Sluggish January

Growth in revolving debt is sputtering this year as Americans added a mere $1.2 billion during January compared to $6.9 billion one year ago. Revolving credit has been flat since September when it stood at $692.7 billion. According to the monthly figures released by the Federal Reserve yesterday, revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, stands at $693.6 billion at the end of January. Revised figures for December shows revolving credit declined 9.8%. One year ago revolving debt increased 11.6% in January and 5.0% during December 2000. At the end of January 2002, American consumers were $1.668 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

Jan 02 Dec 01 Nov 01 Oct01 Sep01 Aug01 Jul01
GRWTH: 2.1% – 9.8 12.7 -7.1 0.6 -2.2 -3.7
$OWED: $693.6 692.4 698.0 686.4 692.7 693.5 698.1

Jun 01 May 01 Apr01 Mar01 Feb01 Jan01 Dec00
GRWTH: 2.1% 4.5% 14.2% 11.9 20.8 11.6 5.0
$OWED: $700.3 699.0 697.6 688.2 681.4 670.3 663.4

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 03/07/02; For complete
historical data visit


FDC Board

First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, announced that Alison Davis, 40, has been named to its board of directors.

Davis is chief financial officer and is responsible for strategy and corporate development at Barclays Global Investors (BGI). She is also a member of the Barclays management committee. Davis joined BGI in 2000. Prior to that, she spent seven years with the global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney, most recently as managing partner for the western region. She also spent seven years as a consultant with McKinsey and Company in London and then in New York, specializing in issues of strategy, mergers and acquisitions, organization, and performance improvement. “Alison Davis brings with her a great deal of consulting and financial know-how,” said Ric Duques, chairman of First Data.

“In this time of heightened awareness of company financial performance, her expertise as CFO in a major U.S. investment company, and her global economic background will provide us with a depth of knowledge that will complement our existing First Data financial acumen.” Davis holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She also holds a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University in England. She serves on the boards of the San Francisco Committee on Jobs and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. 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 2.8 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 29,000 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, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 120,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][1] .




Global Payment Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer and innovator of
currency acceptance systems used in the worldwide gaming, beverage, and
industries, announced jointly with John Huxley (Casino Equipment) Limited,
, one of the world’s foremost providers of Casino equipment, the signing
of an agreement under which Huxley will become the exclusive European
Distributor for GPT’s Table Trac product line.

The agreement calls for JH to market and sell the Table Trac Suite of
some of which were developed jointly by GPT and Table Trac, Inc., a result of
their Global Trac LLC partnership. Table Trac products address the needs of
casinos to automate and monitor, on a real-time basis, the currency flow and
operations of table games.

Thomas McNeill, GPT Vice-President and CFO, stated, “Huxley is one of the
premier table gaming suppliers in the world, and as such, we are enthusiastic
to have The Huxley Organization as our partner in the European market. Their
expertise, reputation, industry knowledge and relationships are invaluable for
launching a product such as Table Trac.”

Jeffrey P. Lindsay, JH Chairman and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased about
opportunity to add these new products to our already impressive product list.
This agreement will create a relationship in which, Huxley can market and sell
an innovative suite of products which offer a casino’s management an automated
solution to currency validation, greater security and player tracking all in
one. Early indications show this product should be well received.”

About Global Payment Technologies, Inc. –

Global Payment Technologies, Inc. is a United States-based designer,
manufacturer, and marketer of automated currency acceptance and validation
systems used to receive and authenticate currencies in a variety of payment
applications worldwide. GPT’s proprietary and patented technologies are among
the most advanced in the industry.

About John Huxley (Casino Equipment) Limited. –

John Huxley holds a reputation as the leading supplier of live table gaming
equipment. The Company maintains a head office in London, 5 satellite offices
spread over 4 continents, and a distribution network with over 30 years of
experience. Industry operators know that they can contact Huxley personnel who
possess a full understanding of products and local market conditions when the
need arises.

With a head office staff of over 100, John Huxley is still the only Gaming
Equipment supplier who also manufactures all their own products on site. Stock
warehousing space of 4000 sq. ft. allows delivery within 24 hours to UK
customers and within 3 working days for export customers.

