Motorola’s Worldwide Smartcard Solutions Division unveiled its new ‘M-Smart’ world of platform solutions enabling organizations to quickly deploy and build value-added smart card applications in areas such as financial, telecom (SIM cards and toolkits), transit, campus/access, government ID and healthcare. The integrated platforms include cards, card operating systems, readers and application development workbenches. The platforms are designed for maximum flexibility to permit multiple electronic purse schemes and to allow for customization and development of multiple programming languages.The three new card platforms include: 1. The ‘M-Smart Mercury Platform’ , an ASIC-based solution optimized for application providers that need a basic platform for building fast, secure and reliable application solutions in areas such as access control/campus, government ID, transit and basic retail. 2. The ‘M-Smart Venus Platform’, a diverse microprocessor-based  platform that is ideal for building multi-application solutions with advanced memory and processing capabilities. 3. The ‘M-Smart Jupiter Platform’, a powerful 32-bit RISC processor-based platform allowing for dynamic application download, robust security, significant memory and maximum flexibility in building value-added smart card solutions.


Cryptoflex 8K Card

Schlumberger released ‘Cryptoflex 8K’, a new high-security smart card yesterday, offering ultra-fast public key cryptography combined with an expanded memory capacity for additional applications.The card is designed for secure access to a company’s network, as well as the means to secure e-mail and web communications over open networks via digital signatures and certificates. The ‘Cryptoflex 8K’ smart card offers hardware-based mathematical capabilities which are capable of executing a 1024-bit key length RSA signature in under half a second. The card’s 8K of user-programmable memory also provides ample space for a user’s digital credentials — such as pairs of keys and digital certificates — for network single-sign-on, and one or more optional functions, such as building access or electronic-purse payment for campus facilities.


Cable&Wireless Phone Cards

Cable & Wireless released the latest prepaid phone calling cards yesterday which include the following:

Que Pasa-Magellan Communications Promotional Magellan Communications, a Florida-based company, issued 500 20-minute phone cards in May to promote Orlando’s Hispanic Magazine Que Pasa. The front of the card features the cover of a recent issue of Que Pasa, picturing famous U.S. boxer Oscar del la Hoya. The cards are made of 30 mil styrene and card instructions are available in both Spanish and English. The card features include: information services, voice, fax mail, conference calling, speed dial, message delivery and auto expiration. They are also rechargeable.

Sister Cities Promotional ![][1] This colorful phone card was designed for Sister Cities, an international association that helps to promote cultural exchange between the U.S. and various international countries. The card, illustrating the Greater Miami skyline and palm trees, was given away to all the attendees of their international conference held in Miami July 28 to August 1. This is a limited edition card, and 2000 3-minute cards were issued. The cards are made of 30 mil PVCand offers custom voice prompt instructions in both English and Spanish.

bueno Talk Time Retail ![][2] In June, Caliente Designs produced a retail phone card product for sale to their distributors, such as Affiliated Foods and a variety of others. A total of 1000 cards were produced in $5.00 and $10.00 denominations. On the face of these eye catching cards is Caliente’s signature logo of red hot peppers with a flame highlighting the denomination. It is printed on 30 mil PVC material. Voice prompt instructions are in both English and Spanish.

Union Tools-Razor-Back Promotional ![][3] Union Tools Corporation produced a phone card which was giveaway at a trade show in July to all show attendees. Union Tools was promoting their Razor-Back Professional Tools With An Attitude series and the 1999 Razor-Back Sweepstakes. A total of 3500 cards were produced, in 10-minute and 30-minute denominations. This limited edition card printed on 30 mil PVC and includes custom voice prompts. It bears the Razor-Back brand name on the front of the card in bold red letters with dark gray boot prints on a gray background.

SmartCall-Partners in Education Fundraising ![][4] SmartCall issued this phone card in August as part of a fundraising campaign whose proceeds would go to benefit the Philiadelphia library system. There were 1000 cards issued, in $5.00 and $10.00 denominations. The card doubles as a doubles as a discount card for places of interest in the Philadelphia area and is sold at all library branches.

Arch-The Personal Paging Company Promotional ![][5] Arch Communications, one of the largest providers of paging and comunications services, has over 200 locations nationwide. In July, Arch issued these 2000 30-minute phone cards to their paging customers when they renewed their paging services. The phone card has an orange background with the Arch logo and is printed on 30-mil digital styrene.

