Despite an aversion to the Internet and other emerging technologies, the nation’s second largest bank credit card issuer, MBNA, announced yesterday it is getting into the smart card game. MBNA, along with VISA USA and De La Rue Card Systems, is testing a multi-function smart card that will combine credit, stored value and loyalty functions on a single smart card. The ‘VISA Smart Card’ will give consumers access to two payment products: ‘VISA Smart Credit’ and ‘VISA Cash’ stored value. The new card will also contain a loyalty application that enables cardholders to accrue frequent-shopper points and redeem them for rewards with designated merchants at MBNA’s corporate headquarters. MBNA will test the multi-function ‘VISA Smart Card’ with its on-site food and merchandise vendors, which serve more than 2,000 MBNA employees. Cardholders can earn frequent-shopper points for all chip-based purchases they make from merchants, and can redeem their points for discounts on merchandise at the point of purchase. In addition, cardholders can receive free merchandise after they have purchased a designated number of items. For example, when a customer buys three entrees at one of the company’s dining facilities, a fourth entree can be immediately awarded at no cost. The cards will feature advanced microprocessors developed by De La Rue that can support up to nine different reward programs. De La Rue is also providing complete card management and transaction collection for MBNA.Details
Tony Bennett became the seventh famous face and first famous voice to participate in a VISA commercial to raise awareness for the ‘VISA Check Card’ yesterday. Created by BBDO New York, the 60-second spot breaks nationally during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game tonight on NBC. The ad features Mr. Bennett singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” during what appears to be a biographical documentary. However, the camera suddenly pulls back to reveal that Mr. Bennett is actually singing in a CD store, trying to use his unforgettable voice as ID for a check purchase. VISA said it made its choice for Mr. Bennett because he is not only popular with older fans and “Baby Boomers,” he has also struck a cord with music lovers in their 20’s and 30’s. Since 1994, the number of financial institutions issuing the ‘VISA Check Card’ has quadrupled to 5,681.Details
InterWorld Corporation, a provider of enterprise-class Internet commerce software systems, Monday announced that BancTec, Inc. has launched its premier online office supply store (), powered by InterWorld’s award-winning Commerce Exchange system. Installed primarily as an alternate channel for expediting BancTec customer purchases, SupplyTec is also open to the general public.
“Quality service and convenience are priorities with our customers,” said Joey Petruzella, vice president of marketing, BancTec. “With InterWorld’s mission-critical Commerce Exchange system, our customers can now access our product line quickly and place orders easily. BancTec is very excited to be working with InterWorld to further develop this new customer-focused solution as part of our ongoing e-commerce strategy.”
Visitors to the SupplyTec site will find four main areas through which they can browse, including:
— BancTec Equipment Supplies — carries products specific to BancTec machines such as their checkmending and currency handling equipment, remittance workstations, scanners, sorters, and teller terminals.
— Business Forms — offers custom forms for banking and business, along with labels, envelopes, and miscellaneous paper products.
— General Supplies — a catch-all category where users can find fax machines, copiers and printers, along with their consumables; various media such as zip drives and disks, along with diskettes, data cartridges and cassettes; computer accessories such as keyboards and cables; office furniture; tool kits; workstation accessories; and just about anything else that’s home-business or office related.
— Promotional Products — lets users order from a variety of promotional items with custom messages and company logos, or to choose shirts, caps, pens, golf items, and other necessities with the BancTec logo.
First-time users will be asked to register when making a purchase. Password protection ensures confidentiality. Current BancTec customers have the option of purchasing through a Purchase Order or credit card, while other customers may use their credit cards. Online credit card security is handled through Verisign.
BancTec is a diversified systems integration and services company specializing in automated applications solutions for the banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare, government, utility, telecommunications and retail industries. The company is also a leading provider of document workflow and imaging software products, network support services for local area networks and personal computers, and document processing equipment for OEM customers. BancTec employs more than 4,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
Pricing on supplytec.com is applicable to all orders from North America. For pricing outside of North America, pricing on special-order products, or general questions, sales representatives can be reached at 1-800-221-9965 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. In Europe, call +44 (1753) 77 88 99. In Japan, call 81-3-5434-2411. In Asia Pacific/Australia, call +61 2 9954-5099.
