Smart Strategy

VISA said yesterday it expects to extend the ‘smart VISA’ brand to its debit and business card products. VISA also indicated that the Internet authentication offered by the new smart card, coupled with other to-be-announced initiatives, may lead to lower merchant chargeback and acceptance costs. While VISA does not require issuers to offer any additional applications other than chip payment on ‘smart VISA’, the most likely applications will be access and loyalty functions. VISA will launch its ‘smart VISA’ advertising campaign during the Olympics. In a related announcement, VISA announced it will be setting ten new security rules for transactions done over the Internet. The new requirements include keeping security systems up to date, encrypting stored data accessible from the Internet, encrypting data sent across networks, and using and regularly updating anti-virus software. The rules will not go into effect immediately but will be phased in over the course of a year, starting in the fourth quarter.

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CardBASE Software Center

CardBASE Technologies is set to invest over £2 million to establish a software development centre in Belfast employing up to 100 highly skilled software engineers over the next twelve months.

The establishment of the CardBASE Belfast Office is being driven by the rapid growth of the smart card industry, and the demand for secure e-commerce payment systems for the Internet and mobile commerce markets. CardBASE are seeking software engineers with experience in C++, Java, Oracle, PKI, Corba and TCP/IP. This development centre will offer ambitious individuals the opportunity to work in a high-tech environment developing leading edge, secure, smart card based products.

Conor White, Development Manager at CardBASE Technologies said, “CardBASE offers experienced, forward thinking developers the opportunity to join a fast paced company using state of the art technology to develop next generation e-business payment solutions. Northern Ireland has a highly skilled workforce and this move into Belfast demonstrates the company’s commitment to working with the best people in order to retain our market position”.

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Trintech Acquisition

Trintech Group signed a definitive agreement to purchase the assets of Sursoft, a privately held Latin American card management software company, for US$10.7 million. Sursoft specializes in payment card management software for credit, debit or smart cards and has over 10 years of secure payment software experience. Sursoft’s expertise in payment card management products allows them to develop customized solutions for international brands such as VISA, with a focus on the Latin American market; Technicard, a leading financial processor of MasterCard member banks and Group Credit Agricole Uruguay. They also implement private cards or loyalty systems for companies such as Libertad Argentina. The consideration will be effected through the issuance of ordinary shares with a value of US$3.5 million, US$5.0 million in cash and a five-year performance earn-out of at least US$2.2 million. Trintech intends to merge the assets from the purchase with its newly formed subsidiary, Trintech S.A. The deal is expected to close within 60days.

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CEPS Smart Cards

Banksys SA, CEPSCO Española, Europay International, Interpay Nederland NV, Proton World, and VISA International announced Wednesday they will launch the first pilot of internationally-interoperable e-purse smart cards based on CEPS Jan. 15. The pilot will use CEPS-based versions of existing e-purse smart cards: Belgian ‘Proton’ cards, Dutch ‘Chipknip’ cards, Spanish ‘VISA Cash’ cards and ‘Monedero 4B’ cards. The first part of the pilot will run from Jan-Mar 2001 with the issue of about 400 cards to employees of the companies involved. In addition to the existing domestic e-purse brands, the cards will also be branded either ‘Clip’ (Europay International’s international e-purse brand) or ‘VISA Cash’ (Visa’s international e-purse brand). The second phase of the project will run from Apr-Jun 2001, and will use around 1,000 cards, which will be issued to selected existing e-purse cardholders in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

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Thomson Promotions

Thomson Financial Media’s card, insurance, and collection publications division, announced Wednesday that Bob Jenisch has been named publisher of card publications.

In his new role, Jenisch will be responsible for TFM’s entire family of credit card-related print publications and online services. Print products within the group include Card Management (formerly Credit Card Management), Card Marketing, Card Technology, Credit Card News, CardLine, Card Industry Directory.

Jenisch, who brings more than 20 years of magazine experience to the position, proved his value to the organization as vice president and group advertising director. In that capacity, he increased sales by more than 500% in six years.

TFN also announced that David E. Whiteside will become publisher of the company’s collections publications.

