Biz Cards Level III

First of Omaha Merchant Processing has implemented ‘Level III’ purchasing card processing for Griffin Oaks Marine Travel and participating NAPA Auto Parts stores nationwide. ‘Level III’ purchasing card processing allows corporations to access line item detail on all purchases made with their corporate purchasing cards.  The amount of detail offers not only supplier and sales tax data management capabilities, but also includes: product descriptions, product codes, quantities, freight amount, duty amount, ship to ZIP codes, and order or ticket amount. First of Omaha piloted the ‘Level III’ program with Griffin Oaks last year and has begun implementing ‘Level III’ processing at select NAPA Auto Parts stores.  Currently, First of Omaha provides general credit card processing for about 10,000 NAPA locations in the U.S.. About 200-300 corporate NAPA stores will have access to ‘Level III’ processing abilities.

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Cyberflex 16k Smart Card

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals is taking orders for and shipping the most powerful new member in its Cyberflex family of smart cards. Cyberflex Open 16K, based on Java technology, doubles the amount of memory available for application software. It is compliant with the Java Card 2.0 Application Programming Interface (API) specification, and is now included in the upgraded Schlumberger Cyberflex Development Kit.

The Cyberflex Open 16K smart card features major advancements over current Java-based smart cards: Twice the memory — the amount of memory available for use by software developers has been doubled compared with the current Schlumberger card, substantially increasing the number and size of Cardlets that can be stored on the card. Development environment — the Cyberflex Open 16K Development Kit now features a PC/SC interface, the standard for Windows, and fully integrates an application processor, a smart card simulator and a smart card manager.

Schlumberger leads the industry in developer support with the only web-based smart card support program. The User Discussion Forum at [www.cyberflex.slb.com][1] provides developers, from around the world, with fast, detailed technical responses to their questions, from the experts in Java card. Additionally, the site offers easier product ordering and downloadable documentation and applications.

“Application providers and card issuers alike will benefit from the new Cyberflex Open 16K features,” stated Paul Beverly, vice president of marketing for Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals, North America. “Java Card 2.0 API compliance enhances interoperability at the application level, and doubling the memory means more applications, bringing greater potential for co-branding and overall enhancement of the investment picture.”

“Our new Cyberflex Open 16K smart card is built on industry standards that we helped develop,” said Olivier Piou, vice president of smart card products for Schlumberger Test & Transactions. “Java Card 2.0 API and PC/SC brings standardization at the smart card, card reader and host API levels, assuring our customers that their investments in Java card technology will be long lasting.”

Java Card 2.0 API assures a new level of interoperability of applications on the card, and PC/SC assures interoperability on the host PC. This means that smart card aware software can be written for the PC using the Microsoft smart card SDK for Windows(R)95, 98 or NT(R). PC/SC compliance also brings compatibility with a variety of smart card readers.

“Based on Java technology and armed with increased memory capacity, Schlumberger’s Cyberflex will provide consumers with an impressive smart card that is robust, flexible and portable,” said Patrice Peyret, director of consumer transactions at Sun Microsystems, Inc.’s Consumer and Embedded division. “Cyberflex is a good example of the advancements Schlumberger has made in the evolution of smart card technology, and Sun applauds today’s announcement.”

Schlumberger pioneered the concept of a smart card programmable in Java and was the first to introduce a card to the market in 1997. With more than a year’s field experience since the introduction of the first Cyberflex card, the company has gained additional expertise that is built into every new Cyberflex product. Schlumberger is a leading participant in industry forums and a major contributor to cross industry specifications such as the Java Card API and PC/SC specifications.

Cyberflex Development Kits can be purchased over the Internet at the Schlumberger Smart Card Marketplace [www.cardstore.slb.com][2] or through local Schlumberger representatives. For customers wishing to upgrade from a previous version of the Development Kit to the Open 16K version an Upgrade Kit is also available at the website.

