Catuity wins over big North American customers

Catuity, the Australian developer of software for customer loyalty programs that is listed on both the ASX and NASDAQ, has chalked up a number of solid orders from large North American corporations to add to the relationship it entered with Visa USA last June. Catuity is aiming to cash in on status -- still -- as the only certified supplier of loyalty programs for the smartVisa card. The most recent contracts include:

Fleet Credit Card Services, which is a division of FleetBoston Bank, has negotiated an agreement that will allow it to use Catuity's products with its new Fusion credit card, which is one of the first implementations of the smartVisa product. Fleet Credit Card Services began issuing cards in October 2000.

Canadian smart card solutions developer Global Consumer Technologies has signed a licensing agreement that will allow its subsidiary Lifestylecanada to use Catuity's products with its newly launched combination card for small and medium sized merchants.

A contract with US payment processing company Lynk Systems involves the use of Catuity's magnetic stripe system and includes a development agreement under which Lynk will enhance the product at its own cost. Catuity will retain all rights to the enhancements and will receive 50 per cent of the earnings from Lynk's use of the product, a spokesman explained. Lynk services more than 75,000 merchants and 12,000 US ATM locations and processes 30 million transactions a month, the spokesman added.

In addition, Catuity has extended a technology co-operation agreement with VeriFone , has entered a marketing agreement with US smart card supplier GemPlus, and is continuing negotiations with giant payment processing specialist First Data Corporation.

The spokesman explained that Catuity has specifically focused on the US market as the importance of loyalty systems becomes more broadly recognised. "Catuity believes that loyalty systems will be seamlessly integrated into the payment system," the spokesman said.

"And we believe the US market will lead the world in integrating loyalty with payment systems because the payment system infrastructure providers are predominantly based in and managed in the United States. It has been our objective in 2000 to gain the widest possible support and market alliance coverage from these organisations since they will determine the standards and manage the loyalty environment. Many of these organisations have become alliance partners and resellers of our product," the spokesman concluded.

To exploit fully the US opportunities, Catuity has set up a US management team in Michigan, and has opened a technical support centre in Virginia.

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