DIGICARD & ICMA

The owner and managing director of Vienna-based Digicard Ges.m.b.H. has
been named to the International Card Manufacturers Association board for
the 2003 term. Frank Dorner is the newest member of the ICMA Board of
Directors, representing the Europe region. Digicard is a provider of
plastic card personalization solutions, including “one-stop” service for
card manufacturing and personalization, and a provider of a range of
printing and personalization equipment. Digicard was also responsible for
inventing thermal printing on plastic cards.

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U-Scan1

Optimal Robotics Corp. has introduced a scaled down model of its “U-Scan1” self-checkout system for remote locations, food courts, and convenience stores. The new unit has been specifically designed for debit and credit card transactions, and will also dispense cash as an alternative to an ATM. Optimal also introduced its new dual belt take-away system, “U-ScanMax”, designed for larger environments.  This latest adaptation of the “U-Scan” system comes equipped with sensors near the scanning platform as well as at the end of each belt, allowing a shopper to scan their order and send items along one belt while the previous shopper continues to bag their remaining groceries on the other. Optimal is featuring the new models at this week’s Food Marketing Institute “Marketechnics” trade show in Dallas.

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U-SCAN-MAX

Optimal Robotics Corp. has introduced its new dual belt take-away system,
“U-ScanMax”, designed for large orders. This latest adaptation of the
“U-Scan” system comes equipped with sensors near the scanning platform as
well as at the end of each belt, allowing a shopper to scan their order and
send items along one belt while the previous shopper continues to bag their
remaining groceries on the other. Optimal has also introduced a scaled down
model of the “U-Scan1,” single bag terminal. The new unit has been
specifically designed for debit and credit card transactions, and will also
dispense cash as an added convenience for the shopper. The “U-Scan” model
offers a new solution for remote locations, food courts, music departments,
convenience stores, or virtually anywhere a kiosk might be more beneficial
than a large order system, and in some cases, as an alternative to an ATM.

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CardJet 410

Fargo Electronics is unveiling this week its new “CardJet 410” printer/encoder, the first dedicated plastic card personalization system that uses Fargo’s new “CardJet Printing Technology”. The CardJet 410 offers an optional magnetic-stripe (high-coercivity only) encoding unit, which can be factory installed or upgraded in the field by either a technical end user or Fargo Solution Provider (FSP).

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Cubic LAWA Contract

Cubic Transportation Systems has received a five-year, $16 million service contract from the Los Angeles World Airports for parking control systems maintenance. Cubic has been providing maintenance at the three airports since the late 1980s. The company offered a lifetime warranty to help transportation operators manage costs by extending the operational life of their existing systems while continuing to deliver efficient fare collection and other services.

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FHMS Targets Small Municipalities

The National Association of Cities, which represents 10,000 cities, has selected First Tennessee’s First Horizon Merchant Services to offer credit card processing services to qualified smaller municipalities across the country. This program will allow small cities and towns to offer an additional way their constituents can pay things like fees, taxes and even driver’s license renewals in person or on the Web. Along with MasterCard International’s support this program brings services and technology to smaller municipalities that major cites have enjoyed for years. Harahan, La., is the first city to take advantage of this program and will be a model for National Association of Cities members.

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PSS FastLane

Symbol Technologies and NCR Corporation are teaming to combine the Symbol “Portable Shopping System” with the NCR “FastLane” self-checkout system. The combined solution gives shoppers the option of scanning and bagging their selections in the aisles as they shop and maintaining a running total of their purchases with the Symbol “PSS” handheld scanner, then paying for their purchases at an NCR “FastLane” unit. The device communicates with the store server’s price lookup file via the Symbol “Spectrum24” wireless local area network. A shopper engages a PSS device by unlocking it from a kiosk dispenser with a shopper loyalty card. Alternatively, consumers may choose to use NCR FastLane at the end of their shopping trip to scan, bag and pay for all of their items. No matter which option they choose, consumers are provided a secure, convenient and fun alternative to traditional checkout. Symbol and NCR expect the combined solutions to be piloted soon by a major food retailer.

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3PEA PayPad

Dallas-based Paymentech and Torrance, CA-based 3Pea Technologies have teamed to offer a $50 PIN-debit POS terminal for in-home use. The device seamlessly integrates through a USB connection on the home computer, and includes a standard smart card reader. The “PayPad” is compliant with EFT guidelines surrounding security for real-time debit for Internet purchases. Paymentech and 3Pea said they will also offer significant discounts per unit based on volume to Internet merchants and other purchasers. 3Pea says some industry analysts believe consumers will not pay for PINPad terminals in their homes, however the company has found a significant number of Internet consumers will pay for a reasonably priced piece of equipment to help protect their privacy and identity online. In December, the Gartner Group released a survey of the top 25 Internet merchants with regards as to how they are currently paid, and how they would prefer to be paid. While 3% of Internet transactions are currently being paid by PIN-less debit with a preferred rate of 5%, only 1% of transactions are being paid by PIN-based debit with a preferred rate of 18%. Paymentech and 3Pea believes these statistics indicate a market that is not being addressed with existing Internet payment solutions.

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Household Promotes Greer

Household International has promoted Valerie Greer, who joined HH in 1988, to SVP of business development for the Household Retail Services business. Greer is responsible for developing new private label credit card relationships with retailers and manufacturers. She was previously assistant vice president of business development at Household Retail Services where she was instrumental in establishing new relationships with retailers Menards and QVC, as well as manufacturers Compaq, Toshiba, and IBM.

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SMART TICKETING

Sydney-based ERG Limited’s Integrated Transit Solutions subsidiary has
signed contracts with the New South Wales Government to supply, install and
operate an integrated smart card based ticketing system for the entire
Greater Sydney commuter transport network. The total value of the contract
is approximately $320 million but could be as high as $370 million. The
agreement covers all SRA commuter rail, State Transit and private operator
buses, State Transit and private operator ferries, as well as Sydney’s
light rail and monorail. The transport network handles approximately 630
million passenger journeys each year with revenue collections of
approximately $800 million. It is expected that the first commuter smart
card travel will be available on inner city services in late 2004, with
current plans to convert most of Greater Sydney’s commuter transport
services to smart card ticketing during 2005. At that time it is expected
there will be 2 million smart cards on issue. The system is expected to be
fully operational in 2006.

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BartercardUSA Acquired

Los Angeles-based Bentley Communications has acquired BartercardUSA, a firm that holds the American licensing rights for Bartercard International, a company which facilitated more than $1.2 billion worth of trade last year. BartercardUSA holds the American licensing rights for Bartercard International, which is the world’s largest trade and barter company with franchises in 14 countries. Currently, the parent company is facilitating more than 1.2 billion dollars worth of trade each year and over 50 million dollars in earnings in 2002. BartercardUSA was launched in April 2002 and currently has 18 offices and more than 2,000 member businesses with projected growth to over 20,000 by ’05.

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