The first transaction with the Desjardins ‘Mondex Electronic Cash Card’ in Sherbrooke, Quebec was made yesterday. More than 500 local merchants are participating in the e-cash card program. The ‘Desjardins Mondex Electronic Cash Card’ is the first time in Canada it will be possible for caisse Desjardins members to obtain a hybrid card which combines the functions of a debit and electronic cash card. Debit transactions are performed in the usual manner by a magnetic stripe on the back of the card and the electronic cash card function is performed by the chip on the front side. The ‘Desjardins Mondex Electronic Cash Card’ service will be gradually available from now until the end of the summer in the Sherbrooke area which includes the cities of Sherbrooke, Fleurimont, Rock Forest, Saint-Elie-d’Orford, Lennoxville and Ascot. Plans for the Quebec-wide use of the new card are still undetermined.Details
American Express and Delta Air Lines launched the ‘Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express’ Thursday. The ‘Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card’ has an annual fee of $135. The fee is $80 for cardholders who also carry an ‘American Express Personal Card’, ‘Gold Card’ or ‘Platinum Card’ account issued in their names. The interest rate for purchases is Prime + 9.99%. Benefits of the program include: free companion certificate each year upon renewal; 10,000 bonus ‘SkyMiles’ plus 5,000 base miles for new cardholders; 10,000 extra base miles if card volume exceeds $25,000 annually; and double miles for every Delta purchase.Details
Taste of Times Square(TOTS), one of New York City’s great outdoor food festivals showcasing area restaurants, will return to Times Square on Monday, June 28, 1998. Held on West 46th Street between Broadway and Ninth Avenue including the historic Restaurant Row, the event is a wonderful evening of fine food and entertainment beginning at 5:00 p.m. The event is organized by the Times Square Business Improvement District (the BID) and presented by MasterCard International. Korbel Chardonnay Champagne is the official sparkling wine and Jammin’ 105 is the official radio station.
The event features more than three dozen of Times Square’s great restaurants. Each restaurant provides “tastes” of their signature dishes which attendees can have in exchange for official Taste of Times Square tickets. In addition, more than a half dozen breweries will serve their featured beers.
Throughout the festival and at several bandstands guests are treated to dozens of top-notch local entertainment and classic New York street musicians. Featured this year will be a swing tent with music and dancing all evening.
There is no admission to the street festival, however TOTS coupons valued at $1 each can be purchased at the event and are redeemable for “tastes” and beverages at each of the booths. Come early for the best selection of food. Approximately 12,000 people attended TOTS in 1998.
“For the third consecutive year, MasterCard is proud to support New York City’s finest restaurants by presenting Taste of Times Square,” said Fred P. Gore, senior vice president, U.S. Acceptance Group, MasterCard International. “As the preferred payment brand, MasterCard is committed to supporting the great restaurants in the New York City community. With more than 16.2 million locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard card — including New York City’s Taste of Times Square.”
“Taste of Times Square is a wonderful showcase for dozens of the neighborhood’s great restaurants,” said Brendan Sexton, President of the Times Square BID. “There are more than 250 eateries in Times Square serving everything from haute cuisine to hamburgers. Taste of Times Square gives visitors, residents and employees a unique opportunity to sample many of these great restaurants in one location at one time.”
Since its creation seven years ago, the Times Square BID has worked aggressively to make the neighborhood cleaner, safer and friendlier for all who visit, live and work in Times Square. Supported by the area’s 400 property owners, the BID provides a full range of supplemental services, promotion for the area, advocacy for the interests of the local businesses, information to enhance economic development and public improvements. Learn more about the BID and Times Square at [www.timessquarebid.org].
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. Nearly 700 million MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and Mondex cards are in circulation today. With more than 16.2 million locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1998, gross dollar volume exceeded $650 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [www.mastercard.com].
MBNA America Bank, N.A., announced Thursday that the Boston Red Sox are extending their endorsement of MBNA’s credit card services.
MBNA now has the endorsement of 17 Major League Baseball teams and is the Official Credit Card Issuer of Major League Baseball. Nearly 900,000 MBNA customers carry a credit card endorsed by Major League Baseball or one of its teams.
The extension represents an important endorsement to MBNA’s Sports Sector, which remains one of the company’s fastest growing areas with more than 550 sports organizations endorsing MBNA products. These endorsements include Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the National Association of Stock Car Racing (NASCAR).
