IGCA Goes Coinless

Coinless Systems Inc., a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of coinless technology and products for the gaming industry announced that the Company has signed a licensing agreement with Innovative Gaming Corporation of America.

Under terms of the licensing agreement, IGCA is permitted to incorporate Coinless Systems’s patented technology, Scan After Print in all of the slot machines manufactured by IGCA and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Innovative Gaming, Inc. In the agreement, Coinless Systems grants IGCA a non-exclusive license to use devices within the scope of Coinless Systems’s U.S. Patent No. 6,012,832 entitled “Cashless Peripheral Device for a Gaming System” for limited purpose of making, using, offering to sell, and selling gaming machines incorporating devices within the scope of (the ‘832 patent) so long as such devices are acquired from Coinless Systems or a licensed manufacturer or Coinless Systems.

“IGCA acknowledges the validity and enforceability of Coinless Systems ‘832 patent, ‘Scan After Print’ Technology and intends to endorse this technology through its sales and advertising materials for its Coinless Slot Machines. In addition, IGCA will recommend Coinless Systems UVASHIELD coated tickets for dispensing to casino customers,” stated IGCA President Laus M. Abdo.

The UVASHIELD coating protects the ticket against sun, light, alcoholic beverages, and water damage as well as increasing the life of the printers with less wear and tear on print heads.

“Innovative Gaming Corp. continues to focus its sales and marketing efforts on Indian casinos and continues to place machines in numerous Indian casinos in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and across the mid-western United States. Many of our Indian casino customers are placing repeat orders with IGCA for additional product,” added Abdo.

About Innovative Gaming Corporation of America

Innovative Gaming Corporation of America, through its wholly-owned operating subsidiary, Innovative Gaming, Inc., develops, manufactures and distributes fast playing, high-entertainment gaming machines. The Company distributes its products both directly to the gaming market and through licensed distributors. Further information on IGCA is available at [http://www.igca.com][1].

About Coinless Systems, Inc.

Coinless Systems Inc. is a Las Vegas, Nevada based developer, manufacturer and supplier of coinless technology and products for the gaming industry.

Its principle products are tickets for coinless gaming machines and Scan After Print(TM), a patented process that instantly verifies and ensures the accuracy of bar coded tickets at the slot machine as well as the cashier cage.

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

Details

Preferred Online Hotel Card

Hotel Reservations Network the leading provider of discount hotel accommodations worldwide, and MasterCard International announced a strategic alliance, naming the payments association the preferred global payment brand for three of its wholly-owned hotel booking sites, [http://www.hoteldiscount.com][1] , [http://www.180096hotel.com][2] , and [http://www.travelnow.com][3] .

Under the terms of the agreement, MasterCard and HRN will jointly develop and promote special hotel offers available exclusively to MasterCard cardholders. The first promotion currently underway, for example, offers consumers a rebate of $25 when using a MasterCard card to purchase a minimum 3-night stay at any of the 4,500 global partner properties available online through HRN. HRN is the Internet’s largest source of discount accommodations worldwide, providing access to more than 4,500 premiere properties in more than 178 major destinations in North America and Western Europe.

“MasterCard enjoys a long and successful history of bringing the benefits of our global brand to our cardholders, member financial institutions and merchants, such as Hotel Reservations Network,” said Fred Gore, senior vice president of North America Acceptance, MasterCard International. “Our alliance with HRN will provide MasterCard cardholders a vast, worldwide selection of differentiated lodging properties and a consistent value when they pay with their MasterCard card on the Internet.”

“The agreement is a great opportunity for MasterCard cardholders to take advantage of HRN’s incredible hotel values in great locations, as well as our availability of rooms during popular sold-out periods,” stated Bob Diener, president of Hotel Reservations Network. “We are happy to be able to help travelers lower their costs, not only by offering the lowest available rates, but also by extending MasterCard cardholders the first of many exclusive promotions, a further $25 rebate on any stay of 3 nights or more when they use their MasterCard card.”

