Compaq & Direct Exchange

Visa USA has selected Compaq Computer Corporation and a group of leading solutions partners to help power and secure its next generation Internet protocol- based payments system. Constant growth in transaction volumes pointed Visa USA to the need for a new payments system that would leverage Internet technology. Visa’s new system, called “Direct Exchange,” is one of the industry’s first to be fully linked to Internet technology.

Direct Exchange is a next generation payments system that supports the transaction-intensive, 24 x 7 operation environment so fundamental to Visa’s business model. It allows Visa to provide new IP-based services to its membership base with virtually no disruptions to their existing IT infrastructure. The new payments solution bolsters Visa’s ability to offer its cardholders, with more than 350 million in market, and 14,000 U.S. member financial institutions richer services and new payment products. With Direct Exchange, Visa USA expects to process US$60 billion an hour and handle 100 billion transactions a year.

Gordon Tannura, vice president of technology and support services at Visa USA, explained, “By moving to an open standards environment, and to an open product like the NonStop(TM) Himalaya(TM) server, we are able to introduce new services more easily and in a much more timely fashion.” Tannura continued, “The NonStop Himalaya server had all the critical attributes we were looking for: industry-leading scalability, availability, and data integrity; mature application tools; superior total cost of ownership; and an open architecture allowing us to seamlessly integrate with our existing infrastructure — protecting our sizable investment in mainframe technology.”

The Direct Exchange project team at Visa USA had little prior experience with the NonStop Himalaya server, but it met their rigorous business requirements, and the Compaq Global Services team was able to train the personnel and install the system with minimal software modification to Visa’s existing IT infrastructure. The practically seamless integration delivered significant savings in terms of IT staff investment, training and time to solution.

Pauline Nist, vice president and general manager of Compaq’s NonStop Division, said, “Visa USA needed to build an infrastructure that was secure, efficient and available 100 percent of the time. That’s exactly what Compaq and the solution partners delivered — and we did it in record time — getting the system up and running less than thirty days after the initial call.”

NonStop Himalaya Servers Link Visa’s New IP Network with Legacy Host Systems

The NonStop Himalaya platform serves as the project’s Open File Delivery (OFD) Gateway. The OFD Gateway is a pair of four-processor NonStop Himalaya S72000 servers that provide the interconnect to the new backbone network, the bridge between the new IP network and the legacy host systems. Visa’s OFD Gateway creates a continuous processing environment for ubiquitous exchange of data and information from member institutions, allowing Visa USA to provide richer services and introduce new payment products much more quickly with improved price/performance.

The availability of market proven solutions designed to operate in a NonStop Himalaya environment was key to the deal. Partner solutions integrated into Visa’s new infrastructure included DataExpress from EPIQ Systems, XYGATE(R) security and encryption software from XYPRO(R), operations automation tools from ESQ, and CONNECT:Direct transport software from Sterling Commerce.

EPIQ System’s (Nasdaq: EPIQ) DataExpress solution was an integral part of Visa Direct Exchange from the beginning. DataExpress is found at the core of the OFD gateway and in many of the elements that allowed Visa USA to upgrade their legacy mainframe environment and older technologies with the new IP- based network. Among the many benefits achieved with DataExpress are full automation of file transfer activity, secure authentication of the Visa-member connection, segregation of secure member data, and member visibility of transmission status. Chris Olofson, president, EPIQ Systems Inc., said, “Our DataExpress solution running in the fault-tolerant NonStop Himalaya system environment is highly suited to meet Visa’s, and their members’, lofty demands for OFD performance and availability. The NonStop Himalaya server has proven to be an ideal platform for our DataExpress solution.”

XYPRO Technology Corporation was another key solutions partner. XYPRO specializes in software solutions designed for NonStop Himalaya system environments. Visa USA goes to great lengths to protect its name, and trust in the security of transmitted data files is paramount to Visa’s business and reputation. Sheila Johnson, CEO, XYPRO, said, “The success of Internet- enabled business rests squarely on companies’ ability to ensure the privacy of their critical data, both in-house and in-transit. XYGATE software running in the NonStop server environment provides Visa USA with the necessary tools to ‘harden’ the Himalaya platform and encrypt files transported over their new IP network.”

