EBT Gathering

Citibank signed on as a charter sponsor of  “EBT–The Next Generation,” Friday. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association, the conference organizer, says the event will be held Nov. 8 -11 at the Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C.. Hundreds of attendees are expected to take part in the event, which includes planned addresses by Vice President Gore and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.

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MI Natl Online

Michigan National will launch its ‘Web Banking’ service this morning. The ‘Web Banking’ service allows customers to view account balances, reorder checks, and communicate with Michigan National customer service representatives through e-mail.  The service will soon allow customers to view up to three months of checking account activity, see if checks or deposits have been posted, and transfer funds between linked Michigan National accounts. Michigan National is also launching an e-bill payment service. Michigan National ‘Web Banking’ is free for customers of the bank.  Bill payment through the service is free for the first 90 days, and $5.95 per month thereafter. The bank recently introduced a new ‘VISA’ card with interest that is generally tax deductible, called the ‘Equi:Money VISA card’.

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CUNA Losses

In response to last week’s report by the Washington Post that more than $1 million in ‘VISA Check’ card losses were perpetrated on a Virginia credit union from crooks in Pacific rim countries, CUNA says the overall risk is minimal. The CUMIS Insurance Society, which insures about 97% of all credit unions, had insured plastic card losses of $32.5 million last year.  CUMIS says the number of claims filed by credit unions is down this year, with claims payments actually about 30% less than they were at this time last year. CUMIS also said it will continue to put out ‘SCAM Alerts’, a broadcast fax and e-mail program that notifies credit unions of plastic card and other frauds being perpetrated against credit unions throughout the country.

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Paymentech EBT

Paymentech announced Friday it is adding EBT transaction capability to its POS offerings that will benefit smaller merchants. Paymentech says many of its merchants are smaller, independent locations using a terminal-based product instead of multi-lane platform systems. The new EBT offerings will help these merchants to cost-effectively compete against large supermarket and convenience store chains. Paymentech is launching EBT functionality on its ‘VeriFone 380’ retail solution.

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KeyCorp ARCO ATMs

ARCO am/pm convenience stores in CA, WA, OR, NV, and AZ have now joined the KeyCorp ATM network with NCR ATMs. NCR deployed 600 KeyCorp ATMs in less than 60 days. With phase one completed, another 100 KeyCorp ATMs are slated for installation at ARCO outlets by the end of this month.The ARCO partnership has expanded KeyCorp’s ATM network by 30%. KeyCorp now has 2,600 ATM units across the country.  With 470 ATMs, California now ranks third behind Ohio’s 504 and Washington’s 488.

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BofA  NACHA Pilot

Bank of America and VeriSign announced Thursday that they are completing the first phase of the National Automated Clearing House Association’s Certification Authority Interoperability Pilot — an initiative designed to facilitate secure Internet commerce applications between banks, merchants and consumers.

The pilot is testing the use of digital certificates for digitally signing authorization agreements to debit users’ accounts for recurring payments via the Automated Clearing House (ACH). As a part of this pilot, Bank of America is one of the first financial institutions to take advantage of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP), a new protocol being established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that allows a merchant to obtain the status of a consumer’s digital certificate online in real time.

Merchants will rely on their respective financial institutions to obtain validation of digital certificates issued to consumers of participating financial institutions. This validation is accomplished via Internet interaction between the consumers’ and merchants’ financial institutions. The BofA/VeriSign pilot will be analyzed to modify and further develop operating rules and business practices for use of broader, multi-purpose digital certificates within the banking industry.

“Bank of America’s participation in this pilot illustrates our commitment to providing leading-edge Internet technology solutions to our customers,” said Elizabeth Ghekiere, senior vice president of electronic commerce with Bank of America’s Interactive Banking division. “Working with the VeriSign OnSite solution, Bank of America will be able to provide both consumers and merchants with the necessary trust to conduct secure transactions via the Internet in real-time.”

Under today’s paper-based ACH system, consumers wishing to have their accounts debited for recurring payments — such as mortgages, utility bills and insurance premiums — must sign paper-based pre-authorization agreements. The consumer’s financial institution then approves these requests using the ACH network, a highly secure, reliable and efficient electronic payments system that links America’s banks to the nationwide electronic payment and collection infrastructure. Standardized by the US Federal Government in the mid-1970s to handle exploding check volumes, the ACH has become the backbone of the nation’s electronic payments system. This pilot program will be instrumental in advancing the ACH by bringing it onto the Internet.

In this pilot project, Bank of America is issuing digital certificates to pilot “consumers” (members of the NACHA Internet Council). Specially selected pilot users are provided with an easy-to-use, intuitive Web interface to obtain digital certificates, enabling the digital signing of authorizations over the Internet to debit test accounts via the ACH network. The pilot merchant [Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)] receives the authorizations and certificates via the Internet and then relies on its financial institution, Bank of America, to obtain validation of the certificates. Validation is accomplished via Internet interaction between Bank of America as the merchant’s bank and the consumer’s financial institution using the OCSP.

