Providian Warning

CreditSights Inc. says Providian is desperately seeking funds from small time depositors by offering above-market rates. In a report released yesterday the credit research firm says it views Providian’s action as an unsafe and unsound activity that may cause the regulators to exercise their blitz powers. The company strongly warned investors to avoid Providian bonds. CreditSights said that Providian dominates the “Rates & Yields” tables that appear in newspapers nationwide, as well as on popular rate information Websites, such as For jumbo CDs and money markets, CreditSights said Providian offered eight of the 12 highest rates available nationally, in the table which ran in Sunday’s New York Times. The research company says since institutional investors are bailing out of the company’s paper in droves, Providian needs to replace that funding or risk raising cash from card assets of questionable value on its balance sheet. CreditSights accuses the company of taking advantage of the FDIC coverage on deposits less than $100,000 to garner the funds. It believes Providian is engaging in an unsafe or unsound practice by advertising above-market rates to individual depositors and thus endangering the integrity of the bank insurance funds. This could force the regulators to make Providian operate under undercapitalized rules despite capital measures that are higher than the minimum. CreditSights says if this materializes, the company will not be able to offer rates higher than the national average and funding its liabilities will become even more difficult. Providian recently announced it is cutting jobs, suspending dividends, withdrawing earnings guidance, and is seeking to sell-off about $3 billion of its credit card portfolio. For complete details on Providian?s latest earnings report visit CardData ([][1]).




Visa International Asia Pacific announced new policies and a US$25 million
regional investment to accelerate the
migration from today’s magnetic stripe payment cards to EMV-standard smart
cards. Regionally, Visa and its Members will concentrate their initial
investment and efforts in countries that have already started work on smart
cards or expressed concerns about escalating fraud levels.

Under the scheme approved by the Visa International Asia Pacific Board of
Directors in October 2001, the investment has been allocated to support a
range of regional initiatives that will benefit Visa card-issuing banks,
acquiring banks, retailers, technology providers and consumers. The funds
will be available over a seven-year period, beginning 2002. The goal is to
increase member readiness for EMV chip issuance and acquiring. The
initiatives include:

· Training programs for banks, vendors and industry partners

· Enhancement of EMV testing facilities and services

· Support to vendors to increase their range of EMV products and

At the country level, a framework has been agreed and established to
address local initiatives such as domestic policies and funding based on
market readiness, fraud rates and other parameters. Visa will play the
primary role in coordinating activities with its members to achieve
domestic chip migration.

According to Rajiv Kapoor, executive vice president and general manager,
Marketing and Product Sales, Visa International Asia Pacific, ‘The move to
chip will have considerable savings in fraud related losses. Therefore,
our members have established an aggressive timeline to migrate cards and
infrastructure to EMV global standards. A number of our major countries,
such as Japan, Taiwan and Korea, have already embarked on this accelerated
migration, and we expect other countries to follow suit rapidly as the
benefits are magnified.’ Kapoor added that Visa members had expressed
their support to help drive this changeover in individual countries. He
added, ‘This broad ranging consensus from our members on the proposed
smart card migration is testament to the importance of implementing
payments using chip technology. Our combined proactive approach will
clearly lead to a snowball effect, with local, country, and subsequently
industry-wide backing of this strategically important investment.’

Visa has already mandated that all new debit and credit cards utilizing
chip must be EMV-compliant, and that all existing chip programs must become
compliant by January 2004.

‘Smart cards are the safest, most reliable way to combat the escalating
counterfeit fraud in the marketplace today,’ Kapoor continued. ‘They are
also the most versatile payment tool available because banks can combine
different applications on a single chip to tailor and market their cards to
a consumer ‘segment of one’.’ With its family of low-cost smart cards,
Visa currently offers the widest, most cost-effective range of single and
multi-application products in the marketplace. Visa has also negotiated a
series of arrangements with global vendors and manufacturers to reduce
migration costs.

Kapoor said that Visa had conducted smart card research earlier this year
that indicated consumers’ desire to use chip-based cards as part of their
everyday lives. Under the banner of ‘Heart of Smart’, the research was
conducted in five key Asia Pacific markets and stressed the importance of
convenience, multiple applications on a single card and safety during
payment transactions.

