PayStar Hardware Deal

PayStar Corporation, the nation’s leader in providing content based Internet Kiosks, Cashless ATM devices, Prepaid Wireless Banking Services and Telecom Services today announced the forming of a strategic partnership with Instruments & Equipment Company of Sparta, NJ, to produce PayStar’s highly customized Public Internet Access Terminals via PayStar’s InfoStation Network located in select Choice Hotel brands nationwide.

“The kiosk team at I&E has gone to great lengths to produce a specialized series of Internet kiosks that will enhance PayStar’s product offerings,” commented Carla Buckner, Sr. Vice President of Sales & Marketing for PayStar. “The units are both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional.”

The NCR EasyPoint kiosks, with custom remote-administration software, are designed to offer interactive consumer service capabilities in an attractive terminal. Consumers will be able to enjoy the diverse functionality of the kiosks, which will feature both touch screen and keyboard options. The units will support Internet browsing, fully synchronized full-motion video and high-quality audio, wireless communications along with various peripherals, such as credit card readers, dollar bill acceptors and magnetic stripe readers.

“I&E is totally committed to becoming the industry’s premier source for kiosk systems and solutions,” stated Brian McGrady, General Manager of Instruments & Equipment Company. “Our goal is to produce a kiosk that represents the best in technology, quality, functionality, innovation and value. We are pleased that PayStar is committed to the same high level of quality assurance.”

About Instruments & Equipment

Instruments & Equipment Company is a supplier and full-service integrator for NCR Easy Point Web Kiosks, Public Internet Access Systems and Custom Kiosk solutions. Utilizing a core hardware competency and several key strategic partnerships, I&E has developed a “One-Stop-Shop” capability to provide kiosk hardware systems and solutions to end-users, VAR’s & integrators, and the O.E.M. By working closely with IT professionals and system integrators, I&E’s Engineers insure success and can take any kiosk project from the critical initial prototype stage to the roll-out, including nation-wide service and maintenance.

About PayStar

PayStar Corporation, a premier global distributor of telephony and financial services, provides its customers with an array of enabling devices. PayStar is comprised of three fully integrated divisions: Commercial Telephony Switch Services, Consumer Internet and Telephony Products including prepaid cards, and Consumer Services providing service and maintenance of Cashless Teller Machines (CTMs) and Internet enabled kiosks. PayStar is the location services provider (LSP) to retail merchants and is considered a “carriers carrier” for wholesale telecom services worldwide. Internal sales as well as mergers and acquisitions drive success. PayStar’s global strategy centers on expanding its network of thousands of locations that utilize state-of-the-art enabling devices.



Data collected by Moneris Solutions, Canada’s
largest processor of credit and debit card transactions, shows that overall
retail spending on debit and credit increased 4.46 per cent in the week of
March 11-17, compared to the two weeks immediately preceding.

The first week of March school vacations saw specific categories spike in
spending, including:

– Apparel up 11.3 per cent from the weeks prior. In particular, sports
apparel stores were up 23.6 per cent, family clothing stores up 17.6
per cent, and shoe stores up 18.3 per cent;

– Pampering also seems to be the order of the week as health and beauty
spa sales were up almost 87 per cent;

– Traditional holiday favourites like music stores experienced 8 per
cent increases; and

– Hobby, toy and game shops saw a 4 per cent increase.

At the same time, business-to-business credit and debit transactions
dropped off 14.9 per cent for the week, presumably reflecting the higher
number of people on vacation from work.

“Clearly March break holidays are a time for spending,” said Jim
Baumgartner, President, Moneris Solutions. “And we’ve only just begun the
cycle of March and Easter school holidays across Canada. Moneris’ daily data
combined with the official retail sales figures released last week both seem
to underscore that Canadians are in the mood to spend and certain retail
segments are benefiting.”

Moneris Solutions can track retail spending on debit and credit in real-time across Canada thanks to its advanced processing systems. Merchants,
suppliers, and marketers rely on regional sales data and trends to maximize
advertising and sales efforts and return on investment.

