FUSA  Hockey Grand Prize

Police sergeant Jay Bruner “struck it rich” in mining town Elko, Nevada, as Wendy’s “Go For the Goal” USA Hockey $100,000 grand prize winner.

At least every other day, Bruner “panned for gold” by stopping at Wendy’s for his favorite Big Bacon Classic Hamburger, baked potato and the sweepstakes gamepiece.  Because no instant winner was named in the original scratch-off game, Wendy’s solicited entries for a Second Chance Drawing.  Bruner, who was selected from more than 260,000 entries, is convinced it was his six entries that ultimately gave him the Midas touch.

A 44-year-old police sergeant, Bruner plans to buy a new car and take the honeymoon he and his wife of one year were never able to take.

“I ate a lot of great tasting hamburgers plus I had a chance to win great prizes,” said Bruner.  “I don’t know why, but from the very beginning, I just knew that I had a good chance at winning.”

The Wendy’s “Go For the Goal” game was a joint promotion with USA Hockey, Dodge and USA Hockey VISA card, issued by First USA, a BANC ONE subsidiary. Game cards, which came with every purchase, displayed four hockey pucks.  By scratching the correct puck, customers had the chance of winning $100,000 from the First USA Hockey VISA, a ’98 Dodge Durango, a ’98 Dodge Intrepid, or one of five $10,000 cash prizes along with other USA Hockey licensed products and Wendy’s menu items.

In 1997, Wendy’s announced their multi-year sponsorship with the National Hockey League (NHL) to become an official sponsor of USA Hockey, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association in the United States.  The deal marked Wendy’s first national sports sponsorship and made Wendy’s hamburgers the “Official Hamburger of the NHL.”

USA Hockey, Inc., is the National Governing Body for the sport of hockey in the United States.  As such, its mission is to promote the growth of hockey in America and to provide the best possible experience for all participants by encouraging, developing, advancing and administering the sport.  Comprised of over 525,000 members, USA Hockey develops and implements ice and inline programs for players, coaches, officials and parents nationwide.

First USA (), a subsidiary of BANC ONE CORPORATION, is a financial services company specializing in the credit card business and is among the largest providers of VISA, MasterCard and private-label credit cards in the nation.  First USA has approximately 40.1 million cards issued and $39.6 billion in total loans outstanding.

Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburger Restaurants was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas, who named the chain after one of his daughters.  In 1995, Wendy’s merged with Tim Hortons, the second largest quick service restaurant chain in Canada, which features coffee and fresh baked goods.  There are more than 5,300 Wendy’s restaurants worldwide and 1,600 Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada and the U.S., with combined annual sales of more than $6 billion.


Paymentech Targets Insurance Industry

Paymentech, the nation’s third largest electronic payment solutions provider, today introduced to the insurance industry its automatic payment service for recurring billing. The program enables insurance companies to automatically receive monthly customer payments. The announcement was made during the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association conference, a leading insurance industry gathering held this year in Nashville, Tenn.

Paymentech, the largest processor of credit card payments for direct marketing and on-line services, sees growing interest within the services industry for automated solutions. Responding to market research by MasterCard and Visa, Paymentech has begun offering electronic payment programs that are tailored to the insurance industry.

Over half of the top 20 companies in automobile, property/casualty and life insurance currently offer some type of credit card acceptance, said Gary Beck, senior director for Paymentech’s recurring payments program. However, automated monthly or quarterly payment is a new option.

With a recurring payments program, consumers can choose to have their credit card, debit card or checking account automatically cover their automobile, property/casualty or life insurance premiums. Customers simply authorize the automatic payment and receive a statement for their records. Insurance providers then electronically collect receivables. Research also indicates that credit card acceptance can help close the initial sale and reduce walk-in payments.

As a convenience to cardholders, recurring payment programs can also improve customer service and retention, said Beck. Credit card usage has established a small foothold within insurance, accounting for less than 2% of all premium payments. Automated billing can accelerate use.

