Market Pains

Credit card related stocks sank yesterday after Providian warned of lower profits. However the tumble eased somewhat by afternoon following a government report showing that manufacturing is recovering. While all the monolines fell yesterday, Citigroup and American Express eked out a small gain.

Sept. 4
Providian $30.36 -22.27% $67.00
Metris $24.74 – 9.04% $42.94
NextCard $ 8.35 – 6.49% $12.75
MBNA $32.76 -5.75% $40.12
Capital One $52.76 -5.12% $73.25
Household $57.06 -3.45% $69.98
Source: CardData (



Symcor Services Inc. announced that it
has taken an important step forward in its growth strategy by making a
significant investment in its technology platform.
As Canada’s leading financial transaction outsourcer, each year Symcor
processes approximately 1.8 billion checks, handles 50 million customer
payments, produces over 300 million customer statements and generates more
than 50 million e-presentments on behalf of its customers.
“Enhancing our ability to digitally process, archive and deliver this
information provides the foundation for improved customer service as well as
new electronically-delivered products and services,” said Paul Currie, Symcor
CEO. “Our enhanced platform will also allow us to move forward quickly and
efficiently with our plans to expand our electronic services to customers in
the marketplace.”

Carreker Corporation’s (NASDAQ: CANI) Check Solutions will provide proven
software and advanced technology. These systems include conventional check
processing as well as image capture and automated reject reentry on the front
end of the item processing operation. In addition, Check Solutions software
will be used to provide new products such as image statements, CD/ROM
delivery, and check archive storage and retrieval. Symcor’s back office
processes will be further enhanced by using the image-enabled Inbound Returns
Express(TM) and Exceptions Express(TM) systems to handle returned items and
exceptions processing. The company also has full access to Carreker’s
Electronic Check Presentment technology, which allows financial institutions
to process incoming paper check information into their deposit posting systems
before the arrival of the physical paper items.

The IBM(R) Content Manager OnDemand application has been selected for
Symcor’s digital archive. This product will further improve Symcor’s current
digital archive capabilities. The new archive will enable large-scale storage
and substitution of images and electronic delivery for physical paper items.
In the company’s Item Processing business, the digital archive will facilitate
consolidation of back-office processing, reduce paper handling through the
exchange of images, and greatly streamline the research and adjustments
process. In the Customer Communication business, benefits of the digital
archive include improved flexibility and scalability of electronic bill and
statement delivery as well as reduced statement production costs.
Customer service in both Symcor businesses will also be improved with the
archive solution. Online access to high-quality images will provide faster
responses to customers without requiring access to the physical item; both the
call centre and the customer will be able to view the same image. On-line
access to check images and statement images will also enable Symcor’s
customers to provide immediate responses to their customers’ inquiries.
“Symcor is dedicated to providing a complete end-to-end solution that
helps transform and enhance our customers’ businesses,” said Currie. “And,
with our investment in our technology platform, Symcor will provide even
better support to our customers as they migrate from the physical to the
electronic world.”

About Symcor

Symcor is a Canadian leader in providing financial transaction
outsourcing services in two 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 check, credit card and payment processing,
Web development, and a full range of customer bill and statement advisory,
design and presentment capabilities. For more information, please visit

About Carreker Corporation

Carreker Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a leading
provider of integrated consulting and software solutions that enable banks to
identify and implement e-finance solutions, increase their revenues, reduce
their costs and enhance their delivery of customer services. Carreker’s e-
finance solutions use leading-edge technologies to create differentiated
applications for banks and their customers. The Company believes that its 23
years of experience in the banking industry, combined with a professional
staff and advanced technological expertise, allow for targeted solutions for
banks and other financial institutions. Carreker offerings are organized into
three divisions, as follows: (1) Revenue Enhancement, which increases banks’
revenues through market segmentation and improved customer pricing structures,
(2) Global Technology Solutions, which provides business-case driven
technology solutions through three customer-aligned groups: Risk Solutions,
Cash Processing & Logistics Solutions and Check Solutions (these technology-
enabled solutions bring together nearly 125 mission-critical business process
applications, strategic application implementation services,
consulting/advisory services and outsourcing services) and (3) Enterprise
Solutions, which integrates systems, combines operations and improves
workflows and internal operational processes. Carreker’s customer list
includes more than 200 financial institutions in the United States, Canada,
the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and South Africa, including 70 of the
largest 100 banks in the United States. For more information please visit the
website at


BofA Gift Cards

Nearly one-half of U.S. consumers used a gift card in the past year and they may spend more than $32 billion purchasing gift cards in 2001. Yesterday Bank of America introduced the ‘Bank of America VISA Gift Card’. Purchasers can choose from 11 card designs to fit specific gift-giving occasions including weddings, holidays and birthdays. The gift cards are available in any whole dollar amount from $25 to $600. The cards carry a $5.95 fee for value under $300 while cards with more than $300 in value cost $7.95 each.



