Depositions in the U.S. Department of Justice anti-trust litigation with VISA and MasterCard continues this week. This morning Charles Walsh will be deposed followed tomorrow by Capital One’s Richard Fairbanks. Also testifying this week: Shalish Mehta of Providian; Charlie Hagerty and Beverly Wells of Wachovia; and Charles Doyle of the Texas Independent Bankers Association. Depositions for executives of VISA and MasterCard will begin Sept. 13 and will continue through Nov. 9. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, agreed to move the trial date from Feb. 8, 2000 to June 5, 2000. Both VISA and MasterCard requested an eight month extension but only got four months.Details
Trintech announced this morning a technical alliance with Intershop Communications to offer on-line retailers full-featured e-commerce solutions using SSL or SET security standards. Trintech’s ‘PayWare Net’ payment processing technology has been enhanced to provide a seamless complement to Intershop’s storefront software. As a result of the alliance, Intershop’s e-commerce customers can use the enhanced version of PayWare Net for securely accepting and processing card payments on Windows NT and UNIX platforms. A single plug-in developed by Trintech provides the interoperability between the two companies’ solutions. Trintech is responsible for all the sales and support associated with the plug-in.Details
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. the leader in applying wireless technology to the payments industry, announced last week the company has signed a two-year transaction processing agreement with Westamerica Bank Inc.. Under the terms of the agreement, Westamerica Bank will offer high-speed credit card authorization services utilizing USWD’s Wireless Express Payment Service to new and existing merchants of Westamerica Bank. The new transaction processing service will be marketed through Westamerica Bank branch offices.
Westamerica Bank is one of the leading providers of banking services to businesses in the Northern California area. Westamerica Bank processes for over 1,000 merchants. In 1998 Westamerica Bank processed over $500 million in card sales.
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.
WEPS provides faster transaction authorizations, averaging 3-5 seconds versus the typical 12-15 seconds in a dial-up environment. It also eliminates the need and cost of a separate telephone line for the payment terminal and affords terminal mobility since there is no need to be connected to a land- based line. WEPS is ideal for merchants who need to manage long lines at the point of sale or who need to authorize bank cards in a fixed or mobile environment, such as fast food restaurants or taxi and limousine services.
Ray Chow, Vice President of operations at Westamerica Bank, commented: “Westamerica Bank is excited to be able to offer Wireless Express Payment Service to our customers. Wireless credit card processing opens revenue opportunities for Westamerica with new types of businesses such as quick service restaurants. Also, WEPS strongly differentiates Westamerica Bank in this highly competitive marketplace.”
“We are beginning to see strong acceptance of wireless credit card processing with Wireless Express Payment Service(SM), said Dean Leavitt, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Wireless Data. “This partnership is very important to us as it bolsters our new business model which is for USWD to serve as an enabler to the acquiring industry for wireless transaction processing solutions.”
Westamerica Bancorporation (http://www.westamerica.com) operates as a multi-bank holding company for Westamerica Bank and Bank of Lake County. Westamerica Bank, with $3.7 billion in assets, has 85 Northern and Central California branches. Bank of Lake County, with $91 million in assets, has 4 offices in Lake County.
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.
Forward-Looking Statements: Certain information above contains forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties. While the management of the Company believes that current expectations reflect reasonable assumptions, no assurances can be given that the Company will achieve its goals. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: the Company’s requirement for additional capital; failure of the Company to raise additional capital critical to continue ongoing operations, the failure to execute definitive agreements with potential strategic alliance partners; technological change; the ability of the Company to develop new distribution channels; or the intensification of competition. The reports filed by the Company pursuant to United States securities laws contain a detailed discussion of these factors and certain other risks to which the Company is subject. Management of the Company advises the reader to review these reports (which are available from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database at [http://www.sec.gov] and at various other Commission reference facilities in the United States) before making an investment decision regarding the Company or its securities.
National City Corp. confirmed this morning that it has no plans either to extend or to amend its tender offer for all the publicly traded outstanding common shares of National Processing that it does not currently own. National City currently owns approximately 88% of NP’s outstanding shares. The current offer of $9.50 per share is conditioned upon acceptance by a majority of the outstanding shares not currently owned by National City Corporation, and will expire at midnight tonight. Two weeks ago National Processing’s Special Committee of its Board of Directors said Natl City’s tender offer is inadequate and is out to squeeze NPC’s minority shareholders. The Special Committee urged NPC’s minority shareholders to reject the National City tender offer.Details
Home Account, the leading provider of Internet-based financial service solutions, announced Friday that it has established a Professional Services division focused on working with companies of all types to take full advantage of the new financial service business opportunities afforded by the Internet.
