Providian UK Sale

Barclays Bank announced this morning it has signed a conditional agreement to acquire the UK credit card operation of Providian Financial. The portfolio consists of $565 million in receivables and about 500,000 cardholders. Reportedly the portfolio premium is the range of 15% to 17%. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter after clearance from the appropriate regulatory authorities. Providian said earlier this month it was in negotiations for the sale of its credit card business in the United Kingdom, and that its planned disposition of its operations in Argentina is progressing on schedule. During the fourth quarter, Providian designated its foreign businesses as “discontinued” and as a result added $86 million to its fourth quarter loss. Providian is still seeking a buyer for $3 billion in high-risk, sub-prime U.S. accounts. Providian reported a net fourth quarter loss of $395 million from continuing operations, compared to an operating profit of $225 million for 4Q/00. For complete details on Providian’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([][1]). (CF Library 1/11/02; 1/18/02; 2/01/02; 2/8/02)



AmEx Signs Insurance Co

The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company (Atlantic Mutual) announced that its policyholders can now use their American Express Cards to pay their personal insurance premiums.

American Express Cardmembers need only complete one authorization agreement with Atlantic Mutual that permits the company to charge their accounts during the applicable billing cycles. The Atlantic Mutual credit card payment option is available in most states.

“We are extremely pleased to team up with American Express to offer this payment option,” said Daniel H. Olmsted, senior vice president, Personal Insurance Division, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company. “This is just one more value-added benefit our customers have come to expect as we continue to offer a sophisticated approach to personal insurance.”

“We know that our Cardmembers want to put more and more of their expenses on the American Express Card,” said Glenda McNeal, vice president, new industries, American Express. “It allows them to earn valuable Membership Rewards points and to track and consolidate their spending. Teaming up with Atlantic Mutual is a terrific win for our mutual customers.”

The Atlantic Mutual Companies offer a range of commercial, personal and marine property-casualty insurance products through independent insurance agents and brokers. The Group’s operations are conducted through the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, the lead company, and the Centennial Insurance Company, the Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company, the Atlantic Lloyd’s Insurance Company of Texas, Atlantic Mutual of Bermuda Limited and Atlantic Risk Services, Inc. The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, formed in 1842, is a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders and has no capital stock and no shareholders. With 2001 gross premiums written of $987.1 million, the Atlantic Mutual Companies rank among the top U.S. property-casualty insurance groups.

Additional information about the Atlantic Mutual Companies can be found on the Internet at .

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network and financial services provider founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit .


Equifax Marketing Services Group

Equifax Inc. announced the formation of a new Marketing Services Group dedicated to offering total marketing solutions to its customers. The new group’s focus will be to provide products and services that enable clients to target new customers and effectively manage and grow those relationships. Equifax’s Credit Marketing Services, Direct Marketing Solutions, Modeling and Analytics, Database Marketing, Account Decisioning and Authentication Services comprise the new group’s key businesses and its offerings will include:

* Credit pre-screening, portfolio risk management and analytical services to the financial, retail, automotive, insurance and telecommunications industries;
* Marketing data and list management for financial institutions, insurers, technology and manufacturers. The direct marketing database includes consumer lifestyle and demographic information for 112 million U.S. households;
* Decisioning solutions including Decision Power which enables clients to cross-sell and make credit decisions at the point of sale, whether that contact is in person, on the telephone or over the Internet;
* A patented Authentication tool which verifies on-line consumer identity and enables secure, private transactions over the Internet.

“The creation of Equifax Marketing Services is a natural extension of our strategy to leverage our market leadership, product innovation and technology to exceed our customers’ expectations,” said Tom Chapman, chairman and CEO. “By creating a single unit for these unique, value-added services, Equifax will deliver more comprehensive, predictive solutions to this key growth area for our customers.”

Paul Springman, a business executive at Equifax for the past 11 years, will run the new division and will report directly to Chapman.

About Equifax

Equifax, an S&P 500 company, enables and secures global commerce through its information management, consumer credit, marketing services, business information, authentication and e-commerce businesses. As the leader in information services, Equifax adds value wherever customers do business, including the financial services, retail, healthcare, telecommunications/utilities, information technology, brokerage, insurance and business lending industries and government. Equifax also enlightens, enables and empowers consumers to manage and protect their financial health with services offered at . The company ranked in the top five in return on equity among Business Week’s Best Performers for 2001. Equifax employs 5,200 in 13 countries and has $1.1 billion in revenue.


