New Banking & Investment Channel

The Online Banking Association is announcing the development of the Banking and Investments (B&I) Channel. This will consist of a series of financial information segments for consumers that can be accessed over the Internet. Subjects will include such things as “How to Finance Your New Home,” “How to Buy Mutual Funds,” “How to Save for Retirement” and other financial topics of interest to individuals.

According to James M. Shelton, OBA Executive Director, “There is a great need for information on financial services due to the ever changing and complex financial world in which we live. Today’s consumers are confused about the many financial products and services being offered. By providing easy to understand and unbiased information about financial services, we can provide valuable information to banking customers.”

Gorilla Systems Corporation will be the technology facilitator for the system and will manage the operation on behalf of the OBA. According to Paul Lambert, Director of Consumer Services for Gorilla, “We are pleased to work with the OBA in developing the navigational components and technical issues associated with the B&I Channel. In particular, the technologies of broadband delivery of information over the Internet provides an exciting new opportunity to serve the banking public.”

The OBA and Gorilla Systems, in conjunction with other content providers, will be developing informational programs or modules to store on the B&I Channel web site. Each module will address a specific financial topic and can be accessed through the Internet. Financial institutions can sponsor various modules or advertise on the modules which can be accessed on demand by consumers. Each module will also provide a hot link to each advertiser’s web site. This allows target marketing by the bank, since those consumers requesting information on a specific financial service will be a prime market for the advertiser that is promoting that service.

Two databases will be developed. One will be for delivery on the standard Internet via telephone modems. The other will be for use with cable modem and satellite systems where broad bandwidth speed is available. These will be more television-like quality and will make extensive use of multi media presentations.

Content from the standard telephone Internet connection can either be delivered over television or a personal computer. For customers without personal computers in the home, the OBA is offering a set top box for banks to market which will provide Internet access over the home television.

Banks and content providers interested in participating in the program should call OBA headquarters at 415-924-1051. The first pilot program is planned for introduction this Fall. For further information on Gorilla Systems, please check their web site at www.gorillacorp.com. Information on the OBA is at [www.obanet.org][1].

[1]: http://www.obanet.org

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NCR – China ATMs

NCR Corporation signed a joint-venture agreement to build ATMs in China. The agreement was signed Tuesday by the two partners at a ceremony in Beijing. The joint venture company will be known as NCR (Beijing) Financial Systems Co. Ltd. NCR and Beijing Wire will jointly invest $19 million under the agreement to produce NCR’s state-of-the-art personaS range of ATMs. NCR will be the majority partner in the venture with a 70 per cent stake, with the remainder held by Beijing Wire. Initial production will be about 600 terminals a year, rising to about 5,000 ATMs by 2002. It is expected that all production in the first five years will be marketed within China.

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Bravo Wheel of Fortune

BRAVO® Card gathered hundreds of kids from the Philadelphia and surrounding area today at the Franklin Mills Mall for a chance to compete in a spectacular traveling version of WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000, the hot, new CBS television game show for kids. Based on Wheel of Fortune, WHEEL OF FORTUNE 200 will be brought to cities all across the country this Fall by BRAVO Card. The traveling game show offered kids a chance to compete for fabulous prizes including a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood for the whole family.

Part of a 10-city tour (see attached schedule) presented by BRAVO CARD, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000 Mall Tour offered local children, who were randomly chosen from the audience, a chance to win an all-expense-paid vacation to Universal Studios Hollywood® for their whole family. Every child who participated in the games won prizes including mall gift certificates and BRAVO accessories.

The traveling show came complete with a vibrantly-colored, 600 square foot set that featured animated video characters, sound effects and light displays.

The contestants, ages 8-14, earned points — not money — by spinning a wheel to the one on Wheel Of Fortune. The program stays loyal to the immensely successful adult Wheel Of Fortune format, but updates the classic game show by adding interactive, physically-challenging elements for children. The program, which is designed to be both entertaining and educational for children, helps youngsters with a variety of language arts skills, while also providing information and facts about mathematics, history, music, the arts and sports. WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000 also helps children develop problem-solving skills while learning about healthy competition and sportsmanship.