Consumer research conducted by MasterCard shows that a third of customers prefer making recurring payments by credit card, said Beck. Consumers find recurring payments easy. There are no checks to write, stamps to buy or bills to mail.

Operational benefits can include improved cash flow and faster credit to an insurance company’s account, as check payment delays are eliminated. Streamlined operations and lower statement mailing costs are other advantages to insurance companies. Recurring payments can also provide a foundation for the development of automated, paperless billing processes such as Internet, E-mail and voice response units (VRU).

Paymentech arranges for payments to be handled according to an insurance customer’s preference. Paymentech processes a monthly billing file of payments with all authorized and successfully cleared card and electronic check transactions.

Paymentech, founded in 1985, is the leading provider of full-service electronic payment solutions to the direct response industry. The company processed 1.6 billion transactions and $46 billion in sales volume during 1997. Paymentech is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions and a leading issuer of commercial cards in the United States.

Recurring Payments Fact Sheet

Recurring payments (RPs) account for over $500 billion in all types of annual payments.  Less than 2% is currently captured on cards. Approximately 5% of payments are made through direct debits of consumer checking accounts (Nilson Report, August 1996). According to a MasterCard survey, 93% of all types of recurring bills are paid by a written check; however, 36% of consumers use some type of recurring payment for at least one bill. Automatic payment type preferences were —

· checking account debit (electronic check processing)
· paycheck deduction
· credit card recurring

Insurance Statistics

According to industry surveys, the total annual premium payments for home owners, auto and life insurance is $306 billion.  Of that figure, total credit card volume accounted for about $767 million.

Benefits of RPs
Merchants (service industry):
· secure transactions
· improved collections
· improved customer service and retention
· streamlined processing

· convenience, saves time and money
· option to revolve


NeuralTech Hires Equifax Exec

NeuralTech, Inc. announced Monday that it has appointed Guy P. Clifton as Vice President of Worldwide Sales.  Mr. Clifton joins NeuralTech, Inc. from Equifax, Inc., where he was most recently Vice President of Sales for Equifax Card Solutions.

Commenting on Mr. Clifton’s appointment, President and Chief Executive Officer John Cramp said, “Guy has over 20 years experience in managing sales for high-growth software companies, nationally and internationally. We believe his knowledge of technology in the financial services market is an ideal fit with NeuralTech products.”

As Vice President, Sales for Equifax, Inc., Mr. Clifton was responsible for software sales activities throughout North and South America.  Before joining Equifax, he was National Sales Manager for the Card Processing Services Division of Electronic Data Systems, Inc. (EDS) selling various consumer and commercial credit card, debit card and other processing products to the banking industry.   From 1983 through 1994, Mr. Clifton served as Vice President, Sales for Paysys International, Inc. (previously known as Credit Card Software, Inc.) where he played a key role in building annual sales from $0 to over $25 million, selling software solutions in over 25 countries.  Prior to Paysys, Mr. Clifton held several other sales management positions where he sold software solutions to the financial services industry.

“NeuralTech is in the middle of a new wave of artificial intelligence/expert system technology being introduced into the financial services market,” said Mr. Clifton.  “It is a rare opportunity to join a company such as NeuralTech in its entrepreneurial phase and I am excited about being a part of its future.”

NeuralTech is a leading provider of strategic adaptive intelligent solutions to the financial services industry.  CADRE is the one industry specific, automated dispute resolution system that is optimized to significantly reduce the cost of chargeback and dispute processing. SHERLOCK is a neural based risk management application that yields improved revenue to loss ratio for merchant acquirers and card issuers.


Visual Advantage Unveiled

MobiNetix Systems, Inc., a premier provider of consumer-activated electronic transaction (e-Transaction) solutions, Monday announced Visual Advantage, the first-to-market rapid application development (RAD) tool designed specifically for interactive, e-Transaction applications. Visual Advantage allows developers to customize and easily modify screen displays on PenWare 3000 series e-Transaction terminals.

Visual Advantage completes an overall business solution encompassing both software and hardware. This innovative product gives retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance and security identification industries a powerful tool to enhance and manage their day-to-day business and improve customer service.