“Bank of America has achieved a milestone in financial services with its implementation of this digital certificate pilot,” said Richard Yanowitch, vice president of marketing at VeriSign. “By leveraging the encryption and user authentication provided by digital certificates and signatures, Bank of America’s pilot merchant and test users benefit from the greatest degree of online security available to date while also taking advantage of the convenience and cost-effectiveness of the Internet.”

By selecting the VeriSign OnSite solution, Bank of America gains the ability to deploy digital certificates to a wide range of consumer and corporate customers. VeriSign has delivered the software and back-end processing services necessary for BofA to establish itself as a large-scale digital certificate authority.

As part of their NACHA pilot program, Bank of America and VeriSign will utilize the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) to communicate with other financial institutions and determine the status of an identified certificate in real-time. In the pilot, test merchants can issue a request to Bank of America regarding the revocation status of a specific digital certificate that was received from a test consumer. Using OCSP, Bank of America can then immediately send a real-time response to the test merchant informing them whether or not that digital certificate has been revoked, facilitating online commerce that over the Internet and private networks. VeriSign’s enterprise PKI solutions are available through VeriSign regional account representatives, resellers, and is both secure and fast.

About Bank of America

BankAmerica Corporation and its major banking subsidiary, Bank of America NT&SA, operate nearly 1,800 retail branch offices in nine states and more than 7,500 Versateller ATMs. Bank of America can be reached on the Internet at http://www.bankamerica.com and on America Online at Keyword: BofA. After the planned merger with NationsBank Corporation — which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and expected to close at the end of third-quarter 1998 — the new BankAmerica will have relationships with 29 million households in 22 states and Washington, D.C., and two million businesses throughout the world. Pro Forma total assets for the two companies at June 30, 1998, was $573 billion. The new company will have operations in 38 countries and America’s largest branch and ATM networks, with 4,800 branches and nearly 15,000 ATMs.

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. is the leading provider of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificate solutions used by enterprises, Web sites and consumers to conduct secure communications and transactions global affiliates. The company’s Digital IDs and Secure Server IDs are available through the company’s Web site at http://www.verisign.com. For more information visit VeriSign’s Web site at .

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MBNA  CFL

MBNA’s Canada Bank subsidiary announced Thursday it has entered into a multi-year marketing agreement with the Canadian Football League, making MBNA the official MasterCard credit card issuer for the CFL.  The agreement allows MBNA to market credit cards carrying the eight CFL teams’ logos nationally. The eight teams are:  the British Columbia Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. MBNA Canada Bank, with headquarters in Ottawa, has put together more than 50 affinity programs since it began operations at the beginning of this year. Other affinity programs include: Ducks Unlimited Canada, the National Hockey League, Canadian Nurses Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Ottawa Senators.

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Fessing Up

Cendant Corporation came clean yesterday on its investigation of accounting irregularities and errors committed by CUC International, one of the two companies that merged to create Cendant last year. Cendant says it will reduce its earnings from last year by $392 million.Quarterly financial statements for 1998 and the comparable periods of 1997 will be filed with the SEC on Form 10-Q this morning. Full restated, audited financial statements for Cendant’s fiscal years 1997, 1996 and 1995 will be filed with the SEC on Form 10-K/A later this month. Cendant uncovered more than $300 million in phony revenue booked by CUC and more than $200 million in accounting errors. CUC’s founder and Cendant’s chairman, Walter Forbes, along with nine other Cendant directors from CUC, resigned last month as CUC’s systematic fraud was uncovered. Cendant was formed by a merger of HFS Corp. and CUC International. CUC specialized in club memberships marketed to credit card holders. Cendant’s market value has declined $20 billion in the wake of the scandal.

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FDR’s White to Head Home Account

Home Account Network, Inc., announced yesterday that Charles A. White has been named Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. White comes to Home Account from First Data Corporation, where he was President of Electronic Commerce Payment Services.

Morse described the signing of the high-profile e-commerce executive as a milestone in the growth of Home Account, which is gearing up to follow the implementation of its Canopy product suite at First Tennessee Bank with installations at additional major institutions.  Home Account provides Internet-based software solutions that enable banks and other financial institutions to provide online financial management, bill payment, and financial analysis and planning to consumers.

At First Data, White managed start-up ventures in electronic bill presentment and Internet home banking.  He developed the company’s bill presentment concept and established the MSFDC joint venture with Microsoft. At launch, he assumed general management responsibilities within First Data for MSFDC and served on MSFDC’s board.  White also was responsible for Direct Banking, First Data’s Internet home banking business.

“The appointment of Chuck White is a very significant event in the history of Home Account,” Tuck Morse declared.  “His outstanding track record in the development of innovative solutions, building alliances with key partners around new technology, and establishing productive relationships with financial institutions speaks for itself.  With Chuck White’s appointment, Home Account has the additional management talent needed to lead the company to its next exciting era of growth as we pursue increased market share and develop additional relationships with leading financial institutions.  We plan to be a major player in online financial services, and Chuck White can lead us there.”

