Home ATM

Comerica introduced ‘Comerica Home ATM’ yesterday which transfers the universal experience of using an ATM to the consumer’s personal computer. The ‘Comerica Home ATM’ program screens look and work just like a typical ATM that consumers already know how to use, as a matter-of-fact the guide to get started is only one page.  Customers have the ability review accounts, retrieve monthly statements, perform balance inquiries, and transfer funds between accounts. Customers can also use the new service to pay bills, using screens that look just like a check. Monthly service fees will vary according to region, but will generally range between $5.95 – $7.95.  The software is free and customers receive the first 60 days free. Comerica worked with software developers at Home Financial Network in Westport, CT to create ‘Comerica Home ATM’.

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Beating Fraud

MasterCard International reported Monday the lowest fraud to sales ratio since the association began tracking fraud statistics. Worldwide fraud basis points (the measurement of fraud against sales volume) for 1997 declined to 7.7, representing a 14.4% decrease in basis points and the lowest basis points level in more than ten years. This compares to 9.0 basis points in 1996. Total dollar losses were $462 million – down from $499 million in 1996 representing the greatest decline in total dollar amount ever recorded. MasterCard attributes its successful fight against fraud to its tamper-evident signature panel, the use of three-dimensional holograms,  and card validation codes including CVC1 and CVC2. MasterCard says its current biometrics pilot may drive fraud even lower. MC  FRAUD  HIGHLIGHTS

1. Counterfeit fraud decreased 25.2% last year to 1.6 bp

2. Asia Pacific region fraud down 20.7%

3. Latin America region fraud down 33.5%.

4. Worldwide counterfeit category accounted for 20.5% of total fraud, down from 25.4% in 1996

5. Fraudulent applications declined 3.6%

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VF’s New PayPort

VeriFone revealed Monday its ‘VeriSmart’ architecture now allows the delivery of secure consumer smart card applications for the Internet. The capability is enabled through the ‘VeriSmart’ architecture and the new smart card consumer appliance called ‘PayPort’.  Taiwan-based Chia Hsin will be first to utilize ‘VeriSmart’ to deliver secure Internet-based smart card applications to its customers. The new ‘PayPort’ appliance is a low-cost peripheral that incorporates the smart card capability into a consumer’s personal computer. With the ‘PayPort’ appliance, a consumer’s PC becomes enabled for a new set of applications that range from electronic cash to smart card security for Internet-based and other applications. The ‘PayPort’ is a palm-sized smart card reader/writer appliance, like VeriFone’s Personal ATM device, that offers consumers the ability to access smart card-based services in the convenience of their home or office. Where the Personal ATM connects through a phone line, the PayPort product plugs into a personal computer’s serial port.

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Advanta Picks New CFO

Advanta Corporation announced yesterday that it has appointed Philip M. Browne as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. Browne joins Advanta from Arthur Andersen where he is an Audit and Business Advisory Partner.  He has worked with Advanta since 1986 and has been Arthur Andersen’s engagement partner for Advanta since 1994.

Commenting on Browne’s appointment, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Alter said, “Phil is exactly the type of person you would want as your chief financial officer.  He is a skilled executive with 16 years of experience in corporate finance, and he knows Advanta extremely well.  We have been working with Phil for over twelve years, and he has consistently made significant and positive contributions to the Company.”

Mr. Browne began his career at Arthur Andersen in 1982 after graduating from Washington and Lee University.  He has served clients in a range of industries, though his practice has been concentrated in the financial services industry.  Mr. Browne  has extensive experience in structuring securitizations and is an Arthur Andersen firm-wide expert in accounting and reporting for securitization transactions.  His diverse experiences include acting as the chief financial officer for public clients, auditing private and public companies, and providing business advisory and consulting services to financial services companies.

Mr. Browne said, “I am excited and honored to be joining Advanta during this time of strategic repositioning.  There is tremendous opportunity for creating substantial long-term shareholder value.  After being an advisor to the Company for the past 12 years, I am looking forward to concentrating my energies solely on Advanta and being an active and integral member of the management team.”

Mr. Browne is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  He is also a member of the Equipment Leasing Association where he is a past Eastern Regional Board member.

