3-G International, Inc. announced Friday the availability of ‘Passage Services’, a comprehensive menu of technical and project management services for building and implementing smart card systems. 3GI’s ‘Passage Services’ offering is structured to provide specialized, standards-based integration support and technology development for a wide spectrum of smart card system types, including branded financial payment cards supporting standard industry card operating systems and platforms and stored value systems involving open and closed purse schemes, and additional value-added applicationsDetails
AT&T completed the asset-only purchase of bankrupt SmarTalk Teleservices Inc. last week for $145 million or about 25% less than first expected. AT&T said that nearly all of SmarTalk’s approximately 170 employees will be offered employment. SmarTalk, a leading provider of prepaid cards and prepaid wireless services, has distribution agreements with the U.S. Postal Service and leading mass merchandisers, consumer electronics retailers, supermarkets, hotels, home office superstores and convenience stores throughout North America and the U.K.Details
CO-based BSI2000, Inc and Italy-based Infodec Company announced this morning they have signed a contract, on an exclusive basis, to form a strategic marketing partnership to bring optical cards into the Italian markets. Infodec has also, as part of the agreement, purchased initial optical card equipment from BSI2000. BSI2000 designs and sells software/hardware products for the medical, EBT/social benefits, and drug & alcohol testing markets that substitute highly efficient and fraud-proof optical cards for older paper-based transaction systems.Details
Preview Travel, Inc. announced this morning a multi-year, multi-million dollar marketing agreement that includes a co-branded credit card program with First USA. The Preview Travel co-branded MasterCard will be launched online this summer. Preview Travel has more than 7 million registered members. According to the terms of the deal, Preview Travel could realize millions of dollars in revenue, of which a portion is guaranteed.Details
NCR Corp. has been selected as the exclusive supplier of ATM terminals for TRM Corp. TRM said Friday it will inaugurate its new enterprise by installing 700 NCR ‘MCD Cash Dispensers’ in outlets of The Pantry and Lil’ Champ convenience-store chains. Friday’s deal between the two companies was valued at $7.9 million.Details
VISA says its fifth NFL campaign will be the most extensive ever. The integrated marketing program for the NFL 1999-2000 season will include national advertising and consumer promotions, direct mail, public relations, retail and online marketing, a national fan search and league support. The theme will be: “VISA. It’s Everywhere NFL Fans Want To Be”. VISA will create two commercials spotlighting NFL fans with the spots scheduled to break in August. This year VISA will offer nine “Once-in-a-Lifetime NFL Fantasies” which includes watching playoff games with NFL players and eating lunch with an NFL quarterback. To encourage merchant participation in the “Fantasy” promotion, VISA is offering three trips to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii as prizes in a sweepstakes that rewards merchants who display point-of-sale promotional signage. VISA will also conduct the “VISA Hall of Fans” program, a season-long fan search that culminates with 31 fans being honored in the VISA-branded exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Details
Philips Semiconductors and Shell Nederland BV yesterday launched the contactless ‘Easypay’ program in Europe. The introduction of ‘Easypay’ is the first large scale application of contactless gas payment in Europe. The system is based on Philips Semiconductors’ ‘MIFARE’ chip and eliminates the need for debit or credit cards. Initially the system will be introduced in 100 specially selected large Shell outlets throughout The Netherlands. Following that trial the system may be introduced in the other 650 outlets in the Netherlands and then internationally.Details
The first Euro denominated Mondex cards will be issued in France by the largest acquiring bank and second largest card issuer in France, Credit Mutuel. The bank says it will issue 50,000 cards in France by year end and several million in the second half of 2000. Hitachi will supply a Mondex transaction handling server and two sets of related application programs to Credit Mutuel. The “One Box Solution for Mondex” will be linked to the bank system’s host computer and will make it possible to transfer Mondex value between the bank and cardholders via ATMs, POS terminals, telephones and mobile GSM, and to check and update account balances.Details
Mag-Tek announced Wednesday a new smart card platform that can deliver the shortest transaction time possible for smart cards capable of supporting a transfer rate of 115K bits per second. The new platform supports read write for all ISO 7816 T=0 and T=1 microprocessor cards as well as most widely used memory cards. It also provides an on board interface for up to seven Secure Access Modules. EMV certification is underway. Mag-Tek is integrating this new platform into manual insertion as well as motorized card readers, PIN selection and verification systems, and instant card issuing systems.Details
VISA U.S.A. reported yesterday it captured 52.8% of USA general purpose card volume last year and is set to surpass $1 trillion in USA card volume by the year 2002. For calendar year 1998, VISA captured $610.3 billion in consumer/commercial card volume with a total of 322.5 million cards-in-force in the USA market. VISA also reported that it captured 10.5% of USA personal consumption expenditures in 1998, up from 9.6% the prior year. VISA says the PCE share increase represented $52.3 billion in new VISA spending. CardData (www.carddata.com) will release USA general purpose card stats, by brand, for 1998, this coming Monday.
