SCA Names Chairman

The Smart Card Alliance, a multi-industry association working to accelerate the widespread acceptance and application of smart card technology, announced its new Chairman. Donna Farmer, President and CEO of the Smart Card Alliance, congratulates William Randle, Executive Vice President e-Huntington, The Huntington National Bank as the new Smart Card Alliance Chairman of the Board of Directors.

“Bill has been a leader in our industry for a number of years,” said Allen Gilstrap, General Manager of American Express’ GNS Smart Chip Services and former Chairman of the Alliance, “His vision and experience are an extraordinary asset to the Alliance. I look forward to our industry’s next chapter under his leadership.”

“Mr. Randle is a highly respected and experienced individual in the banking industry today,” said Donna Farmer, President & CEO of the Smart Card Alliance, “I look forward to working closely with him during this important time in the mission of the Alliance as we focus on fulfilling our goals in achieving widespread smart card usage in the US.”

“This is a very exciting time for the smart card industry,” said William Randle, Executive Vice President e-Huntington, The Huntington National Bank, “I look forward to working with Donna Farmer and the Board of Directors in leading the Smart Card Alliance as we carry forward the strong dedication in promoting smart card technology in the United States.”

About The Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association of over 175 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. The Smart Card Alliance is the leading organization for education and awareness of topical issues associated with the use and adoption of smart card systems. For more information about The Smart Card Alliance, log on to the organization’s Web site at [http://www.smartcardalliance.org][1].

[1]: http://www.smartcardalliance.org/

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New Swipe Reader

Mag-Tek, Inc. yesterday unveiled a full-size port-powered ‘Swipe Reader’. The new ‘RS-232’ is approximately 50% larger than Mag-Tek’s smaller version of the same reader. The reader does not require an external power source, and it is ideal for applications where a reader cannot be conveniently installed on a flat surface. The new reader also provides a plug-and-play solution for customers needing a full-size, self-contained RS-232 swipe reader with no external power adaptor.

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Amicus & TSYS

TSYS announced a five-year agreement with Amicus FSB, a subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and a part of the Amicus division of CIBC, to process a new Visa consumer credit card it will issue. This agreement broadens a relationship TSYS and CIBC have shared since 1994 when TSYS began processing CIBC’s commercial credit cards. Furthermore, the agreement supports TSYS’ three-year strategic plan to extend its core processing business.

Amicus partners with leading brand retailers to provide electronic financial services, including Marketplace Bank, Safeway SELECT Bank and Yahoo! PayDirect in the U.S. and President’s Choice Financial in Canada. Amicus has 547,000 e-banking customers and is acquiring approximately 30,000 more each month.

Under the agreement, TSYS will provide a complete range of services to include processing on its TS2 platform; various elements of customer contact; and remittance processing through Synovus Financial Corp.(R)

“TSYS offers the full range of services needed to help us aggressively enter new markets,” said Amicus spokesperson, Robert Almeida. “The retail market requires a tremendous amount of flexibility for changes and promotions to be offered on demand. TS2 allows us the freedom to adapt our products to this market. The partnership with TSYS will allow us to deliver the value and convenience of one-stop shopping to our customers that has become so important in their busy lives.”

“TSYS has a strong track record of helping financial institutions and retailers prosper. The expertise we bring to Amicus will enable them to pursue new retail relationships and launch new credit card programs quickly,” said TSYS President, Philip W. Tomlinson.

About Amicus FSB

Amicus FSB is a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBC and is part of the Amicus division of CIBC. Amicus FSB is headquartered in Cicero, Ill., with branch offices in Fairfield, Calif., and Maitland, Fla. CIBC is a leading North American financial institution offering more than eight million personal banking and business customers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, in the United States and around the world. CIBC is a leader in electronic banking, with more than three million e-banking customers accessing telephone and Internet banking, and brings extensive e-banking experience and capability to the U.S. market.