Advanta is a highly focused financial services company with 2,300 employees, approximately $10.0 billion in managed assets and an additional $8.8 billion in assets serviced for third parties.  Advanta provides consumers and small businesses with innovative products and services including mortgages, equipment leases, corporate credit cards, insurance and deposit products.  The Company also provides a full range of loan purchasing, contract servicing and securitization services to the mortgage industry.

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dbProphet Adopted

Trajecta, Inc. announced Monday an agreement to provide products and services to IntelliQuest Information Group, Inc.,  a leading provider of information-based marketing services to the technology industry. IntelliQuest will utilize Trajecta’s dbProphet software to provide its clients with the most sophisticated analysis available of their marketing and awareness building efforts.

The relationship with IntelliQuest is the latest step in Trajecta’s ongoing commitment to forming alliances that leverage its technological strengths with data providers and market research firms that serve vertical industries. Trajecta’s multi-patented data mining solutions determine cause and effect from multi-source data to facilitate more accurate business decisions.  In the value chain that spans from raw data to actionable information, corporate investment has migrated toward analytical solutions. These solutions produce the greatest returns and routinely turn gigabytes of data into meaningful decision points and marketing plans.

Becky Dewan, Trajecta’s Vice President of Sales states, “We are pleased to have such a highly regarded and analytically astute market research company adopt our technology. The value of the partnership is similar to the relationships we have in the pharmaceutical and financial services sectors.  IntelliQuest already has the skill sets and infrastructure in place to effectively leverage Trajecta’s accurate predictive capabilities.  We anticipate that our products will enhance IntelliQuest’s service offerings, playing a key role in delivering substantially more value to its clients.”

According to Dr. Won-Yong Kim, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at IntelliQuest, “Trajecta’s state-of-the-art neural network technologies will allow IntelliQuest to build non-linear predictive models using the company’s various syndicated databases of technology markets.  My feeling is that the integration of survey data with historic customer activity is the only way to do predictive analysis. Neural networks are at the core of the predictive analysis. Our strategic alliance with Trajecta also means that we can really process what the technology market calls a plethora of data. IntelliQuest will be one of the first market research firms to conduct marketing research with data mining capability”.

Trajecta, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, provides greater certainty in assessing risk and predicting consumer behavior. Trajecta’s solutions utilize state-of-the-art technologies spawned from over $75 million of scientific research at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC). Trajecta serves the financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and database marketing industries. For more information see Trajecta’s web site at [www.trajecta.com][1].

Headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in Atlanta, Silicon Valley, New York and London, IntelliQuest provides information-based marketing services to the technology industry. IntelliQuest uses its proprietary databases and software to help technology companies track product performance and customer satisfaction, measure advertising effectiveness, assess brand strength and competitive position, determine price sensitivity, and evaluate new products, markets or other business opportunities. IntelliQuest also licenses custom proprietary software applications for electronic product registration and offers associated database marketing products and services, including data enhancement, data cleansing, data mining and professional services. IntelliQuest has over 400 employees worldwide.

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

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Impulse Buying

Impulse buying has come to the Web with the the launch of ‘Impulse Deals’ in Yahoo!’s ‘Visa Shopping Guide’ area. Created in conjunction with Impulse! Buy Network, Inc. of Burlingame, CA,  ‘Impulse Deals’ gives visitors one-stop access to charter sellers including ACER America, Chip Shot Golf, Fragrance Net, Garden Escape, Hammacher Schlemmer, Hickory Farms, J.Crew, NEC, NECX, Omaha Steaks, Packard Bell, Red Rocket, The Sharper Image, The Territory Ahead, Virtual Vineyards, Wal-Mart and 1-800 Flowers. The Impulse Deal enables sellers to produce their own sales events, including auctions, blowouts and falling price promotions, in a variety of customizable formats, which are then served to the ‘Impulse Deals’ area within the appropriate category of the ‘Visa Shopping Guide’ by Yahoo!.  Consumers simply click on the Impulse! offer button to reach the seller’s offer, get detailed product information and obtain the form for submitting their credit card and shipping information.  Impulse! then pre-qualifies orders and transmits them directly to the seller, who processes and fulfills the order.