MBNA Corporation (NYSE: KRB), a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America, N.A., a national bank, has $62.1 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products.Details
NOVA Corporation (Georgia) reported Thursday that it expects earnings for fiscal 2000 will range between $1.48 and $1.52 per fully diluted share, reflecting an adjusted annual growth rate of approximately 31% to 35% over estimated 1999 earnings. The current average of analyst’s estimates calls for the Company to earn $1.72 per share during 2000, according to First Call Corp., which tracks such forecasts. The Company also confirmed that it expects earnings for 1999 to be in line with the current average of analyst expectations, or $1.13 per share.
In December 1998, NOVA announced plans to accelerate the integration of the operations of PMT Services, Inc. into NOVA. “As of May 31, 1999, we had completed the conversion of over 53,000 of PMT’s merchants to NOVA’s operating platform — on pace with our 1999 goal of 85,000 PMT merchants — and we have substantially integrated PMT’s corporate operations,” said Edward Grzedzinski, Chairman and CEO of NOVA Corporation. Grzedzinski continued, “Once we complete our full conversion plan for 1999, we will enter 2000 with nearly 100,000 merchants to convert, including approximately 30,000 PMT merchants. The number of merchants to be converted next year is somewhat larger than originally anticipated due to several small portfolio acquisitions completed so far in 1999. As a result, we need to increase the original estimate for conversion costs in 2000 by several million dollars.” The Company also said it expects to incur slightly higher costs for operating expenses, taxes and service delivery expenses, all of which contribute to the lower earnings estimate. Grzedzinski commented further by saying, “NOVA’s dramatic growth from internally generated and acquired business has resulted in the need to invest in additional resources necessary to maintain the level of service our customers expect. Superior service is critical to NOVA’s ability to retain its position as the value-added provider of choice for small-to medium-sized merchants and sustain our historical growth rates.” Grzedzinski is pleased with progress thus far on the PMT consolidation and, in particular, with new sales results.
“The combined NOVA/PMT sales results have exceeded our early expectations by adding over 27,000 new merchants during the first quarter of 1999, with an even better run-rate so far during the second quarter,” he said.
NOVA TO ACQUIRE MAJORITY INTEREST IN ECONEX, LLC
NOVA also announced today that it will make an additional equity investment in Econex, LLC, increasing its ownership interest from 19.6% to 51%. “Our additional investment in Econex is further evidence of NOVA’s commitment to provide small businesses with the payment and information processing services necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly changing business environment,” said Grzedzinski.
Launched in April of this year, Econex, LLC, is a provider of fully integrated, e-commerce solutions for the small-to-medium sized business market, offering an array of services that enable businesses to build and maintain internet storefronts and to sell products and services in a secure, on-line environment. The innovative Econex service offering includes website creation, maintenance and hosting services, complete on-line payment solutions featuring shopping cart, virtual cash register, sales tax and shipping capabilities, on-line transaction processing and bill presentment capabilities. “We expect our majority interest in Econex to result in increased expenses during 2000, but we also expect it to be an excellent strategic investment for customers and shareholders alike,” Grzedzinski said. He added, “We plan to make the additional investment in Econex early in the first quarter of 2000, and we look forward to working with our partners, KeyCorp, N.A. and FirstEnergy Corporation, on this exciting endeavor.”
BOARD AUTHORIZES $250 MILLION SHARE REPURCHASE PROGRAM
The Company also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program whereby NOVA may repurchase up to $250 million worth of its common shares. The share repurchase program authorizes the Company to make purchases from time-to-time in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions, subject to price, market considerations and applicable securities laws. No time limit was placed on the duration of the repurchase program. Repurchased common shares will be added to the Company’s treasury shares and may be used to meet requirements for benefit plans and other corporate purposes. As of March 31, 1999, NOVA had 72.9 million common shares outstanding.
“Given our opportunities in the marketplace, the strength of our sales and marketing efforts, and our solid financial position, we believe that NOVA shares represent a compelling value at current prices,” said Grzedzinski. He concluded his comments by saying, “The share repurchase program provides us with an opportunity to buy back our shares at exceptionally attractive prices. We are pleased that our strong cash position and available bank facilities will enable us to make share repurchases and, at the same time, continue to invest in our business and future growth.”
About NOVA Corporation
NOVA Corporation, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the five largest U.S. providers of integrated point of sale transaction processing services, related software application products and value-added services, primarily to small- to medium-sized merchants. For further information about NOVA Corporation, please visit the Company’s Internet website at www.novacorp.net.
Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This press contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). When used in this report, the words “may,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan” and similar expressions or statements regarding future periods are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on various expectations and assumptions concerning future events, which by their nature involve substantial risks and uncertainties beyond NOVA Corporation’s control. Forward-looking statements may also be made in NOVA’s other reports filed under the Exchange Act, press releases, and other documents; as well as by NOVA management in oral statements. NOVA undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for NOVA to predict all of such factors. Further, NOVA cannot assess the impact of each such factor on its business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.Details
IL-based uBid, Inc., an online auction e-commerce site, Thursday announced a multi-year credit card marketing agreement with First USA. As part of the marketing agreement, a co-branded credit card will be developed and offered to uBid’s more than 377,000 registered users. By using the credit card, uBid cardholders will be able to earn points for use in purchasing merchandise and taking part in promotional offerings. To date First USA has more than 1,500 marketing partners.Details
CyberCash, Inc. reported Wednesday that the number of Internet merchants using CyberCash’s online CashRegister service increased by nearly 300 percent from May 1998 through May 1999. The Reston, Virginia-based e-commerce company attributed a significant amount of this growth to partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, Compaq and Concentric that have resulted in CyberCash payment services being included in most e-commerce solutions on the market today.
According to CyberCash president and chief operating officer, Jim Condon, the company currently has more than 2000 registered partners that integrate CyberCash products and services into their e-commerce solutions. Further, he said that more than 100,000 merchants in the physical brick and mortar world use CyberCash’s ICVERIFY payment software.
“If anyone takes a close look at e-commerce today, they will quickly realize that CyberCash payment services are baked into almost every offering in the market today” said Condon. “Whether you’re a software developer, a commerce service provider, or a merchant looking to build a business on the Internet or in the physical world, there’s a good chance you’re using CyberCash. Another way to say this is, if it involves electronic payments, CyberCash is probably under the hood. This has been an important part of our strategy for growth,” Condon said.
Condon added that CyberCash is adding e-commerce products and services to its offerings as a result of merchant demand for additional tools to simplify the business of e-commerce.
“Early on CyberCash demonstrated a commitment to understanding our goal of providing small and medium-sized businesses with the tools needed to quickly and easily grow their business on the Web,” said Henry R. Nothhaft, chairman, president and CEO of Concentric Network. “CyberCash’s extensive portfolio of services, flexible distribution model and leadership in the online payment arena surpassed the competition, making our final decision to partner with them simple.”
“CyberCash offers our joint customers a wide range of Internet payment solutions, and Microsoft is excited about CyberCash’s growing success,” said Michael Pinckney, Microsoft E-Commerce industry manager. “As a member of the Microsoft E-Commerce Alliance, CyberCash will enjoy even more opportunities for growth through collaboration with Microsoft Certified Solution Providers and other E-Commerce Alliance members, and Microsoft looks forward to our continued relationship.”
“CyberCash offers both the expertise and experience in providing leading Internet payment technologies,” said Steve Savignano, senior vice president and general manager of the Application Products Division for the Sun-Netscape Alliance. “As part of its commitment to providing a comprehensive online selling solution right out of the box, the Sun-Netscape Alliance is leveraging CyberCash’s payment products and services to offer advanced payment processing for Alliance customers’ e-commerce applications solutions.”
In addition to its significant partnerships and relationships in both the physical and virtual worlds of e-commerce payments, CyberCash has begun building impressive partnerships to advance the company’s innovative InstaBuy(TM) one-click shopping service.
Last year, First USA became the first financial institution to announce its participation in the InstaBuy program. First USA plans to issue VersaPay electronic wallets to its millions of card holders and other consumers on the Internet. VersaPay is powered by the InstaBuy technology.
“As a result of these important relationships, thousands of online merchants will be able to offer millions of online consumers the safety and convenience of the InstaBuy one-click shopping and Agile Wallet(TM) technology. That’s why we are confident that InstaBuy will play an increasingly important role in the acceptance of electronic wallets on the Internet,” said Denis Yaro, executive vice president, CyberCash.
“Ubiquity, extensibility of solution, and agility are three critical components of a successful payment processing model in the Internet era,” said Scott Smith, president of Tera Group, a strategic advisory firm in McLean, Virginia. “CyberCash has focused sharply on these important issues, and is now reaping the rewards of being a pioneer in the online payment world. Tera expects CyberCash to continue to set the pace by which other payment technology providers mark their progress.”
CyberCash provides a complete line of software products and services allowing merchants, billers, financial institutions and consumers to conduct secure transactions using the broadest array of popular payment forms. Credit, debit, purchase cards, cash, checks, smart cards and alternative payment types (e.g., “frequent buyer” or loyalty programs) are all supported by CyberCash payment solutions. Leading brands of CyberCash include ICVERIFY(R), PCVERIFY(TM), CashRegister , NetVERIFY(TM), PayNow(TM) and InstaBuy(TM).
