Shop Safe Guarantee

The SABRE Group announced that Travelocity, the leading online travel site, has introduced Shop Safe Guarantee, an added insurance policy against unauthorized credit card usage. According to industry analysts, the number one reason consumers do not purchase products over the Internet is security.In the unlikely event credit card fraud occurs, most banks waive liability for unauthorized charges, or limit liability to $50. With Shop Safe Guarantee, The SABRE Group will reimburse the customer’s liability fee, up to $50, provided the transaction was made on Travelocity using the site’s secure server. Browsers such as Netscape’s Navigator or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer support secure socket layer encryption, which scrambles information as it is transmitted over the Internet. In addition, The SABRE Group has taken steps to assure consumers that Travelocity meets strict online security and business standards. Travelocity recently joined BBBOnLine, a Better Business Bureau initiative dedicated to helping consumers identify ethical online marketers.


Pocket Pay Coming

Betting Inc. announced Tuesday that it has contracted Newcom Technologies ([][1]) to manage the development of the patented Pocket Pay.

Pocket Pay is both a pocket-sized terminal and phone, capable of sending transactions using a wireless ATM card with PIN, a stored- value smart card or a card-present credit card to the ET&T () bank host for processing.

The goal is to develop a working model over the next 90 days and then demonstrate to a potential strategic manufacturer a live transaction being processed by the ET&T bank host.

The Pocket Pay is expected to make a tremendous impact on global personal mobile wagering, and will generate instant pay-per-play cash for gaming operators; substantial instant paid fees for Betting Inc. and Newcom Technologies per Pocket Pay transaction; and instant taxation of the player’s winnings, as the wagering transactions are an open track from the player’s bank to the state, government or private gaming company’s bank.



General Credit Expands

General Credit Corp. Tuesday announced that it has obtained a $3.6 million line of credit with Sterling National Bank. The company will utilize the new line of credit to pay off its previous credit line. With the lower interest rate provided by the new credit facility, the company anticipates annual interest expense savings of approximately $200,000.

Irwin Zellermaier, chairman and CEO of General Credit Corp., commented, “We expect to realize meaningful cost savings through this new credit facility.”

The company also announced that it has opened its fourth check factoring facility, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn an area currently underserved in this capacity. Zellermaier noted: “Commercial activity is strong and growing in Williamsburg, making it an ideal market for our check factoring services. We look forward to working closely with local business owners through our new office.”

General Credit Corp. provides working capital financing to its customers through the discounted purchase of checks (commonly referred to as “check factoring”) and credit card receivables generally on a non-recourse basis with respect to its customers except to the extent of forged signatures on and stop payments of the purchased checks.


GE Cap Acquires CSI

GE Capital Fleet Services announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire CSI Fleet Services in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The acquisition will mark GE Capital Fleet Services’ entry into the South American market.   CSI currently provides a number of fleet management services in Sao Paulo, such as maintenance management, fuel purchasing, accident management, driver safety, licensing, and registration.


VISA Best Buy

VISA announced a summer partnership yesterday with Best Buy to benefit the Best Buy Children’s Foundation. Between now and August 1, when customers purchase with their VISA cards at any of Best Buy’s 289 locations, Visa will make a donation to the BBCF.  Visa has guaranteed a $50,000 contribution.  BBCF supports programs and organizations such as Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers – Big Sisters and Girl Scouts.



The NKSoft Corporation a wholly owned subsidiary of NetKnowledge Technologies LLC., announced the release of UTILBILL an Internet/Intranet/Extranet enabled software that will allow Communications and Utility Companies to provide Self Service Customer Care and Billing on the Web.

“Today’s corporation is justifiably concerned about how to increase customer satisfaction without increasing operating expense.  UTILBILL will provide additional methods of customer service while reducing call center, bill printing and bill posting expenses. Customers will be able to receive bills on line, request services and pay their bill using our system. Cross and up selling opportunities_” said NKSoft CEO and President, John Chowdhury.


Self Service Customer Care

UTILBILL operates on Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator browsers running Windows 95, Windows 3.x, Windows NT, Unix, and all other browser enabled clients.  Once the customer is signed up to receive the billing and customer care services on the Internet UTILBILL will enable companies to pre-send products and services to its customer as well as introductions of new products and features

Bill Presentation

UTILBILL will enable companies to pre-send bills on the Internet.  Users can view their bill, get an explanation of the charges, and pay bills if they wish. And customers with past history can view their bill history.

