PULSE Record

The PULSE EFT Association reported yesterday that it processed a record 425 million transactions for approximately 20 million ATM cardholders last year, a 24% increase over 1998 volume. For all of last year the Switch experienced only 36 minutes of unscheduled outages. PULSE noted that more than 50,500 merchants were added during 1999 for a total number of 166,570 merchants participating in the ‘PULSE PAY’ program, which offers fee-free cash back for ATM card users at the point-of-sale.

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DebitFone Deal

DebitFone, a wholly owned subsidiary of SATX, Inc. announced Wednesday that they have signed contracts with Thrifty Liquor and Check Cashing in Shreveport, LA. Fifteen DebitFone vending machines have been shipped for placement.

DebitFone is a proprietary prepaid cellular phone using a completely different marketing concept, vending machines. DebitFone’s vending machine dispenses a proprietary prepaid cellular phone; ready for immediate use, with phone number installed, battery charged and 30 minutes of talk time preloaded. Thrifty Liquor cashes in excess of 70,000 payroll checks per month in their 15 mega-stores, which dominate the Shreveport Market. Anton Skell, VP Sales and Marketing for SATX and DebitFone commented, “The high volume of check cashing and traffic in these fifteen stores makes them an excellent location for our DebitFone vending machines.”

DebitFone and SATX continue to pursue contracts and locations well suited for this innovative technology as many months of groundwork and negotiations continue to bear fruit.

SATX Inc. has been recently profiled in TheStockAdvisor Newsletter. For an additional report, send email to satx@thestockadvisor.com.

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Web Smart Cards

NetCity.com is gearing up to provide smart cards and readers to its online members. NetCity.com members will be able to shop, bank and e-mail in the first personalized Internet and e-commerce environment secured by smart cards and public key infrastructure technology. NetCity.com is giving away Microsoft’s ‘Windows Powered Smart Cards’ and Litronic’s smart card reader and PKI security software to every ‘NetCityzen’. Litronic has received an initial order to supply NetCity.com with 100,000 ‘NetSignia 210’ smart card readers and ‘NetSign’, software that smart card-enables leading Web browsers. NetCity.com will also be using ‘ProFile Manager’, Litronic’s premier management tool for deployment of smart card and PKI technology. NetCity says in the future, members will be able to take their NetCity.com smart card and use them offline with ATM terminals, PDAs, and GSM cellular phones.

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Tax Terminals

Diebold-DPB has begun delivery of 589 self-service terminals for Argentinean tax payers. Tax payers complete their return on a 3.5″ diskette and then insert the diskette in the self-service terminal. The machine submits the return to the government and uses the terminal’s thermal printer to generate a receipt for the customer’s records. Designed for the Administracion Federal de Ingresos Publicos, the machines will optimize the submission of tax returns at the government agency’s 142 offices nationwide. Diebold-DPB was contracted to install its ‘WS314’ terminals, which will interface with AFIP’s existing Osiris software. Osiris is proprietary software developed to improve the management of federal income tax filings and develop more convenient payment methods for customers. Last April, in a pilot, more than 22,000 returns were processed over a five day period.

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4Q/99 Update

Mid-size issuers turned in better-than-average performance during 1999 according to CardWeb’s 4Q/99 survey of more than 350 major bank credit card portfolios.

Issuer 4Q/99 $Recv 4Q/98 $Recv Chg%
BanPonce $532,987,836 $484,556,272 +10.0%
Pentagon FCU $398,041,557 $381,553,382 +4.3%
First Security $238,144,518 $221,374,225 +7.6%
Boeing Emp CU $229,518,426 $207,940,731 +10.4%
Pa St Emp CU $183,750,996 $173,494,178 +5.9%

Source: CardData 4Q/99 Portfolio Survey (www.carddata.com) FULL STORY:

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Proton – Latin America

Proton World this week announced that an agreement has been signed with Visa International Latin America and Caribbean Region for the joint marketing of Proton-based e-purse smart card systems as “Visa Cash-compatible” in most of the Visa LAC region.

This agreement offers Visa member banks an alternative technology for launching new Visa Cash e-purse schemes, although the Visa Cash e-purse programmes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru will continue to use the existing technology. It is proof of Visa LAC Region’s commitment to supporting its Member banks by offering them a choice of technologies.

Visa and Proton World will draw up joint marketing plans for each country in the region and will make joint sales visits to new and existing customers.

The Proton multiple application smart card technology allows dynamic creation of applications; conforms to the EMV specifications; will conform to CEPS and Global Platform; is open to multiple sourcing of chips, cards and terminals from any certified manufacturers and can be integrated into a contact/contactless system.

The Proton technology is also in use in diverse applications such as telecommunications, access control, cardholder identification, closed user groups, automated transport fare collection and secure Internet payments. It is compatible with all of the world’s leading smart card platforms.

