Rite Aid announced Monday it is installing 25,000 ‘VeriFone SC 250’ smart card adapters in approximately 4,000 of its drug stores by mid-year. The smart card adapters are part of Rite Aid’s ‘Rite Cash’ stored value/gift card program. Rite Aid customers will be able to purchase a gift card of any denomination since the value will be programmed into the chip at the POS. Yesterday’s announcement represents the largest smart card implementation, to- date, in the U.S..Details
Electronic Payment Services, Inc. announced that its MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC. subsidiary, operator of the MAC EFT network, processed over 1.2 billion switch transactions in 1997. This represented a 13% growth over 1996. The MAC network is the largest EFT network in the United States based on switch transactions, processing one out of every five shared transactions in the U.S.
MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC. highlights for the fourth quarter included
— Total MAS 4th quarter switch transaction volume was 333 million, up 16% over fourth quarter 1996.
— ATM volume was 16% above fourth quarter 1996 with over 300 million transactions, while MAC point-of-sale (POS) volume increased 30% over fourth quarter 1996 with over 32.5 million transactions. 1997 was a banner year for MAC network transaction volume, processing over 100 million transactions in each of the last ten months of the year.
— The MAC network experienced record-breaking volume on November 26, 1997, the day before Thanksgiving. Volume totaled approximately 5.5 million transactions processed through its switch for that day.
— The MAC network added 31 new financial institution members across 9 states in the fourth quarter, with over 200 new members added in 1997. There are currently over 2,150 financial institution members across all 50 states participating in the MAC network.
— MAC(R) point-of-sale (POS) locations continue to grow with over 400,000 POS terminals displaying the MAC brand across the U.S. Target Stores was one of the major merchants that began a POS rollout in 1997 and began accepting the MAC card for purchases.
— Many retailers continued to expand MAC(R) point-of-sale locations throughout 1997. The MAC card is accepted at the point-of-sale for purchases at these major retailers Amtrak(R), Kmart, and the U.S. Postal Service.
— ATM installations were the highest ever in a three-month period with over 5,000 installations in the fourth quarter bringing the total number of ATMs installed during 1997 to over 10,000. EPS drives over 22,000 ATMs in total.
— 87 financial institutions signed off-line debit card processing contracts in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 375 institutions for the year.
— There are currently 32,000 ATMs and 36.5 million cards bearing the MAC logo.
Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS), a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is a leading electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor in the United States, with approximately 2.3 billion transactions annually. EPS is the holding company for BUYPASS Corporation, a major third-party POS processor and debit transactor acquirer with annual transaction volume of over 1 billion; and MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC., an EFT processor driving over 22,000 ATMs in all 50 states. MONEY ACCESS SERVICE is also operator of the MAC(R) EFT network, the largest EFT network in the United States based on over 1.2 billion switch transactions annually, with 32,000 ATMs and over 400,000 POS terminals nationally. Over 2,150 financial institutions are members of the MAC network, with 36.5 million customers carrying cards bearing the MAC logo. MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC. controls the license rights for the registered trademark MAC.Details
DataCard Corporation debuted four new software-driven healthcare solutions Monday at the 1998 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.
Woody Frost, general manager of the newly formed DataCard Healthcare Solutions Group, said the company’s SmartSeriesâ¢ healthcare solutions will allow healthcare providers to offer patients measurable improvements in convenience, privacy and choice.
“We’ve designed these new solutions to make every patient-provider interaction faster, more accurate and more satisfying for healthcare consumers,” Frost said. “And that inevitably leads to stronger patient loyalty.”
“But just as important, our solutions will help healthcare providers reduce costs, boost productivity and shorten reimbursement cycles,” Frost added. “So, they can achieve the seemingly incompatible goals of improved patient care and greater profitability.”
SmartReg greatly simplifies patient registration
The new DataCard® SmartRegâ¢ patient registration solutions bring speed, accuracy and dignity to the admitting process, according to Frost.
“Instead of asking patients to complete long forms, healthcare providers can simply insert a patient ID card into a reader to complete the registration transaction and verify eligibility automatically,” Frost said. “It’s much more pleasant for patients and more cost-effective for providers.”
