ATMs – Easy Usage

A new ATM study, to be released next week, reveals that consumers of all ages and both sexes use ATMs in real environments with about the same accuracy. The study also showed that college-educated users, although completing their entries faster, don’t necessarily do it more accurately than less educated ones. The new study conducted by Atlanta-based Practical Intelligence at Work, Inc., analyzed 65,000 customer visits to 342 ATMs. The research also found that 75% all ATM users conduct at least one withdrawal per visit, but less than 1% use the machines for paying their bills. Also 90% of ATM activity occurs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Practical Intelligence says these results suggest that banks could offer incentives to entice customers to do more diverse transactions through ATMs. One of the interesting findings of the research shows that certain ATM machines allow the same amount of time for both simple and complex transactions. Often, customers were timed out or the process shut down, when customers took too long on a complex activity, such as bill payments. When this happened, customers chose to abandon ATM activity, opting to take their business to the bank teller instead.

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Costco Takes AmEx

The leading membership wholesale club announced yesterday it will now accept credit cards and charge cards that carry the highest merchant fees. Costco, with four million business memberships and twelve million consumer memberships, will now accept American Express cards at Costco’s 200 U.S. locations. Costco, which also accepts the ‘Discover’ card, indicated yesterday it has no plans to accept VISA or MasterCard. Costco also announced Wednesday its plans to offer two new AmEx co-branded cards in November. The two new cards include one for business and one for consumers. The new co-branded cards will also act as Costco membership cards. The new consumer credit card will have no annual fee and will reward Card members with Costco rebates based on all spending placed on the card. The new small business charge card developed for Costco members will have no annual fee with a paid Costco membership and no pre-set spending limit. Last year Costco accounted for 47% of wholesale club sales. In June, 1996, Costco and Beneficial National Bank launched the ‘PriceCostco Credit Card’, a private label credit card.

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Wells Internet Milestone

Wells Fargo & Co. announced an impending milestone as the largest Internet bank in the world by preparing to welcome its one millionth Internet customer this week.

In celebration of this upcoming event, Dick Kovacevich, president and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, is announcing the extension of Internet banking services, including bill pay and free Internet banking, to all Minnesota Norwest customers. The program will roll out to all Norwest customers by year end through [www.norwest.com][1].

In November, 1998, Wells Fargo and Norwest officially merged to create America’s most extensive and diversified financial services company. With a decade of experience at the forefront of online banking, Wells Fargo has been ranked “best bank” by Yahoo! Internet Life, and has more Internet customers than any other bank.

“Combining our leading-edge technology with a tradition of customer service, Wells Fargo intends to be the ‘trusted gateway’ for our customers,” said Kovacevich. “We want to be the single resource, delivering the tools and financial products our customers need to help them realize their financial goals, whenever and wherever they want them delivered. With ten years’ experience providing Wells Fargo customers with online service, we are now pleased to begin making Internet banking available to our Norwest customers throughout the Midwest and Southwest.”

“With the availability of online banking to Norwest customers, we’ve seen our enrollments jump to an impressive 100,000 new customers a month, up from 20,000 a month this time last year,” said Sharon Osberg, executive vice president and head of Online Financial Services at Wells Fargo. “That’s more than one new customer every 30 seconds. In addition to free access to the Wells Fargo ATM network, which we added shortly after the merger, Minnesota customers now have access to the nation’s leading Internet banking service.”

The new Internet banking services extended to Norwest customers include bill pay and free, 24-hour Internet banking. With the new bill pay service, customers simply detail how much they want to pay and on which date. With the click of a button on the computer, Norwest customers can now pay bills to any company or individual in the U.S., whether a major credit card company or the neighborhood baby-sitter. The bill pay service is free of charge with a $5,000 combined balance in checking and savings. Or, the charge is $5.00 per month, with the first two months free.

Through Wells Fargo Online, Norwest now offers its customers a broad array of products and services related to personal finance, such as checking and savings account access, as well as stock brokerage, tax and retirement planning. Throughout the remainder of 1999, Wells Fargo will roll out bill pay and free Internet banking services beyond Minnesota to other Norwest geographies throughout the Midwest and Southwest.

