Oberthur Gets Bowen

Oberthur Card Systems of America named Brent Bowen vice president of sales, where he will drive new card business for the growing financial services and retail markets.

Bowen has a 16-year career in sales of payment and transactions systems. Most recently he directed sales and operations for Transaction Payment Systems, a transaction processing and merchant service organization. Bowen has also led national sales efforts for Schlumberger, a manufacturer of smart cards and payment terminals.

Brent brings solid relationships with key industry players in addition to an impressive track record in sales for payment and transaction products, noted Thierry Burgess, executive vice-president for sales and marketing for the American division of Oberthur Card Systems. His experience in the payment systems business complements our growing financial services marketing team.

Bowen also serves on the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) Technology Committee and conducted a variety of seminars for leading national industry conferences.

About Oberthur Card Systems

Oberthur Card Systems (listed on the Euronext Stock Exchange Code Euroclear 12413) is a leading provider of card-based products, software and applications including SIM and multi-application smart card-based solutions, consulting, personalization and card services.

A global player and innovator in the smart card industry, championing EMV and open standards, Oberthur maintains a leading position in the payment cards market as the world s number one supplier of Visa and MasterCard branded cards as well as in network security, m-commerce and Pay-TV fields.

With unrivalled expertise in JavaTM and GSM technologies, Oberthur delivers the most advanced, open and interoperable SIM, WAP and 3G (IMT-2000/UMTS) solutions to mobile operators thereby transforming the nature of mobile communications.

With revenues of EUR 484.2 million in 2001, Oberthur Card Systems has an international reach with an industrial and commercial presence in 21 countries across the five continents.


MBNA Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops, Inc., the world’s leading supplier of premium outdoor products, has signed a long- term agreement with MBNA America Bank, N.A., the world’s largest independent credit card issuer, to issue a “Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards” credit card. The Outdoor Rewards credit card program will reward cardholders with 1% Rewards for retail purchases outside Bass Pro Shops, 2% for retail purchases from any Bass Pro Shops store, catalog or Internet site and 4% for Bass Pro Shops brand items. A portion of the credit card proceeds will also go to conservation efforts selected by Bass Pro Shops.

“After a thorough review of major bank card issuers, we came to the very clear choice of MBNA to market our new co-branded credit card that will be connected directly to our Outdoor Rewards customer loyalty program. We’re very impressed with MBNA’s leading marketing expertise, strong Customer service orientation and sports marketing affiliations. We believe MBNA will be a great new business partner,” said President of Marketing for Bass Pro Shops, Ron Ramseyer.

“MBNA is extremely proud to be associated with Bass Pro Shops,” said John Cochran, President of MBNA America Bank. “The people of MBNA are committed to providing Bass Pro Shops with superior financial products and Customer service.”

Bass Pro Shops offers an extensive array of fishing, hunting, camping, and marine supplies, as well as apparel, footwear, and outdoor gifts through its catalog, its web site, and its Outdoor World retail stores. In addition, it offers regular Outdoor Skills Workshops at its 14 stores, located in ten states.

MBNA Corporation (NYSE: KRB), a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America, N.A., a national bank, has more than $97.5 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products.

Bass Pro Shops(R), headquartered in Springfield, Missouri is a leading retailer of outdoor recreational products specializing in fishing tackle, camping and hunting equipment. Its retail stores, international catalog and Internet web site offer the outdoor enthusiast a variety of shopping opportunities. Outdoor World mega-store showrooms are located in Springfield, MO, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, Detroit, MI, Charlotte, NC, Houston, TX, Nashville, TN, Orlando, FL, Cincinnati, OH, Baltimore, MD, and St. Louis, MO. World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, FL specializes in technical saltwater and fly fishing equipment. Future Bass Pro Shops(R) retail locations include: Memphis, TN, Oklahoma City, OK, and Kansas City, MO. Visit their web site at [http://www.basspro.com][1] for more information.

