Bankruptcy Record

New data from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, released yesterday, shows nearly 362,000 personal bankruptcies were filed in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to more than 715,000. A record 1.38 million personal bankruptcies were filed during the twelve month period ending June 30, representing a 9% growth rate over the previous year. The Bankruptcy Issues Council said yesterday it expects the Senate to move on bankruptcy reform after the August recess and before Congress adjourns in October.



DataCard Corporation announced Tuesday that Dynasys Technologies, Inc. has agreed to become an authorized distributor for DataCard photo ID systems and printers.  Dynasys, which is based in Clearwater, Fla., is a leading distributor of bar code and identification equipment.

Dynasys will carry inventories of DataCard’s value-priced digital photo ID solutions  including the DataCard ID Express photo ID system, the DataCard ImageCard Express photo ID printer and the DataCard DuraGard polyester overlay system.

“We’re pleased to add Dynasys as an authorized distributor,” said Elain Bliss, vice president of Americas distribution for DataCard.  “The people at Dynasys have developed a reputation for trust and value.  They’re an ideal selling partner for us.” Bliss said the Dynasys agreement allows DataCard to bring high-quality, competitively priced photo ID solutions to a wide range of general and market-specific resellers throughout the U.S.

“We needed an aggressive, forward-thinking sales partner in order to provide fast, efficient service to smaller reseller organizations,” Bliss said.  “Its history of success in bringing value-priced products to market made Dynasys the clear choice.” In addition to photo ID systems and printers, Dynasys will also sell DataCard photo ID supplies and provide service and training for the DataCard products it sells.

“We’re committed to providing our customers with high-quality products at affordable prices.  So, the DataCard products are a perfect fit for us,” said Bob Scher, Dynasys president and CEO.  “We believe the market potential for digital photo ID solutions is excellent.  We expect great things from this product line.”

“We have a dedicated DataCard product manager who works closely with resellers to make sure they’re getting the products, training and support they need to be successful,” Scher added.

Dynasys Technologies, Inc., which was founded in 1988, sells and supports a wide range of data collection and identification equipment.  The company’s high-quality and value-pricing strategy has made it one of the largest and most successful equipment distributors in the southeastern U.S. ([][1])

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications.  In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of digital photo ID systems and printers, card personalization systems and transaction systems. ([][2])



CheckFree in the Black

CheckFree Holdings Corporation reported today revenues of $63.5 million for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 1998 compared to $55.1 million for the same quarter of 1997.  Total revenues for the quarter increased 39 percent over the comparative quarter of last year, adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures. Revenues for the year ended June 30, 1998 were $233.9 million, up 36 percent over the prior year, adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures.

![][1]     Including non-recurring charges related to the software divestiture process and stock warrants, and the gain on the sale of software businesses, the Company reported net income for the quarter of $5.8 million, or 10 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $5.9 million, or 11 cents per share, for the same period in fiscal year 1997.

Including non-recurring charges and gains for the year, the Company reported a net loss of  $3.7 million, or 7 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $161.8 million, or $3.44 per share for fiscal year 1997.

Excluding non-recurring charges related to the software divestiture process and stock warrants, and the gain on the sale of software businesses, the Company reported net income for the quarter of $1.5 million, or 3 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $4.0 million, or 7 cents per share, for the same period in fiscal year 1997.

Excluding non-recurring charges and gains for the year, the Company reported a net loss of $2.8 million, or 5 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $22.2 million, or 47 cents per share for fiscal year 1997.

While CheckFree achieved 3-cents-per-share earnings in the fourth quarter, Chairman and CEO Pete Kight cautioned that two factors caused recurring bill payment processing revenues to be lower than anticipated.  First, major banks delayed marketing on-line banking solutions to consumers, both because of bank merger issues and because they are developing Internet-based solutions to replace or join PC-based ones. While the Company had anticipated subscriber growth of 8 percent in the fourth quarter, it was actually 6 percent. Second, nearly half of new subscriber growth came from banks under contract minimums with CheckFree, which means new subscribers do not generate additional fees until certain minimum subscriber levels are met.  As a result of these two factors, sequential processing revenue growth in the Company’s core bill payment and banking business was only 3 percent.