For more information about the Cyberflex Open 16K smart card, see the website at [www.cyberflex.slb.com][3].

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide, shaping the new world of smart solutions by providing leading-edge technology to enable innovative smart card and terminal applications that enhance the security and convenience of businesses and communities of all kinds. The company provides cards, terminals, development tools and support in open configurations for operators, developers, integrators and distributors worldwide. As part of the Smart Village theme, the Schlumberger offer includes the milestone Cyberflex card, the first Java-based smart card. The Smart Cards & Terminals group operates 45 facilities in 34 countries across the globe. Additional information is available on the World Wide Web at .

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals is a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, a $10.65 billion global technology service company providing oilfield services, natural resource management, transactions based technology and associated systems, and semiconductor test equipment.

[1]: http://www.cyberflex.slb.com
[2]: http://www.cardstore.slb.com
[3]: http://www.cyberflex.slb.com

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Cubic Gets London Subway

Cubic Transportation Systems has been awarded the contract to provide automatic fare collection equipment for the London Transport ‘PRESTIGE’ project. The London Transport ‘PRESTIGE’ contract was awarded to the TranSys consortium, of which Cubic Corp. is a major shareholder. The other TranSys shareholders are EDS, ICL and WS Atkins. The PRESTIGE contract has a value of about $1.75 billion over 17 years. Cubic Transportation Systems will be responsible for providing a new ticketing and fare collection system that includes new automatic passenger gates, upgraded ticket-vending machines and new bus ticketing equipment, as well as most of the maintenance. The new system will include the introduction of contactless smart cards.

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McDonald’s Smart Cards

VeriFone and McDonald’s Deutschland rolled-out a new smart card payment and value loading system yesterday using VeriFone smart card solutions at more than 870 McDonald’s restaurants throughout Germany. VeriFone is providing the smart card-load terminals which feature a large, touch-panel and colorful GUI display that is tied to a new system, called ‘Transaction Automation Loading and Information System’. A pilot program at 55 restaurants in Germany reported strong usage earlier this year. During the first 10 weeks of the trial, there were more than 30,000 transactions conducted in the McDonald’s pilot restaurants. With Germany’s ‘GeldKarte-System’, there have been nearly 40 million smart cards distributed to Germans since early 1997. Today, a McDonald’s customer can take his or her smart card into the restaurant and slide it into the ‘VeriFone SC552’ smart card reader to pay for a meal. If, however, there is no value on the card, the customer may use a ‘TALIS’ terminal, located in McDonald’s, to electronically transfer monetary value onto the card for making future payments at McDonald’s or at the many other merchants accepting smart card payment.

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Non-Bank Report

The recently released Mentis research report Issues and Opportunities in Small Business Banking reveals that non-bank organizations’ share of the small business market outweighs that of banks.  One of the reasons for non-bank organizations’ success is the wide variety of products and services they offer.  Additionally, there are several other factors that attribute to non-banks’ success in serving this market.

“Unlike banks, these organizations do not have regulatory barriers prohibiting or limiting interest on business checking accounts, which has allowed them to offer their small business clients interest-bearing accounts for a number of years,” remarks Kristen Min, Research Manager.  “Additionally, some non-bank organizations like American Express and other credit card companies have well-developed existing databases of customer information that may be used in gaining small business clients.”

Products and technologies aside, many non-bank organizations appear to have a better understanding of the small business market.  Small business owners typically are computer savvy and frequently use the Internet for business or personal reasons.  Mentis research reveals that approximately one- fourth of large banks and less than 10% of small banks are offering Internet banking services — some of which are still limited to simply providing information.  Compared with banks, non-banks have been more aggressive in developing advanced Internet Web pages that support marketing and communication needs, as well as offer transaction capabilities.

