ITHACA POS Printers

TransAct Technologies Inc., a leading producer of transaction-based printers for customers worldwide, announced it will be launching its next-generation POS printers at the Retail Systems 2000 Conference and Exposition in Chicago, on April 17, 2000.

TransAct’s new printer incorporates a unique Hewlett-Packard inkjet cartridge, specifically designed for the high-volume transaction based market. Development of this printer and cartridge began in early 1999, under and alliance formed with HP. The printer, which will be marketed under TransAct’s ITHACA brand name, combines Hewlett-Packard’s inkjet cartridge technology with TransAct’s printer expertise.

Bart Shuldman, President and Chief Executive Officer of TransAct, commented, “We are very excited to announce the upcoming launch our new POS inkjet printer, as we firmly believe that our new printer will revolutionize the manner in which printers are employed in the POS marketplace. We will be supporting the launch with an intensive advertising and marketing campaign, in line with our recently announced brand awareness and corporate identity campaign. This printer is yet another example of how TransAct has been transformed from a traditional printer manufacturer into a technology leader, and we are looking forward to demonstrate our newest innovative product solution to the world in April.”

The launch regarding the new POS inkjet printer will be first introduced through a “teaser” advertising campaign in select trade magazines beginning in March, followed by a formal introduction at the Retail Systems 2000 Conference and Exposition in Chicago on April 17, 2000. A full video product demonstration will be available in April on TransAct’s web site (www.transact-tech.com), highlighting the many features, functions and benefits of this new printer technology.

TransAct Technologies designs, develops, manufactures and markets transaction-based printers and related products under the ITHACA(R), MAGNETEC(R) and Transact.com brand names. The Company’s printers are used world-wide to provide receipts, tickets, coupons, register journals and other documents. The company focuses on five vertical markets: point-of-sale (POS), gaming and lottery, financial services, kiosk and Internet. TransAct sells its products directly to end users, original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers and selected distributors. For further information, visit TransAct’s web site at http://www.TransAct-tech.com.

Details

VISA Fraud

VISA U.S.A. reported this morning that overall card fraud losses have dropped to an all-time low of six basis points of total transaction volume. VISA says that compares to 7bps in 1998 and 18bps in 1992. VISA credits neural networks for the decline. VISA also said this morning that its U.S. board has approved a new operating regulation regarding fraud that goes into effect in April. The new operating regulation replaces a VISA policy adopted in 1997, under which cardholders could be held liable for up to $50 if their VISA credit or debit cards were used fraudulently on the VISA system. The previous policy mandated zero liability, but only if the fraud, theft or unauthorized card use was reported within two business days of cardholders discovering such activity. The new rule covers the use of all VISA consumer card products including transactions made online, and eliminates the two-day stipulation.

VISA VOLUME VERSUS FRAUD
VOLUME FRAUD %
1990: $151b 190m 13bps
1991: $163b 277m 17bps
1992: $181b 326m 18bps
1993: $215b 383m 18bps
1994: $273b 410m 15bps
1995: $341b 414m 12bps
1996: $393b 452m 12bps
1997: $432b 389m 9bps
1998: $475b 355m 7bps
1999**: $560b 336m 6bps

*volume excludes cash advances **projected
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

Charge-off Sale

National Loan Exchange Corp. announces an $888.5 million sale of charged-off Visa/MasterCard accounts on behalf of Citicorp Credit Service, Inc. The Sealed Bid deadline is March 22. The portfolio includes $268.5 million of Universal Card Services accounts, $585 million of Citibank Card Services accounts and a three month forward flow of secondary placement accounts.

NLEX is also accepting bids for February portfolios, including $189 million of charged-off credit card accounts for Key Bank, $16 million of charged-off consumer loans for Key Bank, $27 million of charged-off cellular receivable accounts, and $52 million of charged-off credit card accounts for a Major Financial Institution.

Details

Tickettrak System

Coinless Systems received its patent for ‘TickeTrak’ which is the only coinless gaming system that instantly verifies barcoded tickets and vouchers at the slot machine as well as the cashier. The patent enables gaming machines with a cashless means of exchange to issue and accept tickets with barcoded information. The patented device can be installed within the housing of a gaming machine or attached to an existing gaming machine. Once attached, the devices are linked to a ticket accounting system, which relays information from the machines to a central computer and any number of cashier locations.

Details

Gemsafe Enterprise

Gemplus announced availability of ‘GemSAFE Enterprise’ on Microsoft Windows 2000. ‘GemSAFE Enterprise’ is a corporate security solution using smart cards to enhance the security and ease the management of functions like digital signatures and file encryption. ‘GemSAFE Enterprise Workstation’, the client side of the ‘GemSAFE Enterprise’ solution, was the first security solution to receive Microsoft. ‘Certification for Windows 2000.’