David Sidoni, host of WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000 and star of Nickelodean, selected over 70 children to play during the course of the weekend. Assisting Sidoni in the role Vanna White made famous, was stand-in “letter-tuner” Dave Shultz, legendary star of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“BRAVO CARD and WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000 are a perfect fit,” said Robert E. Wood II, Executive Vice President, NOVUS® Services, Inc. “No other card offers its cardmembers the flexibility to do the fun and exciting things they want to do. And, no other game show is as much fun for families as CBS television’s WHEEL OF FORTUNE 2000.”

As an extension of the event, the first 100 people who brought a minumum of $50 in BRAVO Card receipts from a mall purchase to the BRAVO Card booth received a free, interactive game version of Wheel of Fortune. And, cardmembers who use their BRAVO Card for any purchase from now through November 30, 1997 are automatically entered in a sweepstakes to win a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood. (Cardmembers also can mail receipts to enter the sweepstakes through January 9, 1998)

The BRAVO Card, launched in 1995, offers members two lines of credit: an ACTIVE LINE for everyday purchases, balance transfers or cash advances. And, a RESERVE LINE — a second, separate line of credit of $1000 that allows cardmembers to write checks for $250 or more for bigger purchases. The BRAVO CARD also offers an over-limit protection feature called Approval: Yes! This feature allows cardmembers to make purchases, balance transfers and cash advances that exceed their Active Line credit limit by up to 15%. This feature gives cardmembers a cushion even when they inadvertently go over their Active Line credit limit.

The BRAVO Card, issued by a business unit of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co., is a general purpose credit card that is accepted nationwide wherever the NOVUS sign is displayed.

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Concinity – Domino.Merchant Integrate

Calico Technology, a leading provider of electronic commerce solutions for the interactive selling and buying of complex products and services, today announced its Concinity software has been integrated with Lotus Development’s Domino.Merchant electronic commerce product.

The fully integrated product is being demonstrated for the first time by Calico Technology at their pedestal in the Lotus Pavilion booth No. 1316 here at the San Jose DCI Field and Sales Force Automation Exhibition.

The integration of Concinity with Domino.Merchant offers an out-of-the-box product solution that more easily enables electronic commerce for complex configurable products and services. Concinity provides a solution for configuring, in real-time, complex products and services, such as routers, machinery, automobiles, industrial equipment and service contracts over a variety of platforms including the Internet. Domino.Merchant will handle all of the merchant processing once the configuration is completed.

With this integration the power of Concinity is matched with a powerful eCommerce solution that will allow vendors to offer custom configured products and services and sell them through an easy to navigate eCommerce site. This integration allows for greater speed in deployment and improved customer satisfaction by providing the customer with exactly what they want, when they want it.

Uptime Computer Solutions Inc. performed the integration between Calico Concinity and Lotus Domino.Merchant. Uptime is a leading Lotus Domino system integrator specializing in data-based tools and strategies for sales force automation.

“In the real world most goods aren’t sold from stock; they are customized in complex ways,” said Alan Naumann, CEO of Calico. “This integration of our two products makes it even easier to buy and sell these products over the Internet. This product-based solution will allow our customers to build their eCommerce channels at Web speed.”

“In order for an electronic commerce solution to benefit different industries it needs to fit the needs of an organization’s selling process,” said Keith McCall, director, Domino Applications, Lotus Development Corp. “The integration of Concinity and Domino.Merchant provides larger companies a way to offer their customers complex customized products and services online in an interactive purchasing experience.”

When used as an interactive buying system, Concinity lowers the overall cost of selling and increases customer satisfaction by decreasing the effort and potential for errors in collecting customer requirements, designing a solution and configuring an order.

Businesses that use Lotus Domino.Merchant with Concinity can empower customers to analyze requirements, configure solutions, develop quotations and order products via a seamlessly integrated electronic commerce Web site. Customers who purchase Calico Concinity and Lotus Domino.Merchant Server will be able to take advantage of the seamless integration of these two products beginning in the late Fall of 1997. The integration capability is included for no additional cost.

