MasterCard International teamed up with a number of leading business-to-business providers to launch ‘MasterCard Small Business Connections’, a new Web initiative for small business cardholders. Initial partners include: ZDNet, Office Depot, MSN, Register.com and DigitalWork. The new online MasterCard service provides access to financial resources, news and information, buying opportunities and technology solutions for small businesses. ZDNet will provide the ‘Small Business Guide’, technology solutions, news and online forums. Office Depot will offer supplies and business resources. MSN will serve up news, tools and features. Register.com will offer domain name registration, services and information. DigitalWork will deliver Web-based help with common business tasks, from press releases to travel reservations. In addition, the ‘MasterCard Small Business Connections’ initiative will be linked by a regular email newsletter, ongoing surveys and polls and connections to important information and resources relevant to each individual member. MasterCard says it currently has six million business card accounts from firms scattered over 70 countries.Details
Bull announced yesterday that Steve Bagby has been named vice president, marketing and planning, for Bull Americas. In this newly-created position, Bagby is responsible for the strategic direction and marketing focus of Bull Americas, working closely with parent Groupe Bull and the company’s worldwide divisional marketing operations. Bagby reports to George McNeil, president and CEO of Bull Americas.
Bagby will focus on key activities to ensure that marketing, sales tools and processes adopted by the Groupe are fully implemented in the Americas, including strategic account planning and “must win” bids. He will have management responsibility for Bull America’s unique sales and marketing tools and processes, including coordination with Groupe on international accounts.
In addition, Bagby will take the lead role in any future merger and acquisition activities as they relate to Bull Americas, working with the appropriate entities in Bull Americas and at Groupe. He also will direct the evolution of Bull’s Smart Card & Terminals business in both North and South America.
Bagby has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry. Most recently, he was president & CEO of Salomon North America (a division of Adidas-Salomon), where he was successful in reversing a three-year decline in sales and achieving a 36 percent growth in sales. From 1989-1995, he worked for Bull as a vice president for strategy, marketing and business development, as vice president of the company’s UNIX product line, and in several other key management positions.
Bagby has a master’s degree in mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, chemistry, and physics from the University of California.
Bull is an international IT group with operations in nearly 100 countries, and combined revenues of $4.3 billion in 1998. Bull offers a wide range of systems, infrastructure software and IT services, through focused innovation, alliances with the best partners and its own integration expertise.
In its industry, besides GCOS mainframes, Bull is recognized for innovative products: the Escala family of UNIX servers, the NT EXPRESS5800 range, smart cards and software such as OpenMaster and AccessMaster for secure management of systems and networks. Bull’s North/South American operations are headquartered in Billerica, Mass. The company’s web addresses are [http://www.bull.com] and for the United States, [www.us.bull.com].
OpenMaster and AccessMaster are registered trademarks of Bull S.A. in the U.S. and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited.
San Francisco’s hotly debated ATM fee initiative, slated for the November ballot, has been taken online by Acme Software, Inc. Yesterday Acme launched a new web site: FAQvoter.com. Taking its name from the “Frequently Asked Question” lists which are popular on the Internet, FAQvoter.com is the first voter-driven news source on the Web. The company says the new web site gives San Francisco voters the opportunity to ask questions directly of the ATM fee initiative sponsors and opponents. At the same time, the site offers participating campaigns a more immediate understanding of what online voters want to know. Both the “pro” and “con” sides of the city’s ATM fee initiative are answering voter questions at FAQvoter.com. The initiative seeks to ban the $1.50 surcharge on non-account holders at San Francisco ATMs.Details
Extensity, Inc., a leading provider of Internet applications for the e-business employee, announced Monday the appointment of Brian Mort as vice president and general manager of European operations. Extensity also announced new partnerships with Web-based currency service provider OANDA, and leading value added tax reclamation companies, Meridian VAT Reclaim Inc., EuroVAT and Corporate VAT Management, to help corporations simplify international expense reporting.
Today’s news is part of Extensity’s expansion in the global marketplace to support multinational customers and optimize productivity for employees doing business around the world. This news also builds on Extensity’s recently announced support for multiple currencies and full Euro compliance, as well as its strategic global alliance with QSP, a leading U.K.-based financial software and services company.
