VISA U.S.A. announced yesterday it will extend its sponsorship of the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team through the 1999 season. Under terms of the original agreement, signed in January, VISA receives brand exclusivity worldwide, as well as branding on team apparel and on all team support vehicles. VISA and the Postal Service said yesterday they will jointly celebrate the sponsorship extension and the cycling team’s inclusion in the 1998 ‘Tour de France’ with a special cardholder promotion at 765 USPS retail postal stores nationwide. Through the end of July, consumers who use their VISA cards for a purchase of $15 or more at the postal stores will receive a free water sports bottle. VISA said yesterday it logged 35.7 million postal transactions representing more than $1.2 billion in purchases for the twelve-month period ending May 31.Details
First Data Corporation has retained American Express Retirement Services, a division of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., and American Express Trust Company, to provide investment funds, daily recordkeeping, trust services and employee education for its $600 million Incentive Savings Plan, effective November 1, 1998.
“We’re very excited about our relationship with First Data,” said Ward Armstrong, president of American Express Retirement Services. “With First Data as a fellow member of the financial services industry, our plan recordkeeping, our products and our services are an excellent fit with First Data, and we look forward to the working synergy that this relationship will produce.”
! American Express Retirement Services will provide services for First Data’s qualified and non-qualified plans. More than 22,000 employees — or over 60 percent of its total workforce — currently participate in the plans.
The Incentive Savings Plan will offer investment options provided through American Express Financial Advisors Inc., American Express Trust Company and the SmartPartners alliance, comprising a three-tier menu of plan options with a total offering of 15 investment funds.
First Data Corporation is among the world’s leading providers of payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored-value card at the point of sale or over the Internet, by check or wire money. First Data Corporation has 36,000 employees worldwide.
In conjunction with American Express Trust Company, American Express Retirement Services provides services for combined defined contribution and 401(k) assets of $35 billion and a participant base of nearly 800,000. The division, based in Minneapolis, provides corporations and municipalities with a complete package of employee education, recordkeeping and trustee services for qualified retirement plans. Additionally, American Express Retirement Services sits on the policy board of the American Savings and Education Council (ASEC) and holds one of three American Express positions on the current White House Task Force on Savings.
American Express Retirement Services makes investments available through American Express Financial Advisors Inc. American Express Retirement Services is a division of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., a subsidiary of American Express Financial Corporation, an American Express Company.
For further information about assessing one’s retirement plan, consult “The 401(k) Site” online at:
Philadelphia-based USABancShares announced yesterday that it has become a partner in ReadyCash Investment Partners, L.P., a new company formed to make a $20 million equity investment in TRM Corp. TRM is a leading provider of convenient photo-copying services, with more than 33,000 self service locations throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France. Proceeds from the ReadyCash investment will be used to support TRM’s growth of its new ATM Division, which will place cash dispensing automated teller machines in certain of TRM’s 33,000 select international locations.Details
Schlumberger introduced the ‘Cryptoflex Starter Kit’ yesterday, a client PC package that supports Microsoft NT 5.0. The ‘Cryptoflex Starter Kit’, which includes a Cryptoflex smart card, a ‘Reflex 20’ reader and smart card personalization software, enables software developers, VARs and corporations to roll out comprehensive enterprise security solutions based on the Public Key Infrastructure. Schlumberger says the smart card-enabled PKI infrastructure will help drive growth of smart card usage in a range of markets, including electronic commerce, health and ID.Details
Launched during the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, the First Union-MARTA ‘VISA Cash’ project has begun a two-phase process to conclude the program. MARTA ‘VISA Cash’ card sales ended yesterday, however, riders will be able to use their cards through the end of July. At the end of this month, riders will be able to redeem any remaining cash on the card at First Union branches. Although card usage was highest during the Olympics, after the games, a core group of riders continued to use the card on a weekly basis, according to First Union. VISA said yesterday that its partnership with MARTA and First Union will help VISA take the next step in providing a transit solution based on contactless, multi- function chip technology.Details
Carolyn Weiss, Vice President of Electronic Services at Franklin Bank, was recently appointed to The Payments Authority board of directors. Her nomination and appointment was passed unanimously by fellow board members.
Ms. Weiss has been with Franklin Bank since September of 1996 and is responsible for the Bank’s electronic services and support, including wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) and Electronic Data Interchange (“EDI”) transactions, Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) operations and the Bank’s PC Banking product for small businesses and others. Franklin Bank heavily promotes electronic alternative delivery systems and Ms. Weiss reports that 13% of its business customers use the PC banking product launched by her department.
Ms. Weiss has earned both the Accredited ACH Professional (“AAP”) designation from the National Automated Clearing House Association (“NACHA”) and the Certified Cash Manager (“CCM”) credential from the Treasury Management Association. Ms. Weiss has also previously served on the Operations Committee for The Payments Authority and the Strategies and Solution Task Force of NACHA.
