Bankruptcy Debate

While the third attempt to ram bankruptcy reform through Congress is underway, a group of matrimonial lawyers is again lodging protests over provisions of the legislation that will impact child support payments. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says credit card debts should retain their unsecured status, because their non-dischargeability will affect the debtor’s ability to pay child support. Under the proposed law, credit card debt is non-dischargeable in a Chapter 7 filing. In a Chapter 13 case, credit card debts are treated equally with support obligations when devising a payment plan, thus the support obligation receives a pro-rata payment only while under existing law they have a priority. The Academy has 1,600 attorney/members.


BofA Biz Check Card

Bank of America, the largest debit card issuer in the United States, today announced that it will begin offering its Business Check Card in California. The card is tailored to small and medium-size businesses, giving these customers the ability to make business purchases anywhere the Visa symbol is displayed and wherever merchants accept ATM cards for payment.

Purchases are deducted directly from the customer’s business checking account with no monthly fees or interest charges. With its additional use as an ATM card for business customers, the Business Check Card helps growing and established businesses track and manage expenses without using a credit card or checks.

“We have issued more than 400,000 Business Check Cards across the franchise and its popularity has far exceeded our expectations,” said Len Ferman, product manager. “Businesses really appreciate the product’s benefits of convenience and superior money management for making payments, as compared to other payment methods often used by small businesses such as checks and cash.”

Business Check Card customers are also protected by the bank’s zero liability policy. Under this policy, customers are not responsible for unauthorized transactions, as long as the customer notifies the bank promptly and follows the bank’s instructions.

Monthly transaction activity is detailed for business customers on their regular checking account statements and can also be accessed through the Online Business Banking Web site. For more information, visit [][1]

To order a Bank of America Business Check Card:

* Go to [][2] * Call toll-free at 1.888.600.4000 * Visit a Bank of America Banking Center

To open a Bank of America Business Checking account:

* Call toll-free at 1.888.600.4000 * Visit a Bank of America Banking Center

Bank of America is a financial services company committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and financial ingenuity, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives.

The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including more than 4,400 domestic offices, 13,000 ATMs, 38 international offices, a telephone banking network that handles more than a half billion calls a year and an Internet Web site that provides online access for more than 3 million customers, more than any other bank.

Bank of America stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges. The company’s Web site is [][3]. News, speeches and other corporate information may be found at .



Bull CP8 Sale

It’s a done deal . . . Schlumberger’s Test & Transactions division has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bull CP8 for about $325 million. The acquisition includes Bull CP8 and its operating subsidiaries as well as its equity interest in several subsidiaries including Cardsoft, Cyber-COMM, SPOM, Trusted Logic and Xiring. Bull CP8, a subsidiary of the French firm, Groupe Bull, is a provider of highly secured microprocessor-based cards and associated applications systems for the banking, mobile communications and network security industries. The acquisition will provide Schlumberger with complementary R&D and smart card technology capabilities, especially in the banking segment where Bull CP8 holds a worldwide position.s


TPII in Tanzania

IFS International, Inc., a leading provider of advanced software solutions for the banking, retail and e-Commerce industries, announced that ABSA, a world top 50 banking company, has licensed its TPII product to manage a new network of Automated Teller Machines at its subsidiary, NBC, in Tanzania.

The TPII product will be operated from Johannesburg, South Africa and will link with the ATMs via satellite links already developed for the branch automation project.

Once again, as with several previous customers in the African continent, the prime contractor for the project is ICL South Africa Limited with TPII running on Clustered SUN E450 hardware, utilizing Oracle’s RDBMS and the UNIX operating system.

After acquiring National Bank of Commerce in Tanzania, ABSA set out in 2000 to bring 21st century banking to Tanzanians. With the pioneering project to bring online banking to local branches in Tanzania well underway, the deployment of IFS’ TPII represents the commencement of the second phase of this customer-facing program.

John Jones, Managing Director, ICL Africa, said, “We strongly believe that the future of banking is about giving each and every customer choices to suit their individual lifestyles. This solution, the first in East Africa, allows ABSA to offer superb service to their customer. Once more we are delighted to be partnering with SUN and IFS, to help deliver this.”

Gary Larkin, S.V.P. Sales, IFS International, commented, “IFS is delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in this major customer service initiative by such a prominent retail banking operator. We recognize this project as a further success in the joint marketing effort with ICL and SUN to bring the benefits of this leading edge technology to the attention of such discerning customers.”

