Equifax announced this morning that its board of directors has named Lee Kennedy president and COO, a new position for the company. Kennedy, who also was elected to the board of directors, has more than 28 years of experience with Equifax, most recently serving as EVP-group executive of Equifax Payment Services based in St. Petersburg, Fla. Larry Towe, former SVP and GM of Equifax Card Solutions International, will succeed Kennedy as EVP-group executive of Equifax Payment Services. Kennedy’s track record with Equifax includes SVP/GM for Equifax Card Solutions and president of the Telecredit Service Center. He was primarily responsible for securing long-term business contracts with the IBAA and CSCU.Details
Oberthur Smart Cards France announced Wednesday it has won the bid to manufacture the next round of ‘Sesam Vitale’ health cards. Under the terms of the program, some 40 million cards have been issued to health insurance subscribers by various health insurance providers. These smart cards hold basic information regarding the insured such as first name, last name, date of birth, covered children, etc. The card must be used each time the subscriber goes to see a health provider for an electronic prescription to be generated. The GIE ‘Sesam Vitale’ estimates it will need approximately 12 million cards over a period of three years to replace cards that have expired, have been lost or damaged. These cards will be sent to the personalization plants of CNAM TS and MSA, starting next month, and manufactured on demand.Details
MasterCard International yesterday announced two important milestones marking the company’s readiness for the 21st century — the issuance by its members of more than 500 million cards with an expiration date in 2000 or beyond, and the successful completion of its internal systems upgrade effort. The internal readiness process has included system upgrades; a full slate of testing of those upgrades; a temporary freeze on changes to network systems; and a “clean room” process to prevent purchases of non-compliant technology.Details
Compaq Computer Corp. Monday announced worldwide the new Aero(R) 8000, Compaq’s first Handheld PC Professional (H/PC Pro) device and the first mobile device to offer built-in Smart Card technology enabling more secure remote access to corporate data.
The Aero 8000 is the first H/PC Pro device in Compaq’s comprehensive lineup of Windows(R) CE-based handheld products, which includes the Aero 2100 Color Palm-size PC and C-Series Handheld PC devices.
Weighing just 2.9 pounds with a 10-inch SVGA screen, a keyboard 95 percent the size of standard portable keyboards and up to 13 hours of battery life(1), the Compaq Aero 8000 offers exceptional mobility and ease of use. The Aero also includes an embedded Smart Card reader/writer and a suite of advanced security applications, enabling the most secure and robust access to remote data available through a H/PC Pro device. With these unique features, the Aero 8000 is the ideal Windows terminal or thin client for mobile workers in field sales, service and healthcare organizations, and it provides a secure PC for reading and sending confidential e-mail.
“Compaq continues to provide innovative handheld PC products with the introduction of the Aero 8000. It is the ideal solution for today’s increasingly mobile workforce, who demand exceptional mobility and ease of use but still require secure access to corporate data,” said Ben Williams, Director, Displays and Peripherals Product Marketing, North America, Compaq Computer Corporation. “It provides the best features of a handheld — it’s very light and portable with instant on and off capabilities — combined with all-day battery life, a large screen, nearly full-sized keyboard and lots of room for expansion with CompactFlash and PC Cards.”
Unparalleled Security and Connectivity for Corporate Environments
The Aero 8000 is the most secure H/PC Pro device available, thanks to its embedded Smart Card reader/writer. Through this unique feature, access to the device can be limited to users that have the authorized Smart Card, a password or both. Optional software is available to encrypt files and e-mails and check digital signatures to ensure files haven’t been opened or tampered with. These features are key for customers such as field sales organizations who need to place orders, check inventory and update customer records remotely or field service organizations who reference repair procedures, check spare parts lists and complete reports onsite. The embedded Smart Card feature also makes the Aero 8000 the first low-cost platform for developing Smart Card-enabled enterprise applications for industries such as E-commerce, electronic banking and healthcare.
Unmatched Capabilities Through Software Partners
Compaq partnered with numerous third-party software vendors to provide robust enterprise solutions for the Aero 8000. By utilizing optional software from the River Run Software Group, the Aero 8000 provides full synchronization of e-mail, calendar and contacts on Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise servers, as well as synchronization of Microsoft Exchange servers provided by Windows CE. Furthermore, numerous additional capabilities are available for the Aero 8000 through software partners, including the following:
— Mobile thin client. The standard Citrix ICA Client software allow users to run full Windows applications across the network.
