Mark Clavin of Castleton, NY became the one millionth customer of Mobil Corporation’s ‘Speedpass’ program. ‘Speedpass’ enables customers to drive up, fill up, and automatically charge their fuel purchases to a designated credit card, without opening their wallets or purses. Mobil recently added a “car tag” transponder option to the program. The system also uses a “key chain tag” transponder. Mobil said Friday that ‘Speedpass’ usage patterns have indicated increased purchases per customer.Details
National Bank of Canada has been awarded a competitive contract to provide services for the Federal Government Acquisition Card Program. Under the Program, departments and agencies will use a commercial credit card, in this case MasterCard, to make government purchases in accordance with federal policy. This contract will create 36 jobs.
The announcement was made today by the Honourable Alfonso Gagliano, Minister of Public Works and Government Services. “This contract is proof that the Government of Canada is constantly streamlining its business operations. With this Program, government departments and agencies will become more responsive and cost-effective, which in the long-term will benefit Canadian taxpayers,” said Mr. Gagliano.
The Program is a smarter and more efficient way of doing business as it will reduce the number of cheques that must be issued by the government; reduce the need for industry to submit invoices; and ensure that businesses are paid more promptly.
The Acquisition Card Program ensures that the Government of Canada benefits from new banking technologies. It will also give the Crown financial rebates for timely payment of departmental and agency accounts. Under the terms of this Program, National Bank of Canada will provide the Government of Canada with rebates based on the length of the payment period.Details
American Bankers Insurance Group reportedly will be purchased by the American International Group. AIG is expected to announce this morning it will pay about $2.2 billion for the deal. AIG is expected to operate the 3,000-employee American Bankers group as a separate unit. American Bankers, the nation’s largest credit insurance provider is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.Details
VISA’s touring golf instructional program, ‘Faults & Cures’, announced Friday it will add eleven new cities to the tour next year and will add a program for female golfers. VISA will also expand the stay in some major cities for up to three weeks. The program is run by the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School, a division of Golden Bear Golf, Inc.. Other improvements for the ‘1998 Faults & Cures’ include a new mobile video unit for instant on-site analysis of each student’s swing and a reduced student-teacher ratio of 6-to-1.Details
TAXWARE International, Inc., a leading tax software developer of worldwide tax compliance systems, announced today that enhanced TAXWARE sales tax software, interfaced with GE Capital Corporate Expense Management Services (CEMS) PARIS 3.0 Purchasing Card management system, plays a key role in new release of PARIS. Today’s release of the CEMS system offers enhanced accuracy of TAXWARE’s SALES/USE Tax System for point of sale and tax estimates on purchasing card transactions. The integration of these products enables corporations to reduce costs and virtually eliminate paper for corporate purchase cardholders.
! “We originally selected TAXWARE International for the accuracy and speed of the TAXWARE product, and the quality of their support,” said Bill Catelotti, Product Manager for GE Capital. “Teaming with TAXWARE has allowed us to offer PARIS 3.0 users greatly streamlined calculation, documentation and reporting of sales tax liability.”
PARIS 3.0 Purchasing Card Management System and TAXWARE(R) Sales Tax Software
GE Capital’s PARIS 3.0 Purchasing Card includes several significant improvements: enhanced commercial tax options from TAXWARE’s tax tables or optional desktop software, improved graphical user interface, faster performance, expanded T&E designation in reviewing purchasing, and greater customization in company categories for accounting types.
Working together through PARIS, GE Capital and TAXWARE ensure corporate tax professionals that the proper tax is being calculated on each transaction and that the proper reporting requirements have been fulfilled. TAXWARE’s software works in conjunction with the PARIS System, as a subroutine, bringing accuracy and tax compliance to the corporate tax professional’s desktop. Now PARIS users have two tax approaches available to them — both allow significantly improved accuracy.
TAXWARE(R) Tax Table is included in the PARIS System at no additional charge. Users can download either source of tax information — point of sale (POS) information or tax estimates based on TAXWARE software. The system administrator can set the conditions under which PARIS will use POS tax or TAXWARE estimates. Based on the level of detail provided in the credit card transaction, PARIS users can use the tax calculation from POS or the best estimated tax calculation from TAXWARE tax tables. These tables provide improved accuracy over previous estimates based on state tax tables alone.
Optional TAXWARE(R) SALES/USE Tax System for PARIS.
