NBS-Bull Smart Card Terminals

NBS Technologies Inc. and Bull announce today their agreement to jointly develop terminals for the smart card and stored-value (electronic purse) card market in the United States and Canada.

NBS and Bull will combine technologies to provide state-of-the-art products and will partner on worldwide distribution. The first product to be introduced addresses the powerful growth potential of the smart card market. An advanced terminal with a large graphic display, an integrated high-speed thermal printer, a smart card reader, and support for multiple SAMs (secure application modules), the product is designed to address the needs of credit, debit, and smart card applications. With its compliance to EMV, IMV, Mondex and international standards, the product’s capabilities extend through traditional credit/debit functionality to the latest electronic commerce applications based on smart cards, such as stored-value, loyalty, and health care.

A pilot program for the new product is scheduled for early 1998. In addition to this latest product, NBS and Bull will be sharing resources, personnel, and expertise to bring additional products to the market in the near future.

“This agreement is characterized by the complete synergy and sharing of technology concepts between the two organizations,” remarked Neil Hudd, President of NBS Transaction Systems. “The partnership provides Bull and NBS the ability to jointly develop a product which will meet and exceed the demands of the global financial, commercial, and healthcare industries.”

“Applications for smart cards and stored value cards are growing exponentially,” said Philippe Bontemps, Bull EFT Business Unit Marketing Director. “The Bull/NBS product will have the technology to drive the market while having the flexibility to adjust to market changes and new applications. Together with our customers, we will effectively manage tomorrow’s cutting-edge applications for smart cards and stored-value cards.”

The teaming of NBS, the predominant supplier of point-of-use terminals to the Canadian financial industry, and Bull, the worldwide leader in providing smart card and stored-value card terminals, provides organizations with the resource to advance into the explosive growth potential of smart cards and stored-value cards in North America. “The proven effectiveness of NBS and Bull as leading suppliers in Canada and worldwide will be brought forward as the world moves toward very advanced forms of electronic commerce,” added Hudd.

In the payment terminal area, which is the subject of this agreement, Eric Pradier Vice President Bull Personal Transaction System, declared “Bull, the leading supplier in Europe with a 22.5 percent market share and third largest supplier worldwide, is investing heavily in this promising area, resulting in growth of 87 percent in the first half of 1997. This partnership with NBS is a critical step to achieving a significant position in the largest market in the world.”

NBS Technologies Inc. is a multinational information technology company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of point of sale transaction automation systems, secure identification and access control systems, plastic cards and related products and services, and digital electronic variable printing systems. Customers cover a wide range of market segments including financial institutions, hospitals, universities, government agencies, retailers, oil companies, and marketing organizations. NBS is a Toronto-based public company with operations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “NBS.”

Bull, founded in 1933, is a US $5.3 billion international information technology group. Europe-based, Bull earns over 60 percent of its revenue outside of France, its country of origin. The group’s business portfolio, focused on the development and deployment of its customer’s IT infrastructure, includes mainframes, open systems, personal computers, selected software tools, and IT related services. In Europe, Bull is ranked as the third-largest systems integrator and the fifth-largest in customer service. Bull is recognized in the IT industry for innovation in areas such as multiprocessing systems, network systems management, smart cards, mobile PCs, and security.

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Signature Capture Update

PenWare Inc., a leading supplier of electronic transaction solutions, along with its parent company, MobiNetix Systems Inc., today announced an OEM agreement that adds PenWare’s signature capture technology to Fujitsu-ICL Systems’ AcuTote handheld computers.

Businesses that use AcuTote handheld computers will now be able to record their customers’ signatures directly onto electronic receipts, replacing the need for paper receipts.

“Fujitsu-ICL’s handheld computers are used by some of the nation’s largest food and beverage manufacturers,” said Ron Omohundro, general manager and senior vice-president of global products for Fujitsu-ICL Systems. “PenWare’s signature capture technology allows these companies to improve the in-store delivery and route accounting processes. Instead of trying to keep track of millions of paper receipts, businesses can call up receipts electronically, complete with signatures. We believe this capability increases productivity and minimizes costs for our customers.”

Resolving Disputes about Deliveries

The addition of PenWare’s signature capture technology to the AcuTote handheld computers means that all necessary receipt data can now be collected electronically, stored in a centralized database, and easily retrieved. This advance dramatically speeds up the process of searching for lost or misplaced receipts and enables businesses to resolve customer disputes about deliveries more efficiently.

For example, when a customer has a dispute regarding inventory, businesses can quickly and easily call up an electronic receipt that contains a signature, instantly confirming whether or not the inventory was delivered and received. Without signature capture technology, such businesses waste valuable time trying to track down the physical location of paper receipts.

