Wireless Super Bowl

Paynet Transaction Services and BellSouth Wireless Data provided wireless credit card transactions at yesterday’s Super Bowl. Paynet provided portable, wireless credit card terminals for use at the novelty shops inside Miami’s Pro Player Stadium and in the parking lot during the big game. The wireless solution enabled the souvenir vendor at the Super Bowl to have over 40 POS card locations. Pro Player Stadium is normally equipped with less than 10 standard hook-ups designated for terminals that process credit cards.


Sears Changes

Sears, Roebuck & Co. announced this week it will change its accounting methods for its credit card unit to more closely mirror the accounting practices of other card issuers. The decision will result in a $200 million increase in loan loss reserves for the next one and half years. Sears currently charges off bad card accounts at 270 days. Under the new system Sears will charge-off at 240 days. Sears also currently does not classify accounts as delinquent until the account is 90 days past due. The company will adopt the 90-day cutoff.  The changes will be fully phased-in by the end of the second quarter. If the changes had been in place for 4Q/98 the company indicated delinquency would run more than 9.0%. For Sears 4Q/98 earnings report please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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



Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems announced a comprehensive dial-up payment processing solution for retailers. ‘PayPro’ utilizes VeriFone’s ‘Omni 396 CheckPak’ payment terminal. The ‘CheckPak’ solution consists of the ‘Omni 396’ POS terminal bundled with a ‘CR 600’ check reader. The solution offers merchants debit, credit, check, EBT and prepaid gift card processing all in one system. ‘PayPro’ is currently used by more than 100 merchant locations. PayPoint is a subsidiary of ARCO.


TYME Y2K Ready

Since 1996 TYME has been focusing on its Year 2000 readiness to ensure that January 1, 2000 is simply just another uneventful day.

“We are on target – in fact, somewhat ahead of schedule – in the Y2K race,” said James H. Martin, Tyme Corporation president. “Our more than 3,000,000 cardholders should have no problem performing transactions at TYME machines as we ring in the year 2000. It should be business as usual come January 1, 2000.”

On December 8, 1998 TYME’s new Y2K compliant switch software was successfully installed. The software controls more than 15,000 ATMs and POS (point-of-sale) terminals and processes over 7,000,000 TYME transactions per month.

TYME will now focus its attention on testing the network’s endpoints, such as processors and interchanges with other networks, for Y2K readiness. When that is completed by June 1, 1999, Martin said “it will represent the culmination of three years worth of effort and the successful completion of TYME’s YEAR 2000 PREPAREDNESS PLAN.”

The switch software used by Tyme Corporation was developed by Deluxe Electronic Payment Systems of Glendale, Wisconsin and is operated by Brown Deer, Wisconsin- based M&I Data Services.

TYME is one of the largest regional networks in the country with more than 500 participating financial institutions operating ATM and POS terminals in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.


VISTA Rolled-Out

Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. and Experian jointly announced Thursday the Vista account management risk score service to help small business credit grantors better manage their customers. With Vista, credit grantors have a more complete view of small business customers’ credit performance to increase their ability to detect and react to delinquency. By combining the sophistication of Fair, Isaac’s predictive models and Experian’s extensive databases, Vista provides a comprehensive solution that helps control credit quality, minimize expenses and increase customer retention.

“We’ve developed Vista to provide credit grantors with a tool to detect that a customer may have become a higher risk before the small business stops paying,” said Latimer Asch, vice president of Commercial Markets at Fair, Isaac. “Vista allows streamlining of the annual review process while reducing unnecessary servicing costs.”

“Fair, Isaac’s predictive models pull data from Experian’s extensive databases offering users a broader view of account performance by looking at customers’ credit obligations,” said Scott Bronstein, director of product marketing for Business Information Services at Experian. “Experian’s strength in its commercial and consumer files are key to effectively assessing small business risk.”

Fair, Isaac ([www.fairisaac.com][1]) helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Known for its pioneering work in credit scoring and its use of data in transaction-level decisions, Fair, Isaac now delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs 1,500 people in 17 offices worldwide. For more information, contact Fair, Isaac at 800-999-2955.

Experian ([www.experian.com][2]) — a global information solutions company headquartered in Orange, Calif., and Nottingham, UK — is a leading supplier of consumer and business credit information, credit scoring and software solutions, and direct marketing services. Including recent acquisitions Metromail Corp. (April, 1998) and Direct Marketing Technology, Inc. (April, 1997), Experian employs nearly 11,000 worldwide with 7,500 employees in the United States. Annual sales are about $1.5 billion. Experian is a subsidiary of the Great Universal Stores P.L.C., a UK-based holding company that includes home shopping, retail, property investment, finance and information services businesses.

[1]: http://www.fairisaac.com
[2]: http://www.experian.com


First Card to First Data

Bank One’s First USA subsidiary announced last night that it plans to convert the processing for its ‘First Card’ credit card portfolio to First Data Resources. ‘First Card’, formerly issued by First Chicago used proprietary processing systems for its card portfolio. First Chicago merged with Bank One last year. First Data has indicated it plans to offer jobs to many of the affected employees in the Elgin, IL location. Additionally, some employees will be eligible for transfer to other positions within First USA and Bank One.


Numero Uno ???

