ICBC PROFITS

ICBC (Asia) says it expects to make a profit within the next two years. Managing director Chris Chan told the Hong Kong Economic Times that the bank will work with parent Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to set up a joint venture for credit card business expansion. Chan also said ICBC (Asia) is expected to invest additional 30 mln hkd in the credit card business.

Virgin Readers

Virgin announced this morning it is installing smart card readers in all of its U.S. Megastore locations. The installation includes 320 countertop-sized @pos ‘iPOS TC’ payment devices combined with the @pos ‘M700’ smart card reader attachments. Virgin’s move to smart cards is the result of a new program launched by American Express for the ‘Blue’ card. Under the ‘Blue for Music’ program ‘Blue’ cardholders receive 30% off on featured artists’ CDs at Virgin Megastores nationwide. To activate the special offer, Blue cardholders will insert their card into the POS terminal’s smart card reader, which “reads” the information stored on the chip and verifies the cardholder’s name by displaying it on-screen, and then swipe their cards to complete payment for the transaction. The program will also include significant American Express presence at all U.S. Virgin Megastores, including Blue-branded aisle displays, listening stations and Blue-branded bin cards. The @pos ‘iPOS TC’ is equipped with an Intel ‘StrongARM’ processor and real-time operating system, for displaying messages on a full-color, quarter VGA screen. The device features dual channel connectivity for displaying Internet messages via a PCMCIA connection while capturing and transmitting secure transaction data. Standard RS-232, RS-485 or USB interfaces connect to the host POS system. (CF Library 5/9/01)

MIST & NBS

In 1998, MIST Inc. elected to reorganize the Company in order to focus on the market opportunities in gateway technologies and wireless point-of-sale systems. In connection with this reorganization, MIST divested its Card manufacturing facilities and Imprinter business and used the proceeds to pay down debt that had been incurred in part to fund the development of its gateway technologies and wireless POS systems.

On December 13, 2000, the Board of Directors of MIST approved, subject to certain conditions being met, the sale of NBS Holdings Limited (which owns the smart card solutions and embossing business) to its major shareholders, Trilon Financial Corporation and CAI Capital Advisors, for $27.9 million. The proceeds of the sale of this business were to be used to fund a capital distribution to shareholders of approximately $1.00 per common share.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles E. Lee, commented that “smart card usage in financial applications is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years and MIST would like to retain the expertise developed in this area. In addition, with the significant weakening of the economy and continued investment required by MIST to complete the rollout of FreedomGate and the MIST Freedom line of wireless POS devices, the Board of Directors of MIST feel that the payment of a special dividend is not in the Company’s best interests at this time.” As a result, MIST will continue to devote its resources to complete its product development initiatives.

About MIST Inc.

MIST Inc. (TSEMIS), a leading global provider of wireless transaction-enabling technologies, designs, manufactures and distributes wireless and wired Point-of-Sale solutions. The MIST Freedom family of wireless transaction terminals was developed to complement MIST’s existing range of products. The MIST FreedomGate(TM) provides gateway services with value-added options such as messaging, time and attendance, e-commerce and advertising. With facilities in Canada, the United States and Japan, MIST’s clients include North American and international banks, financial institutions, credit and debit card processors, as well as retail, hotel, restaurant, healthcare and loyalty customers. For more information, visit www.mistwireless.com.

