Discover

Discover announced yesterday the expansion of its ‘Discover Educators Card’ and a doubling in the size of Discover Online users. Discover ‘s ‘Educators Card’ has added new merchant partners offering a 5% ‘Cashback Bonus’. Teachers will continue to receive a ‘Cashback Bonus Award’ of up to 2% of their total purchases, and will now be eligible for an additional 5% ‘Cashback Bonus Award’ for purchases made at Cooking.com, FTD.com, Laura Ashley, Reebok, Smartkids.com, and World of Science. Discover is also donating a portion of each ‘Discover Educators Card’ transaction to Communities in Schools. To date, the program has produced more than $150,000 in donations. Discover also announced that the Account Center at Discovercard.com has registered over two million accounts, double the size of its registered user population eight months ago.

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On The Run

ExxonMobil is launching a new convenience store that utilizes the ‘SpeedPass’ payment technology. The new convenience store will be called ‘On The Run’. The new stores will be as large as 4,000 square feet and will include a new proprietary food service. The first of the new ‘On The Run’ stores will debut at Exxon-branded service stations in Charlotte, N.C., in December, and will expand nationally in 2001. ExxonMobil recently extended the ‘Speedpass’ payment technology inside Mobil convenience stores, expanded ‘Speedpass’ to its Exxon-branded service stations and convenience stores, and launched the cross-acceptance of Mobil and Exxon credit cards.

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Chinese Smart Cards

FL-based Leapfrog Smart Products and China’s TOP Group have formed China Capital Ventures to utilize the Internet security smart card system developed by Leapfrog for Chinese.com. The signed agreement allows Leapfrog to acquire 49% of Chinese.com for business-to-business transactions to and from Chinese businesses. Leapfrog and TOP originally joined forces in November 1999 to build a factory at the Chengdu hi-tech campus where the Leapfrog smart card biometric reader is manufactured under the ‘LeapTOP’ brand name.

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Police Terminals

Traffic offenders will soon be able to pay their fines at the point of violation. MasterCard and Elan Merchant Services have launched a wireless acceptance terminal pilot program for Wisconsin State patrol cars which allows the acceptance of credit and debit cards from motorists for moving violation payments. In the past, motorists would have to accompany the officer to the police station to pay their appearance bond. MasterCard is providing Wisconsin State Patrol cars with a ‘Lipman Nurit 2090’ mobile terminal with a built-in printer. The ‘Nurit’ uses the BellSouth Wireless Data network and process transactions in 6 to 8 seconds. The Wisconsin State Patrol says the new program will allow its police officers to reconcile the violation payment and get back on the road in half the time.

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Vital Executives

Vital Merchant Services announced the appointment of two senior executives to its leadership team.

Ric Coulombe has been named chief operating officer and Greg Cohen vice president of sales and marketing, according to Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Vital Merchant Services.

“Vital Merchant Services will become the premiere provider of terminal management and merchant portfolio management services in the industry. We aim to achieve that by making considerable investments in our people, our products, technology and customer service. To complement the strong management team we currently have, hiring Ric and Greg illustrates our commitment to putting the leadership in place to make certain our client needs are met,” said Smith.

Coulombe is responsible for all operations at Vital Merchant Services. Formerly vice president and general manager with IVI Checkmate, Coulombe brings more than two decades of high-tech operational leadership experience to the company.

Cohen is responsible for leading sales and marketing efforts as well as the development of new products and services. Most recently, Cohen served as vice president of business development at BankServ, a San Francisco-based provider of electronic payment technology and e-commerce solutions.

Vital Merchant Services was formed in July of this year when Vital Processing Services acquired the assets and business of Aurora Merchant Systems, LLC (AMS) of Sacramento, Calif. and its subsidiary, SupplyXpress.

About Vital Merchant Services

Headquartered in Sacramento, Vital Merchant Services provides a variety of point-of-sale support services including terminal equipment procurement and deployment, inventory management, replacement and repair services, merchant training and installation, merchant supplies replenishment and world-class help desk support. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vital Processing Services. For more information, contact Vital Merchant Services Sales at 800-686-1999.

