DataCard Promotes Schlick

DataCard Corporation today announced that Thomas L. Schlick has been named vice president of DataCard’s world service group.

“Our service group has performed extremely well over the past several years, in terms of both customer satisfaction and profitability,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “We believe Tom’s skills and experience will allow us to continuously improve in those areas and make DataCard a better company to do business with anywhere in the world.”

“Plus, we’re aggressively expanding our channel distribution strategies, which will present a variety of new service requirements,” Highland added. “Tom’s expertise will be tremendously valuable as we tackle those new challenges.”

Schlick will oversee all group functions, including North American field operations, North American depot services, global education services, global technical support, global quality systems, global marketing and new business development.

“We’ve structured our world service group to better serve the specific needs of our customers on a worldwide basis,” Highland said. “Tom’s guidance will prove instrumental as we continue to focus on driving business through customer-centric quality and performance measures.”

Before joining DataCard, Schlick served as vice president of the service and support division at Fisher-Rosemount, Inc. Under his direction, the company generated more than $90 million in service-related revenue for 1997. Schlick holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and and M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota.

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of card personalization systems, digital photo ID systems, photo ID printers and transaction systems. ([][1])



Northern Trust M&I Transition

M&I Data Services has completed the transition process of the lending and deposit processing for The Northern Trust Company and its 18 Illinois locations.

With this transition, all bank subsidiaries of Northern Trust Corporation use M&I Data Services to process deposit, loan and other banking transactions at 69 locations nationwide. Prior to this effort, M&I Data Services provided bank data processing to Northern Trust affiliates in Arizona, California and Florida.  This outsourcing arrangement will not result in the loss of any Northern Trust employment positions and does not affect operations support for the trust, custody and investment management businesses of Northern Trust.

M&I Data Services will provide Northern Trust with a broad spectrum of products and services that are Y2K-ready.  These services include the M&I Integrated Banking System, branch automation tools, ATM services, plus data warehouse and information management tools. Northern Trust also expects to utilize the M&I Data Services data conversion expertise in company merger and acquisition activities.

“By taking care of our data processing needs in the banking area, M&I Data Services helps us focus in those product lines on what we do best — developing strong client relationships,” said Executive Vice President James Mitchell, head of Worldwide Operations and Technology at The Northern Trust Company. “With this solution we can develop and sell new products faster and efficiently, making us more effective in the marketplace. We will also be able to focus our considerable internal systems resources on our personal trust, investment management and institutional master trust/master custody businesses, where our cutting-edge technology gives us a key competitive advantage.”

“Building on many years of experience with the Northern Trust Florida bank, our ability to transition quickly other Northern Trust banks to a data processing environment that is uniform nationwide, combined with our proven ability to support ongoing merger/acquisition activity, was key to the decision by Northern Trust to partner with us,” said Owen Sullivan, president, Enterprise Solutions Group, M&I Data Services. “Additionally, we had the right mix of banking expertise and product knowledge to ensure that they will continue to have the best technology available to meet the changing needs of their clients.”

Quentin Johnson, senior vice president, Personal Financial Services at Northern Trust, noted that by choosing the M&I Data Services solution, Northern would gain a consistent technology environment for front-line banking personnel. “M&I Data Services provides our personal bankers with great cost-effective tools that enable the bankers to provide extensive information to our customers,” said Johnson.

The Northern Trust Company is the principal subsidiary of Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS), a bank holding company and one of the country’s largest trust institutions with subsidiaries in Illinois, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Georgia and Connecticut, as well as offices in Toronto, Montreal, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. At September 30, 1998, total assets of the Corporation were $28.1 billion and trust assets under administration were $1.1 trillion, $221 billion of which were under management.

M&I Data Services is a provider of leading-edge technology solutions to the financial services industry. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., it offers consulting, software and processing solutions for financial institutions worldwide. The company’s rapid growth is being fueled by innovative product development, strategic product acquisitions and strong growth of its customer relationships. M&I Data Services is a division of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation (Nasdaq: MRIS), a $21.6 billion holding company. For more information, visit the M&I Data Services Web site at


Wallner Keynotes Japan

Secure Card and Commerce Tokyo ’99 to be held at the Tokyo “Big Sight” Convention Center in Tokyo, Japan, April 14-16, 1999, has secured Hypercom Chairman and Chief Technologist George Wallner as its keynote speaker.

Wallner’s keynote address, “Realizing the Promise of Smart Cards: Opportunities and Challenges as We Approach the New Millennium,” will focus on the worldwide card industry and multi-application cards — the likelihood of their econnomic viability as well as the need for new support infrastructures.

As the founder of Hypercom in 1978, Wallner has positioned the company as a global leader in empowering financial institutions and major organizations in the development of payment transaction and communication systems.

