TNS names Environics

Transaction Network Services, Inc., the leading provider of communications services for financial and data transactions, has selected Environics Communications as its new U.S. public relations agency.

Environics will provide public relations strategic counsel and tactical implementation to TNS, which is headquartered in Reston, Va. and has operations worldwide. The account will be serviced primarily by Environics’ new Washington, DC office, which opened just this summer. Environics’ Stamford, Conn. office will also assist with U.S. public relations efforts. TNS was founded in August 1990 by Jack McDonnell to build and operate a communications network focused on the needs of the point-of-sale transaction processing industry. Today, TNS provides data communications for financial transactions such as point-of-sale processing of credit and debit cards, remote ATM networking, processing healthcare and other electronic benefits, approving telephone calling cards and wireless prepaid calling cards, and the processing of financial exchange transactions.

TNS has more than 70 percent of the U.S. transaction communications market, is the market leader in the U.K., and is also rapidly expanding operations in other countries around the world.

TNS joins several long-term Environics clients that are based in the Washington Baltimore market and serviced out of the agency’s Toronto, Stamford, and new D.C. offices. These clients include the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, BITS (the banking consortium working toward e- commerce initiatives), the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and Sylvan Learning Centers.

Founded in 1994 and now with nearly 70 staff in the United States and Canada and annual fee income over $6 million, Environics Communications, Inc. ( or ) is a full-service, management-owned and tri-lingual public relations agency. Environics provides breakthrough communications solutions for clients in the advanced technology, financial services, healthcare, multicultural, consumer, e-commerce, and communications and media sectors. The firm’s offices are located in Montreal, Toronto, Stamford and Washington, D.C.

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PPI EFT

CheckFree and Payment Processing have sealed a deal to enable PPI to offer B2B electronic payment processing services through CheckFree EFT technology. The CheckFree ‘e-Money’ ASP model is a Web-based product that allows subscribers to manage the movement of money through various accounts. When integrated with PPI’s custom ACH-compliant software, CheckFree’s EFT will enable B2B payment services for PPI customers in the USA. Because the solution is hosted at CheckFree, PPI has instant viewing access to the processing status of customer accounts.

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Debit Card Poll

More than half of Americans believe that merchants should not have the right to require the use of a PIN when making purchases with a VISA or MasterCard debit card. Nearly 60% say they would opt to sign for debit card purchases, instead of using a PIN, if they were rewarded with points or air miles. According to CardWeb.com’s ‘Online Poll’, 56% are not aware of the cost to the merchant for signature versus PIN debit card transactions. More than 15% of consumers say the cost for a PIN transaction is the same as a signature debit card transaction. More than half are not aware of any differences in the legal rights between signature and PIN-based debit card transactions. When it comes to using debit cards, 34% say the prefer to use PIN only, while 33% say they use signature only. The poll, conducted in August and September, comes in advance of an anti-trust trial between major retailers and VISA/MasterCard over acceptance of off-line debit cards which require significantly higher transaction fees than on-line debit cards. The trial is expected to get underway next year. Wal-Mart is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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Giant Eagle Gets ACM

IBM, Productivity Solutions, Inc. and Giant Eagle announced that Giant Eagle is installing the new ACM Self Checkout Solution from PSI and IBM in its grocery stores throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania.

These ACM Self Checkouts are now in 35 Giant Eagle stores, as part of a previously announced 60-store project, and already have processed more than $100 million of groceries. The ACM solution from PSI and IBM makes self checkout available to all shoppers with its ability to allow shoppers with either large or small baskets to scan their order and — without the need for a cashier — pay with cash, credit cards or debit cards.

“At Giant Eagle, we are committed to provide our customers with the best possible service and convenience,” said Jack Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Retail Operations, for Giant Eagle. “The ACM, with its ability to handle both full and express-size orders easily, offers us enhanced customer service options. These new units now include IBM’s point-of-sale (POS) components as well as IBM’s services and support. Our customers are telling us that they value this new technology as an important part of their shopping experience because it is fast, convenient and fun to use every time they shop.”