Company Background

Compaq Computer Corporation, a Fortune Global 100 company, is a leading global provider of technology and solutions. Compaq designs, develops, manufactures, and markets hardware, software, solutions, and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, and communications products, commercial desktop and portable products, and consumer PCs that are sold in more than 200 countries. Information on Compaq and its products and services is available at .



Upgrade International Corp. is pleased to announce that UltraCard, Inc., developers of high-capacity portable data storage technology, has reached an agreement to supply two million UltraCards and ten thousand UltraDrives to the Chinese government for the “one card/one person” program that China has adopted to replace its existing paper cards.

Under the agreement the UltraCard will be used as the second generation 20 megabyte ID card that will contain security data on an embedded microchip and encrypted information.

Currently, the Chinese National ID Cards consist of a laminated paper card featuring a person’s name, photo, birthdate and ID number. Mr. Jai Ping Liu, president of the Shanghai Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, stated “We welcome the UltraCard technology and are excited about our proposed joint venture that will be located in the Shanghai Caohejing Hi-Tech Park. This pilot program with the Chinese government will serve as a launching pad for what we hope to be the national implementation of the UltraCard technology throughout all Chinese provinces, such that the ‘one card/one person’ vision of our government can be realized.” The business opportunity represents up to a 1.2 billion card opportunity through a Shanghai-based joint venture that is being set up to accommodate manufacturing and distribution of the UltraCard and the UltraDrive throughout China.

Tom Parkinson, V.P. Business Development and Sales and Marketing, states, “We at UltraCard, Inc., are extremely proud that the Chinese government officials have selected our state-of-the-art patented technology. Upon completion of this pilot program we have the opportunity to become the standard for all mainland China.” UltraCard was selected by the Chinese government for the pilot program because of its low cost and high capacity storage capabilities that enable multiple uses and secure transactions on one card. Our technology will allow for higher security than current card technology. The UltraCard is designed to eliminate skimming and fraudulent duplication that are common in magnetic strip cards. “This is a new China UltraCard standard,” says Arthur Zheng, UltraCard China’s designated President. “We are pleased to be the first to offer the `one card/one person’ program in China.”

The pilot program is planned to start in the 4th Quarter of 2001. The software development will be jointly managed between our Los Gatos headquarters and UltraCard China in Shanghai.

Don Mann, Chief Technical Officer of UltraCard said, “This is a great opportunity to showcase our technical capability of combining large amounts of diverse data in a highly secure card format with positive personal identification capability.”

Dan Kehoe, President and CEO of UltraCard, commented, “We are delighted to establish a relationship of this magnitude with our Chinese partners. This agreement is the result of a China strategy that is designed to enable the UltraCard platform to become the standard for card technology in China. The recent approval of the China Trade Bill with the prospective acceptance of China into the World Trade Organization is expected to accelerate our revenue potential in the Chinese market.”

Daniel Bland, President of Upgrade International, stated, “This agreement marks the first step of commercialization of the UltraCard, an achievement that everyone one at UltraCard has worked tirelessly on completing. We are excited to have been given the opportunity to show the smart card industry what you can accomplish with large data storage capacity residing ‘on board’ the card. We believe that this is the beginning of changing an entire industry.”

Upgrade International Corp., through its ownership interest in UltraCard Inc., cQue Corporation and Efornet Corp. is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented ultra high capacity portable data storage technology. UltraCard’s patented method for using existing hard disk storage technology provides both highly durable media in a credit card format and an inexpensive read/write device that together will become the next generation in personal portable data storage for a broad range of existing and new markets. Management believes that the UltraCard technology will potentially provide numerous industrial users with a combination of high levels of security and a vastly greater amount of personal transportable data storage at the lowest cost in the industry. In addition the acquisition of and cooperation with existing SmartCard solution providers represents a market strategy designed to accelerate the integration of the vastly superior technology inherent in the UltraCard into existing and newly developing markets.