Lotus’ dynamic electronic commerce solution, Domino.Merchant, provides organizations with the capabilities needed for Internet sales and marketing, from creating a site that integrates with a company’s corporate intranet, to designing a catalog, registering site visitors, processing orders securely, and handling payments via credit card or purchase order. Domino.Merchant scales effectively and easily to IBM’s Net.Commerce system as the demand for a company’s products and services grows.

About Calico Technology

Calico Technology, located in San Jose, is a leading provider of electronic commerce solutions that enable interactive buying or selling of complex products and services. Calico develops and markets Concinity, software designed to allow sales organizations, customers, and end users to analyze requirements, access marketing data, configure solutions, develop quotations, generate proposals, and place orders using the Internet, intranet, laptop computers and CD-ROMs.

Concinity allows Calico’s customers to increase their competitive advantage at the point of sale and to expand channels of distribution, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

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Convenient Internet Access

7-Eleven will begin testing credit card driven Internet access stations in eight Seattle-area stores today. Consumers can access e-mail, the World Wide Web and on-line services from the stations without the use of a laptop computer. US West is providing the high-speed ISDN access stations which are activated solely with credit cards. Consumers will be charged 20-35 cents per minute depending on the block of time purchased. 7-Eleven says it believes the new service could be as successful as its phone cards, money orders and ATM services.

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CardBASE2000 Gets Funding

Card Services International (CSI), the world’s leading smart card software company, is pleased to announce the completion of a US$3 million investment package aimed at supporting the on-going development and world-wide marketing of its sophisticated multi-function smart card management system, CardBASE2000®. The investment is being supported by Gemplus, the largest plastic and smart card manufacturer, the Irish business development agency Forbairt, the Irish Trade Board, Private Investors, and ICC Venture Capital.

![][1] The total investment of US$3,000,000 is configured as follows; Gemplus US$675,000, Forbairt US$750,000, Irish Trade Board US$450,000, Private Investors US$375,000, and ICC Venture Capital US$750,000.

CSI’s core product, CardBASE2000, enables major financial, telecommunications and retail organizations offer a wide range of multi-function smart card products to their customers on a single card. These products include; electronic purse, loyalty schemes and bill payment, as well as traditional credit and debit card products.

Established in 1993, CSI already has a comprehensive base of customers in Western and Eastern Europe, South America, Australia and the Middle East. Customers include British Airways and Europay International (who along with Mastercard and Visa represent the major payment card organizations in the world). Partnerships have been established with leading industry players such as IBM.

According to Mr Aonghus Geraghty, Managing Director of CSI, “The forecast growth in the application of smart cards is enormous. The three major card organizations have committed to migrate to smart card technology by the year 2004. Each card issuer needs a sophisticated software solution to effectively manage the multi-functionality of these new Smart Card schemes. Smart Cards offer a very secure way of purchasing goods and services. Secure purchases can be made over the Internet as well as streamlining access to public transport, vending and parking services. Smart Cards can also be used to provide government benefits to card holders, securely hold medical, insurance and other personal information.”

Commenting on the investment, Mr Geraghty went on to say; “Our objective was to combine, into a meaningful financial package, the available Government support for a developing business via Forbairt and the Irish Trade Board, with efficient private and management investment, and international corporate support through our existing relationship with Gemplus”.

According to Mr Marc Lassus, Chief Executive of Gemplus, “For Gemplus the importance of having good software solution providers is vital to our continued success. Gemplus has been working with CSI for some years now and the supply of Gemplus smart cards and CSI application software to the largest airline in the world, British Airways, is an example of how both companies are working well together. We recognize the wisdom of the Irish Government in their support of indigenous software companies and we look forward to the benefits of further developing our relationship with CSI.”

According to Mr Dan Flinter, Chief Executive of Forbairt, “CSI has persuaded the largest company in its industry, Gemplus, to become an active partner and a shareholder in its business. This, coupled with a significant growth in sales and employment at the company, convinced Forbairt that CSI is becoming a very important supplier of software, to major smart card issuers world-wide.”

