MBNA International Bank Limited has selected ACI products to process e-payments, including ATM and POS transactions. The products include ‘BASE24’ which forms the core of MBNA’s card processing operation, and enables the issuer to process transactions based on the Euro monetary standard and smart card transactions initiated in the APACS ICC message format. ‘BASE24’ operates on ‘Compaq NonStop Himalaya’ systems to provide MBNA with true fault-tolerant processing power that is scalable to handle ever-increasing transaction volumes. MBNA processes ATM and POS transactions for more than 2 million cardholders in the UK.


Pathways Leaders

The Pathways Group, Inc. last week announced two new appointments to its senior management team. The executives, Monte Strohl, 48, senior vice president sales and marketing, and Christopher R. Miller, 55, senior vice president business development, have joined Pathways to broaden the management team as it steps up marketing and implementation of the proprietary smart card technology.

Carey Daly, founder, president and CEO of Pathways said, “We are fortunate indeed to have two more strong players join our team. Both Monte Strohl and Chris Miller can hit the ground running because they already know this business and the other members of the team.

“Chris Miller previously served Pathways as outside general counsel. He will oversee business development and continue to be our chief negotiator. That we were able to entice him to leave his very successful law practice speaks volumes about his strong belief in Pathways’ future. Monte Strohl and I co-founded the original Pathways in 1987. Having launched his own successful technology business in 1994, he rejoins us to lead our sales and marketing effort at a time when businesses and consumers around the world are only just beginning to recognize how smart card technology can simplify their lives.

“Over the past 12 years, we have woven Pathways’ proprietary technology, object-oriented programming and transaction processing capabilities into a complete end-to-end solution. This has given us a tremendous time-to-market advantage over competing smart card systems. With a strong team now in place, it is time to translate all of this ingenuity into value for our shareholders.”

Most recently, Mr. Miller served as Pathways’ legal counsel while of counsel to Lanahan & Reilley, LLP, a California law firm. Prior to Lanahan & Reilley, Mr. Miller was managing partner (1991 through 1999) of Miller, Mailliard and Culver, LLP of Santa Rosa, CA, a firm he founded as a partner in 1982. During his nearly 17 years with the firm, his law practice focused on business litigation, corporate transactions, contract negotiation and drafting, and domestic and international IP licensing. He received his BA degree in Philosophy/ Psychology from Sonoma State University in 1971 and a JD from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 1975.

Prior to joining Pathways, Mr. Strohl was president and CEO of MS Digital, a company he founded in 1994. MS Digital, which specializes primarily in corporate communication and cable broadcasting, provides hardware and software solutions to facilitate communications over cable systems or Intranets. MS Digital’s clients include universities, municipalities and Fortune 500 companies. Before founding MS Digital, Mr. Strohl was vice president of sales for OMNI International, which provided video production solutions internationally. Mr. Strohl is one of the original founders of Pathways International, Ltd., a corporate predecessor to today’s Pathways Group.

The Pathways Group, Inc., a world leader in smart card technology, provides clients with innovative, secure, individually tailored solutions for capturing and processing data and electronic transactions, with particular focus on Chip Card technology as it is applied to the Worldwide Web.

Founded in 1987, Pathways is today a leading developer of smart card applications offering clients custom software and hardware solutions for electronic banking, e-business and transaction processing. Pathways’ proprietary back office systems coupled with their long standing core competencies in electronic transaction processing, allow clients to efficiently capture and process data, and transfer funds via “ACH” protocol. This protocol is the De Facto standard for the Banking Industry, used for funds transfer in retail, medical and institutional environments.


Croatia Proton

Proton World and Croatia’s MBU signed agreements last week to make MBU a Proton licensee for Croatia. MBU is a consortium of 27 Croatian banks that manages and operates a network of ATMs and POS terminals. Under the agreement, MBU will start replacing existing POS terminals in February with new Java-based ‘C-ZAM/SMASH’ multi-application terminals from Banksys. MBU will begin to replace mag stripe cards with smart cards later this year.


Natl Air & LatinPass

In Miami, National Airlines announced that it has joined the LatinPass frequent flyer program providing both LatinPass members as well as its own National Comps frequent flyers with increased air rewards.

The announcement was made at a breakfast by National Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Conway as the carrier celebrated its inaugural service between Miami and its Las Vegas hub.

LatinPass members traveling on National Airlines can include their LatinPass account numbers in their reservations and receive mileage credit in their LatinPass accounts. By mid-February, members of National Airlines’ frequent flyer program, National Comps, will be able to redeem their account points for travel on any of the Latin American carriers belonging to LatinPass. In addition, LatinPass members may redeem their LatinPass mileage for travel on National Airlines.

“As Miami is one of the major U.S. gateways to Latin America, it is fitting to make this exciting announcement here,” Conway stated. “With literally tens of thousands of LatinPass members residing in the U.S., we believe this agreement will benefit not only National Airlines, LatinPass partners and our respective frequent flyers, but cities such as Miami where many international connections to Latin America are made.”

Conway noted that the original National Airlines was based in Miami, and said, “We are well aware of the stellar reputation for customer service that the original National Airlines created and we are making every effort to live up to the standard they set.” The CEO then presented Irma Baker-Lyons with a scale model of the Las Vegas-based airline’s Boeing 757 aircraft. Baker-Lyons is the widow of the original National Airlines founder George T. (Ted) Baker.