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NBS Appoints Chase’s Walsh

NBS Technologies Inc  announced the appointment of Charles R. Walsh to the Board of Directors, effective April 16. He will replace outgoing director Richard J. Schmeelk, whom the Company recognized for his invaluable contributions. Mr. Walsh retired in 1997 from his position as Executive Vice President and CEO of the Chase Manhattan Bank’s nearly $30 billion worldwide credit card business. Mr. Walsh headed this business for 23 years at Chase, Chemical Bank, and Manufacturers Hanover Trust, respectively, prior to those banks’ mergers with Chase.

Among the various Boards on which he has served, Mr. Walsh retired as a director of MasterCard International as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Chase Manhattan Bank USA, NA, and Chase Insurance Agency Inc. He also was a director of Eastern States BankCard Association and served as a member of the Government Relations Council of the American Bankers Association.

Currently, he serves on various charitable and educational Advisory Boards. Mr. Walsh holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University and both a Masters of Business Administration and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science from St. John’s University in New York.

NBS Technologies Inc. is a multinational company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of card, card issuance, identification and point-of-sale products, services and software. Customers, who cover a wide range of market segments and applications, include financial institutions, retailers, government agencies, and healthcare organizations. The Company is a Toronto-based public company that sells to customers in over 85 countries through facilities located in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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MBE Biz Centers

The alliance between Mail Boxes Etc. and USA Technologies Inc. is paying off. Both firms announced an agreement yesterday with Prime Hospitality Corp. to begin a pilot program for installing MBE’s ‘Business Express’ centers in Prime’s AmeriSuites properties. MBE’s ‘Business Express’ features 24-hour, credit card-activated, self-service business systems for business travelers and consumers who need quick access to personal computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, laptop workstations, fax, email and Internet access. Under the terms of the agreement, MBE’s ‘Business Express’ will be immediately installed at five of Prime’s AmeriSuites locations. Plans call for an additional 95 units to be installed over the next 12 months, pending the success of the 90-day pilot program. MBE has ‘Business Express’ units in Choice Hotels,  Promus, Best Western, and Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites.

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Nestor Names TSA VP to Board

Nestor, Inc. announced Monday the appointment of John Guinan to the company’s Board of Directors.  Guinan, 51, is vice president of business development for Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (NASDAQ TSAI), Nestor’s strategic business partner since 1996.  Guinan’s appointment brings Nestor’s Board member total to nine.

Mr. Guinan joined Applied Communications, Inc. (ACI) in 1979 and held various marketing and senior management positions.  With ACI, he was involved with domestic and international market development.  From 1990 through 1997, Mr. Guinan served as senior vice president of Prairie Systems, Inc., a telecommunications software company.  He returned to Transaction Systems Architects, the parent company of Applied Communications, and has held his current position since 1997.

Transaction Systems Architects’ software facilitates electronic payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money.  Installed on over 2,900 product systems in 69 countries, TSAI products are used to process transactions involving wire transfers, credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, home banking services, checks, as well as automated clearing and settlement.

“We are pleased to add a professional of John’s caliber to our Board of Directors.  His successful track record with TSA is impressive,” said David Fox, Nestor’s president and CEO.  “John’s marketing and technical background will contribute significantly to our business development and strategic planning, making him an important addition to our team.”

Mr. Guinan stated, “Nestor has demonstrated the ability to develop outstanding products for the risk management markets.  Also, the early adoption of its Internet and transportation solutions is exciting.  I look forward to joining the Board and working with Nestor.”  Mr. Guinan earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife and six children.  He is also a Board member with VSSC Communications, an Omaha-based radio station.

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Providence, RI, Nestor, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative, neural-network solutions for data-intensive, mission-critical decision applications.  Nestor provides intelligent systems for financial, Internet, and transportation industries.  Offerings include risk management solutions, interactive digital database and marketing software, and a suite of tools for real-time traffic management.  By incorporating its patented pattern-recognition technologies in real-time applications, Nestor provides each market segment with solutions that address their critical issues and needs.  Nestor products are sold direct throughout the US and by selected partners worldwide.  For more information, call 401- 331-9640 or visit [http://www.nestor.com][1].