According to Mr Oliver Tattan, Chief Executive of the Irish Trade Board, “the international software market becomes more competitive each day. Having the best technical solution is not enough. Irish companies excel by providing superb niche products and effective customized solutions and by delivering these with exceptionally high service values. International marketing excellence is our single most valuable resource in a global marketplace where differentiation is critical. The detailed marketing plan prepared by CSI, supported by recently entering into a worldwide marketing agreement with IBM, shows that CSI knows what it is about in a particularly competitive market.”

According to Mr Maurice McHenry, Managing Director ICC Software Fund, “The Irish software industry has demonstrated some good returns to investors in the past three to five years and the international market has a very positive view of software that is developed in Ireland. CSI, through their product CardBASE2000®, has an opportunity to capitalize on this image and ICC Software Fund expects to use its knowledge of the software industry to help the company achieve significant growth during the coming years.”

[1]: /graphic/csi/cardbase.gif

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MedPlus Card Alliances

MedPlus Corporation has amplified its marketing development with the announcement of four new alliances. The Colorado Springs health finance company is known for providing financing for elective surgeries to patients at point of use through its own private label MedPlus Benefits credit card. While this service continues, MedPlus intends to market its card through providers of high deductible health insurance policies.

Insurance companies and preferred provider organizations will be able to issue the MedPlus credit card each time a high deductible policy is sold. It is planned for the card to function as both the insured’s ID and an access platform to pay for all deductibles and co-pays.

“We’ve decided to launch the program in Texas this fall prior to a national roll-out a few months later,” explained Tim DeHerrera, MedPlus President. “To start this campaign we have just signed letters of intent for alliances with four health care organizations.”

The first alliance will be with the Employee Benefit Administrators and Benefit Management Administrators of San Antonio, Texas. These “third party administrators” currently provide services to over 100,000 insurance policy holders and they have advised MedPlus that this number is expected to grow to over 200,000 by the end of next year. “These figures are further swelled when one adds the 100,000 insured of Houstons Vanguard Healthcare of Texas,” said Ron Thomas, Vice President of Marketing at MedPlus. Vanguard Healthcare is a statewide health care agency specializing in home infusion therapy.

Another Houston firm, Preferred Access, LTD, has signed and could bring a further 30,000 credit card holders to the MedPlus customer base this year with a potential of 200,000 by the end of 1998. “We’ve also signed with Vencor Hospital Management Corporation of Costa Mesa, California,” continued DeHerrera. “Vencor manages 210 hospitals across the country but our letter at first covers 27 hospitals and 14 Outpatient Surgery Centers in Texas as well as 12,800 physicians.”

Market analyst, Jeffery Stone of Stone Asset Management, Inc., said, “With these four letters of intent, MedPlus Corporation is beginning a phase of its overall business plan that will orient the company toward a dramatic increase in earnings and total revenue by the end of 1997. If their strategy is brought to fruition, pro forma projections are accelerated by more than a year.”

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Equifax to Track Bad Phone Debt

Equifax Inc. has been chosen to create and manage the first national telecommunications industry database of unpaid consumer telephone accounts for the newly formed National Consumer Telecommunications Data Exchange (NCTDE). The NCTDE is designed to assist telecommunications carriers in reducing the amount of uncollectibles from consumer customers and to better evaluate credit risk.

The Equifax selection was the result of a highly competitive bidding process. Equifax has operated a national database of disconnected unpaid commercial telephone accounts for a sister organization, the National Telecommunications Data Exchange (NTDE), since August, 1995, and has recently had its contract for that service extended through the year 2000. NTDE has more than 60 members representing more than 90 percent of the dollar sales of the commercial long distance telecommunications industry.

Thomas F. Chapman, Equifax president and chief operating officer, said, “NTDE has been tremendously successful for the commercial accounts business of the nation’s long distance carriers. The application of Equifax’s advanced technology and database management expertise to residential accounts through NCTDE solidifies Equifax’s leadership position in providing information solutions to the telecommunications industry.”

NCTDE members will input information on residential accounts disconnected for non-payment into the Equifax NCTDE database. Members can identify and locate those accounts when checking new applications for service against the NCTDE database. This enables the members to collect unpaid balances, recoup losses and set appropriate deposits for new service.

