Comerica Incorporated announced the successful launch of a new Canadian Dollar
Purchasing Card to
help companies with Canadian-based operations eliminate costs associated with
currency exchange. The Canadian Dollar Purchasing Card has all of the same
features as Comerica’s extremely popular Purchasing Card, but settles in
Canadian currency. The announcement of the new card was made by Daniel J.
McCarty, senior vice president and officer-in-charge of Treasury Management
Services for Comerica.

“Our Canadian-based business clients, through our partnership with
MasterCard, will now be able to settle their purchasing card accounts in
Canadian dollars, as opposed to U.S. dollars, which eliminates unnecessary
costs associated with currency exchange,” said McCarty. “It also eliminates
the exposure to fluctuations between the transacting and settling currencies.
This may be critical, especially considering that the timing of purchases and
the subsequent payment can be weeks apart.”

Comerica’s high-tech Canadian Dollar Purchasing Card is uniquely designed
for businesses because managers can place a combination of limits on card
such as by type of merchant and amount of purchase. For example, a cardholder
can be set up with a $250 limit for “Stationery and Office Supplies,” a
limit for “Travel and Entertainment” and a $50 limit for “Gas and Oil.” These
and other limits can be unique to each card. Through the use of a combination
of spending limits, businesses are able to control and monitor expenses, and
streamline their entire payables process. The Canadian Dollar Purchasing Card
is accepted by more than 21 million MasterCard merchants worldwide.

In addition, the Canadian Dollar Purchasing Card comes with a number of
Internet options, including iTracer, an online information reporting package
that, among other features, enables program managers to isolate spending on a
company-wide basis with a category of merchants or even a single supplier in
order to negotiate volume discounts. iTracer is like having a daily online
statement for all or part of the company’s cardholders. Monthly statements
are also much more convenient with iStatement, where cardholders can log onto
a secure web site to see their statements online and in Canadian currency.
The Canadian Dollar Purchasing Card, Purchasing Card, Fleet Card,
Corporate Card, Multi-Card and Comerica CompCARD comprise Comerica’s
Commercial Card family of products and can be combined for consolidated
payment and reporting.

This product is the latest financial service to be offered from Comerica’s
North American platform. It reinforces the company’s long history of
providing credit and non-credit financial services to companies doing
in North America. Through its regional office in Toronto, Comerica provides a
wide range of corporate banking, foreign exchange, treasury management and
international trade services in Canada.

To find out more about Comerica’s commercial card products, visit
Comerica’s web site at
a href=

Comerica Incorporated is a multi-state financial services provider
headquartered in Detroit, with banking subsidiaries in Michigan, California
and Texas, banking operations in Florida, and businesses in several other
states. Comerica has an investment services affiliate, Munder Capital
Management, commercial banking operations in Canada and a commercial banking
subsidiary in Mexico. Comerica reported total assets of $50 billion at
September 30, 2001.


Providian’s Investigation

Seattle’s Keller Rohrback L.L.P. is currently investigating potential ERISA claims on behalf of participants and beneficiaries of Providian’s retirement and 401(k) plans.

The investigation period covers June 6, 2001 through October 18, 2001. The investigation focuses on concerns that, under the law interpreting ERISA, Providian and its plan administrators may have breached their fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence by failing to disclose and inform the Plan participants and beneficiaries with respect to the Company’s operations and prospects for second and third quarters 2001. Rather than providing complete and accurate information to the Plan’s participants, it may be alleged that Providian and the plan administrators may have withheld and concealed material information, thereby encouraging participants and beneficiaries to continue to make and to maintain substantial investments in company stock and the Plans. This investigation is being conducted in light of recent events.