Over the years, John Huxley has constantly responded to the Industry’s
requirements, researched and developed improvements to existing products and
introduced a credible stream of new products. Many items, which are now
standard on gaming floors, have been the direct result of individual request
from operators to develop new products and have helped John Huxley maintain a
reputation as – The First in Gaming. The above information regarding John
Huxley was provided by John Huxley.

About Table Trac, Inc. –

Table Trac, based in Minnetonka, Minn., has developed a patented real-time
system that automates and monitors the operations of casino gaming tables. It
provides casino management with comprehensive information including linking
table games activity seamlessly into an automated environment that provides
instant information about the entire casino’s table gaming status, along with
slot machine play, players club, accounting, banking and games security. This
system is utilized in conjunction with the Global Trac Suite of Products.


Digimarc Idaho Cards

Digimarc ID Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Digimarc Corp., announced that the Idaho Transportation Department has successfully implemented the state’s first digital drivers license program in 53 locations statewide.

The conversion from film-based drivers licenses to digital licenses is part of a five-year contract with Digimarc ID Systems.

A Digimarc ID Systems customer since 1984, Idaho will issue 1.5 million of the new drivers licenses and identification cards. The Idaho Legislature approved digital drivers licenses and identification cards in 2000.

Idaho’s new digital license issuance system provides a number of security and customer service enhancements. Digital cameras installed in each county will enable photos of license applicants to be taken much more quickly than before, decreasing the time it takes to produce and issue a license or identification card. Digital files of the issued documents and images will be stored on a central state database, enabling faster renewals or replacements and easier access by motor vehicles offices. The new digital license also contains enhanced security features and a more durable card design.

“The goals of our digital drivers license program are to provide improved over-the-counter customer service and to offer a more secure and durable document,” said Morris W. Detmar, Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator for the Idaho Transportation Department. “We have had a strong partnership with Digimarc ID Systems over the years and are pleased to be working together to significantly improve the security and service of our program. We are particularly proud of the enthusiasm of the DMV Project Team, lead by Automated Systems Manager Chris Atwood and the commitment of the Digimarc effort, managed by Richard Grimm. Since installation was completed, our operators are reporting that the system is easy to use and much more efficient.”

“We are excited to support Idaho’s new digital drivers license program and are pleased that the state chose Digimarc ID Systems to help it build such an innovative system,” said John Munday, president, Digimarc ID Systems. “With the digital license issuance system now fully installed and operational, the citizens of Idaho can expect to reap the benefits of improved service and security.”

About Digimarc

Digimarc Corp. (Nasdaq:DMRC), based in Tualatin, Ore., is the leading provider of digital watermarking components and technologies used in a wide range of security, identification and brand protection applications. Digimarc ID Systems, based in Bedford, Mass., and a wholly owned subsidiary of Digimarc, is a leading global provider of secure and durable personal identification solutions, and is the leading producer of drivers licenses in the U.S., providing systems and services to 37 states. Internationally, Digimarc ID Systems produces identification documents for governments around the world. Digimarc has an extensive intellectual property portfolio, with 53 issued U.S. patents with more than 1,000 claims, and more than 300 pending applications for U.S. patents, in digital watermarking, personal identification and related technologies. Please go to [][1] for more company information.



Indivos & BAC Suit

TX-based Biometric Access Corporation announced this week that a summary judgment of non-infringement was granted to BAC on the claim before the court by US District Judge William Alsup in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Indivos Corporation. The company also said Judge Alsup recently issued the ruling that also denied Indivos’ motion for a preliminary injunction related to BAC’s Retail Verification System. However Indivos strongly objected to the BAC announcement as an attempt to overstate a procedural ruling. Indivos says a trial on the issues remains scheduled for this coming September. Indivos says Judge Alsup denied a request for a preliminary injunction on just one of eight infringement claims. Indivos says the court based this preliminary ruling on its determination that BAC’s Retail Verification System does not include an important step necessary to correctly identify consumers. The BAC system therefore could misidentify users, which could result in one user of the BAC system being erroneously charged for someone else’s purchase. Indivos says it has designed its Pay-By-Touch system to avoid this fatal flaw and ensure accurate identification.