“With Visual Advantage, MobiNetix is the first company to deliver a total interactive transaction solution that encompasses rapid application development tools, easy-to-use, comprehensive software and innovative hardware,” said Aziz Valliani, CEO and president of MobiNetix. “Offering easy control of on-screen display for PenWare transaction terminals gives system integrators and retail IS staff a best-of-class solution with significant time and cost savings. This is a strong addition to our hardware and software solutions that have already been proven by major retailers.”

MobiNetix will be demonstrating Visual Advantage and the new PenWare3100 e-Transaction terminal (also introduced today) at Retail Systems 98 (Booth No. 451).

Visual Advantage Benefits

Visual Advantage lets a programmer easily create a screen display for the PenWare3000 series of terminals. Designing a screen is as simple as using a drawing program. Objects such as boxes, buttons, pictures and lines can be created easily to compose ads and graphics, capture a signature, read a credit card, display special promotions and construct forms for user input.

Because it is so easy to create and program these display screens, developers can constantly revise and update their systems in a timely manner. Additionally, Visual Advantage affords users the capability to add other functionality, such as customer demographic surveys, to the devices as needed.

Visual Advantage, an add-in to the Visual Basic (VB) 5.0 development environment, dramatically cuts programming time through the use of Scripts or VB code for simplifying screen display and functionality changes on the PenWare transaction peripherals.

Visual Advantage offers two modes of programming: Script coding using Visual Basic and pure Visual Basic language. Script coding is for applications that reside on the PenWare transaction terminal and integrate with existing applications. Visual Basic language is for applications that reside on a Windows 95/98/NT PC or electronic cash register and are stand-alone. This flexibility allows integration with all environments.

System Requirements

Visual Advantage requires Visual Basic 5.0, 10 MB of available hard disk space, and MobiNetix PenWare3000 series transaction terminals.

Pricing and Availability

Visual Advantage has a suggested list price of $1,695 (U.S.) and is expected to be available in July.

PenWare3100 and PenWare3000

The MobiNetix PenWare3100 andPenWare3000 e-Transcation terminals include several innovative features, including: a built-in three-track magnetic stripe reader for accepting debit and credit cards; a backlit LCD screen for display of point-of-transaction information; advertising and promotional capabilities; a touch-screen display for PIN, data entry and customer signatures; and an easy migration path to MobiNetix’s smart card reading technology.

About MobiNetix

MobiNetix Systems, Inc., specializes in providing state-of-the-art, consumer activated e-transaction systems to the retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance and identification/security markets.

MobiNetix offers touch screen terminals for electronic funds transfer, interactive communication, data collection and a suite of software applications that enable e-transaction solutions on device platforms such as the PenWare3100. Additional information is available at [www.mobinetix.com][1], by sending e-mail to [info@mobinetix.com][2], or by calling 1-408-524-4200.

[1]: http://www.mobinetix.com
[2]: mailto:info@mobinetix.com


Phil Collins Unplugged

British rocker Phil Collins stopped by the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles last night, not to entertain, but to unveil a watercolor painting he created for Discover’s ‘Private Issue Card’.  Collins is one of three celebrity artists whose works will be featured on the 1998 series of ‘Private Issue’ celebrity art credit cards.  The 1998 ‘Private Issue Card’ will also feature a painting by country music star Randy Travis and a second in a series of works by the late Jerry Garcia. Collins painted a seascape featuring a rowboat amid a setting of sand dunes, sea and sky.  In addition to featuring Collins’ artwork on its credit card, ‘Private Issue’ is also currently sponsoring The Phil Collins Big Band U.S. tour which concludes June 30 in New York City at a benefit concert for Make-A-Wish Foundation.