Even with all of the perceived advantages that non-banks have over banks in gaining small business market share, banks still have opportunities to increase their share in this market.  Min remarks, “Banks can use their established branch networks and staff, which represent this segment’s most preferred channel for conducting business, to better understand their small business clients and to cross-sell products and services.  Because non-banks are just beginning to offer deposit services, banks already have critical relationships with small business owners.  Banks can expand and strengthen these relationships by offering additional services such as insurance, loans, and investments.”

Issues and Opportunities in Small Business Banking is a part of Mentis Corporation’s 1998 SMART (Strategies for Managing Resources and Technology) Report service.

Mentis Corporation is an international research firm specializing in the evaluation of information and communications technology (ICT) within the financial services industry.  For over a decade, Mentis Corporation has been evaluating industry conditions, profiling technology practices, tracking trends and assessing technology dependent strategies and initiatives.  By focusing on specific ICT disciplines within the financial services industry, Mentis Corporation is uniquely qualified to provide a comprehensive source of expert, unbiased and timely information.  For additional information, please call Leah Hutchings, Client Relations Specialist, (919) 384-1500 x213 (e-mail: [inquiry@mentis.com][1]) or visit our web-site at .

[1]: mailto:inquiry@mentis.com

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Australian ICE

Hypercom Corporation introduced Interactive Customer Equipment to the Australian market yesterday. ICE is a modular terminal concept that employs an interactive touch-screen to meet the increasing requirement for easy-to-operate customer-activated card acceptance devices.

“The ICE represents an entirely new generation of interactive, consumer-operated card acceptance terminals. ICE replaces the traditional PIN Pad, to support the rapidly increasing range of transaction modes, options and functions,” said George Wallner, chairman and chief technology officer, Hypercom Corporation.

Hypercom’s ICE family supports customer-activated debit and credit transactions; payment options, such as smart cards; and new business opportunities, such as loyalty management programs.

When used in conjunction with the recently released Hypercom Ascendent Server Environment, ICE also supports electronic signature and receipt capture, storage and retrieval. Electronic signature capture has been proven to significantly reduce charge backs and other receipt storage and retrieval related expenses.

“Hypercom’s interactive ICE solutions underscore our absolute commitment to providing Australia’s retailers, restaurateurs, mobile merchants, supermarkets and mass merchandisers with the most technically-advanced, reliable, affordable and easy-to-use point-of-sale payment solutions available,” said Jairo E. Gonzalez, president, Hypercom International. “We are very pleased to make this ‘next generation’ family of solutions available to merchants today.”

“Hypercom’s ICE offers an important new advantage for our existing and potential customers in the Australian market both in terms of payment processing and protecting merchants’ investments in existing POS equipment,” said Clive Cooper-Smith, managing director, Hypercom Asia Pacific-Rim Region.

ICE Portable: Speeds Payments & Features Multiple Transaction Options

Hypercom’s ICE Portable is a full-featured, portable POS solution that incorporates credit, debit, smart cards and signature capture, in a real-time, on-line device. It is the payment industry’s first interactive, portable wireless POS terminal device for restaurants and other businesses requiring portable wireless transaction capabilities.

Measuring a compact 117 millimeters wide, 156 millimeters long and 36.4 millimeters deep, this battery-powered unit easily fits into a restaurant server’s apron pocket. Featuring an easy-to-use, intuitive, touch-screen that guides diners through the payment process, and wireless communications for real-time transaction processing and authorization, ICE Portable allows consumers to quickly complete electronic payments at the point-of-service, simplifies card acceptance in restaurants and reduces transaction processing costs.

ICE Portable connects easily to Hypercom T7 terminals via 900 MHz radio, which minimizes the need for additional user training and eliminates concerns about equipment obsolescence. The ICE Portable unit’s built-in communications module permits wireless operation for distances of up to 60 feet. A single controller can support up to eight portable devices.

Multiple base antennas allow coverage of larger areas. Additional features of the new ICE Portable solution include a “captive IC card” reader that prevents the smart card from being inadvertently removed during the transaction, thereby avoiding data corruption; and a rechargeable battery pack that allows portable operation for up to two hours. A battery charging rack can re-charge up to six batteries simultaneously.

