VISA Sponsors Rugby Chat

Visa International, an official sponsor of the Rugby World Cup 1999 , has teamed up with Mizuno, an official supplier of the Rugby World Cup 1999 and with the leading rugby Internet site, Planet Rugby, to offer fans a unique opportunity to put their questions to some of the world’s top rugby players during the tournament.

“For RWC ’99 we wanted to work together with Mizuno and Planet Rugby to bring the game closer to the fans,” said Tom Shepard, senior vice president of Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorships, at Visa International. “The Internet chat sessions will give fans an opportunity to really get to know their favorite players, and interact with them on a more personal level.”

In a series of 30 minute long chat sessions, held over the course of RWC ’99, select members of Mizuno’s Player Advisory Committee, will be online live at [][1] to answer questions and offer insight to their preparation and progress through the tournament. Fans can either chat with the players live or send their questions to the players ahead of time and have them answered on the day of that player’s chat session.

The scheduled chat sessions at [][2] include:

October 11 — Allan Bateman, Wales

October 12 — Dion O’Cunneagain, Ireland

October 13 — Mark Andrews, South Africa

October 14 — Kenny Logan, Scotland

October 15 — Garin Jenkins, Wales

October 18 — Richard Cockerill, England

October 21 — Pieter Muller, South Africa

Starting time for the chat sessions will be listed on Planet Rugby.

In addition to the Rugby Chat Sessions, Visa has teamed with the Sunday Telegraph in London to create a special online overview of the tournament which can be viewed at [][3].




Philips Semiconductors Monday announced MIFARE PROX, the industry’s first family of powerful, high-security, dual-interface controller ICs designed for multi-application, contactless smart cards.

The devices build on Philips Semiconductors’ successful WE family of controller ICs and provides the highest level of security required for applications such as banking, e-commerce and secured network access. The convenience and speed of the contactless interface also benefits applications such as ticketing, electronic payment and identification.

“MIFARE PROX is ideally suited to high-level languages and operating systems, such as Java or Multos, and will become the target platform for contact and contactless multi-application cards,” said Alexander Harrer, product line manager Chip Card ICs at Philips Semiconductors. “This product family enables service providers to offer user-friendly electronic payment programs, and supports recently defined banking industry standards, including EMV (the Europay, Mastercard and Visa standard for credit and debit) and CEPS (Common Electronic Purse Standard).”


MIFARE PROX dual interface ICs enable the extended level of security and functionality required for multi-application contactless cards that was previously only possible in contact applications. Philips Semiconductors’ unique smart card hardware firewall, which includes an on-chip memory management unit (MMU), securely separates different applications from one another, allowing a particular application to run in ‘virtual memory space’, with no access to other memory on the chip and, therefore, no access to other applications.

The MIFARE PROX dual-interface IC family is based on the proven high-security features of Philips Semiconductors’ WE products. The devices feature a triple Data Encryption Standard (DES) coprocessor and an optional 32-bit FameX crypto-engine, the most accepted accelerator for public key encryption such as RSA or elliptic curves. Additional features include a contact and a contactless MIFARE interface on a single chip, as well as a unique smart card hardware firewall. The P8RF5016, the first member of the MIFARE PROX family, also features 64 Kbytes user ROM, 2.3 Kbytes RAM and 16 Kbytes EEPROM.

The contactless interface of the MIFARE PROX is fully compatible with the widely used MIFARE interface technology, complying with the international standards for both contact and contactless smart cards. MIFARE interface technology, used in 85% of all contactless smart card programs, is the industry standard for contactless smart cards, with more than 45 million chip card ICs in use and over 450,000 read/write units in operation worldwide.

Pricing and Availability

Samples of the family’s first derivative, P8RF5016, are currently available in a 0.35 micron process technology, with volume production scheduled for the second quarter of 2000. The devices are available in quantities of $100,000 for $4.70. Significant reductions in price can be expected in the million-range and higher volumes.

