Providian Rating Cut

Fitch has lowered the senior rating of Providian Financial Corp to `B+’ from `BB-‘ and trust preferred rating to `CCC+’ from `B’.

The ratings for Providian National Bank remain unchanged. The ratings for both entities have been placed on Rating Watch Negative. A complete list of affected ratings is detailed below. Rating Watch Negative denotes Fitch’s view that ratings may be maintained at current levels or lowered upon further review.

Fitch’s downgrade of the holding company ratings reflects that unsecured creditors have less asset protection as liquidity at the holding company has diminished greater than anticipated. Fitch does recognize that near-term obligations of Providian will likely be met, however, longer term prospects will depend on the financial strength of the overall enterprise. There is approximately $851 million of senior debt issued out of the holding company, through the issuance of two convertible note issues.

The Rating Watch designation signifies Fitch’s concern surrounding the completion of certain restructuring objectives, namely asset sales, to improve the company’s financial profile. Providian continues its efforts to sell international operations in the U.K. and Argentina and is working to structure a possible sale of approximately $3 billion of `High Risk’ receivables and while the sale of the High Risk portfolio would likely limit future exposure to this portfolio, Fitch believes that a sale of these receivables would require a significant discount and result in a sizable loss for the company.

The Rating Watch also reflects the continued challenges facing the company’s liquidity profile as access to its traditional funding sources remains constrained. Fitch would expect that resolution of the Rating Watch would follow the progress of certain strategic objectives expected to be completed during the first quarter 2002. Failure to implement the necessary restructuring initiatives could further impair the ratings of Providian and PNB. Ratings lowered and placed on Rating Watch Negative: Providian Financial Corp. — Senior debt to `B+’ from `BB-‘; — Subordinated debt to `B-‘ from `B’; — Individual to `D/E’ from `D’ . Providian Capital I — Trust preferred to `CCC+’ from `B’. Ratings placed on Rating Watch Negative Providian Financial Corp. — Short-term `B’. Providian National Bank — Long-term deposits `BB’; — Short-term deposits `B’; — Senior debt `BB-‘; — Subordinated debt `B’; — Individual `D’.


BOFA ATM Contract

Diebold has signed a service outsourcing agreement with Bank of America for ATM maintenance service. The seven-year contract is valued at $71 million per year and will cover nearly 10,000 ATMs nationwide. Diebold says the new agreement represents incremental revenue of approximately $48 million annually as some equipment was covered under previous service contracts valued at approximately $23 million annually. Aside from traditional first- and second-line ATM service, Diebold will provide BofA with maintenance for their ![][1] central site processing equipment, physical security and office equipment, excluding PCs, alarms and branch automation. Approximately 1,000 associates in Bank of America’s service organization will be integrated into Diebold’s service operation as a result of this outsourcing agreement.

[1]: /graphic/bankofamerica/bankofamerica.gif


PayStar Quits Pay Phones

PayStar Corporation, the nation’s leader in providing Prepaid and Wireless Banking Services, Cashless ATM devices, Prepaid Telecom Services and content based Internet Kiosks announces that it has completed the assignment of operational responsibility for nearly 2000 pay telephones to Tri-Tech Communications, LLC. Tri-Tech will now assume full management responsibility for this base of payphones located predominantly in California. A transfer of the remaining managed phones is scheduled to occur before year’s end.

“Our payphone division has experienced significant negative cash flows due to the diminishing revenues of our locations during the past year. Since Tri-Tech is an experienced and premier Service provider with existing routes and a large base of payphones in the same geographical areas as the phones we were servicing, they will be able to achieve more efficiencies by blending these locations into their existing routes,” stated Fred Rackers, Sr. Vice President, PayStar Communications, Inc.

“PayStar’s strategic focus has shifted from the Legacy payphone business to the next-gen wireless, kiosk and prepaid services, such as our recently announced GlobalCash Prepaid MasterCard,” commented William D. Yotty, Chairman and CEO of PayStar. “We have completed several mergers and acquisitions within the internet kiosk industry this past year and we anticipate our future growth will continue in the kiosk and financial services markets.”

