American Express and Ticketmaster recently signed a strategic marketing alliance in the U.S. in which AmEx becomes Ticketmaster’s ‘Card of Choice’ for all Ticketmaster consumer transactions at retail Ticket Center locations, ‘Charge-By-Phone Network’, and TicketMaster’s web site. Under terms of the alliance AmEx will provide a 15% discount on selected Ticketmaster merchandise such as musical CDs and entertainment related merchandise including Broadway memorabilia, sports collectibles, and concert t-shirts when these items are purchased via phone or online with the American Express Card. American Express has a minority investment in Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, Inc., which, through its relationship with Ticketmaster, provides the exclusive online ticketing for Ticketmaster’s sports and entertainment clients.Details
ATS Money Systems, Inc., announced Monday a new product for the retail store cash office — the ATS-6000 Electronic Currency Counting Scale. The ATS-6000 is the first in a series of new models for release in 1999 and is available for immediate delivery. The new ATS-6000 scale accurately and quickly counts bills, coins, coupons and gift certificates, on a single machine, utilizing a unique weighing technology that replaces up to three conventional machines. The new ATS-6000 series includes improved ergonomics, more powerful cash office programs and improved communications. Typical applications include register audits, starting fund set-up, bank deposit preparation, bank change order verification and safe audits. The ATS-6000 provides advanced communications with upload and download capabilities allowing the machines to be managed centrally as well as update central sales audit systems. The ATS-6000 may be used in a stand-alone configuration, interfaced with a printer for an instant audit trail, or integrated to custom cash office software. User programmable functions enable the scale to be easily set-up locally, or from central sites to meet specific counting procedures. Mr. James H. Halpin, Executive Vice President of ATS Money Systems, Inc., commented, “This new, improved scale technology will enable ATS to further accelerate and expand recent gains we have made in the grocery, fast food and convenience store markets as well as in our traditional markets of department store, home improvement centers and discount department stores.”
Retailers using this scale will benefit from notable labor savings and reduced counting errors, as well as a return on investment in less than a year, in most cases. The new ATS-6000 improved communication capabilities allows retailers to manage and integrate the cash office scale with other store systems maximizing and protecting their investment. The communications download functions include the capability to download from central sites, new set-up or denominations such as the upcoming NEW DOLLAR COIN. The ATS-6000 is designed for retail businesses that process cash, including supermarkets, fast food restaurants, convenience stores, specialty stores, home improvement centers, drug stores and department stores. A partial list of companies currently utilizing ATS retail cash management solutions includes: The Kroger Company, Nash Finch Company, Wendy’s, Arby’s, White Castle, Ames Department Stores, Carson Pirie Scott & Co., The Home Depot, Pilot Corporation, Target Stores and T.J. Maxx.
ATS Money Systems, Inc., is engaged in the development, sales and service of currency counting systems running on DOS, UNIX, Windows 95 and Windows NT platforms for department and chain store cash offices. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Innovative Electronics, Inc., is a major supplier to the retail marketplace, providing an end-to-end solution that integrates point-of-sale, in-store processing and host applications in a distributed computing network.Details
Citibank/Travelers Bank and Salomon Smith Barney joined up Monday to roll out a ‘Financial Management Account’ for business owners. The ‘Business FMA’ account enables small and medium-sized businesses to consolidate cash flow management, investments, and borrowing through a single account. A key feature of the ‘Business FMA’ is a ‘Platinum MasterCard’ credit card issued through Travelers Bank. The MasterCard program enables the business owner to arrange for credit cards for principals in the business, as well as for key employees with segregated lines and reporting of purchases. Reporting and payments are automated through the ‘Business FMA’ statement and Internet access. The business owner may also choose a ‘Gold MasterCard’ debit card instead of, or in addition to, the credit card option, with an optional ‘Travel & Rewards’ program which offers travel, merchant, and special event rewards earned through debit card purchases. Citi is also offering credit/debit card merchant services for ‘Business FMA’ account holders through Citicorp Payment Services, Inc. Proceeds are credited directly to the ‘Business FMA’ account. Clients also receive discounts on their setup process when linked to the ‘Business FMA’. The program also offers payroll services through ADP and an financial reporting software interface with Intuit.Details
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. , the leader in applying wireless technology to the payments industry, and Paymentech, a leading acquirer of bankcard transactions in the United States, announced this morning a two-year transaction processing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Paymentech will offer high-speed credit card authorization services utilizing USWD’s Wireless Express Payment Service to new and existing merchants of Paymentech. The new transaction processing service will be marketed through Paymentech’s direct sales force, independent sales organizations, and agent bank relationships.
