Vital Signs First Premier

Today, at the ABA Bank Card Conference, Vital Processing Services (Vital) announced it has teamed with First PREMIER Bank of Sioux Falls, S.D., to provide a full range of merchant card processing solutions through its Portfolio Management and Merchant Point of Sale services. The agreement enables First PREMIER to access Vital’s full offering of services, from point-of-sale processing through the complete payment cycle.

Under the service agreement with Vital, First PREMIER will convert its merchant portfolio to Vital and will outsource all services, including front- end, back-end and back-office. The back-office, which is marketed by Vital under Operational Fulfillment Services (including the outsourcing of chargeback and retrieval resolution, customer service, data entry, transaction risk management and paper draft capture) was recently developed, and is the latest service addition to Vital, completing its full-service, turn-key product line.

Portfolio Management Services give acquiring banks all the tools needed to manage their merchant portfolio. The Vital product and service line truly offers a complete, front-to-back package, including merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; and Operational Fulfillment Services.

From a simple fax to a state-of-the-art electronic bulletin board or the Internet, Vital provides multiple methods for acquirers and merchants to access information needed to effectively manage their businesses.

“We are excited about having First PREMIER as a full-service, turn-key client because the bank has been so aggressive in the past in managing and growing its merchant portfolio,” said Fred Gumbel, president and CEO of Vital. “We’re looking forward to the institution’s success in the marketplace.”

“We could not have found a better fit than Vital,” said Miles Beacom, president of First PREMIER Bank’s Credit Card Division. “Vital’s commitment to provide leading-edge technology and high service levels will help enable the bank to successfully grow its portfolio. We want to be at the forefront of the market with Vital because they don’t compete with us for our merchant business.”

First PREMIER Bank, with current assets at $303 million, serves six eastern South Dakota communities with locations in Sioux Falls, Watertown, Castlewood, Kranzburg, Lake Norden and Wakonda. The bank has more than 350 employees. First Premier’s capital ratio is 8.60 percent. First PREMIER’s Credit Card Division, established in 1989, has grown from 88 employees in January 1996 to more than 200.

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’s Internet address is .

Vital Processing Services is a joint venture between Total System Services, Inc.(NYSE: TSS) (TSYS(R)) and Visa(R) U.S.A.

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INTERSHOP Supports MS Wallet

INTERSHOP Communications, one of the world’s leading providers of complete and professional electronic commerce solutions, today announced the commitment to support the Microsoft Wallet, a tool for conducting financial transactions on the Internet in a secure and convenient manner.

The integration of Microsoft Wallet in future product releases will expand the broad selection of online payment methods already supported by INTERSHOP. With the Microsoft Wallet customers will get another quick and secure option to pay for purchases in electronic stores that are built with INTERSHOP technology.

Residing on the shopper’s personal computer, the Microsoft Wallet uses password protection to store confidential information including name, personal, billing and shipping addresses, credit or debit card information and additional data that may be required by digital payment services such as CyberCash, ICVerify or Kleline. The Microsoft Wallet allows customers of INTERSHOP stores to choose their preferred method of payment with the click of the mouse and submit all necessary information for the financial transaction.

“INTERSHOP is providing state-of-the-art technology that makes electronic commerce a convenient, secure and pleasant experience for merchants and shoppers alike,” said Stephan Schambach, CEO of INTERSHOP Communications. “The Microsoft Wallet fits this mission very well because it is open and extensible, adding convenience, speed and security to online business transactions.”

Microsoft includes the Wallet with the next version of the Windows(TM) operating system and its Internet Explorer 4.0 Web browser software. Currently, more than 80 percent of all PCs worldwide are running on Microsoft Windows OS. “We are pleased to see the adoption of the Microsoft Wallet by INTERSHOP,” said Jonathan Weinstein, Lead Product Manager, Internet Commerce Marketing at Microsoft. “The Microsoft Wallet allows INTERSHOP to add value to its eCommerce systems by enhancing the shopping experience on the Internet and increasing the security of confidential data.”