About PayStar

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


Lynk Inks NCR

NCR Corporation and Lynk Systems, Inc., announced a sales referral agreement naming Lynk, a leading provider of electronic payment processing services, an NCR Solution Provider.

![][1] Lynk and NCR will offer Lynk’s Integra point-of-sale payment processing system to their mutual customers as a fully integrated solution with NCR’s ScanMaster POS platform — a suite of applications for managing supermarket store operations.

Credit, debit and electronic benefits transfer payments are handled quickly and efficiently with Integra and ScanMaster. After a shopper selects a payment method, the transaction is routed to Lynk for processing, then back to the POS system where customer and cashier await approval.

Bresette’s IGA Marketplace, Kansas City, Mo., was a pilot site for the integrated solution.

“Previously, our electronic payments system was separate from the POS system,” said Bresette’s owner, Paul Bresette, Jr. “Now, these transactions are an easy one-step process, while end-of-day balancing has become simpler and more efficient. Integra does not require a separate local area network (LAN), which reduces the complexity of the system and saves money on installation and troubleshooting. This will significantly reduce our total cost of ownership.”

Kansas City-based Cash Register Sales Co. (CRS), an NCR reseller, is the POS supplier for Bresette’s. “The combination of Lynk services with NCR ScanMaster offers an outstanding value proposition for supermarkets,” said Russ Land of CRS. “Implementation at Bresette’s went smoothly. We’re pleased with the responsiveness and level of support provided by Lynk, and Integra interfaces seamlessly with ScanMaster.”

About Lynk

Lynk is a proven leader in electronic payment, cash dispensing and e-commerce services. The company processes transactions initiated by credit and debit cards, checks, and other access cards from merchant point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and web sites. Lynk also provides related services such as the issuance of stored value cards that facilitate electronic funds distribution.

Lynk controls the entire processing sequence, including sales, merchant payment equipment, design and hosting of Internet store fronts, transaction authorization, capture, settlement and customer service. This “in-sourced” model facilitates a truly integrated single-source service that gives Lynk customers one-call support for all their processing needs. Lynk’s proprietary technology and comprehensive network connectivity offer customers of all sizes unsurpassed processing performance.

Founded in 1991, Lynk has received Visa’s Service Quality Performance Award, and has earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. magazine and Deloitte & Touche. For more information, please visit Lynk’s web site at [][2].

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include the Teradata(R) database and analytical applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and demand chain management, store automation systems and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long- established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 32,900 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at [][3].

[1]: /graphic/lynk/lynk.gif


CyberCash Sells Commission Junction

CYCH, Inc., f/k/a CyberCash, Inc. announced Thursday that the initial liquidating dividend to be paid upon surrender of its common shares will be $0.25 per share. The dividend will be paid on or about December 24, 2001, or upon surrender of outstanding common stock certificates in accordance with a transmittal letter being mailed to all record holders of the common stock as of December 4, 2001.

The transfer ledger for the CYCH stock was closed effective December 4, 2001, but the stock continues to trade under the symbol CYCHQ. Tom LaHaye, the Plan Administrator responsible for winding up the company’s affairs, explained, “Record holders of our common stock will receive transmittal letters from our transfer agent, EquiServe, providing instructions to return their certificates and receive this dividend as well as pro-rata future distributions. Shareholders holding shares in street name through banks and brokers will receive their distributions through those relationships. The common stock was cancelled on December 4, and since then, investors have been trading the right to receive liquidating dividends. We currently anticipate at least one additional distribution in 2002.”

CYCH also announced it has agreed to sell its investment in Commission Junction, Inc., a pay-for-performance Internet advertising network for approximately $2.3 million cash. The company filed a motion in bankruptcy Court yesterday requesting approval for the proposed transaction, scheduled to close in early 2002. Mr. LaHaye stated, “We’re pleased to have reached a favorable outcome regarding Commission Junction in this difficult market.”

