an Internet advertising enabler and specialized
application service provider, announced today that it has secured the
exclusive US master distribution license for CuroCorp online products and
services from Servicio de Red Ltda, a Panama based company.

CuroCorp provides uniquely positioned eCommerce solutions for Internet
customers who are unable to obtain a credit card. For a flat fee of 5%
deducted from purchase payments made to the merchant, CuroCorp offers a simple
payment acceptance facility for online vendors that allow customers to
purchase goods and services by using an online check.

The US master distribution license includes exclusive rights to both
CuroCheck(TM) and CuroCard(TM) components. Other Curo components and add-ons
are in development and will follow in late 2002. The financial terms of the
master license agreement are undisclosed.

Benefits to participating merchants include: a strong affiliate program,
no chargebacks, no holdbacks, payment to the merchant of 95% of funds within
7 days of purchase, (versus 64%-85% of funds with credit card processing),
instant approval or decline of the customer, and a competitive fixed
transaction rate. The CuroCheck is simple to use and will be widely acceptable
to customers without access to a credit card.

CuroCorp’s services for both customers and merchants can be viewed online
at CuroCorp’s name is derived from Curo, a Latin word
that means to manage, administer, procure and provide money.

Paul Taylor, Chairman of commented, “We are very excited
about our agreement with Servicio de Red Ltda. CuroCorp adds a creative ‘wild
card’ to the online payment arena. We relish the challenge in helping to make
Curo icons as ubiquitous as Visa(R) icons!

“As always, we urge long-term shareholders of all public companies to
request physical delivery of their stock certificates. Please help in halting
market maker abuses that can occur when short sellers borrow stock left idle
in the hands of brokerage firms and abuse this borrowed collateral in
strategies to exert downward pressure on stocks.”

About Corp. is an early stage provider of products, components and
services that enable publishers, advertisers, direct marketers and promotional
merchants to market products and/or advertisements to an online audience.
Additional information is available at our newly designed web site —

SunTrust Merchant Services

First Data and SunTrust Banks have finalized an agreement to form SunTrust Merchant Services, LLC, which is projected to process approximately $20 billion in annual sales volume. First Data will be responsible for management, operations, risk management and sales activities for the new alliance. SunTrust will support marketing efforts through all of its sales channels, including its 1,200 retail branch locations and treasury management groups. First Data and SunTrust will share the revenue generated from the new enterprise.

Rent Payments

VISA announced its third major rental acceptance agreement yesterday. AIMCO, the largest owner and operator of apartment communities in the USA has signed a deal to accept VISA credit and debit cards for payment. In January, Westdale Asset Management signed an agreement with VISA of which 1,500 Westdale residents in the Atlanta area took advantage. Last week, VISA and Lincoln Property Company announced an agreement to streamline rent payments for more than 10,000 residents of Lincoln’s premier development known as The Village in Dallas, TX. VISA said yesterday that a survey it conducted with AIMCO property managers found that 81% say the option to pay via payment card makes apartment homes easier to rent, 83% say the use of payment cards increases on-time payments, and 22% say the use of cards results in fewer people moving out. (CF Library 1/15/02; 3/27/02)

ADS Revisions

Alliance Data Systems revised its 2001 figures, with revenue increasing by $5.3 million and net income decreasing by $6.4 million. This change relates to a $200 million interest rate swap that was put in place in 1997 to hedge against interest rate volatility. The Company swapped LIBOR rates for a fixed rate, maturing in 2004. Over the past five years, this hedge has been extremely effective in matching income from fixed rate assets against fixed rate funding sources. This is the Company’s only hedge of this type.


Payment Services Interactive Gateway, announced that it has initiated its new
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Module, “PSiGate PSiDirect EFT Engine.” This
module, the latest B2B service to be offered by PSiGate, provides companies
with an electronic collection and payment system without having to set up a
separate account with a financial institution. PSiGate, in accordance with
Canadian Payments Association rules, will act as the clearing agent while the
transaction is being processed and the payment is verified.

Once solely the domain of banks in Canada, EFT allows businesses to
transfer funds, process transactions, track payments and regulate recurring
receivables to and from customers or suppliers through a paperless, automated
system. EFT can be used as a debit service for such companies as insurance,
cable, rental and leasing, publication subscriptions, utilities, car payments,
churches, charities, health clubs, and many others. EFT can also be used to
process automated payroll deposits, annuities, pensions, dividends, investment
interest, and business to business (B2B) payments.

Claude Belmonte, VP of Information Technologies at PSiGate stated,
“PSiGate has now provided a module that helps businesses manage their
electronic payments automatically, electronically and economically. EFT can be
used for both a credit service and a debit service. The PSiGate PSiDirect EFT
Engine reduces the cycle time between orders and payment. Because we manage
the back-end infrastructure, subscribing companies can now concentrate on
their front end transactions.”

Steve Jasper, VP of Product Development at PSiGate added, “We are pleased
to offer this important service to our customers. The ability to provide the
EFT service will raise our status to a higher category of financial service
provider, one that we think will attract larger, bulk processing institutions.
These corporate giants will turn to us to handle their back-end transfer of
funds. Payments can now be made quickly between any individual or business
banking accounts held at any Canadian financial institution in a bank-
agnostic, independent manner.”

