Equifax Award

Equifax has achieved certification of the procedures for maintaining the quality, integrity and stability of its Consumer Information Master Database.  Cap Gemini, one of the world’s leading information technology and business consultancy companies, awarded the certification.  Equifax is the only major consumer information company to receive this certification , which is modeled after ISO 9000 criteria.

Equifax has established a highly skilled quality data management team that developed a process for analyzing input to the database daily to determine any anomalies and immediately research and correct them.  The result has been an increase in both accuracy and quality if information posted to the database. The quality data management team also continues to develop additional processes to add vale to the database and increase the level and quality of support to customers.

This program has been very beneficial to Equifax and to our customers, said Jim Allhusen, Equifax executive vice president and group executive, North American Information Services.  Continuous auditing of our data and audits completed in partnership with our customers strengthen our approach to overall data management.  The result is improvement in an information system already well known for high quality, he added.

As the processes for quality enhancement were developed, Equifax decided to have its own procedures audited by an outside third party and to seek certification of the processes. Cap Gemini was chosen as the external auditor for its commitment to quality processes in the consulting industry and because it is an ISO9001 certified company worldwide.  Their audit led to Equifax being awarded a Level 1 certification.

Although this is significant achievement, we do not intend to stop here, said Rich Crutchfield, corporate vice president and chief technology officer at Equifax.  We will continue to improve the processes and quality of information. Crutchfield made his remarks at a ceremony on July 13 at the quality team’s officers in Alpharetta, Ga., at which Cap Gemini presented him and his team with the certificate.

Cap Gemini vice president Dan O’Dea, who presented the certificate, said. Cap Gemini has significant experience in defining and maintaining quality processes at client sites and in our own company.  We are proud to partner with Equifax in their initiative to improve the quality of their information management processes.

Equifax plans to go through another audit later in the year, shooting for a Level 2 certification from Cap Gemini.  Each level of certification is based on continuous improvement and increased functionality of data analysis operations.  Rom Fournet, Equifax senior vice president, North American Information Technology Center, said, I have empowered each of our associates to put quality first.  Each has the authority to stop the line if they see any indication of irregularity.

Equifax’s worldwideknowledge-based information, transaction processing, consulting and software businesses are designed to bring buyers and sellers together, thus changing the shape of global commerce.  Equifax serves the banking, financial, retail, credit car, telecommunications/utilities, automotive, government and health care industries.  It is a leading supplier of business information solutions in Canada, the UK and Latin America.  Equifax operates in 17 countries with sales in 42 countries.  Founded in 1899 in Atlanta, Equifax today has about 12,000 employees around the world. Revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 1998, were nearly $1.5 billion. Visit the company’s Internet web site at [http://www.equifax.com][1].

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

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100% Pure Java Verified

Home Financial Network, Inc. announced Monday the “100% Pure Java” verification of it’s Home ATM software. Home ATM is the first Web banking application to fully exploit Java technology’s “Write Once, Run Anywhere” capability.  As such, the availability of Home ATM on the Sun Connect architecture offers banks the opportunity to provide personal banking solutions on a wide variety of Internet devices.  HFN illustrated this flexibility at several recent industry conferences, where the company demonstrated Home ATM running on a PC, a Network Computer, Web TV, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a UNIX workstation and other Internet access devices.  Comerica Banks, Detroit MI will be the first bank to implement the Java version of Home ATM, using a Sun server.

Home ATM’s simple navigation and large, on-screen buttons make it easy to use on any Internet device, from a television’s low resolution screen to the limited viewing area of a PDA or screen phone.  For consumers, using the same version of Home ATM, regardless of access device, means there’s nothing new to learn and no confusion from multiple interfaces.  For the banks, this common interface dramatically reduces technical support requirements, in that they need not support multiple interfaces — as is the case when HTML pages or PFM’s are used with screen phones or Internet-enabled TVs.