Paymentech’s ISO and bank clients have intensified efforts to meet merchant demand for wireless solutions. Targeted retail markets include quick service restaurants, parking garages, stadiums/arenas, ground transportation, mall kiosks, and delivery services. Paymentech is the second largest processor of bankcard transactions in the United States, processing over 2 billion transactions annually. Paymentech provides total point-of-sale transaction processing and settlement services for ISOs and member banks.
“Wireless card processing is a differentiating factor for Paymentech as our clients look to us for market leading solutions,” said George Wilcox, group manager for product development at Paymentech. “The depth of functionality and the range of equipment and services from Wireless Express Payments Service(SM) adds tremendous value to Paymentech’s product portfolio.”
USWD chairman and chief executive officer, Dean Leavitt stated, “We are extremely excited to have a world class organization like Paymentech as one of our WEPS partners. It is now becoming abundantly clear that the acquiring industry is demanding new technologies to source merchant accounts and penetrate new markets. We see this announcement as a strong endorsement of our technology, service, and distribution strategy.”
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 real-time reporting through Internet 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.
The Intellect 9770 is the first device in the family of WEPS-enabled wireless terminals that has been designed specifically for the handheld environment. The fact that the Intellect 9770 has been certified for WEPS using the nationwide coverage of the ARDIS packet radio network places the device perfectly in the taxi/limousine, delivery, and fine dining restaurant segments. The WEPS version of the Lipman 2090 payment terminal significantly extends the capabilities of the Lipman line. The quality and usability of the Lipman 2090, combined with the speed of card transactions on WEPS, make this device ideal for fast food applications
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 to provide their customers with the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solutions in the industry today.
Paymentech ([http://www.paymentech.com]), founded in 1985, provides full-service electronic payment solutions in merchant acquiring and third-party transaction processing. The company processes approximately 2.5 billion bankcard transactions and $75 billion in sales volume annually. Paymentech is the second largest processor of bankcard transactions in the United States.
Fleet Credit Card Services announced this morning the immediate availability of the ‘Lycos MasterCard’ throughout the Lycos network of web sites. The new card comes in two card designs and carries an introductory APR of 2.9% for five months and includes automatic membership into the ‘Lycos Rewards’ program launching later this year. All Lycos cardholders will have a round-the-clock online access to their accounts through Fleet’s ‘Customer Service Online’, a service that enables cardholders to check balances and available credit limit, request balance transfers and credit line increases, and review past transactions. The card carries no-annual-fee.Details
The NYCE Network announced yesterday the activation of an inter-regional link between its two primary service areas, which resulted from the merger between NYCE and Magic Line. The IRL is a permanent link that enables NYCE ATM/POS cardholders to have access to 35,000 ATMs and 185,000 POS locations in the network. Inter-regional transactions are processed directly over the NYCE IRL without the need to be routed through an additional network.Details
SIMS Communications Inc. announced that its MedCard Division has entered into a joint marketing agreement with EFS National Bank , a wholly owned subsidiary of Concord EFS, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, EFSNB will market SIMS’ MedCard System and MedCard will market the EFSNB Merchant System to their healthcare industry clients and prospects.
“We believe that there is a definite need in the medical industry for electronic verification and claims processing,” stated Edward Labry, Concord EFS President. “The MedCard System will complement our EFSNB Merchant System by operating on the same terminal. We believe the healthcare industry provides us an excellent growth opportunity for financial processing services and the addition of the MedCard System strengthens our position.”
“We are pleased to have EFS National Bank as our marketing partner,” stated Ron Pizzolo, SIMS’ MedCard Division President. “EFSNB has achieved a dominant market share in merchant processing services with supermarket chains and multiple lane retailers, financial institutions, petroleum and convenience stores, grocery stores and the trucking industry. The company is committed to achieving the same success in the healthcare industry. By having SIMS’ MedCard System and EFSNB’s Merchant System available through the same terminal, we have an extremely powerful offering for the healthcare industry.”
! SIMS’ MedCard System provides a completely paperless, easy-to use and cost effective solution to doctors’ complicated medical billing transactions. The system also provides for patient online medical eligibility verification, credit card and check processing, and electronic claim processing, which are quickly performed with minimal staff training.
EFS National Bank is a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor. The EFSNB Merchant System, provides transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to selected market segments including the healthcare industry.
