The world’s most powerful person realized yesterday that membership does not always have its privileges. President Clinton’s American Express card was denied Monday. He was attempting to purchase four books for $62.66 from Dolly’s Books in Park City, UT. The President’s AmEx card expired Sunday. Reportedly, a store clerk called American Express requesting manual approval after identifying the cardholder. The transaction was still denied. The President was forced to pay in cash for John Grishman’s “The Testament”; Raymond Chandler’s “Playback”; Octavia Paz’s “In Light of India” and Stanley Wolpert’s “India”. The President was preparing to return to Washington following an Utah vacation.Details
Wells Fargo says it is going forward with plans to place advertisements on the ATM screen and on the back of transaction receipts. Amazon.com will be the first to advertise on more than 340 Wells Fargo ATMs in the San Francisco area. AT&T will begin advertising next month. The ‘Wells Fargo Media Express ATM Network’ allows Wells Fargo to showcase advertisements from other companies and Wells Fargo products while donating screen space to community organizations in the markets where the ATMs are located. Amazon.com is using the transaction receipt to offer customers who enroll for ‘Wells Fargo Online Banking’ a $10 discount off any Amazon.com purchase. Later this spring, AT&T will use the receipts to offer customers discounted Internet access. The network utilizes Novadigm’s software management technology for ATMs.Details
Hypercom has rolled-out the ‘ICE-PAC Customization System’, a new graphics printer and display screen customization system enhancement to the Hypercom ‘ICE’ POS terminal product line. The new system is designed for merchants, processors and merchant acquirers that want to create custom promotions on their ‘ICE 5000’ systems. ICE-PAC system options include custom logo generation on the receipt and idle-prompt display; the ability to display custom advertising at various points during a transaction; and a new systemwide mail generation feature for quick sending of messages to all terminals in a predefined group. The ICE-PAC system can be used by processors to build screens and screen sets for their merchants, or processors may give their merchants this capability. For example, users can deploy the same advertising screens across some or all stores in an enterprise.Details
The boards of directors of HONOR Technologies Inc. and Star System Inc. Monday announced that they have completed the business combination of the two companies, creating the largest electronic funds transfer network in the country.
This action follows the unanimous consent of the shareholders of the two companies approving the transaction. The transaction creates a new, for-profit corporation, H&S Holding Co. (H&S). HONOR and STAR will operate as wholly owned subsidiaries. The ownership of H&S Holding Co. will consist of the financial institutions that owned the former HONOR and STAR organizations.
“This new company will be the premier electronic payments network in the U.S.,” said Ronald V. Congemi, H&S president and CEO. “Our company will lead the industry in quality service, with a focus on the needs of our participating organizations. Through the strong relationships forged by HONOR and STAR, the new company will be well positioned to bring further product integration to this industry.” Congemi is the former president and CEO of Star System Inc.
The new company will serve more than 3,700 financial institution members and their 79 million ATM/debit cardholders via more than 70,000 ATMs and 400,000 merchant point-of-sale (POS) locations, processing an average of 185 million transactions per month. In addition to network services, the company will offer financial institutions offline debit processing, card production, ATM services and gateway access to home banking and national network services.
T.O. Bennion, the former president and CEO of HONOR, will retire from day-to-day responsibilities and will serve as one of the new company’s vice chairmen. “This transaction was a culmination of a long-term effort to expand the products and services available to member financial institutions. H&S will possess the strongest characteristics of both organizations. Being involved with the creation of this partnership is a high point in my career,” said Bennion.
“The combination marks a new era in electronic funds transfer, creating opportunities for technological advances and even broader EFT-related services,” added Congemi.
Headquartered in Maitland, the new company will be organized in divisions reflecting both geographical and functional responsibilities. A transitional management team has been formed to manage the operations of the new company. Robert A. Hunter will serve as chief operating officer of the eastern division, and James McCarthy will head up the western division. Thomas McHugh will serve as chief technology officer, and E. Miles Kilburn will be chief financial officer. The key senior officers leading integration efforts, in addition to the aforementioned, are Nikki Waters, Mary McDuffie, Curtis Fish and Paul Schmelzer. The company will retain its offices in California, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina and Virginia. Congemi and Kilburn will relocate to the Maitland headquarters.
At this time, no immediate changes in operations, processing, or branding and signage will occur. “We will address these issues as we develop operational plans through 1999 to integrate the new company,” said Congemi. “Board decisions regarding these important issues will be announced over the course of the coming year.”