The International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), a global non-profit association for card manufacturers, personalizers and service providers, recently announced the addition of seven new members. These new members include four card manufacturers, two contributing members, and one supplier.

The Four Card Manufacturing Members include:

· Cardsolutions GmbH, Cham, Switzerland

· Oberthur Card Systems, Ltd., Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK

· Perivallon SA, Attica, Greece

· Plasticard-Locktech International, Asheville, NC, USA

The Two Contributing Members include:

· Smart Card Forum Europe, Lueneburg, Germany

· Smart Card Forum of India, Bangalore, India

The One Supplier Member is:

· Sony Chemicals Corp. of America, Mt. Pleasant, PA, USA

“I am pleased with the addition of the new members,” said Jeffrey E. Barnhart, ICMA executive director. “ICMA’s continuous growth not only strengthens the association, but also provides a stronger forum for our members to network and establish resources while continuing to educate themselves with the plastic card manufacturing industry.”

For information on becoming a member of ICMA, contact Lynn McCullough at (609) 799-4900; e-mail or visit the ICMA web site at

About ICMA

Based in Princeton Junction, NJ, ICMA is a non-profit association of plastic card manufacturers, personalizers and related industry participants. With more than 220 members globally, the ICMA acts as a clearinghouse for industry issues, including the production, technology, application, security and environmental issues of plastic cards.


Catuity CIT

Catuity, Inc. announced that the loyalty software solutions provider will release its web enabling product Customer Transaction Interface.

This technology tool allows retailers to easily customize and integrate the Catuity system into their e-commerce Internet sites. The delivery of Catuity CTI marks the second product release from the company in the past 30 days. Catuity recently announced Catuity Loyalty Over-the-Counter (OTC), a new software development specifically designed to expand the benefits of gift and loyalty cards. Catuity OTC is being sold to retailers through its channel partners consisting of transaction processors, terminal sales organizations (ISOs) and merchant service companies. Michael V. Howe, President of Catuity, made the announcement noting: “Catuity’s software platform takes significant strides forward with the release of CTI. This software enables web developers using the Catuity system on the Internet to completely customize its interaction with a smart card.”

Howe noted that CTI provides web businesses with total control and flexibility. “CTI makes it easier to implement the Catuity program on the Internet in that it allows the web developer for any given merchant the opportunity to use a tool that will easily and effectively interface the Catuity system with the rest of the merchant’s e-commerce site.” CTI is being well received by Catuity’s channel partners. “Since all of our software development on the smart card front has been web-based and designed to run through a browser, this is an exciting and powerful new feature for us,” stated Joel Brock, President of Data Pro Account Software of Tampa, Florida. “Very soon our on-demand ticket printing capabilities through a browser will be available to our customers through either our secure paper technology or immediately to a smart card. This is very significant as we move forward in this arena.” Catuity, Inc. ([][1]) is a leading provider of loyalty software systems. The Catuity software includes an integrated suite of applications that provide loyalty, ticketing, access control and membership. The Catuity Loyalty System is ubiquitous in that it can operate on any device, any card program and with any payment process, including stored value, smart cards and wireless applications. Catuity unites the brick-and-mortar retailer with the Internet to enable cross-sell capabilities with consistent brand imaging across all channels. The Catuity loyalty system is currently the only loyalty software approved by Visa USA for use by its member banks that issue smart cards with loyalty applications.



EMV Solution

CIM and UbiQ, Inc. announced an agreement to provide a specially packaged EMV Smart Card Issuing Solution, enabling the market to issue smart cards through the most flexible and affordable system available in the industry to date. The sector benefiting most from this partnership will be the rapidly growing smart card banking/financial markets. Both Visa International and MasterCard International have become driving forces behind smart card technology; CIM and UbiQ, are ready to meet their goal of issuing highly secure and powerful smart cards at an affordable price point.

Both CIM and UbiQ are confident in the success of the packaged solution. One of the key determinants of this imminent success is the lack of flexibility other proprietary software solutions have to offer, as well as the prohibitive costs involved with other card personalization systems. ‘Smart card applications typically require customized packages, and if these are proprietary to the card and equipment manufacturers, they can be costly and time consuming processes for the issuers. The CIM and UbiQ solution is open: neither costly nor proprietary,’ said Alberto Mucelli, CIM S.p.A.’s CEO & Chairman.