Minimizing Costs

Penware’s signature capture technology also reduces the number of refunds that businesses must issue because of lost receipts. When a customer disputes the delivery of inventory, businesses are often forced to issue refunds because the paper receipt cannot be found. However, signature capture technology greatly reduces the chances that a receipt will be lost or misplaced, because receipts with signatures are stored electronically.

PenWare’s signature capture technology also enables businesses to provide their customers with better service by efficiently and accurately resolving such disputes.

“By allowing businesses to eliminate paper receipts, resolve customer disputes more efficiently and reduce refunds, PenWare’s signature capture technology increases the end-user’s return on investment,” said Aziz Valliani, CEO and president of PenWare’s parent company, MobiNetix Systems Inc. “By adding signature capture technology to its line of AcuTote handheld computers, Fujitsu-ICL Systems is clearly adding value for its customers. PenWare is committed to providing cost-effective electronic transaction solutions for companies like Fujitsu-ICL.”

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FDC’s NetPrecision

Continuing its efforts to enhance electronic commerce, First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) today announced NetPrecision, a full function, secure Internet- based electronic banking product. First Data also announced that Ohio Savings Bank, Cleveland, Ohio, and Texas Independent Bank, Dallas, Texas, will be the first new clients to implement NetPrecision, which is being demonstrated today and Tuesday at the ABA’s Bank Card Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

Financial institutions can now customize NetPrecision to offer fully integrated, proprietary services to their retail banking and credit card customers. Banking on NetPrecision will deliver real-time account access, “pay anyone” bill payment, and on-line customer service. Customers will have access, through a personal computer and the Internet, to the bank’s web-site, secured and managed by First Data.

The NetPrecision product enables financial institutions to establish a web presence, offer home banking, and support personal financial management software. Net Precision will also be integrated with the electronic bill payment and presentment service being developed by MSFDC, the joint venture between First Data and Microsoft.

“The NetPrecision solution provides financial institutions the benefits of leading technology, comprehensive on-line services that is integrated with their core banking systems. It also offers rapid implementation with very low startup costs,” said Chuck White, president of Denver-based First Data Electronic Commerce Payments Services. “This solution maximizes our proven expertise in the secure movement of transactions and capitalizes on our existing services to financial institutions.”

Ohio Savings Bank has enabled real-time retail banking to include checking, home equity, mortgage, savings, CD, and credit card account access. Its customers can bank on-line using their preferred Personal Financial Manager via OFX access later this year.

“NetPrecision has allowed us to meet our customer’s demand for interactive banking online. Additionally, First Data provides all of the services we need minimizing our vendor and service issues on a daily basis.” said Peter Goldberg, vice president, Ohio Savings Bank.

Ohio Savings Bank has been piloting the product since April, and begins full customer rollout today.

“Ohio Savings Bank has proven to be a valuable partner due to their aggressive deployment of new technologies,” White said. “Their integrated call-center has allowed them to fully leverage the interactive features of NetPrecision.”

First Data will be reselling its service directly and through resellers to address the requirements of smaller financial institutions. Texas Independent Bank, The Banker’s Bank, is now reselling the NetPrecision product to its 850 community financial institutions in Texas and New Mexico. Texas Independent Bank has already scheduled 15 banks for startup in 1997 and 40 in 1998.

“We have a great partner with First Data. We have developed a product that is ideal for the community financial institutions that lets them offer full service interactive banking to their customers,” said Steven Simpson, senior vice president, Texas Independent Bank.

For more information on NetPrecision, please visit the NetPrecision web site at [http://www.netprecision.com.][1]

Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) 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 further information about First Data, please visit the Internet at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com.][2]

[1]: http://www.netprecision.com
[2]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com

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King of the Hill

Despite a sluggish first half VISA USA maintains a commanding lead over all its competitors with a 51% market share according to the latest data compiled by Bankcard Barometer. While VISA and MasterCard have not officially released mid-year figures, issuer-reported second quarter data indicates VISA slipped 90 basis points and MasterCard slipped 70 basis points in the first half. American Express posted a surprising 180 basis point gain. Mid-year volume figures are generally unreliable measures of true brand share for VISA, MasterCard and Discover due to the inherent seasonal variations in consumer charge activity. American Express has a more even distribution of charge volume due to its high concentration in corporate charge volume. It is expected VISA and MasterCard will release 1997 mid-year volume numbers in conjunction with this week’s ABA Bankcard Conference in Long Beach, Ca. According to CardData industry volume is growing at a 14.5% annual rate and industry receivables are growing 12%, based on mid-year data.

