AmEx Strategy

American Express’ new strategy of buying portfolios of existing VISA and MasterCard accounts from a bank, and then converting those cards with American Express cards maybe flawed according to the February issue of CardTrak, released yesterday. VISA says it conducted a poll early this month that shows just 27% of Bank of Hawaii VISA cardholders are likely to keep and use their new American Express cards when they come in the mail. In late December, Bank of Hawaii agreed to sell its $226 million VISA card portfolio to American Express. VISA says the general reaction to the American Express-Bank of Hawaii deal among Hawaiians is negative, the most intensely negative group toward it are Bank of Hawaii credit cardholders themselves. VISA found that 69% of Bank of Hawaii cardholders think Bank of Hawaii is making a mistake by turning over their credit card accounts to AmEx. Even if AmEx can persuade all of Bank of Hawaii’s credit cardholders to accept and use an AmEx card, there is still a question as to whether or not the acquisition can be profitable. It is widely believed that American Express paid a very high premium to acquire the VISA card portfolio. The average amount paid by bank credit card issuers to acquire a credit card account last year was around $170. Considering the inflated premium that AmEx may have paid, the cost per credit card account for the Bank of Hawaii may be as high as $300 per account. Last July, American Express purchased a co-branded MasterCard portfolio from New Jersey-based Valley National Bank and began the conversion to AmEx cards this month. The Bank of Hawaii conversion is expected to begin this summer according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]).

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

Details

Reform Push

The National Retail Federation encouraged the U.S. Senate to move bankruptcy reform legislation, without additional amendments, early in the legislative session.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dean Sheaffer, Vice President and Director of Credit at Boscov’s Department Stores, urged Members to approve pending bankruptcy legislation (S. 220) without tampering with the current provisions or adding irrelevant amendments unrelated to bankruptcy reform.

“On behalf of the National Retail Federation, we urge members of Congress to take swift legislative action to address the problems confronting the nation’s bankruptcy system,” Sheaffer testified. “Otherwise, in the not too distant future, we may find that among a large segment of our society, bankruptcy filings will become the rule rather than the exception. I believe that it is imperative for Congress to pass common sense bankruptcy reform legislation in the form of S. 220 without amendments now.”

NRF has promoted fair, needs-based bankruptcy legislation for some time. At issue are those debtors who can afford to repay a significant portion of what they owe, yet choose to walk away from their debts.

“Bankruptcy must remain an option for those who have experienced serious financial setbacks and who have no other means of recovering,” Sheaffer said. “We must be very careful to distinguish the average filer, who uses the system properly, from that smaller, but important group of others who misuse the system for their benefit.”

Bankruptcy legislation has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support in Congress for three years. The House of Representatives and the Senate approved legislation identical to the current bill by veto-proof margins, but the measure was pocket vetoed by President Clinton last year.

“Bankruptcy filings are more than triple now than they were during the much worse economic conditions that existed in the 1980’s,” Sheaffer noted. “If the current rate of filings holds within the next decade, 1 in every 7 American households will have filed for bankruptcy. The system is seriously flawed.”

Studies have shown that ending misuse of the bankruptcy system will save Americans more than $4 billion annually. NRF supports needs-based bankruptcy reform, ensuring that those who can repay their obligations do and those that cannot are provided the relief they need.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world’s largest retail trade association with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalogue, Internet and independent stores. NRF members represent an industry that encompasses more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, employs more than 20 million people — about 1 in 5 American workers — and registered 2000 sales of $3.2 trillion. NRF’s international members operate stores in more than 50 nations. In its role as the retail industry’s umbrella group, NRF also represents 32 national and 50 state associations in the U.S. as well as 36 international associations representing retailers abroad.

For more information about NRF, visit the organization’s Website at [http://www.nrf.com][1].