Payment Posting

UTILBILL will enable customers to setup preferred payment methods for their utility and communications bill.  Multiple options are available including Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) as well as the use of major credit cards.  Customers will have the option to change their preferred method at any given time prior to their scheduled billing date.

Meter Reading Posting

For remote utility users who are required to complete their meter reading manually there is an option to enter the meter reading using the UTILBILL system.  This will reduce the time required to complete the meter reading cycle for the utilities and will reduce data entry effort. The valid meter reading logic within UTILBILL will also reduce the data entry error from the customer entry point.

Audit Trail

The built in audit trail in UTILBILL will keep track of the changes with before and after images of the pertinent data.

Architecture and Security

The UTILBILL solution is developed using the Network Computing Architecture (NCA) with Object Oriented (OO) technology. With the three tier architecture, it keeps the legacy database out of direct access from the net, keeping it completely safe from the unexpected intruders.

Pricing and Availability

UTILBILL is available directly from NKSoft with prices starting at $250,000 including installation.  For more product and pricing information or to order contact NKSoft at 214-340-4330, or e-mail [][1].



Lasercard Market

Drexler Technology yesterday received a $2 million order for 525,000 ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards and card reader/writers for a commercial application. The new optical memory card order is the industry’s largest non-government optical card order. Drexler says it will deliver the cards at the rate of  44,000 cards per month.  Drexler’s patented ‘LaserCard’ optical memory card is a recordable, credit-card size, data-storage device that offers multiple security safeguards and can function off-line or with computer networks, including the Internet. ‘LaserCard’ commercial and government applications include immigration cards, cargo manifests, access control cards, healthcare records, high security/interactive ID cards, automotive records, medical image storage, portable records with audit trails and consumer transaction systems.


Speedpass Hits Wisconsin

Starting Tuesday, drivers pulling into participating Mobil service stations throughout Wisconsin will be introduced to Mobil Speedpass, a new technology that provides motorists with the fastest way yet to purchase gasoline. Customers enrolled in the Mobil Speedpass program will use a miniature electronic device attached to their key chain or affixed in their rear window and will be able to immediately fill up and drive away without ever opening wallets or purses for credit cards or cash.

“Our research tells us that customers are looking for the fastest and easiest way to get gasoline,” states Susan Hayden, Mid-America Mobil Manager. “With Mobil Speedpass, all you have to do is stop at a Speedpass pump, fill up and go. It’s the fastest way to get gas and just one of the ways we’re proving every day that we have the energy to make a difference.”

Similar to electronic payment methods used to reduce waiting time at highway tollbooths, Speedpass is a technology that employs radio signals. The electronic system located in the pump “talks” (communicates) with miniature “transponder” devices either in the form of a key tag that is attached to a driver’s key chain, or a window tag that is placed in a vehicle’s rear window. Either type of transponder provides motorists with quick, easy access to gasoline by automatically charging fuel purchases to a designated credit card.

To use a Speedpass key tag, motorists simply wave the key tag at the pump. Immediately, a light located at the pump turns on when the Speedpass system is activated to let the customer know when to begin refueling.

Customers choosing to use a Speedpass window tag merely pull up to and stop at a Mobil Speedpass pump to automatically activate the Speedpass light. The customer is then free to begin refueling.

How It Works

Drivers must enroll to acquire a Speedpass, which is a supplementary credit device assigned to a customer’s designated credit card. There are several ways to enroll:

1. by phoning (800) 459-2266;

2. through the Mobil Speedpass internet web site at ;

3. by completing an enrollment form available at any participating Mobil service station.

When they enroll, customers indicate which credit card they want their Speedpass transaction billed to. Customers can designate any of the wide range of credit cards that Mobil accepts. Customers also choose which form of transponder they prefer, either the key tag or the vehicle window version, and whether or not they prefer a receipt.

Initially, there is no cost to consumers for the Speedpass tag and no service charge for using the new technology to fill up.