More information about HONOR and STAR can be found at the following Web sites: [www.HONOR.com] and [www.star-system.com]
Cash America International, Inc. announced the completion of a previously disclosed capital transaction involving its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mr. Payroll Corporation, and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. The transaction provides for Wells Fargo to contribute equity capital in the amount of $21 million and all of the assets of an existing network of 200 ATM’s, with an estimated value of $6 million, to Mr. Payroll Corporation making the estimated value of the total investment approximately $27 million. The capital will be used by Mr. Payroll Corporation for the continued development and deployment of the first ever fully automated check cashing and financial services machine. Completion of the transaction results in Cash America and Wells Fargo each owning a 45% equity interest in Mr. Payroll Corporation, with the remaining equity interest held by the newly constituted management team of Mr. Payroll.
Since the installation of the first Mr. Payroll Check Cashing Machine (CCM) in June 1997, machines have been deployed in 19 states in over 90 locations. The Mr. Payroll CCM already has been used to cash over 500,000 checks of all types for more than $130 million. Additional information on Mr. Payroll can be found on the World Wide Web at .
Cash America International, Inc. is a diversified provider of specialty finance services to individuals in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden. Cash America is the largest provider of secured non-recourse loans to individuals commonly referred to as pawn loans, through 464 locations in 16 states and two foreign countries. In addition, the Company provides rental services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Rent A Tire, Inc., and check cashing services through its network of franchised and company owned manned check cashing centers.
This release contains forward-looking statements about the business, financial condition, and prospects of Cash America International, Inc. and Mr. Payroll Corporation (“the Company”). The actual results of the Company could differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements because of various risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, changes in demand for the Company’s services, changes in competition, the ability of the Company to open new operating units in accordance with its plans, economic conditions, real estate market fluctuations, interest rate fluctuations, changes in the capital markets, changes in tax and other laws and governmental rules and regulations applicable to the Company’s business and other risks indicated in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties are beyond the ability of the Company to control and, in many cases, the Company cannot predict all of the risks and uncertainties that could cause its actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements.Details
Movie listing and ticketing service, MovieFone, Inc.,and American Express yesterday launched the first industry-wide moviegoer frequency program backed by both film distributors and theater chains. Starting Monday, moviegoers in the New York metropolitan area will earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased over MovieFone (777-FILM) or its online service Movielink.com with an American Express Card. The program will expand to other markets later this year. Participating studios so far include: Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, MGM/UA, New Line Cinema, Miramax, and Paramount Pictures.Details
ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH, a leading provider of smart card systems, can now look back on the most successful year in its company history.
In 1998 ORGA recorded record sales of DM 302 million, an increase of some 30 percent on the previous year. Staff figures also rose: by the end of 1998 the ORGA Group employed 845 people, 165 more than the year before.
The impressive trend in sales is mainly attributable to the following points:
— Strategic business reengineering
— Targeted customer orientation
— “Synergy at work” – with Bundesdruckerei as its new majority shareholder
— Concentration on ORGA’s key markets
— Promotion of internationalization
Last year the ORGA Group expanded its global presence. In October it opened an official office in Beijing, China. In Brazil the DARUMA ORGA Card Systems S.A. joint venture was launched, with its head office in Taubate.
ORGA currently maintains a presence in 11 countries with subsidiaries, offices and joint ventures. It also has 34 agents responsible for distributing ORGA products worldwide.
This business result clearly reflects current expansion in the smart card market. ORGA plans to profit from the growth forecast for this market. At the end of 1998, smart cards totalled a world volume of 1,295 million, a figure which is anticipated to increase to 1,840 million cards by the end of 1999, a growth rate of 42.1 percent.
Between 1998 and 1999, individual application areas in the smart card market are forecast to increase as follows (figures in millions of cards):
— GSM: from 105 million to 120 million
— Telephone cards: from 850 million to 1,100 million
— Banking and Retail: from 130 million to 250 million
— Multimedia (Internet): from 40 to 60 million
— Identification: from 20 to 50 million
— Healthcare: from 60 to 100 million
— Transport: from 30 to 60 million
— Other: from 60 to 100 million
The ORGA Group has set the following targets for the current financial year:
— Resolute development of new business fields
— Further increase in staff employment
Heinz Schafers, Head of International Sales, takes aim at another big goal: “We want to achieve the leading position in the GSM segment!”
Regional smart card markets will develop at different rates; America and Asia/Pacific will gain in importance in comparison with Europe.
ORGA anticipates the following growth rates in individual areas between 1999 and 2001:
— Europe: + 50 %
— Asia/Pacific: + 130%
— America: + 120 %
— Africa / Rest of World: + 200 %
In growth markets, highly sophisticated processor cards will oust the simpler memory cards currently dominating the world market, mainly as prepaid telephone cards.