The addition of the Home ATM interface to the SunConnect(SM) program line- up represents the latest move by Sun to integrate a full range of delivery channels for secure financial transactions via the web.  HFN is the first SunConnect ally to offer an Internet banking solution designed expressly for the requirements of the great majority of on-line banking customers, those who prefer a simplified, quick-to-learn solution for their financial interactions. Home ATM is also the first stand-alone user interface in the SunConnect program.  This provides financial institutions with an opportunity to select the middleware that best meets their needs from an expanded menu of choices.

Banks can see the Java platform version of Home ATM at Sun Labs in San Francisco, at HFN’s technology center in Orem, UT or by calling HFN.

“The SunConnect program is about enabling financial institutions to exploit the Web to reach the broadest possible range of customers,” said Rob Hall, vice president, worldwide financial services marketing, at Sun.  “The Sun Connect architecture provides a secure, platform-independent environment for Internet-based financial transactions.  Home Financial Network’s technological prowess and commitment to bringing Internet banking to the mass market makes them an important ally in the Sun Connect initiative.”

“Banks that are serious about developing the Internet channel to reach as many customers as possible will appreciate the connectivity options provided by the Sun Connect program in conjunction with Home ATM,” said Daniel M. Schley, chairman and CEO of Home Financial Network.  “The Java technology- based, server-centric architecture of Home ATM enables banks to reduce both software distribution and telecom costs.  With the security, back-end connectivity and delivery device options provided by the Sun Connect architecture, you’ve got a solution that meets the needs of both banks and their customers.”

“For Comerica, the Java version of Home ATM completes our strategy of allowing our customers to choose the channel they prefer for remote banking by providing a Web alternative to the dial-up version of Comerica Home ATM,” said Richard G. Lyons, Jr., senior vice president Electronic Banking and Marketplace Technology for Comerica.  “We selected a Sun server because it provides us with the robust, highly reliable platform we demand to serve our Internet banking customers.”

Home ATM was verified “100% Pure Java” by Sun Microsystems through an independent testing and confirmation process performed by Key Labs.  The 100% Pure Java verification process indicates to both banks and banks’ customers that Home ATM meets Sun’s strict standards for Java applications.

“Our goal to drive the adoption of 100% Pure Java solutions into the enterprise will require solutions like Home Financial Network’s Home ATM,” said George Paolini, director of corporate marketing at Sun Microsystems’ Java Software.  “100% Pure Java verification indicates to customers that Home ATM is a truly platform-independent application.”

Home ATM

Home Financial Network’s home banking software looks and functions like the ATMs consumers already know how to use.  The software is designed specifically to enable banks to serve the preferences of the middle/mass market customer — the largest and fastest growing segment of PC-banking customers.  Characterized as “transactors,” this segment overwhelmingly prefers simple, task-oriented PC banking that allows them to “get the job done.”  HFN’s Home ATM suite of Internet and dial-up banking software is engineered from the ground up to offer these consumers the simplicity they want.  HFN’s product design includes full customization to promote the bank’s unique, proprietary brand names and brand image.

The Sun Connect Architecture

Sun Connect is a framework based on the Java platform providing a complete and secure foundation for building and deploying Web-based financial services. The Sun Connect architecture allows financial services organizations to exploit the Web as a powerful new delivery channel, reaching a new range of customers.  The Sun Connect architecture supports all industry-leading specifications for online transactions, including Open Financial Exchange (OFX) and other messaging specifications.

About Home Financial Network, Inc. ([www.homeatm.com][1])

Home Financial Network of Westport, CT, is the premier developer of Internet banking software tailored to middle/mass market customers.  HFN provides fully customized, bank-branded solutions to financial institutions, home banking outsourced service providers, and bill-payment processors.  HFN has formal alliances with CheckFree, Integrion, Security First and First Data Corporation, as well as leading home-banking platform vendors.  HFN offers technology leadership to banks through state-of-the-art transactional and marketing functions, sophisticated user interface features, economy and speed of implementation, and low technology support costs.  HFN products are Y2K- compliant and conform to all major home banking protocols, including ADMS, OFX and Gold.