The interest in smart card products is borne out in statistics derived from
the Semiconductor Industry Association, San Jose, CA, USA, which forecast
demand for chip production to significantly increase during 2002, with full
recovery to follow in 2003. Banking applications are estimated to
constitute an important segment. Visa statistics validate this trend,
noting that the number of Visa smart cards in Asia Pacific should double to
12 million by 2002, with Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia contributing to
the majority of the growth.

Visa International Asia Pacific has established several key milestones to
underpin the migration to smart cards and global interoperability:

Effective January 2003

All new acquiring bank-owned smart card terminals are required
to be compliant with industry-wide EMV specifications and to meet
specifications for global interoperability.

An interchange incentive of 10 basis points has been established
for payment
transactions between countries in Asia Pacific to reward acquiring banks
and issuing banks who have invested in smart card technology.

Effective January 2006

Losses from fraudulent transactions will shift from card issuers to
merchant acquirers, whenever counterfeit arising from EMV-compliant cards
are used at non-EMV-compliant terminals between countries in Asia Pacific


EMV stands for Europay-MasterCard-Visa, a joint industry working group
created to facilitate the introduction of chip technology into the
international payment systems environment by developing joint
specifications for integrated circuit cards and terminals. EMV serves as
the global framework for chip cards and device manufacturers and is
designed to allow interoperability around the world.

Visa International

Visa is the world’s leading payments brand and the largest payments system
worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate almost US$2 trillion in annual
volume and are accepted at over 22 million locations around the world. The
Visa organization plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products
and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and
their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet-based payments and is
pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce – the ability
to conduct commerce anytime, anywhere, over any type of device.

Visa in Asia Pacific

With a dominant market share of more than 56 percent in the Asia Pacific
region — more than all other payment brands combined, Visa reported card
sales volume for the 12 months ending December 31, 2000 reached US$332
billion. This figure includes US$246 billion in card sales volume, plus a
further US$86 billion of commercial activity using Visa cards in China, as
reported by Chinese member banks. In the same period, the total number of
Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS-branded cards on issue in the Asia
Pacific region increased 25 percent to 260 million cards. Visa’s Internet
address is


PayStar Buys Kiosk Biz

PayStar Corporation, the nation’s leader in providing content based Internet Kiosks, Prepaid and Wireless Banking Services, Cashless ATM devices and Prepaid Telecom Services is pleased to announce it has signed an LOI with NP Communications to purchase nearly 400 Internet kiosks located in many marquee locations that will be converted to the pay-for-use model using PayStar’s Gold-Sprocket software.

‘PayStar gains valuable, high profile travel and hospitality locations with this purchase,’ stated W.D. Yotty, Chairman and CEO of PayStar. ‘Prime locations in Marriott Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Hostels International, the San Francisco Visitors Center, just to name a few, are what we have targeted in the building of PayStar’s Global Virtual Network. We are pleased to have NP Communications Founder and CEO, Robert Kushner, join our PayStar team as a consultant on mergers and acquisitions.’

‘I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with PayStar,’ commented Robert Kushner, NP Communications Founder and CEO. ‘I look forward to being an integral part of the team and to help build PayStar’s Global Virtual Network. My 25 years of successful entrepreneurial experience will compliment PayStar’s ability to access and accomplish future kiosk acquisitions’

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. Success is driven by internal sales as well as mergers and acquisitions. PayStar’s global strategy centers on expanding its network of thousands of locations that utilize state-of-the-art enabling devices.



More than 1.7 million adult Canadians will
purchase holiday gifts online this year representing a 60 percent increase
over last year according to a Visa Canada commissioned survey. At the same
time, average spending will decline by more than 25 percent with Canadians
planning to spend an average of $433 online for holiday gifts this year versus
$597 spent last year.

The survey, commissioned by Visa Canada and conducted by Thompson
Lightstone, shows that holiday shoppers will buy for an average of six people
this year and will spend approximately $72 per gift. Approximately 50 percent
of online shopping will occur throughout November, with the majority of
transactions taking place in the last half of the month.

This holiday season 16 percent of adult Canadians will buy gifts online
compared to 10 percent last year. The survey findings show that convenience,
better prices and better selection are helping spur the growth in the number
of online buyers this year.

