Canadian Tire MasterCard Drives Growth

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited reported second quarter consolidated net earnings of $53.4 million, compared to the $49.0 million recorded in 2000, an 8.9 per cent increase. Earnings before interest expense, income tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 8.9 per cent to $142.8 million from $131.1 million in the second quarter last year. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.67, up 8.5 per cent from the $0.62 per share recorded in 2000.

“I am pleased to report that Canadian Tire Retail experienced exceptionally strong comparable store sales in a very challenging economic environment. During the quarter we also achieved double digit growth in total retail sales. These results reflect not only very strong seasonal sales, but also healthy increases across all of our key merchandising categories. In particular, we experienced very strong sales of non-promotional merchandise. Our results also reflect significant achievements in our focus on improving productivity and implementing strategic initiatives,” said Wayne Sales, president and chief executive officer. “All of our businesses contributed to our earnings performance during the quarter, including Retail, Financial Services and Petroleum,” Sales added.

Canadian Tire Associate Dealers reported strong second quarter retail sales up 12.9 per cent, a testament to customer acceptance of CTR’s product offering and a return to normal summer weather conditions compared to the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased by 7.0 per cent, the strongest quarterly increase in over seven years.

Major factors contributing to improvements in consolidated pre-tax earnings included a 12.0 per cent increase in pre-tax earnings in Financial Services reflecting cost reductions and productivity improvements, and a significant increase in pre-tax earnings in Petroleum. Increased shipments and revenues in Canadian Tire Retail helped offset the significant investments in growth initiatives. Increased expenses associated with these initiatives reduced pre-tax earnings during the quarter by $4 million for the continued development of CTR’s e-Commerce offering and $2 million for PartSource. The net result was a 1.9 per cent pre-tax earnings increase in CTR.

Canadian Tire finished the first six months with consolidated net earnings of $82.1 million, up 12.2 per cent from a year earlier. Earnings per share were $1.04, an 11.7 per cent increase over the first half of 2000. First half results reflect increased earnings in all businesses as well as the $8 million first quarter pre-tax gain on the sale of the third-party credit card receivables business in Financial Services.

Consolidated gross operating revenue for the second quarter was $1,499.3 million, up 7.2 per cent from the $1,398.2 million recorded in 2000. Major factors included strong retail sales contributing to a 7.3 per cent increase in shipments at Canadian Tire Retail, complemented by a 10.4 per cent increase in gross operating revenue in Petroleum. Revenues in Financial Services for the quarter were down 1.8 per cent, reflecting reduced revenue contributions due to the sale in the first quarter of the third-party receivables business. Consolidated gross operating revenue for the first half of 2001 was $2,634.6 million, an increase of 5.3 per cent over the $2,502.5 million recorded in the same period last year.


– Construction of the new Calgary Distribution Centre building has been substantially completed and handed off to Canadian Tire and GENCO, the third-party operator of this facility. Integration and system testing is underway and the Distribution facility will be fully operational commencing in the first quarter of 2002. This represents a key milestone in the development of the Corporation’s more cost-effective regional replenishment and multi-channel distribution system.

– Vendor supply chain service levels to the Corporation reached a record high during the second quarter. Service levels from the distribution centres to Canadian Tire Associate Stores were up 103 basis points over the same period last year.

– As part of the Customer Values initiative, web-based learning technology has been introduced in more than 90 per cent of Canadian Tire stores, with more than 100 learning modules in production delivering product knowledge and customer service training for store staff.

– Consumer traffic to, including unique visitors, continues to be very strong and Canadian Tire’s web store is one of the top ten e-Commerce sites in Canada.

– 12 new-format stores were opened during the quarter, bringing to 249 the total number of new-format stores that have been opened since the rebuilding program was initiated in 1994.

– PartSource completed the conversion and integration of Auto Village/Drivers stores to the PartSource format and banner.

– Financial Services made significant progress in its continued expansion of the Options MasterCard portfolio and average balances and ancillary credit products benefited during the quarter as a result.

“Canadian Tire’s quarterly results indicate that our aggressive approach to growing our business and reducing costs is paying off, and at the same time we are putting in place a strong foundation for our future growth and shareholder returns,” noted Sales.


