Diners Club Award

Club Rewards by Diners Club International won coveted honors for the third consecutive year, by being awarded the prestigious 1999 Freddie Award for the “Best Frequent Traveler Affinity Charge/Credit Card Program” by the readers of InsideFlyer. Results were announced at the Twelfth Annual “Freddie” Awards banquet in New York.

In addition to being named the favorite program of the year, voters also awarded Diners Club a 9.07 out of a possible 10 in terms of value delivered. More than 130,000 voters, some of the world’s most frequent travelers, determined the winners by written or on-line ballots. On average, the voters belong to seven loyalty programs.

“We’re thrilled that frequent travelers again rated our Club Rewards program as the best in class,” said William H. Friesell, chairman of Diners Club International. “Our employees work hard at delivering excellent service, benefits and value to frequent travelers, and it is most gratifying to see travelers recognize those efforts in the voting.”

The Freddie Awards — named after Sir Freddie Laker in honor of his accomplishments in marketing travel during the 1970s — have evolved into a popular method for frequent travelers to voice their opinions about frequent travel programs. Randy Petersen, editor and publisher of InsideFlyer magazine and creator of the Freddie Awards, calls them the frequent traveler’s answer to the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Awards.

Diners Club, creator of the multi-use charge card industry in 1950, enters the new millennium by celebrating 50 years of growth. Issued in more countries and currencies than any other charge card, Diners Club serves more than 8 million Cardmembers worldwide who last year charged more than $35 billion at more than five million establishments which welcome Diners Club. Individuals or corporations interested in acquiring the award-winning DINERS CLUB charge card call (800) 2-DINERS (234-6377) for further information or visit [www.dinersclubus.com][1].

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


Donehey Leaves Cap One

Capital One Financial Corporation announced that James P. Donehey, Senior Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, has decided to leave the Company, effective February 29, 2000.

Mr. Donehey’s departure comes after more than five years as the Company’s CIO and as a member of the senior team that built one of the industry’s leading financial organizations. Mr. Donehey has decided he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his 86 year old father, and recognizes that the demands of leading a 1,700 person IT organization do not afford him the time he wants.

“Jim Donehey has made many significant contributions to Capital One since our initial public offering over five years ago. Our company reaps tremendous benefits from having an IT organization that is melded so well with our business and our operations areas,” said Nigel Morris, President and Chief Operating Officer. “For personal reasons, Jim felt it was time for a change and is working to ensure a smooth transition. We will miss Jim, but we support his desire to spend more time with his family and wish him all the best.”

“I have truly enjoyed working at Capital One,” commented Mr. Donehey. “It’s been a tremendously rewarding experience to have helped build one of the nation’s most successful companies. Capital One is a very special company, and I enjoyed a very special experience there.”

The Company announced that Marjorie M. Connelly, Senior Vice President of Credit Card Operations and Laura Olle, Vice President and Senior Business Information Officer, will jointly lead the IT organization. Each will take responsibility for one of two broad areas in IT: an infrastructure group and a development group. The infrastructure group will be placed under the direction of Ms. Connelly, and the development group will be placed under the direction of Ms. Olle.

Ms. Olle, who joined Capital One last year and who will now report directly to Mr. Morris, has more than 20 years experience in IT and management consulting. Prior to joining Capital One, she was Senior Vice President for Information Systems and Services at Freddie Mac. Ms. Connelly has been a member of Capital One’s senior management team since she joined the Company in 1994.

“We are very excited about the leadership and depth of experience that Marge and Laura bring to their new roles,” said Mr. Morris. “Marge has been an important part of Capital One’s growth since before our IPO and helped build many of our award-winning IT solutions. And we’re delighted to have Laura on board to step into this important role.”

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ([http://www.CapitalOne.com][1]) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending and deposit products. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 23.7 million customers and $20.2 billion in managed loans outstanding as of December 31, 1999, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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


AmEx Kiosks

7-Eleven and American Express announced Thursday a strategic alliance to introduce interactive kiosks in 7-Eleven stores. During the initial roll-out, the units will be installed in over 200 7-Eleven stores throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area over the course of this year. The touch-screen kiosks will provide customers with check-cashing services, money orders, and wire transfers. In the future, the two companies expect to introduce a wide range of services, including event ticketing, and e-commerce applications such as on-line shopping. AmEx currently has a network of over 4,000 ATMs in convenience stores, supermarkets, malls, and hotels throughout the USA. The expansion of the kiosks into future markets will be determined based on the results of the Dallas test.


