Biometric Smart Payment Cards Finally Deployed

The first biometric smart card deployment in financial services is in the pipeline for a third world country. The top financial institution in the Ivory Coast, Caisse d’Epargne et des Cheques Postaux, has inked a contract with Oberthur Card Systems for 500,000 cards and 300 biometric readers. CECP has 200 branches throughout the country. Oberthur developed a solution that provides two-level authentication of the cardholder with both a photograph and fingerprints. After a three-month pilot deemed successful by both customers and employees of Abidjan’s main branch, the bank will deploy the project, known as “Reference,” in all of its branches.

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I.C.E. Becomes a Significant Gift Card Player

Oxnard, CA-based International Card Establishment has completed its acquisition of Neos Merchant Solutions, an Irvine, CA-based gift and loyalty card provider. The deal which includes cash, debt, and stock is valued at $7.5 million. Neos revenues are expected to be between $6 million and $9 million for 2004 and $9 and $12 million in 2005. I.C.E. has projected revenue of $22 million (pro forma) in 2004, expected to grow to $50 million (pro forma) in 2005. I.C.E reported net revenues of $3.5 million for the second quarter compared to net revenues of about $250,000 in the year ago quarter. The net loss for 2Q/04 was $615,000 compared to $130,000 one-year ago. I.C.E. is aiming to become a direct credit card processor and expects to make more acquisitions in its bankcard unit. For complete details on I.C.E.’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Fair Isaac Releases New Version of TRIAD

Fair Isaac has released the “TRIAD” adaptive control system version 8.0. The new version features four decision areas: “Credit Facilities” for establishing maximum customer exposure and managing and apportioning credit lines and limits; “Collections” for more efficient handling of overdue accounts and customers; “Communications” to enable cross-sell, up-sell and other marketing promotions, such as pricing and re-issue or loan re-extension decisions; and “Authorizations” to minimize transactions needing manual intervention and to enable real-time line increases. “TRIAD 8.0” also helps businesses meet regulatory compliance standards including “Basel II.”

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Top Airline Cards Quietly Drop Annual Fees

Three of the nation’s top airlines and their credit card partners have quietly rolled-out no annual fee versions of their co-branded credit cards this year. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines now offer free cards, however, the mileage earned on purchases is 50% less than their higher-fee brethren. In January, Citibank and American Airlines introduced the “American AAdvantage Bronze MasterCard” with no annual fee, according to CardWatch(R)(cardwatch.com). Citibank charges an $85 annual fee for its “Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard” which offers one air mile for each dollar charged. The Citi/AA card is available by invitation or by telephone request only. The Bank One “United Airlines MileagePlus No Annual Fee VISA” and the “Delta SkyMiles Options Card from American Express” were also introduced this year without annual fees. The Bank One/UAL “VISA Signature” card carries a $60 annual fee and offers 1/1 mile/dollar earnings. Bank One also waives the annual fee for United 100,000 mile fliers. American Express annual fees for its Delta cards range from $55 to $135. However, AmEx will waive up to $55 of the fee if the cardholder also holds an AmEx consumer charge card. The United and Delta no annual fees cards are only available via telephone request. None of the three airlines offer the free cards via their Web sites.

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ACH Direct Signs a Southern Calif. Toll Deal

ACH Direct has signed a contract with the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which operate Orange County’s 67-mile public toll road system, to provide toll transaction processing services to their organizations. ACH’s responsibilities will include processing all the checks received by Toll Roads customers. ACH Direct, Inc. is a chief provider of electronic payments processing and verification and authentication services, serving a broad range of companies worldwide. Over 290,000 trips are taken on The Toll Roads every weekday, saving drivers about 21 minutes for every trip.

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Tidel and Laurus Come to New Terms

Houston-based Tidel Technologies has reached senior debt agreements with Laurus Master Fund, receiving some interest waivers and 10-K extensions. The agreement calls for Tidel to make a $400,000 payment to Laurus on or before September 17, 2004 toward a total of $499,238 in past due accrued interest and penalties. The remaining balance of $99,238 will not be due until the maturity date. The unpaid principal balance of the senior debt was $6,474,238 after modifications were made. Tidel is currently in discussion with Laurus about providing additional working capital financing for certain new customer contracts. Tidel may or may not be successful in completing additional financing with Laurus. Tidel Technologies, Inc. manufactures ATMs and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers.

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Ryan to Handle GeoTrust’s Business Development

Stephen Ryan, former SVP at VISA and First Data, has been hired by MA-based GeoTrust as VP of business development. Mr. Ryan has almost 20 years of management experience. At GeoTrust, he will be responsible for driving revenue and market share through strategic alliances with distribution, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and technology partners. Ryan was a former vice president at Arcot Systems and former vice president at NationsBank. He has a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. GeoTrust, Inc. is a leader in Identity and Trust Services. It is the second largest digital certificate provider in the world with over 70,000 companies in over 140 countries using its technology for transaction security.

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TNB Card Services Adds Two Executives

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has hired Clifton Miller, formerly with Bank Plus Credit Services in Oregon, as SVP and client services manager, and Richard Deeter, formerly with The Members Group and eFunds, as VP and eastern region account manager. Mr. Miller will be responsible for maintaining the quality and reputation of the client services operations at TNB. Mr. Deeter will lead business development in the eastern portion of the U.S. for TNB. TNB Card Services provide full-service credit and debit card processing, serving over 400 credit unions and managing over 1.5 million cards. TNB helps credit unions enhance member loyalty through credit union-branded card products.

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Credit Agricole to Deploy Opteva ATMs

Credit Agricole du Morbihan has placed an order for the first Diebold “Opteva” ATMs to be installed in France. The “Opteva 560” units will be installed in the Credit Agricole’s new self-serve bank branch concept. Powered by Diebold’s open-standard, cross-vendor software
platform, and supported by Diebold “Premier Services,” “Opteva” offers
customers a new generation of self-service solutions that take into
account ATM technology, software solutions, services and support
necessary for financial institutions to thrive in today’s marketplace.

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Hypercom Makes a Presentation on Thursday

Hypercom’s executives will present at the Morgan Keegan & Company 2004 Equity Capital Markets Conference this week. The presentation will be available through a listen-only web cast at http://www.wsw.com/webcast/mk8/hyc/. Hypercom Corporation is a leading provider of electronic payment solutions. The company has achieved 26 years of technology excellence, innovation, and leadership.

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Shinsei Bank Makes a Major Aplus Investment

Tokyo-based Shinsei Bank has signed an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Osaka-based APLUS Co., Ltd for US$592 million. Aplus provides a number of consumer financing products including co-branded credit cards and offers a single application system in installment credits and loan cards. Shinsei will buy 35 billion yen of new shares issued by Aplus and acquire 30 billion yen of preferred stock from UFJ Holdings. UFJ will also waive 94 billion yen of debt owed by Aplus.

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