPlatform, TSYS:

* Provides a voice for companies in the development of the Open Platform multiple application smart card technology standards;

* Influences future versions of the Open Platform standard to provide consistency with the strategic direction defined for smart cards;

* Establishes working relationships with potential partners that provide complementary services to products; and

* Learns by interacting with other industry experts that may have new perspectives on the business.

About GlobalPlatform

GlobalPlatform is a cross-industry membership organization created to advance standards for smart card growth. It combines the interests of smart card issuers, vendors, industry groups, public entities, and technology suppliers to define requirements and technology standards for multiple application smart cards. GlobalPlatform also develops conventions to allow for application loading, key management and personalization. The infrastructure provided by GlobalPlatform will enable issuers from a variety of industries to deploy applications through various channels. Further information about GlobalPlatform is available at [http://www.globalplatform.org][1].

About TSYS

TSYS provides the electronic payment link between buyers and sellers. With more than 207.9 million accounts on file, TSYS makes it possible for 291 million consumers to use their credit, debit, commercial and retail cards anytime, anywhere and through any medium or portal. Our sophisticated systems collect and retain more transaction detail data per account than any other company. We return that information to our clients in a meaningful way so they can better serve every customer and make wiser commerce decisions. Our services allow our clients to focus on building their brands while we focus on safety, security, ease and convenience. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com][2]) is an 80.8-percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com][3]), No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000.

[1]: http://www.globalplatform.org/
[2]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[3]: http://www.synovus.com/

Details

Equifax to Name New CFO

Equifax announced plans to name a new chief financial officer, further strengthening the company’s financial management team.

“We are focused on driving our performance, growing our businesses and advancing our expense management practices to maximize shareholder value,” said Tom Chapman, Equifax chairman and chief executive officer. “To build on these efforts, we have selected a new leader for our financial management team and will make an announcement on Monday, Feb. 14, 2000.”

The new chief financial officer replaces Dave Post who has left the company to pursue other interests.

Atlanta-based Equifax, ([http://www.equifax.com][1]), a worldwide leader in shaping global commerce, brings buyers and sellers together through its consumer information management, transaction processing and customer relationship management businesses.

[1]: http://www.equifax.com/

Details

Borders Purch Card

First Data Resources, a subsidiary of First Data Corp. and the leader in card transaction processing, today announced that Borders, a leading global retailer of books, music, video and other information and entertainment items, has selected First Data to process a private label purchasing card. The card, which is now available to Borders business customers, automates a manual charge and billing operation that Borders has utilized at its more than 290 stores nationally.

“By expanding our relationship with First Data, Borders is able to provide our commercial clients with the convenience of consolidating purchases at any of our stores,” stated Mary Jean Raab, senior vice president of direct sales and retail convergence — Borders, Inc. “In addition, through centralized billing, our customers can take advantage of corporate discounts and streamlined accounting,” she added.

First Data Resources’ sister company, First Data Merchant Services, provides Borders merchant processing services for MasterCard and VISA(R) purchases and gift card services.

“We are extremely excited to be able to offer Borders a complete solution for their proprietary commercial card. Helping them automate the process and streamline billing is another example of First Data’s commitment to providing not only what our clients need, but also deliver it packaged how our clients need it,” said David P. Bailis, executive vice president and head of First Data’s worldwide card issuing operations.

“We’re providing full processing services for a unique proprietary business card product,” Bailis added. First Data currently provides commercial card processing services for more than 65 commercial card issuers. Most commercial or business card offerings are for bank-issued cards.

First Data Resources processes transactions for more than 260 million card accounts around the world. Based in Omaha, Neb., First Data Resources is the leading global provider of card transaction processing and card portfolio management solutions that enable credit, debit, commercial, oil and private label card issuers to enhance their portfolio growth, increase market share, reduce risk and improve profitability.

About Borders

Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP), is a leading global retailer of books, music, video and other information and entertainment items with stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Borders Group, Inc., is the parent company of Borders, Inc., which operates 290 Borders Books and Music stores in the United States, offering what is widely regarded as the broadest selection of books and multi-media titles available to consumers anywhere. It is also the parent of Borders.com, an electronic commerce site that has access to nearly 700,000 titles and over 10 million books, music and video items in stock and ready for immediate shipping from a state-of-the-art fulfillment and distribution center. With cafe operations in nearly all of its stores, Borders, Inc., is one of the nation’s largest specialty coffee retailers. Through Borders (UK) Limited, Borders Group, Inc., also operates 26 Books etc. and six Borders stores in the U.K. In addition, Borders Group, Inc., owns Walden Book Company, Inc., which has approximately 900 Waldenbooks stores in malls, shopping centers and airports across the country. Borders Group, Inc., trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BGP.”

To learn more about the company, visit [http://www.bordersgroupinc.com][1]. For information on Borders stores, visit [http://www.bordersstores.com][2]. For the ultimate online book, music and video shopping experience, explore [http://www.borders.com][3].

About First Data Corporation

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) helps move the world’s money.

As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services. With more than 31,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. In addition, its Western Union(R) network includes approximately 82,000 agent locations with operations in 176 countries. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com][4].

[1]: http://www.bordersgroupinc.com/
[2]: http://www.bordersstores.com/
[3]: http://www.borders.com/
[4]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com/

Details

MerchantOnline Gets Angel

MerchantOnline.com announced the appointment of Angel M. Rodriguez as vice president of credit/debit card operations. Rodriguez, with more than 30 years’ experience in banking and credit card operations, will report to Jim Gitney, chief operations officer.