The Payments Authority, formerly the Michigan Automatic Clearing House Association (“MACHA”), is comprised of 520 member financial institutions in lower Michigan. The mission of The Payments Authority is to provide its members and stakeholders with the benefits of participation in the electronic payments network through leadership in the development of educational opportunities and marketing initiatives.
Ms. Weiss’ banking career spans 30 years, including 23 years with Comerica. Ms. Weiss is a Westland resident and also serves on the boards of friends of the Parade Association, the Detroit Grand Prix Association and the Music Hall’s Montreux Detroit Festival.
At $510.1 million in assets Franklin Bank is the only independently owned commercial bank headquartered in Oakland County with assets between $200 million and $8 billion. Headquartered in Southfield, the Bank primarily serves the metropolitan Detroit area via three full service regional branches in Southfield, Birmingham and Grosse Pointe Woods, a Business Center branch in Southfield and an increasing selection of alternative delivery systems. Franklin may also be accessed via the internet at [http://www.franklinbank.com].
CO-based, contactless smart card developer, Racom Systems acknowledged Tuesday that its President and CEO, Richard L. Horton, has resigned to pursue personal interests. John A. Hinds, currently Chairman of Racom’s Board, has assumed the additional responsibility as Racom’s Acting CEO while a replacement for Horton is recruited. Hinds joined Racom’s Board in December 1997 after serving as an Executive Vice President of Verifone and President of AT&T International.Details
Esat Telecom announced Tuesday it is to expand its product portfolio with the launch of a disposable prepaid calling card which can be used from any touch tone phone. The calling card, which will be called Esat In Touch, will be available in 5 pound, 10 pound and 20 pound denominations.
From the end of July, Esat In Touch will be available from Argus Car Hire outlets, Dublin Tourism offices, branches of Cellular World and from 1,000 ServicePlus Post Offices.
Esat In Touch will enable people to make inland, cross channel and international calls from any touch tone phone with savings of up to 60% over Telecom Eireann rates.
Each card has a unique PIN. To make a call, a person will dial a free phone number 1 800 70 30 70, enter the PIN and then dial the required number.
Esat Telecom will also offer co-branding and promotional opportunities to third parties who wish to brand Esat In Touch cards.
Mr. Kevin White, Product Director with Esat Telecom said: “We are constantly looking at ways of expanding our product range and Esat In Touch is another strongly branded addition to our calling card portfolio. The demand for pre-paid calling cards is increasing all the time and we are fully supporting Esat In Touch because of this demand.”
Esat In Touch is now the company’s third calling card product: Esat Home is a prepaid residential calling service and EasyCard is the corporate post-paid international calling card.Details
The first e-check processed over the Internet was received Tuesday by GTE Internetworking from the U.S. Treasury. The e-check was received as payment for services rendered on a contract providing IT services to the U.S. Air Force Material Command. The historic e-check payment was signed by the U.S. Treasury using a CyberTrust ‘SafeKeyper’ and was later endorsed by GTE Internetworking for deposit using a smartcard electronic checkbook. CyberTrust ‘SafeKeyper’ is used to sign all of the echecks issued by the U.S. Treasury. Yesterday’s payment is a result of a cooperative three-year initiative, conducted by the Financial Services Technology Consortium, to develop secure and efficient Internet banking solutions that will pave the way for widespread implementation of echeck payments among U.S. businesses. GTE Internetworking is providing the security infrastructure, professional expertise and Internet services to the FSTC Electronic Check Market Trial. BankBoston, NationsBank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston are the first financial institutions to support the use of these e-check technologies.Details
Intellicall, Inc. announced that Western Wireless International has ordered and taken delivery of an N-Genius intelligent network platform switching system and 200 card operated payphones to be installed in Ghana. The order, in excess of $600,000, is the first from Western Wireless. Western Wireless International leads a consortium which successfully bid on the Second Network Operator’s (SNO) license during 1997. The consortium includes the Ghana National Petroleum Company, located in Tema, Ghana, and ACG, Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based company which provides paging and payphone services in Tanzania. Intellicall’s N-Genius can process prepaid calls from “smart” chip cards, magnetic stripe cards and debit cards. Intellicall’s equipment will connect directly into the remainder of the SNO’s Ghanaian wireless and wireline network and provide prepaid billing services.
The initial order is a reflection of the demand in Ghana for telecommunications products. A recent report on telecommunications in Ghana stated there were only 35 payphones servicing the entire country, 32 of which were located in the capital city of Accra.
“We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Western Wireless,” said John J. McDonald, Jr., president and chief operating officer of Intellicall. “Their involvement in the Ghanaian market guarantees this will be a successful partnership. As the report states, payphones in Ghana are scarce — as a result of our agreement with Western Wireless, the people of Ghana will have access to telecommunications as never before. We look forward to being part of this success story.”