ICE Peripheral: Supports PIN Pad and Multiple Payment Options

The new ICE Peripheral will serve as a multi-function signature capture and PIN Pad for Hypercom T7 series terminals. In addition to traditional PIN Pad functions, the ICE facilitates credit, debit, loyalty, electronic coupon and signature capture, with maximum consumer ease, convenience and security.

The new Hypercom unit features innovative and easy-to-use touch-screen technology that guides customers through the payment process. Security features include a tamper resistant processor and intrusion detection. ICE Peripheral also incorporates four Secure Access Modules (SAMs) to accommodate Mondex and Visa Cash, with the ability to add chip card schemes as they emerge.

ICE Multi-Lane: “Next Generation” for Supermarkets and Mass Merchants

Designed for supermarkets and mass merchandisers, ICE Multi-Lane functions as a tethered peripheral to standard IBM electronic cash registers. The main feature of ICE Multi-Lane is a customer-activated touch-screen, which guides users through the payment process. In the multi-lane environment, the touch-screen operation will allow consumers to activate complex transactions, such as loyalty, without holding up the check-out line.

The touch-screen is a large graphic display that is back-lit for easy viewing. In the signature capture application, the graphics screen allows the ICE platforms to capture and display an image of the signature once the cardholder signs on the touch-screen. The signature is then uploaded to the Ascendent server, where it is stored for future retrieval. This eliminates the need for retailers to keep paper copies, significantly reduces costs to retailers and acquirers, and allows for automation of the receipt retrieval process, and the elimination of most charge backs.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Hypercom Corporation is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-functional point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions. On a global basis Hypercom delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications for competitive value-add programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 50 countries through a global network of offices and affiliates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is .

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InteliData CEO

VA-based InteliData Technologies Corp. appointed Al Dominick to the role of President and CEO, Monday. Mr. Dominick comes to InteliData from M&I Data Services, where he was President of the company’s Retail Delivery Product Group.  Mr. Dominick assumes the responsibilities of InteliData’s top post from John C. Backus, an investor-founder who has been with the Company since its inception in 1990. Mr. Backus has been appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee of InteliData’s board of directors.

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CCS Signs ACT III

Card Capture Services, Inc. (CCS) the country’s largest independent ATM company, announces an agreement with ACT III Theatres to place ATMs in selected ACT III Theatres located in Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Idaho. The machines, 63 in all, are currently under installation.

According to Tim Wood, vice president of operations for ACT III, “The decision to provide ATMs in our theatres was driven by two factors. First, movie theatres are a cash-based business. Second, the majority of our customers fall into the high-usage demographic for ATMs. It’s highly likely that our customers make a stop to an ATM before coming to the movies. From a customer service standpoint, offering the convenience of ATMs in our theatres makes good sense.”

Of the agreeement, CCS president David Grano states, “We are pleased to partner with ACT III to provide ATM convenience to theater-goers.”

ACT III Theatres currently owns and operates almost 1,000 screens in seven states. With a large concentration of theatres in Oregon and Washington, Act III also operates theatres in Alaska, Idaho, Texas, Nevada and Missouri. ACT III has long been regarded as a customer service innovator with their “Always” Customer Service Guarantee, all THX theatres and now with the installation of ATMs in all of their top locations.

Portland, Oregon based Card Capture Services, Inc. (CCS) offers turn-key ATM programs which include transaction processing, machine maintenance, customer service, accounting and reporting to a growing base of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide. Founded in 1993, the company currently has 60 employees and a nationwide network of 30 independently contracted dealers.

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Equitex Buys FTC

Equitex, Inc. announced Monday the signing of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of First TeleServices Corp..  The transaction is expected to close by the end of August.  As previously announced, Atlanta, Georgia based FTC will merge into a wholly owned subsidiary of Equitex through the issuance of 625,000 shares of Equitex common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding shares of FTC.