“ABSA realized that in order to establish modern banking trends and technology in Third World countries, it would have to render a service that is user-friendly and technology which is durable, robust, reliable and cost effective,” quoted a spokesman from ABSA. “Conditions in the greater part of Africa are such that equipment is oftentimes subjected to harsh, unpredictable conditions, making it all the more challenging to identify suitable hard- and software vendors. Bearing this in mind, a number of suppliers were identified and their products evaluated before it was decided that the most suitable business partner in this venture would be ICL South Africa. Our dealings thus far have been very professional and we are looking forward to the establishment of a lasting relationship with IFS International. We are optimistic that via our association with ICL South Africa, this project will result in the successful implementation of a large number of ATMs in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa.”

About IFS International Holdings, Inc.

IFS International, Inc. and Network Controls International, Inc. are subsidiaries of IFS International Holdings, Inc., which has headquarters in the USA and subsidiary offices in the USA, UK, Singapore and Australia.

IFS International, Inc. develops, markets and supports software products for the electronic financial market. IFS International’s TPII and TP-CMS products provide support for ATMs, Point of Sale devices, network switches, smart cards and card management. IFS International’s subsidiary, Global Insight Group, is a supplier of strategic business and technical implementation support services to the Retail Finance Industry.

NCI, Inc. develops innovative retail delivery applications like NCI Business Centre(TM), which combines network centric and browser based technologies in “One Application” to automate all delivery channels such as branch teller, platform service, call center, Internet banking and customer relationship management.


CheckFree CTO

CheckFree Corporation announced that Ravi Ganesan, vice chairman, will be leaving the Company February 9 to accept a position as chief executive officer at SingleSignOn.Net, Inc., an Internet security company headquartered in Virginia.

CheckFree also announced that Randy McCoy, formerly executive vice president, product management and development, has been promoted to chief technology officer, effective immediately. McCoy will assume the role Ganesan filled working with CheckFree Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pete Kight on strategic technology advancements.

Ganesan, 34, joined CheckFree in 1997 in the position of executive vice president and chief technology officer. He was named vice chairman in June of 2000. Prior to CheckFree, Ganesan served various roles at Bell Atlantic Corporation, including senior manager of the Center for Electronic Commerce, director of the Center of Internet Services, and vice president of Distributed Operations.

McCoy, 38, was vice president, corporate banking development of Servantis Systems Holdings, Inc. and had served in several other management positions over a six-year career there when CheckFree acquired that company in February of 1996. He subsequently earned promotions to vice president, bill payment development; senior vice president, Genesis platform development; executive vice president, electronic commerce development; and executive vice president, product management and development. Prior to joining Servantis, McCoy was a large systems architect at Bell South Corporation.

“Ravi has made tremendous contributions to CheckFree, including helping to consolidate development and operations of several acquisitions, which ultimately culminated in the development of our Genesis 2000 electronic billing and payment infrastructure,” said Kight. “Ravi is an entrepreneur at heart, and he holds a doctorate in cryptography, so this move to CEO of a growing venture in the Internet security space is a natural for him.

“I am highly confident in Randy McCoy’s abilities as both a keen technologist and a prudent business strategist,” Kight continued. “The 11 years he has spent advancing this industry, in positions of increasing technology and business management responsibility, have given him an expert understanding of strategies that can extend CheckFree’s market position, from both a technology and business model perspective. I am very pleased to have him lead the evolution of our next generation services,” Kight concluded.

About CheckFree

CheckFree (Nasdaq: CKFR) 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 1997. Today, CheckFree enables 4.4 million consumers to receive and pay bills electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with 222 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through nearly 275 financial services organizations, including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree Software Services division provides solutions that are used to process more than two-thirds of the nation’s six billion Automated Clearing House payments, and reconciliation and compliance products and services to 400 banks and businesses. This division includes CheckFree i-Solutions, 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. CheckFree Investment Services provides a broad range of investment management services to thousands of financial institutions nationwide. The division’s clients manage more than 1,000,000 portfolios totaling more than $500 billion in assets. For more information visit [][1].



CompuBank & Nova

CompuBank, [][1], the #1 rated bank online by SmartMoney Magazine, announced that it has extended its services to include merchant processing with NOVA Corporation, the third-largest transaction processing company in the nation. CompuBank’s business customers can now integrate NOVA’s cost-effective payment processing services within their operations.