What is more, the demand for complete solutions, such as prepaid and over-the-air systems for GSM networks, and closed payment and customer loyalty systems for the banking and retail sectors, will rise sharply. Key ORGA markets, which require processor cards with the relevant card systems, are now poised for a long-awaited breakthrough.Details
Comdata officials announce the company’s Diamond Anniversary celebration; a year long event to become “a shining example of its commitment to excellence in transportation services,” said Comdata President, Tony Holcombe.
Comdata has planned a number of activities throughout the year in commemoration of its thirty-year heritage, including the incorporation of a new corporate logo to be used in the company’s promotional materials, trade shows and advertisements. In addition, the company has planned `progressive birthday party’ events for employees, customers and trade show participants throughout the year.
“Comdata Corporation began as a relatively small business. We have enjoyed a very fortunate past by taking advantage of technology and applying it to the benefit of our diverse clientele,” said Comdata President Tony Holcombe. “As we embark on a new century of service, we look forward to building on our success by bringing innovative new products to market and maintaining our sharp focus on superior customer service.”
A pioneer in electronic funds disbursement and reporting technology for the transportation industry, Comdata launched `The Blue Card’ in 1981, which would serve as the predecessor to the Comchek Card(R), introduced several years later. A relatively simple approach to a novel idea, the `Blue Card’ gave trucking fleets a new way to provide funds to their drivers. Prior to the existence of the Comchek Card, these companies would be forced to issue a company credit card, wire money or provide cash to their drivers for fueling their trucks and paying for maintenance and repairs.
Today, the Comchek Card is the most universally-accepted over-the-road fueling card in the nation, accepted at over 5,000 truck stops and travel plazas and 350,000 Cirrus ATM machines in North America. Recently, Comdata announced the launch of Maestro point-of-sale access to its Comchek Card customers with Cirrus ATM access. The addition of the Maestro network opens up a whole new retail realm for the professional driver, since they can purchase goods and services at such national retailers as Albertsons, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and the United States Postal Service.
Over the span of three decades, Comdata has grown from a one office operation in Nashville, TN to a nationally recognized financial services leader with thirteen locations and 2,000 employees throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company’s product and service solutions incorporate the Comchek brand in its Driver Relations, Regulatory Compliance, Fuel Management, Merchant Services and Telecommunications divisions.
As the nation’s leading provider of financial and information services to the transportation industry, Comdata () provides funds transfer, fuel purchase, cash advance and permit services, as well as fuel optimization and routing software to the trucking industry; point of sale and data collection services to the truck stop industry; and long-distance telecommunications to the transportation industry.
Comdata is a business unit of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation (NYSE: CEN), a leading information services company that serves the human resources, transportation and electronic media markets. Ceridian’s human resources businesses include Ceridian Employer Services, a provider of human resource management systems and payroll and tax filing services, and Ceridian Performance Partners, a provider of fully integrated workplace effectiveness solutions. Ceridian’s electronic media sector includes Arbitron; an international media and marketing research firm.Details
TRM Corporation announced Monday that it has promoted Gary Cosmer to the newly created position of Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO). Cosmer, formally Director of Information Systems, is leading the company through the implementation of new ERP based operating systems as well as a Y2K compliance plan.
Fred Stockton, President and CEO, has high praise for Cosmer. “Gary joined us in 1997 and immediately started the process of upgrading our information and communication systems into a state-of-the-art position. Microsoft and various trade journals have recognized his team’s efforts several times during the past eighteen months for their innovative solutions. They have built an internet-based VPN (virtual private network) access solution that allowed us to link our 55 worldwide Service Centers to TRM Headquarters, saving $150,000 per year in data acquisition costs. Recently, under Cosmer’s leadership, TRM chose Oracle Software for its new ERP based operating systems. We believe that Gary’s promotion to Vice President and CIO reinforces TRM’s strong commitment to build world class information systems that allow us to better service the needs of our customers.”
Before joining TRM Corporation in December 1997, Cosmer was a Systems Engineer for CTR Business Systems. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Advance Technology Studies from Southern Illinois University and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer specializing in Intra/Internet-based solutions.
TRM Corporation provides convenience photocopy services through its Copy Centers located in retail establishments throughout the United States, Canada, England, Wales, Scotland and France. A total of 31,000 Copy Centers are installed worldwide. TRM’s Copy Centers are located in independent as well as large chain retailers, a sample of which include Albertsons, Eckerd, Marsh, Shaw’s and American Drug. Last month, TRM Corporation launched its new ATM Division after signing a seven-year agreement to be the exclusive ATM provider for The Pantry and Lil’ Champ convenience store chain.Details
First USA has signed-up major Internet merchants for its ‘VersaPay’ digital wallet. New clients include Borders.com, CBS MarketWatch, CoolSavings, CyberianOutpost, FANSonly, Impulse! Buy Network, iVillage, Recompute, SkyMall, ToySmart, Virtual Technology Corporation, Virtual Vineyards and ZD Net. The First USA ‘VersaPay’ service is built on the ‘InstaBuy’ new ‘Agile Wallet Platform’ by CyberCash. Consumers can register for the ‘VersaPay’ service by shopping at e-retailers or visiting websites that use ‘VersaPay’ digital wallet. Once registered, consumers can use ‘VersaPay’ at all merchants offering the service.Details
CheckFree and Las Vegas- based Nevada Power Company yesterday announced that Internet-based electronic billing and payment will soon be available for Nevada Power Company’s more than 550,000 electricity and energy services customers.
