Web Card Battle

Yesterday’s announcement of the ‘Yahoo! VISA’ drew fire from another competitor who recently launched an Internet card product. San Francisco-based Internet Access Financial Corporation says the new ‘Yahoo!/First USA’ card is a “mass marketed product” that lacks a “100% Internet focus”. IAFC says its ‘NextCard VISA’ product is superior because it offers online approvals, customized pricing, balance transfer rates as low as 2.9% and full online customer service. The company’s top executive said yesterday he believes Yahoo! made a strategic error by locking into an exclusive relationship with First USA and will eventually “regret that decision”.


Temp Worker Cash Dispensers

Cash dispensers from Diebold, Incorporated are helping a leading temporary employment agency gain an advantage over its competition with a customized application that allows workers to be paid daily in cash.

Labor Ready, a national employment company based in Tacoma, Washington, has purchased 450 Diebold 1064i cash dispensers for installation in its dispatch offices throughout the United States.  All 450 cash dispensers are expected to be installed by the end of March 1998.

Using customized software designed for Labor Ready by Diebold engineers, the cash dispensers reduce the company’s check processing fees and provide enhanced service and convenience to temporary workers.

Previously, Labor Ready would issue daily checks to employees when they returned from the job site.  For the company, the high volume of daily checks resulted in high check processing fees.  For the workers, who may or may not have a bank account, cashing the checks could be expensive and inconvenient. For some, cashing a paycheck might require a stop at a check cashing outlet, supermarket or retail establishment, a time consuming and somewhat costly transaction.  Second or third-shift workers might have to wait until morning to cash their checks.

With the Diebold cash dispensers, Labor Ready workers returning from the job at the end of the day are now given the option of receiving a pay stub voucher instead of a check.  They can then walk over to the Diebold cash dispenser located inside the Labor Ready office, key in their 12-digit voucher number, and receive their day’s pay.  The customized software works with the local office computer and verifies that the employee’s voucher number is valid and that the worker has not yet been paid.

Workers pay a service charge of $1 plus the change on the check for the transaction, which is less than what they might expect to pay at a check cashing outlet.  And because many Labor Ready offices are open 24 hours, even late shift workers can have money in their pockets when they return home from work.

“Labor Ready’s ‘Work-Today, Paid-Today’ strategy is what helps it attract a large pool of reliable workers, which is the key to success in this industry,” said Glenn A. Welstad, president and CEO of Labor Ready.  “Adding cash payments to the equation will help us keep those employees, even if they move to another city.

“Now our workers know that no matter what Labor Ready office they go to, they don’t have to worry about how they are going to cash a check,” added Welstad.

Labor Ready (Nasdaq LBOR) is a Tacoma, Washington-based provider of temporary manual labor to the light industrial, construction and small business markets.  The company currently operates 390 dispatch offices, called stores, in 44 states and Canada.  Another 86 offices are scheduled to be open by June 1998 with 875 planned by year 2000.

Diebold, Incorporated (pronounced DEE-bold), headquartered in Canton, Ohio, is a global leader in providing card-based transaction systems, security and service solutions to the financial, education and healthcare industries. Founded in 1859, the company develops, manufactures, sells and services automated teller machines, electronic and physical security equipment, automated medication dispensing systems, software, supplies and integrated systems solutions.


Health Charge Signs CA Hospitals

Health Charge Corporation announced the execution of contracts with two California hospitals to provide the Health Charge credit card program to patients of the hospitals. The programs began in February.

“Specialty Hospital of Southern California in La Mirada and Delano Regional Medical Center in Delano are our newest west coast customers,” said Christopher L. Gillock, Chief Executive Officer of Health Charge Corporation. “These hospitals recognize that the Health Charge credit card program will provide needed assistance to patients with uninsured medical expenses. The Health Charge credit card program also helps healthcare providers improve patient relations and reduce bad debts.”

Delano Medical Center and Specialty Hospital of Southern California join four other healthcare providers in Southern California that are offering the Health Charge credit card program. Health Charge’s longest-standing client relationship in Southern California is with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has been a Health Charge client since 1982.

Delano Regional Medical Center is the only acute care facility in Delano and it has been serving the medical needs of that community for many years. Specialty Hospital of Southern California operates three long-term acute care facilities that focus on patients with an average length of stay of about 25 days.