U.S. West/Dex Promotional U.S. West Comm and Dex (“Your Directory Expert”) combined their advertising efforts with a custom prepaid card in a campaign to promote their services. They issued 5400 10-minute phone cards in June. The card has large black type that reads “Welcome Home” and their logo is over a background of yellow faded to white The card is printed on 20 mil digital styrene.

NextLink Promotional ![][6] NextLink is a telephone company primarily offering local and long distance service. Based out of Oakbrook, Illinois, NextLink targets small to midsize businesses. The company issued 1500 15-minute phone cards to promote customer retention. It includes custom voice prompts and system features such as: information services, conference calling and voice/fax mail to name a few. On the front of the card is a large white slanted “X” over a purple, orange and black background. It is printed on 30 mil digital styrene.

[1]: /graphic/cable_wireless/sistercities.gif
[2]: /graphic/cable_wireless/bueno.gif
[3]: /graphic/cable_wireless/razorback.gif
[4]: /graphic/cable_wireless/smartcall.gif
[5]: /graphic/cable_wireless/arch.gif
[6]: /graphic/cable_wireless/nextlink.gif


CheckFree Goes One-To-One

BroadVision, Inc., the leading worldwide supplier of one-to-one Internet business applications for relationship management across the extended enterprise in personalized Internet banking solutions, Monday announced that the BroadVision One-To-One Financial application will provide financial institutions with the ability to connect directly to Atlanta-based CheckFree’s electronic bill payment and remittance processing engine.  This will allow banks to provide seamless processing of electronically initiated bills and payments for their customers.

BroadVision One-To-One Financial Version 4 is a comprehensive Internet banking and bill payment solution integrated with extensive marketing personalization and one-to-one relationship management capabilities.

Using specifications provided by CheckFree, the nation’s leader in electronic payment processing, BroadVision developed One-To-One Financial to enable banking servers built by BroadVision to have a direct connection to CheckFree’s payment processing network.  Once available, financial institutions will establish a payment processing agreement with CheckFree to take advantage of this functionality.

“Electronic bill presentment and payment is the driving force behind the rapid growth of Internet banking,” said Samir Mehta, senior product manager at BroadVision, Inc.  “By enabling our product to work in conjunction with CheckFree, we’re helping financial institutions offer their customers the services they are demanding.”

“BroadVision’s One-To-One Financial services product enables financial institutions to strengthen their relationships with their customers,” said Matt Lewis, senior vice president of Electronic Commerce Product Management for CheckFree.  “Access to CheckFree’s high-quality, low-cost processing infrastructure is an important component to any electronic banking and payment offering, and today BroadVision is joining the ranks of providers with that access.”

About CheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree (), the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings, Inc., is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2.4 million consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions.  CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet.

About BroadVision

BroadVision, Inc. is the leading worldwide supplier of one-to-one Internet business applications for relationship management across the extended enterprise.  BroadVision’s end-to-end solutions enable companies to rapidly deploy and cost-effectively operate secure, scalable, personalized, and flexible electronic business and knowledge management applications for the financial services, retail, distribution, high technology, telecommunications, and travel industries.  The company’s entire product line has experienced exceptional growth and increasing acceptance by Global 2000 businesses with over 200 customers including Cisco, American Airlines, Nortel/BayNetworks, Credit Suisse, Development Bank of Singapore, Fingerhut, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Liberty Financial, META Group, RS Components, Standard Chartered Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, Solectron, Thomas Cook and Visa USA.  BroadVision is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif. and maintains an extensive network of subsidiaries and licensed resellers in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.  The company can be reached at 650-261-5100 or at .


AmEx 3Q

American Express reported record third quarter net income of $574 million yesterday, up from $524 million in the same period a year ago. Travel Related Services reported record quarterly net income of $362 million, up 17% from $310 million in the third quarter a year ago. TRS’ net revenues increased 8% from the prior year, reflecting higher billed business in the U.S. and internationally ($56.7 billion), as well as growth in U.S. card loans ($15.4 billion) and higher travel commissions and fees. The improvement in billed business was the result of a greater number of cards outstanding (44.1 million) and higher spending per basic cardholder ($1704), which reflects the benefits of rewards programs and expanded merchant coverage.  This increase came despite the slowdown in many international markets and general tightening by corporations of travel and entertainment expenses. Third quarter net chargeoffs declined to 3.8% from 4.1% one year ago. Delinquency (30+ day) also dropped to 3.2% from 3.6% last year. U.S. card volume was $41.5 billion for the third quarter. For complete 3Q/98 financials and historicals for American Express visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


TransAct Slips 15%

TransAct Technologies Incorporated, a leading producer of transaction-based printers, said today that revenue for the third quarter ended September 26, 1998 was $13.6 million, down 15% from $16.0 million for the third quarter last year.