By using CheckFree’s E-Bill service, Nevada Power Company customers will be able to receive full-color electric bills at no charge — complete with graphics, logos and full billing detail — through the World Wide Web. Once they have enrolled at https://www.mybills.com/ebill, Nevada Power Company customers will be able to view and pay their electric bills with the touch of a button. Customers can also access their account information through Nevada Power Company’s Web site at http://www.nevadapower.com. Nevada Power Company plans to make CheckFree E-Bill available to customers in its southern Nevada service area in June of 1999.
Nevada Power Company customers will also have access to their bills via CheckFree’s growing list of active distribution points. These include:
— First Union at
— Intuit’s Quicken 98/99 software
— Charles Schwab at
— Morgan Stanley Dean Witter at
— Prudential Securities at
Future Web site launches for CheckFree E-Bill include Bank One and PNC Bank.
“It’s important to give customers convenient options when it comes to receiving and paying their bill,” said Michael Niggli, Nevada Power Company president and chief operating officer. “As the fastest growing electric utility in the nation, Nevada Power Company continues to add services that we feel provide the most benefit to our customers. We are pleased to offer CheckFree E-Bill to our customers as a helpful, bill-paying alternative.”
Matt Lewis, Senior Vice President of Electronic Commerce Product Management and Marketing for CheckFree, said, “Nevada Power Company, like other industry leaders, recognizes the cost-savings associated with presenting bills electronically. Add to that the one-to-one customer communications that the Internet provides, and you have a win-win scenario for both the biller and the consumer.”
While PC-based bill payment is not new, receiving and paying bills electronically through the Web has only recently been made possible using CheckFree E-Bill. Since launching the nation’s first fully integrated, market-proven electronic billing and payment solution in 1997, CheckFree has signed multi-year contracts with more than 40 of the nation’s larger billers, including: Ameren (Union Electric), American Electric Power, AT&T, Avista Utilities (Washington Water Power), BellSouth, Boston Edison, Chase Credit Card, Chase Mortgage, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Consumers’ Energy, Countrywide Mortgage, CUNA Mutual Group, Florida Power & Light, GPU Energy, GTE, HomeSide Lending, Illinois Power, International Billing Services (IBS), MCI WorldCom, Northeast Utilities, Northern Illinois Gas, Portland General Electric, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Small Business Administration, Southern California Edison, Southern Company and Total System Services Inc. (TSYS).
About Nevada Power Company
Nevada Power Company provides electricity and energy services to residents of Las Vegas and southern Nevada and is the nation’s fastest-growing electric utility. Nevada Power Company can be found on the World Wide Web at [www.nevadapower.com].
About CheckFree Founded in 1981, CheckFree (www.checkfree.com), the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corp., is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2.6 million consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet.
The Fitch IBCA ‘Credit Card Chargeoff IndexCredit’ reported yesterday that charge-offs increased slightly to 6.10% for the January collection period. The ’60+ Day Delinquency Index’ also increased moderately to 3.28%. However, despite an uptick in chargeoffs coupled with a downturn in yield, the three-month excess spread index increased to 5.37%, its highest level since October 1994. Historically, portfolio yields have pulled back in February due to a shortage of collection days in January. Nevertheless, Fitch says that recent trends indicate a movement toward higher yields due to higher fee income, maturation of teaser-rate product, and issuers’ ability to reprice riskier cardholders. The Fitch IBCA indices track the performance of credit card receivables backing $183 billion in asset-backed securities.
BANK CREDIT CARD INDICES (as percentages of outstandings)
Period Chargeoff Yield MPR Delinquency Spread
2/99 6.10 19.23 15.82 3.28 5.37
1/99 6.00 19.57 15.62 3.15 5.34
12/98 6.27 19.45 15.06 3.26 5.15
11/98 6.20 19.99 15.87 3.26 5.20
10/98 6.35 19.12 15.09 3.19 4.94
9/98 6.29 19.81 15.65 3.17 4.82
2/98 6.52 18.40 15.50 3.73 3.70
NOTE: yield-gross yield; MPR-monthly payment rate; delinquency-60 day+
delinquency; spread-3 month excess spread