Information in the database will be available only to contributing members of NCTDE. The founding members are AT&T Corp.; BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc.; Citizens Utilities Company; Frontier Communications Services, Inc.; IXC Communications Inc.; MCI Telecommunications Corporation; NYNEX Long Distance Company; Sprint Communications Company, L.P.; and Worldcom, Inc. Membership in NCTDE, which is a not-for-profit organization, is open to any telecommunications carrier (as defined by the Telecommunications Act of 1996) with consumer telecommunications accounts.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that the NCTDE had received approval for its proposed activities from the DOJ Anti-Trust Division, pursuant to DOJ’s business review procedures.

The NCTDE database is subject to the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as are the databases of the other 11 regional residential exchanges Equifax manages throughout the country for regional telephone companies and utilities. Consumers are supported by a specialized team of information consultants at the Equifax Information Service Center.

“We expect NCTDE to be fully operational in December, 1997,” said Ken Akins, executive director of the NCTDE. “The organization will grow like the commercial exchange as more telecommunications carriers see the benefit of sharing their consumer unpaid account information.” For more information on NCTDE, contact Mr. Akins at 972-518-0019.

Equifax is a world leader in providing financial information and processing solutions, with global operations in consumer and commercial credit information services, payment services, software, modeling, analytics and consulting and direct-to-consumer services. The company serves many industries including banking, finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities and health care. Equifax was founded in 1899 in Atlanta and today has 10,000 employees around the world. It operates globally in 17 countries, with sales in 40 countries. Equifax (NYSE: EFX) revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 1997, were just under $1.3 billion.

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VISA Check Runs Away

VISA’s off-line debit card surpassed the 50 million cardholder mark at mid-year and continues to hold about 75% of the market. As of June 30, VISA U.S.A. reports it has 50.4 million ‘VISA Check’ cards-in-force that have generated 878 million transactions thus far this year, representing a six-month dollar volume of $39.7 billion. In announcing a major debit card education initiative last week, MasterCard indicated it had about 17 million ‘MasterMoney’ cards-in-force at mid-year. The popularity of VISA-branded and MasterCard-branded debit cards has been nothing short of phenomenal. VISA released a Gallup survey last night that shows consumers are using debit cards more regularly than cash or checks at grocery stores. The study also revealed that Americans now use debit cards ten times per month, or triple the frequency of use four years ago. Half of the survey respondents said they would switch banks if the bank terminated its debit card program. Gallup surveyed more than 2,000 consumers during the summer.

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APPRO Beefs Up Lending System

APPRO Systems, Inc. announced today at the Financial Technology Expo, the launch of a new version of the company’s consumer lending systems. The new version of the company’s consumer lending systems. The new version of the company’s core lending system incorporates a financial institution’s credit policy, scorecard, bankruptcy screening, delinquency screening, collateral value (on secured loans) and applicant’s credit characteristics to determine the best loan product fit for the applicant. According to APPRO officials, lenders specializing in in-direct auto lending could move toward a near zero decline rate with this system.

APPRO’s consumer lending systems are used by high volume lenders throughout North America to evaluate credit risk and process consumer loans. Some of APPRO’s customers include BMAC, Hibernia, PNC Bank, San Francisco Federal Employees Credit Union and The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

The new system was developed to address major changes in the lending environment and to provide more complex decisioning capabilities.

“Lenders are facing a myriad of challenges today that didn’t exist just two years ago,” said Craig Uffman, president of APPRO Systems. “They are looking at a shrinking population in key demographics areas, accelerating pressure for higher earnings, soaring bankruptcy rates and intense competition. The legacy this new system will leave is that it is the first lending system with automated down-selling capabilities to match the right product at the right price for the applicant.”

APPRO’s new systems can apply the institution’s complete credit policy for each applicant or multi-applicants on multiple products. By looking at hundreds of variables within seconds, the system can evaluate the strengths of the individuals and match them to the appropriate product. The system can also determine if one applicant has a stronger credit profile than the co-applicant.