About Vital Processing Services ([http://www.vitalps.com][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, such as POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; VirtualNet(TM) Internet-commerce services; clearing, settlement and exception processing; accounting, billing and reporting; operational fulfillment services; risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) USA and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE: TSS) (TSYS).

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

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Consolidation

The acquisition of First Union’s card portfolio by MBNA further consolidates the market power of the nation’s top ten issuers. According to data compiled by CardData, the market share of the nation’s top ten issuers will increase to 79% following the acquisition. At mid-year the nation’s ten largest issuers held 78% of the total outstandings. Ten years ago the top ten market share stood at 49%. The MBNA/First Union acquisition may also move MBNA in the #2 position, dislodging Bank One/First USA.

Top Ten Bank Credit Card Issuers as of June 30, 2000
(ranked by $billions in credit card loans)

1. Citibank $79.1
2. Bank One/First USA $66.3
3. MBNA $61.1
4. Discover $44.2
5. Chase Manhattan $31.9
6. American Express $25.9
7. Providian $21.5
8. Bank of America $20.0
9. Capital One $16.4
10. Fleet $14.0

Total Top 10: $380.4 billion
Total Market: $490.0 billion
Market Share: 78%

Source: CardWeb.com’s CardData

Top Ten Bank Credit Card Issuers as of June 30, 1990
(ranked by $billions in credit card loans)

1. Citibank $25.3
2. Discover $ 9.3
3. Chase Manhattan $ 7.5
4. First Chicago $ 6.3
5. MBNA $ 5.7
6. American Express $ 5.7
7. Bank of America $ 5.2
8. Bank of New York $ 3.6
9. Manufacturers Hanover $ 3.3
10. Wells Fargo $ 2.7

Total Top 10: $ 74.6
Total Market: $151.2
Marketshare: 49%
Source: CardWeb.com’s CardData

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Jensen on Trintech Board

Trintech Group PLC announced the appointment of Edward Jensen to the Board of Directors effective immediately. Jensen succeeds Wolfgang Heinrich, who served as a Board member since June 1999. Heinrich is stepping down following his departure from Visa International in pursuit of other professional endeavors.

Jensen served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Visa International from 1994 to 1999 and is now involved with several venture capital firms and serves as an advisor and Director for several high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Prior to his tenure at Visa International, Jensen held the posts of Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer at US Bancorp, where he worked for two decades. Jensen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Washington. Jensen will also continue in his role as Chairman of Trintech’s advisory board, a position he has held since May 1999.

“I am delighted, along with all our directors, to welcome Mr. Jensen on board,” says Cyril McGuire, Executive Chairman at Trintech. “With his 25 years of experience in the financial and payment card sector he will bring considerable experience and invaluable market insights to our Board.”

About the appointment, Jensen says, “Trintech’s Internet payment strategy compliments my experience at Visa International and US Bancorp. I’m excited to combine my knowledge of banking and finance with Trintech’s innovative payment technologies at a Board of Directors level, and look forward to ensuring the continuation of their recent successes.”

About Trintech

Trintech Group PLC is a leading provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions for real world, Internet and wireless transactions. The company, which was founded in 1987, offers a complete range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications. Trintech’s secure product range is deployed in over 35 countries worldwide and cover the payment requirements of consumers, card issuing banks, merchant acquiring institutions, merchants, eMerchants, telcos, wireless operators, ISPs/CSPs, Portals and large corporations. Trintech’s range of scalable, open systems architecture solutions for UNIX(R) and Windows NT(TM) platforms covers consumer, merchant and financial institution requirements for all card-based payments, including e-commerce and the emerging world of mobile commerce. Trintech can be contacted in the U.S. at 2755 Campus Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403 (Tel: 650/227-7000) and in Ireland at Trintech Building, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18 (Tel: 353-1-207-4000). Trintech can be reached on the Web at [http://www.trintech.com][1]. Investor information can be found at [www.trintech.com/investor][2].

[1]: http://www.trintech.com/
[2]: http://www.trintech.com/investor

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ICBA & Equifax Renew

Equifax and the Independent Community Bankers of America have renewed their contract for Equifax to serve as ICBA’s preferred provider of credit information services. The renewal, which was completed in June, waives both set-up fees and monthly minimums for the first year to ICBA members that are not currently using Equifax for basic credit reporting services. Current clients will be offered discounts on enhanced credit information services.

