Confidentiality Suit Settled

After deliberating for less than one day, a U.S. District Court jury in Omaha ruled Friday morning that Trans Union illegally turned over the credit information of three million credit card customers of First National Bank of Omaha to the bank’s competitors. Trans Union has been ordered to pay FNB $23 million in damages. FNB initially filed the lawsuit more than two and half years ago, culminating in a three week trial last month. The jury was handed the case last Thursday.

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Germany’s D2 CallYa Phone Card

Mannesmann Mobilfunk makes it easy for young people to get into mobile telephony. On October 1, 1997, D2 CallYa, the rechargeable mobile telecommunications card will be launched on the market. CallYa is tailor-made to meet the requirements of this target group. They can make calls with no basic monthly charge and no fixed term and keep a continuous check of their costs. Its special feature: CallYa customers do not need a current account or a credit card because for recharging we now have D2 CallNow, the new telephone voucher from Mannesmann Mobilfunk. And the D2 CallYa package can also be given as a present. It is sold without having to draw up a written contract.

“With D2 CallYa, we are launching a ‘ready-to-use’ product on the market. Our priority when designing the product was to provide the customer with the highest degree of freedom and flexibility,” says Jurgen von Kuczkowski, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mannesmann Mobilfunk, adding: “With D2 CallYa, we will be able to attract young customers to the D2 network. Until now they have been given brand-name jeans as a birthday present, so why not D2 CallYa in the future?” The package costs DM 149.50. It includes the D2 CallYa card with your own D2 telephone number, D2 mailbox and an initial credit of DM 50.

The price per minute for domestic calls during peak hours, Mondays to Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with D2 CallYa is DM 1.99. At all other times, weekends and national holidays as well as for calls within the network, a minute costs DM 0.99. The calls are billed according to unit pricing on a ten-second basis.

With D2 CallNow, the new telephone voucher offered by Mannesmann Mobilfunk, all D2 customers can credit their telephone balance via their mobile phone; they only need to make a phone call free of charge and DM 50 is immediately credited to their account. Mannesmann Mobilfunk also offers CallNow vouchers to its partner companies (service providers) for sale. Furthermore, customers can charge their CallYa card with DM 25, DM 50 or DM 100 by remitting any desired amount or via direct debit.

Strict control of costs

Cost control is a big asset of D2 CallYa: a phone call free of charge to the account server 22922 and you find out the current balance on your account, you will be informed accordingly before making your call. And if the credit is on the verge of running out during the call, you will hear a warning tone 30 seconds earlier, thus preventing unpleasant surprises.

The initial credit of DM 50 is valid for 60 days. However, you can extend this period at any time. If you charge further amounts, the new credit period will be added to the current one. For example: The customer still has DM 10 left on his card, with a remaining term of 12 days. If he charges an additional DM 50, he can use the entire credit amount, now DM 60, for the next 72 days.

Mobile phone also used as a pager

Yet another advantage of D2 CallYa: Even if the credit period has lapsed and the account is empty, CallYa customers can make emergency calls for 300 days free of charge and can continue to receive text messages. This is particularly interesting for teenagers, because the mobile phone can be used as a pager without having to pay a surcharge. The D2 CallYa customers retain their D2 number during this period. If they wish to continue making calls, they then have to charge a new credit.

The CallYa package does not include a mobile phone. For young people, especially teenagers, it is no problem to get a telephone says Friedrich P. Joussen, Board Member responsible for Marketing at Mannesmann Mobilfunk: “Some of them will simply take over their parents’ mobile phone. Others will be willing to buy the latest model because of the high awareness of brand names. These are young people who save money for the telephone they want to buy or are also willing to take on part-time work to earn the necessary money.” Mannesmann Mobilfunk has also come up with an idea for customers who are happy to use a cheap second-hand telephone: the “D2 mobile phone market”. Customers can obtain information on such offers around the clock, as of September 15, 1997, on the D2 service number 22933 and also “place advertisements” themselves.

With D2 CallYa, customers can make calls within Germany and also to foreign countries. They are only unable to use the phone from abroad.

D2 CallYa customers can apply to switch to the D2Fun24 or D2Classic24 tariffs at any time. They can keep their D2 telephone number, and the remaining credit from D2 CallYa can of course be carried over to the new tariff.

