After 16 months of restructuring, Hypercom returned to profitability in the fourth quarter and beat analysts’ projections. The company reported this morning 4Q/01 net income of $1.5 million compared to a net loss in the year-ago period of $4.2 million. Net revenue was $74.5 million for 4Q/01 compared to $84.5 million in the same period a year ago. Fourth-quarter sales were below previously stated guidance of $80 million due to the company’s decision to receive product back from one of its customers for the purpose of providing additional features. During 4Q/01, Hypercom was awarded a 10,000 unit ‘ICE’ contract by Merchant Services and was selected by the CVS drugstore/pharmacy chain to deliver the ‘ICE 6000’ with value-added services. For the first quarter 2002, the company anticipates revenues of approximately $70 million and a slight loss for the quarter. For complete details on Hypercom’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
UT-based ShopSite released version 6.0 of its e-commerce shopping cart application. ‘ShopSite Pro v6.0’ features two major upgrades, including United Parcel Service’s ‘Rates and Service Selection’ tool and National Processing Company’s processing credit card payment gateway. In addition, fraud prevention features, electronic couponing, digital downloads and improved performance capabilities have all been added to ‘Shop Site Pro v6.0’. Pricing for ShopSite Pro v.6.0 is $1,295 for a one-time/license fee. ‘ShopSite’ is available in three different applications: ‘ShopSite Pro’, ‘ShopSite Manager’ and ‘ShopSite Starter’. Pricing for ‘ShopSite Manager v6.0’ is $495 for a one-time licensing fee. ‘ShopSite Starter v6.0’ is only available through an ISP and is generally less than $5 per month and usually included in monthly hosting fees from an ISP.
ActivCard reported fourth quarter revenue of $6.8 million, an 11% increase over 4Q/00. Pro forma net loss for the quarter was $6.3 million, compared to pro forma net income of $100,000. Actual net loss for the quarter was $9.8 million, compared to actual net loss of $17.9 million, in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The Company also announced a restructuring of its business, reducing its operating expense run rate by 15%, which includes a reduction in headcount of approximately 20% worldwide. The Company expects to record a one-time charge in the first quarter of 2002 in the range of $6-$9 million related to this restructuring. For complete details on ActivCard’s 4Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
O2Micro International Limited, a leading supplier of innovative power management and security ICs to mobile computer and communications manufacturers, announced that OZ773 will be available in select Compaq Presario Desktop PC configurations beginning in early Spring.
The OZ773 adds an industry standard EMV compliant, low cost smart card reader to Compaq’s desktop computer keyboard.
The OZ773, the first in the patent pending E-Guardian family of products, combines a standard USB HUB with smart card reader functionality, eliminating the need for an external smart card reader. The OZ773 provides PC users with the ability to transact secure e-commerce transactions on the Internet using their desktop computer keyboard and a financial smart card. It is fully compliant with the Microsoft (MSFT) PC/SC specification and is EMV Level 1 certified. EMV certification is a requirement for a smart card reader when used with the new financial smart cards issued by American Express, Visa, and Citibank (MasterCard).
“We are delighted to have Compaq Computer as our first customer to incorporate this technology into their Smart Credit Card Internet Keyboard,” said Sterling Du, O2Micro’s Chairman and CEO.
“Compaq strives to bring our customers the very latest technologies to make the PC an easy-to-use, yet powerful tool that facilitates secure and convenient Internet purchasing, instant, secure Internet log-on and off, quick and easy access to Web sites and email by storing links, management of unique passwords and login information for favorite Internet sites, and other online convenience utilities,” said Will Townsend, senior manager of Consumer Desktop Product Marketing in Compaq’s Access Business Group. “Our use of the OZ773 allows Compaq the ability to offer such flexibility to our customers, so we’re very pleased to be partnered with O2Micro.”
The OZ773 is fully compliant with the Microsoft (MSFT) PC/SC specification and is EMV Level 1 certified. It is also compatible to the IEEE 7816 specifications and standard transmission protocols including T = 1, T = 0.
Founded in March 1995, O2Micro designs, develops and markets innovative power management and security components for mobile communication, computer, information appliance, and LCD products. Products include AudioDJ(R), SmartCardBus(R) for secure on line e-commerce, LCD Backlight Inverters and Battery Management IC’s. O2Micro maintains an extensive portfolio of intellectual property with 378 patent claims granted, and over 710 more pending. The company maintains offices worldwide. Additional company and product information can be found on the company website at [www.o2micro.com].
Datacard Group announced it has entered into a joint marketing agreement with St. Louis-based FormFast Inc., a leading provider of forms automation software for healthcare.
The relationship combines Datacard’s patient identification expertise with FormFast’s advanced forms automation capabilities to offer the Datacard OnDemand Forms solution. OnDemand Forms use a plastic patient ID card with magnetic stripe technology to automate forms management.
The Datacard/FormFast solution converts paper forms into digital templates saved in Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, PCL or HTML format. The forms are automatically filled in when a patient ID card is swiped during registration, sending duplicate forms to other departments via e-mail, fax or laser printer. Bar code technology can also be added for generating patient wristbands and labels during registration.