As publisher and editor, Whiteside has been responsible for setting editorial policy and supervising the content of TFM’s credit collections group, which is composed of 13 products including the flagship Collections & Credit Risk magazine.

In his expanded role, the 27-year veteran of business publishing will take on profit and loss responsibility for the collections group of products, including directing advertising sales and circulation.

Thomson Financial Media (TFM), a division of Thomson Financial, is a major magazine publisher and developer of software tools for professionals in financial services and those that serve the industry. Its flagship publications and online services include: American Banker, National Mortgage News, U.S. Banker, Bank Technology News, Collections & Credit Risk, Financial Service Online, The Credit Union Journal, Insurance Networking, Insurance Analyst, Credit Card Management, Electronic Commerce World, DM Review, Pratt’s Letter, Thomson Bank Directory BankWatch Sheshunoff BankSource, Sheshunoff BankSearch, and TheBankingChannel.com.

Thomson Financial is a US$1.44 billion provider of e-information services and integrated work solutions to the worldwide financial community. Through the widest range of products and services in the industry, Thomson Financial helps clients in more than 70 countries make better decisions, be more productive and achieve superior results. Thomson Financial is part of The Thomson Corporation, a leading e-information and solutions business with annual revenues of more than US$5.8 billion.

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VISA Volume

VISA International reported this morning that transaction volume worldwide increased 22% during 1Q/00. Global volume on VISA consumer credit cards grew by 15.7% while VISA consumer debit card volume soared by 28%. VISA says business card volume topped $2 billion, an 83% increase over 1Q/99. In the U.S., sales volume increased by 13.5% while transaction volume increased by 16.3%. VISA also reported this morning that among the 31,000 Web merchants it tracks, sales totaled approximately $820 million in the first quarter of 2000, rising to approximately $1.4 billion in the second quarter. Purchase volume among the same base of merchants for the month of July jumped to approximately $670 million, from approximately $560 million in June.

VISA 1Q/00 GLOBAL VOLUME
REGION TX VOL SALES VOL
CEMA* 65% 49%
Latin America 38% 39%
Asia Pacific 33% 38%
Europe 20% 22%
Canada 10% 20%
U.S.A. 16% 14%

CEMA-Central Europe/Middle East/Africa Source: VISA International

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VISA Buxx

As ‘VISA Buxx’ advertisements begin their run, Bank of America announced yesterday it will launch its version of the prepaid teen card. The Bank of America ‘VISA Buxx Card’ also features gift certificates redeemable at specified merchants who have joined the program. Certain merchants have agreed to offer additional discounts and other incentives throughout the year when customers pay with a ‘VISA Buxx Card’. VISA announced the development of the parent-controlled, re-loadable payment card in August. Parents are able to monitor how much money their teen spends by viewing current or past account statements on the ‘VISA Buxx’ website or by a toll-free number that details where and when purchases were made. The teen’s name is embossed on the card, and all materials are mailed directly to the parents’ address. U.S. Bancorp became the first ‘VISA Buxx’ issuer with the release of its card on Aug. 21. (CF Library 8/10/00; 8/12/00)

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Thomas Regional Directory Deal

Thomas Regional Directory Company announced a major development in its partnership with Visa U.S.A. The two firms unveiled a special credit card acceptance program and a “preferred provider” processing rate offered by First Data Merchant Services. The new program and rate further automate the industrial buying/selling process and make it easier and more cost-effective for smaller and mid-sized industrial users suppliers to do business over the Internet.

ThomasRegional.com simplifies the procurement process through its industry-leading Order Online e-commerce solution, which was launched earlier this year. For buyers, Order Online delivers a seamless, secure and cost-saving purchasing system, guiding them from sourcing through transaction settlement. For industrial suppliers, Order Online facilitates e-business by providing a cost-effective and easy-to-implement e-commerce solution. Thomas Regional will market Order Online and Visa card acceptance through its nationwide sales channel to an established network of more than 12,000 supplier clients. “Adding Visa’s card acceptance to Thomas Regional’s e-commerce solution enables industrial suppliers to add a critical and final piece to their entry into the e-business marketplace,” said Ryan Ross, Vice President of e-Visa, the Internet division of Visa U.S.A. Thomas Regional will process credit card orders in real time by means of a dedicated line from ThomasRegional.com into First Data, one of the largest transaction processing companies in the US. First Data provides card issuer services to 343 million people worldwide and helps move more than $2 trillion in transactions every year.

