GemPlus Introduces MobilSmart

Gemplus announced Friday it is supplying its ‘GemXplore Phase 2+ SIM’ cards to a new remote banking application at Postgirot Bank AB in Sweden. The application, called ‘MobilSmart’ offers bank customers the ability to carry out banking transactions using their GSM-based mobile phone. They can pay their bills, and access banking and transaction information directly from their GSM handset. The transfer of money from one account to another is secured by the Gemplus SIM card, which ensures the security of the over-the-air transaction by computing an electronic signature that is sent to the bank.


Nokia Demos Wireless Payment System

At the ITU Telecom Interactive `97 Exhibition Nokia and Unisource are showcasing wireless banking and payment services on a Nokia 9000 Communicator. One hundred people will be testing the Smart Access services over the next few months. The trialists from Telia of Sweden, Swiss Telecom PTT, PTT Telecom of the Netherlands, NatWest and Mondex of the UK, will be able to access their NatWest bank accounts to withdraw or deposit cash. Trialists will also be able to pay for information services, using the Mondex cash cards.

“The purpose of the trial is to prove the commercial feasibility of electronic payment, to provide new value-added services to our customers and to further test the technology. In electronic payment concept there are boundless opportunities for business and commerce.. The Internet and cellular networks are the two most rapidly growing information and communication platforms of today. Together they make an ideal backbone for the emerging electronic payment systems”, says Mikko Terho, Vice President, Wireless Data, Nokia Mobile Phones.

“Many information services use a subscription model for payment today because there is no workable alternative”, says Julian Wilson, Unisource Director Smart Access. “We hope the Smart Access trial with Nokia will demonstrate an attractive alternative to subscription”.

Smart Access makes use of electronic cash cards, which are becoming increasingly common, to enable immediate “virtual membership” to an information service. “Smart Access will complement existing subscription services and offer a new revenue opportunity to smaller businesses, unable to compete for subscribers”, says Julian Wilson.

The electronic money is on the Mondex smart card. The user inserts the card into the smart card reader connected to the Nokia 9000 Communicator. The cash on the card can be used to pay for digital goods or services. When the card is empty the user access their bank, with the communicator over GSM, to withdraw more funds, as if visiting the ATM machine in the high street.

Headquartered in Finland, Nokia is a leader in digital technologies including mobile phones, cellular and fixed telecommunications networks, wireless data solutions and multimedia terminals. With sales in approximately 130 countries, net sales totaled FIM 39.3 billion ($8.5 billion) in 1996. Nokia employs more than 34,000 people in 45 countries. Nokia’s shares are listed in Helsinki, New York, London, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Paris.

Unisource was created in response to the changing European business environment and customers’ requirements for pan-European and global communications services. The company was established in 1992 by Telia of Sweden and PTT Telecom of the Netherlands. Swiss PTT Telecom became a partner in 1993. In the same year Unisource extended its pan-European reach by forming a joint venture with AT&T of the USA, a partnership which is now being extended to merge other AT&T and Unisource operations in Europe. AT&T- Unisource Communications Services is also a member of the WorldPartners Association, a group which today consists of 17 telecoms service providers, distributing services in over 30 countries around the world. Unisource is also a shareholder of Infonet whose WorldNetwork data communications services now cover 175 countries worldwide.

The project was conceived by Unisource and is co-funded by PTT Telecom of the Netherlands. In addition, an international team of companies is actively involved with the development of the services and technology behind the new mobile access/payment service: Unisource, PTT Telecom Netherlands, CyberChipper, Nokia Mobile Phones, Hyperion, National Westminster Bank, Schiphol Airport, Time Out Magazine and Mondex UK.

Also at ITU Telecom Interactive ’97 exhibition in Geneve, Unisource Smart Access announced an agreement with Chipper International to facilitate CyberChipper purse Internet payments within the Smart Access services. This technical development phase is expected to lead to a commercial collaboration. “Smart Access offers the CyberChipper team an enhanced proposition to merchants and Chipper offers Smart Access more `virtual members’,” says Julian Wilson.

The concept of Smart Access is built on using the efficient settlement features of electronic cash as a means of paying for network services. The concept is designed to be network access, smart card and device independant.