Addressing the impact of minimum contracts on near-term revenue performance, Kight said, “These contracts reflect strong, long-term relationships with leading U.S. banks.  They are designed to encourage those banks to grow subscribers, and clearly they do. Several of these banks are actually adding subscribers at an accelerating rate, but the contracts mask that growth from a near-term revenue perspective.  Over the longer term, however, as banks exceed subscriber minimums, this effect goes away.”

Commenting on lower than expected recurring revenue growth, chief operating officer Pete Sinisgalli noted: “New subscriber growth was lower than expected because of a factor we do not control: how quickly our bank clients promote electronic banking services to acquire new subscribers.  The fact is, more clients than we anticipated delayed promoting electronic bill payment services while they developed their Internet solutions, and several major banks that did continue to market and generate strong subscriber growth were under contract minimums” Sinisgalli added.

Sinisgalli noted that while this transition softens CheckFree’s near-term revenue growth, it ultimately puts the Company on an accelerated path to uninterrupted growth levels.  “With more than 30 million U.S. households having access to the Internet today, we expect that the faster Internet offerings are available, the faster new subscribers will enroll.  We fully support the banks’ move to the Internet, despite its near-term revenue effect, because in the long term, the emergence of the Internet as a pivotal financial interchange medium strengthens our ability to extend our market leadership position,” he said.

Twenty-two of the Company’s 30 largest clients are actively moving from PC-software-based electronic banking solutions to Internet-based ones, according to Kight.  He said he expects four of the Company’s large bank clients to begin promoting Internet-based bill payment solutions in this calendar year.  He said eight of  CheckFree’s 10 largest bank clients plan to be promoting Internet-based on-line banking solutions before the Company’s fiscal year end on June 30, 1999, and that three-quarters of the top 65 plan to have Web-based services in the market by then.

Based on lower than expected fourth quarter revenue growth, the Company has lowered its revenue expectations for fiscal 1999 by approximately $20 million.  About one-third of the reduction is due to the compounding effect of lower than expected fourth-quarter recurring processing revenue, and the remainder is due to lower subscriber growth expectations, Kight said. Previous estimates were based on sequential quarterly subscriber growth rates of about 8 percent for the first two quarters of fiscal 1999, with faster growth in the second half of the year.  The Company now plans for subscriber growth of about 4 percent for the first quarter, 5 percent for the second quarter and about 6 percent per quarter for the second half of the year.

Kight said the Company’s new fiscal 1999 plans call for revenues of $245 to $250 million and earnings per share of 12 to 16 cents, compared with previous expectations of $265 to $270 million in revenues and earnings per share of 32 cents.  He also said the Company expects a loss of 4 to 6 cents per share in the first quarter.  Kight attributed 3 cents of the 7- to 9-cent decline between the fourth and first quarter’s EPS to one-time expense benefits realized in the fourth quarter, and the remainder primarily to the typical cyclical nature of the Company’s software businesses.

Emphasizing that CheckFree is committed to making planned investments in fiscal 1999, Kight noted the Company prefers to reset earnings expectations rather than cut investments to achieve the previously announced 32-cent target.

“CheckFree is not in a sprint. Our goal is to protect our leadership position in an important emerging market for the long run.  We will not sacrifice that position to chase a near-term earnings estimate,” Kight said. “Projecting revenues in an emerging market is rarely a precise exercise. Rather than alter our planned investments to meet our previous earnings estimates, we will remain focused on our core business strategy as electronic bill presentment is defined and embraced, and as electronic bill payment moves from a market penetration of two percent to a universally-adopted service. We will continue to fund projects that expand our core financial electronic commerce offerings, drive intuitive ease of use, guarantee service quality at a dial-tone level, and enhance the seamless end-to-end customer care we offer to banks, billers, and their customers,” he added.