About Moneris Solutions Corp.:

Moneris Solutions is Canada’s leading technology merchant processing
company. Moneris provides businesses with technologically advanced, easy to
use, point-of-sale solutions designed to electronically process and authorize
credit and debit card transactions, including customized loyalty card
transactions. Moneris’ leading-edge technology allows merchants to streamline
payment processing and improve business efficiency.

Moneris is Canada’s largest and one of North America’s largest merchant
payment processing companies. Moneris serves more than 300,000 North American
customers and has a staff of over 900 employees. With its head office in
Toronto, Ontario, the company also has offices in Chicago, Illinois and
Montreal, Quebec. For more information, please visit


LaserCard Order

Drexler Technology Corporation, manufacturer of multi-biometric border security and immigrant resident ID cards, has received an order from a foreign government for 220 LaserCard read/write drives and associated software, as a follow-on to the 350,000 optical memory ID cards ordered last month by the same new government customer. The $600,000 order for drives and software, for a digital governance application, was placed through a value-added reseller, Information Spectrum, Inc. ([][1]), headquartered in Annandale, Virginia. Deliveries were completed the day after the order was received, using Drexler’s finished goods inventory of read/write drives. The foreign government will utilize the 220 LaserCard read/write drives in conjunction with the 350,000 LaserCard(R) optical memory cards that were ordered last month for deliveries during Drexler’s 2003 fiscal year, which begins April 2002. That initial card order, which was announced on February 7, 2002, requires manufacture of the cards by a batch process from lengths of multicolor offset-printed polycarbonate sheet stock provided to Drexler by the customer’s security printer.

This new batch-manufacturing technique was designed to permit governments to provide, under their tight security constraints, banknote-quality printing with secret security features on short lengths of polycarbonate sheet stock for lamination and conversion by Drexler into optical memory cards. The new batch-production technique was developed under Drexler’s research and engineering programs over the past two years and is being utilized commercially for the first time under this LaserCard program.

Normally, Drexler’s optical memory cards are produced completely in-house by a continuous process using silkscreen printing and laminating of 2000-foot lengths of polycarbonate roll stock. The cards manufactured by this new batch-manufacturing method are more costly than those made by Drexler’s normal continuous-roll process, but it provides governments with the benefit of retaining more security printing control for digital governance programs.

Headquartered in Mountain View, Drexler Technology Corporation ([][2]) develops and manufactures optical data storage products and systems, including LaserCard(R) optical memory cards and chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards — a combination of optical memory card and smart card. Drexler’s wholly owned subsidiary, LaserCard Systems Corporation, makes optical card read/write drives, develops optical card system software, and markets card-related data systems and peripherals.



Zebra & Fargo

Zebra Technologies and Fargo Electronics this morning announced that they have mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement as it appears unlikely the Federal Trade Commission will clear the transaction as currently proposed. The acquisition was announced on July 31, 2001 and provided for Zebra to acquire all outstanding shares of Fargo common stock for $7.25 per share in cash. Fargo’s stock is currently trading around $6.50 per share. The transaction has been under Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review by the FTC. Fargo said this morning that since it had been in the midst of the transaction, its management had previously declined to offer guidance for 2002. Before any costs related to the acquisition, they currently estimate that Fargo will achieve earnings of 6 to 9 cents per common share in the first quarter of 2002. Fargo estimates are for earnings of 50 to 65 cents per common share for the year 2002, or an increase of 47% to 91% over the 34 cents per common share it achieved in 2001. Fargo Electronics produces desktop plastic card personalization systems. More than 50,000 Fargo systems are currently installed throughout the U.S. and in more than 100 other countries. Zebra Technologies provides on-demand printing solutions to businesses and governments in more than 90 countries around the world including the Eltron-brand plastic card printers.