Gross U.S. Volume
BRAND EOY1996 SHARE EOP1997 SHARE
VISA $447.4b 51.9% $216.1b* 51.0%
MC $229.3b 26.6% $109.7b* 25.9%
AMEX $131.0b 15.2% $71.8b 17.0%
DISC $53.6b 6.2% $25.8b 6.1%
TOTAL $861.3b $423.4b
EOY-end of year; EOP-end of period; *-estimated
SOURCE: CardData, Bankcard Barometer, Bankcard Update

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Credit Telephone Call-In

Last year, more than 1.1 million American families filed for personal bankruptcy. Many more are on the verge, evidenced by consumer credit debt reaching a new high of $1.2 trillion. As millions of Americans struggle with debt and credit problems, members of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit credit education and counseling organization are gathering to discuss the current situation and how to help consumers in financial trouble.

Members from the more than 1,300 National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) offices across the U.S. will gather in Atlanta, GA later this month (September 28-October 1) for the NFCC Annual Conference. This year, in the light of the current economic conditions and recent changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, counselors will discuss extending outreach efforts to local communities, implementing innovations in counseling techniques and improving client services.

A highlight of this year’s conference is “Ask-the-Expert,” an exciting partnership between NFCC and USA Today. “Ask-the-Expert,” to be held from 9 am to 9 pm (EST) on October 1, will feature almost 100 NFCC member counselor volunteers who will take calls from people all over the nation with credit and debt questions. This event is one example of the ways in which NFCC reaches out to individuals in trouble.

“We are thrilled about working with USA Today to put on the “Ask-the-Expert” telephone call-in,” says Durant Abernethy, president of NFCC. “This session will enable some of the millions of Americans with financial questions to get referrals to the community resources that NFCC Annual Conference to be in Atlanta add one can assist them.” NFCC expects to handle thousands of inquiries throughout the 12 hour call-in.

The 1997 conference, scheduled for the Marriott Marquis, features regional meetings, roundtable sessions and almost 40 workshops for NFCC member counselors. Some of the workshop topics include welfare reform, retirement plans, bankruptcy and hiring tips.

One particularly timely event that will be discussed at the annual conference is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which goes into effect on October 1, 1997. The FCRA is designed to promote accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of every consumer reporting agency (CRA). To better help their clients, NFCC counselors will be apprised of the details of this act which include the following: you must be told if information in your file has been used against you; you can find out what is in your file; you can ask to make your name unavailable for credit offers; inaccurate information must be quickly corrected or deleted.

The host member of the NFCC annual conference is Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. Headquartered in Atlanta, CCCS has offices in Athens, Carrollton, Decatur, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Gainesville, Marietta, Norcross, Rome, Toccoa and throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area.

To learn more about budgeting and using credit or to receive confidential money management counseling, contact a local NFCC member agency. NFCC members can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies standards that include agency accreditation, counselor certification and policies that ensure confidential services that are free or low-cost. Many members operate under the name Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

To locate the nearest NFCC member office, call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 1-800-388-2227 or visit the NFCC Home Page at . Spanish speaking consumers can call 1-800-682-9832.

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DataCard’s New CFO

DataCard Corporation announced today that Paul A. Schroeder will become the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) effective October 1, 1997. Schroeder comes from NCR Corporation, where he most recently served as vice president and controller.

“Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “He has led large finance and information systems groups. He helped build and manage substantial businesses in Europe and Asia. And he understands technologies that are important to us.”

“Paul also was a key member of the transition team during NCR’s divestiture from AT&T,” Highland said. “That experience will be extremely valuable for DataCard as we move forward.”

Before NCR’s divestiture from AT&T, Schroeder help a number of critical positions, including vice president and CFO for AT&T’s Asia/Pacific operations.

He received his masters of management in finance and accounting from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. He also earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

As DataCard’s CFO, Schroeder’s responsibilities will include the treasury, the controller’s group, information systems (IS), internal auditing and facilities management.

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., is a world leader in innovative plastic card solutions. The company offers a spectrum of card-related products and services, including digital photo ID systems, badging services, card personalization system, systems integration services and transaction terminals.

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Magna’s New E-Bank Ctr

Magna Bank announces the opening of a new electronic banking center in Mid Rivers Mall, St. Peters, Missouri. The 96-square-foot site will include an ATM, night depository, automated loan machine (ALM), phone bank, and electronic resource center. The site will be staffed with a part-time salesperson.

“We are very excited about this new electronic banking center,” stated G. Thomas Andes, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “This site is the first of its kind in the St. Louis area and offers our customers a new convenience in banking.”