The new system includes more than 200 significant enhancements and enables financial institutions to maximize workflow while minimizing risk. New loan queuing options give APPRO customers flexibility in routing applications.

In-direct Lenders Move to Zero Declines with New System

According to Uffman, consumers who don’t qualify for a particular loan product are constantly re-evaluated for products with different credit guidelines. This process is called “downselling” because the applicant is automatically routed to a “conduit” business partner which specializes in sub-prime loans. In general, lenders that can increase automated lending decisions can generally respond to dealers quicker and secure a higher percentage of contracts.

APPRO’s system can be used to connect to other front end loan application systems such as IBM’s Auto Loan Exchange, and ADP/CMSI’s Credit Connection.

“Risk-based pricing is the key for maximizing profits today,” said Uffman. “Downselling will enable lenders to look beyond the scorecard mentality of pass or fail and close loans at a price relevant to the risk.”

More System Enhancements

Customers also have more control over the handling of duplicate and potentially fraudulent applications. There are new controls for branch-sponsored applications, applications requiring special handling and applications received via solicitations.

The new system includes:

– More control in implementing risk management and work flow strategies

– Increased ability to process much higher volumes

– Greater connectivity to dealers, branches, mail processors, data warehouse, and other external databases

– An easy, reliable transition from the current version

“Those who take advantage of the new system should experience much greater loan officer and loan processor capacity, significantly greater control over credit policy, and be able to catalyze volume growth through simplified connectivity to their marketing channels,” Uffman added.

The software automatically computes the correct buy rate, contract rate, or origination fee based upon credit quality measurements, collateral parameters, financial measurements, the product itself, the delivery channel and the lender’s cost of funds.

“Automatic, consistent, risk-based pricing directly provides control and enhances underwriting capacity,” Uffman said.

As another enhancement, the APPRO Expert System provides more pre-bureau declines as well as a much more powerful “indexed” decision matrices. New rules help customers consider aggregate relationships with customers in approving credit and assigning credit limits.

About APPRO

APPRO Systems, Inc., founded in 1979, is privately help and managed. The company’s family of credit assessment products is installed in more than 90 financial institutions nationwide. Along with the consumer lending systems, APPRO’s products include the 20/20 Small Business Lending System, a complete assessment package for commercial lending that evaluates multiple applicants and products.

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Card Transactions Via Satellite

Hughes Network Systems has successfully installed 5,000 VSATs (very small aperture satellite terminals) for Mobil Oil’s centralized credit card authorization system. Mobil is replacing its leased line system with the satellite network and is projecting that 5,500 service stations will be connected to its Lenexa, KS data center via the Hughes satellite network by year’s end. Mobil said yesterday it plans to use the VSAT network for much more than credit card processing, for example: supporting marketing initiatives and managing gas tank monitors. Hughes has more than 130,000 VSATs installed in the U.S.

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GCA Adds Microsoft, IBM & Six Others

The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) today announced the addition of eight new members to its growing roster of industry leaders around the globe. New members include IBM, Microsoft, Telstra, GemPlus, Landis & Gyr Communications, Nortel (Northern Telecom), SPT Telecom and Elcotel. The new member companies bring the GCA membership to 16, including major telecommunications, software, networking, hardware and financial services companies and equipment manufacturers dedicated to accelerating the technology and pace of electronic commerce and its worldwide consumer acceptance.

With the recent developments in chipcard technology, consumers may someday soon be able to carry only one card which could house communications, financial, license, insurance, debit/credit, loyalty points as well as other important personal data. The aggressive development and rapid acceptance of global smart cards will also accelerate electronic commerce making the buying and selling of truly worldwide goods and services versatile, easy and secure. Industry and cross industry open standards, combined with interoperability agreements which allow consumers to use cards from location to location, are the keys to implementing smart card capability on a global scale.

“Our growing membership is evidence of the support for the GCA’s efforts to achieve worldwide smart card interoperability,” said David Anastasi, vice president and general manager, U S WEST Public Services as well as GCA president and a member of the board. “We have a vision that within the next five years, smart/chipcard consumers will be able to access their personalized applications and solutions wherever they are in the world. With these additional industry leaders joining our organization, we are even more confident of our vision becoming reality.”