The CallYa product concept is currently being coordinated with the Federal Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (BMPT).

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Exciting News

Internet search engine producer Excite Inc. will announce the ‘Excite Shopping Channel’ this week that will provide consumers with full credit card protections. The new service will screen Internet merchants who provide acceptable levels of customer service via a merchant certification program. Excite will also cover any cardholder losses not covered by merchants. Last month Yahoo ! Inc. rolled out its ‘VISA Shopping Guide’ in partnership with VISA which offers similar protections.

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Mall Merchant Gets Serious

Simon DeBartolo Group announced Friday the formation of Simon Brand Ventures, to capitalize on the company’s 100-million-strong customer base responsible for an annual 1.5 billion in-person visits to Simon malls.. Already Simon DeBartolo Group, through Simon Brand Ventures, has put the first planks of the new initiative in place. A second generation of the company’s customer loyalty program ‘MALLPeRKS’ was launched in July in 119 Simon malls and is expected to generate more than $350 million in store receipts in 1997. In addition, Simon Brand Ventures has concluded marketing and technology alliances with VISA, HFS, CUC, Olsten, AmeriCash, SMARTALK Teleservices and Diebold..

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Quebec’s E-Commerce Forum

The Electronic Commerce Forum, the first event of its kind to run in Quebec, will open the door to cybercommerce for those business leaders looking to unlock the Internet’s business potential. The forum assembles Quebec’s principal players in electronic commerce to discuss how cybercommerce will impact business, the economy and our lifestyle. The program will examine critical issues impacting online trade, such as transaction security. This unprecedented forum is sponsored jointly by Fortune 1000 Accounting Systems Ltd. and the Electronic Commerce Centre. The event runs as a special full-day conference event at COMDEX/SCIB ’97, the industry’s most comprehensive conference event and exhibition for IT professionals of Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces, October 7- 9 at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec.

The Electronic Commerce Forum, slated for Wednesday, October 8, is unique in that it will provide participants with an inside view of the market from Quebec’s perspective. Principal players from the financial institutions, regulatory organizations and communications companies driving Quebec’s cybercommerce market are scheduled to participate in three sessions: Electronic Commerce in the Financial Industry, Electronic Commerce in the Communications Industry and Regulatory Organizations and Electronic Commerce. In these sessions, representatives from Bell Canada, La Chambre des Notaires du Quebec L’Ordre des Comptables Agrees du Quebec, Mouvement des Caisses Populaires Desjardins, National Bank of Canada and Videotron will outline how new methods of online transactions will influence businesses and consumers. Two speakers will lead each program and a question-and-answer period will follow each session.

“This forum is a first of its kind and is an exceptional source of information for businesses in this new economy,” said Francois Taschereau, vice president of Marketing for Fortune 1000 Accounting Systems Ltd. “Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to meet with the people that are deeply involved in the development of electronic commerce in Quebec. This forum is unprecedented and should not be missed.”

Francois Taschereau will further discuss cybercommerce in his COMDEX/SCIB ’97 keynote presentation, “The Impact of the Convergence of the Media on Electronic Commerce,” slated for Thursday, October 9 at 10 a.m. Stephane Vaillancourt, vice president – Inforoute and Multimedia at Bell Canada, and Dr. Michael C. J. Cowpland, founder, president and CEO of Corel Corporation, are other scheduled keynoters at this year’s event.

Attendees looking for additional information on electronic commerce can participate in conference sessions and PowerPanels offered as part of the COMDEX/SCIB ’97 Conference Program. Representatives from Montreal’s leading information technology companies and professional associations are featured in over 40 conference tracks, Technology Tutorials and PowerPanels on management strategies, Internet and intranets, communications and network technology issues, and object and component technologies. Electronic commerce will be featured in such conference sessions as, Building Extranets to Create and Keep Customers over the Internet, Securing Business Transactions over the Internet and Web Site Performance Analysis, as well as the PowerPanel, Electronic Commerce on the Internet: Getting Real Value from Your Web Presence.