PMT Revenues Up 35%

PMT Services, Inc. announced record financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 1998 yesterday. For the third quarter, which ended April 30, 1998, revenues increased 35.2% to a record $102,559,000 from $75,866,000 for the third quarter of fiscal 1997. Fully taxed net income before nonrecurring expenses also increased to a record of $6,686,000, up 42.9% from $4,678,000. Fully taxed earnings per diluted share before nonrecurring expenses for the latest quarter increased 27.3% to $0.14 from $0.11 for the third quarter of fiscal 1997. These results excluded nonrecurring merger-related expenses and included a normalized tax rate of 38% to reflect fully taxed results of merged entities as if they had historically been C Corporations instead of Sub-Chapter S Corporations.

Revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 1998 were $295,884,000, an increase of 28.5% from $230,266,000 for the same period in fiscal 1997. Fully taxed net income before nonrecurring expenses rose 36.5% to $19,178,000, or $0.40 per diluted share, from $14,052,000, or $0.32 per diluted share. These results reflect the same adjustments discussed above.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Roberts said, “As is clearly evident in the third quarter’s results, PMT has continued to benefit from the successful implementation of its growth strategies. These strategies are based on the ongoing expansion of our merchant portfolio, both through internal merchant account generation, as well as the purchase of merchant portfolios or the acquisition of existing businesses. As a result of our efforts to expand PMT’s field sales force during the past two years, the Company now generates approximately 4,000 new merchant accounts each month. In addition, during the third quarter, we completed three portfolio purchases and the acquisition of an existing independent service organization.

“The expansion of the merchant portfolio was primarily accountable for the growth in quarterly revenues to above $100 million for the first time in PMT’s history. The economies of scale produced by this growth, combined with revenue enhancement programs and better vendor pricing, produced a substantial increase in the Company’s gross profit margin for the quarter to 29.3% as compared to 28.2% for the third quarter of fiscal 1997.

“Given the highly fragmented nature of PMT’s small merchant market place and the Company’s position as one of the leading providers among its peers, we are confident of our prospects for further revenue growth and margin expansion. Since the end of the third quarter, we have completed two additional transactions – a merchant portfolio purchase and the acquisition of MBN National which increased our aggregate transactions for fiscal 1998 to date to nine. Together, these nine purchases or acquisitions have added annualized charge volume of approximately $4.4 billion to the Company’s base of approximately $12 billion in annualized charge volume at the end of fiscal 1997.”

PMT Services, Inc. is an independent service organization which markets and services electronic credit card authorization and payment systems to small retail and professional businesses located throughout the United States. PMT’s account portfolio has grown through the internal development of accounts using telemarketing and a field sales force as well as through the purchase of account portfolios. PMT is one of the largest independent service organizations in the country.

Investors are cautioned that this release contains forward- looking statements, such as those relating to PMT’s ability to produce continued profitable growth and the continued consolidation of the electronic transaction processing industry, that are based upon current expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual operations and results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements made by the Company. The factors that could cause actual results to vary include PMT’s ability to retain and expand its field sales force; the ongoing performance of the field sales and telemarketing personnel; the actual production of new accounts by alliance partners; the Company’s ability to integrate acquisitions successfully with its processing systems and products and to account for acquisitions as poolings of interests; the availability of attractive acquisition targets; the availability of capital, attrition of merchants from acquired portfolios; and other trends or uncertainties as noted in PMT’s periodic filings with the SEC.

                           PMT SERVICES, INC.
                     Unaudited Financial Highlights
                  (in thousands, except per share data)

                           Three Months Ended      Nine Months Ended
                                April 30,              April 30, 
                            1998        1997       1998         1997 
Revenues                 $ 102,559    $ 75,866   $295,884    $ 230,266
Net income(1)            $   6,509    $  4,543   $ 18,554    $  12,743
Earnings per share:(1)
  Basic                  $    0.14    $   0.10   $   0.40    $    0.29
  Diluted                $    0.13    $   0.10   $   0.39    $    0.29
Weighted average shares
  Basic                     47,694      43,471     46,881       43,236
  Diluted                   48,998      44,492     47,985       44,437

(1) Includes nonrecurring expenses related to merger transactions and excludes adjustments necessary to reflect the fully taxed results of acquisitions as if they had historically been C Corporations instead of Sub-Chapter S Corporations. Pro forma results excluding nonrecurring expenses and reflecting a full tax rate (38%) are shown below:

