CMS Promotes Jean Rompre

Cardholder Management Services, L.P. (“CMS”) announced today that it has promoted Jean Rompre to Vice President as part of its commitment to recognizing those individuals who make a direct contribution to existing and projected business growth.

CMS, a privately held company located in Plainview, New York, was founded in 1986 and provides credit card servicing to banks, thrifts, credit unions and retail organizations. In addition to risk management and marketing expertise. CMS currently services 118 portfolios for more than 70 financial institutions with assets from $50 million to $90 billion.

Ms. Rompre began working with CMS on a consulting basis, and has served as Director of Financial Institution Sales since 1994. During her tenure with DMS, she has brought on many servicing clients, including several of the Top Ten credit card issuers. Ms. Rompre has extensive experience in consulting with major card issuers, helping many clients to enter the credit card and national debit card businesses with start-up programs and helping other issuers improve the levels of service and profitability of existing, mature portfolios.

Donald M. Berman, President and Chief Executive Officer of CMS, said “Our continued success depends on our dedication to provide increasing challenges and opportunities to all of our employees and recognizing individual contributions to our growth. Jean Rompre, as one of CMS’ most talented sales professionals, brings a unique combination of experience, knowledge, creativity and enthusiasm to our business. Her promotion reflects both her commitment and contribution to CMS.”

Details

Family Golf Joins AmEx Prog

Family Golf Centers, Inc. announced Wednesday that it has entered into a marketing relationship with American Express that will enable American Express cardmembers to earn or purchase gifts, golf practice privileges and golf instruction at Family Golf Centers nationwide.

More than three million enrollees in the Membership Rewards(R) Program from American Express will be introduced to the Family Golf Centers offers in their membership mailings.

Dominic Chang, chairman and CEO of Family Golf Centers, noted the benefits of these alliances. “Linking the Family Golf Centers name with American Express heightens the visibility of Family Golf, adds to our potential customer base and offers a valued benefit to those who choose one of our programs,” said Chang.

Family Golf Centers is the largest owner/operator of golf-related practice facilities in the U.S., with 75 locations in 20 states.

Details

Surcharge Spiral

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group released its third annual ATM fee survey yesterday which showed more banks are surcharging non-customers. According to the PIRG study, 83% of major banks, 65% of smaller banks and 13% of credit unions charge ATM access fees to non-customers. The per-transaction-fees averaged $1.35 for major banks, $1.16 for smaller banks and $1.04 for credit unions. PIRG surveyed 470 banks in 28 states for the study. Sen. D’Amato said if the bank’s regular ATM fees are factored in with the surcharges, American consumers are paying an average of $2.41 per transaction. He indicated legislation banning ATM surcharges would pass this year.

Details

New DataStrip Biometrics

Diamond Bank Ltd (Nigeria) is implementing a biometric security system based on an innovative low-cost ID card from Datastrip Limited.

The customer’s photograph and signature are printed onto the ID card in the form of a two-dimensional code known as a DataStrip. When the customer wishes to make a transaction, the card is inserted into a small desktop reader which instantly displays the information on an LCD screen, allowing the teller to verify identity.

Already installed at 16 of Diamond Bank’s 23-branch network, the system is providing the bank and its customers with a very high degree of security at low cost. This is because the ID cards can be produced much more economically than alternative card technologies, and the verification system functions standalone – without the need for connection to further computers or networks.

Established only seven years ago, Diamond Bank has grown rapidly thanks in great part to a major investment in technology. All branches are linked, via a state of the art on-line real-time communications network, to the bank’s headquarters in Lagos. In conjunction with the ID card system, this now allows customers to make transactions at any branch. This service is attracting many new clients as some banks in Nigeria cannot offer this flexibility.

“The versatility of this ID card technology has allowed us to install this new security system very rapidly” noted a spokesman for Diamond Bank. “It’s an important step in extending the level of service we offer to our customers, and it has given us a competitive edge in our marketplace.”

