WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It's summer and the competition has big outreach plans. From tapping the minds of consumers for bright ideas to helping the elderly and students, here is a look at what's happening outside of CU-land: * VISA USA has launched the Smart VISA Challenge to produce new ideas or applications for its smart VISA card. More than $200,000 in prize money is at stake and the contest is open to any U.S. resident. Any idea or application must be based on Java Card technology for smart cards. Based on a collaboration of VISA ,Providian, First USA and Fleet, the smart VISA Challenge is an effort to jump-start the smart VISA technology platform rollout. VISA hopes the competition will provide innovative plans for services that would enhance the existing payment, loyalty and Internet access applications. In October, the companies will choose the top 20 ideas to be developed to full applications or services: 10 in the online (Internet) category and 10 in the offline (retail) category. Two Grand Prizes of $75,000 each plus other prizes will be awarded. The due date for entries is August 24, 2001, and prizes will be awarded in February 2002. * Providian Financial Corporation has provided a $50,000 grant to the California Community Partnership for the Prevention of Financial Abuse to support the development of seminars to inform the elderly about fraud, telemarketing scams and how to prevent financial abuse. According to reports an estimated 100,000 to 125,000 seniors in the San Francisco area are victimized by financial abuse each year. * Now every student has access to a rich uncle who can help out with college expenses. Myrichuncle.com is literally investing in a student's future. My Rich Uncle investors provide students the money needed for college and/or graduate school and are repaid based on the student's future earnings. Students simply agree to make payments based on a fixed percentage of their income for a fixed period of time after graduation. When the period expires, the student's obligation ends regardless of what has been paid. Rates for graduate students begin at .10% per $1,000 for 10 years, and undergraduate rates begin at .20% per $1,000 for 15 years. My Rich Uncle is also structuring a mentorship program, which includes offering students advice and access to networks in their field of study. * Keep an eye out for the WellsFargo.com Bus, the first motor coach to be custom built with business-grade, satellite-enabled Internet access. The bus will be used as a mobile education center for both existing and potential Wells Fargo customers nationwide, including small business and commercial customers. With 16 Internet terminals on board and two outside Internet terminals, Wells Fargo customers can sign up for Internet access to personal accounts, pay bills, trade stocks or mutual funds online and apply for a wide variety of other online products and services. Customers can also apply online to open their first checking or savings account, apply for a credit card, home equity loan, online brokerage account or a retirement account with Wells Fargo. employees nationwide. The 45-foot long, 26-ton Wells Fargo.com Bus has three servers and 15 miles of wiring and will travel across the West. * Bank One is trying to convince customers to test-drive its online banking Web site by equipping its Chicago-area branches with Web-connected kiosks. Bank One employees will demonstrate the online banking functions for customers at the kiosks. The six-foot kiosks are being placed in more than 100 branches in Chicago and 400 more are planned across the country. Of Bank One's 850,000 online customers, nearly 20% live in Chicago. The bank claims it adds 40,000 new online customers monthly. The kiosks enable customers to perform most banking functions online, including bill payment, funds transfers, loan and credit card applications and managing investments. * Members of the Oregon Bankers Association are planning a series of Hispanic banking fairs in the state this summer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in Oregon has more than doubled, to 275,000, since 1990. Hispanics now represent 8% of the state's population. Events organizer Brent Warren said the fairs would introduce Hispanics to banking products and employment opportunities at the participating banks. A primary goal is to persuade new immigrants that U.S. bank deposits are safe. * Bank of America Corporation and 724 Solutions have joined forces to start a wireless service in China. The service will let customers in Hong Kong have access to real-time information about accounts, transaction history and mutual fund and stock trading account portfolios. In addition customers will be able to transfer funds between accounts; pay bills; and buy and sell foreign currencies. Plans are underway to add wireless stock trading and alert services. [email protected]

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