“This solution is ideal for healthcare enterprises looking to improve care, protect patient privacy and control operating costs,” said Chris Lomax, vice president of marketing for Datacard’s Solutions Division. “It replaces inefficient paper forms with secure, efficient electronic forms, and provides a clear migration path to technologies such as digital imaging, smart cards and biometrics.
“These technologies can be used to automate such areas as patient and staff ID, membership management and provider authentication, now or in the future,” Lomax said. “Since the technologies leverage the same plastic cards that most nurses already use, they require minimal staff training to implement.”
A Datacard/FormFast solution also takes advantage of the Internet to simplify consumer interaction with a healthcare organization. For example, patients can fill out insurance forms online a few days before their appointment, so they are ready to receive care the moment they arrive at a healthcare facility. Edward Novak, director of corporate development at FormFast, sees the relationship with Datacard as an opportunity to expand the scope of the forms and identification solutions both companies bring to the healthcare market. “This synergy between FormFast and Datacard creates the industry’s most extensive digital identification solution that begins in admitting and extends all the way into archiving,” Novak said. “We look forward to working alongside Datacard to help our healthcare customers create an accurate, secure and cost-efficient digital identification solution that spans their entire operation.”
Datacard Group provides software, systems and professional services needed to build profitable card programs. The company’s solutions portfolio also includes a complete line of secure digital identity systems and card personalization systems. Datacard Group is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries. ([http://www.datacard.com]) FormFast, Inc. provides a range of solutions that apply advanced, easy-to-use software toward solving paperwork automation challenges in a variety of industries. Hundreds of healthcare organizations use the company’s FormFast software to help save time and money by eliminating their dependence on pre-printed medical forms.
STMicroelectronics reported financial results for the fourth
quarter and year ended December 31, 2001.
Fourth Quarter 2001 Results
Net revenues for the fourth quarter were $1,447.9 million, a 3.4 % sequential
increase over the $1,400.7 million reported in the 2001 third quarter.
differentiated products totaled $1,012.1 million, a 3.9% increase over the
previous quarter, and accounted for 69.9% of fourth quarter revenues. In last
year’s fourth quarter, net revenues were $2,191.7 million, and differentiated
product sales equaled $1,367.1 million.
The differentiated product sales increase was the major contributor to
sequential fourth quarter revenue growth. Logic and memories were $203.1
million or 14% of net revenues, essentially flat with the prior period.
Discretes grew 6.7% from the third quarter, to $151.8 million (10.5% of net
revenues) and Standard and Commodities was $81.0 million (5.6% of net
revenues), declining 1.1% from the third quarter.
With respect to applications, Computer registered the highest sequential
revenue gain in the period, increasing 13.9% and accounting for 23.1% of
quarter net revenues. Consumer rose 1.9% from the third quarter and 19.6% of
fourth quarter net revenues. Telecom was virtually flat on a sequential basis
and comprised 34.2% of net revenues. Automotive was up 0.8% over the prior
quarter and represented 11.1% of net sales. Industrial products, which include
smart cards and distribution, accounted for 12.0% of net revenues rising 1.3%
Pasquale Pistorio, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Fourth
quarter performance was in line with the guidance we provided in our third
quarter earnings release of October 18, 2001. The 3.4% sequential revenue
increase posted in this difficult market environment reflected a more
product mix as well as the sales gains in computer peripherals and the
continued growth of the wireless portion of our telecom business.”
“Gross profit edged down slightly on a sequential basis, but gross margin was
penalized by low utilization rates, as a consequence of the Company’s
accelerated inventory reduction program which succeeded in paring $134.5
million from 2001 third quarter inventory levels,” Mr. Pistorio noted.
Selling, general, and administrative expenses were $140.3 million, 9.7% of net
revenues, for the 2001 fourth quarter. This compares to $144.2 million in the
third quarter and $193.1 million in the year ago quarter.
Research and Development expenses totaled $220.8 million or 15.2% of net
revenues. This compares to $229.2 million in the 2001 third quarter and $286.4
million in the 2000 fourth quarter.
Operating income in the fourth quarter was $70.6 million, including the impact
of $10.9 million in impairment and restructuring charges relating to the
previously announced closings of the Company’s manufacturing facilities in
Ottawa, Canada and Rancho Bernardo, California. On a comparable basis, 2001
third quarter operating income was $48.2 million, including $23.3 million of
impairment and restructuring charges, and 2000 fourth quarter operating income
was $563.2 million.
Net income for the 2001 fourth quarter was $45 million or $0.05 per diluted
share, increasing from the $35.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted share reported
in the third quarter of 2001. In last year’s fourth quarter, net income was
$461.9 million, or $0.50 per diluted share. Pro forma net income for the 2001
fourth quarter was $55.2 million, or $0.06 per diluted share.