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

Details

Tidel 4Q/00

Houston-based Tidel Technologies reported net income for the quarter ended 12/31/00 of $1,888,019, an increase of 27% from $1,481,067 for the same quarter in 1999. Revenues for the quarter were $16,696,463, an increase of 21% from the same quarter a year ago. For 4Q/00 Tidel shipped 3,310 ATM units, an increase of 50% over the 2,213 units shipped in the comparable quarter in 1999. Tidel pointed out yesterday that even though the sales of ATMs grew 50%, corresponding revenues only increased 21%. Tidel says this was due to a decline in the average sales price per unit of approximately $950 over the past year. Sales to Tidel’s largest customer, Credit Card Center, were $11.6 million, or about 70% of total revenues for the period. For details on Tidel’s latest quarterly performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

ECHO Hires Masaki

Electronic Clearing House, Inc. announced the appointment of Mr. Geoffrey Masaki as Vice President of Special Programs.

Masaki will report to the Company’s Chief Information Officer, Larry Brown. Masaki joined the Company in July, 1997, programming terminals as a Senior Project Leader. In October, 1999, he was designated Director of Special Programs, managing Web-based projects. Prior to joining ECHO, Masaki was a Senior Systems Analyst for Software Dynamics, Inc. and has been performing technical and management duties in the computer industry since 1969. Masaki holds a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Occidental College in Los Angeles and an M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.

“Geoffrey has proven himself in two critical areas,” stated Larry Brown. “He has consistently met his commitment dates and he has shown great skill in managing a development team of programmers. We are very fortunate and pleased to have Geoffrey part of our management team.”

Electronic Clearing House, Inc. provides credit card processing, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, and inventory tracking to over 58,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.

Details

Credit Data

Experian has joined the trend of offering consumers copies of credit records online as well as access to credit ratings. The Experian program will be launched in phases, with most components available by July 1., and will provide consumers with the ability to receive their credit reports and dispute them online, receive a credit risk score, and learn how to better manage their financial health through a variety of educational tools. In addition to their Experian risk score, consumers will receive score factors, education about how to interpret them and suggested steps to take in improving their scores. The risk score will be available for $6. The price of a credit report will remain $8.50, or as authorized by individual state laws.Additional features available on July 1 include: Credit Manager, a comprehensive credit management service designed to help consumers better understand, protect and manage their credit health; an electronic registration and protection service for debit/credit and other in-wallet consumer information; the automated dispute of credit report entries and tri-bureau credit report services.

Details

FRANCE

Schlumberger Test & Transactions, a business segment of Schlumberger Limited
issued its annual review of the smart card industry. The
report notes that the worldwide smart card industry came of age in 2000, with
open platform cards achieving mass volumes for the first time. Despite
substantial silicon shortages, shipments still grew 27% to reach 1,790
million,
confirming the pivotal role the smart card is playing in providing portable,
personal security across the spectrum of end-user sectors.

Among the forecasts Schlumberger makes for 2001 is continued double-digit
growth in demand, driven largely by wireless applications, with the emergence
of mobile commerce adding a new dimension to this segment. Also of note, the
coming year will see the first volume roll-outs of USB (Universal Serial Bus)
compatible cards, and substantial growth in the emerging US market.

Looking Back at 2000
Worldwide

For the first time, the most significant industry event was not related to any
development in card applications or technology, but to a shortage of silicon.
Booming demand for semiconductors led to restricted allocations of silicon to
manufacturers, and as many as 30% of chip orders may have gone unfulfilled.
This situation led some end-users to over order and build up inventory, partly
explaining the healthy shipment figures. This trend will probably continue
until expected increases in semiconductor capacity come on-stream at the
end of
2001.

The star application sector for smart cards was, as expected, SIM (subscriber
identity module) cards for mobile phones, which expanded by more than 70%.
This
surge was due to the strong demand from consumers for mobile phones and — in
the high-end of the market — the intensive drive by operators to roll-out
value-added services based on SIM ToolKit (STK). The high-end segment of the
market has effectively standardized on Java(TM) cards, and was the major
contributor to an astonishing year-on-year growth of 700% in open platform
technology. Java cards now accounts for some 15% of all shipments of
microprocessor-based smart cards.

