PayStar Gets Choice

PayStar Corporation, the nation’s leader in providing content based Internet Kiosks, Cashless ATM devices, Prepaid Wireless Banking Services and Telecom Services, announced the signing of a strategic alliance agreement with Choice Hotels International, naming PayStar as the endorsed provider of Public Internet Access Terminals via PayStar’s InfoStation Network (ISN) to more than 3,200 Choice brand hotels throughout the United States. Choice franchise brands included in the agreement are Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion, Quality, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, and MainStay Suites. “PayStar is proud to partner with Choice and looks forward to serving the franchise owners and their guests by providing the most proficient interactive experience in the industry,” stated Carla Buckner, V.P. Sales and Marketing, PayStar InfoStation Division. “PayStar’s Internet Kiosk and its content is an important communication tool for both the business and leisure traveler. Choice franchisees will benefit by receiving a percentage of the revenue generated at the ITM.”

PayStar and Choice will undertake cooperative efforts for marketing and placement of PayStar’s Internet Transaction Machines (ITM). Once a Choice franchisee signs on for the program, a PayStar ITM will be placed in the public space of the hotel. The ITM will allow guests a fee-based interactive experience ($0.25 per minute), and immediate access to an array of products and services via the Internet. The ITM allows guests the opportunity to check email, send flowers to a loved one, browse the Internet, get the latest news, check stock quotes, book travel, access driving directions, send electronic post-cards, and play games. PayStar’s Cyber Concierge will supply guests with complimentary information and discounts on local dining and entertainment. Guests can use the ITM to sign up for special programs such as Choice Privileges, Choice’s frequent guest program, and make reservations for their next stay through

“PayStar’s Internet kiosks will make an excellent amenity for our guests and bring added value to the Choice brands,” said Daniel Rothfeld, senior vice president, partner services and emerging businesses group for Choice. “We are pleased to partner with Choice as part of PayStar’s vertical market expansion strategy into the hospitality industry,” stated W.D. Yotty, PayStar’s Chairman and CEO.

About Choice

Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) franchises more than 5,000 hotels open and development in 43 countries under the Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and MainStay Suites brand names. For more information on Choice, visit the company’s Internet site at [][1].

About PayStar

PayStar Corporation, a premier global distributor of telephony and financial services, provides its customers with an array of enabling devices. PayStar is comprised of three fully integrated divisions: Commercial Telephony Switch Services, Consumer Internet and Telephony Products including prepaid cards, and Consumer Services providing service and maintenance of Cashless Teller Machines (CTMs) and Internet enabled kiosks. PayStar is the location services provider (LSP) to retail merchants and is considered a “carriers carrier” for wholesale telecom services worldwide. Success is driven by internal sales as well as mergers and acquisitions. PayStar’s global strategy centers on expanding its network of thousands of locations that utilize state-of-the-art enabling devices.




Baltimore Technologies announced that Peruvian-based ID CERT S.A. has selected
security technology to form the platform behind a managed service offering to
businesses, government agencies,and financial institutions in Peru and the
Andean Pacific region of South America, including Venezuela, Colombia,
Bolivia, and Chile.

Public key infrastructure technology forms the security platform for ID CERT’s
managed service offering, including digital certificate issuance, the ability
to digitally sign legal documents and Online Certificate Service Protocol
(OCSP) for real-time transaction validation. Baltimore’s technology provides
the confidentiality, authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation functions
necessary for conducting secure e-business.

“Initiatives are underway throughout the Andean Pacific region that require
superior security technology,” said Augusto Isla, CEO at ID CERT S.A. “Our
offering is designed to provide the cost-effective and flexible security
services necessary for these initiatives to succeed. With Baltimore as the
foundation, we have the technology to do that. In fact, we are currently
working on two key government initiatives and major corporate clientele that
clearly demonstrate the need for highly-secure, digital identity-based based
security in the Andean Pacific region.”

ID CERT S.A. is currently deploying its service offering to a government
for use in a national identification card application. They are also
with another government agency to authenticate more than 230 independent
customs brokers with the goal of creating a seamless, paperless process for
efficiently handling the clearance of shipments.

