American Express reported yesterday its ‘Everyday Spending Index’ shows 22% of Americans want to pay their annual tax bill with a credit or charge card. AmEx says last year its cardholders charged 49% more than 1996 for federal, state and local government services. The ‘Index’ also revealed the amount of taxes due had a strong influence on consumers’ willingness to use cards for taxes. Only 10% of those owing an average of $2,704 were inclined to use a payment card.Details
Bull is demonstrating electronic purse and loyalty applications using its new Odyssey smart card at the JavaOne conference underway in San Francisco. The applications are based on the Java Card 2.0 API (application programming interface).
Bull introduced the Odyssey smart card range last month as further evidence of its ongoing principle of bringing products to market that embody a long term vision, address realistic criteria and reflect market needs. Bull’s Odyssey range of Java cards is based on the specifications of the Java(TM) Card Forum, currently presided over by Bull, and on the concepts developed in the European MASSC (Multi-Application Secure Smart Card) project. The Odyssey range is the most effective combination in terms of security, performance and price to date.
“Citibank is an enthusiastic supporter of Java Card and multi-application smart cards,” said Henry Lichstein, vice president in Citibank’s Advanced Development Group. “We are pleased that Bull is taking an active role in providing tools to facilitate the rapid deployment of Java Card-based applications. The availability of Odyssey confirms our confidence in the viability of Java Card’s open platform to support industry efforts to develop multiple application smart cards.”
“‘Odyssey 1’ is the first stage of Bull’s ongoing work to develop a Java smart card platform, incorporating Bull’s 20 years of expertise in developing optimized secure smart card operating systems, in order to give the most advanced solution to its customers,” said Gerald Hubbard, VP of marketing for Bull’s Smart Card & Terminals Division in the U.S. “Odyssey I complies with the Java Card API 2.0 specifications, defined by the Java Card Forum. In addition, the card’s Java Virtual Machine is one of the most powerful on the market, allowing us to use a less expensive microprocessor while at the same time improving transaction processing performance by several orders of magnitude.”
As a leading provider of secure smart card systems, Bull has designed the Odyssey card to combine openness and the latest security concepts. Odyssey controls access to partitioned memory zones, enabling it to separate applications efficiently. Its applet loader enables signed, encrypted applications to be downloaded on to the card, guaranteeing the highest levels of confidentiality and integrity. At the same time, Odyssey enables both symmetrical and asymmetrical cryptographic functions.
About Bull’s Smart Card & Terminals Division
With more than 200 million card customers worldwide, Bull Smart Cards & Terminals division is the industry leader in secure smart card solutions for financial transactions. Every card manufacturer in the world has signed a license with Bull. All microprocessor smart cards throughout the world use Bull technology, and roughly half of these use either an operating system or application developed by Bull. Bull is the leader in banking, where more than 60 percent of the smart cards use a Bull operating system. Bull has supplied 27 million electronic purse smart cards in 10 countries.
Bull develops and offers a range of products, including: contact/contactless smart cards, secure card operating systems, turnkey payment cards and electronic purse systems, automated teller machines (ATMs), electronic cash dispensers, POS terminals and software. Services include full technical and applications consulting, training and customer service support. More information is available at: .
With a presence in more than 85 countries, more than 21,000 employees and combined revenues of more than $4.2 billion in 1997, Bull offers a wide range of systems, infrastructure software and IT services through focused innovation, alliances with the best partners and its own integration expertise. Based in France, the company’s worldwide software division and its North/South America operations are headquartered in Billerica, Mass. The company’s Web address is http://www.bull.com and, in the U.S., .
All trademarks, service marks and company names are the property of their respective owners.Details
CyberCash, Inc. announced that James J. Condon, 41, has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Condon continues as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Commenting on the appointment, CyberCash CEO Bill Melton said, “Since joining CyberCash as Chief Financial Officer in March 1997, Mr. Condon has successfully trimmed our operating expenses significantly while our revenues have increased by almost $2 million, from $51,000 in the fourth quarter 1996 to $2,005,000 in the fourth quarter 1997, and has been instrumental in raising $30 million in equity through private placements. His charge is to manage our growth as CyberCash realizes its revenue potential and solidifies its position as the leader in secure Internet payment software and services — globally.”
