CardWeb.com Launches New Publications and Conference Exhibit

On the eighth anniversary of its Web site, CardWeb.com this week announced a series of new online publications and launched a new “Super Hero”-themed conference exhibit program at the ABA/Foreward Financial Bank Card Conference in Dallas. In September 1995, CardWeb.com used the ABA Bank Card Conference in New York City as a platform to launch its initial Web site. Speaking at a news conference at the St. Regis hotel in Los Angeles, CardWeb.com’s CEO, Robert McKinley, detailed the Company’s plans to expand its CardFlash, CardData, and CardWatch professional services to an international level. He said the Company recently launched a weekly CardFlash International service, and will introduce CardData International and CardWatch International during the fourth quarter. Some of international content will be produced from the firm’s branch offices in Australia and the UK. McKinley also indicated the Company plans to leverage its extensive news database to introduce two new services in the first quarter of 2004, namely CardPeople and CardDesign. CardWeb.com and its sister firm, RAM Research Group Ltd., have followed the payment card industry on a daily basis since 1986.

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American Express Rolls-Out a Major Ad Campaign for Blue Cash

American Express said Tuesday it will launch a major national advertising and marketing campaign for its highly successful “Blue Cash” card. A key component of the program is “Sting Live at the Blue 5,” a free, ticketed concert to be performed by recording artist Sting in Chicago’s Grant Park on October 7th. American Express is offering Sting tickets via radio promotions, street teams and via the Internet. Four different 15- and 30-second national television spots are airing on cable and on local prime-time, and will be followed by “Blue Cash” ads broadcast on national network prime-time. In print, “Blue Cash” ads have begun appearing in lifestyle and news publications with September published dates. Large billboards and public telephone kiosks were also launched in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, this month.

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Paymentech Re-brands Prism Processing Services

Prism Processing Services has been re-branded and will now operate under the Paymentech name. Paymentech acquired the assets of Prism Processing Services in 1998, to provide independent and community banks, credit unions and savings and loans a vehicle to outsource payment processing to their merchant customers. Operating as a division of Paymentech, Prism offered customized merchant processing solutions, including full turnkey operations.

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Gemplus Beefs Up its North American Conventional Card Sales Unit

Gemplus is ramping-up its North American conventional card business to take a life of its own, with local management, dedicated sales and technical teams, and a local manufacturing facility with high-volume production capacity. The company also announced it has named Timothy Wright as Director of North America Conventional Card Sales. Wright previously served as VP/Sales for the De La Rue Brand in the USA from 2000 to 2002. He is also a current member of the International Card Manufacturers Association Board of Directors. Gemplus’ Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania production facility is ISO 9002 and ISO 1400 certified. Gemplus products include conventional card products, which include PVC cards, “GemLucence” (translucent PVC card body), and “HoloGem” (PVC card body covered with foil to produce a holographic or mirror effect).

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American Express Says it Will Have a US Partner By Mid-2004

American Express said yesterday it expects to have its first U.S. bank agreements signed no later than the second half of 2004. Chairman and CEO, Kenneth Chenault, said VISA’s and MasterCard’s appeal to last week’s ruling by the appellate court is nothing more than a delaying tactic. He said he expects VISA’s and MasterCard’s efforts to be exhausted no later than mid-2004. A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 2001 court decision on September 17th, which required VISA to drop its “bylaw ‘210(e)” and MasterCard to end its “Competitive Programs Policy.” VISA and MasterCard said they are seeking further appellate review, including requesting a hearing en banc before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (CF Library 10/10/01; 2/8/02; 9/19/03)

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SCHLUMBERGER-SEMA SALE

Schlumberger has signed an agreement to sell SchlumbergerSema, its IT business segment, for $1.5 billion and says it is considering
the divestiture or IPO of its smart cards, point-of-sale terminals, payment systems, eCity terminals, payphones, and Infodata businesses. Separately the company announced that it has changed the name of its Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals unit to Axalto. Schlumberger Limited announced yesterday the signing of a binding agreement with the French firm Atos Origin for the sale of the majority of SchlumbergerSema businesses. The deal includes $1.5 billion in cash and stock representing approximately 29% of the common shares outstanding of Atos Origin. Schlumberger says that the name change for its Schlumberger Smart Cards and Terminals division will bring more visibility and reinforce the company image as a leading smart card player in a rapidly evolving market. The division opted for a name that best reflects its smart card and point-of-sale terminals strategy and highlights the key contributions of smart cards in today’s digital age. Following the announcement of the sale of its IT business, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the “STARS” ranking on Schlumberger from “Hold” to “Accumulate.”

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Cubic Deploys Oyster Card Validators for London’s Bendy Buses

Cubic Transportation Systems Limited has received an order from the London Buses division of Transport for London to supply 600 “Universal Smart Card Validators” for its expanding fleet of bendy buses. The “Validators” will process the new “Oyster” card that was launched for public use in May. Cubic and EDS lead the TranSys consortium that developed London’s new smart card-based ticketing system. The “Universal Validator” incorporates Cubic’s advanced smart card technology and passenger safety features to quickly verify and deduct fares from passenger smart cards. The “Validator” operates on Cubic’s open architecture and utilizes its “Tri-Reader,” an integral module in Cubic-developed fare collection equipment for all transportation modes. The “Tri-Reader” can read any type of contactless smart card meeting international standards, providing operators a truly open system with flexibility, interoperability and a range of media choices. The bendy or articulated bus design consists of two vehicle sections connected by an accordion-like joint to facilitate turning. Cubic will install two “Validators” in the middle and rear entrances of the buses to supplement the validation unit already installed at the front of the bus, thus speeding passenger boarding.

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Modell’s Sporting Goods and MBNA Launch a MasterCard

The nation’s oldest, family-owned and operated, retailer of sporting goods, sporting apparel, menswear and brand name athletic footwear has launched a MasterCard. Modell’s Sporting Goods and MBNA have teamed to offer a MasterCard featuring “MVP” points that are automatically redeemed for Modell’s certificates. Cardholders will also receive special offers and opportunities for special privileges. Modell’s operates over 100 stores throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia area. The new “Modell’s MVP MasterCard” will carry no annual fee.

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Schlumberger Sells IT Business, Renames Smart Card Unit

Schlumberger yesterday announced it has signed an agreement to sell SchlumbergerSema, its IT business segment, for $1.5 billion and says it is considering the divestiture or IPO of its smart cards, point-of-sale terminals, payment systems, eCity terminals, payphones, and Infodata businesses. Separately the company announced that it has changed the name of its Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals unit to Axalto. Schlumberger Limited announced Monday the signing of a binding agreement with the French firm Atos Origin for the sale of the majority of SchlumbergerSema businesses. The deal includes $1.5 billion in cash and stock, representing approximately 29% of the common shares outstanding of Atos Origin. Schlumberger says that the name change for its Schlumberger Smart Cards and Terminals division will bring more visibility and reinforce the company image as a leading smart card player in a rapidly evolving market. The division opted for a name that best reflects its smart card and point-of-sale terminals strategy and highlights the key contributions of smart cards in today’s digital age. Following the announcement of the sale of its IT business, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the “STARS” ranking on Schlumberger from “Hold” to “Accumulate.”

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