Bank of America has introduced a handheld wireless payment terminal for mobile merchants. Manufactured by Thales e-Transactions under the product name of ‘Artema’, the lightweight device is battery-operated. It comes with an integrated thermal printer and is equipped with a base unit that provides the ability to perform dialup downloads and acts as a charging station for the battery. The BofA ‘Wireless Solution’ accesses US Wireless Data’s inter-carrier network, so there is no need to sign up for a separate account. Users can roam nationwide and pay no extra charges, since the network covers 90% of all cosmopolitan areas. When users do end up in a non-coverage area, they can choose to perform the transactions off-line, still swiping the credit card, but storing the transaction data in the terminal.Details
Symcor Inc. announced that its direct
marketing business, Symcor Direct Response, has reached a four-year agreement
with The Loyalty Management Group Canada Inc. to produce its quarterly AIR
MILES Summary Statement. This statement is delivered to more than 6.7 million
active AIR MILES Collector households across Canada.
The AIR MILES Summary Statement contains a synopsis of Collector
transactions for the quarter, as well as a variety of targeted inserts from
Sponsor organizations, including coupons, special offers and Sponsor
The Summary Statement features an innovative new design that more
effectively organizes and highlights important information and facilitates the
presentation of personalized messages. As well, the solution leverages
advanced innovations in data management, data programming, laser
personalization and lettershop services to enable the AIR MILES Reward Program
to provide the most targeted offers possible for Collectors.
“Symcor Direct Response has unique technology, applications and tools
that can offer its customers enhanced abilities to target customers profitably
and to personalize communications effectively,” said Rich Bassett, President
of Symcor Direct Response.
About Symcor Inc.
Symcor Inc. is a North American leader in providing financial transaction
outsourcing services in two key business areas – Item Processing and Customer
Communication. Symcor provides individualized product and service solutions to
customers in the banking, mutual fund, insurance, retail, telecom and utility
sectors. Symcor’s services include cheque, credit card and payment processing,
application and Web development, and a full range of customer bill and
statement advisory, design, presentment and direct marketing capabilities. For
more information, please visit
About The Loyalty Group
Created by The Loyalty Group in 1992, The AIR MILES(R) Reward Program is
Canada’s most popular loyalty marketing program, with more than 60 per cent of
Canadian households — representing more than 11.2 million Canadians —
actively collecting AIR MILES(R) reward miles with the recognizable blue or
A new survey has found that 76% of consumers are aware of gift cards as a retail product. Nearly 50 million adults have purchased gift cards and more than 63 million adults have received gift cards in the past 12 months. The findings come from a survey commissioned by First Data’s ‘ValueLink’ service and conducted by TNS Intersearch’s Express Omnibus. Among the three-quarters of consumers aware of gift cards, 44% said they were “very” or “somewhat likely” to purchase as many as four gift cards in the next 12 months with an average value of $44. The research also found the most popular values for purchased cards were $20, $25 and $50, although a majority, 71%, prefer a card with an open-end capability that allows the buyer to determine the dollar amount. Birthdays and the Christmas holiday dominated the list of occasions and reasons people purchased or received an electronic gift card. This year the gift card bandwagon has expanded. Last month Discover announced a gift card and KeyBank unveiled a branch-instantly-issued prepaid MasterCard. Paymentech and Hooters of America also announced in October a gift card program offering ten collectable cards. (CF Library 10/10/01; 10/11/01; 10/16/01; 11/01/01)Details
MasterCard International has standardized on EMC information storage systems and software for its transaction information infrastructure. In the last three years, MasterCard has nearly tripled its EMC information infrastructure to over 130 terabytes. MasterCard recently consolidated approximately 50TBs of mission critical information onto EMC information storage from multiple environments, including mainframe, Unix and NT. The consolidation took place when MasterCard moved its information from one data center in St. Louis, Missouri to MasterCard’s Technology and Operations facility located in O’Fallon, Missouri. The EMC information infrastructure supports MasterCard’s range of computing platforms, including IBM UNIX, IBM mainframe, Sun Solaris, and Hewlett-Packard Windows NT.Details
Citibank’s ‘c2it’ person-to-person payment service has removed the transaction fee charged to its customers to send money online in the U.S. The move by Citibank is aimed directly at wresting PayPal users away from popular online auction Web sites such as eBay. PayPal, with more than ten million registered users and a 90% market share, is set to launch an IPO. Citibank launched its ‘c2it’ service one year ago and has since signed up more than 225,000 users. Earlier this year Citibank changed its fee structure from a flat $2 fee to a fee ranging from 1.0% to 2.2%, depending on the amount transferred, with a 50 cents minimum. Citibank’s P2P payment service is delivered under various brands such as ‘America Online Quick Cash’. Citibank has branded the service with Microsoft under a deal signed in May. Citibank also signed an exclusive deal with AuctionWatch and took ‘c2it’ global in May. Citibank further announced yesterday it is offering online sellers the opportunity to earn a $5 bounty for every new user they refer to ‘c2it’. When a seller includes the ‘c2it’ logo on the item for sale, or on his or her Web site, and a user clicks on the logo and successfully enrolls in ‘c2it’, the seller earns the $5 referral bonus. In October, Citibank began paying Web sites a $5 bounty for new customers. PayPal also pays a $5 bounty for referring new users. To-date PayPal has racked up more than $230 million in losses since it was launched in early 1999. It expects to raise about $80 million in the upcoming IPO. (CF Library 11/1/00; 5/01/01; 5/02/01; 5/22/01; 9/07/01; 10/02/01; 10/25/01)Details