Wallner’s recent accomplishments include the creation of a client/server payment and data transaction processing software products and related professional services, introduction of Hypercom FastPOS modem technology and the multi-application ICE 5000 card acceptance device.

Wallner has a degree in Electrical and Communications Engineering from Kando Kalmau Technical College of Budapest, Hungary.

In addition to Wallner’s highlighted address, SCC Tokyo ’99 will be the first card show in Japan to feature a full conference program and exhibition dedicated to the latest in global plastic card trends — technology, manufacturing, equipment, materials, services and security issues.

For more information about exhibiting or attending Secure Card and Commerce Tokyo ’99, contact the SCC Tokyo ’99 Organizer Office in Japan; tel: +81-3-5340-3491; fax: +81-3-5340-3492; e-mail: [][1].

For more information from outside Japan, contact Lori Miller at Secure Card and Commerce Tokyo ’99, PO Box 3263, Princeton, N.J., USA, 08543-3263; tel: 609-799-3422; e-mail: [][2]; or visit the website at: [][3].



AXI Travel Beefed-Up

American Express’ online corporate travel booking system, ‘AXI Travel’, is now offering weather forecasts and information on airport delays, help with passport and visa requirements and processing, and look up maps and driving directions for destinations. AXI is drawing from WeatherLabs, CIBT Inc. and MapQuest for the enhancements. AmEx says AXI Travel is catching on quickly as a new reservations channel with more than 100,000 active users at over 180 companies.


Check Fraud

NC-based Source Technologies said yesterday that check fraud has grown to a $12.6 billion problem in the U.S., the result of lower costs in checking printing technology. The company says the cost of printing equipment and software has come down to a level where check forgers can now set up a printing operation for under $2,000. This means smaller institutions are being targeted by crooks. Source offered several tips on fighting check fraud including the suggestion to train tellers to look at the check instead of the person when processing a transaction.


Brazilian Smart Cards

Gemplus and American Bank Note Company announced Wednesday they have formed a joint venture, Gemplus Bank Note Ltda, to develop smart card solutions for the Brazilian market. The new company, which will be based in American Bank Note’s existing factory in the Sao Paulo area, will manufacture and personalize smart cards and develop software solutions. Smart card applications began initially to be deployed in Brazil three years ago with electronic purse projects launched by Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, and VISA. This was followed by major transportation and loyalty systems, including the ‘Smart Club do Brazil’ program to which Gemplus has already delivered two million cards.


WorldPerks Dining

Northwest Airlines ‘WorldPerks’ members can now earn more miles by enrolling the ‘WorldPerks Dining for Miles’ program. The new program, in partnership with The Signature Group, allows members to earn ten miles for every dollar spent, including tax and gratuity, at thousands of participating restaurants in the U.S.. Up to 6,000 miles per visit will automatically be credited to the members account based on a maximum limit of $600, including food, beverage, tax and gratuity. Members may register up to three of their credit or debit cards in the program.



A new research study by Mentis Financial Services suggests the convergence underway among the banking, insurance and brokerage services industry will continue for the next three years. Mentis says the entire competitive landscape is shifting with the change being driven by essentially three different forces. 1. Consumer attitudes, preferences, and wants for the delivery of financial services is changing; 2. The financial services industry itself is evolving, creating an atmosphere that fosters convergence of the three segments. 3. Pressures from outside the industry will continue to exert pressure upon financial services organizations.


GE Euro Card

GE Capital launched the first euro-denominated corporate credit card program for multinational clients yesterday. GE Capital is issuing euro-denominated MasterCard T&E and purchasing cards in France, Germany, Holland, Italy and the Republic of Ireland. Rollouts in Spain and Belgium will follow in April 1999, with other European countries to follow. GE Capital also provides cardholder support in the local language including English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Spanish. This includes call center service, cards, monthly statement, cardholder agreement, application forms and other collateral. Eleven countries in Europe are currently engaged in the three-year European Monetary Union currency transition period, starting this month. The euro is now in use for electronic, banking and other non-cash transactions.


HNC Partnership

Creative Solutions, a leading marketing consultancy and direct advertising agency, and HNC Financial Solutions, a leader in predictive software for the payment card and consumer lending industries, have signed an agreement for joint marketing of their respective services and marketing automation tools for credit card issuers.

“Creative Solutions’ objective is the delivery of unique and powerful end-to-end marketing solutions to credit card issuers,” said William Keenan, the president of Creative Solutions. “By applying HNC’s predictive segmentation tool SelectProfile, we can achieve unparalleled levels of insight about our clients’ customers that allow us to develop and execute segment-specific marketing, advertising, and communications programs that are better than ever.”