InterWorld Corporation provides enterprise-class Internet commerce software for sales, order management, logistics and customer service. The company develops, markets, and licenses high-performance, mission-critical enterprise commerce applications focused on the selling chain. InterWorld’s products have been adopted by Global 2000 corporations, manufacturers, retailers, commerce service providers, software and hardware vendors, electronic merchants, resellers, distributors, and governmental authorities. Founded in 1995, InterWorld is a privately-held company headquartered in New York, NY, with offices in major U.S. cities as well as Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For more information, visit InterWorld’s World Wide Web site at or telephone 1-877-ECOMMERCE.Details
With electronic commerce continuing to grow exponentially, CyberCash, Inc., the world leader in secure payment technologies and services, announced Monday that CyberCash has teamed with UUcom Inc. to design and implement a network expansion and upgrade CyberCash’s Internet architecture and operational facilities. CyberCash has implemented the expansion in order to meet the dramatic projected growth in demand. In addition, CyberCash has made an equity investment in UUcom as a key technology provider and Internet engineering leader in the high-tech arena.
As CyberCash continues to expand its merchant base and transaction volume in the electronic commerce marketplace, UUcom will work with CyberCash to enhance its Internet architecture, and upgrade its operating networks and facilities. The new architectural framework will enable CyberCash to meet the increasing demands on its systems resulting from the growth in transactions and customers. UUcom will also help CyberCash improve its communication network to increase speed and make it more fault-tolerant, thus producing measurable improvements in quality of service for customers.
“We are committed to offering our customers the best quality of service available,” stated Jim Condon, Chief Operating Officer for CyberCash, Inc. “As the e-commerce marketplace takes off, we must ensure that we are a step ahead in both offering cutting edge technologies and building out the underlying network. The Company’s investments in our network and in UUcom underscore the importance of meeting our customers’ requirements for high-performance service. UUcom has been instrumental in helping us pave the way in meeting and exceeding our customers needs.”
CyberCash’s investment in UUcom is intended primarily to establish stronger ties between the companies. CyberCash believes the relationship will be very useful in the future by providing ready access to world-class technical services. In addition, UUcom is working increasingly with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which are an important sales channel for CyberCash’s merchant products and services.
UUcom’s experience with both commercial and government clients has kept it at the forefront of Internet technology from the pioneering days of the Arpanet and Milnet to the current Internet explosion. UUcom’s experience brings CyberCash innovative, cost-effective networking solutions.
“Since we began our work with CyberCash, it has already begun to see results in its overall quality of service,” said Lou Scanlan, Chief Executive Officer for UUcom. “We believe our work together will continue to provide further strides in the Company’s service offerings as it continues to grow with the e-commerce market.”
About UUcom, Inc.
UUcom, Inc., headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is one of the premier Internet engineering companies in the country today. The company provides superior Internet working and electronic commerce solutions to Fortune 500 companies in today’s technology based business environment.
UUcom has designed and engineered Internet backbones for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Internet Service Providers as well as entire countries. As an integral component to its Internet engineering expertise, UUcom is heavily involved in the development and deployment of state-of-the-art e-commerce and mission critical Internet business solutions.
In 1997, UUcom qualified as a “Fast 50” company (one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in the Greater Washington, D.C. / Northern Virginia region) as well as this year’s prestigious Alexandria Virginia Technology Achievement Award. Most recently, UUcom was also selected as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Greater Washington Entrepreneur of the Year Award. UUcom was founded in 1988 and operates as a private company.
About CyberCash, Inc.
CyberCash, is the world leader in secure, convenient payment technologies and services, enabling e-commerce across the entire market spectrum from electronic retailing environments to the Internet.
