Providian Sale

Chase will tack on $8.2 billion to its credit card portfolio following an agreement to acquire a securitized batch of Providian’s super-prime accounts. Both issuers confirm the premium being paid is a “mid single-digit”. Providan said this morning it is also making progress toward the sale of its international operations and is continuing to explore the sale of $3 billion of high-risk, sub-prime accounts. Chase says that 86% of the $8.2 billion Providian portfolio, or $7.0 billion, are ‘Platinum’ cards while the remaining 14% or $1.2 billion are ‘Classic’ cards. Chase also noted the acquired Master Trust is a seasoned portfolio with accounts averaging 51 months. The acquisition will boost Chase’s market share and narrow the gap with its closest competitor, the $50 billion ‘Discover Card’ portfolio. Providian will announce its fourth quarter results in late January and expects to announce a loss for 4Q/01.


Tourism Vancouver and Visa Canada
announced a three-year marketing partnership to promote both domestic
and international travel to the city. Currently more than 8.4 million domestic
and international tourists spend approximately $3.5 billion visiting Vancouver
every year.

In British Columbia, 2.8 million Visa cardholders spend approximately
$2.3 billion on the travel and entertainment industry each year, representing
approximately 16 percent of Visa travel and entertainment business in Canada
overall. This new partnership is designed to increase tourism spending while
providing a number of benefits to tourists, Visa cardholders and to Tourism
Vancouver and its members.

For Visa, the partnership further demonstrates its commitment to the
travel and entertainment sector by adding a key market into its mix of
destination marketing alliances. Through its Destination Marketing Program,
Visa holds successful alliances with other key travel destinations including
Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Whistler and the Canadian Intrawest
Resorts. The new partnership also provides Visa with the opportunity to
increase prominence in the important Vancouver market.

“We see tremendous opportunity in the Vancouver market where the number
of visitors has grown consistently for many years,” said Rick Pyves, Senior
Vice President, Visa Canada. “This partnership allows us to provide valuable
offers to domestic and international Visa cardholders traveling to Vancouver
and gives us the opportunity to support and build relations with key travel
and entertainment sectors.”

Tourism Vancouver Executive Vice President, Paul Vallee says the Visa
partnership will help the recovery of the Vancouver tourism industry.

“Tourism Vancouver has long recognized the power of partnership through
initiatives such as our Tourism Vancouver Signature Partners program. Forming
strategic alliances provides us with competitive advantage in this dynamic
industry allowing us to reach new customer targets and leverage our marketing
resources. We’re extremely excited about our partnership with Visa who are not
only leaders in their business but a key part of the tourism industry
internationally,” said Vallee.

The first key initiative within the partnership is The VISA Vancouver
Rewards program, a program allowing domestic and international Visa
cardholders to benefit from great savings and rewards. As part of the
agreement, Tourism Vancouver will promote Visa as the Official Vancouver
Destination Payment Card. Tourism Vancouver’s member businesses will sport
point-of-sale decals bearing the tagline and official partnership logo
“Vancouver’s Best Way to Pay.” Other activities include jointly branded
advertising and online savings programs.

The travel and entertainment sector also represents an important market
for Visa. “In Canada, travel and entertainment represents approximately 17
percent of Visa’s overall sales,” said Pyves. “While the industry has faced
some challenges over the last few months, we believe that partnerships and
alliances like this one will help get the industry back on track.”

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay”, Visa is the leading credit card payment
brand in Canada and around the world. There are more than 23.6 million VISA
cards in Canada accepted at more than 604,000 merchant locations across the
country. In British Columbia more than 119,000 merchants accept Visa, almost
double the amount of merchants accepting Visa in 1993. VISA is accepted at
over 23 million locations around the world including over 700,000 ATMs. The
Internet address for Visa is

Tourism Vancouver’s focus is on building exceptional customer
relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and
independent tourists. Our efforts generate demand for the destination, thereby
creating value for members and stakeholders. Innovation, partnership, research
and accountability guide our approach. We utilize person-to-person and
technology-based sales, marketing and visitor servicing activities to achieve
results. Through positive positioning of both the organization and the
destination, our leadership benefits the society, culture, environment and
economy of Greater Vancouver.

