Coinstar Europe

Coinstar Inc. yesterday announced that it has installed its first machines in stores operated by the two largest grocery retailers in the United Kingdom.

Coinstar(R) self-service coin counting machines are now available in seven London-area Sainsbury’s Savacentre stores and one London-area Tesco store, marking the initiation of Coinstar’s European operations.

“We are really pleased to be working with Coinstar,” said Paul Wilson, retail innovation manager for Sainsbury’s. “We hope that existing and new customers will see Coinstar machines as an attractive new service which saves them time. So far, customer reaction has been very positive.”

Sainsbury’s operates 398 supermarkets and 13 Sainsbury’s Savacentres and Tesco operates 639 stores in the United Kingdom. Together, these two retailers account for more than 40 percent of all U.K. grocery sales.

“We are encouraged by the early market acceptance we are experiencing in the U.K.,” said Jens Molbak, CEO of Coinstar Inc. “British consumers are confirming what our research told us: coin hoarding is a problem in the U.K. because, until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to cash in coins.”

Coinstar’s patented coin counting mechanism was adapted to count the full range of British coins, including the (pound)1 and (pound)2 coins. Coinstar’s device is easily adapted to the currency sets of most countries.

“One of the challenges of entering a new market is determining how best to work within the retailers’ operational needs and the logistics of the banking system,” continued Molbak. “I am pleased to report that our service is functioning very smoothly from an operational perspective. This is a positive first sign as we expand our presence in the U.K. and position ourselves for future euro conversion opportunities.”

Coinstar Inc. and its subsidiaries provide consumers and retailers with value-added services that increase customer loyalty and retailer profitability. The Coinstar network currently delivers the company’s self-service coin counting product to more than 5,300 leading supermarkets in 38 U.S. states, the United Kingdom and Canada. The company’s new Coinstar Shopper product is designed to bridge the gap between the Internet and the store. Consumers can call 1-800-928-CASH, or visit for the location of the nearest Coinstar machine.

Details

CTST 1999

More than 10,000 professionals from 80 nations will attend the 1999 CardTech SecurTech (CTST) conference from May 11-14 at the McCormick Place South Convention Center in Chicago to learn about a host of practical innovations in the smart card, biometrics and cryptography industries through seminars, tours of the exhibit hall and interaction with experts and peers. The conference will cover more than six acres, and feature more than 1,000 high-tech booths and 200 expert presentations focusing on financial, transportation, security, government, health care and communications sectors. The exhibition is nearly twice as large as any other card event in the world.

CardTech/SecurTech 99 workshops, each of which has five to eight presentations, include:

— Microsoft’s SmartCards for Windows(tm),

— Developing Applications with Java Card,

— Changing the Face of Money,

— Foundations in ID Technology,

— Biometrics Technology,

— Retail & Loyalty Applications,

— Government Applications,

— Telecommunications Platforms,

— Transportation Applications,

— Large-Scale ID Applications,

— Cryptography Technology,

— University Applications,

— Health Care Applications,

— Practical Biometrics Applications

Hands-on Application Developer Workshop

s An exciting new feature of this year’s conference will be a series of hands-on workshops for SmartCard application developers and programmers presented by Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and MULTOS. “These sessions offer unique opportunities for technical professionals to learn the `How to’ of developing applications on smart card platforms,” said Benjamin Miller, CTST founder & conference chairman.

Smart Cards for Windows(tm) application developers will get to run live desktop and card-based applications with hands-on instruction. The Developers’ Workshop will show you how to include smart cards in applications such as secure network access, e-commerce, payment and loyalty, and medical solutions. The sessions will include lecture and lab work, and attendees will receive smart card developer kits, including smart cards and sample applications on both the PC (host) and card sides.

Cryptography

From massive corporate systems to individual Internet browsing, new ways are needed to ensure that data and identities are protected in cyberspace. The cryptography technology used for this task is called public key infrastructure (PKI). PKI generates digital signatures that prove who sent an e-mail or made an Internet purchase. Building the infrastructure to support this process is one of the most important subjects in the evolution of the network economy.