According to a survey of nearly 300 National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) members conducted by Thomas Regional, 84% of respondents indicated that online procurement saves time and money by eliminating invoices and purchase orders. With buyers increasingly realizing the benefits of Web-based purchasing, the adoption of the Internet as a standard sourcing and purchasing tool is expected to grow dramatically.

“Based on our research, the majority of industrial purchasers will embrace e-commerce over the next 12 months,” said Alberto Cassola, vice president of marketing at Thomas Regional. “With this program we are able to assist the industrial marketplace in becoming e-commerce enabled and enjoying benefits such as attractive credit card processing rates and the ability to accept online orders in real time. Our partnership with Visa provides an end-to-end solution from order acceptance through transaction settlement.”

About e-Visa

A division of Visa U.S.A., e-Visa was created to accelerate mass adoption of electronic commerce and to position Visa as the currency of the e-economy. The division consolidates all of Visa’s e-commerce competencies, including brand marketing, processing systems, operations, business development and alliances and partnerships into one unit. e-Visa is designed to enable Visa Member banks to better serve their customers – including cardholders, merchants and businesses – and to compete by differentiating themselves in the emerging e-economy. Visa U.S.A () is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system in the U.S. Last year, U.S. bank-issued Visa cards accounted for some $610 billion in transactions, including those online and at the point of sale. Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network.

About Thomas Regional

Thomas Regional Directory Company (>) is a dominant online industrial marketplace and a leading provider of business-to-business information to the regional industrial communities of North America. Leveraging the power of the Internet, ThomasRegional.com’s new Order Online feature enables industrial buyers to source, initiate and complete transactions quickly and easily online. Its flagship information products reach more than 1,500,000 industrial buyers – via the Web, CD-ROM and in print. ThomasRegional.com provides company information on more than 520,000 middle-market industrial distributors, manufacturers and service companies in 6,000 product and service categories. In 2000, Thomas Regional.com was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Best of the Web B2B Sites” and was also selected as one of Information Week’s “Web Sites of the Week.” Thomas Regional has been headquartered in New York City for more than 25 years.

Fast Facts from the ThomasRegional.com Survey

In a recent survey of nearly 300 industrial buyers and specifiers conducted by ThomasRegional.com, both buyers and sellers expect Internet e-commerce to save them money. A majority (66%) surveyed said they expect improved cash flow to result from purchasing directly on the Internet. Other benefits cited by survey respondents include: faster purchasing (85%) with less paperwork (89%); faster delivery (85%) of a greater selection of available products (82%); and the ability to save time and money by eliminating invoices and purchase orders (84%). For most companies, these benefits are still in the future. Nearly 60% of the companies surveyed said they had never completed any industrial purchases (from purchase order through transaction settlement) over the Internet. But 45% of these companies plan to begin making industrial purchases directly on the Internet within the next twelve months.

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New SCF Members

The Smart Card Forum , a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance and application of smart card technology, announced new board members for the 2000-2001 year.

Following are the new Principal Board members that have been elected beginning September 2000: Thierry Burgess, Executive Vice President, Oberthur Card Systems Peter Cerra, Vice President, Product Management, Identrus LLC Gilles Lisimaque, Chief Technology Officer, Gemplus Sandy Morris, Vice President, North America eBusiness Group, MasterCard International Jim Parker, Vice President, Chase.com, The Chase Manhattan Bank Charles Walton, Vice President PKI Services, Securify Elected to represent the Auditing Membership on the board is: Kirk Brafford, Principal Consultant, F.I. Group Inc.

