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 (www.cardwatch.com), solicitations for catalog credit cards have become more prolific and sophisticated this fall. (CF Library 11/13/01)

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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 [http://www.certapay.com][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 [http://www.aciworldwide.com][2].

[1]: http://www.certapay.com/
[2]: http://www.aciworldwide.com/

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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 ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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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 [http://www.usatech.com][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.

[1]: http://www.usatech.com/

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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)

FLEET RECEIVABLES TRACK RECORD
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 (www.carddata.com)

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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 [http://www.telecheck.com][1].

[1]: http://www.telecheck.com/

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NPC Big Lots

National Processing Company announced this morning the renewal of a multi-year processing agreement with Big Lots, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide an end-to-end processing solution for all Big Lot’s VISA and MasterCard transactions. Big Lots, Inc. is the nation’s largest broad-line closeout retailer with annual sales in excess of $3 billion and more than 1,300 stores throughout 45 states. NPC will provide an end-to-end payment solution, to include front-end authorization and settlement services. NPC recently signed an agreement with the Professional Association of Innkeepers International to be their endorsed provider of merchant processing services. The processor also signed this month a multi-year agreement with Independent Bankers’ Bank to provide marketing and merchant processing services to the community banks that IBB serves. (CF Library 11/16/01: 11/21/01)

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FDC Direct Debit

First Data Merchant Services said this morning it has established additional direct connections to two major debit networks. First Data’s front-end payment processing systems now interface with the ‘MAC’ and ‘Interlink’ networks to provide their merchants with direct on-line debit POS transactions. FDC recently made connections directly to the ‘NYCE’, ‘Pulse’, and ‘Star’ networks. FDC has processed over 580 million PIN-based debit POS transactions this year, representing a 30% growth over last year’s volume. The point-to-point connectivity allows First Data to substantially minimize dependency upon third-party gateway providers, improve online performance, and manage reconciliation of transactions. First Data’s network control center will monitor debit networks just as it does credit card networks. In June, FDC announced a 60-65% equity interest in NYCE. FDC hopes to leverage TeleCheck’s leadership in electronic and Internet check acceptance as complements to the set of payment choices that directly debit a consumer’s DDA or share draft account. (CF Library 6/15/01)

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Regency Horizon President

Palomar Enterprises, Inc. announces the company (D.B.A. Regency Horizon Corporation) has appointed Mr. Arnold Wenzloff as its President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Wenzloff has an impressive background spanning 20 years in the banking services industry and will head up the company’s new debt management and financial services venture focused on acquiring and collecting on non-performing debt.

Mr. Wenzloff is a transaction-processing expert that has extensive experience in all areas of Transaction Card Management with specialization in Operations and Risk Management. He served as Consultant for International Payment Card programs, specializing in Risk Management and Operations and other areas of Payment Card Management. He built several Risk Management groups and consolidated / re-engineered Authorization, Security, and Recovery Departments for VisaNet, where he built the foundation for VISANET, a partnership of three Brazilian Acquiring Banks and Visa. He also coordinated the selection of EDS, Brazil, as the external payment card processor and TRANSPEV as the draft capture processor serving VISANET and the Brazilian $8.8 billion Acquiring Payment System.

During his career in financial services, Mr. Wenzloff consulted Bancomer, Mexico’s second largest bank with 7 divisions, 50 regions and 800 branches. He has also been Interim Center Manager, Century National Bank Ltd., Kingston, Jamaica and Senior Vice-President of Southeast National Bank, Bank Card Division, in Miami, Florida.

Regency Horizon Corporation is a newly formed financial services company created to provide funding for a growing portfolio of non-performing debt from previously non-locatable debtors. The company will continue to build it’s portfolio of debt, and through managing collections, return exceptional profits on a proportionately small capital investment. With industry leader, People Locator, Regency Horizon has invested in the best people, processes, and technology available today.

Through its arrangement with People Locator Inc., the nation’s leading debtor information provider for non-locatable debtors, Regency Horizon intends to collect on a specific debt portfolio not conducive to conventional collection methods. People Locator Inc. has a phenomenal record of locating 80% of debtors requested by Fortune 500 clientele.

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PAYMENT-CENTRIC

RS2 Software Group and Telaterra Software Ltd. announced today the signing
of an agreement with Jordan National Bank PLC and the George Nuqul Group to
form PaymentCentric, a new joint venture company located in Amman, Jordan.
PaymentCentric will offer Internet based e-payment infrastructure and
processing services to banks, general financial services organizations and
merchants initially in the Middle East.

In the announcement Mr. Reinhold Schäffter, RS2’s Group Chief Executive
Officer said, “This new joint venture with our partners in Amman is a
further step in selected business strategies which now include entry into
electronic payment transaction processing using RS2’s proprietary core
software BankWORKS®.” Mr. Schäffter commented further, “The year 2000 was a
year of consolidation and implementation of strategies to engage only in
businesses which strengthen our products and services using BankWORKS® to
build existing businesses and to launch new ones. Entering international
markets with joint ventures offers tremendous opportunities to expand our
position as transaction processor. It is an important milestone towards our
long-term success, and allows us to increase our market share and earn
superior and predictable returns.’