“This renewal enhances and builds upon a 15-year relationship between Equifax Payment Services and the ICBA that began by giving community banks the opportunity to become independent issuers of Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards” said Ken Guenther, ICBA executive vice president.

The agreement lasts for three years and contains an option to renew. “In addition to traditional basic credit reporting, we can provide ICBA banks with a new set of financial tools, innovative technologies, and new ways to conduct profitable, growth-oriented business in the 21st century,” said Lee Lovvorn, senior vice president of regional sales for Equifax’s North American Information Services division.

ICBA is the primary voice for the nation’s community banks, representing 5,500 institutions at nearly 16,700 locations nationwide. Community banks are independently owned and operated and are characterized by attention to customer service, lower fees and small business, agricultural and consumer lending. ICBA’s members hold more than $491 billion in insured deposits, $589 billion in assets and more than $344 billion in loans for consumers, small businesses and farms. They employ nearly 232,000 citizens in the communities they serve. For more information, visit [http://www.icba.org][1].

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

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Datakey Entrust-Ready

Datakey, Inc., an international leader in smart card solutions for Public Key Infrastructure, announced that its PKI smart card solution was granted “Entrust-Ready(TM)” status with Entrust/PKI 5.0 public key infrastructure software. By earning Entrust-Ready status, Datakey’s Model 330 smart card technology will integrate easily with Entrust/PKI 5.0 software to enable stronger, two-factor protection for digital credentials.

Entrust/PKI 5.0 software provides a PKI architecture that enables more secure e-business transactions and electronic communications through user authentication, digital signatures and encryption of confidential information. Datakey’s Model 330 smart cards function as mobile and secure transaction vehicles for Entrust digital credentials — known as Entrust user profiles. Datakey’s 32K smart cards can be used by Entrust/PKI users who need to store multiple profiles on one convenient card or who need to store profiles that have been “rolled over.”

“We are pleased that Datakey’s Model 330 smart card has successfully achieved the Entrust-Ready designation. This Entrust-Ready solution offers the convenience of portable credentials, with strong two-factor authentication,” said Brian O’Higgins, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Entrust Technologies. “This partnership confirms Entrust Technologies’ commitment to delivering solutions with partners that enhance PKI security to solve real world business concerns.”

Datakey smart cards: advanced protection for digital credentials

Datakey pioneered the first PKI cryptographic smart card used for digital signatures in the early 1990s. In 1997, Datakey smart cards were the first to earn Entrust-Ready designation. Today, Datakey’s smart cards are being used by worldwide companies — including large financial institutions and government agencies — to encrypt and digitally sign e-mail and to provide strong user authentication to corporate networks, VPNs, intranets and extranets.

The Company’s Model 330 smart card is the only 32K card to earn FIPS 140-1 Level 2 certification, an independent government validation that certifies the card’s cryptographic strength. The card also features an extensible operating system for true multi-function capability.

“Entrust clearly is one of the dominant information security companies leading the charge to protect e-business transactions and electronic communications. We’re excited that our products work together seamlessly to provide a comprehensive security solution,” said Tim Russell, vice president and general manager of Datakey’s Information Security Solutions business unit. “The already impressive base of Entrust/PKI 5.0 users now easily can take advantage of Datakey’s most technically advanced smart card solution for two-factor security and digital credential portability.”

About Datakey, Inc.

Datakey, Inc. is a leading international provider of smart card solutions for PKI. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., the Company offers a family of smart card-based information security and digital signature products under the SignaSURE(TM) umbrella. Using state-of-the-art cryptographic technology, these products fill growing market needs for secure, smart card-based user authentication and data privacy for business-to-business e-commerce. Datakey’s smart card-based information security products play an integral role in any PKI system by providing two-factor security — something that is owned (a smart card) and something that is known (a password).