As part of the agreement, HRN will promote MasterCard as its preferred payment brand through its communications vehicles to consumers, including point-of-sale materials as well as through its websites. In addition, MasterCard will promote HRN’s 4,500 properties on its website.

The alliance with HRN represents a key addition to MasterCard International’s travel category strategy. Over the past five years, MasterCard has created an impressive network of partners that provide consumers with a wide variety of options when purchasing travel, both online and at the retail merchant. This latest agreement solidifies MasterCard’s continued commitment to working with the travel community to uncover new ways to deliver MasterCard cardholders greater choice and value.

About Hotel Reservations Network

Hotel Reservations Network, a majority-owned subsidiary of USA Networks, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: USAI) Interactive Group, is the leading provider of discount hotel accommodations worldwide, providing service through its own Web sites (http://www.hoteldiscount.com , [http://www.180096hotel.com][4] , [http://www.condosaver.com][5] , [http://www.travelnow.com][6] , [http://www.acenethotels.com][7] , and [http://www.allluxuryhotels.com][8] ), more than 23,000 affiliated Web sites, and three toll-free call centers (1-800-96-HOTEL). HRN provides travelers with a one-stop shopping source for hotel pricing, amenities and availability. HRN also specializes in providing travelers with accommodations for sold-out periods.

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 September 30, 2001, gross dollar volume exceeded US$704 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [http://www.mastercard.com][9] .

[1]: http://www.hoteldiscount.com/
[2]: http://www.180096hotel.com/
[3]: http://www.travelnow.com/
[4]: http://www.180096hotel.com/
[5]: http://www.condosaver.com/
[6]: http://www.travelnow.com/
[7]: http://www.acenethotels.com/
[8]: http://www.allluxuryhotels.com/
[9]: http://www.mastercard.com/

Details

MY-TOTAL-PICTURE

The Laurentian Bank of Canada launched a
new leading-edge aggregator service for bank and financial accounts on the
Internet; MyTotalPicture.com. After having been the first financial
institution in Canada to announce its involvement in such a project a year
ago, the Laurentian Bank continues to innovate with this service that offers
its clients, in a user-friendly environment, many characteristics and
features
including a customized consulting service. This new account aggregator was
introduced today during simultaneous press conferences in Montreal and
Toronto. During the launch, media representatives attended a live
demonstration of the many features that this service offers.
“The Laurentian Bank has adopted, with great conviction, a clearly
defined client-centric focus and as a result, we are developing a
comprehensive offering of real value-added products and services that meet
client expectations and needs, any time anywhere through the Internet” said
Mr. Henri-Paul Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Laurentian
Bank of Canada, during the press conference. “The financial accounts
aggregator is part of this approach which allows the Bank to be on the
cutting-
edge of its sector with a set of unique and innovative financial services in
Canada.”

REAL VALUE-ADDED FOR CLIENTS

This service enables the client to gather, on a single web page,
information from one or all of its online accounts from various financial
institutions. In addition to checking, saving, credit card, brokerage and
home
loan accounts, MyTotalPicture.com also offers data on mutual funds,
Guaranteed
Investment Certificates (GICs), RRSPs, term deposits and, of course,
customized consulting services. Not only does the technology enable the
clients to select which accounts to include, to gather the account
information
in a single place and at a glance, but also allows the clients to receive
advice customized according to their particular situation and needs. In fact,
a personal advisor can, at the client’s request and convenience, provide an
analysis of their financial situation and recommend an appropriate strategy
for their profile.

MYTOTALPICTURE.COM offers a number of features and possibilities to
address the needs of every type of client, from the individual investor to
the
client holding assets in many different financial institutions (banks, non-
banking financial institutions, brokerages, investment firms) to the person
seeking personalized financial advice. “The Laurentian Bank of Canada is
committed to building this new portal because we are convinced that it
provides real value-added for our clients”, stated Mr. Rousseau.
To sign up for this new service, the client selects a personalized user
name and password. The client can choose from two options: the preferred
service, which includes Laurentian Bank’s customized consulting service, or
the basic service, which is transaction-based.