In most cases, the card Frost refers to will be a smart cardâa plastic patient ID card with an embedded microchip that stores critical patient information.
“Most people gravitate to smart cards, because it’s an exciting, new technology with tremendous potential,” Frost said. “But we also offer solutions built around magnetic stripes, bar codes and biometrics. So, we can satisfy the needs and preferences of almost any healthcare facility.”
SmartRec lets patients carry portable medical information
The new DataCard® SmartRecâ¢ portable patient information solutions are designed to provide accurate, up-to-date information at the point of care. Patients will be able to carry critical medical information on a personalized smart card, which can be read anywhere they go for serviceâincluding hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and ambulances.
“This portable patient information will allow healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and make patients feel more comfortable and more confident with their services,” Frost said.
“For example, a clinician can insert this card into a reader and quickly determine a patient’s allergiesâor review their current medication profile,” Frost said. “It’s a win-win situation. The patient knows the provider understands their specific needs and the provider has accurate information, which leads to fewer mistakes, fewer delays and greater patient satisfaction.”
SmartCharge automates payment and eligibility processes
The new DataCard® SmartChargeâ¢ payment and eligibility solutions simplify complex and costly tasks, such as eligibility verification, co-pays and fee collection. Patients simply insert insurance or identification cards into a reader to verify eligibilityâ and they insert credit or debit cards to cover co-pays and other fees after services are provided.
“This gives patients more payment options and helps reduce the risk of fraud for the provider,” Frost said. “But most important, it can dramatically shorten reimbursement cycles and help the provider create a healthier cash flow.”
SmartPass improves medical record security
Most healthcare facilities control access to medical records with passwords. But that may not be good enough, especially in light of emerging state and federal legislation, according to Frost.
“Doctors and nurses usually have to remember many passwords, which change from time to time. Many of them have to write their passwords down to remember themâand that greatly compromises the security of medical records,” Frost said.
The new DataCard® SmartPassâ¢ secure access solutions use biometrics and smart card technology to solve those security issues and make access even easier for authorized users.
“Instead of multiple passwords, authorized users can access medical records through fingerprint recognition,” Frost said. “The process is much simpler, much more convenient and far more secure than password-based systems.”
DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of healthcare, financial and identification applications. In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of digital photo ID systems and printers, card personalization systems and transaction systems. ([www.datacard.com])
Internet search engine pioneer Yahoo! Inc. and First USA rolled out the ‘Yahoo! Platinum VISA Card’ yesterday offering consumers an online rewards program. First USA is offering a special 9.9% fixed APR and no-annual-fee for charter ‘Yahoo! VISA’ cardholders. The new card rewards cardholders with one point for each purchase dollar charged, redeemable towards merchandise offered through participating online merchants of Yahoo!’s ‘VISA’ site and Yahoo!’s ‘Style’ site. The card comes in two designs the ‘Swirl Card’ in vibrant purple and the ‘Metallic Card’ in classic metallic. The program also features online access to card account/reward account information and a consumer protection program against fraudulent online card transactions. Other terms of the program include a 19.99% punitive APR, 20-25 day grace, $28 late fee/over-limit fee and the two-cycle ADB interest calculation method.Details
Bank of Montreal MasterCard cardholders are now able to take advantage of a variety of self-serve Internet options to help them manage their MasterCard accounts.
As of today, Bank of Montreal MasterCard cardholders can log in to the Bank of Montreal web site ( or the services area of ), to access a secure session to check account balances, review recent transactions, and review up to three months worth of statements.
Cardholders can also make special requests such as credit line increases and address changes online. This service is available to the bank’s personal, BusinessCard and mbanx BusinessCard customers.
Kathy Silmser, Vice-President, Cardholder Services, said she is confident the new capabilities of the MasterCard site will prove to be a big hit with clients.
“Most of our MasterCard clients use their cards because of the convenience factor,” Ms. Silmser said. “By using the new capabilities of the MasterCard site, we are able to offer our clients a whole new level of convenience and service.”
