Omni 3210 Certified

VeriFone announced that Concord EFS, Inc., a leading electronic payments processor, is the first processor to certify and install VeriFone’s Omni 3210 terminal, the new and improved version of VeriFone’s best-selling e-payment terminal — the Omni 3200. The terminal features an internal PINpad that easily facilitates the acceptance of debit and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) transactions. Hundreds of merchants have already installed the Omni 3210 using Concord for debit processing services. Concord plans to offer the easy-to-use Omni 3210 terminal to its small merchant, quick service restaurant, and convenience store customers, providing them with the ability to add debit and EBT acceptance easily at any time. Concord, the largest acquirer of PIN-secured debit transactions in the U.S., recommends debit to help merchants lower transaction costs.

“Our merchants want to extend the convenience of debit and EBT to their customers,” said Edward A. Labry III, Concord president. “The Omni 3210 with its all-in-one functionality and attractive design offers merchants convenience and ease of use without compromising on performance and reliability. It is quite simply good for business.”

The Omni 3210’s key features include an internal PINpad to support debit, EBT and other PIN-based transactions, offering everything a merchant needs in a compact countertop device. Installation is a breeze; merchants simply plug in the power cord, connect the phone line and begin doing business. A swivel stand allows the terminal to act as both a clerk-facing and customer-input device. The high-speed integrated thermal printer, which operates at 12.5 lines per second, features a built-in paper cover and ribbonless output to eliminate most of the moving parts that cause paper jams and other breakdowns.

“What really sold me on the Omni 3210 was the ease of installation and ease of use. The swivel stand allows my customers to easily enter PINs and the all-in-one design results in less clutter on my countertop,” said Susan Young, owner of Antiques and Art, Somerset, Ohio. “Plus, the ATM-style display really simplifies clerk training.”

The Omni 3210 runs with VeriFone’s SoftPay e-payment software, making it easy for merchants to process payments quickly and customize payment requirements to their needs. Merchants can choose from more than 100 configurable software options.

About Concord EFS, Inc.

Concord (Nasdaq:CEFT) is a leading, vertically-integrated electronic transaction processor, providing transaction authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to financial institutions, supermarkets, petroleum retailers, convenience stores, and other independent retailers. Concord’s primary activities include Network Services, providing ATM driving, online and signature debit card processing, and STAR(sm) network access to the financial services industry; and Payment Services, providing credit, debit, check authorization, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) processing services to selected retail segments.

About VeriFone, Inc.

VeriFone, Inc., ([http://www.verifone.com][1]) is the leading global provider of secure electronic-payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. VeriFone has shipped more than nine million electronic-payment systems, which are used in more than 100 countries. VeriFone, Inc. is held by Gores Technology Group, an international acquisition and management company.

About Gores Technology Group

With headquarters in Los Angeles, Gores Technology Group (GTG) is a privately held international acquisition and management firm that pursues an aggressive strategy of acquiring promising high-technology organizations and managing them for growth and profitability. GTG has made a name for itself by acquiring and successfully managing companies — including many divisions acquired from large publicly traded companies — through its commitment to customers, employees and continued development of intellectual property. GTG has acquired and managed approximately 35 interrelated but autonomous technology-oriented companies with locations throughout the world. Those companies provide a broad range of technology-based products and services to a substantial customer base representing millions of active users worldwide. Visit the company’s Web site at [www.gores.com][2].

For further information on Gores Technology Group please contact Michael Sitrick, mike_sitrick@sitrick.com, or Terry Fahn, terry_fahn@sitrick.com, both of Sitrick and Company, 310/788-2850.

[1]: http://www.verifone.com/
[2]: http://www.gores.com/

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CARD MANAGEMENT

Euronet Worldwide, a leading provider of secure electronic
financial transaction solutions, announced an agreement to implement its
Euronet Integrated Card Management System for Union banka a.s., a premiere
retail bank in the Czech Republic.
Euronet’s card system provides online ATM card authorization and settlement
processing.
Union banka, with more than 200,000 customers and 100 branches across the
Czech
Republic, selected Euronet’s card management software as a quick-to-market
solution that provides the first step towards integrated transactions. The
card
system enables Union banka to quickly and easily deploy ATM cards, to manage
the cards and to provide customer assistance, online transaction authorization
and offline posting. Additionally, the system facilitates hold processing,
settlement processing, charge backs and representment.