The goal of global smart card interoperability began with the first significant interoperability agreement signed by GCA members, PTT Telecom Netherlands/Unisource and Deutsche Telekom. This was followed by a similar interoperability agreement between U S WEST and GTE. Most recently, the U S WEST and GTE agreement was expanded to include Bell Canada. “These interoperability agreements demonstrate the commitment of current Global Chipcard Alliance members to create worldwide interoperability and create the foundation on which to build future agreements and applications,” added Anastasi. “The GCA members have created interoperability and multi- functionality committees. These committees will coordinate future interoperability agreements, adopt standards and work with current as well as new members to add multiple applications to those agreements.”

“Microsoft is very pleased to be a participant in the GCA with telecommunications, financial services, and software industry participants,” said Cameron Myhrvold, vice president, Internet Customer Unit at Microsoft. “Microsoft will work together with the alliance in an effort to achieve compatibility in smart card technology and to ensure interoperability with Microsoft platforms.”

“For IBM, multifunctionality and interoperability of smart card solutions are not only at the heart of the strategy,” said Dr. Toni Merschen, responsible for Technology and Alliances in IBM’s Smart Card Solutions unit. “In fact, we have delivered truly multifuntional solutions to our customers in various industry segments such as telecommunications, electronic commerce, education, health, and network solutions. We are glad to join the GCA today and are looking forward to make substantial contributions to GCA’s goals on a global scale.”

The new GCA members, with current members Bell Canada, Deutsche Telekom, GTE Public Communications, PTT Telecom Netherlands/Unisource,Telekom Malaysia, U S WEST Communications, American Express and Oracle represent a wide range of industries as well as geography. In addition to IBM and Microsoft, Nortel is a leading provider of digital network solutions as well as the Millennium public access terminals. Telstra is Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company. SPT Telecom is located in the Czech Republic. GemPlus, headquartered in Southern France, is the largest smart card manufacturer in the world. Other payphone, hardware equipment manufacturers and suppliers of electronic payment solutions include Landis & Gyr communications headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and Elcotel, Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.

About the GCA

The Global Chipcard Alliance was founded in October 1996 by PTT Telecom, U S WEST Communications, GTE, Bell Canada and Telekom Malaysia. The GCA’s mission is to create an environment which accelerates the development of multi-functional smart/chip technology and related applications through business alliances that have a commitment to: 1) worldwide open interoperable networks; 2) public advocacy; 3) endorsing of standards and specifications; and 4) promoting communications-enabled applications and solutions. See for more information about the Global Chipcard Alliance.

Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) Welcomes New Members

Elcotel, Inc. — Sarasota, Florida “Participation in the Global Chipcard Alliance is an essential strategic initiative for Elcotel, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida,” said Tracey Gray, president and Chief Operating Officer. “We endorse the multi industry and international cooperation this alliance represents in the ambitious initiative to advance the technology and applications necessary to deliver the services and capabilities the global smart card will provide to customers.”

Landis & Gyr Communications — Geneva, Switzerland

“Landis & Gyr Communications is very excited about joining the GCA. Beyond a recognition of the investment already made to promote cross-border acceptance of common payment schemes, this membership is also a clear sign of confidence given by major telecom operators in Landis & Gyr Communications abilities to further develop and roll out leading-edge electronic payment solutions for low value transactions. Landis & Gyr Communications is fully committed to support telecom operators in the deployment of standardized payment solutions.”

Landis & Gyr Communications is a supplier of electronic payment solutions, including smart cards, terminal equipment and systems.

Nortel — Canada

“We feel it is important to be a part of this customer-driven organization which shares our goal of providing the public with an advanced communications platform that facilitates global smart card interoperability,” said Tom Manley, AVP, General Manager, Millennium, Nortel. “Customers of GTE, U S WEST, and Bell Canada will use their smart cards interchangeably in Nortel’s Millennium phones, and our participation in the GCA is the next major step towards a universal smart card that can be used in any Millennium phone.”

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