“With the development and rapid deployment of the managed security service, ID
CERT is defining the standard in the Andean Pacific region and is clearly
answering a previously unfulfilled need in that region,” said Kelly Tsongalis,
vice president, Baltimore Technologies. “Its an honor to be part of this
initiative, which acts as a further testament to the dedication Baltimore has
to the Latin American market, as well as to the superiority of our products.”

About Baltimore Technologies

Baltimore Technologies’ products, services and solutions solve the fundamental
security and trust needs of e-business. Baltimore’s e-security technology
companies the necessary tools to verify the identity of who they are doing
business with and securely manage which resources and information users can
access on open networks. Many of the world’s leading organizations use
Baltimore’s e-security technology to conduct business more efficiently and
effectively over the Internet and wireless networks. Baltimore also offers
worldwide support for its authorization management and public key-based
authentication systems.

Baltimore’s products and services are sold directly and through its worldwide
partner network, Baltimore TrustedWorld. Baltimore Technologies is a public
company, principally trading on London (BLM). For more information on
Baltimore Technologies please visit


Canadian Volume

Canadians increased spending on their VISA cards by 9% last year, topping CD$100 billion for the first time. VISA, which is releasing EOY 2001 statistics next week, noted that during September, overall sales volume on VISA cards remained flat year over year, but rebounded back to a growth level of 8% in October. VISA says the travel and entertainment sector in Canada was particularly hard hit as sales volume last fall declined by 10% year over year before slowly returning to more normal levels by year-end. Currently, 16.7% of all personal consumer expenditures are made on VISA cards in Canada. Of the CD$102.2 billion in VISA 2001 Canadian volume, CD$42.6 billion was charged by Ontario cardholders. In Quebec, 2001 card volume was CD$15.5 billion compared to CD$14.1 billion for 2000, a 9.9% increase. VISA Canada also released yesterday a survey conducted by Thompson Lightstone and Company which showed 81% of Canadians plan to maintain or increase their spending in 2002. For details on the Canadian card market and other international markets visit The RAM Report ([][1])



NextCard Unwinds

NextCard has signed a deal to transfer its portfolio servicing operations, including its technology and proprietary systems, to the FDIC for the next three months to enable the FDIC to market NextBank’s $2 billion credit card portfolio. NextCard also said this morning it has cut 90% of its workforce and has requested to be delisted from the NASDAQ Market System. The FDIC is currently serving as receiver of NextCard after the OCC shutdown NextBank in early February. The FDIC-R has the option to continue the agreement on a monthly basis after May 31. The FDIC has also made a non-recourse, six-month $1 million loan to NextCard, secured by an assignment in favor of the FDIC-R of all of the Company’s right, title, and interest in and to the security backing a letter of credit, executed in favor of MasterCard International. NextCard says that it has reduced its number of employees from 611 to 546. However, 465 persons have been offered temporary employment with a third-party contractor on behalf of the FDIC-R. The Company will also be removed from the NASDAQ Financial 100 Index this week. The OCC closed NextBank after it determined that some delinquent accounts sold into a securitization trust as were classified as fraud losses, although the delinquencies were actually attributable to credit quality problems. These assets were being repurchased by the bank at par, a practice that constituted sale of assets with recourse. This finding, together with significant accounting adjustments and the need for additional loan loss reserves, resulted in the bank becoming significantly undercapitalized. (CF Library 2/8/02)


MC Biz Card Site

MasterCard International today announced a new web-based solution for business customers of its member financial institutions. Designed to encourage interaction online, [][1] will offer small and medium-sized businesses, large multinational corporations, and public sector organizations expanded information about the benefits and features of MasterCard Corporate Payment Solution cards* and programs.

The resource center offers a new, unique “Card Finder” that will provide small businesses a tailored experience to quickly assess specific card services and options from member financial institutions. Available only from MasterCard, the Card Finder is designed to improve the application process by allowing small business customers to both aggregate detailed information and to compare options across multiple issuing financial institutions.

In addition, [][2] includes recently-completed case histories, white papers and implementation guides. These tools are designed to help mid-size and large corporations and public sector organizations identify new applications that will deliver improved management and control over expenses. Also available at the resource center are details about the exclusive MasterCard Business Savings program, which will offer small businesses discounts of up to 40 percent off everyday business goods and services from best-in-class suppliers.

“The resource center is tailored to an audience representative of the business client whether it be an entrepreneur running a small business, a CFO running a Fortune 2000 multinational corporation, or a government treasury official seeking a way to streamline paper-based processes,” said Steve Abrams, senior vice president, MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions.