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


IRS Account Access

The U.S. DOJ and IRS are reportedly close to reaching an agreement with American Express to gain access to the account records of cardholders who use credit card or debit cards from banks based in offshore tax havens. The government has been negotiating for months with AmEx and MasterCard to gain access to records of suspected tax evaders who pay bills through banks in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Antigua, and Barbuda. The IRS says it believes thousands of tax payers have set up phony corporations to open a bank account in an offshore tax haven. Using a credit or debit card linked to the account to make purchases in the USA, the tax payer funds the account with unreported income. According to the Wall Street Journal, the IRS became interested in investigating the credit card scam after noticing the wide promotion of such schemes on the Internet. The IRS went to court in 2000 to force the credit card companies to hand over the account records for 1998 and 1999. In October 2000, U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan permitted the IRS to issue summonses for charge, debit and credit cards issued by or paid by banks in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the country of Antigua. The IRS has been in negotiations with AmEx and MasterCard since then. (CF Library 10/31/00)



Datacard Group is pleased to
announce the signing of a distribution agreement with Infineer, a leading
provider of smart card solutions for the education sector. Under this
distribution agreement, Datacard will market and distribute Infineer’s smart
card solutions in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America via its
extensive sales and distribution channels. Datacard’s market position in
the ID
system and smart card multi-applications market combined with Infineer’s
campus smart card applications will offer an affordable, end-to-end solution
previously unavailable to North and South American customers.

Infineer provides card-based solutions for educational and corporate sites and
has considerable smart card application technology. Their flagship product,
ChipNet, is a multi-application smart card system, which allows users to
for a range of services including networked printing and photocopying. ChipNet
has already achieved significant success in the UK with installations in over
seventy school sites and more than forty corporate sites.

Datacard provides solutions and expertise to cost-effectively deploy
digital ID
programs from the simplest school ID systems, to solutions that integrate
multiple campus functions into a single, multi-purpose card. Datacard offers
the only proven fully integrated infrastructure for multi-application smart
card issuance and post-issuance life cycle management.

“The new distribution agreement gives both companies an opportunity to offer a
complete solution, with Datacard providing the secure ID program and Infineer
bringing the cashless transaction element to the smart card” said Martin
Kearsley, senior vice president and general manager for Datacard’s Solutions
division. “The initial focus will be on targeting ChipNet to schools servicing
kindergarten to grade 12, before targeting corporate customers.”

Bernard Delahaye, managing director of Infineer, commented, “Datacard is an
excellent partner match for Infineer. We look forward to developing our Campus
Business, delivering solutions through this talented and experienced group.”
Datacard Group provides software, systems and professional services needed to
build profitable card programs. The company’s solutions portfolio also
a complete line of secure digital identity and card personalization systems.
Datacard Group is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group
serves customers in more than 120 countries.

Infineer is a global provider of card-based solutions for educational and
corporate sites. It is a subsidiary of PubliCARD Inc., based in New York
(www.Infineer.com) with a technology base in
Ireland and a sales and
marketing base in London. Infineer boasts over 25 years experience in the
cashless payment solutions market, specializing in delivering multiple
applications on a single smart card.



Cansec’s revolutionary new
Zodiac Fingerprint Reader is the culmination of over 15 years of experience in
the design of leading edge access control products. The Zodiac Fingerprint
Reader sets a new standard for fingerprint verification readers with its
blinding speed, small size and unparalleled ease of use. With a breakthrough
price of $750 USD (suggested list) it brings the cost of biometrics in line
with conventional access control readers for the first time.

Zodiac’s unique design allows it to easily replace any conventional access
control reader in a matter of minutes with no change required to the existing
access control panel or host software. This is made possible by storing each
user’s fingerprint template in their contactless SmartCard rather than storing
them in the reader or a central database. Where a user does not wish to
replace their existing access control cards, a small stick-on BioPatch can be
easily affixed to the existing card to provide the same functionality as the
contactless SmartCard. Zodiac contactless credentials carry a suggested list
price of under $6.00 and are virtually impossible to duplicate. A version of
Zodiac is also available that uses Dallas iButtons to store the fingerprint

For facilities requiring the utmost security level, an optional Secure
Transmission Authentication Receiver (STAR) module is available for use with
Zodiac’s proprietary Secure Transmission Mode (STM) of operation. In this
mode, data is encrypted and transmitted to the STAR module located inside the
access control panel. The STAR module decrypts the data and passes the
decrypted data to the access control panel for processing.

For non-Zodiac equipped doors, Cansec manufactures a small, low cost
proximity SmartCard reader that allows Zodiac cards to be used on doors that
do not require biometric authentication. These readers simply extract the
user’s ID Number encoded in the card and transmits the data in industry
standard format allowing them to be used with virtually any existing access
control system.