ANZ’s new ‘Zed smart VISA’ card hit New Zealand this week as a television ad
campaign kicked in, featuring Brains from the popular Thunderbirds show. The
new card will enable cardholders next month to download discount product
vouchers from retailers, via the card’s Web site, using personal computer
card reader. ANZ expects to deploy more than 30,000 smart card readers to
retailers by year end 2002. As part of the launch, ANZ is expected to have
converted more than 14,000 ATMs to support smart card transactions in both New
Zealand and Australia. ANZ will launch the ‘smart VISA’ product in Australia
PubliCARD, Inc. reported its financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2001. Revenues for the third quarter of 2001 were $1,575,000, comparable to $1,573,000 a year ago. The net loss from continuing operations for the quarter, excluding a repositioning charge of $1,232,000, was $1,567,000, or $0.06 per share, compared with $5,172,000, or $0.22 per share, a year ago. The decline in the net loss is attributable primarily to work force reductions and other cost containment measures associated with the Company’s July 2001 strategic repositioning action. Operating expenses are expected to decrease further as the benefits of the repositioning program and other cost containment measures materialize.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2001, revenues increased to $4,434,000, from $4,215,000 a year ago. The net loss from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2001, excluding a repositioning charge of $7,317,000, was $8,501,000, or $0.35 per share, compared with $15,432,000, or $0.67 per share, a year ago. Also during the nine months ended September 30, 2001 and 2000, the Company revised its estimates of expenses associated with previously discontinued operations and reversed reserves amounting to $2,350,000, or $0.10 per share, in 2001 and $4,275,000, or $.19 per share, in 2000, respectively. As of September 30, 2001, cash and short-term investments totaled $6,047,000, exclusive of approximately $2,200,000 of escrow deposits established in connection with prior dispositions.
In July 2001, after evaluating the timing of potential future revenues, PubliCARD’s Board decided to shift the Company’s strategic focus and reposition its smart card reader and chip business. In connection with this shift in strategic focus, the Company recorded a charge aggregating $7,317,000 in the second and third quarters of 2001. The charge consisted of write-offs of goodwill and fixed assets, a write-down of inventory to its net realizable value, and severance and other costs principally related to the termination of 36 employees.
In early October 2001, PubliCARD announced the formation of a new minority-owned affiliate, MAKO Technologies LLC, to market and develop its smart card reader and chip technologies, which represented 23% of consolidated revenues for the first nine months of 2001. This decision substantially eliminates the cash funding requirements for the smart card reader and chip business while retaining an upside potential in the form of royalties over the next two years and a 46% ownership interest in MAKO.
PubliCARD will continue to develop and market its smart card platform solutions for educational and corporate sites through its U.K. based subsidiary, Infineer Ltd., which represented 77% of consolidated revenues for the first nine months of 2001. PubliCARD’s future plans revolve around an acquisition strategy focused on businesses in areas outside the high technology sector while continuing to support the expansion of the Infineer Ltd. business.
About PubliCARD, Inc.
Headquartered in New York, NY, PubliCARD today is a smart card technology company providing infrastructure products and solutions to facilitate secure access and transactions. Through its’ Infineer Ltd. subsidiary, the Company designs smart card platform solutions for educational and corporate sites. The Company also licenses industry compliant smart card reader solutions and application specific integrated circuits to MAKO Technologies LLC, a PubliCARD affiliate. More information about PubliCARD’s 3Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
A new survey says the number of U.S. households subscribing to online services declined nearly four percent during the third quarter. Telecommunications Reports International says its research shows the online market has peaked. The firm found that 67.9 million U.S. customers subscribed to online services as of the end of the third quarter, down from 70.7 million three months prior, or a loss of 2.7 million subscribers. Compared to figures from TR’s ‘Online Census’ a year ago, the current online customer base is about 7.4% higher than the 63.2 million users tallied at the end of the third quarter of 2000. However, the 3.9% decline for the third quarter of 2001 compares to a 1.5% rate of growth during the same period last year and 10.7% growth rate during the third quarter of 1999. Overall, TR’s ‘Online Census’ found that of the six access methods tracked, only two, cable modem and DSL, showed any sizable increases in subscribers during the third quarter. AOL, with 31.3 million subscribers, signed up 1.2 million new users during the third quarter, the smallest quarterly gain since the spring of 1998.Details
Global Payments Inc. a leading provider of electronic processing services, announced an agreement to provide transaction authorization and settlement processing services, as well as merchant accounting to Electronic Exchange Systems.