“The addition of National Airlines to the all-star LatinPass lineup of member airlines is a welcome one,” said Robert C. Booth, Chairman of AvMan, creators and administrators of the LatinPass program. “National will conveniently link its hub of Las Vegas, the world-renowned entertainment center of the U.S., with key U.S. gateways for Latin American travelers, and do it in style and with outstanding onboard and ground service. All of us at LatinPass are excited with the new benefits National brings to our members.”

The Latin American member-carriers of LatinPass include: ACES, Aeropostal, Avianca, Aviateca, COPA, LACSA, NICA, SAETA, TACA and TACA-Peru. More information about LatinPass is available through its Web site at [www.latinpass.com][1].

With the initiation of service between Miami and Las Vegas on January 27, National Airlines now offers daily nonstop service to its Las Vegas hub from Chicago Midway, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of 757 jet aircraft, each equipped with 175 seats including 22 in first class.

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


Smart Polish Cards

Poland’s Kredyt Bank is using IFS International’s ‘TPII’ system to support the issuance of VISA ‘Smart Debit Credit’. KB is one of the most advanced Polish banks with currently around 300,000 active cardholders, 500 ATMs and 1,000 EFT/POS devices. ‘TPII’ was originally installed at PBI in 1997, and since then the system has been significantly extended. Over the past 2 years since PBI’s merger with Kredyt Bank, the Bank embarked on a major customer-focused payment card strategy using ‘TPII’.


Bull GSM

As the GSM World Congress opens this week in Cannes, France, Bull says it will announce that it has signed up more than ten GSM customers on three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Customers include Unicom in China, Centertel in Poland and Vodacom in South Africa. Under client contracts Bull Smart Cards & Terminals will develop a new card for third generation mobile phones; supply 32K Java cards for a number of European operators; develop Java applications for large European operators who are leaders in the deployment of this open system; and develop dedicated security mechanisms for SIM cards, allowing them to run banking applications.


Internet ATMs

ATM cards and PINs will hit the Internet soon following a licensing agreement and strategic alliance between eFunds Corp. and eConnect . eConnect will use eFunds’ ‘CONNEX on IBM’, and ‘CONNEX Management System’ software to process ATM with PIN card transactions resulting from consumers running their cards through an eConnect card-reading device attached to their home computers and driven by the eConnect ‘Linux Transaction Server’. eConnect merchant customers in the Dominican Republic will be the first to benefit from the new service. The service is expected to expand to eConnect Ireland, eConnect Hong Kong, and eConnect Australia over the next few months. eFunds is a subsidiary of Deluxe Corp.


GE Biz Marketplace

GE Capital announced this morning it is launching an Internet-based system that integrates corporate card program management and online purchasing for large-sized and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Available for a March beta release, the first module of the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support the administration of travel, purchasing and fleet vehicle corporate charge cards on a Web-based system hosted by GE Capital. The reporting module, called ‘GE NetReport’, allows users to access their accounts online and integrates to the customer’s general ledger system. In addition, the module supports exception reporting, automatically alerting managers to transactions that are outside of the customer’s business policies. In a future e-commerce release, the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support online business-to-business buying, custom catalog integration, and workflow approval. Transaction activity for travel, purchasing, and fleet card programs, as well as e-commerce transactions, will be integrated into the ‘GE NetReport’ reporting engine.


FDC Record Year

First Data reported Thursday that its domestic merchant dollar volume processed grew 30% last year, from $252 billion to $328 billion. Total domestic transactions also soared from 4.5 billion to 5.8 billion. Merchant Processing Services posted 1999 pro forma consolidated revenues of $2.0 billion versus $1.8 billion for 1998, a 15% increase. At the end of 1999, FDC had 232.6 million domestic card accounts and 27.2 million international card accounts, on file. First Data also noted that it added 24,000 Internet merchants last year for a total of 72,000 online merchants. Dollar volume generated by identifiable Internet transactions grew 149% to $4.7 billion, while fourth quarter volume more than tripled. For complete 4Q and 1999 results for First Data please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


Metris Hispanic Card

Metris Companies and ADIR Financial Services, whose affiliate, La Curacao, is a southern California Hispanic-focused retailer, announced a co-brand credit card alliance Thursday. Under the terms of the alliance agreement, La Curacao will promote the ‘La Curacao MasterCard/VISA’ program to current and new La Curacao credit customers. Under a service contract with Metris’ Direct Merchants Bank, La Curacao, which currently operates two general merchandise retail locations in the Los Angeles area, will handle account origination, customer service and collections. Direct Merchants Bank will handle credit risk, fraud, and transaction processing. Approximately 6 million Hispanics currently live in the Los Angeles metro area, out of a total California Hispanic population of about 10 million.



American Express’ new ‘Blue’ card, which got off to a rocky start this past fall, has added a free rewards program. ‘BlueLoot’, which offers one point for each dollar charged, was officially introduced yesterday. The rewards program is entirely web-based. Cardholders register for the program, view point balances, browse the rewards catalogue and redeem for rewards, all online. Rewards include gift certificates for books and music, electronic equipment, sports, recreation and travel gear from 40 brand names. Appearing to the “techno-savvy hip”, the trendy rewards include PalmPilots and MP3 players. ‘BlueLoot Points’ will be awarded and posted to a cardholder’ account at the end of each billing cycle and monthly account statements will be viewable online and sent via e-mail. Points are good for three years from the last day of the calendar year in which they were earned. AmEx launched the ‘Blue’ card in September which features a translucent card with a chip. The card is aggressively priced with a six-month intro rate of 0% and no-annual-fee, followed by rates as lows as 9.99%. Although not disclosed, it is estimated AmEx has received more than one million applications for the card over the past four months. AmEx reportedly had production problems and delays with the card and the accompanying smart card reader.