M&I MasterCard

M&I Data Services announced this morning that it will now offer the MasterCard ‘MasterMoney BusinessCard’. The new off-line debit program can be added to a financial institution’s existing debit card program or implemented as a new program. The MasterCard business debit program features ‘MasterPurchase Retail Protection Services’, ‘MasterAssist Travel Assistance’ services, ‘MasterCoverage Liability Protection’, and ‘MasterRental Insurance Coverage’.


Discover Intuit

Intuit Inc. and Discover Financial Services announced this morning a new option that enables Discover Card’s 47 million cardmembers to import account information into Quicken.com. Discover Cardmembers can view daily updates of their account information and edit account transaction descriptions at Quicken.com. The financial management capability is possible through the ‘Open Financial Exchange’ language. The new service expands Intuit’s existing relationship with Discover Card. During the past tax season, Discover cardholders who used ‘TurboTax’ tax preparation software could charge any federal income tax due to their Discover Card account.


Digital Merger

Digital Insight Corp. and nFront, Inc. announced this morning a definitive agreement to merge the two companies. Both firms provide Internet banking services to community financial institutions. The current equity value of the transaction to nFront shareholders is approximately $439 million. The combined company will have 645 financial institution clients with approximately 16 million potential end users, of which over 640,000 are active end-users of their Internet banking products. Post merger the combined firm will have annualized revenue of approximately $30 million and interfaces with 45 data processing vendors providing coverage of more than 80% of community financial institutions. The combined entity will operate under the Digital Insight name and will be headquartered in Calabasas, CA., with operations continuing in nFront’s Atlanta offices. John Dorman, currently Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Digital Insight, will serve as the company’s CEO and Chairman of the Board. Tripp Rackley, nFront’s Chairman and CEO, will become the new entity’s President and a member of the Board of Directors. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2000.


Christian Card

First USA and Crosswalk.com announced this morning that they will jointly market a co-branded ‘Platinum VISA’ credit card. Crosswalk.com, Inc. is the first mover serving the broad Christian community as a portal to the Internet. It has more than 600,000 members and pageviews exceeded more than 15 million for the month of September. Crosswalk says the First USA card will help its members to experience the Internet in an environment that respects their Christian principles.


ECHO Rescue

Electronic Clearing House announced Friday it has completed a $1 million post-petition secured financing arrangement with Tropical Beaches Inc. dba New Strategies, a bankcard processing merchant located in Phoenix, who filed for Chapter 11 protection in June. New Strategies has been a merchant with ECHO for over nine years and is the producer of the Don Lapre Making Money infomercial. Over the past five years, New Strategies’ sales revenues have averaged between $40 and $60 million a year. The primary products offered by New Strategies have been the Making Money Information package, various Internet-based services and 900 number sponsorship. New Strategies employs approximately 200 people with 120 serving in sales-related positions. As part of the consideration for the loan, ECHO also was granted a first right of refusal to purchase New Strategies.


AssetExchange.com Launched

AssetExchange.com has launched an Internet service designed for banks, financial institutions and their representatives who buy and sell credit card, mortgage and other loan portfolios.

By creating a network of portfolio buyers and sellers, and a web listing and notification service, AssetExchange.com aims to increase the ease and efficiency of buying and selling loan portfolios. To be included in this network, buyers and sellers simply registers at the site. Buyers can be notified automatically when listings are posted for sale that fit their criteria. Sellers get rapid, inexpensive and broad exposure to buyers.

AssetExchange.com allows secure, anonymous sharing of summary or detailed information which can be downloaded for analysis. Initial listings on the new network include credit card and mortgage receivables, with offerings expanding to auto and other loan portfolios in the coming months. AssetExchange.com earns a commission at the time a transaction occurs. The Internet is proving particularly well suited to creating such efficient information exchanges and marketplaces.

“Industry response has been tremendous – over 70 percent of the institutions we have contacted have registered with Asset Exchange on the spot,” says CEO William C. Koo, who co-founded the company earlier this year with partner Frank Selker. The entrepreneurs have extensive professional experience in the financial services industry and the marketing and development of software systems. Koo is former Vice President and Manager of Finance and Marketing at U.S. Bank, where he led credit card portfolios acquisitions and divestiture prior to founding Asset Exchange.


Eye for MP3

A pilot to test the use of ATM cards, with iris recognition technology, to purchase MP3 digital music, will get underway in the first quarter of 2000. Cash Technologies announced this morning they have reached agreements with MP3.com, Inc. and Sensar, Inc., to pilot the use of ATM cards to purchase music products at MP3’s website utilizing Sensar’s iris recognition devices and Cash Tech’s ‘EMMA’ transaction processing system. Participating MP3 customers will enroll for the pilot at an iris-enabled ATM supplied by Diebold. Thereafter, when the customer is ready to purchase products from MP3’s website, a small handheld camera manufactured by Sensar, which plugs into the customer’s PC, will take a picture of his or her iris and return the encoded information to MP3 over the Internet. MP3 in turn passes the information to Cash Tech’s ‘EMMA’ system to authenticate the customer and process the transaction through the ATM networks. An approval is returned by ‘EMMA’ to MP3 and the customer can then receive the requested MP3 product in the usual way. Eventually the inexpensive handheld cameras, which will also double as web cams or video conferencing cameras, are expected to be distributed by banks, e-commerce providers, online securities trading firms and even built into computer monitors. Remarkably, the EMMA/Sensar system requires no changes from the ATM networks or card issuers and will accept virtually all standard bank ATM cards.