“We are excited about Euronet’s card solution,” said Alena Pejcochova, Senior
Director of Information Systems. “This is a major step toward merging all
payment systems under one integrated transaction management umbrella. We
selected Euronet Worldwide because of the quality of their products as well as
their commitment to customers.”

“Union banka is a progressive bank that understands the importance of
integrated transactions,” said Michael Brown, Euronet Worldwide CEO and
Chairman. “Not only does our card system provide a greater service for Union
banka’s extensive customer base, it creates an excellent benchmark for other
banks in the region to invest in integrated systems.”

About Euronet Worldwide

Euronet Worldwide is an industry leader in providing secure electronic
financial transaction solutions. The company offers financial payment
middleware, financial network gateways, outsourcing and consulting services to
financial institutions and mobile operators. These solutions enable their
customers to access personal financial information and perform secure
financial
transactions — any time, any place. The company has processing centers
located
in the United States, Europe and Asia, and owns and operates the largest
independent ATM network in Europe. Visit our website at
http://www.euronetworldwide.com.

About Union banka, a.s.

Union banka, a.s. is a universal banking institution with full foreign
exchange
license granted by CNB (The Czech National Bank), with products including
complex banking services, such as telephone banking, consumers’ loans and
investment banking. Union banka, a.s., with 200,000 clients and over 100
business outlets in the Czech Republic, is designed for retail clientele. The
majority of outlets are in on-line systems that enable clients to bank all
over
the Czech Republic.

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EPN Pricing

The Electronic Payments Network announced Wednesday a series of price reductions across its full range of ACH services. Members participating in the private sector payments channel will save anywhere from 35% to 40% on fees for electronic payment executed over EPN. Charges for receiving federal government payments have been eliminated entirely. There are additional savings for participating financial institutions on interregional payments exchanged with Federal Reserve customers. EPN’s pricing structure is especially beneficial to smaller banks that pay no file deposit fees. Mellon Bank, BB&T, and Wachovia have recently joined EPN. Bank of America, Bank One, Comerica, Key Bank, PNC Bank, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo are expected to join EPN over the next year.

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NEXT GEN CARDS

Philips Semiconductors, a
division of Royal Philips Electronics, launches HiPerSmart, the first 32-bit
smart computing platform to be manufactured using
an advanced 0.18um CMOS process. Based on SmartMIPS architecture from MIPS
Technology International, the HiPerSmart platform offers enhanced memory and
security features for high volume multi-application cards for banking, e-
business and 3G wireless applications. It is particularly well suited for UMTS
Integrated Circuit Cards, including USIM and RUIM applications.

The introduction of HiPerSmart extends Philips Semiconductors’ portfolio
of smart card ICs and fulfills the requirements of the next generation of
smart cards. By combining its advanced 0.18 um process technology with a 32-
bit SmartMIPS Core, Philips Semiconductors now enables smart card
manufacturers to create 32-bit products for leading-edge, high volume
applications in a reliable and cost efficient manner.

“HiPerSmart affirms Philips Semiconductors’ continued dedication to the
development, expansion and improvement of its smart card IC-based
identification products,” said Reinhard Kalla, business line manager for Chip
Cards in the Business Unit Identification at Philips Semiconductors. “With the
introduction of HiPerSmart, we are addressing future market demands for
leading edge, high performance smart cards for a range of low power
applications including 3G wireless communications, corresponding UICC cards,
banking and e-business.”

The HiPerSmart platform optimises the path to secure, high performance
UICCs and is the best in its class in low power design. It enables the
straightforward implementation of key competitive features for Java
applications, such as personalization and customization, using low power
technology as required by the multi-applications markets.

The HiPerSmart platform offers additional security features including
cryptography co-processors for DES/AES and PKI and supports the easy
implementation of virtual machines such as Java. It also contains a highly
efficient Memory Management Unit (MMU) suitable for multi-applications and,
in accordance with the move towards low voltage operations in GSM handsets,
supports operating voltages from 1.6V to 5.5V. In addition, the advanced
0.18um technology enables Philips Semiconductors to provide 32-bit products
with Flash in different configurations in a cost-efficient manner.

