Drexler Technology Corp. Thursday received a $7.5 million, one-year contract award for production of ‘LaserCard’ optical memory cards for use in U.S. government programs. The U.S. Department of State will use $5 million of the cards for its ‘Laser Visa’ border-crossing card program in Mexico. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service will use the remaining $2.5 million of the cards in the United States as ‘Permanent Resident Cards’ or “Green Cards.” Drexler says yesterday’s order created a 12-month backlog of 3.5 million optical memory cards.Details
First Data Corporation announced Thursday that its subsidiaries, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. and Orlandi Valuta, have received preliminary approval for a proposed settlement of all claims in a nationwide class action lawsuit pertaining to the companies’ U.S.-to-Mexico money transfer businesses.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois preliminarily approved on a nationwide basis the agreement reached with counsel for the plaintiff class in the lawsuit. The court also issued an injunction prohibiting further prosecution of any similar lawsuits, including those currently pending in Texas and California.
“We are very pleased to have reached this settlement with the plaintiffs and avoid the costs and distraction of further litigation for all parties involved,” said Doug McNary, president, Western Union North America. “Western Union has a long history of not only helping our customers send their hard-earned money to Mexico but also of helping them in their local communities, as demonstrated by the settlement’s $2 million charitable fund for Mexican and Mexican American causes. We believe the terms of the settlement ensure that Western Union remains the best way to send money to Mexico.”
“We congratulate Western Union for deciding to settle this case in a way that will deliver benefits to customers sending money to Mexico now, rather than engaging in protracted litigation,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Organization of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). “We are pleased that Western Union has recognized that it has a responsibility not only to its customers but to the broader Latino community in the U.S. By creating a $2 million charitable fund, Western Union will be helping our community to address its many unmet needs,” he added.
“We’re pleased to be part of the charitable fund advisory committee which will help guide the distribution of critical funds to the Latino community, a community which has long been a strong customer base for Western Union,” said Antonia Hernandez, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). “We believe that this fund, which is part of the broader settlement of the litigation, shows a commitment by the parties to address future needs of the Latino community,” she added.
According to the terms of the settlement, each of the companies will issue discount coupons for future transactions to Mexico to its customers who transferred money from the U.S. to Mexico after January 1, 1987. In addition, Western Union will issue discount coupons for use in future Western Union money transfers to Mexico to MoneyGram customers who transferred money from January 1, 1987 to December 10, 1996. MoneyGram was owned by First Data Corporation prior to December 11, 1996.
In addition, Western Union and Orlandi Valuta will create a $2 million charitable fund that will be used to support Mexican and Mexican-American causes. The companies also will modify their disclosure regarding currency exchange on their consumer money transfer forms or receipts and in their price-related Mexico money transfer advertising.
Western Union and Orlandi Valuta expect to provide notice to customers of the settlement and additional details regarding the settlement within the next several months. The companies also expect that the court will give final approval to the settlement in the fall of 1999 and that coupons will be issued in 2000.
First Data will take a second quarter charge of approximately $18 million after-tax to reflect legal fees, the charitable fund and other administrative costs in connection with the settlement. The company currently does not anticipate that the settlement agreement will change its previously announced estimated ranges for projected earnings in 1999, excluding the effect of the $18 million after-tax charge described above and the previously announced $37 million after-tax recovery in connection with the sale of Innovis. Additionally, the company does not expect the settlement will affect its long-term objective to achieve internally-driven growth in revenues, net income, and earnings per share of 13 — 16% per year, compounded.
Western Union and Orlandi Valuta are subsidiaries of First Data Corporation. First Data is a global leader in electronic payment systems. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored value card at the point of sale or over the Internet, by check or wire money. For more information about First Data, please visit the Company on the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com].
Bankrate.com, formerly known as Bank Rate Monitor, and now owned by Intelligent Life Corp. went public yesterday. The initial public offering of 3,500,000 shares of its common stock was priced at $13 per share. The stock is trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “ILIF”. More than 5.5 million shares traded hands on its first day of trading. The stock price ranged from 12 7/8 to 15, closing at $13 per share. Intelligent Life also owns theWhiz.com, Consejero.com and CPNet.com. The North Palm Beach, FL company says it had more than 1.3 million unique visitors in the fourth quarter driven largely by 60 cobranded content distribution agreements. Bankrate.com and Bank Rate Monitor were formerly owned by banking journalist Robert Heady. Intelligent Life also announced this morning that Bankrate.com has been selected by USATODAY.com as its provider of information about banking and credit products.Details
The nation’s first iris recognition ATM is online in Texas. Houston-based Bank United along with Diebold and Sensar, Inc. unveiled the new technology yesterday. The new ATMs are functioning in three branches of Bank United, one in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth. Sensar says it currently has 12 pilot tests in 9 countries underway. The company says it plans to bring the technology to the Internet later this year.Details
Diebold rolled out its new ‘CS Value Terminal’ yesterday at CTST. The ‘CSVT’ is an automated value load station that can be used with many formats of both mag stripe and smart card. The CSVT combines the ability to accept and dispense both magnetic stripe and smart cards. It is also the first value load terminal able to process transactions using both cash and credit/debit cards. The terminal resembles an ATM minus the cash dispenser. It includes a cash, coin and card acceptor. Cardholders can load value to online accounts or electronic purses by inserting currency or coins, adding value from a credit card account or transferring value from a debit card account.Details
Total System Services, Inc. announced this morning the renewal of a multi-year processing agreement with First North American National Bank to provide retail card processing for its Circuit City Credit Card. FNANB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Circuit City Stores, Inc. . Circuit City, a leader in the sale of electronics headquartered in Richmond, Va., is TSYS’ longest-standing retail client. TSYS has processed the Circuit City Credit Card retail portfolio since 1990.
TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson said, “We have enjoyed a great partnership with Circuit City and FNANB, and we are very pleased with the continued vote of confidence demonstrated by the renewal of their processing agreement. Through our relationship with FNANB, TSYS has gained invaluable knowledge of the special processing needs of retailers. Circuit City’s desire to be the best has enabled TSYS to build a premier retail system.”
FNANB Chairman and President Mike Chalifoux said, “Approximately ten (10) years ago, as we began preparation to start FNANB, TSYS was selected to provide processing for the Circuit City Credit Card portfolio because we believed that TSYS shared the same values and the same commitment and dedication to customer service. Recently, in anticipation of the expiration of our contract, we surveyed the marketplace and once again concluded that TSYS is the best partner for FNANB as we move forward into the next decade.”
Circuit City is a leading national retailer of brand-name consumer electronics, personal computers, major appliances and entertainment software. With headquarters in Richmond, Va., Circuit City Stores, Inc. operates 540 Circuit City Superstores, two consumer electronics-only stores, 48 mall-based Circuit City Express stores and 32 CarMax locations.
TSYS is one of the world’s leading information technology processors of data, transactions and payments, for domestic and international issuers of credit, debit, commercial and private-label cards. TSYS’ sophisticated systems offer online accounting, data processing, electronic commerce services, portfolio management, account acquisition, credit evaluation, risk management and customer service. Through the family of companies, TSYS services the entire lifecycle of card accounts making it possible for more than 186 million cardholders to use their cards at the point of sale or over the Internet. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ( ) is an 80.8% owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ( ), named the Best Company to Work for in America by FORTUNE magazine.Details
Starwood Hotels and American Express kicked off a new partner promotion yesterday. Between now and Aug. 31, travelers who use their AmEx card at Starwood hotels and resorts in the USA can earn up to 5,000 ‘Membership Rewards’ bonus points. The promotion marks the beginning of a new partnership between Starwood Preferred Guest and AmEx’s ‘Membership Rewards’ program from American Express. Starwood Hotels owns the St. Regis/Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, W and Caesars hotel chains.Details
PA-based Destiny Software Corp. has signed Fleet Credit Card Services to use Destiny’s software to distribute credit cards over the Internet. The Destiny system includes a graphical user interface that allows Fleet to create and manage branded Internet card applications. In addition, the system facilitates online data processing and the connection to Fleet’s decisioning systems. Destiny said yesterday it will play an integral role in Fleet’s recently announced partnership with Go2Net under which Fleet will offer four co-branded credit cards over the Internet.Details
VISA International, Europay International, CEPSCO Espanola and Germany’s ZKA announced yesterday at CTST the creation of a new organization to manage the on-going development and administration of the Common Electronic Purse Specifications. The CEPS Management Consortium will consist of eight industry organizations and will have responsibility for managing and licensing the specifications, determining certification requirements, establishing a CEPS approval authority, promoting the specifications, and establishing user groups. The CEPS specifications were completed at the end of last year and became publicly available in March. Since then, more than 130 requests have been received for license agreements and over 50 agreements have been signed. In total, companies from 22 countries, representing more than 100 million electronic purse cards, have agreed to adopt the specifications. This consortium projects that more than 90% of the world’s electronic purse cards will, in time, become interoperable, including some 60 million ‘GeldKarte’ cards, 30 million ‘Proton’-based cards, and eight million ‘VISA Cash’ cards.Details
NewMarket Solutions, Inc., a leading integrator of I.D. applications, announced yesterday in Chicago at CardTech/SecureTech, that they completed the installation of the first Smart Card based integrated solution for a high school in the U.S.
Bellevue High School, Bellevue, Ohio, issued Digital Photo-ID smart cards to all 850 students. The smart cards can be used across a range of applications in the school. The use of student ID cards and PhotoFobs(TM), to the elementary through high school level has developed considerably in the last ten years. Cards once used for simple identification and security purposes are now permeating all aspects of student life.