                           Three Months Ended     Nine Months Ended
                               April 30,               April 30, 
    Pro Forma Results:      1998        1997       1998         1997 
    Net income            $  6,686    $  4,678   $ 19,178    $  14,052
    Diluted earnings per
     share                $   0.14    $   0.11   $   0.40    $    0.32


Equifax – Unisys Doc Image Deal

Unisys Corp. announced Monday that it has been selected to implement a document imaging solution and a computer output to laser disk (COLD) solution at Equifax Card Solutions Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla. Equifax, the third largest credit card processor in the United States, provides services to more than 21 million cardholders. The new solutions are designed to handle more efficiently the paperwork generated from the written customer dispute department, and to improve other customer operations, such as client phone service, lost/stolen card processing, and fraud prevention.

Equifax provides debit and credit card processing services to over 5,500 financial institutions nationwide. As part of its full-service offering, Equifax handles more than 4,000 cardholder dispute inquiries per day.

Renz Nichols, Equifax vice president of Cardholder Services, said, “We must automate and streamline our cardholder servicing process to continue to deliver a premium service to our institutions’ cardholders, and Unisys is helping us get there.”

![][1] To address this need, Equifax selected Unisys to assist in developing a powerful integrated solution. The Unisys system comprises the Microsoft Windows NT-based, Unisys InfoImage Folder with Desktop Manager, which incorporates imaging and workflow features. It also includes a COLD system that handles storage and retrieval functions. The Unisys system is designed to integrate with Equifax’s existing mainframe-based card processing system.

“Our goal is for service representatives to have real-time, electronic access to all the information necessary to resolve customer inquiries at a single point of contact,” said Nichols. “We chose Unisys because they were the only provider that could offer us a complete imaging solution, including design, implementation, training, and integration support.”

Although the primary benefits are improved customer service, faster turnaround time, and increased customer retention, Equifax anticipates improved productivity and efficiency throughout the card processing operation. Once the new platform is fully implemented in St. Petersburg, Equifax plans to replicate the system throughout its global card operation.

About Equifax

Equifax’s worldwide knowledge-based information, transaction processing, consulting, and software businesses are designed to bring buyers and sellers together, thus changing the shape of global commerce. Equifax serves the banking, financial, retail, credit card, telecommunications/utilities, automotive, government, and health care industries. It is a leading supplier of business information solutions in Canada, the UK, and Latin America. Equifax operates in 17 countries with sales in 42 countries.

Founded in 1899 in Atlanta, Equifax today has 10,000 employees around the world. Revenues for the twelve months ended March 31, 1998 were more than $1.4 billion. Visit the company’s Internet web site at [http://www.equifax.com][2].

About Unisys

Unisys is an information technology solutions provider that has a portfolio of information services, technologies and third-party alliances needed to help clients capitalize on their information asset to enhance their competitiveness and responsiveness to customers.

Unisys expertise is founded on the strengths of three global businesses:

Information Services, providing consulting, application solutions, systems integration and outsourcing; Computer Systems, providing industry-leading technologies; and Global Customer Services, delivering comprehensive services and products supporting distributed computing environments. Access the Unisys home page on the World Wide Web — [http://www.unisys.com][3] — for further information.

[1]: /graphic/equifax/equifax.gif
[2]: http://www.equifax.com/
[3]: http://www.unisys.com/


PenWare 3100 E-Terminal

MobiNetix Systems, Inc. , a premier provider of consumer-activated electronic transaction (e-Transaction) solutions, announced Monday the PenWare3100 interactive e-Transaction terminal.

The new product enables e-Transactions by combining consumer-activated communication, credit/debit card reading, and secure electronic signature capture capabilities for point-of sale and point-of-service, or simply, point-of-transaction. The new product is ideally suited for the retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance and identification/security markets.

Federated Department Stores, Inc., has recently signed a contract with MobiNetix to purchase approximately 29,000 PenWare3100 units. Federated has begun installing the devices in more than 400 department stores in 36 states.

