Cruise Ship ATMs

BankAtlantic has announced the placement of its ATM on Celebrity Cruises’ new ship, The Summit, which began sailing on October 1, 2001. The bank also has an agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises to place ATMs on its newest ship, The Adventure of the Seas. Including these two new ships, the bank currently operates ATMs on eight Celebrity Cruises ships and fifteen Royal Caribbean ships. In addition, the bank also has machines on 15 Carnival Cruise Lines ships.

“Convenience has always been a prime driver in the financial industry and this is a versatile method of providing anyone vacationing on a cruise with instant banking services,” said Andrea Weiner-Allen, Executive Vice President of Operations at BankAtlantic. “When we launched our first maritime ATM placements, we felt very strongly about the potentials of this unique market niche, and we have been enormously pleased with the success of our fleet of cruise ship ATMs.”

Identical to BankAtlantic’s land-based ATMs, the offshore fleet of ATMs offers the convenience of cash withdrawals, transfer of funds, and instant access to account balances. Check Cards and/or ATM Cards are accepted from STAR, VISA, PLUS, AFFN, MasterCard, Maestro, CIRRUS, American Express, DISCOVER/NOVUS, and QUEST Networks.

BankAtlantic pioneered the concept of linking satellite communications technology with ATMs in a shipboard environment in 1995. Today, the bank operates a fleet of ATMs on 38 vessels cruising virtually all the seven seas including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the Panama Canal. In addition to its maritime fleet, BankAtlantic operates its own proprietary network of land based ATMs throughout the State of Florida and its branch network.

About BankAtlantic:

BankAtlantic, one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Florida, provides a comprehensive offering of banking services and products via its broad network of community branches throughout Florida and via its online banking division – BankAtlantic is a wholly owned subsidiary of BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE:BBX), a diversified financial services holding company and the parent company of BankAtlantic, Levitt Corporation and Ryan, Beck & Co. Through its subsidiaries, BankAtlantic Bancorp provides a full line of products and services encompassing consumer and commercial banking, brokerage and investment banking, and real estate development.

— Online banking products and services can be accessed directly through [][1].

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Montage Card

Diners Club has introduced its first U.S. revolving credit card that enables cardholders to customize the level of benefits attached to the card. The new Diners Club ‘Montage Card’ offers three membership levels: ‘Complimentary Benefits’, ‘Selected Benefits’ and ‘Complete Benefits’. ‘Complimentary Benefits’, which carries no annual fee, includes such benefits as travel accident insurance, a restaurant savings program, free add-on cards for family, an international travel service, and excess car rental insurance. ‘Selected Benefits’, with a $25 annual fee, provide six benefit options which cardholders can select any or all of the benefits and interchange them regularly without impacting their fee. ‘Complete Benefits’ which carries a $75 annual fee, includes both ‘Complimentary’ and ‘Selected Benefits’ plus access to the ‘Club Rewards’ program. The first phase of the ‘Montage Card’ promotion, currently underway, targets current Diners Club cardholders. The general public launch will hit in Q1/2002. Diners Club revived its ‘Carte Blanche’ card last year with carries a $300 annual fee and offers the best of credit card perks. (CardTrak 12/15/00 – [][1] )



NPC Signs Sizzler

National Processing Company a leading provider of merchant credit card processing and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Processing, Inc. announced the signing of a multi-year credit card processing agreement with Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc.. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide credit card processing services for all corporate-owned stores, and serve as the preferred vendor for franchisee locations.

Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc. (formerly known as Sizzler International, Inc.) features a wide variety of grill items, including steak, seafood and chicken at reasonable prices, positioning itself between a white linen and fast-food restaurant. The famous Sizzler(R) salad bar boasts a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, signature salads, soups, and other specialty items that fit the world trend towards healthier eating. Headquartered in Sherman Oaks, California, the company owns, operates, and franchises restaurants under the brand names Sizzler(R) in the United States, Latin America, Australia and Asia, KFC(R) restaurants in Australia, and Pat & Oscar’s(SM) in California and Arizona.

“It’s with great pleasure that we welcome Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc. to the NPC family,” said Drew Soinski, senior vice president of National Sales for NPC. “NPC has a strong reputation in providing restaurants like Sizzler customized merchant processing solutions. Credit card acceptance is vital to this industry, and through our state-of-the-art processing platform NPC provides our customers one of the most cost-effective solutions.”