PSiGate is a payment transaction provider offering real-time or batch
payment collection and financial transaction processing services. Electronic
Funds Transfer service goes beyond PSiGate’s previous offering of processing
payment transactions, mostly in the business to consumer (B2C) field. PSiGate,
acting as an intermediary between a company and its customers or suppliers, is
now more than just a payment services gateway. PSiGate has become the end-to-
end facilitator of fund transfers allowing companies to seamlessly process
transactions without having to interface with a host of other financial

Pre-authorized debits may be charged against a company account at its own
financial institution. Conversely, payments may be credited to any company
account at its own financial institution. Previously these transactions had to
go through a third-party financial institution, usually dependant on the type
of transaction or the relationship different financial institutions had with
credit card companies.

About PSiGate

Payment Services Interactive Gateway (PSiGate – empowers
businesses on the Internet by providing secure, cost-effective and trusted e-
commerce solutions. PSiGate provides an easy and seamless interface to new or
existing online commerce enterprises, offering a reliable means of real-time
payment collection and financial transaction processing. Management services
include automated shipping calculations, fraud screening, credit card batch
processing, and financial account reporting. PSiGate also provides VISA,
MasterCard and American Express Internet Merchant Accounts (Merchant IDs) for
Canadian-based businesses and companies wishing to enter into the Canadian
marketplace. PSiGate can also offer U.S. Merchant IDs to American merchants.

Wal-Mart VBV

The world’s largest retailer has jumped on the Verified by VISA bandwagon. Online shoppers visiting can now use the new cardholder authentication service from VISA USA. To sign up for the new service, a cardholder simply registers with his or her participating bank or through VISA’s Web site. Registration occurs only once, and no special software is required. After creating a password, a VISA cardholder can shop at all participating online stores. After hitting the “buy” button, the cardholder will be prompted for a Verified by VISA password to confirm his or her identity with the appropriate card-issuing bank. To-date the following banks participate in the VbV program: First USA, Bank of America, Bank One, Chase, Elan, Firstar, SunTrust, Southtrust Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, ICBA Members, and CSCU. VISA officially rolled out its “Verified by VISA” service in December although it was first reported by CardFlash in September 2000. For merchants, the new program guarantees they will not be held liable for unauthorized card usage when the cardholder has been authenticated and prevents unauthorized card usage before it occurs, reducing the number of cardholder disputes and chargebacks. For card issuers it reduces chargebacks, unauthorized card usage, and exception item processing system-wide. Acquirers and processors participating include: Certegy, Chase Merchant Services, Fifth Third Bank, First Data, First of Omaha Merchant Processing, Global Payment, National Processing Company, Paymentech, TSYS, and Vital Processing Services. (CF Library 9/28/00; 12/4/01)

Teens Card Smarts

Nearly six out of ten teens plan to get their first credit card before they graduate from college according to a telephone survey commissioned by the National Consumers League. Ten percent plan to obtain a credit card when they secure their first job out of school, and eight percent say they will wait until they’re 21. The survey also found that 68% believe it’s safer to pay for goods bought online with a check or money order than by giving a credit card number. About 70% think that it’s illegal for banks to share a person’s financial information with affiliated companies. In response to the findings, the NCL today launched its Teens and Financial Education program, with an unrestricted grant from the Bank of America Foundation. The project complements NCL’s LifeSmarts program, a competition that tests teens in grades nine through 12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. Consumer savvy teens representing 31 states will compete for the national LifeSmarts championship April 13-16 in Arlington, Va.

NPC Renews Hannaford

National Processing Company has renewed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with ME-based Hannaford Bros. Co. which operates 115 supermarkets and food and drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will continue to process all Hannaford Visa and MasterCard transactions.

Smart Card Management

Oberthur Card Systems and MA-based Caradas have developed the first ready-to-install complete smart card management infrastructure designed to improve time to market, reduce system integration costs and the risks associated with large-scale smart card deployments. The system is geared toward financial services companies and retailers in the Americas. The Oberthur/Caradas packaged system includes smart card management software, authentication server software, client software, smart card hardware and software, consulting and system integration services, personalization, fulfillment and project management services. Combined with multi-application smart cards, the package is a complete infrastructure for both VISA and MasterCard issuers. Caradas currently provides its smart card management platform to Target and Providian. Oberthur Card Systems has a presence in 21 countries across the five continents.

Banknorth Upgrades ATMs

ME-based Banknorth said Tuesday it will upgrade its NCR and Diebold ATMs with voice-activated features in 400 locations in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and upstate New York. Banknorth’s talking ATMs will enable blind and visually impaired persons to independently access accounts held with Banknorth, as well as accounts with other banks.

Diebold EMV

Diebold announced its EMV Kernel with Smart Card Solution Set 1 software is EMV Level 2 certified and approved covering its i, ix and CashSource Plus 400 series of ATMs and cash dispensers worldwide. EMVCo, a joint venture between Europay, MasterCard and Visa, has produced specifications to support interoperability between integrated chip cards and various types of payment system terminals (ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, etc.). Advantages to the financial industry resulting from this venture include reduced fraud from lost, stolen, or counterfeit cards and additional functionality compared to magnetic stripe cards.


The Moscow city government’s Social Card issued by Bank Moskvy will become a VISA Electron smart card this month. The Social Card program distributes state money to pensioners. Bank Moskvy has already signed up 26,000 new accounts for the new program. About 2.5 million pensioners are eligible to participate. The cards will be used to pay for utilities, metro, railway trips and food. The cards will also serve as an ID and an insurance policy according to The Russia Journal. Since last September, officials have been running the smart-card experiment on pensioners of three areas of Moscow: Chertanovo Tsentralynoe, Chertanovo Yuzh-noye and Biryuluovo Zapad-noye. The smart card EBT project might save as much as $7.5-8 million of the state-budget money, the Izvestia Daily reported on March 21.