About Philips Semiconductors

Philips Semiconductors, a subsidiary of Philips Electronics North America Corporation and an affiliate of Royal Philips Electronics, headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, is the eighth largest semiconductor supplier based on Dataquest’s 1998 report.(1) Philips Semiconductors’ innovations in digital audio, video, and mobile technology position the company as a leader in the consumer, multimedia and wireless communications markets. Sales offices are located in all major markets around the world and are supported by systems labs. Additional information on Philips Semiconductors can be found on the home page at [][1].



Global One Singapore

Global One, the international joint venture of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Sprint, Monday reached an agreement with Singapore Telecom (SingTel) to offer Global ATM solutions in Singapore. This agreement distinguishes Global One as the first international carrier to provide end-to-end ATM services to the fast-growing Singapore market.

“We are delighted with this opportunity to team up with SingTel in offering multinational business customers flexibility and cost-savings through providing Global ATM solutions on an end-to-end basis,” said Johnny Murray, Global One Managing Director for ASEAN. “With the increase of MNCs establishing regional hubs in Singapore, this collaborative effort between Global One and SingTel will provide seamless, end-to-end business communications solutions to meet their requirements.”

“Global service providers choose SingTel because of our advanced, reliable and proven network and support services. For many, Singapore is also their hub within Asia to serve customers in the region,” said Lim Shyong, SingTel’s Executive Vice President of Global Business. “The business arrangement with Global One allows us to offer and support a full range of seamless global services which our customers can choose from and tailor to meet their telecommunications needs.”

The Global One ATM backbone network is currently the world’s most far-reaching ATM-based network, deployed in more than 800 cities in over 40 countries. Monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, leading-edge network automation systems provide around-the-clock automated fault protection. The network carries out automated pro-active monitoring, automated testing and diagnosis, and automated corrective actions. These features are backed up by the support organizations of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Sprint, and Global One, respectively. Their seamless backoffice capability includes order entry, provisioning, billing and 24-by-7 customer support.

Global ATM has the capacity to operate at extremely high switching speeds of up to 155 Mbps rates. Lower speeds, starting from T-1 (1.544 Mbps) can be tailored to specific customer needs. It delivers high-speed bandwidth on demand and virtual networking. Two Global ATM categories of service provide efficient, cost-effective support of both time-sensitive and time-insensitive applications over the same network. The CBR (Constant Bit Rate) category of service supports applications such as voice and private line applications, which require tight timing and fixed bandwidth, while the VBR-nrt (Variable Bit Rate — non-real time) category of service supports “bursty” applications, such as LAN interconnections. Global One provides customized service level agreements (SLAs) to customers of Global ATM, including clear commitments to service availability, repair times, transit delays, cell loss ratio, and cell delay variation.

Global One offers a single source for the provision of seamless voice, data and IP services for businesses, carriers and consumers around the world. Set up as a worldwide joint venture of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and Sprint, Global One is a fully integrated company in its own right, with over 1,400 network access centers in more than 65 countries. Global One offers the world’s most far-reaching ATM-based network and in 1998 had revenues of more than US$ 1.1 billion.


Fitch on MPR

Taken with the most recent of government releases, Fitch IBCA’s monthly Credit Card indexes paint a somewhat paradoxical picture of consumer behavior that shows credit card debt being repaid at record rates as spending and borrowing patterns soar. Viewed with the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit statistics, Fitch IBCA’s index results may yield some valuable clues to understanding consumers’ overall financial positions as detailed in the latest edition of `Credit Card Movers and Shakers’.

Fitch IBCA’s index results for August’s collection period show chargeoffs, serious delinquencies, and excess spread on securitized pools improving broadly and personal bankruptcy filings declining sharply versus year earlier levels. In addition, monthly payment rates arose to their highest level in eight-plus years.

Consumers are piling debt at several levels to purchase everything from computers to automobiles to everyday household items for their new homes. So much so, that year- to-year growth in total consumer credit–revolving (cards) and non-revolving (autos)–is now over 7% and accelerating.

`While troubling at first glance, it appears less so after noting that Fed statistics for revolving credit do not net out monthly payments made on credit card balances. Rather, they track only the gross purchases made on credit cards for a given month,’ said Michael Dean, senior director of the credit card group. `Therefore, to the extent charge volume rises, so too will the revolving component of consumer credit. Which is why MPRs take on added importance when judging overall consumer leverage.’