In designing the new resource center, MasterCard drew on extensive research with members, such as Chase and Citibank, and their clients and prospects.

“We believe that the resource center will be a key component of our strategy to deliver relevant product information to our small business cardmembers and new prospects,” said Dale Booker, business manager for Business & Professional cards at Citibank. “We’re pleased to have played a role in its development.”

“We are confident that our members will reap the benefits of a customer-centric communications vehicle carefully designed over the course of months of extensive primary research,” added Abrams. “MasterCard will implement further updates in 2002, including additional advanced technical features to optimize the user experience.”

Segment-Specific Features Provide Valuable Experience

The use of the Internet by small offices and home-based businesses has intensified in recent months as entrepreneurs embrace the Internet as a convenient, time-saving tool. Approximately 88 percent of small businesses, according to MasterCard research, use the Internet primarily to gather information about services for their business.

The Card Finder tool is one example of a new solution designed by MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions to help improve the user experience. Based on replies to several queries, such as years in business and the average spend on everyday purchasing and travel and entertainment (T&E) needs, the Card Finder will provide access to a customized list of issuers ready to serve this profile and receive online applications. This tool also delivers qualified lead referrals to members.

Expanded content on [][3] also will help small business owners learn about Business Bonuses, the innovative rewards program offered through participating member financial institutions. Another section of the resource center offers a special monthly newsletter authored by Jane Applegate, the syndicated small business columnist, to provide a refreshing view on new trends and perspectives impacting growing businesses.

A special section of [][4] details recommendations on how corporations or government agencies may prepare and implement an RFP process to identify an appropriate issuer and service provider.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has a comprehensive portfolio of well-known, widely accepted payment brands including MasterCard, Cirrus, and Maestro. More than 1.7 billion MasterCard, Cirrus, and Maestro logos are present on credit, charge, and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is a leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. MasterCard’s award-winning, priceless advertising campaign is now seen in 80 countries and in 40 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. With more than 22 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. At Sept. 30, 2001, gross annual dollar volume exceeded US$704 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [][5].




Arab Digital Distribution Company has introduced the first the pre-paid card
for pay-TV subscriptions in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ADD offers 60 TV
to the Arab markets. Al Awael has some 30 Arabic television channels and
premium channels such as Manchester United TV, Real Madrid TV, Star Movies,
Animal Planet, and Sci-Trek. Al Awael includes a selection of new channels as
well as a core selection of existing ART channels including ART Sports 1 & 2,
ART Tareb, ART Hekayat, and the youth channel ARTeenz. In addition, it offers
three Nile channels (Drama, Variety, and Sports) and a western English language
movie channel (The Film Channel). ADD primarily focuses on packaging and
distributing television channels across the Middle East, North Africa, and


FOM Field Rep Tool

ViaFone, Inc., a leading provider of mobile applications, announced that First of Omaha Merchant Processing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha and one of the nation’s leading credit card acquirers, has selected ViaFone OneBridge Mobile Server to mobilize its Goldmine sales force automation (SFA) system. With the ability to access updated information from anywhere at anytime, First of Omaha aims to boost the efficiency of its nationwide sales network, cut infrastructure costs, and improve on its already renown reputation for customer service.

The ViaFone solution extends First of Omaha’s existing Goldmine SFA system so that field reps can access sales pipeline and customer information anytime, anywhere through any Web browser. Future plans include access to the application via WAP phones.

ViaFone OneBridge Mobile Server also provides First of Omaha industrial-strength security for the financial services industry, such as “demilitarized zone” (DMZ) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support. In order to protect valuable corporate data, many corporations deploy two firewalls. The first, an external firewall that the company’s Web servers sit behind, provides a “demilitarized zone” between another firewall which provides an additional layer of security for corporate back-end servers. ViaFone’s solution is able to work within this system to deliver the most critical customer information intact without compromising data security. When field representatives log in to update their daily call information, the mobile Goldmine application-powered by ViaFone and jointly implemented with Tailored Automation (see related release)-will synchronize any changes to provide the latest customer information for appropriate follow-up.