GRADUAL DEPLOYMENT

The inauguration of this new service will proceed as part of a gradual
deployment strategy, an approach that will allow the Bank to expand the
service as it will develop more features to offer new options to its
clientele. The initial users will be clients who already use the Bank’s web
site as a financial management tool.

AN EXPERIENCED APPROACH

The technology rests on highly secure protocols already in use by the
Bank. This technology ensures restricted access to critical information and
applies a total risk management process that includes the identity
verification, account validation and transaction limits.
By offering a practical new service built on user-friendliness and ease
of use, the Laurentian Bank is pursuing a strategy its clients will
appreciate. With this in mind, in 1988, the Laurentian Bank launched the
“Super Statement”, which allowed its clients to gather all their assets on
one
single page. The account aggregator is therefore the natural extension of the
“Super Statement” already available online through the LBCDirect web site.
Founded in 1846, Laurentian Bank ranks seventh among Canadian Schedule 1
banks, with assets of more than $17 billion. The Bank offers highly
competitive products and superior personalized service to meet the banking
and
financial needs of individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and
independent financial advisors. The Laurentian Bank’s common shares (stock
symbol: LB) are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Laurentian Bank’s web
site may be found at
http://www.banquelaurentienne.com

Details

December Pricing

Gold card pricing continues to edge up as more issuers position the product as a sub-prime card. During December, gold card APR’s were 71 bps above standard cards, and 338 bps over platinum cards. Meanwhile the lowest interest rates charged by national issuers of standard cards continues to hover around 10.00%, according to CardData and Bankcard Barometer. Sub-prime credit card interest rates last month averaged 20.73% on an unsecured basis, and 17.00% on a secured basis.

December 2001 Card Pricing
Overall Standard Card APR: 15.95% Business Card APR: 12.08%
Overall Gold Card APR: 16.66% Rewards Card APR: 14.65%
Overall Platinum Card APR: 13.28% Co-Branded card APR: 14.92%
Low-Rate Standard APR: 10.04% Student Card APR: 15.43%
Low-Rate Gold APR: 10.48% Unsecured Sub-Prime APR: 20.73%
Low-Rate Platinum APR: 11.30% Secured Sub-Prime: 17.00%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com) & RAM
Research Group’s Bankcard Barometer (301-695-4660)

Details

RBA BACKLASH

MasterCard International says it would vigorously oppose the proposal by the
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to regulate the credit card industry, saying
that the proposed regulations would cost cardholders hundreds of millions of
dollars in higher fees and charges, make it more difficult for many consumers
to get credit and lessen competition among credit card issuers to the
disadvantage of small retailers and community banks.

According to MasterCard, the only apparent winners would be large retailers,
who not only stand to gain a windfall of $500 million annually, but also the
right to surcharge cardholders for using credit cards. MasterCard’s
Asia-Pacific president Andre Sekulic said while the elements of the RBA’s
goals
were commendable, their proposals, if implemented, would backfire to the
disadvantage of the very groups they aim to help. In particular, Sekulic said
that the concept of transferring more of the cost of using credit cards from
merchants to cardholders was contrary to the public interest. By the RBA’s own
calculation, those costs amounted to $500 million a year or more. MasterCard
reluctantly decided to go public with its concerns after several years of
intense negotiations with the regulators. Sekulic said that the negotiations
were partially successful, in that they led the RBA to moderate its position
regarding who can issue credit cards and process credit card transactions.
However, he said that the RBA refused to acknowledge concerns on the critical
issue of interchange fees. Interchange fees are paid by the merchant’s bank to
the cardholder’s bank to help offset the cost of credit cards. It was only
fair
for merchants to contribute to the cost of credit cards since they receive
many
benefits from accepting them — including guaranteed payment and incremental
sales.