“Utilizing Global’s platform and network of services, our national distribution channel can leverage the most current technologies at competitive rates giving us a tremendous selling advantage,” said Vice President Affiliate Relations for EXS, Jim White.
“We are very pleased to partner with an Independent Sales Organization of EXS’ caliber,” said Vaden C. Landers, president, ISO line of business, Global Payments Inc. “EXS is a formidable competitor in the merchant acquiring marketplace. This processing agreement, combined with their proven track record in the industry, should elevate their ability to grow the business quickly and effectively,” he added.
EXS is an Independent Sales Organization with a merchant base of over 10,000 accounts and an industry leader in providing customized solutions for small to medium merchants and larger national accounts in the retail, restaurant, sports, lodging and emerging market sectors. EXS specializes in niche market, value-added services including smart card applications, gift and loyalty programs, ACH funds transfer and unique wireless solutions.
Global Payments Inc. is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to merchants, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national corporations located throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and Europe. Global Payments offers a comprehensive line of payment solutions, including credit and debit cards, business-to-business purchasing cards, gift cards, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, check guarantee, check verification and recovery, terminal management and funds transfer services.Details
ASK S.A., a world leader in dual interface contactless smart cards, announced
the ERG Group has selected them as the preferred supplier for transit
applications. ASK also announced the acquisition of the manufacturing assets
for the Venus contactless smart cards developed by Motorola, along with an
unrestricted production license, in a three-way transaction between ERG,
Motorola and ASK. Details of the transaction were not announced.
The realignment of strategy at Motorola and the ERG Group in the global
Automated Fare Collection market created this opportunity for us, said Bruno
Moreau, deputy general manager for ASK. We want to step in and take over
Motorola left off, and the first order of business is to put in place a stable
and reliable manufacturing capability for Venus smart card products. We are
optimistic that this will help us to better serve our current and future
clients, and it will stimulate the growth of the contactless smart card
industry as a whole.
The Venus technology is an operating system embedded on the chip of a smart
card. Like the other products of ASK, it is focused on high-speed contactless
smart card transactions for Automated Fare Collection applications in transit
systems. ERG transit projects such as San Francisco, Rome and Manchester
currently use the Venus technology.
ASK will continue to manufacture and market its existing line of contactless
card products for transit. The company will also capitalize on their know-how
to create a new generation Venus card that provides a migration path going
forward for customers using this technology.
To complete this transaction, the ERG Group acquired a license to Motorola s
Venus platform smart card technology along with the plant and equipment needed
for the manufacture of Venus smart cards. ERG in turn sold the manufacturing
plant and equipment to ASK and granted ASK a non-exclusive sublicense to the
About ASK S.A.
Founded in 1997, ASK is today a world leader in the design, development,
marketing and manufacturing of dual interface contactless smart cards. The
international smart card community recently recognized the company s unique
contactless paper technology for disposable ticketing at the Cartes 2001 card
show in Paris, when ASK won two prestigious 2001 SESAME awards — Best
Application and Best Transport Application. ASK has already supplied more
7 million contactless cards and paper contactless tickets that are in
in more than 35 cities in Europe, Asia and America. Clients include SNCF and
RATP in Paris; transit operators in Lisbon, Lyon, Venice, Naples, Taipei and
Nice; and BMS, a project in France sponsored jointly by the financial services
and transport industries. The ASK manufacturing and personalization
are near Nice in Sophia Antipolis, France with commercial offices in Paris and
Cardservice International has created a dedicated Web site — called Mymerchantoffice.com — to provide its merchants with easy and fast access to their merchant account information. By logging on to Mymerchantoffice.com, merchants can obtain such information as transaction activity, retrieval information, chargeback activity and monthly statements.
This online site will complement Cardservice International’s existing customer service options. In addition to this dedicated Web site, Cardservice merchants can speak to a customer service representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 140 languages and dialects, can submit questions via e-mail and can access and retrieve deposit information through our interactive voice response system.