While this is not new information, Fitch IBCA believes the current level of MPRs may be sustainable given shifts in underlying card usage behavior. Those shifts include a portion of traditional retail cash purchases being replaced by credit purchases on the internet, as well as the ongoing widespread use of rewards cards, and consumers’ rising personal incomes. Previous explanations focused mainly on cash out mortgage refinancings and home equity loans as sources of the higher payment rates. Those sources, however, have dried up considerably over the past six months due to higher interest rates with no impact to the rising payment rate environment.

If the higher MPR trend does prove sustainable, it spells a clear positive for credit card ABS bondholders. Higher payment rates return principal faster in a deteriorating credit environment, meaning bondholders will be subject to rising portfolio losses for a shorter period.

For a copy of `Credit Card, Movers and Shakers’ please visit Fitch IBCA’s website at [][1] or call market services at 1-212-908-0500.



IFS Buys Into ITN

IFS International, Inc. Monday announced that it has acquired a 42% stake in Electronic Transactions Network Ltd., a major processing center in Bangladesh. ETN has also licensed IFS International’s TPII software to manage its ATMs and POS devices and to act as a switch. IFS International has taken a 42% share in ETN and has two seats on the ETN Board.

ETN was formed to provide ATM and POS support to the Bangladesh financial community and has the full support of the country’s authorities. ETN will process transactions for its member banks, which currently include the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank and will also provide bill paying services via ATMs for the Bangladesh Telephone Company and other utilities.

Paul Constable, Regional Director, IFS International, Asia Pacific commented, “IFS is pleased to be associated with ETN, our second new customer in the recent months in the Indian sub-continent. Bangladesh is an emerging market with over 120 million people and there is tremendous potential for the use of Electronic Funds Transfer, a technology in which IFS is a market leader.”

Mr. Salahuddin Imam, Managing Director of ETN stated, “ETN has formed the alliance with IFS because of their superior, state-of-the-art technology, excellent service reputation and willingness to take a major stake in the enterprise. Through the use of IFS’ products and their unrivaled knowledge of the payment card industry we expect to very quickly become the predominant payment card processing center in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh has a population of 120 million people and as the banking structure in the country has progressed many major international banks have located in the country and started to offer electronic banking services. Local banks, addressing different portions of the population, have also experienced growth in the past couple of years. ETN is taking advantage of this requirement for shared electronic banking and is positioned to continue to address the expected growth in this market sector.

About IFS International, Inc.

IFS International, Inc. and Network Controls International, Inc. are divisions of IFS International, Inc. which has headquarters in the USA and subsidiary offices in the USA, UK, Singapore, Australia and Germany.

IFS International, Inc. develops, markets, and supports software products for the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) market. IFS International’s TPII and TP-CMS suite of software products provide support for ATM, POS, network switches, smart-card, card management, bank teller platform, home banking and call-center solutions. NCI, Inc. provides complementary products, such as NCI Business Center, an enterprise-wide retail bank branch solution designed to deliver traditional and Internet/Intranet based transactions.


Oberthur Card Systems

Oberthur Smart Cards, the card division of Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire, announced Thursday that it finalized the acquisition of De La Rue Card Systems, the card division of the De La Rue group.

This acquisition results in the creation of a new company called Oberthur Card Systems.

Following the approval of the American authorities, the agreement between the Francois-Charles Oberthur and De La Rue groups by which Oberthur Smart Cards was to acquire De La Rue Card Systems became final on Oct. 1, 1999.

The result of this acquisition is the creation of Oberthur Card Systems, one of the world’s smart card leaders with estimated revenues of approximately 2.8 billion French Francs (U.S. $466 million) and 3,000 employees worldwide.

“We are extremely pleased with this acquisition,” explained Thomas Savare, general manager of Oberthur Smart Cards. “Oberthur Card Systems, the new entity we just created will benefit from De La Rue Card Systems’ know-how and will be among the top three players in the market. Our goal is to eventually become number 1 in the smart card market.”

