NETS Adopts CEPS

Singapore’s NETS or Network for Electronic Transfers, which operates the ‘NETS’ cash card widely used in Singapore, said it will adopt the Common Electronic Purse Specification (CEPS) being jointly developed by VISA, Zentraller Kredit Ausschuss of Germany, VISA Espana and Europay International. VISA said more than 90%  of electronic purse smart cards are expected to conform to ‘CEPS’ standards, which has the support of leading smart card issuers and technology service providers. Since their launch in 1996, there are now 1.2 million ‘NETS’ cash cards in circulation in Singapore.

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Good News

Bank credit card chargeoffs took a turn south last month according to CardData’s ([www.carddata.com][1]) October statistics:

CHARGEOFFS (% of receivables)
Month       CO        Month     CO
Oct 98:    5.55%   Apr 98:  5.51%
Sep 98:    5.61%   Mar 98:  5.54%
Aug 98:    5.56%   Feb 98:  5.61%
Jul 98:    5.58%   Jan 98:   5.66%
Jun 98:    5.61%   Dec 97:  5.63%
May 98:    5.63%   Nov 97:  5.51%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com) 717-338-1885

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

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Sold Out

Another indicator of the Web’s success in credit card marketing: CardWeb’s consumer channel advertising slots are sold out. Launched three years ago by RAM Research Group, CardWeb’s Internet traffic recently surpassed the one million page-views-per-week benchmark. CardWeb’s free online consumer services include CardTrak (daily news, monthly commentary and surveys); CardSearch; CardLearn; CardLocator; and CardGame. Banner advertising on CardWeb’s consumer channels continues to be limited to twelve slots with a minimum one-year term. CardWeb advertiser response rates or click-through-rates average between 9.6% and 15.9%, among the highest of all consumer Web sites. CardWeb advertisers include: First USA, Chase Manhattan, NationsBank, Capital One, NextCard, Wachovia, AFBA, Commerce Bank, Beneficial and People’s Bank. Capital One recently purchased three slots. First USA, Wachovia, Commerce and People’s are entering their third year as CardWeb advertisers. Robert McKinley, president of CardWeb, Inc., announced yesterday from Denver that CardWeb ([www.cardweb.com][1]) has now opened its monthly CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][2]) surveys to enable other issuers to procure hot-links to their respective Web sites. For more info call 717-338-1885.

[1]: http://www.cardweb.com
[2]: http://www.cardtrak.com

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Portable Smart Card Reader

Gemplus announced from Paris, Tuesday, a new portable smart card reader specially designed for applications requiring mobility, user authentication, and data transfer, such as healthcare and social programs, loyalty, and electronic purse. The ‘GCR800-MS’ has a twin smart card interface that can handle the reading and writing of two cards at the same time, an important feature for authentication or digital signature. A docking station for the card reader has an integrated modem that allows connection if required to a central server for data transfer or the updating of an application program. The portable ‘GCR800-MS’ electronic architecture also accepts any type of memory or microprocessor card. The MS in the product name stands for ‘Multi-SAMs’ and it can be specified with 0-, 2- or 4 Security Access Modules. It can handle up to four different applications individually protected and secured.  The ‘GCR800-MS’ is available now from 1,500 French francs for the basic version.

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NetB@ank Expansion

Atlanta-based Net.B@nk announced Tuesday it will expand its product line and offer VISA and MasterCard credit cards to its online banking customers. The Internet bank recently added online brokerage accounts and mortgage lending services. Net.B@nk, Inc., achieved profitability for the bank’s second quarter 1998, making it the first profitable Internet bank in the country. Net.B@nk also claims to be the world’s largest Internet bank with 15,000 accounts, offering checking, money market accounts and certificates of deposits.

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Faster Returns

TeleCheck Recovery Services recently added capabilities to electronically re-present returned checks via the ACH. TeleCheck’s ‘Electronic Check Collection’ provides benefits over traditional paper re-deposits, including faster re-deposit time and greater precision in determining potential fund availability.  Electronic re-deposit resolution takes only four days, compared to ten to eleven days for paper checks. Banks process electronic transactions before processing paper re-deposits, increasing the probability of reaching the account while funds are available.  In addition, TeleCheck’s predictive systems increase accuracy in timing re-deposits for collection to maximize the probability of successful collection.

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Datakey Order

Datakey, Inc., a Minneapolis-based provider of information security systems, announced receipt of a second order from a United States government agency for their SignaSURE CIP smart card-based product. SignaSURE CIP will allow authorized users to digitally sign documents for electronic distribution to appropriate legal entities with absolute confidence in signature authenticity.

The second order is for 500 SignaSURE CIP packages and complements the first order of 500 packages and 300 additional smart cards announced on August 31, 1998.  The program is expected to expand to more than 12,000 users over the next three years.