! Attendance tracking, school meal programs, photocopying, PC/internet log-on time, PC printing, library, bookstore purchases, and access to school buildings are all applications which can be carried out in a school district by use of a single card.
The development of technology, which can be integrated into a card, is somewhat responsible for the enormous increase in the use of functional applications. Bar codes, magnetic stripes, and smart chips with processing capability can store the necessary information and access rights a school district requires for each student.
NewMarket Solutions, Inc. is the leader in integrating this new card technology into the K-12 marketplace. Steve Kreye, NMS president, commented on the reason for the huge growth of card based application within education: “Initially schools approached us with the need for photo-ID’s because of standard security issues in their buildings. They wanted to know that the only individuals in the school were those authorized to actually be there. Once the students were issued ID cards, the next question was what other functions could this card provide? Food service was an obvious application. The food service directors were spending so much time determining which students were subject to the subsidized or reduced meal plan and state reporting issues that they needed a way to automate this process.”
With the advent of the Internet, schools found their supply costs rising enormously as kids printed everything from game manuals for their Nintendo’s to articles about their favorite popstars. This was a realistic problem faced by Bellevue High School. They contacted NMS to install card readers on PC’s that debit five cents from the student’s card for every page the student prints from the PC. The same reader can be used to charge the student for time actually spent on the PC or Internet. Bellevue has been able to keep student privileges, albeit at a nominal fee and yet recover their costs for supplies.
Founded in 1994, NewMarket Solutions, Inc. a fast growing, privately held corporation develops solutions for the education/government, manufacturing & healthcare industries. Products include AttendanceNOW!(TM), The premier Windows(TM) based system for student accountability tracking. And DataNOW!(TM), a wireless system that can discreetly notify school personnel of a myriad of incidences, including tardy students, open doors, high levels of metal content, glass breaking and unauthorized use of a card. NMS can be contacted at 330-487-1123, toll free at 800-759-0536. Or visit the corporate web site at .
A company from the Netherlands has given new meaning to digital signatures. LCI Technology Group NV announced yesterday at CTST that its ‘SMARTpen’ biometric signature authentication system will be available in the US this Fall. The LCI ‘SMARTpen’ is the world’s first wireless signature device and is the only biometric solution of its kind that writes on ordinary paper. The pen measures individual signature characteristics, encrypts the data and transmits it via radio frequency to a computer, where LCI software compares it to a template for verification, all in about three seconds. The dynamics of signatures as measured by the ‘SMARTpen’ are personal and not directly visible from the written image, making it virtually impossible for forged signatures to get through the ‘SMARTpen’ system.Details
Diebold, Incorporated unveiled its latest version of CS Gold, the “next generation” in campus card systems, at the CardTech/SecurTech ’99 conference. CS Gold is the first campus card system able to process both online and offline applications.
In educational or corporate campuses, online access control systems allow instant modification or cancellation of access privileges. This provides a higher level of security than offline systems where changes to access privileges may not be implemented for several hours. Having access control systems online greatly reduces any window of opportunity for unauthorized use of lost or stolen cards, limiting the deployer’s risk of loss and liability. For applications other than access control, such as stored value and vending, offline systems may be a more economical and suitable solution.
“Online and offline technologies have their own unique strengths and characteristics,” according to Gary Lorenz, general manager of Diebold Card Systems. “With CS Gold, campus system deployers finally have the ability to combine these technologies to capitalize on the strengths and economies of both. This will allow campus administrators to create even more flexible system designs, and allow them to implement and operate their systems more economically. We are the only campus system solution provider that offers this capability.”
CS Gold, like most Diebold solutions, is modular and scaleable, enabling users to select only the features and functions required to meet current needs while ensuring the ability to grow the system in the future. Diebold currently offers four separate host applications as part of CS Gold: CS Meal Plans, CS Stored Value & Credit, CS Access and CS Entitlements.
System users can implement these modules individually or in combination. This building block approach combined with operational consistency and core level integration provides a seamless migration path for system expansion. Each of the individual modules compares very well with the best standalone transaction processing applications available from other suppliers. When the various CS modules are combined to create a true multi-application system, CS Gold becomes a tightly integrated, uniform product that stands out as the most robust campus system available.
System administrators will experience a familiar look and feel when using CS Gold. It relies on industry standard products including Oracle(R) databases, Crystal Reports(TM) and a Windows NT(R) operating system that conforms to Windows(R) user interface guidelines. Combined with the widely used TCP/IP communications protocols, administrators will quickly feel comfortable with CS Gold.
CS Gold is backward compatible with a wide variety of products and also supports most common network topologies, enabling it to be readily installed in various campus or corporate environments. All Diebold smart card products and modules are compatible with CS Gold. The product was just announced in January 1999, with the recently added smart card capability being shown for the first time at CardTech/SecurTech in booth #822.
Diebold, Incorporated is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company 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 [www.diebold.com].