About TSYS:

TSYS brings integrity and innovation to the world of electronic payments. TSYS serves as the integral link between buyers and sellers in the rapidly evolving universe of electronic payments. With nearly 200 million accounts on file, TSYS makes it possible for millions of consumers to use their credit, debit, stored value, commercial, chip and retail cards anytime, anywhere through any medium or portal. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of acquiring and issuing services from accepting electronic payments for goods and services, to credit applications and collections. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS () processes for clients in 21 countries, in 11 currencies, in three languages and maintains operations in Canada, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom. TSYS is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com][1]), No. 8 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2001. For more information, contact news@tsys.com .

[1]: http://www.synovus.com/

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Mixed Picture

Charge-offs dropped 100 bps in January, among credit card-backed securities, however delinquencies are heading north. Meanwhile, across the industry, both chargeoffs and delinquencies increased during February, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Among the $345 billion in publicly rated credit card-backed securities tracked by Standard & Poor’s, the monthly charge-off rate decreased to 5.5% in January, returning to levels more in line with year 2000 averages. However, S&P notes that with a slowing economy and a further reported drop in consumer confidence, the delinquency rate increased 20 bps to 4.9%. Standard & Poor’s expects that as the economy further slows, consumer loan portfolios will start to show signs of deterioration. The loss rate in a slowing economy may be mitigated somewhat if the ‘Bankruptcy Reform Bill’ is enacted. S&P also found that payment-rate trends show no signs of deterioration. Obligors continue to pay off their cards at a robust rate. In January, the payment rate increased 140bps.

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/

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New WebMiles Client

WebMiles Corporation, the first loyalty company to offer an unrestricted, mileage reward program to help businesses attract and retain customers, today announced a new partnership with Ralphs Supermarkets in California. Ralphs is a division of the Kroger Co., one of the nation’s largest food retailers. This partnership builds on an existing relationship between WebMiles and Ralphs in San Diego, and WebMiles and Smith’s in Las Vegas, also a division of Kroger. Beginning immediately, more than 300 store locations throughout Southern California will offer Ralphs Club Card members WebMiles rewards (which are airline miles that can be used on any airline of choice without frequent flier restrictions) for their grocery purchases. By enrolling in the WebMiles program before June 7, 2001, Ralphs Club Card members will earn double miles for the first 30 days when shopping at participating stores. After the introductory period, members earn one WebMiles reward for every dollar they spend at Ralphs stores.

The WebMiles program allows Members to redeem WebMiles rewards for travel on any airline and any flight without the common restrictions and frustrations found in traditional frequent flyer programs such as blackout dates, limited seating for frequent flyers and required Saturday night stays. Redemption begins with as few as 8,000 WebMiles rewards, which entitles the consumer to $100 off the price of any airline ticket.

“We were extremely pleased with the results from our pilot program, when we launched WebMiles as a reward for our Ralphs Club Card members in San Diego last summer,” said Chuck Ackerman, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Ralphs Supermarkets. “Our partnership with WebMiles has allowed us to differentiate our service offering by providing our loyal customers with miles that are flexible and easy to use. WebMiles has helped to get our existing Club Card members in San Diego more engaged in our program, while attracting new customers. We are excited to expand this program throughout our Southern California store locations, bringing added value to more of our Club Card members.”

The WebMiles program gives Members the best of ‘free and discounted travel.’ When Members redeem WebMiles rewards, they travel as if they are any other paying customers. With WebMiles rewards, Members no longer have to worry about earning miles that are subject to frequent flier program restrictions or limitations.

WebMiles President and CEO Bill Meade said, “More and more companies like Ralphs are recognizing the power of joining like-minded companies in a networked loyalty program that offers a highly valued, sought-after reward — free travel — in a unique program designed to strengthen customer relationships and increase bottom line profitability. Ralphs’ expansion of the WebMiles program throughout California affirms our ability to successfully build loyalty for our partners. Last month, we also announced a partnership with Smith’s in Las Vegas. We will continue to add key partners to ensure that our members have the ability to rapidly earn free travel rewards when making everyday purchases, including groceries stores, gas stations, phone service, restaurants, hotels, rental cars and many other offline and online retailers.”

