PULSE 2002

TX-based PULSE EFT Association reported this morning that its transaction volume for last year totaled more than 955 million, an increase of 34%. PULSE also posted a gain of 775 total new member financial institutions, including nearly 500 financial institutions that joined as a result of completion of a merger agreement with TYME. During 2002, the network processed more than 336 million ATM transactions, an increase of 22.5%, and PIN debit transactions jumped to 431.7 million, a rise of 28%. Other significant categories accounted for 187.8 million transactions, more than 87% greater than the previous year. PULSE EFT Association serves more than 3,700 banks, credit unions and savings institutions and its network includes more than 700,000 ATM and retail locations nationwide.

Cards Mid-East

Terrapinn Ltd announced that MasterCard International has agreed to host the “4th Annual Cards Middle East” conference and exhibition in Dubai. he Middle East’s payments and transactions summit is now firmly established as the region’s meeting place for banks, telcos, retailers and other organisations profiting form card solutions. This is where the payments and transactions industry does business.

INFRARED STANDARD

After a three year effort, a standard has been released for global,
wireless, proximity payments. The Infrared Data Association released the
standard for infrared payments to be used by cell phones and PDA’s that
beam transaction information between card readers, ATMs, kiosks, gas pumps,
turnstiles and toll booths. The new “IrFM” specification utilizes existing
financial services infrastructures to process wireless payment transactions
(credit cards, debit and smart cards, checks and loyalty programs) at the
POS. Harex InfoTech in South Korea tested the standard in 2002 for nine
months with its “ZOOP Universal Mobile Payment Service.” During the past 4
years an estimated 200+ million IrDA enabled cell phones and PDA’s have
been shipped throughout the world.

GZS & Deutsche Bank

Frankfurt, Germany-based GZS has extended its contract to provide payment-processing services to Deutsche Bank AG until 2006. As Germany’s leading provider of processing services, GZS offers professional clearing and settlement solutions for cash-free card payments and develops innovative products in the field of intelligent transaction processing.

Cash Systems

MN-based Cash Systems has signed contracts with 15 more casinos for cash advance services to bring its total client list to more than 90 gaming locations. Cash Systems, Inc. has grown from a regional ATM provider to one of four cash access companies serving the gaming industry. Cash Systems’ products include its proprietary cash advance systems, ATMs and check cashing solutions. Cash Systems gaming clients are comprised of both Native American and commercial entities.

BOILER ROOMS

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has launched a new Web site to fight
cross-border fraud.The most common cross-border frauds perpetuated in
Canada against U.S. residents include phony prize promotions, foreign
lottery schemes, advance-fee loan scams, fraudulent travel offers, and
unnecessary credit card loss “protection” offers. The Web site contains
information on recent FTC law enforcement actions against cross-border scam
artists, as well as FTC coordination with law enforcement agencies in other
countries to combat this multi-billion dollar problem.

FleetBoston 4Q Update

FleetBoston reported this morning that net credit chargeoffs and writedowns (excluding Argentina) for the fourth quarter will total approximately $500 million. Three well-publicized credits account for about $150 million of the total and these relate to a major airline bankruptcy, a European energy company, and an Enron-related financing tied to the recently announced settlement by JPM Chase with various insurers. Excluding the incremental provision above the third quarter level, earnings from continuing operations are expected to approximate $600 million or $.57 per share in the fourth quarter. The core customer facing businesses continue to demonstrate solid progress.

FHMS Buys Ski Processor

First Horizon Merchant Services has acquired substantially all of the assets of CA-based Merchant Card Management Systems, the largest provider of card-based processing services to the United States ski industry. MCMS was formed in 1992 and quickly focused on the ski resort industry, currently supporting more than 50 ski areas in the U.S. Providing processing, host-based and LAN-based loyalty card solutions, networked terminal applications and customized transaction reporting has given MCMS above-average client retention. MCMS’s client base also includes other travel and entertainment merchants as well as general retail.

Cross-Border Fraud Site

The FTC yesterday opened a new Web site devoted to fighting cross-border fraud which includes advance-fee loan scams and unnecessary credit card loss protection offers. Consumers can download many valuable consumer education publications, including “Hang Up on Cross-Border Phone Fraud,” “Border-Line Scams are the Real Thing,” and “Straight Talk About Telemarketing.” The site also includes a full-color downloadable poster – “Foreign Lotteries: The Games You Can’t Win”- for legitimate lottery vendors to help customers avoid common, costly foreign lottery scams.

Online Banking Europe

Online banks reached more than 30% of the active Internet audience in five major markets in November. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, between October 2001 and October 2002, the number of European surfers visiting financial services sites grew from 15 to 25 million, while the percentage of European Internet users who regularly visit a financial services site steadily rose to 37%. On a country-by-country basis, online bank domains in Sweden attracted the highest percentage of active users in November, with more than half that country’s surfers visiting a bank or credit union site and spending an average of more than an hour on those sites during the month.

TransXpress Secure

VA-based Transaction Network Services has introduced the “TransXpress Secure” service enabling merchants and ATM terminal operators the ability to access TNS’ private transaction data network via the Internet using SSL encryption methodologies. TransXpress® Secure overcomes security concerns associated with Internet connectivity by providing a secure path between the client and the TransXpress® Secure gateway SSL server. With TransXpress® Secure, processors can enable retail merchants and ATM terminal operators to use their existing Internet connection provided by the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).