Health Charge Corporation, founded in 1979, provides private label credit card programs to hospitals and other healthcare providers that enable those providers to better manage patient pay obligations and receivables. In addition, Health Charge also provides business office consulting services and proprietary receivables management software to hospitals. Please contact our WEB SITE at www.healthcharge.com for additional information.


Smart Cards – Big Time

Rite Aid announced Monday it is installing 25,000 ‘VeriFone SC 250’ smart card adapters in approximately 4,000 of its drug stores by mid-year. The smart card adapters are part of Rite Aid’s ‘Rite Cash’ stored value/gift card program. Rite Aid customers will be able to purchase a gift card of any denomination since the value will be programmed into the chip at the POS. Yesterday’s announcement represents the largest smart card implementation, to- date, in the U.S..


MAC Tops 1 Billion Switched

Electronic Payment Services, Inc. announced that its MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC.  subsidiary, operator of the MAC EFT network, processed over 1.2 billion switch transactions in 1997.  This represented a 13% growth over 1996.  The MAC network is the largest EFT network in the United States based on switch transactions, processing one out of every five shared transactions in the U.S.

MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC. highlights for the fourth quarter included

— Total MAS 4th quarter switch transaction volume was 333 million, up 16%         over fourth quarter 1996.

— ATM volume was 16% above fourth quarter 1996 with over 300 million transactions, while MAC point-of-sale (POS) volume increased 30% over fourth quarter 1996 with over 32.5 million transactions.  1997 was a banner year for MAC network transaction volume, processing over 100 million transactions in each of the last ten months of the year.

— The MAC network experienced record-breaking volume on November 26, 1997, the day before Thanksgiving.  Volume totaled approximately 5.5 million transactions processed through its switch for that day.

— The MAC network added 31 new financial institution members across 9 states in the fourth quarter, with over 200 new members added in 1997.  There are currently over 2,150 financial institution members across all 50 states participating in the MAC network.

— MAC(R) point-of-sale (POS) locations continue to grow with over 400,000 POS terminals displaying the MAC brand across the U.S.  Target Stores was one of the major merchants that began a POS rollout in 1997 and began accepting the MAC card for purchases.

— Many retailers continued to expand MAC(R) point-of-sale locations throughout 1997.  The MAC card is accepted at the point-of-sale for purchases at these major retailers Amtrak(R), Kmart, and the U.S. Postal Service.

— ATM installations were the highest ever in a three-month period with over 5,000 installations in the fourth quarter bringing the total number of ATMs installed during 1997 to over 10,000.  EPS drives over 22,000 ATMs in total.

— 87 financial institutions signed off-line debit card processing contracts in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 375 institutions for the year.

— There are currently 32,000 ATMs and 36.5 million cards bearing the MAC logo.

Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS), a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is a leading electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor in the United States, with approximately 2.3 billion transactions annually.  EPS is the holding company for BUYPASS Corporation, a major third-party POS processor and debit transactor acquirer with annual transaction volume of over 1 billion; and MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC., an EFT processor driving over 22,000 ATMs in all 50 states.  MONEY ACCESS SERVICE is also operator of the MAC(R) EFT network, the largest EFT network in the United States based on over 1.2 billion switch transactions annually, with 32,000 ATMs and over 400,000 POS terminals nationally.  Over 2,150 financial institutions are members of the MAC network, with 36.5 million customers carrying cards bearing the MAC logo.  MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC. controls the license rights for the registered trademark MAC.


DataCard’s New Healthcare Solutions

DataCard Corporation debuted four new software-driven healthcare solutions Monday at the 1998 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.

Woody Frost, general manager of the newly formed DataCard Healthcare Solutions Group, said the company’s SmartSeries™ healthcare solutions will allow healthcare providers to offer patients measurable improvements in convenience, privacy and choice.

“We’ve designed these new solutions to make every patient-provider interaction faster, more accurate and more satisfying for healthcare consumers,” Frost said.  “And that inevitably leads to stronger patient loyalty.”

“But just as important, our solutions will help healthcare providers reduce costs, boost productivity and shorten reimbursement cycles,” Frost added. “So, they can achieve the seemingly incompatible goals of improved patient care and greater profitability.”

SmartReg greatly simplifies patient registration

The new DataCard® SmartReg™ patient registration solutions bring speed, accuracy and dignity to the admitting process, according to Frost.

