TransLink A Go

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission,in California, yesterday awarded ERG Motorola Alliance a 10 year contract to develop, operate and maintain ‘TransLink’. The single ticket system called ‘TranLink’ is the first universal transit ticket that can be used on buses, trains and ferries and will be in use by 2002. The ticket is a smart card, that can be load and reloaded and uses contactless technology.

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Online ATM

Cash Technologies, announced Wednesday a strategic partnership with Sensar, the manufacturer of iris recognition products, to allow millions of consumers to shop securely on the World Wide Web. The goal: to allow consumers to shop online securely with their ATM cards. 24.7 percent of Americans who are eligible do not have a major credit card, Web shoppers will be able to use their ATM cards without ever having to remember or type in a PIN. Cash Tech’s new EMMA e-commerce transaction processing software, combined with Sensar’s iris recognition products, will secure online transactions by taking a video picture of a shopper’s iris.

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Diebold Australia ATM

Diebold Australia has won a major contract with National Australia Bank for 108 model 1072ix full function automated teller machines (ATMs).

Geoff Driver, head of retailing financial services and channel management, Asia Pacific, National Australia Bank (NAB), said that the Diebold ATM was selected by NAB because it represents state of the art technology and supports the bank’s current and future self-service direction.

“One of the key features which attracted NAB to the Diebold product is its flexible, modular architecture, which offers long-term cost efficiencies for the bank, and the ability to rapidly introduce improved services as they evolve for customers,” said Driver.

John M. Deignan, managing director, Diebold Australia, said the successful sale to NAB represents a continuation of the bank’s previous relationship with Diebold, where Diebold ATMs were distributed by IBM. “This order is a vote of confidence in the transition from IBM, which is now complete, to direct marketing and service support operations for Diebold in Australia/New Zealand,” he said.

The installation of the national order will commence in June and be completed by September, with machines predominantly located on the eastern seaboard.

Driver said that NAB welcomes Diebold’s entry to the Australian ATM market, providing increased competition in the market. “We are looking forward to working with Diebold in delivering new ATM services to our customers.”

Diebold Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Diebold, Incorporated. The company is a global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, Diebold employs more than 6,000 associates in some 120 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at .

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Orchard & First Union Subprime

Orchard Federal Savings Bank announced Tuesday its partnership with First Union Corporation and the acquisition of First Union’s existing secured card account portfolio. Under the new terms, Orchard Bank and its sister company, Renaissance Bankcard Services, will issue, service and closely manage First Union branded subprime accounts. The original partnership was formed in 1995 which enabled First Union to offer secured MasterCards with Renaissance servicing and managing the portfolio. First Union had marketed the secured card product through its branches and issued the credit cards. Under this new agreement, First Union Direct Bank will function as an agent of Orchard Bank.

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Business Cards

Interest rates for business credit cards hovers around 15.50% according to a new survey by CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). Competition has pitted some of the biggest players against one another in this segment with some APRs below 13.00%. CardTrak (cardtrak.com) expanded its consumer service this month with a business credit card listing. The chart is available in the hardcopy edition as well as the online edition of CardTrak. An expanded consumer report on business cards will be available next week for $10 per copy. The executive version of the business card report will be released June 15 and is available for $499. For more information: 301-631-9100.

BEST BUSINESS CARDS
(nationally available cards)
BUSINESS ISSUER APR FEE
Bank One x9.99% None
AmSouth 12.75% $30 per card
Bank of Hawaii 12.75% $25 per card
MBNA x12.90% None
Cap One 12.90% None

x-fixed rate

SOURCE: CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com or 800-344-7714)

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

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Personalized Smart Cards

Nanopierce Technologies Inc. Wednesday announced that it has signed a Technology Cooperation Agreement with Munich, Germany-based Meinen, Ziegel & Co., one of the world’s leading producers of equipment and systems for the integrated production and personalization of Smart Cards.

Meinen, Ziegel & Co. is majority owned by DataCard Group (Minneapolis), which is a leading global provider of innovative financial card issuance systems, photo ID cards, printers, various identification systems, including health care patient identification systems.

Under the agreement, Nanopierce and Meinen, Ziegel will cooperate in the development, qualification and industrialization of a chip module embedding process utilizing Nanopierce Connection System and Meinen, Ziegel equipment for Dual Interface Smart Cards, known better as CombiCards. Meinen, Ziegel, using the process, can modify existing models and manufacture new models of its full line of equipment.

Paul Metzinger, president and CEO, said: “We anticipate this agreement will lead to the increased globalization of our technology. The excellent reputation and market presence of Meinen, Ziegel and DataCard in the Smart Card industry should prove valuable in the acceptance and application of our Nanopierce Connection System.”