Chuck White replaces Andrew T. Barrett, a founding investor in Home Account, who had served Home Account as CEO since 1996.  Mr. Barrett has been appointed Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, where he will continue to serve actively.  “Guiding Home Account through its development and growth phase has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” Barrett commented. “Now we are poised to move the company to the next level.  Chuck White has the skills and vision to lead the company into the next millennium. It’s a pleasure to have him aboard.”

Before joining First Data in 1994 (where he served as Senior Vice President of Merchant Products and Systems, then Senior Vice President of Electronic Commerce, before becoming President of Electronic Payment Services), Chuck White had been with Visa International, where he held positions in Architecture and Technology Planning.

White is a frequent speaker on electronic commerce and online financial services issues at industry conferences.  He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

“I’m delighted to be able to bring my experience in transaction processing, electronic bill presentment and Internet home banking to the leadership of Home Account Network,” Chuck White commented.  “Home Account’s Internet banking, payments and financial planning products offer an unparalleled opportunity for financial institutions to build and cement strong, profitable customer relationships as online financial services become a critical distribution channel.  Home Account is uniquely positioned to lead the development of the online financial services market.  I want to be there when it happens, and I relish the opportunity to take a leadership position in this burgeoning market.”

About Home Account Network

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, brokerage and financial planning; Canopy Clients, a series of financial management applications 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 that assists financial institutions in building profitable, long-term relationships with their customers.

Home Account is located in Charleston, SC.  Home Account includes among its technology partners VeriFone, Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, Hewlett-Packard and Forti Software.

Please see Home Account’s website at .

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ProMark One Wins Two

ProMark One, a leading provider of outsourced teleservices solutions, is proud to announce that it has won two Awards for Call Center Excellence (ACCE) from TeleProfessional Magazine.  This is the third year ProMark One has been recognized with an ACCE award.  ProMark One is a subsidiary of IDRC USA, the nation’s third largest outbound telemarketing service agency.

ProMark One earned a Gold ACCE Award for its outstanding execution of a consumer outbound program for a major reseller of residential long distance. ProMark One launched a telemarketing campaign to secure new residential long distance customers for this client nearly one year ago, and has become one of the client’s premier vendors in terms of volume, production, quality, and customer service.

ProMark One was also awarded a Silver ACCE Award for its exceptional performance on a business outbound program for a top developer, host, and promoter of small business Web sites.  ProMark One began providing telemarketing services to this client over a year ago, calling new and small businesses to acquire new customers, and has become one of its top vendors in terms of performance, quality, and customer service.

TeleProfessional Magazine started the ACCE program five years ago to “provide recognition to those companies who bring credit to the entire call center industry.”  According to Ross Scovotti, group publisher of the magazine, “These call centers recognized with an ACCE are truly the benchmark by which all call centers should measure their activities.  They are a source of pride for the industry, and are shining examples for those just entering the field.” Results will be published in the September issue of the magazine.

ProMark One operates within IDRC’s USA division, which is currently ranked as the nation’s third largest outbound telemarketing service agency.  IDRC USA specializes in providing inbound and outbound telephone based solutions that target businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, and insurance, among others.  IDRC USA uses customized, state of the art computer and telephone based technologies in its operations.  IDRC USA’s focus is to work with selected business partners, helping them to maximize the lifetime value of their customers through the effective use of telephone based support.

IDRC USA consists of two recently formed functional operating units, IDRC USA Outbound and IDRC USA Inbound/Customer Care.  Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., IDRC USA Outbound consists of the ProMark One (IDRC’s largest subsidiary), IntelliSell and Telnet business units.  Based in San Diego, the IDRC USA Inbound/Customer Care unit consists of its newly constructed state of the art inbound facilities in Buffalo and San Diego.

Through the combined resources of these companies, IDRC USA is able to offer a wide spectrum of fully integrated services to clients throughout North America.  IDRC USA currently has more than 3,700 employees, nearly 2,600 workstations, and 17 locations throughout the U.S.

IDRC USA’s corporate office is located at 7272 E. Indian School Road, Suite 350, Scottsdale, Ariz., 85251.  For more information about IDRC USA or ProMark One, contact Dawn Wahler, Marketing Manager, at 800-933-0233

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ATM Scrip Terminal

SIMS Communications said yesterday that orders for its ATM ‘Scrip’ terminal are running well ahead of company projections. Two ‘Scrip’ terminal subsidiaries installed over 150 ATM ‘Scrip’ terminals last month. SIMS says it has a current backlog of ‘Scrip’ terminal orders, however, it will install over 300 units this month. Most of these voucher terminals are installed in fast food restaurants, including outlets for Church’s Chicken, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Blimpies and Subway’s, as well as in gas stations for Exxon and Amoco.

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Hawaii TS2

Total System Services announced Thursday the signing of a long-term agreement to process Bank of Hawaii’s credit and debit card accounts.  Bank of Hawaii will convert from an in-house processing system to ‘TS2′ TSYS’ state-of-the-art, Year 2000-compliant cardholder system. On May 12, TSYS announced the signing of a multi-year contract to provide commercial, debit and cardholder processing services to First Hawaiian Bank, who will also convert to ‘TS2’.

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