The RBA’s proposal would significantly reduce interchange fees with the result
that credit card issuers would be forced either to raise fees or reduce
services to cardholders. Banks would issue cards only to the lowest risk
customers, making it more difficult for battlers and pensioners to have a
credit card. Ultimately these effects would result in a severe reduction in
the
use of credit cards and a contraction of the credit card business. Sekulic
also
said the RBA continued to insist that merchants be allowed to surcharge, that
is, to have the right to impose additional charges on those customers who
choose to pay by credit card. MasterCard’s rules currently forbid merchant
surcharging in order to protect its cardholders.

Speaking at a Press Conference in Canberra, Sekulic said that MasterCard
supported the RBA’s goal of providing greater competition and fee transparency
in the Australian payments industry. The problem, he said, was that the RBA’s
proposals would have the opposite effect, and would drive up costs,
particularly for those sections of the community that could least afford it:
‘battlers’, pensioners, the rural community and small retailers. Community
banks would also be driven from the credit card business and consumer credit
would be likely to become less available, both unintended consequences of
these
proposals. The plan would also limit freedom of choice by forcing people to
use
less secure payment methods like cash, or to use debit cards which do not
provide consumers with the same benefits as credit cards and are not as widely
accepted. According to Sekulic, Australian consumers, who have clearly
embraced
the convenience, universality and safety of credit cards like MasterCard,
would
not accept this level of ‘social engineering’ by the RBA. He said that large
retailing conglomerates would, at least in the short run, be the only winners,
since not only would they get the right to accept credit cards for practically
nothing, they would also be allowed to surcharge cardholders on top of
that. He
said that if left unchallenged, the RBA proposal would lead to the
concentration of the credit card business in the hands of a few large banks
since, with severely reduced interchange fees, most issuers of credit cards
would have to exit the business. Small retailers and traders will eventually
lose out in such a system since, unlike their larger competitors, they
would be
unable to issue their own cards and would not have the bargaining power
necessary to keep fees down. In the end, such a system would likely be more
expensive for everyone concerned. ‘Elsewhere in the world more progressive
central banks are encouraging non-cash payment methods for their efficiency,
cost-effectiveness and utility, yet the RBA efforts are regressing
Australia to
a cash-based society,’ Sekulic said. ‘We strongly believe that the wider
community has not had an opportunity to hear all sides of the debate
thoroughly
and as such we will be launching a major initiative to open up dialogue with
these different groups, especially those we feel will be most disadvantaged by
these changes.’

Background on MasterCard’s Position The RBA proposal involves changes to what
are known as four-party payment systems such as MasterCard, Bankcard and Visa.
Three-party payment systems such as American Express and Diner’s Club, which
typically carry higher fees than four-party systems, are excluded from the
proposal. Under the terms of the proposals unveiled on December 14, 2001, the
RBA would regulate three key areas of four-party credit card systems: the
setting of interchange fees, surcharging, and who can join the system.

The effect of RBA’s proposal in each of these areas, and MasterCard’s
response,
are briefly described below:

The Setting of Interchange Fees: Interchange fees allow the cost of issuing
credit cards to be shared by the two groups that benefit from them —
cardholders and merchants. The RBA proposes to force four-party credit card
systems to lower interchange fees, by the bank’s own estimate, by $500 million
per year. MasterCard opposes this proposal since it would merely transfer
these
costs to cardholders. At the level of interchange fees proposed by the RBA:
(1)
cardholders would have to pay so much for credit cards that many people would
be unable to afford them; (2) smaller credit card issuers would be forced out
of business, leaving only a few large issuers and; (3) eventually, four-party
systems, like MasterCard, would be replaced by less efficient and less
competitive three-party issuers. At that point, the cost of credit cards would
increase for everyone, with battlers, pensioners, rural communities and small
retailers being affected the most.

Surcharging: Surcharging refers to fees charged by merchants to customers that
want to pay by credit card. MasterCard, like most payment systems, forbids
surcharging in order to protect its cardholders. The RBA proposes to permit
merchant surcharging. MasterCard opposes this proposal because it would
negatively impact cardholders and would make credit cards a more expensive
means of payment. In addition, in MasterCard’s experience, the only merchants
who are likely to benefit from the proposal are those who face little
competition and therefore can use surcharges to gouge consumers.