Saks Cuts Jobs

Retailer Saks Incorporated announced the planned consolidation of certain credit card functions currently located in Elmhurst, Illinois (metropolitan Chicago) into its credit card services center located in Jackson, Mississippi. The consolidation will begin immediately and is scheduled for completion by May 2002.

The consolidation of the credit operations will further streamline the Company’s organizational structure, improve customer service, and reduce overhead expenses by approximately $2 million (pre-tax) on an annualized basis.

The Company will eliminate approximately 200 of the approximately 250 current positions at its Elmhurst facility and add approximately 100 new positions to the Jackson center to handle the increased workload. Approximately 50 positions will remain in Elmhurst, where the Company’s credit card bank will continue its operations. The Company’s Jackson credit services center currently employs approximately 330 associates.

Charges relating to the consolidation including separation pay, relocation, systems conversions, and property write-offs are expected to be immaterial. R. Brad Martin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saks Incorporated, commented, “The planned consolidation of our credit operations is a result of a careful review of our organizational structure. We believe the restructuring will improve productivity and enhance customer service.” Martin continued, “We are very appreciative of the dedication and the many contributions of the Elmhurst credit team. We are committed to ensuring that all associates are treated fairly and provided with the appropriate assistance during this time of transition.”

Associates who are affected by the consolidation who do not take other opportunities within the Company will be offered appropriate separation pay, outplacement services, and other assistance in accordance with the Company’s policies.

Saks Incorporated currently operates Saks Department Store Group (SDSG) with 41 Parisian specialty department stores and 203 traditional department stores under the names of Proffitt’s, McRae’s, Younkers, Herberger’s, Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner’s, and Boston Store. The Company also operates Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises (SFAE), which consists of 62 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 51 Saks Off 5th stores, and Saks Direct.


NanoPierce Technologies, Inc. announced commencement of WaferPierce production
and a
new operational organization.

Dr. Herbert J. Neuhaus has been appointed President and Chief Executive
of the newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary NanoPierce Connection Systems,

NanoPierce Connections Systems, Inc., has been chartered to undertake
high-volume-production WaferPierce, a revolutionary and enabling
semiconductor wafer treatment for ultra-low-cost flip-chip without the
necessity of wire bonding, conductive adhesives, or soldering. Typical end-use
applications of WaferPierce include Smart Labels, Smart Cards, and LED
arrays. The new subsidiary has taken over all operations and business
activities conducted in the Colorado Springs facility effective January 1,
2002. In addition to WaferPierce production, NanoPierce Connection Systems
will be responsible for licensing and new applications of other NanoPierce
technologies to add value to electronic components.

The strategic operational change was prompted by, among other factors, the
completion and operational readiness of the Class 1000 WaferPierce(TM)
production cleanroom in Colorado Springs and the recently announced plan to
commence production of smart inlays in NanoPierce’s German subsidiary
NanoPierce Card Technologies, GmbH (press release dated January 14, 2002).
Mr. Metzinger commented: “WaferPierce(TM) directly addresses the needs of the
flip-chip market segment of the semiconductor market. Over the next five
Prismark Partners forecasts that the flip-chip market will grow at 45%
annually, far faster than the overall industry. Specifically, the market for
wafer treatment for flip-chip, currently at just over 4 million wafers per
year, will skyrocket to 24 million wafers per year. Moreover, WaferPierce(TM)
offers unique advantages to most rapidly growing segments of the flip-chip
market. For example, industry leaders have told us that Smart Labels, which
forecast to grow at 122% annually, cannot be produced cost effectively with
other technology.”