CYCH and its Tellan and ICVerify subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code on March 2, 2001. CYCH conducted an auction of its assets on April 11, 2001, which resulted in the sale of its Internet payment processing business to Verisign, Inc. and its software businesses, including the ICVerify and Tellan subsidiaries, to First Data Merchant Services. ICVerify and Tellan were dismissed from the bankruptcy proceedings.

Information about CYCH can be found at [][1]. Information about the bankruptcy proceeding can be found at [][2].



Smart VISA Framework

VISA released Thursday a comprehensive set of common commands, data structures, security protocols, and access methods that help to generically manage personal data on smart cards. The ‘smart VISA Framework’, developed by Oberthur Card Systems, features a suite of applets and personalization requirements designed to streamline programming for a diverse range of smart-card applications. Unique to the ‘smart Visa Framework’ is a generic applet suite that does not predetermine or limit the kind of data it manages, while permitting various concurrent data structures. This means that a single applet can be used to support a variety of programs – from frequent-shopper services to Internet authentication. ‘smart VISA Framework’ is expected to become a standard feature on ‘smart VISA’-branded, multi-application smart cards in the USA. Requiring less memory, the ‘smart VISA Framework’ also enables issuers to efficiently increase post-issuance card functionality without requiring a complex infrastructure for loading applets. New applications can be deployed for cards already issued via software for PCs and point-of-sale devices. VISA members have issued approximately 50 million smart cards worldwide and about 8 million cards in the USA.


Certegy Renews Best Buy

Certegy Inc., announced that Best Buy Co., Inc., one of the nation’s premier electronics retailers, has selected Certegy to continue providing point-of-sale check risk management and loss prevention services.

![][1] “We were chosen by this leading retailer because of our accurate and effective check risk management systems as well as our proven customer service excellence,” stated Jeff Carbiener, senior vice president and group executive of Certegy Check Services, Inc. “Each time key customers, like Best Buy, renew their contracts, it’s a testimony to our ability to provide our customers with increased sales, lower losses and improved bottom line profitability,” concluded Carbiener.

Minneapolis-based Best Buy Co., Inc., is a long-term Certegy customer, since 1987, and uses Certegy’s check warranty, collections and other services at over 400 Best Buy stores and 1,300 Musicland stores nationwide. Certegy’s unique artificial intelligence modeling and superior risk management technology enables Best Buy to reduce fraud and control check expense while maintaining superior customer service levels and consumer satisfaction. Best Buy is the number one specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software and appliances in the U.S. The Company operates retail stores and commercial web-sites under the names: Best Buy, Magnolia Hi-Fi, Musicland, Media Play, On Cue, Sam Goody and Suncoast.

Certegy Check Services offers a wide range of check processing services, including check authorization, featuring check warranty and self-risk check management programs for personal, business and payroll check acceptance to merchants worldwide. Certegy supports electronic check authorization using ACH processing, custom designed programs for the gaming industry, and point- of-sale employee monitoring software solutions for the detection of employee theft and fraud. Certegy also offers merchants check collections, payment services solutions for mail, telephone and catalog orders, e-commerce solutions using online real-time payment processing with identity authentication, and merchant credit card services designed for acceptance and processing of credit card transactions.

About Certegy Inc.

Certegy provides credit, debit and merchant card processing, e-banking, check risk management and check cashing services to over 6,000 financial institutions, 175,000 retailers and 140 million consumers worldwide. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Certegy maintains a strong global presence with operations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Chile, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. As a leading payment services provider, Certegy offers a comprehensive range of transaction processing services, credit risk management solutions and integrated customer support programs which facilitate the exchange of business and consumer payments. Certegy employs over 5,800 associates in nine countries and generated $779 million in revenue in 2000. For more information on Certegy, please visit [][2].

[1]: /graphic/bestbuy/bestbuy.gif


Cubic MTA Contract

The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded Cubic Transportation Systems a $38.3 million contract to deliver the nation’s first statewide smart ticketing system. The new MTA ticketing system, using a single smart card, will join all subway, light rail and commuter rail systems. The ticketing system will also link the state’s commuters to the regional bus system that feeds into Washington, D.C. Cubic’s fare collection system will use both magnetic and smart card products. Cubic will integrate the MTA’s new rail equipment, including gates, handheld units and ticket vending machines with Cubic’s ‘Tri-Reader’, one of Cubic’s ‘Nextfare Solution Suite’ advanced smart card tools, developed to plug into new and existing mass transit systems. As part of the MTA contract, Cubic will deliver several value-added ticketing services, such as ‘SmartBenefits’, which enables participating federal and private sector employees to receive transit benefits directly on their cards.


