New Prepaid Cellular Card

AirTouch Cellular today launched Prepaid Cellular Service, a pay as you go option that allows customers who have been denied cellular service due to past credit, customers who want a defined monthly spending limit or customers who simply want seasonal or temporary service, to have access to cellular for the first time.

“Even though AirTouch Cellular has enjoyed record growth the last several years, we still turned away 30 percent of potential customers because of their credit history, their need for temporary service, or their desire to control cellular costs,” said Jim Christensen, branch manager for AirTouch Cellular’s Iowa market.

“AirTouch Cellular’s Prepaid Cellular service doesn’t require a credit check and there’s no annual contract. Customers can establish service for a day, a month, or a year. By pre-purchasing a fixed amount of service, parents finally can provide the safety and security of cellular to their children without worrying about out-of-control bills,” Christensen said.

To take advantage of Prepaid Cellular service, customers with their own cellular phones simply purchase a $30 AirTouch Prepaid Cellular calling card which is good for up to 30 days. To establish a Prepaid account, customers pay a one-time fee for $40 and must activate each card before use. Cards can be purchased from local AirTouch Cellular retail outlets in the Des Moines area including Electronic Engineering, Loan-a-Phone, Simon Tire & Cellular, Spring Valley Radio and Wireless Universe.

Prepaid Cellular customers can receive up to 35 minutes of local airtime before needing to add minutes to the card or activate a new card. Airtime rates vary for local, long distance and roaming calls. Local rates apply to calls placed within the home zone area. In central Iowa, the home zone encompasses Des Moines, Ames, Ft. Dodge and other major cities in central Iowa. Additional long distance and roaming rates will apply.

An automated greeting notifies customers of the minutes remaining on their Prepaid accounts prior to connecting calls. In addition, customers can check the status of their Prepaid account by staying on the line for 10-15 seconds after a call has ended and a voice response unit updates them on dollar amount of their account balance and days remaining before the balance expires. In addition, a recording alerts customers when they are approaching their monthly spending limit. Once the prepaid balance has been used, customers have 30 days to activate a new card.

“Prepaid Cellular is another example of AirTouch’s continuing effort to offer customers easy to use services that simplify their lives and help them stay in touch,” Christensen said.

AirTouch Cellular is the brand name for U S WEST NewVector Group Inc. Based in Bellevue, Wash., NewVector has cellular operations in 12 midwestern, western and southwestern states and serves more than 2 million customers. The company is part the U S WEST Media Group (NYSE:UMG), which is involved in domestic and international cable and wireless networks, directory publishing and interactive multimedia services.


VISANet LAN for Hall of Fame

Vital Processing Services (Vital) and KeyBank announce the installation of the VisaNet Merchant LAN (Local Area Network) Service for the Baseball Hall of Fame to speed merchant card transaction processing. The installation is producing immediate savings by decreasing the number of dedicated phone lines needed for credit card sale approvals from 12 to one at the POS (point of sale).

![][1] What makes the speed and single-line service possible is the VisaNet Merchant LAN Service, which delivers state-of-the-art dial LAN technology to financial institutions and their merchants. The LAN platform processes rapid authorization responses from Hypercom dial terminals across a widespread merchant LAN. The service uses the Hypercom Stack M as a “central cashier” or authorization controller.

“Vital continues to focus on helping our clients provide the best and most appropriate POS technology to their merchant customers. We are proud of this announcement because it is a prime example of how Vital delivers ideal merchant processing solutions for this market,” said Fred Gumbel, president and CEO of Vital.

Vital, KeyBank and HyperCom completed the POS installation at the Baseball Hall of Fame just before summer, its peak season. During its summertime peak, Hall of Fame visitors spend more money on admission and museum shop items than at any other time of the year.

“We selected KeyBank based on its ability to provide us with Vital’s high speed LAN Service,” said Ken Meifert, manager of retail accounting for the Baseball Hall of Fame. “KeyBank also provides us with competitive prices and extraordinary customer service, two elements instrumental to the success of the Hall of Fame.”