In addition to celebrated keynote speakers and a comprehensive conference program, COMDEX/SCIB ’97 will showcase innovative products from more than 250 exhibiting companies. Adobe Systems, Bell Canada, Allied Telesyn, Borland, Canon, Cellular One, Claris, Computer Associates, Corel, Digital Equipment of Canada, Epson, Fujitsu, Groupe VSD, iSTAR, Microsoft, Panamax, Panasonic, Sony, Sybase, Toshiba, and U.S. Robotics are among the confirmed exhibitors. Projected attendance is 27,000.

SOFTBANK COMDEX serves the Canadian information technology market in three venues: COMDEX/Canada in Toronto, COMDEX/PacRim in Vancouver, and COMDEX/SCIB in Montreal. The annual COMDEX/Canada event is the largest Canadian information technology event, boasting over 60,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors.

About Fortune 1000 Accounting Systems

Founded in 1984, Fortune 1000 Accounting Systems has quickly become the foremost in accounting software sales in the Quebec market. The company employs more than 140 dynamic people working to invent, produce and promote the products, at the highest point of technology, which meet the needs of the current market. The Fortune 1000 factory produces everything associated with these products, including the software, manuals and packaging and is the only one of its kind in Quebec.

About The Electronic Commerce Centre

The Electronic Commerce Centre is a free service offered to all Fortune 1000 subscribers that enables them to advertise on the Internet for free… The Electronic Commerce Centre creates the Web page and houses it on the Internet at no cost.

About SOFTBANK COMDEX

SOFTBANK COMDEX provides its customers with access to the world’s most vibrant IT growth markets. During the past two years, COMDEX has grown from seven events in four countries to 40 events in 16 countries, serving more than 6,500 IT exhibitors and 1.5 million IT professional attendees worldwide. Known as the place where the global IT industry defines itself, entry into a region by COMDEX brings international visibility to the local IT market.

Since its introduction in 1979, COMDEX has continued to meet the growing needs of the global information technology marketplace.

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New Ballou Travel Firm

Roger Ballou, former head of American Express’ ‘Travel Services Group and current president of Alamo Rent-A-Car, announced Friday he is joining Thayer Capital Partners to target opportunities in the leisure travel market. Thayer Equity Investors III, a $365 million equity fund formed last year to focus on the travel industry, indicated Friday it will commit up to $75 million for Ballou’s initiative. Ballou will work from Thayer’s Washington, DC headquarters.

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Comprehensive Agency/Attorney Usage Stude

Resource Management Services, Inc. is pleased to announce that its publication, the Comprehensive Agency/Attorney Usage Study, is now available. Unique in the industry, this in-depth research report focuses on the current usage of collection agencies and attorneys by creditors, and provides a picture about the future of the industry. This attractive desk reference is a valuable tool that creates a benchmark for collection/recovery professionals to evaluate their internal and external processes. With over 100 creditors responding, the Comprehensive Agency/Attorney Usage Study provides almost 500 pages of vital industry data that is not abailable anywhere else. All areas of vendor management are covers, including Selection , Placement, Management, Auditing, Measurement, Legal Aspects, Fees/Commissions and Financial Issues. The analysis is clearly presented by overall responses and industry breakdowns for ease of comparison. This tool is invaluable for credit grantors, agencies, collection attorneys and other collection/recovery professionals. Cost is $289 plus $6.00 S&H (California residents, please add 8.25% tax).

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NCR To Build Citi’s New ATMs

Citibank announced Thursday that NCR has been selected to construct the bank’s new generation of proprietary ATM machines. A five year Master Alliance Agreement between the two companies calls for NCR to assume hardware design and production of Citibank’s new line of ATM’s, based on a model created at the Citicorp Development Center, Citibank’s customer technology center in Los Angeles. The Citicorp Development Center has served as the assembly site for Citibank’s ATM devices since they were first developed there twenty years ago. As a result of this master agreement, production will gradually be scaled back, and eventually eliminated at the Los Angeles Facility.

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EPS EFT for ABS

Electronic Payment Services has formed an alliance with American Bank Systems making EPS the exclusive provider of EFT processing services to ABS. EPS will also provide terminal driving for ATMs and advanced self-service terminals, debit card, POS and gateway services for ABS. The services will first be offered in Oklahoma and eventually extend into the other markets that ABS serves. Located in Oklahoma City, ABS provides a broad range of services to approximately 950 financial institutions in 25 states.

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