In addition to the account update and special request features, the site provides calculators that allow users to determine interest and fee payments as well as reward programs.
The self-serve options are provided in a secure session, meaning clients must go through a verification process to access the site. To use the self- serve options, users need to have an Internet browser with a 128-bit encryption feature.
Bank of Montreal’s MasterCard web site also offers on-line application capability for a variety of personal MasterCard products. Consumers can choose from seven distinct product lines and then add the features and benefits that best suit their needs.Details
St. Louis-based Meridian Enterprises said yesterday it has reached a settlement in its patent infringement suit against the ‘GE Capital/Exxon MasterCard’. Terms of the settlement included a licensing and management consulting agreement. Meridian holds a patent on credit card rewards systems and has marketed the system under the ‘MeridiCard’ name for ten years. The firm has reached previous settlements with Associates, Banc One, VISA and MasterCard. Suits are still pending against the ‘Chase Shell MasterCard’ and the ‘BofA Sunoco MasterCard’. The company also recently hired former AT&T Universal exec Alan Schultheis to head up its consulting services. Meridian has about $190 million in annual revenues.Details
Irvine, CA-based CardLogix unveiled two high capacity smart cards to expand its line of ‘Health Data Cards’. The first new card features a storage capacity of 256K Bits. The second card provides a 1 Megabit density. The company said yesterday, at the Health Information Management Systems Show in Orlando, the cards will be available during the second quarter. The 256K card will sell for $6 each and the 1MB card will sell for $19 each.Details
CardLogix announced Monday its Smart Toolz Smart Card Development Kit for the creation of smart card applications based on CardLogix products.
Smart Toolz is the world’s most complete kit for smart card development that allows both computer-literate business people and professional programmers create a smart card system for hundreds of applications, from health records management to stored value and loyalty.
The kit features a supply of different cards, a serial port card reader/writer from American Magnetics and an integrated manual with tutorials on card system design and complete software documentation. Also included are two powerful software tools CardAppz Application Development Software for Windows and Windows NT and a robust 32-Bit Application Programming Interface (API) Cardplex, for advanced programming options. Smart Toolz is available directly from CardLogix and sells for $299.
With Smart Toolz, CardLogix is giving the market a much needed tool and a less expensive solution compared with other smart card development options.
More On CardAppz
CardAppz is a point-and-click program that streamlines the design and implementation of a card system and bypasses the time and cost of professional programming. The software takes the business user through a series of logical steps that allows for the rapid deployment of a card system. Each CardAppz process step is set within a simple and intuitive framework, features include
Database Creation — The template-driven design process in CardAppz lets users create a host card database. CardAppz gives you many data format choices to fit your type of business information. After creation of this database the user can set their preferred security options. Three levels of security are available to choose from, depending on how sensitive the data is and who will be accessing it.
Elimination Of Reader Interface Set-Up — The reader interface function is automatic and completely transparent to the user. By just choosing your card type, the software configures itself for all low-level communications and links the card and its data with the reader.
Card Security and Personalization — Once you have loaded data into the card database you may set your desired encryption levels. CardAppz supports DES, Triple DES and Blowfish encryption. The software lets the issuer set PINs and Passwords for each card type selected.
Card Deployment — CardAppz is now set for the loading of data into cards and for the management of a mirrored system of records that is the nature of a distributed smart card system. Multiple readers can be distributed and any volume of cards issued that you wish.
More On Cardplex
Cardplex is a powerful 32-Bit API that allows for high-level integration of a card system with existing data structures. CardLogix has designed Cardplex as a separate tool for advanced programming options. It supports many card types and security options.
Cardplex provides library support for all of the transmission functions necessary in building a PC based smart card system. The API has specific support for I2C, extended I2C, 7816 synchronous, and 7816 asynchronous T=0, T=1 and T=14 protocols. This enables the professional to skip time-consuming serial port programming and easily link a card system with any Windows or Windows NT-based computing system.
Also included are higher-level links for functions such as the setting of passwords and the decrementing of specific stored value cards. With Cardplex, the CD ROM includes easy to follow Visual Basic (version 5.0) programming samples.