“Although proving our profitability is important — and we will be solidly profitable for fiscal 1999 — we will not put at risk our ability to extend our market share leadership,” Kight concluded.

Sinisgalli noted that a key investment for 1999 is to materially increase the quality and cost-efficiency of the Company’s core electronic payment operations by converting the Company’s clients to a common advanced processing platform.  In fiscal 1998, the Company completed development of the common platform, and physically consolidated in its Atlanta-based processing center systems previously located in Chicago, Austin, and Columbus, Ohio. Conversion of the Company’s bank clients to the new platform will be finalized over the next 12 to 18 months, Sinisgalli said.

“Relative to the market’s evolution, we are ahead of the game,” Kight said.  “We count among our clients nine out of the top 10 financial institutions, 23 of the top 25, and 40 of the top 50. With Microsoft pursuing the bill presentment market, I have been pleasantly surprised by how many long-term contracts with large billers we won in 1998. The largest producer of bills in the country, AT&T, has chosen to use our bill presentment and payment solution and two more of the top 10 expect to be in production in the next 90 days.  We closed the year with 99% client retention, despite escalating noise from competitors, which is a testament to the strength of our business model and to the quality of our services.

“From a capacity standpoint, we also are ahead of expectations. Today our processing infrastructure can support adoption of electronic banking services by one-third of U.S. households on a common platform engineered to deliver dial-tone quality, so we are prepared as the market ramps from its current two percent penetration level.  We have executed on all levels of our business strategy, and plan to continue that execution in 1999,” Kight concluded.

Kight said CheckFree added 12 billers to its client roster in fiscal 1998, and that the Company either has signed agreements or is in discussions with 9 of the nation’s top 25 billers.  CheckFree also added 48 financial institutions, seven of which are in the top 100, to its client roster in fiscal 1998.

CFO Jim Douglass Adopts Executive Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions Role

CheckFree also announced that CFO James S. Douglass, 33, now serves in the newly-established role of executive vice president, mergers & acquisitions. Douglass will focus on identifying and executing mergers and acquisitions that strengthen CheckFree’s leadership in financial electronic commerce by extending or broadening existing services.

Commenting on Douglass’ new role, Kight said:  “Part of our strategy relies on banks — as trusted agents delivering electronic financial services to consumers — to market electronic banking solutions to their customers to spur widespread adoption.  Equally important is our strategy to continue to define the financial electronic commerce industry by broadening and enhancing our core services.  Jim’s new role will enable him to dramatically influence this strategy.  His understanding of the financial underpinnings of our business will guide us to mergers, acquisitions and business partnerships that foster our ability to meet our long-term financial objectives and increase shareholder value.”

Douglass’ CFO role has been filled by Allen L. Shulman, 50, who has been promoted from senior vice president and general counsel to executive vice president, chief financial officer and general counsel.  Shulman will report to CEO Pete Kight.

Shulman brings to the position 13 years of experience as CFO of United Refrigerated Services, Inc.

“Since joining CheckFree in June of 1997, Allen has gained an intimate understanding of our financial operations through his close association with Jim during the divestiture of our software businesses and the assessment of prospective business partners and acquisition opportunities,” said Kight.  “I am pleased he has accepted this new role, and am confident of the skills and perspectives he brings to it.”

About CheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree Corporation, the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings, Inc., is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2.25 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 financial transactions on the Internet.

Fourth Quarter 1998 Highlights

*  CheckFree signs bill presentment and payment contracts with AT&T, Intuit for Quicken software and, and Banc One.

*  Company also signs bill presentment and payment agreements with two more of the nation’s top 10 billers, with planned production to roll out within the next 90 days.