“ViaFone’s proven track record in financial services and their ability to meet our rigorous security requirements made them the ideal mobile sales solution provider for First of Omaha,” said Matt Minchow, senior vice president of First of Omaha Merchant Processing. “Extending our existing SFA system enables our sales force to update their account information in real time and offline scenarios. ViaFone understands the needs of mobile sales representatives and the critical security requirements in the financial services industry, which makes OneBridge Mobile Server the ideal solution to mobilize our business processes.”

“Innovative businesses like First of Omaha are seeking to reap the rewards of mobility without retooling their existing IT infrastructure, said Russ McMeekin, CEO of ViaFone. “First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a respected leader in the credit card industry, and by taking advantage of their existing technology investments, they will be able to offer their sales reps a secure mobile sales solution to help them improve their sales reporting and keep customers apprised of the latest processing services. We are pleased to provide First of Omaha a mobile solution that serves as a critical part of their day-to-day operations and will grow to meet their future needs.”

About First of Omaha Merchant Processing

First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a premier global payment processor specializing in providing service to both the traditional and Internet direct marketing industry, as well as the traditional face-to-face card acceptance market. First of Omaha provides financial management and payment processing solutions for independent sales organizations, large and small retailers, restaurants, lodging merchants, petroleum marketers, associations/franchise groups and banks in both the business to consumer and business to business marketplaces. Processing transactions in 20 foreign currencies, First of Omaha offers international payment processing solutions for businesses worldwide.

Known for their superior customer service, First of Omaha specializes in providing clients the latest in card processing technologies. Through development of a diversified product line, First of Omaha has become a leader in the merchant processing industry, assisting clients in the reduction of chargebacks and fraud. First of Omaha is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha and is one of the few remaining in-house bank processors. First National Bank of Omaha, founded in 1863, is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence. First of Omaha’s Internet address is [][1].

About ViaFone

ViaFone is a leading provider of mobile enterprise applications that keep business moving in the field by bridging field sales and service employees and critical business systems, information and processes. ViaFone OneBridge delivers voice and wireless data applications across all devices, including PocketPC, Palm handhelds, RIM BlackBerry pagers and WAP and standard telephones. ViaFone solutions enable corporations to reduce operating costs, increase mobile employee productivity and increase the value and utilization of existing systems across the enterprise.

Founded in September 1999, ViaFone is based in Brisbane, Calif., with additional offices in Toronto, Atlanta and Paris. Privately held, ViaFone is backed by RedPoint Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Partech International, RRE Ventures, Pequot Capital Management, Clarity Capital, Bell Mobility (subsidiary of Bell Canada), EDS, Samsung, Angel Investors, L.P. and others. To learn more about ViaFone’s innovative solutions, please visit [][2] or call 1-800-361-0061 in the U.S. and +33-1-53-65-65-53 in Europe.



iDine 2002

iDine Rewards Network projected yesterday that it will see a 25% increase in revenues this year and will return to profitability. The company offers its members a variety of dining savings and rewards programs at more than 7,500 restaurants throughout the USA via a registered credit card. iDine said Monday that it has added 400,000 accounts so far this year for a total of 8.2 million. Among these accounts, the active member segment, a member who has had a financial transaction during the last 12 months, has grown to moe than 1.3 million active members. Between Sept 2000 and Sept 2001, the company soared from 3.2 million to 6.7 million gross accounts. The rapid growth was fueled by gaining direct contact with airline partners on January 1, 2001. The airline program has produced more than four million new accounts. For the fourth quarter, iDine posted more than $50 million in dining sales, the largest quarter in its history. The Company presently has about 11 million credit cards registered through enrolled accounts. iDine was formerly know as Transmedia Network. For details on iDine’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([][1]).



VISA Bounty

ICBA Bancard reported last week that it awarded more than $270,000 to community banks as part of a VISA credit card account acquisition incentive program. Participating banks were awarded monetarily for every new VISA account opened between July 1 and Nov 30, 2001, and for submitting a marketing plan. A cruise package was also awarded to State Bank of Cross Plains in Wisconsin in a random drawing. ICBA Bancard says First Interstate Bank of Billings, Montana opened nearly 2,000 new accounts during the promotion period with an increase in balance outstandings of $1.4 million. ICBA Bancard, which works with 2,000 community banks, will launch its second credit card incentive this spring.