In late June 2001, Providian changed the way it processes its bankruptcy filings and thus changed when it recognizes losses and deferred the recognition of approximately $30 million of charge-offs from June (and second quarter 2001) into July. Providian allegedly manipulated its financial statements for second quarter 2001 and shaved 40 basis points off its second quarter 2001 managed net charge-off rate of 10.3% and boosted reported EPS by $0.06. Without this change, the loss rate would have been 10.7%, well above defendants’ guidance of 9.5%-10%. Defendants made no mention of this change on the conference call or in Providian’s second quarter 2001 10-Q. In fact, management only admitted this change after they came under pressure from analysts following a flood of calls to their investor relations department in late August 2001. During the Class Period, taking advantage of the inflation in Providian stock, certain of Providian’s officers and directors sold almost $22 million worth of their own Providian stock at artificially inflated prices of as much as $49.30 per share.

These sales were out of line with their prior trading history. If you are a member of an Providian retirement plan, wish to discuss this announcement, or have information relevant to the investigation, you may contact paralegal Jennifer Tuato’o, or any member of our team (Ray Farrow, Britt Tinglum, or Lynn Sarko) toll free at 800/776-6044, or via e-mail at

Seattle’s Keller Rohrback L.L.P. has successfully represented shareholders and consumers in class action cases for over a decade. Its trial lawyers have obtained judgments and settlements on behalf of clients in excess of seven billion dollars. CONTACT: Keller Rohrback L.L.P. Jennifer Tuato’o, 800/776-6044 URL: Today’s News On The Net – Business Wire’s full file on the Internet with Hyperlinks to your home page.



International Card Manufacturers Association Educational Institute will host
two 2002 Workshops, both
themed “Thriving in Today’s Changing Card Industry.” The workshops will be
in two locations: The Forum Hotel, Munich, Germany on February 6-7; and The
Hotel Inter-Continental Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA on March 5-6.

The chairmen of the workshops are Herbert Grün of Giesecke & Devrient, GmbH
Europe and Gerald Blight of Plastag Corporation for USA.

Topics include the latest advances in printing and personalization techniques
and equipment, standards, and more. While some of the topics for the two
workshops are shared, each workshop reflects geographical trends in its
particular region. The Europe workshop includes an entire afternoon dedicated
to polyester cards due to its prevalence. The US workshop includes a detailed
discussion about the irradiation of mail to combat bioterrorism and its
on plastic cards. Each workshop will also include an overview of the new ICMA
Card Industry Training Program.

The faculty includes an expert pool of ICMA members and other specialists.
presentation allows ample time for question and answer sessions and

The workshops are suitable for all card manufacturing and personalization
production managers, supervisors, executives and line workers. As a special
member benefit, the workshops are open to ICMA members only and are
value-priced at just $269 USD.

For a complete workshop agenda of topics and speakers, visit the ICMA Web
at For registration information or for
information on becoming a
member of ICMA, contact Lynn McCullough at (609) 799-4900; e-mail or visit the ICMA web site at

About ICMA

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



Universal Payment Processing, a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, along with Soft Tracks Enterprises, a software technology provider, and CGI – an information technology services firm – announced the commercial availability of Skypay, a wireless payment acceptance software and internet reporting solution for the U.S. marketplace.

CGI has licensed and will host the Skypay Transaction Gateway Server from Soft Tracks, and Universal will offer Skypay services to its merchant customer base. Initially, Skypay will be available on Hypercom Corporation’s ICE(TM) 4000 handheld touch screen-based card payment terminal, providing merchants with value-added functions such as an electronic cash register to capture merchant sales information and enterprise reporting that streamlines merchant back-end operations. Subsequent offerings will be available on multiple devices including multi-application terminals, web-enabled cellular phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).

Through CGI and Universal, Soft Tracks’ Skypay payment acceptance solution provides the end-user with a reliable and efficient means for conducting payment transactions coupled with the added convenience of mobility. Benefits range from consolidating credit, debit, cash and check transactions along with sales information such as invoice numbers, tips, and taxes to provide comprehensive reporting functionality, enabling analysis and smooth integration with merchant’s back-end operations.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand Skypay to the U.S.; particularly as an enabler in the development of solutions for Universal’s mobile point-of-sale and multi-application environments,” said Ms. Juliana Cafik, President and CEO of Soft Tracks.