Earning WebMiles Rewards

Members in the WebMiles program have multiple ways to earn the unrestricted airline miles, including initial enrollment in the program, referral of friends and family, shopping with online and offline partners and finally, by using the WebMiles MasterCard. If the credit card is used with partners, multiple miles can be earned at once. In the case of Ralphs, members using the Card can earn triple miles in the first 30 days of enrollment and double miles thereafter.

The WebMiles Partner Network

WebMiles is building a solid network of partners from a wide variety of industries. The company’s strategy is to be selective and limit the number of partners within any given industry to ensure companies can differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace and gain a strategic advantage. The WebMiles program is flexible and can be implemented by partners according to their own specifications and business objectives.

About WebMiles Corporation

WebMiles Corporation is a leading customer loyalty company featuring free travel rewards without the common restrictions of traditional frequent flyer programs. The patent-pending WebMiles program gives both online and offline businesses the means to reward customers with a proven tool for inspiring repeat business — free and discounted travel. WebMiles rewards can be redeemed for free travel on any airline and any flight, without blackout dates, seating limitations, 21-day advance notice, required Saturday night stays, mileage caps, cost caps or expiration of miles (with minimum account activity). Consumers earn WebMiles rewards for shopping within the partner network as well as for using the optional WebMiles MasterCard. Launched in January 2000, the WebMiles program features approximately 100 network Partners. By offering a compelling, low-cost and customizable customer loyalty solution, WebMiles Partners have the ability to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. WebMiles is a trademark of WebMiles Corporation, which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The web site url is [http://www.webmiles.com][1]. For more information on how to become a strategic partner with WebMiles, please visit or call 877-WebMiles.

About Ralphs Supermarkets

Ralphs Supermarkets currently operates 345 stores under the Ralphs (325) and Cala/Bell (20) banners in California from its headquarters in Los Angeles. The company is a division of The Kroger Co., one of the nation’s largest food retailers based in Cincinnati (NYSE: KR).

[1]: http://www.webmiles.com/

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MBNA Europe

London-based Abbey National confirmed yesterday that it is selling its credit card business to MBNA Europe for slightly more than $400 million. Under a five-year deal, Abbey will become an agent of MBNA in the UK market. Reportedly MBNA paid an 18% premium for the Abbey card portfolio. Abbey currently has about 550,000 cardholders or about a 1.3% market share in the UK according to RAM Research Group ([www.ramresearch.com][1]). MBNA and Abbey will launch a new series of agent VISA cards in about 90 days which will include cashback and platinum cards. MBNA launched its card products in the UK in 1993 and has built a portfolio representing about 7% of the UK market. Abbey, a mortgage bank, is facing an unwanted takeover bid from rival Lloyds TSB according to Reuters.

[1]: http://www.ramresearch.com/

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Cap One Training

Capital One Financial Corporation topped Training’s inaugural list of “Top 50 Training Organizations.” The list is the cover story in the magazine’s March 2001 issue.

Training ranked companies on their ability to align personal development goals with corporate strategy, prepare associates for future leadership roles, and find and retain talented associates — all areas in which Capital One was found to excel.

“The success of Capital One is a direct result of our emphasis on human capital,” said Nigel Morris, Capital One’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our strategy is to hire the best and the brightest and then place them in an environment where development is encouraged and innovation is rewarded.”

Capital One, known for using research and testing to transform the “one- size-fits-all” credit card industry, relies on the same innovative techniques to recruit new associates and develop their skills.

To ensure success from the start, all recruits go through rigorous testing and simulations that have a proven track record of predicting job performance. Capital One then invests heavily in development, starting with an intensive four-day assimilation program designed to indoctrinate new associates in the company’s distinct culture.

Capital One associates work with their managers to create a Development Action Plan that highlights areas for improvement and includes specific steps to attain the next level. The DAP is supported by a competency-based performance management process that aligns the individual’s objectives with the company’s objectives to ensure the development of core competencies and provide a way to reward performance.

“We have made a commitment to investing in our associates to develop the leadership and other competencies needed to support our rapid growth,” said Dennis Liberson, Executive Vice President for Human Resources. “This recognition from Training validates what we’ve seen — you can expect more from your associates when you provide more resources to help them succeed.”