4Q/01 Delinquency

Credit card delinquencies, based on total accounts, inched up, from 3.77% in the third quarter to 3.88% for the fourth quarter, according to data released yesterday by the American Bankers Association. However, the composite ratio, which tracks eight types of closed-end consumer installment loans including auto, home equity and personal loans, fell from 2.40% for 3Q/01 to 2.34% in the fourth quarter. The ABA says that despite continued layoffs and marginal economic growth, it appears that the rate reductions throughout 2001, along with continued high mortgage refinancing and automotive financing incentives, helped keep delinquencies down. The ABA noted that the decrease in the composite ratio was influenced largely by a decrease in auto loan default ratios. These ratios were likely lower because of the increase in the total number of auto loans made in the fourth quarter, spurred by factory incentives offered post-September 11.

(based on total dollars outstanding)
2001: 4.67% 1999: 4.28% 1995: 4.45% 1991: 4.61% 1987: 3.65% 1983: 2.74%
2000: 4.25% 1998: 4.62% 1994: 3.20% 1990: 4.46% 1986: 4.80% 1982: 3.57%
1997: 5.38% 1993: 3.64% 1989: 3.22% 1985: 3.88% 1981: 2.26%
1996: 5.45% 1992: 4.11% 1988: 3.40% 1984: 2.85% 1980: 3.00%
Source: American Bankers Association Delinquency Bulletin


Discover 1Q/02

Morgan Stanley this morning reported that its Credit Services/Discover Card division had net income of $167 million for the quarter ending Feb. 28, 2002, an 18% increase over the same quarter one year ago. Discover had higher net interest and cardholder fee revenues, and lower marketing expenses but net chargeoffs were up sharply. Chargeoffs hit 6.49% compared to 4.79% one year ago. Meanwhile, managed credit card loans were $49.6 billion at quarter end, relatively unchanged from a year ago. The interest rate spread widened 152 basis points over the same period, as a result of a decline in credit services’ cost of funds.

Merchant and cardholder fees rose 9% to $541 million, reflecting higher late fees and an increase in the merchant discount rate. Transaction volume declined 1% from last year’s record first quarter to $24.1 billion.

The over-90-day delinquency rate was 3.12% compared to 2.74% a year ago. For complete details on Discover’s current and historical performance visit CardData ([][1]).

1Q/01* 2Q/01* 3Q/01* 4Q/01* 1Q/02
Receivables: $49.5b $50.2b $49.7b $49.3b $49.6b
Volume: $24.4b $23.5b $23.3b $22.1b $24.1b
Accounts: 43.7m 44.7m 45.4m 45.7m 46.0m
Actives: 24.0m 24.3m 24.0m 24.0m 23.8m
Chargeoffs: 4.79% 4.98% 5.79% 5.85% 6.49%
Delinquency: 6.34% 5.84% 6.31% 6.85% 6.75%
Yield: 13.66% 13.34% 13.34% 13.48% 12.63%

1Q/01 fiscal quarter ended 2/28/01;
2Q/01 fiscal quarter ended 5/31/01;
3Q/01 fiscal quarter ended 8/31/01;
4Q/01 fiscal quarter ended 11/30/01;
1Q/02 ended 2/28/02.
Source: CardData (



CSC & 724

724 Solutions and Computer Sciences Corporation announced a strategic alliance in which CSC will resell 724 Solutions’ software applications, provide systems integration services, and manage the operation of 724 Solutions’ application hosting business. The alliance is expected to allow 724 Solutions to expand its reach to banking organizations and private-label credit card issuers worldwide while enabling CSC to grow its wireless services business.

Under terms of the agreement, CSC will license, resell, and implement 724 Solutions’ Alerts, Banking, and Credit Card products to the financial services industry. 724 Solutions’ technology will be integrated with CSC’s Hogan Systems and CAMS II (Card and Merchant System) software products. 724 Solutions’ Worldwide Professional Services Group will offer on-going training and consulting support to CSC.

In addition, 724 Solutions will transition its application hosting business to CSC’s e-HUB Application Hosting facilities. This agreement allows 724 Solutions to focus on its core competency of wireless technology development while continuing to provide its customers with a cost-effective hosting service option.