The combined customer/potential customer database of Meinen, Ziegel and DataCard will be used to exploit those markets, which will have the greatest card volumes for Dual Interface Smart Cards, such as Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan, India and South America. Nanopierce management indicates that an independent market research firm, Killen & Associates, cites the current market for Smart Card manufacturers is growing at 59 percent annually, with $7.6 billion forecast for 2000, reaching $16 billion by 2005.

Nanopierce Technologies owns 11 patents, six patents pending and various other intellectual properties related to the company’s proprietary NCS; a system designed to provide significant improvement over conventional electrical interconnection methods for high-density circuit boards, connectors, semiconductor packaging and electronic systems. The public stock trades under the ticker symbol NPCT on the OTC bulletin board. Nanopierce Technologies is a subsidiary of Intercel Corp. (OTC/BB:INCE).

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Schwab ATM Benefits

Yesterday Charles Schwab & Co. announced all customers of ‘Schwab Access’ will be able to access ATMs at no charge. Schwab is the first financial institution to offer qualified customers this kind of access. The company will waive all of its fees and will rebate all surcharges imposed by other financial institutions when the customers use their ‘Schwab Access Gold Visa’ debit card to withdraw cash resulting in an ATM transaction without cost.

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Coinstar Exceeds Mint

Using supermarket-based ‘Coinstar’ machines, Americans returned more coins to the U.S. economy in the past year than the United States Mint produced. In 1998, Coinstar’s network of machines placed 15,838,542,632 coins back into circulation while the U.S. Mint produced 15,814,482,000 new coins during the same 12-month period. Since its inception, Coinstar has helped more than 45 million consumers return more than $1.3 billion in change to the economy.

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Rack Room Gets MPS

Midwest Payment Systems (MPS) is pleased to announce that it will provide Rack Room Shoes with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express credit card processing services, offline debit card payment capabilities and credit card chargeback defense with electronic signature capture.

A member of the Deichmann Group, Rack Room Shoes is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and operates a chain of family shoe stores located principally in the southeastern United States.

“Rack Room Shoes is an extremely successful company,” reports Rack Room Shoes Controller Ernie Shore, “and our growth dictated the need for a change. With MPS’ guidance, Rack Room was able to evolve from a ‘dial-up’ credit card approval process to a satellite environment. It’s a faster, more responsive way of doing business, and for our volume, it just made good sense.”

Shore continues, “Our partnership with MPS also gives us a single platform to process credit cards, debit cards and back office reports to help with inventory control. Finally, MPS’ electronic signature capabilities will provide us with a strong tool to investigate and defend ourselves against chargeback inquiries.”

MPS Executive Vice President Barry L. Boerstler remarks, “We offer a commitment to deliver the best combination of performance, technology, pricing and back office support available in the industry. Rack Room’s volume demands easy integration of all of their credit, debit and back office processing, as well as a cheaper, faster way to check out the validity of chargeback claims. We can do this — and more — and we are proud to deliver creative and cost effective processing to Rack Room Shoes.”

A subsidiary of Fifth Third, MPS was ranked #1 EFT provider by Faulkner & Gray in 1998. MPS processes over three billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 55,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide, including Federated Department Stores, The Kroger Co., Macy’s and CompUSA. MPS’ merchant customer base generates more than $30 billion in credit card sales annually.

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company, which is Y2K ready, has $29.7 billion in assets, operates 12 affiliate banks with 479 full-service Banking Centers, including 108 Bank Mart locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and 1,232 Jeanie ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Arizona and Michigan. Fifth Third’s financial strength continues to be recognized by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and Aa2 and commercial paper ratings of A1+ and P1 from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors, and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank’s data processing subsidiary. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at

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ATM Locator

MasterCard International announced yesterday an ATM Locator application for the new Palm VII connected organizer. The locator software was designed to help business and leisure travelers. The application is a customized version of the ATM Locator tool found on the MasterCard web site. With this new software users have access to ATM information for all 50 United States as well as Canada, Australia, China, France, Mexico and South Africa-as well as ATM’s at the world’s busiest airports.

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AMEX Remedy

Remedy Corporation and American Express, Tuesday, announced an alliance that will automate the purchasing process from requisition through payment. The two companies will create an end-to-end solution using Remedy’s ‘Purchasing@Work’ electronic procurement solution and the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card. Remedy’s ‘Purchasing@Work’ is an electronic procurement application that automates and speeds the purchasing process for non-production materials and services.

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