*  CheckFree retains or expands current relationship with more than 350 of the nation’s top banks for bill payment processing.

Fiscal Year 1998 Highlights

*  July 1, 1998 — CheckFree announces intent to sell Mortgage Products group to London Bridge Software Holdings plc.

*  June 23, 1998 — CheckFree Investment Services signs Glickenhouse & Company to provide portfolio accounting for more than 1,400 equity, balanced and fixed-income portfolios.

*  June 22, 1998 — CheckFree Investment Services reaches 500,000 portfolios on APL/APL WRAP portfolio management system.

*  June 10, 1998 — More than one-half of account balance transfer credit card clients are migrated to CheckFree’s new Remittance Processing Pipeline (RPP).

*  June 9, 1998 — AT&T and CheckFree announce agreement to provide AT&T customers with new electronic billing and payment option on the Internet.

*  May 20, 1998 — Visa and CheckFree to announce joint venture to create electronic bill payment and remittance infrastructure that will enable up to 85 percent all-electronic transactions.

*  May 19,1998 — CheckFree and First Commerce Technologies (FCT) announce seven-year strategic alliance whereby CheckFree will provide ACH processing and bill payment services for more than 250 community banks supported by FCT.

*  May 18,1998 — John Limbert joins CheckFree as Executive Vice President of Customer Operations to manage electronic commerce customer care, payment operations, implementations and system conversions, and customer operations planning and development.

*  May 15,1998 — Banc One announces launch of integrated electronic banking, bill presentment and payment services through CheckFree and Integrion.

*  May 11, 1998 — EVEREN Securities Inc. signs three-year contract extension with CheckFree Investment Services for portfolio accounting wrap services.

*  April 27,1998 — CheckFree announces intent to purchase 150,000 sq. ft. office building in Dublin, Ohio.

*  April 27, 1998 — Intuit selects CheckFree as provider of choice for bill presentment and payment service offered through Intuit’s Quicken software and Web site.

*  April 22, 1998 — CheckFree is selected to develop and operate a new State Sponsored National Unclaimed Property Database.  Participating states will provide records to CheckFree’s central database.  Public access will be available through a single, national Web site.

*  April 20, 1998 — CheckFree sells cash management and wire transfer business units to Fundtech Ltd. for $18.25 million.

*  April 1, 1998 — CheckFree announces plans to divest seven of its software products to enhance the company’s focus on core businesses in electronic commerce products and services. The products include: cash management, wire transfer, leasing, item processing, imaging, mortgage and safe box accounting.

Third Quarter

*  March 24, 1998 — CheckFree sells item processing unit to Houston-based CONIX Systems, Inc.

*  March 11, 1998 — Integrion and CheckFree sign agreement for processing partnership, whereby CheckFree assumes management of the Herndon, Va.-based company’s operations to handle bill payment fulfillment and customer service to approximately 50 of Integrion’s financial institution customers.

*  March 4, 1998 — CheckFree launches CheckFree RECON Trade, a Windows-based client/server solution for global cash and securities reconciliation.

*  February 23, 1998 — CheckFree E-Bill receives 1998 Marketing Award for Excellence (MAX), sponsored by Georgia State University’s College of Business Administration and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The award honors the outstanding product, service and marketing innovations developed in Georgia during the previous year.

*  January 29, 1998 — CheckFree and Harris Bank of Chicago form strategic ACH business alliance to process the bank’s 45 million ACH transactions conducted per year.

*  January 28, 1998 — Home Depot replaces its reconciliation system with CheckFree RECON-Plus for Windows for automating reconciliation for its more than 600 stores nationwide.

*  January 13, 1998 — CheckFree and CUNA Mutual Group launch electronic billing and payment program to allow CUNA Mutual’s policyholders to receive and pay their premiums on the Internet via CheckFree E-Bill.

Second Quarter

*  December 22, 1997 — CheckFree Holdings Corporation, Inc. is formed with CheckFree Corporation remaining as the Company’s main operating subsidiary.

