Billing Inquires via Internet

A new study concludes that within a few years the Internet will answer all your billing and payment inquiries about home and auto loans, insurance, and cable TV, telephone and electric services.

Killen & Associates, publisher of the study, forecasts that $31 billion will be spent over the next five years to install and upgrade Internet-based customer-care systems to handle billing- and payment-related inquiries from consumers and businesses.

“The trend toward billing-centric Internet customer-care systems is a bonanza for IT suppliers, including American Management Systems, BlueGill, CheckFree, Convergys, eDocs, Electronic Data Systems, IBM, and Novazen,” according to Karl Duffy, vice president, Killen & Associates.

“We and hundreds of other companies that issue the bulk of monthly bills to consumers and businesses are implementing the next generation of customer-care systems that enable customers to use the Internet to quickly and independently obtain answers to their questions about bills and payments,” says Charles Gunn, Peco Energy.

American Express, AT&T, Chase Credit Card, First USA, MCI and Southern California Edison are a handful of the major billers already implementing the next generation of customer-care systems.

The 160-page study — Enterprise E-Billing and Payments Market: New Opportunities for Billers, Merchants, and IT Suppliers — is the third volume of a three-volume study on Electronic Bill Presentment and Payments.

Killen & Associates is a leading market research and consulting firm whose studies, seminars, and video interviews enable clients in the telecommunications, banking/financial services, and information technology industries to identify business opportunities created by technology advances, public policy changes, and market forces.


AmEx Award

Person to Person, a nonprofit organization that supports the efforts of low-income people in Minneapolis, named American Express Financial Advisors Inc. its 1999 Corporate Volunteer of the Year. The award recognizes the company’s significant involvement in Person to Person’s Warm Hands Warm Hearts coat drive and their holiday adopt-a-family initiative.

“We recognize American Express Financial Advisors as a leader in supporting individuals who are striving towards self-sufficiency,” said Michelle Woster, executive director of Person to Person. “American Express volunteers not only purchased winter coats for our families last fall, but they also helped ensure those in need had mittens, hats, scarves and gifts to celebrate the holidays.”

“Working with Person-to-Person was an extremely positive experience for our advisors, their staff, friends and families,” said Joan Nilsen, marketing project manager at American Express Financial Advisors, who led the initiative for the company. “We are impressed with the integrity of Person to Person and are honored to receive this award.”

American Express Financial Advisors is one of the oldest and largest financial services companies in the U.S. The 104-year-old company, based in Minneapolis, offers a comprehensive range of financial services through more than 9,000 financial advisors nationwide. Through its Community Partners program, American Express Financial Advisors focuses on initiatives that encourage, sustain and develop economic self-reliance by providing philanthropic funding and support of its employee and advisor volunteers. To find out more about the company, its products and its philanthropic programs, refer to its web site at


Student Bill Dies

The Oklahoma House Banking and Finance Committee voted overwhelmingly this week to kill a bill that would have limited the way credit cards are issued to Oklahoma residents under the age of 21. Senate Bill 23, which was authored by State Senator Robert Milacek and attracted nation attention, was rejected by a 12-1 vote. The bill would have prohibited the issuance of a credit card to a young consumer unless there was proof the consumer was financially independent or had the parent’s permission. However the bill would have permitted an underage consumer to get a credit card if they were designated as an authorized user on a card account whereby the primary cardholder was over the age of 21. An amendment to the bill, limiting credit lines to $500 for underage consumers, was also rejected. According to the Daily Oklahoman, Senator Milacek took an extraordinary step of passionately addressing the House Committee. He cited the example of a college student who committed suicide after maxing out 10 to 12 credit cards. Milacek also asserted that 150,000 students now file for bankruptcy each year. The proposed legislation drew national attention following recent decisions by several colleges to limit credit card marketing on campus.


Brightpoint to Brazil

Brightpoint, Inc. announced Thursday that it has entered into an agreement for distribution of mobile phone prepaid cards with TESS S.A. . Tess holds the B-band mobile communication license in Brazil within area 2, which includes interior and coast of the state of Sao Paulo, excluding the capital city of Sao Paulo.