According to UbiQ’s President & COO, David Tushie, ‘Using CIM’s highly flexible and multi-modular Pro-Series line of card personalization units combined with the state of the art smart card issuing software UbiQQuickStart’, card issuers will now have the most reliable and cost effective desktop smart card issuing system available today.’

CIM is a leading and innovative manufacturer of card printers and embossing products. Established almost 20 years ago, CIM has a worldwide presence with subsidiaries covering the Asia/Pacific region, and since 1999 is covering the Americas through its subsidiary CIM USA Inc located in Miami, Florida.

By providing the widest range of plastic card and metal plate personalization equipment available in the industry, CIM now has the most intelligent, flexible, and user-friendly technology for all types of market segments: financial institutions, hospitals, casinos, government agencies, card manufacturers/service bureaus, retailers, etc.

UbiQ Inc. is a rapidly growing privately held software firm. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA, UbiQ has developed patented technology for smart card personalization. UbiQ’s mission is to be the highest value integrator in the smart card issuance process, reducing the time and cost necessary for secure, faultless card issuance. The company distributes its products worldwide to smart card issuers including Visa and MasterCard member institutions. Other customers and partners of UbiQ include card service bureaus, smart card manufacturers, and card personalization manufacturers.


Interlink Revolt

Wal-Mart Stores announced Tuesday afternoon it is kicking VISA’s ‘Interlink’ POS on-line debit cards out of its 2,700 stores effective October 13. The world’s largest retailer said the action is the direct result of VISA’s decision to raise transaction fees next month from 20 cents to 45 cents per transaction. Wal-Mart also noted that it made the bold decision despite the fact that VISA offered the retailer as much as $32 million in incentive payments if the company would accept the increased transaction fees by ‘Interlink’. Wal-Mart handles more than 350 million individual customer transactions through PIN-based or on-line debit transactions annually. Less than 10% of Wal-Mart’s total debit card business is processed by the ‘Interlink’ network. VISA handles approximately 400 million POS transactions through ‘Interlink’ annually. More than 50 million cards carry the ‘Interlink’ logo with most of the U.S. cardholders located on the west coast, where the network was established. There are more than 675,000 ‘Interlink’ merchant acceptance locations in the U.S. VISA made the decision in June to boost ‘Interlink’ transaction fees for most merchants from 45 bps +3 cents with a 20 cents maximum to 65 bps +12 cents with a 45 cents maximum. The fee tiff 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. Wal-Mart will continue to accept other PIN-based debit cards such as Star,Pulse, NYCE and AFFN.


SVS in Canada

Comdata Corporation announced its Stored Value Systems subsidiary will provide American Eagle Outfitters with electronic point-of-sale currency conversion for its Canadian-based stores. An SVS electronic cash card customer since 1998, American Eagle Outfitters operates over 600 stores in the United States and Canada.

“Currency conversion is a critical factor for the growing number of domestic retailers that are expanding their operations to Canada,” said Mike Berry, executive vice president and general manager, Stored Value Systems, Inc. “Shoppers in American Eagle’s Canadian stores will enjoy faster check- outs, while store managers will benefit from more accurate, error-free accounting that SVS electronic cash cards provide.”

As the exclusive cash card provider with automatic currency conversion at the point-of-sale, SVS first introduced the technology in Canadian Pier One Imports stores last fall. SVS customers with currency conversion sell their cards in the common currency of the country where the store is located. The cards can be redeemed in either the United States or Canada. When a shopper presents an electronic cash card for payment, the SVS system converts the sale amount to the base currency of the card, deducts the amount of the sale, and calculates the remaining balance in the base currency. The transaction is conducted in real-time through the retailer’s point-of-sale device.

“Cross-border shopping is becoming more common today, especially in a fluctuating economy,” said Berry. “SVS is working with domestic retailers today to find new ways to capitalize on shopper trends. Our currency conversion feature is the first in a series of exciting developments we are introducing that add more value to retailers today challenged with incremental sales growth.”

As the leading electronic cash card provider, current SVS clients include some of the nation’s most acclaimed retailers, grocers and petroleum providers. Current SVS clients include K-Mart, Target, Radio Shack, Kroger, Lowes and Food Lion, all of which market the SVS product as private-label gift cards, electronic replacements for traditional gift certificates.