Among the respondents who say they will shop online, 33 percent list the
inability to see or touch products as an unappealing aspect of online buying.
Only 10 percent of respondents who plan to shop online this holiday season
cite security issues as an unappealing aspect of buying online. The low
profile on security issues may reflect a growing awareness that Visa
cardholders are fully protected against any financial loss as a result of
unauthorized use of their Visa cards.

“Based on the survey findings it appears as though online buyers are
starting to recognize the protection they have in place when shopping online,”
said Susan MacKeown, Director of e-Visa, Visa Canada. “The survey shows that
more Canadians are enjoying the convenience and ease that online shopping

Among Canadians not planning to buy online, 20 percent cite security
issues as an unappealing aspect of shopping online, 15 percent cite the desire
to touch and see the merchandise versus 14 percent who prefer to shop in

This year Visa is supporting online holiday shopping with a direct-mail,
radio and online advertising program directed at more than 12 million Visa
cardholders nationally. The “Trim your tree for less” promotion offers savings
and special offers to consumers who use their Visa cards to shop at or

“Through the promotion, VISA cardholders have access to discounts at 19
of Canada’s top e-tailers,” said Rosanne Flower, Senior Manager, Internet
Marketing, Visa Canada. “E-tailers offering a broad selection of merchandise,
attractive holiday offers and good prices will benefit the most from the
increase in online traffic this year.”

The survey also shows that Canadians are buying a number of different
items online this year. Twenty seven percent of people buying online plan to
buy books, another 20 percent plan to buy clothes, 16 percent toys, 16 percent
electronic equipment, 14 percent music, and eight percent computer-related

The national telephone survey was conducted between October 25th and
October 31st, 2001. A total of 1,000 male and female respondents 18 years of
age and older were interviewed. The findings are accurate, plus or minus 3.1
percent, 19 times out of 20.

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay”, Visa is the leading credit card payment
brand in Canada and around the world. There are more than 23.6 million VISA
cards in Canada accepted at more than 574,000 merchant locations across the
country. VISA is accepted at over 22 million locations around the world
including almost 700,000 ATMs. The Internet address for Visa is


Coinstar Prepaid MasterCard

Coinstar Inc. announced guidance for 2002 and preliminary financial targets for 2003.

“We expect continued growth from our North American core business, through selective machine expansion and marketing that drives new users to the Coinstar machine,” said Dave Cole, chief executive officer of Coinstar. “Additionally, we are expanding our presence in the United Kingdom and pursuing new product opportunities that will leverage our existing infrastructure.”

North American Core Business

For 2002, the company has provided the following guidance for its North American core business:

Revenue $142 to $148 million

Direct contribution $79 to $84 million

EBITDA $44 to $49 million

Depreciation and amortization $24 to $26 million

Net interest expense $6 to $8 million

Net income $12 to $17 million

Excluding any contribution from new products, the preliminary forecast for Coinstar’s North American core business for 2003 includes revenues of $160 to $172 million and EBITDA of $51 to $61 million. For 2002 and 2003, the company expects to install approximately 800 machines each year in North America, matching the planned installation rate for 2001. On the new product front, Coinstar is running a six-month, 52-store test of the prepaid MasterCard product, which, if successful, could be rolled out in late 2002. The company is also evaluating new product opportunities including other types of prepaid cards and financial services. “While we have not included any new product revenues in our 2002 and 2003 guidance, our goal is to generate 20 percent of revenues from new products in 2004,” said Diane Renihan, chief financial officer.

Previously issued guidance for 2001 projected revenues of $125.5 to $126.5 million, direct contribution of $69 to $70 million, EBITDA of $35.4 to $36 million, and net income of $2 to $2.5 million. “Given the preliminary nature of our forecasts for 2003, we do not plan to update them until we complete the 2003 budget process in late November 2002,” added Renihan.

United Kingdom

Coinstar’s rollout in the United Kingdom is progressing, with 250 installed machines anticipated by year-end 2001. By the end of 2002, the company expects to have approximately 450 to 500 machines in the U.K. “Based on our expectation of reaching EBITDA breakeven at that level of penetration, we could breakeven in the U.K., on a quarterly basis, by the end of 2002,” said Alex Camara, managing director of Coinstar Ltd.