“Java Card technology has had a radical impact on the SIM card market, and
more
than two thirds of those operators deploying STK services today actively
prefer
to base them on Java card SIMs,” noted Xavier Chanay, Schlumberger vice
president, Mobile Communication Products. “The latest SIM card standards —
which stabilized in mid-2000 — complete the chain to ensure that the process
of creation and deletion of STK applets is fully standardized.”

Banking cards — the next largest market sector for microprocessor smart cards
— achieved healthy double-digit growth, although not as high as in 1999. This
slowdown occurred for a number of reasons The massive GeldKarte roll-out had
passed its peak, some countries extended their card life cycles by an extra
year, and silicon was in short supply.

Among other microprocessor card applications, pay TV and ID cards grew
strongly, with the continued rise of digital TV and the emerging need for PC,
intranet and Internet security. The specialist application segment of health
cards remained fairly static because of its cyclical nature and reliance on
large projects, of which the two most pre-eminent — the French and the German
projects — have been more or less completed.

Payphone cards, the major application category for memory chip-based cards,
accounted for well over half of the industry’s total card shipments Over a
billion units in terms of volume, but only one-sixth of the industry’s
revenue.
This market remained stable, predictable and very much a commodity market, now
dominated by the two major suppliers.

North America

“In 2000, the US saw the introduction of the first major roll-out of smart
cards in the financial sector with the Blue card from American Express,” said
Paul Beverly, vice president, Smart Cards, North America for Schlumberger.
“Visa, MasterCard and their member banks — such as Fleet Boston, First USA
and
Providian — followed quickly with announcements about their own smart banking
programs.”

US government agencies — such as the Department of Defense and the US Postal
Service — took early roles last year in defining projects that use smart
cards
for a variety of projects, including identification cards for physical access
to buildings and logical access to computer networks. Strong interest also
began to be shown in the US in late 2000 for Java-powered smart cards for
financial, information security and mobile communications applications.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which
mandates
that health care providers must develop processes for secure electronic
exchanges of confidential patient information, has driven heated discussions
about privacy and information security, spurring increased interest in smart
cards-based technology.

Another important development in information security this year was Sun’s
deployment of its Sun Ray(TM) appliance architecture for network access
control. The new system allows users to access their desktops anywhere within
the network simply by inserting their smart card into the computing device.

2001 Major New Opportunities
Worldwide

This coming year will witness double digit growth of over 20% in overall smart
card shipments, forecasts Schlumberger.

Mobile communications — which represents close to 70% of microprocessor-based
card shipments — remains the key focus for the larger players because it is
such a strong driver of both technology and revenue. In technology terms,
mobile communications has created the first mass market for interoperable open
platform cards, and customers continue to demand ever higher levels of memory.
The revenue derives from the high-end nature of the cards — at least for
those
used to provide subscriber services — and the additional services that
accompany such sales in terms of STK application programming and turnkey
systems deployment.

Last year’s growth in this segment is unlikely to be repeated, as the market
has matured, but there are still many bright spots to look forward to in 2001.
For one, the SIM card concept should be exported to non-GSM areas of the
telecommunications world. Schlumberger expects to see CDMA (Code Division
Multiple Access) operators starting to implement the benefits of the Removable
UIM (User Identity Module) standard, which will initially be used to
facilitate
roaming.

However, a more interesting trend is likely to start as CDMA operators
begin to adopt a more flexible approach to value-added services offered by the portable
identity module, in contrast to the current firmware-based approach. This
general shift might even migrate into the North American TDMA (Time Division
Multiple Access) market where operators — who are increasingly becoming part
of world-scale alliances — may exploit the shift to 2.5G and 3G technologies
to adopt the flexible SIM concept.