As part of the milestone celebration, Wells Fargo will recognize the one millionth Internet customer with a $10,000 WellsTrade account, the Wells Fargo online brokerage service; a free computer; free bill pay for life; and a three-day trip for two to San Francisco, hometown of historic Wells Fargo which was founded in 1852.

Wells Fargo and Norwest completed their merger on November 2, 1998. The union benefits Norwest customers both offline and online. They will continue to receive excellent customer service and Norwest’s strength in home lending, while gaining Wells Fargo’s technology leadership. The Norwest logo is being retained during the online banking rollout, as the Norwest bank name will not change for some time in many regions.

As the first major financial service company in the U.S. to launch Internet banking services in 1995 ([www.wellsfargo.com][2]), Wells Fargo has blazed the trail for interactive tools and features for customers. Wells Fargo started online service through Prodigy in 1989, and over the last decade has introduced a wide range of easy-to-use online services for customers.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is a $205 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance services through almost 6,000 stores, the Internet ([www.wellsfargo.com][3]) and other distribution channels across North America and elsewhere internationally. Forbes global business & finance magazine recently ranked Wells Fargo as its No. 1 stock pick in the banking segment of the financial services industry for 1999.

[1]: http://www.norwest.com/
[2]: http://www.wellsfargo.com/
[3]: http://www.wellsfargo.com/

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EMMA Certified

Cash Technologies, Inc. announced Wednesday that it has successfully certified its EMMA system with the first of two networks operated by Concord EFS, Inc., one of the nation’s largest financial transaction processors. This achievement, the first TCP/IP (Internet Protocol) certification to be completed on Concord’s ATM (automated teller machine) network, will provide Cash Tech’s EMMA (E-Commerce Message Management Architecture) system with access to the global ATM network.

“EMMA’s objective to seamlessly interface financial networks and the Internet for the first time depends on the use of leading edge technologies,” said Bruce Korman, Chairman and CEO of Cash Technologies. “Therefore, the ability to access the traditional ATM network using state-of-the-art Internet Protocol is a valuable result of our joint effort with Concord and an important milestone in EMMA’s development. The next step will be to certify EMMA’s capability to perform point-of-sale credit card transactions over Concord’s POS network.”

Through EMMA, consumers will have access to a wide variety of financial services on an ATM or financial kiosk, including electronic bill payment, real-time activated pre-paid phone cards, money order issuance, event ticketing, check cashing, Internet based e-commerce products and services, currency deposits, interactive advertising, marketing data acquisition, traditional ATM cash dispensing and other functions, using a variety of payment methods, including ATM cards, credit cards and cash.

About Cash Technologies

Cash Technologies Inc. ([http://www.cashtechnologies.com][1]) develops and markets innovative e-commerce kiosks and systems, including the EMMA transaction processing software, the multifunction ATM-X(TM) automated teller machine (ATM) and the CoinBank(R) advanced self-service coin counter. The Company also provides computerized cash processing services to banks, armored carriers, rapid transit agencies and other cash-intensive businesses.

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

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Metris on Lending Tree

LendingTree, announced this morning that Metris Companies has joined its growing Network of more than 70 lenders as a credit card issuer. Metris will market its Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank credit cards on The LendingTree Network.

“LendingTree has experienced incredible growth in demand for credit card products this year,” said Doug Lebda, CEO and founder of LendingTree. “Bringing on a top-tier issuer like Metris provides us with more great credit card products to offer these consumers.”

Since January, LendingTree’s volume of credit card requests has seen a 600 percent increase to more than 15,000 a month. Industrywide, online credit card origination is expected to reach $22 billion in 2003, accounting for 16 percent of new credit card dollars (Source: Forrester Research, Inc.).

“By joining The LendingTree Network, we’re opening up another channel through which consumers can access our secured and unsecured credit cards,” said Metris President and CEO Ron Zebeck.

“What’s more, this relationship enables us to use LendingTree’s established technical platform, which helps connect consumers to the credit provider that can best serve their needs,” Zebeck said. “This is very much in keeping with our own targeted, niche strategy.”