This ‘Desktop’ system provides an even higher degree of precision for users. GE Capital CEMS provides the interface between PARIS and TAXWARE’s desktop software package. The user can enter precise location information, so that TAXWARE can calculate the most accurate estimate of the tax liability for each purchase. The system allows PARIS users to calculate the tax liability if the vendor has not transmitted that detail. TAXWARE uses modem address- driven methodology, based on ZIP Code as well as a unique TAXWARE code, to key on the correct tax authorities. The results are the most reliable tax system available in the industry for business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications. The SALES/USE Tax System’s Tax Master File covers all U.S. tax jurisdictions and Canadian provinces, furnishing more than 135,000 ZIP Code locations, creating over 60,000 potential tax jurisdiction combinations. This database file is kept current with monthly updates. Customers can license the SALES/USE Tax System directly from TAXWARE. PARIS also uses TAXWARE’s well known VERAZIP(R) System for address verification of taxing jurisdictions, as well as the NEXPRO(R) module that identifies out-of-state suppliers that collect sales tax in the jurisdiction where the cardholder will use the product or service.
“By using TAXWARE’s software, businesses don’t have to set up a program to calculate or track sales taxes,” said Bruce Reed, TAXWARE’s Director, Sales & Marketing. “The combination of TAXWARE’s software with GE Capital’s PARIS System provides a solution that enables consumers to expedite transactions while complying with tax laws automatically. As a pioneer tax software developer bringing tax compliance solutions to businesses since 1978, we saw the GE Capital purchasing card as an excellent opportunity to bring the tax solution to corporations using purchasing cards — an area that benefits enormously from seamless tax calculations through reporting.”
About TAXWARE International Inc.
Founded in 1964, TAXWARE International is a leading tax software developer for worldwide tax systems. A sales/use tax software pioneer, TAXWARE offers a family of products for mainframe, midrange and PC computer platforms — including client/server, network computing and electronic commerce environments. The first tax software developer to enter the field of electronic commerce, the company has seen its INTERNET Tax System for on-line transactions fast become the system of choice by a growing number of commerce server partners. Providing a global tax solution, the company’s systems for automated tax compliance include modules that address sales/use, consumer’s use, Internet, international taxation, address verification, exemption processing, automated returns, property and payroll tax. TAXWARE’s products have been benchmarked as the fastest processing tax software in the industry today. Recognized for customer support and client-focused product development, the company has shown explosive growth over the last five years. TAXWARE is privately held with headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts and has offices in Los Angeles, Mountain View, Cincinnati, Chicago and London. For more information, call 978-741-0101 or visit the TAXWARE Web site at .
Smart Card pioneer, ORGA, and International Loyalty expert, ICLP, have announced Friday a co-operation in the field of smart card loyalty. The two companies will develop and market a turnkey customer loyalty and payment system, based on the VISA Chip Loyalty specification. ORGA has over 15 years experience in smart cards and ICLP over 10 years expertise in loyalty programs.
ORGA has a long history of developing some of the first multiple application schemes via a single card, particularly within the finance sector. The company has also recently been approved by VISA to manufacture smart cards for the banking sector.
Ulrich Schmidt (Head of Banking and Retail at ORGA) said, “The combination of ORGA’s smart card expertise and ICLP’s proven track record of implementing and managing profitable loyalty systems represents a significant step forward in the development of smart card-based loyalty systems. We will be offering VISA members a total package which will allow them to meet their individual loyalty and payment needs.”
Tony Clarke (Director of ICLP, UK) commented: “ICLP is delighted to have established this important association with ORGA, enabling us to further extend the range of loyalty services to the banking sector on a `one stop’ basis.”
The VISA Chip Loyalty initiative has recently been launched in Taiwan. It forms a key component of VISA’s plans for a multi-function card.
“As the leader in emerging products with more than 21 million chip cards issued, we are pleased that the VISA Chip Loyalty specification has been included in the ORGA system,” said Gaylon Howe, senior vice president, Stored Value/Loyalty Products, VISA International.
ORGA is one of the founders of the smart card industry and is at the forefront of the diverse and rapidly expanding smart card market. The company’s products include smart cards, card readers, personalization systems, application development services and kits, consultancy and associated services. For further information browse ORGA’s Web site at: .
ICLP is a global provider of integrated solutions for loyalty and relationship marketing programs, including consulting, program development and management, operating and marketing software, and partnership development. Today ICLP has over 300 clients including 140 card issuing bank clients in 40 countries, supported by offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Dallas and London.