The next major boost to the mobile communications market is likely to come
later in the year. The first introduction of GPRS (General Packet Radio
Service) high-speed digital networks will provide the data communication speed
to make WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) a commercial success and create a
demand for WIM (WAP Identity Module) that will secure mobile commerce
applications.

Schlumberger also expects to see the first trials of 3G networks, again
leading
to fresh demand for SIMs in the shape of the new Universal SIM device. With
Japan involved in this market, the latter half of the year could see the first
high volume shipments of mobile communications smart cards to that country.
However, mass volumes of USIMs are not anticipated until 2002.
The market for financial cards is expected to grow strongly at around 25%,
driven primarily by a number of national programs to replace existing magnetic
stripe bank cards with secure smart cards built on the EMV (Europay Mastercard
Visa) standard. Affected markets this year include the UK — with its current
EMV replacement program; Mexico, which is starting to see the first volumes of
Proton cards; and Brazil and China. Although most smart card programs are
driven primarily by the desire of banks to reduce fraud, the strong commercial
success of the American Express Blue smart card program in the US and
Canada is
viewed as likely to stimulate competition to release new chip-based cards.
A high spot for the industry will occur this year with the rapid rise of
enterprise and IT security smart card applications, which is expected to more
than double. The growth is stimulated by the general need for intranet and
Internet network security, and the particular support for smart card security
tokens which is built into Windows(TM) 2000. By 2003, Schlumberger estimates
that nearly half of online transactions will be secured by smart cards,
creating continued growth rates of over 40% in this market.

Technologically, the major event for 2001 is likely to be the widespread
availability of USB-compatible smart cards, which allow PCs and similar
devices
to interface with smart cards without the cost of a conventional reader.
As regards open platform cards, Java card technology has now reached true mass
market maturity, while the other contenders — MULTOS and Smart Cards for
Windows(TM) — remain in their infancy. Whether these systems can catch up —
particularly MULTOS, which has suffered from its focus on banking cards — is
questionable. Both MULTOS and Smart Cards for Windows are looking to the
mobile
communications market, and one critical test is almost certain to be the
extent
of take-up there.

North America

One geographic region that stands out for 2001 is the US, with its outlook for
a significant increase in smart card sales. Although the US market has grown
more slowly than the rest of the world, this year has three major forces for
change the demand for IT security, the stimulus to the bank card market to
follow the American Express Blue initiative, and the growing adoption of SIMs
for TDMA and CDMA platforms. Combined, these forces could result in sustained
growth rates of over 50% for the next three years.

Recently passed US law now mandates that electronic signatures are as legally
binding as personal ones. Schlumberger sees this as another key driver for
increased demand for PKI-based smart card applications — which secure the
authenticity of electronic signatures. The security provided by smart cards
and the growing number of computer hardware manufacturers integrating chip card
readers as PC standards may help drive growth of back-end e-commerce systems
and networks that accept smart cards as user identification for secure
financial, retail and corporate applications.

“We anticipate that this coming year will see the announcement of substantial
smart card-enabled network access projects in North America,” stated Beverly.
“Mobile commerce is another potential growth area, with the possibility of
major retailers utilizing smart card-enabled wireless technology to sell their
products and services to mobile phone users.”

Reflecting the growth trend for smart cards in the financial sectors,
Schlumberger also anticipates a higher demand in the US for smart card-ready
point-of-sale (POS) terminals and wireless devices for managing secure card
transactions. The recent announcement by AT&T, the third largest mobile
network operator in the US, about the addition of the GSM platform to its offering, is
another factor heralding increased growth for SIMs in North America.
“2001 could be a breakthrough year in the US market for smart cards,” said
Olivier Piou, president, Schlumberger Smart Cards. “With three major drivers
stimulating change, we may at last see this huge potential market begin to see
significant activity.”

