GCA Adds Ten

The Global Chipcard Alliance announced Monday the addition of ten new members, bringing the total GCA membership to 26.  From a diverse industry cross-section, new members include: Citicorp, Siemens AG, Chipper Netherlands, Giesecke & Devrient G.m.B.h., Banksys S.A, Schlumberger, VeriFone, Mondex USA, Telecom Eireann and Protel.

Expanded Smart Card Interfaces

SCM Microsystems, Inc. announced Monday the extension of its smart card interface product line to include universal, standards-based smart card readers for RS-232 and USB interfaces. SCM Microsystems now provides complete solutions for enabling smart card use in virtually any computing environment. Several versions of the readers will be available, including Plug and Play RS-232 and USB readers, a B1 compliant RS-232 reader, and an RS-232 reader with the ability to attach a serial mouse. All of SCM Microsystems’ smart card interface products integrate SmartOS(TM) technology which maximizes interoperability while preventing obsolescence. The first production units of these new readers will ship in Q2 of 1998.

“Our product line is now more adaptable and cost-effective for our OEM customers,” explains Steven Humphreys President and CEO of SCM Microsystems. “By focusing on interface technology, SCM Microsystems frees our customers of ongoing development costs and worries of incompatibility.”

SCM Microsystems has recently announced two activities which will contribute to the success of its smart card interface product line. First, a plan to acquire Intellicard Systems of Singapore, the manufacturer of some SCM products, was announced on March 10, 1998.

This agreement will help the company manage costs. Next, a development and manufacturing agreement with Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions, was signed and announced on March 25, 1998. This agreement, along with several other OEM customers, help achieve economies of scale to reduce costs.

SCM Microsystems’ smart card interface products can communicate with all ISO 7816 smart cards, providing an ideal interface for multi-function environments.

The readers support open standards including PC/SC, OpenCard and CT-API and can be used on a wide variety of operating systems including Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows CE and JavaOS.

About the Company

SCM Microsystems, Inc., with headquarters in Los Gatos, California, European headquarters in Germany, research and development centers in Germany and France, and offices in Japan and Singapore, is a leading provider of products and technologies which give individuals the ability to quickly and securely control access to, and effect the exchange of, digital information. By bridging smart cards and other secure devices with PCs and workstations, SCM Microsystems provides cost-effective solutions for conditional access to mobile, handheld and desktop computers, workstations, digital video broadcasts, virtual private networks, electronic files, e-mail and Internet firewalls. For additional information, contact SCM Microsystems in the United States at 408/370-4888 or in Europe at 49-84-418960 or e-mail [[email protected]][1]. The company maintains a Web site at [http://www.scmmicro.com][2].

[1]: mailto:[email protected]
[2]: http://www.scmmicro.com/

Industry Pulse

March may turn out to be a turning point for the card industry as delinquency and chargeoffs stabilized while yields continue to climb. The bankruptcy component of chargeoffs declined for the second consecutive month. Meanwhile annual fees, late fees and over-limit fees are still spiraling upward as average card interest rates turn south for the fourth straight month. The good news comes from the April issue of Card Management Information Services’ ‘Bankcard Barometer’.

                             INDUSTRY  STATS
      Standard APR:     18.76%           Delinquency:      5.41%
      Standard Fee:     $18.25            Chargeoffs:       5.54%
      Gold APR:          17.83%           Bankruptcy:      40.2%
      Gold Fee:         $35.34            Attrition:        8.24%
      Late Fee:         $19.38            Fraud Losses:     0.18%
      Overlimit Fee:    $18.59            Yields:          13.46%
        Source: Bankcard Barometer, April 98 issue

Showing Off Card Stuff

The ‘CardTech/SecurTech ’98’ expo gets underway this morning in Washington, D.C. as hundreds of vendors gather to show-off their high tech card stuff. Giesecke & Devrient America said Friday they will demo the first multi-currency ‘VISA Cash’ smart card on the Internet. The card utilizes G&D’s ‘STARCOS SVO’ operating system. G&D also announced it will demonstrate its new ‘[email protected]’ Java smart card and development toolkit. The new toolkit can be used in smart cards for a wide variety of applications including secure payment, telecommunications, multimedia and transportation.

NBS Names Eng VP

Fred Mueller, president of NBS card Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of NBS Technologies Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of William Sherman III as Vice President of Engineering. In this position, Sherman will oversee NBS’s mechanical, electrical and software development efforts. He will also advise the company on the development and use of technology for new products.