Canadian Tire is committed to continually improving near-term earnings and performance by continuing to invest in existing programs which are designed to increase total and comparable store sales and to significantly reduce costs. At the same time, Canadian Tire is in the process of undertaking a comprehensive strategic review of the Corporation’s businesses and opportunities for long-term growth. The Corporation plans to communicate the direction of its Strategic Plan in late September.


The Corporation reaffirms its outlook for an increase in gross operating revenues in the range of six to eight per cent in 2001 and to increase consolidated net earnings in the range of seven to nine per cent. This excludes any gain from the securitization of credit charge receivables. Effective July 1, 2001, the Corporation adopted the new recommendations issued by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Accounting Guideline 12 “Transfers of Receivables”. As a result of the adoption of the new accounting rules, the Corporation will realize a gain of approximately $8 million to $9 million before taxes in the third quarter of 2001.


On August 2, 2001 the Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per share on each Common and Class A Non-Voting share. The dividend is payable on December 1, 2001 to holders of record on October 31, 2001.

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (TSE: CTR.a, CTR) – the country’s most shopped retailer – offers a unique mix of products and services through three distinct, yet inter-related businesses. Canadian Tire Retail and the Associate Dealers together form one of Canada’s best-known and most successful retailers, offering customers the convenience and leadership of three specialty stores under one roof – Automotive, Sports and Leisure, and Home Products. Canadian Tire Retail recently launched, offering Canadians a brand new way for customers to shop online for automotive, sports, leisure and home products. Canadian Tire Financial Services manages related financial products and services for retail and petroleum customers, and also markets other value-added products to our customers. Canadian Tire Petroleum is one of the country’s largest independent retailers of gasoline, with 203 outlets. With 443 Canadian Tire Associate Stores serving communities nationwide, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and the Associate Dealers together employ more than 38,000 Canadians.



Bank of Korea reported the number of credit cards has surpassed 42 million and merchant acceptance locations have topped 5.2 million. The central bank also reported the daily average of credit card purchases exceeded 711 billion won in the first six months of this year, an increase of 93%. Cash advances doubled during the same period, with roughly 467 billion won being conducted every day. Last year the average was 223 billion won. The use of ATMs for bill payments grew 25% with 144 billion transactions. Last year, there were 115 billion transactions.



Electronic commerce and payments leader First Data Corp. announced its card issuing services subsidiary has signed an agreement with Orbiscom, Inc., the leading provider of controlled, secure payment technology, to offer its Controlled Payment Number technology to First Data issuing clients.

First Data’s 1,400 credit and debit card issuing clients will have access to the state-of-the-art technology that allows issuers to provide cardholders with an authenticated, unique card number for each payment or merchant instead of transmitting the cardholder’s actual card number. The numbers are specific to each transaction and issuers can provide their customers with the ability to select the dollar limit, expiration date and specific merchant site for use. Invalid after subsequent usage, the substitute numbers help issuers drive increased card usage while minimizing fraud and the costs associated with it.

“Through this partnership, First Data underscores its commitment to providing issuers with state-of-the-art technology to ensure cardholders feel confident and secure when making purchases online,” said Henry Tsuei, senior vice president of ventures and emerging technologies for First Data Resources. “We are very pleased to offer this new solution to our issuing clients and view it as another opportunity for them to build revenue as a result of increased card usage and improved customer retention.”

Issuers who have already adopted Orbiscom’s solution have experienced a minimum of 30 percent growth in the average ticket size of their online transactions. Sixty-two percent of Controlled Payment Number users become repeat customers. Additionally, Orbiscom’s solution offers issuers an option to promote and sell services personalized to each cardholder using a branded footprint located on the cardholders’ desktop as well as mobile devices.

“Orbiscom further strengthens its industry leadership position by acquiring a distribution point through which to market and license Controlled Payment Number technology directly to First Data’s card issuing base,” said George Jathas, executive vice president of business development, Orbiscom, Inc. “We are pleased to bring the benefits of our patented technology and live implementation experience to their issuers.”

Through its relationships with Discover, MBNA and Allied Irish Bank, Orbiscom is currently the only provider of Controlled Payment Number Technology with live implementations in the U.S. and Europe and has a potential customer base today of 100 million cardholders. Orbiscom’s technology is compatible with other security technologies such as smart cards, as well as all industry standard Association initiatives.

About First Data

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 27,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 109,000 locations in more than 186 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][1].

