CADRE System

NeuralTech and Frederick, MD-based Merlin Solutions signed an agreement whereby Merlin Solutions will use the NeuralTech ‘CADRE’  system to process disputes on behalf of its customers who are credit card acquirers and their processors.The ‘CADRE’ system, currently installed in 4 out of 10 of the nation’s largest merchant acquirers, delivers a highly modular interactive software solution that automates each phase of the dispute resolution process. ‘CADRE’ provides interactive customer service case management; sales draft retrieval requests; chargeback initiation; representment processing; and cardholder contact and correspondence management. ‘CADRE’ utilizes NeuralTech’s expert system technology, which codifies the VISA/MasterCard Association rules governing dispute resolution.


Falcon Cheque

HNC Software announced the general availability of ‘Falcon Cheque’ yesterday to combat the $1 billion-per-year check fraud problem in the U.S.. ‘Falcon Cheque’ is a check fraud detection solution that builds upon HNC’s predictive software technologies currently used by top bank card issuers worldwide to prevent fraud. ‘Falcon Cheque’ runs in the bank’s check processing center and uses neural networks and HNC’s proprietary behavior profiling technology to uncover fraud on all types of check transactions, including savings account, ATM, ACH, and on-line banking. Using a neural network-based fraud model, the product evaluates each item and compares the prediction with an accurate model of the accountholder’s normal check usage. The software can address in-stream, off-line batch and real-time processing paths. When suspect-check data is uncovered, it is routed to the bank’s existing remedy systems. ‘Falcon Cheque’ is delivered with an algorithm for bottom-line return optimization, ranking out-sorted fraud cases in the order of potential dollars saved.


Panama ACH Net

Equifax announced Wednesday that it assisted Centro de Intercambio Automatizado, S.A. to establish the first ACH network with same-day settlement in Panama.  The banking organization has purchased and installed ‘GOLDNET’ electronic banking software from Equifax’s Goldleaf Technologies, making Panama the first Central American country to implement an ACH network on a national scale. Those banks already on the network represent one-fifth of the banks in Panama. ‘GOLDNET’ software is already in use in the U.S. and at the Central Bank in Aruba.


ABH Up 52% for 2Q

American Bank Note Holographics, Inc. announced yesterday the results for the second quarter ended June 30, 1998.

ABH’s sales for the second quarter increased 52% to $9.6 million from $6.3 million for the same quarter in 1997, while net income increased 60% to $2.3 million, or $.17 per share, from $1.4 million, or $.10 per share in 1997. Revenues for the six month period ended June 30, 1998 were up 44% to $16.6 million from $11.5 million in 1997, while net income nearly doubled to $4.1 million, or $.30 per share, from $2.1 million, or $.15 per share, in the first half of 1997.

Josh Cantor, President of ABH, commented, “We are pleased with the results for the quarter and first six months of the year. Our strong performance reflects expanded sales of secure holographic products. These results reflect the Company’s continued commitment to revenue growth and margin improvements.”

American Bank Note Holographics (“ABH”) is a world leader in the origination, production, and marketing of mass-produced secure holograms. The Company’s holograms are used for security applications, such as counterfeiting protection for credit and other transaction cards, identification cards and documents of value, as well as for tamper resistance and authentication of high-value consumer and industrial products.

               (In thousands, except per share amounts)

                                 Three Months Ended   Six Months Ended
                                     June 30,            June 30,
                                 1998     1997       1998       1997

Sales                          $ 9,581   $ 6,296   $16,616  $11,537
Cost of goods sold               4,007     2,591     6,445    5,220
  Gross profit                   5,574     3,705    10,171    6,317
Selling and administrative
expense                         1,502     1,103     2,758    2,413
  EBITDA                         4,072     2,602     7,413    3,904
Depreciation  and amortization
expense                           292       288       584      581
Operating income                 3,780     2,314     6,829    3,323
Interest income, net (expense)     (26)      106       (21)     215
Income before taxes              3,754     2,420     6,808    3,538
Tax on income                    1,475       998     2,736    1,459
Net income                     $ 2,279   $ 1,422   $ 4,072  $ 2,079
Earnings per common share –
basic and diluted             $  0.17   $  0.10   $  0.30  $  0.15
Shares used in computing per
share amounts                  13,636    13,636   13,636    13,636


VISA Online Promo

VISA and N2K’s Music Boulevard also put together a marketing alliance Wednesday to promote the use of N2K’s online music service. The joint venture will produce a variety of marketing and promotional programs designed to build business on Music Boulevard and expand VISA’s presence on the Internet. Under the terms of the agreement, Music Boulevard will designate VISA as its preferred form of payment. VISA will receive branding throughout the Music Boulevard online music store, including the site’s home page and each section of Music Boulevard’s registration pages. VISA also will be the default payment card in the site’s credit card choice bar and will be branded throughout commerce-enabled areas of The Music Boulevard Network.


New Smart Card Factory

Schlumberger Test & Transactions opened a new state-of-the-art facility Tuesday that will provide its Mexican banking customers with enhanced plastic card production capabilities and the largest personalization center in the country. Formal operations begin this morning. Schlumberger Mexico will be ready to locally produce and personalize a total monthly output of 5 million magnetic stripe cards, 5 million smart cards and 30 million checks as part of its global business solution for the banking sector. Schlumberger Mexico already counts 18 banks among its customers.


Equi:Money VISA

Michigan National Bank rolled out a new card product based on home equity Tuesday called the ‘Equi:Money VISA Gold’. Besides offering tax deductible interest and a low interest rate, the new secured credit card offers an interest-free grace period on new purchases even when an account carries a balance forward from the previous month. In addition, ‘Equi:Money VISA Gold’ offers cardholders the option to enroll in Michigan National’s ‘Relationship Rewards’  program, which allows them to receive special benefits and added discounts on many banking products and services. The card carries a prime+2% rate for balances under $25k, prime+0.5% for balances between $25k and $50k and the prime rate+0% for balances over $50k. The annual fee is $40 with a first year fee waiver. The card is targeted to Michigan homeowners.


Driver Cards

Gemplus announced Tuesday that it is providing 2 million smart cards for large driver’s license projects in Argentina and El Salvador through its partner TALSUD SA, a systems integrator in the identification market. The new driver’s license projects will be rolled out beginning in the third quarter of 1998, and will continue over the next two years. The ID solution will enable the governments involved to keep more accurate and current records of traffic violations, and will help prevent license counterfeiting. The solution will use Gemplus’ ‘GemClub’ smart card, a re-programmable smart card that makes it possible to create and delete files, update data and add new information from remote terminals.


Falcon Card

VA-based 3-G International and CT-based Product Technologies announced that they have jointly developed the first multi-application EMV card with independently-loaded applications. The new ‘Falcon Card’  represents a smart card solution for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The system, which was initially rolled out in May, includes PTi’s ‘SmartCity’ e-purse platform and 3GI’s multiple application smart card platform. 3GI says the system was designed to allow the ‘Falcon Card’ to be independent yet interoperable with the U.S. Department of Defense smart card program. ‘SmartCity’ is PTi’s turnkey smart card based e-purse application. ‘SmartCity’ also manages the system’s back office, including card issuing, transaction processing, settlement, and database management.