“Angel brings a wealth of knowledge to the transaction and service side of our business,” Gitney said. “This move provides us with a focused expertise on a critical part of our long-range business plan.”

Rodriguez joined MerchantOnline.com in January 1999 as operations manager, following 10 years with MasterCard International Inc., where he served as vice president of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean. In that post, Rodriguez was responsible for setting up Latin American operations in Miami, playing a major role in establishing credit card duality (MasterCard and Visa) in Brazil. He was active in credit/debit cards, telecommunications, technology and customer service.

Between 1969 and 1998, Rodriguez was vice president of operations for three divisions of Citibank, NA, managing Travelers Checks, Bankcards and Consumer Lending. Rodriguez is a former U.S. Marine, a Vietnam veteran and received his education at New York’s Hunter College.

Founded in December 1997, MerchantOnline.com offers one-stop solutions for merchants who want to set up and maintain a store on the Internet. It provides businesses with real-time secure credit and debit card processing, shopping cart services and online checking transactions.

Details

Top Ten 99

The ten largest issuers of general purpose credit cards now control more than 77% of the market according to year-end 1999 statistics gathered by CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Last year was a particularly strong year for sub-prime specialists. Providian watched receivables grow more than 60%, while Capital One experienced a 15% increase. Meanwhile American Express card loans soared by 40% to end the year at $23.4 billion versus $16.7 billion for 4Q/98. MBNA continued its steady course, posting a 17.5% increase in outstandings.

TOP TEN U.S. ISSUERS EOY 1999
Rank/Issuer Card Loans Gross Accts YTD Volume
1. Citibank $74.2 billion 40.6 million $162.3 billion
2. Bank One/First USA $69.4 billion 43.1 million $142.7 billion
3. MBNA $63.1 billion 28.9 million $102.8 billion
4. Discover $38.0 billion 38.5 million $ 70.6 billion
5. Chase Manhattan $33.6 billion 20.5 million $ 53.8 billion
6. American Express $23.4 billion 23.5 million $186.4 billion
7. Bank of America $20.9 billion 21.0 million $ 50.3 billion
8. Providian $18.7 billion 15.2 million $ 20.3 billion
9. Capital One $16.4 billion 22.0 million $ 32.6 billion
10. Fleet $14.3 billion 8.5 million $ 17.0 billion
Totals: $372.0 billion 261.8 million $838.8 billion

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/

Details

NYCE CAS Expands

NYCE is expanding participation in Card Alert Services to all NYCE Network card issuing financial institutions in the Midwest. Under a new Network rules change, these participants become automatic subscribers. Universal participation in CAS was launched by NYCE in its Northeast service area in April of last year. With the Midwest roll-out, all of the Network’s 2,300 participants are now in CAS. As part of its fraud detection services, CAS receives a subset of switch transactions from NYCE and other participating shared networks. These transactions are filtered through software programs developed and continually modified by CAS to help identify suspicious transactions. In the usual CAS process, the issuing participant is notified of suspect transactions and asked to verify the transactions and respond to CAS. If it is concluded that transactions are being conducted with counterfeit cards, CAS then attempts to determine when and where the compromise occurred, identifies card numbers that were likely involved in the compromise, and sends a list of suspected compromised card numbers to the financial institutions impacted.

Details

Delegate Access

A privately-held Atlanta company was issued a utility patent yesterday for a payment execution system useful in banking, deposit access or debit transactions. Delegate Systems, Inc. received a patent titled “Process for Executing Payment Transactions.” The patent provides consumers with an alternative to ordinary credit and debit cards by enabling them to capture and segregate funds in their bank or other accounts into restricted funds sub-accounts from which they or other authorized users can draw funds. The company says the ‘Delegate Access’ system enables a parent to provide a real or virtual ‘Allowance Card’ to a child or a teenager, adding or subtracting value from the card at will. The card system can be applied to mag stripe cards, smart cards or Internet cards.

Details

Platinum Lexus

In an effort to put more shine into its Platinum card, American Express will unveil today a new series of ads that offer a free ‘American Express Platinum’ card to new Lexus owners. Lexus will launch a special promotion starting today that will feature a ‘Platinum Series’ of its four luxury sedans. The new ‘Platinum Lexus’ will include special paint, upgraded leathers and other amenities. Part of the package is an ‘American Express Platinum’ card with no-annual-fee for the first two years. AmEx normally charges a $300 annual fee for the card. Lexus purchasers who fail to qualify for the AmEx card will be awarded AmEx gift certificates. AmEx indicated that most Lexus owners already have an American Express card product and the Platinum card would be considered an upgrade. The Lexus ‘Platinum Series’ promotion will end in July. During July, Lexus will unveil its all-new ‘IS 300’ compact sport sedan which offers entry prices to younger buyers.

Details

NextCard Flooz

NextCard and Flooz.com have formed a strategic e-commerce marketing alliance. NextCard also announced it has made a significant minority investment in Flooz.com. It is the first equity investment in an e-commerce company by NextCard. Under terms of the deal NextCard will integrate Flooz.com’s online gift currency into NextCard’s e-Commerce platform, cardholder services and ongoing promotions. In addition, Flooz will exclusively market and promote the NextCard to its customers and pay NextCard a referral fee for each new Flooz customer generated from either NextCard’s application process or current cardholder base.

Details