“Being a leader in the industry for over 30 years has earned NPC both credibility and market presence that few processors can profess,” said Mark D. Pyke, chief operating officer for NPC. “By focusing on our core competency, merchant processing, NPC is committed to continue making the investments in products and services that will benefit our customers by minimizing their total cost of card acceptance.”

“The competitive nature of the restaurant industry demands organizations provide the highest of quality at very competitive prices,” said Keith Wall, chief financial officer of Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc. “Our organization embraces that concept and looks for partners that assist us is achieving that goal. NPC has demonstrated their commitment to both quality and service by providing superior merchant processing solutions at competitive prices.”

About Worldwide Restaurant Concepts

Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc. (formerly Sizzler International, Inc.) owns, operates and franchises about 341 Sizzler casual grills in the US and 9 other countries (mostly along the Pacific Rim), serving steak, chicken, and seafood. It also operates 106 KFC restaurants in Queensland, Australia, and 12 Pat & Oscar’s restaurants in the western US.

About National Processing, Inc.

National Processing, Inc. through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, National Processing Company (NPC(R)) is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing. National Processing is 86 percent owned by National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC) ( [][1]), a Cleveland based $96 billion financial holding company. NPC supports over 600,000 merchant locations, representing nearly one out of every five Visa(R) and MasterCard(R) transactions processed nationally. NPC’s card processing solutions offer superior levels of service and performance and assist merchants in lowering their total cost of card acceptance through our world-class people, technology and service. Additional information regarding National Processing can be obtained at [][2].



Sub-Prime Lawsuit

Las Vegas-based First National Bank of Marin has settled a class-action lawsuit and has reached a final agreement with the OCC in regard to the company’s solicitation and marketing materials for its sub-prime VISA cards. First National agreed to reimburse certain customers who applied for the Bank’s credit card between July 27, 1996 and May 31, 2001 and who incurred specific charges, including enrollment fees and certain finance charges. Bank officials have agreed to set aside a reserve of not less than $4 million to cover consumer claims from both the class-action settlement and the OCC agreement. The Bank says it did not admit to any wrongdoing and believes the OCC lacks legal authority to enforce the FTC Act. First National also says the OCC’s interpretations of the FTC Act are incorrect and contrary to the interests of both financial institutions and consumers. At the end of the third quarter, the issuer had $230 million in receivables and approximately 550,000 accounts, according to CardData ([][1]).



FDC & Wachovia

First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, and Wachovia Corporation, the nation’s fourth largest financial holding company, announced the signing of a multi-year, enterprise-wide agreement. Effective immediately, First Data will begin providing a variety of payment services to Wachovia, including official check and money order processing, credit card transaction processing and loan payment services. The agreement represents a strategic move by First Data to deliver a broad range of payment services to its clients in a simple, timely and cost-effective manner. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This agreement with Wachovia Corporation is a great example of the breadth and depth of services First Data brings to the marketplace,” says Charles T. Fote, president and chief operating officer, First Data Corp. “Several First Data businesses have previously provided services both to Wachovia and to First Union, with whom Wachovia just merged. Our one-company offering gives Wachovia a cost-effective solution that meets all of its payment services needs.”

“In order to provide our clients with a complete suite of banking and brokerage services, Wachovia requires a partner who can offer an array of back-office processing solutions,” says Lee Wright, senior vice president at Wachovia Corporation. “First Data brings to the table a full range of payment services and products, along with a reputation for reliability and performance.”

About Wachovia Corporation

Wachovia Corporation (NYSE: WB), created through the September 1, 2001, merger of First Union and Wachovia with assets of $326 billion as of September 30 and $29 billion in stockholders’ equity, is a leading provider of financial services to 19 million retail and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation. The company operates full-service banking offices under the First Union and Wachovia names in 11 East Coast states and Washington, D.C., and offers full-service brokerage with offices in 48 states and global services through more than 30 international offices. Online banking and brokerage products and services are available through and .

About First Data Corp.

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. Serving approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][1].