Summarizing ST’s 2001 fourth quarter results, Mr. Pistorio stated: “Within a
poor industry environment, characterized by significant overcapacity and
pricing pressures, ST continued to outperform the industry in the markets it
serves and to further strengthen its financial position.”
Pro forma Full Year 2001 Results Excluding Restructuring and Excess Inventory
Net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2001 were $6,356.9 million, an
18.6% decrease from $7,813.2 million in 2000. Gross profit was $2,380.6
million, or 37.4% of net revenues, down from the $3,596.3 million, or 46% of
net revenues, reported in 2000. Operating income and net income, which include
pro forma results for the 2001 second, third and fourth quarters, were $755.2
million and $600.8 million, respectively.
Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 8.9% to $641.4 million
in 2001, and increased to 10.1% of net revenues from 9.0% in 2000.
Research and development expenditures were $977.9 million for the year 2001
compared to $1,026.3 million in 2000. As a percentage of revenues, R&D
expenditures increased to 15.4% from 13.1% in 2000.
Reviewing the Company’s comparative full year financial performance, Mr.
Pistorio noted: “ST’s year-over-year revenue decline of 18.6% compares to
estimated declines of 32% and 26%, respectively, for the industry and ST’s
served market. Importantly, the Company remained profitable during the worst
downturn in the history of the semiconductor industry. This was achieved
through a combination of cost reduction programs, yield improvements, and
optimization measures that enabled ST to avoid the major employee lay-offs
characterized most of our industry.”
Mr. Pistorio continued: “ST ended 2001 in a strong financial position, posting
positive operating cash flow of $225.4 million and with the flexibility
provided by a cash position in excess of $2.4 billion.”
Full Year 2001 Results on an As-Reported Basis
Net revenues for the 2001 period were $6,356.9 million. Gross profit was
$2,309.9 million. Operating income was $339.0 million, and net income was
$257.1 million, or $0.29 per diluted share.
Balance Sheet Highlights
At December 31, 2001, cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities
totaled $2.4 billion; long-term debt was $2.8 billion (83% of which consisted
of convertible debt). Capital expenditures were $1.7 billion in 2001, compared
to $3.3 billion in 2000.
During the fourth quarter, the Company completed both of its previously
announced stock repurchase programs, bringing the total number of shares
purchased during 2001 to 9.4 million. In addition, on December 11, 2001 the
Company’s principal shareholder, STMicroelectronics Holding II B.V., completed
the private placement of 69 million of the Company’s Common Shares, for the
final benefit of Finmeccanica and France Telecom, two of its ultimate
shareholders. France Telecom also completed the offering of EUR 1.5 billion
notes exchangeable into 30 million existing underlying common shares of
STMicroelectronics on or after January 2, 2004.
Summary & Outlook
All indications are that in 2001 ST was one of only a handful of broadline
semiconductor manufacturers to report profits. This achievement is closely
linked to the Company’s longstanding strategy of emphasizing differentiated
products destined for specific high growth applications within focused market
segments. Strategic customer alliances, sales from which accounted for 47% of
2001 net revenues, have been important contributors to ST’s solid track
Mr. Pistorio commented, “First quarter 2002 visibility remains limited, and
industry-wide overcapacity is causing greater than anticipated pricing
pressures across most of ST’s product families. This, combined with seasonal
factors, leads the Company to expect first quarter 2002 revenues to be 3%-7%
below those of the 2001 fourth quarter.”
“Gross margin, already depressed by declining prices, will continue to be
penalized by the underutilization rates that are particularly severe in the
Company’s more mature 6″ wafer fabs. As previously reported, ST has been
reviewing its strategy with respect to these facilities in order to maintain
its flexibility and efficiency within this difficult market environment. Our
present expectations, based on improving market conditions in 2002 do not
contemplate any further closures or downsizing. However, without the expected
pick up in demand and/or pricing, the Company could incur further impairment
and restructuring charges with respect to its more mature 6″ Fabs in 2002,”
“It is expected that firs_ quarter 2002 gross margin will bottom-out somewhere
around 31% with gross margin progressively increasing in 2002 as industry
capacity becomes more aligned with demand,” Mr. Pistorio noted.
ST’s capital expenditures for 2002 should be approximately $1.2 billion, one
half of which is related to maintenance and optimization of existing plants.
The remaining amount will be primarily allocated to R&D, 12″ wafer projects
expansion of leading-edge technology capacity. “These investments, in concert
with ongoing product development and strategic initiatives will enable ST
in a strong position to capture additional and profitable market share as
global economic and business conditions improve,” Mr. Pistorio concluded.
Products, Technology and Design Wins
During the fourth quarter, ST continued to introduce innovative products and
technology, with particular emphasis on digital consumer and security
applications that will accelerate the era of convergence, which ST expects
power the next cycle of the semiconductor market.