“Giant Eagle, with its focus on customer service, is rolling out ACM Self Checkout because their customers like and use it regularly, as evidenced by the large dollar volume that these systems handle in their stores,” said Michael Persky, President of PSI. “In this competitive climate, supermarkets require self checkout systems that are easy to use and flexible to handle any size order. Our store surveys support the importance of this new self checkout technology in attracting and retaining customers, with one third of consumers actually choosing a store based on the availability of ACM Self Checkout.”

“The ACM Self Checkout fits exceptionally well with our industry-leading point-of-sale systems, giving retailers like Giant Eagle a powerful front end solution to improve both customer service and operations,” said Tom Peterson, General Manager, IBM Retail Store Solutions. “Retailers across all of the retail segments are looking to integrate POS, self-checkout and other technologies into a seamless system that benefits both their customers and their store and supply chain operations. As we work with supermarket retailers, we are seeing that self-checkout is becoming an important customer service option for them.”

The ACM (Automated Checkout Machine), with its patented conveyor-based lane design, closely resembles a conventional checkout lane, yet incorporates full-color touch-screen, multi-media instruction, and online lookup screens to make it customer friendly and the easiest self checkout system to use. This patented lane design also provides the flexibility to accommodate shoppers with full or express size orders, which means the ACM can handle significantly more sales and more items than regular checkout lanes and competing self checkout solutions. The ACM can be customized by the retailer, and fits easily into each retailer’s front-end checkout area. All these capabilities lead to an unsurpassed return on investment in the self checkout industry. The new ACM solution is now integrated with IBM’s high-function, retail-hardened POS components and comprehensive IBM services and support, offering maximum reliability to retailers. PSI and IBM signed an agreement earlier this year to co-market the new ACM solution to retailers.

About Giant Eagle

Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 111 corporate and 90 independently owned and operated stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north eastern Ohio, and north central West Virginia. By offering modern stores with a wide range of departments and services, Giant Eagle strives to find new ways in offering convenience to their customers.

About PSI

Productivity Solutions, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of automated self checkout solutions in the US. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the company provides retailers with industry-leading software and systems designed specifically to enhance productivity while improving customer service. PSI, a private company, is backed by venture capital partners including Canaan Partners and GE. For more information about ACM Self Checkout and PSI, please visit [www.ps-inc.com][1].

About IBM

IBM, the world’s leading e-business and information technology company, provides the Retail Industry with a full range of e-business solutions, including: hardware and software technology, point-of-sale systems and software, consulting focused on business transformation, IT strategy and planning, store operations improvement, and supply chain optimization, and with services, such as outsourcing, managed operations, systems integration, and application development and design. IBM has been the leader in retail point-of-sale systems for more than 20 years. For more information on IBM Retail Solutions, please visit [www.ibm.com/solutions/retail][2].

[1]: http://www.ps-inc.com
[2]: http://www.ibm.com/solutions/retail

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SmarTrip Expands

San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems has won approximately $15 million in contracts to link all bus operations in Virginia and Maryland to Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail and parking facility smart card-based payment system. The ‘SmarTrip’ system uses Cubic’s ‘GO CARD’ technology, an embedded computer chip and antenna that communicate via radio frequency with readers on faregates, ticket vending machines and parking exit processors, allowing commuters to pay for Metro train rides and Park-and-Ride facilities by simply placing their smart card near a card reader. Cubic recently helped WMATA implement another ‘SmarTrip’ application, ‘SmartBenefits’, which allows participating federal and private sector employees to receive transit benefits directly on their SmarTrip cards. Designed and implemented by Cubic nearly three years ago, SmarTrip is the first contactless smart card introduced by a major mass transit system in the United States. Last spring, Cubic won contracts for $20.7 million from WMATA and $21.9 million from MTA for equipment to make those agencies’ buses ‘SmarTrip’-compatible.