CyberCash, the CyberCash logo, Agile Wallet, ICVERIFY and InstaBuy are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of CyberCash, Inc.Details
Silicon Alley-based Cha! Technologies Services, Inc. announced yesterday the appointment of Heidi Goff as chief executive officer. A MasterCard veteran with over 20 years of payment systems experience and an entrepreneur, Ms. Goff will lead Cha! in the market introduction of 1ClickCharge, its single-click Internet payment service designed for “convenience e-commerce.”
Ms. Goff brings to Cha! a well-established and highly regarded payments systems background. Contributing extensive management experience and a history of growing small business into profitable contributors, Ms. Goff joins Cha! at an exciting juncture as the company prepares to bring to market the 1ClickCharge service. “As CEO, Heidi brings valuable relationships throughout the entire payment services industry, including the leading IT corporations, banks and payment processors in the U.S. and abroad,” said Brian Smiga, Cha!’s vice president of marketing and business development. “These relationships will help us build 1ClickCharge into the first and only 100% hosted single-click payment system on the Internet,” he added.
Cha!’s unique patented authentication protocol is the core technology within the 1ClickCharge service, and provides a trusted, easy-to-adopt system to verify anonymous parties on the Internet for secure exchanges. The initial focus of 1ClickCharge is on digital content at any price point, enabling consumers to conveniently make small content purchases with their credit cards, without the hassle of re-entering credit card and personal information every time. Since 1ClickCharge aggregates small purchases and requires no merchant-side hardware or software, Web sites can quickly begin turning content into revenue. Ubiquity of 1ClickCharge throughout the Internet is the company’s goal, and Ms. Goff’s experience and industry contacts are a valuable addition. “The market for instant, easy, cash-like payments on the Internet will be enormous, and merchants are looking for an easy to adopt, secure payment method. We believe our patented authentication technology will help us lead this space,” said Ms. Goff. “My vision for the company is to lead payment processing for easy Internet purchases under $20,” she added. Most recently, Ms. Goff was executive vice president, Strategy and Marketing Development for Global Payment Systems, an L.L.C of National Data Corporation and MasterCard International, and one of the world’s largest merchant payment processors with more than more than 2.7 billion transactions annually for more than 700,000 merchants. Prior to that, Ms. Goff served for 12 years in increasing responsible positions for MasterCard International, most recently as Senior Vice President working on strategic alliances, Internet initiatives, and the MasterCard merchant processing services. She has also held previous positions at Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and IBM.
Ms. Goff has extensive speaking experience through the world including the opportunity to testify to the United States House of Representatives Banking Committee on the “Future of Money”, July 1995. She has authored articles and trade publications on emerging payment technologies including National Productivity Review, ABA POS Debit Guidelines, and Business Requirements for Private Sector ACH. She headed the Education and Communications Committee of the CalWestern Automated ClearingHouse Association and continues to participate in strategic development of emerging technology. Cha!, a business-to-consumer Internet payment service company in New York’s Silicon Alley, is focused on single-click Internet purchasing, a market space it calls “convenience e-commerce(tm)”. The company plans to establish its 1ClickCharge(tm) service as the dominant payment system for single-click transactions under $20. Cha! is privately held and was founded in 1996.Details
The American Bankers Association reported yesterday that slightly more consumers are struggling with credit card debt while the actual dollars that are considered late went down. Based on the total number of credit card accounts, 3.58% of cardholders were late with their card payments in the first quarter of 1999, compared to 3.45% percent in the fourth quarter of 1998 and compared to 3.11% for first quarter 1998. First quarter credit card delinquencies, based on the ratio of total dollars outstanding, dropped to 4.44% from 4.62% in the fourth quarter of 1998. One year ago, delinquencies, based on past due dollars, stood at 5.42%. The discrepancy between the two measurements is largely attributed to the surge in sub-prime card programs. Sub-prime card issuers ranging from First Premier Bank to Capital One now open bank credit card accounts with credit limits as low as $100.