DataStrip is a portable, high-capacity data file, providing secure storage of text, photograph and biometric information which makes it ideal for many ID card applications. It is well suited to printing on ISO-standard plastic cards, and provides a cost effective solution for cardholder verification within the financial, banking, building society and credit union sectors at a fraction of the cost of smart card or other competitive card technologies.

“Organizations worldwide are now considering the high security potential offered by biometrics” notes Datastrip’s Steve Blackmore, “but are being held back in many instances by the cost of implementing them. High-density printed codes provide a solution for many of these applications at a fraction of the cost of competitive technologies, as this application demonstrates.”

Although the Diamond Bank ID system currently functions standalone, card data can be imported into a PC, and Diamond Bank is currently investigating this aspect with a view to capturing data to speed transactions.

Details

UK Phonecard Merger

Two of the UK’s leading phonecard providers have merged to create Europe’s largest independent telephone card services company. The new company combines the expertise of Interglobe Telecommunications Plc and TCS Consumer Services to create a stronger phonecard offering for the UK and Europe. The new company will continue to operate under the Interglobe brand.

The merger will facilitate the addition of economical local European calls, virtual office services and hot key access to information lines to existing international phonecard services.

“Interglobe has a proven record of developing value-added telecoms solutions for leading organizations throughout the UK. The merger builds on this foundation and accelerates our ability to rapidly roll out our services into Europe,” says Philip Ochtman, Chief Executive Officer of Interglobe.

“The merger enables the new Interglobe to offer a range of enhanced services to new and existing customers. Initially we intend to build the business with our existing partners, enabling them to develop new services for their customers and to extend their products into new markets. We’ll also want to take advantage of our extended global reach and focus on Europe’s GBP 440m phonecard market.”

Interglobe’s phonecards can now be developed to include hot-key access to retail and information services. For instance card users can call to buy tickets, send flowers, check up on share portfolio, local weather or even the hear the results of last week’s game. Free access to information lines, help lines, special offers and reward schemes can also be developed. The options for patching into other services are limited only by the imagination.

Virtual office services, including voice mail, fax store and forward and follow- me numbers can also be developed to create the complete corporate card. Interglobe’s technology can also be used to turn an existing card, such as a credit card, store card or loyalty card into a phonecard.

With service platforms in seven countries and a planned deployment into twenty more, the TCS network gives the new company an unmatched global reach. This places Interglobe in a strong position for developing competitive local telephone tariffs throughout Europe.

The enhanced services and new global reach, combined with Interglobe’s existing, multi-lingual Customer Call Centre and product development and fulfillment capabilities, creates the strongest possible offering for the European calling card services market.

Interglobe expects to duplicates its UK success in Europe by demonstrating what it has already achieved with leading travel companies such as Airtours, British Airways, Cosmos, EuroChange, Going Places, Hertz Europe, Lunn Poly, and Virgin Holidays.

The merger is the result of the GBP 12m buy-out of Interglobe Telecommunications Plc by TCS Consumer Services’ US-based parent company Hemisphere Investment Inc.

Notes to editors: 1. Established in 1992 Interglobe is the UK’s longest established provider of value added telecoms services though phonecard products. Interglobe pioneered calling card services with travel Industry growing Its share of the market to more than 70%. TCS Consumer Services enter the UK calling card market In 1996, establishing Itself as a premier provider of sophisticated calling card solutions and related high-end telephony services.

2. The new Interglobe Telecommunications Plc uses Excel switching technology, which Is viewed as the Industry standard In programmable switching technology. Alpha DEC server technology ensures fast call processing and use of an Oracle database provides powerful data access with full hierarchy capabilities and database redundancy. The Integration of the two companies technologies and expertise has created an enterprise that often technical solutions second-to- none.

3. Interglobe and TCS were founding members of the European Calling Card Services Association (ECCSA) the Industry’s self-regulation body. ECCSA`s mission Is: ‘To support the establishment and growth of the European remote memory calling card services market through the commitment of Its members to ethical business practices, the highest product standards and consumer protection.