More On the Smart Card Reader/Writer
The American Magnetics (a division of Axiohm Transaction Solutions) 152 reader supports the largest diversity of cards of any reader in the market. It shares complete BIOS compatibility with the model 171A for vending and industrial applications. This means that all development done with Smart Toolz can be deployed in multiple form factors such as kiosks and Laundromats. The 152 reader is molded from UL-94V0 rated plastic and features a compact design for easy integration.
Research firm Frost And Sullivan projects that revenue for smart cards will increase to more than $5 billion in 2003 from $964 million in 1996. Smart cards are quickly emerging as a new standard for the storage and transaction of information and value for everything from public telephones to medical records. Used in volume for many years worldwide, smart cards are being adopted in the United States, with strong potential for growth in the health informatics, entertainment and banking and finance markets.
Until now, users could choose from either costly professional programming or expensive and incomplete kits that meant long periods of development time to confirm that smart cards work for their business. Now, with this introduction of Smart Toolz, CardLogix has provided a low-cost and simple implementation that de-mystifies smart card design and system development.
More On Smart Toolz
Smart Toolz is available now from CardLogix. For more information on Smart Toolz, contact CardLogix at 714/380-1312 and [www.smarttoolz.com].
More On CardLogix
Founded in 1994, CardLogix is a leading manufacturer of smart cards and development solutions for a variety of applications in health informatics, entertainment and banking. Contact CardLogix, 16 Hughes, Ste. 100, Irvine, Calif. 92618 or at [www.cardlogix.com].
Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems Limited has won orders from Barclays plc for two self-service banking projects. The first project involves the pilot implementation of ten Siemens Nixdorf ProInfo self-service terminals, which Barclays is trialling in ten branches to deliver additional account services to its personal banking customers. The second project involves re-writing the software for Barclays nationwide Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) network to enable the rapid development and delivery of more self-service banking products.
For the account services project Siemens Nixdorf will implement ProInfo PC- based terminals which feature touchscreen technology, and will enable personal banking customers to print-out full statements, balance enquiries and mini- statements, as well as receive details of all their standing orders and direct debits.
Initial trial results have seen far higher customer use than projected, with some 50 customers a day using the ProInfo terminals. Following the initial trial of account services for personal banking customers, Barclays has piloted two further systems in Hanley, near Stoke-on-Trent, and Milton Keynes for its business customers.
“Our previous generation ATM hardware and software has served Barclays well, but we were keen to move from our proprietary system to a more flexible approach based on open IT standards,” commented Andy Gordon, head of self-service development for Barclays.
“We initially chose Siemens Nixdorf for our non-cash account services project, and following its success we were happy to award them the contract to rewrite our ATM software using an open WOSA/XFS approach.”
Siemens Nixdorf’s ProClassic open 32-bit self-service software architecture and ProTopas business process solution are being used on both projects to facilitate portability across hardware platforms and the rapid delivery of self-service products to Barclays customers.
Siemens Nixdorf’s ProInfo self-service terminal range integrates multimedia technology to offer a wide range of applications, including customer account services and advice. It provides information and advice on accounts and account transactions, smart card functionality and full printing. A basic ProInfo configuration includes a CD-ROM drive, sound card, stereo loudspeaker and a high- resolution 17-inch touchscreen and if required, a camera and a microphone can be integrated for videoconferencing.
Barclays is a leading financial services company operating in over 70 countries around the world. It provides retail banking products to a wide range of personal and business customers, and in the UK serves over 10 million personal customers. Barclays was the first UK bank to establish a link with Microsoft to offer customers banking and financial planning services via their PC, and in the last year it has also expanded Barclaycall, its telephone banking operation, which added over 125,000 customers during 1996.
Siemens Nixdorf’s Self-Service Line of Business
supplies a comprehensive range of self-service technology-based solutions including ATMs, information terminals, and statement printers for market sectors such as finance, banking and transportation. It has installed 60,000 ATMs and self-service terminals throughout Europe and its leading-edge self- service technology applications have been implemented in major UK organisations such as Barclays, and in 26 of the top 50 UK and European banks.
