Gemplus will announce this morning a new software technology that will simplify smart card-based application development and deployment, enable card and terminal independence, and allow for web-based maintainability. ‘smartX’ separates application development from the complexity of smart card device management, a breakthrough that for the first time allows easy implementation of the same application on different types or generations of smart card. Based on the XML standard, ‘smartX’ allows developers to write smart card applications independent of manufacturer-specific card management protocols, essentially enabling them to write virtual smart card objects that are platform (card and terminal) independent. Gemplus said it expects that ‘smartX’ technology will increase considerably the number of new generation smart cards being developed using popular programming languages such as Java technology, C++ and Visual Basic and will leverage widely deployed legacy systems. The company says not only will smart card applications leveraging ‘smartX’ technology have an enormous time-to-market advantage over their competitors, it also opens the market to a greater number of developers. Gemplus expects ‘smartX’ to accelerate the adoption of smart card technology to enhance applications such as electronic commerce, loyalty, banking, and access control.Details
NextCard and PlanetOut, the largest gay and lesbian online community, announced this morning a joint Internet marketing agreement to offer co-branded products and card services for PlanetOut members. Under the terms of the $11 million agreement, NextCard and PlanetOut will collaborate to offer the ‘PlanetOut VISA’ card for the site’s members and partners late this summer. NextCard says the ‘PlanetOut VISA’ will let customers demonstrate their economic power, and recognize their identity and relationships through NextCard’s ‘PictureCard’ personalization program.Details
Convincing employees about the value of merchant loyalty programs can provide a giant boost for program success, Fun Miles Antilles Acting Managing Director Udi Lesser told attendees of an industry conference last week. “If your employees are personally convinced that your company’s product is the best–and that your loyalty program provides value for your customers–they can do miracles,” said Lesser in a training and motivation speech entitled Using Employees to Promote Your Loyalty Program.
Lesser advised merchants to devise comprehensive loyalty program implementation plans prior to beginning, with goals for the programs clearly spelled out. A key plan element is obtaining employee buy-in. Lesser indicated that merchants’ own employees should be the first members of their loyalty programs. He said, “If the merchants’ employees are receiving value from their own programs, they will be motivated to communicate that value to their customers.”
Fun Miles installed the first customer loyalty management system in the Caribbean in late 1998, using Hypercom’s Ascendent(TM) Loyalty Management System (LMS) and card payment terminals. The Fun Miles loyalty program uses magnetic stripe cards at participating merchants’ points of sale to credit consumers with accumulated loyalty points they can redeem towards discounts on airline tickets and other promotional items.
Fun Miles Antilles was founded in 1998. Headquartered in Curacao, Fun Miles Antilles is a program that enables Netherlands’s Antilles merchants to reward their customers with discounts on travel and travel-related expenses.
Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-function point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, Ascendent payment and transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions. On a global basis Hypercom(R) delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications. These applications provide competitive value-added programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com].
Los Angeles-based Bank Plus continues to deal with the fallout of its sub-prime credit card ventures. Total credit card portfolio delinquencies were 20.2% at May 31, 1999 compared to 16.8% at March 31, 1999. At May 31 total outstanding credit card balances were $291.9 million, a net decrease of $18.7 million from the March 31 balances. The delinquency rates for Bank Plus’ portfolio breaks out as follows: 6.4% for 30-59 days; 4.5% for 60-89 days; 3.2% for 90-119 days; 3.0% for 120-149 days; and 3.1% for 150+ days. For more information on Bank Plus visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Mondex is coming to South Korea. MasterCard Korea, Kookmin Bank, Korea Credit Communication Inc., the Amdahl Corp., KDB Capital and TeraSource Venture Capital will form the new franchise, Mondex Korea. Korea Telecom also announced last week a strategic alliance with Mondex Korea, whereby Korea Telecom plans to make the Korean telecoms infrastructure Mondex-compatible, including around one million public payphones. South Korea is currently Asia’s second largest card market, with MasterCard dominates. Mondex is globally interoperable and now is under development in 60 countries including 18 territories in Asia Pacific. The first Mondex smartcards in Korea will be launched at COEX, a high-tech intelligent building complex in Samsung-dong, Kangnam-ku. The hybrid smart card will provide multiple applications such as Mondex, MasterCard credit, Maestro debit and access entry, and a loyalty program. COEX is planning to go live with the cards as early as next year and it will be used by 50,000 employees as well as 200,000 visitors a day to the trade centre. Over 35,000 Mondex cards are to be issued to Hanyang University students later this year and will be used as student ID and for purchases at the campus’ cafeteria, bookstores and other stores off campus.Details
AT&T announced yesterday the promotion of H. Eugene (Gene) Lockhart, 49, currently executive vice president and the company’s chief marketing officer, to the new position of president, AT&T Consumer Services.
Lockhart replaces Daniel H. Schulman, who is leaving AT&T to become president and COO of Priceline.com.
“Gene has an impressive record of marketing to demanding, savvy consumers in highly competitive environments,” said John D. Zeglis, president of AT&T. “His talent and experience make him the ideal choice for president of AT&T Consumer Services, with responsibility for the development, marketing, and after-sale care of segment-specific service bundles.” Lockhart will report to Zeglis.
Prior to joining AT&T in January 1999, Lockhart was president of Bank America Corporation’s Global Retail Bank, where he was responsible for the consumer, commercial, and small business banking services delivered through more than 3,000 branches around the world. Prior to joining BankAmerica, he was president and CEO of MasterCard International and CEO of Midland Bank PLC, where he was responsible for all consumer and corporate banking services in the United Kingdom.