About Philips Semiconductors

Philips Semiconductors, with revenues of US $6.3 billion in 2000, is
aworld
leader in silicon systems and standard products for wireless
communications, digital entertainment, computing and automotive applications.
The organization designs, develops and manufactures silicon solutions based on
its innovative Nexperia(TM) architecture to create living technology for its
customers building products, service providers using the products, and
consumers enjoying the resulting products and services. For more information:
http://www.semiconductors.philips.com.

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Chase 3Q/01

J.P. Morgan Chase reported a 15.8% increase in receivables and a 17% jump in card volume for the third quarter. Non-interest card revenue increased 16.3%, from $471 million for 3Q/00 to $548 million for 3Q/01. On a managed basis, the credit card net charge-off ratio was 5.64%, an increase from 5.54% in the second quarter and 4.99% in the third quarter of 2000. For complete details on Chase’s third quarter results and past performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CHASE U.S. SNAPSHOT
3Q/01 2Q/01 3Q/00 Ann Chng
Recv: $38.2b $37.4b $33.0b +15.8%
Q Vol: $17.9b $17.7b $15.3b +17.0%
Accts: 23.0m 22.0m 19.7m +16.8%
Actives: 14.0m 13.8m 12.5m +12.0%
Cards: 32.1m 30.8m 27.6m +16.3%
b-billion m-million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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e-Pay Secure Unveiled

ValiCert, Inc., a leading provider of secure solutions for paperless e-Business, announced ValiCert e-Pay Secure. This new solution features a suite of products and services designed specifically for banks, payment networks and payment processors to allow them to develop secure payment solutions for trusted corporate and consumer e-Payments. ValiCert e-Pay Secure addresses complex industry requirements, and is expected to streamline payment processes, improve productivity and reduce costs associated with manual payment methods.

ValiCert e-Pay Secure is ideal for institutions that partner with payment processors and for banks that are building improved payment systems, and supports a variety of e-Payment scenarios, such as Identrus Eleanor for conditional corporate payments, Visa-authenticated payments for consumer transactions and bank-to-bank settlement and check imaging. According to TowerGroup, the global banking industry spends approximately $10.8 billion worldwide annually on information technology for payments processing, which represents approximately 12% of the industry’s total current annual spending of about $88.8 billion. By adopting the ValiCert e-Pay Secure solution, enterprises will be able to leverage industry-leading products to enable trusted corporate and consumer payments online, and will also be ideally positioned to take the lead in the rapidly emerging trusted payments market.

“The financial industry recognizes that to remain competitive and control costs — and, at the same time, be mindful of their future growth and success — they need to maximize their use of trusted e-Payments technology,” said Yosi Amram, president and CEO of ValiCert. “By relying on the trusted services of ValiCert e-Pay Secure, banks and financial institutions can move more processes to the public Internet — such as traditional paper-based systems, electronic data interchange-based systems and private Internet Protocol-based networks. The result will be the ability to more easily exchange payments directly with consumers and with business partners.”

About ValiCert e-Pay Secure

The ValiCert e-Pay Secure family of products and services relies on the full range of industry-leading ValiCert offerings. The components of ValiCert e-Pay Secure include:

— ValiCert Transaction Authority — provides a platform for deploying secure XML payment protocols by guaranteeing secure routing and response to any backend financial and enterprise service request.

— ValiCert Validation Authority — delivers a high-performance, reliable and scalable transaction validation solution for digital certificates used in payment and business applications.

— ValiCert SecureTransport — offers a secure, reliable, enterprise-class file transfer for delivering batch payment files, settlement details, EDI and check images over the Internet.

— ValiCert Digital Receipts — provides electronic proof, archive and audit for payment transactions.

— ValiCert Document Authority — enables secure document delivery, sharing, storage, and digital signing for payment initiation, approval and other financial workflow processes.

— ValiCert Professional Services — on-site consulting and integration services, delivered by trained domain experts and practicing consultants.

“The lack of end-to-end, highly interoperable security platforms for online payments is one of the major impediments slowing the growth of e-Commerce,” said Neil Katkov, analyst with Celent Communications. “An integrated documentation and transaction solution that overcomes the problem of competing security protocols, such as the ValiCert e-Pay Secure offering, should go a long way to boosting adoption of e-Payments, particularly in the corporate sector.”