CyberCash, a leading provider of secure electronic payments on the Internet and an INTERSHOP technology partner, now offers the CyberCash CashRegister V 2.1.2 Adapter Kit for the Microsoft Wallet. With the support of CyberCash’s Secure Internet Payment Service and the Microsoft Wallet, INTERSHOP enables financial transactions to be processed over the Internet in real-time to almost any bank in the U.S.

“Combining these software components provides merchants with the flexibility, security, and tools that are essential to building and running a successful Internet store,” said Scott Eisenberg, Director of Product Management at CyberCash. “By integrating software and services from CyberCash and Microsoft, INTERSHOP provides complete eCommerce solutions that allow online merchants to accept purchase requests instantly and get paid for it.”

INTERSHOP Communications Inc.

INTERSHOP Communications Inc. is the world’s paramount provider of electronic commerce software. Privately held, INTERSHOP Communications is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Germany, France and the UK. Founded in Germany in 1992, INTERSHOP develops, publishes and distributes standard and custom software, offering a full spectrum of electronic commerce solutions. INTERSHOP Communications markets to Fortune 500 enterprises such as Hewlett-Packard and Siemens Nixdorf. Value Added Resellers, and large Internet Service Providers such as Deutsche Telekom select INTERSHOP as their core-technology to build thousands of online stores for small and mid-size merchants. INTERSHOP’s standard products, single-store INTERSHOP Online and multi-store INTERSHOP Mall, include all components to design, maintain and run complete front-to-back electronic commerce solutions. INTERSHOP applications are proven in key markets including business-to-business, business-to-consumer, supply-intranets, or extranets. For more information, call INTERSHOP at 800/736-5197, send e-mail to sales@intershop.com or visit http://www.intershop.com .

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VFW Donates Calling Cards

When VFW national junior vice commander John Smart presents an oversized prepaid phone card to the Fisher House Foundation, Inc. today, it will be symbolic of the VFW commitment to the Fisher House program – a commitment to provide every family staying at a Fisher House with 20 units of free long distance dialing.

That commitment is part of “Operation Uplink,” an innovative program through which the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Ladies Auxiliary provide courtesy calling cards to hospitalized service men and women, veterans, and their families. The program is supported by VFW and Ladies Auxiliary posts and individual donors. The program also supports members of the armed forces serving overseas, enabling them to keep in touch with their loved ones at home.

The Fisher House program is the single largest recipient of the prepaid calling cards. Throughout 1997 and 1998, the VFW will donate to the program more than 5,000 cards, with a retail value in excess of $50,000. This will enable managers to give a card to every family staying at a Fisher House.

The partnership between the VFW and Fisher House program was a natural. The VFW program had an objective to provide the cards to those with the greatest need. The Fisher House program was established to assist families of service men and women and veterans at the most stressful time – upon the hospitalization of a loved one. In the words of VFW assistant adjutant general for marketing Ron Browning, “It is a true win-win relationship, and the winners are the members of the armed forces, veterans and their families. It is their dedicated service to our nation we wish to recognize and reward.”

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US Bank’s E-Merchant Services

GST Internet, Inc., a subsidiary of GST Telecommunications, Inc. (AMEX: GST), and U.S. Bank announced today that the companies have signed a joint agreement to bring electronic commerce services to U.S. Bank merchant accounts in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and California. To deliver the service, the companies will use Open Market’s award-winning Transact(TM) software, a robust order capture, management and service solution.

Under the terms of the agreement, GST Internet will become U.S. Bank’s preferred electronic commerce service provider to its growing base of more than 30,000 merchant accounts. New services will include processing credit card transactions for U.S. Bank merchant customers via secure web servers at GST’s new Portland Internet Data Center as well as web site development and hosting services.

“U.S. Bank merchants and their customers will have the ability to shop electronically and complete purchases over the Internet in an interactive, secure environment,” said Joseph A. Basile, Jr., president and chief operating officer for GST Telecommunications. “With the tremendous demand for Internet-based electronic commerce, GST Internet is focused on providing tools and services to help companies, such as U.S. Bank and its merchant customers, successfully utilize the Internet for business transactions.”

“Most businesses are excited about the opportunities this new marketing channel provides,” said Bartt Brick, U.S. Bank senior vice president and manager of merchant services. “The partnership between U.S. Bank and GST will help smooth the transition to electronic commerce, enabling our customers to take advantage of the marketing potential the Internet offers,” Brick added.