“Instead of asking patients to complete long forms, healthcare providers can simply insert a patient ID card into a reader to complete the registration transaction and verify eligibility automatically,” Frost said. “It’s much more pleasant for patients and more cost-effective for providers.”

In most cases, the card Frost refers to will be a smart card—a plastic patient ID card with an embedded microchip that stores critical patient information.

“Most people gravitate to smart cards, because it’s an exciting, new technology with tremendous potential,” Frost said.  “But we also offer solutions built around magnetic stripes, bar codes and biometrics.  So, we can satisfy the needs and preferences of almost any healthcare facility.”

SmartRec lets patients carry portable medical information

The new DataCard® SmartRec™ portable patient information solutions are designed to provide accurate, up-to-date information at the point of care. Patients will be able to carry critical medical information on a personalized smart card, which can be read anywhere they go for service—including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and ambulances.

“This portable patient information will allow healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and make patients feel more comfortable and more confident with their services,” Frost said.

“For example, a clinician can insert this card into a reader and quickly determine a patient’s allergies—or review their current medication profile,” Frost said.  “It’s a win-win situation.  The patient knows the provider understands their specific needs and the provider has accurate information, which leads to fewer mistakes, fewer delays and greater patient satisfaction.”

SmartCharge automates payment and eligibility processes

The new DataCard® SmartCharge™ payment and eligibility solutions simplify complex and costly tasks, such as eligibility verification, co-pays and fee collection.  Patients simply insert insurance or identification cards into a reader to verify eligibility— and they insert credit or debit cards to cover co-pays and other fees after services are provided.

“This gives patients more payment options and helps reduce the risk of fraud for the provider,” Frost said.  “But most important, it can dramatically shorten reimbursement cycles and help the provider create a healthier cash flow.”

SmartPass improves medical record security

Most healthcare facilities control access to medical records with passwords.  But that may not be good enough, especially in light of emerging state and federal legislation, according to Frost.

“Doctors and nurses usually have to remember many passwords, which change from time to time.  Many of them have to write their passwords down to remember them—and that greatly compromises the security of medical records,” Frost said.

The new DataCard® SmartPass™ secure access solutions use biometrics and smart card technology to solve those security issues and make access even easier for authorized users.

“Instead of multiple passwords, authorized users can access medical records through fingerprint recognition,” Frost said.  “The process is much simpler, much more convenient and far more secure than password-based systems.”

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of healthcare, financial and identification applications.  In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of digital photo ID systems and printers, card personalization systems and transaction systems.  ([www.datacard.com][1])

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


Yahoo! Another VISA!

Internet search engine pioneer Yahoo! Inc. and First USA rolled out the ‘Yahoo! Platinum VISA Card’ yesterday offering consumers an online rewards program. First USA is offering a special 9.9% fixed APR and no-annual-fee for charter ‘Yahoo! VISA’ cardholders. The new card rewards cardholders with one point for each purchase dollar charged, redeemable towards merchandise offered through participating online merchants of Yahoo!’s ‘VISA’ site and Yahoo!’s ‘Style’ site. The card comes in two designs the ‘Swirl Card’ in vibrant purple and the ‘Metallic Card’ in classic metallic. The program also features online access to card account/reward account information and a consumer protection program against fraudulent online card transactions. Other terms of the program include a 19.99% punitive APR, 20-25 day grace, $28 late fee/over-limit fee and the two-cycle ADB interest calculation method.


Bank of Montreal Expanded Online Card Access

Bank of Montreal MasterCard cardholders are now able to take advantage of a variety of self-serve Internet options to help them manage their MasterCard accounts.

As of today, Bank of Montreal MasterCard cardholders can log in to the Bank of Montreal web site ( or the services area of ), to access a secure session to check account balances, review recent transactions, and review up to three months worth of statements.

Cardholders can also make special requests such as credit line increases and address changes online. This service is available to the bank’s personal, BusinessCard and mbanx BusinessCard customers.

Kathy Silmser, Vice-President, Cardholder Services, said she is confident the new capabilities of the MasterCard site will prove to be a big hit with clients.

“Most of our MasterCard clients use their cards because of the convenience factor,” Ms. Silmser said.  “By using the new capabilities of the MasterCard site, we are able to offer our clients a whole new level of convenience and service.”

In addition to the account update and special request features, the site provides calculators that allow users to determine interest and fee payments as well as reward programs.