Skypay’s open architecture is suitable for use with existing application suites, and can be ported to devices running applications such as those required in dispatching and field sales. Third party development for communication to the Skypay architecture is facilitated though the use of interface kits. Ultimately connecting to the Skypay architecture will provide Universal’s customers with the ability to conduct payment acceptance transactions on any wireless device.

“Skypay allows us to provide our customers with a wider range of service offerings,” said Fred Joachim, Senior Vice President of Sales from Universal. The time saving advantages that consolidated back-end reporting and electronic cash register capabilities bring to our customers provides our merchant customers as well as Universal with an increased level of differentiation. “The many connection options available for interfacing with Skypay also provides us with access to markets previously untapped,” added Mr. Joachim.

About Universal Payment Processing

Universal Payment Processing – a vertically-integrated transaction processor – is a part of Universal Companies (USB), which was acquired by Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq) on October 31, 2001. Universal provides transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to over 55,000 small and medium-sized businesses nationwide. Universal offers credit and debit card processing, electronic check processing, prepaid phone products, electronic gift cards, and e-commerce solutions. Visit Universal online at [][1].

About Soft Tracks

Soft Tracks Enterprises is a software company that is focused on providing enabling software to the payment industry that will allow secure and trusted payment between a merchant and consumer using any form of tender, via any communications device. Soft Tracks currently provides the transaction industry with Skypay(TM), a software service and network infrastructure that enforces financial security and offers back-end reporting for wireless transaction and multi-application devices. Website address is [][2], and the Company is located at #1258 – 13351 Commerce Parkway, Richmond, B.C. V6V 2X7

About CGI

Founded in 1976, CGI is the fourth largest independent information technology services firm in North America, based on its headcount of more than 13,000 professionals. CGI’s annualized revenue run-rate totals US$1.3 billion (CDN$2.0 billion). CGI’s order backlog currently totals US$6.0 billion (CDN$9.3 billion). CGI provides end-to-end IT services and business solutions to more than 3,000 clients in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, India, Japan, and Australia from more than 60 offices in more than 20 countries. CGI’s shares are listed on the NYSE and the TSE. They are included in the TSE 100 Composite Index as well as the S&P/TSE Canadian Information Technology and Canadian MidCap Indices. Website: [][3].

About Hypercom

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE) is the leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers. Hypercom’s products include secure web-enabled transaction terminals that work seamlessly with its networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce, m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications. The company’s widely-accepted ePOS-infocommerce(TM) (epic) framework of consumer-activated, EMV-certified, touch-screen ICE (Interactive Consumer Environment) terminals enable acquirers and merchants to decrease costs, increase revenues and improve customer retention. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom is independently acknowledged as the leading provider of point-of-sale card payment terminals worldwide. Demand for Hypercom’s terminals surpassed one million units last year alone. Hypercom today maintains an installed base of more than 5 million terminals in over 100 countries which conduct over 10 billion transactions annually. Hypercom’s Internet address is [][4].



Passport Competition

Microsoft’s new ‘Passport’ identity verification service is picking up stiff competition as the ‘Liberty Alliance Project’ gathers major support. Yesterday, the consortium announced that MasterCard has joined following the recent enlistment of American Express. The group, led by Sun Microsystems, is an alliance formed to create open, federated, single sign-on identity standards for the digital economy via any device connected to the Internet. Other founding members and members of the management board include: AOL Time Warner, France Telecom, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard Company, MasterCard International, Bell Canada, Global Crossing, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Openwave Systems, RealNetworks, RSA Security, Sony Corporation, Sun Microsystems, United Airlines and Vodafone. Other companies considering participation include: ActivCard, Gemplus, and Schlumberger. Microsoft claims its has 200 million ‘Passport’ users worldwide, mostly driven through its Hotmail e-mail service. However it has drawn little support from other companies. Reportedly the ‘Liberty Alliance’ is attempting to recruit Microsoft’s participation, despite being rebuffed by the software giant.