On Tuesday, March 17, 1998, CyberCash announced plans to merge with ICVERIFY, Inc., a leading provider of software solutions for authorizing credit card, purchasing card, debit/ATM card and check transactions for merchants. The merger is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 1998.
Mr. Condon has more than 15 years of broad-based experience in strategic planning and operations cost management. Most recently, he was director of performance improvement services in the information communication and entertainment (ICE) sector of KPMG, led a re-engineering effort for a software and services company, and provided expertise in the selection and implementation of accounting and operational systems for technology companies. In 1996, Mr. Condon was elected to KPMG’s Global Software Leadership Council.
Additionally, Mr. Condon was corporate vice president, financial planning and administration and vice president operations — customer support and development divisions for Legent Corporation where he led the business practice re-engineering effort which significantly reduced annual operating expenses. Mr. Condon received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and graduated Dean’s Honor List with a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Chicago.
CyberCash, Inc., headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a pioneer and leading provider of payment software and services — globally. The Company offers a complete suite of Internet payment solutions including a payment card service which supports credit, debit and purchase cards; an innovative electronic cash service which enables micropayments and other cash transactions; and a secure electronic check service which allows consumer-to- business and business-to-business payments from a bank account. CyberCash is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, under the symbol CYCH. CyberCash’s Web address is .
This press release contains statements that are forward-looking. They are based on the Company’s current expectations, and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks. The Company’s actual results may differ materially. The uncertainties and risks include the pace of growth of Internet commerce, the development by the Company and its competitors of new products and services, strategic decisions by major participants in the industry, competitive pricing pressures, legal and regulatory developments and general economic conditions. Further information about these and other relevant risks and uncertainties may be found in the Company’s report on Form 10-K and its other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, all of which are available from the Commission and from the Company’s worldwide web site , as well as other sources.Details
Fannie Mae joined Jerome Williams of the Detroit Pistons at a Credit Awareness Training class for 85 Martin Luther King Jr. High School students in Detroit yesterday.
The training session educated high school students on the benefits and pitfalls of using credit cards, as well as other basic money management information.
“Credit cards, and other forms of financing are available to people at younger ages than ever before, and used wisely, can help build a history of financial responsibility than can lead to homeownership and business opportunities,” said Rita Hillman, deputy director of Fannie Mae’s Detroit Partnership Office. “But far too often, young people are out of the game of life before it even starts for them because of credit trouble.”
The presentation today involved real-life applications of possible credit problems students may face. In one example, students were informed that the cost of financing a $400 shopping spree at the mall, and paying for their purchases with a minimum payment of $10 per month at 22 percent interest would cost an extra $327 in interest and take six years to pay off — long after the clothing was discarded.
The training capped off a four week mentor program presented by Williams and P.S.B. Inc., in which students also learned job interview techniques, goal-setting, and the importance of education.
“I am proud to be involved with this important training seminar and mentor program,” said Williams. “By giving these students this important information, we are making sure they are well prepared when they enter the job market. It is our hope that by being honest and up front with these students about the benefits and potential problems of credit use, they can avoid some of the most common credit pitfalls.”
Fannie Mae is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company and the nation’s largest source of funds for home mortgages. It has committed to provide $1 trillion in targeted lending for ten million homes by the end of the decade.
The targeted lending will serve low- and moderate-income families, minorities, new immigrants, residents of central cities and other underserved areas, and people who have special housing needs. More information about Fannie Mae can be found on the Internet at .
Style usage: Fannie Mae’s board of directors has authorized the company to operate as “Fannie Mae,” and the company’s stock is now listed on the NYSE as “Fannie Mae.” In order to facilitate clarity and avoid confusion news organizations are asked to refer to the company exclusively as “Fannie Mae.”Details
Pilipinas Shell and Citibank launched the ‘Shell-Citibank MasterCard’ last week from Makati City, Philippines. The new card program offers a 0.5% rebate on all purchases and a 2.0% rebate on fuel purchases at participating Shell stations. The rebates are credited monthly. Other card enhancements include free towing services and discount privileges from various retailers.Details
Following nine months of development, Fleet Financial Group unveiled Monday its turnkey web service that offers small businesses a virtual store with secure on-line payment systems. ‘storefronts@fleet’ will also enable established on-line merchants to offer secure credit card payments. Among the services offered by ‘storefronts’: catalog builder, web site development and hosting, registration of the merchant among Internet search engines, site activity reports and key credit card transaction reports. Fleet also provides VeriSign Digital Certificate registration and secure payments with CyberCash. Fleets’ ‘storefronts’ will charge set-up fees ranging from $995 to $1495 and monthly fees ranging from $99 to $249.Details
Advanta National Bank, a subsidiary of Advanta Corp., Monday announced that it intends to offer to purchase its outstanding promissory notes (“Bank Notes”) that were not assumed by Fleet Credit Card LLC (“Fleet”) in connection with the acquisition of Advanta Corp.’s consumer credit card business by fleet and certain of its affiliates.