CyberCash provides a complete line of software products and services allowing merchants, billers, financial institutions and consumers to conduct secure transactions using the broadest array of popular payment forms. Credit, debit, purchase cards, cash, checks, smart cards and alternative payment types (e.g., “frequent buyer” or loyalty programs ) are all supported by CyberCash payment solutions. Leading brands of CyberCash include ICVERIFY, PCVERIFY, CashRegister, NetVERIFY, CyberCoin and PayNow.
For financial institutions, software developers and integrators, commerce and Internet service providers, and technology partners, CyberCash solutions are the preferred choice, offering unmatched ease and flexibility in integrating payment capabilities into value-added offerings to customers.
CyberCash, Inc., headquartered in Reston, Virginia, USA, maintains a global presence with offices and joint ventures operating throughout North America, Europe and Asia.Details
United Acquisition II Corp., announced that it had entered into an agreement with U.S. Mobile Services Inc. to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of capital stock of U.S. Mobile. The Company and U.S. Mobile exchanged shares pursuant to a Share Exchange Agreement. The Company declared a 1 for 25 reverse split of its outstanding common stock. After giving effect to the Reverse Split and the issuance of additional shares, the Company will have 9,060,000 post Reverse Split shares of common stock issued and outstanding as well as warrants to purchase an additional 1,165,000 post Reverse Split common shares. The Company has also changed its name to U.S. Mobile Services Inc., and its symbol to USMS.
Brian A. McCormick, Esq., C.P.A. has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the combined entity and Robert L. Cleveland Jr., Esq., was named as president and has been selected to serve on the Company’s board of directors. USMS is a reseller of credit and pre-paid cellular telephone services, credit and pre-paid long distance / calling card services and pre-paid local exchange services.
U.S. Mobile is one of only several providers in the country that has the ability to provide its pre-paid and credit services to every major market in the United States. U.S. Mobile is also the only Company which bundles its credit service offering (cellular and long distance) and provides its subscribers with one monthly statement on his/her local exchange invoice. It holds the rights to a microchip solution capable of converting post paid cellular handsets to pre-paid cellular use. Additionally, U.S. Mobile has implemented a state of the art web based storefront that will expand its subscription base, allow the sale of its services, allow real-time approval processing and enhance communication between U.S. Mobile, its customers and dealers. McCormick stated that “the merger will allow U.S. Mobile to augment its customer base through continued strong internal growth as well as through acquisition of similarly situated companies.”
The Company can be reached at the address listed below:
10810 Guilford Road Suite 101-102 Annapolis Junction, Md. 20701 800/742-0331 phone 301/604-0700 phone 800/724-7018 fax [http://www.usmobile.com]
Consumers may soon be carrying fewer plastic cards in their wallets thanks to four new high-memory-capacity chips from Motorola. Tailored to power smartcards in the card-payment and mobile-telecommunications applications, these chips have up to 32K EEPROM. This high-memory capacity will enable card issuers to run multiple applications on one card at a cost comparable to today’s single-application cards. The benefit to consumers is that they may soon have the ability to carry fewer cards that can do more for them.
The chips are being welcomed by smartcard manufacturers because of their potential to make multi-application cards a reality and to fulfil an immediate need for chips with higher memory capacity.
Fabien Thiriet, marketing manager for Schlumberger Cyberflex, for example, commented: “Venus is the ideal chip for the Activa series, our Java-based GSM smartcard implementation. Its key benefit over other similar products is its additional ROM, which means that the chip’s EEPROM can be dedicated to user memory features (e.g., more phone numbers). “In addition, this increased memory capacity will allow value-added services to exist in EEPROM, downloaded to the SIM card using the SIM Application Toolkit.” It has been found that competitive EEPROM products have suffered from too little ROM, causing valuable EEPROM memory to be used up with portions of the operating system.