With headquarters in Campinas, Brazil, Tess is a consortium of many shareholders, including Telia Overseas, Eriline Celular and Algar/Lightel. Tess commenced commercial operations of its cellular service in December, 1998. At launch, Tess’ coverage area included approximately 37 cities and approximately 3 million people. Tess utilizes TDMA technology operating on infrastructure manufactured by Telefon AB LM Ericsson (Nasdaq:ERICY). Tess currently has in excess of 400 employees and expects to complete the build out of its wireless communications system by April, 2000.

Brightpoint, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative services to network operators and equipment manufacturers in the global wireless telecommunications industry. Brightpoint strives to enhance the success of its customers through the specialized and focused provision of efficient and effective solutions for their mission critical business requirements. The Company’s innovative services include inventory management, prepaid solutions, custom packaging and other outsourced services. Additional information about the Company can be found on its website at or by calling its toll-free Investor Relations Information line at 877-IIR-CELL (877-447-2355).

“Forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 may be included in this news release. A variety of factors could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from the reported results expressed in such forward-looking statements. Investors are referred to the Company’s Cautionary Statements (Exhibit 99 to the Company’s most recent Form 10-Q), which statements are incorporated into this news release by reference.


Power of Rock’n Tree Card

Bull demonstrates the power and openness of its SIM Rock’n Tree card, available now.

For the first time ever, an electronic purse can be reloaded via a mobile telephone. The key to the new service is Rock’n Tree, a powerful SIM card, used in combination with a two-slot mobile telephone accepting two Bull microprocessor cards at the same time. Rock’nTree is inserted is one slot and controls the reloading of the e-purse card inserted in the other.

Behind the capability is SIM Rock’n Lab, Bull’s tool for the development of applications in Java language. SIM Rock’n Lab has a simple user interface that allows applications to be developed in record time, even by users with no knowledge of the Java language.

An application developed with Rock’n Lab is then loaded on to a SIM Rock’n Tree card. For the e-purse reloading application, the Rock’n Tree card is then inserted into a mobile telephone, and an electronic purse card using the Proton technology implemented in Bull’s Cash Cards range, is inserted next to it in the second slot. This enables the mobile telephone to act as a standard e-purse reloading terminal. Via the telephone screen and keypad, the user calls the issuing bank’s e-purse server to reload the e-purse card.

A key advantage of the system is the use of special security software – the S.A.M. (Security Access Module) – to guarantee secure data transfer.

With its new offer, Bull demonstrates how the exceptional 32 Kb storage capacity of its SIM Rock’n Tree card can be used to host a wide range of complementary services.

This new Bull offer, backed by the Group’s know-how in systems integration – 1,000 specialists in 85 countries – provides world-wide mobile telephone operators with access to complete solutions.

About Bull Smart Cards & Terminals

Bull Smart Cards & Terminals is the industry leader in the field of secured financial transactions. Bull designs, develops and markets global smart card solutions for financial, loyalty, transport, telecommunications, healthcare and other applications. Products include contact-contactless cards plus a full range of general purpose and EFT/POS terminals (in partnership with Ingenico), automated teller machines, as well as associated software and services.

Bull Smart Cards & Terminals is the acknowledged industry leader in research, development and security related to smart cards & related terminals. The company is also the worldwide leader in electronic purse cards. Since inventing the microprocessor smart card in 1976, Bull has obtained more than 1200 patents in the field, and has received certification for smart card security that is the highest level ever achieved by a smart card.

In 1998, Bull Smart Cards & Terminals earned revenues of 1450 million of FF. By relying on Bull international network, the division achieves 80% of the revenue abroad.

About Bull

Bull is an international I.T. group based in Europe with 21,000 people and operations in nearly 100 countries. In 1997, Bull earned revenues of $4.2 billion including over 65% outside of France, its country of origin.

Bull offers a wide range of systems, infrastructure software and I.T. services, through focused innovation, alliances with the best partners and its own integration expertise.

In its industry, Bull is recognized for innovative products including Escala family of open servers, smart cards and software such as OpenMaster for secure management of systems and networks. In I.T. services, Bull is ranked in Europe as the third largest systems integrator and fifth in maintenance and support services. Information on Bull is available at:


Cendant Card Rebates

Maryland-based Cendant Business Services announced Thursday it will offer rebates of up to 8% on vehicle maintenance purchases made with the MasterCard-branded ‘Cendant Card’. The rebates will be available to clients who use the ‘Cendant Card’ to manage Travel & Entertainment, purchasing and fleet expenses. ‘Cendant Card’ clients will receive a rebate up to 8% of the purchase price for every vehicle maintenance purchase made at preferred network suppliers,such as Jiffy Lube, Firestone, Penske Auto Centers, Pep Boys, and Safelite AutoGlass. A number of these suppliers also provide detailed, line-item information on maintenance transactions.