The Bank Notes were issued at various times since July 1993 and at various maturities and rates. Approximately $113 million of these Bank Notes are currently outstanding. ANB expects to commence the offer within the next three weeks.
ANB currently anticipates offering to purchase all such Bank Notes at their par (or face) value plus any accrued and unpaid interest thereon, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions. ANB will use available cash to purchase the Bank Notes and following this purchase will continue to be in a strong position to support its future growth.
Advanta is a highly focused financial services company with 2,200 employees, approximately $6.6 billion in managed assets and an additional $9.2 billion in assets serviced for third parties.
Advanta provides consumers and small businesses with innovative products and services including mortgages, equipment leases, corporate credit cards, insurance and deposit products. The company also provides a full range of loan purchasing, contract servicing and securitization services to the mortgage industry.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected and/or cause the offer described herein not to occur.
The most significant among these risks and uncertainties are: (1) factors that affect consumer debt; (2) competitive pressures; (3) the level of delinquencies and charge-offs; (4) the rate of prepayments; (5) the level of expenses; (6) the timing of the securitizations of receivables of the company and its subsidiaries; and (7) the ratings on the debt of the company and its subsidiaries.
Additional risks that may affect the company’s future performance are detailed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.Details
U. S. Wireless Data, Inc. announced Monday that one of the largest Hungry Howie’s Pizza franchisees has begun utilizing U. S. Wireless Data’s proprietary wireless transaction processing solution, the TRANZ Enabler. The Hungry Howie’s franchisee has installed 9 TRANZ Enablers to date, and has given USWDA orders for an additional 40 units to be installed over the next 30 days. U.S. Wireless Data will generate revenues on a recurring basis each time a credit card transaction is executed using the USWDA wireless solution.
Based in Valrico, Florida, Tom Kazbour is one of the largest Hungry Howie’s Pizza franchisees operating 40 Hungry Howie’s throughout the southeast United States. Specializes in pizza and subs, the franchisee has been forced to limit its use of credit cards in the past to a small number of outlets. Adding the credit card payment option for a merchant that utilizes a tradition dial-up credit card terminal means the merchant must incur the cost of adding additional phone lines, or be forced to share existing phone lines within the business environment. For the Hungry Howie’s franchisee, this meant that incoming telephone food orders would compete with the credit card terminals’ outgoing telephone calls to authorize credit card transactions. The result busy signals for customers trying to call in telephone orders, and very slow credit card verifications for the business.
By implementing U.S. Wireless Data’s TRANZ ENABLER wireless solution, Hungry Howie’s can now provide its customers with the option of paying with a credit card. Moreover, Hungry Howie’s is able to execute credit card payments without the added cost of additional telephone lines or tying up other existing phone lines. Throughput and productivity are enhanced as credit card transactions can be completed in less than 5 seconds versus 15 – 20 seconds using traditional dial-up credit card terminals.
Tom Kazbour, Hungry Howie’s franchisee, commented, “We have been searching to find a more efficient method to accept credit cards payments in a timely manner. As a fast food restaurant, we need to keep speed of service as a top priority, while also keeping a close eye on overhead costs. The U.S. Wireless Data wireless transaction processing solution provides the answer. We can now further differentiate ourselves from our competitors, offer a better service to our customers and actually reduce our credit card transactions expenses.”
Commenting on the agreement, Clyde Casciato, Vice President of Sales of U.S. Wireless Data stated, “We view the fast food industry as an explosive and relatively untapped market for our wireless transaction processing solutions. The speed of clearing credit cards using our solutions means that merchants can keep lines moving and optimize productivity.”