Siemens Nixdorf is Europe’s leading supplier of information technology with an annual turnover of DM15.4 billion. The company supplies market- leading products, solutions and services that provide competitive advantage for its expanding customer base, and has gained a leadership position in a number of key technologies, including PCs, servers, PoS systems and self service devices. Siemens Nixdorf’s User Centred Computing approach focuses on individual customer needs rather than short-term technology issues, and has helped the company to achieve particular success in the UK Retail, Healthcare, Finance, Manufacturing and Government sectors.Details
Wright Express Corporation announced Monday that it has gained approval to offer fleet card-based services to U.S. Government agencies in conjunction with American Express Co. , under a U.S. General Services Administration master contract recently awarded to American Express. The five-year contract, with five one-year renewal options, goes into effect November 30, 1998.
Under the contract, Wright Express and American Express will provide individual Federal agencies and organizations with an integrated solution combining fleet, travel, and purchase capabilities. In addition, both companies were awarded a stand-alone Fleet contract.
“We are delighted with the GSA’s decision,” said Paul Walsh, Wright Express’s president and chief executive officer. “Since late 1996, we’ve worked closely with the Federal Government’s 380,000-vehicle fleet, managed by individual agencies and organizations within the Government, which includes the GSA’s fleet of 150,000 U.S.- based vehicles. We therefore view this current, more comprehensive, GSA contract award as a resounding vote of confidence in our capabilities.”
Walsh stated, “We and American Express are both leaders in our respective markets — we in the fleet market, American Express in travel and purchasing – – and American Express also has tremendous experience in serving the U.S. Government’s needs.” He explained that since 1993, American Express has helped the Government manage official travel expenses under the U.S. Government Travel Card program; there are currently more than 1.5 million federal employees who use the travel card for official travel, spending approximately $3.5 billion annually.
Wright Express’s CEO noted that the Government is currently seeking the next generation of card-based payment and reimbursement systems to accelerate its efforts toward re-inventing payment processing by applying commercial best practices, including advanced information technologies.
A subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE CD), Wright Express provides the number-one-performing universal fleet card that guarantees the lowest overall cost, along with the greatest convenience, security, and control to commercial car, van, and truck fleets throughout the U.S. The card is the most widely accepted electronic fleet card in the U.S., honored at over 120,000 fueling sites nationwide — with 96% of all POS transactions electronically captured. Wright Express also provides information processing, financial, and information management services through private label commercial credit card programs for 19 of the nation’s oil companies; and has cobranded fleet fueling cards with 25 partners, including the major commercial-vehicle-leasing companies in the United States.Details
Mellon Bank Corporation began outlining the features of its purchasing product to federal agency representatives during a kick-off conference in Washington, D.C. that runs through Wednesday, Feb. 25. Contracts with these agencies will begin in November 1998 and run for five years, with five additional one-year options. Mellon was one of the six master purchasing card contractors announced by the federal General Services Administration (GSA).
Mellon Bank has a proven history of delivering a breadth of financial solutions to its customers, including the federal government. “The core of our success in the financial marketplace is our presence, leadership and commitment, all of which are evident in the dynamic solutions we provide to our customers,” said Robert W. Stasik, executive vice president and head of Mellon Global Cash Management(SM).
“Like other industries, the federal government is establishing the groundwork for more of its employees to use purchasing cards for routine purchases,” said Tony Brady, project manager of Mellon’s government purchasing card initiative. “They understand the value of saving expenses by simplifying their transactions and eliminating the paperwork usually associated with processing those purchases.”
According to Brady, Mellon’s purchasing card not only features present-day solutions, but anticipates future demands. “Through our ability to redefine traditional purchasing card capabilities, we can provide extraordinary features to help the government offer greater benefits to its agencies,” he said.
As one of the select few cash management banks used by the federal government, Mellon currently supplies everyday financial services to more than 10 independent and quasi-government organizations. Mellon also provides collection services for more than 25 government agencies and card-acquiring services to 36 agencies.