In the field of digital consumer and multimedia applications, ST made several
important announcements during the quarter that will strengthen its
a leader in this market. Notable achievements included the introduction of a
new System-on-Chip (SoC) device that combines a 32-bit SuperH(TM)
microprocessor with high-performance graphics for next-generation set-top box,
Internet and interactive TV applications. ST also added a new device to its
industry-leading OMEGA family of set-top box decoder chips that integrates
additional features and reduces system cost in sophisticated high-volume
applications such as Personal Video Recorders (PVR). Together, these two new
chips provide a complete and cost-effective solution for interactive
Internet-capable and PVR-enabled set-top boxes. ST also began volume shipments
of a SuperH-based microprocessor supporting Windows CE 3.0, Microsoft’s
real-time embedded operating system for 32-bit connected mobile devices.
For cable set-top boxes, ST introduced a single-chip Quadrature Amplitude
Modulation/Forward Error Correction (QAMFEC) demodulator. The device is fully
compliant with all key worldwide specifications, making it ideal as a
solution for cable TV set-top boxes, cable tuners with embedded demodulation,
cable modems and network interface modules. In the emerging market for xDSL
set-top boxes, ST also achieved a design win for ADSL chips for low-bit-rate
video streaming applications from a world-leading European-based consumer
ST also announced the first VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) microprocessor
core to result from its on-going collaboration with Hewlett-Packard Company.
This device is a scaleable and customizable core for use in multimedia SoC
devices. Primarily aimed at video/audio streaming applications such as MPEG-2,
MPEG-4 and MP3 in new digital consumer equipment, the new core delivers an
unprecedented combination of high performance, low power consumption, low
silicon cost and fast time-to-market.
In the security field, ST announced important developments in the areas of
smart card ICs and biometric technology. ST confirmed that it is supplying its
TouchChip(TM) biometric hardware for a new laptop computer developed by
Samsung. The laptop will contain an integrated TouchChip fingerprint sensor
ST’s Protector Suite(TM) OEM software, which offers sophisticated and
easy-to-use tools for securing computers and protecting private data through
the use of robust biometric technology.
Another milestone in the security field was the announcement by ST and Hyundai
Smart Technologies of the world’s first VSDC (Visa Smart Debit/Credit)
Technology Level 3 approved dual-interface multi-application smart card. This
card is expected to accelerate the migration to chip-based EMV (Eurocard
Mastercard Visa) compliant cards with the addition of a contactless interface
for new applications, while maintaining an extremely high security level that
is recognized worldwide.
Other security innovations included the introduction of the world’s smallest
electrically erasable tags and the migration of secure smart card IC platforms
to the Company’s 0.18-micron process technology. The move to 0.18-micron
technology allows ST to provide smart card ICs with higher memory capacities,
smaller die sizes, more enhanced features and significant performance gains.
In the area of automotive and car multimedia, further strengthening its
relationship with Delphi Automotive Systems, the largest producer of vehicle
systems and components in the world, ST announced an agreement to cooperate on
the design and development of new smart power IC products for automotive
applications. The resulting devices will be manufactured in ST’s advanced BCD
process, which integrates bipolar circuits for precision analog functions,
circuits for high-density logic and DMOS circuits for power devices into a
monolithic IC. ST also expanded its automotive customer base with design wins
for chips for engine control, ABS and airbag applications.
Also during the fourth quarter, the 200,000 mark was passed in the total
of ST’s receiver chipsets shipped to manufacturers for the XM Radio digital
satellite radio service in the US. XM Radio has now gained 30,000 paying
subscribers and additionally is to be offered by General Motors as an
23 new car and truck models that will be introduced this year.
In the computer peripherals arena, ST achieved three design wins for SoC
devices with major hard-disk drive customers. Additionally, ST gained major
design wins with two of the world’s leading printer manufacturers, including
two designs for CMOS-based digital engines, the processing heart of a printer,
and one for a printer-head driver chip, which will be manufactured in ST’s
mixed-signal BCD process. Maintaining its impetus in the telecommunications
field, ST also gained important design wins from a major Asian mobile phone
manufacturer for audio front-end ICs and power management chips.
Underlining its strength in combining CMOS optical sensing technology with
signal processing into a highly integrated solution, ST unveiled details of
single chip device that powers Microsoft’s newest line of optical mouse
products. Co-developed by Microsoft and ST, the chip integrates all of the
optical detection and signal processing circuitry required to deliver an
unprecedented level of performance in terms of sensitivity and frame rate,
while remaining within the stringent cost structures of the PC accessory
STMicroelectronics is the world’s third largest independent semiconductor
company. The Company shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on
Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. The Company designs, develops,
manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductor integrated circuits
(ICs) and discrete devices used in a wide variety of microelectronic
applications, including telecommunications systems, computer systems, consumer
products, automotive products and industrial automation and control systems.
Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
Trintech Group Plc, a global provider of secure payment infrastructure solutions, announced that PRE Solutions, Inc. has selected Trintech as the infrastructure provider of software and hardware for their next generation multinational prepaid transaction processing system.
As part of the agreement, PRE Solutions will use Trintech’s PayWare 9300i terminals and PayWare PrePay Host software to manage the distribution of prepaid cellular services, prepaid long-distance products, prepaid Internet access and other prepay applications in a wide range of retail outlets, known as replenishment points. The Trintech platform will enable PRE Solutions to more efficiently manage the routing and balancing of the rapidly increasing volume of prepay transactions the company processes each day.