The company’s primary activities include providing credit, debit, check authorization and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) processing services for its merchants from over 400,000 point-of-sale terminals, and providing gateway processing, ATM driving and MACa network access to the financial services industry.
SIMS Communications, Inc. provides electronic transaction solutions for the healthcare industry. The company’s products include: its MedCard System, a system that provides 100% paperless electronic data entry at the physician’s office for all medical insurance billings and collections, and the One Medical Service System, a cost-effective solution that gives pharmacies the ability to provide a complete, one-stop shopping solution for all its customer’s home medical equipment (HME) and home healthcare related service needs.
The company recently launched its JustMed.com Internet Healthcare Web Portal and its Electronic Commerce Med Store located at [http://www.justmed.com]. This content-rich web site is designed to appeal to both consumers and healthcare industry professionals.
Bank of America introduced the ‘Photo Security VISA Check Card’ in California yesterday. Bank of America also offers a ‘Photo Security VISA Credit Card’ in California. BofA says the new photo debit card combined with its liability waiver for unauthorized transactions offers a new level of protection for its customers. The ‘Photo Security Cards’ are available free of charge to new and existing Bank of America checking account customers and credit card customers. Customers are required to sign up at BofA’s California banking centers.Details
American Express today announced Independent Operator (IO) agreements with Corp Banca and Banco Santiago in Chile. Under these agreements, Corp Banca and Banco Santiago will issue American Express cards in Chile denominated in pesos, the country’s currency. Cardmembers will be able to use their American Express Cards at establishments in Chile and throughout the world. These agreements mark the first time for American Express to announce multiple IO deals in one market.
‘We are delighted to add Corp Banca and Banco Santiago to our growing family of Latin American partners,’ said Jim Li, President, American Express Global Network Services. ‘Banco Santiago is the largest bank in the Chilean marketplace. And the agreement with Corp Banca Chile is a natural expansion of our current partnership with Corp Banca Venezuela, which has been an independent operator of ours since 1972.’
‘These two agreements in one market represent an important new strategie arrangement for American Express,’ Mr. Li added. ‘As we rapidly expand our global network strategy, we are better and better equipped to fully utilize the marketing and operations experience of strong local partners in the combination with the global strengths of the American Express brand and worldwide service.’
‘The agreement with American Express represents a further development in Corp Banca’s strategy and strengthens our positions in the marketplace,’ said Jorge Selume, Chief Executive Officer of Corp Banca. ‘Corp Banca aims to provide Chilean customers with high level of retail banking services and customer convenience. This agreement means that Corp Banca is broadening its card portfolio and will be able to offer card products targeted at each major segment of the Chilean market.’
‘It is great honor to establish an alliance with American Express which is well known as a truly global company with a respected brand name,’ said Fernando Canas, Chief Executive Officer of Banco Santiago. ‘Banco Santiago has been focusing on partnership with American Express, we are well on our way to achieving it and this marks a milestone of our commitment of providing quality services to our customers.”
Under the agreement announced today, both Corp Banca and Banco Santiago will conduct American Express Card issuing in Chile and be responsible for al operations supporting the American Express Card market including billing and payment systems, accounting, customer servicing, credit and fraud control, and charge authorizations as well as marketing the Card in Chile.
These agreement with Corp Banca and Banco Santiago will also enable American Express to dramatically increase the number of establishments accepting the American Express Card in Chile and as a result significantly enhance the relevance and utility of the Card to customer living in or visiting the country.
Chilean customers will have access to the American Express international service network and other travel and financial services. The company’s network has more than 1,700 owned and representative Travel Services Offices worldwide and more than 260,000 ATMs in its ExpressCash network.
American Express currently provides a U.S. dollar-denominated American Express Card to Chilean customers. Such Cardmembers will have the option of converting their card to the new product, retaining their dollar-denominated card, or carrying both cards. American Express Travelers Cheques and travel business are unaffected by this agreement.
Corp Banca is part of CORP GROUP, an international financial holding company founded by Chilean entrepreneurs to make investments in the Latin American banking and financial sectors. Corp Banca aims at providing its customers with the best financial products and excellent customer service. In the past two years, Corp Banca has expanded its branch network from 52 to 184 branches and has launched mortgages and insurance businesses. Chilean customers recognize Corp Banca as a leader in innovation. It brought the first financial in-store branches to supermarkets in Chile introduced the current account which features automatic cancellation of credit lines, along with several other major innovations.
