ARCO Smart Cards

ARCO smart cards are coming. The ARCO smart card payment trial is expected to get underway later this year and involve a select number of ARCO service stations located in Southern California and Arizona. Smart Card Integrators, Inc., the CPI Card Group, Infineon Technologies (formerly Siemens Microelectronics) and Microsoft will supply technology for the test. ARCO said its goal is simple: to show that smart cards are reliable and convenient in an everyday retail application.


Cherry Biometric Keyboards

Identix Incorporated announced through Identicator Technology, Inc., its IT security division, that it has signed a strategic OEM agreement with Germany-based Cherry GmbH, whereby Identix will provide Cherry with its DFR 200 biometric fingerprint reader, a small fingerprint scanner designed for integration into computer keyboards for the consumer technology market, and BioLogon enterprise security software management solution.

Cherry is a leading global supplier of electronic products, including standard, custom and specialty keyboards.

Under the agreement, two Cherry keyboard lines employing DFR 200 and BioLogon will be delivered to market: a professional keyboard as well as a smart card enables keyboard. Cherry will manufacture and distribute the keyboard, which provides users security access for computer networks, programs and information with a fingerprint image eliminating traditional PIN or passwords, reducing the possibility of fraudulent access to important electronic files and information.

Uwe Schlottmann, Director of Sales Keymodules and Keyboards at Cherry GmbH commented, “We are pleased to enter into this strategic relationship with Identix. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, we believe that the integration of fingerprint security authentication technology solutions into our keyboards will help ensure true use authentication on networks, PCs and the Internet for e-commerce.”

Identix Chairman & CEO Randall C. Fowler commented, “We now have available biometric product offerings which have the functionality, size and price that can enable mass market adoption of biometrics. Our ultimate goal is to replace all passwords and PINs everywhere user authentication is necessary.”

V.P. Sales & Marketing, Grant Evans said, “User authentication is critical in protecting information on a computer or enterprise network. By combining our biometric network security software solution with the global influence of Cherry’s world class manufacturing and distribution capabilities, we are able to provide an easy-to-use and readily accessible, reliable measure for security to enterprise end-users.”

Cherry GmbH is a leader in manufacturing and marketing computer keyboards for a wide variety of applications. The distinguishing feature of the “Advanced Performance Line” is the integration of additional devices such as magnetic card reader, barcode decoder, one or more smartcard readers, display and biometric fingerprint readers into a high quality professional PC-keyboard. This compact solution saves space and reduces the number of interfaces to the PC. Cherry’s Advanced Performance Keyboards are used by Compaq, Siemens, Unisys, Reuters and Dell among others. Further information can be found at [][1].

A division of Identix, Identicator Technology designs and develops proprietary, cost-effective, security products and solutions for personal identification and verification. Identicator Technology provides a wide range of applications to markets that include corporate enterprise security, intranet, extranet, and Internet access and security, E-commerce, government and law enforcement agencies and physical access. Identicator Technology installations include: Spanish Social Services ATMs; DMVs in the states of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Identicator Technology’s template is employed in numerous government agency security applications, including the U.S. Treasury’s electronic payment system, the Departments of Defense and Justice security facilities, and FBI identification and security.

Identicator Technology’s commercial business partners include Compaq, Unisys, MasterCard, Polaroid Corporation, Key Tronic, Cherry GmbH and others. Additional information can be found at [][2].

Identix, Inc.,, is a leader in designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing products for the capture and/or comparison of fingerprints for security, anti-fraud, law enforcement and other applications.



Microsoft Government Smart Cards

Gemplus Corporation and Federal Data Corp. announced Monday that they will team with Microsoft Corp. to build applications based on Microsoft’s Smart Card for Windows for U.S. government agencies.

The companies will cooperate to build smart card-based prototype systems focusing on secure access control and electronic commerce; they will also leverage the FDC technology demonstration center in Bethesda, Maryland to feature the smart card-based technology solutions.

Microsoft’s Smart Cards for Windows provides a standard-based platform that enables secure storage for smart cards used for a variety of purposes, such as secure network authentication, secure corporate transactions, electronic cash and customer loyalty programs.

“The U.S. Government has been one of the most innovative adopters of smart card technologies and represents the ideal market opportunity for Microsoft to team with Gemplus and FDC on new applications to exploit Smart Cards for Windows,” said Mike Dusche, Director of Smart Card Marketing at Microsoft. “Smart Cards for Windows will enable card issuers and designers to employ their existing Windows expertise to develop and deploy a broad range of smart cards and applications and extend the Windows family.”