*  December 10, 1997 — American Electric Power signs up for CheckFree E-Bill to offer electronic billing and payment to its 2.9 million customers.

*  November 24, 1997 — Chairman and CEO Pete Kight Joins RDS ’97 to explore “The Role of Banks in Interactive Billing and Payment.”

*  November 17, 1997 — HomeSide Lending brings CheckFree E-Bill to 1.2 million homeowners in the U.S.

*  October 9, 1997 — Chase Manhattan Bank signs with CheckFree to become the first bank in the U.S. to offer electronic bill presentment services to its individual and commercial customers.  The service is expected to be live the first quarter of 1998.  Chase’s credit card and mortgage units will be among the first billers to go live on the service.

*  October 6, 1997 — CheckFree acquires leading default management system from Advanced Mortgage Technology, Inc.  CheckFree is now the only company that can provide mortgage origination, servicing, tracking and default management.

First Quarter

*  September 2, 1997 — CheckFree and CoreStates join forces to provide electronic bill payment remittance option to 150 CoreStates merchants. Agreement expands each company’s ability to provide seamless end-to-end processing of electronically initiated bill payments.

*  August 12, 1997 — Northeast Utilities signs up for CheckFree E-Bill to offer electronic billing and payment to its 1.2 million New England customers.

*  August 6, 1997 — Florida Power & Light brings CheckFree E-Bill to 7 million customers — nearly half of the residents of Florida.

*  July 28, 1997 — International Billing Services (IBS), the largest first class mailer in the U.S. signs with CheckFree to allow their 65 million customers to use CheckFree E-Bill.

*  July 14, 1997 — CheckFree announces completion of Wells Fargo implementation.  Total subscribers climb to 1.8 million on July 7, 1997.

*  July 9, 1997 — Blockbuster Video automates account reconciliation with CheckFree RECON-Plus for Windows.  Blockbuster Video stores currently register more than one million transactions per day.

*  July 1, 1997 — CheckFree announces the sale of its Recovery Management Software business (RMS), to London Bridge Software Holdings, plc, for $35 million.  The London-based company specializes in software and consulting for credit risk management.

[1]: /graphic/datacard/datacard.gif


Satisifed Cardholders

Chase Manhattan scored big in the J.D. Power and Associates ‘1998 Comprehensive Cardholder Satisfaction Study’. The Chase ‘Wal-Mart MasterCard’ topped the gold/basic card category and the Chase ‘Platinum’ card aced the platinum category. The Chase ‘Toys R’ Us’ card (initially issued by Bank of New York) also ranked “above average” among reward cards, betting out its sister card, the Chase ‘Shell MasterCard’. Two of the industry’s most aggressive issuers, First USA and Capital One, ranked “below average” in the gold/basic and platinum categories. Power said it interviewed more than 12,000 cardholders seeking data on six key measures including: customer service; card servicing and reputation; price; rewards; credit and payment policy.

           Overall Cardholder Satisfaction: Index Scores
                    Standard/Gold           Platinum
Chase Wal-Mart        104                   NA
Optima Card              103                   NA
Citibank                 102                  105
MBNA America             102                  102
First Union              102                   NA
AT&T Universal           102                  102
First Card               100                  101
U.S. Bank                 99                  102
Chase                     98                  106
Industry Average          98                  100
Source: J.D. Power and Associates


Cap One Tampa Employees

Capital One Services, Inc. announced it will begin construction on a 121,000 square foot amenities facility, where its associates can eat at a food court, surf the World Wide Web at the Internet Cafe, visit the Company’s Human Resource Center or work up a sweat in a fitness center that includes aerobics, racquetball, basketball and volleyball courts.  Construction is expected to be completed by mid-year 1999.

The new building will be constructed at Renaissance Park, Capital One’s campus facility located in the Town & Country area.