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

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NYCE Surcharges

NYCE amended its ‘Network Operating Rules’ yesterday to allow selective surcharging at ATMs within the NYCE Network. Prior to the rule change, NYCE participants were subject to a surcharge one, surcharge all policy for non-customers. Under the new rules, network participants will have greater flexibility to provide their customers with a larger population of surcharge-free ATMs. The company said yesterday it believes that free market competition among financial institutions and ATM deployers ensures that consumers will continue to have a wide range of choices when using ATMs and NYCE intends to leave the business decision whether or not to surcharge up to each individual ATM deployer. The new rules will be effective July 15.

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BISYS Names Group Marketing Prez

The BISYS Group, Inc. announced Monday the appointment of Neil P. Marcous as group president of Marketing and Information Services.  Marcous will provide executive oversight of BISYS TOTALPLUS and Document Solutions divisions which provide technology outsourcing and check imaging solutions to over 1,000 community banks.  In addition, Marcous will be responsible for BISYS Networking Services — a leading provider of network design, integration and management, as well as BISYS Creative Solutions — a rapidly growing automated marketing services company providing leading edge capabilities to mortgage and consumer loan originators and credit card solicitation companies.  The Marketing and Information Services group provides technology, marketing and research services to a combined total of over 3,000 financial institutions.

Marcous joins BISYS after serving Electronic Data Systems, Inc. (“EDS”) since 1989 as executive vice president/group manager of its Consumer Network Services business unit.  In this leadership capacity, Marcous established and grew the EDS unit into the largest third party ATM/debit card processing service in the nation and oversaw its expansion from 60 million transactions annually to over 1.6 billion.  Marcous was responsible for relationships with over 3,300 institutions and led such initiatives as the establishment of the Transaction Alliance — an electronic network formed by a consortium of major financial institutions including Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America. Marcous has also been a frequent industry spokesperson appearing on CNBC and as a witness before Congress providing expert testimony on electronic commerce issues.

BISYS was formed in a management led buyout from ADP in 1989 and became a public company through an IPO in March 1992.  Marcous has served as an outside director of The BISYS Group, Inc.  since 1994 and previously served as senior vice president of the Electronic Financial Services Division of ADP from 1984 to 1989.

BISYS chairman and CEO Lynn J. Mangum expressed his excitement about Marcous joining the company.  “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Neil for over 12 years and his decision to join our senior management team dramatically expands our potential to capitalize on our strong strategic position.  Neil is a proven builder of businesses and his addition offers us tremendous growth opportunities for not only BISYS but our clients,” Mangum remarked.

Marcous stated, “As a long time director and business partner, I’ve had the opportunity to closely watch as BISYS has grown revenues ten-fold since its founding from ADP.”   Marcous further noted, “I’m thrilled to join Lynn’s team and share the company’s vision of creating growth opportunities and competitive advantages for its clients.”  Marcous plans to continue the company’s strong internal growth rate complemented by acquisitions.  “BISYS is a leader in all of its businesses and so we can leverage our strong platforms with expanded products and services to benefit a large client base,” said Marcous.

The BISYS Group, Inc., headquartered in Little Falls, NJ, supports more than 9,000 financial institutions and corporate clients through its integrated business units.  BISYS provides technology outsourcing and check imaging applications to more than 1,000 financial institutions nationwide; distributes and administers over 60 families of mutual funds consisting of more than 700 portfolios; provides retirement plan services to over 6,000 companies in partnership with 30 of the nation’s leading bank and investment management companies; and provides insurance distribution solutions, telephone/Internet product sales programs, enterprise-wide networking services, and loan/deposit product pricing research.  BISYS trades on Nasdaq under the symbol BSYS. Additional information is available at [http://www.bisys.com][1].

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including but not limited to economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors affecting the Company’s operations, markets, services and related products, prices, and other factors discussed in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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

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Racom Collects

CO-based Racom Systems confirmed yesterday that it has received the first licensing royalties for its ferroelectric smart card technology. The royalties were received for the production and sale of contactless smart cards supplied by Cubic Corporation to the Washington, DC Metro public transportation system. Racom has signed alliance agreements with Hitachi, Fujitsu and Rohm, each of which has licensed Racom technology for use in radio frequency identification systems.

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