About Coinstar Inc.

Coinstar Inc. owns and operates the only nationwide network of supermarket-based machines that offer coin counting and other electronic services. Linked by a sophisticated interactive network, the company has more than 9,300 machines throughout North America, as well as in the United Kingdom.



MicroStrategy Incorporated, a leading worldwide provider of business
software, announced that Redecard S/A has deployed MicroStrategy
software to enhance its customer relationships and increase overall
productivity by improving data access and streamlining the decision-making
process. Redecard holds 45 percent of Brazil’s domestic credit and debit card
operations, including MasterCard and Diners Club International, with
615,000 authorized points of sale and 170,000 electronic terminals in business

As the company responsible for capturing and transmitting more than 150
million Brazilian credit and debit card transactions per second, Redecard
needed a business intelligence system to track and analyze detailed
transaction and customer data. The MicroStrategy Business Intelligence
Platform(TM) provides Redecard with a better understanding of its market and
allows its users to quickly evaluate and predict customer behavior and

“We chose MicroStrategy as our enterprise-wide standard because it offered
the superior analytics and completely Web-based reporting environment that we
required,” said Fernando Pantaleao, vice president of marketing at Redecard
S/A. “In order to distinguish ourselves as a service company for our
customers, we must constantly analyze our customer relationships, and
MicroStrategy 7(TM) offers the customer-focused analysis we need to succeed.”

“The greatest advantage of this application is that there is no more
uncertainty — employees know exactly what to do when they arrive for work
every day,” continued Pantaleao. “To achieve this kind of success with our
application and to manage quick changes in our business and the market,
however, we needed extremely efficient tools and a reliable ally with top-
quality business intelligence expertise. MicroStrategy addressed these

MicroStrategy’s Brazilian customers include: Banco Central, Serpro, Lojas
Marisa, CVRD, Escelsa, Petroleo Ipiranga and Pao de Acucar.

About Redecard

Redecard is the company responsible for capturing MasterCard(R),
MasterCard Electronic(TM), Maestro(R), Diners Club International(R) and
RedeShop transactions. It also offers business data transportation solutions
through various products by increasing the business volume of the 615
thousands authorized business establishments all over Brazil.

About MicroStrategy Incorporated

Leadership in a Critical Market: Founded in 1989, MicroStrategy is a
worldwide leader in the critical business intelligence software market.
Large and small companies alike are harnessing MicroStrategy’s business
intelligence software to gain vital insights from their data to help them
proactively enhance cost-efficiency, productivity and customer relations and
optimize revenue-generating strategies. MicroStrategy’s business intelligence
platform offers exceptional capabilities that provide organizations — in
virtually all facets of their operations — with user-friendly solutions to
their data query, reporting, and advanced analytical needs, and distributes
valuable insight on this data to users via Web, wireless, and voice. PC
Magazine recently selected MicroStrategy 7(TM) as the 2001 “Editors’ Choice”
for business intelligence software.

Built for the Internet: MicroStrategy 7 is the Scalable Business
Intelligence Platform Built for the Internet(TM). Its pure-Web architecture
provides Web reporting, security, performance and standards that are critical
for Web deployment. Within intranets, MicroStrategy’s products provide
employees with information to enable them to make better, more cost-effective
business decisions. In extranets, enterprises can use MicroStrategy 7 to
build stronger relationships by linking customers and suppliers via the

Diverse Customer Base: MicroStrategy’s customer base cuts across industry
and sector lines, with approximately 1,500 enterprise-class customers,
including Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, AT&T Wireless Group, Wachovia and
GlaxoSmithKline. MicroStrategy also has relationships with over 400 systems
integrators and application development and platform partners, including IBM,
PeopleSoft, Compaq, Informatica and JD Edwards.