USWDA’s proprietary enabling technology, TRANZ(TM) Enabler, converts a merchant’s existing dial-up TRANZ VeriFone credit card terminal into a high-speed wireless terminal. It provides merchants with a faster and more cost efficient way to transact business. The wireless transaction takes 3 to 5 seconds verses 11 to 20 seconds with a dial-up service. Going wireless means the merchant no longer needs a dedicated or shared telephone line to carry transaction traffic, thereby eliminating delays, busy signals and the cost to install or pay for monthly telephone service.
U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering compelling new proprietary products, programs and standards to the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilize Cellular Digital Packet Data (“CDPD”) wireless networks. USWDA delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today – wired or wireless. USWDA will generate recurring revenue from every transaction processed by merchants who utilize the Company’s CDPD wireless technology. The Company’s strategy will be to deploy its technology through marketing and partnership agreements with major cellular phone companies, regional and community banks, select ISO’s and its own sales force.Details
Comdata Gaming Services, recently acquired by First Data Corporation announced Monday it has been re-named First Data Financial Services and expanded its services to be a single-source for gaming patron cash access services.
Larry P. Davis has been named president of FDFS. He has more than 25 years of executive management experience with domestic and international business-to-business and consumer services companies.
“First Data Financial Services has a drive to bring innovation to its customers. Being a part of First Data enables us to offer a new level of consumer-preferred platforms for accessing cash at gaming properties,” Davis said.
“Our single-source strategy adds value to the COINS platform that already has been so well received by the industry,” he added.
The company will continue its service of turn-key management and staffing of customers’ financial centers. Through FDFS’s COINS (Casino Operated INformation System) financial transaction and management integration system, gaming customers will have access to already-trusted FDC electronic transaction brands — TeleCheck and Integrated Payment Systems, said Davis.
In addition, FDFS is developing a proprietary consumer-branded point-of-sale (POS) ATM debit/credit network for gaming customers, said Davis.
Acquired in January by FDC, Comdata Gaming Services was already an established leader in providing information management services and handling cash transactions via ATM, credit and debit cards and check cashing for more than 800 gaming customers in North America.
Comdata Gaming Services annually handled more than $3.5 billion in cash transactions at gaming locations.
Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in 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 cards at the point of sale over the Internet; by check or wire money. For further information about the Company, please visit us on the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com].
DataCard Corporation announced Monday that it has created three new strategic units which will focus on worldwide consumer needs and emerging opportunities in the financial, enterprise and healthcare markets.
“The strategy behind this new organization is two-fold,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “First, we want these companies to focus on consumers and emerging markets. They need to be close to the markets in order to develop unique, innovative and effective solutions.”
“Second, we want to create dedicated, passionate teams that aren’t bound by traditional corporate hierarchy,” Highland added. “We want these teams to be able to make decisions and respond to customers and opportunities quickly.”
The three strategic units will include research, development, marketing and sales. They will be supported by worldwide service and manufacturing organizations according to Highland.
Financial company to expand DataCard’s worldwide leadership position
DataCard has created a worldwide leadership position in the financial market over the past 28 years. Financial institutions, retailers and service bureaus use the company’s systems to personalize and package a variety of financial cards–including credit, debit, ATM and stored value cards. Product offerings include both desktop and fully integrated, high-volume systems.
“We intend to provide current customers with more choices, more capabilities and better service through this market oriented company,” said Francois Conchon, president of DataCard’s new financial company.
“Plus, we’re developing innovative, consumer-driven solutions and creating new markets built around products with clear consumer benefits.”
The new solutions will leverage DataCard’s smart card, biometrics and digital imaging strengths. Initial offerings include turnkey smart card solutions for stored value programs, kiosk systems for unattended card issuance and solutions that make it affordable for retail banks to issue photo credit and debit cards in many locations.
“The financial institutions we talk to tell us they need these solutions to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive, global marketplace,” Conchon said. “We expect strong growth in this market through innovation and strategic partnerships.”
Enterprise company to focus on identification and secure access solutions
DataCard has steadily increased its share of the identification market it helped create with the launch of its digital photo ID systems in 1990. Today, these solutions are used to produce employee badges, driver’s licenses, student IDs, membership cards and other secure photo ID cards.