Details

MN Taxes paid by Credit Card

Official Payments Corporation announced today the company has launched its service with the State of Minnesota to allow the state’s residents to pay their 1999 balance-due, estimated payments, and penalty (delinquent) income tax payments by credit card over the Internet or via telephone. Official Payments Corp. offers similar services to an existing list of clients including the United States Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

“We brought the system up live this morning to deliver on our commitment and promise of offering the people of Minnesota a proven, secure, reliable and convenient way to pay taxes by credit card,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & CEO of Official Payments Corp.

Minnesota taxpayers can now make their balance-due, estimated and penalty payments by dialing 1-888-2PAY-TAX or by visiting www.8882paytax.com on the Internet. Information on the new payment options was included in tax instructions that were mailed to consumers by the Minnesota Department of Revenue last month.

“Improvements to Minnesota’s tax system are a key component of Governor Jesse Ventura’s `Big Plan’ for making government more user-friendly,” stated Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Matt Smith. “Our partnership with Official Payments Corp. is a great example of the ‘Service, Not Systems’ initiative in the ‘Big Plan.’ In making our tax system more modern, we’re making government simpler for our citizens by taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology, which offers taxpayers another payment option. We are proud to be leading the way as one of the first states in the nation to offer this kind of service.”

Official Payments Corp. charges consumers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at www.officialpayments.com. For example, a taxpayer who owed the government $900.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $927.00 on their credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $27.00 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.

Last year, 462,000 taxpayers in Minnesota made balance-due tax payments with an average payment of $1,003.00 to the state treasury representing $464,000,000.00 in total balance-due tax collected. 95,000 taxpayers in Minnesota made quarterly estimated tax payments with an average payment of $1,400.00 to the state treasury representing $133,000,000.00 in total estimated payments collected. Finally, Minnesota, as of January 2000, is collecting $164,000,000.00 in past-due personal tax payments and other state agency past-due debts.

There are 111,000 individuals in the state that owe, on average, $1,477.00 on delinquent tax and non-tax items. Taxpayers can now make all of these payments by dialing 1-888-2PAY-TAX SM or by visiting www.8882paytax.com on the Internet.

About Official Payments Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The Company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via the Internet or telephone, using their credit cards. The Company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia and over 460 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, traffic fines and other government fees by credit card over the Internet and the telephone. The Company is publicly listed on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY.

Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.

Details

Card Ad Scorecard

Ad spending for MasterCard’s credit card brand grew more than 24% last year while VISA’s spending on credit card ads dropped nearly 5%. Meanwhile ad spending by American Express for its credit card products was flat. The data are based on Competitive Media Reporting’s study of ad spending for the first three quarters of 1999 compared to the same period in 1998. In the financial category, each of the top five companies increased spending in the category, with American Express leading the way at $217 million, up 15%. VISA USA was second at $171.1 million, while #5 Charles Schwab showed the biggest increase, up 102.6% to $127 million. American Express credit card was the top spending brand followed by E-Trade Brokerage On-line with the biggest growth in the top five, up 424.5% to $89 million.

AD SPENDING BY FINANCIAL COMPANIES
Rank Parent Company Jan.-Sept. Jan.-Sept. % Change
1999 1998
1. American Express 216,955,400 188,696,100 15.0%
2. VISA USA 171,055,400 148,394,400 15.3%
3. Morgan Stan DW 169,776,200 96,030,400 76.8%
4. First Union 128,488,900 122,340,400 5.0%
5. Charles Schwab 127,027,300 62,706,700 102.6%

Rank Brand Jan.-Sept. Jan.-Sept. %Change
1999 1998
1. AmEx Credit Card 104,743,600 103,788,300 .9%
2. E-Trade Online 88,984,900 16,966,900 424.5%
3. VISA Credit Card 80,030,800 84,059,800 -4.8%
4. Charles Schwab 64,260,000 41,353,900 55.4%
5. Mastercard Credit Card 55,877,600 44,985,200 24.2%

Source: Competitive Media Reporting

Details

cavion.com Data Center Online

cavion.com announced it has opened a new corporate headquarters building that features a state-of-the-art data center. The new facility is located in the Denver metropolitan area. The new data center has approximately 10 times the capacity of cavion.com’s previous data center, which was located at the company’s former headquarters building. cavion.com officials report the new facility will play a key role supporting the company’s expected growth.

“We are very excited about our new data center,” said David J. Selina, president and CEO of cavion.com. “This new facility was specifically designed to provide the telecommunications and computer resources we’ll need to support our aggressive growth plan. It will play a key role as we position the company to move forward and lead this industry.”

The new data center went online Saturday, January 29, 2000. It incorporates many upgraded systems, including state-of-the-art physical and network security, a top-of-the-line heating and cooling system, an uninterruptible power supply, and a microwave telecommunications back-up link. The facility is designed to meet the connectivity needs of 1,000 clients and house up to 500 Internet banking servers.

The new corporate headquarters building, which includes the data center, offices and storage areas, is nearly 15,000 square feet.

“We have every intention of becoming a leading company in the credit union Internet services and business-to-business communications markets,” Selina said. “Our investment in this new data center and headquarters building will support the company as we move forward to meet our goals.”