ORGA contact person for sales information:
Graham Carson – Europe
ORGA Card Systems (UK) Ltd
Phone: +44 (0) 1628 624 265
Fax: +44 (0) 1628 624 838
Gerald Smith – USA
ORGA Card Systems, Inc.
Phone: +1 610-993-9810
Fax: +1 610-993-8641
ICLP contact person for further information:
Mr. Simon Hall
ICLP, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2520 0858
Fax: +852 2865 7332
ORGA contact person for press information:
Mr. Alex Goldsleger
Phone: +1 610-993-8209
Fax: +1 610-993-8641
Home Savings of America Thursday announced that it now offers customers the ability to pay bills and transfer funds through the Internet with its expanded Internet Online Banking service.
“These new options will allow customers even more flexibility and convenience,” said Don Spano, senior vice president and director of Electronic Banking at Home Savings of America. “Our research indicates that consumers appreciate being able to bank whenever and wherever they want. Now, our customers have more choices than ever.”
Customers can now pay their monthly bills through Home Savings’ Web site, [www.homesavings.com], without having to write checks, address envelopes or trek to the post office.
In addition, Online Banking customers can now transfer funds between selected checking and savings accounts.
On-line account access and funds transfer through the Home Savings Web site is free for customers who have a Home Savings checking account with an ATM card or MasterMoney debit card.
On-line bill payments and account transfers are automatically recorded, making record-keeping simple. Customers can view their transactions on-line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as on their monthly account statements.
To bank at the Web site, customers need a PC, a modem and an Internet service provider. Or, if they prefer, customers can use Microsoft Money or Quicken to pay bills, transfer funds and do monthly tracking and budgeting.
Home Savings of America, with nearly $50 billion in assets, is one of the nation’s largest full-service consumer banks.
Following AT&T’s decision to sell its credit card portfolio to Citibank yesterday, the nation’s number one issuer re-asserted its industry leadership. In an analysts’ meeting following the announcement, Citibank said it will not only beef up the value of the Citibank-AT&T Universal card program but will also launch a replacement product for the Citibank Ford VISA/MasterCard program very soon. The cobranded Ford program will formally end its rewards program Dec 31. Citi says its replacement card will exceed the value proposition of the current Ford card. With yesterday’s acquisition Citibank’s three major cobranded programs will comprise nearly half of Citi’s total U.S. portfolio. AT&T Universal will add 13.6 million accounts or 18 million cardholders to Citi’s portfolio. The Ford program has more than 6 million cardholders and the American Airlines AAdvantage program has about 2 million cardholders.
In clarifying the deal with AT&T, Citibank indicated it is not bound to operate the AT&T Universal card as a separate unit and will begin integrating the accounts soon after the deal closes in the second quarter of next year. Citi also justified the 18% premium it paid by saying the AT&T program was under-developed in the U.S. and has significant potential as a global card. Both parties entered into a 10-year cobranding and joint marketing agreement following the purchase agreement. Citi also indicated it will most likely begin repricing the AT&T Universal card soon after the closure but is obligated by the deal to honor the no-annual- fee-for-life pledge for existing cardholders.
More financial details on yesterday’s deal: Citibank is paying $3.5 billion in cash which includes $1.0 billion in book value. The $2.5 billion premium includes $2.2 billion for receivables to be amortized over 10 years and $300 million for goodwill to be amortized over 15 years. Although not disclosed, the cobranding/marketing agreement calls for Citi to shell out an additional $400 million to AT&T over the ten year term.
Citibank’s leadership has been eroding since 1992. At one point the issuer was losing 100,000 cardholders per month. Citi repriced its entire portfolio and entered into several cobranded programs during the past five years but never developed the momentum of the industry’s brightest stars: MBNA and First USA. Yesterday’s deal clearly gives Citibank more distance from its competitors but time will tell if it can truly harness the current synergy.Details
Highly successful, card industry entrepreneur Bipin Shah announced last night he is offering a $2 million reward for information leading to the return of his two young daughters missing since June. Criminal warrants have been issued for Shah’s ex-wife, who, together with eight-year-old Sarah Lynn and six-year- old Genevieve Marie vanished on June 8. Shah has spent more than $700,000 searching for his children. Shah is a former top executive of Corestates and founder of GENSAR. He named GENSAR after his two daughters. Additional information, including photos will be available via cardflash.com.Details
Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of American consumers will not complete their holiday shopping until the week before Christmas, according to a survey released today by Visa, the world’s largest consumer payment system. As a result, Visa is predicting that Visa retail volume will exceed $1.5 billion on December 23, historically Visa’s busiest shopping day of the year.