New VP, General Manager of European Operations Brings Strong Track Record
Brian Mort, newly appointed vice president and general manager of European operations, will be based in the U.K. and focus on expanding Extensity’s presence in Europe. Prior to joining Extensity, he was global account director for SAP (U.K.) Ltd. in Enterprise Applications Software Sales. In addition to managing teams of salespeople, he was a member of the SAP Board of Directors Steering Committee. Additionally, his career spanned sales positions at Oracle Corp., Dell Computer Corporation and Rank Xerox.
“Extensity clearly understands the special requirements of overseas markets, and they’ve built a high level of support for these customers into the Extensity product suite,” said Mr. Mort. “I’m glad to be joining such an innovative and fast-moving company, and I look forward to continuing the company’s international growth.”
Extensity CEO Bob Spinner stated, “We’re excited to have Brian as a member of the Extensity team. His outstanding track record demonstrates his understanding of the market. We expect him to have a significant impact on our international expansion.”
Extensity Partners to Address Needs of International Travelers
Extensity’s newly announced partnership with OANDA gives customers real-time access to variable currency exchange rate data over the Internet. >From a Web link within the Extensity e-Business Application Suite, customers can quickly obtain exchange rates for 164 currencies. Customers can also have OANDA’s exchange rate data fed directly into the Extensity e-Business Application Suite, streamlining the time-consuming process of obtaining and entering daily rate information into international expense reports.
Meridian and EuroVAT will offer value added tax (VAT) recovery services on an outsourced basis to Extensity customers. Extensity’s partnership with Corporate VAT Management, the developers of AUTO VAT(TM), the world’s leading software package for automating the processes of generating VAT refund applications, allows Extensity’s customers to easily manage the VAT refund process internally.
Extensity’s software can automatically capture data and produce reports required for VAT refunds. VAT is a consumer-oriented tax imposed on goods and services in Europe, Canada (GST) and Korea and can often be recovered by corporations that do business internationally. VAT can account for millions of refundable dollars but it requires that companies follow time-consuming, paper-based administrative processes. Automation through Extensity’s software helps simplify the process.
“Extensity’s expertise in tax recovery takes the headache out of this complex process for our customers doing business across Europe. We’re excited to offer Extensity as a best-of-breed solution,” said David Pinches, Group Product and Marketing Director for QSP, which resells the Extensity e-Business Application Suite to customers in Europe, Asia Pacific and the United States.
Extensity e-Business Application Suite Has Built in Support for International Expense Reporting
As part of the company’s international expansion, Extensity recently announced several enhancements to the Extensity e-Business Application Suite to further simplify international expense reporting for travelers and provide comprehensive data capture to corporations. Extensity automatically supports the use of multiple currencies and lets users specify the currency that was used to pay for each incurred expense. Extensity also manages the fixed rated between the Euro and the 11 participating countries so that conversion between any of these nations’ local currencies can be calculated automatically, saving time and the hassles associated with completing this process manually. Extensity’s e-Business Application Suite also supports differing local date and currency formats allowing employees of multinational corporations to enter data in the customary format of the country where they are based.
Extensity is the leader in Internet applications for the e-business employee. Extensity’s integrated suite of applications radically transforms the way companies do business by automating everyday processes to optimize productivity and business results. Today Extensity addresses expense reporting, business travel, billable time capture and procurement. Established by Scopus Technology co-founder Sharam Sasson, Extensity is funded by premier venture backers including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Java Fund, Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners and Visa International. Extensity customers include Franklin Resources, Incyte Pharmaceuticals, Nationsbanc Montgomery Securities, RELTEC, the University of California, and the @Home Network. For more information on Extensity, go to [http://www.extensity.com].