Affluent Households Rise

According to The U.S. Affluent Market, a new market research study published by Packaged Facts and released by, the number of affluent American households — defined as those with an income exceeding $100,000 — is growing at a much faster rate than the total number of U.S. households. There are 22% more affluent households in the United States now than there were in 1997, and in spite of the current economic slowdown, the number of affluents should only dip by about 3% in 2001.

As marketers scramble to find out how these growing numbers of affluent Americans want to spend their money, hard data on the demographics of the market and the effect of the Internet on affluents’ habits is more important than ever. The U.S. Affluent Market provides market data and analysis on this consumer demographic, including what they like, what they want, and most importantly, where they spend their hard earned wealth. The report focuses on several markets upon which affluents have a tremendous impact, including the automotive, electronics, financial management, and travel and leisure industries.

The U.S. Affluent Market also provides a demographic overview of the affluent market. This snapshot of the market shows an important shift in the ethnic make up of American affluents. As ethnic groups are steadily edging up their share of affluent households, women also make up a growing percentage of affluents.

“Women and minorities head up a growing number of affluent households,” said Meg Hargreaves, VP of Research Publishing for “The fact that the demographic profile of these decision makers is shifting presents unquestionably powerful ramifications for the marketing efforts directed at this market segment.”

About Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts, a division of, produces research reports on a wide range of consumer industries and demographics, covering the U.S. markets and including information on global market trends and opportunities.

About is the leading provider of global marketing intelligence products and services. With over 50,000 research publications from more than 350 top consulting and advisory firms, we offer instant online access to the world’s most extensive database of expert insights on global industries, companies, products, and trends. For more information, visit [][1].




The International Card
Association announced the results of its Third Annual Card
Manufacturing Global Market Survey. The survey revealed that while the North
American region leads the world in the total number of cards manufactured,
Europe continues to be the most lucrative market.

The regions surveyed were North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America
and MEA (Middle East/Africa). The products surveyed were plastic cards of all
thickness, including traditional cards with and without magnetic stripe, and
chip cards that include contact, contactless and combi-cards for diverse
applications such as financial hologram cards, ID cards, phone cards, access
cards, radio frequency identification (RFID) cards and more.

The survey measured the numbers of cards manufactured and market volumes.
findings revealed that in 2000, approximately 8.8 billion cards were
manufactured, an 11.4 percent growth rate over 1999 when 7.9 billion cards
manufactured. However, the global card market measured in U.S. dollars
4.5 percent from 1999-from $4.5 billion to $4.3 billion in 2000-resulting
the impact of severe price pressures.

The survey also analyzed other geographic and card-specific statistics

Geographic Findings

· The North American unit card market remains first in 2000 with 53 percent
share, however, the North American dollar card market remains in fourth
position for 2000 at $548 million-an increase from the 1999 figures of $529.2
million, but again lagging in chip card growth.

· The European unit card market remains second with 24 percent share.
the $2.037 billion European dollar card market continues to be four times the
size of the North American market, although slightly down from the $2.153
billion in market in 1999, and is driven by chip cards, which are a mature
product in the European region.

· Asia Pacific is second in markets measured in dollars, with a market of
billion, which is slightly down from the 1999 figure of $1.119 billion.
Card-specific Findings

· Traditional cards represent 82 percent (1999: 81.7 percent) of the units
24.8 percent (1999: 23.2 percent) of the dollars while Chip Cards represent
percent (1999: 18.3 percent) of the units and 75.2 percent (1999: 76.8
of the dollars on a global basis.