“Last-minute shoppers can make or break a retailer’s holiday season,” said Bruce McElhinney, senior vice president, market development and acceptance, Visa U.S.A. “Either people are too busy or they’re just waiting for sales, but our numbers indicate that consumers will be doing a lot of last minute spending. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is big, but this year, the day before Christmas Eve will be even bigger.”
Key findings of the survey:
* Almost half (46 percent) of last-minute shoppers will complete their holiday shopping on December 23 or December 24.
* Of those shopping at the last minute, the majority (56 percent) say they will do most of their shopping at that time.
* Last minute shoppers say they will do their shopping at department stores (58 percent); discount stores (22 percent); apparel stores (15 percent); toy stores (9 percent); and electronics stores (5 percent).
* Young adults aged 18-24 are likely to do most of their shopping at the last minute (78 percent), compared to those aged 25-54 (56 percent), and over 55 (34 percent).
* The majority of last-minute shoppers live in the Northeast (70 percent); compared to the South (64 percent); the West (62 percent); or North Central region (62 percent).
“Last-minute shoppers will drive Visa transaction volume to peak levels this year. We expect to process more than 25 million transactions on December 23 alone,” said Scott Thompson, executive vice president, Visa Systems Development Support and Customer Service. To put that into perspective, the New York Stock Exchange averages 5.5 million transactions on a single day.
A total of 1,010 men and women aged 18 and older were interviewed December 4-7, 1997 by Opinion Research Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey.
Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year, Visa’s nearly 600 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 380,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address isDetails
MDC Communications Corp. of Toronto announced Thursday that its Payment Systems and Services Group has acquired the assets of CIBC’s national card production unit and secured an exclusive five-year agreement to fulfill CIBC’s Visa card requirements.
MDC Card Services will also fulfill CIBC’s ATM and debit card requirements under the agreement.
MDC will use this acquisition to form a new business unit called Davis + Henderson Card Services, an operating unit of MDC Card Services Canada. It will be located in the new Davis + Henderson Intercheque facility in Markham, Ontario.
This acquisition will build upon the security and smart card capabilities of MDC-owned Bicybec Ltee and Placard Pty Ltd. Bicybec is a leading plastic card manufacturer located in Montreal. Placard is an Australian-based supplier of credit, debit, ATM and telephone cards to major financial institutions, government agencies, airlines, transit authorities, telecommunications companies and other commercial clients in Australia and Asia-Pacific.
This acquisition is the second step in MDC’s strategy to become one of the largest providers of credit, debit, telephone and smart card products and services in Canada and a major player in North America. The CIBC contract will contribute more than $25 million in revenue over the five years of the contract, moving MDC Card Services aggressively toward its annual target of $50 million in sales.
“This acquisition allows us to combine CIBC’s experienced management and people with Davis + Henderson’s state of the art data management and technology infrastructure to deliver secure, innovative card services to Canada’s leading plastic card issuers,” said Greg McKenzie, President and Chief Operating Officer, MDC Card Services.
“We look forward to partnering with MDC Card Services Ltd. to fulfill CIBC’s card production services now and in the future. This relationship allows CIBC to leverage MDC’s card processing capability and infrastructure to deliver innovative products and services for our customers,” said Tom Briscoe, Director of Operations, Card Products Division, CIBC.
CIBC is the country’s largest credit card company with an extensive line of Visa, ATM, and debit card products.
“We are very pleased with the confidence CIBC has shown in MDC’s core capabilities and the opportunity to expand our relationship with CIBC in payment systems,” said Miles S. Nadal, MDC’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
McKenzie went on to say: “The combination of Davis + Henderson’s data management and technology infrastructure, CIBC’s assets and Bicybec’s plastic card manufacturing creates a very powerful card services player. It will allow us to expand the payment systems products and services which we offer to our banking, airline and transit customers and to provide leading card services to the retail, telecommunications, insurance and government sectors.”
Davis + Henderson is Canada’s largest producer of cheques for the personal and business customers of major financial institutions and recently was awarded 100% of CIBC’s cheque business worth in excess of $110 million over the five year term. It has served the financial marketplace for over 100 years. Key customers include the Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada and The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
The CIBC acquisition continues MDC’s strategy to broaden its offering of payment systems and services in Canada. This offering will now include cheques, debit cards, credit cards, smart cards, secure financial statement processing, corporate payables processing, and remittance and sale draft processing services.