About Schlumberger Test & Transactions

Schlumberger Test & Transactions provides consulting, integration and products
for testing and measurement of semiconductor devices, smart card-based
transactions, IP (Internet Protocol) network security and wireless services.
With 2000 revenue of $1.4 billion and over 8,000 employees in more than 40
countries, it is a business segment of Schlumberger Limited (NYSESLB), a
global technology services company with 2000 revenue of $9.6 billion. More
information is available at
www.slb.com

Details

LUXEMBOURG

EuroSignCard S.A. has joined the Smart Card Alliance to increase its
visibility to key industry players and remain abreast of
important industry developments.

EuroSignCard S.A. believes that access to industry initiatives and open
standards will be the key to engineer interoperable
systems, required for worldwide acceptance of smart cards.

“Our clients are demanding interoperable and open solutions to
authentication and identification problems in e-Commerce; the
Smart Card Alliance provides us a venue to follow key industry developments,”
reports David G. Sweigert, Managing Director
of EuroSignCard for technical operations.v
“As chip-on-the-card technology usage becomes widespread, financial
institutions are demanding smart card technology to
solve a number of problems besides traditional payment services; namely
securing Internet e-Commerce,” Sweigert continued.

Sweigert’s company, EuroSignCard S.A., operates as a public key
infrastructure (PKI) trust center in Luxembourg.
EuroSignCard’s value proposition is the encoding of PKI digital keys on to
smart cards that are also used as traditional credit
cards within bank payment association networks.

Recently, EuroSignCard has gained significant industry traction in the
advancement of the pan-European certification authority
network concept that recognizes PKI certificates from varied European Union
trust centers. The company has on-going partner
relationships with Entrust Technologies, Digital Signature Trust, Cyber
Security, Inc., NEXOR, and other e-Commerce
infrastructure providers.

About EuroSignCard S.A.

Headquartered in Luxembourg, EuroSignCard S.A. provides security technology
for electronic transactions to commercial and
government organizations. EuroSignCard’s products include Public Key
Infrastructure (PKI) architectures, smart cards, and
cryptography techniques. EuroSignCard was formed in 1999 and recently received
a cash infusion of 1,500,000 Euros in July,
2000. The firm specializes in technology that complies with E.U. Directive
1999/93.

Details

UNITED KINGDOM

As a result of the success of its annual InterACT Conference,
Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. announced that it will
expand the program to address the growing importance of decision
technology and CRM solutions to leading companies in the retail,
telecommunications, insurance and financial services industries —
both in the U.S. and abroad.

The annual conference — which draws more than 1,000 thought
leaders, senior executives and industry analysts — will now become a
twice-annual event, held in London, May 23-25, and San Francisco, June
24-27, this year. The decision to expand the conference to two
locations each year is in response to the growing importance of
decision technologies to European companies and to U.S. companies
operating on a global basis. In addition, track sessions at both
conferences will be expanded to reflect the special needs and issues
of specific industries.

“Over the years, the InterACT Conference has gained recognition as
the mecca for learning about how data can drive smart business
decisions,” said Tom Grudnowski, president and CEO of Fair, Isaac.
“The growing importance of decision technologies to CRM — and the
broad industry desire for dynamic discussions about strategy, new
technologies and new applications — has driven our decision to expand
the conference to dual locations each year,” he explained.

As the architect of world-class decision technology solutions,
Fair, Isaac founded the InterACT Conference in 1976 to provide the
most up-to-date insights and information on the use of data in
business decisioning. Since its inception, the conference has grown
every year in attendance and in industry recognition as a must-attend
event for senior executives committed to using data to drive smart
business decisions.

The InterACT Conference has grown in lockstep with the increased
recognition by CEOs that effective, data-driven decisions lead to
better profits and enhanced valuation for their companies. Analysts
expect that U.S. businesses will increase their spending on related
technologies nearly 300 percent — to $17 billion — by 2004.
Forrester Research reported recently that the current business
intelligence technologies are fundamentally inadequate due to their
“inability to uncover unanticipated insights — leaving significant
business value untapped.”

