Providian Up 78%

Providian Financial reported last week record fourth quarter net income of $94.9 million, a 78% increase over earnings per share for the fourth quarter of the prior year. Account growth climbed at an accelerated pace, with over 1.9 million new account relationships established during the quarter.  This includes 600,000 accounts added through the acquisition of the Bravo card program in December, bringing Providian’s total managed accounts at the end of 1998 to 8 million, representing a 71% growth rate over year-end 1997. For the fourth quarter, the managed net credit loss rate, excluding acquired portfolios, was 6.54% versus 6.42% in the fourth quarter of 1997, while for all of 1998 the managed net credit loss rate, excluding acquisitions, was 6.33% versus 6.32% in 1997. Including the acquired portfolios, the total managed net credit loss rate was 7.58% in 1998, versus 6.32% for 1997.  The 31+ day managed delinquency rate was 5.33% at year-end 1998. For complete 4Q/98 details on Providian visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MasterCard & 1travel.com

MasterCard International ([www.mastercard.com][1]), and 1travel.com ([www.1travel.com][2]), a leading online discount travel service, announced Friday a marketing alliance designed to increase the number of online discount travel shoppers to the 1travel.com site and to provide consumers with special travel offers, discount packages and upgrades.

The alliance makes MasterCard the preferred payment system and an exclusive marketing partner with 1travel.com, and will provide MasterCard cardholders with exclusive travel and entertainment offers, special promotions and other discounts. In addition, the program will feature a link on the 1travel.com Web site to the MasterCard Web site that allows shoppers to access information on travel benefits, products and services, and MasterCard’s ATM locator service. The ATM locator service enables travelers to find the nearest ATM anywhere in the world.

“As the leading way to pay for travel services online, MasterCard is proud to partner with 1travel.com to offer special incentives to consumers,” said Ralph Bianco, senior vice president, Global Product Management & Development, MasterCard International. “As e-commerce continues to grow, particularly in the areas of travel and entertainment, MasterCard continues to provide consumers with the ultimate flexibility in making purchases from anywhere – including cyberspace.”

MasterCard’s preferred status will appear on 1travel.com’s Home Page as well as a number of additional 1travel.com proprietary Web pages that assist consumers in finding the best airfares, and hotel and car rental deals. These Web pages include Lowest Airfares, Car Wiz and Hotel Wiz.

“We are happy to have MasterCard as our preferred payment brand on 1travel.com,” said Michael Thomas, President and CEO of 1travel.com. “Our customers are value-oriented, computer-savvy and will benefit from this new partnership through a variety of joint promotions with MasterCard. Having MasterCard as 1travel.com’s preferred payment choice will provide consumers with the credibility of a trusted brand.”

Online Security

MasterCard’s alliance with 1travel.com is part of its on-going e-commerce initiative to build consumer awareness of the benefits of shopping online. The 1travel.com Web site will be designated one of MasterCard’s “Shop Smart!” sites. “Shop Smart” is an online consumer awareness program that certifies to consumers that they are shopping on a Web site that uses the most advanced safety practices for online transactions. When consumers see the “Shop Smart!” logo on a Web site, they can feel confident knowing that the merchant is using best available security and practices to safeguard their payment information.

The security section of 1travel.com will feature information on Secure Electronic Transaction (SET), the Internet security protocol MasterCard helped develop, which secures online credit card payments by encrypting cardholder information and properly identifying the cardholder and the merchant to one another. 1travel.com will actively work with MasterCard to ensure that 1travel.com technical solutions with respect to transaction security meet MasterCard’s rules, policies and procedures regarding the security of credit card numbers.

MasterCard Travel Alliances

In addition to the 1travel.com alliance and further emphasizing MasterCard’s commitment to the travel category, MasterCard has formed alliances with other travel providers including American Airlines Vacations, Jet Vacations and the SABRE Leisure Travel Alliance, which provides innovative packages and products to leisure travelers through travel merchants.

These alliances are one of the cornerstones of MasterCard’s global T&E strategy to further its leadership and presence in the T&E market segment. Also, MasterCard is working with government tourism organizations to promote travel to popular destinations including Mexico, Canada and France while expanding its travel product and service offerings such as MasterCard Global Service(tm) and the World MasterCard(R) card.

About MasterCard

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. More than 600 million MasterCard(R), Maestro(R), Cirrus(R) and Mondex(tm) cards are accepted at more than 15 million locations worldwide. In 1997, gross dollar volume exceeded $600 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .

About 1travel.com, Inc.

www.1travel.com is a full-service, online discount travel site dedicated to bringing consumers the best values in travel by allowing direct purchases of airline tickets, hotel rooms, cruises and tour packages with savings of up to 70% off regular retail prices. 1travel.com has recently launched [www.hotelwiz.com][3] offering discounts and direct bookings at 43,000 properties worldwide. The company has also developed www.farebeater.com the only airfare system of its kind that simultaneously searches multiple databases to find travelers the best prices on flights. 1travel.com headquarters is located in Zionsville, PA with ticketing and fulfillment offices in Odessa, Texas.

[1]: http://www.mastercard.com
[2]: http://www.1travel.com
[3]: http://www.hotelwiz.com

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Fleet vs Advanta

Fleet Financial Group reportedly filed suit against Advanta Corp. late Friday in regard to its acquisition of Advanta’s credit card portfolio last year. The suit alleges Advanta “breached its fiduciary duty” and sought an “accounting for conversion of funds”. The suit was filed in Delaware Chancery Court. More details were emerge today as the Court officially releases details. For the latest update monitor CardFlash Online.

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Charge-Off Sales

St. Louis-based National Loan Exchange reported Friday that it disposed of $309 million of charged-off accounts, mostly bank credit card accounts, during the fourth quarter for an average premium of 5.51%. The lowest premium of 1.00% came from a $3 million portfolio that was worked by at least two agencies and with only 50% of the accounts in-statute. The highest premium of 11.25% came from a $75 million portfolio of a leading card issuer with a three month forward flow of fresh charge-offs.

CHARGE-OFF PORTFOLIO  SALES  (4Q/98) —  SAMPLING
DESCRIPTION     AGENCIES   IN-STATUTE   PORTFOLIO     PRICE
Canadian Cards 2 100% $26M $988K
Dept. Store Cards 0 100% $1.4M $150K
Regional Cards 2 100% $4.0M $144K
Natl Cards 3 32% $110M $2.2M
Regional Cards 0 100% $500K $50K
           Source NLEX;  M-millions;  K-thousands;

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Canadian Prepaid Card Deal

Vicorp, a Precision Systems, Inc. subsidiary, and Compaq Canada Inc. jointly announced Friday that they have sold a prepaid card service solution valued at (US) $1 million to one of Canada’s leading telecommunications carriers.

The solution consists of a Compaq S7000 fault-tolerant server and Vicorp’s Lydian enhanced software suite. Additionally, Vicorp will provide hardware in the form of voice response units (VRUs) for the system.

Vicorp’s Lydian suite of software applications includes prepaid calling cards, postpaid calling cards, and prepaid wireless. Lydian is a proven, network-grade solution designed to grow with its customers. The integrated graphical service creation environment, QuickScript, allows telecommunications carriers to build custom call dialogues and new enhanced services for target markets.

Precision Systems, Inc. is a global company that, together with its subsidiaries, Vicorp N.V. and BFD Productions, Inc. delivers telecommunications solutions to service providers and corporations. Vicorp’s software and hardware products support enhanced calling and prepaid services, toll-free services, and advanced call center applications. BFD Productions is a service bureau specializing in audiotext and Internet applications. Precision Systems meets the needs of its customers in more than 30 countries.

Compaq Canada Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Compaq Computer Corporation of Houston, Texas, markets and services hardware, software, solutions and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant, business-critical solutions, networking and communications products, commercial desktop and portable products, and consumer personal computers.

With headquarters and distribution facilities in Richmond Hill, Compaq Canada Inc. has 47 offices across Canada, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Mississauga, Markham, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton and Halifax.

With the exception of its larger scale technologies and services, Compaq products and services are sold and supported through a network of more than 3,600 marketing partners across the country.

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Cash Tech’s CFO

Cash Technologies, Inc. announced Friday the appointment of Robert M. Gielow as its Chief Financial Officer, replacing Richard Miller.  Mr. Miller, a Director and Founder of the Company, had been serving as interim CFO.

Mr. Gielow, 53, most recently was Vice President and General Manager of the Emerging Business Services division of ADP from July to December of 1998.

From 1991 until July 1998, Mr. Gielow served as VP Finance and later as CFO of Kinko’s, Inc. which operated approximately 850 domestic and 30 foreign branch offices.  While at Kinko’s, Mr. Gielow played a key role in the consolidation of 125 independent operating companies into the $1.6 billion Kinko’s Inc. entity.

Mr. Gielow started his career at Xerox Corporation, where he spent 15 years in a variety of financial and administrative assignments.

“We are fortunate to have found someone with the depth of experience and knowledge in finance, technology and operations that Bob Gielow possesses to serve as our CFO,” said Bruce Korman, Cash Technologies Chairman and CEO.

