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


Hilton HHonors Partners

Hilton HHonors, one of the world’s leading guest reward programs, has added, a leading e-commerce destination for corporate and personal gifts and rewards, and Montblanc, maker of sophisticated, high-quality writing instruments, to the program’s family of merchandise partners.

HHonors members who reside in the U.S. can now redeem points for gift certificates in denominations of $100, $250, $500 and $1,000. The certificates can in turn be redeemed online for any merchandise offered on the website, which includes thousands of luxury items, from fragrances by CREED(R), Gucci(R) and Calvin Klein(R) to jewelry from Michael Dawkins(R) and Lisa Jenks(R), among others.

Members also can redeem points for select Montblanc products. The offer includes LeGrand Rewards Document Marker and Ballpoint Gift Set, Montblanc Platinum-Finish Classique Ballpoint and Generation de Montblanc Rollerball Pen. The Montblanc Platinum Leather Series Business Card Holder is also available for redemption.

“From offering gift certificates that can be redeemed for some of the finest luxury gifts to providing the perfect writing instrument for signing important business deals, we’re finding ways to make HHonors an even more valuable part of our members’ lives,” said Jeffrey Diskin, president and chief operating officer of Hilton HHonors Worldwide. “The addition of these new reward offers underscores our commitment to helping our members succeed both personally and professionally.” gift certificates may not be redeemed for specially selected merchandise featured on the HHonors Holiday Catalog website.

About Ashford is a leading e-commerce destination for corporate and personal gifts and rewards. The company’s two e-commerce sites, [][1] and [][2], offer 12,000 attractive gifts and rewards, including watches, jewelry, fragrances, leather accessories, diamonds, sunglasses, and writing instruments from 300 leading brands. Dedicated to creating an exceptional luxury shopping experience, provides overnight shipping on nearly all items, gift packaging, and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all merchandise. In addition, the company also guarantees customer privacy and site security. is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

About Montblanc

Montblanc has been known for generations as a maker of sophisticated, high-quality writing instruments. In the past few years, the product range has been expanded to include exquisite writing accessories, luxury leather goods and belts, jewelry items, eyewear and watches. Montblanc has thus become a purveyor of exclusive products which reflect the exacting demands made today for quality design, tradition and master craftsmanship. Established in 1906, there are now 130 Montblanc boutiques and more than 9,000 sales outlets in 70 countries.

About the HHonors Program

Hilton HHonors is a guest reward program that gives frequent travellers a faster way to earn the rewards they want most. Enrolled members can earn HHonors points and airline miles for the same stay, at nearly any rate, at more than 2,100 participating Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels around the world. In addition, HHonors is the only hotel guest reward program that allows its members to exchange airline miles for hotel points and vice versa. Due to the unmatched flexibility, generosity and value offered by HHonors program features, as well as the many attractive promotions that HHonors offers each year, the program has been recognized with numerous travel industry awards. Membership in HHonors is free. Travelers may enroll online by visiting [][3]. Or, to enroll instantly in the program and make reservations, consumers in the U.S. and Canada may call 1-800-HHONORS. Outside the U.S. and Canada, travelers may call the Hilton Reservations Worldwide office in their area. Travelers also may pick up an enrollment form with a membership card at any participating Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn or Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel around the world.




Leading loyalty software and
provider, Catuity, Inc. announced a marketing
and cooperation agreement with Australian smart card software developer, Cards
etc that will see the two companies team up to tackle the rapidly emerging
smart card industry in the US and around the world.
This follows last month’s announcement of Catuity’s development and
cross-licensing agreement with Visa USA that sees Catuity’s suite of loyalty
software and technology being applied to the smart Visa smart card platform.
Cards etc also announced last month its participation in the Visa Smart
Program, providing infrastructure management software to Visa Member banks
issuing smart cards.

The relationship involves technical cooperation and joint marketing and sales
of products following the integration of the Catuity personalization process
with Cards etc’s flagship smart card management software system, Arterium
earlier this year. The combined technologies result in a product that enables
card issuers to conduct multiple payment and loyalty building incentive
programs as well as manage the many functions and applications of each smart
card all on one end-to-end platform, representing a major step forward for the
smart card software industry.

“Acceptance of smart cards in the US market will likely succeed based on the
utility the card provides to the card holder and merchant acquirers,” said
Michael Walters, Joint CEO and Founder of Cards etc. “New transaction schemes
and fraud reduction, which drove smart card acceptance in Europe, will not
likely move this technology forward in the US. Functionality such as Catuity’s
refined ability to bring persistent marketing during the transaction
process as
well as immediate loyalty gratification for the consumer will be what jump
start the use of smart cards here.”

“The synergies between Catuity and Cards etc are conclusive – our products are
complimentary, we have similar customers, we have similar Australian
foundations and cultures, we have both targeted and made extensive inroads
the US market and our two companies are currently seeking to cost effectively
extend our market reach,” said Catuity Chairman, David Mac Smith.
“I personally worked closely with the CEO of Cards etc, Michael Walters, when
establishing Catuity in the early nineties,” Mr. Mac Smith said. “Both of us
recognize that significant marketing cost savings and greater market coverage
can be achieved through this arrangement over the next few years as the smart
card industry in the US and around the world continues to expand.”
“We have been working closely with Catuity to identify opportunities and to
lead innovations in the development of new payment technologies,” said Cards
etc’s Mr. Walters.

About Catuity

Catuity, Inc.
( is a leading provider
of loyalty software systems. The Catuity software includes an integrated suite
of applications that provide loyalty, ticketing, access control and
The Catuity Loyalty System is ubiquitous in that it can operate on any device,
any card program and with any payment process, including stored value, smart
cards and wireless applications. Catuity unites the brick-and-mortar retailer
with the Internet to enable cross-sell capabilities with consistent brand
imaging across all channels.

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 implement 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.


Advanta 2002

Advanta said yesterday it will continue to plow money into its MasterCard business card program for the foreseeable future. The issuer said Monday it expects its 2002 fiscal year operating earnings from continuing business segments to increase by 20%. Advanta says it expects an after tax return on average managed receivables for 2002 of 1.9% to 2.1%. The company also projected that managed receivables will grow 20% to 35% in 2002. Advanta reported third quarter net income for its business cards of $10.6 million, a 21% increase over the second quarter. Advanta ended the third quarter with managed business card receivables of $2.0 billion as compared to $1.9 billion at June 30, and $1.5 billion one year ago. For complete details on Advanta’s 3Q/01 and previous performance please visit CardData (