About Oberthur Smart Cards

Oberthur Smart Cards, a leading manufacturer, technology and solutions provider of microprocessor cards and systems, is the card division of Groupe Francois-Charles Oberthur, one of the world’s leading high security printers. Oberthur manufactures and personalizes smart cards and magnetic stripe cards in three production centers in the United States and Europe.

Oberthur Smart Cards produced over 225 million cards worldwide in 1998, including 30 million microprocessor cards and 45 million memory cards. Founded in 1987, Oberthur Smart Cards has become the world leader in microprocessor transaction cards and is also present in other market segments such as telecommunications, GSM, Internet, e-commerce, government, healthcare, pay-TV and transit.

About De La Rue Card Systems

De La Rue Card Systems, whose 1998 turnover was 139.1 million pounds, is a major supplier of VISA and MasterCard products world-wide and a world leader in the development and delivery of electronic and mobile commerce solutions. De La Rue is also a major supplier of Pay-TV smart cards. As a leading provider of smart card solutions to customers in banking, telecoms, loyalty, transport, and Pay-TV, De La Rue Card Systems is committed to open standards and supports Microsoft Windows Card, the Visa Open Platform, Java Card and MULTOS.


Chase Lands BlueGill

MI-based BlueGill Technologies has been selected by Chase Manhattan to provide the technology engine for Chase’s electronic bill presentment services for its corporate customers. Chase’s credit cards are currently using the service with Chase employees and will offer it to Chase credit card customers next year. BlueGill ‘i-Banker’ software allows billers direct access to their customer base, with the ability to remotely manage individual accounts and target personalized messages within the context of branded bills and statements. BlueGill’s flagship product, the ‘i-Series’, provides industry-specific applications that enable companies to transform paper bills and statements into highly interactive customer communications while establishing an extensible Web-based platform for e-commerce, interactive marketing and integrated customer care.


MBNA Machine

The MBNA machine continues to crank out cold, hard, cash. During the third quarter the nation’s third largest bank credit card issuer entered into 100 new affinity programs and added 3.1 million new accounts. MBNA reported yesterday that net income for the third quarter of 1999 rose 25.9% compared to 3Q/98. Total managed loans grew $2.8 billion during the third quarter to end up at $67.4 billion. MBNA has approx. $2.0 billion in non-card loans and about $5.0 billion in international card receivables, according to CardData ( Delinquency on total managed loans was 4.67% at Sept. 30, 1999 compared to 4.69% for 3Q/98. Managed charge-offs for the third quarter logged in at 4.34% compared to 4.42% last year. MBNA says 3Q/99 charge volume, which includes purchases and cash advances, tallied up to $27,745,666 compared to $21,953,559 for 3Q/98. The firm’s net interest margin stood at 7.33% for 3Q/99 from 7.55% for 3Q/98. For complete current and historical financials for MBNA visit CardData ([][1]).

First Quarter 1998 110 1.7 million $149.4 million
Second Quarter 1998 111 2.5 million $172.0 million
Third Quarter 1998 121 2.4 million $216.6 million
Fourth Quarter 1998 133 2.7 million $238.3 million
First Quarter 1999 81 1.7 million* $186.0 million
Second Quarter 1999 99 1.4 million $227.2 million
Third Quarter 1999 100 3.1 million $291.5 million

*excludes 3.3 million accounts from PNC portfolio acquisition and
200,000 accounts from First Virginia portfolio acquisition.
Source: CardData ( 301-631-9100



Instant Merchant Accounts

OH-based Electronic Merchant Systems has come up with a program to provide online instant merchant account approval and activation. The ‘EMS I-Affiliate Program’ for ISP’s, portals, and Internet companies provides the ability to offer their customers an instant online merchant account with immediate activation to securely process credit cards on their respective websites within minutes. ‘I-Affiliates’ can direct merchants to a secure online application linked to their site. The application instantly approves and activates the merchant account. EMS encryption codes directly integrate into the merchant’s site allowing the merchant to process credit card transactions in real-time. EMS currently processes credit card transactions on behalf of 20,000 merchants.