ACTION Signs 36

Membership in Project ACTION, a program to develop a payment product for Internet transactions utilizing Automated Clearing House credits, has reached 36 organizations, including 12 financial institutions. ACI Worldwide, the Canadian Payments Association, eFunds, JP Morgan Chase, Metavante, Princeton eCom, State Employees’ Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Symcor, TeleCheck, and Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group are the latest organizations to join. Project ACTION – ACH Credit Transactions Initiated Online – is an independent membership program within NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association.

“NACHA set a goal of twenty-five members, including ten financial institutions, by July 1st to get Project ACTION off the ground,” said Elliott C. McEntee, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACHA. “Project ACTION has exceeded this membership goal, reflecting the strong interest in the project in the financial services industry.”

Charles B. Bretz, Senior Vice President of Compass Bank in Birmingham, Alabama, has been elected Chairman of Project ACTION. Harold Williams, Vice President of BB&T Corporation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was elected Vice-Chairman. Ann-Marie Bartels of the Mid-America Payment Exchange, Brad Lower of Wachovia, Thane Plambeck of VeriSign, Debbie Seidel of T. RowePrice, George Throckmorton of Corillian, and Rebecca Watson of the U.S. Postal Service were elected to the Steering Committee.

“ACTION can solve the authentication, security and privacy issues associated with authorizing payments on the Internet,” said Bretz. “The ACTION model provides compelling benefits for buyers and sellers on the Internet, and represents new business opportunities for financial institutions.”

Project ACTION members have defined as their main objective the development of a detailed business case for a core product to support consumer-to-business payments, consumer bill payments, and

business-to-business payments. The business case will include:

* Business and technical requirements;

* Requirements for ACH operating rules and business practices;

* Fee structure and revenue model;

* Framework for dispute resolution and chargebacks;

* Enrollment requirements;

* Legal framework.

The target for completion of the business case is January 2002.

The members have also determined that ACTION will initially focus on ACH credit payments. Explains Bretz, “Although the ACTION model may turn out to be applicable to other payment networks, we will be developing the initial business case based on use of the ACH credit.”

Other members of Project ACTION include: Alabama ACH Association, Alltel Corporation, Bank One, BB&T Corporation, BCE Emergis, CheckFree Corporation, Citibank, Corillian Corp., Fidelity Investments, FirstWebBancorp, Fort Knox National Company, InteliData Technologies Corp., iBill, LML Payment Systems, Mid-America Payment Exchange, Network 1 Financial, Royal Bank of Canada, Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union, T. RowePrice, U.S. Postal Service, VeriSign Inc., VeriStar Corporation, Wachovia Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Under the ACTION payment model, a buyer (a consumer or business) would initiate a payment to a seller via its own financial institution, rather than authorizing the seller to debit its account. This feature enhances security of payments while reducing many of the risks.

“An advantage of the ACH Network is the ability to process credit payments in which funds are pushed to sellers or other payment recipients,” said McEntee. “Currently, other payment methods require account information to be provided to sellers, that then attempt to authenticate the buyer and pull funds from buyers’ accounts.”

The next business meeting of Project ACTION will be hosted by Corillian Corp. on August 15-16 in Portland, Oregon. Membership is open to all payments industry stakeholders. For membership information, visit the Project ACTION web site at, or contact Julie Hedlund, Senior Director of Electronic Commerce, NACHA, at 703-561-3915 or

About NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association

NACHA is the leading organization in developing electronic solutions to improve the payments system. NACHA represents more than 12,000 financial institutions through direct memberships and a network of regional payments associations, and 650 organizations through its industry councils. NACHA develops operating rules and business practices for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network and for electronic payments in the areas of Internet commerce, electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP), financial electronic data interchange (EDI), international payments, electronic checks, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT). Visit NACHA on the Internet at [][1].




Brokat Technologies, a global leader in
software that enables user-centric business, has partnered with Fujitsu
Philippines, integrate and implement a Multi-Channel Payment
Gateway project for BancNet, Inc., Philippines’ largest ATM Consortium.