In the initial phase, PRE Solutions will deploy Trintech electronic payment terminals in outlets that range from grocery and convenience stores to check cashing locations and gas stations. PRE Solutions expects its replenishment network to grow substantially in the next few years.
Trintech’s highly scalable prepay solution is designed to support a wide range of prepay products including disposable and reloadable schemes. Going forward, Trintech will work closely with PRE Solutions to deploy other prepay applications as the rapidly expanding market for prepay services continues to evolve. These services may include loyalty programs, stored value cards, cable service, utilities, and more.
“Trintech has proven to be an ideal partner for PRE Solutions and we are looking forward to a fruitful on-going relationship,” said Richard Hebert, Chief Technology Officer at PRE Solutions. “Our aim is to provide consumers with an easy-to-use, one-stop environment that meets all of their prepaid replenishment needs. With Trintech’s PayWare technology we can now offer our customers the enhanced services they are requesting.”
“We are delighted to have been chosen by PRE Solutions for the roll-out of this exciting project,” said John Harte, Group EVP at Trintech. “Our end-to-end PayWare infrastructure is ideally suited to the exacting demands of the prepay environment. With multiple applications supported across a variety of retail outlets, we believe PRE Solutions will harness the true potential of the growing prepay market in the US.”
About PayWare PrePay
PayWare PrePay is a comprehensive and proven solution that provides electronic purchase, top-up or replenishment of cellular prepay, long distance calling cards and many other prepaid accounts and services. Currently many prepaid services rely on the distribution of vouchers or scratchcards. PayWare PrePay replaces this costly and inefficient paper-based distribution with an online point of sale solution that improves profitability, reduces theft, requires no stock and improves cash flow throughout the distribution chain. PayWare PrePay enables retailers and merchants to deliver multiple transactions through a single point-of-sale device or terminal. The solution also supports integrated point-of-sale, call center, IVR and Internet prepay transactions.
About PRE Solutions
Based in Norcross, GA, PRE Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of prepaid transaction processing solutions to retailers and providers of goods and services. To retailers PRE Solutions offers highly profitable, convenient, secure and easy-to-use point-of-sale systems for processing the sales of numerous prepaid products by multiple providers. To providers of prepaid products, PRE Solutions offers cost-efficient access to an international distribution network of replenishment partners and a robust transaction processing system.
The PRE Solutions system features real-time product delivery, transaction accounting and reporting, and accelerated payment transfer-all within the most secure and reliable processing environment in the industry. PRE Solutions’ current prepaid wireless providers include Cingular Wireless, VoiceStream Wireless, AT&T Wireless, ALLTEL and CallPlus. The company also offers prepaid Internet service through Slingshot, Inc., prepaid home telephone service via 1-800-RECONEX and prepaid long-distance from several national providers. PRE Solutions’ lead investor is ITC Holding Company, the primary investment sponsor of a number of successful companies, including Telecom*USA, Powertel, MindSpring, ITC^DeltaCom, Headhunter.net, and Knology. PRE Solutions can be contacted at 520 Guthridge Court, Suite 100, Norcross, GA 30092 (Tel: 770-349-2300). PRE Solutions can be reached on the Web at [http://www.presolutions.com]
Founded in 1987, Trintech is a leading provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions for card-based transactions for physical world commerce, eCommerce and mobile commerce. The company offers a complete range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications, as well as being a world leader in the deployment of payment solutions for Internet commerce that are fully SSL and SETï¿½ compliant. Trintech’s range of scalable open systems architecture solutions for UNIXÂ® and Windows NTï¿½ platforms covers consumer, merchant and financial institution requirements for physical payments and the emerging world of electronic commerce. Trintech can be contacted in the U.S. at 2755 Campus Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403 (Tel: 650-227-7000) and in Ireland at Trintech Building, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18 (Tel: 353-1-207-4000). Trintech can be reached on the Web at [http://www.trintech.com].
Ingenico Corp., the North American subsidiary of Ingenico S.A., and First Data Corp announced that they have reached a multi-year agreement to develop and supply the next generation in Electronic Funds Transfer/Point of Sale terminals. The relationship brings together two worldwide leaders in payment services and technology. First Data is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Ingenico is a worldwide leader in EFT POS terminal shipments and secure transaction technology. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The first-of-a-kind EFT POS terminal will incorporate both present and future requirements for First Data subsidiaries that provide transaction services at the point-of-sale, including Western Union and First Data Merchant Services. The feature-rich device will be smart-card and signature-capture enabled, and will be capable of accepting virtually all forms of payment. It also will support future payment developments. This new technology will allow First Data to consolidate point-of-sale services, reducing merchant costs, hardware requirements and training time while also freeing valuable retail counter space.
The single, easy-to-use interface will support a wide range of First Data(R) products and services, facilitating enterprise-wide agreements with clients. Such agreements have the potential to reduce overall costs for both First Data and its clients and could potentially increase customer traffic at merchant locations.
