Vital Certifies Hospitality Software

Vital Processing Services® (Vital®), a recognized leader in technology-based commerce enabling services, announced that Inter-American Data, Inc.’s Lodging Management System, hospitality software, has been Class B Certified on Vital’s POS network. With this certification, now acquirers that have merchant customers using LMS can route transactions directly through the Vital Sierra Authorization and Capture System.

LMS front office software is an integrated solution for comprehensive hotel data management. This software speeds up and simplifies hotel operations with features ranging from reservations and check-in to night audit and check out. With the Vital Class B certification, LMS System users will have the ability to process payment transactions with more scalability and cost effective service on Vital’s proven, reliable network.

“We are delighted with this certification. It offers our customers yet one more reason to do business with us,” said Mike Sunshine, IAD marketing director.

“Vital is pleased to Class B Certify LMS hotel property management software to our network,” says Henry Harp, executive vice president, market development, Vital Processing Services. “We are responding to the needs of our clients to provide a one-stop-shop for their transaction processing needs. Now, we can directly handle authorization and capture requests for existing LMS customers or for any new merchants utilizing this system.”

About Lodging Management System

Lodging Management System (LMS) front office hospitality software, a product of Inter-American Data, Inc., a privately -owned enterprise solution provider, offers complete hotel data management needs. LMS is designed to help hotels efficiently manage large amounts of information without the additional staff that decreases profit margins. It allows hotel staffs to spend less time waiting for information and more time giving guests excellent service. LMS unites in one integrated software solution, greater management control of hotel front office, accounting and housekeeping operations while improving guest services. It also is a versatile foundation expandable to incorporate additional programs for sales and catering, telecommunications management, back office, food and beverage, activities scheduling and other functions. From reservations and check-in to wake-up call to night audit and checkout, Additional information regarding LMS can be found at [][1].

About Vital Processing Services

A leader in technology-based commerce enabling services, Vital Processing Services® (Vital®) is the only pure acquirer processor in the industry. Vital s clients include acquirers and merchant service providers that offer electronic payment processing and related services to merchants. Vital provides leading point-of-sale (POS) products and services, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; accounting, billing and reporting; risk management; and merchant support services. Vital also provides POS equipment management services through its subsidiary Vital Merchant Services and a full suite of Information Services. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa U.S.A. and TSYS® (“NYSE: TSS”), a global leader in payments processing. Additional information regarding Vital can be found at .


ProCash 2250

Wincor Nixdorf launched the ProCash 2250 ATM, which fits any standard drive-up installation in the USA. The ProCash 2250 features a sunlight-readable 12.1″ LCD. The display is considerably brighter than the CRTs found in most ATMs, allowing bank customers to easily see and operate all ATM functions. The ProCash 2250 is powered by a Pentium III processor and runs on the Windows NT operating system. The open system architecture (WOSA/XFS) combined with an accessible design, allows new functions to easily be added to the ProCash 2250; users simply slide out the computer chassis in the ATM to upgrade all major systems. The new ATM can be enhanced for other applications including deposits, printing documents such as statements, and Web-enabled initiatives.

Golub Chairs Venture Firm

TH Lee Putnam Ventures, a leading venture capital fund with $1.1 billion in committed capital, announced that it has named Harvey Golub, former Chairman and CEO of American Express, as Chairman.

In that role, he will work closely with TH Lee Putnam Ventures’ managers and with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Putnam Investments, the fund’s sponsors, to offer strategic counsel to the fund, its executives and its partner companies. Mr. Golub will also become a Senior Advisor to Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Thomas H. Lee said, “Based on his record as CEO of American Express and, earlier, as head of one of its most important operating groups, Harvey is widely acknowledged as one of the best managers in the country. He understands the impact of new and evolving technologies across many sectors of the economy. Further, his many relationships in the business and financial communities can provide important business contacts and deal flow for TH Lee Putnam Ventures as well as for our portfolio companies.”

Mr. Golub said, “TH Lee Putnam Ventures’ investment focus is a good one – investing in mid-to-late-stage technology-oriented companies that have true potential to change the way that business is done. The real challenge in venture capital comes in creating value for limited partners by selecting the best companies in which to invest and then helping those companies increase market share, develop new products and carry out strategic acquisitions and alliances. It’s in that task that I see my primary role.”

