Card Stocks

Already hammered credit card stocks could slide further next week when the financial markets open. However, Federal securities regulators and major securities firms and corporations have reached an agreement that could stabilize prices. Reportedly the SEC will allow major firms to buy back shares if the market enters into a free fall. The temporary rule changes may affect the volume of the stock that can be bought back, as well as permitting such trades at the beginning or at the end of the trading session. The SEC also indicated Thursday that short selling will be restricted. All credit card stocks posted recoveries on Monday after being beaten down last week. Providian which hit a new 52 week lows last week, posted a 2.3% gain on Monday. It is expected that American Express will be the hardest hit stock next week due to the destruction of its New York headquarters and the anticipated slowdown in travel related charges by American cardholders.

Sept. 10
COMPANY CLOSE 52wk Hi 52wk Lo
Providian $26.30 $67.00 $25.55
MBNA $31.24 $40.12 $27.30
Metris $23.20 $42.94 $19.15
Capital One $50.37 $73.25 $45.88
Household $56.31 $69.98 $43.88
Amer Express $35.01 $63.00 $33.70
NextCard $ 7.85 $12.75 $ 4.56
Source: CardData (


SMART CHOICE NETWORK Inc., a leading global provider of e-financial solutions, announced a US$460,000
contract with Smart Choice PVT Ltd. (Smart Choice) to establish an Electronic
Banking Network in Kathmandu, Nepal.

“Our software is once again a key factor in the transformation of an
emerging nation’s outdated financial system to one that conforms to
international banking standards,” said Govin Misir, Chairman and CEO of “Our flagship FTS software module has been instrumental in
establishing electronic transaction networks in rapidly developing countries
around the world. Our contract with Smart Choice also keeps the door open to
future sales of additional software modules and services.”
Under the terms of the agreement, will provide Smart Choice
with its FTS software solution. FTS enables efficient transactions from any
end-user delivery channel, such as an ATM or Point-of-Sale (POS) device, and
exchanges them securely and seamlessly with any destination. The FTS switching
technology is installed throughout the world and is acknowledged as the
leading-edge technology in its field. FTS is capable of providing scalable
transaction management solutions to meet the needs of small financial
institutions and is currently deployed at some of the world’s largest banks,
including the Bank of China.

“This transaction will create the first shared banking network in Nepal,
capable of handling card transactions from numerous financial institutions,”
said Prajwal Bohara, spokesperson for Smart Choice. “’s background
in international sales, local presence in our region, and strength in
scalable, open system technology have provided us with the necessary tools to
establish this network and to support its future growth.”


Founded in 1986, is a leading developer of electronic payment
systems and transaction processing solutions, including e-commerce
applications with a focus on the financial services industry.
provides real-time end-to-end e-banking solutions that include Internet
banking, interactive voice recognition (IVR), debit and credit card issuing,
automated teller machines and point-of-sale network management, retail branch
management, and e-CRM enabling technology. also provides
investment brokerage client and portfolio management applications for the
brokerage industry; e-health solutions which enable health insurance claims to
be evaluated at the point of service, processed and settled in real time; and
e-government solutions which enable consumers to pay fees for government
services in person, at kiosks, through IVR systems or the Internet. For more
information, please visit the Company’s website at


Card Activity

With previous predictions of a very slow 4Q, this week’s tragic events may have a profound impact on card activity for the remainder of this year. Business travel had already fallen sharply this year. The interruption in air travel this week, followed a loss of consumer confidence in air travel will cause a sharp decline in travel related card activity. Concerns over the direction of the general economy may also force a revision of holiday spending forecasts.



Eicon Networks Corporation, a worldwide provider of secure Internet connectivity products, announced that Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. is exclusively using Eiconcard C21 wide-area network interface cards to provide secure and reliable connectivity between its Series 8000 family of ATMs and banks’ X.25 telecommunications networks in North America.

Fujitsu, one of the industry’s leading ATM manufacturers, selected the Eiconcard C21 for its durability, reliability and low field-failure rate. In addition, support for Microsoft Windows 2000, the operating system upon which the Series 8000 ATM is based, was also a critical factor in Fujitsu’s selection of the Eiconcard C21.

