ActivCard & CAC

ActivCard will be the primary identity management provider for Northrop Grumman Information Technology for the U.S. Army’s “Common Access Card” program. A task order was awarded to Northrop Grumman IT to provide $9 million of smart card middleware for the CAC program. With “ActivCard Gold” for CAC, Army personnel can use their multi-application smart ID badges for cryptographic network logon to their computing platforms, applications and Web sites; to encrypt and digitally sign e-mail; and to extend public-key infrastructure capabilities to access a host of military services, including VPN, remote access and benefits systems.

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Rush VISA Card

Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and Unifund Corporation have teamed to issue a new pre-paid payroll VISA card. The new “Rush Prepaid VISA” is targeted at unbanked American households. Russell Simmons and Unifund have created UniRush Financial Services to handle the new card. UniRush says its research found that nearly 48 million Americans have been forced outside traditional banking systems and cannot have a checking account. Of this 48 million, nearly 19 million have an average income of between $10,000 and $22,500, but do not have a traditional checking account, and that 180 million checks are cashed at check cashing centers each year totaling $55 billion. UniRush also says approximately 12% of bank account holders do not receive a debit card and don’t have easy access to their funds.

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U.S. Bank Military Account

MN-based U.S. Bank has rolled-out a special fee-free military checking program. The program is available to those who are currently deployed or who will soon be deployed into action outside of the 24 states where U.S. Bank is available. U.S. Bank is offering waived monthly account maintenance fees; free U.S. Bank Internet banking and Internet bill pay; no charge for transactions completed at non-U.S. Bank ATM machine; free U.S. Bank logo style checks or a 50% discount on most other personal check styles; a $15 annual discount on a safe deposit box; free, 24-hour customer service including the acceptance of collect calls for those calling from overseas; and free U.S. Bank “VISA Check Card.”

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S1 Aggregation

Yodlee and S1 Corporation announced that nine new customers have licensed “S1 Account Aggregation.” “S1 Personal Banking” enables consumers to enroll for online banking, view statements and check images, see cleared and pending transactions, transfer funds, and pay bills. “S1 Business Banking” allows business customers to receive an up-to-date view of business accounts and transaction activity, plus receive balance and payment alerts; initiate stop payments; automate payroll, tax, and other payments; and verify payments through positive pay, a wealth of banking support. “S1 Account Aggregation,” powered by Yodlee’s advanced aggregation engine, enhances these capabilities by providing consumers one central place to consolidate and manage their entire financial lives, including banking, credit card, investment, 401(k), mortgage and other accounts they hold both with and away from the host financial institution.

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POS PRE-PAID SOLUTION

VeriFone’s “Omni 3750” countertop and “Omni 3600” wireless POS terminals have been deployed to support Mexico’s first Internet-enabled POS solution for pre-paid phone services. The POS application is currently being deployed on VeriFone POS terminals to 1,000 retail locations in Mexico that distribute Unefon telephone services. ORIENTEL S.A. DE C.V. Grupo B&M, a Unefon distributor in Puebla, Mexico is one of the first Unefon distributors to offer the service. The solution eliminates the need for retailers to carry traditional scratch off pre-paid phone cards by allowing them to generate print-on-demand vouchers for pre-paid services directly from the terminal.

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Thales HSM 8000

Diebold has signed a deal to resell the Thales e-Security “HSM 8000” directly to existing and new customers who require an easy migration path to “Triple-DES” and “Remote Key Loading.” Designed for the transaction volumes of the community bank and credit union, the “HSM 8000” provides a cost effective platform for “Triple-DES” PIN transactions, whether they be PIN encryption, translation, verification, as well as other transaction processing cryptographic capabilities. The new “HSM 8000” modules are fully backwards compatible with the “HSM 7000” range. In November, Thales e-Security launched the new generation of high-speed host security modules under the “HSM 8000” series. The modules offer two performance levels; a high-speed version offering 800 transactions per second for high-end users and a standard model offering 220 transactions per second – based on “Triple DES” PIN translations. (CF Library 11/8/020

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EURONET DEFENSE

Euronet Worldwide’s Board of Directors approved the adoption of a “Stockholder Rights Plan” to prevent a hostile takeover. The plan is intended to encourage any potential buyer of Euronet to communicate and negotiate directly with its Board of Directors. Additionally, Euronet’s Board of Directors adopted an amendment to Euronet’s bylaws that requires advance notice of stockholder nominations for the election of directors and other stockholder proposals. Such notice will be required not less than 90 days prior to the first anniversary of the date of the prior year’s proxy statement.

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Global eTelecom

Bridgeview Payment Solutions has inked an agreement to provide Global eTelecom’s electronic check conversion processing engine to its clients. Global eTelecom is an active member of NACHA’s Electronic Check Council and holds many patents for electronic check services. Bridgeview, with corporate offices in Chicago and Tampa, provides credit card processing services for more than 28,000 merchants nationwide.

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McDonalds Australia

The Melbourne, Australia-based EFTPOS Engineering unit of Keycorp Limited has signed a three-year contract to provide support for POS systems for McDonald’s restaurants across Australia. McDonald’s Australia has over 700 restaurants across the country. The contract includes providing 24 X 7 help desk support for the new “Pos4” integrated food supply systems; providing technical support for its “In Store Process” back-office systems; and, configuring the computers for each of installation. Keycorp acquired EE in June 2001 and currently holds over 30% of the Australian EFT/POS market in installation, maintenance and repair services, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]).

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

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Card APRs

Average interest rates on bank credit cards have continued to edge upward. The average credit card interest rate one year ago was 14.42% and has since increased 45 bps. In March 2001, the average credit card interest rate was 16.16%, and the prime rate was 8.50%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Average Credit Card Interest Rates
Jan 01: 16.49%
Mar 01: 16.16%
Jun 01: 15.43%
Sep 01: 14.81%
Dec 01: 14.32%
Mar 02: 14.42%
Jun 02: 14.62%
Sep 02: 14.71%
Dec 02: 14.81%
Jan 03: 14.81%
Feb 03: 14.85%
Mar 03: 14.87%

Source: CardWeb.com, Inc.

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

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CLARITY-BLUE

Montreal-basedSAND Technology’s “ClarityBlue” division has signed a two-year CAD$6.2M contract to help a leading European financial services firm with its direct marketing
campaigns. “ClarityBlue” will host and manage the financial services firm’s direct
marketing data on a SAND Analytic Server, allowing them to access prospect
information from multiple data suppliers, select a pool of prospects from
hundreds of attributes, and reduce data acquisition costs. By using strategic
customer intelligence to provide a single customer or prospect view, the
client firm will be capable of undertaking its direct mail and telemarketing
activities in a more targeted, cost-effective manner.

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LA Smart Card Fares

Cubic Transportation Systems has received nearly $6.3 million in contracts for smart validating fareboxes from three municipal bus operators that are partnering with the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, on what will be California’s largest smart card payment system for public transit. Foothill Transit, Antelope Valley Transit Authority and Montebello Bus Lines are the first of several regional service providers expected to participate in the smart card system, known as the Los Angeles County Universal Fare System, which Cubic is designing and delivering under an $84 million contract awarded in 2002. Last summer, in order to familiarize riders with the benefits of a one-ticket-to-ride system, the LACMTA and 11 municipal operators began offering the “EZ Transit Pass,” the first phase of the future regional smart card, in the form of a paper flash regional pass. The Cubic-developed smart card system debuts in 2005.

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