In addition to his aforementioned accomplishments, Mr. Golub serves as a board member for many major corporations, including Campbell Soup Company, Dow Jones and Warnaco, as well as board member and chairman for tech-related firms, including AirClic and ClientLogic. He also commits time to serving on the boards of a number of philanthropic foundations.

About TH Lee Putnam Ventures

TH Lee Putnam Ventures ([][1]) is a $1.1 billion venture capital fund affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Putnam Investments. Based in New York, TH Lee Putnam Ventures provides development capital to companies that commercialize digital information technologies. Its major focus is on Financial Services, Retail Applications Software, Consumer Supply Chain and Outsourcing Solutions.

To date, TH Lee Putnam Ventures has invested over $500 million in 37 companies. Among the more significant investments in the portfolio are:

— Liquidnet ([][2]) is an alternative trading system (ATS) that allows large institutional investors to trade large blocks of listed and Nasdaq stocks with minimal market impact.

— Currenex ([][3]) is the leading online business-to-business foreign currency exchange service for corporations, financial institutions and government organizations.

— Marketmax ([][4]) is a leading provider of advanced retail planning and analytics software that allow retailers and their suppliers to analyze large amounts of historical data and create meaningful predictive information.

— Parago ([][5]) provides companies with an outsourced technology solution for promotional management, including the execution and monitoring of rebate programs or cash discount programs on a real-time basis.

— Velocity Express ([][6]) is the largest provider of same-day delivery and logistics services in North America, including scheduled delivery, on-demand delivery, critical parts management, distribution services and air courier services.


Welcome & Catuity

Catuity this morning announced a settlement agreement with Welcome Real-Time which ends a patent dispute over smart card loyalty software. Last year, Welcome claimed in an Australian Court case that Catuity and its Australian subsidiaries had infringed its patent by operating the CiT Transcard system in Western Sydney from July 1997, and by offering to supply upgrades of the system since that time. Under terms of the settlement announced this morning, both parties have agreed to stop all legal action over current patent issues and seek compulsory mediation and binding arbitration for all future patent disputes. Catuity offers an integrated suite of applications that provide loyalty, ticketing, access control and membership. Welcome Real-Time, based in France, offers a smart card transaction platform that provides instantly awarded loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, and cash back. (CF Library 5/18/01; 7/27/01)


Yahoo! and ACNielsen reported this week that its Internet Confidence Index, a quarterly study designed to measure confidence levels in Internet products and services, dropped four points during the first quarter to 111, compared to the fourth quarter of 2001. The companies said it is normal for an Index such as this one to experience its first small decline. They note that the Internet Confidence Index is still well above the launch baseline of 100, which indicates that overall Internet confidence of the average consumer is still relatively high. This is further evidenced by more people intending to shop online. The study found that more than 40% of users manage some aspect of their personal finances online, while 26 percent intend to use the Web for tax research this year. These results provide evidence of a strong consumer demand for online personal financial services, and suggest a potential opportunity for e-commerce players in this space. The Internet Confidence Index’s dip during this wave of the study was prompted in part by heavy Internet users who expressed less confidence with the fulfillment process for online orders, relating specifically to customer service and the delivery of goods during the holiday season. Additionally, among all users, there was an increased concern over the security of credit card information and level of trust with how personal information is being used.

S2 Board

S2 Systems Inc., a global provider of transaction processing, authorization, and integrated solutions for the banking, financial, retail, and travel sectors, announced the addition of Maurice (Maury) H. Hartigan II to its board of directors. Mr. Hartigan brings to S2 Systems more than 35 years of industry experience and a wide range of banking knowledge. He is now president and CEO of the Risk Management Association (RMA).

At RMA Hartigan is leading the only financial services association dedicated to promoting effective credit risk management practices in the industry, with a membership consisting of more than 3,000 commercial banks and financial organizations.

“Maury’s distinguished background greatly enhances the exemplary range of knowledge and experience retained by the S2 Systems board of directors,” said Stephen Clark, president and CEO of S2 Systems. “Along with other recent appointments, this important addition reflects S2’s strong commitment to acquire the senior level executive experience and leadership necessary to capitalize on our recent phenomenal success as well as spearhead a new phase of business growth for the company. We are delighted to have Maury join our board of directors.”

Prior to RMA, Hartigan held a number of prominent positions with Chemical Bank over a noteworthy career of 30 years, leading the institution’s most credit-intensive divisions. He has a thorough understanding of community bank issues as a result of his experience directing correspondent banking at Chemical in the early 1980s. Other leadership roles that Hartigan held at Chemical Bank included: senior vice president, Corporate Banking; senior vice president, Financial Services Division; executive vice president — head of International Division; chairman, Credit Policy Committee; and executive in charge — Chemical Realty Group.