About Orbiscom

Orbiscom is the creator of Controlled Payment Number 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 wireless 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: [][2].



Diners Group Event

Diners Club has launched the ‘Group Event System’ corporate card to enable companies to manage meeting and event-related expenses, combined with the advantages of a centrally-billed payment system with the convenience of individually-issued cards. The card also offers a 60 day grace period. Diners Club offers ‘Global Vision’, a Windows based MIS reporting tool, to maximize the value of a ‘Group Event System’ program by providing a means of identifying and analyzing all transactions. ‘GV’ offers 50 preformatted report templates and an infinite number of customized report variations.


July Retail Sales

Same-store retail sales grew 2.5 percent in July over the same period last year despite there being one less weekend shopping day and analysts’ reports of declining consumer confidence, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the Northeast and the West. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index is based on a broad cross-section of retailers nationwide. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Denver-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC).

“Consumer spending is sustaining the moderate pace of our nation’s economic growth, indicated by July’s 2.5 percent increase in same-store retail sales,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “Extreme temperatures in certain regions of the country could be encouraging consumers to flock to air-conditioned shopping malls. And slightly stronger sales in Houston suggest that many residents are purchasing items lost during June’s tragic flooding.” Sales rose 3.1 percent in the Southeast region. Sales climbed 4.2 percent in Louisiana, 4.0 percent in The Carolinas, 3.6 percent in Florida, 2.2 percent in Tennessee and 2.0 percent in Georgia. Sales increased 4.4 percent in New Orleans, 3.8 percent in Tampa, 3.6 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, 3.2 percent in Orlando, 2.4 percent in Memphis, 2.3 percent in Atlanta and 2.0 percent in Nashville. The Southwest region’s sales increased 3.0 percent, with Oklahoma’s sales up 3.2 percent, Texas’ sales up 2.9 percent and Missouri’s sales up 2.1 percent. Houston saw sales jump 3.5 percent, Oklahoma City’s sales grew 3.4 percent, Tulsa saw sales rise 3.0 percent, Austin’s sales climbed 2.8 percent and San Antonio’s sales were up 2.7 percent. Sales jumped 2.5 percent in Dallas / Ft. Worth, 2.3 percent in St. Louis and 2.0 percent in Kansas City. In the Mid-Atlantic region, sales climbed 2.9 percent. New Jersey’s sales climbed 4.0 percent, Pennsylvania’s sales increased 3.1 percent, Maryland’s sales grew 2.0 percent and Virginia’s sales were up 1.8 percent. Philadelphia saw sales climb 3.3 percent, Pittsburgh’s sales grew 2.9 percent, Baltimore saw sales rise 1.6 percent and the District of Columbia’s sales rose 1.5 percent. In the Midwest, sales grew 2.5 percent. Ohio’s sales were up 3.4 percent, Wisconsin’s sales rose 2.5 percent, sales grew 2.3 percent in both Minnesota and Michigan, and Illinois’ sales rose 2.1 percent. Sales grew by 3.1 percent in Cleveland, 2.8 percent in Detroit, 2.7 percent in both Milwaukee and Minneapolis, and 2.0 percent in Chicago. The Northeast region’s sales grew 2.1 percent. Sales rose 2.3 percent in Massachusetts and 2.1 percent in New York State. New York City’s sales were up 2.4 percent and Boston’s sales increased 1.7 percent. Sales in the West grew 2.0 percent. Sales increased 3.4 percent in Hawaii, 2.5 percent in Colorado, 2.2 percent in California, 1.8 percent in Arizona, 1.2 percent in Oregon and 1.1 percent in Washington. Sales rose 2.4 percent in Los Angeles, 2.2 percent in San Diego, 2.1 percent in Denver, 1.8 percent in Portland, 1.6 percent in the Bay Area, 1.4 percent in Phoenix and 1.3 percent in Seattle. In 2000, TeleCheck authorized more than $163 billion in checks, representing 3.2 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, visit the Internet site at [][1].




Fincentric Corporation, a global provider of web-
enabled financial services software, announced today that it has signed a
licensing and servicing agreement to implement its i-Wealthview Banking
for American Express Bank, the international banking subsidiary of American
Company. The software is being implemented in six countries.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with American Express Bank on its
international e-banking initiative,” commented Mike Cardiff, President and
Executive Officer of Fincentric. “Our software is designed to provide customer-
centricity and Customer Value Management capabilities that support
strategies for
increasing customer acquisition, retention and profitability.”

