Trajecta East Coast

Austin, TX-based Trajecta, Inc. announced the opening of its Atlanta office. The new office will service credit card and banking clients on the east coast by providing local customer service and sales support. Co-directing office activities will be Jim Heilman and Tim Bates, who have over 30 years of combined financial services and technology experience. Trajecta’s decisioning technologies predict, test, track and optimize strategic goals based on a complete and integrated view of revenue, risk and costs.

Details

Amazing Acquisitions

PubliCARD, Inc. said yesterday it has successfully completed its acquisition of Amazing Smart Card Technologies. Amazing is a veteran in the smart card market, beginning in 1986 as a card manufacturer and later expanding into application development and systems integration. Recently, Amazing introduced Smart Guardian, the first personalized smart card system, designed to manage individuals’ access to the Internet.

Details

GlobeSet Greece

GlobeSet Inc., the world’s largest OEM provider of software solutions for electronic commerce, continues its pace of expanding its global reach for its secure payment products and services for Internet-based transactions by forming an alliance with Greece’s Informer.

The OEM agreement entitles Informer, one of the largest IT integrators in Greece, to license and support GlobeSet’s transaction and payment solutions for secure electronic commerce over the Internet. As GlobeSet develops additional transaction applications in 1999, it will license its technology to Informer.

Informer was established in 1979 and focuses its efforts in the government, banking, European Union and private enterprises sectors. Within the banking sector, Informer has a specialized department staffed with people with years of experience in the financial sector who can provide total consulting and software solutions for Internet banking and electronic commerce. Apart from its success in the Greek domestic market, it has developed significant activity abroad with successful installations in multinational groups of companies. Informer’s personnel are in the position to offer, supply, install and support turnkey solutions for any market sector utilizing its vast expertise in IT and communications.

“GlobeSet’s success in the global marketplace will be measured, in part, by the success of our OEM partners,” said Dennis Jolly, Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Operations, GlobeSet. “We are confident that our relationship with Informer will be fruitful as we couple the industry’s only complete suite of SET(TM) compliant and SSL software solutions for secure electronic commerce with Informer’s knowledge of system integration for the Greek market.”

GlobeSet’s line of transaction and payment solutions and services for secure electronic commerce include the GlobeSet Wallet(TM), GlobeSet ServerWallet(TM), GlobeSet POS(TM), GlobeSet ServerPOS(TM), GlobeSet Gateway(TM), and GlobeSet CA(TM). The products for consumers, merchants, portals, ISPs, banks and financial institutions have been awarded industry-first SET Marks signifying their compliance with the SET 1.0 specification.

SET, the standard for secure payment card transactions over the Internet, was developed by Visa and MasterCard, with participation from leading technology companies around the world including Austin-based GlobeSet Inc.

“Informer is a market leader in the Greek IT market and is committed in providing solutions to the banking sector, both in Greece and in the neighborhood area,” said Simos Simoudis, president, Informer. “The solutions offered are based on Globus, which is a well known international package, and several other applications mainly in the area of direct banking, Internet banking, phone banking and ATM/POS handling.” Mr. Simoudis also added, “The SET compliant suite of software offered by GlobeSet will provide Informer with a competitive advantage in the field of e-commerce and will complement the solutions we offer.”

About GlobeSet

GlobeSet Inc., is the world’s largest OEM provider of software solutions for electronic commerce. The company’s server-based products enable e-commerce production deployment and offer a migration path across multiple evolving transaction/certificate standards. With offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific, GlobeSet’s OEM partners have implemented numerous electronic commerce solutions around the world for major banks, retailers and financial processors. Founded in 1994, GlobeSet Inc. is a privately held corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas. Additional information about GlobeSet can be found at [http://www.GlobeSet.com][1]

[1]: http://www.globeset.com

Details

E-Bill Practices

The National Automated Clearing House Association and the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat released electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) business practices Thursday. The business practices, available on the Bill Payment Council’s Web site, set forth recommended practices for billers, service and payment providers for both billers and customers, and for the customers themselves.  Each practice is designated as either “required” or “suggested,” depending on whether the practice is essential to EBPP interoperability or is merely a preferred business practice.