Zodiac supports industry standard magnetic stripe reader emulation
allowing it to be used with virtually all Time & Attendance systems to
eliminate “buddy punching.”

To further enhance security of the Zodiac solution, the Enrollment
Software, which is used to capture a fingerprint template and write it to the
card, cannot be run without a unique Software Access Card.

Zodiac utilizes a rugged, high performance OEM optical fingerprint scanner
manufactured by Secugen Corporation. This scanner provides an unmatched level
of durability and vandal resistance that is demanded by physical access
control applications.

The contactless SmartCard technology chosen for use with Zodiac was
developed by INSIDE and uses field proven 13.56 MHz technology. The standard
credit card size cards are suitable for printing on dye sublimation card
printers and provide a comfortable read range of approximately 2 inches.

The unique features engineered into the total Zodiac solution make it the
only choice for those facilities where security simply cannot be compromised.

You can see the exciting new Zodiac product at ISC West show in Las Vegas
March 5-7 (booth # 9176).


Cansec Systems Ltd. is a privately owned Canadian corporation located in
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Cansec has been manufacturing leading edge
electronic access control products since 1987. Products are distributed
worldwide through a network of dealers, distributors and OEM’s.


SecuGen Corporation is a pioneer in the biometrics industry and designs,
manufactures and its award-winning optical fingerprint recognition technology
worldwide. SecuGen’s sensors are known for their durability and performance
and have been integrated into a broad range of applications in Internet,
network and PC security, physical access control, time & attendance management
and other electronic security applications. For further information contact
Keith Saunders at 905-946-7600 or via email at ksaunders@secugen.com.


INSIDE, a leading pioneer in contactless technology, is a semiconductor
company fully concentrated on the development of contactless products and
markets. The company is the leading supplier of contactless chips and
readers, and offers various solutions for emerging markets like transport,
access control, payment, identity, and electronic identification. INSIDE acts
as a one-stop shop for its customers by providing a complete contactless
technological platform. Headquartered in Aix-en-Provence. INSIDE works with
a worldwide customer base and sustains very high growth rate. For more
information, visit the company’s web site at
http://www.insidefr.com or
contact Geraldine Sauniere at 33 4 42 39 63 00 or via email at



ACNielsen Canada, an operating unit of
ACNielsen, a VNU Company, this week released the first findings from its
PanelTrack Financial research service that identified several areas of
opportunity for credit card companies. The study found that consumers do not
often use credit cards to purchase groceries, take-out food, or to pay
household bills.

Sharon Skurnac, senior director, ACNielsen Consumer Marketing Services,
said, “Pay-at-the-pump technology has helped make credit cards the preferred
method of payment at gasoline stations, but other venues still offer plenty
room for growth for credit card issuers.”

Key types of purchases that Canadians use their credit cards for are
listed in the table below and ranked by the percentage of respondents using
credit cards as their most frequent method of payment.

“Grocery retailers have been very successful in migrating their customers
from the use of cheques to debit cards, which are easier to process,”
according to Skurnac. “One surprise from the study was the number of people
who use credit cards when purchasing automobiles — likely a result of the
growing use of programs that allow credit card users to accumulate points
can be redeemed for airline miles or merchandise. Naturally, these types of
programs encourage consumers to use credit cards for bigger-ticket items.”
The single greatest area of opportunity identified by the study is take-
out food from fast-food restaurants or coffee shops, where 73 per cent of
respondents said they use cash. Among other findings from the study:

– 92.4 per cent of Canadian households have at least one credit card

– Less than one-third of Canadian households (31.5 per cent) use their
credit cards more than twice a week

– 59.5 per cent of households pay off their credit card balances every

– 11.2 per cent of households have transferred the balance from one
credit card to another in the past year
The ACNielsen PanelTrack Financial survey was conducted among a
demographically and geographically representative sample of over 10,000
Canadian households during November and December 2001. Follow-up studies will
utilize the same households throughout 2002.
ACNielsen, a VNU company, is the world’s leading marketing information
company. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the company provides
measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and
behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen’s market research, proprietary products,
analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive
performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of
their marketing and sales campaigns.
ACNielsen Canada is based in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices in
Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.