“Magna is strongly committed to this growing community,” said David A. Heinrich, community president of Magna s St. Charles Region. “We view the Mid Rivers Mall electronic banking center as an opportunity to expand our presence within the market.”

Magna Group, Inc. (NYSE:MGR) is a St. Louis-based community bank holding company with $6.93 billion in assets. Magna has 140 banking centers in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri; a trust division; a brokerage division; and a student loan division. Based on deposit market share, Magna is the third largest banking institution in the St. Louis metropolitan area and ranks as the 68th largest bank holding company in the country.

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60 Second Car Rentals

In response to the overall car rental customer’s desire for “quick-as-lightening” service, Thrifty Car Rental is launching an express rental program that will reduce the time it takes to rent a Thrifty car to about 60 seconds.

Called the Blue Chip Express Rental Program, the new service is available today in 40 of the company’s highest volume North American locations. As of November 1, another 25 high volume locations will be added, with all other airport locations offering the Blue Chip program by January 31, 1998.

“Our own customer satisfaction research, as well as other industry studies, clearly indicate that speed and ease of service is one of the most important attributes customers want in a rental car company,” said Bob Thunell, Staff Vice President. “Through this new service, we’ve shaved the time it takes for a typical car rental transaction to almost nothing — you show your driver’s license and credit card, sign the pre-prepared rental agreement, and you are gone.”

The program is organized so that the rental customer supplies Thrifty with his/her standard rental information and preferences. The customer then is assigned a number to use each time a Thrifty reservation is made. When a reservation is made via the Thrifty 1-800 service or through a travel agent, the Blue Chip customer’s data is transferred to the renting location so that all rental documents are pre-prepared and waiting for the customer’s arrival and signature.

Additionally, there is a dedicated Blue Chip Express Line in each participating rental center for program members to receive the keys to their pre-assigned vehicle. Returning the car follows the same streamlined process.

Participation in the program is free and there is no minimum number of rentals required to be a member. Persons interested in enrolling may call toll free at 1-888-400-8877 to receive an application.

Thrifty Car Rental is an international network of nearly 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries around the world.

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Rodeo Drive VISA

First USA rolled down Rodeo Drive with a new VISA card yesterday on the eve of Rodeo Drive ‘s 25th anniversary celebration. The new ‘Rodeo Drive VISA Card’ is being issued in partnership with the Rodeo Drive Committee and represents the second destination card to be issued by First USA. At a news conference yesterday in Beverly Hills, First USA, VISA, and the Rodeo Drive Committee kicked off the program launch by presenting five $10,000 checks to local charities. The ‘Rodeo Drive VISA’ enhancements include complimentary two-hour valet parking on Rodeo Drive and special offers from Cartier, Christian Dior, Cole Haan, Fred Hayman Beverly Hills, Gianfranco Ferre, Jessica McClintock and Sulka. Card pricing will be First USA’s standard 5.9% promo/13.99% fixed long-term, with no annual fee. First USA will also offer the card in three varieties: classic, gold and platinum. The program will generate proceeds, based on transactions, for the Entertainment Industry Foundation/Permanent Charities. It is estimated shoppers spend $500 million annually on Rodeo Drive. First USA also issues the Branson Missouri destination VISA card.

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Movie Tix Online

MovieFone, Inc. and Century Theatres today announced that Century will offer its users the ability to purchase movie tickets via Century’s web site ([http://www.centurytheatres.com][1]). The new feature for the California-based circuit is the result of a unique partnership with MovieLink (), the online sister service of 777-FILM. Millions of moviegoers have used MovieLink to find showtimes and purchase advance tickets since it launched in 1995. The new Century-MovieLink service, which debuts today alongside Century’s newly-redesigned web site, makes Century the first major exhibitor to offer its patrons the ability to purchase tickets directly through its own Web site.

Users who are on Century’s site have access to showtimes at all of Century’s theaters across five states. Now, users who have selected a theater and a movie have one-click access to a customized area on MovieLink which lets them purchase tickets for that movie and theater using a major credit card. This service is available for over 150 Century Theaters screens at locations throughout California. As with MovieFone and MovieLink, users who purchase tickets through Century’s Web site are guaranteed tickets for the specific movie and showtime they select. The movie tickets are waiting for the customers when they arrive at the theater, at either an automated ticket dispensing machine in the theater lobby or the box office.

Century’s partnership with MovieLink adds the important element of advance ticketing to Century’s site many months before the holiday moviegoing season. “It was important to us to offer our patrons the convenience of buying tickets in advance through our own Web site and through MovieLink,” said Nancy Klasky, Century’s Vice President of Marketing. “MovieLink has given us this practical option to offer to our patrons.”