Jam-Free Terminal

Hypercom introduced the payment industry’s first two-part, clamshell printer technology that offers virtually jam-free, but high-speed, operations. The ‘SureLoad’ printer will be available on a new terminal that Hypercom will introduce in Q1/2002. Hypercom says terminal printer jams and other printer-related problems account for at least 35% of all merchant calls to help desks. With ‘SureLoad’, the clerk simply lifts the cover, which then opens the printer along the thermal head and an open paper path. The secret to ‘SureLoad’s’ jam-free operation is a new two-part, clamshell-style printer architecture that allows the terminal to continue working even when receipts are pulled or aggressively torn during printing. The new printer has a compact 2.5 x 3-inch footprint and prints with speeds up to 10 lines per second. For a demo of the new ‘SureLoad’ printer visit CardFlash Online ([][1])

** Choose one of the formats at the left to view a video demonstration of SureLoad printer from Hypercom. The view is 1min 30sec long.**



Elan Expands Services

Elan Financial Services, through combination with U.S. Bank Network Services, has expanded the core services that it provides financial institutions to include ATM processing, driving and deployment, as well as debit card processing. The new suite of products complements what Elan has traditionally offered its customers, which was credit card issuing services and, through a partnership with NOVA Information Systems, merchant payment processing.

The new services offered through Elan are a result of the union of two titans in the payment industry, U.S. Bank and Firstar, which merged in February 2001. Firstar brings 35 years of experience as a provider of consumer, business and commercial cards that are issued by correspondent banks and carry the issuing bank’s logo. U.S. Bank brings an equally distinguished history of processing ATM and debit transactions for financial institutions and payments for merchants, in addition to managing regional ATM networks. “Elan Financial Services now provides a complete range of products and services, accompanied by full-service support and management tools that are offered through a single point of contact,” said Janet Estep, executive vice president of transaction services at U.S. Bank. “This suite of products enables smaller and mid-sized financial institutions to effectively compete with larger institutions.”

All processing systems are owned and operated by Elan. Without the need to include third-party relationships, all products and services originate and are managed from a single source. Operational scale and proprietary in-house systems allow Elan to provide industry leading development and service that is not just promised, it’s guaranteed or Elan will pay the customer for his or her inconvenience. Elan’s products and services span three core areas: credit card issuing, ATM and debit processing and merchant processing.

Credit Card Issuing Services

Elan is a pioneer in offering credit card services through correspondent financial institutions. Elan was the nation’s first bankcard issuer to place correspondent financial institution names and logos on their customers’ cards. Elan delivers bankcard services to more than 1.2 million card members and 45,000 merchants through more than 1,100 financial institutions in 34 states. Key components of Elan’s program include the option to partially fund card receivables and turnkey marketing support that allows financial institutions the opportunity to benefit from a profitable product line while outsourcing the infrastructure and service resources.

ATM and Debit Processing

Elan is one of the largest processors of electronic funds transfer (EFT) transactions, supporting more than 10,000 ATMs and 12 million cards. As the seventh-largest ATM processor in the nation, Elan processes more than 1.5 billion ATM and/or debit transactions annually for more than 2,000 financial institutions. Because Elan offers access to more ATM and point-of-sale (POS) networks around the world and unrivaled system availability, customers can access their funds wherever and whenever they need them. These numerous links enable Elan to route transactions through most any network with the speed and efficiency customers demand. Elan also owns and operates two shared regional networks, Fastbank and Minibank, that allow financial institution members to provide reciprocal deposit and surcharge privileges to their customers at expanded ATM locations within designated regions.

Merchant Services

Elan Financial Services provides merchant processing through its partner, NOVA Information Systems, for more than 1,300 financial institutions and merchant customers. NOVA is a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. The in-house processing enables a direct solution for merchant acquiring needs. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets in excess of $168 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,186 banking offices and 4,937 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of Firstar Bank and U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at and Firstar Bank at



Welcome Real-time, a leading provider of smart transaction software and Cards
etc, developers of Arterium, the leading smart card infrastructure management
system, today announced the finalization of an MOU regarding strategic
cooperation. This agreement between the two companies significantly simplifies
the implementation and management of smart card programs.

Welcome Real-time and Cards etc are working closely on a number of large-scale
smart card implementations in the United States. The integration of Welcome
Real-time s XLS and Cards etc s Arterium solution has proven to be highly
effective in streamlining numerous smart card processes such as customer
service, card re-issuance and post-issuance downloading of applications.

Loyalty is one of the key applications for smart card issuers, said Michael
Walters, Joint CEO and founder of Cards etc. Welcome Real-time and Cards etc
complement each other very well as Welcome has the proven instant rewards
application both issuers and retailers want, and Cards etc s software manages
smart cards, devices and applications regardless of card technology.

In the past, interfacing different elements of smart card solutions sometimes
challenged financial institutions and merchant groups entering the smart card
arena. Combining the strong loyalty benefits of Welcome Real-time with Cards
etc s power to simplify the complexities related to smart card programs
a winning situation for the cardholder, the issuer and the acquirer.