Brokat’s PaymentWorks(TM) software and Fujitsu Philippines, Inc. solutions
will give BancNet the ability to consolidate and act as a “One-Stop” Internet
payment gateway for anyone requiring a convenient, reliable and secure channel
for handling financial services.

Using BancNet’s existing ATM/POS switch and Network Security
infrastructure, Brokat and FPI will install the Multi-Channel Payment Gateway
to provide BancNet with the ability to consolidate and act as the channel to
provide payment capability via the Internet or the mobile phone to its member
institutions, affiliates and customers.

“Our partnership with Fujitsu Philippines, Inc. to provide such multi-
channel payment solutions for BancNet’s vast user base underscores our
commitment to Asia and our confidence in providing successful solutions to
help our customers succeed in today’s competitive business space,” said Joan
Yap, Managing Director for Brokat Asia.

“In fact, Brokat has also secured similar partnerships with Vodafone to
provide a mobile payment solution for over 85 million subscribers worldwide
and with T-motion to provide a Pan-European mobile payment service,” added

BancNet has identified Brokat’s software technologies to support this
project because of its PaymentWorks multi-channel payment platform that
enables secure, real-time transactions across multiple channels such as the
mobile phone, Personal Digital Assistants and the Internet. Brokat’s software
solutions are scalable and also integrate seamlessly into BancNet’s existing

Reiterating BancNet’s confidence in its partners, Aristeo P. Zafra, Jr.,
BancNet’s SVP and COO explains, “Both Brokat and FPI have always come up with
cost-effective technology solutions. FPI is consistently at the forefront of
technology and continuously adopts new solutions and technologies, such as in
the case of Brokat’s software technologies, to cope with the evolving IT
needs. We are indeed pleased with this partnership.”
“There is no ATM consortium that provides a real, honest-to-goodness and
efficient Internet payment system,” says Felipe R. Manalang, President for

“We are pleased that BancNet is impressed with our Multi-Channel Payment
Gateway proposal as well as our track record in systems integration, and have
chosen us over the other competent solutions providers. With projects like
this, we aim to carve a deeper niche in the IT industry and to meet the
business goals of other large financial institutions,” he added.

Under the Multi-Channel Payment Gateway project, BancNet can authorize,
process and manage debt and credit card transactions online in real-time and
in a secured environment. This project caters to all types of users

— Direct Users — Internet users will be able to use BancNet’s Web
Payment Portal and execute payment transactions through the web browser
easily and securely.

— Merchants — registered merchant partners will be able to sell their
goods and services and collect customers’ payments over a variety of
delivery channels, even future delivery channels that may be developed.

— Internet or EDI Service Providers — registered affiliates can perform
payment transactions electronically among themselves through the
gateway, as well as perform basic banking functions like balance
inquiry, funds transfer, bills payment and reload prepaid cards over
BancNet’s web site.

— Billing partners — registered billing partners will be able to collect
payments from their customers made through a variety of delivery

About Fujitsu Philippines, Inc. (FPI)

In 1975, Fujitsu Limited put up a joint venture company, which eventually
was renamed to Fujitsu Philippines Inc. (FPI). The company has grown beyond
its original mission of promoting, selling and supporting the Fujitsu-branded
computer hardware line. Today, FPI is a one-stop information technology
provider, a brand-independent systems integrator and solutions vendor offering
computers, communications, software and services. With over 900 IT
professionals spread across three wholly-owned subsidiaries, the FPI Group of
companies is uniquely positioned to design, integrate, implement and support
technology solutions for the large enterprises and government agencies in the
Philippines. Internet http// .

About BancNet, Inc.