Operating income decreased to $954,000 from $2,564,000 recorded in the third quarter a year ago. For the three months ended September 26, 1998, net income declined to $533,000, or $.09 per share, from $1,582,000, or $.23 per share, for the third quarter of 1997.

Revenue for the nine months ended September 26, 1998 was $39.4 million, down 14% from $45.6 million in the same period a year ago. Operating income in the first nine months of 1998 was $2,441,000 compared to $6,591,000 in 1997. Net income for the first nine months of 1998 was $1,398,000,or $.22 per share, compared to $4,029,000, or $.58 per share in 1997.

Richard L. Cote, TransAct’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said that “the recently-concluded three months continued the trend of the past few quarters–strong results in our point of sale (POS) market, specifically on the international side of our business, offset by continuing soft results in our other three markets. Regarding the international POS market, we are particularly pleased with the growth in shipments into Europe and Latin America through our Oki relationship.”

Mr. Cote continued, “The reasons behind the lower revenue in our gaming and lottery, kiosk and financial services markets vary by market. As previously noted, customer-driven requirements resulted in a reduction in our sales of on-line lottery printers in the third quarter this year from last year’s unusually high level in the same quarter, and the uncertainty in South Carolina surrounding the future of video poker continues to hamper our gaming and lottery revenue. The continuing slowdown in orders for our printers used in automated teller machines (ATMs) has hurt revenue in our financial services business. And, finally, kiosk printer demand, which is based on project initiatives in several companies, has been similarly soft, although the number of outstanding proposals is higher than ever.”

“We continue to invest to expand our product lines. We are monitoring expenses very carefully and sustaining our R & D outlays. We our encouraged by prospects for our new products, which emphasize POS applications and are scheduled for introduction next year.”

“Despite softness in several of our markets,” Mr. Cote concluded, “our globalization and product development efforts position the Company to fully participate in the markets we serve over the long term and we believe demand will recover.”

TransAct designs, develops, manufactures and markets transaction-based printers and related products under the ITHACA and MAGNETEC brand names. The Company’s printers are used to provide transaction records such as receipts, tickets, coupons, register journals and other documents. TransAct serves four vertical markets: point of sale, gaming and lottery, kiosk and financial services. The Company sells its products directly to end users, original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers and selected distributors. Please visit TransAct’s website located at to receive more information about the Company’s products and selected financial data.


Household 3Q

Household International reported $318 million in net income for third-quarter compared with $264.7 million for the third quarter of 1997. In figures released to CardData, Household reported $15,904,227,000 in 3Q receivables, down significantly from the $17,169,077,000 reported in the second quarter. During the third quarter, Household sold a $500 million VISA/MC portfolio related to its previously discontinued Ameritech cobranding program.The company sold this particular portfolio because it believed it would not meet hurdle rates in the increasingly competitive market for undifferentiated credit cards. CardData also shows total Household bank credit card accounts declined about one million during the third quarter, from 16,950,000 accounts to 15,987,000 accounts. The overall, annualized managed net chargeoff ratio for the third quarter was 4.33%, compared to 4.26% in the prior quarter.  The managed net chargeoff ratio was 3.98% in the year-ago quarter.  At September 30, the managed delinquency ratio (60-plus days) was 4.96%, compared to 4.65% in the prior quarter and 4.47% a year ago. For complete 3Q/98 financials and historicals for Household visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


VISA & Travelocity

SABRE Group’s online travel booking Website, ‘Travelocity’, and VISA signed agreements Monday to form a marketing alliance to leverage the growing online travel market. Under terms of yesterday’s agreement, ‘Travelocity’ will designate VISA as its preferred payment card, and receive prominent branding and banner advertising throughout the Website. VISA will also be the exclusive sponsor of Travelocity’s ‘Virtually There Personal Destination Guide’, a new site feature that gives online bookers a personalized overview of attractions, restaurants and weather for their travel destination. To kickoff the partnership, VISA and Travelocity have introduced VISA’s “Win Your Trip” promotion, which runs through October 31. Travelocity provides reservations capabilities for more than 420 airlines, representing 95% of all airline seats sold, more than 40,000 hotels, and more than 50 car rental companies.


