Gemplus and the largest telecommunications provider in Venezuela, CANTV, have expanded the applications of the CANTV prepaid payphone smart card. Customers can now use their CANTV prepaid payphone cards to not only make phone calls, but also to purchase beverages at vending machines throughout the country. The new application is made possible due to the ‘Universal Security Access Module’, which was added to the second-generation smart card technology utilized to generate the prepaid phone cards. The project was initiated in Venezuela, where 26 machines have already been equipped with the technology. CANTV expects that an additional 200 machines will be installed by the end of year, with forecasts of more than 2000 installations during 2000. Gemplus also worked with Debitek, a systems integrator, and Dixie Narco, a vending machine provider, to bring the smart card technology to CANTV.


MS-Based E-Procurement

Clarus Corp. and Data Return Corp. have teamed up to provide the ‘Clarus eProcurement’ solution on a hosted, subscription basis to companies using the ‘Microsoft Windows 2000’ platform. Data Return, itself a ‘Clarus eProcurement’ customer, will leverage its expertise in exclusively serving Microsoft customers to speed the widespread delivery of this Web buying application to new users. Clarus and Data Return will offer the ‘eProcurement’ application through a zero capital model. This means companies pay nothing up front for the service. Instead they pay a monthly subscription fee covering all hardware, software, maintenance and support costs.


Fair, Isaac Promotion

Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc., announces the promotion of Stephen Diercks to vice president/Eastern Region Sales for the company’s Financial Services group.

Diercks joined the company in 1996, most recently working as strategic alliance manager. Prior to joining Fair, Isaac, Diercks was vice president of sales for Trans Union/Dateq. Preceding that position, he worked for TRW Information Services as a regional sales director in the Credit Services division. Prior to that, Diercks was president of Premis Corporation, a software company, as well as director of sales and marketing for both PrimeNet Data Systems and Scientific Computers. He also held several managerial positions at Control Data Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota.

Fair, Isaac helps companies make faster, more profitable decisions about marketing, customers, operations and portfolios. Widely recognized for its pioneering work in predictive technology, the company provides advanced decision-making solutions to the financial services, eBusiness, telecommunications and healthcare industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs 1600 people in 18 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, the company reported net income of $24.3 million on revenues of $245.5 million. For more information visit [][1].



eVISA Thinks

Despite losing its leader last month, VISA’s new Internet unit, eVISA, is looking to develop a comprehensive strategy and program designed to make VISA the currency of choice for the Internet economy. Yesterday eVISA selected AnswerThink Consulting Group,Inc. and THINK New Ideas to assist with formation of its strategy. The two companies, both Nasdaq traded, are currently serving eVISA as a team in anticipation of their forthcoming merger. ‘Phase I’ of the eVISA initiative is to focus on key financial institutions and merchants, helping them streamline decision-making, and enhancing their ability to provide the high level of security and service necessary to take e-commerce to the next level.


US Bancorp 3Q/99

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp reported Thursday that average credit card loans for the third quarter remained flat at $4.0 billion. Compared to 3Q/98, the issuer’s outstandings actually dropped 1.6%. However fee income edged up 3.3% over the past twelve months, from $156.1 million for 3Q/98 to $161.3 million for 3Q/99. Meanwhile chargeoffs have continued to drop over the past year. For 3Q/99 U.S. Bancorp credit card chargeoffs came in at 3.50% compared to 4.69% for the previous quarter and 4.26% one year ago. For complete 3Q/99 financials for U.S. Bancorp visit CardData ([][1]).



Cap One 3Q/99

Capital One reported yesterday it added 1.6 million net new accounts during the third quarter, bringing total accounts to 20.8 million. Managed consumer loan balances increased by $657 million to $18.5 billion. Marketing investment decreased slightly in the third quarter to $175 million versus $178 million in the second quarter of 1999, and $126 million in the comparable period of the prior year. The managed delinquency rate (30+ days) increased to 5.06% as of Sept. 30, compared with 4.72% as of June 30. The managed net charge-off rate increased to 3.88% for the third quarter of 1999 compared with 3.73% in the second quarter of 1999. For complete 3Q/99 financials for Cap One visit CardData (


Aria on LookSmart

Providian Financial announced yesterday that it has signed a one-year marketing agreement with LookSmart Ltd.. The agreement establishes the Internet directory and search engine as a primary online advertising channel for Providian’s leading Internet credit card, Aria VISA.