“Our strategic unit will continue to market integrated photo ID systems and sell printers and other photo ID products through our expanding reseller channels,” said Mike Shields, president of DataCard’s enterprise company.
“But much of the growth will come from new solutions that incorporate our digital imaging, biometrics and smart card capabilities,” Shields said. “We expect many of these opportunities to come from corporations, governments, universities and other large enterprises.”
New offerings will include enterprise identification solutions, which allow large, multi-site organizations to create central image databases and use them for a variety of identification and secure access applications. The enterprise company also is developing biometrics-based secure access solutions, which will help organizations restrict access to physical and intellectual property.
“We will develop a number of new solutions,” Shields said. “But the core concept is helping large organizations protect their people, property and profits.”
Healthcare company aims to make healthcare providers more profitable and more competitive
DataCard’s new healthcare company will offer a complete line of software-driven solutions designed to make patient registration, healthcare delivery, eligibility verification and payment processing more convenient for healthcare consumers–and more profitable for healthcare providers. This new line also features solutions that make medical records more secure, while providing easier access for authorized users. Key technologies for this new line of solutions include smart cards, biometrics, magnetic stripe encoding and bar codes.
“The healthcare market is changing. Patients are becoming smarter, more selective healthcare consumers,” said Woody Frost, president of DataCard’s healthcare company. “The solutions we’re creating will give healthcare providers the tools they need to succeed in this consumer-driven environment.”
The company also maintains a long-held leadership position in patient identification systems. Products include card personalization systems with modular embossing, encoding, printing and smart card capabilities.
DataCard is a privately held corporation based in Minneapolis, Minn. The company 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, photo ID printers, card personalization systems and transaction systems. DataCard employs more than 2,100 people and offers sales and service in more than 90 countries worldwide. ()Details
ValiCert, a supplier of digital certificate validation software and services, announced Monday that it has appointed Scott J. Loftesness to its board of directors. With more than 25 years of experience in payment services and related information and telecommunications technologies, Loftesness will contribute to ValiCert’s mission to build an infrastructure for ensuring the validity of digital certificates in any environment. This infrastructure encompasses a broad base of technology, products and services that support a comprehensive approach to managing and assuring the validity of digital certificates in secure communications and electronic commerce.
! Currently, Loftesness is group executive, First Data Merchant Systems group at First Data Corporation, a company that provides credit card processing, payment systems, electronic commerce and information-based services to businesses and consumers. Prior to joining First Data in 1994, he held a series of payment systems, systems development and business development positions at Visa International, Fidelity Investments and IBM Corp. Loftesness is also a founder and director of Com21, a supplier of advanced cable modem products and a director of First Virtual Holdings, a supplier of interactive electronic mail marketing services.
“Scott Loftesness brings to ValiCert a depth of knowledge and experience that will help to develop validation, the fundamental missing piece of the PKI infrastructure for enabling secure communications and commerce on the net,” said Yosi Amram, president and CEO of ValiCert. “ValiCert has the technology, people and alliances in place to build the leading solution in this space.”
“I am pleased to join the board of ValiCert,” said Scott Loftesness. “ValiCert’s universal approach to providing open certificate validation software and services to facilitate interoperability across a wide range of systems addresses growing end-user requirements for high integrity data exchange.”
ValiCert was established in 1996 by a group of leading cryptographers and executives from the Internet services industry to build a broad validation infrastructure for the net economy. ValiCert provides an open and universal framework that delivers an efficient, scalable and interoperable solution for checking the validity of digital certificates in any Internet or intranet transaction. ValiCert has partnerships with leading worldwide providers of security services and products, including Baltimore Technologies, BelSign, Entegrity Solutions, Entrust Technologies, GTE Cybertrust, Netscape Communications, Thawte and others. ValiCert is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. and is available on the World Wide Web at , or by e-mail at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
An electronic store for World Cup fans opened yesterday as the result of a joint effort of HP and EDS. ‘store.france98.com’ is multi-lingual and currently offers about 150 World Cup items, soon to be expanded to 400 items. Shoppers must use a credit card for purchases. Upon creating a transaction, a real-time currency conversion takes place along with calculations for global tax and custom charges. Orders are shipped within five days and may be tracked through an on-line link. EDS and HP developed and opened the store in less than three months.Details