“This new division demonstrates Home Account’s commitment to enabling companies of all types and sizes to use the Internet as a highly effective way to build and enhance financial service customer relationships,” said Randy Kahn, chief operating officer of Home Account.
Preston C. Polk, formerly vice president of strategic planning for First Data Corporation, leads the new unit as Home Account’s senior vice president of Professional Services. Prior to joining First Data Corporation, Mr. Polk was with Booz-Allen & Hamilton in New York, where he consulted with financial institutions on the development of new markets, the use of technology, and retail delivery strategies.
Today, most financial service companies are simply using the Web as a method of distributing marketing information or delivering simplistic transactional capabilities such as bill payment. Home Account Professional Services is focused on helping companies develop more broadly based financial service Internet strategies and capabilities to effectively harness the full power of the Internet, enabling them to deliver more value for customers in a fully integrated fashion. Current consulting projects range from the development of Internet delivery strategies for major financial institutions to the design and development of Internet-only banks.
“Financial service companies should be asking themselves questions such as, ‘How are we using the Internet for strategic branding? What types of products and services should we deliver over the Internet and what types of customers should we target? What types of alliances should we form with other financial service providers?'” said Polk. “Instead of just helping our clients put up a Web storefront with links to other sites, we will guide clients through the innovative business models required to transform the Internet into a revenue-producing venture.”
Home Account Professional Services is staffed by an internal team of technology and financial experts and also draws on the expertise of seasoned industry consultants. Its charter includes strategic technology consulting, as well as developing specific software, services and applications for clients.
About Home Account
Home Account delivers home banking, financial management and electronic commerce solutions to banks, brokerages and other financial service organizations. Home Account’s products include: Canopy Server(tm), an OFX (Open Financial Exchange) financial services platform that allows distribution of services through multiple channels; Canopy Advisor(tm), a strategic financial planning system for use by individuals and financial professionals; Canopy First ™, a family of outsourced, scalable and brandable Internet products and services for financial institutions, card issuers and brokerages; Canopy Card(tm) innovative Internet account access programs for card issuers; Canopy Business(tm) Internet-based cash management services for business customers; and Canopy Clients(tm), a series of financial management user interfaces.
Home Account is headquartered in Emeryville, Calif., with offices in Charleston, S.C., Omaha, Neb., Los Angeles and Atlanta.Details
San Francisco-based NextCard announced this morning it will be featured on the ‘Kodak Picture CD’, enabling consumers to interactively design and apply for a ‘NextCard Internet VISA’ by choosing among their photos and various card styles. The ‘Kodak Picture CD’, developed and marketed with Intel, provides the benefits of digital pictures, without the need for a digital camera, so that pictures and easy-to-use software applications are integrated on one CD The ‘NextCard Internet VISA’ will be featured in the “Interactive Marketplace” and “Internet Adventures” sections on Volume 2, Issue 3, of the CD, which will be available at approximately 40,000 retail outlets next week. To get a ‘Picture CD’, consumers take pictures using a traditional film camera, then order the CD by simply checking the box on the film-processing envelope provided at any retailer offering Kodak photofinishing.Details
First Data reported last week that total card accounts on file for its Card Issuer Services unit were up 13%, led by debit card accounts that increased 57%. FDC’s second quarter earnings report also showed that the Merchant Processing Services unit continued to perform well with revenues up 14% in the quarter to $393 million and operating profits up 24%. MPS reflects strong volume growth, and the effect of pricing and cost management initiatives implemented during the second half of 1998. Total merchant card dollar volume for the quarter grew 20%. Payment Instruments revenues, including Western Union, grew 20% to $503 million, fueled by growth in international money transfer. During the quarter, Western Union launched money transfer service to Cuba where it has opened more than 30 locations. For more details on FDC’s 2Q/99 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
NJ-based Shoppers Charge Accounts has signed a long-term contract with Fiserv to use the ‘PLUS (Private Label Universal Services) System’ to automate the information-processing functions of its national retail credit business. In addition to the ‘PLUS System’, SCA also licensed the Fiserv ‘easyACCESS REPORTS’ system computerized system reports archival. SCA currently designs, finances, manages and markets private-label credit programs for nearly 100 retailers with more than 1,500 stores in 49 states.Details
CompuCredit Corporation announced it has formed a new subsidiary, AspireCard.com, Inc., and has launched its own web site ([www.AspireCard.com]) through which it will market Aspire Visa credit cards to meet the demand for real time approval for credit cards on-line.