Fiserv Promotes Hirsch

Fiserv, Inc. announced that Tom Hirsch has been promoted to Senior Vice President – Corporate Finance. In addition, Hirsch will continue to serve as Controller for the Company. He previously served as Vice President – Corporate Finance and Controller.

“Tom has made many contributions to our organization through the years and I’m pleased to announce his promotion to Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance,” said Kenneth R. Jensen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Fiserv, Inc. “In this position, Tom will have the opportunity to continue to apply his skills and experience, and we look forward to his ongoing contributions to the success of Fiserv.”

Hirsch joined Fiserv in 1994 as Assistant Controller for a Fiserv division. In 1996, he was named Corporate Assistant Controller; in 1997, Corporate Vice President; and in 1999, Corporate Controller. Prior to joining Fiserv, Hirsch worked for Deloitte & Touche as Audit Manager.

Hirsch is an Accounting and Finance graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) is an independent, full-service provider of integrated data processing and information management systems to the financial industry. As a leading technology resource, Fiserv serves more than 13,000 financial service providers worldwide, including banks, broker-dealers, credit unions, financial planners/investment advisers, insurance companies and agents, mortgage banks and savings institutions. Headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Fiserv also can be found on the Internet at [][1].



Concord Full Falcon

HNC Software Inc., a leading provider of high-end analytics and decision management software, announced that Concord EFS Inc. has expanded its relationship with HNC by selecting Falcon Fraud Manager for Debit Cards to detect fraud on its integrated signature debit card processing platform.

The agreement expands Concord’s use of HNC’s fraud detection software by awarding HNC the remaining portion of Concord’s signature debit card processing portfolio as platform integration occurs — replacing the current system — and designates Falcon Fraud Manager for Debit Cards as the company’s preferred fraud detection solution.

By selecting HNC’s debit fraud detection software, Concord can increase consistency across its card processing service. With the unification of the STAR, MAC, and Cash Station networks into STAR and the completion of uniform operating rules and pricing to its participants, the decision to offer Falcon Fraud Manager as the preferred fraud detection solution brings the organization one step closer to the completion of its integration.

“Selecting Falcon Fraud Manager For Debit Cards is an important component of Concord’s tools for managing risk offered through network services,” said Ronald V. Congemi, president of Concord’s Network Services division. “As we integrate our processing platforms, an additional step is to unify services available to customers for increased efficiency while maintaining outstanding fraud detection.”

Falcon Fraud Manager For Debit Cards utilizes neural network technology to predict the likelihood that a signature -based transaction is fraudulent. The risk-assessment score enables issuers to prioritize their investigative resources, focusing on transactions with the highest probability of fraud. “HNC’s advanced scientific capabilities can provide industry-leading companies like Concord the ability to make critical, split-second decisions,” said Steve Platt, vice president of HNC’s risk suite of financial products. “We expect to increase our market share of the debit card industry in North America as HNC continues offering technology solutions competitors are unable to provide.” HNC is a leading provider of high-end analytic and decision management software that enables global companies to manage customer interactions by converting data and business experiences into real-time recommendations. HNC Software empowers Global 2000 companies in the financial services, insurance, telecommunications, health care, and other industries and governments to make millions of the right mission-critical customer decisions, and take action in real time, substantially improving financial performance, reducing costs and decreasing risk. For more information, visit [][1].

Concord is a leading vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, providing transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to financial institutions, supermarkets, petroleum retailers, convenience stores, restaurants, and other independent retailers. Concord’s primary activities include Network Services, providing ATM driving, PIN-secured and signature debit card processing, deposit risk management, and STAR(SM) network access to the financial services industry; and Payment Services, providing credit, debit, check authorization, and electronic benefits transfer processing services to selected retail segments. Concord news releases, links to SEC filings, and other information are available on its corporate Web site at [][2].



ECHO Settlement

Electronic Clearing House reported Monday afternoon that it has settled all claims from litigation with Premiere Lifestyles International Corporation. While the company made no admission of liability, ECHO agreed to make a one-time cash payment of $1.2 million to Premiere and sign a $1.3 million 15-year promissory note secured by the Company’s office building in favor of Premiere. ECHO says it made the settlement to avoid the potentially large legal costs connected with any appeal to a higher court. ECHO reported a $93,000 net loss for the fourth quarter partly due to $300,000+ in litigation expense related to the Premiere lawsuit.