In six years, Capital One has grown from 2,000 associates to almost 20,000. The company hired associates for 3,000 new positions in 2000 alone and plans to fill 8,000 more positions in the next four years.

In addition to this award from Training, Capital One has been on Fortune’s list of the “Best Companies to Work For” the past three years and Computer World’s list of the “Best Places to Work in IT” by for the past two years.

Capital One has operations in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Falls Church, Virginia; Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Federal Way, Washington; Boise, Idaho; and Boston, Massachusetts; as well as in London and Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ([http://www.CapitalOne.com][1]) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 33.8 million accounts and $29.5 billion in managed loans outstanding as of December 31, 2000. Capital One is one of the major financial service providers on the Internet, with online account decisioning, real-time account numbering, online retail deposits and a growing number of customers serviced online. Capital One is a FORTUNE 500 company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 index.

[1]: http://www.capitalone.com/

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Saturn Reader

Israel-based OTI unveiled the first fully integrated smart card reader to accept both ‘ISO 7816’ contact cards and ‘ISO 14443 Type A, B, and D’ contactless cards, including the Mifare platform. The new ‘Saturn’ reader, based on OTI’s ‘EYECON’ technology platform, is a multi-function contact and contactless smart card reader designed to interface with either a PC or POS terminal. The ‘Saturn’ software resides on a flash memory card to allow rapid, trouble-free upgrades after installation. The Saturn can also be combined with contactless solutions from OTI to offer the ultimate in smart card functionality.

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Secure Smart Cards

While smart cards offer a much higher level of security than traditional magnetic stripe cards they are still susceptible to counterfeiting. However a patent was issued last week for a new method of making smart cards counterfeit-resistant. CA-based Drexler Technology, the leader in optical cards, was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,199,761 for a “Validation Method for Electronic Cash Cards and Digital Identity Cards Utilizing Optical Data Storage.” E-cash cards have been counterfeited by the use of electronic techniques to break the security codes. However this counterfeiting can now be inhibited by bonding an optical memory stripe to the smart card with pre-recorded or post-recorded validation data at one or multiple locations on the cards. This optical validation data would be read with a photodetector array and could be transmitted to the recipient during funds transfer and/or used locally to control dispensing of cash or data. Therefore, successful counterfeiting of the modified electronic cash or digital identity card would require meeting exacting electronic and optical requirements.

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ATM Loss

DE-based WSFS Financial confirmed this morning it will take a charge against earnings following the loss of funds related to an armored car carrier engaged to supply cash to ATM’s operated by customers of ‘Cash Connect’, the ATM division of WSFS. Criminal investigations are ongoing and have resulted in the arrest of certain armored car carrier employees. The armored car carrier has subsequently declared bankruptcy. WSFS estimates that the related net loss, after taxes, will be between $450,000 and $650,000 and will be charged to earnings in the first quarter of 2001.

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Lowe’s Card Online

Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse announced Monday that Lowe’s credit card holders will be able to receive and pay their bills online, effective immediately.

Through a relationship with CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement applications, Lowe’s six million credit card holders can view and pay their Lowe’s credit card bills at their choice of nearly 275 financial services sites and Internet portals.

To begin managing their accounts online, Lowe’s customers can start at the lowes.com home page then click, Save Some Time. At this page, Lowe’s customers can learn more about the benefits of electronic billing and payment and where to enroll. Once the Lowe’s customer decides where they want to pay their bill, they can review their bill detail and approve their payment with the specified payment amount deducted electronically from their designated bank, credit union or brokerage account in a matter of minutes.

“Online account management is an important way we are adding convenience for our customers through lowes.com,” said Matt Deeter, vice-president of Lowe’s Internet business group. “In addition to shopping for close to 10,000 products on our enhanced site, a consumer can view and pay their credit card bill from their choice of financial services and Internet portal sites.”

“National retailers such as Lowe’s understand the value of building relationships online with electronic billing and payment services as an integral part of their Internet initiative,” said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree Software Division. “Lowe’s credit card customers will experience the convenience of paying their Lowe’s credit card bills and other accounts electronically to save time every month, thereby freeing up more time for things they would rather be doing, such as home improvement.”