Metris Companies

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, Minn., Metris also has operations in Tulsa, Okla.; Baltimore, Md.; Champaign, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Phoenix, Ariz. It currently employs approximately 2,800 people. Visit Metris on the Internet at [http://www.metriscompanies.com][1].

LendingTree

LendingTree, Inc. is the online loan marketplace that connects consumers with a network of lenders who compete for their business. Loan types include mortgage, home equity, personal, auto and credit cards. Founded by Doug Lebda in 1996 and based in Charlotte, N.C., LendingTree is led by veterans in the banking, financial services and information technology industries. LendingTree has formed strategic partnerships with priceline.com and Bloomberg.com and currently has more than 8,000 affiliate Web sites. LendingTree is an equal opportunity provider. Go to [http://www.lendingtree.com][2] or call 704-541-5351 for more information.

[1]: http://www.metriscompanies.com/
[2]: http://www.lendingtree.com/

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Citgo to Associates

Associates First Capital confirmed Wednesday it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire and manage the proprietary credit card program of CITGO Petroleum Corp. The Associates will acquire in excess of $120 million in receivables. The acquisition consists of consumer accounts only and does not affect CITGO’s commercial or fleet credit card accounts. The transaction is expected to be completed next month. CITGO, with revenues of $11.0 billion in 1998, has over 15,000 branded retail outlets in the US. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]) The Associates ranks first in the private label oil credit card market in the U.S. with 10 million active accounts and $2 billion in receivables under its BP Amoco, Texaco and Shell programs.

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

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Rent Smart Card

Schimatic Cash Transactions Network.com, Inc., dba IC One, Inc., a Florida corporation with offices in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, announces a three-year contract with Global Capital Limited and Rent Smart Publications to introduce the “Rent Smart Card” and Internet enabled set-top boxes in units of affiliated apartment communities.

“Rent Smart Cards,” provided to each tenant, are intended to lower the cost of tenant acquisition and tenant turn-over by offering a convenient means of paying rent, obtaining local merchant discounts, participating in custom loyalty programs, among other applications. IC One, Inc. will provide smart card acceptance devices (CAD), to be placed in each apartment unit to provide a wide range of services including e-mail for landlord-tenant communication and Internet access.

“Creative, forward-thinking companies like Rent Smart position themselves at the forefront of their industry, by using the highest technology to vastly improve communication, reduce (tenant) turnover, and provide tremendous added value, thereby improving the bottom line,” said Doug Lloyd, IC One SVP of Sales and Marketing.

Rent Smart Publications currently provides advertising services for 210 communities in Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona, and is slated to capture 18 additional markets within the next 36 months. Global has committed to deliver at least 150,000 IC One “Rent Smart Cards” and set-top boxes within the first 12 months; and a minimum of 1.5 million smart cards and set-top boxes within the first 36 months. Revenue forecasts are for more than $300 million in gross sales based on this contract alone.

“We are excited about this partnership arrangement with IC One,” said Greg Johnson of Global Capital Limited. “We look forward to proving ourselves to be effective distributors and usage-promoters of IC One’s smart card technology. We fully expect to exceed the (smart card and set-top box sales) minimums stated in the Agreement.

IC One and SCTN recently completed a merger combining the leading-edge technology of both companies under the name IC One, Inc. and is currently being traded as OTC Bulletin Board: SCTN. The new organization is focusing on the core competencies of both companies, taking advantage of IC One’s sweeping patent for using loyalty applications on chip-based integrated smart cards or any mobile device, and SCTN’s development of multi-language touch screen, Internet-enabled kiosks for cash transfer, ATM functions, e-mail, video conferencing and Internet shopping.

“With our recent contracts signed with eExpo, IBM (NYSE: IBM), and now Global,” said David J. Simon, IC One SVP of Technology and Chairman of the Board, “IC One is now positioned to leverage all of these technologies to capture additional market share in the smart card/set-top box arena.”

Further information can be accessed via two web sites: [http://www.icone.com][1] and [http://www.sctn.com][2], by contacting IC One at (801) 355-0066 , 205 West 700 South, 2nd Floor, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101-2736 or by writing IC One Vice-President of Marketing Doug Lloyd at dlloyd@icone.com.