Benjamin R. Peek, president of GST Internet, noted, “GST will utilize Open Market’s Transact(TM) software to build and service an electronic commerce environment focused on providing services to U.S. Bank’s merchant customers. The industry-leading Transact(TM) software offers functionality, such as complete order management, on-line customer service, authentication, record keeping and secure transaction processing. Essentially, this software differentiates GST’s electronic commerce services from other Internet service providers.”

Gary Eichhorn, president and chief executive officer of Open Market, commented, “The agreement between GST and U.S. Bank reaffirms the appeal of the commerce service provider model. Merchants wishing to outsource the complexity of Internet commerce can do it easily and cost-effectively, with known and trusted entities. Open Market’s software is ideally suited for the scalable, flexible and secure requirements of this approach to Internet commerce.”

GST Internet is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vancouver, Wash.-based GST Telecommunications, Inc. GST, a full-service telecommunications provider, operates fiber networks throughout the western United States and Hawaii, and posted record revenues of $27 million for its third fiscal quarter 1997. Facilities-based GST provides a broad range of integrated telecommunications products and services, including voice, video, data and Internet. GST strategically clusters its networks to achieve synergy and maximum opportunity within each service territory. In addition, the Company manufactures telecommunications switching equipment and provides network management and billing systems through its subsidiary, NACT Telecommunications, Inc., of Provo, Utah. Visit GST’s web sites at , , and .

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Payment Loss Solution Rolls Out

Primary Payment Systems, Inc. (PPS) and Payment Solutions Network (PSN) have agreed to form an alliance designed to offer powerful loss reduction services to financial institutions and retailers nationwide. The strong commitment by both companies to reduce check and payment losses in the industry is the backbone of this partnership. Current participating financial institutions will realize significant added value to their existing services.

“The alliance to be developed with Payment Solutions Network will dramatically improve risk control management for the payments industry,” stated Larry McNabb, CEO of Primary Payment Systems(R). “Together, we will revolutionize the industry by providing the tools to drive check and payment losses down. The Primary Payments database, which exceeds 64 million checking accounts, combined with the PSN database, would powerfully position financial institutions to leverage their account information within the marketplace. This national database is significant for financial institutions looking for payment loss reduction services as well as for credit card issuers and the retail clientele of check acceptance companies,” said McNabb.

An alliance will provide the industry with both Primary Payments’ and PSN’s products and services through a single bank interface. Current participants of Primary Payments and PSN would gain immediate access to expanded account level early warning information and electronic return item notifications.

“The major objective of an alliance is to concentrate on strengths of each service provider and combine them into a seamless, single delivery to the financial community,” explained Denny Carreker, Executive Director of the Payment Solutions Network. “PSN completes the early warning account level notification process as delivered by Primary Payments. We accomplish this by providing financial institutions the actual check disposition electronic notification. Together, Primary Payments and PSN can provide a solution for check and payment losses that cannot be matched in the industry today. The value of these joint services will in turn expedite the electronification of the check, which promises significant benefits to financial institutions and their customers,” stated Carreker.

Products offered through an alliance would include the following from Primary Payments: DEPOSIT CHEK(R), a product providing advance notification to participating financial institutions of potential check returns; PRIME PAY(R), an account verification service designed for use by check acceptance companies for their retail clients; and PRIME CHEK(R), a product providing on-line access to the central database for inquiry on checks being remitted for payment.

Payment Solutions Network would continue to provide network connectivity solutions, Electronic Check Presentment, and the check level processes in the SmartNOTEs product. Check level processes include preliminary and final (warranted) electronic return item notifications (RNOTEs). In addition, PSN will continue to provide TNOTEs (electronic closed for cause MICR and account holder information), and CNOTEs (on-us and transit electronic return item notifications through banks to their customers).

The Payment Solutions Network, Inc. is a bank-owned organization whose mission is to reduce check-related cost and fraud losses by offering an integrated suite of network and information based services, facilitating electronification of the check. These offerings accelerate the benefits that have been identified, and provide economic incentives in the transition. PSN’s membership includes 19 bank holding companies that span all 50 states and comprise over 40 percent of the deposits.