SignaSURE CIP is an information security product that adds a smart card to data security application software. Datakey smart cards provide on-card cryptographic key generation, on-card processing and storage of private cryptographic data and on-card storage of digital credentials. These features provide the benefits of truly non-repudiatable digital signatures, stronger security than software solutions and  the ability for users to digitally sign documents from multiple workstations.

Datakey, Inc. is an international supplier of electronic products and services.  The Company provides product, subsystem and system solutions to record, store, and transmit electronic information. Datakey provides products and systems directed to the information security markets that enable user authentication, secure data exchange, and information validation.  The Company also provides OEM products, consisting of proprietary memory keys, cards and other custom-shaped tokens, that serve as a convenient way to carry electronic information and are packaged to survive in portable environments.

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Diebold Demo

Diebold, Incorporated participated in a demonstration announcing the latest developments in Windows Distributed interNet Applications architecture for Financial Services (Windows DNA FS).  This demonstration supports Microsoft’s initiative to promote the development of standards that will allow systems from participating vendors to interoperate in the financial services industry.

The demonstration, which took place Monday, shows the integration of Diebold automated teller machines (ATMs) into a Windows DNA FS environment. By utilizing Diebold’s newest software solutions, OPTinet and OPTix, financial institutions are able to make use of existing investments in technology by reusing development tools and programming resources. Applications become less dependent on the delivery channel and the operating system, allowing quicker introduction into numerous environments.

Diebold’s OPTinet application and OPTix software platform provide the basis for integrating an ATM with a financial services infrastructure provided within DNA FS.  OPTinet utilizes the power and flexibility of Internet technologies to leverage solutions developed for other delivery channels onto Diebold ATMs.

The demonstration integrates Crestar Bank’s ATM delivery channel with its home banking, teller and IVR platforms.  This allows for the use of common data and consistent presentation regardless of delivery channel and provides increased customer satisfaction, more opportunities to market to customers and lower cost of ownership.

“Financial institutions need to create brand awareness by servicing their customers in a more consistent manner across all points of interaction including self-service terminals, call centers, home banking, Internet access and direct interaction,” said Tripp Johnson, senior vice president, electronic commerce manager at Crestar Bank.  “Diebold’s OPTinet software allows Crestar to quickly integrate the Internet banking and ATM delivery channels, adding transactions currently not available through the traditional ATM delivery channel.”

“Diebold’s OPTinet software and Microsoft’s DNA FS strategy both have the same common goal, to protect a customer’s investment,” said Roy Shirah, director, product planning and management for self-service systems at Diebold. “With OPTinet, a customer can leverage the transactions currently available through their existing ATM delivery channel while developing new transactions and services so they can be deployed across many delivery channels.”

Crestar Financial Corporation is the $26.2 billion-asset holding company for Crestar Bank with 396 banking offices and 700 ATMs in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Other subsidiaries provide insurance, equipment and automobile leasing, mortgage banking and full-service securities and investment advisory services.

Diebold, Incorporated (pronounced DEE-bold), headquartered in Canton, Ohio, USA, is a global leader in providing card-based transaction systems, security and service solutions to the financial, education, healthcare, utility and retail industries.  Founded in 1859, the company develops, manufactures, sells and services automated teller machines, campus and smart card systems, electronic and physical security equipment, automated medication and supplies dispensing systems, integrated systems solutions, software and banking supplies.  For more information about Diebold, Incorporated, visit the company’s Web site at .

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Diebold Mid-East

Diebold, Incorporated has appointed Kishan Reddy to the position of systems engineer. Based in Dubai, Reddy is responsible for providing technical support to Diebold Middle East customers and distributors.

“Kishan’s establishment in Dubai is a sign of Diebold’s commitment to the Middle East,” said Reinoud G. J. Drenth, Diebold’s vice president and managing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  “His knowledge of the financial industry and his experience in the Middle East are pertinent to Diebold’s business development in Middle East markets.”

Prior to joining Diebold in September, Reddy was employed with Gulf Business Machines, Dubai, UAE, an IBM business partner, as an industry specialist for the Middle East in self-service banking solutions.  Prior to that position, Reddy was employed with Philips Information Systems, located in the Middle East office, where he supported banking solutions for seven years. Reddy holds a master’s degree in computer science from Jawaharal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Diebold, Incorporated (pronounced DEE-bold), headquartered in Canton, Ohio, USA, is a global leader in providing card-based transaction systems, security and service solutions to the financial, education, healthcare, utility and retail industries.  Founded in 1859, the company develops, manufactures, sells and services automated teller machines, campus and card systems, electronic and physical security equipment, automated medication and supplies dispensing systems, integrated systems solutions, software and banking supplies.  For more information about Diebold, Incorporated, visit the company’s Web site at .