“We selected Eicon’s C21 WAN cards to ensure fail-safe network connectivity for our line of Web-enabled Series 8000 ATMs,” said Neill F. Collins, Fujitsu’s vice president of financial systems sales. “Eicon’s excellent reputation and track record as a strong global manufacturer of highly reliable WAN solutions have led us to once again purchase Eiconcards, which we had previously used to deliver network connectivity for our Series 7000(TM) ATMs.”

X.25 networks provides services to millions of people every day, as many common applications and devices – ATMs, credit-card authorization systems and airline reservation systems – rely on it as their means of transporting data because it is a reliable transport mechanism. X.25 is known as a reliable service because it guarantees that data is delivered in the same order it was transmitted and is available in almost every part of the world.

“This deal continues to expand our market share in the X.25 WAN communications arena,” said Norbert Cazabat, Eicon’s senior director of sales for the Americas. “It also further strengthens our relationship with Fujitsu, whose leadership in providing transaction systems for the retail and financial industries remains unmatched.”

About Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc.

Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702), a leading provider of Internet-focused information technology solutions for the global marketplace. The company specializes in IT lifecycle solutions for the retail and financial systems markets. The company has almost 30 years experience in providing hardware/software solutions and services for retail point-of-sale (POS), specialized mobile computing and automated-teller-machine (ATM) applications. Its customer relationship management (CRM) solutions enable Fujitsu customers to build high-value, personalized relationships with consumers.

Web site:

About Eicon Networks

Eicon Networks is a worldwide provider of secure Internet connectivity products. The company’s portfolio includes a full range of products for connecting PCs and network servers to the Internet and corporate networks, as well as secure communications and media gateways for voice over IP and unified messaging. Eicon distributes, markets and supports its products in more than 80 countries through a network of channel partners, telecommunication companies (telcos), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Information about Eicon Networks is available at . Eicon Networks is a business unit of i-data international a-s. More information about i-data can be found at .


Card Connections

While the global payment system networks are operating normally and without interruptions, merchant phone line connections in New York City to the credit card networks have been a challenge. Verizon says its system that serves Manhattan have been severely impaired by both the physical damage and the overload created by the huge call volume. When Building Seven collapsed late Tuesday it caused extensive damage to a Verizon network building. Despite the damage, Verizon is handling about 340 million calls per day, double the normal volume. The damage to the phone system also extends to the wireless phone systems used by some merchants. Verizon Wireless lost ten transmitter sites, Cingular Wireless lost six, and Sprint lost four sites. AT&T said its phone traffic hit 431 million calls on Tuesday, the heaviest business day in the company’s network history.



Gemplus International S.A., the world’s leading provider of solutions empowered by smart cards, announced that it plans to start repurchasing up to 10 million shares of its outstanding common stock, under the repurchase program approved by shareholders during the company’s Annual General Meeting on April 18, 2001. The repurchased shares are intended for use under the company’s employee stock option program.

This repurchase, which will take place over the next 9 months, represents only a portion of the total number of shares authorized under the program. The company generally plans to use existing cash to finance the repurchases. The company had cash and cash equivalents of 430 million Euros at June 30, 2001. The company will consider several methods for the purchase of the shares including direct or open market purchase transactions, option or other forward transactions and other potential methods, in accordance with the terms of the repurchase program and applicable regulations. The repurchase plan does not obligate Gemplus to repurchase any specific number of shares and may be suspended at any time.

About Gemplus

GEMPLUS: the world’s number one provider of solutions empowered by Smart Cards (Gartner Dataquest 2001).

Gemplus helps its clients offer an exceptional range of portable, personalized solutions that bring security and convenience to people’s lives. These include mobile Internet access, inter-operable banking facilities, e-commerce and a wealth of other applications.

Gemplus is the only completely dedicated, truly global player in the Smart Card industry, with the largest R&D team, unrivalled experience, and an outstanding track record of technological innovation.

Gemplus trades its shares on Euronext Paris S.A. First Market and on the Nasdaq Stock Market as GEMP in the form of ADSs. Its revenue in 2000 was 1.205 Billion Euros. It employs 7800 people in 37 countries throughout the world.