The self-serve options are provided in a secure session, meaning clients must go through a verification process to access the site. To use the self- serve options, users need to have an Internet browser with a 128-bit encryption feature.

Bank of Montreal’s MasterCard web site also offers on-line application capability for a variety of personal MasterCard products. Consumers can choose from seven distinct product lines and then add the features and benefits that best suit their needs.


Extracting a Price

St. Louis-based Meridian Enterprises said yesterday it has reached a settlement in its patent infringement suit against the ‘GE Capital/Exxon MasterCard’. Terms of the settlement included a licensing and management consulting agreement. Meridian holds a patent on credit card rewards systems and has marketed the system under the ‘MeridiCard’ name for ten years. The firm has reached previous settlements with Associates, Banc One, VISA and MasterCard. Suits are still pending against the ‘Chase Shell MasterCard’ and the ‘BofA Sunoco MasterCard’. The company also recently hired former AT&T Universal exec Alan Schultheis to head up its consulting services. Meridian has about $190 million in annual revenues.


Highest Capacity Smart Cards

Irvine, CA-based CardLogix unveiled two high capacity smart cards to expand its line of ‘Health Data Cards’. The first new card features a storage capacity of 256K Bits. The second card provides a 1 Megabit density. The company said yesterday, at the Health Information Management Systems Show in Orlando, the cards will be available during the second quarter. The 256K card will sell for $6 each and the 1MB card will sell for $19 each.


Smart Toolz Released

CardLogix announced Monday its Smart Toolz Smart Card Development Kit for the creation of smart card applications based on CardLogix products.

Smart Toolz is the world’s most complete kit for smart card development that allows both computer-literate business people and professional programmers create a smart card system for hundreds of applications, from health records management to stored value and loyalty.

The kit features a supply of different cards, a serial port card reader/writer from American Magnetics and an integrated manual with tutorials on card system design and complete software documentation. Also included are two powerful software tools CardAppz Application Development Software for Windows and Windows NT and a robust 32-Bit Application Programming Interface (API) Cardplex, for advanced programming options. Smart Toolz is available directly from CardLogix and sells for $299.

With Smart Toolz, CardLogix is giving the market a much needed tool and a less expensive solution compared with other smart card development options.

More On CardAppz

CardAppz is a point-and-click program that streamlines the design and implementation of a card system and bypasses the time and cost of professional programming. The software takes the business user through a series of logical steps that allows for the rapid deployment of a card system. Each CardAppz process step is set within a simple and intuitive framework, features include

Database Creation — The template-driven design process in CardAppz lets users create a host card database. CardAppz gives you many data format choices to fit your type of business information. After creation of this database the user can set their preferred security options. Three levels of security are available to choose from, depending on how sensitive the data is and who will be accessing it.

Elimination Of Reader Interface Set-Up — The reader interface function is automatic and completely transparent to the user. By just choosing your card type, the software configures itself for all low-level communications and links the card and its data with the reader.

Card Security and Personalization — Once you have loaded data into the card database you may set your desired encryption levels. CardAppz supports DES, Triple DES and Blowfish encryption. The software lets the issuer set PINs and Passwords for each card type selected.

Card Deployment — CardAppz is now set for the loading of data into cards and for the management of a mirrored system of records that is the nature of a distributed smart card system. Multiple readers can be distributed and any volume of cards issued that you wish.

More On Cardplex

Cardplex is a powerful 32-Bit API that allows for high-level integration of a card system with existing data structures. CardLogix has designed Cardplex as a separate tool for advanced programming options. It supports many card types and security options.

Cardplex provides library support for all of the transmission functions necessary in building a PC based smart card system. The API has specific support for I2C, extended I2C, 7816 synchronous, and 7816 asynchronous T=0, T=1 and T=14 protocols. This enables the professional to skip time-consuming serial port programming and easily link a card system with any Windows or Windows NT-based computing system.

Also included are higher-level links for functions such as the setting of passwords and the decrementing of specific stored value cards. With Cardplex, the CD ROM includes easy to follow Visual Basic (version 5.0) programming samples.

More On the Smart Card Reader/Writer

The American Magnetics (a division of Axiohm Transaction Solutions) 152 reader supports the largest diversity of cards of any reader in the market. It shares complete BIOS compatibility with the model 171A for vending and industrial applications. This means that all development done with Smart Toolz can be deployed in multiple form factors such as kiosks and Laundromats. The 152 reader is molded from UL-94V0 rated plastic and features a compact design for easy integration.