Microsoft announced Thursday the expansion of ‘Windows for Smart Cards’ to include support for the ‘Global Systems for Mobile Communications’. MS says GSM carriers will not only be able to choose from multiple smart card vendors for their solutions but they will also be able to leverage the extensive developer community for Windows. Microsoft ‘Windows for Smart Cards’ is an 8-bit, multiapplication operating system for smart cards. The Microsoft ‘Windows Smart Card Toolkit’ is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter, and support for GSM is expected to be available in an ‘Option Pack’ early next year.


NextCard Banner Ads

The following Internet audience and advertising information is from Nielsen//NetRatings, the Internet measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc. The information includes: Top 25 Web Properties, Top 10 Internet Advertisers, Top 10 Ad Banners and Average Internet Usage statistics for the week ending October 3, 1999.

Noteworthy this week:

— Visitors to AOL Websites (NYSE:AOL) increased 10.8% to 20.2
million as compared to last week’s 18.2 million unique audience
members. Surfers to the Lycos Network (NASDAQ:LCOS) increased
3.7% to 9.0 million from last week’s 8.7 million unique visitors.

— No. 1 clicked-on ad banner with a 12.8% click rate was Qwest’s ad
featuring its phone rates. Qwest (NASDAQ:QWST) is an Internet
communications company.

— The top site this week for females was Of
those Web surfers visiting the site, 85.7% of them were female.
Last week’s top female site was For the second
week in a row, the top site for males was, an online
community. Men accounted for 90.8% of those visiting the site.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top 25 Web Sites by Property
September 27-October 3, 1999
Ranking of the Most Visited Web Properties

Property (Ticker Symbol) Unique Audience (000) Time Per Person
1. AOL Websites (NYSE:AOL) 20,159 0:10:44
2. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) 17,875 0:26:31
3. MSN (NASDAQ:MSFT) 11,573 0:19:15
4. Lycos Network (NASDAQ:LCOS) 9,022 0:07:52
5. GO Network (NASDAQ:SEEK) 6,677 0:14:29
6. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) 5,201 0:06:49
7. Excite@Home (NASDAQ:ATHM) 4,881 0:15:24
8. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) 3,861 0:09:11
9. AltaVista (NASDAQ:CMGI) 3,481 0:05:45
10. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) 3,345 0:53:42
11. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) 2,921 0:08:08
12. Blue Mt. Arts 2,600 0:10:37
13. CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) 2,124 0:06:40
14. Snap 2,119 0:08:11
15. LookSmart (NASDAQ:LOOK) 2,065 0:03:49
16. Go2net Network (NASDAQ:GNET) 2,029 0:07:44
17. ZDNet (NYSE:ZD) 1,856 0:09:36
18. Xoom (NASDAQ:XMCM) 1,814 0:05:55
19. Real Networks (NASDAQ:RNWK) 1,750 0:03:53
20. AT&T (NYSE:T) 1,582 0:09:24
21. (NASDAQ:BOUT) 1,543 0:05:09
22. CBS Sportsline (NASDAQ:SPLN) 1,450 0:12:13
23. CNN (NYSE:TWX) 1,417 0:12:40
24. (NASDAQ:GOTO) 1,409 0:02:29
25. InfoSpace (NASDAQ:INSP) 1,330 0:05:09

Example: The data indicate that approximately 1.3 million home
Internet users visited at least one of the InfoSpace-owned sites
during the week, and each person spent, on average, a total of five
minutes and nine seconds at one or more of their sites.
Notes: Rankings are based on audience measurement of people who
have access to the Internet from home. A property is defined as a
consolidation of multiple domains and URLs owned by a single entity.
Reach is a measure of the unduplicated audience that visits a
property. The data are expressed as the percent of the total universe
of Internet users who logged onto the Internet at least once during
the reporting period.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top Ten Advertisers
September 27-October 3, 1999

Top advertisers, ranked by banner impressions, are based on data
from BannerTrack(SM), Nielsen//NetRatings’ syndicated advertising
research report. An impression is counted each time an ad banner is
fully loaded onto a user’s screen.