“Microsoft and Gemplus have a long-standing history of developing innovative network security solutions,” said Michel Roux, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Gemplus. “FDC and Gemplus have closely worked together to bring to the U.S. government market industry leading expertise in smart card technology. Smart card-based security solutions are increasingly viewed as the best means of enforcing security and overcoming the weaknesses of password-based security schemes for electronic transactions and secure access to physical and online computing resources.”

Gemplus is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions to the US government and has completed numerous projects for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the General Services Administration (GSA), including the development of the GSA Smart Card Demonstration Center, located in Bethesda, Maryland. The company last year introduced the GemSAFE(TM) solution, providing the industry’s first smart card that is interoperable with the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, as well as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0.

Federal Data Corporation is one of the largest systems integrators in the government sector. FDC supports numerous Federal government clients including the Veterans Administration, NASA, and the GSA. FDC is a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Partner, and is among the largest to provide such services to the Federal government. In 1998, FDC and Microsoft formed a Federal Alliance which resulted in the founding of a demonstration center that showcases Microsoft technology and FDC’s solution services. It is within this center that Microsoft, FDC and Gemplus will demonstrate its portfolio of Smart Cards for Windows application solutions.

“We believe that smart cards are rapidly becoming standard platform for digital identity in the Federal government,” said Dan Young, Chairman of FDC. “Microsoft and Gemplus are the clear leaders in this industry and FDC is excited to develop solutions from this partnership for our government clients.”

About Gemplus

With sales of over US$648 million in 1998, Gemplus employs more than 4,300 people in ten manufacturing facilities, five R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control, and information technology.

About FDC

Federal Data Corporation (FDC) is a major supplier of information technology services and solutions to a wide range of Federal customers since 1969. FDC serves a diverse and expanding customer base representing Government agencies including the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of the Navy, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Commerce.


Chase & AA

Chase Merchant Services signed an agreement yesterday afternoon to process VISA and MasterCard transactions for American Airlines. AA, the world’s second largest carrier, generates annual bank card volume in excess of $5 billion. The multi-year processing agreement includes transaction processing, settlement and funding services. Chase Merchant Services is a joint venture between First Data Merchant Services and The Chase Manhattan Bank. CMS, the nation’s largest merchant acquirer, processed nearly 2 billion transactions last year and more than $120 billion in annual credit and debit card sales volume at the point of sale and over the Internet.


Travel Perks Plus

Look out Membership Rewards…here comes the newest reward program in the travel industry: “Travel Perks Plus.”

The new program, which was designed to reward travel planners, secretaries and executive assistants who book corporate travel, was created by Pro Travel Associates, a full-service travel agency based in Fort Lauderdale.

Pro Travel’s Travel Perks Plus program enables the travel planner to receive points for various types of booked and completed travel. The point awards are: 200 points for an airline booking; 300 points for a tour or cruise; 50 points for a hotel booking; and 50 points for a car rental booking. The accumulated points can then be redeemed for a variety of gift and travel items including movie passes, phone cards and even free airline tickets.

Agency director Marta Perez and co-director Olga Bou created the rewards program to appeal to the often overlooked travel planner. “Most executives count on other people to book their travel, but the hotel and airline rewards programs ignore the person who spends their time making the arrangements,” commented Perez. “That’s why we designed a program specifically for the person who coordinates all the travel. They deserve a perk, and Pro Travel Associates is happy to give them one.”

The travel incentive program begins on May 15, 1999, and points will expire on Dec. 31, 1999. The Travel Perks Plus program will reward a travel planner for as little as 5,000 points. The awarded incentives will be:

5,000 points………………2 FREE movie passes 10,000

points……………..$25 credit towards personal travel 15,000

points……………..FREE 30 minute phone card 25,000

points……………..$50 credit towards personal travel 50,000


FREE airline ticket to anywhere in the 48 continental United States

“Anyone can enroll in our Travel Perks program,” stated Perez. “And if they book travel, they’ll collect the rewards. It’s that easy.”

For more information, or to enroll in Pro Travel’s Travel Perks Plus program, call Pro Travel Associates at 954/434-6776 or toll-free at 1-800-471-4431.