Market Background

Research firm Frost And Sullivan projects that revenue for smart cards will increase to more than $5 billion in 2003 from $964 million in 1996. Smart cards are quickly emerging as a new standard for the storage and transaction of information and value for everything from public telephones to medical records. Used in volume for many years worldwide, smart cards are being adopted in the United States, with strong potential for growth in the health informatics, entertainment and banking and finance markets.

Until now, users could choose from either costly professional programming or expensive and incomplete kits that meant long periods of development time to confirm that smart cards work for their business. Now, with this introduction of Smart Toolz, CardLogix has provided a low-cost and simple implementation that de-mystifies smart card design and system development.

More On Smart Toolz

Smart Toolz is available now from CardLogix. For more information on Smart Toolz, contact CardLogix at 714/380-1312 and [www.smarttoolz.com][1].

More On CardLogix

Founded in 1994, CardLogix is a leading manufacturer of smart cards and development solutions for a variety of applications in health informatics, entertainment and banking. Contact CardLogix, 16 Hughes, Ste. 100, Irvine, Calif. 92618 or at [www.cardlogix.com][2].

[1]: http://www.smarttoolz.com
[2]: http://www.cardlogix.com


Barclay’s New ATMs

Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems Limited has won orders from Barclays plc for two self-service banking projects. The first project involves the pilot implementation of ten Siemens Nixdorf ProInfo self-service terminals, which Barclays is trialling in ten branches to deliver additional account services to its personal banking customers. The second project involves re-writing the software for Barclays nationwide Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) network to enable the rapid development and delivery of more self-service banking products.

For the account services project Siemens Nixdorf will implement ProInfo PC- based terminals which feature touchscreen technology, and will enable personal banking customers to print-out full statements, balance enquiries and mini- statements, as well as receive details of all their standing orders and direct debits.

Initial trial results have seen far higher customer use than projected, with some 50 customers a day using the ProInfo terminals. Following the initial trial of account services for personal banking customers, Barclays has piloted two further systems in Hanley, near Stoke-on-Trent, and Milton Keynes for its business customers.

“Our previous generation ATM hardware and software has served Barclays well, but we were keen to move from our proprietary system to a more flexible approach based on open IT standards,” commented Andy Gordon, head of self-service development for Barclays.

“We initially chose Siemens Nixdorf for our non-cash account services project, and following its success we were happy to award them the contract to rewrite our ATM software using an open WOSA/XFS approach.”

Siemens Nixdorf’s ProClassic open 32-bit self-service software architecture and ProTopas business process solution are being used on both projects to facilitate portability across hardware platforms and the rapid delivery of self-service products to Barclays customers.

Siemens Nixdorf’s ProInfo self-service terminal range integrates multimedia technology to offer a wide range of applications, including customer account services and advice. It provides information and advice on accounts and account transactions, smart card functionality and full printing. A basic ProInfo configuration includes a CD-ROM drive, sound card, stereo loudspeaker and a high- resolution 17-inch touchscreen and if required, a camera and a microphone can be integrated for videoconferencing.

Barclays is a leading financial services company operating in over 70 countries around the world. It provides retail banking products to a wide range of personal and business customers, and in the UK serves over 10 million personal customers. Barclays was the first UK bank to establish a link with Microsoft to offer customers banking and financial planning services via their PC, and in the last year it has also expanded Barclaycall, its telephone banking operation, which added over 125,000 customers during 1996.

Siemens Nixdorf’s Self-Service Line of Business

supplies a comprehensive range of self-service technology-based solutions including ATMs, information terminals, and statement printers for market sectors such as finance, banking and transportation. It has installed 60,000 ATMs and self-service terminals throughout Europe and its leading-edge self- service technology applications have been implemented in major UK organisations such as Barclays, and in 26 of the top 50 UK and European banks.

Siemens Nixdorf is Europe’s leading supplier of information technology with an annual turnover of DM15.4 billion. The company supplies market- leading products, solutions and services that provide competitive advantage for its expanding customer base, and has gained a leadership position in a number of key technologies, including PCs, servers, PoS systems and self service devices. Siemens Nixdorf’s User Centred Computing approach focuses on individual customer needs rather than short-term technology issues, and has helped the company to achieve particular success in the UK Retail, Healthcare, Finance, Manufacturing and Government sectors.