“Electronic payment processing capabilities are paramount to the e-business industry, therefore we have broadened our array of products to accommodate our growing number of business customers,” commented Charles Boyd, SVP of Product Development and Management of CompuBank. “We chose to team with NOVA because of its proprietary, industry-specific software solutions and dedicated customer service.”

In addition to merchant processing, CompuBank provides business customers with tools to ensure efficient cash management. Business customers can view their balances in real-time, view check images front and back and see their monthly statements online. CompuBank offers free services to enable customers to maximize their funds including free domestic wire transfers, direct transfers from other financial institutions into CompuBank accounts and free bill pay. CompuBank’s eCommPay(R) provides businesses with an electronic payment solution, an efficient and low cost alternative to traditional paper checks. eCommPay is an ideal way for companies that pay royalties, commissions or other monthly payments to third parties, to make payments electronically.

“We are pleased to furnish CompuBank and its merchant customers with our full suite of merchant processing services,” stated Pamela Joseph, President and CEO of NOVA Information Systems, Inc. This alliance will allow CompuBank merchants to utilize the full power of the NOVA Network for both e-commerce and traditional payment processing. NOVA’s flexible systems and services continue to help small- to medium-sized business owners take advantage of emerging technologies.”

NOVA provides transaction processing support for all major credit cards, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diner’s Club, and also provides access to debit card processing and check verification services. NOVA products are ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses including electronic commerce on the Internet, retail, restaurant, lodging, health care, direct marketing, and mail order industries.

About NOVA Corporation

NOVA Corporation, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, manages and transports payment and other business information on behalf of retailers, community banks and regional financial institutions. NOVA specializes in providing integrated credit and debit card payment processing services, related software application products, and value-added services to more than 500,000 merchants in the U.S. NOVA merchant customers typically include small- to medium-sized merchants requiring a full spectrum of processing services. For more information, visit [][2].

About CompuBank(R)

CompuBank(R), [][3], is the #1 bank online according to Smart Money, earning top honors for security, account information, fees, and extra products and services. Having customized and leveraged its technology, CompuBank is harnessing the power and speed of the Internet to provide real time account management and payments-processing. FDIC insured, CompuBank provides optimum convenience and security to its customers.

As a result of the investment CompuBank has made in its infrastructure and management team, CoBanking partners are able to introduce a banking service quickly and cost-effectively, without having to make a substantial investment in technology. CompuBank CoBanking partners include GE Financial Network ([][4]), H.D. Vest, ([][5]) and pFreight, ([][6]).



Whirlpool Card Deal

Fiserv Orlando’s PLUS System, the industry’s leading credit-processing solution, was selected by Whirlpool Financial Corporation to handle all aspects of its private label credit card processing operations, Fiserv announced Thursday.

Whirlpool Financial parent, Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances. With approximately 60,000 employees, Whirlpool manufactures in 13 countries and markets products in more than 170 countries under 11 major brand names.

![][1] ‘It is an honor to welcome Whirlpool Financial Corporation into the Fiserv client family,’ said Max Narro, Vice President for Fiserv’s Credit Processing Services. ‘We were gratified that we could help Whirlpool Financial resolve a unique situation with their credit card portfolio.’ Whirlpool Financial’s Specialized Needs Require Accuracy and Ease of Transition Whirlpool Financial Corporation, the financial subsidiary of Whirlpool Corporation, was left with a sizeable account base to service its private label credit card operation. While the majority of its credit card accounts were sold to Transamerica Distribution Finance Corporation in 1997, Whirlpool Financial was left without a system for handling the remaining portfolio. The problem was, explained Bob LaForest, vice president of Whirlpool Financial, ‘along with their purchase, Transamerica bought our in-house software program, VisionPLUS.’

In looking for an alternate solution, Whirlpool Financial decided they no longer wanted to service the accounts in-house. LaForest noted, ‘Our priority was to find an outsourced solution that could ease the transition and put less strain on staff. We were looking for someone who used the VisionPLUS system, because our people were very familiar with the system.’

Whirlpool Financial selected Fiserv Orlando, ‘primarily because we had worked with them before and I knew they understood our priorities and what our tasks were in managing this portfolio,’ said LaForest. The Fiserv VisionPLUS tools were implemented in November, LaForest said, and the transition is nearing completion. ‘We had to transition over the Holidays, which slowed things up, but Fiserv has been very responsive.’