France’s Total Fleet Cards

Total, leading issuer of fleet cards for the French service station sector with a 40 percent share of the market and 800,000 cardholders, announced Monday from Paris, the smart card GR Actys, a new generation of smart cards for automobile fleet managers.

Developed in close collaboration with Gemplus, the worldís leading supplier of smart card-based solutions, the card will introduce a new dimension to fleet management by allowing managers to give responsibility to individual users for controling the fuel budget. Magnetic stripe cards that have been on the market till now offered only limited facilities to aid fleet managers, such as transaction analysis of fuel or services purchased.

The GR Actys card is a highly secure, true payment card that uses security algorithms employed by banks. Developed over a two year period with the help of Gemplus specialists, it has already undergone a full year of testing. It is based on a microprocessor from the Gemplus MPCOS EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa specifications) range. more…Using the power of the microprocessor, the GR Actys allows users to see their levels of fuel consumption on the receipt. They receive a warning if the mileage data has been inaccurately noted. The company managing the fleet can set monthly ceilings for fuel or service expenditure and users are told how much of their allowance is left each time they fill their tank.

Another facility offered by the card is remote update of the parameters on the card, for example when the user calls at a service station.

With GR Actys and its built-in intelligence, Total is introducing a new concept that allows it to give better service to its clients, says Jean Tarrisse, Marketing Manager, Cards Division, at Total. ìTotal is very aware of the key role fuel purchasing plays in fleet management. It has therefore decided to go beyond its traditional role as fuel supplier to offer a new service that really helps companies rationalize their fleet management.

You will be able to attend a demonstration on the Gemplus booth D48/E47 during CARTES 98 in Paris Le CNIT from October 27th to 29th.

About Gemplus Gemplus S.C.A. ([www.gemplus.com][1]) is the worldís leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industryís most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over $US590 million in 1997, Gemplus employs more than 4,100 people in 10 manufacturing facilities, 5 R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology.

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


CyberCash Up 200%

CyberCash, Inc., the world leader in e-commerce payment technologies and services, announced business and operating results for the third quarter ended September 30, 1998. CyberCash reported revenues of approximately $4.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 1998, up almost 200% from $1.5 million in the third quarter of 1997.  Revenues for the second quarter ended June 30, 1998 were approximately $2.5 million.

“The recent merger of CyberCash and ICVERIFY has proved to be extremely important to CyberCash as the company continues to extend its reach into both the physical and the virtual worlds of electronic payments,” said Bill Melton, president and chief executive officer.  “We are extremely pleased with the results to date,” he said.

“CyberCash’s advanced, secure technology with its ease of use, high functionality and broad compatibility is widely recognized as the best in the business.  The company’s increased revenues and sales volumes in the third quarter are testimony to that reputation.  Because CyberCash offers both product and service solutions for a variety of payment instruments, we can meet the needs of a broad array of customers in both the physical and virtual worlds,” Melton said.

Growth in Internet Market Business

The wide acceptance of its CashRegister 3 service enabled CyberCash to add approximately 700 Internet merchants a month to its merchant base during the third quarter.  The CashRegister 3 Service allows merchants to accept secure payments using payment cards, CyberCash’s Pay Now Electronic Check Service, CyberCoin and other payment instruments.  Transaction and merchant volume using the CashRegister 3 service in the third quarter increased once again to record levels.  During the third quarter of 1998, merchants used CyberCash’s services to process more than 3 million transactions per month, up from 2 million transactions per month for the first quarter of 1998.  Approximately 47% of the company’s third quarter revenues came from Internet market business.

In July, CyberCash announced that the company is working with IBM to develop and market an Internet payment offering that increases the number of options merchants have for processing credit card orders.  As part of an agreement between the companies, IBM will market CyberCash’s NetVERIFY and CyberCash will market IBM’s Payment Server through their respective sales channels.  NetVERIFY offers a simple software product solution to merchants who wish to enable credit card processing through their virtual storefronts. NetVERIFY acts as a separate server process, safely protected behind a firewall, and communicates with a merchant bank’s processor through existing network architecture using either traditional telephone lines or dedicated lease lines.