“Providian has partnered with LookSmart based on their proven track record and impressive Internet position,” said Greg Pacheco, Providian Senior Vice President and Aria business manager. “In earlier tests, the site has consistently generated a high volume of customers for us, and we are confident that LookSmart’s continued growth as a leading Web directory and search engine will be a great source of new customers for Aria.”

LookSmart is among the top 15 most-used Web properties, according to an August 1999 report by Media Metrix. It has 10 million unique users each month, making it an ideal site for advertising the Aria VISA, a unique credit card with broad customer appeal.

“We are very pleased to be working with a quality company like Providian,” said Brian J. Cowley, LookSmart’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales. “Considering the potential Aria has to meet the credit card needs of the broad consumer market visiting our site, this agreement represents a winning situation on three levels-for LookSmart, Providian and, most importantly, each of our customers.”

Providian launched Aria VISA ([][1]) in May of this year, complete with one of the lowest introductory APRs on the Web, an instant approval process that can take less than 20 seconds, online balance transfers and customer service, and one of the Internet’s most comprehensive rewards programs. Based on a customer’s profile, Aria determines which of its product offers will best satisfy a customer and delivers it with individualized terms.

About Providian Financial

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([][2]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers nationwide and now offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, home equity loans, secured cards and membership services. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help its customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the nation, Providian has $18 billion in assets under management and over 10 million customers.

About LookSmart

LookSmart, a leading Web directory and search service, creates and maintains one of the largest editorially reviewed directories of content on the World Wide Web. LookSmart’s directory is distributed through multiple channels, including a global network of ISPs, major Web sites, portals and viral marketing. Through its partnership with Cox Interactive Media, LookSmart also offers one of the largest collections of quality local Web content in more than 70 U.S. markets.



Natl Geo MC

The National Geographic Society and First USA have entered into an affinity card agreement. The National Geographic/First USA MasterCard will be launched in January. Natl Geo says all net revenues it receives from affinity card program will be used for its core mission programs which include: conservation, exploration, research and education. Bank One, the parent company of First USA, was the exclusive corporate sponsor in 1999 of the National Geographic Bee, the Society’s nationwide geographic competition in which more than 5 million school students participate each year. National Geographic magazine, the official journal of the Society, is sent to nearly 10 million members each month.


SunTrust Card Sale

Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks announced this morning the sale of its $1.5 billion bank credit card portfolio to MBNA. Under the agreement, MBNA will purchase the outstandings and will provide servicing for over 1.4 million accounts. The sale includes personal credit card outstanding balances from both SunTrust and Crestar Financial. Crestar was acquired by SunTrust last year. SunTrust estimates a pretax gain of approximately $300 million in the fourth quarter based on the expected outstandings as of Oct. 31. The business, corporate and purchasing card portfolios were not part of the sale and will continue to be maintained by SunTrust as will the merchant services line of business. SunTrust has also entered into an agent relationship with MBNA for personal credit card products.


Receivables: $1,040,531,000 Quarterly Volume: $575,618,449
Accounts: 1,010,413 Actives: 556,354 Cards: 1,424,682

Source: CardData’s 3Q/99 Portfolio Survey


Hypercom – Eurobank Deal

Eurobank confirmed it has contracted with Hypercom for 2,000 Hypercom ‘T7P’ card payment terminals. to Eurobank. This week’s agreement increases the total number of Hypercom card payment systems ordered by the Greek bank, during the last two years, to 6,000. Under terms of this week’s agreement Eurobank named Hypercom its electronic payments vendor-of-choice. Hypercom’s Greek partner is Sofianos Hellas.


Gelco ExpenseLink

Gelco Information Network, the leading travel expense management company in North America, has helped its customers manage more than $2.5 billion in travel and expense transactions year-to-date through its ExpenseLink(R) expense reporting technologies.