Primary Payment Systems, Inc. dramatically reduces check and payments losses nationwide utilizing an automated risk management system for financial institutions, remittance processors, and retailers. Primary Payments’ national checking account database provides electronic advanced notification of potential returns to participants, resulting in measurable loss reduction. The PPS database currently consists of over 64 million accounts contributed by 65 financial institutions across the United States. Founded in 1995, the company is owned exclusively by financial institutions and organizations owned by financial institutions.

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SecurMessage Announced

Security Dynamics Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SDTI), the leading provider of enterprise security solutions and RSA cryptographic technology, today announced the SecurMessage email security solution. SecurMessage integrates the WorldSecure Server, Client and NetTalk directory from Worldtalk Corporation (NASDAQ:WTLK), VeriSign OnSite, an enterprise digital certificate solution from VeriSign, Inc., and SecurID user authentication technology from Security Dynamics to create a secure email network within the corporation, and with remote offices, trading partners and customers. SecurMessage is designed to ensure the privacy and integrity of information by ensuring that email messages are read only by designated recipients, regardless of their email platform.

“As companies increasingly use email and messaging applications to communicate and share confidential files over the Internet, the ability to identify and authenticate users becomes critical,” said Dave Power, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development at Security Dynamics. “The combination of Worldtalk’s email firewall and S/MIME client, VeriSign’s certificate service and Security Dynamics’ user authentication technology makes SecurMessage the most secure and reliable method for exchanging email over the Internet.”

The SecurMessage solution incorporates technology from leading security vendors for securing already-deployed enterprise email and groupware applications. SecurMessage is a security overlay, providing security to most email systems an organizations has deployed, including Internet mail, client-server mail, LAN-based mail and legacy mail systems. This makes it unnecessary for organizations to replace their existing investments in email and groupware infrastructure, and eliminates the need for retraining end users on a new email system.

“SecurMessage is fulfilling a critical need within the enterprise by providing a solution that addresses a number of security threats to corporate messaging systems in addition to protecting email communication over the Internet,” said Sathvik Krishnamurthy, vice president of product planning and development at Worldtalk Corporation. “SecurMessage offers corporations the strongest level of security for its employees that communicate via email by assuring that the confidentiality of information will not be compromised by unauthorized users.”

“Securing corporate email systems is vital as companies increasingly turn to IP-based networks as the major transport mechanism for sharing information within and between enterprises,” said Stratton Sclavos, president and CEO of VeriSign, Inc. “SecurMessage provides key technologies from the leading providers of security solutions to make it possible for companies to share information over the Internet securely and confidently.”

Integration of Leading Security Technologies

SecurMessage includes Worldtalk’s new WorldSecure Server, a software solution to protect corporate email systems. WorldSecure Server provides large and mid-size companies with the tools to centrally define and enforce email security and encryption policies for all users and departments within their organization. WorldSecure Server is an email firewall that is the industry’s first comprehensive solution integrating a number of security features, including server-based S/MIME encryption and digital signature, virus protection, SPAM prevention, Internet access control, content filtering and desktop policy management. In addition, SecurMessage includes Worldtalk’s award-winning S/MIME desktop application, WorldSecure Client. By using S/MIME technology – the secure email standard from a consortium of companies led by RSA – SecurMessage provides email privacy and retains email integrity.

The addition of Worldtalk’s NetTalk to SecurMessage adds a robust Intranet email and LDAP directory server. Customers using SecurMessage can use NetTalk to store and manage X.509 digital certificates. NetTalk provides connectivity among Lotus cc:Mail and Notes, Microsoft Mail and Exchange, Netscape Mail and Directory Server, Novell Groupwise and Internet Mail systems. Organizations can use NetTalk to migrate from legacy mail to standards-based mail systems.

SecurMessage also provides built-in capability for submitting a certificate request to VeriSign, the leading commercial certificate authority. By incorporating VeriSign’s recently introduced OnSite Service into SecurMessage, companies can set up their own Certificate Authority (CA) quickly, easily and inexpensively. OnSite provides all of the certificate lifecycle services, applications support, and management tools required to operate a robust business-class CA. By adding certificate technology to SecurMessage, users can be assured that messages arrive unaltered and unreadable by anyone other than the intended recipient.