Diamond Link for ABN AMRO

Euronet Services Inc. launched a new Visa charge card outsourcing service with ABN AMRO in the Czech Republic in December. Euronet’s “Diamond Link” service is a comprehensive solution which performs Visa charge card issuance, transaction authorization and processing, and account reconciliation functions for ABN AMRO’s corporate clients. Euronet also began ATM management outsourcing services for ABN AMRO in December.

Hugo Halter, COO for ABN AMRO N.V. Czech Republic commented, “Euronet offered us a unique and turnkey outsourcing solution which enabled us to implement an efficient processing structure for our card business and deliver high quality service to our prime customers. Given Euronet’s expertise in the region, we were confident they would also meet our tight pre-Y2K deadline — and they did.”

“In the fast moving and increasingly competitive emerging markets, bank cards are becoming a commodity. Euronet’s solution will be particularly attractive to international banking groups who want to centralize and outsource card processing on a multi-country scale,” said Ivan Remsik, Senior Vice President, Visa International in London.

Miro Bergman, Euronet’s Managing Director for Central Europe, said, “This program clearly demonstrates an emerging trend in Central Europe for banks to outsource key electronic financial transaction services. We’re pleased that ABN AMRO selected Euronet as their charge card and ATM management service provider.”

Euronet Services Inc. is a leading provider of electronic financial solutions and transaction processing services. Euronet operates a network of over 2,200 ATMs in Europe and the U.S. and offers the ARKSYS software suite of integrated solutions for electronic payment and transaction delivery systems. With offices in eight countries on two continents, Euronet Services offers ATM network development and participation, outsourced management solutions, comprehensive software solutions, and professional consulting services to retail banks and companies in more than 70 countries around the world.


Polaroid to Use Eltron

Zebra Technologies Corporation, leading manufacturer of plastic card printers and thermal bar code printers, and Polaroid Corporation announced that they have entered into an OEM agreement for Zebra’s Eltron card printers to be a component of the new Polaroid System 75, the new low-cost and easy-to-use digital ID badge making system.

This system allows a customer to quickly and easily design a photo identification badge on a personal computer. The System 75 can capture a picture, print two to three ID badges a minute, and create and maintain an image database and registry. Polaroid will market the on-demand imaging and printing package where there is an increasing need for security and instant identification such as schools and small- and medium-sized businesses.

“Our OEM relationship with Zebra is based on the strength of the Eltron card printer reputation and the exceptional technology and design. Together, we can aggressively expand and build the commercial marketplace,” said Karl R. LaPan, head of Polaroid’s North American Commercial ID and Ventures Group.

Donald Skinner, president of Eltron Card Printer Products, said “Our partnership with Polaroid is a very significant one. Polaroid is the worldwide leader in instant imaging. This is a great opportunity for Polaroid and Zebra to work together. Through this alliance we will be able to bring instant issue card personalization to a greater audience.”

The Polaroid System 75 is comprised of Polaroid PDC digital camera, Polaroid ID Card Maker Imaging Software and the Polaroid 75 Color Card Printer. Eltron Card Printer Products is supplying the Polaroid 75, a custom OEM color card printer. The two companies plan to continue expanding the initial product offering with additional card printer models in the future.

Polaroid has been producing driver’s licenses and identification cards for more than 25 years using both photographic and digital systems. Polaroid currently produces digital driver’s licenses in states including California, Texas, Georgia and West Virginia. Internationally, Polaroid produces identification documents for governments in more than 60 countries including Brazil, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Mexico, Botswana, and Saudi Arabia.

Polaroid Corporation, with annual sales of approximately $1.8 billion, is the worldwide leader in instant imaging. Polaroid supplies instant photographic cameras and films; digital imaging hardware, software and media; secure identification systems; sunglasses and polarizers to markets worldwide. For more information about Polaroid, visit [http://www.polaroid.com][1].