Not only will MDC be able to expand its offering of products and services to existing customers, it will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to fulfill the expanding demand for back office services. With annual revenues of $185 million, MDC’s Payment Systems and Services Group will pursue growth internally and through acquisitions and seek outsourcing opportunities through partnership or joint ventures.
MDC’s expansion into card services comes at a time when the markets for smart cards in North America, Australia and Southeast Asia are growing rapidly. The use of smart cards in banking, telecommunications, healthcare, transportation and loyalty applications is leading the card technology expansion.
Smart cards can store up to 100 times more information than a magnetic striped card while being more secure and reusable. In 1995, there were just over 800 million smart cards in circulation around the world. In the next three years, the smart card market is projected to grow to 3 billion cards or $5 billion annually, bringing the worldwide plastic and smart card services market to more than $12 billion a year.
MDC is well-positioned to participate in this global evolution in electronic transactions. The Payment Systems and Services Group is part of MDC’s Security and Specialty Products Division which has operating units in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia with customers in more than 65 countries around the world. The Division has five core products: postage stamps; cheques; credit, debit and smart cards; event and transportation tickets; and other security products such as state papers and vehicle registration documents.
MDC Communications Corporation is a publicly-traded multi-disciplined communications organization with a strong record of growth, generated both internally and from corporate acquisitions, through three divisions: Security and Specialty Products, Direct Marketing and Home Shopping, and Communications and Marketing Services.Details
Vital Processing Services announced a full production service offering with Metricom, Inc. Metricom’s Ricochet wireless technology that will enable transactions, such as credit card verification, to be processed in 3 – 4 seconds, without the use of traditional phone lines.
“This is an example of how we proactively respond to our customers’ needs by providing them with value-added products. Our goal is to help our clients operate more efficiently, and this partnership with Metricom will translate into increased productivity at the merchant point-of-sale,” said Fred Gumbel, chairman and chief executive officer of Vital.
“In the near future, customers everywhere will expect lightning-fast credit card verification regardless of their location,” said Don Wood, Metricom president. “The Ricochet wireless technology meets that requirement by enabling merchants and bank institutions to perform real-time transactions quickly, affordably and from places that, traditionally, have been inconvenient or impossible. Now, with Ricochet, delivery services, taxi drivers, street vendors and others will be able to take full advantage of Vital’s processing services from wherever they are within a Ricochet coverage area.”
The Ricochet network uses spread-spectrum, packet radio technology and Metricom’s patented frequency-hopping mesh architecture to transmit wireless signals to the Internet, intranets and dial-up services. Ricochet modems send and receive data at speeds of up to 28.8 kilobits per second, which is comparable to conventional telephone modems. With Ricochet, merchants will experience a 3 – 4 second response time for transactions processed through Vital’s VisaNet POS Network.
For the transaction processing industry, the Ricochet modem attaches to the VeriFone TRANZ 380 terminal via a connective device called the VeriFone TRANZport 232. The Ricochet modem also attaches to the serial port of laptop and desktop computers, handheld PCs or personal digital assistants, and is compatible with most hardware platforms and communications software.
Metricom has completed its first initial roll-out phase and has service available in Seattle, the greater San Francisco Bay area, and Washington, D.C. Other metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, are planned for the near future.
Metricom, Inc. is the leading provider of wide-area, portable wireless data services. The company’s Ricochet Products and Services division, headquartered in Los Gratos, Calif., provides portable and desktop computer users with high-performance, cost-effective wireless access to the Internet, LANs, e-mail and other online services. Ricochet service is currently available in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., on corporate and university campuses, and ten major U.S. airports. Metricom’s Industrial Communications division provides both private networks and communications services to the electric, gas, oil and water industries. For more information, call 1-800 Go-Wireless or visit Metricom’s Web site at .
Vital Processing Services (Vital) is a leading full-service merchant processing company. Its clients include financial institutions that provide credit card processing to their merchant customers. Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital offers financial institutions operational services that enhance business solutions without competing for their merchant business. Its services include merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; operational fulfillment services (including the outsourcing of chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) U.S.A. and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE: TSS) (TSYS(R)) (). Vital’s Internet address is .Details