Who can join MasterCard: MasterCard’s membership rules are designed to allow
the widest possible participation in its system consistent with protecting its
members, cardholders and merchants from fraud and financial risk. For this
reason, MasterCard limits membership to institutions, like banks, that are
financially supervised. At one point, the RBA appeared to be inclined to
require the four-party credit card systems to admit into membership
unsupervised entities like merchants. MasterCard consulted closely with the
RBA
regarding the risks this would present and the RBA appears to have abandoned
this view. The RBA proposes to allow any entity to join the four-party credit
card systems as long as they meet Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority
(APRA) guidelines that are yet to be established. MasterCard does not oppose
this initiative as long as the new APRA prudential requirements are strict
enough to protect the integrity of the MasterCard system. The RBA also
proposes
certain other _hanges involving the manner in which members operate their
credit card businesses. MasterCard is consulting with the RBA to better
understand the nature and implication of these changes.

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 September 30, 2001, gross dollar volume exceeded
US$704 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at
http://www.mastercard.com

Details

New Triton ATM

Triton announced the release of the 9705 Model ATM for the US marketplace. The 9705 is the first Triton ATM that features the Triton designed and manufactured TDM-100 mechanism.

The TDM-100 features automatic error recovery. This allows the mechanism to slow and adjust movement to fix a jam automatically without having the ATM going out of service. The new TDM-100 maximizes security of the cash and at the same time minimizes the number of steps and complexity in cash replenishment for merchants. The TDM-100 is designed with a shorter feed-path for currency to move through the dispenser, requiring minimal upkeep. Ernest Burdette, President and CEO of Triton states, “We have reached yet another milestone in the history of Triton. By becoming a fully integrated manufacturer, we ensure our ability to manufacture an ATM with the lowest maintenance and service costs.” The TDM-100 will be debuted at the ATMIA Conference 2002 show, February 20th and 21st, in Hollywood, Florida.

Triton has achieved many milestones with respect to testing and troubleshooting dispenser mechanisms. Triton has developed one of the most rigorous testing procedures in the industry. This experience and knowledge base has assisted Triton in designing and producing the TDM-100. With the introduction of this mechanism Triton becomes a fully integrated manufacturer, allowing Triton to maintain reliability throughout the ATM and reduce the overall service and maintenance costs of our ATM.

Shipping of the 9705 with the Triton TDM-100 mechanism unit began today.

To obtain high- and low-resolution photos of the Triton 9700 Series ATM, send an e-mail to anitaa@trtn.com with “Send 9700 Photo” in the subject line.

About Triton

As the leading provider of cash-dispensing ATMs for off-premise locations, Triton is committed to redefining and leading the retail market for cash delivery systems. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 70,000 installations in over 17 countries worldwide. Triton is headquartered in Long Beach, MS and is an operating company of Dover Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of Dover Corporation. For more information about Triton, please visit [http://www.tritonatm.com][1] or call 1-228-868-1317 (U.S. toll free 1-800-367-7191).

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

Details

AmEx Boost

J.P. Morgan has upgraded American Express to ‘buy’ from ‘market performer’. The research firm said it believes AmEx’s corporate travel and entertainment business is stabilizing. J.P. Morgan pointed to significant improvements in monthly billed business, commercial card volume trends and airline load factors. The firm also noted the positive impact of AmEx’s re-engineering initiatives, including the layoffs of up to 15,000 employees. J.P. Morgan set a $40, twelve-month price target for the AXP shares. American Express closed yesterday at $34.58, a 1.7% gain. American Express Travel Related Services reported fourth quarter net income of $170 million, a 64% decline from 4Q/00. Included in the 4Q/01 results are $219 million pre-tax ($140 million after-tax) of restructuring charges. Excluding the restructuring charge, TRS 4Q/01 net income would have been $310 million, down 34% from last year. Fourth quarter charge volume was down 5.5% compared to 4Q/00. Card loans have also slowed to an 11.5% annual growth rate, compared to 15.5% growth rate for 3Q/01. Charge-offs have soared 34% over the past twelve months while delinquency has increase nearly 18%. For complete details on American Express current and past performance visit CardData ().