Daniel Skala, Executive Vice-President, Sales at Proton World, said: “We are convinced that this agreement will open new markets for Visa Cash and Proton World in Latin America. It is a major step forward in our collaboration with Visa, combining the world’s most advanced multi-application smart card technology with the world’s leading international e-purse brand.”

Javier Pino, Vice-President, Chip Technology, at Visa International LAC region, said :” Visa is committed to giving its Members a choice of technologies and to protecting their investments in smart card systems. This agreement with Proton World gives our Members maximum choice and promotes innovation in the market place.”

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GM Card Match & Win

Networts subsidiary NTN Interactive Network Inc. has entered into a three year advertising/sponsorship agreement with The GM Card through its agency.

NTNIN has launched an aggressive sponsorship and advertising campaign promoting “The GM Card” on the NTN Network broadcast to over 530 subscribing pubs and restaurants across Canada. NTNIN’s unique advertising medium offers The GM Card access to an untapped – captive audience of more than 3 million viewers per month.

The GM Card is the title sponsor of one of NTNIN’s most successful programs – The GM Card Match & Win Game which challenges the player to match the score posted at the start of every GM Card Game instead of achieving the highest score. The 1/2 hour interactive programd Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights only on the NTN Network. Substantial prizes will be awarded to players who match as well as a superior grand prize.

“We are delighted that this agreement is such a great fit for both NTNIN and GM..it gives NTNIN a chance to increase revenues through a whole new channel” says Dave Redgers, President of NTNIN. The GM Card(R) applications are now available at each participating NTNIN subscribing location across the country. With The GM Card(R) as the official credit card of the network, NTNIN will gain revenue from each valid application returned to General Motors.

NTNIN’s audience is young, well educated, and affluent. Eighty percent of players fall into the attractive 18-49 age category, eighty percent are college educated and the average household income is over $50,000. Current advertisers including Pennzoil, Headline Sports, Pro-Line, Lotto 6/49 and The Canadian Football League to name a few, have found this highly desirable combination irresistible.

The NTN Network is the world’s leading network of live, interactive entertainment available in pubs and restaurants across North America. Last month, 3.1 million Canadians coast to coast watched and played big-name sports, games and live event programs. NTN Interactive Network Inc. (NTNIN) is the exclusive Canadian licensee of NTN Communications, Inc. (AMEX:NTN) a leading producer and programmer of interactive television, on-line and Internet entertainment.

Networks North Inc.’s other operating units include wholly owned Magic Lantern Communications Ltd., Interlynx Multimedia Inc. and GalaVu Entertainment Network Inc. Magic Lantern is Canada’s premier distributor of educational media resources, with exclusive rights to over 14,000 titles in English and French. Magic subsidiaries provide MPEG encoding, DVD authoring, video duplication, and fulfillment services for broadcasters. Interlynx Multimedia Inc. is a developer of web-based interactive software in the areas of training, knowledge management and e-business. GalaVu Entertainment Network Inc. is a technology-based entertainment provider of interactive in-room entertainment systems for over 200 hotels in Canada.

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Radicchio

The global initiative to unleash the potential of wireless e-commerce added sixteen new members Tuesday including VISA and MasterCard. Radicchio members now include 28 companies committed to promoting ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ or ‘PKI’ solutions for secure transactions over wireless networks. Launched last Sept., Radicchio’s most recent members include Across Wireless AB, Baltimore Technologies, CYLINK Corp., Entrust Technologies, Gray Cell Inc., iD2 Technologies, Lucent Technologies, MasterCard International, Mobile Telephone Networks, NTT DATA Corp., Saraide, Synamic Limited, VeriSign Inc., Virgin Mobile, VISA International and Vodafone Airtouch. Initial members included Sonera SmartTrust, Gemplus and EDS. Radicchio is the also exclusive sponsor of the conference “Wireless E-Commerce – Clearing the Road for Global Expansion,” which gets underway tomorrow at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

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Marriott – AmEx

Marriott International and American Express have teamed up for a joint NCAA basketball promotion. Each Marriott guest who charges their stay to an AmEx card between now and Mar. 31 is automatically entered to win a grand prize VIP trip to the ‘2001 Final Four’ in Minneapolis next year. For each day of the promotion, Marriott will give away 10,000 ‘Rewards Points’ or ‘Miles’ and American Express will give away 10,000 ‘Membership Rewards Points’. An additional January bonus entitles one lucky winner who stayed in a Marriott property this month to 100,000 Marriott ‘Rewards Points’ or ‘Miles’ and 100,000 ‘Membership Rewards Points’ from AmEx.