Prior to joining NBS, Sherman was employed for 21 years by Brandt Inc., where he held several key positions: most recently, he served as Vice President of Systems Software Development. In that position, he was responsible for operations in the company’s retail cash management and financial vault automation systems division, where he oversaw the creation of software application products and system integration for coin and currency processing systems.

While at Brandt, he developed and implemented the world’s first and most sought after high-speed Counterfeit Detection System for U.S. currency and the World’s first embedded processor high-speed currency counter, coin sorter controller and cash settlement system.

Sherman holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Engineering Management from Drexel University.

NBS Technologies, Inc. is a multinational company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of plastic card, card issuance, identifications and point-of-sale products, services and software. Customers, who cover a wide range of market segments and applications, include financial institutions, retailers, government agencies and healthcare organizations. NBS Technologies Inc. is a Toronto-based public company that sells to customers in over 85 countries through facilities located in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mac-Gray Expansion

Mac-Gray, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of card-operated and coin-operated laundry services, announced Friday it has acquired Copico, Inc. for about $11 million in cash and 250,000 shares of common stock. Copico provides card-operated and coin- operated reprographics services for academic and public libraries throughout New England, New York and Florida.

New CCS President

Card Capture Services, Inc.(CCS), a leading independent provider of ATMs nationally, announces the promotion of David Grano to company president. The reorganization occurred mid-March when former president and co-founder Jeff Jetton announced his desire to focus more on broad company initiatives and less on day to day operations.

As president, David Grano will lead corporate initiatives and strategic planning. He will also retain his seat on the company’s board of directors. A former high ranking Nextel Communications executive, Grano joined CCS in November of 1996 as vice president of marketing and distribution. As such he created and oversaw implementation of an expanded marketing and distribution strategy to drive national distribution for the company’s ATM products and services. As a result, company sales grew from $16 million in 1997 to $27.5 million in 1998.

“Since joining CCS, Dave has made an enormous contribution to the company,” commented Jetton. “I am confident that this transition will strengthen CCS, and position the company well for future growth.”

Jeff Jetton will continue as CEO and chairman of the board. As such, he will manage the president to company initiatives, lead merger and acquisition activity, identify new products and increase shareholder value. He will also continue to lead board initiatives as chairman. Jetton and co-founder Steve Wright’s contributions to Oregon’s entrepreneurial growth were recognized last year by the Oregon Entrepreneur Forum with the Oregon Service Entrepreneur award, one of the state’s highest business honors.

Card Capture Services, Inc.(CSS) was incorporated in 1993, in Portland, Oregon. CCS offers turnkey ATM programs providing transaction processing, machine maintenance, customer service, accounting and reporting to a growing base of merchant owned and operated Automated Teller Machines(ATMs) nationwide. By tapping non-traditional and unsaturated markets, CCS is leading the wave of independent ATM deployments nationally. The company currently has 50 employees and a nationwide network of 30 independently contracted dealers.

VISA & Golden Bear

VISA teed-off last night with a new national TV commercial featuring golf legend Jack Nicklaus. The 30-second spot called ‘Higher Learning’ promotes the Nicklaus/Flick Golf Schools with the message that the school does not take American Express. The promotion is part of VISA’s ongoing marketing partnership with Golden Bear Golf. VISA also sponsors a national tour of golf clinics produced by Nicklaus/Flick.

House Card

CA-based, consumer finance company, First Alliance Corporation, reported Friday it has completed test marketing its real estate secured credit card program. The company says it generated $5 million in card receivables and approved $13 million worth of card credit lines during the pilot.

CTST Opens

The rapid advance of chip-based card technology (smart cards) and biometrics has spawned ambitious plans by corporations and government to link individuals more intimately to the “wired” world. At the juncture between what technology can do and how people will use it are a myriad of legal, regulatory and policy issues. The same technologies which make it easier and safer to function in cyberspace, potentially pose threats to: How consumer rights are protected How industries are structured How commerce is conducted How government oversees fairness for its citizens and competition among companies CardTech/SecurTech (CTST) ’98, which will attract nearly 10,000 attendees from more than 70 nations, will provide an intensive forum on these and other issues during the week of April 27-30, 1998. Located at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, CTST will play host to many of the world’s leading authorities on electronic commerce, business law, privacy, and government regulation. These experts will discuss pressing issues currently weaving their way through the legislative and regulatory processes, as well as through the courts of law and public opinion. Some of the topics to be explored include: The liability and insurance issues associated with certificate authorities that will attest to the authenticity of people in their financial, legal and personal dealings over the net. The effect on law enforcement and taxing authorities as they cope with new environments in their efforts to suppress money laundering, fight organized crime and collect taxes. The ability of privacy regulation and compliance to keep pace with the ever increasing complexities of modern information networks. “One of the fascinating aspects of debates that arise when discussing personal technologies such as smart cards, cryptography, and biometrics is that the same tools that can protect people’s privacy and assets, can also be seen as intruding on their personal lives,” said Ben Miller, CTST founder and conference chair. “Discussion between the people building the systems and the people charged with safeguarding the public trust is the only way to ensure a future that is both beneficial and acceptable to everyone.”