PayPal VISA

Providian has rolled out its first co-branded card in conjunction with the most popular P2P online payment service. PayPal will offer the new VISA card to its more than 8 million members and the general public. PayPal will also designate the card as the preferred payment vehicle for all PayPal transactions. The PayPal card offers cardholders a $5 credit after the first use, and a 0% introductory rate for the first 2 or 3 billing cycles. The program is also offering online approvals. The ‘PayPay VISA’ will be among Providian’s transparent tinted cards but will not initially be a smart card. The card is offered with four price points, ranging from a go-to rate of prime +2.49% with no annual fee, to an on-going APR of 23.99% and a $59 annual fee. Punitive APRs range from 19.99% to 27.99%. In February, Providian agreed to take an equity stake in PayPal. Under terms of the partnership Providian agreed to issue a co-branded credit card to PayPal’s members and license PayPal’s technology for private label P2P payments for Providian’s customers. Providian indicated is on the lookout for other co-branding deals. (CF Library 2/7/01)

SkyMiles Online Access

Delta Air Lines now offers SkyMiles members the option of receiving monthly statements and newsletters online. Online statement subscribers will be sent an e-mail reminder each month and will no longer receive paper statements in the mail. The e-mail reminder will contain a message prompting subscribers to check their statement activity and mileage balances, as well as a link to the online information at delta.com .

SkyMiles members can visit delta.com, select the E-mail Programs link and follow the prompts to become an online statement subscriber.

“Online statements provide a fast, direct and environmentally friendly method of sending SkyMiles information to our customers,” said Christine Pierce – director, Relationship and Interactive Marketing. “They also help us fulfill a popular member request by sending targeted messages based on geographic location or membership level to each individual.”

Online subscribers will receive a monthly e-mail reminder with links to their SkyMiles statement and their “real-time” Account History on delta.com. The statement view provides a monthly recap of account activity. The Account History view provides an up-to-date record of the member’s account activity for the previous six months, including activity since the last statement. In addition, online subscribers are a click away from their SkyMiles newsletter and receive program and partner offers as well as Delta offers and updates in their reminder e-mail.

“The online statement is one example of Delta’s effort to provide passengers with SkyMiles information in their preferred channel of communication while using technology to streamline the entire travel experience,” said Pierce.

Online statements will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at delta.com .

Delta SkyMiles members earn mileage by flying Delta, the Delta Connection carriers, Delta Express, Delta Shuttle and Delta’s airline partners, including Delta’s SkyTeam partners. The Delta SkyMiles program offers many other mileage-building opportunities, including the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, MCI, participating hotels, car rental companies, cruise line, restaurants, home buying and selling, flower purchases, shopping and online investing with E*Trade.

In addition to making reservations and purchasing up to seven tickets simultaneously at delta.com , Delta customers can select seats online, download Electronic Timetables, get up-to-date worldwide flight arrival/ departure information, check their current SkyMiles status, make accommodations, reservations, and upgrade to first or business class on flights within the United States, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico. Additionally, U.S.-based travel agencies can access Delta Web fares for their customers via delta.com’s Online Agency Service Center.

Delta’s goal is to become the No. 1 airline in the eyes of its customers, flying passengers and cargo from anywhere to everywhere. People choose to fly Delta more often than any other airline in the world on 5,234 flights each day to 367 cities in 64 countries on Delta, Delta Express, Delta Shuttle, Delta Connection carriers and Delta’s Worldwide Partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that gives customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. For more information, go to [www.delta.com][1] .

[1]: http://www.delta.com/

Canadian Fraud

The FTC testified last week that cross-border telemarketing fraud involving advance fee loans and credit cards continues to be a significant problem. In remarks before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the FTC said that fraud losses to consumers this year from Canadian telemarketing scams will increase to $36.5 million compared to $19.5 million for year 2000. The FTC found that more than 90% of complaints were generated by companies operating in Toronto (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), and Vancouver (British Columbia). The FTC says the main problems in combating cross-border telemarketing fraud include the difficulties of obtaining information about foreign targets and enforcing domestic remedies in foreign jurisdictions. The FTC believes fraudulent Canadian telemarketers target U.S. consumers to take advantage of the difficulties to shield themselves from law enforcement.

Global Signs Coach

Global Payments Inc announced that Coach, Inc. has renewed its contract for comprehensive payment and transaction processing services. The premium leather goods retailer will continue to obtain authorization and capture, as well as merchant accounting and settlement services from Global Payments.