Supported by Mellon Bank’s 30-plus years of credit card experience, the Mellon Purchasing Card is flexible, easy-to-use and affordable for customers of all sizes. “For years, we have had a dedicated purchasing card in place that has helped organizations tailor seamless programs that provided them with maximum benefits,” Brady said.
The Mellon Purchasing Card is offered in conjunction with MasterCard International, Inc. and can be used in the more than 14 million locations around the world where MasterCard is accepted. In addition, an agreement with ProCard, Inc. provides purchasing card customers with the ProValue Services (PVS) accounting management software package, giving clients the ability to edit, review, reconcile and post transactions on-line to their internal accounting systems.
This purchasing card initiative is one of several current programs in which Mellon and the federal government are cooperating. Others include
— A joint effort between Global Cash Management and GSA to pilot an electronic solution that collects utility payments and forwards them directly to a customer’s account and accounts receivable system.
— An initiative with the U.S. Department of the Treasury in which Mellon Network Services provides smart cards for new recruits at the U.S. Army training facility at Fort Knox, Ky.
— An electronic commerce program in which Mellon and the Treasury’s Financial Management Services, are using the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol for restricted on-line access to the Bureau of Public Debt to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds and to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Services to purchase a wide variety of government surplus merchandise. Mellon Global Cash Management, part of Mellon Bank Corporation, is an industry leader, designing complete solutions through its comprehensive line of cash management services to meet the specialized treasury needs of middle market to large multinational corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions.
A broad-based financial services company with a bank at its core, Mellon Bank Corporation ranks among the nation’s largest bank holding companies in market capitalization. With more than $300 billion of assets under management and $1.5 trillion of assets under administration, Mellon provides a full range of banking, investment and trust products and services to individuals and small, midsize and large businesses and institutions. Its mutual fund company, The Dreyfus Corporation, places Mellon as the leading bank manager of mutual funds. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Mellon’s principal subsidiary is Mellon Bank, N.A.Details
Credit-related complaints continued to in the top of the Illinois Attorney General’s annual Top 10 list of consumer complaints announced this weekend.
Although home repair fraud continued to be the number one complaint among consumers last year, the clear trend since Ryan took office in 1995 is the emergence of substantial numbers of complaints for telephone “slamming” and computer-related fraud.
Slamming, the illegal switching of telephone service, remained in the number two position among 1997 complaints with 1,985, or 8.5 percent of the office’s 23,477 complaints.
Computer-related complaints — including those regarding online- and Internet-service providers, and other electronic devices such as television and radio — totaled 1,656, vaulting into fourth place on the list.
“Increasingly, the telephone and the computer are becoming the tools of the trade for con artists,” Ryan said. “We are aware of the trend and are devoting more resources to fight these unscrupulous operators on their own turf.”
Ryan’s office leads the nation in the number of lawsuits filed to combat phone slamming, 17. In addition, his office was a nationwide leader in resolving consumer issues related to America Online.
Of the nearly 24,000 complaints received by Ryan’s office last year, the top 10 were
1. Home Repair, 10.8%, or 2,533 complaints.
2. Slamming, 8.5%, or 1,985 complaints.
3. Used Vehicle Sales, 7.2%, or 1,682 complaints.
4. Electronic Devices (Computer, Radio & TV), 7.1%, or 1,656 complaints.
5. Auto repair, 6%, or 1,411 complaints.
6. Credit, 5.5%, or 1,290 complaints.
7. Utilities, 4.6%, or 1,078 complaints.
8. Mail Order, 3.6%, or 853 complaints.
9. New Auto Sales, 3.6%, or 853 complaints.
10. Contests, Promotions, & Schemes, 3.1 %, or 736 complaints.
“The wide variety of complaints shows that many of our citizens, especially those who are vulnerable such as the elderly, are victims of scams every day,” Ryan said. “People should exercise caution when doing business, whether purchasing a vehicle, looking for someone to do repair work or using the Internet. Deal whenever possible with individuals and companies with good reputations, not fly-by-night services you know little or nothing about. And never give your credit card or bank account numbers to persons you don’t know.”Details