Diebold UK Manager

Diebold International Ltd., has appointed Richard Eagland as country manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland to be based at Diebold’s European headquarters in London. In his new position, Eagland will oversee Diebold’s self-service sales and service efforts in the U.K. and Ireland. Previously, IBM marketed Diebold’s self-service products in the region.

For the past three years, Eagland has been manager, self-service solutions, U.K. and Ireland at IBM. Prior to that he spent 22 years with Philips Data Systems and Digital Equipment in a wide range of sales and marketing positions, with particular emphasis on retail banking solutions. He started his career as a program and systems analyst at Litton Business Systems before moving into sales.

“Having worked on Diebold products over a number of years, I am delighted to join the company at such an exciting time,” said Eagland. “Diebold has established a strong market position in the United States, the world’s largest ATM market, and is now well poised to take a leading share in the international market. I see it as a personal challenge to achieve market leadership in the U.K. and Ireland.”

Diebold, Incorporated (NYSE: DBD) is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 6,000 associates in some 120 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [][1].



MARTA Smart Cards

Atlanta’s MARTA system received a report this week from Manuel Padron and Associates which recommended replacing MARTA’s ‘TransCards” with smart cards and discounting the fare structure. According to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the consultant suggested smart cards be discounted deeply enough to encourage up to 95% of MARTA’s 550,000 daily riders to use them. MARTA currently charges $1.50 for a one-way trip. Slightly more than half of MARTA’s current customers use weekly or monthly ‘TransCards’, which offer unlimited transportation for $12 weekly or $45 monthly. MARTA was previously involved in a two-year smart card pilot with NationsBank, which ended in July 98. The pilot involved 2,000 riders. MARTA says the cost of a changing card readers in the pilot, due to a technology change, was too expensive. MARTA’s board will consider the new recommendations this summer.


Contactless Bank Card

A Schlumberger wireless VISA Cash electronic purse card is being piloted in Spain. The new multi-application payment card – which combines a conventional debit function with an e-purse incorporates a contactless wireless interface. The first to exploit the potential of this new capability will be a consortium of transport operators and Spanish banks: a pilot scheme scheduled to start later this year will explore the use of the card’s VISA Cash for public transport ticketing in Madrid and Barcelona. This is believed to be the first time that a regular bank payment card has been fitted with a contactless interface. The new card offers two core functions. The first is VISA Cash which will currently uses a chip and the second function is the VISA Electron debit function which uses a mag stripe. The VISA Cash function will now go contactless.


Discover Recovers

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reported Thursday that first quarter 1999 net income for its Credit and Transaction Services unit increased by 36% compared to 1Q/98. The fiscal quarter, which ended Feb. 28, shows net income for Credit and Transaction Services of $135 million versus $99 million one year ago. The significant jump in earnings was a surprise considering MSDW unloaded SPS, the Prime Option card portfolio and the Bravo card portfolio late last year. One of the main contributors was a 122 basis point drop in net chargeoffs and a 32 basis point drop in delinquency. As a result, provisions for consumer loan losses dropped 34%, from $684 million for 1Q/98 to $451 million for 1Q/99. For complete 1Q/99 financials for Discover visit CardData ( and click on Earnings Reports.


1Q99 4Q98 1Q98
Outstandings: $32.1b $32.5 $35.8
Total Cards: 37m 38m 40m
Merch. Locs: 100k 97k 90k
Chargeoffs: 6.28% 6.94% 7.50%
Delinquency: 7.08% 6.53% 7.40%
Yield: 14.06% 14.72% 14.72%
Spread: 8.23% 8.71% 8.46%

b-billions; m-millions; k-thousands; delinquency-30+ day;
yield-interest yield; spread-interest spread; CardData (



MasterCard International announced plans yesterday to issue more than 10,000 MasterCard ‘SET Digital Certificates’ by end of this year in Malaysia. MasterCard Malaysia says the certificates will be issued through the Hong Leong Bank. According to Bernama, The Malaysian National News Agency, yesterday’s announcement by MasterCard coincided with the launch of the ‘MEPS Secure Electronic Transaction’ payment gateway in Malaysia yesterday.