— Terminal emulation. FutureSoft DCS software enables access to corporate mainframes.
— Sales automation. Sales automation tools from Siebel lets users access pricing, inventory and order entry systems, as well as track and update account histories.
— Wireless WAN and LAN. Wireless capabilities from Proxim and Sierra Wireless let users connect to a server or a remote host without a phone jack. — Non-Microsoft File viewer. Inso’s file viewer lets users view non-Microsoft files on the Aero.
In addition, because the Aero 8000 is based on Windows CE H/PC Professional Edition, customers can use the Aero as a Windows CE development platform. Using Windows-based development tools, customers can develop their own applications for the Aero, port legacy applications to Windows CE or develop CE interfaces to existing corporate databases to provide access to these databases through the Aero 8000.
Superior Handheld Power and Ease of Use
The Aero 8000 offers not only the most secure H/PC Pro device; its performance and ease of use are unmatched in the handheld category. The system is powered by a 64-bit, 128 MHz SH4 processor, up to 64 MB of SDRAM and a 56K V.90 modem(2). And, the 10-inch SVGA (800 x 600) panel with 256-color support is the biggest, clearest screen available on a H/PC Pro device. Furthermore, with a nearly full-size, 18mm key pitch keyboard, a familiar TrackPad pointing device and touch-button voice recording and playback, the Aero 8000 is unrivaled in ease of use. Upgrading the Aero 8000 is easy too. Numerous Compaq and third-party options are available to extend the battery life, memory capacity and external storage (e.g. CompactFlash cards, Iomega Clik! Drive, SuperDisk drive and IBM MicroDrive). Ethernet network cards, airline/auto power adapters and printer adapters are available to enhance the Aero’s capabilities even further.
The Aero 8000 also delivers exceptional mobility features. With its instant-on and instant-off capability, there’s no waiting for the Aero 8000 to boot up or shut down. And, the Aero 8000 is designed to be durable to withstand the rigors of the road. Returning to the office is easy too, because the Aero 8000 synchronizes automatically with the user’s office PC. For ultimate mobility, wireless communication options are available, such as modems and wireless LAN and WAN solutions.
Pricing, Availability and Service and Support
The Compaq Aero 8000 is available immediately(3) through Compaq’s broad family of authorized resellers. The Compaq Aero 8000 will also be available directly through Compaq DirectPlus at www.directplus.compaq.com or at 1-800-888-5858. It starts at $949(4) for a model featuring 16 MB of memory. For information on the Aero 8000 or other Compaq handheld products, see The Compaq Handheld PC Pro is backed by a one-year worldwide mail-in limited warranty. Additional services are available to enhance the standard limited warranty(5). See for further details.
Compaq Computer Corporation, a Fortune Global 100 company, is the second largest computer company in the world and the largest global supplier of computer systems. Compaq develops and markets hardware, software, solutions, and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, enterprise and network storage solutions, commercial desktop and portable products and consumer PCs. The company is an industry leader in environmentally friendly programs and business practices.
Compaq products are sold and supported in more than 100 countries through a network of authorized Compaq marketing partners. Customer support and information about Compaq and its products are available at .
Compaq, Registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Microsoft is a Registered Trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
(1) Actual results may vary with individual use.
(2) The K56flex protocol is designed only to allow faster downloads from K56flex compliant digital sources. Maximum achievable download transmission rates currently do not reach 56 KB/s, and will vary with line conditions. Modem supports Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0.
(3) The Aero 8000 is available immediately in the U.S. and Canada. Availability dates for other countries will vary.
(4) All prices listed herein are estimated U.S. selling prices. Actual reseller prices may vary. (5) Certain restrictions and exclusions apply. Consult the Compaq Product Information Center for details.Details
NextCard, creator of the First True Internet Visa, Monday announced it has been named as one of UPSIDE magazine’s prestigious Hot 100 Companies for 1999. NextCard (http://www.nextcard.com), garnered the award in the Online Finance category, is profiled along with other category winners in the magazine’s June 1999 issue and on UPSIDE’s Web site at .
“This year’s Hot 100 is by far one of the best lists we have produced,” said David Bunnell, CEO of Upside Media and editor of UPSIDE magazine. “UPSIDE felt that NextCard has what it takes to be considered among one of the most revolutionary companies around, and we look forward to watching it grow.”