ORGA Smart Card Reader

ORGA Card Systems, one of the world’s largest suppliers of advanced smart cards, announced Monday that it is entering into a technology development agreement with transaction processing specialist American Magnetics, an Axiohm company.

The two market leaders will join forces to produce a “smart” card reader for their OEM customers who design payment applications throughout Europe and the U.S. This co-operative effort includes all design, testing and final review activities, with the ultimate goal of winning EMV and Geldkarte (ZKA) approval for the product.

EMV is a smart card specification adopted by all major card manufacturers. Geldkarte is similar to an ATM card, but contains an electronic purse.

According to Sigi Eichinger, President of ORGA USA, the smart card reader development project being launched by the two technology innovators represents a win-win situation for both parties. “ORGA and Axiohm bring a wealth of design and engineering experience to this business partnership, all the ingredients necessary to ensure a successful relationship and end product,” Eichinger reports. “ORGA has established a solid reputation for high-quality product engineering within the smart card industry,” explains Keith Jentoft, Vice President at Axiohm. “Combined with our own leadership role in designing hybrid readers, we believe that American Magnetics is uniquely positioned to provide a smooth transition from magnetic stripe to the rapidly emerging smart card market.”

American Magnetics is a subsidiary of Axiohm, a one-quarter of a billion-dollar multi-national organization with its corporate headquarters located in suburban Philadelphia. The company develops and markets an innovative range of transaction products, including POS and banking printers, kiosk solutions and both magnetic stripe and smart card readers.

ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH Germany has been a pioneer in the development of microprocessor-based smart card technology since 1985. Application areas include: telecommunications, health care, retail/loyalty, banking/e-commerce and Internet. ORGA enjoys a world-wide presence with subsidiaries, branch offices and joint ventures in Brazil, China, France, Great Britain, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and the USA. Visit our Web Site at: [][1]



FI and Credomatic

Credomatic, the largest credit card issuer in Central America, will install Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc.’s Application ScoreWare International software and application scoring models to enhance credit card application processing and improve collections rate.

Credomatic, founded in 1970, manages more than US$500 million in assets with sales of more than US$1.3 billion in 1998. It has over 36,000 merchants in its network and more than 700,000 cards in its portfolio.

“Application ScoreWare will help us improve our decision-making on credit applications,” said Ernesto Castegnaro, chief executive officer, Credomatic. “The product’s automatic model installation will enable us to immediately take advantage of new scoring models or modify existing ones for portfolio flexibility.”

Credomatic will install Application ScoreWare International at its Costa Rica headquarters, which will process applications for Credomatic divisions in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Fair, Isaac’s Application ScoreWare International gives credit grantors the ability to automate application scoring functions, including installing, auditing and maintaining and updating scoring models. The product includes easy-to-use screens that support user-defined parameters such as setting of score thresholds and credit line assignment for fast response to market changes.

Fair, Isaac () helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Known for its pioneering work in credit scoring and its use of data in transaction-level decisions, Fair, Isaac now delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs more than 1,500 people in 17 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, the company reported revenues of $245.5 million. For more information, call Fair, Isaac at 800-999-2955.

Fair, Isaac is a registered trademark and Application ScoreWare is a trademark of Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. All other products or company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.


ActivCard Joins SCF

The Smart Card Forum, a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance and application of smart card technology, announced Monday that ActivCard has joined as one of the Forum’s newest Principal Members, demonstrating the ever increasing importance of smart card applications as a secure method of conducting Internet transactions.

“ActivCard is a pioneer in the development of authentication and electronic certification technologies, and having their voice at the Forum table will be of tremendous value,” said SCF President and CEO Donna Farmer. “The company’s data security and authentication products will continue to have a significant impact on how quickly smart card applications are accepted into our every day lives, and they bring significant knowledge and insight to our other members. Likewise, The Forum provides a great amount of useful information through our research findings and workgroup meetings, as well as the Smart Card Forum Educational Institute, the industry-leading course dedicated to providing smart card education. We are anxious to have their participation and are certain they will gain much insight into the smart card arena through their membership privileges.”

As a Principal Member, ActivCard is entitled to privileged access to the Smart Card Forum Consumer Research, other Forum sponsored research and documents, along with attendance at the Technical Working Group sessions, Educational Institute programs, and the Annual Meeting.