In order to establish trust between users of these certificates, SecurMessage also incorporates Security Dynamics’ SecurID user authentication technology. Although certificates offer an important level of identity and authorization, they do not address a fundamental problem: authentication. Because access to certificates is generally based on static passwords, users cannot be pr.ply identified. Passwords can be easily cracked or compromised by hackers, making the entire email communication suspect.

SecurMessage eliminates this problem by adding SecurID token technology. Using SecurID, SecurMessage guards against unauthorized access through the use of a credit card-sized token that displays a randomly generated access code that changes every 60 seconds. To access the network, the user enters his or her secret personal identification number (PIN) followed by the current code displayed on the SecurID token. This information represents a one-time passcode that is transmitted to Security Dynamics’ ACE/Server network security software for verification. This implementation of a two-factor authentication scheme provides a high level of security substantially greater than traditional passwords systems.

Pricing and Availability

SecurMessage is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 1997 from Security Dynamics. Pricing varies according to installation.

About Worldtalk Corporation

Worldtalk Corporation is a leading provider of directory-based messaging and security solutions that support organizations in transforming intranets into secure, robust and cost-effective platforms for business-critical applications and electronic commerce. Worldtalk’s solutions are designed to enable organizations to build, expand and secure full service intranets, while leveraging their existing infrastructure. Worldtalk is headquartered at 5155 Old Ironsides Drive, Santa Clara, CA and can be reached at (408) 567-1500. Additional product and company information can be obtained at http://www.worldtalk.com .

About VeriSign, Inc.

VeriSign, Inc. is the world’s leading Internet Certification Authority, a trusted third party that authenticates, issues and manages digital certificates on the Internet. VeriSign’s Digital IDs enable trusted electronic commerce by authenticating the individuals, organizations and content involved in an electronic transaction. VeriSign has issued its Digital IDs to nearly 25,000 Web sites and 1,000,000 individuals who use Netscape and Microsoft’s Internet products. The company also is delivering customized Digital ID solutions to corporations worldwide, including Novus Services, Toppan Printing and Visa International. VeriSign, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., was founded in April 1995. The company, which is a spin-out of RSA Data Security, Inc., is privately held and has been funded by strategic industry partners including Ameritech, AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, First Data, Gemplus, Intuit, Microsoft, Reuters, Security Dynamics, Softbank and Visa. For more information, please visit the VeriSign Web site at http://www.verisign.com .

About Security Dynamics Technologies, Inc.

Security Dynamics is the leading provider of enterprise network and data security solutions. Security Dynamics’ solutions help companies conduct business securely, protect corporate information assets and facilitate electronic commerce. Security Dynamics’ products employ patent-protected SecurID token technology and ACE/Server software or hardware access control products to authenticate the identity of users accessing networked or standalone computing resources. With 2 million users in 2,000 companies, Security Dynamics is the world leader in two-factor user identification and authentication. RSA Data Security, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Security Dynamics, is the world’s brand name for cryptography, with more than 80 million copies of RSA encryption and authentication technologies installed and in use worldwide. Security Dynamics and RSA can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.securitydynamics.com/ and http://www.rsa.com/, respectively.

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NBS-Bull Smart Card Terminals

NBS Technologies Inc. and Bull announce today their agreement to jointly develop terminals for the smart card and stored-value (electronic purse) card market in the United States and Canada.

NBS and Bull will combine technologies to provide state-of-the-art products and will partner on worldwide distribution. The first product to be introduced addresses the powerful growth potential of the smart card market. An advanced terminal with a large graphic display, an integrated high-speed thermal printer, a smart card reader, and support for multiple SAMs (secure application modules), the product is designed to address the needs of credit, debit, and smart card applications. With its compliance to EMV, IMV, Mondex and international standards, the product’s capabilities extend through traditional credit/debit functionality to the latest electronic commerce applications based on smart cards, such as stored-value, loyalty, and health care.

A pilot program for the new product is scheduled for early 1998. In addition to this latest product, NBS and Bull will be sharing resources, personnel, and expertise to bring additional products to the market in the near future.