Features and Applications

Providing a secure infrastructure for secure payments for businesses and consumers is critical for banks, payment processors and merchants that desire to improve processes and reduce costs, while maintaining a high level of customer service and security. Because of its tightly integrated modular design, ValiCert e-Pay Secure can be deployed rapidly, enabling enterprises in the finance sector to more safely and easily engage in e-Payment transactions, while reducing the cost and risk associated with fraud, dispute resolution and paper-based processes.

ValiCert e-Pay Secure has been designed for banks engaged in, or planning on, implementing electronic payments initiatives. For each of these applications, ValiCert e-Pay Secure can be tailored to provide a unique solution to meet the demands and challenges of each market. These applications include:

Secure Consumer e-Payments: ValiCert e-Pay Secure is a critical component in secure consumer e-Payment systems. By leveraging the ValiCert Validation Authority, ValiCert SecureTransport and Digital Receipts solutions, banks and payment processors can authenticate, digitally sign, authorize, settle and archive payments. This allows banks to reduce Internet credit card fraud, and provides a platform for collecting and presenting detailed transaction information in XML format.

Bank-to-Bank e-Payments: ValiCert e-Pay Secure can be customized to include identity verification, payment instructions and settlement, and check-imaging activities for secure Bank-to-Bank e-Payments applications. The ValiCert Validation Authority and ValiCert SecureTransport solutions are used to validate digital credentials and transport batch payment and settlement instructions and move digitized check images between US banks. Identrus and SWIFT member banks have implemented ValiCert e-Pay Secure for similar applications.

Trusted Corporate e-Payments: ValiCert e-Pay Secure has been designed to integrate with many of the corporate e-Payments applications currently in use. IBM and Unisys are both currently building complete Eleanor solutions utilizing ValiCert e-Pay Secure infrastructure. These solutions will offer conditional payments and time-dated guaranteed payments features to banks and financial services organizations.

About ValiCert

ValiCert is a leading provider of secure solutions for paperless e-Business. ValiCert Global 2000 customers in financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and government sectors realize significant ROI from deploying ValiCert solutions to help migrate costly or inefficient business processes to the Internet, without losing any trust and security in the process. ValiCert’s family of products conforms to the guidelines of the e-Sign legislation and provides a secure, legal-grade environment for conducting online commerce.

ValiCert has technology and marketing alliances with a range of security, e-Commerce, systems integrators and application specific companies. With its products and services available through a worldwide direct sales force, resellers and global affiliate network, ValiCert is headquartered in Mountain View, California and has operations throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. More information about ValiCert is available on the World Wide Web at [http://www.valicert.com][1].

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

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ADS 3Q/01

Alliance Data Systems reported that third quarter revenue increased 19% to a record $200.2 million, compared to $168.8 million for 3Q/00. Transaction Services revenue rose 20% to $131.6 million compared to $109.3 million for the third quarter of last year. Credit Services revenue increased 7% to $69.1 million compared to $64.4 million for 3Q/00. Marketing Services revenue increased 16% to $53.4 million compared to $46.0 million for the third quarter of 2000. ADS noted that ‘Air Miles’ reward miles issued and redeemed each remain on pace for another year of double-digit growth. For complete details on ADS’ third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MBNA BONDS

The floating-rate notes to be issued in MBNA Europe Bank Ltd.’s latest
securitization of U.K.-originated credit card receivables were today assigned
preliminary ratings.
The notes will be issued by special-purpose entity Chester Asset Receivables
Dealings 2001-A PLC in MBNA’s 13th visit to the market using as collateral
Visa
and MasterCard receivables on accounts owned by MBNA.

Chris Such, associate director at Standard & Poor’s Structured Finance Ratings
group in London, states that even though MBNA has completed 12 previous
similar
transactions, this one is the first to use a new master trust structure.
“The U.K. Receivables Trust II, which has been modeled on the U.S. master
trust
structure used in securitizations by MBNA’s parent, MBNA America Bank N.A.,
allows MBNA to take advantage of the advances made in master trust
structure in
the U.K. since the mid-1990s,” he said.

“A clear advantage of using the new master trust structure is its approach to
tackling the issue of stamp duty, which means for this transaction no reserve
for stamp duty was required. Another advantage is the transaction’s compliance
with U.K. regulatory framework.”

The ratings reflect the protection provided by various early amortization
triggers, the suitability of the servicer and back-up servicer to fulfill
their
roles in this transaction, the sound legal structure, and the sound payment
structure and cash flow mechanics of the transaction.