BancNet is the largest consortium of banks in the Philippines that
provides ATM and EFT/POS switching services to its 33 member banks and other
affiliated networks. Now in its 11th year of operation, BancNet has over 1,400
ATMs that currently allow cash withdrawal, balance inquiry, bills payment,
intra/interbank funds transfer, checkbook re-order and statement request
transactions for over 9 million cardholders in the country. It also provides
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) service to bank corporate clients and is an
Internet Service Provider (ISP) to its member banks. Information on BancNet is
available at http//

About Brokat Technologies

Brokat Technologies is a global leader in software that enables user-
centric business. Brokat’s product families — m-business software including
secure mobile payment technology, e-finance and e-brokerage applications, and
leading rules management technology — are used by over 3,500 enterprises
worldwide including ABN Amro, Allianz, Axa Insurance, Bank of America, Blue
Martini Software, Charter One, DaimlerChrysler, DBS Bank, IBM Corporation,
LBBW, MasterCard International, Metavante, Nationwide Insurance, NCR, SE-
Banken, Sun Microsystems, Swiss Post Office, T-Motion (a subsidiary of
Deutsche Telekom), Toyota, Vodafone and Workscape. Select global partners
include Blue Martini Software, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM, Siemens,
and Sun Microsystems. With dual headquarters in San Jose, California and
Stuttgart, Germany, Brokat employs over 1,100 people in 16 countries.
Information on Brokat and its products is available at http//


CertCo RMX Upgrades

CertCo, Inc., a leading provider of risk management and security solutions for B2B e-commerce, announced enhancements to its CertCo RMX offering with the addition of online financing tools from First International Bank, a subsidiary of First International Bancorp, Inc. and secure Internet payment solutions from BankServ, a leading provider of Internet payment services.

CertCo RMX is the world’s first comprehensive risk management service for online B2B transactions, enabling members of public and private exchanges and industry consortia to manage the risks associated with conducting high-value transactions online. Through alliances with leading providers of financial and business information, credit, trade finance and insurance, CertCo RMX delivers real-time access to essential information and services that enable businesses to complete trusted online transactions. A single source for the completion of online transactions, CertCo RMX allows businesses to negotiate deals, authenticate trading partners, check credit, secure financing and assure performance and payment via the Internet.

With the addition of online commercial and international loans from First International Bank, CertCo RMX users can secure up to $5 million in financing per online transaction. With ThruCreditsm, First International Bank’s solution for financing transactions via the Internet, users can choose from a full range of commercial and international loan services using the bank’s online e-CreditMenusm. Products in the e-CreditMenu include basic payment guarantees, working capital lines, equipment loans and industrial mortgages, as well as sophisticated international trade programs. CertCo RMX users also can access BankServ’s secure Internet payment solutions, including real-time Automated Clearing House (ACH)-based Internet checks, wire transfers and credit card processing. These services allow businesses to use their existing accounting and payment infrastructures to pay for their purchases online.

“Online exchange members will clearly benefit from more sophisticated online transaction services that enable them to assess their trading partners, and then finance and pay for their transactions online,” said June Yee Felix, chairman and CEO of CertCo, Inc. “With the addition of trade financing services from First International Bank, and payment solutions from BankServ, we are rapidly expanding our CertCo RMX offering to help exchanges and consortia to better meet the online purchasing needs of their members.”

By employing CertCo RMX, which reduces the uncertainty and risks involved with online transactions, exchanges and industry consortia can expand the range of acceptable trading partners for their members and potentially increase the frequency of transactions. The CertCo RMX service’s single XML interface makes it easy for exchanges to integrate risk management capabilities into their existing infrastructures, freeing them to focus on their core business objectives and helping them achieve an edge in serving their members’ needs.

About First International Bank

First International Bank ([][1]) – a world leader in the use of SBA, USDA and Export-Import Bank loans – provides innovative credit, trade and financial solutions for small and medium size industrial businesses. The company has 15 offices coast-to-coast in the U.S. and international representatives at 14 locations worldwide in the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Europe. In 2000, the company originated more than $500 million in loans primarily within its industrial niche, and closed the year with a managed loan portfolio of $1.3 billion. Established in 1955, the bank is a subsidiary of publicly traded First International Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: FNCE), with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut.