With the rapid adoption of card and security technology in both domestic and international markets, concerns have been justifiably raised regarding user privacy and authentication. Recent cases of “identity” theft highlight the risks of using old fashioned paper documents, passwords and written signatures. Not only are these methods ill-suited to emerging electronic systems, they are easily foiled by criminals. The creation of sophisticated systems for replacing written signatures with digital ones is one of the most pressing requirements for electronic commerce and information sharing. Banks, governments, and information providers recognize that an all new infrastructure must be built to facilitate life in a “wired” world. While the technological challenges are daunting, the larger hurdles lie in structuring the systems to accommodate legal requirements and protect citizens.

In addition, cultural changes are occurring as use of the Internet penetrates deeper into the population. Since its early days, the Internet has been a place where many people assume a level of anonymity, at least in some of their electronic dealings. A higher level of security and trust can be provided by smart cards, digital signatures and biometrics, yet users may still feel uneasy about their identity being known. Recent studies have shown that, for the majority of people, security of electronic transactions is a prerequisite to their becoming regular “net” users.

Legal, Regulatory and Policy Issues Impact in Private Sector First To date, government bodies have primarily monitored the development of technologies and how industries are planning to use them. Private sector entities have regularly been warned by elected officials and regulatory bodies to be sensitive to consumer rights and attitudes. In response, a number of existing and newly formed industry groups have been setting guidelines for how the new technologies will be applied. Among these are the Smart Card Forum, Smart Card Industry Association, and the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat (BITS) of the Banker’s Roundtable. Representative of these organizations will participate in discussions at CTST ’98 as will luminaries from both the public and private sector including: Robert Pitofsky, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, will discuss government views on privacy and antitrust regulation in cyberspace. Thomas J. Smedinghoff, Chairman of the Electronic Commerce Division of the American Bar Association and partner of McBride, Baker & Coles in Chicago, will present at length the legal issues surrounding digital certificates and electronic authentication. Andrew Pincus, General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, will discuss international initiatives to create uniform laws and standards for electronic commerce. Jeff Ritter, Director of Document Authentication Systems and former Director of Ohio State University’s ECLIPS, will explore the legal aspects of electronic document origination and authentication. John Burke, Partner of Foley, Hoag & Eliot, will examine the issues of security and privacy associated with multi-application cards that provide access to the services of banks, travel companies, government agencies and other groups on a single smart card. Bob Litan, Director, Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, will focus on balancing privacy policy with changing consumer perceptions. Stuart Baker, Partner at Steptoe & Johnson, will examine international issues associated with cryptography including domestic and export controls, digital signatures and certificate authorities. Columbia Law School Professor Alan Westin, Publisher of Privacy & American Business, will share guidance on consumer, employee and citizen privacy issues and how corporations should handle their interaction with government and consumer groups. Finally, Thomas Vartanian, Managing Partner of Fried Frank, Harris, Shiver & Jacobson’s DC office, and Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Cyberspace Law, organized the legal, policy and regulatory track at CTST and will moderate the day-long program scheduled for Thursday, April 30.

For more information on CTST seminars and conference programs, please contact Liz Wenchel at (301) 654-0551.

About CardTech/SecurTech CardTech/SecurTech (CTST), founded in 1991, is the world’s most prestigious conference and exhibition covering advanced smart card and security technology. Recently purchased by Faulkner & Gray, Inc., publisher of Card Technology and Smart Card Alert, CTST focuses on applications of card and related technology solutions for banking, the Internet, telecommunications, mass transit, security, retail, loyalty, government, and health care. Information about the organization, sponsors, program topics, and exhibition can be found via the Web at .

Iris ATM Goes Online

Britain’s Nationwide Building Society introduced the world’s first PIN-less ATM yesterday.  The ATM system has been pioneered by NCR, using an iris identification system developed by Sensar Inc. of Princeton, NJ.  Using the NCR ATM, the customer simply puts in their ATM card and a camera mounted in the machine photographs the colored portion of the eye, the iris.  If the iris staring back matched the record on the databank, the ATM will allow instant access to your bank account without need for a PIN number.  The entire process can take as little as two seconds, and presents no danger to customer’s eye.