Luv Dat ATM

It also comes as no surprise to learn that most consumers prefer to get cash from ATMs than any other alternative. According to a study of electronic banking usage conducted by Analytica, Inc. for Magic Line, Inc., consumers have abandoned  the old “poke and hope” theory, whereby consumers will put the card in any machine and hope it works. Today, brand recognition is crucial among consumers when using cards at the ATM machine or in retail settings for purchases. Other Magic Line findings: about 69% of Americans have an ATM/debit card; 39% have used POS debit cards;   only 12.3% have made an Internet purchase with a payment card and 42% of those not using cards on-line said security was the reason.

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DoD  I.M.P.A.C.

It was no surprise that U.S. Bancorp’s Payment Systems division was awarded the Department of Defense’s purchasing card contract yesterday. The award gives U.S. Bancorp exclusive rights to issue purchasing cards to authorized Army, Air Force and DoD Agency users for three years with seven one-year renewal options.  This program will also include the development of systems enabling electronic commerce and related technology. U.S. Bank, through I.M.P.A.C. Government Services, has been the exclusive issuer of purchasing cards to all government agencies for the past decade.  In 1997, DoD – I.M.P.A.C. card purchases totaled nearly $2.75 billion on 6.2 million transactions. Originally used only for micro-purchases of $2,500 or less, more than 30% of I.M.P.A.C. cards are now authorized for higher single purchases limits, with many approved for purchases of $100,000 or more. Yesterday’s contract, to be effective Dec. 1, 1998, was awarded under provisions of a master government contract issued in Feb. by the GSA.

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Eltron Cuts Prices

Eltron International, manufacturer of thermal-label and plastic-card printers, announced Tuesday it has lowered prices on two of its popular printers. The new price of $3,995 for the P400 lowers the cost of dual- sided full color printing to $1,500 below that of the nearest competitor. The P500’s new price of $6,495 lowers the cost of printing and laminating cards to $1,000 below that of its nearest competitor. Primary applications for Eltron’s card printers include personal ID, security, access control, membership and loyalty cards, on-demand smart cards and magnetic- stripe cards.

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VA Joins IBAA EFT

ARLINGTON, Va. IBAA Bancard, the IBAA’s payment services subsidiary, announced today that its affiliation with the Virginia Association of Community Banks (VACB) has been expanded to include an endorsement of Bancard’s EFT, ATM and debit card programs. This announcement complements the VACB’s decision, last October, to join 32 other state banking associations that endorse Bancard’s credit card program. Forty-two Virginia banks are already participants in IBAA Bancard programs, issuing credit and debit cards at competitive rates.

“IBAA Bancard has a great deal to offer the locally owned and operated community banks that comprise the VACB,” remarked IBAA Bancard Director Ron Miller. Bancard’s EFT program is the most cost-effective way for our members to offer the cutting-edge technology their customers are demanding.

“I am very excited about adding Bancard’s EFT program to the list of IBAA products which we endorse,” said Patricia Satterfield, the state organization’s executive director. “In the time that we have been involved with IBAA Bancard, we’ve been very happy with the quality of service our members have received. Bancard’s mission of helping community banks stay independent and offer quality products and services to their customers is well aligned with the VACB’s commitment to community banking.”

“We are extremely proud that the VACB has chosen to endorse our EFT program. Through our partnership with Fiserv EFT, we are able to make debit and ATM services available to all IBAA members, ” noted IBAA Bancard Chairman Richard Mount.

IBAA Bancard was launched in 1985 by the Independent Bankers Association of America and provides community banks with the opportunity to become independent issuers of Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards. IBAA Bancard is the only national card program dedicated exclusively to the payment system needs of the nation’s community banks.

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FDC – KeyBank Check Alliance

Integrated Payment Systems Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corporation and KeyBank National Association, the $70 billion national banking unit of KeyCorp, announced Tuesday the creation of a strategic alliance in which the companies will provide remittance and check processing services to corporate clients.

Combined, the companies will offer corporations a full-service, value- added option for their cash management needs.  Integrated Payment Systems already is one of the country’s largest processors of money orders and official checks, having processed more than 250 million items valued at more than $350 billion in 1997.  KeyBank offers its experience as a leading financial institution, an extensive bank marketing network and its access to the Federal Reserve.  Integrated Payment Systems will manage check and remittance processing strategies and KeyBank will manage client relationships for the alliance.

The companies also announced the signing of Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) as their first joint client.  The alliance companies will process checks sent to TCI by approximately eight million customers each month in payment for their cable television services.

“The decision to use this service is a key component to our improving the quality of processing payments and information from our customers, which yields an even better customer experience,” said Barney Schotters, executive vice president and treasurer for TCI.

Neither the terms of the alliance or the TCI contract were disclosed.

“Effective check processing is basic blocking and tackling,” said Jack Calabrese, senior vice president, Operations, with Integrated Payment Systems. “And just like the basics of any business, some do it better than others.  In banking services, effective check processing gives you faster access to your funds and that equates to stronger cash flow, better investment decisions and maximizing investments.