“724 Solutions’ expertise in the financial services industry and mobile commerce market is very valuable to us,” said David Blanton, executive vice president of Banking Solutions for CSC’s Financial Services Group in the Americas. “By leveraging 724 Solutions’ applications, CSC can immediately extend its core banking and credit card offerings with a mobile channel and bring more value to its financial services clients and their customers.”
“CSC is one of the world’s leading information technology service providers serving over 1,200 major financial institutions worldwide,” said John Sims, chief executive officer, 724 Solutions. “This key focus on the financial services market aligns perfectly with our offerings and strategy. The strategic relationship offers a ‘win-win’ situation for our customers, CSC and ourselves. The combined offering that results from this alliance will help us bring more value to our customers while we continue our drive toward our profit objectives.”

About CSC

Computer Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading consulting and information technology (IT) services firms, helps clients in industry and government achieve strategic and operational results through the use of technology. The company’s success is based on its culture of working collaboratively with clients to develop innovative technology strategies and solutions that address specific business challenges.

Having guided clients through every major wave of change in information technology since 1959, CSC combines the newest technologies with its capabilities in consulting, systems design and integration, IT and business process outsourcing, applications software, and Web and application hosting to meet the individual needs of global corporations and organizations. With some 68,000 employees in locations worldwide, CSC had revenues of $11.3 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 28, 2001. It is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

About 724 Solutions Inc.

724 Solutions Inc. is a leading provider of mobile Internet infrastructure software and applications. It makes m-business happen globally by powering the delivery of secure mobile transactions for financial institutions and mobile operators. With headquarters in Toronto, Canada, the company has development and sales offices around the world. For more information, visit


Tax Incentives

VISA’s decision to accept tax payments on its credit cards via the Official Payments service has spurred American Express and MasterCard to increase consumer awareness of the program. According to the IRS, as of mid-March, the agency had received more than 20,000 credit card payments, up 13% from nearly 18,000 for the same period last year. The charges totaled more than $55 million. Yesterday, the Citibank/American Airlines AAdvantage Program encouraged taxpayers to earn AAdvantage miles when paying income taxes. For the promotional period March 1 through April 15, cardholders are able to earn one AAdvantage mile for every dollar of income tax paid using any Citi AAdvantage MasterCard credit card. Miles can be earned using either the Official Payments Corporation or PhoneCharge, Inc. services. Last week, American Express encouraged consumers to earn Membership Rewards by charging taxes.



Borland Software Corporation announced that Europay International, Europe’s leading payment organization, has selected Borland technology to form the strategic development environment for its future Java-based applications. Europay International offers its more than 9,000 member banks European and global debit and credit card services and support. At present, Europay has 291.1 million cards in circulation, including all EuroCards and MasterCards. These cards also support cash withdrawal at more than 305,500 ATMs, Europe’s largest network.

Europay International plans to develop mission-critical Java-based solutions both for its organization’s members and for its own internal solutions using Borland(R) JBuilder(TM), the leading cross-platform environment for building business, database, and distributed applications for the Java(TM) 2 platform, and Borland(R) JDataStore(TM), an object relational database management system written entirely in Java. Europay International chose to build solutions entirely based on Java and the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE(TM) platform) to ensure portability and scalability.

“In our business you have to be very flexible; in the financial industry things can change dramatically overnight. We need to be able to adapt to changes quickly,” said Peter Vandenbroucke, Head of Regional Systems, at Europay International. “We chose Borland for all current and future development because of its firm support for open standards and excellence in development technology.” “The financial and electronic payment industry is an area which typically requires very robust software,” said Nigel Brown, vice president and general manager, Borland EMEA. “Borland technology will provide the best-in-class development platform Europay International needs to meet the high demands of this industry.”