Tower Goes ValueLink

First Data Corp. announced that Tower Records has selected its ValueLink service to take over marketing, management and implementation of the Tower Records gift card program. Established three years ago, the program currently operates in Tower Records’ 104 U.S. retail locations, as well as through the retailer’s website and 800 number sales service, and offers both fixed denomination and open-ended cards.

ValueLink’s proven merchandising and marketing experience, along with its technology, factored strongly in its selection as Tower Records new gift card service provider. With ValueLink, Tower Records plans to enhance and expand its current program in the United States and beyond.

“A number of factors contributed to our decision to switch to ValueLink,” said Mark Bressler, senior vice president of corporate development and managing director of TowerRecords.com. “We really wanted to establish a relationship with a global transaction processing company. First Data’s combination of expertise and dynamic resources, along with their tremendous reputation and track record made them our top choice.”

“The Tower Records relationship is based on our company’s proven skills and abundant resources,” said Bruce Bell, general manager, ValueLink. “ValueLink excels in creating and implementing programs that require the full set of card transaction services that are the hallmark of First Data. We look forward to the opportunity to use creativity and technology to expand Tower Records current program in a seamless transition.”

Since 1960, Tower Records has been recognized and respected throughout the world for its unique brand of retailing. Founded in Sacramento, Calif., by current Chairman Russ Solomon, the Company’s growth over four decades has made Tower Records a household name.

Tower Records owns and operates 172 stores worldwide with 60 franchise operations in eight countries. The company opened one of the first Internet music stores on America Online in June 1995 and followed a year later with the launch of Tower.com. The site was named “Best Music Commerce site” by Forrester Research in Fall 2000.

About ValueLink

ValueLink, a service of First Data Corp., is an industry leader in stored value/gift card programs, offering a wide range of transaction processing, card acquisition, card fulfillment and customer service capabilities. In 1995, ValueLink introduced its first, third-party gift card program. Today, the company develops, implements and manages programs for more than 120 major national brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bed Bath & Beyond, Blockbuster, Borders, Foot Locker, Toys “R” Us and many more. For more information, please visit the Web site at [http://www.valuelinkcards.com][1] .

About First Data

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. Serving approximately 2.8 million merchant locations, approximately 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com][2].

[1]: http://www.valuelinkcards.com/
[2]: http://www.firstdata.com/



Baltimore Technologies announced its Preliminary results for the year ending
December 31, 2001.

Financial Highlights for 2001:

– Total revenues for the full year were US$102.5 million ((pound)70.4) (2000:
US$101 million ((pound)69.4)). Revenues stabilized with Q4 revenue of US$ 23.2
million ((pound)16.0 million) (Q4 2000: US$35.5 million ((pound)24.4)).

– Revenues (excluding previously announced divestments) were US$57 million
((pound)39.2) (2000: US$83 million ((pound)57.3)).

– Gross Margins were 53% from 66% in 2000, reflecting lower software revenues
and lower productivity in professional services.

– Overhead expenses (administrative expenses less amortization) in 2001 were
US$191 million ((pound)131.2) (2000: US$116 million ((pound)79.6)). In Q4
fell to US$51.1 million ((pound)35.1) including US$13.4 million
((pound)9.2) of
one-off restructuring costs.

– LBITDA of US$125.5 million ((pound)86.2) (2000: US$42.9 ((pound)29.5)).

– Cash balance of US$30.8 million ((pound)21.2) at year-end (2000: US$156.9
((pound)107.8)) and cash spend now under control. Cash burn reduced with Q4
outflow US$17.0 ((pound)11.7) (Q3 2001: US$ 30.6 million ((pound)21.0)).

– Headcount (excluding previously announced divestments) has reduced to 596 as
at 31 December 2001 and at the end of January headcount for the core business
was 562.

Bijan Khezri, Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore Technologies said, “These
results reflect stabilization in our business. Continuous improvement of our
operational productivity, a refocused business around authentication, digital
signing and authorization technologies and global professional services
expertise around our products are key to our future competitiveness.”
“The market opportunity is significant and broadening beyond the Finance and
Government sectors, Khezri continued. “Whilst we do not expect any significant
global macroeconomic growth until 2003, technology spending will increase in
2002. Major wins during Q4 and in Q1 2002 confirm our technology leadership
customer confidence worldwide. We are funded to execute our business plan.”