Banco Santiago is the largest bank in Chile and ranks 12th in Latin America. It is a leader in the retail-banking segment, representing 25 percent of the country’s credit card business. As of last May, Banco Santiago became part of the BSCH group, which is the largest bank in Europe in terms of market capitalization. Banco Santiago offers a wide range of innovative financial services and related products to both corporate and retail clients, throughout its extensive branch network.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services provider founded in 1850. The company operates through three main subsidiaries: American Express Travel Related Services Co., Inc., American Express Financial Advisors and American Express Bank. It is a leader in charge cards, Travels Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.
While continuing to grow its proprietary card business, American Express has been aggressively pursuing its strategy of opening its merchant network to other card issuers around the world, In the last several years it has developed 52 such partnership arrangements in more than 50 countries.Details
TRM Corporation announces its second quarter performance for the fiscal year ending December 31, 1999. Net income, before the preferred dividend, increased by 18% to $788 thousand for the second quarter versus $666 thousand for the same period last year. Second quarter gross revenue was $17.3 million versus $17.8 million during the same period last year. Earnings per share were $0.11 before the preferred dividend and $0.06 after the preferred dividend.
Revenue per installed TRM CopyCenter location continued to improve during the quarter, posting a 12% increase over the same period in 1998. Each installed site generated revenue of $570 for the quarter versus $507 for the same period in 1998. The improvement is the result of the company’s CopyCenter optimization program deploying its NextGen(TM) photocopiers in sites with growth potential at the same time removing unprofitable sites. There were 31,461 TRM CopyCenter locations installed on June 30, 1999.
TRM expanded its US ATM operations during the second quarter, ending the period with 141 units deployed on June 30, 1999. TRM installed its first ATM machine into a retail location on March 26, 1999. ATM operations contributed $189,000 to quarterly revenue, as the ATM transaction volume from the first-installed locations experienced a solid month-to-month ramp up in transaction volumes. The ATM business generated a loss of $225,000 for the period, primarily due to the startup costs associated with the creation of the new business unit. Revenue from ATM operations is expected to increase significantly, as installed site transaction volume continues to improve and new sites are installed. TRM ended the quarter with an order backlog for new ATM sites in excess of 500 locations. In addition, TRM expects to open its first ATM locations in the United Kingdom in August.
According to Fred Stockton, CEO and President, “Our core CopyCenter business produced strong cash-flow as operating contribution on a per unit basis increased. The successful launch of our ATM business is gaining momentum as unit deployments increase and TRM penetrates new markets. We are pleased in the way we have been able to leverage our CopyCenter business to assist operationally and financially the initial launch and growth of our ATM business. We are excited about the opportunities for future growth at TRM as we accelerate the expansion of our ATM business and continue to optimize and develop our CopyCenter operations.”
For more details on TRM Corp 2Q/99 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com])
Baltimore-based Creditrust Corp. confirmed this morning it has purchased the remaining owned accounts of now bankrupt Commercial Financial Services. The collection accounts have a face value of $546 million dollars. These accounts, were originally purchased by CFS in the fourth quarter of last year, from 10 of the largest credit grantors in the U.S. for approximately $60 million or 11 cents on the dollar. Creditrust purchased them in a competitive auction for $26.75 million, or 4.89 cents on the dollar. Creditrust says it has been purchasing similar receivables from the same institutions for a weighted average purchase price of 7.5 cents on the dollar. The company noted this morning that its due diligence revealed minimal recovery efforts on these accounts which were purchased by CFS shortly before their bankruptcy filing.Details
The emerging field of optimization may revolutionize the credit card industry and Trajecta last week introduced one of the most advanced products in this new field. The Austin, TX-based announced the availability of its integrated decisioning and management solution: ‘Optimization Simulation Environment’, to select charter clients including the credit card sector. It is the first such solution developed to capture and measure the causal relationships and interaction effects of all customer behaviors in a complete and structured manner. The result is a fully integrated decisioning environment that provides managers with detailed account-level action plans. While incorporating real-world business constraints and policy parameters, the plans provide recommendations that produce maximum economic returns to each account over the entire portfolio. Trajecta says simulation and optimization technologies, when systematically integrated with data mining, prediction and forecasting capabilities, will enable organizations to proactively and precisely recommend CRM decisions and maximize financial returns with much more certainty and confidence. In the credit card market, the ‘O.S.E.’ process will determine which company-controlled card variables such as APR, credit line, product type, fees and cross sales will maximize the organization’s risk-adjusted return and net operating income. This solution is derived from the comprehensive effects of such actions on losses, attrition, balances, fee income, revolving propensities and response rates over time.Details