As the remaining accounts phase out, there is still a need for good service, LaForest pointed out. ‘It’s a different kind of situation from most. What we really need at this point is a smooth transition, and accuracy in the billing out of our remaining accounts. That’s why we chose Fiserv.’

More About Fiserv and Its Credit-Processing Services

Fiserv’s PLUS System unites PaySys® International’s VisionPLUS credit processing software-the industry’s leading credit-processing solution-with Fiserv’s decades of information-processing expertise. This powerful mix of software and service provides a state-of-the-art foundation upon which businesses can build innovative private-label revolving credit card, bankcard, and installment credit programs.

Credit-processing clients of Fiserv’s Orlando-based business unit include such industry leaders as Conseco Finance Servicing Corp., Bombardier Capital, John Deere Credit, Shoppers Charge Accounts Co., EDS, Statesman Financial, Orchard Supply Hardware, and others. Every month, Fiserv processes about 50 million credit transactions nationwide.

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), the parent corporation of Fiserv Orlando, is an independent, full service provider of software and information management systems to the world’s financial-services industry. Fiserv’s staff of over 13,000 serves more than 10,000 clients worldwide, including finance companies, banks, credit unions, financial planners, broker/dealers, insurance companies, mortgage companies, and savings institutions. Visit Fiserv on the Internet at [][2].

[1]: /graphic/whirlpool/whirlpool.gif


ICE Storm

Hypercom’s ‘ePIC ICE’ POS terminals continue to take the market by storm. Yesterday Hypercom nailed a $50 million contract with a major player in the prepaid phone card market, one of the biggest deals in POS terminal history. Miami-based Blackstone awarded Hypercom a $50 million contract for a widescale rollout of Hypercom’s ‘ePic ICE’ card payment terminals and web appliances in support of Blackstone’s POS prepaid activation program. The rollout will enable tens of thousands of retailers across the USA to more easily sell prepaid calling cards as well as the new prepaid products and services including prepaid dial tone, Internet access and prepaid wireless services on the same device that handles their traditional credit card payment functions. Using Hypercom’s secure, browser-based ‘ICE’ touch-screen, menu-driven terminal, merchants can quickly and easily print and activate the calling cards, access accounting information via the Internet, accept smart cards/ATM/debit and EBT cards, process check verifications and American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard and VISA transactions. Blackstone offers more than 50 prepaid calling cards, prepaid paging, prepaid dial tone, prepaid wireless, one plus long distance, Internet services, and point-of-sale terminals at more than 300,000 retail locations nationwide.


Top Ten 4Q/00

Among the top ten U.S. bank credit card issuers, FleetBoston has posted the largest gain in receivables since 1995. FleetBoston soared by 825% over the past five years, from $1.6 billion to $14.8 billion in receivables, driven largely by its acquisition of the Advanta portfolio. Mergers and acquisitions have played a major role in the growth of other top issuers including Bank One/First USA +283% and Bank of America +164%. Without the benefit of M&A, American Express has churned out an impressive 187% gain, nearly triple Discover’s growth. Chase and Household have posted modest gains of 36% and 18% respectively over the past five years according to CardData ([][1]).

(with percentage of change from 4Q/95 receivables)
1. Citibank $87.7 billion $48.8 billon +96%
2. MBNA $70.5 billion $29.5 billion +180%
3. Bank One/First USA $67.0 billion $37.1 billion +283%
4. Discover $47.1 billion $22.8 billion +71%
5. Chase $36.2 billion $18.1 billion +36%
6. American Express $28.7 billion $59.0 billion +187%
7. Providian $26.7 billion $ 7.6 billion +493%
8. Bank of America $24.3 billion $23.1 billion +164%
9. Household $15.2 billion $ 9.0 billion + 18%
10. Fleet $14.8 billion $ 5.3 billion +825%

* excludes Capital One which has not reported to CardData as of 2/8/01.
Source: CardData (



Counterfeit Cop

First Data Merchant Services , a subsidiary of First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services and the world’s largest provider of merchant processing services, and ConSyGen, Inc., a high technology software development company have entered into an agreement where FDMS clients will sell the Counterfeit Cop to merchants in a proactive effort to stop fraud.