· Non-secure cards represent more than 40 percent of the global card unit
and experienced the largest growth with 12 percent on units and 7.5 percent

· Financial hologram cards represent 11.8 percent of the global card unit
and increased 11.2 percent in units and 2.5 percent in dollars, which is
impacted by lower average unit prices.

· The 26 million chip cards manufactured in North America made it the only
regional dollar growth market on a global basis. It grew 3.6 percent while
overall global dollar market declined by 4.5 percent.

· Severe price pressure deflated the chip card dollars by 7.4 percent even
a 10.5 percent unit growth increase over 1999.

“The survey represents a continued global trend in chip card growth except in
North America,” notes Jeffrey E. Barnhart, ICMA founder and executive
“And as higher priced chip cards continue to grow and gain share over lower
priced traditional cards, the industry will experience global dollar market
The Survey also unveiled assumptions for the card manufacturing industry in
coming year. Surveyors believe that continued price pressure will lower
unit selling prices attributed to global recession, industry overcapacity,
inventory; the financial hologram market should exhibit strong growth from
Q4-2001 and throughout 2002 as Y2K major reissues occur; and non-secure cards
will also exhibit continued robust growth that will be attributed to gift
and loyalty programs.

About the Survey

ICMA, the world’s leading global association for card manufacturers,
personalizers and service providers, conducted the survey in conjunction with
the noted accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche. The survey measures numbers of
cards manufactured and market volumes, not individual manufacturers and
applications. Card manufacturers throughout the world completed the
confidential survey.

About ICMA

Based in Princeton Junction, NJ, ICMA is a non-profit association of plastic
card manufacturers, personalizers and related industry participants. With
than 220 members globally, the ICMA acts as a clearinghouse for industry
issues, including the production, technology, application, security and
environmental issues of plastic cards.


Acxiom & Providian

Acxiom Corporation announced an agreement with Providian Financial Corporation that leverages Acxiom’s Customer Data Integration expertise and Providian’s credit marketing acumen in the creation of a state-of-the-art customized prospect marketing database.

Acxiom, a global leader in CDI and customer recognition infrastructure, has created a sophisticated marketing database solution to drive Providian’s acquisition campaigns. The solution incorporates Acxiom’s Customer Data Integration software, AbiliTec(R), as well as InfoBase(R) TeleSource, the most comprehensive, multi-sourced telephone data product in the U.S. AbiliTec enables the most accurate matching of data from disparate sources to ensure credit card offers are targeted and delivered to the right individuals.

“Acxiom’s focus on Customer Data Integration is a perfect fit with Providian’s customer-focused approach to consumer lending. Acxiom could help us reduce costs and provide better targeted acquisitions while strengthening our ability to penetrate the middle market, which is where the company is focusing its marketing dollars,” said Michael Kelleher, senior vice president of Information Management at Providian.

“Providian has become an industry leader because its mission is to provide a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships,” said Tim Watts, Financial Services Group Leader at Acxiom.

About Acxiom Corporation

Acxiom Corporation, a global leader in Customer Data Integration (CDI) and customer recognition infrastructure, enables businesses to develop and deepen customer relationships by creating a single, accurate view of their customers across the enterprise. Acxiom achieves this by providing CDI software, database management services, and premier customer data content through its AbiliTec(R), Solvitur(R) and InfoBase(R) products, while also offering a broad range of information technology outsourcing services. Founded in 1969, Acxiom (Nasdaq: ACXM) is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with locations throughout the United States and with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Australia. Acxiom revenues were $1.01 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001. For more information, please visit [][1].

About Providian Financial

San Francisco-based Providian Financial is a leading provider of credit cards and deposit products to customers throughout the U.S., and also offers credit cards and deposit products in the UK and in Argentina. The company has more than $32 billion in managed receivables and more than 18 million customer accounts.




The Quebec Health Ministry announced this week it will spend $159 million to
launch smart cards for Medicare benefits. Residents will be able to use the
cards in early 2003. The card will provide access to files which summarize the
individual’s allergies, medication tolerance, prescribed drugs and recent
medical tests. For privacy protection, the card will not control access to
services nor will insurance firms have access to card data. The Health
says it expects for save between $40-$50 million per year with the new cards.