“I am very proud to take the helm of this new enterprise,” declared Dr.
Neuhaus. “To me it represents the realization of a vision Paul Metzinger and I
developed several years ago. Paul and I then laid the foundation, and together
our entire team has persevered since. Today the vision remains unchanged
and is
finally in reach: to transform the entire electronics industry; to make
NanoPierce the new industry standard for flip-chip.”

Dr. Neuhaus is an expert in materials for semiconductors and electronics
packaging. Since 1980, Dr. Neuhaus has been active in the development and
characterization of electronic materials and associated manufacturing. Dr.
Neuhaus received his Ph.D. degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. Dr. Neuhaus is associated with numerous professional groups and
is the current Materials Subcommittee chair of the National Technical
of the International Microelectronics and Packaging Society (IMAPS).
Paul H. Metzinger, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The new
structure will more closely align organizational reality to actual operations,
which we believe will enhance the successful execution of our Strategic
Plan. I
have the highest level of confidence that with the increased accountability
responsibility Dr. Neuhaus has assumed, he and his team will exceed their
already impressive levels of performance.”

About NanoPierce Technologies, Inc.

NanoPierce Technologies, Inc. of Denver, Colorado, USA, is traded on the
stock market (OTCBB:NPCT) as well as on the Frankfurt and Hamburg (OTC:NPI)
stock exchanges. In addition to the 12 patents it owns, NanoPierce has
applications pending, others in preparation, and various other intellectual
properties related to NanoPierce’s proprietary NCS (NanoPierce Connection
System). This advanced system is designed to provide significant improvement
over conventional electrical and mechanical interconnection methods for
high-density circuit boards, components, sockets, connectors, semiconductor
packaging and electronic systems.
For more information on NanoPierce Technologies, Inc., please visit this web

NOVA Signs Union Planters

NOVA Information Systems announced an alliance with Union Planters Corporation to provide payment-processing services to the bank’s more than 12,000 merchant customers located in 12 states. NOVA — the country’s third largest merchant payment processors — will immediately begin implementation of its merchant-processing contract, valued at $1.7 billion in charge volume, with Memphis-based Union Planters. “Our alliance with NOVA will mean greater service and convenience to our merchant customers,” said Bobby L. Doxey, Sr. Executive Vice President and CFO of Union Planters. “We expect our customers to benefit from a broader range of merchant products and services,” he added. Within the year, Union Planters plans to expand the alliance to include additional NOVA products and services designed to meet the growing business needs of its merchant customers.

Founded in 1869, Union Planters (NYSE:UPC) is a multi-state bank holding company offering banking, investment, mortgage and insurance services to more than two million individuals and businesses. At June 30, 2001, UPC was the 28th largest bank holding company in the nation based on total assets. The U.S. Small Business Administration has consistently ranked the company one of the most small business-friendly lenders in the country. For more information, visit their web site at [][1].

Atlanta-based NOVA Information Systems manages and transports payment and other business information on behalf of retailers, community banks and regional financial institutions. NOVA specializes in providing integrated credit and debit card payment processing services, related software application products and value-added services to more than 650,000 merchant locations in the United States. For more information on the company, visit [][2].



Euronet Worldwide and Satelindo, an Indonesian mobile operator,
announced an agreement that will enable Satelindo’s consumers to purchase
Mentari-branded prepaid airtime directly from their mobile phones.
The agreement was signed by Euronet Sigma Nusantara, a joint venture company
between Euronet Worldwide and PT Sigma Cipta Caraka.

With Euronet’s Mobile Recharge solution, Satelindo will offer added
to its Mentari mobile phone customers. With simple SMS commands, customers can
top up airtime on their prepaid mobile phones — any time, any place. After
authorizing and processing the transactions, the customers’ bank accounts will
be debited for the purchase amount with no additional transaction fee. The
customers’ mobile phones will then receive an SMS message from Satelindo
confirming that their prepaid accounts have been credited. This new service
eliminates the need to purchase prepaid scratch-off cards.
Satelindo is the first Indonesian mobile operator to offer the ability to
increase mobile phone minutes directly from the handset. Satelindo,
second-largest mobile phone operator, has more than 1.7 million customers, and
approximately 80% of them use prepaid services.