The new seminar on Public Key Infrastructures Integrating with Smart Cards and Biometrics will address authenticating the identity of the user, securely storing electronic certificates and generating digital signatures. The seminar will also answer the question of what it will take to achieve widespread deployment of PKI enhanced by biometrics and smart card readers. Biometrics

The use of biometrics continues to expand across a wide range of applications throughout the world. From banking to welfare, user organizations increasingly recognize that precise identification and user authentication are key requirements for reducing fraud and for increasing information and enterprise security. After decades of limited use, sales have begun to soar as the number of applications for biometric devices measuring hand, finger and face geometry continues to expand. Major electronics manufacturers are incorporating the technology into their keyboards, ATMs, PCs and other portable devices for increased user flexibility and security.

Biometrics seminars will examine the latest industry changes and the status of the industry’s efforts to create a generic standard for the easy integration and interchangeability of biometric devices. The current state of biometric applications in banking, welfare, immigration and information security will then be examined. Issues related to personal privacy and the “friendliness” of various legislative environments also will be explored.

Keynote Presentation

The keynote presentation will be delivered on Wednesday, May 12 at 8:30 a.m. by James Burke, author of “The Day the Universe Changed” and host of the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Connections” television series about the impact of technology on society. Burke, who writes a monthly column for Scientific American, will discuss the roles of information and personal technologies as they relate to empowerment of the individual.

CardTech/SecurTech (CTST), founded in 1991, is the world’s most comprehensive conference and exhibition covering advanced smart card and security technology. Purchased by Faulkner & Gray Inc., publisher of Card Technology, ID World and Smart Card Alert, CTST focuses on applications of card and related technology solutions for banking, the Internet, telecommunications, mass transit, security, retail, loyalty, government and health care. Information about the organization, sponsors, program topics and exhibition can be found at [www.ctst.com][1].

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

Details

AirTouch Prepaid

San Francisco-based AirTouch Communications announced a rate cut yesterday for ‘AirTouch Cellular Prepaid’ cardholders. AirTouch cut prices for prepaid service across all its cellular markets in 17 states to as little as $0.35 a minute. The company also announced major distribution deals with 7-Eleven, Circle K, Radio Shack and Best Buy stores. AirTouch prepaid service cards are now available in denominations of $30, $50 and $100. The life of the cards has also been extended from 60 days to 90 days. AirTouch says only about 5% of U.S. cellular customers are prepaid, compared to 35% in Europe. European cellular carriers now count on prepaid for two-thirds of all new customers. In the USA, on the other hand, service providers still typically turn away a third or more of walk-in customers because they lack credit or are too young to sign a contract. AirTouch serves 8 million U.S. cellular customers.

Details

Currency Exchange

After a steady stream of negative publicity, First USA is reportedly holding off implementing its policy of surcharging for currency exchange transactions. First USA began notifying cardholders in March, that effective April 1, it will charge an extra 2.0% of the dollar amount on foreign transactions requiring conversion into US dollars. The currency exchange transaction fee is in addition to the standard 1.0% to 2.0% fees charged by VISA and MasterCard. Citibank reportedly instituted a similar policy late last year. According to CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com), Travelers Bank, a Citigroup unit, also charges an extra 1.5% for currency exchange transactions.

Details

Smart Move

Barclaycard told the London Financial Times yesterday it will save more than US$50 million annually as the result of its ongoing migration to smart cards. The savings will largely be produced by reducing losses from counterfeit cards used outside the UK. The UK’s largest card issuer has already converted 500,000 of its 17 million cardholders to smart cards and upgraded more than 400 of its ATMs. Barclaycard says it has plans to convert another 2.5 million cardholders to smart cards by year’s end. The issuer will also upgrade another 700 ATMs to accept smart cards and replace more than 20,000 Barclaycard-owned terminals in small businesses this year. The Times says the biggest consumer complaint so far has been the extra processing time required at the point-of-sale.