Relief Cards

AT&T said it is providing $10 million in ‘AT&T PrePaid’ long distance calling cards for use by relief workers in New York City and Washington, and will provide free AT&T long distance service from all payphones in the affected areas of New York City for the duration of the emergency. AT&T Wireless has already donated 2,000 cellphones with unlimited service for use by federal, state and local government agencies and relief workers. The AT&T Foundation also announced Wednesday it will donate $1 million to the American Red Cross. AT&T has committed up to an additional $300,000 in funds to match employee donations to the relief efforts. AT&T will is offering free e-mail and Internet access through Friday on its AT&T Public Phone ‘2000i’ units at airports in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Miami, Dallas and other locations to aid delayed travelers.


Relief Funds

Banks across the country have made contributions or established funds to assist with disaster releief. Wells Fargo said it will contribute $1 million to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund to support efforts to assist victims and families of this week’s national disaster. Bank of America is donating $1 million to a fund to ‘The September 11th Fund’, established nationally by the United Way of America and The New York Community Trust. Bank One Foundation announced it will match donations of the company’s 78,000 employees dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million. The Wachovia Corporation said it will make a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.



Oberthur Card Systems announced a strategic alliance with Microcell i5 Inc., a subsidiary of Microcell Telecommunications Inc., a leading provider of wireless personal communications services in Canada. The agreement will see the two companies come together to showcase Masq, an extensible platform for mobile operators to rapidly implement secure mobile commerce solutions, at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Internet on the Oberthur Card Systems booth #1046. The strategic joint marketing and market development agreement allows Oberthur to offer Masq as a part of its global product and service offering to GSM carriers.

“Our ability to attract a partner such as Microcell i5 validates our technical advances in security and privacy and solid development platform to help secure mobile commerce,” noted Philippe Courteaux, director of sales for Oberthur’s wireless products. “Oberthur has created a solid footing in the North American GSM market and product offerings that will significantly benefit mobile operators and their customers as the GSM and 3G standards gain market share here.”

Masq provides a platform for secure user identification and authentication, based on proven security protocols (3DES), appropriate to deploy on today’s SIM-card based networks. At the same time, the Masq platform is extensible, allowing network operators to roll out mobile commerce offerings to their subscribers in a phased approach. Because the infrastructure is hosted, and offered under an application service provider (ASP) model, the cost of rolling out an offering to customers is minimized and speed of deployment is increased.

Subscribers will appreciate the level of security and the steps Masq takes to protect their transactions and their confidential information from inappropriate use. Masq uses a familiar PIN-pad approach for verifying a user’s identity to secure non-repudiable transactions.

“Oberthur is a key partner to us as we launch our m-commerce offering to GSM operators worldwide,” said Francois-Charles Sirois, president and chief operating officer of Microcell i5. “Their vision and approach, in finding ways for mobile operators to derive immediate and ongoing benefits from m-commerce infrastructure investments, is perfectly aligned with our own.”

About Oberthur Card Systems

Oberthur Card Systems (Paris Stock Exchange – Code SICOVAM 12413), a global leader and the innovator in the smart card industry, is shaping the future by offering the ultimate in SIM, WAP, 3G (IMT-2000/UMTS), e-wallet technologies & Internet-based card management services coupled with a firm commitment to open standards.

Championing EMV migration, Oberthur is the world’s #1 supplier of MasterCard and Visa cards, #1 in banking, e-commerce, m-commerce and pay-TV, Oberthur is also the #1 in Java(TM) and GSM technologies.

Oberthur Card Systems has an international reach ensured by 30 sales offices and 20 manufacturing sites across the five continents. Oberthur Card Systems had sales of 451.1 million Euros in 2000.


MSI Alliance

MSI (Merchant Services Inc.), a leading provider of electronic payment processing services, announced that it has formed an alliance with Provident Bank and CardSystems Solutions, Inc. This new partnership will enhance MSI’s presence in the bankcard marketplace, enabling them to underwrite credit, and to guarantee same day merchant approval. This move also gives MSI’s customer service and technical support staff the ability to expedite merchant requests faster through real-time computer systems.

Mario Parisi, Director of Operations for MSI, emphasized the importance of 24-hour approval. ‘Every day spent waiting for approval results in lost revenue to the sales channel. It’s important to make prudent credit decisions, but those decisions need to be made in a timely fashion’.