“Customers from across the nation visit the Hall of Fame to experience first-hand the historic tradition of baseball,” said David Campbell, executive vice president of KeyBank’s Payment Services Group. “KeyBank is proud to provide the Hall with a fast, convenient credit card processing system that allows its customers to spend more time enjoying the museum.”

Vital Processing Services (Vital) is a full-service merchant processing company. It’s clients include financial institutions that provide credit card processing to their merchant customers. Vital offers financial institutions operational services that enhance business solutions without competing for their merchant business. Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital’s services include merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing and reporting; operational fulfillment services (including chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management and customer service.

KeyCorp. (NYSE: KEY), headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the largest bank-based financial services companies in the nation with assets of approximately $70 billion at June 30, 1997. Through three principal lines of business — corporate banking, consumer finance and community banking — the Cleveland-based company provides retail and wholesale banking, investment, financing, and money management services across the United States.

KeyBank Merchant Services has more than 76,000 merchant locations and is one of the nation’s top 10 providers of merchant services. In 1996, KeyBank processed $7.4 billion of credit card transactions.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on the American culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to baseball.

[1]: /graphic/kepcorp/keybank.gif


Hazy C-Off Future

Positive trends in chargeoffs and delinquency may be surfacing but the prognosis for the future remains hazy says this morning’s Standard & Poor’s CreditWire. Based on card loan loss rates reported on $225 billion of publicly traded card bonds, representing 55% of the industry total receivables, second quarter chargeoffs were 6.9% compared to 6.6% in the first quarter and 5.9% one year ago. However S&P says about half of the 40 master trusts they monitored have been showed declines between Feb. and May and those that showed upticks were increasing no more than 30 basis points on average. S&P says delinquency has been steadily declining all year from 5.6% in January to 4.9% in June. S&P suggests a tightening of credit scores alone will not improve charge-off rates in a solicitation if the pricing or timing of the solicitation results in adverse selection.


Equifax + HNC Integrate

Equifax (NYSE: EFX) and HNC Software (Nasdaq: HNCS) today announced a global long-term strategic alliance to jointly develop and market new products to the financial services, retail and electronic commerce industries. The complementary technological and information expertise of the two business information services powerhouses will be applied across both companies, greatly expanding their array of advanced information and processing solutions.

Thomas F. Chapman, Equifax president and chief operating officer, said, “The synergy between our two companies is tremendous — leveraging information and technology to meet customer needs. Equifax customers expect total solutions and they get them. With the integration of HNC products and technologies, the creation of powerful business solutions will be even faster, more comprehensive and more efficient than ever before. When two leaders in technology join forces, it’s a new era in global commerce.”

Equifax and HNC are planning the deployment of HNC products and technology at Equifax’s global locations to bring the best information and decision processing solutions to the marketplace.

HNC products will be deployed and integrated into the Equifax credit information and card processing system. HNC technology will be installed in Equifax operations to enhance processing; speed up development, delivery and customer use of new models; and improve decision system capabilities. Equifax Card Solutions software will incorporate HNC fraud and risk management capabilities to enhance its features and provide immediate value to customers. Equifax and HNC will work jointly to develop new products and services, combining the extremely predictive components of the consumer credit file with the best information and decision processing technology available, resulting in new and unique offerings to the marketplace. Equifax and HNC will respond jointly to customer requests for new solutions.

Both companies are committed to a long-term alliance for the benefit of their customers. Robert L. North, president, HNC Software, said, “This alliance gives each of us a bridge to cross new frontiers in service to customers, not only in the credit information and decisioning field, but also in such areas as target marketing and electronic commerce over the Internet. It’s a strategic fit that will benefit both companies.”

“Bob North and I envision our alliance as a long term relationship,” added Chapman. “In the short term, we will focus on integrating the existing technologies and products of both companies to provide enhanced offerings. Additionally, we’ve already begun work on developing new products and services for our global customers,” he said.

Headquartered in San Diego, California, HNC Software Inc. is a world leader in the application of neural network technology in client/server environments. The company develops, markets, integrates and supports advanced decision software based on computational intelligence. HNC provides practical solutions in the areas of payment systems, financial services, retail, insurance information, data mining and Internet commerce.