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Card Printer Patents

MN-based Fargo Electronics it has received U.S. Patents for an “I.D. Card Output Stacker” and a “Card Laminator with Regulatory Control”. Fargo also received last week three “Notices of Allowance” for card printer claims covering a “Thermal Printhead Load Adjustment Mechanism”, “Card Straightener”, and a “Printer Using Thermal Print Head”. Fargo has been granted 17 U.S. patents and has over 50 patent applications pending, related to specific card printer technology such as lamination, card flipping, ribbon technology, high definition printing, dual input hoppers and output stackers. Fargo also announced this morning it has entered into new partnerships with three access control companies: WI-based Northern Computers, FL-based CASI-RUSCO, and NJ-based Checkpoint Systems.

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PayPal IPO

PayPal, Inc. announced the filing of a registration statement for the initial public offering of its common stock. All of the securities in the proposed IPO are being offered by PayPal.

PayPal, Inc. enables any business or consumer with email to send and receive online payments securely, conveniently and cost-effectively. PayPal’s network builds on the existing financial infrastructure of bank accounts and credit cards to create a global, real-time payment solution.

Salomon Smith Barney Inc., Robertson Stephens, Inc. and William Blair & Company, L.L.C. are acting as managers of the proposed offering. When available, copies of the written prospectus relating to the proposed offering may be obtained from Salomon Smith Barney, Brooklyn Army Terminal, 140 58th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11220.

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Orbiscom Update

To support the continuing global roll out of its secure online payment technology, Orbiscom announced it has secured $17.5 million in private financing from HgCapital (formerly Mercury Private Equity) a leading provider of capital to the European private equity market.

The funding was arranged by Goodbody Corporate Finance. Orbiscom will use the funds to deliver on its growth plans to bring secure and authenticated online payments to consumers worldwide through partnerships with financial institutions and mobile providers, as well as supporting its strong Intellectual Property position.

Through its relationships with MBNA, Discover, First Data Corp., Allied Irish Banks, and other top five US and European issuers that Orbiscom has signed, Orbiscom’s technology will be available to more than 500 million cardholders worldwide. Orbiscom has also signed a fifteen-year cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft.

“Authenticating and securing online payments is the final piece of the jigsaw for e-commerce,” said Ian Armitage, Director of HgCapital. “Orbiscom’s Controlled Payment Technology has proven to be extremely effective in doing this and has the potential to become a gloabl standard. Two years of live transaction experience, its recent cross licensing agreement with Microsoft and strong client relationships in the US and Europe made Orbiscom a clear investment choice.”

US and European consumers who use the Orbiscom solution spend more online, become repeat purchasers and shop at a wider variety of online merchants than those who shop using their regular credit cards. Through its user friendly Controlled Payment Technology, Orbiscom has delivered to card issuers and increase of up to 60 percent in the average online transactions of its consumers with more than 62 percent of consumers who use the technology becoming repeat customers. Despite the downturn in the economic climate, users of Orbiscom’s safe payments have shown no decrease in their spending habits.

Financial institutions that select Orbiscom to provide their e-payments solution have the flexibility to select from industry standard security protocol initiatives, including those from Visa, MasterCard and Maestro with Orbiscom guaranteeing software compatibility. Because Orbiscom is compliant and complementary with all payment associations protocols, it offers a seamless user experience to card issuers, merchants and their consumers.

“This funding will allow us to continue our growth campaign while assuring our current clients and prospects that we have technical, Intellectual Property and financial strength to service major partners,” said Graham O’Donnell, Group CEO, Orbiscom, “Not only are we the leader in this space with the only live and proven implementations in the US and Europe, but we also have the resources to make solid progress towards profitability.”

About Orbiscom

Orbiscom is the creator of Controlled Payment Technology for online and real world card payment applications. Orbiscom’s flagship technology O-power(TM) enables card issuers, e-merchants, consumers and businesses to utilize online and wirelesss devices for controlled and secure debit and credit payments. Founded in early 1998 by professionals from the financial services, software and Internet industries. Orbiscom has operations in New York, Dublin, London, Brussels, Toronto and Sydney. The company has a highly experienced team of experts in software development, Internet banking systems, card processing systems and product marketing. Orbiscom has been granted patents on Controlled Payment Technology in the US, Europe and other countries worldwide. For more information about Orbiscom, go to: [www.orbiscom.com][1].