Telecommunications services for the new data center are provided by Convergent Communications, which supplies all of cavion.com’s nationwide telecommunications needs.

cavion.com is also building two more state-of-the-art data centers at its sales offices in Livonia, Mich., and Memphis, Tenn. The two additional data centers are expected to open during the first half of this year and will provide service for regional credit union clients. They will also provide back-up services for the company’s Colorado-based data center.

About cavion.com

cavion.com offers products and services for secure business-to-business communications, and secure Internet financial products and services designed specifically for the needs of credit unions. The company’s Internet software products include online transactional banking, cellular access, online bill payment, and online loan decision products along with enabling software for kiosks.

cavion.com is also building and managing a secure private communications network called CUiNET(R) (Credit Union interactive Network) exclusively for the credit union industry. The network provides a secure, high-speed communications platform for the delivery of services and information to and from credit unions and related organizations, such as trade organizations, corporate credit unions and credit union vendors.

The company’s headquarters are located at 6446 South Kenton Street, Englewood, CO 80111. Its telephone number is 720-875-1900. Its Web page is [http://www.cavion.com][1].

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

Details

ECHO Awarded Top Processor

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that Novus Network Services, the service that promotes and supports the Discover Card credit card, has recognized ECHO with its annual Quality Service Award in honor of achieving the highest ranking in Processor Category C for 1999.

The award was based upon statistical data collected throughout the year by Novus relating to such criteria as reliable file transmissions, submission timeliness, number of processing rejects, number of balancing errors, etc. The award will be presented to ECHO at a special Awards Dinner on March 14, 2000.

“This award can be credited to the performance quality of ECHO’s Data Center Operations and Data Management departments. If either of these two departments had not maintained the highest commitment to merchant service, ECHO would not have out-performed some very capable and quality competitors to receive this distinction,” stated Joel M. Barry, CEO of ECHO. “We think Novus is unique among card organizations in the way they track, highlight and honor their processors and we greatly appreciate their commitment to acknowledging quality.”

ECHO previously won the top processor award in 1996.

About ECHO: Electronic Clearing House Inc. provides credit card processing, cash advance services, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, inventory tracking and/or various Internet services to over 41,000 retail merchants, U-Haul dealers and casinos across the nation. ECHO also designs, develops and integrates software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, inventory tracking devices, and casino cash advance systems.

Details

Wachovia Surpasses 250,000

Wachovia Corporation announced today that it has surpassed the mark of 250,000 Internet banking customers, making Wachovia one of the nation’s leading providers of online banking services. Wachovia has among the nation’s highest percentages of customers banking on the Internet.

“Achieving a quarter of a million online banking customers is a significant milestone in our e-business program,” said G. Joseph Prendergast, Wachovia chief operating officer. “Now that we are able to deliver through the Internet almost all of Wachovia’s consumer banking services, we are experiencing rapid growth in customer interest in this channel. We expect to double the current number of online customers by the end of 2000 and hope to do that again in 2001.”

Started in 1996, Wachovia’s web site at http://www.wachovia.com has become one of the most highly rated financial services Internet sites and has been recognized for its broad array of transactional capabilities. Wachovia was the first bank in the country to have fully transactional banking and investing on its web site. The site also allows customers to apply for a variety of loans and credit products. Recently, online retirement and insurance services were added to the site.

“Wachovia is committed to combining Internet technology and banking operations in an aggressive but thoughtful and disciplined manner,” said Lawrence G. Baxter, head of Wachovia’s newly created eBusiness Division. “We are using the Internet to create true e-business — business that is lean, efficient, technologically advanced and attractive to existing and potential customers.”

Wachovia’s new eBusiness Division was formed on Jan. 1 to accelerate and enhance, across every area of the company, the development of applications that utilize secure electronic commerce payment systems, manage internal infrastructure development and web operations, and anticipate and respond to regulatory developments in the digital economy.

Wachovia Corporation, with dual headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C., is a leading financial services company serving regional, national and international markets. At Dec. 31, 1999, Wachovia had assets of $67.4 billion, ranking 16th among U.S. bank holding companies. Member companies offer consumer and commercial banking, bank card, asset and wealth management, capital markets and investment banking, brokerage and insurance services. Wachovia Bank, N.A., the principal subsidiary, has more than 700 offices and 1,300 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Details

E Statements Growing

Interface Systems this week announced the release of a major research study by Killen & Associates on the electronic delivery of statements. According to the market research firm’s study, the market for electronic delivery of statements will grow from less than $500 million in processing revenues in 1998 to over $18 billion by 2005, worldwide. The Killen & Associates study examines ESP adoption rates for the three kinds of statements (regular statements, activity reports or mid-period notices, and issuer copies), as well as candidate companies for ESP partnering and acquisition, ESP market drivers, and a host of other issues surrounding the importance of ESP. The study also discusses the relationship between ESP and Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment. Interface’s latest whitepaper on eDelivery in Financial Services is included as an addendum to the study.

Details