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

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DigiCard

Standard Register was selected Monday to image and distribute a new line of tear-off prepaid phone card packages from Digital Telecom.  The ‘DigiCard’, sold from display racks in grocery, convenience and other retail stores, is the latest in a series of tear-off card packages that Standard Register has coordinated for customers this year. A tear-off package positions a perforated prepaid phone card at the bottom of a self-contained display unit.The plastic ‘DigiCard’ is available in five, ten and twenty dollar denominations and can be used for domestic and international calling. Information on the packages comes in both English and Spanish.  The ‘DigiCard’ was designed in-house by Digital Telecom.

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Blow Out

Banc One/First USA’s second quarter growth was no match for MBNA. According to figures released to CardData yesterday, Banc One/First USA added more than 1.5 million accounts between April 1 and June 30. Receivables surged more than $1 billion. MBNA added about $800 million in receivables for the second quarter. Banc One/First USA is now the second largest issuer of VISA and MasterCards, in terms of cards-in-force. Banc One/FUSA ended the second quarter with 36.7 million cards compared to Citibank’s 70.0 million.

BANC ONE/FIRST USA  SNAPSHOT*
                          98-2Q              98-1Q
Receivables      $39.8 billion      $38.7 billion
Q Volume         $12.1 billion      $10.6 billion
Accounts          28.6 million      27.1 million
Cards             36.7 million      34.7 million
* data restated to include the First Commerce acquisition
  Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Lloyds Mobile Phone Banking

Lloyds TSB and Vodafone announced this weekend that they are working together to provide their customers with an electronic banking service using a mobile telephone.

The mobile electronic banking service is expected to be available to both Lloyds and TSB customers by the end of March 1999. In a recent survey for Lloyds TSB, 82 per cent of respondents said they would be interested in mobile phone banking, citing convenience and speed as the main advantages.

The service will allow customers to use their bank accounts when they are on the move at home and abroad. Using the handset’s electronic display panel, customers can access a menu of banking services which allows them to check their account balances, obtain mini statements and pay bills.

Customers will be able to buy the specially designed digital handset at a discount. They will also benefit from a discount on line rental and call charges.

Ford Ennals, director of group marketing for Lloyds TSB, said: “Lloyds TSB is committed to making banking as accessible as possible for our customers. This latest partnership with Vodafone is another example of how we are working together with other organisations to ensure people are able to bank with us when and where they want to.”

David Channing Williams, managing director of Vodafone Ltd, commented: “I am sure that customers will welcome this partnership between two of the biggest names in the banking and telecoms industries. Mobile banking demonstrates how mobile phones have become an indispensable item, offering users a wider range of facilities than ever before.”

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Proton Impact

Analyst Frost & Sullivan said this morning the creation of Proton World International, announced last week, will, at the end of the day, inject life back into the Banksys/Proton camp which was struggling with lack of enough capital funds; ensure that American Express remains a key player in chip card developments, just as industry observers were beginning to doubt American Express’ continued strength in this arena, and; intensify and improve VISA’s positioning against Mondex/MasterCard, particularly in the battle of ‘Java’ versus ‘MULTOS’. F&S says VISA’s push to have ‘Proton’ support the ‘Java API’ and the ‘VISA Open Platform’ will assist in ‘Proton’s’ movement to scale the ‘Proton’ system beyond its stored-value status. Moreover, American Express will bring significant knowledge to ‘Proton’ on multi-application systems because of American Express’ multi-application card system trials with Hilton Hotels and Continental Airlines. F&S says in looking beyond the horizon, it is very unlikely that either ‘Java’ or ‘MULTOS’ will be the final answer to multiapplication cards.  ‘Java’ and ‘MULTOS’, however, do both point to the paradigm shift that is about to strike the smart card industry, namely that proprietary operating systems such as Gemplus’ ‘MPCOS’ or Giesecke & Devrient’s ‘STARCOS’ will cease to exist within the decade.  In the replacement of these proprietary operating systems will come the rise of the open platform systems on top of which applications will be written. The future generation open operating system will likely not be anything like today’s Java Cards or MULTOS cards.

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BankBoston International

BankBoston announced Friday it has completed its acquisition of OCA, the largest credit card and consumer finance business in Uruguay. BankBoston announced the intent to make the acquisition in March. OCA issues a proprietary credit card and a VISA credit card and serves a combined total of over 400,000 customers. With a loan portfolio of approximately $70 million, OCA has a staff of about 700 employees and operates out of 27 branches throughout Uruguay. BankBoston established its first office in Uruguay in 1976.