“Euronet’s innovative Mobile Recharge solution enables Satelindo to lead the
way in providing mobile payment solutions in Indonesia and Southeast Asia,”
said Jan Nilsson, Satelindo Cellular Director. “We believe that our customers
will appreciate the added convenience of being able to top up their phones any
hour of the day with no additional transaction fee.”
Euronet Worldwide offers mobile operator solutions that enable airtime to be
added to consumers’ prepaid accounts from ATMs, point-of-sales devices, the
Internet and directly from the mobile phone. The company provides its recharge
solutions to eight GSM mobile operators in Poland, Hungary, the Czech
Croatia and Norway.

“We are excited about working with Satelindo to implement Euronet Mobile
Recharge in Indonesia,” said Michael Brown, Euronet Worldwide Chairman and

“We have been providing electronic banking solutions in this region for 10
years through our relationship with PT Sigma Cipta Caraka, and we are happy to
expand our electronic payment solutions in Indonesia to the mobile operators.
With the exploding growth of the mobile phone industry, and particularly of
prepaid mobile sector, this product offers significant cost and time savings
and convenience for the GSM service providers.”

Euronet Worldwide provides products, services and a transaction-processing
network in Indonesia through PT Euronet Sigma Nusantara, a joint venture
company with PT Sigma Cipta Caraka, an Indonesian banking information
technology firm and the local distributor of the Euronet brand software. The
joint venture company also markets its ATM outsourcing services to Indonesian
banks and local subsidiaries of multinational banks, with the intention of
providing ATM monitoring and other network services in addition to transaction

About Euronet Worldwide

Euronet Worldwide is an industry leader in providing secure electronic
financial transaction solutions. The company offers financial payment
middleware, financial network gateways, outsourcing and consulting services to
financial institutions and mobile operators. These solutions enable their
customers to access personal financial information and perform secure
transactions — any time, any place. The company has processing centers
in Europe, Asia and the United States, and it owns and operates the largest
independent ATM network in Europe. With corporate headquarters in Leawood,
Kansas, USA, and European headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, Euronet serves
more than 200 clients in 60 countries. Visit our web site at

About Satelindo

Satelindo was founded in 1993. The shareholders are PT Indosat and DeTe Mobile
(a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom). Visit the Satelindo web site

US Dataworks Processes $2B

US Dataworks Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SonicPort Inc. and a provider of software solutions for the financial industry, announced that it processed more than $2.4 billion in transactions in 2001.

“We are very pleased to see concrete evidence that our business model works,” stated Sonicport CEO Charles Ramey. “We have every expectation that these figures mark the beginning of a major growth period for US Dataworks.” Various divisions of the U.S. Government utilized US Dataworks transaction software solutions, as well as other companies including the world leader in charge & credit cards, travelers cheques, travel, financial planning, insurance and international banking.

US Dataworks President Terry Stepanik said: “Demand for our Remoteworks, Remitworks and MICRworks transaction software continues to grow at a tremendous pace. The market’s acceptance of Microsoft Windows NT(R) and Windows 2000(R) as the software platform for transaction processing, combined with the enormous need for Automated Clearing House (ACH) solutions, validates our belief that our market leadership will continue in the coming years.”

About US Dataworks Inc.

US Dataworks Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of SonicPort Inc. US Dataworks develops, markets and supports transaction processing software for the financial services industry. Its customer base includes many of the largest financial institutions as well as credit card companies, government institutions and high-volume merchants in the U.S. It has a strategic alliance with CheckFree Corp. (Nasdaq:CKFR) to license Dataworks’ software for its banking customers. It also has a strategic alliance with Thomson Financial Publishing, a unit of Thomson Corp. (TSE:TOC), to incorporate their EPICWare database into US Dataworks products.