MicroStrategy is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol MSTR. For more
information on the company, or to purchase or demo MicroStrategy’s software,
please visit MicroStrategy’s Web site at


FTC Action

The Federal Trade Commission and the Illinois Attorney General charged a group of Illinois-based companies with operating a massive scheme whereby consumers were offered a credit card for a $219.95 fee and then never received a card. As a result a U.S. District Court judge shut-down the firm. The FTC says the defendants also continued their scheme even after the FBI executed a search warrant against them on Sept 6th. The Illinois firms include: 1st Financial Solutions, Inc., American Benefits Club, Inc., Rockwell Holdings, Inc., and John F. Boone, doing business under their respective names and various fictitious names, including: “1st Freedom,” “1st Choice Financial Solutions,” and “Card Services.” 1st Financial Solutions and American Benefits Club are both headquartered in Park Ridge, Illinois. Rockwell Holdings is based in Schaumburg, Illinois, and John F. Boone is an officer of Rockwell Holdings. Earlier this month, the FTC shutdown a group operating out of New Jersey for deceptive telemarketing of advance fee VISA or MasterCard credit cards. A U. S. District Court, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission, also froze the assets of and closed down a marketer of gold catalog cards in early November. According to CardWatch (, solicitations for catalog credit cards have become more prolific and sophisticated this fall. (CF Library 11/13/01)


CertaPay Rides BASE24

ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of enterprise e-payment solutions, announced an alliance with CertaPay Inc., a bank-based, Internet payment service provider. ACI has developed an interface from its BASE24 e-payments processing software to CertaPay’s point-to-point, Internet payment platform. At the same time, CertaPay has licensed ACI’s Proactive Risk Manager software to monitor transactions within CertaPay’s person-to-person Email Money Transfer service for fraud. The Email Money Transfer service is scheduled for commercial launch in early 2002.

“We serve hundreds of financial institutions around the world, and many are wrestling with how to set-up a P2P offering,” says Mark Vipond, president of ACI Worldwide. “We believe the CertaPay model is a good option that puts the needs of financial institutions first. By making BASE24 compatible with CertaPay’s systems, we can help customers bring their P2P solutions to market. “We’ve completed compatibility work for one major North American financial institution, and welcome the opportunity to help other institutions deploy P2P programs,” continued Vipond.

CertaPay and four major Canadian banks will launch Email Money Transfers in the first quarter of 2002 to four million–or 80 percent–of all Canadians banking online. When launched, Canadians will be able to send money from the security of their online banking service to any recipient using only an e-mail address. While e-mail is used to notify recipients of payment, the funds are actually transferred the way banks have cleared payments for years–using existing payment clearing arrangements.

ACI Proactive Risk Manager provides CertaPay an advanced fraud detection system to watch for fraudulent activity within the Email Money Transfer service. ACI Proactive Risk Manager identifies fraudulent behavior by comparing individual card and account usage with known patterns of fraud. Transactions are monitored in near real-time or batch environments; when a suspicious transaction is found, the transaction is flagged for prompt and appropriate action. “By working with ACI’s software, we will be able to track and review P2P transactions as they are processed,” says Michael Ginsberg, CertaPay’s CEO. “It adds an extra layer of security on top of what banks’ already offer–a rock-solid reputation for transaction integrity and peace of mind.”

About CertaPay Inc.

CertaPay specializes in real-time, point-to-point e-mail payment solutions and is the exclusive P2P service provider to Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust. As a result of these bank relationships, Canada will enjoy the highest penetration of domestic P2P e-mail payments in the world. CertaPay is enabling other banking jurisdictions with its platform to create a real-time, global payment network, powering e-mail money transfers to virtually anyone with an e-mail address. Formed in 2000, CertaPay Inc. is privately held and headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Visit CertaPay online at [][1].

About ACI Worldwide

Every second of every day, consumers are initiating electronic payment transactions–getting cash at ATMs, using debit and credit cards to make purchases in stores and on the Internet, banking by phone and PC, paying bills online. Twenty billion times a year, ACI software is used to process these transactions, powering the world’s online payment systems. ACI was founded in 1975 and pioneered the development of applications and networking software for online transaction processing. Today more than 530 customers in 79 countries use ACI supplied software. Visit ACI Worldwide on the Internet at [][2].