“Our new offering is a natural evolution of the PenWare product line,” said Aziz Valliani, president and CEO of MobiNetix Systems, Inc. “Our customers want a device that offers valuable marketing tools and interactive communication capabilities. In short order, the PenWare3100 pays for itself through the improved efficiency of operations.”

MobiNetix will be demonstrating the PenWare3100 e-Transaction terminal and the new Visual Advantage developer’s software (also introduced today) at Retail Systems 98 (Booth No. 451).

PenWare3100 Features

Designed to promote the growing popularity of paperless transactions, the PenWare3100 shortens the time it takes to conduct a secure payment transaction. The unit features an easy-to-read backlit screen, three-track magnetic stripe reader and an open-platform expandable design for easy migration to new smart card technologies.

Additionally, the PenWare3100 provides adjustable screen brightness settings, and can be loaded with larger fonts for special needs customers. The screen mirrors the familiar pen-and-paper experience, making the unit intuitive and easy-to-use. The PenWare3100 also offers advanced signature compression and encryption for added security. With a simple swipe of a driver’s license, identification data can be verified and linked to electronic signature capture.

PenWare3100 Benefits

The PenWare3100 supports electronic payment processing through the use of a payment card with PIN number entry via a touch-sensitive screen. This feature not only eliminates paper trails, which reduces storage and retrieval expenses, it also helps prevent fraudulent use of the transaction data. The PenWare3100 is fully programmable for text and graphics display to enable interactive user communication, providing for user feedback, and the monitoring and improving of customer satisfaction. Furthermore, in retail environments, valuable demographic information can be collected for use in developing point-of-transaction promotions and targeted advertising.

PenWare3100 Technology

The PenWare3100 offers superior migration to more comprehensive solutions using the secure ISA bus port for the addition of a smartcard module, checkreader or printer. An optional PCMCIA slot for modem or expanded memory, and optional IRDA (infrared data transfer) for up to eight feet of wireless communication eliminates the expense of additional equipment and complicated cabling.

The MobiNetix Visual Advantage Software Application Complementing the PenWare3100 terminal, MobiNetix’s Visual Advantage software (also announced today) allows for the rapid application development (RAD) of e-Transaction applications. Based on a Visual Basic programming environment and as easy to use as a drawing program, Visual Advantage allows developers to quickly customize and modify screen displays on PenWare 3000 series e-Transaction terminals, offering both time and cost savings.

About MobiNetix

MobiNetix Systems, Inc., specializes in providing state-of-the-art, consumer activated e-transaction systems to the retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance and identification/security markets.

MobiNetix offers touch screen electronic funds transfer, interactive communication, data collection and a suite of software applications that enable e-transaction solutions on device platforms such as the PenWare3100.

MobiNetix pioneered pressure-sensitive screen technology, and was the first to deploy an electronic signature capture system. The PenWare line of products is used to conduct over 3.5 million paperless transactions worldwide everyday. Additional information is available at [http://www.mobinetix.com][1], by sending e-mail to [info@mobinetix.com][2], or by calling 1-408-524-4200.

[1]: http://www.mobinetix.com/
[2]: mailto:info@mobinetix.com


Delinquency Jitters ???

The American Bankers Association reported Monday that 30+ day credit card delinquencies for the first quarter were either up or down, depending on how you compare the numbers. Compared to the fourth quarter, delinquency, based on number of accounts, is up 7 basis points to 3.11%, However, compared to the first quarter of last year, delinquency, based on number of accounts, is down 40 basis points.  If you look at dollars past due instead of accounts, the same picture appears, but not as dramatically. According to ABA tabulations, 5.42% of total card receivables were delinquent during the first quarter, up 4 basis points from year end, but down 1 basis point from the first quarter of 1997. Despite the mixed numbers, the ABA reportedly used yesterday’s release to bolster arguments for bankruptcy reform.