“Gelco is often compared to travel and expense management companies that merely provide software, with no additional value-added benefits,” said Chuck Buckner, senior vice president and general manager of Gelco’s Expense Network. “The comparison is inaccurate. Software companies that don’t offer a full end-to-end solution can only measure their success on the amount of seats or software licenses sold. And since their clients implement and manage the technology themselves, the software providers can’t accurately determine if their clients are actually using the T&E product with any benefit. Gelco is completely different.”

“As a full-service Business Service Provider (BSP), we provide end-to-end solutions. We host the application; provide installation, deployment and support; implement upgrades without interfering with client business; and manage the processing with no additional IT infrastructure and internal MIS support. That means we can easily track the number of transactions that are being processed and exactly how our clients are benefiting from using our technology and services,” said Buckner.

Buckner added, “Without a doubt, Gelco deploys expense management technologies and processes transactions more quickly and efficiently than any other alternative. The users also receive prompt automatic reimbursements via direct payment to bank accounts within three banking days, and corporate cards are paid according to the company’s payment schedule. The implication of this is that our clients achieve significant cost savings.”

About ExpenseLink(R)

ExpenseLink is the only technology of its kind that offers automated expense report generation, approval and reimbursement, and an unparalleled enterprise data warehousing/datamining tool, while accommodating all platforms and levels of technology.

Through Gelco’s ExpenseLink/Web(R), a leading Internet application that provides enterprise clients with an end-to-end operational solution, users enter travel expenses online or offline and submit reports via a web browser or the Internet. Likewise, with Gelco’s ExpenseLink/PC(R) Windows-based expense reporting software, users enter business expenses offline, via a personal computer. ExpenseLink/TD(R), formerly Traveletter Direct(R), is Gelco’s phone-based expense reporting system. Through this technology, users dial a toll-free number; identify themselves; and enter the time period, expense report number and dollar amounts.

About Gelco Expense Network

The Gelco Expense Network is a resource that makes managing travel expenses easier. More than 1,500 corporations rely on Gelco’s multiple solutions — including Internet, PC, telephone and paper — to reduce the time and money associated with managing such expenses.

About Gelco Information Network

Through its Expense, Promotion, Government and International Networks, Minneapolis-based Gelco Information Network is the premier solution provider for managing corporate expenses of all types, and is recognized for making hard business expense processes easier. Across its four networks the company serves more than 2,000 U.S. and multinational companies, including hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies and more than 115 government agencies. Gelco maintains a 97 percent customer retention rate. For more information on Gelco, visit the company’s web site at .


Y2K Cash Horde

In spite of the fact that the number of adult Americans who are concerned that the Y2K bug will financially bite them has shrunk in the past six months, the number who plan to keep extra cash on-hand as a precaution is not declining. According to a just updated national consumer study from Brittain Associates, just over 31 million U.S. households are planning to stockpile some extra cash as a Y2K transition precaution. The same projection emerged from an initial study conducted by the firm last March. The new study also indicates that these households are not planning a mere “long weekend” cash buffer but rather an amount necessary to see them through several weeks if necessary.

“The good news is that consumers are hearing the financial community’s message about Y2K readiness, which is reducing the publics’ stated level of concern,” says Bruce Brittain, president of the Atlanta-based research firm. “Being ever-practical Americans, however, the number who plan to guard against any ATM system shut-downs and bank cash shortages remains at nearly one-third of all households.”

The updated study conducted September 8 – 12 revisited the financial concern issues first addressed by the research firm in March of this year. Each study involved over 1,000 telephone interviews with U.S. adults (18+).

Over one quarter of all checking account owners in the U.S. believe that there will be some Y2K related ATM problems. This level of concern is consistent with of the number of households who plan to stockpile extra cash, says Brittain.

Additionally, addressed investor concerns regarding Y2K related market declines and portfolio bookkeeping errors. Also investigated were the perceptions of possible credit card problems and issuer preparedness.

“About 30% of credit card owners foresee Y2K related card use problems,” says Brittain. “Together with those who fear ATM outages, it’s not surprising that these consumers want to have extra cash available.”

More descriptive details of the study and current study results can be accessed at the firm’s website: [][1].