‘We welcome these new board members as they join the Forum team,’ said President & CEO of the Smart Card Forum, Donna Farmer, ‘this is an exciting time for the industry and for the Forum as we continue to grow and offer new services to our members. I look forward to working together for another successful year.’ These new Board members join the following Board members whose term carries over from the previous year:

William Barr, Telcordia Technologies Alan Bondzio, Worldcom Louis Gasparini, @Home Network Patrick Gauthier, Visa USA Kevin Gillick, Datacard Group Allen Gilstrap, American Express Services Europe, Ltd. Ann Kennedy, First data Corp Tambra Nichols, Wachovia Bank William Randle, The Huntington National Bank Randy Vanderhoof, First Access, Inc. Jody Zimmerman, Motorola

About the Smart Card Forum

The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multi-application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. Established in 1993, the Forum includes representatives from leading companies in the banking, financial services, telecommunications, computer, technology, healthcare, retail and entertainment industries as well as government agencies and prominent universities. The Smart Card Forum also operates the Smart Card Educational Institute, the industry leading course dedicated to providing smart card education that has set the standard in the industry. The curriculum is based on leading edge education models and methodologies utilizing experienced instructors who are experts in the smart card industry. The Smart Card Forum is the leading organization for education and awareness in the development of the smart card. For more information about The Smart Card Forum, log on to the organization’s Web site at [www.smartcardforum.org][1].

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

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ePicNetz CEO

ePicNetz, Inc. has named Nicholas Logan president and Chief Executive Officer. Immediately prior to joining ePicNetz, Mr. Logan was Chairman and CEO of Econex, an electronic commerce joint venture of NOVA Corporation, Key Bank NA, and FirstEnergy.

In his new position, Mr. Logan will be directly responsible for expanding ePicNetz’s position and for the development of strategic alliances with distribution partners, major retailers, content providers and other partners. Logan replaces Jairo E. Gonzalez, President, Hypercom Emerging Markets, who has been acting as interim president and CEO of ePicNetz. Mr. Logan will report to George R. Wallner, president and CEO of Hypercom Corporation.

“Nick Logan’s extensive industry knowledge will be instrumental in propelling ePicNetz to the leadership position in the race to provide Internet-based content and services to the retail countertop,” said Wallner. “His background is directly in line with our objective. We are fortunate to have Mr. Logan join ePicNetz. Jairo Gonzalez will continue to spearhead our efforts in other emerging markets worldwide, including rolling out ePicNetz capabilities to other international regions.”

Mr. Logan brings some twenty years of payment systems and electronic commerce experience to ePicNetz. Prior to Econex, Mr. Logan was Senior Executive Vice President at NOVA Corporation, the nation’s third-largest processor of card payment transactions. Previously, he served as president and Chief Operating Officer of PMT Services.

ePicNetz, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) that delivers content, e-commerce services and connectivity to the new generation of web-enabled card payment terminals at the point-of-sale. Headquartered in Atlanta, ePicNetz provides Internet-enabled electronic receipt capture, e-mail, e-commerce, on-screen POS advertising and couponing, and other information-based support services via Hypercom’s card payment web appliances. Hypercom Corporation is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom(R) markets is products in more than 100 countries. The ePicNetz and Hypercom Internet addresses are: [www.epicnetz.com][1], and: [www.hypercom.com][2].

[1]: http://www.epicnetz.com/
[2]: http://www.hypercom.com/

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CardLock

NY-based Transale announced Tuesday the release of ‘CardLock’. When customers wish to make an online purchase, they activate their credit card by clicking on the ‘CardLock’ icon. Immediately after the purchase, the credit card is automatically locked and cannot be used by any other individual until the owner reactivates it, thus preventing online fraud. Individuals will also be able to control ‘CardLock’ software from their credit card issuer’s website. Unlike existing encryption-based systems and e-Payment solutions, ‘CardLock’ does not require the purchase or implementation of additional technology, is easily integrated with existing payment methods, and does not require the issuance of a new credit card. Since the ‘CardLock’ interface resides on the user computer it provides issuers with a space for messages/interaction with the cardholder. Transale is backed by seed2NeT, an Israeli early stage technology incubator and investment firm.

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