Zebra Technologies Corporation manufactures and distributes Zebra- and Eltron-brand on-demand bar code label printers, secure ID printing systems and plastic card printers used in automatic identification and plastic card personalization applications worldwide. The company also offers software and related supplies, including more than 300 label and ribbon combinations. Zebra’s customers include more than 70 percent of the FORTUNE 500. The company’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ZBRA. Information about Zebra Technologies Corporation can be found at [http://www.zebra.com][2]. The Eltron card printer site is located at [http://www.eltroncards.com][3].

[1]: http://www.polaroid.com/
[2]: http://www.zebra.com/
[3]: http://www.eltroncards.com/


Associates Oil Cards

Associates reported yesterday that its oil card portfolio grew 40% last year to 11 million oil card accounts. At year-end 1999, Associates had $11.7 billion in credit card outstandings compared to $10.3 billion for Dec 31, 1998. Credit card delinquency (60+ day) dropped from 4.73% to 4.17% during 1999. Card chargeoffs also dropped from 7.38% to 7.07% last year. For current and historical financial statistics on Associates visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


Disclosure Amendment

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote overwhelmingly next Tuesday to pass a bankruptcy reform bill. However yesterday, Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md) successfully pushed through an amendment requiring credit card issuers to warn cardholders about the costs associated with paying just the minimum amount due each month. Under the Sarbanes amendment, card issuers would be required to inform cardholders, via the monthly statement, how long it would take to pay-off the existing balance by making the minimum payments. Prior to the Sarbanes amendment, the Senate bill required credit card issuers to merely list a toll-free number for more consumer information. The prior amendment also did not require card issuers to specifically state that information pertaining to projected credit costs was available. It was unclear yesterday whether the Sarbanes amendment would make it through the process of reconciling the Senate and House versions of the bankruptcy reform legislation.


Schlumberger Acquires telweb

Schlumberger Test & Transactions, a unit of Schlumberger Limited announced that it has acquired 100% of the capital stock of telweb, inc., a Canadian start-up. This acquisition positions Schlumberger in the fast-growing domain of web-based e-commerce and information networking. This is a logical step in the evolution towards smart-card enabled secure e-business.

Headquartered in Qu©bec, Canada, telweb is a pioneer of Internet accessibility with its WebPayphone Network’ and has already secured several major public Internet portal installations. Deployment of its system has begun in the City of Calgary and at a major European Airport. Focused on today’s business traveler and daily commuter, the public Internet portals provide a resource that allows users to quickly conduct secure transactions and communications without a PC. Real time merchandising is enabled via credit and smart card transactions in a secure network environment. Target environments include airports, hotels, business communities and municipalities. In conjunction with telecom providers, the systems will support local content and revenue models.

“This acquisition further positions Schlumberger in the secure information and e-commerce transactions domain,’ stated Irwin Pfister, executive vice president, Schlumberger Test & Transactions. ‘Combining telweb’s offerings with world-class Schlumberger information security technology and smart card leadership, we are now uniquely positioned to deliver a seamless and ubiquitous solution for the world’s most active airports and travel terminals. Our approach will ensure delivery of customer convenience through a uniform ‘look and feel’ promoting ease of use and access while conducting secure Internet-based transactions, globally.”

The broad relationships Schlumberger enjoys with global telecom providers and Internet access leaders will ensure best-of-breed content and Internet services. The acquisition reflects the continued commitment of Schlumberger to the delivery of integrated solutions which leverage its far-reaching technological leadership and proximity to its customers. “We are excited to be part of Schlumberger,’ stated Stephan Lepage, president, telweb. ‘Schlumberger is the only global leader able to offer a wide range of solutions based on expertise in smart card technology, corporate networks and information security.”


eBanker USA.com Cards

eVision USA.Com, Inc., an integrated online solutions provider, announced the launch of a new financial services web portal by its subsidiary, eBanker USA.com, Inc. ([www.ebankerusa.com][1]).

eBanker is an online financial services corporation with the mission of identifying and serving high-margin, financial market niches. The eBanker web portal is designed to provide individuals and corporations with convenient, online access to capital in the form of customized financial products and services.