“S2 Systems is in a unique position to build upon its consistent success in key market sectors,” said Hartigan. “I am excited to be a member of S2’s board of directors, particularly at this juncture. The company has a history of sound management, best business practices and exceptional financial performance. Best of all, S2 Systems has emerged against its competitors with a business model that ensures sustainable profitability and increased market share for open systems enterprise payment and transaction management solutions.”

The addition of Hartigan to S2 Systems’ board of directors marks a new chapter in the company’s history as S2 Systems repositions itself to meet soaring demand. Some of the noteworthy and recent customer wins of S2 Systems include a number of large bank groups, a major wireless communications provider, and several top ranking retail chains; long-standing customers include the leading travel industry service provider and the largest theme park in America. S2 Systems enjoys a global presence and solid customer base worldwide.

Hartigan holds a BA from Georgetown and an MBA from CCNY. He also attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.

About S2 Systems

S2 Systems, Inc. is a leading global provider of mission-critical enterprise payment and transaction management solutions for the banking, financial services, retail and travel & hospitality industries. For more than 18 years, some of the world’s largest organizations have relied on S2 products to drive their high-volume e-commerce transactions. Today, our leading-edge technology enables businesses worldwide to implement Web-based initiatives that improve operational efficiency, enhance customer service and generate new revenue streams. S2 Systems is headquartered in Dallas and has offices in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Dubai, Riyadh, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne, and Sydney. For more information about S2 Systems, visit its web site at [][1].


Software Award

A Baltimore jury awarded a $276 million judgement against First Union/Wachovia this week after finding that the bank ripped off a Maryland man’s lending software. The jury awarded $76 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages to Scott Steele. According to the Baltimore Sun, Steele Software Systems Corp., worked under contract for First Union and in 1997 implemented a computerized loan approval system. After naming Steele “Vendor of the Year” the bank allegedly covertly tried to find ways to terminate Steele’s contract. While Steele was still contracting with First Union, the bank formed a new company, called GreenLink, that employed many of the methods used in Steele’s system. Steele’s attorneys said the bank also refused to send hundreds of thousands of transactions to Steele’s company that he was entitled to process and get paid for. Snyder, Slutkin & Lodowski said GreenLink had projected that its profits over the next five years would be $2.4 billion—profit largely attributable to GreenLink’s use of Steele’s ideas and technology. Steele’s attorneys said the bank cut him out of at least 650,000 bank transactions that his company would have earned $80 a piece to process.

Lucky Discover

The Discover Card is launching a national tour this weekend to promote shopping and a new sweepstakes. The Discover Card Shops America with Lucky Magazine will include a 12-city national tour and a chance to win a $5,000 “Shopping Spree.” Tour highlights include an information center, a “Style Station” featuring Sephora, Nine West, and GUESS?, and a VIP tent, where Discover cardholders can take a break to rejuvenate their spirits. Exclusive cardholder benefits at the VIP parlor include mini-makeovers, hair consultations, special discounts and other merchandise. Cardholders can also enter a national sweepstakes for a chance to win a $5,000 pre-loaded Discover Card and a trip to New York City for a shopping spree with a Lucky magazine editor. The tour will begin in Los Angeles tomorrow. Lucky Magazine is a publication solely devoted to shopping.


The UK Post Office has awarded major contracts to EDS and IBM as part of a UK government initiative to provide low-cost bank accounts that are easy to access for citizens without conventional banking facilities and that improve the payment of social security benefits. EDS was awarded an eight-year contract to provide electronic benefits transfer, customer relationship management, and application processing services. eFunds Corporation said this morning it is working with IBM to provide universal banking services to UK’s more than 17,500 Post Office branches. eFunds will install its CONNEX EFT solution to help IBM provide a secure IT infrastructure to process financial transactions from retail Post Office outlets. EDS also announced Wednesday a multi-year agreement with ABN AMRO Bank to provide a full range of services including application hosting, data processing, and back office processing for the Amsterdam-based financial institution’s operations in India. EDS also signed a five-year IT outsourcing extension with OK Q8, Sweden’s leading petroleum company with a network of 1,000 petroleum stations countrywide.

