OBERTHUR & THALES TEAM

Thales and Oberthur Card Systems are joining forces to develop smart
card-based technologies and solutions for financial services,
identification/government, and physical/network security. The partnership
will bring together Oberthur Card Systems’ expertise in smart card
technologies, peripherals and mass personalization solutions with Thales’
global security offerings in the networking and communications, transaction
and payment, and enterprise and ID markets. With its exclusive transaction
security products, EMV payment terminals and associated products, Thales
holds a unique global leadership position in the provision of the security
cornerstones for EMV. Oberthur Card Systems is the number one supplier of
banking cards and has a worldwide capability with industrial facilities and
personalization centers. Combining these strengths, Thales and Oberthur
will deliver a smooth migration to EMV, full interoperability and secure,
end-to-end solutions for standard and value-added services.

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Equitex 2003

CO-based Equitex, former marketer of the now-defunct “Net 1st MasterCard,” reported yesterday a third quarter net loss, before income taxes, of $2.4 million, due largely to the impairment of an FDIC receivable of $2.1 million. Following the closure of Net First National Bank by regulators in March, Equitex filed a claim with the FDIC for all funds due from Net First to its Key Financial Systems subsidiary. The total amount of the claim was $4,311,027. Last month, the FDIC notified Key that it had determined to disallow all but $111,734 of the total claim. The Company decided this week to file a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida seeking to recover $4,311,027, the full amount of its claim. Equitex runs four companies including Key Financial Systems, Nova Financial Systems, Chex Services, and Denaris Corporation. The Equitex companies market and service credit card products and also provide cash access services to casinos and other gaming facilities. For complete details on Equitex’s 3Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 3/11/02; 8/19/02)

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

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Re$pond

Dallas-based Paymentech has released an online merchant exception item solution to give business owners the upper hand in dealing with credit card chargeback or retrieval issues. With “Re$pond,” a merchant can quickly receive, view and respond to retrievals and chargebacks. Responses can be in the form of text messages and/or scanned images of sales receipts or other documentation. Notifications are automatically returned with information regarding process confirmation or advising of further requirements. “Re$pond” also provides all documentation associated with a particular chargeback and the ability to manage exception items right from the business computer. The new system is Internet-based, can be accessed and supported 24 hours a day and is integrated into “Re$ource Online,” Paymentech’s proprietary, Web-based reporting tool.

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Hispanic Market

A new study suggests that financial services companies need to allocate a minimum of six percent of their total national marketing and business resources to reach the Hispanic market by 2007. The study also revealed that in addition to looking at total national marketing and business spending targets, companies should make even greater resource allocations based on Hispanic population density and language preference in key Hispanic markets. For example, a company marketing credit cards to Hispanics in Los Angeles should be allocating 24% of their total national marketing and business spending budgets; in Miami 25%; in Houston 14%; and in New York 11%. The research, by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, says the 40 million U.S. Hispanic consumers have an estimated buying power of $630 billion.

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SunCom Gift Cards

VA-based SunCom has become the first AT&T wireless carrier to offer gift cards through a partnership with First Data’s ValueLINK subsidiary. The gift cards can be purchased in any denomination from $5 to $500, then given as gifts and used like cash. Each card can be used repeatedly until its balance reaches zero. Customers will be able to check their balance by calling an 800 number on the back of the card.

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USTT 3Q/02

PA-based USA Technologies, developer of the “e-Port” cashless payment transaction system, reported third quarter revenues of $734,445, a 101% increase versus $365,747 for the same period last year. The company reported a loss of approximately $3.6 million, versus a loss of $2.7 million for 3Q/01. USTT says it has a total of 1,681 terminals shipped and installed at various hotels, libraries, vending machines, airports, theme parks, retail locations and business/ industry locations located throughout the United States and Canada. The company recently announced a foray into Japan, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]). USA Technologies has marketing agreements with the IBM Corporation and Mars Electronics International and the ZiLOG Corporation. For complete details on USTT’s 3Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

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

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VeriSign & Affinity Internet

Affinity Internet, the third-largest Web hosting company, has signed an agreement to provide its online merchants the complete suite of VeriSign digital certificates and authentication services. SHSS provides Affinity’s online merchants with the same authentication and encryption technology available to large enterprises while Affinity customers enjoy the proven increase in traffic and completed consumer transactions that come from having a site that displays the VeriSign seal. Currently, small and medium-sized businesses using a hosting provider usually offer only encryption services, via the hosting company’s server certificate.

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2003 Outlook

Even though the stock market rallied yesterday and this morning, the outlook for 2003 is not all that rosy. A new study found that more than two-thirds of middle market CFOs believe the economy will either stay flat, act erratically or decline further, next year. The American Express survey of 485 middle market CFOs found that 52% of financial executives say they have encountered obstacles to forecasting operating budgets accurately. Nearly a quarter admitted that they have steady problems or a critical issue with their ability to forecast operating budgets. As a result, the majority of CFOs intend to focus on streamlining internal processes, negotiating better deals with suppliers and improving the management of capital to contain direct and indirect costs. In addition to controlling their own internal costs, survey respondents are looking to outside vendors for relief. In fact, 85% of respondents feel that they are not getting the best possible rates from their vendors of indirect goods and services, due to issues such as perceived lack of buying power, negotiating staff or aggregated spending data.

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MIFARE Oyster

Philips Electronics said this week that its latest “MIFARE” technology is being used in the new contactless “Oyster” smart card program which provides a contactless payment system for London’s public transportation system including Transport for London and London Underground. The TranSys consortium, led by EDS and Cubic, has begun the first phase of the rollout by issuing “Oyster” cards to 80,000 staff. The “Oyster” smart card is being introduced in phases to customers from spring next year, starting with annual and monthly season ticket holders. An estimated seven million journeys are completed every day on London’s public transport system.

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CIM Reseller Program

Miami-based CIM USA has launched a “Card Printer Systems Division Re-Seller” program for its product line which includes low-cost desktop thermal card printers. The Card Printer Systems product line is composed of desktop thermal card printers that start at only $895 MSRPmaking them the lowest priced units available in the industry. Such low costs enable re-sellers to tap into all businesses, both small and large.

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