OBERTHUR SESAMES

Oberthur Card Systems has recieved two nominations for the
Sesames, the prestigious smart card awards presented each year during
Cartes in Paris, France. Oberthur’s new banking and mobile communications
solutions have been short-listed for the awards. The “IDOne” is a nominee
for “Best Banking/Finance Application Award.” “IDOne” is a
multi-application and dual interface (contact/contactless) card, which
combines both payment and identity applications. “My Personal SIM” is a
nominee for “Best GSM Application Award.” “My Personal SIM” has been
developed for the Italian mobile operator WIND. It allows WIND’s
subscribers to manage their SIM content over-the-air on their own.

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ASK CARDS

ASK S.A. rolled out a cost effective yet highly secure and powerful dual
interface microprocessor smart card dedicated to automatic fare collection
systems and ticketing applications. The “GTML2” delivers high-speed
transactions and has the power for multi-application implementations, with
an eight-bit microprocessor and 576 bytes EEPROM. It also has extensive
security features including diversified keys, PIN and
session codes, challenge/response authentication, DES-X encryption of
transactions and is fully ISO 14443 type B compliant. The card’s
high-speed contactless communications use a frequency of 13.56 MHz at a
rate of 105.9 Kilobits per second. The company also announced that the
“GTML2” card has received the EAL1+ Evaluation Certificate. Over 500,000
“GTML2” are already in operation in Lisbon for Metropolitan de
Lisbon transit system.

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SCOTIABANK & PAYMENTECH

Paymentech has purchased Scotiabank’s merchant acquirer and smart card
POS business. Scotiabank indicated it will report a net gain of C$80
million, after tax, in the fourth quarter as a result of the sale. The deal
involves debit and credit card payment services and smart card programs
offered to merchants in 95,000 locations across Canada. Under terms of the
agreement, Paymentech will provide merchants a range
of solutions from point-of-sale transaction services, to payment processing
and reporting. Paymentech will also administer and provide all processing
and reporting for Scotiabank’s merchant smart card programs. Scotiabank
will maintain its banking relationships with these merchants and continue
to provide the clearing and settlement services associated with debit and
credit card transactions. Scotiabank will also continue to market merchant
products to its customers through a referral arrangement with Paymentech.

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IP POS

Vancouver-based Infosat Telecommunications and Ottawa-based
Precidia Technologies have teamed to offer IP POS capabilities to
businesses in off-net and remote regions. The integrated solution uses
Infosat’s satellite communications system and integration expertise and
Precidia’s EtherDial product that converts the transaction data from
dial-up POS connections to IP. The data is then transmitted via satellite
using Infosat’s HSi high-speed Internet service. The solution uses standard
bank terminals and can be used with any existing bank. Because the solution
is based on Infosat’s HSi, it can be combined
with other telephony, file-transfer and content delivery services requiring
high speed Internet connectivity. While many off-net businesses without POS
capabilities have the ability to perform credit card transactions by taking
an impression of the card, the real-time satellite-based transaction
enables these businesses to now offer direct debit service, as well as
reduce credit risk and provide security.

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Rewards Network

The partnership between VISA U.S.A., Welcome Real-time, and Catuity, formed in April, has produced a suite of technology components being developed to enable network-independent rewards services for chip-based “smart VISA” cards issued in the USA. The “Multi-Network Rewards Solution” includes software applications for payment and rewards services on cards and POS devices. The solution also includes a “Card Care” system that allows “smart VISA” issuers to integrate with multiple hosts and efficiently support cardholder customer-service functions via call centers and Web sites. The “Multi-Network Rewards Solution” is expected to be available beginning the first quarter of 2003. It is being demonstrated this week at the Cartes show in Paris.

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ASK Handhelds

ASK has rolled out its “HCR” family of handheld readers designed for contactless smart card applications requiring portable reading devices. “HCR” portable readers weigh 10.6 ounces including the battery, and measure approximately 7 by 3-1/4 inches, about the size of a TV remote control. It features a large backlit LCD that displays approximately 20 lines by 26 characters; control LEDs; menu, OK and cancel keys, and an up/down navigation key. The “HCR800” model offers an additional 12-key keyboard. All models feature a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with an operating cycle exceeding 1000 transactions over a period of 8 hours.

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FlexCash MasterCard

Charter One Financial has introduced the “FlexCash MasterCard.” The new card can be loaded with any dollar amount between $25 and $500 and is valid and usable until either all the purchased monetary value is used or at the expiration date of the card. The card is disposable and may not have any additional value added to it. The card issue fee of $5.95 will be waived through the end of the year as part of an introductory promotion. Charter One also issues “MegaRewards,” “MegaRewards Business,” and the “SmartBusiness OneCard,” a delayed-debit card.

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Collection Results

A new study reveals that the average collection industry contingency rate is nearly 25% and collector turn-over rate is a relatively low 30%. The Kaulkin Ginsberg benchmark survey of the nation’s debt collection agencies said the highest percentage of organizations that responded is those who collect healthcare debt, at 38%. General collection agencies are second at 25% and bank/credit card-focused agencies are third at 10%. Among findings: average annual net fees per collector are $119,103 and that nearly 75% of agencies use off-the-shelf collections software rather than custom developed software.

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