Tax Miles

As the annual tax reporting season draws to a close, a battle has erupted among issuers and networks to capture tax payments on credit cards. This morning, First USA and United Airlines announced they will award a 5,000 air mile bonus to cardholders using the United Mileage Plus VISA to pay taxes through May 30. The bonus is in addition to the one-mile-per-dollar earned under the program. Mileage Plus has more than 40 million enrolled members and approximately 4 million United Mileage Plus VISA cardholders. One week ago, VISA USA reached an agreement with Official Payments Corporation to permit VISA cards to be used for payment of federal and state income taxes. VISA had been a holdout in the tax payments via credit card market due to its regulations which prohibit merchants from charging a fee to cardholders for acceptance. OPC has been offering its tax payment service on MasterCard, Discover, and American Express cards since 1998. OPC generally charges consumers a fee of approximately 2.5% for each transaction, since most government entities cannot legally pay a merchant or discount fee for such transactions. Following VISA’s announcement to join the program, American Express and Citibank issued press releases to encourage consumers to use their card products for tax payments. Citibank encouraged taxpayers to use its American Airlines AAdvantage Program to earn one AAdvantage mile for every dollar of income tax paid. American Express said it will award double SkyMiles when cardholders pay federal taxes, or one SkyMile when paying state taxes, on their Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, between now and April 16, 2002. Other American Express cardholders can earn points through the Membership Rewards program. Currently, OPC has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the IRS, 21 state governments, and more than 1,200 counties and municipalities. In 2001, OPC collected and processed more than one million transactions totaling $1.2 billion in federal, state, and local government payments. According to the IRS, as of mid-March, the agency had received more than 20,000 credit card payments, up 13% from nearly 18,000 for the same period last year. OPC was formerly known as U.S. Audiotex Corp. and went public in 1999. (CF Library 10/29/99; 11/23/99)


The People’s Bank of China said this week that its unified payment system for bank cards has made considerable progress and is ready to compete with foreign banks. China UnionPay is a network which links banks within the country to each other and handled 8.43 trillion yuan in transactions during 2001, an 86% increase over the previous year. The PBOC said glitches in the system will take about one year to iron out. The interbank linking system will serve 383 million bank cards currently in circulation in China.


Universal Debit and Credit Corporation along with its strategic partner, National Processing Company, a leading provider of merchant credit card processing and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Processing, Inc., announced they have signed 14 new banking institutions. This relationship provides the 14 banks and 148 branches the opportunity to offer their banking customers payment-processing services.

The 14 banks that signed this agreement include: Blue Ridge Bank, Central National Bank, Community National Bank, First National Bank, First National Exchange Bank, Mountain National Bank, Patrick Henry National Bank, Patriot Bank, Peoples National Bank, Shenandoah National Bank, Southern Financial Bank, National Bank of Davis, and WEPCO Federal Credit Union. This affiliation expands UDC’s current bank client customer base to more than 40 banks and 247 branches, making them one of the largest independent payment processors in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

Lon Gaddy, president of UDC, said, “We are very excited to partner with these banks. They place as much emphasis on personalized customer service as we do with all of our merchant accounts.”

“We are excited that 14 new banks have entered into an agreement with UDC and NPC,” stated Randy Sagar, senior vice president of Independent Sales for NPC. “NPC shares the same commitment of providing our customers with superior products and outstanding service as these banking institutions and UDC. This shared commitment will equate to a winning partnership for all parties involved.”

About Universal Debit & Credit Corporation

Universal Debit & Credit Corporation was founded by Lonnie D. Gaddy and Carlos Gavidia, and has been marketing credit and debit card acceptance, ATM services, EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer), check services, pre-paid services, gift cards and customer loyalty programs to merchants in the Mid- Atlantic region since 1994. The management team of UDC cumulatively represents more than 50 years of professional bankcard experience. Additional information regarding Universal Debit & Credit Corporation can be obtained at .

About National Processing, Inc.

National Processing, Inc. through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, National Processing Company (NPC(R)) is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing. National Processing is 86 percent owned by National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC) ( . ), a Cleveland based $106 billion financial holding company. NPC supports over 600,000 merchant locations, representing nearly one out of every five Visa(R) and MasterCard(R) transactions processed nationally. NPC’s card processing solutions offer superior levels of service and performance and assist merchants in lowering their total cost of card acceptance through its world-class people, technology and service. Additional information regarding National Processing can be obtained at .