CyberCash is continually striving to bring improved payment solutions to its customers through innovative technology.  In August, the company released into beta testing its innovative InstaBuy Service, which is built on the new Agile Wallet platform.  InstaBuy can be used with CashRegister 3 or easily integrated with a merchant’s own payment processing system.  The new service makes it possible for consumers to make a purchase with a single click at any participating merchant’s web site without ever needing to re-enter payment and shipping information for Internet purchases.  Lack of convenience is often cited as the main reason consumers end their online shopping experience prior to purchase.  CyberCash recently has teamed with First USA, one of the nation’s leading credit card issuers, to offer merchants and consumers the new InstaBuy Service.

An online survey promoted by Digital City, Inc. during the third quarter found that nine out of ten respondents would like to use the Internet to view and pay bills.  Of the more than 800 respondents surveyed, nearly all said they would like to receive electronic versions of their monthly bills (i.e. credit card, utility, cable) for payment on the Internet.  CyberCash’s Pay Now Electronic Check Service enables companies to leverage the convenience of online bill presentment and payment to increase customer loyalty and enhance cash management.  By giving their customers the convenience of viewing and paying their bills online directly at the biller’s own web site, a biller can enhance customer service, take advantage of cross-selling opportunities, streamline receivables and dramatically reduce billing costs.

Growth in Physical Market Business

CyberCash enjoyed significant growth in the sale of payment service software for the physical point-of-sale market.  The physical point-of-sale market business contributed over 50% to CyberCash’s overall revenue in the third quarter and increased by 40% from the second quarter of 1998.  The new generation of open system point-of-sale products requires innovative software solutions that offer greater speed, functionality and flexibility than their hardware predecessors.  The move toward open platform systems at the point of sale and the opening of new card payment markets that utilize software solutions, such as home offices and kiosks, represent a large and growing market for the company’s products.  The company’s products offer software solutions that enable authorization and draft-capture functions to be performed using open platform computers and allow simple integration with point-of-sale software.

CyberCash software products including ICVERIFY, PCVERIFY and EZCharge replace bank terminal hardware and require no counter space, which for most retailers is at a premium.  The software runs directly on a PC-based cash register or PC and integrates payment data with the sales data from the point-of-sale terminal.  The software allows multi-user networks to share a single modem and telephone line reducing processing costs and increasing the speed of transactions.

“We are very pleased with the growth we enjoyed in the physical point-of-sale market during the third quarter,” said Jim Condon, CyberCash’s chief operating officer.  “CyberCash is fortunate to have a sales staff second to none and an array of products unequalled in the industry.”

March Toward Profitability

“CyberCash receives a one-time perpetual license fee and annual maintenance charges for its software products from merchants,” Condon said. “This new revenue stream, which we acquired when we merged with ICVERIFY, is contributing significantly on our march toward profitability.  CyberCash also receives a recurring revenue stream from its payment services.  CyberCash charges a one-time setup fee, monthly access and per-transaction fees for each of its commerce services.  These recurring revenue streams are building up our deferred revenue base, which increased to almost $1 million by the end of September 1998.  All of these services are currently free to consumers,” he said.

During the third quarter, as previously announced, CyberCash received $15 million from two private equity funds that made private placements with the company in 1997 and early 1998.  Also, Melton purchased, at a premium, an additional 350,000 shares of common stock valued at $3.5 million in August.

“As a result of this infusion of private equity and CyberCash’s increasing revenue stream through product innovation and acquisition of new merchants, CyberCash’s operating cash burn rate for the third quarter was $5.3 million, a decrease of $2.9 million from the previous quarter.  We continue to focus on controlling cash operating expenses and have established a limit of $11.5 million on a quarterly basis going forward,” Condon said.  “The company ended the quarter with approximately $16.4 million in cash which is more than sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for at least the next year, while providing the resources necessary to take advantage of strategic opportunities.”

About CyberCash, Inc.

CyberCash is the world leader in secure, convenient payment technologies and services, enabling e-commerce across the entire market spectrum from electronic retailing environments to the Internet.  CyberCash provides a complete line of software products and services allowing merchants, billers, financial institutions and consumers to conduct secure transactions using the broadest array of popular payment forms.  Credit, debit, purchase cards, cash, checks, smart cards and alternative payment types (e.g., “frequent buyer” or loyalty programs) are all supported by CyberCash payment solutions.  Leading brands of CyberCash include ICVERIFY, PCVERIFY, CashRegister, NetVERIFY, CyberCoin and PayNow.


Tidel 4Q to be Off

Tidel Technologies, Inc. the fastest-growing major U.S. manufacturer of off-premise ATMs, announced Friday that financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter will be below expectations, although the Company still anticipates record revenues and net earnings for the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998 taken as a whole.  Tidel will report complete fourth quarter and year end 1998 results in mid December.