California’s State Board of Equalization announced yesterday that State taxpayers can now choose from three credit cards to make their sales and use tax payments made to the BOE. The BOE piloted the acceptance of Discover cards and began accepting MasterCard and American Express this month. U.S. Audiotex is the credit card processing vendor for the program. U.S. Audiotex also holds the contract for the IRS credit card pilot. The firm charges a transaction fee for each tax payment, generally around 2% of dollar amount involved.Details
NextCard, Inc., signed a definitive agreement Monday to acquire Textron National Bank, a subsidiary of Textron Financial Corp. While terms of the transaction were not revealed, the total assets of Textron National Bank at the closing will consist of less than $3 million in cash and other short-term securities. Upon closing the deal Textron National Bank will change its name to NextBank, National Association. NextCard said the acquisition will give NextCard the ability to originate credit card accounts for its own account and enable the Internet credit card firm to diversify funding sources. NextCard currently has approximately $450 million in funding capacity through conduit funding arrangements with Barclays Capital and ING Barings. The company currently purchases card receivables on a daily basis from its issuer, CA-based Heritage Bank. Up until Jan 12 of this year Heritage funded all card receivables. When NextCard went public in May the firm indicated plans to use at least $20 million to capitalize NextBank.Details
Bancomer, S.A., one of the top banks in Mexico, will install Customer Relationship Management scoring models from Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. to enhance the relationships it currently has with its customers. The bank initially plans to use the models to cross-sell credit cards to its deposit customers. Bancomer, S.A. also uses Fair, Isaac scoring models in various credit divisions as well as Fair, Isaac’s adaptive control system for credit card management.
“Bancomer is consistently looking at ways to improve customer relationships,” said Raquel Voorduin, vice president of Modeling Technology, Bancomer, S.A. “The CRM models will enable us to study the different relationships we have with our customers. From there, we will develop strategies and target offers based on this improved knowledge, as well as measure the impact of our marketing strategies for future efforts.”
! Fair, Isaac (http://www.fairisaac.com) helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Known for its pioneering work in credit scoring and its use of data in transaction-level decisions, Fair, Isaac now delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, and eBusiness markets. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs nearly 1,600 people in 18 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, the company reported revenues of $245.5 million. For more information, call Fair, Isaac at 800-999-2955.
Bancomer is one of the two largest financial institutions in Mexico and holds a leading position in consumer lending and services, insurance, and pension fund management markets. Its subsidiaries in those businesses are: Seguros Monterrey Aetna, Seguros Bancomer, Pensiones Bancomer, Afore Bancomer, and Fianzas Monterrey Aetna.
Gemplus snagged its single largest volume smart card order in the United States yesterday. Nintendo of America Inc. will distribute Gemplus smart cards for its new ‘Pokemon Snap’ video game. The promotion will run through Thanksgiving. While playing ‘Pokemon Snap’, players “snap” pictures of Pokemon characters as they play the game. The “photos” are stored in the game cartridge. Players then take their cartridges to participating Blockbuster stores and purchase a Pokemon Collectible Smart Card. Each store will have a special Pokemon Snap Station, equipped with Gemplus smart card readers, where the game cartridge and the smart card are inserted. Players can then print out a page of 16 stickers featuring their four favorite Pokemon, paid for by the `token’ stored on the smart card.Details
While card solicitations historically thin out during the summer months the big guns are still going head-to-head according to CardWeb’s marketing intelligence service, CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]). The key competitive terms this summer: Platinum and Intro Rates. Meanwhile Capital One and Household are slugging it out in the sub-prime segment.
CARDWATCH AUGUST SOLICITATIONS
ISSUER – CARD NAME INTRO REG FEE
First USA e-Parks Platinum VISA 3.9% 9.49% None
First USA New York Life Platinum VISA 3.9% 9.99% None
American Express Corporate Optima Platinum 2.9% 11.99% None
MBNA Fidelity Investments Platinum Plus VISA 2.9% 12.99% None
MBNA Platinum Plus VISA 2.9% 12.99% None
Chase Platinum MasterCard 3.99% 13.49% None
Citibank Dividend MasterCard 3.9% 16.90% None
Household MasterCard NA 18.90% $49.00
Capital One Premium Rewards VISA NA 19.8% $19.00
Capital One Stamp & Coin VISA NA 19.80% $39.00
Source: CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com) special access fees apply
Hewlett-Packard’s VeriFone division has signed an agreement with Atlanta-based Lynk Systems, Inc. for 20,000 ‘Omni 3200 POS’ payment systems. The agreement follows a pilot test of the companies’ combined solutions with merchants in the great Atlanta metro area. Monday’s deal will enable Lynk and VeriFone to deliver merchants an optimal POS payment solution that combines VeriFone’s newest payment system with Lynk’s application-development and transaction-processing and customer-service expertise. The ‘Omni 3200’ features a fully integrated thermal printer printing at 12.5 lines per second, large graphical display and ATM-style, screen-addressable keys.Details
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. , the leader in applying wireless technology to the payments industry, and Maverick International, a merchant credit card processor based in Tucson, AZ, Monday announced a two-year transaction processing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Maverick International will offer USWD’s Wireless Express Payment Service to its existing and prospective customers for high-speed wireless credit card authorizations.