Details

FDC Up 10%

First Data Corp. reported Wednesday afternoon that first quarter net income margins were 11.1%, up from last year’s 10.8%. First quarter revenues from continuing operations hit nearly $1.3 billion producing net income of $141 million. Card Issuer Services worldwide revenues increased 5% in the quarter to $351 million producing an operating profit of $59.8 million. Volume trends remain positive with total accounts on file up 13%, to 214.6 million. Merchant Processing Services revenues grew 10% in the quarter to $346 million as compared to $313 million in 1998. Total domestic merchant card dollar volume for the quarter grew 17%, from $54 billion last year to $63.3 billion Payment instrument transactions or Western Union money transfers soared over the past twelve months from 14.2 million to 17.5 million. For additional information on First Data’s first quarter 1999 financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

eFunds Corp

Deluxe Corporation announced this morning it will combine its information and payment protection businesses with its electronic transaction processing business to form eFunds Corporation. Deluxe also announced an initiative to sell its collections business, National Revenue Corporation. eFunds will combine, under single management, Deluxe Electronic Payment Systems, Debit Bureau, Chex Systems, SCAN and Deluxe’s recently purchased electronic check conversion business. The creation of eFunds is part of the new business model which consists of a holding company and four independent operating units. Besides eFunds, the operating units are Deluxe Paper Payment Systems, Government Services, and Deluxe’s software development and business process outsourcing business, which was formerly HCL-Deluxe. The new leadership team consists of Debra Janssen as president of eFunds; Ronald Eilers as president of Deluxe Paper Payment Systems; Nikhil Sinha as president of Deluxe’s India-based software and business processing subsidiary; and Chuck Feltz, who will be president of Government Services.

Details

Data Mining Deal

HNC Software Inc. and Abacus Direct Corp. Wednesday announced that they have entered into a multi-year agreement to cooperate in significant product development and distribution initiatives.

Abacus, the leading provider of information products and behavioral marketing research services to the direct marketing industry, will use HNC’s Content Mining(TM) technology to enhance the data mining of billions of mail order merchandise purchasing transactions maintained within the proprietary Abacus Alliance database of 88 million households.

In turn, HNC Financial Solutions, a leading provider of predictive customer relationship management software to large banks and other financial institutions, plans to apply the Abacus aggregate prior purchasing data to further enhance the value of HNC Financial Solutions products to its clients.

Commenting on the new agreement, Abacus Chairman and CEO Tony White said, “HNC’s Content Mining technology will allow Abacus to maximize use of the huge amount of product-level (SKU) data that flows through the Abacus Alliance database, for the direct benefit of the 1150 plus catalogers who rely on us for highly effective target marketing activities.”

“This agreement is strategically important for both HNC and Abacus — both get the opportunity to leverage our special capabilities in different markets, ” said Robert L. North, president and CEO of HNC Software. “And it’s good news for HNC Financial Solutions clients, as well, because the Abacus view of consumer buying patterns will add a new dimension to the ability of financial organizations to better manage their customer relationships and marketing programs.”

HNC Financial Solutions is in the process of enhancing its suite of Predictive CRM products that leverage real-time information technology to understand financial customers at the individual and account level, predict behavior based on that understanding, and enable the firm to structure actions and strategies so that treatment is consistent and profitability-driven across all points of customer contact.

About Abacus Direct Corp.

Abacus manages the premier membership database, the Abacus Alliance, which is the nations’ largest proprietary database of consumer catalog buying behavior used for target marketing purposes. The Abacus Alliance database currently contains records from 1,100 merchandise catalogs, with more than 2 billion consumer catalog transactions representing virtually all U.S. consumer catalog buying households. Abacus applies its proprietary modeling techniques to the power of shared data to improve profitability, to improve targeting efficiency, and reduce unwanted mailings.

Founded in 1990, Abacus Direct Corp. is headquartered in Bloomfield, Colo. and has offices in New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Hawthorne, NY. For more information, visit Abacus Direct’s Web site at or contact Cindi Gallucci, Abacus Direct Corp, 22 Saw Mill Rd, 3rd Flr, Hawthorne NY 10532, 914/345-0441.