Lockhart is on the Board of Directors of RJR Nabisco Holdings, the First Republic Bank, IMS Health, Inc., and the Academy of Arts in London. He is also a trustee of the Alumni Board of the University of Virginia, where he received his MBA and B.S. degrees.
He lives with his wife and four children in Greenwich, Conn.Details
PMG Systems, Inc., provider of profitability and activity-based costing software, and BancWare, Inc., provider of asset-liability and transfer pricing software, announced Thursday that they have formed an alliance to jointly market their products and services. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will conduct joint marketing and sales activities that leverage the strengths and experience of both sales and marketing teams to maximize sales to financial institutions worldwide.
“Increasingly, banks are looking for comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for delivering management information across the entire institution,” said Frank Donny, senior vice president of marketing at PMG Systems. “By leveraging BancWare’s premier product line and expertise, our solutions will be complemented by BancWare’s robust Insight funds transfer pricing software. In addition, we can now extend our offering to include asset-liability management and other critical solution areas.”
“Matt Mandalinci, president of BancWare commented, “We are very pleased to be working with PMG Systems. This deal represents the “best of breed” solution where BancWare provides the Funds Transfer Pricing and PMG Systems provides the profitability products.”
The products covered under the agreement include BancWare’s Insight funds transfer pricing software, Convergence asset-liability management software and ViewPoint, an advanced analytical solution for complex scenario modeling, and risk management software. PMG Systems’ full product line will be co-marketed by the two companies, including CPMS (Customer Profitability Management System), IPMS (Integrated Profit Management System), PWS (Profitability Workstation), CMW (Cost Management Workstation), Customer Profitability Workbench (CPW) and Planning and Budgeting Workbench (PBW).
About PMG Systems
Based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, PMG Systems offers leading-edge profitability measurement and activity-based costing software for financial institutions worldwide. Its principal products are the Customer Profitability Management System, Integrated Profit Management System, Cost Management Workstation, and Profitability Workstation. Leading banks licensing PMG software include First Union, PNC Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Wilmington Trust Company, Bank of Ireland, and Thomas Cook Financial in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit PMG Systems on the Web at [www.pmgsystems.com].
About BancWare Inc.
Headquartered in Boston, MA, BancWare serves more than 180 clients in over 14 countries worldwide. BancWare’s fully integrated and scalable solutions support data collection, transformation, and management; asset/liability management; comprehensive budgeting and planning; and advanced financial analysis, including term structure modeling and option adjusted value at risk. Founded in 1981, BancWare is an operating unit of SunGuard Data Systems Inc. SunGuard’s business is computer service and application software. SunGuard is the only large specialized provider of proprietary investment support systems, and is the pioneer and a leading provider of comprehensive disaster recovery systems. SunGuard Data Systems Inc. common stock is reported on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SDS.
Citibank and American Airlines launched a business card version of its ‘Citibank AAdvantage’ bank credit card Thursday. The ‘Citibank Platinum Select AAdvantage Business Card’ offers one ‘American AAdvantage’ mile for every dollar spent, up to 150,000 miles per calendar year. Awards earned on purchases made by employees accumulate toward the business owner’s ‘American AAdvantage’ frequent flyer account. Cardholders also qualify for discounts on computer equipment, automobile rentals and hotel stays. Other special benefits include ‘Reduced Mileage Awards’ and the opportunity to earn double miles for stays at Wyndham Hotels. The new ‘Citibank Platinum Select AAdvantage Business Card’ carries a $75 annual fee, plus $25 for each additional card, and an APR of Prime + 9.9%. The ‘AAdvantage’ frequent flyer program has more than 35 million members. It is estimated that Citibank has more than two million ‘AAdvantage’ bank credit card accounts. U.S. Bank also offers a business card version of its ‘Northwest Airlines WorldPerks’ bank credit card. According to CardTrak’s ‘Business Card Survey’, the ‘U.S. Bank WorldPerks Business VISA’ has no cap on the amount of mileage that may earned. U.S. Bank charges $75 per card and an APR of Prime +9.9%.Details
Germany’s ZeitControl cardsystems, developer of the world’s first smart card that can be programmed in BASIC, said this morning that its product, by virtue of price, is positioned best to meet the competitive challenges currently in the chip card marketplace. ZeitControl says ‘Java’ or ‘MultOS’ cards require larger chips to operate, therefore driving the smart card’s price tag to between $10 and $15 per unit. The ‘BasicCard’ costs $2 to $5 per unit. The ‘BasicCard’ is available in two versions: the ‘Compact BasicCard’ and the ‘Enhanced BasicCard’. Both versions contain 256 bytes of RAM, plus user-programmable EEPROM: 1 kilobyte in the ‘Compact BasicCard’, and 8 kilobytes in the ‘Enhanced BasicCard’. The company, in partnership with Philips Semiconductor, is now developing a ‘Mifare Pro BasicCard’ which offers contact and contactless options in one chip.Details
Troubled Commercial Financial Services of Tulsa confirmed Thursday that its proposed sale to Atlanta-based Worldwide Asset Management has been delayed. Yesterday, Worldwide substantially lowered its price and other terms following its three week due diligence phase. Worldwide made its proposal May 27 to purchase certain assets of CFS and enter into new servicing agreements for the trust accounts that CFS services. CFS, under bankruptcy protection, said yesterday the unsecured creditors committee and the asset-backed security holders are in the process of reviewing Worldwide’s new proposal and the company has asked the Court to delay the hearing on the sale procedure motion until June 29.Details
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