Advertiser(a) Impressions (000) Reach %
1. TRUSTe 204,646 14.2
2. Yahoo! 73,438 22.8
3. Microsoft 68,763 25.0
4. Amazon 40,750 21.3
5. Netscape (NYSE: AOL) 36,371 15.1
6. America Online 31,159 15.8
7. Discover Brokerage 28,802 5.0
8. Next Card (NASDAQ: NXCD) 28,785 12.7
9. E*TRADE (NASDAQ: EGRP) 22,683 3.5
10. TD Waterhouse (NYSE: TWE) 22,580 3.2

(a) Impressions reported include house ads, which are ads that
run on an advertiser’s own web property.
Example: An estimated 22.6 million TD Waterhouse ad banners were
completely loaded on users’ computers during the surfing week. These
banners were delivered to 3.2% or 1.4 million home Internet users.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Top Ten Ad Banners Viewed
September 27-October 3, 1999

Top Banners, ranked according to reach percent, are cited from
BannerTrack(SM), Nielsen//NetRatings’ syndicated ad research service.

Advertiser(a) Reach % Creative
1. Autoweb (NASDAQ: AWEB) 4.3 GET A PRICE
2. Autoweb 4.1 BUY IT; SELL IT
3. TreeLoot 4.0 Punch The Monkey and Win $20!
4. Bonzi Software 3.9 Speed Up Internet Connection
5. eBay/First USA 3.7 eBay Visa; Apply now!
6. Sprint (NYSE: FON) 3.3 The point of contact. Sprint.
7. PageNet (NASDAQ: PAGE) 3.3 PageNet.
8. Capital One (NYSE: COF) 3.0 Visa Platinum; Credit Limit,
Fixed APR, Apply Online, Submit
9. Launch (NASDAQ: LAUN) 2.9 Play Now. Watch Britney Spears
10. Acceleration Software 2.9 Find the ball and win a free
Internet Telephone AND a web

(a) Ad banners that run predominantly on an advertiser’s own
property or house ads are not included in the above.

Nielsen//NetRatings: Average Internet Usage
September 27-October 3, 1999

Data below represent activity for the average Internet user
during the designated weekly period.

Current Week Last Week % Change
Number of Sessions per Week 6 6 0.0
Number of Unique Sites Visited 6 6 0.0
Page Views per Week 175 177 -1.1
Page Views per Surfing Session 31 31 0.0
Time Spent per Week 2: 46: 15 2: 44: 47 +0.9
Time Spent per Surfing Session 0: 29: 14 0: 28: 59 +0.9
Duration of a Page Viewed 0: 00: 57 0: 00: 56 +0.9
Average Click Rate for Top Banners 0.40 0.49 -18.4
Active Internet Universe 44.7 million 43.8 million +1.9
(actually surfed)
Current Internet Universe
Estimate (had access, but did not
necessarily go online) 111.1 million 110.7 million +0.3

Nielsen//NetRatings, the joint audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc., collects data from more than 33,000 panelists as they surf the Web at home. The Nielsen//NetRatings panel is the largest media research sample of at-home Internet users currently being measured in real time. Nielsen//NetRatings uses unique technology capable of measuring both Internet use and advertising to provide the most timely, accurate and comprehensive Internet usage data and advertising information in the industry. For more information, please visit [][1].



Woo Joins Metris

Metris Companies Inc., one of the fastest-growing direct marketing companies in the nation, has announced the addition of another seasoned finance executive.

Benson Woo has joined Metris as senior vice president-finance, responsible for operations finance and treasury, reporting to David Wesselink, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“Having Benson on board gives Metris another seasoned financial veteran with a record of action and results,” said Metris President and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “He provides further bench strength on an already solid management team.”

Woo most recently served as vice president and CFO at York International. He began his career at General Motors, where he spent 15 years in various financial positions, including finance director during the launch of the GM MasterCard. He also was vice president and treasurer at Case Corporation.

Woo earned a B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Metris also has operations in Phoenix, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; Baltimore, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs more than 3,000 people.