Details

New UK Processor

Equifax and SearsCard announced Wednesday they will form a joint venture to create a new cardholder and merchant processing operation, based in the U.K.. SearsCard is a subsidiary of Sears Group in the U.K. and is not affiliated with Sears, Roebuck & Co in the U.S. The joint venture will combine SearsCard’s customer service skills with the advanced processing capabilities of Equifax Card Solutions to provide third party card management in the U.K. and Ireland. Equifax will own 51% of the new venture to be based in Birmingham, England. SearsCard currently manages 1.5 million cards in the U.K. for the Sears Group and other retailers.

Details

Providian Momentum

Providian is knocking on the ‘Top 10 Issuer’ door with the signing yesterday of an agreement to purchase another $1.1 billion of card loans from First Union. Following Wednesday’s news, Providian will hold more than $10 billion in receivables to rank as the nation’s 13th largest bank credit card issuer. Excluding Discover and Optima and the acquisition of the AT&T Universal portfolio by Citibank, Providian will become the nation’s 10th largest VISA/MasterCard issuer by the end of the second quarter. Yesterday’s deal is expected to close May 1. Providian closed a previous $1.1 billion First Union deal on January 30 of this year.

First Union says that both of the portfolio segments it sold were comprised of accounts acquired through national solicitations from 1994-1996. First Union is re-positioning itself to focus its card business on its core marketing area.

PROVIDIAN SNAPSHOT
RECV YTD VOL ACCTS ACTIVES CARDS
EOY 97 $7.8b $8.7b 6.4m 2.9m 6.1m
1Q 98* $10.1b $2.1b 7.4m 3.5m 7.6m
* projected; m-millions; b-billions;

Details

SunGard

NYCE unveiled an advanced recovery solution yesterday designed to restore the Network switching platform within two hours of a disaster declaration. The electronic vaulting solution provided by SunGard Recovery Services, Inc. is able to back-up transaction data processed on the NYCE Network, on-line, 24 hours a day. The data are transmitted between NYCE’s data center in NJ to SunGard’s Tandem system in Philadelphia.

Details

ORGA Czech Consulting

The Czech “Pilot Project on Chipcards,” one of the largest European field tests of the potential uses of smart cards in the healthcare and social insurance sector, has entered its second, expanded phase. ORGA Consult, a subsidiary of smart card expert ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH, has been hired as a consultant for the next stage of the project.

Launched in 1995 on the joint initiative of the Czech Ministry of Health and the State Health Insurance Fund, the project was promoted as part of the EU’s Phare program. The use of smart cards as patient and insurance fund IDs was tested under practical conditions in a small-scale trial involving the people of the town of Litomerice. ORGA helped to develop and personalize the patient cards.

The first stage of the pilot test has just been successfully completed. It showed that smart cards improve the flow of information between patients, insurers, doctors and pharmacists, and increase data security in healthcare, hence benefiting everyone involved. The second phase of the project, entailing an extended trial, is now underway, and will test additional functions on the card and harmonize the system with other European solutions. The Czech government will use the final results to decide whether to introduce a healthcare card nationally.

“We are pleased to be able to continue the successful work from the first stage of the project,” says Andreas Schwier, who is responsible for the project at ORGA Consult. “With our experience we are contributing to a smooth transition to Phase II and to the successful conclusion of the project.”

ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH Germany is one of the world’s leading developers of microprocessor-based smart card technology, with more than 685 employees worldwide. ORGA offers turnkey solutions for health care, banking, telecommunications and other emerging markets. ORGA has subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Great Britain, France, USA, CIS, China and South Africa as well as an agency in Singapore. Visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.orga.com.][1]

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

Details

ABN EBT Certified

American Banknote Corporation announced yesterday that its subsidiary, ABN Card Services, Inc., has been certified in 18 states as a Third Party Processor for E.B.T., which is the new payment system used by states to deliver state and federal benefits such as Food Stamps, Aid to Dependent Children, WIC funds and other welfare and entitlement programs. These benefits will reside on a card, which the recipient uses at retail, food, and ATM locations.