The chips are based on Motorola’s proven M68HC05 smart-chip core, and are being produced on 8 inch (200mm) wafers — an industry first for smart chips — using 0.4 to 0.27 micron process geometries. This combination is a powerful one — increased production capacity is facilitated by the larger-size wafers, while the reduced geometries allow even more features to be incorporated onto each chip. Daniel Hoste, general manager for the Smart Information Transfer division, said: “These chips provide card manufacturers with the power to make multiple applications on a smartcard a reality today rather than a forecast for tomorrow.
“For some time now there has been speculation as to when smartcards will truly become part of everyday life. This new family of chips will accelerate this process because they will help make smartcards more flexible and efficient, and card users more productive.”
The chips’ memory mix (a combination of EEPROM, ROM and RAM), easy-to-use EEPROM, advanced memory-partitioning capability and enhanced security appear to be significant influencing factors in card manufacturers’ enthusiasm for the new family. Hoste continued: “Interest in these chips has been huge. It’s what the market has been waiting for. In addition to the advanced features offered we have maintained the low power required for cards used in GSM handsets and a cost-competitive price.”
Security features are essential in any smart chip, and as chips become more powerful their importance escalates. Motorola has implemented a variety of advanced new security features to its family of smartcard chips. While most of these features are proprietary, one includes a special shield devised to prevent external visual examination, and another is a superior memory-partitioning capability designed to make each application secure and distinct so that multiple applications on a chip become viable. A growing trend in electronic-purse and electronic-commerce applications is the use of public key cryptography for enhanced security of transactions. A dedicated crypto processor is essential to perform such functions in an acceptable time.
The new Motorola MSC1014 and MSC1114 are designed to perform the complex calculations required for modern public and private key cryptography for enhanced security of transactions. The hardware crypto co-processor option offers a modular encryption unit with phase locked loop and random number generation on board, as well as a firmware library of routines. De La Rue commented: “The new crypto chips with large memory capability from Motorola can now easily accommodate multiple applications and will be perfect for emerging open platforms such as Java Card. Their enhanced security features make them particularly well suited to the payment-systems market as do the fast personalization times they offer.”
There are two types of chips in the 05 family: those with a dedicated cryptography engine, the MSC1014 and MSC1114; and those without, the MSC1010 and MSC1110. The former are targeted at the payments-systems sector and the latter at payment systems and telecommunications. All products are based on the industry-standard M68HC05 low-power microprocessor core. The chip specifications are as follows:
Telecommunications and payment-systems market
MSC1010: 16K EE, 32K ROM, 1.6K RAM MSC1014: 32K EE, 32K ROM, 1.6K RAM
MSC1110: 16K EE, 32K ROM, 1.6K RAM with crypto MSC1114: 32K EE, 32K ROM, 1.6K RAM with crypto
Motorola is accepting software from major customers for the devices now, full production will follow. For development tools, Motorola will offer an instruction set simulator and a synthesized emulator; both tools providing Windows- based graphical user interfaces. The simulator is based on Hiware’s HC05 simulation environment; extensions to the core simulator are supplied by Motorola to provide smartcard-specific simulation. The synthesized emulator is based on Motorola’s standard MMDS05 (Motorola Modular Development System).
The Smart Information Transfer division is a business within Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector, and is one of the world’s leading suppliers of microprocessor chips for smartcards, with shipments of more than 300 million units to date.