Fargo 4Q/01

Minneapolis-based Fargo Electronics reported record net revenue of $60.9 million for the year ended Dec 31, an increase of 5% over 2000. Card personalization systems accounted for 44% of revenue in 2001. Net income for 2001 was $4.1 million, a 51% increase from the previous year. Net income for 2001 includes charges of $1.4 million for expenses related to the pending acquisition of Fargo by Zebra Technologies Corporation. As a result of the agreement to be acquired by Zebra, many of Fargo’s established distributors reexamined their relationship with Fargo. The company says dealers who had relied exclusively or predominantly on Fargo looked at other options, and some chose to begin adding products from the competition. However the firm says it is working hard to reverse the trend. For complete details on Fargo’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([][1]).



Chevron Card E-Learning

Chevron Credit Card Enterprises, an operation of Chevron Products Co., and Aegis Learning Group of Dallas, Texas, announced that they have entered into an agreement to provide e-learning products, services and on-line training to Chevron credit card business customers.

Chevron Credit Card holders such as corporations and small businesses, Chevron gasoline stations, and other business partners will be able to access Aegis e-campus products through by logging on to “” ALG courseware includes safety and health compliance, management and leadership, employment law, human resources management, and more. is a comprehensive web site that provides Chevron account holders and Chevron Travel Club members access to account data and the ability to perform specific functions for self-maintenance of their accounts. Through the web site, customers are also able to access various consumer offers and business resources, including the e-learning web site, [][1].

“ presents an opportunity for our business, as well as consumer customers to fulfill their training needs in a convenient, user-friendly, and cost-effective manner,” said Michael Woody, coordinator of Chevron Credit Card Enterprises’ direct marketing activities. “The web site offers a wide-range of online courses at competitive prices that we believe will become more and more important to our customers.”

“Our content fits the needs of small business clients extremely well and is a smart choice, for small- to mid-sized companies especially, because it does not require the overhead and cost associated with traditional training,” said Jon Phillips, chief operating officer of Aegis Learning Group. “We are pleased to join Chevron in providing this service to their customers.”

Chevron Products Co. is a business unit of San Francisco-based ChevronTexaco Corp. The Products company focuses on providing Chevron customers with quality gasoline and diesel products. Chevron Products Co. and its retailers are the leading retail fuel and convenience goods marketers in the West and Sunbelt. Through its Credit Card Enterprises operation, Chevron Products Co. directly manages the oil industry’s largest active proprietary credit card base consisting of over 3 million accounts.

Aegis Learning Group(TM) is an e-Learning solutions provider that delivers interactive business skills content promoting lifelong learning, performance support and risk management with comprehensive business skills training delivered exclusively over the Internet. Curricula include: OSHA, Employment Practices Liability Insurance, Human Resources Management, Project Management, communication, customer service, leadership, management, team building and interpersonal skills.



InfoSpace e-Debit/STV

WA-based InfoSpace has acquired substantially all of the technology and intellectual property of eCash Technologies and plans to extend its payments expertise to include stored value and e-debit solutions for merchants and financial institutions. InfoSpace says that through advanced encryption and digital signature technology, the debit solution is being designed to be able to authenticate the consumer and merchant, and authorize the payment via secure protocols developed by leading debit card associations. In addition, the solution is being designed to provide consumer identification and real-time verification of funds, allowing merchants to enjoy the equivalent of a “card present” transaction without certain of the fraud and charge-back concerns of “card not present” payments.InfoSpace also plans to offer merchants stored value coupon, incentive, loyalty and promotion services that can be redeemed both online and offline. In the fourth quarter, InfoSpace Merchant services processed more than $1 billion in transactions, up from $700 million reported in the previous quarter.


ORCC 4Q/01

VA-based Online Resources Corp. reported this week that is operating loss for the fourth quarter declined 71% to $1.2 million, versus a $4.2 million loss in the prior year. Revenue for the fourth quarter increased 34% to $6.7 million and gross profit margin increased to 47% of revenue. The Company continues to expect revenue to increase approximately 28% to 32% during 2002 and also projects gross profit margin in the range of 52% to 55%. Online Resources processes approximately 70 million transactions annually, including $3.5 billion in consumer bill payments. For complete details on ORCC’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([][1]).