The answer to the question as to “Who is the biggest of them all?” was answered yesterday. Bank One is the undisputed number one issuer, based on card receivables. Bank One edged out Citigroup by more than $250 million. However Citigroup continues to lead in card volume and cards-in-force. Bank One released the breakout of its bank credit card business yesterday afternoon to CardData. CardData will release figures on the top 10 card issuers next week. Citigroup released its official U.S. bank credit card numbers to CardData on Wednesday.  For comprehensive quarterly and end-of-year statistics for more than 350 U.S. issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Bank One $69,860,600,000   $28,685,400,000   $99,170,400,000       56,502,900
Citigroup    $69,600,000,000   $42,200,000,000  $140,600,000,000       69,700,000
                Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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


Erasing Credit Repair

The FTC announced Thursday the settlement of another four of the nineteen cases filed in March 1998 as part of ‘Operation Eraser’, a federal-state crackdown on fraudulent credit repair companies. The FTC alleged that all of the defendants operated deceptive credit repair schemes by promising consumers that they could restore their creditworthiness for a fee. The settlements announced yesterday included: Nationwide Credit Information Service, Inc. (NJ); Credit Corporation of America, Inc. and Credit Advisors, Inc., (LA); Cornerstone Wealth Corp. (TX); and Credit Report Counselors (OH). The FTC also issued a final order against Compass Northeast Credit Service (SC). As part of “Operation Eraser,” 31 companies were targeted by federal and state law enforcement agencies.


Motorola Exits Card Chip Biz

San Jose-based Atmel Corp. announced Thursday it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to acquire the Smart Information Transfer business of the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola, Inc.. The proposed transaction does not affect Motorola’s other smart card-related businesses, such as its Worldwide Smartcard Solutions Division, which will continue to provide total smart card solutions to a diverse range of industries. The deal is expected to close by mid-year.


BannerDirect Hires McIntosh

BannerDirect of New York, NY, announced today that Richard McIntosh had been named account manager.  This announcement coincides with the announcement of two other newly created positions.  As account manager, Mr. McIntosh will be reporting to Susan Lasley, senior vice president, and director of marketing.  Richard’s twenty years of diverse experience in sales, business development and financial marketing give him the perfect background for this new position,” says Ms. Lasley.

Based in NewYork, NY, Mr. McIntosh will be responsible for marketing, account management and sales for financial institutions and for developing new business categories in the communications, retail, and entertainment markets.

“BannerDirect is poised to expand it strategies marketing expertise in new and exciting categories,” said Christine Fontana, president.  “Richard will be a vital asset to our expansion.”

Richard McIntosh’s prior positions include vice president, operations for Citicorp, N.A. where he helped develop the introduction of ATMs to the consumer market, Senior account management positions at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; and, account executive for Johnson and Vicks Chemical Corp. and E.F. Hulton among others.  He received his B.S. in Economics from New York University.  Mr McIntosh currently resides in New York City.

BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency for financial, entertainment, and retail companies.  The majority of its business has been to develop response marketing via direct mail, specifically for the credit card industry.  This includes acquisition, activation, stimulation, retention and general communication programs.  It specializes in bringing co-branded and affinity cards to the public and in developing both business-to consumer and business-to-business marketing plans.  The company is currently in the process of expanding its base of clients in different industries.  Its executive offices are in New York, NY.  Production coordination and fulfillment are managed from BannerDirect’s Wilmington, NC, office.  Banner’s sales offices are in Milwaukee, WI; Houston, TX; and Carson City, NV.

Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARCO, is a leading national electronic transaction processor and a pioneer in retail electronic payment systems.  PayPoint introduced one of the first domestic point-of-sale debit processing capabilities at ARCO retail locations in 1984 and today continues to provide comprehensive payment solutions that reflect the quality, innovation and cost efficiency that are the core of PayPoint’s retail heritage.

Verifone, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secured electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, payment solutions, which are used in over 100 countries.

For additional information contact: PayPoint Sales, 1-877-4PAYPRO, Paul Langland, ARCO Products Company, (213) 486-3181, or Christi Kirisits, Marketing Specialist, Verifone, (770) 754-3621.  You can also visit our respective web sites ate and on the internet.


Diebold Update

Diebold, Incorporated announced a board action adopting a shareholder rights plan that provides for rights to be issued to shareholders of record on February 11, 1999.  The new plan replaces Diebold’s existing rights plan that will expire on February 10, 1999.

“This action was taken after long and careful study,” said Robert W. Mahoney, chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “Like the company’s existing rights plan, the new plan is intended to protect the company and its shareholders from potentially coercive takeover practices or takeover bids that are inconsistent with the interests of the company and its other constituents.”

Under the plan, the rights will initially trade together with the common stock and will not be exercisable.  In the absence of further board action, the rights generally will become exercisable and allow the holder to acquire common stock at a discounted price if a person or group acquires 20 percent or more of the outstanding shares of Diebold’s common stock.  Rights held by persons who exceed the applicable threshold will be void. In certain circumstances, the rights will entitle the holder to buy shares in an acquiring entity at a discounted price.

The plan also includes an exchange option.  In general, after the rights become exercisable, the Board of Directors may, at its option, effect an exchange of part or all of the rights — other than rights that have become void — for shares of Diebold’s common stock.  Under this option, Diebold would issue one share of common stock for each right, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances.

Diebold’s Board of Directors may, at its option, redeem all rights for $.01 per right, generally at any time prior to the rights becoming exercisable.  The rights will expire on February 11, 2009, unless earlier redeemed, exchanged or amended by the Board of Directors.

The issuance of the rights is not a taxable event, will not affect Diebold’s reported financial condition or results of operations (including earnings per share) and will not change the way in which Diebold’s common stock is currently traded.

Diebold, Incorporated 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 revenues 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 .

Diebold Also Announces Dividend Increase

The Board of Directors of Diebold, Incorporated today declared a first-quarter cash dividend of 15 cents per share on all common shares payable Friday, March 12 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Friday, February 19.  The new cash dividend, which represents 60 cents per share on an annual basis, is a 7 percent increase over the cash dividend paid in 1998.  This is the 46th consecutive year that Diebold has increased its cash dividend.

Diebold, Incorporated 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 revenues 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 .