About Europay International

Europay International, headquartered in Waterloo, Belgium, is Europe’s leading payments organization, dedicated to providing a tailored product range and support services to its more than 9,000 Member banks. At present, 291.1 million cards (Eurocard(R), MasterCard(R), Maestro(R), Cirrus(R) and eurocheque) provide European and global debit and credit card services, and offer cash access to Europe’s largest network of more than 305,800 ATMs in 43 countries. Through its alliance with MasterCard International, over 600,000 ATMs and more than 22 million retail locations worldwide accept Europay products. Europay’s web site at gives a detailed view on the company’s products and services and shows how Europay offers its Member banks both support and leadership on issues including virtual commerce, chip technology, security & risk management, and the advent of the Euro.

About Borland(R) JBuilder(TM)

Borland JBuilder is the leading cross-platform environment for building business, database, and distributed applications for the Java 2 platform. JBuilder simplifies EJB(TM) 2.0 development with two-way visual designers and rapid deployment to the leading J2EE(TM) platform application servers, including BEA(R) WebLogic(R), IBM(R) WebSphere(R), iPlanet(TM), and the integrated Borland(R) Enterprise Server. It enhances developer productivity with UML code visualization, refactoring, unit testing, and documentation tools, and enables development and deployment of applications on Windows(R), Linux(R), Solaris(TM), and Mac OS platforms. JBuilder is available in three versions: Enterprise, Professional, and Personal. For more information on JBuilder visit

About Borland(R) JDataStore(TM)

JDataStore can function as a server or be embedded into “client-side” or remote applications with top performance and virtually zero administration. JDataStore is a complete, cost effective solution for Java platforms including: mobile computing, Internet applications, Web servers and Enterprise JavaBeans(TM) (EJB) servers. Other key features include object relational storage; Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) local or remote Type 4 drivers; JavaBeans(R) components that allows direct access to JDataStore; and lightweight replication and synchronization technology. All of these features enable JDataStore to solve a variety of general database problems and complement popular native RDBMS systems like Borland(R) InterBase(R), Oracle(R), IBM(R) DB2(R), Microsoft(R) SQL Server(TM) and Sybase(R).

About Borland

Borland Software Corporation is a leading provider of technology used to develop, deploy and integrate software applications. Delivering best-in-class technology solutions dedicated to interoperability, Borland allows enterprises of all sizes to move into Web based computing while leveraging legacy systems. From the Fortune 1000 to the Borland Nation consisting of millions of developers, Borland provides customers the freedom to develop applications, deploy them anywhere and integrate and manage them across the enterprise. Borland solutions enable organizations to increase productivity and deliver higher performance projects faster and on budget, while lowering total cost of ownership.

Founded in 1983, Borland is headquartered in Scotts Valley, California with operations worldwide. To learn more, visit Borland at or the community site at


American Airlines & SWISS

American Airlines announced it has entered into an extensive codeshare agreement with SWISS, the newly branded national airline of Switzerland and one of Europe’s largest carriers. The arrangement includes reciprocal frequent flyer cooperation with American’s AAdvantage program and SWISS’ Qualiflyer program.

American will put its AA code on SWISS’ eight daily transatlantic flights between Switzerland and seven U.S. gateways, as well as on SWISS’ flights beyond Zurich to points in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This beyond service will be on the combined network of Crossair’s existing European regional operations and significant portions of the former Swissair intercontinental and European trunk route system.

SWISS’ U.S. gateways are Boston, New York-JFK, Newark, Washington, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.

SWISS, in turn, will place its LX code on American’s two daily transatlantic flights between Zurich and its U.S. gateways of Dallas/Fort Worth and New York Kennedy and American flights to a broad range of destinations within North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Effective March 31, members of American’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program will be able to earn and redeem mileage credit when they travel on flights operated by SWISS. Likewise, members of SWISS’ Qualiflyer program will earn and redeem mileage credit when traveling on flights operated by American.

“This codeshare and frequent flyer agreement between these two highly regarded, world class airlines will enable us to offer our customers more service options and greater travel flexibility,” said Mike Gunn, American’s executive vice president for marketing and planning. “This partnership reflects American’s continuing commitment to bring top-quality airlines into our worldwide network.”