“Capital One is committed to being the best place to work in the Tampa Bay area.  Not only do we offer challenging career opportunities, but Capital One prides itself on offering outstanding compensation and incentives, and a wide range of benefits, including three weeks vacation, for our associates.  We hope that this facility will serve as a community center for all Capital One associates,” said Dennis Liberson, Senior Vice President for Human Resources.

Currently, Capital One employs more than 1,000 associates in Tampa, and a second building is currently under construction to accommodate more than 600 call center associates.  The facilities in Tampa operate as part of the Company’s Customer Relations call centers, which service the Company’s more than 13 million customers worldwide.

Celeste Watson, designated to be the director of the new Capital One facility, said, “The hard work and commitment of our Tampa associates have helped to fuel Capital One’s successful growth over the past three years.  We welcome the opportunity to provide our current and future associates with amenities that will enhance their work environment.”

Capital One also has operations in Richmond, Fredericksburg, Chesterfield and Falls Church, Virginia; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; as well as London and Nottingham, U.K. Capital One Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation, currently employs more than 8,000 associates worldwide.

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation () is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 13.6 million customers and $15.0 billion in managed loans outstanding as of June 30, 1998, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world.  Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.  Recently, Business Week (7/13/98) announced that Capital One ranked 316th for market value in the United States, and 8th for the share-price appreciation in the world to date.


New Meridien Report

Campaign management solutions that support financial institution competency in customer management and sophisticated sales and marketing initiatives are rapidly evolving from database marketing to behavioral-based interactive marketing and beyond to a new discipline, called “enterprise customer management,” according to the most recent report from Meridien Research.  In this report, “Campaign Management Solutions,” Meridien examines advances in campaign management solutions, as well as how financial institutions will use these solutions to optimize the profit potential in delivery channels, such as ATMs, homebanking and call centers.

“As scalar complexity increases with the number of contacts to be managed, this is one business arena where size is not necessarily and advantage,” notes Bill Bradway, Meridien’s research director and author of the report. “We foresee that only a few of the largest institutions will successfully implement enterprise-level customer acquisition and retention initiatives by the turn of the century.  However, mid-size institutions enjoy a more manageable scale of data and the resources necessary to develop the best examples of enterprise customer management over the next few years.”

This Meridien Research report provides an overview of the campaign management marketplace, concentrating on 500 large, global financial institutions that represent commerical banks, insurance companies, securities and investment firms, and non-bank financial companies.  Global spending on campaign management solutions is examined and reported by industry segment.  Meridien Research expects global campaign management spending to increase from $505 million in 1998 to $708 million in 2003.

Campaign management solutions are comprised of six distinct solutions elements, which are used to differentiate the various types of campaign mangement applications from each other.  According to Meridien Research, campaign management applications will be addressed by five types of vendor solutions — stand alone solutions, marketing and decision automation vendors, database marketing vendors, call center and enterprise customer management vendors, customer data warehouse vendors.

Case studies of financial institutions that have implemented campaign management solutions in this report include Lloyds TSB General Insurance (UK), Trans Financial Inc. (USA) and Standard Life Group (UK).

Meridien Research of Newton, MA provides analytical research services to users and providers of financial technology.  Meridien Research currently targets three technology sements of strategic importance to financial services firms:  Electronic Delivery, Risk Management and Customer Management Systems.  Each practice delivers quarterly reports and monthly briefs, detailing new issues and challenges in these areas, while keeping the realities of legacy core systems in mind.  For more information about Meridiean  Research, call Kristen Keane at 1-617-796-2800 or visit the Meridien Research Web site at [][1].



Driver License Replacement

American Express and the Florida Motor Vehicle Department signed agreements Tuesday to provide driver license replacement services to Florida drivers through American Express’ ‘Credit Card Registry’ program. AmEx said credit cards and driver licenses are usually lost or stolen at the same time, so the ability to make one phone call to request replacements provides convenience and security. American Express has similar arrangements in Virginia and New York. Florida uses a digitized driver license system with the capability to retrieve an image and produce a replacement license within one business day.