FTC is a fee-based financial services organization consisting of a database marketing division, consumer finance division, an inbound/outbound calling center and an operations center.  FTC will perform as a consumer finance company offering a broad array of financial products and services to the sub-prime market.  These products will be developed and serviced through correspondent relationships with companies specializing in those particular products including debt transfer servicing, secured credit cards, B and C mortgage loans and sub-prime auto loans.  To implement its business plan, FTC has developed strategic alliances with a number of nationwide organizations to outsource the products and services it offers.

“We are extremely excited about the addition of FTC to our portfolio,” stated Equitex President, Henry Fong.  “We believe FTC’s unique approach to database management, debt servicing and financial services along with their two year head start on the competition will provide Equitex and its stockholders with a dynamic player in the burgeoning sub-prime lending industry.  This acquisition is an integral step in our decertification plan.”

“Completion of this merger gives FTC access to both the public and private capital markets providing us the means necessary to take advantage of the numerous strategic alliances and marketing agreements we have in place,” stated FTC President, John Cahill.  “The merger is just one step in our overall business plan allowing us to move from the research and planning stage to the operational stage of our company’s development.”

FTC recently announced the signing of a marketing agreement with Premier Capital, LLC (“Premier”) of Lawrence, Kansas that arranges the purchase of charged off credit card debt from financial institutions.  Premier operates a collection division with the fifteenth largest law firm in the United States specializing in consumer collections with $40 million in collections last year.  Premier’s agencies are located in forty cities throughout the United States with over $600 million in total collections last year.  FTC has developed a debt transfer program to assist Premier in its collection efforts by providing a new credit account servicing facility for debtors.  Premier will place over 240,000 accounts with FTC’s debt transfer division amounting to $100 million worth of net revenue servicing business per year.  Of that amount, FTC is forecasting a collection rate of approximately 40% of net revenue serviced from which FTC will receive 25%.  In addition, FTC plans to offer selective products and services to these customers generating additional cross-sales profit.  The agreement consists of a five-year plan with a one- year term including automatic annual renewals.

Equitex, Inc. is a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

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Market Canyon

The smart cards industry is bogging down.  According to strategic new research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, the smart cards market has hit a market canyon in its transition from the embryonic to the developmental stage.  F&S says the smart cards industry is now ending its dynamic growth phase that resulted from installation by early adopters of the technology, and smart cards manufacturers are now marketing to secondary adopters who demand that smart cards shift from being the new technological wonder to being a legitimate solution.  The smart cards industry has yet to prove fully the technology’s case as a legitimate business tool. Although manufacturers are still exploring potential killer applications such as Internet commerce and network security, the market has hit a wall as far as the end-user market is concerned. F&S says price levels for smart card ICs have declined by as much as 40% in the first and second quarters of 1998.  This decline is only a symptom, however, of the overcapacity in the market.  For instance, the Chinese market saw approximately 50 million cards sold in 1997, but the country’s capacity is approximately 250 million. Frost & Sullivan’s new studies, ‘Worldwide Smart Card Application Markets and Worldwide Smart Card ICs Markets’, is one of two studies depicting the reality of the smart cards market.

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New VISA PR Head

Amid turmoil in its PR department, VISA yesterday named former GM PR chief, John C. Onoda, as EVP for corporate relations for VISA U.S.A.. Onoda will be responsible for all corporate communications activities in the U.S., including: media relations; public relations; executive communications; employee communications; and communications support for other major VISA projects and issues. In his position at General Motors, Onoda had worldwide responsibility for all communications activities with direct responsibility for GM’s corporate communications function, including media relations, financial communications, internal communications, strategic communications, and communications relating to key public policy issues. Prior to his tenure at GM, Onoda served as vice president, corporate communications for Levi Strauss & Company, based in San Francisco.

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