The InterACT 2001 Conferences carry a theme of “Igniting The
Decision Revolution.” Both the San Francisco and London events are
expected to sell out well in advance as a result of the quality of
speakers and track sessions that are planned. As a result of the
heightened importance of decision technology to CEOs, this year’s
conferences are expected to draw senior executives from retail,
telecommunications, financial services and insurance companies.

InterACT 2001 Conference track highlights in San Francisco and
London include

For more information about the InterACT Conferences or to register
for the event, call 1-800-496-7001 in the U.S., 1-44-(0)-121-781-4545
in the U.K., 1-415-492-5353 from anywhere or visit
www.fairisaac.com/InterACT.

About Fair, Isaac

Fair, Isaac and Company is a global provider of customer analytics
and decision technology. Widely recognized for its pioneering work in
credit scoring, Fair, Isaac revolutionized the way lending decisions
are made. Today the company helps clients in multiple industries
increase the value of customer relationships. Fair, Isaac has made the
Forbes list of the top 200 U.S. small companies eight times in the
last nine years. Headquartered in San Rafael, California, Fair, Isaac
has 21 offices worldwide.

Details

Smart Cards 2001

The worldwide smart card industry came of age last year, with open platform cards achieving mass volumes for the first time. Despite substantial silicon shortages, shipments still grew 27% to reach 1.8 billion. In an annual review of the smart card industry, Schlumberger Test & Transactions forecasts there will be continued double-digit growth in demand for 2001, driven largely by wireless applications, with the emergence of mobile commerce adding a new dimension to this segment. For 2000, the star application sector for smart cards was, as expected, SIM cards for mobile phones, which expanded by more than 70%. This surge was simply due to the strong demand from consumers for mobile phones. However, the high-end segment of the market has effectively standardized on ‘Java’ cards, and was the major contributor to an astonishing year-on-year growth of 700% in open platform technology. Java cards now accounts for some 15% of all shipments of microprocessor-based smart cards. Last year was also a pivotal year for smart cards in the USA. During 2000, the US saw the introduction of the first major roll-out of smart cards in the financial sector with the ‘Blue Card’ from American Express and ‘smart VISA’ cards by Fleet Boston, First USA and Providian. US government agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the US Postal Service, also took early roles last year in defining projects that use smart cards for a variety of projects, including identification cards for physical access to buildings and logical access to computer networks. Strong interest also began to be shown in the US in late 2000 for Java-powered smart cards for financial, information security and mobile communications applications.

World Smart Card Consumption and Forecast for 2000-2003

2000 2001 Growth 00/01 2003

Payphone 1080m 1190m 10% 1410m
Mobile comm. 350m 500m 43% 800m
Banking 120m 150m 25% 310m
Healthcare 65m 70m 8% 110m
Transport 30m 45m 50% 80m
Others 145m 215m 48% 390m
Totals 1790m 2170m 21% 3100m

m-millions Source: Schlumberger

Details

FRANCE

Gemplus International S.A. announced record fourth quarter and fiscal year
results. Revenue for the fourth quarter was 386 million
euros, up 48% from the same quarter a year ago. Operating income was 47 ME,
compared with 32.5 ME for the same quarter a
year ago. Net profit for the fourth quarter was 41 million euros, or 0.06 euros
per diluted share.

For the full year, revenue was 1.205 BE, up 57% from the previous year’s
767 ME. Operating Income was 127 ME
compared with 57 ME for the previous year. Net income for FY2000 was 99 ME or
0.18 E per diluted share.

“The year 2000 was an exceptional year for Gemplus,” said Antonio Perez,
president and chief executive officer. “These
strong results demonstrate the strength of our business model, our technology
leadership, our market positioning and our deep
understanding of the smart card solutions industry.”

Gemplus’ Telecommunications business which consists of wireless SIM modules
and the associated software and services,
Prepaid Phone Cards and Scratch Cards, grew over 80% in terms of Q4 to Q4
comparisons as well as Fiscal 2000 to Fiscal
1999 comparisons. This reflects a continuation of trends in the wireless space
where growth is approaching 100%
year-over-year.