VISA + SpeedPass

CT-based Webster Bank became the first bank to feature the ‘Visa Check Card’ and ‘Mobil Speedpass’ in combination yesterday. Each new checking account opened at Webster until the end of June will be accompanied by a free Webster ‘Visa Check Card’ and a free ‘Mobil Speedpass’, which will be directly connected to the ‘Check Card’ for gasoline purchases at Mobil stations.  Customers opening a new Webster checking account will also receive a $25  ‘Mobil GO Card’ (pre-paid gas card) for a free Mobil gas fill-up until they receive their ‘Mobil Speedpass’ device.  The promotion will run through the end of June.


Free I-Banking

First Chicago NBD launched its free Internet bank Monday, which gives customers access to their eligible personal accounts and the ability to transfer funds between their accounts from any computer connected to the Internet using a secure browser. The Internet bank is located at . Customers who sign up online can begin using the Internet bank the next morning.  To sign up online, customers need their First Chicago ATM or Banking Card number and PIN, a Social Security number and a secure browser. Customers without an ATM or Banking card can sign up through an email application or by phone. Internet banking is now available to all retail customers of The First National Bank of Chicago, and will be available to NBD Bank retail customers in Michigan and Indiana later in the year.


Complex POS Coming

The trend within the financial transaction industry towards increasingly more payment options, and the resulting transaction complexity, will require deployment of a new generation of point-of-sale terminals, according to an international survey of POS equipment and software distributors released yesterday by Hypercom Corporation.

Hypercom developed the survey in conjunction with its annual International Distributors Conference here last week attended by more than 150 distributors, representatives and delegates from 50 countries.

Attendees representing countries ranging from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan to the U.K, Brazil and Argentina were surveyed to gauge international trends and market issues including smart cards, electronic commerce and the integration of POS and virtual payment systems over the Internet.

The survey revealed two key trends: Terminal operation is shifting from the cashier to the cardholder; and the combined need to support more transaction operations together with cardholder operation is not being met adequately by the current generation of PIN pads and terminals. The international distributors agreed (54%) that deploying new POS applications will require terminals that allow consumers to easily and accurately make transaction choices at the point-of-sale.

“Smart cards bring in new applications that require more than just adding a smart card reader,” said George Wallner, Chairman of Hypercom Corporation. “Smart cards can enable multiple applications including stored value, loyalty and electronic coupons, and medical payments and benefits transfer that require a far more complex transaction entry environment than exists today. Success requires that the industry deploy an entirely new generation of interactive, customer-activated terminals that are highly intuitive and easy to for the customer to use.”

International Survey/Hypercom

A majority of survey participants (62%) said deployment of an infrastructure to support smart card use is crucial to the success of the technology. Less than a third (32%) believe that consumer acceptance is a barrier to smart card success. Additional key findings from the survey include:

—   Vertical markets most likely to be impacted by rapid growth of multipurpose cards include healthcare (45%) and loyalty programs (32%).

—   Retail (33%), telecommunications (28%) and banking/finance (22%) were cited as the fastest growing international vertical markets for smart cards.

—   Value-add programs (e.g. loyalty and reward programs) are fundamental in attracting new customers (42%) as well as differentiation of services in the marketplace (37%).

—   E-commerce is considered by many businesses (52%) as a competitive advantage.

—   There was an almost even split among those who think that within the next year electronic commerce will explode in the US with the rest of the world quickly following (40%), and those who think it is too early to tell whether e-commerce will live up to expectations (42%). Respondents were almost unanimous that-commerce must address consumer reliance on the “touch and feel” they experience with current financial transactions such as card-based debit and credit transactions.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Hypercom Corporation is enjoying fast growth in its terminal business, which is experiencing a resurgence mainly due to a terminal upgrade cycle that has started in many markets. The company also supplies Internet-based payment processing solutions. Hypercom provides innovative solutions for delivering and processing secure electronic payments and the infrastructure to quickly and cost-effectively integrate and deploy new payment applications.

Hypercom’s end-to-end product family of terminals, peripherals, POS network products and software enables merchants and service providers to automate credit, debit and other electronic payment transactions with seamless integration, scalability and interoperability. 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 [http://www.hypercom.com][1].

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