About HG Capital – [www.hgcapital.net][2]

HgCapital is a leading provider of private equity capital with offices in the UK and Germany. It has committed funds under management in excess of Euro 1 billion and specializes in the following industry sectors: Healthcare, business services, information & communications technology and media. It focuses on companies with enterprise values ranging from Euro 15 million to Euro 400 million, investing a minimum of Euro 5 million in any one transaction. It also transacts leveraged buy-outs in other sectors, in companies with minimum enterprise values of Euro 40 million.

HgCapital services over 200 pension fund clients and manages Mercury Grosvenor Trust plc, a quoted vehicle that invests in all of HgCapital’s deals.

Other recent examples of companies in which HgCapital has invested in the information & communciations technology sector include:

Trados Inc. – leading language translation software

Burns eCommerce Solutions – e-payment solutions

Comnitel Technologies – network management systems for wireless telecommunications companies

Acuid Corporation – intellectual property for high-speed data communications

In 1999 HgCapital supported the Pound 17 million buy-out of Checkpoint Holdings Limited, an e-payments solutions company, which was sold in 2001 to Bottomline Technologies, Inc. for Pound 53 million.

HgCapital is the trading name of Hg Investment Managers Limited and Hg Pooled Management Limited. Registered office 33 King William Street, London, EC4R 9 AS. Regulated by IMRO.

[1]: http://www.orbiscom.com
[2]: http://www.hgcapital.net

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SEARS PROCESSING

Symcor Inc. announced it has finalized an agreement with Sears Canada Inc. to process all of the retailer’s
mailed-in customer credit card payments.
Several million Sears Canada customer credit card payments per year will
be processed in Symcor’s processing environment. High-speed data transport
machines will be used to capture customer data and payment information from
remittance documents and cheques. The information captured from the documents
is used to provide accurate and timely updates to the Sears customer database.
“Symcor is able to capture information quickly, securely and reliably,
and we provide a flexible and scalable solution that can accommodate business
growth and changing customer needs,” said Phil Newton, Symcor’s Vice-President
of Remittance and Payment Processing. “We are proud that Sears Canada chose to
partner with Symcor, and we are happy to apply our advanced end-to-end
technological solutions to meet their remittance processing requirements.”

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 and payment processing, application
and Web development, and a full range of customer bill and statement advisory,
design and presentment capabilities. For more information, please visit
http://www.symcor.com/.

About Sears Canada

Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network that encompasses
117 Sears department stores, seven urban Eatons department stores and 37
furniture and appliances stores. The Company publishes Canada’s only general
merchandise catalogue and has over 2,131 catalogue pick-up locations.
Additionally Sears has 133 dealer stores, 15 outlet stores, 35 floor covering
centres, 66 auto centres, 108 Sears Travel offices and offers shopping online
at http://www.sears.ca/.

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Connexions Alliance

NCR Corporation confirmed its commitment to the convenience banking market and unveiled the partnership approach that will give it an edge in the provision of additional self-service transactions such as check cashing, money orders and money transfer to the growing, under-served, under-banked section of the U.S. market.

Recognizing early on the challenges of commercializing this exciting, new self-service opportunity, NCR invested in a standards-based, open-solution platform that enabled many “blue chip” companies to combine their efforts in this space. This partnership approach, known as the “Convenience Connexions Alliance,” leverages the capabilities and investments of all members, while enabling the focus to be on the customer transaction instead of the underlying technology.

Brad Lozier, vice president, NCR Financial Solutions Division, Americas region, explained, “We are in a unique position to develop this market opportunity. Our objective is not to try to be everything to everybody, but rather to bring the best companies together in shared, open architecture that allows terminal deployers to offer the new transactions their customers want from the providers of their choice. NCR’s APTRA(TM) Edge software provides the common framework that allows all of our partners to plug in and share the combined resources of the Alliance.”

Commenting on the recent closure of InnoVentry, he added, “InnoVentry should be commended for advancing this market and proving that consumers do want these transactions. NCR has a viable business model to serve InnoVentry’s customers. We believe that our approach and experience will enable us to help these customers recover from this setback and develop successful programs.”