About HNC Software

With headquarters in San Diego, HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq: HNCS) is one of the world’s leading providers of Predictive Software Solutions for service industries, including financial, retail, insurance, Internet, and telecommunications.

HNC’s suite of Predictive Software Solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationships based on transaction-level data, helping business-to-consumer companies manage their relationships with individual customers.

By accurately predicting customer behaviors, these companies can create initiatives to mitigate risk and attrition; improve customer service; develop marketing programs to enhance profitability; optimize store replenishment activities, and detect fraudulent customer transactions.

For more information, visit HNC’s Web site at or contact Jane Leonard, HNC Software Inc., 5935 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, 619/799-3880. For the investor relations hotline, call 800/396-8052.

Details

Metris to NYSE

Metris Companies Inc. announced that it has filed an application to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Pending final approval from the NYSE, Metris will begin trading its shares under the symbol “MXT” on May 7, 1999. Metris Companies has approximately 19 million shares of common stock outstanding that are currently traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol MTRS.

“Our rapid growth over the past several years has generated significant returns for our current investors and heightened interest among new investors,” said Ronald N. Zebeck, president and chief executive officer. “In response to investor demand, we are listing our shares on the New York Stock Exchange in order to provide our shareholders with the broadest and most efficient trading market possible. We expect to experience reduced price volatility and narrower quotation spreads that are typically available on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, our new listing should expose the company’s shares to an increased potential investor base and provide us with improved liquidity in the future.”

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Metris also has operations in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Baltimore, Maryland; Champaign, Illinois; Jacksonville, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona and currently employs approximately 2,200 people.

Details

Stadium Card

CyberMark unveiled an advanced smart card system for stadiums complexes in North America and Latin America. The ‘SmartWorld Stadium Card’ can be designed to provide sport teams and fans with a multi-applications smart card for issuing season tickets, loyalty applications for merchants, payment for parking, long distance calling card services, and credit/debit capabilities. The card is also designed for future use with transit systems and GSM cellular phones. POS terminals can be integrated into a facility’s existing electronic cash register system or the devices can stand-alone. Microsoft, Gemplus, and First USA, are CyberMark partners via the ‘SmartWorld Partnership Program’.

Details

Hispanic Card

CO-based Equitex, Inc. and its subsidiary, First TeleServices Corp. unveiled Tuesday afternoon a program for issuing prepaid debit cards to the Hispanic market. FTC says it has signed an agreement with a large financial institution with a national presence to become the issuing bank for the cards. Under terms of the agreement FTC will receive a fee for each card issued. Net1Bank will complement the debit card by offering a secured credit card to help establish credit for those individuals with no credit or impaired credit. The program will be marketed primarily through Hispanic newspapers and organizations. The company says the Hispanic market is projected to increase at a rate more than three times faster than the general U.S. population over the next ten years.

Details

CBQ Acquisitions

CBQ Inc. announced Tuesday that it has closed into escrow its agreement to purchase Priority One Electronic Commerce Corporation of Akron, Pa. As part of the transaction, CBQ also gains a 10% equity interest in CitX Corporation, of Quakertown, Pa.

CBQ’s acquisition of Priority One and CitX will fuel CBQ’s momentum to gain marketshare as a leading provider of e-commerce solutions for businesses selling to other businesses online.

Priority One is a leader in Internet electronic payment processing. Priority One’s proprietary Bill Collect(TM) system relieves sellers from the burden of sending out invoices, waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, and dealing with accounts receivable collections. Bill Collect is a high-tech, automated system handling electronic funds transfers (ETF) and credit card payments for Internet e-commerce businesses and traditional sales companies. Priority One is a three-year-old leading high-tech company providing business-to-business electronic payment processing services that enable businesses to electronically collect and disburse payment in the form of electronic funds transfers (EFT) and credit cards.