Experian e-Check Service

Experian, a leading provider of global information solutions, announced that First American Payment Processing Inc. has selected its eSeries Authentication Solutions to verify the identity of electronic check holders for their Automated Clearing House electronic payment processing. Experian’s powerful real-time authentication tool augments the security and integrity of electronic payment and debit transactions processed through First American’s Web site () on behalf of merchants worldwide.

“In the fast-paced world of today’s digital economy, the luxury of a face-to-face transaction may not always exist,” said Carl Towner, CEO of First American Payment Processing. “Consequently, providing a prompt and secure online customer experience is vital to a business’ success. In the absence of face-to-face interaction, Experian’s Authentication Solutions helps our merchants instantly verify customer identity and conduct secure transactions while safeguarding them from fraud.”

To give clients flexibility based on their business needs, eSeries Authentication Solutions offers three levels of real-time consumer authentication. Level one offers basic verification and standardization of name and address. Level two builds on level one with a customized interactive session with the customer that utilizes Experian’s extensive databases to verify customer identity. Level three provides complete authentication, drawing on levels one and two and adding customized, top of mind questions designed to be answerable by the consumer alone. Level three detects potential fraud and provides superior security to safeguard high-risk transactions and sensitive exchanges.

First American has integrated the most sophisticated level of Experian’s eSeries Authentication into their electronic payment processing combined with a scoring system customized by each of their merchants.

As a result, First American’s merchants receive the maximum protection from fraud and stay in the driver’s seat when it comes to approving transactions.

“Authentication is a vital step for safe and secure e-business of any kind,” said Scott Worthem, vice president and general manager of Experian’s e-commerce business unit. “Our relationship with First American Payment Processing illustrates how eSeries can be leveraged to fit the needs of merchant-transaction processors and their clients. We’re very pleased to be working with First American as their authentication provider.”

About Experian

Experian enables organizations to find the best prospects and make fast, informed decisions to improve and personalize relationships with their customers. It does this by combining sophisticated and intelligent decision-making software and systems with some of the world’s most comprehensive databases of information on consumers, businesses, motor vehicles and property. Through multi-channel delivery of its Web-based products and services, Experian enables its clients to conduct secure and profitable e-business and develop state-of-the-art Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for communicating and building relationships with customers. Experian is a subsidiary of GUS PLC and has headquarters in Nottingham, UK, and Orange, Calif. Its 12,000 people support clients in more than 50 countries. Annual sales are approximately $1.5 billion.

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at .

About First American

First American is an ACH Processing company based in Phoenix, AZ. First American, through its Internet presence: , offers merchants a suite of services related to online transaction processing. These services include the most advanced tools available for account validation, online transaction reporting, and real-time online consumer authentication.


FDMS Email Marketing

Roving Software, the leading provider of Do-It-Yourself Email Marketing tools and services for small and medium sized businesses, announced an agreement with First Data Merchant Services the worldwide leader in electronic payment solutions, and a subsidiary of First Data Corp.

Under the agreement, First Data Merchant Services will promote Constant Contact, the leading web-based self-service email marketing solution, to their merchant alliances that include the nation’s largest financial institutions representing more than 2 million online and offline merchant locations. With Constant Contact, merchants can easily and affordably build, manage and rent opt-in email lists, create and deliver professional email communications, and track campaign results automatically.

“First Data Merchant Services is a global market leader with strong alliances and extensive market reach and influence,” said Gail Goodman, CEO, Roving Software. “Companies who look to these alliances for credit card processing and merchant acquisition, will now be able to broaden their offering and make their merchants more successful by providing Constant Contact. We are delighted to be associated with FDMS and promoted to their customer base.”

“Permission-based email marketing has become a vital element of success for both online and offline merchants,” said Steven L. VanFleet, senior vice president of product development for First Data Merchant Services. “We choose to work with industry leaders like Roving to expand our offering to our alliances and their merchants. Constant Contact is a best-of-breed email marketing solution and we are very pleased to add this powerful tool to our set of recommended products and services.”