“Cardservice International developed this dedicated merchant site, Mymerchantoffice.com, based on merchant feedback and input,” said Cardservice International’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Miller. “It provides our merchants with full online access to their merchant account statements, and it is another example of Cardservice International’s credit card processing industry leadership.”
Cardservice merchants will be notified through a statement insert, which details the Mymerchantoffice.com site benefits. The insert invites merchants to log on and take a tour of the Web site. Once merchants enroll, they can view the online tutorial to familiarize themselves with the site’s format and functions.
About Cardservice International Inc.
Headquartered in Moorpark, Cardservice International provides a wide range of noncash transaction processing options to local, regional and national traditional and Internet businesses. With more than 125 million transactions annually — from point-of-sale credit card processing to e-commerce solutions — Cardservice International is recognized as a leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Established in 1988, the company processes every type of electronic payment method, including credit, debit, electronic benefits transfer and electronic checks. In addition, Cardservice offers popular point-of-sale hardware and software for brick-and-mortar and Internet payment acceptance. To prevent and monitor fraudulent activities, Cardservice International has one of the largest chargeback and loss prevention departments in the industry. Cardservice supports its merchants with customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 140 languages and dialects. First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, holds a 50 percent equity position with Cardservice. For more information about Cardservice International, visit [http://www.cardservice.com].
Freestar Technologies, Inc. announced that
pursuant to its contractual agreement with La Nacional de Envios, the leading
public payment system in the Dominican Republic, Freestar’s innovative
PaySafeNow system for La Nacional is now operational. This is the first
public payment system of its kind, offering economical, PIN-authenticated ATM
and debit card options for the transfer of money over the Internet. La
Nacional will deploy the PaySafeNow system throughout its network of 24
branches in NewYork, Spain, Puerto Rico and Venezuela and more than 300 agents
throughout the United States.
La Nacional can now offer its customers PIN-secured ATM and Debit Card
money transfer transactions online via Freestar Technologies’ bundled
PaySafeNow technology package. PaySafeNow includes software and a secure card
reader, allowing consumers the ability to securely transfer money locally or
internationally over the Internet using ATM, debit or smart cards. Transaction
costs are significantly less than those charged by competitive public payment
systems, and users can execute cash transactions from brick-and-mortar
commercial locations or the comfort of home, 24 hours a day.
Under the agreement, La Nacional will sell and distribute the PaySafeNow
solution to its existing and new client base throughout North and Latin
America. The initial stage of the agreement requires La Nacional to purchase
1,500 secure card readers from Freestar to distribute and deploy to its
branches and agencies throughout the U.S.
Paul Egan, CEO of Freestar Technologies, commented, “We have a significant
opportunity to drive the market for Internet secure money transfer using
ATM/debit cards with PIN authentication. Now that we have a proven template,
which offers a highly competitive cost to the consumer, together with our
partners we can offer similar financial institutions our PaySafeNow solution.
Freestar Technologies will not only receive revenue from the product sales but
will also receive a transactional revenue fee from each transaction that takes
Presently, according to the Dominican Republic’s central bank of record,
over US$1.6 billion is transferred from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic
annually. The average transaction per person amounts to approximately US$160
monthly. Currently, La Nacional de Envios holds a large percentage of the
market share in funds transfer transactions between the Dominican Republic and
the U.S. PaySafeNow involves much lower fees than other public payment firms
charge, providing a competitive advantage to companies that offer the service
and a much improved channel for making cash transfers.
About La Nacional de Envios
La Nacional de Envios, part of Grupo Caribe, which was established in
1980, is one of the leading and most reputable public payment systems in the
Dominican Republic. There are 24 branches strategically located in New York,
and 300 agencies established throughout the United States of America. La
Nacional de Envios also has branches in Spain, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The
company is not only involved in international money transfers but is also
actively involved in the local market. Grupo Caribe currently employs over
300 people in 50 offices throughout the Dominican Republic.
About Freestar Technologies, Inc.
Freestar Technologies, Inc.’s Enhanced Transactional Secure Software
(“ETSS”), a proprietary software package that enables consumers to consummate
secure e-commerce transactions over the Internet using credit, debit, ATM
(with PIN) or smart cards. The ETSS system integrates a consumer-side card-
swipe terminal with a back-end host-processing center. It encrypts sensitive
financial data at the consumer’s personal computer, using powerful DES
encryption and algorithms. It sends an authorization number to the e-commerce
merchant, rather than the consumer’s credit card information, to provide a
maximum level of security. The Company plans to link several large,
established smart card systems together on an ETSS-based standard to achieve
economies of scale and further market penetration for this secure e-commerce
payment system. For more information visit the Web site of the Company’s
ePayLatina Division at