Priority One’s flagship service, Bill Collect, enables businesses to collect their receivables electronically, via the Internet or Direct-Dial-up gateway, on the date due. The Bill Collect system can be fully integrated with the retailer’s software so that information on credit card charges and EFT authorizations can be combined in the same batch transaction and uploaded directly and simultaneously to Priority One, through the phone lines or via the Internet, without any additional data entry.

Bill Collect was codeveloped by Priority One along with strategic venture partner, CitX. Priority One was founded in 1996, by Sidney Lieberman, Chairman, and principle shareholder.

CitX develops and markets business-to-business, e-commerce solutions. CitX, along with Priority One, jointly developed Bill Collect as well as additional technology and software used in Priority One’s Payment Processing Center. In addition, CitX has developed a unique Web-enabled integrated, business-to-business, e-commerce platform, Intrapay(TM), to collect and disburse payments via the Internet.

CitX has formed equity partnerships with Priority One EC Corporation of Akron, Pa., and MCCS of Los Angeles. Additionally, CitX has created strategic partnerships with NCR Corporation, Bell Atlantic, and Redix Corporation. These strategic partners have aligned in support of the CitX Internet-based Electronic Commerce platform called Intrapay, Virtual Electronic Community platform IntraPortal, and Network based Software Application platform called IntraApp. As part of the CitX business strategy, CitX plans to align with other technology, marketing, and service companies in the future, to rapidly expand, and effectively satisfy the needs of its customers.

CitX has developed a unique transaction transport technology called SETX to provide the end-to-end security, scalable processing capability of Electronic Commerce transactions. SETX is a patented proprietary data communication system and protocol that uses dynamic password authentication, pseudonymous data envelopes, trusted-server predictive Internet routing technology to enable the exchange of secure data transactions, via the Internet, without the need for encryption.

CBQ’s foothold in the fast growing area of business-to-business, e-commerce is significantly improved by the acquired talent and technology of both Priority One and CitX. In addition, CBQ’s potential marketshare is increased due to an exclusive agreement between the three companies to jointly market each others services to each companies customer base. The acquisition of Priority One and its customer base, coupled with the joint marketing of integrated Intrapay/Bill Collect services to CitX customer base, could produce strong additional revenues in 1999 for CBQ.

Commenting on the transaction, Michael L. Sheriff, chief executive officer of CBQ stated, “The acquisition of Priority One and their Bill Collect electronic check clearing system, are steps forward in our strategy to become a dominant provider of Internet-based, e-commerce solutions.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with CBQ as our new strategic partner in the e-commerce space,” said Bernie Roemmele, CEO of CitX Corporation. “By combining our core competencies, and resources we will be able to quickly expand our customer base and move more aggressively into new vertical market opportunities.”

CitX Corporation is a privately-held, leading high-tech company that primarily develops and markets business-to-business e-commerce solutions, Community-Centric Portals, and Network-Centric (Web-Hosted) software applications, delivered securely across the Internet and private heterogeneous networks.

CBQ’s wholly owned subsidiary, CyberQuest Inc. is the developer of www.bid4it.com, a virtual, Internet-based marketplace based on the principles of securities trading. bid4it is a completely automated electronic marketplace that produces a “true” market price of products based on the open market interaction between bidders and sellers. Bidders electronically bid (“Bid”) on desired products and may modify or delete their bids at any time before the Bid matches a Sellers “asking price” (“Ask”). The Seller may accept any Bid at any time and may modify or delete their Ask at any time before it matches a Bid. bid4it allows sellers to compete in a worldwide market for the buyers of all types of products.

CyberQuest’s CyberMarketMaker(TM) integrates the best features of securities trading and an auction market. Bidding activity is continually analyzed and asking prices moved up or down in response to market activity. When a “bid” and “ask” match, the transaction is electronically completed, and the product is ordered and shipped to the buyer with instant notification to all parties.

For more information about CyberQuest visit www.bid4it.com (bid4it website) and www.cbq.com (Corporate website).

For more information about CitX call 215/538-3535, email bernie@citx.net, or visit the CitX website at [www.citx.net][1].

[1]: http://www.citx.net

Details