[1]: http://www.icone.com/
[2]: http://www.sctn.com/

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FUSA Top Management

First USA expanded its management team yesterday to include Michael Looney as EVP customer service and payment processing, and Ronald Robine, EVP, credit management. Looney comes to First USA from a major credit card issuer where he served as director of risk operations, U.S. cards. He has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University. Robine joins First USA from a leading financial institution where he held numerous senior credit policy and risk management positions across various business lines, including credit cards, mortgage loans, small business loans, commercial cards and consumer lending. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University.

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Canadian Debit Rewards

Debit reward cards spread northward this week as Bank of Montreal launched the ‘Double Dip with Debit’ Air Miles program Wednesday in Winnipeg. BOM becomes the first bank in Canada to offer rewards for debit card purchases. Every purchase made at an Air Miles sponsor will be rewarded with one extra Air Miles reward mile from Bank of Montreal, in addition to any Air Miles reward miles offered by the sponsor. Winnipeg customers will also earn 50 bonus reward miles on the first purchase made with the double dipping MasterCard debit card. Fifty reward miles can be redeemed for two 2-for-1 movie certificates, two tickets for a Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball game or two admissions to the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The Air Miles Reward Program was launched in 1992. The program has more than 150 sponsor locations in the Winnipeg area. Over half of Manitoba households collect Air Miles reward miles. Bank of Montreal was a founding sponsor of the Air Miles program and also offers Air Miles reward miles on its MasterCards.

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PC Banking Surge

Dataquest projected yesterday that the number of U.S. households using PC banking applications will more than triple in the next five years, from 7 million at the end of 1998 to more than 24.2 million by 2004. Approximately 57% of these, about 13.7 million households, will be paying bills online in 2004. The research firm says online banking households are not typical of the potential mass market; they differ not only in terms of household composition and income level, but in terms of bill payment habits as well. The research shows that current consumers who bank online are largely those whose time is at a premium . . . well educated households with high, dual incomes and children. Dataquest estimates the average fee for online bill payment services is $6.20 a month, but it is noted that only about half of all online bill paying customers actually pay. Some banks offer the service free, and others waive the fee for preferred customers. The average fee for account viewing stands at about $5.10 a month. The number of banks with a formal fee schedule is declining. Only about 20 percent of banks have a fee schedule, and only about 10% of account viewing households actually pay. Fees from all account view and bill payment services are forecast to reach $1.3 billion by 2003.

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AmEx Delta Sweepstakes

Delta Air Lines and American Express unveiled an opportunity to join Tiger Woods in Spain at the World Golf Championships in November.

American Express Card holders who purchase BusinessElite tickets on [http://www.delta-air.com][1] today through September 30, 1999 and you will automatically be entered in the American Express Championship Sweepstakes.

The World Golf Championships are November 4-8, 1999, at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Andalucia, Spain.

Each of the two lucky winners will receive a prize package including:

* Air travel provided by Delta Air Lines

* Accommodations at a four star hotel

* Tickets to the American Express Championship

* Access to the Tiger Woods Clinic

* Golf at the celebrated Valdarrama Golf Club (Championship course)

* World Golf Championships merchandise

Delta, named Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine and “Best-Managed Major Airline” for 1999 by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, is the world’s most flown carrier. More than 105 million passengers traveled on Delta in 1998. Delta, Delta Express, the Delta Shuttle, the Delta Connection carriers and Delta’s Worldwide Partners operate 5,281 flights each day to 351 cities in 59 countries.

1. HOW TO ENTER: NO PURCHASE, TRANSACTION OR CONTINUATION OF CARDMEMBER STATUS NECESSARY TO ENTER. There are three ways to enter: (1) Visit the Delta Air Lines Web site at [http://www.delta-air.com][2] and you will receive one automatic entry each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Delta BusinessElite ticket or receive two automatic entries each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Atlanta to Madrid Delta BusinessElite ticket. (2) You will receive one automatic entry each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Delta BusinessElite ticket or receive two automatic entries each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Atlanta to Madrid Delta BusinessElite ticket and mail a photocopy (retain original for your records) of your receipt with your name, address and telephone number to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.(3) To enter without making a purchase handwrite your name, address and phone number and the words “(American Express Championship Sweepstakes)” on a 3″ x 5″ card and mail it in a hand- addressed outer envelope to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Limit two 3″ x 5″ card entries per hand-addressed outer envelope. Sweepstakes runs and transactions must be captured from 12AM ET on 8/2/99 through 11:59PM ET on 9/30/99. All mail-in entries must be postmarked by 9/30/99 and received by 9/30/99.