Michael Yerington, president, Western Union North America stated, “Our relationship with Ingenico creates the solid base of technological and industry expertise we need to make this project a success. The resulting terminal will address the needs of First Data subsidiaries, enabling us to improve payment and service delivery efficiency while greatly improving our ability to cross-sell services, resulting in stronger brand identity and increased profitability. This device will be a powerful addition to an already robust product line.”
Jean Jacques Poutrel, chairman of Ingenico Corp. and chairman and chief executive officer of Ingenico S.A. stated, “Our agreement with First Data is an acknowledgment of Ingenico’s global leadership in payment terminal technology and clearly demonstrates Ingenico’s total commitment to the North American market.”
About First Data Corp.
First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 28,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 117,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com].
Ingenico S.A. is a leading provider of smart card secured transaction products and systems with subsidiaries and partnerships all over the world and customers in over 70 countries and territories. It’s subsidiary Ingenico Corp. provides hardware, software and services to the ever-expanding transaction needs of the North American marketplace, which demands quality and requires flexible and robust payment solutions. Our solutions include the Elite(TM) terminal family, which is built upon the Unicapt(TM) architecture for optimum application portability and secure multi-application acceptance, and was the first to be EMVco approved. See [http://www.ingenico-us.com] for more information.
American Express announced the creation of OPEN: The Small Business Network. The OPEN Network offers small business customers greater control and flexibility over their finances and other business needs by providing an expanded set of tools, services and savings. In addition to convenient access to working capital and credit information, instant decisioning on all card products and an online tool called the “financial dashboard,” the OPEN Network also provides savings on everyday business expenses and business services from an enhanced lineup of partners.
The creation of the OPEN Network demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to small businesses — a critical component of the nation’s economy, representing 99% of all U.S. businesses and creating three of every four new jobs. In 1987, American Express launched the first charge card specifically designed for small businesses. The creation of the OPEN Network replaces what was previously known as American Express Small Business Services, and all existing customers will automatically become part of the OPEN Network.
“American Express is a leader in serving small businesses and the creation of the OPEN Network raises the bar for what small businesses should expect,” said Kerry Hatch, executive vice president and general manager of OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express. “The OPEN Network offers small business owners a wide range of enhanced products and services designed to meet their evolving needs, while placing a growing emphasis on the Internet, since so many small business customers use the Internet for business purposes.”
Expanded Functionality and Business Partners
The OPEN Network brings advantages once associated only with big business to small business owners by harnessing the power of the Internet and leveraging strategic partnerships. It gives small business customers greater control and flexibility over their finances – two of their biggest needs, according to focus group research conducted by American Express.
* Online Account Management – The OPEN Network offers new, online credit features such as instant decisions on all card products, online card activation, 24×7 access to account information including balance, available credit and payment due date and pre-selected financing offers for existing customers. A new, easy-to-use online tool called the “financial dashboard” provides customers a secure view of their financial standing with American Express, allowing for simple account management.
In addition, small business credit or charge customers can sign up for account alerts through the financial dashboard that notify them through e-mail, cell phone or personal digital assistant when their payment is due or when there is out-of-pattern spending on their Cards.
* Everyday Savings from Industry Leading Partners – Members of the OPEN Network can enjoy new savings on everyday business expenses, including 5% at Dell(TM) and FedEx Ground(R) and 10% off the Best Available Rate at over 1,800 properties in The Hilton(R) Family of Hotels, including Hampton Inn(R) Hotels and Suites.(1) These new partners join the ongoing savings available from Exxon(R), FedEx Express(R), Hertz, Mobil(R) and Qwest(R).
* New Business Services Partners – Members of the OPEN Network also will have access to a host of new, value-added business services and discounts when they use their Cards, including:
* Dun & Bradstreet Small Business Solutions provides OPEN Network members with a discount (20% off Silver subscription rate) for online credit and collection tools used to minimize risk and make more informed, confident business decisions.
* The Small Business Billcenter, provided by Paytrust, enables OPEN Network members to receive, review, and pay all of their bills online in one secure and convenient location at a special savings.
* DigitalWork provides access to an affordable suite of Small Business Marketing Solutions, including direct mail, e-mail marketing and online advertising.
* Enhanced Business Listing on Citysearch.com, one of the core businesses operated by Ticketmaster, allows small business owners to post business listings online at their local Citysearch Web site yellow pages at 20% off.
* The Business Travel Center helps small business owners save money with online bookings for air travel, rental cars and hotels, including last minute specials, and provides extensive travel information resources.
* Flexible Payment Options – The OPEN Network provides charge card customers with a new, flexible payment option called the balance payment option, which enables qualified customers to extend payment on their balance for three months. Customers can also enroll in BusinessFlex(R) and automatically extend payment on their charge card balances for up to 12 months.
* Convenient Access to Working Capital, Loans and Lines of Credit – The OPEN Network provides convenient access to financing for small business owners. The online application process is quick and easy, and small business customers who qualify can receive business loans as early as the next business day.