About Fincentric

Fincentric is a developer of software solutions for the global financial
services industry.
Fincentric, formerly Prologic Corporation, has more than 300 customers
Fincentric software products enable financial institutions to quickly
deploy solutions for
their converging financial service offerings, while also supporting
capabilities for
increasing customer profitability, customer acquisition, and retention. Through
strategic alliances with Microsoft, Compaq, and other international
partners, Fincentric
delivers complete, end-to-end, multi-channel wealth management solutions to
global financial institutions.

The i-Wealthview wealth management software system allows institutions to
their customers with a financial portal for managing their banking,
investments and
financial planning. Through personalized web pages, customers can view
account balances, pay bills, place stock trades, purchase insurance and
view their consolidated networth statements, regardless of where the
financial data originates. i-Wealthview’s Customer Value Management(tm)
capabilities enable the institution to recognize and maximize the value of
each customer, and facilitate strategies for increasing profitability
across their customer-base.


Unbanked Households

The Fannie Mae Foundation released a report this week that found the 12 million U.S. households with a banking relationship are turning more and more to fringe lenders to meet their basic financial services needs. Check cashers, payday lenders, pawnshops, rent-to-own stores, and related institutions now engage annually in at least 280 million transactions, generating $78 billion in gross revenue and $5.5 billion in fees. The report found that the number of check-cashing outlets has doubled in the past five years 11,000 outlets annually processing more than 180 million checks, worth roughly $60 billion. There are now 12,000 to 14,000 pawnshops operating and payday lenders have grown from 300 stores seven years ago to more than 8,000 in 1999.


Tidel & CCC

Tidel Technologies reported this morning that Montrose Investments and Liberty Acorn Trust have exercised their put rights on subordinated debt of $15 million and $3 million, respectively. Tidel says it is now obligated to prepay the entire principal amount of $18 million, together with any accrued but unpaid interest, on or before August 27. Tidel has engaged Banc of America Securities to review financing alternatives and assist in the discussions with the debt holders since the company does not have the funds to cover the prepayment. The company also said it is diligently pursuing Tidel’s claim of approximately $27 million as a principal secured creditor in the PA-based Credit Card Center Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the most recent hearing on the matter on July 27, in Philadelphia, the bankruptcy court allowed the continued use of cash collateral to fund CCC’s operations and set the next hearing for August 15, at which time CCC expects to submit proposals for the sale of the company to prospective buyers. Tidel has engaged Banc of America Securities LLC to review financing alternatives and assist in the discussions with the debt holders.


Fargo Technology Alliance

Five additional firms have joined the Fargo Technology Alliance, a global technology group which promotes effective, advanced smart card solutions, Fargo Electronics, Inc. announced Thursday. Fargo is the world’s leader in innovative technologies for desktop plastic card personalization systems.

“The Fargo Technology Alliance unites smart card solutions with Fargo’s international and domestic network of distribution partners. With 17 Alliance members — the very best smart and proximity card application software developers and manufacturers — now working together with our global distribution system, Fargo is able to provide a wider range of complete solutions for end users. This generates sales for all companies involved, and builds Fargo’s competitive advantage,” said Gary R. Holland, President and CEO of Fargo.

“The use of advanced technology, such as smart and proximity cards, is creating new opportunities for distributed card personalization systems,” Holland noted. “Some marketing studies suggest that within the next five years, more than 50 million U.S. residents will carry chip-based smart ID cards. The U.S. Department of Defense Common Access Card project, which uses over 1,500 Fargo printers, is a prime example of the implementation of this technology.”

Alliance members can participate in special Technology Showcase events with Fargo’s Distribution Partners in conjunction with industry conferences and trade shows. The second Fargo Technology Showcase will take place on Sunday, September 30, in San Antonio, Texas, one day prior to the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) 47th Annual Seminar and Exhibit October 1-4. Keynote speaker will be Joseph Grillo, president and CEO of HID Corporation, Irvine, Calif.

The five newest members are: CASI-RUSCO, Boca Raton, Fla.; Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. (OTCBB:FROG.OB), Maitland, Fla.; Lexington Technology, Inc., Huntington Beach, Calif.; Synercard Corp., Quebec, Canada; and Unicard Systems, Sydney, Australia.