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 revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 1997, were just under $1.3 billion.


British Air Corp MC

As CardFlash reported last week First USA Paymentech is taking off with a new co-branded ‘Corporate MasterCard’. The new ‘British Airways Corporate MasterCard’, officially released last night, offers individual employee cardholders the ability to earn mileage for each general purchase as well as earning and redeeming air mileage on British Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, America West, Canadian Airlines, Qantas and various European carriers. Cardholders also earn miles through other partners including car rental firms and hotels. First USA Paymentech is offering extensive MIS capabilities to account holders including in-depth analysis of spending trends and employee compliance.


Citi’s Payroll Card

After successful completion of a regional test Citibank signed Manpower Inc. yesterday to offer its ‘PayTM’ payroll debit card nationally to Manpower employees. The program is targeted at employees who prefer direct deposit or those without bank accounts. After enrolling Manpower employees into ‘PayTM’ Citibank issues the card and PIN and provides same-day access to payroll funds as Manpower transmits payroll deposits. The accounts are interest bearing and offer an optional ‘Holiday Savings’ program. Monthly account statements are issued by Citibank and distributed by Manpower.


Face Recognition Security for PCs

Visionics today announced the release of FaceIt(R) PC, a suite of face recognition applications that create a personal desktop security system. This software brings to the PC an innovative use of face recognition technology to achieve access control, file encryption, surveillance, and secure visual messaging, with remote communications capabilities through the Internet.

Dr. Joseph Atick, Visionics CEO, said, “Bringing the FaceIt face recognition technology out of its governmental and vertical market applications to the service of individual PC users gives people a unique new way to protect the security of their information and the privacy of their workspace. We are delighted to be at the forefront of this whole new category of software.”

With FaceIt, a person’s face is his password, enabling the user to open and encrypt files. Working in conjunction with virtually any videoconferencing camera, FaceIt has algorithms that are able to analyze an individual’s unique facial features and accurately match them with the stored database of faces which are authorized to open a particular PC. It completely eliminates the security risks associated with the loss or theft of written passwords, and provides an invisible but impenetrable wall protecting confidential business and personal data.

Nearly 60 percent of the white-collar workers in the U.S. — some 40 million Americans — work in open cubicles or office environments where their computers are widely accessible when their desks are vacant. Workers who install FaceIt, however, can walk away from their workspaces without worry or fear. A PC that is running FaceIt PC (with a video camera) will automatically secure the computer with a screen lock, protecting all information on the screen from unauthorized eyes. When the authorized user returns, FaceIt automatically detects his or her presence, locates the face, identifies it, and grants full access within a second, without a touch of the keyboard.

Visitors to a worker’s PC will be seen by the camera, and the software’s unique face-finding capability will automatically capture and save a photo of their faces. The resulting video logs can be stored for the worker to review upon return to the workspace.

These photographic images can also be posted to a website, so they can be reviewed remotely with a standard browser. This surveillance feature enables users to keep track of what is happening at their desks from any location at any time. A user at the office can even keep an eye on things at home, as long as the home PC is equipped with FaceIt, a video camera, and web access.

E-mail has a human face on it.

“Face recognition technology can enhance personal communication in addition to providing security and protection,” said Dave Maddox, Visionics Marketing and Sales Manager. “The FaceIt PC suite of applications has a number of features that add the very important dimension of the human face to the impersonal medium of e-mail.”

Visitors to a FaceIt PC protected work space will be offered a mini-movie greeting by the owner and invited to leave a text message which can be stored locally or automatically sent across the Internet as standard e-mail. The picture of the person sending the message is automatically attached.

The user of the PC can have FaceIt PC attach a snapshot of their face to their e-mail at any time. Seeing the face of the sender gives a more personal dimension and greater impact to the message.

FaceIt PC is available through Micro-Warehouse and selected stores. The price is $199.95. The product is also available to the corporate marketplace through VAR’s and integrators. Additional information about the product is available at [][1]

A free 15-day evaluation copy of the full-functioning program is available on the web at

About Visionics and FaceIt technology:

Visionics is the leading developer of recognition technology worldwide. In May, the company’s FaceIt technology was licensed to use in the world’s first integrated Passenger and Baggage Security System for airports. FaceIt will be used to reconcile passengers with their baggage from check-in to boarding.