About BankServ(R)

Founded in 1996, BankServ is one of the leading U.S. providers of payment solutions for financial services companies and online businesses. The company processes nearly $3 billion a day in wire transfers on behalf of more than 100 U.S. financial firms. BankServ is considered a market leader in straight-through online electronic payment solutions for Internet businesses. Its suite of payment services includes Internet checks, ACH funds transfers, direct on-line account funding for financial firms, Internet global wire transfers, online credit card processing and numerous authentication and security capabilities. BankServ is headquartered in San Francisco. More information about BankServ can be found on-line at [][2].

About CertCo(R), Inc.

Founded in 1996, CertCo, Inc. is a leading provider of risk management and security infrastructure solutions for B2B e-commerce. CertCo provides corporations, financial institutions, trading networks and governments with business solutions that enable them to safely conduct global, high-value transactions over open networks – effectively removing the “last hurdle” in end-to-end B2B e-commerce. The company offers a full suite of risk management and security services that leverages its thorough understanding and experience with business process, legal, technology and cryptography issues, as well as its deep and long-standing relationships with insurance and financial service providers. Based in New York and privately held, CertCo also operates a research and development office in Cambridge, Mass and a European subsidiary based in London. More information is available at [][3].



SCTN Supports XLSmart

Cash Transactions Network, d.b.a. Smart Chip Technologies, Inc.
announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Welcome
Real-time to jointly support the XLSmart Interoperability Initiative by
integrating their respective intellectual properties.

“SCTN recognizes the industry requirement for standards and is fully
committed to participating with others in their development,” said Jim
Williams President and CEO of Smart Chip Technologies (SCTN). “Our goal is to
work with the industry in any prudent manner required to accelerate the
acceptance of smart devices into the stream of commerce. To that end, the
Chief Technology Architects of SCTN and Welcome Real-Time are collaborating on
an industry standard architecture designed to enable the interoperability of
loyalty programs on smart chips. We strongly encourage the participation of

Aneace Haddad, President & CEO of Welcome Real-time, said “Ever since the
creation of the credit card associations in the early sixties,
interoperability has always been a fundamental and vital requirement for the
payment industry. We are very pleased to be working with Smart Chip
Technologies and other industry players to advance interoperability in the
loyalty and rewards arena.”

SCTN supports Welcome Real-Time’s invitation to other industry players who
may wish to contribute to the XLSmart Interoperability Initiative. It is the
goal of SCTN to ensure the interoperability of its loyalty application with
its alliance partners as well as its competitors. The company believes that
this approach reduces the cost of development and investment risk for
companies while expanding the opportunities for all stakeholders.

About Smart Chip Technologies

Smart Chip Technologies (OTC SCTN) is a Software Technology Company with
a patent protected loyalty application for use in the smart card and wireless
environment. SCTN licenses its patented e-llegiance(TM) multi-platform smart
chip loyalty application that is engineered for EMV, Global Platform, and
MULTOS compliance. The software is designed to operate on smart cards, POS
terminals, and smart devices such as PDA’s. SCTN also provides complete
loyalty program management, transaction processing, and accounting services
through its LoyaltyCentral(TM) software and back office operation. The
e-llegiance(TM) and LoyaltyCentral(TM) solutions provide maximum flexibility
in the management of click-and-mortar incentive programs, establishing
business continuity across the physical, mobile, and virtual worlds.

About Welcome Real-time

Welcome Real-time’s (http// smart transaction platform
enhances payment transactions with revenue boosting services such as instantly
awarded loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back…
all in a single convenient payment process. The Company has acquired
significant worldwide experience with leading card issuers and merchants in
Europe, Asia, and the US over the past 5 years. In 1997, the Company provided
the software for one of the world’s first smart payment/loyalty card, issued
by Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. Today, the Company’s software is
used with several million smart cards and several thousand merchants currently
active within live deployments. The Company’s patents provide broad
protection worldwide. Over 17 patent applications cover the ability to
dynamically manage services relating to entries, visits, or cumulative
spending at designated merchants, the ability to add and redeem e-coupons from
a smart card, or the use of mobile phones and hand held devices to perform
smart transactions. Welcome Real-time is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence,
France, with offices in Philadelphia and Singapore. (http//


SOHO Card Use

The Small Business Tracking Survey, a new bi-annual survey sponsored by MasterCard International to analyze e-commerce trends affecting small businesses, found that 50 percent of small and home-based organizations (SOHOs) participate in online purchasing, spending approximately $45 billion annually.