Coach, Inc., with headquarters in New York City, is a leading marketer of modern classic American accessories. Coach Stores operates 173 stores and boutiques located within select department stores and specialty retail locations in the United States. In addition, Coach operates 175 stores and shops in 18 countries outside the U.S.

President and CEO of Global Payments Inc., Paul R. Garcia, said, We are pleased to continue our valued, long-standing relationship and we look forward to assisting Coach Stores in achieving their expansion goals for the future.

Global Payments Inc. (NYSE:GPN) is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to merchants, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national corporations located throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Global Payments offers a comprehensive line of payment solutions, including credit and debit cards, business-to-business purchasing cards, gift cards, check guarantee, check verification and recovery, terminal management and funds transfer services.

VISA ELECTRON

Euronet Worldwide announced the implementation of outsourcing services for Bank Wspolpracy Regionalnej (BWR) in Krakow S.A., a member of the Deutsche Bank group in Poland.

Under the terms of the multiyear agreement, Euronet will manage the daily issuance of VISA Electron cards, authorize and process debit transactions, and provide the bank a gateway to the VISA network. The bank will monitor daily transactions on the network through a remote terminal access system developed by Euronet, enabling the bank to provide real-time information to cardholders whose inquiries come into the bank’s call center.

“Euronet helped us to achieve our objectives of capital investment cost reduction and quick implementation of a solution which was vital to our bank’s service strategy,” said Dr. Friedhelm Herb, Bank Wspolpracy Regionalnej S.A. CEO. “In addition to avoiding the expenditure for software application and hardware, we avoided the necessity of spending on internal infrastructure. Our product offering is focused on both individual and corporate clients. After implementation of these new card products, our offering will be among the most comprehensive on the banking market in Poland.”

“Euronet is very pleased to increase our outsourcing options with BWR/Deutsche Bank Poland,” said Michael Brown, Euronet Worldwide Chairman and CEO. “We have been providing comprehensive ATM outsourcing to BWR for quite some time. With the addition of the debit card program, BWR can now offer additional retail services to its clients, which in turn will drive more transactions across our network. We enjoy helping progressive financial institutions like BWR become leaders in their markets.”

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 financial transactions — any time, any place. The company has processing centers located in the United States, Europe and Asia, and owns and operates the largest independent ATM network in Europe. Euronet was recently ranked number two on the Deloitte & Touche Technical Fast 500, a ranking of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America. 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 www.euronetworldwide.com.

About Bank Wspolpracy Regionalnej S.A.

Bank Wspolpracy Regionalnej S.A. is a bank specializing in services to small and medium-size companies and individual clients. Bank Wspolpracy Regionalnej S.A. has 32 branches located mostly in the Southern part of Poland and employs approximately 800 people. The bank is a part of the Deutsche Bank group, and in the near future will be incorporated into the pan European structures of Deutsche 24.

EQUIFAX ACQUISITION

Equifax Inc. announced
it has acquired Clearing de Informes (CDI), Uruguay’s leading provider of
consumer credit information to businesses. CDI, a subsidiary of Argencard
S.A. in Argentina, is headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, with annual
revenues of approximately US$5 million and 73 employees.

“This transaction reinforces our global strategy of geographic growth in
regions with good economies where strong financial and credit systems exist,”
said Bill Catucci, executive vice president and group executive for the
Americas. “Equifax brings state-of-the-art technology to the market to
provide quality products and services to our international and local
customers.”

With the addition of Uruguay, Equifax now conducts business in six Latin
American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and El Salvador.

Equifax enables and secures global commerce through its information
management, consumer credit, marketing services, business information,
authentication and e-commerce businesses. As the leader in information
services, Equifax adds value wherever customers do business, including the
financial services, retail, telecommunications/utilities, information
technology, brokerage, insurance and business lending industries and
government. Equifax also enlightens, enables and empowers consumers to manage
and protect their financial health with services offered at http//www.equifax.com .
The company ranked in the top five in return on equity among Business Week’s
Best Performers for 2001. Equifax employs 12,000 in 18 countries, has sales
in 50 countries and has $2 billion in revenue.