The strong protection for the noteholders provided by a combination of the
subordination of each class of notes and excess spread to cover credit losses
is a further key consideration.

A copy of Standard & Poor’s complete presale report for this transaction is
available on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s Web-based credit analysis
system,
at www.ratingsdirect.com. The report is also
available on Standard & Poor’s
Ratings Services Web site at
www.standardandpoors.com. Under Presale
Reports,
select Structured Finance, then Asset-Backed Securities.

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USWD Names Goff COO

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc., the leader in transaction delivery and gateway services for the payment-processing industry, has appointed Heidi R. Goff as president and chief operating officer.

Goff has a broad base of successful executive experience in the payment processing industry. This includes responsibility for building the MasterCard Automated Processing Program (MAPP), which, under her management, became one of the largest payment-processing platforms in the industry. Goff is replacing Christopher O’Hara, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities. “Heidi Goff is one of the most seasoned and well-respected professionals in the payment-processing arena,” said Chairman and CEO Dean M. Leavitt. “She has the maturity, experience, and skill set to take this company to new heights. Heidi also has a ‘take charge’ approach and a proven ability to run a payment-services business, allowing her to make immediate contributions to our wireless and landline products and services.”

Previously, Goff was president and chief executive officer of ExchangePath LLC, an Internet payments start-up company, which she launched in September 1999. The company closed in March due to the inability to obtain long-term financing. Prior to ExchangePath, Goff served in various senior management positions at MasterCard International. In 1996, she was appointed executive vice president at Global Payment Systems, a joint venture of MasterCard and National Data Corporation, where she managed operations that processed 2.7 billion credit and debit card transactions annually.

“I am very excited join the company that has brought wireless technology to the payments industry,” said Goff. “U.S. Wireless Data is changing the point of sale with faster transactions at lower costs, while opening new revenue opportunities for companies that provide payment services to merchants. It has been many years since there have been such new, innovative products and customer-focused services in credit card processing. I look forward to having a direct role in the forefront of this technology shift, as well as further enhancing and growing the company’s landline-based services.”

ABOUT U.S. WIRELESS DATA

U.S. Wireless Data, and its subsidiary NXT, make credit card and ATM transactions work faster and more economically. USWD connects credit card processing companies to their merchant clients. Using wireless and landline technology, USWD provides improved transport, data translation, and value-added processing. In addition, by enabling wireless point of sale terminals, USWD adds speed and mobility that has been unachievable in the past. USWD now handles more than 500 million transactions each year through its centralized computer center and nationwide network. Further information is available at [www.uswirelessdata.com][1].

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

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Metris 3Q/01

Despite problems at Providian, the sub-prime market is alive and well based on third quarter results released by Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank. The issuer, headed by former General Motors MasterCard executive Ron Zebeck, reported operating earnings for the third quarter of $70.7 million, a 46% gain over 3Q/00. The managed credit card loan portfolio increased by $880 million during the 3Q to bring total card loans to more than $11.0 billion. Metris also added more than 380,000 new credit card accounts to bring total accounts to 4.8 million. During the quarter, Metris acquired a portfolio from Provident Bank that included 130,000 total accounts and about $160 million in receivables. Credit card charge volume increased 24% to $2.6 billion in the third quarter, compared to $2.1 billion in the third quarter last year. The managed net charge-off rate was 10.7% for 3Q, compared to 10.9% for 2Q, and 9.8% for the third quarter of 2000. The managed delinquency rate was 8.9% at Sept. 30, compared to 8.3% at June 30, and 8.2% at Sept 30, 2000. For the third quarter, the managed net interest margin was 14.2% compared with 13.2% for the third quarter of 2000. For complete details on Metris/Direct Merchants third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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ICBA & Certegy Extend

ICBA Bancard, Inc., the payment services subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America, and Certegy Card Services, a division of Certegy Inc., jointly announced a three-year extension, through 2007, of Certegy’s payment processing services contract with ICBA Bancard. Under this contract, Certegy is ICBA Bancard’s exclusive partner for offering card processing and merchant processing services to ICBA Bancard’s member banks.