FUSA & WWF Renew

First USA announced that the World Wildlife Fund has extended its partnership with First USA as the official issuer of the World Wildlife Fund Visa and MasterCard credit cards.

The program, started in 1995, offers no-fee, low-interest Platinum Visa and MasterCard credit cards to friends and members of the World Wildlife Fund. Revenue from the credit card program is used to support the preservation of endangered species of wildlife and plants, as well as natural habitats worldwide.

The World Wildlife Fund Platinum cards are available in three designs featuring a tiger, panda or a whale’s tail. Also available is The World Wildlife eco-card that is made of biodegradable plastic. Each card also features the organization’s world-renowned Panda logo.

First USA serves the needs of many of the nation’s largest and most prestigious cause-related associations including: The National Geographic Society, The National Arbor Day Foundation, The National Audubon Society, Special Olympics International, Paralyzed Veterans of American, and Save The Children.

First USA ([http://www.firstusa.com][1]), a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE), is one of the world’s largest credit card issuers. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 2,200 marketing partners. Bank One is the nation’s fourth-largest bank holding company with assets of more than $264 billion.

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



An alternative payment system for teen and kid shoppers got a big lift yesterday. San Francisco-based iCanBuy.com, an online money management site for teens and kids, announced this morning the launch of on-site payment in conjunction with Pacific Sunwear’s web site. This is the first time that a teen- and kid-specific payment system will be completely integrated into a retailer’s e-commerce site. Effective today, teens and kids can go straight to the Pacific Sunwear website, fill a shopping cart and then check out using their iCanBuy account. They simply click on iCanBuy when presented with payment options and enter their ID and password in a secure pop-up box. iCanBuy.com enables young people to shop at top Internet retailers, establish a payment option, build a ‘WishList’ of gift items, bank and donate online, all with a parental approval system. iCanBuy has over 40 retail, financial, charity and community partners including eToys; AlloyOnline; Outpost.com; Whutever.com by Fingerhut; and Security First Network Bank.


IC One Cards

Salt Lake City-based IC One, Inc. nailed down a $30 million marketing contract with exposition and education program administrator eExpo. Under terms of the deal IC One will supply eExpo with smart card loyalty technology for use in trade shows, conventions, and with hospitality companies. eExpo is in the business of development and implementation of cash and information processing, registration, communications and loyalty-card applications as well as remote educational courseware for the convention, tradeshow, and hospitality industries. eExpo distributes over 10 million cards annually through its tradeshow and hospitality services. eExpo indicated Thursday it expects to migrate to IC One-supplied smart cards in the next year in its initial ten-city rollout program. IC One projects the eExpo deal with increase distribution of IC One cards by at one million next year. IC One holds patent rights to the ‘IC Kids Card’ program and the ‘eExpo eduSmartCard’ program. The ‘IC Kids Card’ is in its second year of deployment in Utah.


SunTrust & MBNA Finalize

SunTrust Banks, Inc. Thursday announced the completion of the previously announced sale of its $1.5 billion SunTrust BankCard credit card portfolio to MBNA America Bank, N.A. Under the terms of the agreement, SunTrust will continue to offer personal credit card products that will carry the SunTrust brand through MBNA.

SunTrust Banks, Inc., the nation’s 9th largest commercial banking organization, provides a wide range of financial services to meet the needs of its growing customer base in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Its primary businesses include traditional deposit and credit services as well as trust and investment services.

MBNA Corporation (NYSE: KRB), a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank, N.A., a national bank, has $67.4 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposits, consumer loan and insurance products.


DataCard Cartes ’99

It was a busy day for DataCard at Cartes ’99 yesterday. MN-based Datacard introduced new, fully integrated ‘Multi-application Architecture for Personalization’ to simplify the transition to multi-application smart cards. Datacard’s ‘MAP’ has already been endorsed by MasterCard for issuance of MULTOS cards and by VISA for issuance of Open Platform cards, and also supports VISA Cash, CEPS, Proton, GeldKarte and a variety of GSM and PKI applications. Datacard also announced Thursday a new smart card module for the Datacard ‘9000 Series’ card issuance system. The new Datacard ‘Generation 2E’ smart card module offers advanced capabilities and productivity enhancements that will enable card issuers to accommodate emerging requirements, such as personalization of cards with more complex applications and larger data capacity, as well as multi-application smart cards. In addition to handling multi-application cards, the new smart card module accommodates larger personalization applications and it supports up to 2-megabyte cards. DataCard also announced this week a partnership with Racal Security & Payments to launch personalization preparation process solution for smart card pilot programs and ongoing programs with mid- to low-volume requirements. The ‘P3’ turnkey solution can be used for a variety of applications, but it’s designed primarily for personalization of credit, debit and e-purse cards.