CELL BANKING

Starting next fall, members of the Desjardins caisses will be able to use wireless technology to check their account balances, make bill payments, funds transfers and line of credit payments from their cellular phones at any place and time. With this new
initiative, it will even be possible for members to view the most recent
transactions on their accounts and see other financial information, such as a
display of current interest rates.

The Mouvement des caisses Desjardins and its partner, Wysdom Inc., a
leader in wireless technologies, made this announcement today during a seminar
entitled “Tendances, impacts et defis de l’Internet sans fil” (Mobile
Internet’s Trends, Impacts and Challenges) presented in Montreal by the
Institut international des telecommunications (the International
Telecommunications Institute).

Earlier this year Bell Canada, one of Desjardins’ long-time partners,
signed a strategic alliance in the area of telecommunications through which
Bell Mobility subscribers will become the first ones to use the new
technology.

“The wireless technology to be implemented by Desjardins is one of the
best to handle financial transactions,” said Mr. Eric Lemieux, Vice-President
Electronic Access and Payments at Desjardins. “Wysdom’s technology, along
with its vast experience in the field of wireless financial services, will
enable us to provide optimal service to our members,” he added.

“Through this ground-breaking innovation, Desjardins will occupy the
leading position in the field of wireless financial transactions in Quebec,”
said Mr. Kashif Hassan, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Wysdom Inc.
“With Wysdom’s technology, Desjardins is offering its members higher
efficiency and a more competitive advantages for their financial
transactions,” he added.

Wysdom is a wireless software and infrastructure company that enables its
customers to offer comprehensive, user-centric mobile products and services.
Wysdom licenses its Mobyle Application Platform(TM) (MAP) to enterprises,
e-businesses and carriers allowing them to deploy applications that empower
users to manage information, commerce and communications on any device.
Wysdom has operations in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, San Jose, and Belgium,
employing more than 200 people worldwide. For more information, please visit
http//www.wysdom.com.

With total assets of $80 billion and more than 36,000 employees, the
Mouvement des caisses Desjardins is the top financial institution and the
largest private employer in Quebec. It is the only one to offer, through its
network of caisses located throughout Quebec, a complete range of financial
products and services. Desjardins is a Quebec leader in terms of e-commerce.
With more than 1,500,000 visits per month, http//www.desjardins.com is the
most highly frequented financial site in Quebec and second in Canada. The
Mouvement Desjardins’ mission is to contribute to the economic and social well
being of individuals and communities.

DoD Smart Cards

Oberthur Card Systems and Litton PRC have been awarded a contract to supply an additional 600,000 ‘Common Access’ ID smart cards to the Department of Defense. The chips on the new cards store digital certificates and digital signatures for authorized personnel who may do paperless contracting and require secure access to buildings and networks. Because the smart cards use a Java-technology based open platform, additional programs and applications can be added in the future to meet the stringent requirements of the DoD.

GE UK ATM

GE Capital Global Consumer Finance is launching a pilot to provide ATM cash access to retail cardholders in the UK. The pilot is powered by Mosaic Software’s ‘EFT Platform Postilion’. The transactions are routed from the ATM to the ‘LINK’ switch and from there to GE Capital. ‘Postilion’ performs full verification and authorization of those transactions. Worldwide, ‘Postilion’ is used for ATM processing/monitoring, EFT switching and routing, POS, credit/debit card processing, Internet/call center payment authorizations, prepayment, Internet/home banking and mobile commerce applications. Operating as the first fully-fledged EFT switch running on Windows NT/Windows 2000, ‘Postilion’ is live in more than 500 installations worldwide. GE is one of the largest private label store card operators in the UK with clients such as Debenhams and House of Fraser.