“This agreement is characterized by the complete synergy and sharing of technology concepts between the two organizations,” remarked Neil Hudd, President of NBS Transaction Systems. “The partnership provides Bull and NBS the ability to jointly develop a product which will meet and exceed the demands of the global financial, commercial, and healthcare industries.”

“Applications for smart cards and stored value cards are growing exponentially,” said Philippe Bontemps, Bull EFT Business Unit Marketing Director. “The Bull/NBS product will have the technology to drive the market while having the flexibility to adjust to market changes and new applications. Together with our customers, we will effectively manage tomorrow’s cutting-edge applications for smart cards and stored-value cards.”

The teaming of NBS, the predominant supplier of point-of-use terminals to the Canadian financial industry, and Bull, the worldwide leader in providing smart card and stored-value card terminals, provides organizations with the resource to advance into the explosive growth potential of smart cards and stored-value cards in North America. “The proven effectiveness of NBS and Bull as leading suppliers in Canada and worldwide will be brought forward as the world moves toward very advanced forms of electronic commerce,” added Hudd.

In the payment terminal area, which is the subject of this agreement, Eric Pradier Vice President Bull Personal Transaction System, declared “Bull, the leading supplier in Europe with a 22.5 percent market share and third largest supplier worldwide, is investing heavily in this promising area, resulting in growth of 87 percent in the first half of 1997. This partnership with NBS is a critical step to achieving a significant position in the largest market in the world.”

NBS Technologies Inc. is a multinational information technology company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of point of sale transaction automation systems, secure identification and access control systems, plastic cards and related products and services, and digital electronic variable printing systems. Customers cover a wide range of market segments including financial institutions, hospitals, universities, government agencies, retailers, oil companies, and marketing organizations. NBS is a Toronto-based public company with operations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “NBS.”

Bull, founded in 1933, is a US $5.3 billion international information technology group. Europe-based, Bull earns over 60 percent of its revenue outside of France, its country of origin. The group’s business portfolio, focused on the development and deployment of its customer’s IT infrastructure, includes mainframes, open systems, personal computers, selected software tools, and IT related services. In Europe, Bull is ranked as the third-largest systems integrator and the fifth-largest in customer service. Bull is recognized in the IT industry for innovation in areas such as multiprocessing systems, network systems management, smart cards, mobile PCs, and security.

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Signature Capture Update

PenWare Inc., a leading supplier of electronic transaction solutions, along with its parent company, MobiNetix Systems Inc., today announced an OEM agreement that adds PenWare’s signature capture technology to Fujitsu-ICL Systems’ AcuTote handheld computers.

Businesses that use AcuTote handheld computers will now be able to record their customers’ signatures directly onto electronic receipts, replacing the need for paper receipts.

“Fujitsu-ICL’s handheld computers are used by some of the nation’s largest food and beverage manufacturers,” said Ron Omohundro, general manager and senior vice-president of global products for Fujitsu-ICL Systems. “PenWare’s signature capture technology allows these companies to improve the in-store delivery and route accounting processes. Instead of trying to keep track of millions of paper receipts, businesses can call up receipts electronically, complete with signatures. We believe this capability increases productivity and minimizes costs for our customers.”

Resolving Disputes about Deliveries

The addition of PenWare’s signature capture technology to the AcuTote handheld computers means that all necessary receipt data can now be collected electronically, stored in a centralized database, and easily retrieved. This advance dramatically speeds up the process of searching for lost or misplaced receipts and enables businesses to resolve customer disputes about deliveries more efficiently.

For example, when a customer has a dispute regarding inventory, businesses can quickly and easily call up an electronic receipt that contains a signature, instantly confirming whether or not the inventory was delivered and received. Without signature capture technology, such businesses waste valuable time trying to track down the physical location of paper receipts.

Minimizing Costs

Penware’s signature capture technology also reduces the number of refunds that businesses must issue because of lost receipts. When a customer disputes the delivery of inventory, businesses are often forced to issue refunds because the paper receipt cannot be found. However, signature capture technology greatly reduces the chances that a receipt will be lost or misplaced, because receipts with signatures are stored electronically.