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PMT Snags #10

PMT Services announced Friday the acquisition of ISO Superior Bankcard Service headquartered in Los Angeles. Superior provides electronic processing services to a merchant portfolio of approximately 20,000 accounts, which generates nearly $1 billion in annualized charge volume. In addition, Superior’s experienced field sales force produces over 1,000 new merchant accounts per month. So far this year PMT has completed ten acquisition or purchase transactions, adding over $5.0 billion in aggregate annualized charge volume to its base of approximately $12 billion in annualized charge volume at the end of fiscal 1997.

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MULTOS  Scores

In the battle between the ‘MULTOS’ and ‘Java’ multi-application smart card operating systems, ‘MULTOS’ received a major push Friday as Fujitsu said it will actively support and promote global market adoption of ‘MULTOS’, as well as developing new ‘MULTOS’ compliant applications and services, and migrating its current smart card solutions to ‘MULTOS’.  The development also includes ICL and Amdahl Corp., as core members of the Fujitsu Group of information systems.  ICL said its multi-application and cross-industry smart card system, ‘SmartCity’, which is installed in 40 locations throughout the world, will use ‘MULTOS’. Amdahl said its ‘Amdahl Mondex Solution’ , which is being adopted by clients worldwide to support Mondex implementations, will also further the development of ‘MULTOS’ applications. All three companies have joined MAOSCO, the industry-wide consortium formed in May 1997 to drive the adoption and development of ‘MULTOS’. Other MAOSCO members include Hitachi, American Express, MasterCard, Mondex, Motorola and Siemens. MAOSCO said Friday orders for ‘MULTOS’ smart cards are rising sharply. Hitachi has an order for 500,000, and Japanese supermarket operator Mical Corp. is issuing five million ‘MULTOS’-based smart cards over the next 18 months. ‘MAOSCO’ defined ‘MULTOS’ as the equivalent of ‘Windows’ for smart cards.

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InterCept Endorsement

Atlanta-based The InterCept Group said Friday that the Community Bankers Association of Georgia (CBA) has entered a joint marketing arrangement with the InterCept Switch. CBA has endorsed the InterCept Switch as a Premium Service Provider of ATM services for its community bank members. CBA has over 325 community bank members. Members of the InterCept Switch agree to waive ATM surcharge fees for other network member’s cardholders, while they retain the ability to surcharge transactions performed by cardholders outside the alliance. By combining the strengths of all network participants, the InterCept Switch is able to offer member financial institutions a network of surcharge-free ATMs to help them compete more effectively with the large regional holding company banks.

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SPS Earnings

SPS Transaction Services reported Friday a 15% increase in electronic transactions processed for the second quarter, from 109 million to 126 million.  Active commercial accounts at June 30 were 1,004,000, up 6% from 945,000 a year ago. Total loans outstanding, which represent both owned and securitized credit card loans, declined and were $1.7 billion at June 30, down from $1.9 billion at the end of the same period last year. Active consumer private label credit card accounts, both owned and managed, decreased 8% to 2.8 million, compared to the second quarter in 1997. In April, SPS announced an agreement to sell substantially all of its assets to Associates First Capital Corporation, which is expected to close by year’s end.

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Cards UK ’98

An inaugural exhibition and conference, Cards UK ’98 will open at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham on 20th November and run until the 26th November, covering all aspects of smart card technology.

The recent announcement of proposed time scales by the Association of Payment Clearing Services (APACS) for the switch from mag-stripe to smart card by UK banks has heightened interest in the technology. Cards UK will be the only relevant event for potential users to gain a comparison of what is available before the first stage of the change swings into action.

Free tickets and conference programmes can be obtained from the Organisers on tel: 0171 827 5975. Cards UK is one of a series of worldwide ‘Card’ events organised by AIC Worldwide. More information can be obtained from the Cards Worldwide website on [www.cards-worldwide.com][1].

[1]: http://www.cards-worldwide.com

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