Revenues for the fourth quarter are expected to approximate $8.5 million, a decline of 7% from the same quarter in 1997, due to reduced sales of ATM products near the end of the fiscal year.  Two factors accounted for the softness in sales.  Industrywide concerns about proposed legislation, which would have greatly curtailed ATM surcharge fees, caused several major customers to reduce purchase order quantities to levels below previously expected amounts.  This proposed legislation was overwhelmingly defeated by the Senate and is no longer an issue for Tidel.  In addition, the Company made sweeping changes to its entire product line for introduction in fiscal 1999, prompting customers to defer some orders to the next quarter to benefit from the new features of the recently introduced Ignition series ATMs.  The Company has experienced similar temporary sales declines upon introduction of new equipment in previous years, and accordingly, does not believe that the recent trend will impact the performance of future quarters.

Tidel anticipates that net income and earnings per share will be near breakeven for the fourth quarter, as a result of the reduced sales.  In addition, profit margins decreased due to pricing discounts utilized to help sell existing inventories of 1998 model ATM products.

James T. Rash, Chief Executive Officer, noted, “We are entering 1999 with the strongest financial position in the history of the Company.  With our recently introduced Ignition series, we have developed an innovative successor to our popular ATM line that will allow us to compete effectively in existing markets, and will accommodate our planned expansion into international markets as well.  Going forward, the Company expects record sales and earnings for fiscal 1999.  Additional announcements regarding our new product lines and strategic alliances will be forthcoming shortly.”

Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a Texas based manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers. Tidel pioneered the dial-up ATM in 1992, and is the fastest growing major ATM manufacturer in the United States.


AmEx Catering Promo

American Express has launched a new business building program available to restaurateurs who welcome American Express Cards.  The Catering and Private Party Program is a cost-effective marketing program that uses consumer media, direct mail and promotions to help merchants who want to develop and increase restaurant catering and private party revenue.  With this program, American Express hopes to help restaurateurs increase revenue in the catering/private party business, which represents a $17.7 billion niche segment in the restaurant industry. This marks the first time that a charge and card company has developed a business building program for this segment of the restaurant industry.

The program was designed to support restaurateurs in promoting the benefits of hosting catered events at restaurants.  It enables restaurateurs to build business and revenues by taking advantage of seasonal and special events like corporate holiday parties and celebrations.  The program markets to patrons and business customers who may not otherwise use restaurants for special occasions.  It can also help increase the dining check average.  Restaurateurs who are interested in participating in the program should call their American Express accounts representative or (888)263-9267.

Merchants can utilize all or some of the creative components of the program including:

Marketing-based print advertising campaigns: restaurateurs can increase the awareness of their catering and private party services through special “Great Parties Call For Great Places”  advertisements which will appear in local newspapers and magazines this holiday season.  These Include The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine and Chicago Magazine.

Postcard program: merchants can create specially designed postcards to promote their catering private party services to American Express Cardmembers.  For one low cost, American Express will handle all the details including customization, printing, postage and mailing house services.

Marketing campaigns: restaurateurs can work with American Express to develop promotional offers for American Express Cardmembers.

The Catering & Private Party Program provides merchants with flexibility to choose the components that are most appropriate for their business.  The cost of the program depends upon the services selected by the merchant.

“By partnering with American Express, restaurateurs will be able to attract new customers through increased exposure,” said Bruce Bozzi Jr., catering sales manager for New York-based Palm Restaurant.  “The program will allow them to expand their local marketing efforts and tap into a new customer base that they normally wouldn’t have access to.”

“American Express is committed to helping its merchant partners build business.  We are pleased that this innovative program will help restaurants build additional revenue while attracting new customers,” said Lloyd M. Wirshba, vice president and general manager, Restaurant and Entertainment Industries.  “We are also confident that are Cardmembers will benefit by taking advantage of the professional expertise of restaurateurs in planning their special events and earning Membership Rewards points.”

American Express is welcome at more of the stores, restaurants, hotels and service providers where Cardmembers spend on everything from health and beauty aids to computers to a weekend away.  Current American Express research shows that based on the way American Express Cardmembers use their American Express Cards, Cardmembers can put 94 percent of their plastic spending on American Express.  Presently, a fast growing number of merchants worldwide welcome American Express, with a new establishment accepting the Card every two minutes.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Express Company- a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850.  It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.