Through its contract with Certegy, ICBA Bancard processes for more than 2,000 community banks across the United States. This three-year contract extension, added to the three years remaining on the current term, ensures continuity and critical services support, by the two organizations, to the nation’s community banks. The terms of the contract provide for the continuation of Certegy’s full array of card products including credit, debit and merchant processing and support services. “The extension of this dynamic and long-standing partnership with ICBA Bancard demonstrates Certegy’s prolonged commitment to providing competitive, timely and quality card and merchant processing services to ICBA’s membership,” stated Larry Towe, executive vice president and COO, Certegy Inc.

ICBA Bancard and Certegy have been partners since 1985 for the purpose of providing card processing and marketing support services to community banks. During this time frame, ICBA Bancard, together with Certegy, has become a major player in the card services business with over 2,000 participating banks. This alliance has built the largest community bank card processing program — now servicing over 3 million cardholder accounts.

“The contract extension with Certegy assures that ICBA Bancard participants will continue to receive state-of-the-art processing services and cutting edge products and enhancements for many years to come,” said Bill McQuillan, chairman of ICBA Bancard and president and CEO of City National Bank, Greeley, Nebraska. “Our long-term relationship with Certegy is a testament to Bancard’s commitment to a stable processing environment for community banks.”

“At ICBA, we are sensitive to the servicing needs of our members. Because of our unique history with Certegy and their steadfast commitment to our industry, the contract extension will provide community banks with a technology partner that will work with them in the credit and debit card areas,” stated Kenneth A. Guenther, president and CEO of ICBA.

Throughout their sixteen-year relationship, ICBA Bancard and Certegy have allowed community banks to independently issue MasterCard and Visa card products to their customers. Over the period of this affiliation, new services have been introduced to community banks, including a full range of merchant services, marketing and enhancement products, and risk management tools to help reduce losses from fraud. In 1998, ICBA Bancard launched Total Card Management, a risk-free credit card option that allows community banks of all sizes to offer competitively priced credit card products while providing fee income to a bank. Certegy processes for Total Card Management.

About ICBA Bancard, Inc.

ICBA Bancard is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). Since 1985, ICBA Bancard has provided more than 2,000 community banks with equitable access to payment system products and services. In addition to ATM, credit and debit cards, banks have access to merchant services, retail insurance products, risk management services, Internet banking and marketing services. In 1998, ICBA Bancard created Total Card Management, a risk-free credit card option for community banks. For more information, visit [http://www.icbabancard.org][1].

About Certegy Inc.

Certegy provides credit, debit and merchant card processing, e-banking, check risk management and check cashing services to over 6,000 financial institutions, 175,000 retailers and 140 million consumers worldwide. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Certegy maintains a strong global presence with operations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Chile, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. As a leading payment services provider, Certegy offers a comprehensive range of transaction processing services, credit risk management solutions and integrated customer support programs which facilitate the exchange of business and consumer payments. Certegy employs over 5,800 associates in nine countries and generated $779 million in revenue in 2000. For more information on Certegy, please visit [http://www.certegy.com][2].

[1]: http://www.icbabancard.org/
[2]: http://www.certegy.com/

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Court Update

Two important legal developments this morning: MasterCard has reportedly asked for a delay and modifications in last week’s ruling in the Government’s antitrust trial; and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has reportedly denied VISA’s and MasterCard’s appeal to reverse class certification in the Wal-Mart debit card suit. One week ago, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against VISA and MasterCard in the Government’s antitrust lawsuit regarding the card associations’ exclusionary rules which prohibit members from issuing American Express or Discover cards. In a 157-page ruling, the judge said VISA’s bylaw ‘210(e)’ and MasterCard’s ‘Competitive Programs Policy’ weaken competition and harm consumers in a number of ways. In February, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard VISA’s and MasterCard’s appeal seeking to reverse Federal District Court Judge John Gleeson’s decision granting class-action status to an antitrust lawsuit filed in Oct 1996 by a group of retailers. The lawsuit, originally filed by Wal-Mart, Sears and eleven other retailers, contends retailers are victims of an illegal tying arrangement, under which merchants are forced to accept ‘VISA Check’ and ‘MasterMoney’ off-line debit cards under the associations’ “Honor All Cards” rule. Judge Gleeson’s decision in June 2000 to certify the lawsuit as a class action, opened the door for more than 4 million merchants to become a party to the litigation. (CF Library 2/24/00; 6/8/00; 2/5/01; 10/10/01)

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