This new feature relies on the extensive infrastructure already in place to sell tickets for customers of MovieFone and MovieLink. MovieLink has over two years of experience selling movie tickets online and uses state-of-the-art secure transaction technology, including Netscape’s SSL-compatible Commerce Server, third-party encryption, and a private communication and authorization network, to complete thousands of transactions each week. The Century ticketing service will feature the same security measures.

“We are delighted to pioneer this new service with Century Theatres,” said Matt Blumberg, MovieLink General Manager. “Offering our theater partners the opportunity to build on MovieLink’s technology infrastructure means they can offer their patrons a wide range of services without having to reinvent the wheel. These partnerships reinforce MovieLink’s mission to be the most useful online service for moviegoers and movie marketers alike.”

Century Theaters is a San Francisco based motion picture exhibitor with over 500 screens in 5 western states.

MovieLink is the online sister service of MovieFone, the nation’s largest movie guide and ticketing service. Millions of moviegoers each week in 30 major cities use MovieFone and MovieLink to find movie show times and theater locations, and buy tickets. Through MovieFone’s familiar local phone number (such as 777-FILM) and MovieLink online (http://www.movielink.com), the company’s services cover 12,000 screens which account for 60 percent of the nation’s movie attendance. MovieFone, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOFN) is a public company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

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

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CSC Signs South African Bank

Computer Sciences Corporation announced today that Nedcor Bank has signed a licensing and service agreement with the Banking & Consumer Finance Division of CSC’s Financial Services Group.

Nedcor Bank has chosen CSC as a long-term technology partner in the implementation of software to meet the needs of the Nedcor Card Division and has signed a five-year application outsourcing agreement for the continued development, maintenance and support of all CSC software implemented within the bank.

Nedcor Bank, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the largest banks in the country with $18 billion in assets and approximately 17,000 employees. Nedcor is a full-service bank with activities covering retail, commercial, corporate, merchant banking, fund management and related financial services.

Applications licensed from CSC include CAMS II, an integrated software platform based on relational technology. It will allow the management of a complete array of cards products, including consumer credit and debit cards, private label, installment/contract lending, commercial/procurement and smart cards. Additionally, Nedcor Bank has licensed the collections system to manage credit arrears situations and the online delivery system to enable the bank’s multiple-delivery channels to service cardholders and merchants through their most convenient customer service point.

CAMS II is being developed by CSC to provide its customers with the capability to rapidly launch new differentiated payment products as customer demands and competitive strategies change. This can help an organization achieve a level of product definition to address the many micro-market segments which require services on a global 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis… The system allows all card products of a financial institution to reside in one place. It also consolidates all card and merchant administration processes to reduce duplicate and redundant activities.

The applications feature design architecture to ease the implementation of compliance updates for VISA, Mastercard and Europay, as well as supporting Nedcor’s American Express business.

CSC had $5.8 billion in revenue for the 12 months ended June 27, 1997… Headquartered in El Segundo, California, the company has nearly 44,000 employees in more than 600 offices worldwide and provides clients with a wide range of professional services, including management consulting, information systems consulting and integration, and operations support. The Banking & Consumer Finance Division of CSC’s Financial Services Group is located in Dallas, Texas. More information about Computer Sciences Corporation is available at .

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SCIA Expands its Board

The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA) has added two new members to the Board of Directors. Al Vrancart and Peter J. Quadagno bring with them years of experience and expertise in the smart card industry.

Al Vrancart is president and CEO of NBS Card Services, Inc., a leading producer of secure transaction and other plastic cards. He is responsible for NBS’ North American Card Services business units in the U.S. and Canada. Vrancart joined NBS in 1989, having previously held various international executive marketing positions with Philips Electronics.

Mr. Vrancart is also founder emeritus, a charter member and first president of the International Card Manufacturers, as well as a member of the Eastern chapter of the International Association of financial Crimes Investigators. He holds an MBA from Monmouth University.

Peter J. Quadagno is president of Quadagno & Associates, Inc., a card-based technology firm for stored value and other applications. Prior to starting Quadagno & Associates, Inc., he was manager of Transitional Services at Electronic Payment Service, Inc.’s Smart Card Enterprise.

Mr. Quadagno has spent 20 years in the payment industry, including five years with the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority Card Company where he was responsible for the development of the MTA’s MetroCard product — the first such card of its kind in the U.S. He holds a BS and a MBA from the University of Florida.

SCIA is a global trade association active in the smart card industry which strives to stimulate the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace. SCIA is also a co-founder and sponsor of CardTech/SecurTech, the leading advanced card and security technology conference.

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