The United States Government has mandated in the EFT 2000 initiative that all benefits be entirely electronic by the year 2000. As a Third Party Processor, ABN Card Services acts as a payment gateway between the merchant accepting the cards and the financial settlement of those funds and the debiting of value from the E.B.T. cards.

PNC Bank has signed an agreement with ABN Card Services whereby ABN Card Services will provide all E.B.T., credit, and debit processing for any PNC merchant in Pennsylvania that signs up for E.B.T.

In the latter part of 1997, ABN Card Services purchased the credit card merchant services business of CFX Bank in New Hampshire which contains approximately 700 portfolios with credit card volumes in excess of $60 million.

Morris Weissman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Expansion of American Banknote Card Services, Inc. is another building block in our growth in electronic commerce. We see many new business opportunities in transaction processing, particularly in E.B.T., which is a brand new form of payment in the United States. We see expansion of E.B.T. to other programs such as Social Security. We are positioning American Banknote Card Services to be a national third party processor of debit and credit transactions as well.”

American Banknote Corporation is a leading global full-service provider of secure transaction solutions in carefully selected markets along three major product groups: Transaction Cards & Systems, Printing Services & Document Management, and Security Printing Solutions. A combined strategy of operating along product lines and constant expansion of transaction activities worldwide reflects the rapidly changing field of electronic commerce. Additionally, American Banknote, via its Holographics subsidiary, is the world leader in security for financial transaction cards, including VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Diners Club International, and Europay.

This release contains forward-looking statements relating to future financial results. Actual results may differ materially as a result of factors over which the Company has no control. These risk factors and additional information are included in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Details

Airbridge

Bell Atlantic Mobile is going after 3.5 million retail merchants with the establishment of its ‘AirBridge Wireless Retail Solutions Group’.   Using its wireless data technology,  BAM is providing merchants with a secure, high- speed, wireless alternative, to traditional dial-up credit card swipe machines.The company also signed a joint marketing agreement with U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. to distribute the ‘TRANZ Enabler’ wireless credit card processing system for the retail market.  Starting this morning BAM representatives will work with U.S. Wireless Data to target U.S. merchants who currently own and operate more than 3 million VeriFone ‘TRANZ 330’, ‘380’, or ‘460’ dial-up terminals and offer them a complete wireless system using their existing terminals.  The solution will also be marketed to merchants using other types of credit card terminals, as well as to merchants and service providers who may not currently accept credit card payments. The company estimates the potential market for this service is about 32 billion credit card transactions in the U.S..

Details

Pinnacle to Asia-Pacific

Hypercom Corporation introduced the Pinnacle Internet Commerce (iCom) Transaction System to the Asia Pacific market. Pinnacle iCom is a comprehensive family of client/server payment and data transaction software solutions that bring consumers, merchants, financial processors and other institutions together in the virtual world of online transactions. Hypercom(R) is the world’s leading independent single source provider of innovative, high-performance and reliable point-of-sale (POS) terminals, enterprise networking equipment and client/server software for payment processing and data transaction solutions. Pinnacle iCom was launched in August, 1997.

Hypercom’s Pinnacle iCom Transaction System for secure and reliable online business consists of:

Pinnacle iCom Wallet: an electronic wallet that gives consumers simple and convenient online purchasing power. The wallet can carry the logo of banks, financial processors or merchants, which can translate into additional branding and advertising opportunities.

Pinnacle iCom POS: a point-of-sale system that connects merchants to their customers and financial processors for quick, secure, easy payments.

Pinnacle iCom Gateway: a gateway application that connects the merchant to the payment processing system for fast, easy and reliable payment authorization.

Pinnacle iCom CA: a digital certificate application that helps SET(TM) service provides and financial institutions control the certification process.

“Hypercom brings together the robust transaction processing of Pinnacle and secure Internet transactions to provide a powerful combination for the future of transaction processing in Asia Pacific and globally,” said George Wallner, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Hypercom Corporation. “Pinnacle by Hypercom underscores Hypercom’s consistent commitment to deliver innovative, integrated solutions with improved functionality and clear benefits for our existing and potential customers”.