Looking forward, Gemplus indicated that while there are a number of
macroeconomic factors and mobile handset industry
trends that would suggest caution in projecting growth going forward, it
remains optimistic about 2001. Gemplus estimates first
quarter revenues will grow 31-32% from first quarter levels in 2000. Net
earnings in the first quarter, after adjusting for the
one-time capital gain from its Intercall investment in Q1FY00, are expected to
increase 21-23% from adjusted Q1FY00 levels.

The fully diluted share count is expected to increase about 6% from Q4FY00
levels as a result of the IPO, the Celocom Limited
and SLP InfoWare acquisitions and the one-time grant of stock options to all
employees at the IPO. For the year 2001, Gemplus
estimates revenue will grow 30-32% with net profit increasing 27-30% from the
nominally reported levels in 2000. After
adjusting for the effects of the gain from its Intercall investment and a
one-time R&D tax credit in Q1FY00, net profit is projected
to grow 58-60%. The fully diluted shares count is expected to increase very
modestly throughout the year after Q1FY01.

Cash and cash equivalents were 636 million euros at December 31, 2000.
Asset turnover improved slightly in Q4FY00 to
0.799 from the previous quarter’s 0.733. Account receivables contributed to
this performance as DSO decreased from 68 days
to 62 days sequentially. The company’s financial results for 2000 have been
derived from its consolidated financial statements
which have been prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards
(IAS).

About Gemplus

Gemplus is the world’s leading smart card based solutions provider. Since
its creation in 1988, Gemplus has been driving the
worldwide deployment and marketing of smart card based specific applications
and services for telecommunication, financial
services and e-business security.

Gemplus smart card technology has been a driving force in the deployment of
wireless telephony since 1990, when SIM cards
were introduced into the GSM standard. Since then, Gemplus has enhanced SIM
technology to provide greater value-added
services to most of wireless operators and their network subscribers. Gemplus
now provides products compliant with new
transmission standards (2.5G, 3G).

Gemplus is present throughout th
e value chain: chip design, software
development, card management system and consulting.
Gemplus provides its clients and partners with comprehensive, integrated,
tailor-made solutions for their security, personalization
and privacy management needs.

Details

CompuBank #2

CompuBank announced that its Web site was the second most visited in the bank category during the month of January, 2001, as ranked by PC Data, [http://www.pcdata.com][1]. PC Data is the leading provider of high tech sales intelligence in the United States. CompuBank’s ranking has moved up 3 places in this category since December, 2000. “Out of the top 5 Banking Web sites, CompuBank is the only bank that is exclusively an Internet Bank,” said Frank Goldberg, CompuBank’s chairman.

“We are proud that CompuBank received over 2.8 million unique visitors last month, a number exceeded only by Chase,” Goldberg continued. “Our affiliate marketing approach is bringing high volume to our Web site. Of equal importance is the fact that our customers make, on average, 10 visits to our site each month. CompuBank’s high ranking clearly demonstrates the overall attractiveness of an Internet only bank.”

In addition to its high ranking in the banking category, CompuBank was noted the 293rd most visited Web site in January 2001 for all industries, up from the 719th in December 2000. The overall ranking includes giants across all industry categories, like Yahoo, AOL and MSN.

About CompuBank(R)

CompuBank(R), [http://www.compubank.com][2], 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 ([http://www.gefn-compubank.com][3]), H.D. Vest, ([http://www.hdvest-compubank.com][4]) and pFreight, ([http://www.pfreight-compubank.com][5]).

CompuBank investors and strategic partners are SOFTBANK Finance, GE Capital, Goldman Sachs and Marsh & McLennan Capital.