About SonicPort Inc.

SonicPort Inc. is a financial services company specializing in the integration of transaction-processing software with ASP services, IT expertise and customer service. Additional value-added services include custom software applications and technical support.


Within the context of the Navigo project, Ascom has installed a contactless ticketing system at almost 2000 access control gates on the RER network and RATP underground railway in Paris. Of these, 1400 have been in operation sinces 30 November 2001. Initially reserved for holders of the “Carte Integrale” pass, they are to be gradually extended to serve all passengers.

Transactions in a trice

The Ascom contactless ticketing validators are designed to provide unparalleled ease of use for RATP customers: passengers simply move to within a few centimetres of a target mark to have their tickets automatically validated. The transaction is performed almost instantaneously, enhancing the flow of traffic. The new equipment is also equipped for interoperability, which will come into force at a defined point in the future. Passengers will then be able to use the same ticket for transport on the RATP and SNCF networks.

Ascom’s participation in the Navigo project, confirms its lasting commitment to RATP, wich has been a customer since the 1960s.


Bermuda-based First Atlantic Commerce, a leading e-commerce payment solutions
provider, announced platform compatibility with Miva Corporation’s Miva
Merchant, a leading storefront development and management system.

First Atlantic Commerce provides multi-currency transaction processing
through cGate, a secure, fully flexible card payment system, in addition to
acquirer consulting and risk management services.

Miva Merchant is a dynamic browser based system that allows merchants to
multiple online stores. The browser based administration interface provides
access to sophisticated tools to maintain catalogs and inventory, manage
customer accounts, create comprehensive promotional campaigns, handle order
fulfillment responsibilities and generate detailed sales and website traffic

Integration with Miva Merchant enables First Atlantic Commerce’s payment
processing platform to operate in conjunction with the shopping cart
application, providing merchants with easy access to selling their wares over
the Internet in the currency of their choice.

“First Atlantic Commerce’s compatibility with Miva further enhances our global
e-commerce payment platform and provides the small to medium segment of our
customer base with a one stop shop for their e-commerce needs,” said Andrea
Wilson, CEO of First Atlantic Commerce.

“Miva Merchant together with First Atlantic Commerce’s payment processing
platform provides customers with the ability to launch customized e-commerce
stores quickly, easily and efficiently.”

Express Market, a division of Trinidad Express, the national newspaper for
Trinidad and Tobago, is the first customer to go live on the First Atlantic
Commerce and Miva Merchant platform.

“First Atlantic Commerce’s integration with the Miva shopping cart product
allows Trinidad Express to utilize a transaction processing service provider
that is based in our region and understands our region, while having access to
a leading storefront provider that caters to small to medium sized
said Tony Johnson, General Manager, Business Development of Trinidad

The Express Market website, which offers an array of products from books and
CDs to stationery and clothing for sale, can be found at

About Miva Corporation

Founded in 1996, Miva Corporation provides the leading e-commerce platform for
channels that target small-to mid-size businesses. These distribution partners
are at the forefront of servicing the exploding number of small to mid-size
businesses using the Internet to expand their market reach. Channels can
and quickly integrate the Miva platform of scripting, end-user applications
API with their existing services to deliver complete e-commerce solutions to
SMBs. No other e-commerce platform company offers the ease of browser-based
point and click, deep-down customizability and the reach to deliver integrated
marketing services. For more information on Miva’s products, contact Miva
Corporation, 5060 Santa Fe Street, San Diego, California 92109. Phone: (858)
490-2570, fax: (858) 731-4200 or visit Miva’s Web site at

About First Atlantic Commerce Ltd.