Hypercom 3Q/01

Hypercom reported this morning it has achieved positive EBIDTA of $4.6 million on revenues of $71.0 million for the third quarter. The company noted this does not include $12.3 million of revenue for product that could not be shipped due to the temporary suspension of air shipments following Sept 11th. Strong demand for Hypercom’s information and transaction platforms produced a backlog of $158 million during 3Q. Hypercom shipped its 300,000th ‘ICE’ terminal during the quarter. Also during 3Q/01, the company finalized arrangements with the new banking group and secured over $63 million in debt and equity financing. For complete details on Hypercom’s 3Q/01 results visit CardData ([][1]).



e-Port Vending

USA Technologies, Inc. has penetrated another nontraditional marketing opportunity with its revolutionary e-Port cashless microtransaction technology — vending machines that dispense a variety of eyewear from sun glasses to prescription reading glasses.

The new prototype self-serve optical kiosk is called Instant Eyewear, a product of Instant Eyewear Ltd., a division of Fort Realty Ltd. of Victoria, British Columbia. The Instant Eyewear kiosk, built around a Crane merchandizing system, was demonstrated at NAMA Vending Exposition in Chicago last month as part of the USA Technologies’ exhibit. The self-serve kiosk incorporates an interactive touch screen display, which allows customers to take an eye test, before swiping their credit card through the e-port device to purchase their eyewear

Over the past 12 months, e-Port has begun revolutionizing the $37 billion worldwide vending industry. Vending machines equipped with e-Port are dispensing everything from traditional consumer products such as soda and snacks, to frozen gourmet pizza, cellular telephones and telephone cards.

“e-Port has opened up new markets and is generating new revenue streams through automated retailing of an increasing variety of consumer products,” said Michael Lawlor, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, USA Technologies. “In the future, vending machines will dispense just about every kind of food or consumer product sold today in department stores and supermarkets. Vending operators are already looking at dispensing compact discs, movies and MP3 files that download music, as well as an increasing variety of fast food, snack food and gourmet food. And with e-Ports additional capability to remotely monitor vending machines, out of stock issues will be minimized and because cash can be eliminated, vandalism will no longer be a major concern,” he said.

USA Technologies’ strategic plan to expand applications for e-Port is evidenced in its three-year agreement inked earlier this year with the United Taxi Alliance of New York City to equip their taxis and limousines. e-Port equipped taxis and limousines promise to add considerable convenience for passengers and provide enhanced safety for the driver. Passengers can opt to pay the fare with credit cards, and if cabs ultimately no longer need to carry cash, drivers will be able to enjoy added security.

The e-Port also recently penetrated the coin operated Laundromat market. Laundromats that once required coins and tokens to operate washers and dryers, can now be activated by swiping a credit or bank check card. USA Technologies is working with top laundry operators, distributors and manufacturers to implement e-Port. The e-Port has already been installed at Laundromats in major colleges and universities and apartment communities.

“Our objective is to cover all options in the cashless microtransaction explosion sweeping the world, applying our e-Port technology to everything, from vending machines, office equipment, POS and ATM terminals, to nontraditional machines that provide products and services, such as gas pumps and postage machine dispensers,” said Mr. Lawlor. “We want to give our customers the widest family of e-Port offerings and maximum ability to connect worldwide, with the technology they prefer, at a cost they can afford. In the future, e-Port technology may be commonplace in vending, laundry and other unattended point-of-sale applications, as well as in manufacturing applications, controlled access and security applications,” he said.

In the months ahead USA Technologies expects to announce more partnerships that target an even wider range of market opportunities. Pilot programs are already under way in many industries, including some of America’s largest consumer brand names.

e-Port is a device that can be embedded into vending machines, gas pumps, office equipment and almost any kind of point-of-sale terminal. The technology enables the conversion of unattended points of sale into intelligent “store fronts”, connected to the Internet, and capable of communicating operational data to operators, conducting cashless micro-transactions. It can come fitted with an interactive, touch screen that features interactive media/advertising at point of sale, giving location owners the ability to communicate with and improve the buying experience of consumers, promote products, provide free access to web based media such as news, sports and weather and possibly generate incremental revenues from interactive media.

About USA Technologies:

USA Technologies is recognized as a leader in cashless micro transactions, associated financial/network services and interactive media technology. USA Technologies provides credit card activated and other cashless/mobile commerce systems. USA Technologies is an IBM (NYSE: IBM – news) Business Partner and an inaugural member of the Sprint (NYSE: FON – news) Enabling Application Service Provider Program for e-commerce. It has also established partnerships with a number of global IT, multimedia, and telecommunications companies including Marconi Online Systems, RadiSys Corporation, DoubleClick Inc., and Xerox Corporation. Visit the USA Technologies home page at [][1].