Based on the intelligent mining of data in card transactions, SelectProfile is the first marketing automation product able to segment at granularity so fine as to make one-to-one marketing practical. The use of HNC’s real-time profiling in concert with Content Mining(TM) — the ability to read, understand, and make decisions from unstructured text data — enables SelectProfile’s precision and unique insight.

HNC Financial Solutions president, Michael Thiemann, said, “Creative Solutions is a dynamic and forward-looking advertising and communications company — the kind that can not only optimize our clients’ use of SelectProfile, but also help us understand the best ways to extend our SelectMarket family of predictive marketing products. We are gratified to be allied with a marketing agency with so much know-how and foresight.”

Creative Solutions is an information based, direct response advertising agency that specializes in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, and retailing industries. It serves as an advertising agency of record for many Fortune 500 companies in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and the Pacific Rim.

HNC Financial Solutions, an HNC Software business group, provides a powerful set of predictive business solution modules that address the mission-critical, customer-lifecycle management needs of financial institutions. With headquarters in San Diego, HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:HNCS) is a world leader in the development and delivery of predictive software solutions in client/server environments.

HNC provides innovative predictive software systems in the financial services, retail, insurance information, and electronic commerce markets. For more information, contact Patsy Campbell, Director of Marketing, HNC Financial Solutions, 5930 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, Calif. 92121, 619/546-8877. For investor relations hotline, call 800/396-8052.


Web Calling Cards

GTC Telecom Tuesday announced that it has begun implementing plans to create the first Web site dedicated to the online sale of calling cards.

Like, GTC Telecom will cut out the high cost middleman and sell direct to the customer. The Web site [][1] will be launched Feb. 15, 1999 and will enable GTC Telecom to offer calling cards at a rate that is 40-50 percent below the current retail pricing scale and still earn approximately 30 percent gross profit.

GTC Telecom is a long distance carrier and offers a 7.9 cents per minute long distance rate in selected states. The company has already successfully implemented an international calling card program through retail channels for international markets. Through its agreements with companies such as MCI/Worldcomm (Nasdaq: WCOM), GTC Telecom has been able to increase its customer base by being able to offer very low rate plans.

According to Mark Fleming, formerly of MCI Worldcomm and current executive vice president of GTC Telecom, “The amount of administrative cost and overhead for GTC Telecom to provide this service is minimal. We are similar to other online retailers such as (Nasdaq: AMZN), (OTCBB: IBUY), IMALL (Nasdaq: IMAL) and Skymall (Nasdaq: SKYM), but we have the added benefit of having no product or inventory to order or ship.”

Fleming continued, “In addition we have no backlog, discontinued product to return or damaged merchandise to deal with. Simply, if you were a customer you would enter our Web site, order a card, we will ask you how many minutes of long distance time you desire. We then charge your credit card or your phone bill if we are your long distance carrier and we issue you an 800 number and a pin number good for the minutes purchased. One of the greatest features of this program is that as soon as we have your credit card number your card is usable. There is no down time, in which the customer has to wait for the card to be shipped, etc. Our service is instantaneous.”

Eric Clemons, GTC Telecom’s chief operating officer stated, “The calling card market is estimated at $10 billion annually. Our plan in the long distance calling card market is much like whose industry is well over $13 billion. Since we have a sophisticated, low cost telecommunications infrastructure in place, it was a very strategic move for GTC Telecom to come out with long distance calling cards over the Internet. It was a logical leap for us to enter into this market because of our already low rates and our strong, inexpensive network. Being the first to market and being able to profitably offer a calling card 40-50 percent below current retail averages should catapult our emergence into the Internet market.”

Clemons continued, “Initially, GTC Telecom was looking for more products and services to add to our already low cost packages. We want to offer our customers as many options as possible. We discovered that by offering calling cards over the Internet, we can considerably lower the cost to our end user.”

Founded in 1997, GTC Telecom is an interexchange carrier, providing long distance service to small and medium sized businesses as well as residential customers throughout the United States. Currently, GTC believes that they have the lowest long distance rates nationwide. GTC’s long distance service offerings include outbound service, inbound toll-free 800 service, and dedicated private line services for data.

GTC’s position as an interexchange carrier gives the company the ability to function as a large telecom company but alleviates the overhead, thus allowing GTC to have rates lower than many of their competitors. Visit GTC’s Web site at [][2]



Shell Card Sale

Associates First Capital reached an agreement last night to acquire and manage the Shell proprietary credit card program. The Shell portfolio consists of approximately $272 million in receivables and about 2.3 million active cardholder accounts. Terms of the deal were not revealed. The Associates, will become the issuer, processor and servicer for the both the Shell and Texaco private label card programs, including commercial cardholder accounts. The Associates previously acquired the Texaco portfolio.The company ranks first in the gasoline proprietary credit card market with approximately 7 million active accounts.