PenWare’s signature capture technology also enables businesses to provide their customers with better service by efficiently and accurately resolving such disputes.

“By allowing businesses to eliminate paper receipts, resolve customer disputes more efficiently and reduce refunds, PenWare’s signature capture technology increases the end-user’s return on investment,” said Aziz Valliani, CEO and president of PenWare’s parent company, MobiNetix Systems Inc. “By adding signature capture technology to its line of AcuTote handheld computers, Fujitsu-ICL Systems is clearly adding value for its customers. PenWare is committed to providing cost-effective electronic transaction solutions for companies like Fujitsu-ICL.”

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FDC’s NetPrecision

Continuing its efforts to enhance electronic commerce, First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) today announced NetPrecision, a full function, secure Internet- based electronic banking product. First Data also announced that Ohio Savings Bank, Cleveland, Ohio, and Texas Independent Bank, Dallas, Texas, will be the first new clients to implement NetPrecision, which is being demonstrated today and Tuesday at the ABA’s Bank Card Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

Financial institutions can now customize NetPrecision to offer fully integrated, proprietary services to their retail banking and credit card customers. Banking on NetPrecision will deliver real-time account access, “pay anyone” bill payment, and on-line customer service. Customers will have access, through a personal computer and the Internet, to the bank’s web-site, secured and managed by First Data.

The NetPrecision product enables financial institutions to establish a web presence, offer home banking, and support personal financial management software. Net Precision will also be integrated with the electronic bill payment and presentment service being developed by MSFDC, the joint venture between First Data and Microsoft.

“The NetPrecision solution provides financial institutions the benefits of leading technology, comprehensive on-line services that is integrated with their core banking systems. It also offers rapid implementation with very low startup costs,” said Chuck White, president of Denver-based First Data Electronic Commerce Payments Services. “This solution maximizes our proven expertise in the secure movement of transactions and capitalizes on our existing services to financial institutions.”

Ohio Savings Bank has enabled real-time retail banking to include checking, home equity, mortgage, savings, CD, and credit card account access. Its customers can bank on-line using their preferred Personal Financial Manager via OFX access later this year.

“NetPrecision has allowed us to meet our customer’s demand for interactive banking online. Additionally, First Data provides all of the services we need minimizing our vendor and service issues on a daily basis.” said Peter Goldberg, vice president, Ohio Savings Bank.

Ohio Savings Bank has been piloting the product since April, and begins full customer rollout today.

“Ohio Savings Bank has proven to be a valuable partner due to their aggressive deployment of new technologies,” White said. “Their integrated call-center has allowed them to fully leverage the interactive features of NetPrecision.”

First Data will be reselling its service directly and through resellers to address the requirements of smaller financial institutions. Texas Independent Bank, The Banker’s Bank, is now reselling the NetPrecision product to its 850 community financial institutions in Texas and New Mexico. Texas Independent Bank has already scheduled 15 banks for startup in 1997 and 40 in 1998.

“We have a great partner with First Data. We have developed a product that is ideal for the community financial institutions that lets them offer full service interactive banking to their customers,” said Steven Simpson, senior vice president, Texas Independent Bank.

For more information on NetPrecision, please visit the NetPrecision web site at [http://www.netprecision.com.][1]

Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) 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 smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money. For further information about First Data, please visit the Internet at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com.][2]

[1]: http://www.netprecision.com
[2]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com

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King of the Hill

Despite a sluggish first half VISA USA maintains a commanding lead over all its competitors with a 51% market share according to the latest data compiled by Bankcard Barometer. While VISA and MasterCard have not officially released mid-year figures, issuer-reported second quarter data indicates VISA slipped 90 basis points and MasterCard slipped 70 basis points in the first half. American Express posted a surprising 180 basis point gain. Mid-year volume figures are generally unreliable measures of true brand share for VISA, MasterCard and Discover due to the inherent seasonal variations in consumer charge activity. American Express has a more even distribution of charge volume due to its high concentration in corporate charge volume. It is expected VISA and MasterCard will release 1997 mid-year volume numbers in conjunction with this week’s ABA Bankcard Conference in Long Beach, Ca. According to CardData industry volume is growing at a 14.5% annual rate and industry receivables are growing 12%, based on mid-year data.