Cash Technologies’ wholly owned Austrian subsidiary, CoinBank Automation Handels GmbH, recently announced that it has reached an agreement with Bank Austria’s subsidiary, Creditanstalt AG, to install its CoinBank(R) advanced coin deposit machines on a trial basis.  With more than 200 branches, Bank Austria is Austria’s largest banking group with more than US$140 billion in assets, in addition to being Austria’s largest publicly traded corporation.

“The conversion of local currencies to the euro within the European Union (“EU”) will provide enormous opportunities for European cash handling equipment providers like CoinBank Automation,” said Korman.  “Bank Austria, a banking technology innovator, is one of the first of many European banks that we expect to embrace the electronic-commerce enabled CoinBank(R) machine.”

More than 70 billion coins need to be redeemed in Europe before July 2002, when local coin and currency denominations will become worthless for common use.  The CoinBank(R) self-service coin deposit machine is the ideal solution to help the EU cope with this problem.  It is entirely software driven, allowing coins in any country to be programmed for acceptance now and the new euro coins later.

Cash Technologies, Inc. develops and markets innovative e-commerce kiosks, including advanced self-service coin counters and the multifunction ATM-X(TM) automated teller machine.  The Company also provides computerized cash processing services to banks, armored carriers, rapid transit agencies and other cash-intensive businesses.

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Gaining Strength

Improved quality in Sears’ credit card portfolio helped offset retail softness, the company said yesterday. The company also reported an 8.5% decrease in credit revenues during the fourth quarter. The decrease in credit revenues was attributable to reduced late fee income and a lower level of owned credit card receivables. Average managed domestic credit card receivables stood at $27.7 billion for 4Q/98 compared to $27.9 billion for 4Q/97. Sears reported Thursday that its domestic provision for uncollectible accounts for 4Q/98 was $245 million, a 60.7% decrease from $623 million in the fourth quarter of 1997.  The company says the decrease in the provision is due to favorable trends in delinquency rates, charge-off experience and bankruptcies and a decrease in credit card balances. For the full 4Q/98 earnings report for Sears please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

SEARS   U.S.  CARD   PORTFOLIO   PERFORMANCE
4Q/98 4Q/97
Net Chargeoff 6.74% 7.76%
Delinquency 7.23% 7.03%
Net Interest Margin 14.25% 14.88%
Financing Rate 5.84% 6.14%
Portfolio Yield 20.09% 21.02%
Source CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Transaction Systems Latest Q

Transaction Systems Architects, Inc., a leading global provider of application software for electronic payments reported record revenue of $86.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 1999, an increase of 25 percent over the same quarter last year. Pro forma net income for the quarter was $9.8 million and $.31 per share (diluted). The pro forma results exclude transaction expenses of $653 thousand related to the acquisition of Media Integration BV (MINT). The acquisition of MINT was completed in the first quarter and has been accounted for as a pooling of interest. Accordingly, TSAI’s financial statements have been restated to include the results of MINT for all periods presented. The acquisition of U.S. Processing, Inc. was also completed in the first quarter and was accounted for using the purchase method.

Operating income was $15.0 million for the quarter compared to operating income of $11.9 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 26 percent. Excluding the aforementioned transaction related expenses, the company reported pro forma net income of $9.8 million, $.31 per share (diluted) compared to $7.7 million, $.25 per share (diluted) in the first quarter fiscal year 1998. Compared to net income and earnings per share for first quarter 1998, the current increase was 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Net income and earnings per share including the transaction related expenses was $9.4 million and $.30 per share (diluted), respectively.

The company completed the quarter with $198.9 million in backlog consisting of $67.7 million in non-recurring revenue and $131.2 million in recurring revenue. Backlog increased $49.4 million, a 33 percent increase compared to backlog for first quarter of fiscal year 1998. Non-recurring revenues are composed of fees specified in software and services contracts the company expects to recognize in the next 12 months. Recurring revenues include all monthly license fees, maintenance fees and facilities management fees that the company expects to recognize over the next 12 months.

Cash flow from operating activities was $9.0 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 1999. The combined cash and cash equivalent balance at December 31, 1998 was $62 million.

“We are pleased with our first quarter results of strong revenue and earnings growth as it provides a solid start for fiscal year 1999,” said William E. Fisher, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Transaction Systems Architects. “During the quarter our Americas channel and Europe, Middle East and Africa channel achieved revenue growth of 32 percent and 23 percent, respectively. The Asia/Pacific region which represents 8 percent of total revenue was down 10 percent as compared with the first quarter fiscal year 98.”