Incorporating the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol, Pinnacle iCom allows merchants to use the Internet for transaction modes such as loyalty, chip card and stored-value applications that are now only available through traditional POS devices.

At Cards Asia ’98, industry leader Hypercom is also introducing Pinnacle Software’s complete family of front-end client/server software solutions for payment processing and data transactions.

“Pinnacle by Hypercom provides an adaptation layer for host legacy systems that allows financial transaction companies to quickly and easily support new functions and payment modes without replacing their existing transaction infrastructure investments,” said Theodore (Ted) F. Cole, Senior Vice President, Hypercom Pinnacle Software Products Group. “Pinnacle exemplifies Hypercom’s continuing heritage of providing industry leadership with innovative solutions, and we are very pleased to make this available to the Asia Pacific market.”

Quickly setting new industry standards and the migration path for discriminating customers, Hypercom’s Pinnacle Software family of client/server payment processing and data transaction solutions includes:

Advanced Transaction Processor (ATP): a high-performance server transaction authorization software that arms acquirers and merchants with feature-rich transaction processing power. Tailored to each acquirer’s specific needs, Pinnacle ATP combines standard electronic authorization methods with modular and specialized features to maximize options and streamline the entire transaction processing function. Some of Pinnacle ATP’s many features: increased efficiency via open system architecture; powerful, feature-rich functionality; authorizations expedited based on pre-set floor limits, transaction limits, and positive & negative cardholder files; optimal merchant velocity processing; and, reduced communications costs via pre-set or on-demand batch reporting. Pinnacle ATP operates on UNIX(TM)or Windows NT(R).

Loyalty Management System (LMS): this advanced server on-line loyalty system provides customers with the ultimate in instantaneous point redemption at any networked, participating merchant. Pinnacle LMS is the first chip card loyalty product developed in concert with Visa International, and supports debit, credit and stored-value transactions. Pinnacle LMS utilizes chip card technology to store loyalty point balances and provides consumers with instant redemption or query at the point-of-sale. Platform and database independent, Pinnacle LMS’s advantages for processors include: flexible multi-merchant loyalty functionality; centralized control of rules & bonus points; increased transaction volume and additional services to sustain and increase merchant base. Advantages for merchants include: instant point redemption at the point-of-sale; bonus points can be used for discounts on merchandise or services; increased patronage, customer services and market information; IC technology for high security and online/offline operation. Pinnacle LMS operates on UNIX(TM) or Windows NT Server(R) 4.0.

ChipStripe(TM) System: validates the authenticity of the ChipStripe card used in the transaction and verifies the PIN data. As an additional security measure, ChipStripe can also insert private information into the message stream after the ChipStripe card and PIN have been authenticated. Pinnacle LMS operates on UNIX(TM) or Windows NT Server(R) 4.0.

SigCap System: accepts signature and receipt data from point-of-sale terminals connected to signature capture devices, and stores that data for easy retrieval and replication of the signed receipt. SigCap delivers multi-platform and multi-database compatibility.

Network Terminal System (NTS): applies the client/server model to the point-of-sale world. Pinnacle’s Network Terminal software drives thin-client terminals that reside on the merchant counter. This solution means that there is no limit to the application features that can be provided to the merchant, and eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming downloads of software updates to the merchant point-of-sale device. Pinnacle’s NTS also provides the opportunity to incorporate enhanced merchant behavior statistics; and serves as a base for adding signature capture, loyalty, and other features. NTS provides multi-platform and multi-database compatibility.

“Hypercom’s Pinnacle client/server software solutions pave the way for processors and merchants to quickly, easily and economically adapt to the ever changing needs of their customers, and we are delighted to introduce these advanced solutions at Cards Asia ’98”, Mr. Wallner declared.

For a complete demonstration and more information about Hypercom’s innovative, high performance and reliable solutions, visit Hypercom’s booth D17 at Cards Asia ’98.

Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is the world’s leading independent supplier of point-of-sale technology. 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, USA, 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 [www.hypercom.com.][1]

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

Details