2. PRIZE: Grand Prize (2): Trip for two to the PGA World Golf Championships in Sotogrande, Spain from November 5th to 9th. Trip includes roundtrip Delta BusinessElite air transportation from major gateway airport nearest winner’s residence, 4-consecutive-nights standard hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy), tickets to the World Golf Championships (weekly grounds passes), access to the Tiger Woods Clinic, 18 holes of golf at Valderrama on the Monday following the golf championships and a World Golf Championship merchandise package. Ground transportation, meals, gratuities and any other expenses not expressly set forth above are not included. Approximate retail value: $4,000. Prize is not transferable and no substitution or cash equivalent is permitted. All applicable federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

(“American Express”), the PGA and Delta Air Lines (“Delta”) reserve the right to substitute prize of comparable value. American Express, its parent companies, subsidiaries and affiliates, PGA and Delta are not responsible or liable for any events that occur during, or as a result of winner’s acceptance and use of the prize. Winners must travel on specified dates or forfeit prize.

3. SELECTION OF WINNERS: Prize winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries received. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sweepstakes drawing will be conducted by Diamond Group, Inc., an independent judging organization on or about 10/1/99. Winners will be notified by mail.

4. ELIGIBILITY: Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the U.S. except in Florida, who are at least 18 years of age. Employees of American Express and its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, advertising agencies, PGA, Delta and their families are not eligible to participate. Only one winner per household or organization. Sweepstakes is void in Florida and where prohibited or restricted by law. All federal, state and local laws apply. Entries that contain errors, are incomplete, mechanically reproduced or illegible will not be accepted. American Express, PGA and Delta are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected or damaged mail or entries. Diamond Group will be the sole judge of which entries qualify and are valid, and their decisions are final.

5. MISCELLANEOUS: Entering American Express Championship Sweepstakes constitutes permission to use the name and likeness of prize winners for advertising and publicity purposes (where legal) without further compensation. Winners will be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity/Liability Release before the prize is awarded. Traveling companions must sign a liability release prior to ticketing. For the name of the prize winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes Winners List, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Requests must be received (not postmarked) no later than 9/30/99. American Express reserves the right in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this sweepstakes should virus, bugs or other causes beyond the control of sponsor, corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the sweepstakes.

[1]: http://www.delta-air.com/
[2]: http://www.delta-air.com/

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Unexpired Miles

In a boon to consumers this summer, all major U.S. air carriers have dropped the mileage expiration requirement from their frequent flyer programs. Yesterday United Airlines announced the change, following a similar announcement by American Airlines last week. The nation’s two largest passenger airlines were the lone holdouts among all U.S. carriers. The recent changes should drive up consumer interest in the bank credit card versions of United and American’s frequent flyer programs. Under the former program rules, consumers with annual charge volumes under $10,000 could not cost-justify the higher annual fees associated with United and American’s co-branded bank credit card program. However United Airlines said Tuesday that ‘Mileage Plus’ members’ frequent flyer miles will no longer expire, provided the members earn or redeem miles at least once every 36 months. American Airlines also instituted the same requirement last week for members of its ‘AAdvantage’ program. A qualifying activity, to keep miles active includes: taking a paid flight on the carrier or its affiliates; or making a purchase with the carrier’s co-branded VISA or MasterCard; or staying at a partner hotel; or renting from a rental partner; or accepting a special mileage offer from the carrier. United also announced Tuesday it will reinstate 1998 expired miles to members who register and take either two paid domestic roundtrips or one paid international roundtrip on flights operated by United, United Shuttle or United Express. Full details on the changes are available from CardTrak Online ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). United Airlines has 37 million frequent flyer members while American Airlines has 35 million. There are also more than two million cardholders in the Bank One/United Airlines bank credit card program and about about the same number in the Citibank/American Airlines bank credit card program, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

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

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