Gunn said American, which on Monday celebrated 15 years of service to Zurich, will now be able to offer its passengers more on-line travel options and convenient access to more points in Europe and beyond, especially for those passengers originating from American’s DFW gateway. The combination of the Crossair and former Swissair networks will provide American customers more on-line destinations than the American Airlines-Swissair relationship provided.

Both carriers will soon apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval of the codeshare agreement and expect to implement it shortly thereafter.

American and SWISS will continue to explore ways to strengthen their relationship beyond what they announced today.

“More Room for More Coach Passengers … Only on American”

Current AMR Corp. (NYSE: AMR) news releases can be accessed via the Internet. The address is .



Western Union Financial Services, Inc.,
a leading international money transfer company and subsidiary of
First Data Corp. announced its contract with the
Agricultural Bank of China has been extended to five years, into 2006.

The announcement, made just nine months into the original two-year
contract, further strengthens Western Union’s strategic alliance with ABC, one
of China’s leading banks.

Charles T. Fote, the new President and Chief Executive Officer of
First Data, who is in Hong Kong after leading a delegation on a four day
business-development mission in China, said: “This is great news! The
contract has been extended because Western Union’s early results in China have
exceeded ABC’s expectations. This shows we are fast becoming the preferred
partner for the banking community. Western Union is fulfilling its promise
and is one of our fastest growing business units within the FDC family.”

Bill Thomas, president of Western Union International, who was with Fote
at the contract signing ceremony in Beijing, added: “Western Union has
deliberately set its goals in China very high. We are on track with our
original plan to reach up to 10,000 agent locations in the country, but our
goal is to have an agent network of 30,000 locations over the next three to
five years. The overseas Asian community is the largest in the world and we
expect China to be our biggest single market in the next 10 years.”

Thomas explained that making the service available round-the-clock as well
as accessible over the Internet would support growth.

“Although a relatively new service category to the region, we’ve seen
growing demand for a fast, reliable and convenient way to send and receive
money worldwide, through trusted vendors,” said Thomas. “Our partnership with
ABC represents much more than simply numbers of outlets — it’s about our
long-term vision and expanding our customer’s choice and control.”

During the trip, Fote and Thomas also met with officials from China Post,
the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, and the
People’s Bank of China.

“We discussed the possibility of establishing relationships with other
First Data entities in the areas of card issuing services and merchant
processing services,” said Fote. “We think there are some excellent
opportunities and great potential for expanding First Data’s international

About Western Union Financial Services, Inc. and First Data

Western Union Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp., is an international leader in consumer money transfer services.
Consumers can quickly, safely and reliably pay bills and transfer money around
the globe using the company’s proprietary money transfer network. Western
Union and its subsidiary, Orlandi Valuta, together make up one of the world’s
largest money transfer networks with a total of approximately 120,000 Agent
locations in more than 187 countries and territories. Famous for its
pioneering telegraph service, the original Western Union dates back to 1851
and introduced electronic money transfer service in 1871. For more
information, please visit the company’s Web site at

First Data Corp., with global headquarters in Denver, helps power the
global economy. Serving approximately 2.8 million merchant locations,
1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easy, fast
and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using
virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card or
check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more
information, please visit the company’s Web site at


Metris Tumbles

Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank watched its stock drop nearly 23% yesterday after a Wall Street analyst raised concerns over credit quality. An analyst with Wachovia Securities cut 2002 earnings estimates for the sub-prime specialist. Wachovia Securities says Metris has increased credit limits as 57.6% of cardholders now have at least a $5,000 credit line and 15.1% have lines over $10,000. Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank reported a managed net chargeoff rate of 10.9% for 4Q/01 compared to 9.7% for 4Q/00. The comparable managed delinquency rate was 9.7% at Dec 31, 2001, compared to 8.3% at Dec 31, 2000. For the fourth quarter of 2001, managed net interest margin was 14.0%, compared with 14.2% for the third quarter of 2001, and 12.6% for the fourth quarter of 2000. For current and historical performance on Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Bank visit CardData ([][1]). (CF Library 1/16/02)