Smart Rollout

SunTrust Bank and VISA are now distributing more than 5,000 reloadable ‘VISA Cash’ smart cards to residents and employees of Celebration, Florida. Celebration is a Disney-planned community of 4,700 acres and currently has about 1,500 residents and 25 retail outlets. Five designs of disposable ‘SunTrust VISA Cash Cards’ are expected to be available to visitors who tour the community. Celebration’s self-contained environment and nearly 100% merchant participation offers a unique opportunity for the successful demonstration of a smart card system in the US. This will be VISA’s 13th smart card pilot in the U.S. among 71 worldwide. Giesecke & Devrient America is producing the cards for SunTrust. G&D America is also supplying its ‘SCDM-4’ card dispensing machine, which accepts cash for convenient use by consumers for purchasing the new smart cash cards.


Skipjack Merchant Services

CyberCash and PaymentNet will face new competition with the introduction yesterday of ‘Skipjack Merchant Services’.  SMS, developed by Evolv Adaptive Technology supports secure transactions for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, JCB, debit cards and checks. It features real-time authorization and settlement, email receipts for customers and fulfillment entities, web page responses for authorizations and denials and an easy-to-use shopping cart. SMS will charge a monthly service fee of $19.95 to cover the first 500 transactions each month.  In addition, for merchants who sign up for the service before December 31, Skipjack Merchant Services will waive the initial setup fee of $79. Evolv says CyberCash duns the merchant on a per-transaction basis in addition to a confusing and costly combination of monthly, annual and setup fees. The company also said PaymentNet (formerly Segue Systems) charges a setup fee of $250 and a monthly fee of $79 with transactions over 500 costing the merchant .30 each.


New DataCard VP

DataCard Corporation announced Monday that George A. Lee has accepted the position of vice president of industry marketing for its financial company. Lee will be responsible for researching and evaluating new financial market opportunities, such as electronic commerce and smart card applications. He will also explore potential alliances with other technology leaders.

“We’re very fortunate to have George join us,” said Francois Conchon, president of DataCard’s financial company. “His understanding of consumer needs, his strategic abilities and the industry relationships he has built over the years will be great assets for us as we expand the breadth and depth of our financial solutions.”

DataCard is a clear world leader in card issuance solutions. Financial institutions of all sizes use DataCard systems to issue credit, debit, ATM and stored value cards. The company also offers a complete line of smart card issuance solutions. This emerging technology, along with electronic commerce solutions, represent tremendous opportunities for DataCard, according to Conchon.

“DataCard is a technology-rich organization,” Conchon said. “We have the know-how to create powerful smart card and electronic commerce solutions. I believe George can help us shape strategies to leverage those technologies and bring them to market in a way that delights both our customers and consumers around the world.”

Before joining DataCard, Lee served as vice president of business development and product marketing at MasterCard International. During his five years at MasterCard, Lee was responsible for sales and marketing of the company’s payment services in the U.S. He also served as general manager of MasterCard’s global payment systems operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Lee also spent five years as vice president of sales and marketing for Rocky Mountain Bankcard, where he led business development, product development, product marketing and product support for a variety of programs.

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



SPYRUS Acquires Value Checker

SPYRUS announced Monday that it has acquired the Value Checker Plus smart card reader from OKI. This high-assurance PIN pad reader will be used as part of the SPYRUS high-assurance public key-based security solution for valued digital property and rights management. When deploying intranets for mission critical information or when establishing extranets to garner operational efficiencies with its trading partners, an enterprise faces two critical issues: 1) identifying who has access to what type of digital information, and 2) cost effective deployment. When used in conjunction with the ROSETTA smart card, the Value Checker Plus smart card reader is a key component for delivering cost-effective, public key-based security access solutions for multiple applications and services.