First Atlantic Commerce, a Bermuda-based e-commerce solutions provider since
1998, specializes in consulting services to acquiring banks for Internet
enablement, and secure payment solutions for e-businesses. The company
universal payment solutions such as multi-currency and multiple jurisdiction
settlements to enable businesses to access the global marketplace. Through
custom software systems, First Atlantic Commerce connects merchants to major
international credit card processors, as well as numerous globally recognized
banks, ensuring fast and secure transaction processing. cGate and cGateSecure
were developed by First Atlantic Commerce using the latest technology and
highest levels of encryption. For more information on First Atlantic
visit our web site at or
Melanie Burns at [email protected] or 441 294-4624.

Metris 4Q/01

Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank delivered a 46% increase in profits for the fourth quarter, from $48.6 million for 4Q/00 to $70.7 million for fourth quarter 2001. During the quarter, Metris added over 290,000 new credit card accounts, including 40,000 from a bank card portfolio acquisition, resulting in a total of 4.9 million accounts at the end of the year. The managed credit card loan portfolio increased by $880 million during the fourth quarter, resulting in a portfolio of over $11.9 billion at Dec 31. Managed credit card fees, interchange and other credit card income increased 31% to $160.1 million for the fourth quarter from $122.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2000. The comparable managed net charge-off rate was 10.9% for 4Q/01 compared to 9.7% for 4Q/00. The comparable managed delinquency rate was 9.7% at Dec 31, 2001, compared to 8.3% at Dec 31, 2000. For the fourth quarter of 2001, managed net interest margin was 14.0%, compared with 14.2% for the third quarter of 2001 and 12.6% for the fourth quarter of 2000. For current and historical performance on Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank visit CardData ([][1]).



Zebra Technologies Corporation, the worldwide leader in bar code labeling
solutions and plastic card printers, announced that it entered into a
distribution agreement with EMJ Data Systems, Ltd., a leading
Canadian distributor of computer, networking and wireless solutions. EMJ will
support Canadian resellers marketing Zebra Technologies’ Eltron card printer
products used in applications such as high-security access control, personal
identification, photo ID cards, employee badges, library cards and other
applications where longer life plastic cards are a better solution. In 2001,
EMJ acquired former Eltron distributor, SDMS.

“We are very excited to be carrying Eltron card printers for resellers
throughout Canada,” stated Jim Estill, president and CEO of EMJ. “Since our
specialty is in creating vertical niches that will help our resellers grow,
Zebra’s Eltron card printer products help us broaden our solutions for
security, auto ID and point-of-sale. End users are continually implementing
new applications for plastic cards. The Eltron brand of card printers is the
industry’s most respected.”

“We’re very proud to have EMJ represent us in the Canadian market,”
emphasized Zebra Technologies Eltron Card Printer Products North American
Sales Manager David Murphy (Edina, Minn.). “We look forward to EMJ supporting
the Canadian channel for our Eltron card printer products in the same way
Canadian resellers have relied on them for assistance with our Zebra bar code

About EMJ Data Systems, Ltd.

EMJ Data Systems, Ltd., headquartered in Guelph, Ontario, is a Canadian,
publicly-owned distributor of computer products and peripherals. EMJ
specializes in niche-market products for Apple, Digital Video,
Internetworking, Point-of-Sale, RAID, Unix and Wireless applications. EMJ
Data Systems, Ltd. has branch offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa,
Markham, Montreal and Halifax, as well as one office in the United States.
EMJ is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) under the symbol EMJ.
Interested parties can reach EMJ via

About Zebra Technologies Corporation

Zebra Technologies Corporation (Vernon Hills, Ill.) manufactures and
distributes Zebra brand on-demand bar code label printers and Eltron brand
secure ID printing systems and plastic card printers used in automatic
identification and plastic card personalization applications worldwide. The
company, with an installed base of more than 2 million printers, also offers
software and related supplies, including more than 300 label and ribbon
combinations. Zebra’s customers include more than 70 percent of the FORTUNE
500. The company’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the
symbol ZBRA. Information about Eltron brand card printer products can be
found at