America West Airlines and AZ-based MicroAge Teleservices have teamed up to offer the airline’s ‘FlightFund’ members the ‘PCHelp1’ card. The card offers access to PC problem assistance and enables frequent flyers to accumulate air mileage. ‘FlightFund’ members can purchase a 30-minute Gold card for $49.95 and earn 250 ‘FlightFund’ miles or a 60-minute Platinum card for $89.95 and earn 500 ‘FlightFund’ miles. ‘PCHelp1’ offers support for more than 30 software applications including operating systems, office suites, word processors, spreadsheets, personal finance, presentations, personal information managers, e-mail clients and Internet browsers. In addition, PCHelp1 offers services for hardware and Internet questions.Details
Ottawa-based American Biometric Company unveiled ‘CardDrive’ this morning, a high performance, low cost, smart card reader. The new smart card reader is designed specifically for certificate based identification and authentication. It is ideally suited for smart card based access control for a ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ (PKI). However it may also be used for computer and network access control, remote authentication, electronic commerce, and many other smart card applications. ‘CardDrive’ is designed to attach to either a keyboard or monitor.Details
For the first time ever, attendees at this week’s CardTech/SecurTech 99 will be able to use their conference smart cards to obtain access beyond the conference boundaries to the Chicago transport system. Up to 10,000 conference and exhibition attendees will receive the official ‘CTST 99 Conference Card’ which utilizes ICL’s ‘SmartCity’ smart card system and Gemplus smart cards. The contact chip application on the ‘SmartCity’ card allows visitors use of the electronic purse, which is preloaded with money. Other contact applications include attendee registration and identification. The smart card also has lunch ticket functionality, giving the 2,500 seminar registrants access to catering during the show. ICL worked with Cubic Transportation Systems to develop the contactless chip application which allows cardholders access to the Chicago transport system. Attendees can load value at transit revalue stations, located in the exhibition hall, activating the card for use on the city’s subway. Fujitsu, ICL’s parent company, will also be supplying portable Fujitsu ‘SmartCity’ balance readers for seminar registrants. CTST opens tomorrow at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago.Details
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. announced Friday Dean M. Leavitt became its new CEO and Chairman effective May 3rd. He succeeds Roger Pierce who resigned in March due to personal reasons. Rod Stambaugh, the founder of USWD, will remain a director and will serve as the company’s President and Chief Technology Officer.
Mr. Leavitt, 39, is the founder and former President of US Data Capture, Inc., a “boutique” credit card processing company which serves a broad spectrum of conventional card acceptors as well as emerging markets. Under Mr. Leavitt’s leadership, US Data Capture enjoyed an excellent reputation for formulating and successfully implementing seamless roll-outs of customized solutions for clients with sophisticated card acceptance application requirements. Such clients included hospitals, universities, municipalities, free-standing kiosks, direct marketers with large field sales forces, professional sports teams and sporting events, smart card roll-outs, transportation companies and Internet based sales organizations. Commenting on his success while at US Data Capture’s helm, Mr. Leavitt stated that, “the common thread running through US Data Capture’s approach to introducing card acceptance systems to emerging market clients has been its ability to understand the ‘choreography’ of a client’s existing receivables and then carefully integrate that system with a well thought out acceptance program specifically designed to meet that client’s needs.”
In his first formal meeting with USWD’s staff yesterday, Mr. Leavitt made it quite clear that, as their new Chairman and CEO, he intends to aggressively capitalize on the company’s superior product offerings and reputation in the wireless arena by demanding “laser focused” attention on only those products that are expected to produce a substantial revenue base. This, he said, will be accomplished by allocating much of the company’s resources on sales and marketing campaigns aimed primarily at acquirers, banks, ISOs and third party processors.
When asked about the transferability of his prior experiences at US Data Capture to USWD, Mr. Leavitt commented, “I am extremely confident that the extensive relationships I have developed in the credit card processing industry, coupled with my direct involvement in the formation and implementation of successful sales and marketing campaigns will enable me to hit the ground running at USWD and start moving the company closer to where it could and should be.”
Prior to forming US Data Capture in 1990, Mr. Leavitt served as Senior Vice President and Director of Finance at Rosenschein Properties, a real estate development company, Senior Vice President of Finance at Kellog Properties, a real estate acquisitions and development firm and Director of Equity Private Placements at Sybedon Corporation, an investment banking firm serving the real estate community. Mr. Leavitt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. 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 and third party processors to provide their clients with the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solutions available in the industry today.
