Vegas Deal

ERG Group has been awarded the contract to install a smart card based fare collection system for the Las Vegas Monorail Project. The Las Vegas monorail system is scheduled to be opened to the public in early 2004 and is expected to carry 19 million passengers in its first year of operation. The monorail will service 60,000 hotel rooms and the world’s largest convention centre. There will be seven new stations built in the first phase of the project and a further five stations will be included in an extension to be built in the near future. The system will cater for contactless smart cards as well as magnetic tickets for single journeys. In conjunction with the ticketing system, ERG has been contracted to install its central computer processing system. The total system will be capable of expansion into multiple applications for smart cards including electronic purse for casinos, security access and loyalty schemes. The monorail smart card scheme will also be able to be integrated with other transport modes such as the city’s bus network at a future date. The contract was awarded by Bombardier Transportation.

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Debit Class Action

The lead counsel of the plaintiffs in the “Wal-Mart Debit Card Lawsuit” announced yesterday it is mailing 7,657,888 notices to the merchants who are class members in the multi-billion dollar antitrust suit. New York City-based Constantine & Partners say the certified class consists of all persons and business entities that have accepted VISA and/or MasterCard credit cards and therefore have been required to accept Visa and/or MasterCard offline signature debit transactions from October 25, 1992 to the present. The law firm says it is seeking damages to compensate merchants for being forced to accept more than $1 trillion in “slow, fraud-prone, inferior offline signature debit transactions at anticompetitively high and fixed prices during the last decade.” An average of 760,000 notices are being mailed daily between September 9 and September 19, and class notice also will appear in major national publications September 12 through October 14. The lawsuit, filed six years ago by retailers, challenges VISA and MasterCard’s enforcement of their “Honor All Cards” rule. If the merchants prevail, VISA and MasterCard will face significant class damages of approximately $13-$15 billion, which could be tripled under antitrust laws. The trial is scheduled to begin April 28, 2003, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York before Judge John Gleeson. (CF Library 4/402; 6/6/02; 6/11/02; 6/26/02)

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PIN or Sign

Americans appear to be equally divided on their preferences when using a VISA or MasterCard-branded debit card to make purchases. About 52% of consumers say they prefer to sign for debit card purchases instead of using a PIN, according to an informal poll conducted this month on CardWeb.com. However in an earlier poll, 52% of Americans said merchants should not have the right to require you to use a PIN when making purchases with your VISA or MasterCard debit card. Interestingly, more than 56% of consumers indicated they do not know if the cost to the merchant for accepting VISA and MasterCard debit cards is the same whether you use your PIN or your signature. Approximately 1,000 consumers participated in the current and previous polls conducted on CardWeb.com’s homepage.

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TATRA ATM DEAL

Raiffeisen Bank’s wholly owned subsidiary Tatra Banka a.s., the third largest bank in Slovakia, has signed an agreement with Euronet Worldwide for ATM outsourcing. Under terms of the multi-year outsourcing agreement, Euronet will provide ATM driving, transaction routing, and settlement/reporting for the bank’s approximately 120 ATMs. Tatra Banka represents the third Raiffeisen subsidiary agreement in central Europe, where Euronet has an ATM outsourcing agreement. Tatra Bank follows Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. in Croatia and Raiffeisen Bank Rt. in Hungary. It is Euronet’s first project in the Slovakian market. Tatra Banka, the oldest bank in Slovakia, provides services for more than 470,000 Slovakian customers across 88 branches.

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InterCept Update

Atlanta-based InterCept announced the appointment of Boone Knox as Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors and the promotion of Lynn Boggs to Chief Operating Officer. The company also announced it has opened an item and image processing center in Los Angeles. The opening of the new facility follows on the heels of a center opened in Seattle in September last year. InterCept products and services include core data processing, check processing and imaging, ATM and debit card processing, merchant processing, data communications management, and related products and services.

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July Downtick

For the month of July, the charge-off rate for credit card backed-bonds fell to 6.26% from 6.47% a year ago. Also, the delinquency rate fell to 4.98% versus 5.06% a year earlier, representing the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases. The data are from Moody’s Credit Card Indexes for roughly $360 billion of U.S. bank credit card loans backing securities. In July, cardholders paid back their debts at a monthly rate of 15.13%, slightly below the rate of 15.28% reported in July 2001. The payment rate has been remarkably stable throughout the most recent economic downturn, and has generally remained within the historically high range of 14% – 16% for the last three years. The July 2002 yield was 18.02%, the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases. The drop in yield reflects, in part, the lagged adjustment in pricing of variable rate credit cards tied to short-term interest rates.

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ID-CHECK License

Intelli-Check has licensed its patented “ID-CHECK” technology to Security Identification Systems Corporation. Intelli-Check’s state of the art ID-CHECK technology will be integrated into SISCO’s access control systems, which have been deployed at industrial sites, corporations, police departments, prisons, jails and other government facilities. Terms of the non-exclusive licensing agreement were not disclosed.

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VASCO AWARD

Brussels-based VASCO and its Illinois-based Data Security International division has been named # 32 to Deloitte & Touche’s “Technology Fast 50” Program among Greater Chicagoland technology companies.
Deloitte & Touche’s “Technology Fast 50” program is a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the Chicago area, which is based on the five-year revenue growth percentage for the years 1997 through 2001. The Company’s family of “Digipass” and “VACMAN” products offers end-to-end security through strong authentication, digital signature, network single Sign-On, and Radius, LAN and Web security.

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