Issuers face important new support issues as they upgrade to smart cards, said
Aneace Haddad, president and CEO of Welcome Real-time. Integrating XLS and
Arterium from Cards etc provides issuers the tools they need for everything
from fast and accurate answers on programs or card replacement, to managing
application programs and security across multiple card technologies and

Welcome Real-time and Cards etc are now making it easier for both issuers and
acquirers to launch and manage smart card programs. The result is what every
issuer demands — a significant reduction in implementation cost and time, and
the tools to provide high levels of customer support.

About Welcome Real-time

Welcome Real-time s smart transaction platform enhances payment transactions
with revenue boosting services such as instantly awarded loyalty points,
coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back & all in a single
payment process.

The company’s patents provide broad protection in Europe, North America and
Asia. More than 17 patent applications cover the ability to dynamically manage
services relating to entries, visits or cumulative spending at designated
merchants, the ability to add and redeem e-coupons from a smart card, or the
use of mobile phones and hand held devices to perform smart transactions.

Welcome Real-time is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in
Philadelphia and Singapore. For additional information please visit our Web

About Cards etc

Sydney-based Cards etc is a provider of smart software and solutions for smart
card, e-commerce and similar e-transaction systems. Cards etc is the developer
of Arterium, smart software that provides infrastructure management for smart
cards, products and devices. Arterium also provides relationship lifetime
management that enables organizations to manage their relationships with
cardholders over their lifetime. It can be implemented across financial,
telecommunications, government, transit and travel organizations deploying and
managing multi-product smart card, e-commerce and related technologies. Cards
etc provides professional services integrating new technology solutions into
existing environments.


Bankruptcy 3Q/01

Bankruptcy filings downshifted a bit during the third quarter, compared to Q2, but 2001 is still on track to rank as the second highest year for bankruptcies on record. However, on a fiscal year basis, the total number of bankruptcies filed has set an all-time high. In the 12-month period ending Sept 30, bankruptcy cases totaled 1,437,354, up 14% compared to the fiscal year ending Sept 2000. The previous high for bankruptcy filings during a fiscal year was in 1998, when filings reached a total of 1,436,964. Of the 1,437,354 filed over the past 12 months, 1,398,864 were personal filings. Chapter 7 filings rose 16.5% and Chapter 13 filings rose 8.2% during FY 01. The number of bankruptcy cases filed during the third calendar quarter totaled 359,518 compared to the record-setting 400,394 filed in the second calendar quarter. For complete details on the latest and previous bankruptcy stats visit CardData ([][1]).



WorkSmart Licenses

NC-based Paragon Application Systems has signed a license deal with NYCE for Paragon’s ‘ATMulator’ and ‘FASTest’. Concord EFS also has licensed the ‘WorkSmart’ package of software applications from Paragon. ‘ATMulator’ and ‘FASTest’ are components of Paragon’s ‘WorkSmart Suite’, a complete package of PC-based solutions designed to create, test and maintain ATM interfaces. ‘ATMulator’ provides a complete simulation of ATM models from Diebold and NCR, allowing the user to test transactions, view receipts and journal data, and test device faults and command rejects, directly from a PC. ‘FASTest’ offers a way to test ATM and EFT transactions in concert with terminal driving applications.


Office Depot VISA

Office Depot and Chase have launched the ‘Office Depot VISA Platinum Business Card from Chase’. The new co-branded card offers an introductory APR of 6.99% for the first six months on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus no annual fee, and a line of credit up to $100,000 for qualified applicants. Cardholders will be automatically enrolled in a ‘Rewards Program’ and receive 1,000 bonus points. Cardholders will earn 2 points for every dollar spent at Office Depot and 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for free or discounted products and services including Office Depot merchandise and gift certificates, hotel accommodations, car rentals and airline tickets. Office Depot operated 846 office supply superstores in the United States and Canada.



Sydney-based Omnitech Holdings announced its VFJ Technology smart card
subsidiary has won a $A1.4 million contract to provide a contactless smart
solution for Beijing’s subway system. The deal includes the ‘VFJ ASSET’ smart
card issuing system, software, training and smart card readers. The system
be deployed for Beijing’s new Line 13 subway. Omnitech/VFJ has already
installed a system for the Shanghai Metro Corporation, as well as automated
fare collection systems for toll highways in 13 provinces and cities in