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MasterCard Payroll

MasterCard Tuesday signed an agreement to make EmployeeMatters the preferred provider of human resource and administration services for the MasterCard ‘Small Business Connections’ website. MasterCard’s small business cardholders will receive a 50% reduction off the first month’s standard monthly service fee for EmployeeMatters human resource services. EmployeeMatters’ unique system will enable MasterCard’s ‘Small Business Connections’ clients to create their own virtual HR department, from payroll and insurance services to retirement and savings planning. In addition, business owners have the option of obtaining real-time service via the Internet or by phone.

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Planet Payment in Asia

Planet Payment, the leading provider of real-time, multi-currency payment solutions to merchants worldwide has announced the opening of its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. According to CEO Philip Beck, “We knew from the moment we launched Planet Payment that we would soon have to open an office to support our clients in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The demand for payment solutions in these markets is tremendous, but there are few viable solutions today aside from Planet Payment.”

Co-founder Dr. Mitch Leventhal heads planet Payment Asia Pacific. An expert in international trade and emerging markets, Leventhal noted, “Asia represents more than half of the world’s population. Within three years, nearly 100 million Internet users — over one quarter of the world’s total — will be from Asia, and it is not hard to imagine Asia becoming the dominant consumer market within the next two decades. As an Internet payment solutions company, it would be incredibly shortsighted to ignore the Asia Pacific market.”

Founded in 1998, Planet Payment began processing Internet credit card payments for merchant clients in October 1999. After only ten months of operations, the company processes transactions for businesses in thirty-two countries, including China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.

“We welcome international and regional Internet payment solutions providers, such as Planet Payment, which offers e-commerce services and applications in Singapore. These international companies provide additional multi-currency and multi-lingual Internet payment solutions for our local merchants, as well as merchants throughout the region. Such strategic moves will further help develop Singapore into a trusted and leading global hub in the new economy. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) welcomes such foreign initiatives in Singapore,” said Dr. Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA.

Planet Payment has entered into several agreements with important resellers and partners to further expand distribution of the Planet Payment services into Asia. Among these are First Ecom ([http://www.firstecom.com][1]), a leading provider of multi-currency payment processing solutions to banks, which has entered into a co-marketing arrangement with Planet Payment; Asiacoolnet.com ([http://www.asiacoolnet.com][2]), a Singapore startup which has developed a robust storebuilder application for merchants has partnered with Planet Payment and has integrated its technology to Planet Payment’s gateway; and, Speaketh.com ([http://www.speaketh.com][3]), a Singapore-based full service Internet publishing firm which specializes in launching e-commerce websites for small to medium size businesses has become a Planet Payment reseller.

Planet Payment plans an aggressive campaign throughout the region for the latter part of 2000. Says Leventhal, “We are attending major Internet trade shows in Australia, India, Hong Kong and Japan from August through December. Our mission is to make Planet Payment a household word for any business anywhere which seriously plans to sell its wares online.”

About Planet Payment

Planet Payment ([http://www.planetpayment.com][4]) is a global leader in providing multi-currency Internet payment solutions to merchants, technology companies and financial institutions worldwide. Planet Payment’s affordable solution enables Internet merchants to securely accept Visa(R), MasterCard(R), American Express(R) and other major debit and credit cards in a secure, real time environment, 24 hours a day and in over 140 currencies — whether the buyer is using a personal computer, mobile telephone, or other wireless device. The Planet Payment Gateway, powered by Authorize.Net, ([http://www.authorize.net][5]) is compatible with over 100 of the leading shopping cart technologies.

[1]: http://www.firstecom.com/
[2]: http://www.asiacoolnet.com/
[3]: http://www.speaketh.com/
[4]: http://www.planetpayment.com/
[5]: http://www.authorize.net/

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VISA Medicine

VISA announced yesterday it will begin offering m-Health services. Through a new partnership with MedicinePlanet, cardholders will have access to up-to-date travelhealth news, information and services. Also, VISA cardholders will receive a 20% discount on the purchase with a VISA card of any MedicinePlanet/SelfCare.com travel health kit through Nov. 3. A variety of specialized travel kits provide the essentials in one carrying pack, from pediatric and dental care to herbal products and women’s care, items not always available in some parts of the world. MedicinePlanet also offers a travel health store, travel insurance, global news and alerts, and travel health clinic information. The program is only available to U.S. VISA cardholders.

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