“The deployment of Intranets, the extension of Extranets to business partners, and the inevitability of Internet-based business commerce has heightened the need for development of a trusted digital environment for valued enterprise digital property,” said Sue Pontius, Founder and CEO of SPYRUS. “Acquiring the Value Checker Plus smart card reader is a key component in enabling the enterprise to manage access to business critical information and in enabling electronic commerce by providing non-repudiation.”

The Value Checker Plus is synergistic with the SPYRUS high-assurance model by allowing secure PIN entry at the reader level, which eliminates the possibility of compromising the PIN when, for example, using the PC keyboard. The portability of the combined reader and card allows the traveling road warrior or remote worker access to secure digital information across the enterprise. A PC smart card interface cable is also available to enable the reader for use with desktop network access applications, including strong mutual authentication and challenge response.

“The Value Checker Plus provides SPYRUS with a smart card reader that can be used to bolster its electronic commerce strategy and provide corporate and commercial users with a full suite of high-assurance, portable enterprise access security solutions,” said Yoichi Kanamura, President of OKI Advanced Products. “This smart card reader benefits SPYRUS customers by combining ease-of-use with a portable and cost-effective alternative to current electronic commerce applications.”

“A prototype version of the Value Checker Plus has been developed and tested for VISA Cash client applications, and future support for this specific reader is anticipated”, said Shay Roberts, Product Manager for VISA International’s Stored Value Products. “This specific type of reader provides the necessary security, functionality, and flexibility required for Visa Cash on the Internet purchase transactions on the cardholder’s PC.”

With immediate availability, the SPYRUS Value Checker Plus provides a cost effective, portable, and secure smart card reader solution. Please visit our web site, or call 408-432-8180.


SPYRUS is a privately held high technology company that applies high-assurance public key-based security solutions for the Enterprise to manage its valued digital property. The end-to-end security solutions protect corporate IS, WWW/Internet and Intranet applications, electronic commerce, and government applications. SPYRUS’ products enable encryption, digital signature, access control, and metering solutions through a combination of Algorithm Agile software and hardware technologies. The Company’s portable tokens, including its LYNKS Privacy Card and ROSETTA Smart Card, provide a personal, portable electronic identity that enables people to conduct secure electronic transactions anyplace, anywhere, anytime. Its software forms the core of Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) payment card security, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) channel security, and Secure HTTP (S-HTTP) document security. SPYRUS is headquartered in San Jose, California and has branch offices in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and London, England. In 1997 SPYRUS acquired Terisa Systems Inc., which operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary in Los Altos, California. For more information about SPYRUS, visit the Web site at [][1].



AmEx Frequent Limo Program

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., and 1-800-LIMO-CENTER have announced a new benefit for American Express Consumer Charge Card members: the opportunity to earn free limousine rides with 1-800-LIMO-CENTER, effective immediately.

1-800-LIMO-CENTER provides a convenient transportation reservation service which Cardmembers can use in most cities throughout the United States and Canada and major European cities, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  By calling 1-800-LIMO-CENTER within 48 hours of their trip, Cardmembers can avoid long taxi lines and shuttle buses by arranging a private chauffeured car to take them to where they need to go.

Eligible Cardmembers will have the opportunity to earn one ride credit for every $50 spent with 1-800-LIMO-CENTER, paid for with the American Express Card.  When accumulating ride credits, Gold Card and Platinum Card members will get one free limousine ride for 20 ride credits; Personal Cardmembers will get one free ride for 25 ride credits.

The new benefit complements the existing array of benefits and services currently offered to Cardmembers and supports the company’s long term commitment to identifying and implementing new services for its customers.

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.

1-800-LIMO-CENTER is a company that provides chauffeured ground transportation reservation services in major cities throughout the United States and Canada, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  The company is based in Rochelle Park, New Jersey.

* American Express Cardmembers must hold a consumer Charge Card account in good standing to be eligible for the ride credits program.