Providian Sale

Providian Financial Corporation announced it has entered into an agreement to sell its Argentine operations, including Providian Financial S.A. and Providian Bank S.A., to a local investor group in Buenos Aires. The Company did not disclose the terms of the transaction, but indicated that, after taking into account charges taken during the fourth quarter of 2001, it expected to record a modest gain on the sale, subject to currency fluctuations prior to the transaction’s close. The sale is contingent upon regulatory approval by the Argentina bank regulatory authorities and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2002.

As part of its five-point strategic action plan, Providian announced in November of 2001 its intention to sell its international operations. The Company announced in February that it had reached an agreement to sell its United Kingdom operations.



Dai Nippon Printing confirmed this week it has developed a PKI smart card for
350 yen (US$2.73) each. The cards, to be available in July 2003, will be based
on PKI software applets for a 0.8KB Multos card and a 2KB Java card. The firm
has also developed two custom drivers for use with the software.
The drivers cost 9 million yen (US$70,500), for use by 10,000 people.


OPC Signs Counties

Official Payments Corporation announced the signing of agreements with Yellowstone County, Montana and Marathon County, Wisconsin. The agreements authorize Official Payments to provide services enabling the counties’ residents to make credit card payments for a variety of taxes and fees by visiting [][1] or calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX(SM). Both counties are the largest geographic counties within their states. Last year, Yellowstone County, Montana collected more then $95 million in real estate taxes, personal property taxes, and utility bills. Yellowstone County, which includes the city of Billings, is the largest and most populous county in Montana. The county is Official Payments’ 16th local client within the state. Marathon County, Wisconsin is the largest of the state’s counties and includes the city of Wausau. Last year, Marathon County collected $95 million in real estate taxes. Official Payments serves 51 other local government entities within Wisconsin, and also collects state taxes on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

“By offering their taxpayers these electronic payment services, Yellowstone County, Montana and Marathon County, Wisconsin join more than 1,200 other government entities in the nation in giving their citizens a convenient, efficient way to pay taxes and fees,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & CEO of Official Payments. “These agreements are right on target with our local business strategy: working with each state’s largest counties, and extending our presence nationwide.”

Official Payments will charge Yellowstone and Marathon taxpayers a convenience fee for processing their credit card transactions. For example, a taxpayer who charged their real estate tax would find a total of $1,235 on his or her credit card statement: $1,200 for the tax bill and $35 for the convenience fee. Visa, American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes.

About Official Payments Corporation

Founded in 1996, Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to more than 1,200 government entities in all 50 states. The company has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the IRS, 21 state governments (AL, AR, CA, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MN, MS, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, VA, WA, WI, and WV), the District of Columbia, and more than 1,200 counties and municipalities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. In 2001, Official Payments collected and processed more than one million transactions totaling $1.2 billion in federal, state and local government payments. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market.



Conseco CFO

As Conseco’s stock collapsed yesterday in the wake of the departure of its CFO, the company said Chuck Chokel’s departure was not voluntary. The company said he was let go because that he was not up to the job. Conseco still faces a rate cut by Moody’s 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. Yesterday the company said it has completed transactions totaling $300 million so far. 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.


Provell Cancelled

Membership program marketer Provell acknowledged yesterday it will be disqualified from participating in the VISA program as a merchant, effective April 4th. The Minneapolis-based firm is formerly known as DAMARK International and has about 2.8 million consumers. Provell says Paymentech, its payment processor, received the notice from Visa USA. Paymentech is preparing an appeal. Provell says if the appeal is not successful, the company will no longer have the independent ability to bill a significant number of its customers for membership enrollments and renewals and may have to sell its renewal book to a third party. The company posted a $34 million loss last year. In June, Provell rejected an solicited offer from Metris Companies for $4 per share. Yesterday, Provell lost 36% to close at $1.14 per share.


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 [][1] for more information.