Platinum Phone Cards

The Auxer Group, Inc. announced that its subsidiary, CT Industries, Inc., formerly introduced its line of prepaid calling cards under the new Platinum Series.

The line has been introduced with four products: African Talk, Kamustahan, One Cent America, and El Sol Mexicano. The Platinum Series currently focuses on Asia, Mexico, Africa and the domestic markets. The line is expected to expand to six products in January. The Company has been working on forming its network of tier one carriers, as well as strengthening its customer service team and its customer base during the year 2001.


The Auxer Group is a holding company that consists of two groups; a Telecommunications Group and an Automotive Group. The Telecommunications Group is focused on distribution of prepaid products, which includes The X-Factor(TM) and One Cent America(TM). The Automotive Group is focused on aftermarket wholesale and distribution of automotive and marine products and parts, which includes Easy Test(R) and Garry’s Royal Satin(TM).



QI Systems Inc. announced that a major Canada-based food service company
servicing hospitals in
Ontario and Quebec has retained QI Systems to develop, design and install its
SmartVend Solution System into its entire operation.

In the first phase of the project, QI is installing its Smart Card Scheme,
Value Reload Stations and Payment Terminals to be connected to cash registers
at a food court in a major Montreal area hospital. Upon successful
of the first phase, similar systems are expected to be installed in more than
30 additional hospitals throughout Ontario and Quebec.

Mesbah Taherzadeh, president and CEO of QI Systems Inc., stated, “We are
pleased to penetrate the huge food service market with such a major contract
that offers unlimited access and opportunities for additional sales. In
addition, we are delighted to have been contacted by this industry leader in
the food service market for our solutions and products, which demonstrates
we have already achieved credibility and a reputation for quality in a
relatively short time. We look forward to building on our sales momentum as we
build-out our salesforce, which will fuel even greater growth.”

QI Systems Inc.
( designs hardware
and software for the rapidly expanding cash card industry. It is a leader in
supplying solutions for smart card vending with products in use in Canada, the
U.S., Venezuela, Hong Kong, the UK, and Norway. QI’s SmartVend technology
enables debit card purchases by consumers from a wide range of vending
types. The SmartVend system is currently being used in conjunction with many
card schemes, including VisaCash, Mondex (Multos), CANTV (Venezuelan phone
card), Telus SmartONE card and others. Due to the modular structure of
SmartVend, multiple card schemes can be run in parallel in the same unit with
new schemes added at a later date. QI’s SmartVend systems have been installed
in Coca-Cola and Pepsi vending machines, coffee, snack and sandwich machines,
laundromat machines, copiers, newspaper vending boxes for such publications as
USAToday and in parking machines.


Penske Gift Cards

Penske Auto Centers announced the launch of the Penske Auto Center Auto Cash Gift Card. In making the announcement, Jim Wheat, President and CEO stated, “This cash card provides an excellent alternative gift idea for our customers nationwide. Virtually everyone has been faced with the dilemma of what to get for the person who has everything. This cash card provides our customers with a high-value, high- quality solution to gift buying.”

In addition, the cash card provides parents of college students with peace of mind. Parents can purchase and replenish the vehicle maintenance cash card for their college students. While travelling back and forth to school, students will be able to take advantage of the many services and products offered by Penske Auto Centers as the card is honored at the more than 630 Penske Auto Centers nationwide. And for those individuals that travel extensively, the vehicle maintenance cash card can be considered as “travel insurance,” as they no longer will need to worry about servicing their vehicle while on the road.

“Let’s face it, a key factor for most consumers when making a gift buying decision is the value of the gift and the convenience of the purchase experience,” said Wheat. “When we looked at implementing this vehicle maintenance cash card throughout our service centers, research indicated that most individuals use a cash card’s value within the first 90 days of purchase,” said Wheat. “I’m confident that this cash card will be well- received by our customers.”