For more information, contact Bob Robichaud, CFO of U.S. Wireless Data, Inc., 510-596-2025; or Tony Altavilla, Senior Vice President of Liviakis Financial Communications, 916-448-6084, for U.S. Wireless Data, Inc.Details
MovieFone, Inc. and American Express introduced its moviegoer frequency program Friday in Phoenix. First launched in New York in March, the program will soon be introduced to other markets across the country. Moviegoers in the Phoenix area will now earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased over MovieFone’s interactive telephone service or its online sister service, moviefone.com, with an ‘American Express Card’. The new program marks the first time that major studios and theater chains have agreed to participate together in a program designed to promote moviegoing. Beginning this week, 30-second trailers promoting the program will be shown onscreen in Phoenix movie theaters. MovieFone will also advertise the program in local papers while AmEx will promote the service on local television and radio and through statement inserts.Details
UbiQ Incorporated Friday announced it is introducing the UbiQPersoMaster suite of software applications to address the complete lifecycle of smart card personalization, including smart card configuration planning, pre-production data preparation, and personalization or issuance using a wide variety of available issuing equipment.
For the first time, UbiQPersoMaster provides financial institutions and card service bureaus a solution to support the issuance of multiple smart card programs, without the issuer having to write custom issuing applications for each card program.
“UbiQPersoMaster(TM) takes personalization applications to a whole new level by providing the tools to select smart card components in the planning stage and have the personalization system automatically configured to issue the cards,” said David Tushie, president of UbiQ. “No other personalization approach available today ties the planning stage to final personalization requirements. UbiQPersoMaster(TM) not only does that — it takes it a step further, enabling the issuer to select the equipment to be employed and automatically configure the system for production personalization.”
UbiQPersoMaster(TM) provides great flexibility with a unique design that enables issuers to configure the software to interface with the personalization devices, hardware security modules, and chip platforms that best meets their needs, without changing their personalization application. The software currently supports numerous financial smart card programs, including Visa Cash DES, Visa Cash RSA, Visa Smart Debit/Credit, Proton, MULTOS Mondex, and several loyalty programs. It also supports the Visa-defined P3 personalization preparation process.
The UbiQPersoMaster(TM) software suite is available directly from UbiQ Inc., or through its distribution partners throughout the world. Call 612-912-9400 for further information, including pricing and availability.
About UbiQ Inc.
Founded in 1994, UbiQ Inc. ( ) is a rapidly growing, privately held software firm that has developed proprietary, patented technology for high-volume smart card personalization. UbiQ’s mission is to be the highest value integrator in the smart card issuance process, reducing the time and cost necessary for secure, faultless “mass” card issuance. The company markets its products in 80 countries worldwide to smart card issuers including Visa and MasterCard member institutions. Other customers and partnerships include card service bureaus, smart card manufacturers, and card personalization and printing equipment manufacturers. Target markets for UbiQ’s software include Internet and electronic commerce, financial, secure networks, travel and entertainment, stored-value cards, pay phone, digital wireless and GSM, national ID cards, and healthcare.
A U.S. Patent has been issued and others are pending for UbiQ’s software solutions. UbiQ(R) is a registered trademark of UbiQ Incorporated and UbiQPersoMaster(TM) is a trademark. Visa and Visa Open Platform are trademarks of Visa. All other trademarks are the property of the respective owners.Details
The Pathways Group, Inc. announced Friday that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Proton World, the international end-to-end smart card solutions provider based in Brussels, Belgium. The terms outlined in the Memorandum anticipate a contract that will provide The Pathways Group with license agreements to use the proprietary electronic purse technology of Proton World known as Proton. This latest agreement follows the signing of a Letter of Intent between the two companies in early April.
! The anticipated non-exclusive agreements will license Pathways to develop applications on the Proton platform, integrate Pathways existing applications onto the Proton platform and to operate the back office transaction processing under the Proton security system. The agreement also anticipates the use of the Proton System on Pathways’ proprietary Sprinticketa unattended Point-of-Sale kiosks and other integrated systems. In addition to being able to issue smart cards based on the Proton technology, Pathways will also have the right to grant third party companies with the same right under a co-issuing license agreement. Although initially restricted to the United States and its territories, Pathways will be granted the option to acquire similar rights to expand the geographical scope to a more global basis if Pathways so desires.
Following execution of the Memorandum, Pathways and Proton World will initiate preparatory testing and feasibility assessment work, including visits by Pathways’ personnel to Proton facilities for preliminary development discussions. In addition to providing Pathways with certain hardware and software elements, Proton World will also provide assistance in the installation and implementation of the system, as well as on-going maintenance and support services.
Proton World was created by major smart card industry players (American Express, Banksys, ERG, Interpay Nederland and Visa International) to enhance international smart card and electronic purse standards. Proton is currently the world’s largest electronic purse platform, licensed in 15 countries with 30 million smart cards issued and accepted at 230,000 terminals. The platform provides a complete set of powerful and easy-to-use building blocks. Proton’s technology is the most broadly implemented in national rollouts (Australia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland have national schemes of Proton-based smart cards) in both number of transactions and installed terminal base.
Pathways plans to provide credit card, debit card and smart card transaction processing for their merchant network on a single terminal in each merchant POS location, connected to their central processing facility, located in Santa Rosa, California. Further, Pathways will have the ability to offer credit card issuing banks their own chip card with an internationally recognized system of security and infrastructure. Plans are rapidly developing to integrate a platform for secure Internet access and transaction processing, in conjunction with LinkOpp Marketing, an “eCommerce” company previously discussed in an earlier press release.