Details

Winners & Losers

It’s possible the industry does not need the DOJ to unravel duality — the industry may do it on its own. If other issuers follow CitiGroup to MasterCard we might see parity between VISA and MasterCard instead of duality. However this appears unlikely. Only CitiGroup and Bank of America have expressed any ambitions of building their own card brands. Most of the top ten issuers, especially non-banks, have little or no brand recognition. MasterCard may gain marketshare if it pulls CitiGroup and BankAmerica fully into its camp, but it will sacrifice its brand investments. MasterCard could gain about seven points in U.S. marketshare with CitiGroup and about two percentage points from Bank of America. In the U.S., VISA could end up with a 40% share and MasterCard with a 37% share. However the loss of CitiGroup to VISA is apparently of no great consequence in itself as Citi only contributes an estimated 6% of VISA’s fees. However it plays out, American Express and Discover may ultimately be the real winners, if the MasterCard brand is weakened by ‘CitiCard’ and ‘BankAmericard’.

Details

UniTransact Introduced

UniTransact Business Solutions, Inc. announced this week that it has signed a definitive agreement with Aaex Corporation, in which it will licence the Aaex proprietary E-commerce software solution.

The new unitransact.com webpage will include many features encompassing E-commerce, web page hosting, search engine, e-mail services and remote file storage. UniTransact.com serves small and medium sized business customers directly through this web site.

Merchants with existing credit card merchant accounts will use the UniTransact E-commerce system to accept purchase information online. Merchants will register and set up online. Those who do not yet have their own web site can, after registering with Unitransact.com, utilize the free web site service. Unitransact.com is set up to automatically create and host a new web site for the merchant. The web site can also be updated with new merchant information online, anytime. Alternatively, merchants with existing web sites can easily adapt their sites to utilize the Unitransact.com E-commerce solution. The total price for somebody using a basic web site is $40.00 US per month with no set up fee.

UniTransact’s user-friendly turnkey system features a centralized processing design which utilizes state of the art security and eliminates the need for expensive hardware and software purchases by customers wishing to process transactions over the Internet. Merchants only require a computer with dial up access to the Internet in order to utilize the system and accept credit card transactions over the Internet. All information is accepted at a secure central location and the results are distributed securely to customers. This enabling technology allows small and medium sized businesses to conduct E-commerce over the Internet in a secure and cost-effective manner. Small and medium sized companies can now reconfigure their business strategies around this new extremely low-cost electronic commerce solution in order to realize greater profitability. Companies that cannot afford expensive information technology departments and system maintenance can now sell products over the Internet.

UniTransact’s President Scott Marshall is quoted as saying, “There are several existing approaches to E-commerce. Some examples include 1) The Enterprise approach, which is a full service software and hardware solution that is geared towards businesses with very large transaction volume. The entry-level price is between $150,000 to $200,000 and expensive manpower is required to maintain these systems, 2) 3rd party clearing houses that perform credit card clearing on behalf of customers with per transaction charges of up to 5%, and 3) Credit card approval companies that issue tokens for credit card transactions that are only usable by other token users and issuers. Until UniTransact, there has not been a flat rate, inexpensive E-commerce solution with unique capabilities to meet the needs of small and medium sized business. UniTransact’s E-commerce solution will revolutionize small business sales cycles.”

For further information please contact the Company at 1-888-843-8857 or scottm@unitransact.com or visit the UniTransact Business Solutions Inc. web site at [www.unitransact.com][1].

These statements have not been approved nor disapproved by any stock exchange, and may contain forward thinking information that may affect the timeliness and execution of the corporation’s business operations and affairs in the future. The statements in this press release are made so within the meaning of section 27A of the securities act of 1933 and section 21E of the Exchange Act of 1934 and are subject to the safe harbour created by these sections. Actual results may differ from UniTransact Business Solutions, Inc.’s expectations

[1]: http://www.unitransact.com

Details

Rapid Link

Atlanta-based Rapid Link Telecommunications launched a subsidiary Wednesday to offer prepaid calling card services targeting international communities in the U.S.. The firm began distribution of its prepaid cards in the New York metropolitan area last month and plans to expand its services across the nation by the end of 1999. The prepaid company caters primarily to the Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Caribbean communities living in the U.S. Rapid Link offers international callback, the ‘CommLink Calling Card’, ‘HomeLink’, ‘BusinessLink’ and ‘Rapid Link Carrier Services’ to more than 50,000 customers and partners worldwide.