Dean Leavitt, USWD’s chairman and chief executive officer stated, “Wireless card processing has become a requirement for the suite of services offered by transaction processors. Our Wireless Express Payment Service product provides a conduit for processors to easily implement and manage their individual wireless strategy.”
U.S. Wireless Data’s WEPS is a comprehensive suite of wireless transport services and server technology designed to deliver payment transactions securely and efficiently from merchants to payment processors. The high-speed WEPS service supports encryption, real-time diagnostic capability, and online, real-time reporting capabilities.
One feature of the WEPS service is the ability for merchants and merchant acquirers to access terminal, account and transaction information via a secure Internet web site. This feature represents a major advance in the goal to provide merchant acquirers with a rich set of customer support tools. It also provides merchants with a user-friendly method for directly managing their card processing information.
Maverick offers full data processing and customer support services to the financial transaction processing industry. Maverick has made a significant investment in wireless transaction processing over the past two years and has cemented its commitment to wireless by adopting the Wireless Express Payment Service.
“Maverick has employed a strategy of offering customized software and client/server technology for its customers thus enhancing the value of client relationships,” said John Hunnicutt, chairman and chief executive officer of Maverick International, “WEPS is a perfect complement to our product offering.”
About U.S. Wireless Data, Inc.
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. ( [http://www.uswirelessdata.com] ) is the leader in applying wireless technology to the payments industry. Through the use of its proprietary technology, software, carrier relationships, and front-end authorization and capture capability, USWD enables merchant acquirers banks and independent sales organizations to provide their customers with fast and cost-effective transaction processing solutions.
About Maverick International
Maverick ( [http://www.maverickintl.com] ) offers full service data processing and customer support services to the financial transaction processing industry. Maverick’s proprietary developments include: CDPD certified POS software capable of delivering an authorization response as fast as 250 milliseconds, with most transactions being processed in under three seconds. Their “PurchasePoint(TM),” Internet processing software connects merchant websites with Maverick’s StrongBox(TM) authorization network and provides advanced features such as multi-authorization unit auto-load balancing and asynchronous transaction processing. It also provides back-end processing enhancements for automated credit of Internet-related retrieval requests and enhanced chargeback processing.
IFS International, Inc. reported Monday that its Form 10-KSB has been filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and reflects that revenues for the fiscal year, ended April 30, 1999, totalled $10,164,618, a 95.2% increase over revenues of $5,208,334 reported for the previous fiscal year. Net losses posted for fiscal year 1999, after factoring in $781,341 in one-time, non-recurring charges and customary interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, were $703,907, or $0.53 loss per share, compared to net losses of $1,261,473, or $1.15 loss per share, reported for fiscal year 1998. Notwithstanding the one- time, non-recurring costs, adjusted earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for fiscal year 1999 was approximately $1.3 million.
According to David Hodge, Chief Executive Officer and President of IFS International, Inc., “As previously announced, we are delighted that we’ve been successful in achieving notable top-line growth while reducing our year end operating losses. It is important to note that we would have realized a 54% decrease in losses; however we elected to expense in fiscal 1999 the final payment due Charles Caserta, one of the original founders of the Company, in accordance with his termination agreement. Although this resulted in our reducing losses for the year only 44% instead of the 50-60% originally expected, we have positioned IFS International to gain enhanced financial strength as we move forward through fiscal 2000.”
Continuing, Hodge added, “It is also noteworthy to mention that had we not sustained numerous one-time, non-recurring charges associated with everything from loan acceleration costs to Y2K conformity to infrastructure growth expense, IFS International would have, in fact, achieved profitability for the year. Nonetheless, we are now on pace to deliver to our shareholders continued improved results as we proceed with our global growth initiative.”
IFS International, Inc. and Network Controls International, Inc. are divisions of IFS International, Inc., which has headquarters in the United States and subsidiary offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and Germany.
IFS International, Inc. develops, markets and supports software products for the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) market. IFS’ TPII suite of software products provide for Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Point of Sale (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 Centre(TM), an enterprise-wide retail bank branch solution designed to deliver traditional and Internet/Intranet based transactions.Details