As the world’s No. 1 producer of embedded processors, Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector offers multiple DigitalDNA solutions that enable its customers in the consumer, networking-and-computing, transportation, and wireless-communications markets, to create new business opportunities. Motorola’s semiconductor sales were $8 billion in l997. In the global marketplace, Motorola also is one of the leading providers of wireless communications, advanced electronic systems, components and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephone, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defence and space electronics, and computers. Corporate sales in 1997 were $29.8 billion.Details
McDonald’s Japan Ltd has encountered an unexpected strong response to its new ‘McJoy Club’ credit card, launched June 20. In the first two weeks more than 7,000 applications were approved. The company projected it would issue 30,000 cards in the first year. The ‘McJoy Club’ card is a cobranded JCB, VISA or MasterCard issued exclusively to female customers. The program offers special McDonald’s discounts and special classes, such as flower arranging. Applicants choose the card brand. Of the 7,000 issued thus far, 3,200 have been the JCB brand. MasterCard has been selected on 2,100 cards while VISA was designated for about 1,700 ‘McJoy Club’ cards. McDonald’s indicated over the weekend it has revised it projections to 30,000 cards in the first two months.Details
Royal Bank has installed the first ‘Mondex’ electronic cash loading device of its type in North America at Royal Bank Plaza in downtown Toronto this weekend. The device will allow all Canadian ‘Mondex’ cardholders to load electronic cash onto their Mondex cards. The Toronto program involves employees of Royal Bank and 18 participating merchants in the Royal Bank Plaza. The new loading device has the ability to transfer electronic cash onto your Mondex card, print or display a record of your last 10 purchases, print or display your card balance and the option to lock and unlock your card. Royal Bank is a participant in the Guelph, Ontario Mondex pilot. Initiated in February of 1997, the Guelph pilot has grown to include 12,000 cardholders and 560 merchants with more than $2 million in electronic cash having been issued to date.Details
Bank of America kicked off a summer POS sweepstakes for its ‘Versatel Check Card’ debit card last week. The ‘Triple Win Sweepstakes’ will award three grand prizes: three brand new, yellow, VW Beetles. To kickoff the promotion nineteen BofA employees stuffed themselves into a shiny new Yellow VW Beetle in San Francisco’s financial district. Customers who use the ‘Versatel Check Card’ to pay for purchases will automatically be entered in the ‘Triple Win Sweepstakes’ each time they use the card to make a purchase between now and August 31. A total of 1,000 customers, whose names are picked during weekly sweepstakes drawings, will win triple the amount of the purchase they made using their ‘Versatel Check Card’. All card users, whose names are entered during the July/August sweepstakes, will be eligible to win one of the three grand prizes.Details
Voyager Fleet Systems, a unit of Associates First Capital, and NationsBank announced Friday they will team up to offer Voyager’s fleet card to NationsBank’s commercial customers. ‘Voyager’ is the fastest growing universal fleet card in the industry with acceptance at more than 126,000 service locations, including all major oil companies as well as 29,000 maintenance locations nationwide. The ‘Voyager’ fleet card, which can be issued to a driver or a vehicle, can prompt the terminal for the vehicle’s odometer reading, vehicle or driver identification, or personal identification number (PIN). The system also captures fuel, oil and maintenance charges. ‘Voyager’s’ reporting can be used by fleet managers to negotiate volume discounts, and automatically applies any discount to all purchases. In addition, customers use ‘Voyager’s’ reporting for analysis and determining fleet costs down to the individual vehicle level. Voyager customers determine what reporting they receive and how exceptions are defined for that reporting.Details
Mobil’s ‘Speedpass’, a wireless credit card payment system, will add 900 locations this morning to bring the total number of Mobil stations equipped with ‘Speedpass’ technology to over 3,300. Also this morning, ‘Speedpass’ will be introduced in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Milwaukee and Las Vegas metro areas, thus completing the roll-out of the program to all of Mobil’s major gasoline marketing areas in the U.S.. Mobil’s wireless payment program was introduced last year in 20 major U.S. metro areas and now has more than 1.5 million motorists enrolled in the program. Consumers must enroll to acquire a ‘Speedpass’, which is a transponder device attached to a key chain or the rear window of the car. There is no fee and enrollment is handled via telephone, Mobil’s Web site or by completing a form at Mobil’s service stations.Details
Loyalty cards are red hot in the U.K. with more than 40 million such cards in circulation representing a market penetration of 75%. Sainsbury’s ‘Reward’ card, slightly more than two years old, recently surpassed the 10 million cardholder milestone. A study released last week by the Kingston Business School confirmed there is no “loyalty fatigue” for reward card programs in the U.K. so far. Kingston found that nearly 50% of all U.K. shoppers preferred a reward card over a discount.Details