CASI-RUSCO, an Interlogix (Nasdaq:ILXI) company, is a world leader in enterprise security management systems. CASI-RUSCO systems provide electronic access control, CCTV management and alarm monitoring in solutions that meet the unique needs of global, multi-site corporations down to the needs of small businesses with cost effective, easy-to-use systems.

Leapfrog has extensive experience and off-the-shelf, comprehensive, solutions in the healthcare, access control and campus (both corporate and university) sectors. Leapfrog’s healthcare division, Conduit, develops smart card-based solutions that assist the healthcare industry in becoming more efficient and cost-effective by reducing fraud, streamlining administrative procedures, and increasing the quality of healthcare services provided to the patients.

Lexington Technology is a developer of ID card personalization software and related applications. Lexington provides business solutions that incorporate its data-bridging techniques, and that simplify complex business processes, allowing users to issue, track and manage the identity of people and assets. Lexington Technology provides an open ID card personalization platform, which allows for third party application encoding of smart cards, as well as direct configuration and encoding from within its products. For developers of applications needing card personalization capability, Lexington provides development tools that allow for integration of these functions into third party applications.

Synercard Corporation was formed in 1997 to exploit the emerging market opportunities in the areas of Internet and Intranet-enabled smart card personalization and issuance for advanced photo ID cards. Today, Synercard designs, develops and, through an international network of value-added resellers, markets software products, which simplify and streamline the process of managing and issuing advanced photo ID cards and smart cards for organizations of any size anywhere.

Unicard provides complete smart card solution for university, college and campus environments. The solution is used for many applications within a campus environment. Using just a single smart card, the solution incorporates a growing number of applications including, photo ID, monetary and loyalty purses, access control, student library card and membership applications. The range of products include student ID card production interfaced into university student/staff and library databases, smart card readers for PC’s, readers for doors and for vending copies, cash to card vending machines and touch screen point of sale software. It also includes a complete Web based reporting and management system.

“In just a few short years, Fargo card personalization technology has expanded from relatively simple systems for door access to much more complex personalization systems for the education, loyalty, healthcare, e-commerce and mass transit markets, just to name a few,” Holland said. “At the same time, card encoding is evolving from relatively simple bar code and magnetic stripe cards to complex schemes with smart cards, proximity cards, and hybrid cards, which use multiple technologies on a single card.”

“The primary goal of the Fargo Technology Alliance is to increase the sale of smart card products, card personalization systems and services,” according to Joseph Schuler, Fargo’s Director – Business Development. “The program is pulling together a wide range of expertise and products, providing information on technology and markets, and creating a network of relationships to promote successful business-to-business partnering. Further, the Alliance has quickly become a valuable resource that sets our combined solutions apart from everyone else.”

“The Alliance is open to smart card software developers and manufacturers whose products or services complement Fargo products. Fargo facilitates a direct sales relationship between its Distribution Partners and Alliance Members,” Schuler said.

The 12 other members of the Alliance are: Bull CP8; CardLogix; CardSmart Technologies; Gemplus (Euronext:Sicovam 5768 and Nasdaq:GEMP); IDenticard Systems; ImageWare (AMEX:IW); Intraproc GmbH; NFive Software; Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB); SmartDynamics, LLC; Supercom Smart Cards Inc. (Easdaq:SPRC); and UbiQ Inc.

For more information on Fargo Technology Alliance members, see their web sites: Bull CP8 at; CASI-RUSCO at; CardLogix at; CardSmart Technologies at; Gemplus at; IDenticard Systems at:; ImageWare Systems Inc. at; Intraproc at; Leapfrog at, or; Lexington at; Nfive Software at; Schlumberger at; SmartDynamics at; SuperCom Smart Cards at; Synercard at; and UbiQ at; and Universal at [][1]

About Fargo

Fargo Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:FRGO) is the world’s leader in innovative technologies for desktop plastic card personalization systems. Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Fargo printing systems create personalized plastic identification cards complete with digital images and text, lamination, and electronically encoded information.

Personalized identification cards provide physical, information and transaction security for a wide variety of applications including retail stores, e-commerce, government installations, schools, sports and recreation facilities, clubs and associations, and correctional facilities. More than 50,000 Fargo systems are currently installed throughout the U.S. and in over 100 other countries. For more information, visit Fargo’s website at [][2].