Continuing Improvements in Business Operations

Baltimore have made significant progress in executing the restructuring
programme announced on August 22, 2001 including announcing its divestment of
Content Technologies to Clearswift Corporation for US$29.8 million
((pound)20.5), allowing Baltimore to refocus on its core competencies of
authentication and authorization. Baltimore is also reducing its shareholding
in Japanese operations from 62% to 19% generating a further US$6.8 million
((pound)4.7) in cash.

Market-Leading Customers Turn to Baltimore

Customer confidence continues to build as Baltimore refocused on its core
technology strengths paired with technology-centric professional services.
Demand for its core business of authentication and authorization solutions
remains strong.

During the fourth quarter, Baltimore signed or renewed revenue generating
contracts with leading companies including CIGNA, American Express, The
CommWorks division of 3Com, Belgium Post Group Services, First Data Resources
Australia, TP Internet Poland, ATOS Origin, UOP LLC, ZABA Bank, and ING, the
Netherlands-based financial services provider with affiliates throughout the
world. In addition, the Company signed a $1 million (U.S. dollars) deal
with ID
CERT S.A., a South American managed service provider.

Baltimore’s further dominance in the Government market continued. New business
was signed with the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union,
Norwegian Defence, Estonia Centre, Ministry of Defence UK PPA and both the
Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance, Italy.

Technology implementations with leading customers such as BBS, Atos,
Mastercard, and the Australian Health Insurance Commission continue:
“BBS has three years experience working with Baltimore and using the UniCERT
PKI system,” said to 0yvind Apelland, Senior VP Trusted Services, BBS. “Our
partnership with Baltimore continues to grow from strength to strength, and as
a result of this we have selected Baltimore’s security technologies and
Professional Services to build the security platform for the BankID system.
BankID is a common security system marketed by all Norwegian banks and enables
trusted online transactions for consumers, businesses and public enterprises.”
“Our relationship with Baltimore enables us to provide our clients with a
significant value added offering that addresses their specific e-business
security requirements,” said Christian Huguet, President of the Customer
Management Services activity of Atos Origin. “By working closely together Atos
and Baltimore are enabling some of Europe’s leading companies to exchange
information electronically in a trusted and secure environment.”
According to Bruce Rutherford, VP of e-Business and Emerging Technology at
MasterCard, “Baltimore’s proven PKI technology platform supported by its high
service quality provides MasterCard with the assurance we need to deliver
secure e-business services to our clients 24 x 7. MasterCard is focused on
providing its members with the tools they need to give their customers
anywhere, any-device access to their payment accounts, and Baltimore continues
to meet our expectations as a key technology partner in supporting our

“The Health Insurance Commission (HIC) is an innovative and customer-focused
organization delivering government health programs to the Australian
community,” commented a spokesperson from HIC. “HIC identified Baltimore
Technologies as an organization that could provide comprehensive PKI
to securely encrypt and digitally sign sensitive email communications between
healthcare professionals, health care providers, specialists and General

Technology, Solutions and Partnership Focus

The Company is placing emphasis on developing future technology requirements
around its flagship products, UniCERT and SelectAccess, the core technologies
that allow customers to develop a secure business platform for e-business.
Over the next two quarters, Baltimore Technologies will introduce significant
enhancements to its existing offerings. As part of its plan to offer the
technologies that embrace the growing web services market, it will introduce
new solutions that incorporate and support standards and communication
of growing importance, including XKMS, Wireless, SAML and Microsoft’s .NET.
“Baltimore has earned a worldwide reputation for security products which are
uniquely architected for the Internet. While other vendors have built up
proprietary desktop components, Baltimore has continued to develop open,
modular, server-side products which are strong on flexibility, scalability and
performance. With core capabilities in both authentication and authorization,
Baltimore is well-positioned in the marketplace. IDC expects that the dynamics
of the market will play to Baltimore’s product strengths as e-business systems
roll into full production and critical technology developments such as
and Web Services start to mature,” commented Thomas Raschke, Program Manager,
European Internet Security, International Data Corp.

During the past quarter, Baltimore also established a new global solutions
group (GSG) which is dedicated to leveraging both its core technologies and
professional services (PS) experience in designing, building and deploying
security solutions that drive its customers’ business competitiveness. GSG is
core to Baltimore’s strategy of building a truly customer-centric security
technology company.