“We are extremely pleased to be in partnership with Intellicall. It is one of the leaders in the public access telecommunications industry, and has extensive experience in the African market,” said Brad Horwitz, Western Wireless International president and chairman of the SNO. “The Ghanaian market offers vast opportunity upon which we are prepared to capitalize. It is our plan to introduce telecommunications products and services using the latest wireless technology throughout the country.”
Intellicall is a leading provider of advanced public access communications systems, including intelligent payphones, prepaid and call processing systems, and network control and business management systems. Intellicall’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ICL” and is listed in alphabetical quotations as “Intellicall” or “Intel Cal.”
Western Wireless International, a subsidiary of Western Wireless Corp., was formed in 1995 to acquire interests in wireless licenses, form operating companies and pursue other telecommunications investments outside the United States. The company’s principal objective is to become a leading provider of wireless communications services in selected emerging markets. Based in Issaquah, Wash., Western Wireless Corp. is a leading provider of wireless communication services in the western United States.Details
Art Technology Group (ATG), the innovator of Relationship Commerce solutions for leadership companies doing business online, announced Tuesday a business agreement with global information services leader EDS. Under this agreement, c2o, EDS’ online business consulting and technology service unit, will team with ATG to deliver online relationship marketing and commerce solutions using ATG’s Dynamo Relationship Commerce product suite.
This global agreement establishes rights for c2o to host, develop on and distribute ATG’s Dynamo Relationship Commerce Internet platform and suite, dramatically expanding Dynamo’s market presence.
“The great thing about working with ATG is that they understand that direct marketing and online commerce are not about forcing users to fill out lengthy questionnaires about their behaviors, likes and dislikes,” said Butch Winters, president of c2o. “When you put c2o and ATG in front of a customer, we present a comprehensive Web business solution that takes into account a company’s revenue and earnings requirements, its technology and systems integration needs, and the user’s preferred Web experience. That’s a pretty powerful Web business model.”
c2o will employ ATG’s high-reliability Web platform — Dynamo Application Server, Dynamo Ad Station and Dynamo Profile Station to support its WebVault hosting offering, and to enhance business strategy planning and operations with more sophisticated online behavior tracking, user profiling, real-time traffic and usage analysis. Using Dynamo Retail Station, ATG’s online storefront solution, c2o will build commerce-based Web applications and integrate these applications with a company’s existing legacy infrastructure.
“EDS understands the importance of choosing the right technology to enable its customers to deploy highly scalable and flexible e-commerce sites,” said Jeet Singh, president and CEO, Art Technology Group. “The future of profitable e-commerce lies in applying dynamic personalization to build a successful customer channel on the Internet. That is why it’s particularly gratifying that EDS is dedicating organizational resources to building a Relationship Commerce practice around our Dynamo product suite.”
Jeffrey E. Anderholm, vice president of marketing for ATG, added, “We are very happy to see partners like EDS help us extend our relationships with leadership companies. As Fortune 500 companies are increasingly making enterprise-wide decisions to use Dynamo for their Web applications, partners such as EDS are critical in providing the range of services and technologies needed to meet their needs.”
Dynamo Relationship Commerce Suite
The Dynamo family of Relationship Commerce products offers a tightly integrated suite of Java-based products to meet the scalable and performance requirements of large-scale e-commerce initiatives. The Dynamo product suite includes a high-reliability Web application server and tightly integrated e-commerce capabilities for site development, personalization, selling, and advertising management. The Dynamo suite is the first solution designed specifically to tackle the management of online relationships by applying personalization to each and every user experience.
About Art Technology Group
Art Technology Group is the leading developer of Internet products and services that enable major corporations to do business online. Recognized as one of the industry’s most experienced and knowledgeable online development firms, ATG delivers applications that apply personalization to electronic commerce to create more efficient and profitable customer interactions — the core of Relationship Commerce. ATG’s Internet commerce solutions enable organizations to extend their core businesses, whether in consumer or business-to-business commerce, financial services, publishing, or entertainment quickly, easily and successfully into the online environment. ATG customers include Sony Online Entertainment, Eastman Kodak, BMG Music Service, Herman Miller and Harvard Business School, among others.
EDS’ c2o Interactive Architects business unit is the leading provider of online business consulting and Internet technology services. c2o, with offices in Dallas, Detroit and the San Francisco Bay area, can be visited at .
EDS, the official information technology services provider for World Cup 1998, is a leader in the global information services industry. The company’s approximately 110,000 employees specialize in applying a range of ideas and technologies to help business and government customers improve their economic, products, services and relationships. EDS, which serves customers in 44 countries, reported revenues of $15.2 billion in 1997. The company’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. EDS can be visited via the Internet at .Details