Hypercom 2Q/01

Hypercom reported second quarter revenues of $75.1 million compared to $89.8 million in the year-ago period and a net loss of $5.8 million. The company also reported that it closed and received funding from a $45 million financing package led by Wells Fargo’s Foothill Capital Corp., and raised $18.4 million in privately placed common equity. The net loss for the quarter, exclusive of banking charges related to the Company’s principal lending facility and related forbearance, was $4.2 million. Including banking charges related to the Company’s principal lending facility and related forbearance, the net loss was $5.8 million. This compares to a net loss in the year-ago period of $1.2 million, which included a $2.2 million loss from the Company’s equity investment in the Cirilium Corporation. For complete details on Hypercom’s 2Q/01 performance please visit CardData ([][1]).



Kiosk Projections

While many Americans have yet to use a self-service kiosk, most of those who have — and even many who haven’t — believe kiosks will enhance customer service, according to a survey conducted for NCR Corporation. The survey confirms general public acceptance of a technology that is expected to pass $1 billion in the next few years.

Of the 17 percent of respondents who have used a self-service electronic kiosk, nearly half (46 percent) did so at a mall, followed by grocery stores (39 percent), and airports (35 percent). Not surprisingly, younger people who have grown up with the Internet and are more comfortable with technology in general are more likely to have used the kiosks.

“In the age of pay-at-the-pump gas stations, self-checkout terminals and ATMs, people are used to serving themselves,” said NCR General Manager for Web Kiosks Nelson Gomez. “Market acceptance of these technologies is making them part of a broader range of services, from retail to transportation. Today people are most likely to use kiosks as part of a retail transaction; tomorrow they’ll be banking or checking their portfolios, renewing licenses from government agencies, making hotel reservations or buying plane, train, bus, subway and movie tickets.”

Those who have operated kiosks overwhelmingly found them easy to use. Ranked on a one-to-five scale ranging from very complicated (1) to very simple (5), 68 percent of users find them either very simple (44 percent) or simple (24 percent) to use. Only 3 percent say they are very complicated.

People associate kiosks with higher levels of service, particularly those who have used them. Among those who have used them, 57 percent say they improve service, with 36 percent of those who have not used them concurring.

“The fear that technology somehow makes the shopping experience less personal seems to be exaggerated,” Gomez observed. “People tend to see service as a continuum in which businesses are always looking out for their customers’ needs, and companies using kiosks will be perceived as valuing their customers’ time and convenience.”

The survey, by Opinion Research Corporation International, sampled 1,020 adults, consisting of 500 men and 520 women, 18 years of age or older, living in private households in the United States from June 8-11, 2001.

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 .


Charge-offs Abate

Charge-off rates on credit card-backed securities abated last month, halting a nine-month trend of rapidly rising losses. The results were mixed, indicating a steep decline from three-year highs on a month-to-month comparison while worsening on a year-over-year measure for the fifth consecutive month. According to the ‘Fitch Credit Card Performance Indexes’ for the June collection period, charge-offs settled at 6.02%, down from a three-year high of 6.37% last month, and yet still nearly 18% higher versus the 5.11% mark from July 2000. Meanwhile, Fitch’s delinquency index stabilized for the month after improving steadily from three-year highs set in March. The index shows 60+ day delinquencies eased just one basis point to 3.22% from 3.23% last month and, as with charge-offs, worsened on year-over-year measures from 2.77%; the index reached 3.50% in March. Personal bankruptcy filings are showing signs of slowing from the alarming pace of the first five months of this year. According to VISA, year-over-year monthly comparisons, which were trending in the 25%-29% range through May, slowed to 20% and 16% for June and July. Year-to-date filings are now 23% ahead of last year’s pace. But for three-month excess spread measures, Fitch’s other credit card performance indexes posted negative results. The portfolio yield index declined sharply, partly due to the short collection period, to 18.26% from 19.41% in the prior month and 19.05% a year earlier. Monthly payment rates fell less dramatically to 15.91% from 16.17% and 16.46% in month- and year- earlier periods, respectively. Excess spread measures, benefiting from the low-cost funding environment, declined to 5.62% from 5.93% but bettered year-earlier level of 5.22%.