Baltimore also continues to leverage its technology through strategic
partnerships with the major industry players, including Microsoft:
“Baltimore was the first company to provide a third-party certificate
compatible with Active Directory and integrated with Windows 2000. Baltimore
has demonstrated support for Active Directory, and has recently received
Windows 2000 certification of their SelectAccess product,” said Jackson Shaw,
Lead Product Manager at Microsoft. “We are looking forward to Balti_ore’s
support of Microsoft .NET and other initiatives.”

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
Technologies please visit http://www.baltimore.com


Canadian Card Habits

Slightly more than 92% of Canadian households have at least one credit card and less than one-third of households use their credit cards more than twice a week. Nearly 60% of households pay off their credit card balances every month and 11.2% of households have transferred the balance from one credit card to another in the past year. The findings come from a recent survey conducted by ACNielsen Canada of 10,000 Canadian households during November and December 2001. The study also found that consumers do not often use credit cards to purchase groceries, take-out food, or to pay household bills. Only 17% use credit cards for groceries, 9.4% use cards for take-out food, and only 8.3% use credit cards to pay bills. ACNielsen Canada says one of the surprise findings from the study was the number of people who use credit cards when purchasing automobiles.


Conseco Woes

Private label credit card issuer Conseco lost its CFO yesterday and may face a dramatic cut in its credit ratings as bankruptcy rumors begin to surface. CFO Chuck Chokel abruptly decided to resign Wednesday after serving in the position less than one year. Moody’s Investors Service said yesterday it may cut the company’s credit ratings by two or more notches if it cannot provide assurances to its accountant, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, by the end of this month, that it will be able to generate enough cash to meet its future obligations. The company is struggling with more than $6 billion in debt. Conseco needs to raise about $400 million to make debt payments due in 2002. The company is exploring the sale of its variable-annuity business.Last week, Conseco reported its retail credit unit, which includes its private label card business, ended 2001 with receivables of $2.695 billion compared to $1.776 billion one year ago, a 51.7% increase. Charge-offs rose 47% during the same period from 5.30% for 4/00 to 7.80% for the fourth quarter 2001. Delinquency (60+ day) was up 11.5%, from 3.04% at year-end 2000 to 3.39% at 12/31/01. For complete details on Conseco’s 4Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


FlightFund Expands

America West Airlines and Bank of America this week introduced the FlightFund VISA Business Card. This is BofA’s third co-branded business credit card following the US Airways and Alaska Airlines business cards. The new card product will target small-business owners who have up to $10 million in annual sales and fewer than 100 employees, and enables small-business owners to choose between two mileage-earning options: Company Mileage Option and Individual Mileage Option. The Company Mileage Option enables miles earned from purchases by all employee cardholders to be rolled into one designated FlightFund account. Individual Mileage Option allows the employee cardholder to earn miles from purchases into his or her own individual FlightFund account. FlightFund VISA Business cardholders will receive 5,000 First Purchase Bonus Miles and 1,000 Anniversary Bonus Miles annually. The card carries a $50 company annual fee and $25 annual fee per card.


Lenticular Card

Capitalizing on the growing popularity of NASCAR, NC-based Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse unveiled the first private-label lenticular credit card on Wednesday. The new card, shaped like a biconvex lens, features NASCAR Winston Cup action with moving images of Lowe’s race cars and drivers. Applicants will be able to select between two designs, one featuring the No. 48 Lowe’s car driven by Jimmie Johnson available now and one featuring the No. 24 car driven by Jeff Gordon available in late March. Cardholders will automatically become members of Team Lowe’s Racing fan club. Other card benefits include a subscription to Team Lowe’s Racing quarterly fan club magazine, access to the “Lowe’s Three-Wide Challenge” online fantasy racing game, and special merchandise discounts from Racing Champions. The card carries no annual fee and a 21% APR. Lowe’s is the 14th largest retailer in the U.S. as well as the 30th largest retailer worldwide. On the bank credit card side, MBNA’s NASCAR VISA card has emerged as its largest affinity program, with more than 3.5 million cardholders. MBNA signed 33 new sports-related organizations during 2001 and now has more than 600 total sports-related affinity card programs. More than 7.5 million sports sector cardholders carry $9 billion in loan balances on MBNA products. VISA signed a partnership with NASCAR that took effect January 1, 1999 to become the “Preferred Card of NASCAR.” (CF Library 7/8/98;12/19/01)