Details

CyberGold — EarthLink

Cybergold, Inc. said yesterday its private-label loyalty program is powering the MBNA/EarthLink VISA announced earlier this week. The CyberGold program pays consumers cash via the Internet for taking action both on the Web and offline. Under the new private-label offering, consumers receive .5% of the price of their purchases back whenever they use their EarthLink MBNA VISA cards, either online or offline. The cash rewards show up in their online Cybergold accounts. In addition, when consumers use their EarthLink MBNA VISA cards to shop at the EarthLink Mall, they earn 2% of their purchase price back. Once consumers have earned cash via Cybergold, they have three options for spending it: they can transfer funds to personal VISA cards under an exclusive relationship with VISA; they can deposit the money into their bank accounts; or they can donate it to a Cybergold partner nonprofit

Details

Branding & Bucks

CitiGroup’s threatened migration to MasterCard from VISA appears to center more on association fees than the branding issue. As profit margins dwindle amid rising marketing costs and shifting cardholder behavior, CitiGroup, like its competitors, is seeking to lower all costs and spend more efficiently. VISA reportedly said CitiGroup paid $78 million in annual association fees to VISA during 1998. CitiGroup has made it clear it would rather fund the marketing of its own brand than subside, through VISA, marketing for its competitors. Even if CitiGroup gets what it wants from MasterCard, CitiGroup’s strategy is risky. To enter another card brand into the marketplace at this point in time comes with a very high price tag. Brand awareness is not something that is achieved overnight and consumers may ultimately find it confusing. Furthermore CitiGroup has a bad track record with brand building. Its efforts in the mid-80s to launch the Choice card was a disaster and it has only recently made any headway building the Diners Club brand. Discover, a branding success, also found out the hard way that cluttering the market with new brands and sub-brands does not work. Discover is now in the process of re-focusing on its Discover brand, shedding the sub-brand Bravo and pulling back on the Novus brand. American Express has also indicated that its Optima brand has really never connected with American consumers.

Details

Edify Milestone

Edify Corp. announced yesterday at its annual ‘Edification ’99’ conference that Washington Trust Bank in Spokane has become the hundredth financial institution to license Edify’s ‘Electronic Banking System’. During the fourth quarter Edify made initial shipments of ‘Release 3’ of its ‘Electronic Banking System’, as well as the ‘Business Banking Suite’. With Release 3, Edify’s EBS now incorporates end-to-end support for online bill presentment and payment for a financial institution’s retail customers. Among Edify’s top clients: Chase Manhattan Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Harris Bank.

Details

Metris Grants Stock Options

Metris Companies Inc., one of the nation’s fastest-growing direct-marketing companies, has announced a stock option grant to its more than 1,900 employees. Under the Ownership Bonus Program, once the options vest, eligible employees can purchase 100 shares of Metris stock at $50.31 per share, the fair market price as of December 31, 1998. The stock options vest on January 4, 2002 or when Metris stock closes at or above $100 per share, whichever comes first.

“This is an exciting day for our employees,” said Ronald N. Zebeck, Metris president and CEO. “It is important to me that every employee – no matter what their position – knows they will share in the future success of Metris Companies.”

With the Ownership Bonus Program, all eligible employees nationwide have an equity stake in the company. Other stock ownership opportunities available to employees include the purchase of stock through the Company’s 401(k) plan.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Metris also has operations in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Baltimore, Maryland; Champaign, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona and currently employs over 2,000 people.

Visit Metris on the Internet at [www.metriscompanies.com][1].

[1]: http://www.metriscompanies.com

Details