AOL to Swallow CompuServe

America Online will cement its dominance of the online world today as it acquires, via a complex transaction, CompuServe. The breaking development this morning will add another 2.6 million subscribers to AOL’s current 9.0 million customers. The complex transaction involves the acquisition of CompuServe by WorldCom and then the sale of CompuServe to AOL. AOL will sell its ANS Communication subsidiary to WorldCom in exchange for CompuServe and $175 million in cash. CompuServe’s primary owner, H&R Block, says it will use the proceeds to introduce new financial products and services.


New Asian Smart Card Plant

Schlumberger opened a smart card manufacturing facility in Hong Kong. Schlumberger’s new venture – the Hong Kong Cards Industrial Centre is the only complete smart cards manufacturing facility in Asia. At the moment, chip modules or finished cards must be made in Europe or the USA and imported – often adding weeks to projects. Schlumberger’s new factory is located in the Aberdeen district of Hong Kong, with plant and staff capable of manufacturing up to half a million cards per month, initially, and substantial room for expansion.


First SET 1.0 Payment Products

GlobeSet announced Friday, the industry’s first SET application products incorporating the SET 1.0 specification. Available through Tandem Computers, the iTP SET 1.0 product suite supports secure payment card transactions over the Internet. Tandem is the leader in online transaction processing providing solutions that process 90 percent of the world’s securities transactions, 80 percent of the world’s ATM transactions, 66 percent of all 911 emergency called and 66 percent of all credit card transactions. General availability for the iTP SET 1.0 product suite will be early 1998.


ULTRADATA Signs Another

ULTRADATA Corp. (NASDAQ:ULTD) has been selected by CP Federal Credit Union in Jackson, Michigan as their new technology partner.

With $151 million in assets and over 28,000 members, CP serves over 35 Select Employer Groups. Its primary field of membership is Consumer Energy in Jackson.

ULTRADATA continues to expand its market presence with the addition of CP Federal Credit Union. “Choosing a new service provider is not an easy decision,” said Jerry King, CEO of CP Federal Credit Union. “However, the decision was made simpler by the quality of ULTRADATA’s systems, the advanced technology, and the personal interest they showed in the mission of our credit union.”

“We are delighted with the addition of CP to our client-base,” stated Robert J. Majteles, President and CEO of ULTRADATA. “CP’s business philosophy fits in with our mission; they put their relationship with their members before anything, and that makes them exactly the type of institution our products and services are designed for.”

With ULTRADATA’s core system, ULTRAFIS(TM), CP has purchased ALPS-Automated Loan Processing System, online ATMs, online Debit Cards, UDC-Front Office, IPS Bondsmart, the Optical Management System, PC Browser Banking, Voice Response, and Shared Branch.

ULTRADATA provides online information management solutions for financial institutions. The company develops, markets and supports: ULTRAFIS(TM), an advanced information management engine; the Ultra-Access(TM) suite of remote banking products; and ULTRADATA Select, client/server-based software applications.


Bigger & Smarter

BankBoston, Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank and consulting firm First Annapolis opened the curtain yesterday on a new joint venture that will combine the existing U.S. card portfolios of BankBoston and Harris Bank with the management and marketing savvy of First Annapolis. The firms expect to close the deal by Nov. 30 and they project the newly formed entity will be among the fifteen largest U.S. card portfolios by the year 2000. Under terms of the agreement: BankBoston will contribute most of its $1.4 billion portfolio in exchange for $5 million in cash, $50 million in preferred shares and 19% of the common shares of the new entity (BankBoston will retain its regional portfolio cardholders); Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank will contribute most of Harris Bank’s $782 million portfolio and $115 million in cash in exchange for a 69% ownership; and First Annapolis will contribute its subsidiary First Annapolis Marketing Information Services, Inc. in exchange for a 12% share of the new company. The yet to be named company has also designated First Data Resources as its provider of data processing, customer service, credit and collections support. In making the announcement Thursday the three firms indicated they see the current shakeout in the market as an opportunistic time for alliances and acquisitions. They also believe the key to future profitability in the card business is data mining and economies of scale. First Annapolis approached between eight and ten issuers with the concept, landed two, and expects to announce a third partner next year. Bank of Montreal says they would like to eventually reduce their ownership to about 35%. The new company expects to go public in 2 years.

BankBoston $1.4b $2.8b 1.2m 725k 1.2
Harris Bank $782m $672m 1.2m 474k 710k
Source: CardData/Bankcard Update