About Comdata

Comdata Corporation, , is redefining the movement of money and information through technology for businesses, customers and employees. A leading provider of transaction and information services, Comdata provides Comchek(R) credit and debit processing and reporting for commercial fleets and merchants, SVS electronic cash, gift and chip card programs for retailers and governmental agencies, Comchek(R) eCash payroll services for food, retail and other service industries, and point-of-sale equipment for travel plazas and convenience stores. Headquartered in Brentwood, TN, Comdata employs nearly 2,000 people throughout the United States and Canada. Comdata is a wholly- owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation (NYSE: CEN).

About Stored Value Systems, Inc. (SVS)

Stored Value Systems (SVS), , is the nation’s leading provider of retail cash card services and chip card programs. Retailers across America rely on SVS to create customer loyalty, increase transaction volumes and strengthen their competitive position in the retailer marketplace. The people of SVS are the undisputed experts at building retail brands and keeping satisfied shoppers in stores. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, Stored Value Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comdata Corporation.


LML Signs Harvey Chain

LML Payment Systems Inc. is pleased to announce its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp. has signed an electronic transaction processing contract with J.H. Harvey & Co. of Nashville, Georgia.

J.H. Harvey & Co. operates a chain of 45 store grocery stores located primarily in the state of Georgia. The transaction processing agreement involves the processing of check authorizations, credit, debit and EBT card transactions through LML’s proprietary transaction software REPS (Retail Electronic Payments System). All check transactions will be authorized against LML’s national database of checkwriters and subjected to a variety of positive velocity parameters which can be employed on a national, regional or store basis. The Automatic Risk Leveling (ARL) feature of REPS allows clients to select and adjust the check acceptance risk level for each region, store and/or each cash register while monitoring transactions in real-time, allowing for on-the-fly risk level adjustments. Credit, debit and EBT card transactions will be routed to third party processors for settlement.

‘We are pleased with this contract,’ said Corporation President and CEO, Patrick H. Gaines. ‘REPS provides retailers with information in a form never before available. As a retail payment management tool, we believe REPS is unprecedented. Each store transaction, whether it be a check authorization, check conversion, credit, debit or EBT card transaction, can be viewed by client management in real-time by region, store or individual check-out lane. Individual store and regional store managers have immediate access to the same data and reports providing the ability to make better decisions.’

The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including Electronic Check Conversion (whereby paper checks are converted into electronic transactions), electronic check verification, electronic check re-presentment (whereby returned paper checks are re-presented for payment electronically), and primary and secondary check collection to supermarkets, grocery stores, multilane retailers, convenience stores and other national, regional and local retailers. We also specialize in providing selective routing, including real-time monitoring of check, debit, credit and EBT transactions for authorization and settlement through our flagship transaction processing product REPS (Retail Electronic Payment System). The Corporation’s intellectual property estate, owned by subsidiary LML Patent Corp, includes new U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 regarding Internet checking transactions, in addition to U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 which describes a ‘Checkwriting point of sale system.’ which, through a centralized database and authorization system, is capable of providing and administering various electronic payment services for customers and businesses. Also included in our intellectual property estate is a recently received Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a new patent based upon United States Patent Application Serial No. 09/562,303. The newly allowed patent application describes corporate checks and electronic fund transfers (EFT) and relates to existing U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 and U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 (described above).


Beanie Baby Card

MBNA said yesterday that its new ‘Beanie Baby MasterCard’ generated more responses in its first three weeks than any other Web-driven initiative over the same period. The new ‘Ty Platinum Plus MasterCard’ is the first credit card to be offered with an exclusive, companion ‘Beanie Baby’. ‘M.C. Beanie’, a brown bear whose nose features the familiar red-and-orange MasterCard logo, will be sent to each ‘Ty Platinum Plus MasterCard’ cardholder upon initial use of the card. ‘M.C. Beanie’ was created exclusively for MasterCard by Ty Warner, chairman and CEO of Ty Inc. In addition to ‘M.C. Beanie’, the ‘Ty MasterCard’ offers a points program. Cardholders can redeem points to obtain Ty merchandise, including ‘Beanie Babies’ created exclusively for the program. The card is marketed through Ty’s Web site.


Heartland & ARA

The Arizona Restaurant Association and Heartland Payment Systems Inc. recently announced an expanded partnership, which utilizes Heartland’s statewide sales professionals as an additional distribution channel for ARA memberships across the state of Arizona.