“The formation of this new company allows CompuCredit to apply its proprietary credit modeling techniques to the dynamic marketplace of e-commerce through the Internet,” said Richard House, president of the new company. “After completing a credit application on-line through our AspireCard.com site, the applicant will have an answer within seconds. On-line, in real time: Only a few select credit card companies do this currently and what makes us different is our ability to approve consumers who are declined for credit by others,” he stated.
“Our research into the business of on-line credit card marketing confirmed what we already believed — that the vast majority of those applying for general purpose credit cards on-line were being denied,” House noted.
While still preparing for the launch of AspireCard.com, CompuCredit entered into a marketing agreement with LendingTree, Inc., the on-line loan marketplace, to market the Aspire Visa credit card on its network. “That experience taught us in a very short time that we could offer our credit cards to people who were declined by others,” said House.
Interested consumers may access the new service from the web by entering [www.AspireCard.com], then clicking on the application icon. Upon completion of the application, consumers will be informed within seconds as to their approval status, applicable interest rate and credit limit.
AspireCard.com, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CompuCredit Corporation, promotes the Aspire Visa credit card and various other value-added products and services on the Internet. CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses technology based analytical techniques it has developed to identify credit-worthy consumers who it believes are not currently being served by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets Aspire Visa credit cards to these consumers on an unsecured basis. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July of this year and was recently named one of Georgia’s 50 Most Valuable Public Companies by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
De Novo Corporation, a consulting and communications holding company announced a joint venture with John A. Almash, formerly Senior Vice President of Global Planning and Information Services for MasterCard International. Most Recently, Mr. Almash was Executive Vice President of Decisions for Directions, Inc., a consumer research consultancy. Mr. Almash has joined the joint venture, Stratcom, LLC, as President. Stratcom is an information and competitive intelligence services company.
Mr. Almash also worked in senior positions at PepsiCo and General Foods. He is an experienced business strategist and researcher in financial services, packaged goods, retailing and telecommunications.
Stratcom provides services targeted to Fortune 1000 companies, which include database analytics, modeling, marketing consulting, planning, business and consumer intelligence. Stratcom is headquartered in Massapequa, New York with additional offices in Hockessin, Delaware and Toronto, Canada.
William F. Keenan, President of De Novo Corporation said, “John has an excellent track record helping organizations understand their customers and building corresponding bridges to influence profits. He is well respected and has many admirers amongst his peers and we look forward to working with him and the Stratcom team.”
Mr. Almash said, “I look forward to aggressively growing the business by helping clients gain insights into growing profits by converting information into actionable knowledge. We are invested heavily in technology infrastructure and will continue to recruit `best in class’ talent from a variety of industries.”
De Novo Corporation, based in Hockessin, Delaware, is a privately-held holding company. Wholly-owned subsidiaries include Creative Solutions International, a direct response-advertising agency; Convergence Group, an international management consultancy; and Owen/Holleway Group, a Canadian based general and on-line advertising agency.Details
PULSE EFT Association and Cincinnati-based Midwest Payment Systems Thursday announced the selection of MPS as the vendor to perform off-line debit services for PULSE.
“Based on demonstrably superior performance, product offering and overall economic value, MPS represents the preferred solution to meet our members’ needs,” said Stan Paur, PULSE president and CEO.
In 1996, PULSE introduced its offering of PULSE Debit Support Service (PULSE(R) DSS), a new PULSE branded debit card authorization and support service for its member institutions. This service provides members with a single source, turnkey solution for all their debit product needs. PULSE DSS provides a broad range of debit card authorization and support services for the MasterMoney(tm) and Visa Check Card(R) products.
It is anticipated that in addition to supporting the features, functionality and operational processes of the current Visa Check and MasterMoney off-line debit service offered by PULSE, MPS will provide enhanced product features, functions and service levels.