The Federal Government recently awarded Visionics four major new contracts; from the Immigration and Naturalization Services, the Army Research Laboratory, the National Security Agency, and the National Institute of Justice. These large scale leading-edge applications reflect the fact that the FaceIt technology has been consistently shown in U.S. government testing to outperform all other systems and to have capabilities that “make it unique” in the entire biometrics industry.

Major manufacturers, developers, and corporations are working with Visionics to integrate face recognition technology into their products and business practices.

Security and biometrics are very high priority topics as companies grapple with protecting their important information from unauthorized and potentially harmful exposure. The entire credit card and banking industries are working on ways to ensure secure on-line financial transactions. The medical services sector is concerned with the privacy of patient records. The government is addressing the privacy of personal records such as social security and the accuracy of benefits payments.

Face recognition technology is playing a role in all these areas with an accurate, low-cost, nonintrusive solution.

FaceIt technology has won numerous awards — including the recent Best of Comdex Finalist by Byte Magazine for Spring 97. It is the only commercial real-time video technology.

Systems Requirements for FaceIt PC

Microsoft Windows 95. 90 MHz Intel Pentium compatible or higher. 16 MB RAM/10 MB free hard disc space. VGA or higher video display adapter. CD-ROM drive. Microsoft Video for Windows (VFW) compatible video capture system with resolution 320 x 240, depth: 15 bit RGB, capture rate to memory: 5 frames/sec.



ICVerify Upgrades

ICVERIFY rolled out the latest version of its credit card processing software for Windows ’95 and Windows NT 4.0 Tuesday. IVECIFY for Windows 2.0 offers an updated graphical user interface. A new installment-billing feature allows merchants to bill a constant amount onto the same credit card on a periodic basis. ICVERIFY for Windows 2.0 also provides new tools that enable merchants to easily import data from other applications such as spreadsheets and databases, and to export data without requiring additional formatting.


First USA Card Bonds Rated

First USA Credit Card Master Trust’s $500 million class A floating-rate asset-backed certificates, series 1997-8, are expected to be rated ‘AAA’ by Fitch. The corresponding $45.2 million class B certificates are expected to be rated ‘A+’. The 10-year securities represent the trust’s third offering in the past month and thirty-fourth since inception.

Fitch’s ratings are based on the strength of the Visa and MasterCard collateral pool, available credit enhancement, excellent servicing capabilities of First USA Bank, and the solid legal and cash flow structures framing the transaction.

Credit enhancement supporting class A is derived from the subordination of the class B and collateral invested amount (CIA) certificates, equal to 17% of the total initial invested amount. Class B investors are protected from losses by the 9.5% CIA certificates. The $57.2 million CIA certificates are interests in the trust subordinate in payment rights to class A and class B.

Several economic and credit stress scenarios were devised by Fitch to determine appropriate credit enhancement levels. The scenarios simultaneously stress yield, chargeoff and monthly payment rate steady state assumptions. In addition, to address the interest rate risk associated with uncapped floating- rate coupons, the coupon is stressed to worst case London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) levels without a corresponding adjustment to yield.

Under the available enhancement, class A withstands a 35% decrease in yield, a 40% decline in payment rates and chargeoffs increasing to over 30% and still makes full and timely payments of investor principal and interest. Class B sustains a 25% decrease in yield, a 30% decline in payment rates and chargeoffs increasing to more than 20% without suffering a principal or interest loss.

Class A and class B investors will receive monthly interest payments of 0.15% and 0.36% over one-month LIBOR throughout the revolving and accumulation periods and on the scheduled final payment date, provided an early payout event does not occur. Early amortization of the bonds may result from a deterioration in asset quality, transferor insolvency or servicer default. Fitch expects to affirm its outstanding ratings assigned to existing master trust series indicating that series 1997-8 will not result in a ratings reduction or withdrawal.