About Instant Eyewear

Instant Eyewear pioneered the automatic merchandizing of eyewear and related products, essentially creating an electronic storefront, which guides customers through an eye test and product selection. To achieve this goal, Instant Eyewear established a partnership with USA Technologies, Crane National Vending and many others. For more information please contact Bryan Bradbury, 250-383-3132.



Fleet Card Head

Following the announced departure of Joe Saunders as the head of its credit card division, FleetBoston announced Monday the appointment of Patrick Coll as chairman and CEO of Fleet Credit Card Services. Coll has been serving as EVP of Card Services with primary responsibility for marketing. Coll has been with Fleet for three years. He previously spent three years at Household Credit Services, where he was managing director of the GM Card, and has held positions at Krupp/Taylor USA, Citibank and Continental Illinois National Bank. As reported in yesterday morning’s CardFlash, Joe Saunders has been hired as Providian’s new president and CEO. Since December 1997, Saunders has been Chairman and CEO of Fleet Credit Card Services. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Household. Under the direction of Saunders and Coll, Fleet’s card receivables have grown 440% since over the past four years. In October 1997, Fleet acquired the Advanta consumer card portfolio. (CF Library 10/29/97; 12/2/97)

3Q/97 3Q/98 3Q/99 3Q/00 3Q/01
$2.7 billion $14.5 billion $13.9 billion $14.4 billion 14.6 billion
Source: CardData (


Holiday Sales Up 2.3%

Despite unfavorable weather conditions in many parts of the country, good cheer nevertheless appeared prevalent as American consumers helped buoy same-store retail sales 2.3 percent over the same three days last year, according to TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. Although retail sales tapered off slightly from the robust start to the season on “Black Friday,” the positive showing is consistent with TeleCheck’s forecast of a 2-percent same-store sales gain for the entire 32-day shopping season. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index includes data from a broad cross-section of retailers nationwide. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Denver-based First Data Corp.

“For the most part, spending continued steadily throughout the weekend. It is not unusual to see a slight slow-down in sales after an initial surge on the day after Thanksgiving — particularly with a long shopping season,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “There is a long 32-day shopping season this year with an extra day at the end for last minute shopping. We anticipate the strongest sales increases to occur in the last week before Christmas.”

“The retail sector of the economy continues to show its relative strength, accounting for a third of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, or GDP,” said Dr. Ira Silver, TeleCheck’s Senior Retail Adviser. “Consumer spending will be a contributing factor to the economy’s ability to rebound. The steady retail activity over the first weekend of the holiday season is a good indicator that — despite talk of a recession — retailers will see better-than-expected sales this year.”

Sales in the Southeast were up 2.8 percent, with Louisiana’s sales up 3.1 percent, Georgia’s sales up 3.0 percent, Tennessee’s sales up 2.8 percent, Florida’s sales up 2.7 percent and The Carolinas’ sales up 2.6 percent.

In the Southwest, sales grew 2.5 percent. Sales rose 2.8 percent in Oklahoma, 2.5 percent in Texas and 2.2 percent in Missouri.

Sales in the Northeast also rose 2.5 percent, with New York State growing 2.6 percent and Massachusetts up 2.2 percent.

The Mid-Atlantic region saw sales jump 2.4 percent. Virginia’s sales gained 2.8 percent, New Jersey’s sales rose 2.6 percent, Pennsylvania’s sales climbed 2.5 percent, Maryland’s sales increased 2.1 percent and sales in the District of Columbia were up 1.4 percent.

Sales in the Midwest region gained 2.3 percent. In Wisconsin, sales grew 2.8 percent, sales increased 2.3 percent in Illinois, sales in both Ohio and Minnesota grew 2.2 percent and Michigan’s sales rose 1.6 percent.

In the West, sales increased 1.8 percent. Both Oregon and Hawaii saw sales jump 2.8 percent and sales in both Washington and Arizona rose 1.9 percent. Sales in Colorado grew 1.5 percent and sales in California jumped 1.4 percent.

In 2000, TeleCheck authorized more than $163 billion in checks, representing 3.2 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, visit the Internet site at [][1].