[1]: http://www.pcdata.com/
[2]: http://www.compubank.com/
[3]: http://www.gefn-compubank.com/
[4]: http://www.hdvest-compubank.com/
[5]: http://www.pfreight-compubank.com/

Details

CANADA

Advantex Marketing International Inc.
and CIBC announced that they have signed agreements
for Advantex to launch an online program for CIBC Aerogold VISA, to continue
the current Advantex Offline Benefit Program, and to develop and launch
customer loyalty online and offline programs for multiple CIBC Premium card
portfolios. CIBC is the leading Canadian bank card issuer, with 43% of the
premium card market. Under the terms of the agreements, Advantex and CIBC plan
to commence launching the new loyalty programs throughout 2001.

Signing of the agreements follows a November 22, 2000 announcement by the
companies of their plans to develop and launch new customer loyalty programs.
As previously announced, Advantex has agreed to issue to each of CIBC and Air
Canada warrants to purchase 7.5 million Advantex common shares, at a price of
$1.08 per share, exercisable over a five-year period. As also previously
announced, Advantex has agreed to issue to CIBC and Air Canada over a five-
year period, additional five-year warrants to purchase up to 55 million
Advantex common shares. The number of warrants issued each year will be based
on the contribution that both CIBC and Air Canada make to Advantex’s annual
revenue growth. The exercise price of the earned warrants issued each year
will be based on the prevailing market prices at the time of issue. The 70
million common shares which may be purchased by Air Canada and CIBC represent
approximately 58% of Advantex common shares on a fully diluted basis.

The agreements build on the relationship established between Advantex and
CIBC over the past five years. Advantex developed and operates the CIBC
Aerogold ADVANTEX Benefit program, offering bonus Aeroplan Miles on purchases
at hundreds of Canadian restaurants, golf courses, inns, resorts, and
entertainment venues. The new agreements provide for CIBC and Advantex to
develop online and offline loyalty benefit programs for the holders of CIBC’s
premium credit cards. Together the programs will feature rewards for dining,
leisure and sports, entertainment, hospitality, shopping, and a variety of
everyday Internet activities, including logging in, receiving special
information and value-added offers, visiting featured sites, and e-shopping at
a wide list of participating merchants.

Christine Croucher, Executive Vice President, CIBC VISA cards products
division stated, “We are very pleased to be working with Advantex to create
additional value for the holders of CIBC Aerogold VISA and our other premium
cards. Advantex has proven its ability as a partner in meeting the needs of
our cardholders. Advantex’s new online loyalty programs will provide our
cardholders with significant opportunities to earn further rewards as they use
the Internet.”

All of the online programs will feature the Advantex SmartBar(TM),
proprietary browser extension technology developed by Advantex. SmartBar is a
personal Internet rewards manager that travels with registered cardholders
while on the Web providing convenient and immediate access to a broad range of
rewards and information. SmartBar will automatically calculate and issue
rewards for designated everyday Internet activities including whenever
cardholders make purchases at participating e-merchants. SmartBar features a
meter that conveniently displays a running total of the rewards earned through
the program, keeping CIBC cardholders up-to-date on their rewards
accumulation.

“The signing of these agreements is a very exciting step forward for
Advantex,” said G. Randall Munger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Advantex. “The depth and breadth of our relationship with CIBC has expanded
significantly. We look forward to developing new and innovative programs for
CIBC and the holders of its premium credit cards, as we have successfully done
for the past five years for the holders of CIBC Aerogold VISA.”

About Advantex Marketing International Inc.

Advantex Marketing International Inc. is a leading consumer marketing
firm, specializing in online and offline customer relationship marketing
programs. Advantex programs strengthen the relationships between major
organizations and their valued customers, while building new and ongoing
relationships between those customers and participating merchants. Advantex
partners include US Airways, Air Canada, The Canadian Imperial Bank of
Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia, The New York Times, and other major North
American corporations, as well as an impressive list of retailers,
restaurants, golf courses, and resorts.

About CIBC

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. CIBC is also Canada’s
leading credit card issuer and offers the broadest range of choice and value
with 13 cards.

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