Transaction Systems Architects’ software facilitates electronic payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money. Its products are used to process transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, home banking services, checks, wire transfers as well as automated clearing and settlement. Transaction Systems’ solutions are used on more than 3,300 product systems in 70 countries on six continents.

For the latest financials on TSAI please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Equifax Payment Services

Equifax reported yesterday that the strong performance of its Payment Services operations drove revenue growth for the fourth quarter. Payment Services, which operates through Card Services and Check Services, increased revenue 25.6% to $159.6 million in the fourth quarter. The revenue increase in Payment Services was led primarily by growth in Card Services, with an increase in card and merchant processing, as well as the acquisition of 59% of Unnisa, a card services business in Brazil. Operating income of $36.5 million increased 28.5% primarily as a result of the substantial operating leverage from the integration of the acquisition of CUNA Service Group, Inc. in late 1996, as well as continued growth of the Card Services business and strong performance of Check Services. For additional 4Q/98 earnings information for Equifax please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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The MARK Cards

ORGA Card Systems said Thursday it has been chosen by The MARK of the Quad Cities to implement a chip-based, stored-value card for the 12,000-seat-capacity, all-purpose arena. The six-year-old facility serves the Quad Cities area in IL. With an initial delivery of pre-loaded $20 disposable cards available in four designs, the program will enable MARK customers to make cashless purchases along the building’s concessions concourse. The first series of new smart cards will be marketed to United Hockey League fans attending Quad City Mallard home games at the arena.

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Checkmate Order

IVI Checkmate Corp. said Thursday it has received a $2.5 Million order for the ‘eN-Crypt 2100’ customer activated debit/credit terminal from Fred Meyer Inc. for its Fred Meyer Stores and Quality Food Centers. Smith’s Food & Drug Centers Inc., a subsidiary of Fred Meyer Inc., had previously installed 3,000 IVI Checkmate ‘eN-Crypt 2100’ payment terminals to complete a chain-wide rollout of Smith’s. OR-based Fred Meyer operates about 800 stores in a variety of food and drug and multi-department formats located in 12 western states from Alaska to Texas.

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Ticket Transactions Up/Running

Ticketmaster, a USA company has begun its rollout of accepting MasterCard, Visa and Discover at retail Ticket Center locations throughout the U.S. and has selected Chase Merchant Services to provide credit card processing for all credit card transactions. Under the long-term agreement, Chase Merchant Services will provide card processing services for more than 15 million Ticketmaster credit card transactions annually via Ticketmaster’s Charge-By-Phone Network, retail Ticket Center locations, Internet site, and select venue box offices. Ticketmaster expects all 2,900 of its retail Ticket Center locations to be able to accept credit cards within the year.

“We selected Chase Merchant Services because of its state-of-the- art technology and its ability to handle the high volume processing of Ticketmaster’s Charge-By-Phone, retail, and Internet credit card sales,” said Eugene Cobuzzi, COO, Ticketmaster Group, Inc. “We look forward to working closely with Chase Merchant Services to continue to provide optimum ticketing services to our clients as well as to providing entertainment fans with fast and easy access to purchasing event tickets.”

“We are pleased to form a strategic partnership with a leader in the entertainment industry,” said Diane Vogt, chief executive officer of Chase Merchant Services. “This agreement reflects positively on our ability to provide the economies of scale and highest degree of innovation that service providers seek for payment processing.”

Ticketmaster, a USA company (NasdaqUSAI) is the world’s leading computerized ticketing service; selling 70 million tickets valued at more than two billion dollars, through more than 2,900 retail Ticket Center outlets; 29 worldwide telephone call centers; and its Internet site. Ticketmaster serves more than 3,750 clients in the U.S., South America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia. The company provides ticketing for 94 professional sports franchises and hundreds of leading arenas, stadiums, performing arts venues, and theaters including such prominent facilities as Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Great Western Forum and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and the United Center in Chicago. Clients receive comprehensive ticket inventory control and management, broad distribution, and dedicated marketing and support services. Consumers receive convenient access to tickets for more than 150,000 events a year, including a broad range of concerts, sports, family entertainment, performing arts, and movies.

Chase Merchant Services is the nation’s largest merchant acquirer, processing nearly 2 billion transactions a year and more than $100 billion in annual credit and debit card sales volume. Chase Merchant Services is a joint venture between First Data Merchant Services Corporation, the world’s leading processor of Visa and MasterCard transactions, and The Chase Manhattan Bank (NYSECMB), the fourth largest bankcard issuer in the United States.

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