* Online Community of Small Business Owners – At the OPEN Network Web site — open.americanexpress.com – small business owners can connect with other small businesses using a Dun & Bradstreet business directory of over 13 million U.S. companies and get answers to specific business questions from the OPEN Network Small Business Advisor. The OPEN Network will continue to build this online community of small business owners with site enhancements in the near future.
The OPEN Network also will launch new card products later this quarter to supplement the current range of card products it offers small business owners and continue to expand its products and services over time.
“Our small business customers have told us that they want a greater degree of control and flexibility in meeting their cash flow needs, but they also want to be served in the same way they serve their own customers. With new, flexible payment options, the enhancement of our online and off-line service capabilities and value-added savings from an expanding lineup of partners, we believe OPEN: The Small Business Network can expertly meet the unique needs of small business owners,” said Ms. Hatch.
Marketing the Launch of the OPEN Network
The creation of OPEN: The Small Business Network, marks the first time that American Express has created separate branding and a unique identity for one of its business units. The company will support the launch of the OPEN Network with an advertising campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather. Television advertising will break on January 19th during NCAA basketball and NFL playoff broadcasts, and the campaign will also appear in national newspapers and magazines. American Express will market the OPEN Network through direct mail, via the Internet, on outdoor billboards and through special events.
The OPEN Network represents a new way of doing business, and our new branding clearly communicates that to our customers,” continued Ms. Hatch. “We are open to listening to and understanding and meeting the challenges small business owners face day in and day out. We’re open to innovation, to change, and to long-term relationships that will help our customers succeed. And, of course, we’re open around the clock, so our customers can contact us when it’s convenient for them.”
About OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express
OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express is a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. The OPEN Network offers small business owners a wide range of tools, services and savings designed to meet their evolving needs, including convenient access to working capital and credit inform_tion, instant decisioning on all card products and savings on business services from an enhanced lineup of OPEN Network partners. The OPEN Network serves nearly three million customers and is dedicated to those companies with fewer than 100 employees. To obtain more information about the OPEN Network, visit open.americanexpress.com or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.
Blackstone (http://www.blackstoneonline.com), one of the nation’s leading electronic providers of prepaid telecommunications products and services, announced the approval of the first of many anticipated US and worldwide patents for its revolutionary Blackstone POS.
Blackstone has developed a truly innovative point-of-sale system utilizing customized applications and software supported on the Hypercom ICE 5500 point of sale platform. By successfully integrating the processing of all major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express & Discover Card) and ATM/Debit/EBT cards with the sale of prepaid products and bill payment services, into one, easy-to-use POS terminal, Blackstone POS, is revolutionizing the electronic transaction industry.
According to John Marshall, Blackstone’s Prepaid Systems Division president, “Today is the first of many exciting days for Blackstone. In recognition of the Blackstone POS terminal and system’s novelty, the United States Patent Office has agreed to grant Blackstone broad rights to protect its exclusive technology against market copyists, including those who sell essential components of the terminal and system.”
Peter Matos, Malloy & Malloy, PA added, “Blackstone has and will continue to make substantial strides to continue securing a broad foundation of United States and foreign patent and other intellectual property protection. Moreover, this foundation of intellectual property extends to Blackstone proprietary hardware, software and methodology, all of which set the Blackstone POS apart.”
Blackstone has rapidly become one of the country’s largest providers of prepaid telecommunications products and services with over 300,000 retail locations nationwide. Established and headquartered in Miami, Florida since 1995, Blackstone is privately owned, and managed by a team of executives experienced in payment processing, information technologies, networking, retailing and prepaid telecommunications. Today, Blackstone is successfully merging two industries, prepaid telecommunications and electronic transactions, into one terminal to the benefit of both consumers and merchants across the United States.
For more information on Blackstone’s products and services, call 1-800-639-9590 or visit .
Exhibitors and attendees at major events will soon be able to pay on-line and via a phone call using a unique check processing system from AmeriNet, Inc. called “Debit-it!” thanks to an agreement announced today by AmeriNet and IAEM Services Inc. (a subsidiary of the International Association for Exhibition Management).
Debit-it! allows customers who don’t have credit cards or don’t want to risk using them to do secure on-line or phone debit purchases quickly, easily and securely.
For merchants, debit-it saves on transaction and administrative costs since the service is less expensive than credit card processing.
IAEM will utilize the unique electronic funds transfer technology to process checks from exhibitors. IAEM will also offer Debit-it! to its members.
“IAEM members will receive a discount when using the Debit-it! system since the cost to process debit transactions is considerably less than credit cards,” noted Pat Dane, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing for AmeriNet.
The Debit-it! transaction processing technology includes a server that combines AmeriNet’s Debit-it! functionality into a software package that merchants can install at their location to provide a powerful on-site extension of their e-commerce engine or order management system.