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include the Teradata(R) database and analytical applications for customer relationship management (CRM) and business performance management, store automation systems and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long-established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 33,300 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at .

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Pre/Post Attacks

Nine trading days after the terrorist attacks in New York City, credit card stocks have plunged an average of 13.5%. Five major card issuers hit new lows between September 10 and September 27 including MBNA, Providian, American Express, Capital One, and CompuCredit. San Francisco-based NextCard, which is striving towards profitability in the fourth quarter, has been the hardest hit, losing nearly 30% of its value since the day before the attacks. MBNA, Metris, and Household have held up surprisingly well during this tumultuous period. American Express hit with loss of it headquarters and the sudden decline in travel related card volume plunged below $25 per share. Credit card stocks were already impacted before the attacks by Providian’s earnings prediction of a soft 3Q and 4Q.

CARD STOCKS
9/27 9/10
COMPANY CLOSE CLOSE 52wk Lo CHNG
NextCard $ 5.53 $ 7.85 $ 4.56 -29.6%
Providian $18.97 $26.30 $18.35* -27.9%
Amer Express $27.46 $35.01 $24.20* -21.6%
CompuCredit $ 7.26 $ 8.65 $ 5.85* -16.1%
Capital One $43.72 $50.37 $36.40* -13.2%
MBNA $29.05 $31.24 $23.43* – 7.0%
Metris $24.08 $23.20 $19.15 – 3.8%
Household $54.49 $56.31 $43.88 – 3.2%
* new lows reached since 9/11/01.
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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SunTrust Voyager

Corillian Corp. announced that SunTrust Banks, Inc., the ninth-largest bank in the U.S., has expanded its relationship with Corillian by licensing additional technology of Corillian’s Voyager Internet banking platform to enhance the functionality, scalability and manageability of SunTrust’s online offering.

“We have seen tremendous growth in our customers signing on to our online banking service,” said John McGuire, senior vice president and managing director of SunTrust online. “Our customers are demanding new and innovative services through this delivery channel and Corillian has been a great partner in helping us develop an innovative and user-friendly system. This agreement will allow us to provide new functionality and be scalable enough to meet the demands of our online growth.”

Corillian Voyager – The Operating System for eFinanceTM – is a high-performance platform that allows for the delivery of a wide range of financial services to customers via the Internet. Voyager provides a direct link between a financial institution’s host system and its consumers, using Internet browsers, personal financial management software and internet-ready wireless devices. Voyager’s open architecture design allows an institution to quickly integrate emerging technologies, deploy the platform in-house or in a secure data center and provide a personalized portal to its customers. SunTrust was the first major financial institution to utilize the Corillian Voyager platform, which has since been installed by four of the top 10 banks in the U.S.

“The expansion of our relationship with SunTrust shows our commitment to providing state-of-the-art eFinance solutions to our customers,” said Ted Spooner, CEO of Corillian. “SunTrust was one of our first customers and believed in our vision from the start. We are excited to strengthen this partnership and continue working with SunTrust to meet their eFinance needs.”

About SunTrust

SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the nation’s ninth-largest commercial banking organization. As of June 30, 2001, SunTrust had total assets of $100.8 billion and total deposits of $63.3 billion. The company operates through an extensive distribution network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and the District of Columbia and also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the company provides credit cards, mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage and capital markets services. SunTrust’s Internet address is [www.suntrust.com][1].

About Corillian Corporation

Based in Oregon, and with international offices in Europe, Asia and Australia, Corillian Corporation is an award-winning provider of eFinance-enabling software for the financial services industry. Built on the Microsoft Windows 2000 platform, Corillian applications support Internet banking, bill delivery and payment, brokerage, customer relationship management, enhanced data aggregation, and small business transactions. Voyager can be deployed on-site at the financial firm or in the state-of-the-art Corillian Data Center. Corillian technology also enables Open Financial Exchange (OFX) access by finance management software packages such as Quicken®, QuickBooks® and Microsoft® Money. For more information about Corillian Corporation, visit our Web site at [www.corillian.com][2].

[1]: http://www.suntrust.com
[2]: http://www.corillian.com

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