In November, Lowe’s re-launched lowes.com, adding an e-commerce component to the site. The new site, which continues to give advice to the do-it-yourselfer through its nearly 1,000-project how-to library, made available for purchase more than 3,000 major appliances and 8,000 tools. More products will be added in the coming months. Customers may have their items shipped to them from Lowe’s stores or warehouses, or may choose to pick up their orders from a convenient Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse store. Lowes.com also rolled out a full complement of e-Customer Service options for its customers, which now also includes online credit card account management.

About CheckFree

CheckFree ([http://www.checkfree.com][1]), is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded in 1981 and celebrating its 20th year in e-commerce, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution in March of 1997. Today, CheckFree services enable 4.4 million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The Company has multi-year contracts with 222 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through its network of partnerships with nearly 275 financial services organizations, including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites, and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree i-Solutions is the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement software and services that enable companies to transform bills and statements into interactive conduits for customer relationship management, marketing and customer self service.

About Lowe’s

With 2000 sales of $18.8 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is the world’s second largest home improvement retailer. Headquartered in Wilkesboro, N.C., Lowe’s is the 15th largest retailer in the U.S. as well as the 34th largest retailer worldwide. Lowe’s and its 100,000 employees are Improving Home Improvement for nearly five million do-it-yourself retail and commercial business customers each week at more than 600 stores in 40 states. For more information, visit or shop lowes.com.

[1]: http://www.checkfree.com/

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G&D Web Site

Giesecke & Devrient , an internationally operating technology group, announced the official launch of their expanded website [http://www.gdai.com][1] to meet the needs and interests of their North American corporate customers.

The extensive section devoted to Cards & Card Systems provides comprehensive information on leading-edge solutions and also demonstrates G&D’s focused commitment to building a smart future for its Canadian, U.S. and Mexican business partners.

“We are committed to growth, innovation, technology and people. The release of this expanded website is a first step as G&D embarks on a new “frontier” for strategic growth and innovation that will strengthen and reinforce that commitment,” says Jim Frye, President of Card Systems, United States and Canada. “I am excited with this new unified front, as it will offer customers advantages in service and support that extend throughout the United States and Canada and into the global marketplace.

This is a time of substantial growth for G&D, as we lead the way in the areas of Magnetic Stripe, Smart Cards, Fulfillment and eBanking solutions for North America,” adds Mr. Frye.

Special website highlights include; G&D’s Products & Service from Design Concepts to Manufacturing through to Card Issuance, Forms Management and Statement Processing, The G&D website clearly demonstrates the organization’s full in house end-to-end business solutions. For those interested in developments in Mexico, the G&D Mexico website can be accessed via the Mexican Flag on the home page. Visitors are also able to view Munich headquarters and worldwide subsidiaries on G&D’s Munich site through a direct link in Profile.

Another area that is expected to draw a lot of attention is the Consumer Showcase where consumers and customers can view How a Card is Produced, and are invited to submit their ideas on what they would like to see in card technology. Additionally, they can view G&D’s first phase Gallery of Cards including two cards in which G&D won finalist awards for Best Secure and Best Non-Secure Card Design from the International Card Manufacturers Association in 2000.

Finally, if viewers would like further information, they can readily download G&D’s On-line brochures or request a copy of the bi-annual color publication G&D Report Magazine which highlights G&D worldwide with cover stories, new innovations, current applications, markets and the latest technology research.

Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is an internationally operating technology group. With nearly 150 years of history, the Giesecke & Devrient of today upholds their tradition as a trusted leading supplier of banknotes and security documents, banknote and security paper and currency automation systems as well as cards, components and complete multifunctional Smart Card systems for electronic payments and telecommunications. The group also offers end-to-end solutions for security in e-business. G&D is on the leading edge of Smart Card technology in the areas of PKI, Biometrics, e-Commerce, m-Commerce, Internet Banking Solutions, Telecommunications, Transportation, Health Care, Secure Identification and Systems Consulting.

[1]: http://www.gdai.com/

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