VISA USA 1998 SNAPSHOT
CARDS VOLUME TRANSACTIONS CARDS
Credit 443.8b (+8%) 4.8b (+6.8%) 241.0m (+3%)
Debit 134.7b (+43%) 3.0b (+46%) 73.8m (+26%)
Commercial 31.7b (+41.7%) 190.8m (+43.9%) 7.7m (+85.8%)
Total 610.3b (+16%) 8.0b (+21%) 322.5m (+8%)
b-billions; m-millions; percentage indicate change from 1997; volume
total does not add due to rounding
Telebank, a leader in the nationwide delivery of high value financial service products via the Internet, Wednesday announced the signing of an exclusive agreement with First USA to offer an Internet-enabled credit card.
In keeping with Telebank’s 10-year mission to provide value, the Telebank True.net(tm) no-annual-fee credit card will feature an introductory annual percentage rate of just 3.9% for five months and a 9.99% APR thereafter. The Telebank True.net(tm) credit card will be issued by First USA, the world’s largest Visa credit card issuer.
“For Telebank to offer a credit card, it has to provide our customers with the value they’ve come to expect — the most competitive rates, low or no fees, convenience and quality. And of course, the card has to be geared to the special needs of our online banking customers,” said Mitchell H. Caplan, president and CEO of Telebank.
“The Telebank True.net(tm) credit card is just one of many products we intend to introduce in 1999 to establish telebankonline as one of the most convenient one-stop personal finance sites on the Internet,” Caplan said.
With the introduction of the True.net(tm) credit card, Telebank customers can safely apply entirely online and securely access account information, such as current balances and available credit, over the Web. Setting the standard as an innovator in the banking industry, Telebank created a “branchless banking” model in 1989 by replacing brick-and-mortar branches with service through direct delivery channels.
This direct delivery model reduced operating costs by more than half, allowing Telebank to reward its forward-thinking, value-conscious customers with a combination of premium yields in the top one-percent nationally, no- or low-account fees, free Internet checking, anywhere/anytime convenience, and quality customer service.
Telebank customers have a choice of using their preferred service channel, including the Internet, telephone, fax and ATMs. Customers can log on to the Telebank Web site and manage their accounts from the convenience of home, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
Telebank’s customer service representatives are available by phone for extended hours, offering one-on-one service without the hassles of long lines or traditional “banker’s hours.”
Telebank has introduced Internet checking with its True.net(tm) checking account, which gives account holders the convenience of completing transactions, such as bill payments over the Internet, while yielding the premium rates of a money market account.
Telebank’s Internet checking account holders receive interest on account balances of more than $2,500, free unlimited online bill payments, free Internet account access, free printed checks, a free ATM/Debit card and they pay no monthly fees.
Telebank is a wholly owned subsidiary of TeleBanc Financial Corp. (Nasdaq:TBFC). Telebank provides high value financial products and services to customers in all 50 states through low-cost alternative delivery platforms, including the Internet, telephone and facsimile.
Telebank has more than 50,000 accounts, more than $1.1 billion in deposits and $2.3 billion in assets. Telebank can be accessed at [www.telebankonline.com] or 800/TELEBANK.
Citibank, a unit of Citigroup, said Wednesday that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Mellon Bank’s credit card business. Terms of the transaction, which has received necessary regulatory approvals, were not disclosed.
Under the agreement announced March 23, 1999, Citibank agreed to acquire $1.9 billion in credit card receivables, establish an agent bank relationship with Mellon to market credit cards under the Mellon and Dreyfus brands and to acquire the credit card operations center in Pike Creek, Delaware. This acquisition is in keeping with Citibank’s overall strategy to focus on the core strengths of its consumer business.
On Jan. 15, 1999, Mellon announced its plans to sell its credit card business, as well as its mortgage business and network services transaction processing unit as part of an initiative to sharpen its strategic focus on businesses with the highest growth and potential for return to its shareholders.
Citibank is part of Citigroup, the world’s most global financial services organization. Citigroup’s consumer businesses cover a broad range of financial services in 57 countries – retail and private banking, credit and charge cards, mortgage lending, consumer lending, personal financial planning, personal insurance and investment brokerage and counseling. These services are marketed through Citibank, Commercial Credit, Primerica, Travelers Life & Annuity and Travelers Property Casualty. Today, Citigroup serves more than 100 million customers – including consumers, businesses, governments and financial institutions – in 100 countries and territories.Details