GZS & Intl Software Partners Team

Programmer’s Paradise, Inc. announced last week that it’s wholly owned German subsidiary, International Software Partners, GmbH , has formed a strategic alliance with GZS, the largest German credit card processor. Under terms of the alliance, ISP*D will be a preferred supplier of the Internet/Intranet front-end platform of GZS’s Corporate Automated Purchasing System (CAPS), a purchasing card back-office electronic solution for corporates. eCAPS, as the front-end platform will be called, is a subset of ISP*D’s Electronic Commerce Ordering System, (e COS) which was introduced this past March.

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SCIA  Update

The Smart Card Industry’s Association’s Standards and Specifications Committee recently served as a forum for advancing the use of smart cards across a range of applications and multiple environments. The Committee showcased such progress at its last meeting by hosting three smart card consortiums Open Card Forum, PC/SC and the new Open Card Consortium. Representatives of Open Card Forum and PC/SC reported that their groups are adapting their respective systems so they will work compatibly. The Open Card Forum, with its application programmers perspective, is adapting its design and interface to work with the PC/SC structure. The PC/SC, for its part, is adapting its interfaces to those of the Forum’s application orientation. Open CardConsortium, formed during CardTech/SecurTech ’98 in Washington, D.C., will extend and promote Open Card Forum specifications and harmonize its work with the PC/SC. Founding members include IBM, Netscape, Sun, SCM, Bull, Schlumberger and Visa.

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Exec TeleCard Acquires ConnectSoft

Executive TeleCard, Ltd. and Connectsoft Communications Corporation, announced last week that they have signed an Asset Purchase Agreement under which Executive TeleCard will acquire substantially all of the operating assets of Connectsoft for the assumption of $4,500,000 of liabilities, consisting primarily of capitalized lease obligations and the agreement, subject to valuation targets and performance formulae, wherein AUGI may receive up to a 7.5% ownership interest in the new subsidiary of Executive TeleCard, which has been formed to acquire the operating assets, or like value in cash or Executive TeleCard stock, at the option of Executive TeleCard.

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First Data Gaming

First Data Financial Services, BA Merchant Services, Inc. and USA Processing formed a gaming funds transfer joint venture Friday. The joint venture, which has yet to be named, will provide a full range of electronic funds transfer and other services to more than 1,200 gaming properties nationwide.  Services offered through the joint venture will include credit card, debit card, ATM, Western Union Money Transfer services, and TeleCheck check cashing services.

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MasterCard Vision

MasterCard conducted an online forum last week to discuss lifestyle changes that will occur as smart card technology gains acceptance over the next five years. MasterCard believes multi-application smart cards will be an established technology in the payments business within the next five years. MasterCard projects that by the year 2010, all of MasterCard’s credit and debit cards and terminals will be chip-based. The forum included representatives from IBM, Hitachi, British Telecommunications, the U.S. GSA and The Tower Group.

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SLICK Coming

Betting Inc. has partnered with Novtech, a Florida electronics firm, to develop the first SLICK working model. The secured-line Internet computer keyboard (SLICK) will bypass the Internet completely. Looking like a regular keyboard, the SLICK will feature a card-reader insert for ATM cards, credit cards and stored-value smart cards; a modem; and a printer. The SLICK will use the consumer’s home phone to send a data transaction toll free to the ET&T bank host for bank-card authorization. The Internet merchant will be contacted over a private network to respond back with acknowledgment of SLICK payment. No information crosses the Internet. Betting Inc. is targeting November to begin selling the SLICK to Internet consumers.

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Providian’s Record Earnings

The nation’s largest secured card  and sub-prime issuer posted second quarter net income of $62.9 million, a 38% increase over net income of $45.7 million for the second quarter of 1997. Providian Financial said rapid growth in the company marketing to unbanked customers is driving profits. During the second quarter Providian signed-up 1.3 million new customer relationships and now has over six million total accounts, representing a 50% increase over the same period in 1997.  The company has $11.5 billion in total managed loans as of June 30, a 24% increase over the second quarter of 1997.The total managed net credit loss rate and the managed 31+ day delinquency rate, including the acquired portfolios, were better than expected at 7.56% and 4.90%, respectively. Providian’s 2Q/98 full earnings report is available via [www.carddata.com][1].

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

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First Data Slips

First Data Corp.’s total revenues fell 1% for the first half of 98 to $2.5 billion compared to the first half of 97. The company said the decline is due to FDC’s significant divestiture activity. FDC also posted an after-tax charge of $120.8 million resulting from delays in the conversion of Hong Kong-based credit card accounts and the general outlook for Asia. Meanwhile, second quarter merchant card volume increased 14% to $61 billion and transactions processed were up 12% to 1.1 billion. Merchant card revenues were up 1% for the quarter after being down 3% in the first quarter. Total domestic card accounts on file increased 23% to 174 million. International card services revenues were up 13% for the quarter to $70 million.  International accounts on file grew 32% from the prior year to 25 million. Payment instruments revenues were up 20% to $409 million. FDC’s 2Q/98 full earnings report is available via [www.carddata.com][1].

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

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Internet Casino V/MC Debit

It was bound to happen. Internet gaming has gone mainstream. An innovative company, licensed in the Dominican Republic, has become the first Internet gaming operation to issue VISA and MasterCard debit cards. Gamblers may establish an account by applying for a card on the company’s Web sites or by phone, and if approved, must deposit a minimum of $1,250 to back that debit card. Winnings will be deposited in the account. Players may not spend beyond the limits of their debit card deposits and their winnings. The cards are being issued by Internet Casino Sports Gaming (I.C.S.G.).

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PaySys’ Australia Success

PaySys International, Inc. announced Thursday that, in the first quarter of 1998, four of the six major banks in Australia and New Zealand have licensed VisionPLUS, PaySys’ standard-setting card management system. Some of the largest card-issuing banks, including National Australia Bank, ANZ Bank, Colonial State Bank, and, most recently, WestpacTrust (NZ) have all selected VisionPLUS as the system of choice for their credit card issuing, acquiring, and processing operations. PaySys has more than 20 credit card industry specialists working with its clients in Australia and New Zealand. PaySys International Pty Ltd, based in a newly developed business park near Melbourne, also works closely with PaySys sales and support groups in Singapore and Orlando, Florida.

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Atlanta Prefers VISA

Visa U.S.A. and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) today annonced the lauch of a marketing alliance that supports Atlanta as a premier leisure and business travel destination. This multi-year partnership will continue Visa’a marketing relationship with Atlanta, which began in 1993. Under the terms of the partnership, Visa will enhance its marketing and promotional support as a signature sponsor of ACVB asvertising and marketing programs. Visa’s present marketing campaign and designation as the “Official Card of Atlanta” will evolve to “Atlanta Prefers Visa.”

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