Features of Debit-it include a user interface that mirrors a credit card transaction; (real time) and batch processing of checks; an AmeriNet Parsing engine that eliminates 8 – 10% of errors up front; fraud screening built into the check processing system; processing of web and phone orders; paperless transactions; custom reporting, and ease of integration through a transaction server that integrates in less than 2 hours.
Debit-it gives companies confidence that a check will clear through a rapid verification system that AmeriNet operates from a vast networking and database operation in its Clearwater, Florida facilities. In addition, the Debit-it! server maintains a secure connection to the host severs and includes failure notification to both the merchant and AmeriNet’s technical staff.
“AmeriNet’s reputation and established history were instrumental in the IAEM Services Board of Directors’ approving the program. IAEM Services is extremely pleased to partner with AmeriNet on this program. The program provides IAEM members added value and another method by which to collect monies,” according to Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, IAEM Services Executive Director and IAEM Senior Vice President.
“Some 40 percent of consumers don’t have credit cards, or don’t have the ability to use credit cards, but do have access to checking accounts,” says Dane. “Most tradeshow organizers utilize credit cards and mailed in checks as their primary and only payment service for vendors and attendees. This system has inherent problems not the least of which are tardy payment processes via check and very high charges by credit card companies for processing payments”.
About AmeriNet, Inc.
AmeriNet, Inc., founded in 1994, has an established history of providing checking account debit transactions over the phone and the Internet. AmeriNet’s proprietary system, called Debit-it, makes purchases as easy as a credit card payment, which gives customers without credit cards or those concerned with security a convenient an easy-to-use option that is very similar to credit card transactions. Debit-it has processed over 5 million transactions over the Internet the past two years. AmeriNet is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and has its network operations in Clearwater, Florida. Debit-it is the exclusive check processor for the Electronic Retailers Assoc and U.S. West (the largest U.S. Call Center).
About IAEM Services ([www.iaem.org])
IAEM Services, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of IAEM. The mission of IAEM Services is to provide IAEM members with products and services designed to meet their needs and that offer superior value at competitive prices.
Uniondale, New York-based Safewww, Inc., which provides strong two-factor authentication for secure online access, payments and transactions and Cleveland, Ohio-based CardinalCommerce, a leading electronic transaction security company, have jointly developed an end-to-end authentication solution to support the new Visa 3-D Secure and MasterCard SPA secure payment initiatives.
The solution is based on a proprietary and modular architecture to allow seamless support for these and new initiatives expected from other payment networks, including Concord EFS/Star.
“Combining Safewww’s easy to deploy, strong IDshield authentication technology with Cardinal’s proprietary Payment Authentication Platform, provides financial institutions with a powerful solution to support the current secure payment initiatives as well as those to come,” commented Tim Sherwin, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of CardinalCommerce. “Our integrated system, through one common platform and one implementation, addresses the challenges facing our financial institution customers.”
“With financial institutions soon to be facing liability for fraudulent online transactions, they need to ensure that they and their customers are protected from fraud,” added Kenneth Bob, CEO of Safewww. “The joint CardinalCommerce-Safewww solution allows them do so without inconveniencing their customers or adding complexity to the process.”
The joint solution will enable issuing banks to rapidly deploy a software platform for the Verified by Visa and MasterCard SPA programs with no legacy system integration. This will provide an easy-to-use, strong two-factor authentication system to increase security and comfort to cardholders to conduct online transactions. Visa and MasterCard research has shown that consumers are likely to purchase more online with the added security provided by these new initiatives. Furthermore, these initiatives will effectively shift the liability for fraudulent transactions from the merchant to the financial institution. To address the expected $15 billion of credit card fraud predicted by 2004 (Meridien Research), financial institutions need to implement an authentication scheme strong enough to protect the bank from this liability shift, yet that is transparent to their consumers. The CardinalCommerce-Safewww solution satisfies this requirement while allowing the financial institution to leverage the investment for numerous other revenue generating authentication opportunities in the future.
About Safewww Incorporated
Founded in 1999 by Israeli Internet security entrepreneurs, Safewww, Inc. provides identity protection products and services for business and personal Internet transactions. With corporate headquarters in the U.S. and a research and development center in Israel, Safewww has established strategic alliances and received investment capital in the U.S., Israel, Spain, China, Japan and Argentina. Its target online markets include banking, B2B exchanges, digital music and video, auctions, store cards, and gaming. Utilizing patent pending third-party user authentication and content encryption technology, Safewww’s impenetrable and simple-to-use solution allows Internet transactions to achieve the utmost in security without the need to transmit confidential information over the Internet. For information, visit .
About CardinalCommerce Corporation
CardinalCommerce Corporation is a leading provider of a technology-neutral authentication platform for securing electronic and wireless commerce, thus ensuring that individuals, businesses and government agencies can process electronic transactions and access confidential information safely, securely and privately. The first application of Cardinal’s proprietary technology, the Cardinal Payment Authentication Platform, provides consumers, merchants, credit/debit card issuers, and processors the ability to conduct fully authenticated Internet-based e-commerce, while protecting the transactions from fraud. For more information, visit [www.cardinalcommerce.com].