Over the past 2 years, MSI has experienced a period of dynamic growth in the bankcard industry. In the year 2000 MSI processed over 1.25 billion dollars worth of transactions, up from 550 million the previous year. Revenue doubled from 3.1 million to 6.2 million in that same period. This new alliance will position MSI for even greater growth in the 100 billion dollar bankcard industry.

Based in Chantilly, Virginia, CardSystems is a premier provider of intelligent card-based payment solutions serving the Global Electronic Commerce Industry. Their processing solutions, advanced technology, and ability to provide card payment solutions to banks of any size were instrumental in MSI’s decision to form the alliance. Provident Bank, a Cincinnati-based company with $15.1 billion in on-balance sheet assets and $20.1 billion in managed assets, will be utilized to clear merchant transactions.

About MSI, Inc.

Founded in 1989, MSI (Merchant Services Inc.), located in Union, New Jersey, is a leading provider of electronic payment processing services. In 1993, MSI of New Jersey formed a buying cooperative with two other entities, Merchant Services of Long Island, and Merchant Services of South Dakota, however, each entity remains independently owned and operated, and financially autonomous. Since 1999, MSI has built a merchant base that provides Bankcard processing services to over 15,000 merchants nationwide, and processes over 1.25 billion dollars annually. MSI has direct relationships with Visa, MasterCard, Diners, Discover, and American Express, which assure their customers the most cost efficient and direct service possible. For additional information on the company’s products and services, contact George Mayo at (800) 351-5291 ext 9.23 (, or via the web at [][1].



Curb-Side Check-in

Weary road warriors and tired tourists can now check in faster at Starwood and Sheraton hotels with curb- side registration thanks to the Cameo PEP (Portable Encoding Printer) from Zebra Technologies Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of thermal, on-demand printing solutions. The Zebra mobile receipt printer includes a magnetic card encoder that can program room key cards, courtesy cards, property passes, etc. at curbside or poolside. When connected to a networked terminal, the sub-two-pound printer can perform all of the duties performed at a registration desk without making customers wait in line.

The Zebra solution is now being used at several Starwood hotels nationwide and at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. Starwood’s “StarWalker” system depends on the Zebra printer to perform customer registration procedures-including room key encoding-from the curb-side, the lobby or anywhere else on the hotel grounds.

“This specialized technology creates a more pleasurable travel experience. With shorter lines and less hassles, our guests have more valuable time to relax, get work done or have some fun,” said Starwood vice president of property technology strategy Danny Hudson. “We believe that StarWalker will help further refine the quality of service for which Starwood is internationally known.”

When paired with a long-range radio frequency (LRRF)-capable data terminal, such as the Symbol SPT 1700 or 2700 series devices, the Cameo PEP provides the hospitality industry with a portable solution to service customers and update information systems on the spot. Guests can be welcomed, their credit cards authorized, and their room keys issued before they even step into the lobby.

“The Cameo PEP is a breakthrough for any resort, casino, cruise line or hotel that wants to provide its customers with outstanding customer service- starting with a fast and efficient registration process,” said Zebra’s director of marketing for mobile printing solutions, Bob Danahy. “It’s also a boon for business travelers who have meetings to attend, and for vacationers who are eager to take advantage of the hotel’s facilities.”

For more information on the Cameo PEP Portable Encoding Printer call Zebra Technologies Corporation at (800) 423-0442 or visit our website at .

Zebra Technologies Corporation manufactures and distributes on-demand thermal bar code label printers and print engines, plus Eltron-brand instant- issuance plastic card printers used in automatic identification, personalization and security applications worldwide. The company, with an installed base of two million printers, also offers software and related supplies, including more than 1,000 label and ribbon combinations. Zebra’s customers include more than 70 percent of the FORTUNE 500. Information about Zebra bar code products and supplies can be found at . Information about Zebra Technologies Corporation can be found at .


Card Networks

The payment card networks continue to assure the public Wednesday that all is well. First Data, NYCE, TSYS, Concord EFS all confirmed there were no interruptions to their networks. VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover also issued statements confirming that there was no problems on their networks. However all indicated that security has been beefed-up at all operations centers and that merchants may have difficulty processing card payments through phone lines. Of all the national payment card companies, American Express sustained the heaviest damage given its close proximity to the World Trade Center. AmEx officials are still assessing the damage and will announce shortly plans to re-open its executive offices in New York.