According to the survey, many SOHOs also are using the Internet as a sales channel, generating online sales of approximately $56 billion.

Additionally, the survey projects online purchasing among SOHOs will rise 16 percent over the next six months. The number of SOHOs selling online is expected to grow 82 percent during the same period. The survey examines how small business decision makers perceive the Internet is affecting their business and evaluates how small and home offices are using the Internet for online commerce, e-mail and information gathering. MasterCard will use the data from the survey to tailor and develop its small business programs. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all employers in the United States and generate more than half of the national gross domestic product.

Among the key findings, the MasterCard Small Business Tracking Survey found that the products and services most frequently purchased online by SOHOs are office supplies (52 percent); software (51 percent); books and publications (48 percent); business equipment (46 percent); and travel services (45 percent).

Some Key Findings:

— Eighty-one percent of SOHOs have Internet access.

— Fifty-one percent of SOHOs with Internet access have websites.

— SOHOs spend approximately $700 per month on online purchases.

— Eighty-eight percent of SOHOs use payment cards, such as a credit, debit or purchasing card for online purchases.

“MasterCard recognizes that small businesses are a significant component of the backbone of the U.S. economy,” said Steve Abrams, senior vice president, MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions. “The MasterCard Small Business Tracking Survey provides a benchmark for measuring the evolving profile of small businesses and home-based organizations, as well as the vendors they work with. The Survey will enable MasterCard to continue to develop solutions to help small businesses succeed and compete effectively.”

The results of the MasterCard Small Business Tracking Survey will be released bi-annually in the spring and fall of each year. The survey uses information from a panel of more than 5,000 SOHO business owners and operators. Key findings of the first survey are available by visiting the MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions website at . Key findings of future survey results, which will be made available beginning in late 2001, will also be retrievable at the website.

MasterCard Small Business Programs

Additional MasterCard programs for small businesses include:

— MasterCard Business Bonuses(TM) Program – MasterCard set the industry standard in 2000 by allowing small business MasterCard cardholders to earn frequent flyer miles that could be applied toward any airline, with no blackout periods. In 2001, the program became one of the most expansive rewards programs in the industry, enabling small business cardholders to earn points for every dollar spent on their MasterCard cards. The points, in return, are redeemable for a MasterCard Bonus Card that can be used for goods and services at any location where MasterCard is accepted — at more than 21 million locations worldwide. — MasterCard Smart Data OnLine(TM)(SDOL) – This web-based tool assists a small business in organizing, consolidating, analyzing and managing financial data through the Internet. Accessed through a web browser in real time, MasterCard SDOL creates improved efficiencies in reconciling expenses and eliminating time-consuming paperwork. SDOL is available in 10 different languages. — MasterCard Business Savings(TM)- On behalf of small businesses, MasterCard has negotiated savings up to 40 percent on key goods and services in categories including, legal, personnel, financial, office supplies, business travel, technology, communications, marketing, public relations and business planning. — MasterCard Small Business Connections(TM) – An Internet gateway for managing expenses; gathering marketplace news and information; accessing better buying opportunities on technology solutions for marketing, sales, e-commerce and more (visit — MasterCard MarketAccess(TM) – A marketplace where small business cardholders buy and sell goods and services online. MarketAccess provides a secure, one-stop shopping resource for small businesses by introducing offers from a growing list of suppliers, including Business Solution,, HR One, OfficeMax, Paper Direct, PC Flowers and Gifts, Sprint and Tiger Direct. — MasterCard also offers small businesses the MasterCard BusinessCard(R) Card, the MasterCard Executive BusinessCard Card(R) and the MasterCard BusinessCard(R) debit card.

About MasterCard

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1.7 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. MasterCard’s award-winning Priceless(R) advertising campaign is now seen in 81 countries and in more than 36 languages, giving the MasterCard brand reach and scope unrivaled by any competitor in the industry. With more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 2000, gross dollar volume exceeded US$857 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .


Omni 3200 EBT

Citicorp Electronic Financial Services awarded VeriFone an exclusive, multi-million dollar contract to provide ‘Omni 3200’ counter top payment terminals and support services to six states rolling out EBT solutions over the next two years. Citigroup is the prime contractor for EBT in the six states, which include Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Virginia, and California. Totally, the six states have over one million ‘Food Stamp’ recipients and over 27,500 approved retailers accepting ‘Food Stamps’. For EBT-authorized retailers in all six states who don’t already have systems that can support EBT, ‘VeriFone Omni 3200’ terminals will be used to accept payment with the swipe of an EBT debit card. The debit card replaces paper coupons previously issued to ‘Food Stamp’ recipients. California, Iowa and Indiana will also enable the terminals to provide cash payments to recipients of ‘Temporary Assistance for Needy Families’ through cash-back with purchase. Since its introduction, more than 200,000 ‘Omni 3200’ terminals have been installed at merchant locations in the U.S. and Latin America.


LaserCard USA

Drexler Technology has received a $4 million order for ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards from the U.S. government. The contract is part of a U.S. government procurement for up to 24 million ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards under a five-year subcontract awarded to Drexler last June. About 70% of the high-tech cards are slated for use as U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Permanent Resident ‘Green Cards’ conferring the right to live and work in the USA, and about 30% are to be used as U.S. Department of State ‘Laser Visa’ cards for frequent visitors from Mexico. The ‘Laser Visa’ card and ‘Green Card’ are “digital governance” applications, which represent Drexler’s principal ‘LaserCard’ market today. With the release of yesterday’s new U.S. government order, the number of ‘LaserCard’ holders in North America is expected to reach about 11 million by the end of February 2002.


UltraCard China

China’s migration from paper identification cards to smart ID cards is taking shape after agreements were reached this week with an American firm. CA-based UltraCard sealed a deal Tuesday to supply two million second generation 20 megabyte smart ID cards and 10,000 ‘UltraDrives’ to the Chinese government as part of a pilot program. The ‘UltraCard’ utilizes ultra high capacity portable data storage technology in a credit card format, and an inexpensive read/write device. Currently, the ‘Chinese National ID Cards’, which are valid for 20 years, consist of a laminated paper card featuring a person’s name, photo, birth date and ID number. According to The RAM Report, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security announced last month it will begin to issue a national smart ID card by the end of this year to replace the cards currently issued within each province. The PSB indicated the new plastic smart cards will most likely contain a photo. The State Council, which approved the plan, will begin pilot programs in large Chinese cities by year’s end. College students may also be one of the first groups to receive the new cards. The PSB projects it will take five years to make the changeover to 1.2 billion smart cards. Counterfeit ID cards have been a growing business in China, according to The RAM Report. ([][1] – China)



Cyota Acquisition

NY-based Cyota has acquired privately-held Auripay, a provider of e-payment security technology, in an all-stock deal. The acquisition will provide buyers of surrogate number technology a wider array of front-end and customization options. Cyota recently announced the launch of ‘Cyota SecureSuite’, an integrated online payment security platform designed to seamlessly integrate a wide range of authentication and credit card security products into a single user experience. The acquisition of Auripay will allow Cyota to enhance the ‘SecureSuite’ user experience by providing issuer’s with additional customizable options for enhancing their brand online. The company’s flagship product is ‘Cyota SecureClick’, which enables consumers to shop online without revealing their real credit card number, replacing it with a surrogate number that expires after each transaction and thus cannot be used fraudulently.


VISA Business Partners

VISA U.S.A. announced Tuesday the addition of Thrifty Car Rental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn hotels to the ‘VISA Business Partner Advantage’ program. Thrifty Car Rental is offering a 20% discount off all ‘VISA Small Business’ rates on car rentals. Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites hotels all provide up to a 14.5% discount off corporate rates at participating hotels. VISA has 6.5 million ‘Business’ cardholders nationwide.