The Penske Auto Center Auto Cash Card is available in any dollar amount and can be used toward the purchase of the many services and products offered nationwide. Those services include:

* Speedlane Oil changes featuring Mobil Oil — Guaranteed in 30 minutes or its free
* Protech — antifreeze/coolant fluid replacement
* Transmatic — automatic transmission fluid replacement
* MAXAir R-134 — air conditioning recharging
* PowerMaster — fuel system cleaning
* Ride Control — tires, alignment, brakes, shocks, struts, etc.
* Auto Energy — an array of batteries and alternators

Penske Auto Centers LLC is the largest independent tire dealer in the United States with over 630 locations nationwide and more than 4,000 employees committed to being the leader in preventative automotive maintenance. In addition to its strong presence in the marketplace for tire sales, other services offered by Penske Auto Centers include 30-minute oil changes, wheel alignments, ATF fluid exchanges and brake service, just to name a few. Integral to the Company’s overall success are its long-term growth strategy and strategic partnerships with organizations such as Kmart, Goodyear, Mobil, NAPA, Snap-on, Safety-Kleen and Exide Battery Company. For more information go to [][1].



Bankplus Update

A former specialist in sub-prime credit cards was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs from a former partner yesterday. Los Angeles-based Bank Plus/Fidelity Federal Bank said an arbitrator in the proceeding between Nationwide Capital Company and Fidelity has issued an award denying Nationwide’s claims and awarding Fidelity $184,000 for attorneys’ fees and costs in relation to Fidelity’s counterclaim for breach of the arbitration provision of the now terminated affinity credit card agreement between the two parties. The bank dumped its card portfolio last year. (CF Library 7/5/00)


iPIN Modules

iPIN unveiled two new product modules, the ‘e-Payment Business Intelligence Module’ and the ‘Multiple Payment Instrument Module’ this week. The ‘e-Payment Business Intelligence Module’ is a tool that helps companies track the success and return on investment of their e-Payment initiatives that enable consumers to make purchases via wireless and fixed devices. The module also evaluates online consumer buying behavior, monitors consumers with high product return rates, and identifies merchant segments that have the most initial activity. The ‘iPIN Multiple Payment Instrument Module’ has been enhanced to allow for direct integration with the iPIN secondary user functionality. The MPI is a tool that allows consumers to manage the usage of multiple funding accounts, such as debit, credit, and pre-paid, within a single application.


Gemplus Shakeup

Smart card manufacturer Gemplus announced late Wednesday it is replacing its chairman and CEO. The French firm confirmed that Antonio Perez has decided to resign as CEO and Marc Lassus, founder and chairman, will step down next month. Ronald Mackintosh, an existing member of the board of directors, has been named as CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee. The board has elected Hasso Von Falkenhausen to the board and designated him as Chairman commencing on January 10. From 1987 through 2000, Von Falkenhausen guided and supervised the plastic card related products and services business of DataCard. Between 1990 and 2000, Mackintosh served in a number of executive capacities of Computer Sciences Corporation, most recently as President and Chief Executive of CSC’s European Group. Gemplus reported third quarter revenue of 226 million Euros, a 27% drop from the same quarter a year ago. The 3Q/01 operating loss was 55.3 million Euros, compared with an operating profit of 32 million Euros for the same quarter a year ago, according to CardData ( The RAM Report ( recently reported that Gemplus is planning to cut 450 job cuts in France and 1,500 worldwide out of its total global workforce of 7,000.


Global Payments 4Q/01

Atlanta-based Global Payments reported that fourth calendar quarter revenue grew by 41% to $115.6 million compared to normalized revenue of $81.8 million in the prior year. For the quarter ending Nov 30th, the company had net income of $11.6 million compared to normalized net income of $8.2 million in the prior year for a 43% increase. During the quarter, the company converted the CIBC merchant portfolio to its back-end processing platform and completed a planned facility closure and related front-end platform conversion in the USA. For complete details on Global’s latest results visit CardData (