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FTB Online Ranks High

Executives of First Tennessee Bank, Memphis, TN, and Home Account Network Inc., Charleston, SC, confirmed Tuesday that FTB Online, First Tennessee’s Internet Banking service, ranks first in customer confidence in a national study of Internet banking services issued earlier this month.  FTB Online is based on Canopy software provided by Home Account.  The announcement was made at the Financial Services in CyberSpace Conference here.

FTB Online received the highest score in customer confidence and the fourth highest overall score of the 69 banks included in the Internet Bankers Scorecard, a quarterly study by Gomez Advisors of Concord, MA.  According to the Gomez Advisors’ website, the scorecard rates the quality of Internet banking sites for consumers according to five criteria including customer confidence, ease of use, on-site resources, relationship services and overall cost.  FTB Online also ranked in the top 10 in the previous scorecard, which was issued last June, just weeks after FTB Online went into operation.

“Customer response has been enthusiastic since FTB Online ‘went live’ just last May,” said Susan H. Terry, Senior Vice President for FTB Online.  “This high ranking in a national study reinforces our conviction that we provide a flexible, robust service that meets real customer needs, backed by superior customer support.  We believe this high level of support is essential to fostering consumer confidence in using online financial services.”

“We’re delighted with this success, but we’re constantly striving for improvement,” commented Xenia Kwee, Home Account’s Vice President, Marketing. “First Tennessee is currently installing our new OFX-compliant Canopy Server and HTML interface, which enables financial institutions to offer customers greater flexibility in accessing banking and financial planning applications.”

“When we launched FTB Online, our customers needed Microsoft Internet Explorer to access their accounts,” Terry explained.  “With this upgrade, customers will be able to do their online banking and financial planning through other browsers or from personal financial managers.  We look forward to this added flexibility and a quality website keeping us at the top of the charts.”

About First Tennessee

First Tennessee, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., is a high-performing, nationwide, diversified financial services institution and is one of the 50 largest bank holding companies in the United States in asset size and market capitalization.  Banking and other financial services are provided through the regional banking group and three national lines of business:  FT Mortgage Companies, First Tennessee Capital Markets and transaction processing. Transaction processing includes credit card merchant processing, MONEYBELT (automated teller machine network), First Express (nationwide check clearing operation), and other transaction-oriented cash management products.  The corporation’s common stock is traded over-the-counter on the Nasdaq Stock Market’s national market system under the symbol FTEN.  It is listed in the financial section of most newspapers as FstTN Ntl and is included in the Standard & Poor’s MidCap 400 index.  More information is available at First Tennessee’s web site at .

About Home Account

Home Account delivers home banking, financial management and electronic commerce solutions to banks, brokers and other financial institutions.  Home Account’s products include:  Canopy Server, an OFX (Open Financial Exchange) financial services platform that allows distribution of services through multiple channels; Internet application servers for banking, bill payment, investments and financial planning; Canopy Clients, a series of financial management user interfaces available in Java and HTML; and the Canopy Advisor, a strategic financial management system for use by individuals and financial professionals.  Although Home Account’s products are designed as components which can operate separately, the Home Account product suite when combined provides an integrated customer relationship management system, the Canopy Continuum, that assists financial institutions in building profitable, long-term relationships with their customers.

Home Account is located in Charleston, SC, with offices in Oakland, CA, and Atlanta, GA.  Home Account includes among its technology partners Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, VeriFone, Hewlett-Packard and Forte Software.

Please see Home Account’s website at .

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Equifax 3Q

Equifax reported yesterday that Payment Services, which operates through Card Services and Check Services, increased revenue 20.0% to $130.4 million for the third quarter. Card Services is a provider of third party full-service processing solutions to credit unions and independent banks in the U.S.   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 $26.5 million increased 45.4% 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. For complete third quarter financials on Equifax dial [www.carddata.com][1].

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

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People’s 3Q

CT-based People’s Bank reported that managed credit card balances increased by $289 million or 9% since June 30. Credit card net charge-offs as a percent of average managed receivables logged in at 3.95% compared to 4.10% for the third quarter of last year and 4.11% for the 1998 second quarter.  Credit card delinquencies improved to 3.03% of quarter-end managed receivables, compared to 3.25% a year ago and 3.19% at June 30. Managed credit card yield of 10.71% was up 29 basis points from 10.42% a year ago, however, compared to the second quarter of 1998, the managed credit card yield declined 28 basis points from 10.99%. The decline was attributed to the addition of new credit card accounts earning introductory rates, as well as the interest rate environment and intense competition. People’s UK portfolio reached $209 million in the third quarter, contributing $69 million of the year-over-year growth environment. For complete third quarter financials on People’s Bank dial [www.carddata.com][1].

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

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