The Counterfeit Cop is a small footprint device, utilizing both UV light and incandescent light, designed to detect counterfeit currency. The Counterfeit Cop examines the content of the paper, the polymer threads and hidden watermarks (in new currency). It also detects imbedded holograms on credit cards and the security features of travelers checks, drivers licenses, personal checks, U.S. government checks, casino chips, event tickets and many forms of identification.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Counterfeit Cop will be made available to merchants through FDMS’ clients including, Chase Merchant Services, L.L.C., Huntington Merchant Services, PNC and Unified Merchant Services, as a way to combat currency fraud for merchants. The Counterfeit Cop is suitable for any market segment and merchant size.

“First Data Merchant Services recognizes that counterfeit crime is a significant problem for merchants and how accepting only a small amount of counterfeit currency can greatly impact the bottom line,” said Steve VanFleet, sr. vice president, First Data Merchant Services product development. “FDMS strives to provide innovative technology that benefits merchants, and by working with ConSyGen, First Data is able to continue to provide the most current device on the market to combat counterfeit crime.”

“We are confident that no other counterfeit detection device on the market has the ability to detect the wide variety of items that the Counterfeit Cop can detect, said Michael Garza, managing director of business products, ConSyGen, Inc. “Through the use of the Counterfeit Cop, First Data Merchant Services’ clients merchants will see a marked difference in the amount of counterfeit currency accepted.

About First Data

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) helps move the world’s money. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two 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 more than 27,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit and stored- value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 101,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][1].

About ConSyGen

Established in 1996 as a high technology software development and R&D company, ConSyGen, Inc. has focused its business on providing innovative and superior commerce solutions worldwide. The primary CSGI product lineup includes the Counterfeit Cop(TM) and BizPay(TM).

The Counterfeit Cop(TM) provides a very quick and easy process for merchants and banks to protect themselves from losses associated with counterfeit payment and ID. Counterfeit Cop(TM) works with U.S. and international currencies, traveler’s checks, bank checks, money orders, casino chips, credit cards and passports. For more information, please visit the company’s websites at [][2] or [][3]



Concord 4Q/00

Memphis-based Concord EFS reported yesterday that 4Q/00 revenue grew 32% to $353.3 million compared to $268.1 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2000 was $59.0 million, up 39%, over 4Q/99. Total transactions at Concord grew from 4.2 billion in 1999 to 5.3 billion in 2000, a 26% increase. Network Services transactions grew 18% in 2000, while Payment Services transactions were up 33% year over year. Concord completed its acquisition of Star Systems on February 1. STAR, which had revenue of approximately $183 million in 2000, will become part of Concord’s Network Services, which includes ATM and debit card processing provided primarily to financial institutions. For complete details on Concord’s 4Q/00 results visit CardData ([][1]).



Vital Gets Bradford

Vital Processing Services announced the appointment of Kevin Bradford, a recognized leader in the financial services processing industry, to serve as executive vice president of business development. Bradford will report to Jonathan Palmer, Vital’s president and CEO, and serve on Vital’s senior management committee.

As head of business development, Bradford will lead Vital’s efforts in identifying and evaluating partnership, merger and acquisition and strategic alliance opportunities that are aligned with Vital’s business objectives. He also will lead Vital’s efforts to capitalize on those opportunities.

“Vital will continue to expand our value for merchants and merchant acquirers as we build on our array of commerce enabling services. The experience Kevin brings with him will be valuable to Vital’s future, as he will play a pivotal role in fostering and managing strategic growth,” said Jonathan Palmer.

Prior to joining Vital, Bradford held senior-level positions at a distinguished roster of financial services companies. Recently, Bradford served as senior vice president of business development for Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (now part of Concord EFS), where he led its strategic growth initiatives in revenue with large financial institutions. Previously, Bradford gained more than 20 years experience at the following companies: BISYS Group, Inc., First Financial Management Corporation (now part of First Data Corporation), Union Bank, Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union and Salomon Smith Barney.

“Vital is well positioned to capitalize on the growth and consolidation in the electronic payments industry, backed by strong ownership from TSYS(R) and Visa(R) U.S.A., an impressive client base and a strong management team led by Jonathan Palmer. I feel fortunate to be a part of this team,” said Kevin Bradford.

About Vital Processing Services ([][1])

Arizona-based Vital Processing Services(R) (Vital(R)) is a leader in technology-based commerce enabling services. Vital’s clients include acquirers and merchant service providers that offer electronic payment processing services to merchants. Vital provides leading point-of-sale (POS) products and services, electronic authorization and data capture; VirtualNet(TM) Internet-commerce services; clearing, settlement and exception processing; accounting, billing and reporting; risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) U.S.A. and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE: TSS”) (TSYS).