“This means added benefits to those members who currently participate in PULSE DSS,” Paur said. “There will be no material system changes for existing DSS customers and we expect that this new relationship will produce operational efficiencies and will result in a reduction in processing fees to our DSS clients,” he noted.
“As a major network in the South and Central regions of the United States, PULSE significantly strengthens our position as a major provider of electronic processing services in that area,” said Barry L. Boerstler, MPS executive vice president.
To facilitate the evaluation and selection of a vendor, PULSE distributed a detailed Request for Proposal (“RFP”) to potential vendors last year. PULSE was assisted in the RFP process, evaluation and vendor selection by Paragon Data Services, L.L.C., of Dearborn, Mich.
“The ultimate decision arrived at by the staff and a committee of PULSE’s directors was predicated on a variety of factors including service competency, program enhancement and cost,” Paur said. “For the past five months, we have explored options relative to the PULSE DSS vendor selection project and we are very pleased to be working with Midwest Payment Systems as our new service provider.
“The strategic relationship between PULSE and MPS will be enhanced because the companies share many of the same fundamental business objectives,” Paur said. “Both organizations are customer driven and strive to provide world class service to their customers at a low cost,” he said.
PULSE DSS currently is switching more than 2 million off-line debit transactions per month for 43 financial institutions with nearly 310,000 cardholders. The association anticipates that more than 20 million PULSE DSS transactions will be processed in 1999.
PULSE is a not-for-profit, shared electronic funds transfer network comprised of more than 2,000 member banks, credit unions and thrifts in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The network features more than 43,000 ATMs and more than 186,000 PULSE PAY point-of-sale terminals.
MPS, a subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp, was ranked No. 1 EFT provider by Faulkner & Gray in 1998. MPS processes more than 2.9 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 55,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide, including Federated Department Stores, The Kroger Co., Macy’s and CompUSA.
Fifth Third is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati. The company, which is Y2K ready, has $31.6 billion in assets, operates 12 affiliated banks with 484 Banking Centers, including 106 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days a week in select grocery stores and 1,188 Jeanie(R) ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Arizona and Michigan. Fifth Third’s financial strength is recognized by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and Aa2 and deposit ratings of A1+ and P1 from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively.
Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank’s data processing subsidiary.
The company’s common stock is traded in the over-the-counter market through the Nasdaq National Market System under the symbol “FITB”.
Investor information and press releases can be viewed at [www.53.com]. Press releases are also available by fax at no charge by calling 800/758-5804, ext. 281775.
Liberty Card Services, already recognized as one of the credit union movement’s leading card providers, has sold its 3-millionth card. Only seven months ago, the company celebrated its 2-millionth card sold.
First Education Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne, Wyo., placed the milestone order for design and manufacturing of a new Visa(R) credit card. “We’d been talking about designing a new credit card for four years,” said Kathy Boheler, Vice President, First Education FCU. “Liberty Card Services made it happen. They did a terrific job recognizing our needs and goals and representing them in the design of our new card. Visa(R) even complimented us on the design. Now that’s a real testimony.”
The card depicts a sculpture located outside the Laramie County Public Library called “Story Books.”
“It was very important for us to make a connection with our members,” said Boheler. “We knew our education-based membership would appreciate the image of the ‘Story Books’ sculpture. It certainly represents the goal of our wonderful members: to educate the children of Laramie County.”
As part of a new partnership project with Liberty Direct Marketing, Liberty Card Services is also providing First Education FCU with a comprehensive point-of-sale marketing package called Direct Visual for Cards. This new product will help First Education FCU promote its new card through personalized posters, flyers, and teller mats. Direct Visual for Cards is now available to all Liberty credit union customers.
Since 1995, Liberty Card Services has provided a full range of award winning ATM, credit and debit card design, manufacturing and personalization services. “We’re delighted to create the opportunity in which the First Education member will see their reflection, their community, their credit union in their credit card,” said John Mattes, president of Liberty Card Services. “We are thrilled with the confidence placed in us by the hundreds of credit unions for whom we’ve provided manufacturing and personalizing services.”
Liberty Card Services is part of the growing Liberty family of credit union-focused companies. Recognized as the credit union movement’s leading provider of payment systems and marketing services, Liberty serves nearly 4,500 credit unions in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
For more information, contact Rick Foy, Liberty public relations manager, at 800-607-2435, ext. 2436.Details