Details

Comdata Network Manager

Comdata Corporation announced the release of Comdata Network Manager, an Internet-based fuel management resource allowing subscribers to view, analyze, and build custom fuel purchasing networks from the largest available network of fueling locations in North America. Delivered in real-time over the Comdata’s common customer business-to-business Internet portal, iConnectData.com, Comdata Network Manager provides up to date fuel pricing information and the ability to create interactive fuel purchasing scenarios online.

“Fluctuations in fuel prices constantly challenge over-the-road fleets to use their fuel dollars wisely, so it’s never been more important to have a proactive and comprehensive fuel management strategy,” said Scott Phillips, senior vice president, Comdata Transportation Services. “Leveraging the universal access of the Internet, we designed Comdata Network Manager to give any fleet the ability to build customized supplier networks quickly and economically with the power of the largest fuel purchasing network available.”

Available by monthly subscription, Comdata Network Manager integrates current fuel pricing information from thousands of locations with the ability to experiment with how changes in network access could improve overall fuel costs. Network changes can be incorporated online, and are automatically linked to the fleet’s Comdata cards, essentially controlling where their drivers can fuel. The service also allows subscribers to print customized directories with updated fueling location information for distribution to drivers.

“Comdata Network Manager is a complete decision support system that makes fuel optimization affordable for any size fleet,” said Phillips. “The fuel analysis feature lets subscribers take a look at how a change in pricing relationship or fueling location would affect their fuel purchasing efficiency, so they can obtain the best value available in the marketplace based on individual fueling patterns and preferences.”

Among the comprehensive analysis features available via Comdata Network Manager:

• Analysis by purchasing habits, merchant chain or association.

• Month-to-date and year-to-date gallons purchased by state and interstate segment.

• Month-to-date and year-to-date transaction and discount analysis. • Current, 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day Comdata retail price, OPIS wholesale cost, and spread analysis.

• Rack, Tax Detail, Superfund, Transportation and Spread Detail by location. • Service center amenities available by location.

• Comprehensive and detailed mapping by location.

“With Comdata Network Manager, making strategic fuel purchasing decisions is as close as our customers’ keyboards,” said Phillips. “The service is completely Internet-based, always updated, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Current Comdata customers can subscribe to and access Comdata Network Manager online, at [www.iconnectdata.com][1]. For additional information, please call Comdata Transportation Services at 1-800-741-3939.

About Comdata

Comdata Corporation is redefining the movement of money and information through technology for businesses, their customers and employees. A leading provider of transaction and information services, Comdata provides Comchek® credit and debit processing and reporting for commercial fleets and merchants, SVS electronic cash, gift and chip card programs for retailers and governmental agencies, Comchek® eCash payroll services for food, retail and other service industries, and point-of-sale equipment for travel plazas and convenience stores. Headquartered in Brentwood, TN, Comdata employs nearly 2,000 people throughout the United States and Canada. Comdata is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation (NYSE: CEN).

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

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FTC TRO ISO

The FTC announced this week its first-ever federal district court complaint against an ISO for unfair and deceptive practices related to the marketing of payment card merchant accounts to small businesses nationwide. In its complaint, the FTC stated that TX-based Certified Merchant Services and its principals misrepresented the terms of merchant account agreements, allowing them fraudulently to debit previously undisclosed fees from the merchants’ bank accounts. At the FTC’s request, a federal district court has issued a TRO against the defendants, has frozen the defendants’ assets, and appointed a receiver to oversee the company’s future operations.The complaint was filed against Certified Merchant Services, Ltd.; Certified Merchant GP, Inc.; Certified Merchant Services, Inc.; Jonathan Frankel; Craig Frankel; and Randal Best, of Plano, Texas. The companies also do business under the names Transaction Merchant Services, Transaction Merchant Services.Com, and Electrocheck. The FTC said, among other complaints, that CMS deceptively failed to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, that they would charge merchants certain fees, including a minimum of $25 if the merchants did not reach a certain level of card sales; a semi-annual fee of between $33 and $50; and a cancellation fee of between $300 and $400 for cancelling within three years of signing a service contract.