Within a few days of receipt of the enrollment information, a Speedpass tag, preprogrammed with a unique secure ID number, is mailed to the customer. Customers simply phone in to activate the device and begin using Speedpass immediately — similar to the activation process for credit cards.

When a customer uses the key tag at a designated Speedpass station, the gasoline pump sends out a radio signal which powers the key tag allowing it to send back its unique ID code. Immediately, the Speedpass system recognizes the individual customer and activates the pump. The customer is then free to select the grade of gasoline and fill up.

Simultaneously, the Speedpass system contacts Mobil’s centralized credit system to verify the customer’s information, and, in turn, charges the customer’s designated credit card. The customer’s credit card number remains outside the Speedpass signal system, maintaining the confidentiality of that information.

A Team of Technology Leaders

The technology for Mobil Speedpass was developed for Mobil in cooperation with the TIRIS Division of Texas Instruments, and fuel pump manufacturers like the Wayne Division of Dresser Industries, and Gilbarco, Inc.

Mobil has been the first in the industry to develop customer-oriented electronic payment systems, including bank debit cards, pump-located Customer Activated Terminals (pay-at-the-pump) and the Mobil Go Card, a pre-paid card. Mobil is a leading oil, natural gas and petrochemical company. In the U. S., the corporation markets gasoline in 28 states and the District of Columbia through 7700 branded service stations.

TIRIS (Texas Instruments Registration and Identification System) advanced radio frequency identification (RFID) technology controls, detects and tracks valuable objects and people. TIRIS offers a range of both high and low RFID systems that are keys to reliable, accurate data collection for empowered information processing.


Barclays Completes Darwin

Barclays Merchant Services, the card acquiring operating arm of  Barclays Bank confirmed Tuesday that it has completed its ‘Darwin’ program, a major client/server conversion.  The code-named program took five years to complete. The system handles the daily management of core credit and debit card merchant accounting. It evolved to the new multi-tiered client/server architecture from an IBM mainframe environment, consisting of ‘TCAM/3270’-based ‘IMS’ applications and large batch systems. Handling close to three million card transactions from 130,000 merchants daily, Darwin involved re-architecting critical sub-systems including customer services, collections, recruitment, settlement, Charging, and Statements. In addition, BMS had to migrate close to 400,000 merchant records, 40 million data fields, more than one million names and addresses, and a host of other information. BMS says up to 90% of the code was assembled using frames that had already been created. At most, BMS hand-cranked only 10% original code.


100th AXI Client

American Express’ online corporate travel booking system, ‘AXI’,  jointly developed with Microsoft passed a  milestone yesterday in its sixth month of its general rollout. BFGoodrich Company became the 100th AXI site. The new ‘AXI 1.5’ version includes such new features as a new gateway area that provides travel-related content, plus information for first-time users on how to use the system and answers to frequently asked questions. ‘1.5’ also offers the ability to request a car service to and from the airport, as well as frequent flyer upgrades for any segment of the trip, and offers customizable display options for car rental and hotel companies that give precedence to suppliers based on corporate negotiated rate, the American Express Select rate, followed by others.



MBNA America also announced Tuesday that it has extended its exclusive agreement with NASCAR making MBNA the official credit card issuer of NASCAR in conjunction with VISA’s NASCAR partnership. MBNA says it will expand its commitment to NASCAR and its motorsports sector through new marketing programs and sponsorships to benefit NASCAR, its drivers, and fans.  Beginning in 1999, MBNA will introduce a number of initiatives aimed at promoting NASCAR. MBNA currently has more than 400,000 NASCAR credit cardholders. The NASCAR-MBNA  credit card which was launched in 1993, offers the pictures of 48 drivers.  MBNA’s Motorsports unit has more than 300 affinity relationships including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, the National Hot Rod Association, Championship Auto Racing Teams, and American Motorcycle Association.  Last year, MBNA added a second sponsored race at Dover Downs International Speedway.  The addition of the spring MBNA Platinum 200 and the MBNA Platinum 400 expanded MBNA’s involvement with NASCAR and Dover Downs, adding to the continued sponsorship of the renamed MBNA Gold 200 and MBNA Gold 400 in Dover in September.  The two annual race weekends include the Busch Series Grand National and the Winston Cup Series.