About First Data Merchant Services

First Data Merchant Services enables merchants to accept any type of electronic payment – credit, debit, electronic check, EBT, smart card – anytime, anywhere. A subsidiary of First Data Corp., First Data Merchant Services annually processes and settles almost 9 billion transactions for more than $490 billion in sales volume from 2.8 million merchant locations. Through partnerships and various relationships with leading financial institutions and independent sales organizations, First Data Merchant Services delivers industry leading electronic payment and e-commerce services and solutions. First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the world economy, serving over 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide. First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy with virtually any form of payment at the point- of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit .

About Roving Software

Roving is the leading provider of self-service email marketing products and services to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Constant Contact, Roving’s Web-based e-mail marketing solution, enables businesses to easily create and send professional HTML e-mail newsletters, promotions, announcements and more with no technical expertise required. It is affordable, easy-to-use and includes a free 60-day trial. Constant Contact is designed and priced for SMBs and is available through a wide variety of channel partners, such as office supply retailers, small business portals, Web affiliates and Web site development software and services companies including, Cisco Systems, Inc., Elibrium, Inc., First Data Merchant Services, MasterCard, and VeriSign. Roving Software is funded by Morgan Stanley Venture Partners, the venture capital arm of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners and VeriSign, Inc. For more information, visit .

Roving, Roving Software, and Constant Contact are trademarks or registered trademarks of Roving Software Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.


Providian Execs

Providian Financial Corporation President and CEO Joseph Saunders announced today that the Company has retained Russell Reynolds to assist in identifying and recruiting a new chief financial officer.

In a memorandum to employees, Saunders announced today that Providian CFO Jim Rowe has decided to leave the Company to pursue other activities. He also announced that David J. Petrini has resigned his position as vice chairman and has agreed to serve as the Company’s chief financial officer on an acting basis pending the successful completion of the search.

Saunders expressed gratitude for the years of service that both Rowe and Petrini have given to the Company.

San Francisco-based Providian Financial is a leading provider of credit cards and deposit products to customers throughout the U.S.



Gemplus, the world’s number one provider of solutions
empowered by smart cards, announced that its Java Card technology-
based GemXplore `Xpresso, is the first to be certified Evaluation Assurance
Level (EAL)5+ by the Common Criteria security standards body. This far exceeds
current legal requirements. Common Criteria is rapidly becoming standard
security for sensitive data; European digital signature laws currently require
EAL4, while following September 11, the US National Security Agency and NIST
(National Institute of Standards and Technology) are considering basing their
security specifications around Common Criteria.

By being awarded this exclusive level of smart card security, Gemplus has
once again proven its technology leadership use of Java Card technology for
smart cards. This major technological step will open new possibilities for
trusted services in areas such as banking, government ID and e-commerce from
both wireless and wired devices.

From a Secure Mobile Experience …

The SIM is already the preferred platform for many mobile commerce
services, such as banking, betting, stock brokering and billing. Now that
GemXplore `Xpresso has achieved this unprecedented security certification it
will become a key enabler for the growth of trusted services.

Mobile operators have long understood the SIM’s key role in securing their
subscribers’ mobile experience, ensuring that private data, such as bank
account details, never fall into the wrong hands. As the wireless application
market starts to take on a more open, Internet-like look, operators look
towards proven security standards. This will become increasingly important in
a 3G environment where digital rights, such as music copyright, need to be

“We are currently developing a mobile banking service with Banksys for the
Belgian Market,” states Martin Willems, Technical Security Manager at
Mobistar, Belgium. “When Gemplus told us that their SIM would reach common
criteria we had increased confidence that their products would provide the
level of security required for protecting financial details. GemXplore
`Xpresso will give our customers the required level of trust in our services.”

“This certification reconfirms the importance of Java Card technology for
security and privacy protection. Java technology has been a major enabler for
the end-to-end delivery of secure service solutions,” said Rich Green, Vice
President Java Technologies, Sun Microsystems. “We are pleased with Gemplus’
continued commitment to our Java Card platform and their achievement as one of
the first smart card companies to offer this level of security certification
to the market. This will pave the way for even more customers to take
advantage of open and secure data services.”