Details

NextBank Card Bonds

After losing its bank one week ago, the status of NextCard’s credit card securitizations were clarified yesterday when the FDIC announced that early amortization based solely on insolvency, or appointment of the FDIC as receiver, is not enforceable against the FDIC. There was some question last week whether or not the receivership of NextBank was a redemption event. The FDIC also reconfirmed, under rule 12 CFR 360.6, that it will not disaffirm or repudiate the completed transfer of financial assets by NextBank, N.A. in securitizations in accord with that FDIC rule. NextCard’s bank subsidiary, Phoenix-based NextBank, was shut-down Feb 7th by the OCC and the FDIC was appointed receiver after the company acknowledged it was unable to find an acquisition partner. On Jan 12th, NextCard notified the OCC that it was not possible to prepare and submit a ‘Capital Restoration Plan’, and said liquidation of the bank’s assets would not raise enough money to retire in-full the bank’s existing and anticipated liabilities. At year-end, NextBank had total assets of approximately $700 million and total deposits of approximately $554 million. The OCC determined that the bank was classifying some delinquent accounts sold into a securitization trust 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. Trading in NextCard’s stock was halted last Friday. NextCard has approximately $2 billion in card loans and 1.2 million accounts, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). The company has not released its 4Q/01 earnings report. (CF Library 10/31/01; 1/31/02; 2/8/02; 2/11/02)

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

Details

TNS SIGNS ISO

TNS Smart Network Inc., one of
Canada’s leading cash transaction processors, is proud to announce that Cash
Depot of Green Bay, Wisconsin has taken the next step in managing their
Automated Teller Machine business by purchasing the license to the Smart
Processing Suite. Developed by TNS, the Smart Processing Suite will allow Cash
Depot to control their own network, while providing accurate, reliable and
cost-effective transaction processing solutions, and to better provide for the
growing needs of their customers.

TNS and Cash Depot share the same vision – to lead with the cutting edge
of technology, and provide the benefits of that technology to their customers.
“We want to vertically integrate all of our ATM functions… we purchased the
switch because we wanted to control our own destiny,” said Dave Charles,
President of Cash Depot. “We wanted to eliminate the middleman, and we wanted
efficiency.”

TNS has paved the way for companies like Cash Depot to move ahead with
the flexibility to control their own network and maximize their market
potential. As a progressive company at the forefront of technology, TNS
understands that a cost-effective, secure and accurate system of moving
financial and business transactions is essential in today’s marketplace. “The
deployment of our switch at Cash Depot will help us expand our strategic
markets nationally and internationally,” said Mischa Weisz, President and CEO
of TNS Smart Network Inc. “We will be bringing these markets a solid and
intelligent EFT solution.”

TNS provides Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) and Financial
Institutions with the tools and expertise to make the transition from
exclusively sales-focused businesses to full service providers. The Smart
Processing Suite, developed by TNS to be flexible, economical and easy-to-use,
currently drives almost 3,000 ATMs across Canada, and has processed over 45
million transactions, representing more than $4.5 billion, using “off-premise”
ATMs owned by TNS’s business partners.

Since 1996, TNS has taken pride in offering customers the latest in
proven systems technology, an uncompromising approach to security, and a
dedication to maximizing customer service. Whether taking advantage of TNS’s
full service bureau or purchasing the Smart Processing Suite, customers
receive cost effective, confidential and secure transaction processing with
state of the art technology.

To obtain further information about the Smart Processing Suite or
services offered by TNS Smart Network, call 1-888-236-4354 or visit their
website at
http://www.tns-smart.net.

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