The CEOs of Pathways and Proton World plan to meet, within the next two weeks, to solidify elements of the referenced contracts.
The Pathways Group, Inc. provides clients with innovative and unique solutions for securely creating, capturing and processing data and electronic transactions using custom application software and hardware systems. The company was established in 1987 by Carey Daly and has evolved into a leader in the development of custom software and hardware for electronic banking, data and transaction processing, and smart card applications. Pathways creation of proprietary “back office” systems allows for the capture and processing of data and transfer of funds via “ACH” protocol, the standard used in the banking industry for transfer of funds in retail, medical and institutional environments.
Renaissance Holdings Incorporated Seeks to Acquire Charged Off Consumer Loan Portfolios
Renaissance Holdings Incorporation, a leading provider of credit cards for new credit market entrants and individuals with impaired credit, has announced its intent to purchase consumer loan portfolios of existing charged off debt. Portfolios of interest include low-balance retail store revolving or installment loans; banks, thrift or finance company installment loans; oil card revolving accounts; and MasterCard/Visa revolving accounts.
‘With dedicated focus in serving the subprime credit card market, Renaissance Holdings provides an excellent resource for organizations liquidating charged off consumer debt. RHI’s expertise in acquiring performing, non-performing, and charged off portfolios gives us the ability to execute timely and efficient sales transactions,’ said Gary Barth, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for RHI.
The company seeks portfolios of no less than $20 million in charged off debt with balanced under $1,500 per account. In addition, RHI would like to establish forward-flow arrangements for future charged off debt.
Privately held RHI originates, manages and services customized subprime MasterCard and Visa programs directly and through affiliations with financial institutions, retailers and affinity groups. Through its two subsidiaries, Renaissance Bankcard Services and Orchard Bank, the company provides credit cards and credit education to individuals who have difficulty obtaining credit from traditional lenders. RHI helped pioneer subprime credit card products and management systems and is considered a knowledge leader in this market segment. For more information, please contact Gary Barth at (503) 296-1594 or e-mail at email@example.com.Details
Electronic Processing, Inc. announced that in addition to its normal sales growth, the company recently won two of the largest national bankruptcy trustee accounts shortly after releasing version 4.0 of its TCMS Chapter 7 software product. The two new customer accounts represent approximately $40 million on deposit compared with a typical customer size of between $1 and $2 million. EPI realizes recurring monthly revenue from Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee clients that includes a percentage of the total funds on deposit.
Tom W. Olofson, Chief Executive Officer, and Christopher E. Olofson, Chief Operating Officer, said, “We were pleased to release TCMS 4.0 on time in March and believe it establishes clear leadership for EPI in the bankruptcy trustee market with unparalleled technologies and new case management functions. Winning these major customer accounts so quickly after market release is a strong indicator of the product’s competitive edge and its ongoing potential in the bankruptcy industry. In each case, EPI’s software will replace an incumbent legacy system of one of our top national competitors. We continue to develop a strong national pipeline — including additional trustee accounts of this size — in all major geographic markets.”
The company recently reported record results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1999 vs. prior year, which included a 35% revenue increase, a 64% net income gain, and net income per diluted share of $.09 vs. $.07. Additionally, national bankruptcy filings reached a record high of 1,442,549 for the calendar year ending December 31, 1998.
EPI develops, markets, licenses and supports proprietary software products for bankruptcy trustees on a national basis.Details
Financial Technologies International announced Thursday that Intuit has successfully implemented the ‘Global Financial Data Model’ on the Web on its Quicken.com site. Until now the GFDM has been used extensively by international banks, brokers, investment managers, mutual funds, insurance companies, and investment banks worldwide.Details
RAM Research Group projected this morning that global consumer online purchases will grow at a rate between 65% and 70%, compounded annually, over the next five years, driving online sales to more than $200 billion by the year 2003. For this year, RAM Research estimates that nearly $31.0 billion will be spent over the Internet worldwide, about 67% more than 1998’s total Internet purchase volume. The research firm says Internet payment card volume, as a percentage of total sales, will drop from 90% to 82% over the next five years.
Global Consumer Online Sales Projections
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Global Online Sales $18.5b $30.9b $52.5b $88.2b $147.3b $216.9b
Card Volume $16.7b $21.7 $45.2b $74.1b $122.3b $177.9b
Source: RAM Research Group (Frederick, Maryland)
NOTE–DUE TO THE VOLUME OF CARD RELATED NEWS THIS WEEK WE PRESENT A NUMBER
OF NEWS ITEMS IN BRIEF:
Multiple applications are the key to smart card growth says a new report by MA-based Ovum, Inc. Ovum anticipates that the number of multi-application smart cards will increase from 7% of cards shipped in 1999 to 30% by 2004. The firm also estimates that by 2004 17% of all smart card interface devices will be able to process multiple smart card applications, up from 1% in 1999.Details