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E*Trade & OPC

E*TRADE Group and Official Payments Corp. announced Tuesday a strategic alliance in which the two companies will cross-market and jointly promote services to each other’s customer bases. Last year E*TRADE invested $5 million in Official Payments Corp. prior to OPC’s IPO. The first phase of the alliance involves a marketing program to promote each other’s products during this tax season. As part of the program, Official Payments will be a featured content provider in the E*TRADE tax center on the E*TRADE website, and E*TRADE will be the preferred online brokerage partner of Official Payments Corporation on the OPAY website.

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Pearle Vision Goes Omni 3200

VeriFone, a division of Hewlett-Packard Company, announced that Pearle Vision, a subsidiary of Cole National Corporation, is using the Omni 3200 payment terminal with SoftPay software to process credit-card transactions in all of its 450 corporate locations throughout the United States. Based on positive experiences with the solution in its corporate stores, Pearle Vision also plans to offer the Omni 3200 payment terminal to all of its 400 franchise locations nationwide. Fifth Third Bank/MPS, the largest processor of electronic transactions in the United States, is providing the solution to the leading vision-care center.

“Our organization chose VeriFone’s Omni 3200 because of VeriFone’s leadership reputation for providing reliable e-payment solutions to the market,” said Lisa Ross, manager of finance and treasury at Cole National Corporation. “We chose the Omni 3200 so that we could provide our customers with credit-card processing capabilities today and position ourselves to offer customers future payment services, such as check verification, debit-card acceptance and stored-value loyalty card programs.”

“Pearle Vision was looking for a cost-effective solution to streamline its transaction-processing operations on a national level, and the Omni 3200 solution was a logical choice,” said Joe Pappano, vice president, National Merchant Sales at Fifth Third Bank. “Both deployment and training for the solution were hassle-free, which means lower costs for the merchant because fewer calls will be made to our help desk for service and support.”

“It took our associates very little time to learn how to use the Omni 3200 after it was installed at our site,” said Ross. “The display makes it easy to use, and the menu prompts simplify the batch closing process. The compact terminal design with integrated printer takes up less counterspace, leaving more room for displaying our merchandise.”

“Pearle Vision’s selection of the Omni 3200 and SoftPay is another proof point about the ease of use and convenience that the terminal provides to businesses,” said Bud Waller, vice president of North American sales at VeriFone. “Merchants looking to improve their payment offerings are finding that the Omni 3200 solution allows them to enhance customer service while lowering their total cost of ownership over the life of the terminal.”

Cole National, including Pearle franchisees, has more than 2,700 locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as a 24 percent stake in Pearle Europe, which has 577 optical stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy.

About the Omni 3200

The Omni 3200 is the first system in VeriFone’s new family of POS payment terminals that provides hardware and software flexibility to meet merchants’ current and future needs. The Omni 3200 is a sleek, compact POS payment terminal with a fast, integrated thermal printer designed to speed up transactions and lower the total cost of ownership, while occupying less counterspace than comparable solutions. The large graphical display and familiar ATM-style, screen-addressable keys provide a simple, familiar interface to improve clerk operation and reduce merchant training and help-desk costs. Through its modular design and Flash memory, upgrades can be deployed and terminals can be managed remotely, eliminating the need for additional on-site maintenance.

The Omni 3200 features SoftPay, VeriFone’s premier software payment application, which supports current and future requirements for credit, debit, check, EBT and loyalty applications. SoftPay’s intuitive and comprehensive reporting system improves and simplifies money management.

About VeriFone

VeriFone ([http://www.verifone.hp.com][1]), a division of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secure electronic-payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. The division has shipped more than seven million electronic-payment systems, which are used in more than 100 countries.

About HP

Hewlett-Packard Company — a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services for business and home — is focused on capitalizing on the opportunities of the Internet and the proliferation of electronic services.

HP plans to launch Agilent Technologies as an independent company by mid-calendar 2000. Agilent consists of HP’s test and measurement, semiconductor products, chemical analysis and healthcare solutions businesses, and has leading positions in multiple market segments.

HP has 83,200 employees worldwide and had total revenue from continuing operations of $42.4 billion in its 1999 fiscal year. Information about HP, its products and the company’s Year 2000 program can be found on the World Wide Web at [http://www.hp.com][2].

[1]: http://www.verifone.hp.com/
[2]: http://www.hp.com/

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TSYS 2000

Total System Services forecasted a net income increase of 20% in 2000 despite the anticipated loss of one of its largest customers, AT&T Universal Card Services, which will be taken in-house by Citigroup. TSYS reported Tuesday that net income and revenues for the 1999 increased 25.1% to $68.6 million, up from $54.8 million for 1998. Net income for the fourth quarter increased 14.2% to $20.3 million, up from $17.8 million, for the same period last year. The increase in net income for the fourth quarter was limited by the growth in expenses related to conversion employment expenses; accelerated equipment lease expenses; occupying the new river front campus; a new card production facility; and the establishment of an international office in London.

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