“The Smart Card Forum is leading the way for smart card usage in North America and many other parts of the world,” said Doug Kernan, vice president of marketing for ActivCard. “We are excited by the opportunity to join other industry leaders and innovators, and are certain that our membership in the Forum will add value to the organization and help us continue to provide cutting-edge authentication and electronic certification products that enable smart card applications.”

About ActivCard

ActivCard S.A. (Easdaq: ACTV), a leader in strong authentication, electronic certification and digital signature technologies, delivers the core components required to make smart cards the essential tool enabling next generation Internet based business. ActivCard’s technology suite offers the ease-of-use and security of an ATM transaction for any network system application or service. This strong authentication, in conjunction with the applications support for public key based data confidentiality and integrity, allows individuals and businesses to perform secure online transactions over the Internet. Today, more than one million people use ActivCard products for secure banking, Web access and remote access to corporate networks. ActivCard has corporate headquarters in Fremont, CA; Paris, France; and Singapore. For more information call in Europe: 33-0-1-42-04-84-00 or in the US: 510-574-0100, write to or visit .

About The Smart Card Forum The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. The Smart Card Forum is the leading organization for education and awareness of topical issues associated with the use and adoption of smart card systems. The Smart Card Forum also operates the Smart Card Forum Educational Institute, the industry-leading course dedicated to providing smart card education that has set the standard in the industry. The curriculum is based on leading edge educational models and methodologies utilizing experienced instructors who are experts in the smart card industry. For more information about The Smart Card Forum, log on to the organization’s Web site at .


ECHO’s Thomas Resigns

Joel M. Barry, chairman and chief executive officer of Electronic Clearing House Inc. Friday announced the resignation of Larry J. Thomas as president, chief operating officer, chief technology officer and director.

“Larry is a technical genius, in my opinion, and ECHO has benefited greatly from the systems and procedures he designed and implemented over the past three years,” Barry said. “He has built a strong team of people who will continue to follow the processes he has instituted and build further on them.

“Larry has decided that he would like the freedom to pursue specific personal goals and we wish Larry well and thank him for his significant contributions to ECHO’s success over the past years.”

Thomas said, “It has been a great three years working with Joel Barry and the rest of the ECHO team. We have achieved a lot together and I have great confidence that the company will continue to grow and prosper.”

Barry will serve as CEO and president while Larry Brown, the creator of ECHONLINE Internet services, will serve as chief technology officer for ECHO.

Electronic Clearing House provides credit card processing, check guarantee, inventory tracking services and various Internet services to more than 19,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation. ECHO also designs, develops and manufactures 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.


March Slump

One year ago American consumers added $4.1 billion to revolving credit during the month of March. This year, the trend has completely reversed as American consumers paid down $800 million of revolving credit during March. According to preliminary figures released Friday afternoon by the Federal Reserve, revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, dropped at an annual rate of 1.6% during March, compared to a 5.1% gain in February. Since the first of this year revolving credit has grown $7.8 billion. Overall consumer credit is growing 1.4% annually, compared to 6.6% one year ago, according to the FRB. At the end of March, American consumers were $1.325 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.


Mar99 Feb99 Jan99 Dec98 Nov98 Oct98 Sep98 Aug98 Jul98 Jun98
%GRWTH: -1.6% 5.1 13.2 8.6 -2.4 13.0 7.5 10.7 -4.2 9.2
$OWED: $ 568.3 569.1 566.7 560.5 556.5 557.6 551.7 548.3 543.4 545.3

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of
05/07/99; For complete historical data visit



San Diego-based HNC Software unveiled its new Internet fraud detection service for credit card issuers this morning. ‘eFalcon’ will be offered to Web merchants to help fight the growing problem of fraudulent card-not-present transactions. HNC’s ‘Falcon’ product is one of the most respected fraud fighting solutions among credit card issuers today, protecting more than 260 million credit cards worldwide. The solution uses a neural network-based predictive software system that examines transaction, cardholder, and merchant data to detect a wide range of credit card fraud. The ‘eFalcon’ version will incorporate data on an Internet user’s click path through a Web site that leads up to a purchase. HNC will refine ‘eFalcon’ with additional data on Web buying transaction patterns collected under reciprocal agreements with its merchant customers. eFalcon’s first customer is Seattle-based EC Direct. CA-based PaymentNet also announced this morning it will integrate ‘eFalcon’ with its PaymentNet transaction processing platform.