“We are very proud to receive such a prestigious award,” said Jeremy Lent, founder and chief executive officer of NextCard. “Honored by the recognition, NextCard is excited to continue innovating as a public company.”
The 1999 UPSIDE Hot 100 were selected by a team of UPSIDE editors, venture capitalists, financial analysts, market researchers and other industry luminaries who evaluated more than 800 nominations. The UPSIDE Hot 100 Award is judged on a company’s technological achievements, customer acceptance of products or services, financial performance, industry partnerships, financial backing, management savvy and marketing.
NextCard, Inc., creator of the First True Internet Visa, is considered the industry’s leading issuer of consumer credit on the Internet. Since its launch in December 1997, over 2 million people have applied for the NextCard Internet Visa, making it one of the premier online credit cards. NextCard continues to innovate with its Double Rewards program, GoShopping! tools, original PictureCard design, one-click digital wallet and exceptional online customer service. ()Details
Gemplus, Monday announced the availability of the two best selling smart card interfaces in a single card. The move significantly broadens the market for multi-application smart cards. The GemCombi/MPCOS card is the first to provide two standard interfaces on a single chip. MPCOS for high security contact cards is the most widely used smart card operating system in banking applications. Mifare for contactless operation is the industry standard for applications where speed and ease of use are important.Details
Each year the state contacts more than 600,000 taxpayers asking for past due tax returns. Starting Monday, 2,000 of these taxpayers will receive something different — an already completed state tax return awaiting their review and signature, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).
“Making the tax system less burdensome is fundamental to my intent of making government more responsive to the people it serves,” said State Controller and Chair of the Franchise Tax Board Kathleen Connell.
The FTB Prepared Return pilot program aims to increase non-filers’ voluntary compliance with the tax laws while improving customer service by expanding tax filing options. FTB envisions that many taxpayers will someday file their tax return without completing any forms. Taxpayers will simply view their tax information online and “file” their return by indicating they agree with the figures. They will be able to make any needed changes online and file their returns without completing the traditional paper form. This pilot program is the first step toward achieving FTB’s vision of “form-free” tax filing. Taxpayers selected for this pilot will receive a notification letter and a completed tax Form 540A. If the taxpayers agree with the amounts reported on the prepared return, all they need to do is sign it and send it in. FTB is also extending its credit card payment option to taxpayers selected for this pilot. Taxpayers can pay the past due taxes shown on the prepared return by using their Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard or American Express card. To take advantage of the credit card option, taxpayers will need to call a toll-free number directly to the credit card processing vendor. The entire transaction will be completed over the phone.
FTB encourages individuals that have received one of these prepared tax returns to review it closely for accuracy. If they disagree with the information reported, it is important that they complete and send in an accurate tax return. Taxpayers who have general questions about filing or paying taxes may call FTB’s toll free assistance phone line at 1-800-852-5711. Business hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. FTB also has tax help available on the Internet at [www.ftb.ca.gov].
Paymentech, the nation’s third largest credit card processor, is launching recurring credit and debit card payments for major life/health and property/casualty insurers. The new business signals growing interest in new electronic payment options that allow consumers to conveniently pay their bills. Paymentech projects almost two million transactions annually once all programs are fully underway.
Some of the programs also include processing for one-time payments for agent sales, phone transactions, and web site applications. Paymentech?s processing menu includes credit card, debit card and automatic checking account deduction.
Paymentech?s direct response unit is highlighting automated recurring bill payment programs for the insurance industry at the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association conference in San Diego. With recurring payments, consumers pre-select a credit, debit, or electronic check option to cover regularly scheduled automobile, property/casualty or life insurance premiums. Customers receive statements for their review and records.
Paymentech Recurring Payments 2-2-2-2-2
For recurring payments, Paymentech interfaces with billing systems to extract a file of non-check payments for authorization and settlement, including those that directly debit a bank account. Insurance providers electronically collect receivables, reduce the payment cycle time, and access funds sooner. Lock box, collection agency and insufficient funds bank fees are also reduced. Insurance companies believe customers find credit cards more convenient. There are no checks to write, stamps to buy or statements to return. Recurring payment programs can also be used as tools for building consumer loyalty. Responding to MasterCard and Visa market research, Paymentech, the largest processor for card-not-present payments, created programs specific to the insurance industry. ?Over half of the top 20 insurance companies offer some type of credit card acceptance,? said Gary Beck, senior director for recurring payments at Paymentech. Research also suggests that credit card usage can help close initial sales and reduce walk-in payments.