“The rapid consolidation in the financial services industry has left many consumer and corporate needs underserved and often ignored. We believe that the launch of the eBanker portal will enable us to become a leader in the alternative financial solutions marketplace,” stated Fai H. Chan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of eVision.

eBanker will initially offer six customized financial products and services:

— eBanker Customized Corporate Financing — offers emerging or established, public or private, companies convenient access to much needed financing in the form of short-term bridge loans. Interest is charged at competitive interest rates in exchange for equity participation.

— The eBanker Corporate Credit Card — offers qualifying public companies substantial lines of credit in the convenient form of a major credit card.

— The eBanker Global Secured Credit Card — offers individuals that lack a favorable credit history the ability to rapidly establish a positive credit profile while enjoying all of the benefits of a major credit card.

— eBanker Share Financing — offers large block shareholders such as corporations, corporate officers, directors, and other investors that qualify, credit secured by their sometimes illiquid stock portfolios.

— eBanker Bond Financing — offers institutions and qualified investors credit secured by their rated or un-rated bond portfolios.

— eBanker Property Development Financing — offers financing for the acquisition and construction of condominiums, housing divisions and commercial buildings with interest charged at competitive interest rates in exchange for profit participation.

As eBanker progresses towards its goal of becoming a world-class financial services web portal, it intends to diversify its product lines and expand its services globally. Future versions of the eBanker web portal will include: additional customized financial solutions; free and premium financial information; valuable financial tools, planning information and educational materials; and extensive links to financial service providers around the world.

eVision is an integrated online solutions provider. eVision’s consolidated subsidiaries and significant equity investments operate within five distinct divisions: eFinance, eServices, eCommunications, eInformation, and eMedical.

eBanker is a 29% owned consolidated subsidiary of eVision.

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


Smart Card Gift Certificates

Neighborhood Box Office, Inc., an industry leader of gift certificate sales and distribution services for affiliated shopping malls and retails announced this week its agreement to license smart card technology from Phoenix, Arizona based Touch Technology International, a leading provider of smart card solution software.

Under the terms of the agreement, NBO will use “CardTouch”, TTI’s smart card and back-office software, to offer gift certificates on smart cards for its customers. Advantages of using smart cards instead of paper or magnetic stripe card gift certificates include the ability to purchase and redeem using smart cards over the Internet, and to offer customer loyalty programs on the same cards.

“With their ease of use and multifunctionality, smart cards are becoming increasingly popular with retailers and consumers alike,” said Steve Smith, TTI’s vice president, product marketing. “TTI is excited to help NBO harness the power of smart cards for their broad customer base.”

Known for its flexibility and security, CardTouch has been implemented in a wide variety of smart card markets, including retail, military, corporate, university campuses, and transportation. CardTouch software provides comprehensive capability for automated back-end functions, including settlement, funds pool management and funds movement, which previously required manual efforts.

“By offering gift certificates on smart cards NBO continues to meet the needs of our customers today and tomorrow,” said Luther Perkins, NBO’s executive vice president. “Our research indicates smart cards will take off in the months to come and TTI’s advanced technology positions us for future growth.”

About TTI

TTI provides software products and systems integration services for smart card implementations. Since its inception in 1991, TTI’s sole focus has been the smart card industry. The company employs 65 people covering the full complement of smart card disciplines. For more information on TTI, CardTouch and other TTI products visit [http://www.touchtechnology.com][1].

About NBO

NBO was organized in 1994 for the purpose of developing, marketing, owning and operating transactional-based kiosks, which currently sell gift certificates. NBO’s proprietary Gift Certificate and Ticketing Software System has been developed with state-of-the-art technology. NBO’s future lies in firmly establishing itself as a leader in gift certificate/card sales and distribution systems. The addition of smart card technology to NBO’s products offers unlimited possibilities for NBO’s current and future clients. For more information on NBO visit [http://www.nbo.com][2].

[1]: http://www.touchtechnology.com/
[2]: http://www.nbo.com/


Gemplus Infusion

Texas Pacific Group, an international private equity firm, announced Wednesday it has agreed to invest between $300 and $500 million in equity into Gemplus. Gemplus says it will use the new capital to dramatically expand the company’s presence in the wireless communications, e-commerce, and Internet security markets. Gemplus says its smart card solutions will be the key enabling technology in ‘3rd Generation’ wireless networks. Gemplus also estimates it has more than a 40% market share of the GSM market.