Gross U.S. Volume
BRAND EOY1996 SHARE EOP1997 SHARE
VISA $447.4b 51.9% $216.1b* 51.0%
MC $229.3b 26.6% $109.7b* 25.9%
AMEX $131.0b 15.2% $71.8b 17.0%
DISC $53.6b 6.2% $25.8b 6.1%
TOTAL $861.3b $423.4b
EOY-end of year; EOP-end of period; *-estimated
SOURCE: CardData, Bankcard Barometer, Bankcard Update

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Credit Telephone Call-In

Last year, more than 1.1 million American families filed for personal bankruptcy. Many more are on the verge, evidenced by consumer credit debt reaching a new high of $1.2 trillion. As millions of Americans struggle with debt and credit problems, members of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit credit education and counseling organization are gathering to discuss the current situation and how to help consumers in financial trouble.

Members from the more than 1,300 National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) offices across the U.S. will gather in Atlanta, GA later this month (September 28-October 1) for the NFCC Annual Conference. This year, in the light of the current economic conditions and recent changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, counselors will discuss extending outreach efforts to local communities, implementing innovations in counseling techniques and improving client services.

A highlight of this year’s conference is “Ask-the-Expert,” an exciting partnership between NFCC and USA Today. “Ask-the-Expert,” to be held from 9 am to 9 pm (EST) on October 1, will feature almost 100 NFCC member counselor volunteers who will take calls from people all over the nation with credit and debt questions. This event is one example of the ways in which NFCC reaches out to individuals in trouble.

“We are thrilled about working with USA Today to put on the “Ask-the-Expert” telephone call-in,” says Durant Abernethy, president of NFCC. “This session will enable some of the millions of Americans with financial questions to get referrals to the community resources that NFCC Annual Conference to be in Atlanta add one can assist them.” NFCC expects to handle thousands of inquiries throughout the 12 hour call-in.

The 1997 conference, scheduled for the Marriott Marquis, features regional meetings, roundtable sessions and almost 40 workshops for NFCC member counselors. Some of the workshop topics include welfare reform, retirement plans, bankruptcy and hiring tips.

One particularly timely event that will be discussed at the annual conference is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which goes into effect on October 1, 1997. The FCRA is designed to promote accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of every consumer reporting agency (CRA). To better help their clients, NFCC counselors will be apprised of the details of this act which include the following: you must be told if information in your file has been used against you; you can find out what is in your file; you can ask to make your name unavailable for credit offers; inaccurate information must be quickly corrected or deleted.

The host member of the NFCC annual conference is Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. Headquartered in Atlanta, CCCS has offices in Athens, Carrollton, Decatur, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Gainesville, Marietta, Norcross, Rome, Toccoa and throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area.

To learn more about budgeting and using credit or to receive confidential money management counseling, contact a local NFCC member agency. NFCC members can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies standards that include agency accreditation, counselor certification and policies that ensure confidential services that are free or low-cost. Many members operate under the name Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

To locate the nearest NFCC member office, call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 1-800-388-2227 or visit the NFCC Home Page at . Spanish speaking consumers can call 1-800-682-9832.

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DataCard’s New CFO

DataCard Corporation announced today that Paul A. Schroeder will become the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) effective October 1, 1997. Schroeder comes from NCR Corporation, where he most recently served as vice president and controller.

“Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “He has led large finance and information systems groups. He helped build and manage substantial businesses in Europe and Asia. And he understands technologies that are important to us.”

“Paul also was a key member of the transition team during NCR’s divestiture from AT&T,” Highland said. “That experience will be extremely valuable for DataCard as we move forward.”

Before NCR’s divestiture from AT&T, Schroeder help a number of critical positions, including vice president and CFO for AT&T’s Asia/Pacific operations.

He received his masters of management in finance and accounting from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. He also earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

As DataCard’s CFO, Schroeder’s responsibilities will include the treasury, the controller’s group, information systems (IS), internal auditing and facilities management.

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., is a world leader in innovative plastic card solutions. The company offers a spectrum of card-related products and services, including digital photo ID systems, badging services, card personalization system, systems integration services and transaction terminals.

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