“Our alliance with KeyBank is designed to provide regional corporate customers with all the benefits of an effective check and remittance processing program,” Calabrese continued.  “We offer our clients a complete package — from competitive pricing to faster funds availability — all based on many years of experience in the money order and official check processing businesses.”

“KeyBank is always looking for ways to improve or expand the spectrum of services we provide our clients either on their own or through a strategic partnership,” said Jim Peoples, president of KeyBank’s Colorado District. “This alliance with IPS enables us to enhance processing capabilities and add value for many of our own corporate clients.”

Integrated Payment Systems’ entry into third-party check and remittance processing was a strategic decision based on the company’s desire to reduce costs by becoming the processor of its own official checks and money orders. Although check processing has traditionally been done by banks, Integrated Payment Systems created an agreement in 1997 to utilize KeyBank’s Federal Reserve routing number to become its own check processor.

Based on Integrated Payment Systems’ success and additional capacity, the companies joined forces to sell check processing services to corporate clients.  The alliance gives KeyBank a strong local presence in check processing, which will allow it to expand and build stronger relationships with its customers.

KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest financial services companies with assets of approximately $73 billion.  Through four principal lines of business — corporate capital, consumer finance, community banking, and capital partners — the Cleveland-based company provides retail and wholesale banking, investment, financing, and money management services to individuals and companies across the U.S.  Key companies have a presence in 46 states from Maine to Alaska, including its network of KeyCenters, 2,200 ATMs, affiliate offices, and four telebanking centers (1-800-KEY2YOU) that provide financial products and services 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.  KeyCorp’s web site can be found at

Founded in 1992, Hackensack, NJ-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services.  First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money.  For additional information, please visit the company’s web site at .

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FICI – VisionPLUS

Columbia Capital Corp. announced yesterday that it has signed a new contract with PaySys International, Inc., for the use of its state-of-the-art credit card management system, VisionPLUS.

As part of the agreement, PaySys will market the processing services of Columbia’s wholly-owned subsidiary First Independent Computers, Inc. (FICI) to potential customers whose processing volumes are not sufficient to process in-house.

Ken Klotz, president of Columbia, stated, “There are many small- to medium-sized institutions that want to use industry leading software, but simply cannot afford the cost. Since PaySys is recognized as the leader in card processing software, they often receive inquiries from customers who are looking for new software or alternatives to their present third-party processors. PaySys is in the perfect position to refer those small- to medium-sized customers to FICI.”

PaySys’ CEO and president, Stephen Grubb added: “We at PaySys are very pleased to extend our fifteen year old FICI relationship with this new contract. The credit card industry is growing in its business and resulting processing complexity. We believe that the FICI/PaySys VisionPLUS solution provides an attractive alternative for bank and private label card issuers who wish to outsource their processing requirements. Banks, retailers, and finance companies seeking a state-of-the-art processing solution will find it at FICI.

“FICI joins eight other processors in various regions of the world who have selected VisionPLUS as the processing solution for their customers,” he continued, “FICI now offers a premier processing solution with premier service.”

PaySys has identified institutions who wish to transfer their processing to FICI, and anticipates that this will result in a significant number of new accounts for FICI within the next twelve months.

FICI has enjoyed a long-term relationship with PaySys and helped them develop the industry-standard CardPac software and the new, fully-integrated VisionPLUS system. This new contract expands the relationship between the two companies.

Mr. Klotz said that FICI is already in the process of converting some of its accounts onto VisionPLUS and hopes to have all of them converted before year-end.

The best-selling VisionPLUS, a Year 2000 compliant and user-friendly card management system, offers many enhancements not available with CardPac. As the latest evolution of the PaySys technology, it handles consumer loans, retail, and bankcard functionality all in one seamlessly integrated suite of systems.

PaySys International, Inc.’s () credit card management software-solutions are used by more banks, finance companies, processors and retail establishments throughout the world than any other system. PaySys employs over 400 people worldwide. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., PaySys also has support and development offices in Orlando, Fla. and Columbus, Ohio in the U.S. and internationally in Australia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Singapore and South Africa.

Columbia Capital Corp. operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Independent Computers, Inc., which is a multi-faceted information and transaction processing service organization. The services provided by the company include credit and debit card processing, health care industry processing, bank and financial services processing, and document management and distribution services. The company concentrates on a niche market, consisting of small- to medium-sized financial institutions that have not achieved the economics of scale to operate their own programs and systems.

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World MC Study

The first study on the ‘World MasterCard’ was released yesterday by Atlanta-based Brittain Associates. Brittain says there are just three issuers of the new product: Bank of America, Household and First USA. BofA and First USA are charging a $49 annual fee while Household’s version comes with a $75 annual fee. Brittain also says BofA and Household require a minimum household income of $50,000, while First USA has lowered the threshold to $30,000.

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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.

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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

Consumers:
· convenience, saves time and money
· option to revolve

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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.

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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

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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.

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