The first range of Internet based services to be introduced by
PaymentCentric will include Internet on-line authorization switching,
e-Billing through new channels, e-Payments for credit and debit card
transaction processing and hosting of merchant store-front applications.

In joining in the announcement Mr. Sameer Mubarak, Technical Director and
Co-Founder at Telaterra, added, “The e-Payment infrastructure that
PaymentCentric provides comes to complement the e-Government efforts
directed and supported by H.M. King Abdullah II. PaymentCentric services are
based on latest available technology and software solutions whereby
transaction processing is linked to local and international payment
infrastructures on a real-time on-line basis. We anticipate start-up with
our first customer in February 2002.”

TELATERRA SOFTWARE LTD

Telaterra is a Jordanian company, which provides efficient and high quality
software outsourcing services. It specializes in Internet-enabled software
application development. Telaterra is set apart from its peers in the local
market by employing highly qualified staff which enables Telaterra to
develop dynamic integrated and network able software solutions targeted at
the thin-client market. In providing broadly based added-value services
Telaterra efficiently assists their customers in improving their financial
bottom line.

Please find further information at
www.telaterra.com

JORDAN NATIONAL BANK PLC

Jordan National Bank PLC was established in Jordan in 1955. It operates 54
branches and offices in Jordan, 35 of which are in the Greater Amman Area,
12 branches in Lebanon, an international banking unit in Cyprus, and 5
branches in Palestine (West Bank). The Bank’s principal activities include
retail and corporate banking services such as deposits in JD in all
principal foreign currencies, lending, trade finance, foreign exchange,
credit cards and investments. Jordan National Bank is regarded as a retail
bank with a strong market position and customer base.

Please find further information at www.ahli.com

RS2 SOFTWARE GROUP

RS2 Software Group is a global provider of business driven electronic
payment solutions and Internet services, consultancy and related services to
the banking and financial industry, service providers and retailers. RS2
Software Group lists major financial institutions as its clients.
BankWORKS® products are installed at over 80 locations in more than 30
countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia. RS2
Software Group companies have offices in Germany, Malta, Hungary, Egypt,
Lebanon and Hong Kong.

Please find further information at www.rs2.com

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People’s CRM

HNC Software Inc., a leading provider of high-end analytics and decision management software, announced that People’s Bank, a Connecticut-based bank with a national credit card operation, will implement HNC’s Profit Manager software as a critical component of its new customer relationship management initiative.

“Measuring and deploying customer profitability information for effective cross-selling and the overall optimization of customer treatment strategies will be a crucial aspect of our overall CRM program,” said James Sheridan, People’s Bank senior vice president of customer relationship management. “After reviewing several customer profitability systems, we found HNC’s Profit Manager software to be the most sophisticated and selected it as the cornerstone of our CRM initiative.”

Profit Manager software calculates the profitability of customers, relationships, products and business units. The system incorporates an interface to core accounting and banking systems, and guards the integrity of profitability measurement through matched-maturity funds transfer pricing and sophisticated cost-allocation methods, including activity-based costing. The system can also be used to conduct valuable “what if” scenarios and customer simulations to facilitate optimized CRM strategies.

“People’s Bank’s ability to generate funds transfer pricing and assemble customer fee income, customer activity cost drivers and functional standard costs from several diverse data sources results in rapid and significant customer and product performance differentiation,” said Richard Ciolli, a principal business consultant with HNC Software.

Traditional measures of customer profitability often include variables such as high average balances, demographics and multiple account relationships, but do not account for the actual cost of providing the services and channels that customers use. There are segments within segments that warrant different treatment strategies. For example, a customer may have a high balance yet write a high number of checks and visit branches often, while another customer with a similar balance may instead use low-cost channels such as ATMs and the Internet.

“In today’s highly competitive business environment, it is critical that companies do more than merely collect customer profitability information. They must accurately measure, analyze and use it to their maximum advantage,” said Michael Chiappetta, group vice president of customer analytics for HNC Software. “A multidimensional enterprise-wide profitability system is one of the critical technologies needed to manage holistic customer relationships.”

About People’s Bank

People’s Bank (peoples.com) is a diversified financial services company providing commercial, consumer, insurance and investment services. Founded in 1842, it is the largest state-chartered bank in Connecticut with managed assets of $13 billion, 146 branches and 220 ATMs. People’s is a leader in consumer and commercial banking, residential lending, insurance sales, supermarket banking and is the nation’s 15th-largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa credit cards. People’s subsidiaries offer brokerage services, asset management, equipment financing and leasing and insurance services.

About HNC Software Inc.

HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:HNCS) is a leading provider of high-end analytic and decision management software that enables global companies to manage customer interactions by converting data and business experiences into real-time recommendations. HNC’s proven software empowers Global 2000 companies in the financial services, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, and other industries and governments to make millions of the right mission-critical customer decisions, and take action in real time, substantially improving financial performance, reducing costs and decreasing risk. For more information, visit [www.hnc.com][1].

[1]: http://www.hnc.com/

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