?Credit cards currently account for 5% of all premium payments. Automated monthly or quarterly payments will increase that,? said Beck. ?MasterCard research shows that 34% of consumers favor automatic recurring payments and that 82% of service companies cite customer service enhancements as the key reason for offering recurring payments.?
Paymentech, Inc., founded in 1985, is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions and a leading issuer of commercial cards in the United States The company processed approximately 2.2 billion total transactions and $54 billion in sales volume during calendar 1998.
Paymentech Recurring Payments 3-3-3-3-3-3
Paymentech Recurring Payments Fact Sheet
Recurring payments (RPs) account for over $500 billion in annual payments. Less than 2% is currently captured on cards. Approximately 5% of payments are made through direct debits of consumer checking accounts. (Nilson Report, August 1996) According to a MasterCard survey, 93% of all recurring bills are paid by writing a check, however, 36% of consumers currently use some type of recurring payment method for at least one bill. Automatic payment type preferences were
– automatic checking account debit (electronic check processing)
– automatic paycheck deduction
– credit card recurring
– 34% of consumers (not currently using) would prefer a recurring payment
– about one in four consumers mentioned they would switch to a
competitor if that company could do automatic recurring payments
Insurance Industry Statistics
– total annual premium payments for homeowners, auto and life insurance is
– credit card volume accounted for about $767 million
Benefits of RPs
Merchants (service industry providers):
– secure transactions
– streamlined processing
– improved collections
– improved customer service and retention
– incremental sales
– convenience, saves time and money
– option to revolve
– earn points in co-branded and frequency award programs
VeriFone, Monday announced that it is offering retailers electronic gift-certificate and check-authorization applications. PreNet, a new VeriFone customer and electronic cash-card issuer, also is implementing IPS to offer a new payment-processing service. Retailers can add e-gift-certificate and check-authorization services to VeriFone’s open e-services technology framework. IPS is a new technology framework developed by VeriFone that incorporates Internet technologies and allows retailers to easily add and deliver new payment applications.Details
VISA International’s Board of Directors elected William Boardman as it chairman yesterday to succeed Peter Ellwood. Boardman is a SVP at Bank One and is currently chairman of the VISA U.S.A. Board of Directors. Peter Ellwood, chief executive of Lloyds TSB of London, has served as VISA International chairman since 1994. Ellwood indicated last year he would relinquish the chair after Malcolm Williamson settled in as the new VISA International CEO. Ellwood said it was less than satisfactory for the Chairman and CEO to come from the same country. The Visa International Board also appointed Paul Vessey as vice chairman of the board, succeeding F. Phillips Giltner, chairman of First National of Nebraska. Vessey is EVP of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.Details
Blue Square-Israel Ltd., together with Bank Leumi Israel Ltd., and Visa C.A.L, Monday announced the launch of the “Buy & Bonus – Visa” credit card. The initiative integrates Israel’s largest customer loyalty club, Buy & Bonus, with Visa. The “Buy & Bonus – Visa” can be used both as a normal credit card and for Buy & Bonus purchases. New members will receive a package of benefits, including free cellular phones, coupon booklets, discounted travel packages, extra Buy & Bonus points, and other special offers and gifts.Details
Providian continues to encounter more lawsuits in the wake of allegations pertaining to its credit card practices. Last week shareholder litigation specialist Wolf Popper filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of persons who purchased Providian securities in the open market during the period Jan. 15, 1999 through May 18, 1999. The complaint alleges that Providian improperly obtained revenues, and misrepresented the source of its revenues and income in public filings and press releases. The suit charges Providian with improperly conducting its credit card business by, among other things, intentionally failing to post credit card payments on time in order to enable Providian to improperly record as revenues late fees and penalties, improperly enrolling new credit card customers without their permission, and improperly charging credit card customers for Providian’s fee-based products not requested. Wolf Popper says once the facts concerning defendants’ conduct became known and it was disclosed that Providian was the subject of an investigation by the San Francisco district attorney’s office, the price per share of Providian’s stock fell over 40%.Providian says it has not seen this particular lawsuit but firmly states that the allegations are absolutely without merit and it intends to defend itself vigorously against these claims. Yesterday Providian’s stock closed at 79 9/16 per share compared to its 52-week high of $138 per share.Details