Heartland’s local sales professionals have started offering ARA memberships along with its value-added services in addition to HPS credit card and payroll processing services to restaurant merchants in Arizona. In the spirit of a true partnership, the ARA will compensate the Heartland sales team for increasing their membership sales. This unique distribution channel strategy sets a precedent in the industry, which both HPS and the ARA are convinced will gain popularity with other state association partners. Currently, Heartland is moving forward with similar arrangements with other restaurant and hospitality partners throughout the United States. “We believe that our expanded relationship with the Arizona Restaurant Association is a testament to the outstanding reputation of our dedicated relationship managers as an excellent distribution channel in Arizona as well as throughout the United States,” said Sanford Brown, SVP of sales and association marketing director, HPS. Brown continued, “As a new distribution channel for ARA programs and services, HPS will generate synergies between our organizations, which will further cement our partnership and increase both organizations’ market reach.” The ARA agrees as Joe Yuhas, ARA executive director stated, “Our association is very excited about this new initiative. Of course, this effort only strengthens our already solid partnership with Heartland. “But more importantly, it positions the Arizona Restaurant Association for sustained growth and expands our ability to bring the services of our association to even more restaurant merchants and their employees across the state.” This expanded partnership is a prime example of how a non-profit organization and a “for profit” company can work together to provide more value-added services and additional support to the restaurant industry. By using HPS as a distribution channel and combining marketing resources, both organizations will be able to increase their exposure in the marketplace and dramatically reduce costs to the ARA, which can be passed on to their members. Yuhas sums it up nicely, “Both the ARA and HPS stories are strong ones. As an association, we save our members thousands of dollars each year, which is added to their bottom lines in what is one of the most competitive of all industries. The addition of Heartland to our membership development team will allow both of us to present our stories to more restaurant merchants than ever before.”

About ARA

The Arizona Restaurant Association is the voice of the Arizona restaurant industry, some 8,000 members strong and representing over 8 percent of the Arizona economy. They are committed to serving the unique needs of their member restaurants and food service professionals by promoting a pro-business, pro-restaurant message and the value of the free enterprise system.

About Heartland

Heartland Payment Systems Inc. (HPS) is a full-service payment systems solutions provider, handling merchant card and payroll processing services for over 50,000 merchants of all types and sizes. Using a strategically located national sales force, HPS builds long-term business relationships in local sales territories providing merchants with enhanced technology tools that assist them in more effectively operating their businesses. For more information about HPS, please visit them online at [][1] or [][2].




NCR Corporation announced that Earl Shanks has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer effective September 10, succeeding David Bearman who is retiring from the company at the end of 2001. Bearman will work with Shanks over the coming months to transition the financial leadership of NCR.

Shanks most recently served as NCR’s vice president of corporate finance. Previously, he served as vice president and corporate controller, as well as treasurer and head of mergers and acquisitions. He joined NCR in 1996 from Chicago-based apparel maker Fruit of the Loom, Ltd. where he was vice president and treasurer.

“Earl is an exceptional executive to succeed David,” said Lars Nyberg, chairman and chief executive officer of NCR. “He quickly demonstrated leadership in each of the corporate finance positions he has held since coming to NCR, and continually demonstrates the qualities necessary to be an outstanding chief financial officer for the company.”

Commenting on his impending retirement, Bearman said, “I am delighted to have been a part of the transformation of NCR these past three years. I am extremely confident in Earl’s abilities and in the financial strength of the company going forward. Now is the right time in the evolution of NCR and for myself personally to make this change.”

Bearman came to NCR in 1998 after nine years with Cardinal Health, Inc. and 20 years with General Electric Company.

“I join everyone at NCR in thanking David for his contributions as we’ve worked together to complete the transition from being a computer hardware vendor to a technology solutions provider,” said Nyberg. “Through his complete restructure of our global finance operations, David leaves behind a strong foundation from which NCR can continue to grow and succeed.”

Shanks began his career at Peat Marwick International in 1978, which joined with Klynveld Main Goerdeler in 1987 to become global professional services organization KPMG International. During his five-year tenure, Shanks served in various management positions before joining Farley Industries, Inc. in 1983 as director of tax. There he served in key areas of financial management including treasury, acquisitions, divestitures and tax planning. Farley Industries acquired Fruit of the Loom in 1985.

Shanks is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he earned both a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior.

In his new role as chief financial officer, Shanks will report to Nyberg and will replace Bearman as a member of NCR’s four-person Executive Committee, which is responsible for setting company direction. Other members of this committee include Nyberg, Mark Hurd, president of NCR and chief operating officer of the company’s Teradata Division, and Howard Lance, president of NCR and chief operating officer of the company’s Retail and Financial Group.

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 such as customer relationship management (CRM) and demand chain 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 .

NCR and Teradata are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.