With secure applet download, services such as mobile banking can be
delivered safely to the end users’ mobile phone whenever the operator or
subscriber wants. Once the customer subscribes to a particular service, the
operator needs to be assured that it is stored securely and doesn’t interfere
with their subscriber’s data or applications. EAL5+ ensures that appropriate
firewalls and download infrastructure are in place.

Subscribers worldwide will see the benefits as GemXplore `Xpresso exists
for GSM, CDMA and 3G.

… To Identity Services

Gemplus’ government and military smart card, GemXpresso Pro 64k, is also
based on Java Card technology and has the same security level as GemXplore
`Xpresso, providing the level of security appropriate for governments and
military organizations in Europe and the United States.

Throughout a nation, state or city, a government’s various departments and
agency offices need a rapid, secure and efficient way in order to not only
identify citizens and their rights, but also to offer relevant services and
benefits. As a highly secure portable identification and communication
medium, solutions incorporating GemXpresso Pro 64K are optimal for providing
both reliable, physical and logical identification of individuals, while
securing the privacy and integrity of electronic transactions.

Common Criteria is an international certification that evaluates the
security of IT products. It originated in the European, US and Canadian
banking sectors. It has recently been adopted as an ISO standard (ISO/ISEC
15408). EAL represents the level of confidence of an IT security product or
system evaluated by Common Criteria.

Gemplus helps its clients offer an exceptional range of portable,
personalized solutions that bring security and convenience to people’s lives.
These include mobile Internet access, inter-operable banking facilities,
e-commerce and a wealth of other applications. Gemplus is the only completely
dedicated, truly global player in the Smart Card industry, with the largest
R&D team, unrivalled experience, and an outstanding track record of
technological innovation. Gemplus trades its shares on Euronext Paris S.A.
First Market and on the Nasdaq Stock Market as GEMP in the form of ADSs. Its
revenue in 2000 was 1.205 Billion Euros. It employs 6721 people in
37 countries throughout the world.


BSM 3Q/01

BSM Technologies Inc. announced financial results for the year-ended September 30, 2001.

BSM Technologies Inc. reported a net loss per share for fiscal 2001 of
$0.02 compared to a net loss per share for the same period last year of $0.30
per share. The Company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2001 totaled $8.6
million compared to revenues of $20.3 million for fiscal 2000.

During the year ended September 30, 2001, the Company reduced
administration and general expenses, professional fees, marketing, advertising
and promotions by $735,683 compared to year ended September 30, 2000, because
of the elimination of certain expenses and improved controls. The Company also
reported lower expenses because of wages and consulting fee reductions.

In computing the loss per share amounts, shares which are contingently
issuable based on future performance should not be included in the calculation
of the weighted average number of common shares outstanding until all
conditions of the future performance are met. In prior years, certain of these
shares were included in the calculation of the weighted average number of
common shares outstanding. Consequently, the earnings per share numbers for
the year ended September 30, 2000 have been restated to conform to the basis
of computation used in the year ended September 30, 2001 which excludes
contingently issuable shares in the calculation of the weighted average number
of shares outstanding.

“Year 2001 has been challenging for many organizations, including BSM,”
said Nick Cirella, BSM’s President and CEO. “We have seen a post-Y2K decline
in the number of computers required by corporations and a drastic decrease in
technology prices. This has decreased market demand for new and used products
and this has significantly reduced our 2001 revenues from our 2000 level.
Through aggressive cost cutting and job consolidation wherever possible,
management has been able to increase profit margins on product sales and
services. Our Encore Asset division has added additional revenues and profits
to the corporation through its strong asset management and services business.”

“There have been many changes to the Company over the last year,” said
BSM Chairman Andrew Nellestyn. “Management had to completely change its focus
and eliminate unprofitable divisions to react to the general technology sector
slowdown. They have done an excellent job and the Company now shows positive
growth potential.”


BSM Technologies Inc. and its subsidiaries BSM Wireless and Encore Asset
Services Inc. provide customers with a wide range of asset management, asset
tracking and asset monitoring solutions through traditional and wireless
technology. BSM also provides key business functionality and defined
solutions, such as secure credit card transaction processing, plus the
development of custom e-business solutions for corporations seeking to serve
customers better and more cost effectively using an Internet business model.