ABA FIRST QUARTER DELINQUENCY HISTORICAL
(30+ days past due)
YEAR ACCTS DOLLARS YEAR ACCTS DOLLARS
1984 2.14% 2.84% 1992 2.86% 4.31%
1985 2.51% 3.10% 1993 2.74% 3.98%
1986 2.86% 4.92% 1994 2.54% 3.51%
1987 2.33% 3.71% 1995 3.18% 3.50%
1988 2.54% 3.71% 1996 3.53% 4.62%
1989 2.54% 3.39% 1997 3.51% 5.43%
1990 2.18% 3.29% 1998 3.11% 5.42%
1991 3.34% 4.55% 1999 3.58% 4.44%
Source: American Bankers Association “Consumer Credit Bulletin”Details
Southern DataComm, Incorporated, an electronic payments solutions provider, has implemented Network! ProtoBase!, its integrated credit and charge card processing software, at ClubCorp Resort’s Pinehurst in North Carolina, site of this year’s US Open Championship golf tournament June 17th – 20th.
With this installation, Southern DataComm provides its multi-platform credit and charge card processing software, ProtoBase(r) with SofTrans(r), PbAdmin(tm), and Network! ProtoBase!(tm), to Property, Restaurant, and Retail/Golf Shop/Tee Time Management system sites located throughout Pinehurst. Using Network! ProtoBase!, SDC software connects locations several miles apart, enabling Pinehurst to consolidate credit card transactions from its more than 100 point-of-sale locations. Pinehurst staff can now provide centralized authorization and settlement of transactions for hotel check in and check out, restaurant meals, tee-time management, and pro shop purchases.
Michael Schubach, Director of Information Technology for ClubCorp Resorts, commented, “Southern DataComm’s ProtoBase products provide consolidation of the hundreds of credit card transactions that are run daily throughout Pinehurst. Their software is extremely flexible and is compatible with a variety of system configurations and platforms, which is essential for us. Their technical support staff has been excellent as well, helping us through every phase of network design and implementation of their products. As the world’s leader in golf resorts, ClubCorp Resorts selected Southern DataComm as the obvious answer to our credit card processing needs.”
ProtoBase with SofTrans, PbAdmin, and Network! ProtoBase! are integrated into multiple systems at Pinehurst, including: MICROS’ 8700 Restaurant system; a Hotel Information System (HIS) AS/400 Front Desk/Property Management system; a Merchant Technologies (MT) Prism Pro Shop/Retail POS System; and multiple stand-beside terminals connected via LodgeLink, a joint venture between Southern DataComm and VeriFone.
All credit card purchases are consolidated into a single network server at settlement time. Transactions are sent to a ProtoBase Remote Switching Module, then routed to the First Data Merchant Services transaction processor via dual, facility-independent frame relay connections.
The consolidation and networking of all credit card transactions alleviates the need of settling multiple locations individually, as all transactions are located on a single server. This saves Pinehurst major processing time and money over non-integrated methods. The ProtoBase software also provides detailed reporting for a complete audit trail and eases the chargeback research burden.
Southern DataComm, Incorporated is a software development firm, founded in 1985, specializing in electronic payment software solutions. Southern DataComm products provide a generic interface to enable simple integration into point-of-sale systems. The software supports transaction processing for credit/debit/check with virtually any third-party processor or acquirer. The applications support a variety of vertical markets including Lodging, Restaurant, Auto Rental, Retail, Gaming, Grocery, Mail and Phone Order, Subscriber Management, Cable TV, Public Utilities, Internet, Medical, and Government. Southern DataComm is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida.
Founded and headquartered in Dallas in 1957, ClubCorp is the world’s largest owner and operator of golf, private clubs, and resorts with assets of $1.1 billion and a collection of more than 230 premier properties located throughout the world. Members of the ClubCorp family include Pinehurst (Village of Pinehurst, NC), the world’s largest golf resort and site of the 1999 U.S. Open; The Homestead, founded in 1766 and America’s first resort (Hot Springs, VA); Mission Hills Country Club (Rancho Mirage, CA), home of the Nabisco Dinah Shore Classic; Firestone Country Club (Akron, OH), host of the 1999 NEC Invitational; Metropolitan Club (Sears Tower, Chicago); City Club of San Francisco; Capital Club (Beijing) and The Tower Club (Singapore).Details
Total System Services launched the ‘TSYS Total Commerce’ system Wednesday, an integrated supply chain management system for business-to-business electronic commerce. Built on TSYS’ ‘SureTransact’ family of electronic commerce products and GCS’ ‘Java’ technology based ‘Commerce.com’ suite of products, TSYS ‘Total Commerce’ is designed to deliver real-time access over the Internet to financial data stored in mainframe, legacy systems. The product was jointly developed by TSYS and Global Commerce Systems. TSYS ‘Total Commerce’ is the first in a series of co-branded turn-key products TSYS and GCS will package and jointly market aimed at facilitating managed Internet commerce between large companies, their trading partners and customers.Details